10 Family Activities for a Sweet Summer

For most of us, summer provides a less restrictive schedule with a little more time to spare. There are no school bells to beat, carpools to shuffle, homework to deal with or early bedtimes to make. Take advantage of some of the extra time and freedom, even if it’s just having a longer evening thanks to Daylight Savings Time, by enjoying these top 10 summer activities to do with your family. You’ll be glad you did!


  1. Attend a baseball game.
    Whether it’s a MLB or a little league game, nothing says summer quite like rooting for the home team at a ballgame. Grab a few hot dogs for the kids and find a spot on the bleachers… even if your little ones are too young to last more than a few innings.
  2. Splash with friends at a pool party.
    If you don’t have a friend’s pool to crash, find a local public pool or private swim club and arrange to have a few friends and their kids gather for a fun afternoon in the water.
  3. Throw a BBQ.
    You don’t need a backyard to host an outdoor summer BBQ. A park with accessible grills or a spot for you to bring your own will work just as well. Check out our Pinterest board, Party Food for fun outdoor dishes to share.
  4. See the stars.
    Loosen the reigns and let your kids stay up late enough to see the night sky. Pack a blanket, load up the car and find a spot dark enough to see for miles.
  5. Get away without the kids!
    No matter how much you cherish the extra hours with your kids during summer vacation, everyone needs a break from each other. Log onto UrbanSitter to find a sitter who will stay the night, or better yet the weekend. You don’t need to spend a fortune or go far to rejuvenate and recharge.
  6. Enjoy an outdoor concert.
    Even families with infants can manage and appreciate a concert in the park. Kids will love camping out on a blanket and listening to the music. Just be sure to bring snacks.
  7. Get wet!
    Come summer, you gotta hit the water. Find a local spot to rent a paddle boat, tube down a lazy river or get drenched at a water or kids splash park.
  8. Go camping.
    Our post last summer on camping hot spots was a reader favorite for good reason. Camping is perfect for families! Check out our post for super family-friendly sites, coast to coast. If packing up the car and hauling your kids to the woods seems like a daunting task, pitch a tent in the backyard for a slumber party under the stars.
  9. Get together with school friends.
    Back to school transitions will be easier if there are familiar faces to share the new routine. Take the time now to schedule play dates with school friends and host an afternoon at your place for your child to meet new friends who will be together in the fall.
  10. Have a picnic. A picnic is the perfect way to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with your family, and knock out dinner, too. We have just the menu for you to do it right and with little effort.

Before the hectic routine of the school year starts again, take the time to enjoy the season with your family. Sharing these fun, memorable summertime activities helps to build happy memories that will stay with you and your kids a lifetime.

 What’s on your summer to-do list?

Mommy Beach Bags to Boost Your Summer Style

It’s time to ditch the diaper bag for a fun beach bag or fresh tote to get you and your kids to and from summertime excursions. Whether you’re headed to the beach or the pool, the playground or just around town, be prepared with summer necessities that will keep everyone safe, dry and well hydrated.

Check out our handy list of summer essentials to carry for babies, and load your supplies into a fun, easy-to-grab tote so you’re always ready for some summertime fun. It’s nice to leave a packed bag for the sitter, too. You’ll be able to rest assured that she’s well prepared while she and your kids are away from home. Our picks for the best summer totes and beach bags are family friendly and fashionable, too.


Simple Tote in Riad Weave ($58): Stylish details like tiny mirrors and a row of tassels add interest to this bag without looking too fussy. The cotton/acrylic tote with leather straps and interior pockets makes for a great everyday bag, especially for those who’d rather their bag not scream, “I’m loaded with kids stuff.”



Pacific Tote in Azalea ($148): Here’s a sporty tote that travels well. It’s made of heavy-gauge, ripstop nylon (the stuff of yacht sales) and is designed to withstand sun, salt, sand and spills. Five interior pockets and a magnetic closure keep contents in place.


