Style Icons: Male »Maurice Sendak


Sad, sad news. Like so many, I grew up on Maurice Sendak. His illustrations weren’t just cute, they spoke to our fears and wildest imagination.

While Where the Wild Things Are is timeless and undoubtedly his most lasting and beloved book, I was personally most effected by the creepy Outside Over There, a haunting story of goblins kidnapping a little sister.

If you’re unfamiliar with it, I highly recommend you seek it out. It fueled whispering fantasies between my sister and I about what might lurk in the woods behind our house.

I guess that’s what I loved about Sendak’s work the most, like The Grimm brothers before him, his work wasn’t scared of children’s imagined sensitivities and frailties, it let us feel elated, frightened, hurt, thrilled, excited..

He was a true original and I will share his magical work with my kids who will no doubt share it with theirs.

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Posted on May 10, 2012

TV Shows »Spongebob Squarepants

On Nick

Well. This was a surprise. Jim and I are a bit smitten with Spongebob Squarepants.

We’re far more into it than Van actually.

I had no idea it was so strangely charming.

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Posted on May 5, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Educo My Creative Cookery Club

Perfect Toddler Kitchen

A couple months ago I started to notice that Van wasn’t as interested in his old toys. As he makes his way into toddlerhood, things that rattle just aren’t as cool as grown up gadgets. So, I started to look for some play grown up toys.

I found this adorable wooden kitchen from Educo that is as lovely to look at as it is enthraling for Van.

Great for small spaces and small kids, it’s not as elaborate as some I’ve seen but perfect for our needs.
Van hasn’t been as involved in playtime as is with this for a while.

It comes with toy utensils, dishes, and food and is relatively easy to assemble.

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Posted on April 25, 2012

Books »That’s How!

by Christophe Niemann (2011)

Van loves books but none make him as excited as That’s How!: A charming book about a boy’s imaginative explanation for the way things work.

It features delightful illustrations that will make anyone of any age smile.

Christophe Niemann is fantastic. I can’t wait to get more of his children’s books for Van, though his clever I Lego NY book, which has been a hit with the blog scene is perfect for adults.

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Posted on March 27, 2012

Books »Henri’s Walk to Paris

by Saul Bass and Leonore Klein (1962)

Ever wonder what Saul Bass would do with a children’s book? Well, wonder no more because he illustrated one called Henri’s Walk to Paris.
It’s predictably delightful with unique designs and charming colors.

It’s also quite fun to read to Van saying “Hon-reee’s walk to Par-eeee!”

Thanks to Brain Pickings for calling our attention to this tiny masterpiece.

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Posted on March 10, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Caribou Baby Turns One

272 Driggs Ave

It’s been one whole year since friends, neighbors and all around greats Adriane and Greg opened Caribou Baby!

In that time it’s become an invaluable resource for local moms.

We are big fans.

Stop by this weekend to say congrats!

We dropped by today to get Van bigger shoes (the kid’s got gigantic feet) and tried them out on the dance for at the WNNS Beach Ball party at Warsaw where Greg was spinning. (Hence photo of Van doing his signature squat dance).

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Posted on March 10, 2012

Songs »It’s A Big World

by Renee and Jeremy

I am not a fan, usually, of most children’s music. Having a child hasn’t made me any more accepting.

But, music geared towards kids doesn’t have to be grating – and really why should it? Van enjoys all sorts of songs, not just ones that are annoying.

Enter Renee and Jeremy and their lovely lullaby It’s a Big World.

The lyrics are simple and touching:

“It’s a big world, baby
And you’re little
For a Little While”

and the colorful animation, which we found on youtube (and totally mellows Van out) is charming.

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Posted on March 7, 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

Laughs »To Leonardo, With Love

Beautiful Pizza Poetry

If you’re trying to get your son into poetry and ee cummings isn’t doing it, try a classic Timothy Jefferson.

Perhaps To Leonardo, With Love – the most touching poem to use the phrase “villainous neck” and “Remember that time we ate pizza?” that I have had the honor of reading.

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Posted on January 9, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Greenpoint Toy Center

736 Manhattan Ave. Brooklyn

Forget those big box stores!

If you are in need of a last minute gift or stocking stuffer for a child, we have one of the best mom and pop toy shops around: The Greenpoint Toy Center.

The friendly spot is overflowing with fun stuff and makes me feel the wonder and excitement I used to as a little kid.

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Posted on December 24, 2011

Spend a Couple Minutes »Babylegs

Leg Warmers for Tots

Babylegs are one of those things that I didn’t even know existed a short time ago and now can’t live without.

I mean, who knew that babies need leg warmers?

