Babbo Boston and a Few Other Things

I have been off my blogging game lately, which is funny since I spent last Saturday at Blog Better Boston‘s Blog Beautiful Conference. It was great learning tips, seeing some blog friends (Christine and Noelle among others…), and meeting some new Boston Bloggers. It was a great event with topics such as taking better food photos and making your Instagram account more beautiful. But, despite an inspiring conference, baby M has been waking up before 5:30am for almost 2 weeks now and it’s like my motivation and creativity are the first things to go when I am over tired. This “up early” routine has coincided with his new found love of crawling and climbing up so I’m pretty sure he’s over eager to get at it every morning much to the chagrin of the rest of us. Anyway, I’ve been dying to write a little post on what I did after Saturday’s blog conference (which I mentioned last week) – we ate at Mario Batali’s new Babbo in the Seaport district and it. was. incredible!

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The menu is full of interesting options (almost too many, if that could ever be a complaint). Our reservation was at 4:30 so we ordered a bunch of stuff to share knowing we’d take some things home for later. A little Eggplant Caponata, pizza with prosciutto, Rigatoni Cacio e Pepe, Lentils Toscana, and more (yes more, I told you we planned on leftovers)….

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…and my favorite – this mozzarella in carozza – basically a decadent grilled cheese with a delicious dip. Heaven.

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Despite what you may think, this restaurant is great for kids. The menu is full of pizza and pasta options AND they give kids wikki sticks when you’re seated (in place of boring old crayons) which kept our Z occupied for the entire dinner.

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I can’t wait to go back! The staff was so great and welcoming of our kiddos (it doesn’t hurt to have M with us with his loud, infectious giggle) and when our Rigatoni Cacio e Pepe came out as gnocchi instead, they quickly brought us a complimentary appetizer AND knocked the pasta off the bill, which we thought was very generous. It’s hard to get a reservation at this point, especially with this rave review from the Boston Globe, but you could always head there for lunch like a friend of mine is doing. The ONLY bummer of our night was learning later that we missed Mario’s appearance at the restaurant by about 15 minutes! Maybe next time…

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A weekly photo of my children for one year.

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Boy does this girl keep me on my toes! Here she is when I asked her to pose with this giant red circle at Target.

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Not to be outdone, this little one is evvvvvverywhere lately – exploring, crawling, scooting, and investigating!

How to Eat Out with Young Kids

We got a (very hard to get) reservation to try Mario Batali’s newly opened Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca for Saturday (early) evening and we are SO excited to try it. When I have been sharing the news with folks everyone has asked if we got a babysitter. No, we’re bringing the munchkins! We eat out at a nice restaurant at least once a week and it’s usually a fine experience.

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Have we had meltdowns and debated getting our meals to go and leaving immediately? Yes (once, Z had just gotten shots at the dr and she was NOT happy). Have we had such a long dinner that our toddler gets beyond cranky and we’ve had to put on a Disney Jr show just so we can finish our meals? Yes. Has our 4 month old baby had an unending crying fit when we went out to a hibachi steakhouse and the onion volcano terrified him? Yes, but that one was a poor parenting call (oops). But for the most part when the four of us go out to dinner we can sit, have a drink, an appetizer, and our meals without any over the top meltdowns. I thought it was time that I put a little list together of how we’ve gotten to this place and how to eat out with young kids in case anyone needs help in this department.

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1. Start em young. When Z was less than 10 weeks old we went out to dinner at Chez Henri in Cambridge (which doesn’t exist anymore, sad). We got a couple looks but most people just thought she was a cute baby. She slept, ate a little, sat in her bucket carseat – it’s a good age to start a restaurant routine because they’re not doing much anyway. If they’ve always been going out to restaurants they will be used to it.

2. Let them order what they want. It’s a #treatyoself situation. Most of us go off our normal diet or eating routine and treat ourselves at a restaurant to something a little special so let your kids do the same. These days Z pretty much chooses between a meal with fries or noodles.

3. Go early. Your kids eat early anyway and there is no shame in arriving at 5pm so your meals are out and you’re eating by 5:30.

4. Come armed with distractions. Most non-chain restaurants are lacking in the complimentary coloring book and crayons department so we always bring our own items to play with – similar to the type of toys you’d want to bring on a plane: anything soundless, mess-less and small. We love these Water Wow coloring books, I always have one in a Ziploc in my bag. Our Z also brings an arsenal of “girls” (little plastic Disney princess figures) that keep her busy forevvvvver.

5. Lower your expectations. You can bring your young children most places but maybe get a sitter if you’re going to L’espalier. Right? A great reference locally here in the Boston area is the site KidNosh (for whom I write reviews!) to learn which restaurants are more welcoming to children.

What tips do you have for dining out with your kiddos? I assume all my tips will change when my kids are older but for now this works for us! Happy dining out and I will definitely be blogging about Babbo next week….

A Sunny Saturday

After a long, hard winter there is nothing better than getting outside with your family over the weekend, am I right? We’ve been lucky around here to have some great weather the past few weekends so we’ve done just that. This past Saturday was a food truck festival at the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston so we planned to have lunch and walk around a bit. I thought I’d share a few photos because that’s what you do on a blog!

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Lots of food truck choices, however the Bacon Truck was supposed to be there and my husband was disappointed when they were a no-show.

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I can’t see the Bon Me truck without visiting it, so that’s what I got and Z got their noodles. My husband got his second choice – a burrito. And M ate a squeezie that we brought with us.

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I was pleased to see the Greenway so packed! They had beanbag toss games set up that Z had fun with. And they have picnic blankets free to borrow, which was helpful since we left ours in the car.

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And it was warm enough for our new summer sandals!

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We can’t go to the Greenway without A) a visit to the carousel (which I did a whole post on here). M sure did seem to love it!! And B) popping over to Fanueil Hall to see what sort of street performers are there – that day we found a balloon artist that made Z a giant pink sword. Hope your Saturday was just as great!

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Took an inadvertent blog-break this week but I’ll be back with new content next week! In the meantime, my usual Friday post of photos of these sweeties.

Z-15-52Another soccer pic, I know – but it’s the highlight of her week and she’s so dang cute as she runs up and down the field with her soccer ball wearing her (glowing neon) soccer outfit.

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PSA: Get your kids a teepee. It’s cute to overhear their shenanigans when they’re in there together (as seen here) and even cuter when the occasional foot (or feet) unknowingly pop out.

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A weekly portrait of my children for one year.

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First time in the umbrella stroller!

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First week of soccer and she loved it! She keeps talking about practicing so she can get better, she’s never taken anything so seriously as this.

Margherita Kids by Margherita Missoni

Have you seen the adorable new line of clothes from Margherita Missoni (of the Missoni family)? It’s very sweet. I found out about the line from the article in the March issue of Vogue, read a portion of it here. It was a sweet article basically saying that since Margherita has had her son (he is 18 months old and she is pregnant with their second) she moved to the country to escape the hustle and bustle of Milan and give her children a calmer life in the country where she grew up with the family that loves him. So sweet, and really what all of us looking for – to give our kids a happy life! Anyway, she was inspired to create a line of clothing that was both chic and durable (since items are washed sooo many times), which is just so practical.

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Here are some highlights from the collection for both baby boys and girls and girls to size 7. It’s very moderately priced, on par with crewcuts I’d say, and therefore makes sense that it’s on sale at Nordstrom here in the US. I am debating the coordinating fish print shirt (for M) and skirt (for Z) for the summer. How cute would they look?!

NORDSTROM - Shop Kids' Clothing for Spring Break