Beach Small Zip Tote ($150): You can’t go wrong with a simple, classic carryall that’s just right, any day. This Tory Burch tote is as durable (made from cotton canvas) as it is stylish. $195 for a larger version that’s ideal for bigger broods or longer trips.

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.30.24 AM


Splendid Byron Bay Tote ($148):Here’s an awesome bag for the girl who doesn’t want to waste change switching between bags. Spunky, color-blocked canvas carries from work to the farmers market to the playground. A concealed magnet secures the top,  interior pockets hold your stuff, and it has both a short strap and a removable, longer shoulder strap for an easier commute.



Baggu Dipped Tote ($45): Love the durability of a canvas bag but hoping for something a little livelier, yet subtle enough that it won’t clash with your clothes? Baggu’s two-toned tote is just that. It’s basic, yet dipped in a bit of neutral color, including metallics, a golden yellow and a brick red. And it’s super kid-friendly, thanks to the adjustable strap that allows you to throw it over your should and free your hands. Did we mention that it’s also machine washable?

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 11.38.08 AM


Calypso St. Barth ($189): Here’s an oh so lovely, soft bag for carrying the kids’ beach towels or for your own solo trip to the poolside cabana or even to the farmer’s market. Natural colored raffia in a tight, squishy weave is accented with metallic leather wrapped handles for a hint of glam.

What do you think of these beauties for carrying your kids’ gear and yours with style, comfort and convenience? Tell us which bags you’re choosing for summer!

Beach Trip? What Every Parent Needs to Know

By the time your kids are grown, you’ll have it all figured out. You’ll know exactly what to pack and not to pack for a family vacation, know how much to plan ahead and what to just let spontaneously happen – and will have finally mastered deflecting vacation meltdowns. No need to wait that long. Here is helpful advice, weaned from mistakes we as parents have learned along the way. From our collective family experiences, we bring you helpful tips to make this summer’s family trip to the beach the easy going, hassle-free family time you dream for.


Bring a meal for the night you arrive.
If you’re staying in a house or condo or have a hotel room with a kitchenette, plan to bring dinner to feed your family the first night of your stay. After traveling, especially if you are traveling with small children, the last thing you’ll want to do is fret over what to make for dinner. It may sound nice to celebrate the first night of your vacation at a local restaurant, but it’s not the night to expect children to sit quietly in another confined space. Stay in and enjoy a meal you’ve already prepared and transported with you in a small cooler, such as lasagna or a cold pasta salad. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, call for take-out and enjoy a picnic on the beach.

Plan for some time alone and book childcare ahead of time.
Although you’re undoubtedly looking forward to cherishing your time together as a family, it’ll be really nice to also have time to yourself or with your spouse, friend or other adults joining you on your vacation. If your family trip includes a nanny, grandparents or other family willing to help out with childcare, you’re golden. If you don’t have family along to help, check to see if your hotel has a kid’s program or find a sitter. UrbanSitter makes it easy to find a trusted sitter, even when you’re away from home. Book in advance so you have a night out to look forward to as part of your much deserved vacation. Sitters are also great for freeing up time to enjoy a round of golf, game of tennis, a spa appointment or even just quiet time poolside.

Bring quiet time activities.
Everyone is excited to be outside building sandcastles, playing in the waves, hanging at the pool or taking a family bike ride. Trust us – everyone will need a break from the sun. Bring activities for older kids to do while younger siblings nap, or for the whole family to do indoors or under a beach umbrella. Board games, a puzzle, printable word searches or coloring pages, a deck of cards, art supplies and plenty of good books will come in handy.

Don’t skimp on packing the toiletry and medicine bag.
In your effort to pack lightly – it is, after all, the beach – don’t go without items that make everyday life easier or more comforting. For instance, it’s far easier to comb a toddler’s windblown, pool-drenched hair if you have a detangling spray and shampoo designed to remove chlorine. It’s also nice to have a cooling aloe lotion for sunburn relief, your eye gel that makes you at least feel human after sleepless nights with an infant, and any other little luxuries you’ve come to rely upon. You also don’t want to be without a smartly packed first aid kit for any bumps, bruises, splinters, stings or fevers.

