Be Well Family: What to Do With Kids On Rainy Days at the Jersey Shore

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Into every Shore vacation, it seems, a little crappy weather must fall. Pre-kids, it’s no big deal: You just break out the wine and the puzzles and have yourself a delightful inside day. Post-kids, it’s pretty much the opposite of that — you get a couple good hours of screen time if you’re lucky, and then it’s basically Lord of the Flies. Unless, that is, you have some tricks up your sleeve. Here, a snapshot of our favorite (screen-free) go-tos for stormy days at the beach.

What: The Atlantic City Aquarium, in … yes .. Atlantic City, nestled in cute little Gardner’s Basin, which also boasts great boat-watching and a smattering of restaurants.
Why: This teeny aquarium is good for a couple hours of entertainment, even if you do have to trek to A.C. to get it. The place features a feeding show every couple of hours, wherein a staff diver jumps into the giant tank to feed the sea turtles and fish, while the kids gather around the window to watch. (More exciting than it sounds.)  There’s also plenty of opportunities to pet baby sharks, horseshoe crabs and stingrays, plus a couple floors’ worth of fish, snakes, lizards, frogs and various sea creatures to take in. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s a nice change of pace, it’s climate-controlled, and it’s shockingly affordable. (Just $6 for kids; $10 for adults; free for kids under 3!) Read more »

Be Well Family: The Ultimate Guide to Spraygrounds in Philly

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It’s that time of year, y’all: Long, hot summer days, and kids who are dying to be outside for every single moment of them. It’s why Wee Wander’s annual list of spraygrounds is so popular and why we’ve updated it for 2017.

But first: The official, city-listed hours for most city-run spraygrounds are generally 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends, “with varying schedules” — with definite emphasis on the “varying schedules” part. Hours of operation have been known to be sporadic and do vary. So here, where we could, we’ve provided the latest known hours, though some sprinklers are run simply by community volunteers and don’t necessarily have set schedules. (In short? A quick call to the park or park rec center before you go might keep things from getting tantrum-y.) Also, it’s very helpful to follow your local park or parks on Facebook: Information tends to be updated pretty regularly there.

Anyway. Without further ado …

If you’re near: Art Museum
Check out:
Sister Cities, 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The water: There’s a reason people are obsessed with this place: In addition to the active, cooling water jets that are embedded in the bluestone plaza, there’s also magical, shaded little wading/boat pond, and water trail where kids can splash and play, as well as float boats and other toys that you borrow from the park or bring from home. Also: The Logan Square Cafe on-site sells ice cream, snacks, pizza, salads, sandwiches and more … plus, there’s a Rita’s stand some days on the plaza.
The hours: The pond is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; the jets generally tend to run at the same hours. All is weather-permitting.

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Be Well Family: My Tried-and-True Game Plan for Traveling with Young Kids

mother and two kids walking in the airport, family travel

My husband and I have been flying with our kids since they were infants. Nothing too crazy, mostly lots (and lots) of trips to Florida, and a couple of flights out west. Now, flying with infants is basically all about a strong drink and then counting down until the wheels hit the ground. But flying with the bigger kids — aged two and up — can actually be dare, I say, pleasant. At least that’s what I discovered once I honed my flight game plan. First the rules I live by, then the plan.

Rule #1. It’s all about time management. I am very calculated in the order in which I do things, and I divide up the flight the way I would schedule a morning at home: breakfast, some play, an errand, snack, TV time, lunch and nap. That sort of thing. But more on that later.

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Be Well Family: 25 Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas for 2017

All images via respective retailers

PSA: Father’s Day is June 18. Do you know what you’re getting the dads in your life? We’ve polled some actual dads about what they really want this year, as well as the best things they’ve ever gotten … and we used that intel to put together the 2017 guide to excellent gift ideas for every sort of dad there is. So: No flasks, money clips or shammy cloths this year, okay?

