Spend a Couple Hours »Pint Sized Painters

at Frolic!

I’ve been to a few kid classes in my relatively brief  time as a parent but have learned there’s a delicate  balance to making one completely successful.

Sometimes the teacher is great with kids but really awkward with the parents, other times they are too impatient for the age group they teach. Sometimes the activities are a little beyond the kids’ abilities and the focus is too much on a finished activity or project than just having fun.

Pint Sized Painters manages to balance everything really well, thanks in large part to Z, the instructor who also works as an art director.

She’s at ease with kids and parents alike, keeps instructions and slide shows short and sweet (managing to catch toddler’s interest with the work of Hurst (who taught Van the word “dots!” and Rauschenberg!) and the projects are manageable – kids get to dive in as much as they want, but if distracted, can get involved just by pointing to where they want a color, or helping her squeeze paint.

In the end, we end up with awesome art to take home, that you never feel that you created more than your child.

This is the first class I’ve taken at Frolic! and while it’s pricier than many, I’ve loved it and the take home projects are priceless -as is seeing Van swimming in a giant smock.

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Posted on July 12, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Kick and Play

20120510-113119.jpgat The School Settlement Association

Kick and Play..

Well, Van loves the “play” element and the wide safe open space for him to run around in is worth the price of this class alone.

Kick? That he hasn’t quite gotten the concept of yet and doesn’t seem terribly interested in figuring it out.

There’s too much fun to be had running, giggling and throwing the balls. Guess he gets his athletic prowess from me.

Seriously though, once your little one is up and running, this is a great active class for them with patient teachers and even a couple singing puppets.


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Posted on May 13, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Art Lab Junior

at Caribou Baby

I’ve been excited to find an art class for Van pretty much since before he was born, bit it’s not easy finding one for younger toddlers. So I was thrilled when Caribou Baby began offering ArtLab Junior.

We’ve been to two of five classes already and explored water and stripes to Van’s utter delight.

Plus I got my first fridge art!

The series ends February 8 but a new one for children 2-4 starts march 7. I hope a junior class is soon to follow. It’s 100 for five classes and is held Wednesdays at 3:30. I highly recommend!!

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Posted on January 19, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Aquabeba

194 Withers Street, #1, Guest Written by Jim:

Last Sunday (Father’s Day) Van and I attended our very first swim class. Along with two other dads and their respective infants, we hopped into the heated pool of a luxury Williamsburg condominium for our first AquaBeba session.

With the focus on allowing children to become comfortable in the water (as opposed to the rather dire sink-or-swim methodology so many of us experienced growing up), the 5-week program is run by Danilo Krvavac, an affable Serbian (and Olympic swimmer) who lives in Williamsburg with his wife and young daughter.

Extremely patient and full of useful techniques to make the experience as easy as possible for children (maintaining parent-to-baby eye contact throughout the class, walking backwards in the pool so your child always feels like they’re moving forward, saying your child’s name to maintain focus while you ‘condition’ them to become more comfortable with water flowing over their head, offering toys to distract and swim to… the list goes on and on), the class provides a tranquil, supportive place for children to develop swimming skills.

Fleeting recollections of swimming lessons I endured years and years ago at a Southern Connecticut YMCA conjure up unpleasant images of aggressive swim coaches dunking my head underwater–the exact kind of trauma Danilo seeks to avoid. In fact, poor Van (who had been having a hard time teething all week) just wasn’t in the mood for the final submersion exercises, something that would have only irked the swimming instructors of my youth and driven them to more aggressive tactics–but Danilo was totally cool, instantly recognizing that my poor baby was stressed enough and that the last thing he needed was to go under water. Maybe next week.

If you live in the area and are thinking about teaching your child to swim one day please take my advice and consider enrolling in this class. In fact, Aqua Beba offers pre-natal classes for pregnant ladies to just float around in so you don’t even have to have a baby (yet) to sign up.

One of the most compelling reasons to do so is safety: the sooner your child is comfortable in the water, the better; but another good reason to start your child early is that very young babies still have breath-holding reflexes from their days in the womb and Danilo can leverage this innate ability in such a way that children have a much, much easier time learning how hold their breath under water.

And besides, it’s hard to imagine a more enjoyable Sunday morning than one spent in a heated pool with your splashy baby.

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Posted on June 22, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »GoGo Babies

at Caribou Baby, 272 Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint

As you can see Van gets very excited on days we go to Go Go Babies, a weekly class at Caribou Baby taught by Ellynne Skove that encourages babies as they meet developmental milestones. I love it because it’s a great break up to the week and a much needed one for a stay and work at home mom like myself. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and it’s adorable to see lots of babies. Van is far more interested in their pretty moms though, the flirt.