Make a stop en route to pick up healthy snacks and perishables.
Take full advantage of any refrigerator you have at your disposal by stocking it with healthy snacks, such as cheese sticks, milk and juice, fruit, yogurt and veggie sticks. You’ll appreciate having good food readily available to feed hungry kids, and won’t get caught relying on the mini bar selection of snacks or pricey restaurant choices. It’s also helpful to have quick breakfasts on hand, such as mini boxes of cereal or instant oatmeal packets, granola bars, bananas, and yogurt.

What are your beach trip must-haves? Share them with us in the comments!

5 Books for Your Beach Bag

For those few brief moments you have a alone in a beach chair, poolside chaise or on your own sofa, there’s nothing quite as nice as losing yourself in a good book. Whether you’re a fan of romance, crime fiction, mystery or sci-fi, there’s a book here for you. Download or pick up a copy at your local bookstore so you are locked and loaded for a lovely summer escape.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
It caused quite a stir when last year’s debut novel by ex-military man Robert Galbraith was revealed to be the work of J. K. Rowling. It’s the story of a legendary supermodel, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, who famously fell to her death. Detective Cormoran Strike investigates the supposed suicide, diving into a world of multimillionaires, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers.



Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Hilariously funny, multi-narrative story about a private school mom with a Microsoft guru of a husband whose life in Seattle goes completely haywire. It’s a witty story about Bernadette’s disappearance that’ll have you laughing and shedding a few tears over the mutually adoring mother-daughter relationship any mother would covet.


Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews
A light, comic choice that’s a quick read and especially appealing if you like chick lit romance like The Bridget Jones series. It’ll give you a dose of romance and relief with fun, likable characters and an easy plot.



The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
A psychological thriller is the story of Nora, a 42-year-old suburban schoolteacher and her entanglement with the charismatic family of a new student. It’s an intense, thought provoking read and a good choice if you’re looking for something with more substance and power.



The Ocean At The End Of The Lane
 by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys, here’s one for sci-fi and fantasy fans. It’s an adult fairy tale that promises to be an absorbing, enchanting read that is quick, yet poignant.


Wondering how you’ll ever find a free minute to crack open one of these riveting reads? Why not bring a sitter along to help with the kids at the pool or beach? Head over to UrbanSitter to find the perfect babysitter or nanny for summer.

What other recommendations do you have for a summer read? Share with us in the comments!

5 Lifesavers for Family Travel

When traveling with kids by plane or by car, the contents of your carry-on or diaper bag can easily make or break your family trip. Keep everyone happy on your family vacation this Spring or Summer by making sure your everyday parenting essentials are packed and within easy reach, and add a few extras that will make the ride a little smoother for everyone. We guarantee that these 5 suggestions can be traveling lifesavers.


5 Lifesavers for Family Travel

1. Super cool art supplies and an easy way to use them

Throwing a few crayons into your bag to occupy the kids while dining out is likely second nature to you by now. When traveling, you’ll need to bring in the bigger guns! We love Eeboo Scratch Paper and your kids will, too. With the provided tool, they scratch off the paper’s black coating to reveal surprising colors and designs – continuous surprises every time they make a mark will keep them doodling far longer than they do with their usual art supplies. Ideal for kids age 5+. $11.95 for 20 sheets.

via Eeboo
via Eeboo

Even the coolest paper and pens are worthless without a stable, flat surface to write or draw. Include a Dry-Erase Clipboard in your bag – it serves as a lap desk that securely anchors papers and it stashes in a bag without taking up much room. The personalization makes it extra special, and the dry-erase surface gives you one more activity to add to your traveling arsenal.  $19.95 via frecklebox.

clipboards frecklebox
via frecklebox

2. A little something to keep the littlest one happy

Babies need more than just warm bottles and clean diapers to make them happy on a long flight or car ride. Don’t forget to include some soothing entertainment in your bag. Teething babies will dig the 100 percent Silicone beads on the Chewbeads Mulberry Teether. You can breathe easy knowing that the beads are free of BPA, phthalates, cadmium, lead or any metal. The colorful “bracelet” is so cute, you can easily get away with sliding one on your wrist to have at the ready. $16.50 via Amazon.

