Rock Climbing Down Under


Down under the crashing surf of cars, trucks, motorcycles and subway trains barreling across the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn's DUMBO is an oasis of zen calm. Here expert and novice climbers puzzle out the ever changing routes at Dumbo Boulders.

A day pass allows you to climb all day (including rental gear) for just $9. With a hand stamp - you can come and go —exploring the rest of Brooklyn Bridge Park. Parents opting out of climbing still have to spot their kids but don't have to pay for themselves.

You can sign up for classes from $25 to $125 (taught by The Cliffs) or sign up for a summer-long membership from Memorial Day through Labor Day including an intro class, shoe rentals, and two rainy day passes you can use at The Cliffs indoor facilities.

Jeepers, Creepers!


When summer in the Hudson Valley is nice and wet—mid-July brings Spring Peepers! But blink and you will miss them. These thumbnail-sized frogs answer to many names throughout the northeast - "tinkletoes", "pinkeltinks", "pink-winks" and are sometimes thought to herald from the moon. 

Here at home - and at my Grandfather's little yellow cottage on Rodeau Bay in Ontario, Canada where I first encountered one - we just call them "peepers". Peepers live in the loose leaves and bark of damp forests where they feast on ants, beetles, flies and spiders.  You'll hear the males' chorus in the spring near the marshes, ponds and swamps where females lay their eggs.  

When we found this little guy we whipped up a habitat for him using a mason jar and some cheese cloth. Adding a wet leaf to make him feel at home. After a half hour of study,  he craftily escaped and the boy sang a little song of encouragement as he hopped toward freedom (or the moon).

Sharpie tea set


This week my son and I transformed a set of plain white ceramic tea cups and saucers into a tea set fit for two adorable nieces. Inspired by a few days home from school with a cold - we wrote a story about two little mice who wander into a warm house and share tea with a sniffy little boy. Then we recreated the characters on a tea set.

Using oil-based sharpies in red, gold and silver, we directly and on the dishes. Then we put them on a baking tray in a cold oven, set the temperature to 350F and baked them for thirty minutes. We once made an entire set of dishes as a school auction project and our research tells us they will even be dishwasher safe!


Packing for Sleep Away Camp

When a friend invited the boy to five days of "sleep away camp" at her family cottage on a glacial lake, he was thrilled.  He loves his day camp but wasn't yet ready for a month of lord-of-the-flies sleep-away-in-the-woods-of-northern-Michigan camp. 

He and I looked over the list of essentials he would need: sleeping bag, socks, underwear, sunscreen, swim suit and towel. And started contemplating the things that might come in handy:

  • clown nose
  • mustache
  • arachnide playing cards
  • swedish flint
  • first aid (tick) kit
  • pocket knife
  • flashlight
  • oreos
  • toothbrush
  • tooth paste
  • retainer case
  • water proof field guide
  • black pencil
  • glow-in-the-dark star map
  • titanium spork

The Titanium spork was deemed most essential. 

We hot glued camping, space and food merit badges from JetBlackPress  onto an army duffle bag and the back of a fly fishing vest. Then we labeled the vest pockets with a sharpie for quick and easy access. Maybe we'll embroider the lettering for next year.

On the drive over, I quizzed him and he knew what was in every single pocket without looking!

At the foot of our friend's road the boy happily hopped out of the car to hike up the hill so he could pretend to have 'hiked in' with all his gear.

Can't wait to see his smiling face when we pick him up in five days!