Stone Barns, snow days and one super healthy (delish) cookie recipe.

We’re waiting on spring here in NYC, or getting confused by the weather gods. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next snowing.

Here are a few sweet pics from last weekend that pretty much sum up the crazy weather.

princess picking flowers stone barn

Friday, we headed to our weekend house, making a pit stop at a favorite of ours, Stone Barns. It was a warm beautiful day, and Aria (ever the princess) decided to pick a few flowers…

until we realized they weren’t wild…(oops!)

spring flowers for oma

…but not before gating a sweet bouquet for Oma.

Fast forward to the very next day, where we woke up to SNOW covering the cars and deck…

snow

…and an anxious 4 year old ready to get out and enjoy it.

snow day kids

Ah…the parental joys of kids and snow gear.

The romp in the snow was short lived, so we moved on to a warmer activity.   I found this Banana Bread Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe online (always up for a healthy treat), and Aria and I baked them up. I’d cut the cinnamon down to 1/2 the amount called for, but really they were pretty stellar (and healthy!)

chocolate chip healthy oats cookies yum

So, here’s to making the most of any weather, and hoping spring finally arrives… for good.

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City Escape: Kid Friendly In The Florida Keys

founders park islamorada

So, we’ve been back in snowy New York  for the about a week and the Florida bug must have been contagious because since returning I’ve had two different mom-friends ask about recommendations in The Keys. The Florida Keys are an easy escape as the start of them (Key Largo) is only about an hour and a half from the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. It’s an easy drive and great way to get a quick taste of island life. Aria’s Pop and Uncle Adam live there, so I’ve gotten quite familiar with them, especially the little treasures on Key Largo & Islamorada.

Where to stay:
The beauty of having family in any vacation spot is getting to crash with them and not worry about hotels. The Keys leave something to be desired when it comes to accommodations– a lot of roadside motels and no-frills spots that still end up being pretty pricy.

My first recommendation to friends to is check out Airbnb. Often you can find great apartments or private homes for rent (for a lot less than hotels). If you can get a waterfront spot, go for it– the beauty of the keys is really on (or in) the turquoise waters.  If you can’t score being seaside, don’t worry– most of the Keys are only a mile or so wide, so you’re never really far away.

One hotel I do love is Cheeca Lodge. It has gorgeous ocean front accommodations, beautiful spa, tennis and golf courses on site and a pool and private lagoon (which is perfect for the kids). They also have Camp Cheeca,” a day camp for kids 5-12 that explores the natural wonders of the Florida Keys.

What to do:
Now that Aria’s a toddler, I got to experience The Keys in a whole different way. This go-around, I was scoping out playgrounds and kid-friendly spots. And I found them.

Founders Park: This is a municipal park in Islamorada. It’s about $5 for non-residents to park and inside there is a huge pool area (separate fee) and a very pretty little beach with calm waters and two great playgrounds. It’s definitely worth a visit with a little one. Picture above!

Theatre of the Sea: I had passed this place hundreds of time and this trip the whole family made a visit for Miss Aria. It’s a bit of a mini tropical Sea World, but one geared towards preservation and education. They have dolphin and sea lion shows, a nature walk, a fun little bottomless boat tour (where dolphins and iguana’s make appearances), and a bunch of other fun things for kids.

Theatre of the sea

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park: Another spot w/little beaches, endless bike and walking trails, and access to Key Largo’s best asset– the water. They do snorkeling tours and scuba tours, but you can also just rent a snorkel, mask and some fins and go in off their beaches. They are in the midst of the mangroves, which are a signature of Key Largo and great explore by kayak (also available for rent on-site).

Where to Happy Hour & Eat
There are endless spots for food and drink, but here are a couple of my regulars when in Key Largo & Islamorada.

Breakfast: Made To Order— sit out on the back deck and enjoy water views and good food.

Lunch:  The Islander Resort: Go for the shrimp tacos and stay to use their pool and beach area.  The pool area is “resort guest only,” but locals can always be found there. The pool also has a wide gradual entrance (zero entry) on one side and mini-waterfall which is great for the little ones.

Dinner: Morado Bay— This bayside retreat offers two great options– The Beach Cafe for casual dining and Pierre’s for a more refined dining experience. Both come along with good food and amazing views.

Happy Hour: The Lor-e-lie (Islamorda)— Great sunsets, drink specials, live music, island vibe. Grab a table or one of the adirondeck chairs next to the water (and away from bar) and let the little one loose in the sand.

Want to know another amazing Florida island spot for families? Check out my all time favorite kid-friendly vacation spot HERE. 

The Islander resort nap

Downward Dog….everywhere

Toddler yoga national yoga month nyc

Yep, you’ll see us out there. Out on the grass on the Hudson River Park Pier, in downward dog or feet straight up attempting headstands. Aria usually somersaulting over and laughing like crazy or climbing all over me when I get into a plank pose (or another asana where she can gain access.) It’s my favorite time of the day…late afternoon sunset yoga (kinda)… just the two of us.

In honor of National Yoga Month, Aria has been doing yoga everywhere. Even retail. Check out the quick video below.  And if you’re interested in getting your own OM on, now is a great time. Learn about free yoga classes and events around the city HERE.

ps– Could someone please start a yoga studio with child care? Or better yet, maybe a studio where we could drop our little ones in a yoga play class while we do our own yoga in another studio? If some yoga studio out there wants to do it, I’ll even teach it (how bout it karma kids?). Much to my chagrin, I’ve yet to even find any NYC yoga studio with child care (boo). I’ve even debated joining Equinox again or the Y on 14th who both have a playroom/child care for kids (the Y is even free.) For now, Aria and I will continue to get our OM on all around town… and, of course, here.

Last Days Of Summer: Sand & Serenity

beach day jones west endA few short days left until the unofficial end of summer. Where does the time go? A last minute city escape to seize the day…alone, with only the surf, sand, and sun.

Baby free. A rarity. Traveling with one bag filled only with my needs and one agenda– to have none.  A long walk through the dunes to my private paradise. No one in sight, just a long stretch of sand, a big sky and deep blue sea.