via Amazo
via Amazon

3. Germ prevention.

Think of all the places little hands will touch in a single day of traveling  – door handles, airplane trays, high chairs, restaurant tables, even your handbag that’s been perched next to your feet on a well-traveled commuter train or plane. Ugh! Do your best to keep germs at bay by squirting busy hands with all-natural hand sanitizers that kill the bugs without spreading equally nasty chemicals. $5.95 for a two-pack via Honest Co.

via Honest Co.
via Honest Co.

4. Mini backpacks loaded with loot.

The experts at Conde Traveler suggest giving each child their own backpack to carry. Before they leave home, load it with loot you can buy from the $1 isle, including toys and activities to keep kids busy on the plane or in the car. Your best bet are stickers, coloring books, mini notebooks, and trinkets. Make a deal with the kids before you leave home – the content is theirs as long as they carry the bag and don’t open it until you give them the green light. Skip Hop Zoo Pack Backpacks starting at $14.29 via Fat Brain Toys.

via Fat Brain Toys
via Fat Brain Toys

5. Emergency Kit

No matter how much you hover, someone is bound to end up with a scraped knee, itchy bug bite, or a fever… and hopefully nothing more serious. Be prepared by having a mini first aid kit stashed in your bag. The Red Cross has a handy list of what to include in a standard first aid kit for the family. When traveling with little kids, remember to include Baby Tylenol, Benadryl for an allergic reaction and plenty of bandaids. Turn to quick ship sources for a handy take-along emergency kit designed for easy travel. Medi Buddy First Aid Kit available for $6.99 via Amazon.

via Amazon

No matter how well you’ve prepared, your sanity might need a bit of lifesaving of its own, once you arrive at your destination. Remember that nothing beats a babysitter! UrbanSitter has you covered in major metropolitan areas nationwide. Book one for a night out or a few hours to yourself.

10 Unique Family Spring Break Trips

Many of us equate Spring Break with a trip to the beach (sans kids!), but there are so many fun, family-friendly vacation options that are far more spectacular, memorable and likely less crowded than the popular beach resorts. Give some thought to taking the family on one of these super cool trips. They are incredible ways to spend those precious days free from work and school.


10 Unique Family Spring Break Trips

  • Make like the pilgrims and sleep in a log cabin (with all the comforts of home) at Fort Lewis Plantation & Lodge in Virginia. The 200-year-old cattle farm in the Allegheny Mountains offers fishing, inner-tubing and horseback riding by day, and a large viewing platform for marveling at the night sky.
  • Does the thought of camping make you cringe? Not at El Capitan Canyon in Los Padres National Forest, near Santa Barbara, California. We’re talking luxury camping – queen-size beds in a roomy, wood-floored safari tent with a local store and plenty to do.
  • Visit Big Cat Rescue to get eye to eye with tigers, lions, leopards and other often endangered big cats at this 55-acre up-close sanctuary in Tampa on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
  • Why not visit Moab, Utah where even little kids can manage the short Copper Ridge Sauropod Tracksite trail where they can see real dinosaur footprints? The spectacular area is known for its connection to Arches and Canyonlands national parks, and popular for ballooning and biking.
  • Bundle up the crew for Spring skiing in Big Sky Montana where kids 10 and under ski free and the bungee jumping trampoline, zip lines, and tube park make it about so much more than skiing. Yes, technically it’s a resort, though the more than 150 runs and vast property under the enormous Montana sky make it feel like so much more.
  • Midwest bound? Wisconsin Dells is the water park capital of the world and a super budget-friendly destination. It has more than two dozen indoor water parks and hotel rates that stay well below $100 per night.
  • Break the mold and let loose with some zip-lining and dogsledding in Northern New Hampshire for an adventure-packed trip that’s ideal for older kids (10+). The family can zip-line through the tree canopy with Bretton Woods Canopy Tours and at Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel you can drive a 10-dog dogsled with your kids!
  • Blow them away by taking a three-day parent-kids trip to U.S. Space and Rocket Center Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Space Camp is for parents and children ages seven and up. Launch into a mission to space or aerial combat in authentic training simulators and experience what it is to be weightless. Your kids will look and feel like kid-versions of real astronauts.
  •  Avoid resort fees and stretch your travel budget by renting a house from a local property owner using a service like Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO). A house is often not only more cost effective, but much more convenient for families with young children. You’ll have room to spread out (no going to sleep when the baby does because you are all sharing a tiny hotel room!), and the property often comes with equipment, such as cribs, high chairs, bikes and even surf boards.

