Weekend Events for Kids on Long Island, June 24-28: Beach Sandcastle Contest, Family Fun Day, Summer Arts Festival and more

It is the first official weekend of Summer Vacation for most Long Island and New York area schools and whether you are starting the Season off by hitting the beach or staying local in your very own ‘hood, there are plenty of activities to keep you and your kids happy this weekend from sandcastle contests to a cool kid music CD release party, an arts festival, and a family fun day.. Check out these cool events and more right here:

10 Things You're Going to Like About The New Mommy Poppins (we hope)

Mommy Poppins has always been a labor of love, but never more so than working on this redesign. Actually this project started out as just a simple desire to expand our neighborhood pages and make it easier to find all our new guides, but Simon, my amazing (and handsome) developer, was so good at making my wouldn't it be cool ifs... come true, I just kept coming up with more, and more...and more. Finally, a mere 9 months later, we've got a whole new site, with a new design and lots of cool features that make it easier to find what you're looking for and more fun to use.

Read on for highlights of some of the new cool features of the site and please leave a comment and let us know what you think:

Celebrate Congo Gorilla Forest's 10 Year Anniversary at the Bronx Zoo

I remember when they originally opened the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit at The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo, what a revelation it was. To be able to stand with just a thin layer of glass separating us from those amazing animals. I can hardly believe that the Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit is now celebrating it's 10th Anniversary. Has it really been 10 years!?!

The 10th Anniversary of the Congo Gorilla Forest makes now an especially good time to visit, because The Wildlife Conservation Society's Bronx Zoo is celebrating with special programs that highlight the Congolese culture. There will be traditional African drum and dance performances by the Harambee Dance Company, kids can watch “lunchtime with the gorillas” at 2pm each day, and experience the crafts of the Republic of Congo with artisans from the Museum for African Art leading workshops in Basket-making, Gourd Adornment, Bead-making and Mask making. Best of all, visiting the zoo contributes to WCS's ongoing conservation work with gorillas and the Congo.

Acupuncture for Pregnant and Laboring Women

I have to admit, the science behind acupuncture mystifies me, but the art of it makes me so happy I don't care. Plus it's been around for thousands of year's, so I have some built in faith. In case your brand new to acupuncture or have no idea how it might be used while your pregnant or even during labor (yes, you read right) we've written up a brief description of the practice and asked our friend Laural, an acupuncturist and doula, to help explain it all.

New York City Museum Stroller Policies

Are baby strollers allowed in New York City Musuems? The answer can be tricky. While many allow strollers, some have limitations on where you can bring your stroller, or the type of stroller you can bring. Once you've wrangled your stroller through the subway, you hardly want to arrive only to be turned away, so we've compiled a list of popular museums and their stroller policies. However, calling ahead is always a good idea since rules change or you can find out if any current exhibits are off-limits.

Free Weekend Events for New York City Kids June 12-14: Giant BBQs, 400+ Art Activities, Science Festivals and More

Every single event in this post is free (not even one pay-as-you wish!). Not that there aren't cool events worth paying for this weekend, but there's just so much goodness going on for absolutely free, why pay: Giant BBQs, monster art festivals, science fairs (and not the 5th grade kind) and tons of free music, food, shows and so much more. Isn't summer in the city great?

Can Fast Food Be Part of A Healthy Pregnancy Diet?

 

You’re pregnant, nauseous, working on a deadline, and oh-yeah, trying to cut back on food costs in the middle of a recession. You know that you’re supposed to be eating really healthy right now, but lack of time and energy, and the need to save cash have been pushing you towards some not-so-healthy food sources lately. Plus, hangover food seems to be the only thing that calms your morning sickness. All is not lost! Our guest poster, Frances Largeman-Roth, and author of the  new book, Feed the Belly: The Pregnant Mom's Healthy Eating Guide, will show you how you can actually eat on the run without breaking too many nutrition rules. Hey, these are tips that we can all use, whether we're pregnant or not. Thanks, Frances!

 

It’s always healthiest to make your own food. That way you’re in charge of how much fat, sodium, and preservatives are involved. But there are some healthier picks at the chain restaurants. Here's the skinny on avoiding the fat (and other bad stuff) at the top fast food chains, what to order and what to avoid, for a healthier diet during pregnancy:

Get Your Game On at Come Out and Play Festival

Experience random acts of fun at the Come Out and Play Festival, a free New York City street game festival running from June 12-14. This event turns the city into a giant playground, with everything from a photo hunt to a jump roping contest. It's not about winning, but about rediscovering the city through play and play through the city. Although Come Out and Play isn't just for kids, there's lots of fun family friendly games that kids will enjoy as much as you will.

Here are some games from the Come Out and Play Festival that are fun for kids: 

School News, Kids Restauarant Week, New Nonchalant Parenting Trend, and Cool Raffles

First, I gotta thank all you great people who voted for us for best NYC local blog over the weekend. We got some real momentum going. I hope you will all keep voting for us every day. If you were not online over the weekend, please take a moment to catch up on how you can help Mommy Poppins get dubbed number one NYC local blog and vote for us.

And now for the news: we haven't done one of these for a while now so there's lots of school news to catch up on, especially with budget cuts, mayoral control and test scores all hanging in the balance. Also find out about a really cool fundraiser, the new parenting trend, and great deals on eating out during kids' restaurant week. Dig in:

NPR wants you to vote for Mommy Poppins***

Occasionally I get into a radio mode and I tune in to NPR. Somehow I always seem to tune in when they are having a pledge drive. So I've basically been listening to non-stop pledge driving for the last couple days and it's inspired me (or brain-washed me) into action.

Here's the skinny: Mommy Poppins has been nominated as the best local blog in NYC in the Parents Connect Parents Picks contest. (Cool) But we're not actually in the lead. (Bummer) But it would be kinda cool to win it 'cause I think we are the best local kids blog, don't you? So here's my NPR-style pitch (read below in best Brian Lehrer voice):

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