You can pay class by class or enroll in the series which runs through May. Either can be done on the Caribou Baby website. I encourage parents and caregivers to come! It’s a great time to bond with your baby while also getting out of the house and meeting other neighborhood parents.

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Posted on March 23, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Caribou Baby

272 Driggs Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

When we first took Van home, neighbors Adriane and Greg were awesome. They brought up home cooked lasagna, took our trash out, and offered helpful encouragement on our new adventure. As Van’s gotten older, Adriane has become my first and best source for all things baby.

She took a master course in baby wearing and can weigh the pros and cons of all carriers (saving my back from Baby Bjorn pains) and is up on the most organic and baby safe products on the market. Who better then to open a baby store in our neighborhood than she?

I am so excited for her new Greenpoint boutique and activity spot, Caribou Baby. The space is beautiful and evokes the feel of a lived in ski lodge – featuring vintage plaid wallpaper, rustic wooden floors, antler chandeliers (that Van took a shine to) and the best looking bathroom changing table you coudl find.

From a vast option of carriers, adorable toys (including those oh so cute rabbits pictured), bottles, vintage clothes, and health and beauty products, anything you could need for mom, dad, and baby is found inside. One of my favorites that I couldn’t leave the opening without purchasing? Baby friendly nail polish – which will put my worries of chemicals to rest.

Aside from the store, there are two activity spaces that will hold classes and events. Some that are upcoming are Birth Education, Infant CPR, and Breastfeeding. The clubhouse back room was home to a dance party opening night where some good tunes were spinning, including some sweet disco era Cookie Monster.

Whether you’re a parent or a friend of a parent to be, this is an amazing resource that’s come to Greenpoint. Congrats Adriane and Greg!

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Posted on March 6, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Brklyn Birth Classes


I couldn’t recommend the Bklyn Birth preparation classes more. Our instructor, Sabrina was understanding, open, communicative and extremely helpful. Run and taught by local midwives, it’s a no agenda, open forum that is laid back but full of pertinent information. We opted for a weekend intensive that was an easier schedule for us, but shorter, month long classes are also given.

Most of the other ladies were opting for a natural childbirth and videos (that admittedly resembled home made exorcisms) prepped us for the amazing experience. Breathing and comfort techniques were taught and practiced and perhaps most comforting was learning how to navigate the often sterile and confusing hospital landscape.

The classes take place in Park Slope and are comparable to others price wise.

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Posted on August 15, 2010

Drinks »The Elements of Sake Part 1

elements of sake astor centerwith Timothy Sullivan, at Astor Center (399 Lafayette)

The one class/tasting I’ve had my eye out for for a while has been a sake class. While I love the stuff, I’ve found that aside from adoring Wakatake, I know next the nothing about it. Well, I couldn’t find a more charming teacher than the effortlessly dapper sake samurai Timothy Sullivan: a blogger (urbansake.com), educator and the all-around Tim Gunn of sake (his advice on soju in midtown karaoke parlors: Don’t do it!).

His class is called The Elements of Sake Part One (part two pairs the beverage with food) and the next one is scheduled for January 13th. It’s an informative two hour introduction to premium (and super premium) sakes and Tim makes understanding the different classifications easy. I can now, with authority, tell you the difference between junmai and junmai daiginjo (it’s all got to do with the mill of the rice).

All of the sakes we tasted were top notch and, along with the great education we received, we got pleasantly tipsy and we got to use an America’s Funniest Videos-type controller to vote on our favorites. There were three (out of the 7 we tasted) that I loved the most: Dassai 50 Junmai Ginjo Nigori (actually my top pick, a cloudy, coarsely filtered sake), Kurosawa Junmai Daiginjo (a close second, really a tie – similar in smoothness and elegance to Wakatake), and the Ohyama Tokubetsu Junmai (crisp, cucumbery and easy to drink) with an honorable mention to the complex (I wrote down my impression as “like being in an earthen basement”) and rare Nama (unpasteurized sake), Narutotai Junmai Ginjo Nama Genshu.

The setting for the class is a sparkling arena with courteous staff and an easy going crowd of students. Go!

Click here for the rest of The Elements of Sake Part 1

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Posted on November 15, 2009

Spend a Couple Hours »Knitting

Knitting at Knit New York My attempt at knitting last year resulted in a scarf too short and too fat to be of much use to anyone. That doesn't mean I didn't have a wonderful time knitting it, and Knit NY is part of the reason why. Part cafe, part store, you can sit with friends and knit while sipping Chai lattes.


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Posted on January 30, 2006