No matter where you decide to travel with your family for Spring Break, consider bringing a sitter along for some extra help. UrbanSitter has sitters in cities across the country, so you can book someone local and spend a night out without the kids.

Family Hot Spots: Enjoying the Great Outdoors in San Francisco

lynn_benandwill_beach_ggbridgeAs any San Francisco resident or frequent visitor can attest, Fall is the ideal time to be outdoors in the City. The afternoons are warm and the evening’s crisp.

If you’re lucky enough to live in SF or are visiting anytime soon, don’t miss an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with your family. Here are parent-recommended spots for soaking up some sunshine and fresh air in SF.

4 Family-Friendly San Francisco Destinations

Golden Gate Park

Sure, the enormous park is an obvious choice for playing outdoors, but there are so many great destinations within the park that you just may have missed. If you haven’t already, check out a few of these insider favorite spots:

  • The piazza area between the de Young Museum and the Cal Academy is just right for families. There’s plenty of grassy area for spreading out a picnic, playing catch or letting the kids run free. For parents, the abundance of benches and fountains are also a big plus.
  • The Windmill/Tulip Garden on the western side of the park is a worthy stop, especially if you are hoping to visit the Beach Chalet for dinner or a drink.  The sweet oasis is lovely, even if it’s not tulip season.

    Windmills via Golden Gate Park.org
    Windmills via Golden Gate Park.org
  • If you’re leaving the little ones home, consider a Segway tour for an outdoor date.  If kids are in-tow, consider renting tandem bikes from Bay City Bikes. Kids will love riding with you and early riders won’t slow you down.
  • The children’s playground, called Koret Children’s Quarter, offers a blend of old and new, including an authentic carousel (open weekends-only after Labor Day). There are plenty of climbing opportunities and slides for younger kids, too.
  • Park Chalet – You don’t need an excuse to visit this dining destination, but if you need to put something on the calendar, make it the next JAMBand Family Festival, September 22.

Mission Dolores Park

For those who aren’t familiar, this super-accessible park with plenty of wide open space (edged with palm trees) is located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District. It’s biggest advantage over other parks in the city? It’s the sunniest spot in SF! Expect a mixed crowd – kids aren’t the ones who like open space and sunshine! Do keep in mind that a major renovation is expected to begin this winter, though the playground will stay open throughout the work.

Mission Dolores Park via SF Parks and Recreation
Mission Dolores Park via SF Parks and Recreation

Claus Oldenburg Cupid’s Span on the Embarcadero

The can’t-miss-it bow and arrow sculpture marks the spot for the perfect family picnic. You are a mere 5-minute walk from the Ferry Building where you can pick up all the good eats you need for a delicious family spread before plopping down by the sculpture. While you’re at the Ferry Building loading up on refreshments, don’t forget to take a minute to gaze at the bay, watch the boats and take in the view. Oh, San Francisco….

Cupid's Span via Oldenburgvanbruggen.com
Cupid’s Span via Oldenburgvanbruggen.com

Off the Grid Picnic in the Presidio

Enjoy an Autumn afternoon at this giant family picnic, held weekly on Sundays from 11 am – 4 pm.  Picnics at the Presidio is located on the Main Post Lawn (Main Parade Ground) adjacent to the Walt Disney Family Museum and the Presidio Trust. Their Facebook page says it best, “You can’t say no to a picnic in 75-degree sun, complete with bay views, bloody Maries, hot food, fresh produce, and even bocce ball.”

