I didn't grow up in Los Angeles; and although I have Latin American family, we are not of the Mexican or Guatemalan variety - meaning I arrived in SoCal knowing next to nothing about Day of the Dead. I've gradually pieced together the whole fascinating cultural and historical puzzle, discovering how many Halloween traditions we actually owe to the Native Americans who were in the city of angels before us, before the Spanish, before Christianity. El Día de los Muertos is a rare opportunity to understand several layers of angeleno culture, while celebrating something that looks a heck of a lot like Halloween.
While LA offers many Day of the Dead celebrations, the most authentic may be the novenarios, the nine nights of revelry leading up to November 2. Many Spanish-speaking countries have novenarios leading up to Christmas, but there is a similar build-up to the Day of the Dead, and here in LA it is most celebrated, not surprisingly, on Olvera Street. I've been curious to check out this traditional celebration for years, but between ghost trains and haunted houses our last week of October has always been booked solid. Not to mention that whole parking downtown thing. This year I finally decided to take the sugar skull by the horns and go see what it's all about. Curious?
You just shelled out the big bucks for summer camps and back-to-school shopping. The countdown to Christmas has already begun. Money, money, money. Save a few bucks by selecting an offbeat night to eat at a fun restaurant with the kiddos. You can still enjoy a night out and you don’t have to pay a babysitter… Win-Win. And if you happen to be hauling the munchkins a bit farther south, check out our Kids Eat Free in Central New Jersey.
Here comes Fall! As much as I love summer, I find myself looking forward to this season's arrival more and more every year. The cooler weather, crunching of leaves underfoot and pumpkin-flavored everything are all highlights of the season. And let’s not forget Halloween! New Jersey has many wonderful fairs and festivals for your family to enjoy this autumn—grab the kids (and a jacket) and check out these great fall events coming to a town near you.
So we're back in school. We're packing lunches, going to PTA meetings. and overseeing homework. And we're probably starting to wrap our minds around figuring out some enrichment classes to fill in the gaps and/or add some sparkle to the process. Open houses and free trial classes make the hunt for great classes a little more do-able, which is why we offer this list of 10 great places that offer chances to try it out for free, either in the coming weeks or - in many cases - all year long. And for more enrichment options, check out our Enrichment Programs, Classes and Activities Guide.
Are the dog days of August starting to wear you down? As much I love summery outdoor fun, there are days when I need a break from chasing sweaty kids, globbing on lotion and cleaning sand from the car. If you need an escape from the August heat or rain, chill out indoors at these fun, air-conditioned events and activities. If your budget’s tight after camp and summer vacation, don’t sweat it. Everything on this list is free! And for more ideas to finish off the summer, check out the New Jersey Kids Summer Activities Guide.
New Jersey has fairs and festivals galore this August. Flutter over to Pennington for a Butterfly Festival, hang out with the firefighters in Manasquan or indulge in carnival rides and games at a classic county fair. With so many options, the family calendar will be super packed all month long. Read on for our top picks, and squeeze in as many as possible—Labor Day is just around the corner! For more summer fun, visit our Summer Activities Guide.
Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout Central New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. You’ll never cook again. Dining out is a fun way to spend time with the family, but the bills can eat into your budget. Visit your favorite establishment on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these Central New Jersey restaurants that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week.
Complimentary meals are with the purchase of an adult meal, unless otherwise noted.
Summer is a great time to catch up on reading, and not just because the local library gives out prizes (though we are big fans of prizes). Whether your kids are nose-in-book types or the sort that require a little literary nudge, our SUMMER OF PLAY has plenty of room for playing your way through some great kids' books. Check out my time-tested list of vintage classics, modern classics, and recent best sellers that inspire fun activities beyond their pages—and at very little cost. And if you snap any photos along the way, remember to share them as entries in our weekly SUMMER OF PLAY prize drawing!
Welcome to Mommy Poppins New Jersey! The free online resource for parents and kids where you’ll get the scoop on what’s fun, unique, outdoorsy, indoorsy, artsy, bouncy, sassy and splashy in the Garden State. Come play with us, won’t you?