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Jersey City Public Library Preschool Story Hour Begins Today!

storytimeIt’s that time of year again! After many cold and boring winter months, The Jersey City Free Public Library has resumed its spring Preschool Story Hour. The spring schedule begins today March 4, 2013 and will run until May 24, 2013. All of the branches in JC are participating on various mornings. Here’s a list of all the locations, dates and times. Click here to see the full schedule. Children eight years and under must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The library will be closed on March 29, 2013.

March 1st was NEA’s Read Across America Day and March 2nd was Dr. Seuss’s birthday. What better way to celebrate than to take your little ones to the library and read with them!

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Jersey City Family Activities & Events

Here are some of the family-friendly events and activities you can enjoy this week in the Jersey City and Hoboken area!

Events

Hoboken Concerts in the Park 

Check out an evening performance from Hoboken public schools’ music students tonight featuring The Hoboken Rockin Redwing Band, Wallace School Chorus and much more. FREE. Thursday, June 7 at 7pm at the Amphitheater at Sinatra Park (Frank Sinatra Drive b/t 4th and 5th) in Hoboken.

ARTfest at Creative Grove

Celebrate art and artists at Creative Grove Artist and Designer Market this Friday. Featuring Maya Azucena, Nadine LaFond and more! Friday, June 8 from 3pm – 9pm at the Grove Street PATH Plaza in downtown Jersey City.

 

 

The 27th Annual Hamilton Park Festival

This yearly festival, hosted by the neighborhood association, is chock-full of family fun! Some of the recreational activities lined up include a tennis clinic for adults and children, a basketball clinic for kids, a boot camp and more! Food vendors include Cocoa Bakery, Lizzmonade and a beer garden courtesy of Hamilton Inn. Enjoy live music, activities for kids and adults and local JC vendors. FREE. Saturday, June 9 from 10am – 6pm (rain date June 10) at Hamilton Park.

JC Children’s Theatre: The Fabulous Fables of AESOP! 

JC Children’s Theatre begins a new show for the whole family. The Fabulous Fables of AESOP! Begins this Saturday at 2pm, although the 4:30pm performance is sold out, it will run through Sunday, June 17. Stories include The Lion and the Mouse, The Ant and the Grasshopper and more! This show is suitable for kids three years and older and the performance lasts for about 40 minutes (with a 15 minute workshop afterwards). Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Saturday, June 9 through Sunday, June 17 at Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne Street, Jersey City.

Hoboken Family Fun Nights 

These FREE outdoor performances offer fun for the whole family every Tuesday night! This week check out Rockin Railroad. Plus, there will be arts and crafts tables from 6pm – 6:45pm. Tuesday, June 12 at 7pm at Shipyard Park.

Movies Under the Stars

Movies Under the Stars kicks off for the season on Wednesday. Movies begin at 9pm in June and July and around 8:15pm in August. Bring blankets, beach chairs and whatever you need to get comfy in the park. You can bring food, but alcohol is not permitted. This week they are showing Money Ball starting Brad Pitt, rated PG-13. FREE. Wednesday, June 13 at 9pm at Pier A Park, Hoboken.

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Torico’s is back! (and they’ve got free ice cream today)

Yes, the day has finally arrived. Torico’s Premium Homemade Ice Cream Parlor opened its doors promptly at 11am to very eager Jersey City residents. I was one of them and for the record — the ice cream is just as good as I remembered. There wasn’t a line at noon, but I’m sure by tonight there will be. I thought it was more of a soft-opening, but they were stocked in just about everything. The only thing they didn’t have yet was soft-serve because of a machine problem. The cases were chock-full of old favorites like mint chocolate chip, vanilla peanut butter and strawberry. There is a new case with what looks like gelato, but I was told that it’s the same ice cream they always make, just with a different machine. Even their to-go case was full of fresh cakes, ice cream sandwiches and more. The store looks great after it’s 18 month renovation and there are little tables to enjoy your ice cream inside and out.

Torico’s is giving out free adult small-sized cups and small cones all day — so get over there and show them some love! They are open until 11pm tonight. 20 Erie Street, Jersey City. (201) 432-9458


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Jersey City Family Activities & Events

Here are some of the family-friendly events, activities and deals you can enjoy this week in the Jersey City and Hoboken area!

Events

Groove on Grove 

Normally Groove on Grove is on Wednesdays, but this week you can catch it tomorrow for JC Fridays at the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Listen to music from Ghetto Folk and Devi. Don’t forget the beer and liquor provided by Barcade, Saigon Café and Hard Grove Cafe. Friday, June 1 from 5pm – 11pm rain or shine. At the Grove Street PATH Plaza.