Picnic at the Presidio 620x390

We hope these SF top spots will give you reason to spend a day outside with your family, sneak out for an afternoon with your kids or escape with your spouse while the kids are at home with a sitter! Fall is the time to do it!

Find and book babysitters at UrbanSitter.com.

Hit the Road: Spring Break Day Trips!

Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via Compfight cc

No plans for a family Spring Break vacation this year? No worries.

Check out these super ideas for easy day-trips to entertain you and the kids while school’s out for the week.We’ve included helpful insider tips to get the most of your time together.

San Francisco/Bay Area

It’s a lovely time of year to venture north – just an hour or so from SF – to the Guerneville/Russian River area. On a nice day, hit Sonoma Coast State Beach and if the river is more your speed, visit Johnson’s Beach on the Russian River, which is super family-friendly (i.e., no glass containers, alcohol or dogs allowed).When your kids tire of the beach, but still have energy to burn, head to Armstrong Redwoods State National Reserve to hike through the enormous redwoods. You can always opt to drive through the forest to take in the sights if your crew is too petered out for a hike.

Flavors Unlimited is the perfect stop for an  ice cream treat. It’s conveniently located just off the main road in Guerneville.
Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory
Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory

For more to do in the area, include a visit to Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory or the Charles Schultz Museum. Both are fun for kids and adults, too.

Costs: Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory – Adults $7, Kids Under 12 $5, Kids Under 3 – Free. Tours are limited to 15 people and reservations are required. Call  800.429.4549 to book a reservation.
Charles Schultz Museum – Adults $10, Youth 4-18 $5 and Museum Members and Kids Under 3 – Free.

Los Angeles

Photo Credit: TepeyacFarm via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: TepeyacFarm via Compfight cc

If you live in the LA area, the obvious choice for a kid-approved day trip might be Disneyland. But, chances are you’ve been there, done that and would rather find a more affordable day with your kids.

Have you been to the Santa Barbara Zoo? It’s just 90 miles north of Los Angeles, and is considered one of the most beautiful zoos in the world. Where else can you see more than 500 animals while overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Andree Clark Bird Refuge and Santa Ynez Mountains? Gorgeous!

If you go on a holiday weekend, get there early to avoid the lines, but don’t sweat the parking. There is usually plenty of parking near the zoo.  It’s right by the beach so it’s typically chilly – pack a sweater, and don’t forget sunscreen and water.  You might want to bring a picnic, too, as you’ll have no trouble finding a nice spot. Opt for a meal at one of the zoo’s cafe is you need a break from packing lunches. Not to miss  – feeding the giraffes and riding the train, which goes all around the zoo.

Cost: Adults $14, Kids 2-12 $10, Seniors (60+) and children under 2 – free.

San Diego

You can enjoy the journey as much as the destination by taking the train to Historic San Juan Capistrano. For many kids, a train ride is all they need to make the day memorable, but you can easily keep the fun coming after the train stops. The charming town has something for everyone:

  • Head to Zoomars, an eclectic petting zoo with a can’t miss new attraction – Miner’s Gulch. Visitors can relive the Gold Rush, panning for gold, gemstones and fossils. 

Photo from Zoomars

  • A must do for young and old – have lunch in an old train car! The food is fabulous and the experience of eating in a train car will keep the kids occupied long enough for you to enjoy it.

Costs: Zoomars – Adults $8, Children $7.


Spring Break is perfectly timed for a visit to Lamb’s Farm, which opens for the season in late March. The farm is located in Libertyville, Illinois, less than an hour drive from the city. Here you will find a petting area with sheep and goat, mini-golf, a mini-train ride, cow bounce house and an Old World carousel. It’s also loved for its country-style, reasonably restaurants, so no need to bring food.  Their Weekend Breakfast Buffet, Saturday Night BBQ Buffet and Friday Night Fish Fry are highly recommended.

