Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Around (Another) Town: New York City With A Toddler

I know it's been forever since I last posted, but I am indeed still around! I hope to be posting more regularly again. To get things back rolling I thought I'd show some cool things to do with toddlers in New York City. New York is not necessarily the most kid friendly place, but it does have some cool stuff to offer. So without further a due here are some of my recommendations.

1) Visit the BROOKLYN CHILDREN'S MUSEUM. Sometimes it can be hard to find museums appropriate for toddlers, but the Brooklyn Children's Museum does not disappoint in this category. It has something for kids of all ages. Toddlers can enjoy hands on water fun, light shows, and an extensive indoor jungle gym.

2) Visit the Smithsonian's  NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN. The American Indian museum is truly amazing, and best of all free! It gets extra points for having plenty for both kids and adults to enjoy. Baby Z had a blast playing in a life sized teepee, while I enjoyed learning so much rich American history. They also have a wonderful gift shop filled with excellent books, music, and lovely handcrafted toys and artifacts.

3) Visit GRANDMA'S PLACE toy store in Harlem. Do you like buying unique and engaging toys for kids? If so, grandma's place is for you. They have a large array of not so easily found toys that will knock your socks off. Plan accordingly, because you could spend a good chunk of time here looking at all their goodies.

4) Ride the subway. It may not seem intuitive, but riding the subway can be a lot of fun for a toddler. To my surprise it was Baby Z's favorite thing. And that's because she loved watching the street performers! Seeing talented dancers and musicians, made my little one's day. She got to laugh and boogey with strangers for close to free.

5) Go for a carousel ride. There are many places that offer carousel rides in NYC. Just use Google to find one. We enjoyed the ride at Bryant Park in Manhattan. In addition to a carousel they have beautiful flowers and places to eat outside for everyone to enjoy.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Around the House: What's in the Garden

Our yard is a work in progress. A couple of years ago it looked like this.
Over time we've turned the yard into a full garden adding flowers, plants, and shrubs to fill things out.   It has required a lot of time, work, and patience, but has been well worth the effort. We see it as our little way of brightening up our home and city. So without further ado, here's what's going on...

This year we added a few peony plants and orange lilies. The pop of orange really makes me happy and the scent of the peonies is wonderful. It's too bad our peonies were not in bloom very long :-( But I have a special project I'll share with you later that involves our spent blooms.

We have a huge sycamore tree in the front yard so most of our garden is covered in shade. This makes hostas a nice option. They are an attractive low maintenance ground cover. They spread vigorously and can easily be divided, so it's often easy to score a few for free. You can get them free from a neighbor, through plant exchanges, via Craigslist free section, and FREECYCLE. Several people were kind enough to give us free hostas. We have many in the yard that will fill out in years to come, and once they do we'll be able to return the favor and offer our extras to someone else.

We also added another shade plant, astilbe. We have them in two colors dark and light pink. Most of them are small now, but in a few years they'll spread out and cover more ground. They work well if you need to plant around a tree base.

Interspersed throughout the yard we have a few purple hydrangeas. They do well in part shade and are one of my favorite cut flowers. It's nice to pick plantings that you'll enjoy bringing inside, so you won't be tempted to purchase bouquets during the spring and summer.

There are several blue mistflowers planted. I like them because they add interest through height and have a pretty lavender flower that blooms later in the summer.

Tucked in a shady corner are some bleeding hearts. They are pretty small now. I'm looking forward to watching their growth.

You may have noticed we still have a few leaves on the ground. We opted to use them as natural mulch, instead of purchasing mulch. It saves us money, simplifies things, and uses what we've got. So far I'm happy with the decision.

There are a few more flowers, but to be honest I'm pooped and will have to blog about them some other time. So tell me what's going on in your garden?

"Life's a garden--dig it."~unknown

Monday, June 6, 2016

On the Market: 5811 Bellona Ave., Baltimore, MD 21212

A beautifully renovated victorian was just dramatically slashed in price the other day. It's a nice deal at $249,900. It would make a lovely family home, as it has lots of historic character and modern amenities like central A/C and two full baths. An added bonus is the large master bedroom that features a walk-in closet with laundry room attached. It's also located in a new elementary charter school district undergoing positive transformation, with a new school building in the works.  Have a look around the place.

Learn more about the listing HERE.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Weekend Reading & Free Alert

Berkeley bungalow house tour. HERE
Don't upgrade you life. HERE

Free yoga classes will be offered every Wednesday from 5:30-6:30pm June thru September at the Druid Hill Farmer's Market. Get more info HERE.

A free gardening class will be offered Sunday June 12 from 2-4pm at Reservoir Hill's Whitlock Community Farm.  Learn more HERE.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

What I Learned in April and May

Photo: Deer passing through water in Baltimore's Mt. Washington neighborhood

1) It's important to save for a rainy day. One day out of the blue the hubs learned the company he worked for was going out of business. One of the firms executives had been mismanaging company funds and poof just like that 100 people were out of a job. People with new babies, pregnant wives, new mortgages, and other financial commitments were left to fend for themselves, us included. It was a sad event as of course no one wants to lose their job, or watch their colleagues/friends go into a financial crisis. We were fortunate in that we have been vigilant in maintaining a healthy rainy day fund. Not everyone makes enough money to cover reasonable living expenses and save a significant portion of their income. Getting laid off provided an important reminder about the importance of saving when you have the ability to do so.

2) Our household wastes a lot of food. With the hubs getting laid off we are careful about every penny we spend, which means finding areas where we are currently wasting money. The biggest area for us thus far is overspending on food. This is largely due to food waste. Americans on average WASTE AROUND A THIRD of their food supply, and we are no different. I had no idea how much food we were throwing away every week. Once I started paying attention it was truly astounding, and we will be working hard to reduce our waste dramatically.

3) How to get rid of mold. We had a mishap with our shower that resulted in some flooding in our bathroom, which lead to a small problem with mold. Luckily a quick Google search was able to turn up was to get up the mold naturally and cheap. You can learn how using baking soda or vinegar HERE.

What did you learn this month? You can learn more about what others learned at CHATTING AT THE SKY.

"The beautiful thing about learning is no one can take it away from you." ~B.B. King

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Around the World: Senegal (Part2)

It's taken me forever to finally get around to uploading more pictures from our trip to Senegal but here they are. Senegal is a beautiful country with many interesting things to do, especially if you're an adventure seeker. I highlighted a few places to visit in an earlier POST. A couple of other destinations I'd add to that list are the BANDIA WILDLIFE RESERVE, which is absolutely amazing, and the downtown Dakar clothing market. Take a look at both below. The hubs was kind enough to make a short video of the clothing market for everyone :-)

"Life is short and the world is wide." ~unknown