The High Line for the Vehicle-Obsessed

by Amy Kraft on November 23, 2014

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Last weekend, Olive and I were leaving Chelsea Piers and decided to walk the new north section of the High Line. If you’re unfamiliar with New York’s High Line park, it’s a park filled with beautiful plantings and cool design, built on old railroad tracks that run along Manhattan’s west side.

It was a cold day, so the High Line was unusually empty. The crowds often make it less-than-ideal for kids, when you hit bottlenecks of visitors that make it impossible to move. The kids have always loved climbing all over the various benches, but the north section made us regret that Ozzie wasn’t with us: it’s the perfect place for vehicle-obsessed kids like him.

It started with a few pictures I texted to Ozzie and daddy of construction sites filled with his favorite, excavators!

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The High Line is flanked with construction sites on its entire north end. Excavators gave way to cranes. And look, behind that crane is a whole row of garbage trucks.

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If you look north, not only can you car watch, but you can also get a glimpse of the Intrepid.

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As you get closer to the river, you never know what kind of boats you’ll see. We saw a cruise ship go by. Having never been close to one, the size is crazy!

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You can watch subway trains coming and going in the train yard, with a giant sitting/climbing platform perfectly situated to watch boats on one side and trains on the other.

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Let’s see, what are we missing? Of course there are the occasional planes flying overhead… oh, and yes… helicopters coming in and taking off!

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The High Line has everything! It even dumps you out right where you can catch the M34 express bus. Time to take Ozzie back!

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Highlights from the KidzVuz Holiday Party

by Amy Kraft on November 22, 2014

Last weekend marked the 3rd annual KidzVuz Holiday Party, where the lovely people behind the tween review site KidzVuz bring together people, products, and sponsors with a kid-focus. Olive and I picked out some of our favorite things.

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Downtown Bookworks had a few new additions to their catalog that we loved. I know a bunch of people (kids and adults) who would love getting My First Book of Girl Power. Each page chronicles a different awesome hero. I really want this one for myself, too.

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Another new addition, Bird-acious, has kids dissecting actual owl pellets. Yum, that’s not bird-acious, that’s bird-alicious.

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At Olive’s teacher conference last week, she expressed wanting to know more about how the human body works, so she was all over this Learning Resources Human Body Model from School Specialty. Made from durable plastic, you have to put the pieces in just so, getting the connections right between them, a great visualization about how our organs work together.

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I’m happy to have the School Specialty store on my radar. We immediately went home and bought Ozzie this Learning Resources Bucket Balance. (Shh, don’t tell him. It’s a Christmas present.) He’s such a math and science kid that we can see him spending hours doing experiments with weights and other toys in the buckets. I also discovered while shopping on School Specialty that they have other toys that he loves, like marble runs, and tons of art supplies for Olive. Much was crossed off my Christmas checklist.

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Talking with Greg Alkaly, the CEO of Battery Pop, made me remember to check out this website I’ve been hearing so much about. Olive’s definitely of the age where she’s off on YouTube by herself, but I like Battery Pop so much better because all of the videos have been screened for inappropriate content, and YouTube comments are turned off. They even let parents know the difference between videos hosted on Battery Pop, and YouTube content being pulled in. You have to opt into the latter, as Battery Pop wants you to know about the data tracking that YouTube does. So smart. What a great way for Olive to watch all of her Minecraft videos.

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Yes, we’re really looking forward to December 19th.

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I don’t usually talk about cookies here, but dude, these Sweet Loren’s cookies were so, so delicious. They’re whole grain and dairy and preservative free. They’re the best ready-to-bake cookies I’ve ever had, and in great news for us New Yorkers, they’re available at Fresh Direct.

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Olive moment of greatest salivation came at the HP booth when she saw the HP Stream Notebook. She’s been angling to have her own computer. “Mom! Mom! It’s only $200, and it’s blue!” Oh, HP, you’re not making my job any easier.

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are comings, but thanks to KidzVuz, I’ve already got some of my presents picked out (and purchased)!

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Who Needs Pictures in a Picture Book?

November 16, 2014
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  You know, I kind of feel bad for celebrities. When they write children’s books they have to survive a higher level of critic and lit snob scrutiny than the average writer Joe. (They usually cry all the way to the bank, though, so I don’t feel too bad for the scrutiny.) Then there’s the […]

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In the MoMA Studio with Matisse

November 9, 2014
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When I was pregnant with Olive, I thought my maternity leave was going to be one big art walk–galleries and museums every day. Only now do I understand why other parents laughed at me. No new parent has that much energy. We did make it to one show, though, a Henri Matisse show at the […]

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Welcome to Your Awesome Halloween

November 1, 2014
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I hope everyone had an awesome Halloween! This year both of our kids wanted homemade costumes, and nothing makes me happier. Since November 1 of last year, Olive has said that she wanted to be a pancake. Yes, a pancake. Having few sewing skills, we lucked out when we found a big sheet of 1-inch-thick […]

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9 Awesome Books for Makers

September 29, 2014
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While at Maker Fair NY, I got to have a look at the new books from two of my favorite science educators. Kathy Ceceri and I wrote on GeekMom together, and she’s currently About.com’s homeschooling expert. We already have Kathy’s book Robotics at home. It’s a great primer about what constitutes a robot, and it has 20 […]

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Lego Builds Your Flatiron Dreams

September 26, 2014
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One recent evening my husband came home and said, “Hey, guess what’s opening up next to Eataly?” and I was all “I KNOW! LEGO FLAGSHIP STORE!” I knew this because I was about to take a tour of the store building in progress. It’s pretty fun watching the details of the store coming together. You […]

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Taking My Mini-Makers to Maker Faire NY

September 26, 2014
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Did you make it to Maker Faire NY this year? I managed to be so focused on finding things for the kids that I totally missed the adults-only maker exhibit (slightly NSFW). Oh, well. Next year. Here are some of the things we did find. It may not seem like much, just a ball controlled […]

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Interactive Imagination with Hervé Tullet

September 22, 2014
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I was about to write about Hervé Tullet’s new book Mix It Up when I realized that I’ve never written about his book Press Here on Media Macaroni. No book makes Ozzie giggle the way Press Here does. It’s an interactive book in the most conceptual sense. You’re invited to touch each page in some way, then you turn […]

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Want to Be a Pirate? Here’s How!

September 19, 2014
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Avast, me hearties, ’tis Talk Like a Pirate Day! This oddest of holidays hits extra close to me heart this year because I’ve been working on a pirate-themed game for the past six months. But what if you don’t know how to talk like a pirate? There’s a book for that. How to be a […]

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