It’s a farm, so dress accordingly!

Cost: $5 for Age 2-Adults with additional, minimal costs for the train ride, mini-golf, carousel and bounce house. All proceeds benefit the non-profit organization that runs the farm. The organization serves adults with developmental disabilities, giving them a home and responsibilities in the community through their work at Lamb’s Farm.

New York City

Just 1-½ hours from NYC you’ll find bucolic Hyde Park on the east bay of the Hudson River. It’s an ideal day trip, not only for its scenic attributes, but also for its options and activities to entertain and feed everyone in the family. There’s the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt for a taste of history, the Culinary Institute of America  for a beautiful campus stroll, tour and amazing meal; and Big Bear Ziplines, which opened earlier this year to give new meaning to leaf peeping.  (The rides are exhilarating, and suitable even for the young, as long as an adult accompanies them!)

If you’re visiting on a weekday, you can stock your picnic basket at the Apple Pie Bakery, before topping the day off with a cinematic throwback: the Hyde Park Drive-In (which has vintage cartoon commercials and a kitschy snack bar). A great day, for everyone, conveniently packaged into one locale!

Costs: FDR –  $14/adult (two-day pass) and kids 15 and under are free. Big Bear Ziplines –  prices vary. You can book reservations on the tour that’s right for your group by calling 888.ZIP.BBZI (947.2294). Check local flash deal sites for coupons and reduced rates.

Extended family or friends in town for Spring Break, leaving you with large crew of kids to entertain? Hire a babysitter to come along and help out on your day-trip!

President’s Day Weekend – Don’t Let It Pass You By!

Photo Credit: Mike Rohde via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Mike Rohde via Compfight cc

Presidents’ Day, the holiday designated to honor the birthdays of US presidents past and present, is Monday, February 18th.  The holiday was originally established to celebrate the birthday of our first president, George Washington, but later changed to honor all US presidents and to always fall on the third Monday of February, giving us a three-day weekend.

Don’t let your extra day off go to waste. Here are a few ideas to get you thinking of a plan for this upcoming three-day weekend:

  • Get out of town!

Grab the kids for a family get-away, or book a babysitter and slip away for a romantic weekend jaunt. Where to go? If you’re on the East Coast and looking to escape after the storm, check out Atlantis in the Bahamas. The place is phenomenal for families – water slides, aquarium, awesome kids clubs and endless food options – and their adults-only enclave, The Cove, is heaven for time away without the kids.  They have an amazing deal going on so you can go tropical without doing too much damage to your budget.

From the West Coast, why not go south and rent a place on the beach while you can still grab an off-season rental rate, or even better, recruit another family or two to go in on a rental at Northern California’s Sea Ranch on the Sonoma Coast. What better time of year to get away and reset your buttons?

Photo Credit: nhanusek via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: nhanusek via Compfight cc
  • Organized Art Supplies by iheartorganizing
    Organized Art Supplies by iheartorganizing

    Tackle a Home Project.

Grab this 3-day opportunity to improve your family’s day-to-day life with a little DIY. There are bound to be areas of your home that could you a little TLC to make them work better for the way you live.  We would love to throw some time and attention at these chronically chaotic areas of our homes:

–    Organized art supplies mean no more rummaging through drawers of broken crayons and dried out markers or making last minute trips to Target cuz you can’t find the glue needed for the big homework project. And think of the space you’ll free up if you can corral all their art supplies into this one handy carry-all. The blogger behind iHeartOrganizing shows you how to customize a bin to work for your family’s supplies.  Be prepared to be side-tracked and inspired by countless other organizing ideas on her site. Maybe a laundry room overhaul is in your future?

Organized Kid Closet by Creativity Exchange
Organized Kid Closet by Creativity Exchange

–    Drool-worthy kid’s closet

The Creativity Exchange gives an awesome tutorial on how to organize your kid’s closet, once and for all.

