Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Wishing you and yours a HAPPY, fun-filled, sunshiny Memorial Day Weekend from all of us here in Charm City. We are heading to a pretty fun annual event today- Brew at the Zoo, benefiting the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. It’s a drinking event so we’ll be dropping the little off with her Grandma this morning and picking her up tomorrow. We brought her along last year, but this year she’s much more wild and on the go. Brew at the Zoo is typically family friendly, just not for our one year old. Maybe next year!

Sunday my husband is working but Blair and I will head to a family BBQ for a few hours and hit up the community pool, opening this weekend, for some kiddie pool fun and to purchase our family passes. Monday and Tuesday, my sweet husband is off work! That’s when we’ll be celebrating together 🙂

I’ll be on a bit of a posting hiatus through the rest of this long weekend as we enjoy our family time together! I’ll share all of our fun when I return 😉

 

What do you have planned for this long weekend? Sound off in the comments!

Hidden Gem: West Shore Park

One of our favorite places to spend time during the summer is West Shore Park in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

DSC_0405

During the summer, the park is host to monthly concerts on the water and games for the kids. Food trucks come and provide a generous mixture of cuisine, from Crabby Fries to gyros to ice cream… Even a beer truck 🙂 Or you could do as we do and bring your own from home!

The park also has a great water fountain that’s great for kids to play in. We definitely take advantage of it, especially on warm spring days like we’ve had this week before the community pool opens up. If you happen to visit this park on a quiet weekday like we did, you might just have it all to yourself! Treat yourself to some Rita’s from the stand nearby after you splash around 🙂

DSC_0473

Have you been to West Shore Park? Does your city have something similar? Sound off in the comments!

Sunshiny Day

It is going to be 81 an sunny for the next FOUR days 🙂 We spent all day long outside today. I didn’t want to go inside… and neither did this girl.

DSC_0431

We hit up Fit4Mom Baltimore City‘s Stroller Stride’s class at Patterson Park in the morning. This one hour total body toning class is so amazing that I am going to start teaching it this summer! The babies ride along in their strollers while the moms power walk or jog to different stations throughout the park where we do strength and toning work. After class, the babies gather for an informal play date! Today’s activities included SIDEWALK CHALK!

This was Blair’s first time playing with sidewalk chalk and it was really cool to watch her discover it on her own. She eventually figured it out and had a BALL drawing on the side walk (and herself!) Since she doesn’t go to daycare yet, we also love the fact that Stroller Strides class allows her an opportunity to socialize with other babies. It also combines two of my passions- motherhood and fitness. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share my love of fitness with my daughter and show her a good example of how to live a healthy, active lifestyle. No couch potato time for the girl, there is too much to see and do!

Rainy Day in Baltimore: White Marsh IKEA

This edition of Rainy Day in Baltimore features a gem I discovered completely by accident. Last week, my husband came home to find our closet completely collapsed in on itself. The clothing rail and top selves just came right out of the wall. These structures had been installed when we bought the house, so we just moved right in and left them as-is. Turns out, they were installed without anchors and the screws used were way too small. This was a disaster just waiting to happen.

My OCD does not allow a mess like that to exist, so off to IKEA we went in search of the ALGOT series and its many complicated parts. Neither of us being engineers, it took my husband and I a few trips back and forth exchanging parts until we got it right. Blair and I got to know this place pretty well and what I learned is that, other than being a place that takes literally all of my money on things I didn’t know I needed, IKEA is a great place to take your kids on a date.

There are endless aisles for them to run about and endless gadgets for a toddler to pick up and carry throughout the store. I like to start at the kid’s section, where they usually have a bunch of the kids toys and play equipment that they sell set up as demos. Blair loves to play with the play kitchen and sit at the little miniature tables.

She also likes to wander around the kids room displays just checking out the different beds and displays. This also gives me an idea of what sort of things draw Blair’s attention and I get a lot of good ideas for decorating her room and our house this way.

Once we’ve grown tired of exploring everything the store has to offer, we head to the in-store cafe for a lunch date. At $2.99 per kids meal, IKEA is the best value anywhere. The cafe even has a play area for the kids to use while the adults finish their meals. While the adult meals are also reasonably priced at about $5-6 per meal, I usually get a kids meal and that’s more than enough for me. Blair really enjoys the meatballs and wasn’t as big a fan of the chicken fingers.

DSC_0022

As usual, I was unprepared and forgot to bring a bib or a change of clothes for my messy eater. Lucky for me, IKEA provides complimentary bibs right there in the cafe. #winning

IKEA Baltimore
Honeygo Blvd in White Marsh (Just off I95)

  • Parking: Plenty of it
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes- you’ll use the elevators. But I’d just ditch the stroller and use the cart. The smaller carts spin around and provide quite the wild ride 😉
  • Bathroom Situation: There are bathrooms on every floor (with changing tables!)
  • Economics: $
    • If you can get out without purchasing anything, this trip is free!
    • Reasonable prices at the in-store cafe.

Rainy Day in Baltimore: Maryland Science Center

After a brief reprieve from the rain over the weekend, rain is back in the forecast and that makes this new series I’m running pretty perfect. Growing up in the country, I was pretty isolated and the nearest rainy day activity outside my house was probably a thirty minute drive today. I remember how boring it was and how much I wished I lived closer to my friends and fun things to do. Given that, I guess it’s no surprise that I love living in the city and especially LOVE raising a child in the city. There is no shortage of things to do, indoors or outdoors, and we can always creatively occupy our time.