Torico’s Reopens! 

As we reported last week, Torico’s Ice Cream Parlor reopens tomorrow! Get delicious homemade ice cream for the first time in a year and a half. Friday, June 1 from 11am – 11pm at 20 Erie Street, Jersey City.

A Sound Start Demo Classes 

This Friday catch some FREE demo classes from A Sound Start. Classes include Kindermusik and Itsy Bitsy Yoga. Click here for class times. Also, the normal Saturday drop-in music class is free at 11am. No reservations required for any of the classes. Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 at A Sound Start, 489 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City.

Bike JC Ward Tour 

This bike tour spans 15 miles and goes through all six wards of Jersey City. Click here for a map of the route. In person rider registration begins at 9:30am at Exchange Place and the tour begins at 11am.  The tour ends and the fun begins at 1pm – 5pm back at Exchange Place with live music, beer and “Not Yo Mama’s Craft Fair.” Sunday, June 3 beginning at 11am at Exchange Place, Jersey City. Rain date June 10.

Hoboken Family Fun Nights Begin 

The family fun begins on Tuesday and kicks off with Polka Dot Pals. These FREE outdoor performances offer fun for the whole family every Tuesday night! Tuesday, June 5 at 7pm at Shipyard Park, Hoboken.

Deals of the Day

NJ Children’s Museum 

This Groupon deal is offering a visit for two or four to the Children’s Museum in Paramus. Choose from two options: $10 for two tickets ($20 value) or $18 for four tickets ($40 value). Limited quantities available! Map.

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Torico’s Ice Cream Parlor Reopening on June 1st!!!

Yes, it’s true! A post on the Torico’s Facebook page (in response to a fan’s plea) confirms that the long-overdue reopening will be on June 1st! The ice cream parlor will be serving up homemade premium ice cream from 11am – 11pm, with a “grand reopening” date to follow. The infamous ice cream parlor shut its doors more than 18 months ago to renovate. Rumors began swirling last summer about when the parlor would open its doors again to the public. Like most residents of downtown Jersey City, I have been stalking the ice cream parlor on a more regular basis, now that the weather has warmed up again. I can’t tell you how much I’m craving some of that homemade vanilla peanut butter ice cream! There has been talk that the establishment was given a hassle by the city, which delayed its reopening. In any case, we are all going to finally be able to get some decent ice cream around here again!

Torico’s Premium Homemade Ice Cream Parlor is located at 20 Erie Street, Jersey City.  (201) 432-9458

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Jersey City Family Activities & Events

Here are some of the family-friendly events, activities and deals you can enjoy this week in the Jersey City and Hoboken area!

Events & Activities

Groove On Grove 

Every Wednesday, catch live music at the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Tonight is “Shes & Hims Showcase” and the lineup includes Vanessa Perea, Brendan Kibbee and more! Don’t forget the beer and liquor provided by Barcade and Saigon Café. Pick up some good street eats at The Taco Truck, who is stationed here every Wednesday evening! Wednesday, May 16 from 6pm – 9pm rain or shine. At the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Map.

JC Farmer’s Markets 

The Historic Downtown Farmer’s Market returned for another bountiful summer on Monday. You can check it out Mondays and Thursdays at the Grove Street PATH Plaza from 4pm – 8pm. The Hamilton Park Farmer’s Market returns today and this year it’s better than ever! Now boasting 15 vendors, this market has something for everyone this year. Vendors include, our personal favorite, Cocoa Bakery, Lizzmonade, Stony Hill Gardens, Pizza Vita Mobile Pizza Truck (which was amazing and wildly popular!) and more. Bring your reusable totes every Wednesday from 3pm – 7pm around the Hamilton Park Gazebo.

Pilates in the Park Fundraiser

In its fifth year, Renaissance Pilates is hosting this fundraiser to benefit cystic fibrosis. The nephew of Danielle Buccellato, founder of Renaissance Pilates, Stanley Zolek is the spokesman of the event. Come for a free 55-minute Pilates class on the Hudson River and donate money to the cause. A raffle will be held, along with a champagne toast at City Bistro’s rooftop. Saturday, May 19 starting at 9am in Maxwell Place Park, Hoboken. Map.

Hoboken Citywide Yard Sale & Flea Market

This citywide event will take place at 25 different locations across Hoboken. Find everything you can imagine! Beginning Friday, May 18, click here for a listing of locations. Saturday, May 19 from 10am – 3pm, Hoboken.

