Why I am The Reluctant City Dweller

Growing up on the top of Sunshine Mountain in PA, I spent my time in the woods and on the farm.  I lived a good life, it would now be called GREEN living.  My parents farmed to feed our large family.  I remember my mother baking and canning.  We milked the cows, collected the eggs and had animal "friends".  We made our own butter and ice cream.  Berry bushes and apple trees were everywhere in those Pocono mountains. 

We spent the summer playing,  I loved living in the woods amongst the fairies, and I lived to frolic in the trees.  My cousins and I spent hours in our tree houses by the creek.  I never worried about trolls and goblins, because I always had a bowl of skunkweed soup waiting for them.  The pungent smell mixed with a sugar cube or two would make them be my delightful guest for a few hours.  All this wonderful enlightened play was mine at least until dinner time, when I had to leave my world to be a normal girl again.

I grew up with finding ways to invent new things to play with.  I was always making something, and I never remember being board.  My parents encouraged creativity.  I loved kids, and there was never a short supply in my big and extended family.  I always had someone around to try out my new game.  I felt blessed by our life back then.

I went off to college to follow my art ability but my heart always wanted to be a nanny.  My mother grew up with one, and I love those stories she told me about afternoons at the beach in Australia with her sisters and the nanny.  I followed my dream, and in 1991 I went to The English Nanny and Governess school.  I had many wonderful years living that dream being the enchanted Nanny I always dreamed I would be.

Years later I found a Prince among men and married him.  We started our family in 2000 and now have 4 beautiful, wonderful children for me to create for and dream with.  I am now a happy housewife, SAHM/Homeschooler trying to find ways to bring that same enchantment to my children. We live in a city in Central New Jersey, 45 minutes from the shore, NYC, and Philadelphia. Although it is a great place to live my heart hungers for a "greener" life for my family.  So, until we buy the farm, I will work to balance this chapter in my life.

I hope you enjoy the time you spend with me here.  I hope you join me as I try to find a balance in my life here in the city.  I think you will find, as I have, that although I am a reluctant city dweller you can always take a piece of the farm with you.

Day Trip to NYC

A day trip with any family can be expensive, but with a family of 6 it could break the bank.  Here are a few tips for keeping the kids active without breaking the bank.  

Research and planning are the main keys.  Take others with you; the more hands to help, the better. Here you see the Godparents with the boys in Central Park.  Check with your local public transportation systems on kids fares and what times or seasons kids ride free.  We live in NJ, so taking the train was easy and a great adventure for the kids in itself.  We planned the trip around the fall when kids ride free.

At your destinations, check out federally funded Museums; these can be great places to save money. Any time it says "contribution" or "suggested donation" you can offer to pay whatever you think is fair, NOT what they ask. We went to the Natural History Museum where the suggested donation was around $15 per person. That would have been $90 for our family, but we gave them just $20 in total.

Food is another costly area of trips. We handled this by packing up each person with their own backpack containing everything they would need for the day.  Most times museums and other school-friendly destinations will have a lunch room for kids on fieldtrips and they are open to the public. 

The Natural History Museum’s location is right across from Central Park, so since it was a nice fall day we had a picnic (blanket carried in daddy's backpack).  The kids had a great time climbing on rocks, playing with dogs and chasing pigeons. For them, that could have been a trip all by itself.

We took the subway or hit the pavement for all our traveling around the city. We had rules and a plan of action for the kids, so everyone felt safe. We found wonderful New Yorkers who gave great directions and always offered seats to the kids and I on the subway.  Great tip, always find an employee of whatever place your visiting to ask for directions; most times they use the public transportation system and will give you the best directions. We did some shopping with a budget in mind and then walked around Times Square. 

It was a great trip, and one we will now do every year.