Pants legs ride up, most especially if you’re using a carrier and sock slip down, exposing their tiny calves to the cold.

Clearly the makers of Babylegs understood and came across this problem themselves because their cozy warmers are the perfect solution.

A great gift for parents in chilly climates.

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Posted on December 10, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Little Rock-its By Frolic!

at the Music Hall of Williamsburg

When Frolic! Opens in the spring it should be pretty awesome: a little kid fun zone with play rooms and interesting classes.

To say hello to the neighborhood and celebrate the holidays, they hosted a rocking concert at the Williamsburg Music Hall last night.

There was a free Santa photo corner, music that was refreshingly not obnoxious for kids (the class will be called little rock-its), a fake snow storm, a friendly environment and beer for the parents!

After my first exclusion for having kids (boo hiss Gutter – a bowling ally, in the afternoon no less) it was great to be in such a welcoming place for little ones.

Van was head banging to I Love Rock and Roll and learning a few new moves from his pal Lauryn.

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Posted on December 5, 2011

Laughs »Baby Loves Yogurt

on Youtube

This is AMAZING.

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Posted on December 3, 2011

TV Shows »Shaun the Sheep

on Netflix Instant

I could blame Van for my new love of the show Shaun the Sheep, but the truth is, when I play an episode during lunch he doesn’t even watch it.

It’s me that finds it adorable and I wish more kids programming was as thoughtfully made and blissfully quiet.

That’s right, no obnoxious screeching voices here, just cute sheepy shenanigans and music.

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Posted on November 18, 2011

Spend a Couple Hours »Jim Henson’s Fantastic World (and More)

3601 35th Avenue, Astoria

The Museum of Moving Image underwent a major renovation recently and looks great. Their current semi permanent exhibit is a fun look at movie making. It explores costumes, sound design, acting, editing and more with crowd pleasing artifacts (like Chewbaca’s mask, a Freddy Krueger prop and a large Blade Runner model) as well as fun hands on features.

Kids we having a great time doing voice over work and making special effects while Van and I made our own little video which we could and did buy as a flip book in the gift shop (pictured below).

It’s a family friendly environment and all ages will love the current Jim Henson’s Fantastic World exhibit. Just good to note: no strollers or photos allowed so bring that carrier for little little ones.

Many actual puppets are on display from Kermit the Frog, to Miss piggy, Fraggles to Bert and Ernie but Van was simply tickled with the Mahna Mahna and backup singer puppets – laughing and pointing when we got near them. He also found an old Kermit video about jazz absolutely hilarious.

Some of my personal favorites were early drawings of big bird, some wicked Skeksis jewelry from the Dark Crystal, and a delightful early film he made that plays on a loop on the middle level called time piece. Also be sure to watch the La Choy dragon commercial within the commercial video loop. It’s awesome.

On our way out we couldn’t resist the unique gift of a black and white Elmo doll, a strange Japanese product that van has taken a liking to wrestling with, hugging and eating it’s eyeballs.

Really look forward to taking him to future exhibits at this great new space.

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Posted on September 12, 2011

Movies »Little Fugitive

directed by Morris Engel (1953)

Little Fugitive, to be honest, was forced on me by an old friend years ago, and I never fully thanked him. It’s a classic, simple film that effectively shows a day in the life of a little boy.

Forced into exile when he’s convinced by his older brother’s friends that he’s killed him (a plot point that’s not as grim as you might think), adorable Joey runs away to Coney Island until his brother finds him.

Despite being a non-actor, Richie Andrusco is fascinating to watch as he gathers bottle, eats watermelon, and makes friends. It’s just as fun to see the old fashions, signs and scenery of Coney Island circa 1953.

Available on netflix instant, this is a great find for lovers of old New York and anyone in the mood to feel like a child again.

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Posted on August 18, 2011

Books »Indestructibles Book Series

by Jonas Sickler and Kaaren Pixton

I am one happy mama. Taking after his parents, Van loves books!

He gets adorably excited pretending to read and just can’t seem to get enough of them.

Among our favorites are these “Indestructibles” paperbacks; named so because they can’t be ripped, and are meant to be grabbed, chewed and bent. And I can attest that their claims are true – Van has put these through the ringer and they are merely wrinkled.

Dear friend Grace sent us our first (and still Van’s most beloved) a quirky take on Hey Diddle Diddle. The retro but modern illustrations by Jonas Sickler are absolutely charming. We loved them so much we ordered nearly the whole series.

Kaaren Pixton is the other illustrator who leads artistic, fun paintings to the animal books.

A great gift for little ones.

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Posted on August 17, 2011