Deals of the Day

Bowling for One or Five People 

This new Amazon Local deal offers discount bowling at Nationwide Bowling Center, which has a Jersey City location called Hudson-Bayonne Lanes 1. Choose from two games for $7 (a $14 value) or $25 for two hours of bowling, with shoe rentals for up to five people (a $75 value). Garfield Avenue, Jersey City, NJ. Map.

One-Year Online Language Course 

I know this isn’t technically a local deal, since it’s an online company, but I think it’s a really good one! Livemocha.com and Google is offering one-year of an online language course for $39 (normally $99.95). As a mom, I’m always looking to learn something new, but don’t always have the time. This is a really convenient way to conquer that dilemma. Choose from more than 35 languages and log on anytime, from anywhere. There’s only three more days to grab this deal.

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Jersey City Family Activities & Cinco de Mayo Events

Here are some of the family-friendly events, activities and deals you can enjoy this week in the Jersey City and Hoboken area!

Jersey City Street Closure Alert

The following streets in Jersey City will be closed Wednesday, May 2; Thursday, May 3; Friday, May 4 and Monday May 7 from 7am – 4pm. Expect traffic delays.

  • York Street from Van Vorst to Washington
  • Warren Street from Montgomery to York Street

Events

Groove On Grove 

Every Wednesday, catch live music at the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Tonight is “Dos De Mayo Fiesta” and the lineup includes Karikatura, The Machete Movement and more! Don’t forget the beer and liquor provided by Barcade, Saigon Café and Hard Grove Cafe. Wednesday, May 2 from 6pm – 9pm rain or shine. At the Grove Street PATH Plaza. Map.

 

Project 365 Jersey City Green Week

Project 365: Jersey City Green Week will give residents local events each day of the week that “highlight and promote green and sustainable living throughout the year.” On Thursday, May 3, “explore, dine & shop” at various local businesses in town. By printing your “green pass” here you can save at participating local businesses through Saturday, May 5. A few restaurants include Marco and Pepe, Skinner’s Loft, The Iron Monkey and more. On Friday, May 5 there will be a Green Crafts Fair at the Grove Street PATH plaza beginning at 2pm. The five-day event concludes on Saturday, May 5 at Van Vorst Park for Green Events & Games from 11am – 3pm, with activities including a bike tour with Bike JC, multiple clean-up activities, kayaking at Jersey City Reservoir 3 and much more. This event is happening now and lasts through Saturday, May 5. Click here for details.

 

Seventh Annual Cinco de Mayo Parade and Fiesta

Come and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a parade and block party in downtown Jersey City! The two-block parade will begin across from City Hall (179 Grove Street) in downtown Jersey City. The parade begins at 4pm and the party begins at 5pm and will last until midnight. Enjoy live entertainment, food and more! Friday, May 4 from 4pm – midnight. 179 Grove Street, Jersey City. Map.

 

4th Street Arts 3rd Annual Chili Cook-off and Cinco de Mayo Fiesta 

This local Jersey City annual event challenges local restaurants and resident chefs to make chili and compete for the title “Best Chili in Chilltown.” Admission is $5/person and VIP entry is $25/person with an advanced ticket purchase and access to the event an hour early starting at 12:30pm. Judge’s Choice will be announced at 4:30pm and People’s Choice at 5:30pm. There will be lots of chili, cold beer, live music and much more! Saturday, May 5 from 1:30pm – 6:30pm. Purchase tickets here and RSVP via their Facebook page here. This event is kid-friendly, but leave the furry friends at home. 4th Street between Newark and Merseles, Jersey City. Map.

 

Hoboken Arts & Music Festival 

Come and check out this huge event with more than 300 artists, crafters, restaurants and more! There will be three stages of live music featuring acts like The dB’s, Freedy Johnston and more. There will be children’s activities on 3rd Street including rides, games, balloons, live performances and face painting. Sunday, May 6 from 11am – 6pm rain or shine. The festival will take place on Washington Street between Observer Highway and 7th Street in Hoboken. Map.

Deals of the Day

Two Weeks of Sleep-Away Summer Camp

With this livingsocial deal, pay just $500 and get two weeks of sleep-away camp for your child ages seven – 16 from June 30 – July 15, July 17 – 31 or August 2 – 15. This deal is from Trail Blazer Camps and is in Montague, NJ. Only 12 days left on this deal! 210 Deckertown Turnpike, Montague, NJ. Map.