They even provide a free, printable worksheet to help you plan it out, identify trouble spots, build a shopping list and basically cover all bases so the closet ends up functioning and looking superb.

  • By Artists Helping Children
    By Artists Helping Children

    Make a cake and eat it, too.

Pay a bit of homage to our presidents by getting your kids in the kitchen and baking a birthday cake together. If your kids are young, this task alone could fill a day!  Use a boxed cake mix to keep it simple and let little ones decorate to their hearts’ content. Instead of party hats, make and wear Lincoln Top Hats or a George Washington powdered wig. These tutorials make for fun and easy crafts to do with kids.

If you aren’t one of the lucky ones who have a day off for President’s Day, UrbanSitter has many babysitters willing to watch the kids while you’re at work. And, there are plenty of sitters here who would love a weekend job – so go ahead and get away, if you can!

Welcome Philadelphia Babysitters and Parents!


Hello Philadelphia!

Now that you have joined the UrbanSitter family, we thought we’d help you get to know each other a little better. Parents, there are many great reasons to get a babysitter and plan a date night in Philly this month. Take a look at these fun ideas we’ve tracked down, just a few of the slew of events and activities the city has to offer this winter, so book a babysitter for your great escape!

Center City Restaurant Week

Now through February 1, 2013

Don’t miss it! Here’s your chance to enjoy a fabulous meal without breaking the bank. You can feast on a delicious, multiple-course meal for just $20-35. More than 100 of Center City’s finest restaurants are offering indulgent prix fixe menus with three-course dinners for only $35 per person, and more than 50 participating restaurants will also be offering a three-course lunch option for $20 per person. You’d be hard pressed to find a cuisine not represented. Participating restaurants include Alma de Cuba, The Dandelion, Garces Trading Company,  Barbuzzo, Lolita, Mercato, Table 31 and Amada.

Click here for a full list of participating restaurants and preview their menus for Center City Restaurant Week. You can visit centercityphila.org to make reservations online. Do it now, as tables fill extremely quickly!

With Art Philadelphia Hotel Package

Now through March 31, 2013

Why not take a staycation and get to know your town? No need to hop a plane for a weekend getaway. Philadelphia’s Visitor’s Bureau makes it easy on you by partnering with several top hotels and museums to offer the With Art Philadelphia Hotel Package. The package gives you one or two nights accommodation at one of several luxury hotels and access to many of the city’s great museums, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Rodin Museum, Perelman Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (Penn Museum) and the new Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Participating hotels include Sofitel Philadelphia, Hotel Monaco, Loews, Westin, and the Four Seasons Hotel, among others.

Photo from Cole Haan Facebook

Girls’ Day – Shopping at King of Prussia Mall

If you need an excuse to shop, how about taking advantage of your proximity to the East Coast’s largest mall for the ultimate girls’ day?  Nowhere else on the left coast can you shop more than 400 stores under one roof!  After-Christmas sales make it an ideal time of year to shop ’til you drop. While you’re there, you can check out the newly expanded H&M and get inspiration for your house at the new Arhaus store.

March Madness

Starts March 19th, Final Four is April 6 & 8

Why not make a plan to get out and watch a few NCAA games without kids to worry about. You may just have a hometown favorite to cheer on! The 2nd and 3rd round games are played at Temple University this year, and there are no shortage of haunts to watch the games. Pick a neighborhood favorite or try a new spot. Check out this helpful guide to Top Sports Bars in the city.

Philadelphia Flower Show

March 2-10, 2013

Did you know the Philadelphia Flower Show is the world’s longest-running and largest indoor flower show? It’s quite spectacular. This year’s show, dubbed “Brilliant!” is focused on Great Britain and inspired by centuries of British culture, including the urban design of modern-day London. The show is held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, but is truly a city-wide event with windows and lobbies all over the city decorated for the show. Local restaurants and bars also get in on the fun by competing for the best Flower Show-themed beverage.

Do you know of other great excuses for hiring a babysitter and getting out in Philadelphia this month? If so, we’d love to know, so please share!