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Be Well Family: Fun Family Getaways Near Philadelphia

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Every year, about this time — that is, after the winter’s done but before the true beach weather hits — we tend to get a little antsy, a little restless. Ready for an escape, ready to hit the road. Enter, the quickie weekend getaway: Something driveable, something fun, something simple, something that’s just not Philly. And that’s exactly what we’ve got here — four weekend getaways perfect for families who want to get the heck outta dodge (without a ton of effort or a plane ride).

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Dear People Everywhere: Please Stop Inspiring Me with Your Stupid Quotes

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.” — Gandhi

This is the quote that was staring me in the face as I attempted to deadlift 90 pounds. It graces the wall of my gym, but was actually put there by a juice company that operates inside. A juice company. My trainer pushed me through my last exhausting set, at the end of an already grueling workout, after I had rushed to get my kids to school and was anticipating rushing out after so I could get to work just a little late instead of very late. My point: People, there could not have been a more apropos time for some “you go, girl!” 
inspo.

And yet all this quote did was make me want to heave that barbell right through the juice company’s frosted glass window.

I didn’t immediately understand why this made me red-face-emoji mad, but it definitely had to do with the fact that by the time I read that quote, despite that it was only nine in the morning, I had already been bombarded with plenty of “inspiration” that day. There were memes on my Instagram and Facebook feeds; a “dance like nobody’s watching” in an email signature; and there was something about how “moms rule” on a coffee mug. Read more »

Be Well Family: The 20 Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2017

All images via respective retailers

All images via respective retailers

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (May 14!), it’s high time to start brainstorming some non-lame gift ideas for the moms in your life. (Or, moms: It’s time to start dropping hints — or just flat-out creating Amazon wishlists — for the gift-givers in yours.) Let us help. We polled real moms on the things they want for Mother’s Day, and culled that list to offer up the year’s best gift ideas — from state-of-the-art technology to family portrait mini-sessions to an Hermes dream bag. No matter what type of mom you’ve got (or what type of mom you are), there’s something here to delight. (Which means there’s no excuse for showing up with another vase.) Read more »

Be Well Family: 9 Easy Ways to Find a Babysitter in Philly

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iStock

Babysitters — the good ones, at least — are lifesavers. But finding them — the good ones, at least — can be an arduous process. Here, some creative and productive ways to find quality help in and around Philly.

The Listservs
There are bunch of local listservs targeted at moms, ranging from ones that are citywide (the uber popular PennsyMoms) to ones more neighborhood-focused (Queen Village Kids, The Kids South of Washington, Fairmount Parents). Post what you are looking for and a caretaker or fellow parent might hook you up. I’ve found great sitters and even an awesome nanny this way. Find the listservs on Google or Yahoo Groups. Note: For some, you’ll need to put in a request and be “accepted”, which might take some time.

Facebook Groups
Similar to listservs, there are some hyperlocal closed Facebook groups you can turn to, like Queen Village/Bella Vista Kids and New Moms of Center City. Do a search for ones in your neighborhood. Read more »

Be Well Family: The Best Advice for Philly Parents

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

From the moment one conceives until … well, forever, a parent gets advice. Incessant, unsolicited advice. Some of it is insane, some of it is infuriating, and some of it — a tiny percentage — is actually worth listening to. That tiny percentage? The good stuff? That’s what we have here … a round-up of the best, most helpful, most spot-on advice we got as new moms in Philly … and now give to new moms in Philly. Advice like:

Take the undies.
Every hospital gives new mom a small pile of stretchy, white (deeply unattractive) underwear to wear post-birth. Our advice? Ask for a big pile, and then ask for extras on top of that. Whether it’s a C-birth or V-birth, you will appreciate how soft and gentle and, well, disposable they are at a moment when the last thing you want to be thinking about (or being irritated by) is your undies. You’ll wear ’em for weeks. Read more »

Be Well Family: 10 Philly Places Every New Mom Should Know About

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iStock

As more parents populate greater Center City, more places dedicated to serving parents have popped up — and thank goodness for that. Because sometimes all you need in life is a nursing group. Or a carrier tutorial. Or potty-training help. Or some mom friends. Or a just really cute onesie. You can find all (or most) of those things (and more!!) at each of the places listed here — places devoted to helping moms in all sorts of ways.

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