Classes and Play Time at My Gym 

This deal, brought to you by Plum District (formerly Doodle Deals), offers four classes, four free play visits and a lifetime membership at My Gym (up to $160 value). There are 15 locations available, including Hoboken. The deal expires in three days. My Gym locations.

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Jersey City Family Activities and Earth Day Events + GIVEAWAY

Here are some family-friendly activities you can enjoy for Earth Day and deals you can take advantage of this week in the Jersey City, Hoboken and NYC area. Plus, be the first to comment below and you will receive a FREE Double Rooftop Membership from Rooftop Films, which will allow you and one guest FREE TICKETS to every regularly priced Rooftop Films Summer Series show!

Van Vorst Farmer’s Market

The wait is over! The Van Vorst Farmer’s Market begins for the season on Saturday! Featuring Jersey Fresh fruits and veggies, plus baked goods, prepared foods, dried fruit and nuts and more – this market is a great Saturday morning destination. Saturdays, beginning April 21, 2012 from 8:30am – 3pm. Map.

Rooftop Films Free Earth Day Event and FREE TICKET GIVEAWAY 

In celebration of Earth Day, Rooftop and BBC America will present a free screening of the landmark natural history series “Planet Earth,” followed by the World Premiere of “The Making of Planet Earth.” The screening will be held outdoors on the pier at the solar-powered event space Solar One (23rd Street and East River). This event is family-friendly and the first 250 people get a free ticket to be used at any Rooftop Films show this summer! Saturday, April 21, 2012 starting at 7pm. Plus, the first to comment on this post will win free tickets to every regularly priced Rooftop Films Summer Series show! Map.

Hoboken Green Fair 

Come check out live music and organic food vendors at the Hoboken Green Fair. The Historical museum will even be giving historic bike tours and there will be a family/community bike ride beginning at 2pm. The fair takes place on April 21 from 11am to 5pm at Pier A Park on the Hoboken waterfront. Map.

Liberty State Park Earth Day Fair and Festivities 

A 5K family run and walk (for 12 and up) and Earth Day Fair will be held on April 21. Activities include an “Eco-Olympics”, tree seedling giveaways, food, “Kid’s Kingdom” with free rides, arts & crafts and live entertainment. It all begins Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 10am at Liberty State Park. Map.

Liberty Science Center’s “Science Near You” Web-Tool 

Learn about our environment this Earth Day with this new website, created by Liberty Science Center. “Science Near You” allows you to enter an address and find great opportunities to explore the world of science in NJ! Destinations include the Lakota Wolf Preserve, The Adventure Aquarium, Astronaut-in-training opportunities, enviro-education with the NJ Audubon Society and much more.

Deals of the Day

Dental Services for Kids

This Living Social deal is great if you want to get your kids to the dentist, but don’t have dental coverage. For $49 this deal will get you a dental a dental exam, X-rays, cleaning and a fluoride treatment for your child (regularly $299) at Dental Groups of New Jersey. You can also choose to pay $200 for a custom athletic mouth guard (regularly $400). Whatever you choose, this a bargain. There are five locations to choose from including Bayonne, Union City and North Bergen.

Re-Pac Bags 

Do Mother Earth a favor and grab some reusable bags from Re-Pac Bags. For $10, you will get $22 to spend on these eco-friendly bags. This deal ends in 6 days.

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Sip, Sip and Away

A smattering of sippy cups that work great for kids from 6 months to toddler age.

There are a dizzying number of options available when it comes to sippy cups. It’s hard to know which ones are better for what age. Here’s a list of my favorites for different ages.

Training Cups:

Training cups are great for babies around 6 months old, who are just learning to use a cup. Dylan was never really a “bottle baby.” So, I wasn’t quite sure what to use to start him out. I soon learned about training cups. They are built a bit differently, to assist in easing baby in the transition to a cup.

Dr. Brown’s Soft-Spout Training Cup

Anatomy: 6 ounce cup, removable handles that spin, valve disc, silicone valve, spout cap, lid.

This was the first training cup Dylan tried. It holds 6 ounces, is BPA-free and spill-proof. The unique soft-spout makes it easier for baby to figure out how to drink. He had some trouble getting enough liquid from it at first, but soon developed his own technique. The handles on this cup spin, which can be a challenge when baby is trying to find the spout. The parts on this cup are interchangeable, and can be used with other Dr. Brown’s sippy cups. This is a great training cup. $5.49

Dr. Brown’s Designed to Nourish Training Cup

Anatomy: 6 ounce cup, removable handles, valve disc, silicone valve, spout cap, lid.