This week, I’ll be highlighting a couple of my favorite recent rainy day activities in the Baltimore area. I try to do things that are inexpensive (preferably FREE!) and local (within the Baltimore beltway.. walking distance or public transit accessible preferred), so they should be pretty accessible to just about any parent in the Baltimore area. Try them out and let me know what you think!

Today, I want to discuss one of our favorite places to spend a dreary day in the city: the Maryland Science Center Located at Baltimore’s beautiful Inner Harbor, this is just a short walk from our house. If you are coming from out of town, the Light Rail stop at Camden Yards is the best way to get to this part of the city. Leave your car at a station further out of town and save yourself time and money versus parking in the city.

We have a membership here and if you are able to come 3 or 4 times (or more) per year, the membership option is definitely the way to go. Otherwise, entry is about $20 per adult and $17 per child over 3. I consider this a great value because of the membership ($125 for 3 people) and because we go there all the time. We long ago broke even on the investment and it’s been worth every penny.

DSC_0072

The Science Center is great for kids (and adults!) of all ages. There are exhibits on natural history, weather, electricity, space and almost everything has some kind of hands-on, interactive element that encourages the kids to participate and really think about what they are seeing.

My daughter is a toddler, so we’ve spent most of our time over the past year just hanging out in the special room just for babies and toddlers on the third floor.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The baby area includes a water bed area with a sea theme and stacking blocks, a climbing area with giant legos, a reading and counting station and a computer station. There is also a nursing chair available for the mamas.

Just outside the baby area is an interactive area for toddlers and bigger kids featuring a water table, nature station, and several big play areas with an under water theme. My daughter has recently started to venture into this area and currently loves the water table and “earthquake” lego engineering station.

We have spent many rainy/snowy/just plain cold days at the Science Center and I definitely think it’s been great for my daughter’s development. Since she doesn’t go to daycare, this provides her with another opportunity to socialize with children her own age and explore the world outside of our family home in a way that’s safe and fun. I can’t wait to see how she enjoys the Science Center in the years to come.

DSC_0047Maryland Science Center

Home

  • Parking: No bueno. Locals should walk or take the Charm City Circulator. Out of towners should Light Rail to the Camden Yards station and walk the short distance from there.
  • Stroller Friendly: Yes. Elevators and stroller parking available. Can be crowded at peak times.
  • Bathroom Situation: Plenty of restrooms on each level. Men, Women, and Family.
  • Economics: $$
    • Can be pricey for single admission tickets.
    • Recommend becoming a Member for best value.
    • Occasional Groupon deals are available!

Fort McHenry: An Underrated Baltimore Gem

When you think if Baltimore, you probably think of the Orioles, The Wire, Freddie Gray, Serial Podcast, the Ravens, or maybe even good old fashioned crab cakes, but one of my favorite Baltimore traditions is the Star Spangled Banner and Fort McHenry.

Fort McHenry is a star shaped fort located at the mouth of the Baltimore harbor, famous for defending Baltimore from an attack by the British navy during the War of 1812. The sight of a garrison flag, signaling an American victory, on the morning after the battle, inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem that became our National Anthem. This national treasure is located just over a mile from our house!

DSC_0882

The Fort and its grounds are a National Monument and open to the public seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. The park and grounds are free of charge, but admission to the Star Fort and Visitor’s Center are a small fee. Parking at the fort is free but may be crowded on popular summer weekends like the Fourth of July, but you can also park in nearby Locust Point for free for up to two hours. Bring a picnic lunch and a nice blanket and enjoy the wide open spaces and beautiful views.

DSC_0993

One of the things that initially concerned me about raising a child in the city was the lack of outdoor activities and opportunities to feel the grass under her bare feet. I’ve been making it a point, especially as Blair has become more mobile, to find ways to expose her to those simple things in life, even while in the city. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the opportunities before us! Baltimore really has so much to offer if you’re open to looking for it.

When everything sux.

Remember sux? Slang from the 90’s, otherwise known as my teenage/glory days. I feel like it’s appropriate for use when something sucks (duh), but doesn’t suck as bad as more… serious sucky things. If that makes sense.

So, allow me to explain how everything SUX today.

I felt kind of crappy yesterday, so I went to bed early and when I woke up to my gym alarm, I was still feeling tired and I figured I could use the rest. Being an unemployed loser since my recent firing, I have nothing else to do during the day and figured I could go later.

I had some work to do for a lawyer I’m doing a little part time work for (for $10 an hour, apparently, which is insulting, but I digress) so I started working on that in the morning. I simultaneously started thinking about my paycheck and my lack of money and how useless this job is. Cue a freak out, emotional breakdown and a lot of crying. Once I pulled it together, I figured that was as good a time as any to go to the gym and get a work out in.

Working out is my stress relief, after all.

I dropped my darling child off at the gym daycare, put my belongings in my gym locker, ordered my post-work out shake, and headed over to the treadmill. I was just turning it on when…

The daycare supervisor walked up to me, told me my daughter had pooped in her diaper and that she needed to leave.

No workout.

Everything sux.