This 6 ounce training cup is BPA-free and features a spill-proof top with a “sip-activated valve.” This cup is the updated version of the Soft-Spout Training Cup and is part of Dr. Brown’s new feeding system called Designed to Nourish. The handles on this cup do not spin, so Dylan could easily pick this cup up and manipulate it. The other major difference between these training cups is that this one features a hard-spout cap that goes over the soft-spout (more like a sippy cup for an older child). Again, the parts are interchangeable with other Dr. Brown’s sippy cups. I have to say, these updates make for an even better training cup – I highly recommend it. $5.49

8-9 months:

After Dylan was becoming a pro at using the training cups, I decided to graduate to something that would allow him to get more liquid. I recommend these cups for the 9 month age-range.

ThinkBaby Sippy Cup

Anatomy:  9 ounce cup, easy-grip removable handles, spout sleeve, extra-soft cross-cut silicone spout, travel cap.

ThinkBaby’s 9 ounce sippy cup is BPA-, PVC-, phthalate-, lead-, melamine- and nitrosamine-free. One of the unique features of this cup is the cross-cut spout. The spout is basically a nipple that is spill-proof. The shape and contour of the cup and handles make it easy for baby to pick up and use. My son was very adept at using this cup right away, and got a lot of liquid out of it very efficiently. He didn’t need a training period. I love this cup and found it very helpful when I first introduced cow’s milk. $8.49 [Follow ThinkBaby on Facebook to receive a discount for ThinkSport Sunscreen.]

12 – 18 months:

Around 11 months, I started to notice that Dylan needed a sippy cup that released more liquid at a time. I was also beginning to introduce cow’s milk and wanted him to get as much as possible. The following sippy cups work great for water, milk, juice or whatever your active toddler is drinking.

Kid Basix Safe Sippy 2

Anatomy: thermo plastic rubber sleeve, stainless steel body, removable handles, straw-shaped spout, straw and straw adapter, travel plug, dust cap.

The Safe Sippy 2 has an 11 ounce capacity and is BPA- and phthalate -free. The idea and design of this cup is innovative and eco-friendly. The clean, non-leaching steel body and rubber sleeve keeps drinks cold, and reminds me of the water bottles that my husband and I use. Dylan took to this cup right away. He loves the ease of the handles and shape of the drinking spout. I love that you can use the travel plug, if you want to throw it into a bag. I like the straw adapter. It’s great for when your toddler is riding in his stroller or toddling around. As they don’t need to tip the cup back to get the liquid out. I had my friend’s three year old daughter try this cup also and she loved it. The 11 ounce capacity is the perfect amount of liquid for toddlers and preschool age kids. We found that the cup was easier for preschool age kids to use without the handles attached. I did notice that when thrown, this cup will dent. I highly recommend this cup for toddlers one year of age and up. Safe Sippy 2: $13.37

18 months and beyond:

The First Years Take & Toss 10 oz Straw Cups 

Anatomy: 10 ounce cup, snap-on lid,straw.

Once they get the hang of the whole cup thing, you may want something that they can get more liquid out of quicker. The First Years Take & Toss cups are BPA-free, dishwasher-safe and perfect for moms and toddlers on-the-go. The straw cups are my 19 month olds favorite. He can get milk out of them very efficiently and they aren’t expensive, so if we accidentally leave one at the park (or one gets accidentally thrown in the garbage) – it’s no big deal! These cups are simple and recyclable. The cups do leak quite a bit, so invest in a couple of the travel tops. $2.99

Thermos Foogo Vacuum Insulated Leak-Proof Straw Bottle 

Anatomy: 10 ounce stainless steel cup, twist-on push-button lid, soft straw with straw stem.

Tired of throwing away sour milk? The answer to keeping milk fresh longer is the Thermos Foogo. The double-wall vacuum insulation keeps beverages colder for longer. The design is sweat-proof, so it won’t leave rings on your furniture. This cup works great for car trips and keeps milk fresh. The cup works best if you refrigerate it for about 10 minutes before you fill it. This cup does leak if turned upside-down, so remember to click the lid shut between sips! $14.88

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The Competitive World of Jersey City’s Most Sought-After Preschools

Garden Preschool Cooperative in downtown Jersey City.

When your child reaches a certain age, as many parents know, there are applications, deadlines, waiting lists and more to contend with. You might think I’m talking about high school or college, but I’m talking about preschool. Check out the Mama’s new story here.

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