Author Archives: kristy

Inspired By (But Not Limited To) Valentine’s Day: Date Night in NYC

Yup, it’s that time of year again. Hearts, cupids, chocolates…sigh. It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Don’t get us wrong – we love love. We just don’t always love the added pressure of needing to make some grand plan when we can hardly get our kids out the door with their pants on. So while we don’t think you need to kill yourself to go out on one of the busiest nights of the year for couples, we do think that Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to stop. Look over at your partner. Think of all the reasons why you love them. And do something fun together. It doesn’t have to be ON February 14th. But hey, love is in the air. Why not get some for yourself?

To that end, we present you with some of our absolute favorite places to go with our other half when we need a night out. Some are small and intimate, others noisy and messy. But we’re pretty sure each of them is sure to give you and your love a little jolt. Have fun!

Kuma Inn 113 Ludlow Street 2nd Fl Lower East Side

This tiny little Asian tapas bar is run by Chef King Phojanakong, a native New Yorker with Thai and Filipino roots who clearly knows his stuff. The food is amazing, the atmosphere cozy, and King is often there himself, coming around to tables to check on how your night is going. Just be aware that it’s Bring Your Own Booze, so stop at September Wines & Spirits for a bottle (or two) on the way over. You will not regret it.

Zucco: Le French Diner 188 Orchard Street, Lower East Side

We almost don’t want to tell you about this one, because it’s our little secret, but we’re feeling the love, so here you go. This place is tiny. Like, four tables and a bar tiny. It’s run by the aforementioned Zucco himself, who offers up laid back, delicious French staples like cassoulet, sandwiches served on crusty baguettes, and foie gras. No reservations here…just wander in and enjoy.

Hudson Bar 356 West 58th Street Midtown West

If you’re looking for something a little more flashy, check out the bar at the Hudson Hotel in Midtown. It is truly something to see, and might get you in the mood for more than just a cocktail. Relax, we mean bowling!

Bowlmor Lanes Union Square or Midtown

It’s part bowling alley, part club, and it’s just fun. Sometimes it’s good to just do something together, you know? Here you can have a drink, engage in a little healthy competition, and catch up while you bowl, kid-free.

UCB Theatre, The PIT NYC, The Magnet Theater Chelsea

Nothing makes you fall in love all over again quite like laughing together, so go see some comedy! There are three amazing improv theaters in the city, all packed with people just waiting to make you laugh. And they’re good. Trust us.

So do you celebrate Valentine’s Day or avoid it like the plague? Either way, go on a date. Soon. Your kids will thank you! Let us know how it goes, and have fun you crazy kids.


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Get Expert Answers to Your Sleep Questions on

parenting sleep questions

Tired of being tired? Can’t seem to keep coffee in the house? Help is on the way! We are so excited to announce that Christina Gantcher, a local NYC sleep coach, will be sharing her wisdom all November long on! Think of her as your own personal sleep expert, as she monitors all questions related to sleep, and gives tailored answers to all our tired parents.

And don’t worry – we know if you’re as tired as we often are, you won’t have time to follow all of these conversations. That’s why we’ll be sharing lots of the advice Christina dispenses on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. If you do want to follow along, however, here’s how you do it: log in, and click Tag Subscriptions under Manage My Account. Then just type in the tags you’d like to follow (like “sleep”) and you can get all the updates!

To give you a little background, Christina Gantcher is a certified and licensed Gentle Sleep Coach, trained by The Sleep Lady herself, Kim West. Through her practice, Good Night Sleep Coaching, Gantcher works with families to tailor a sleep program specifically for their child, ranging from ages newborn – 6 years. She starts with a thorough intake assessment and then meets with parents to collaborate to help them achieve their goals for their children’s sleep habits. After they craft a sleep plan together she will coach them through the process of putting it in place, often the most difficult tasks.

In addition to private counseling, Gantcher also spreads the word through workshops and talks throughout her community. Gantcher brings to the table some impressive education credentials – a B.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts, and a M.Sc. in Psychoanalytic Developmental Psychology from University College London. The mother of two boys herself, Gantcher and her husband live with their family in New York City. Parents rave about her results, and we couldn’t be happier to have her expertise on all month long!

So gulp down some coffee and get those questions ready. Between Gantcher and AskParentMaze, we’ll have you (er, your child) sleeping like a baby in no time!


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Get Solid Advice on Overnight Babysitters and Enter to Win Tix to Hansel and Gretel!

With schedules as crazy as they are these days, it’s bound to happen – both parents need to be away for a night, and nobody’s around to watch the kids! What to do?

Lisa M asked that very question last week on, and got some great advice from Sensible Sitters’ founder Vanessa Welstead. Here’s Vanessa’s take:

This is a great question! Keep in mind that while the individual will be sleeping a majority of the time, this is an incredibly important role and you need to compensate them accordingly. Not only are they allowing for you both to travel, they are trustworthy and responsible enough to supply you with peace of mind. I would recommend $120-$150 depending on the individual’s experience, the childrens’ ages and how many hours they stay. A 12 hour shift(7-7) at $15/ hr is $180. Sleeping or not – it is their time and a night spent out of their home. I hope this helps and best of luck securing a sitter. Dont forget, you may be able to expense this. We can be reached at

User SarahJ agreed, saying she pays more for overnight stays because although the kids are sleeping, it’s a sacrifice to be away from home for a night. What’s your take? Have you ever had to get an overnight sitter? How did it go?!

If you’ve been looking to join in the conversation, now’s the perfect time. If you ask or answer a question on by Wednesday, October 24, you could WIN a family 4-pack of tickets (2 adults, 2 children) to Hansel and Gretel’s Halloween Adventure at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre! Running from now until November 3, the show picks up where the original Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre production leaves off; with the pair’s pet swan Samantha flying the children back to their humble home after their wild escapade in the forest. It’s an adventure you don’t want to miss!

Good luck!

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Check Out Baby’s First Foods on and Win Tix to Hip Tot!

Food on the floor. Food in your hair. Food everywhere but the one place you need it to be – inside your baby’s mouth. This is what it’s like teaching another human to eat, and despite how natural we grownups make it look – it ain’t easy. So for all you puree-drenched parents out there, here is some real advice from real parents – or as we like to call it, the “Advice or a Good Book on Beginning to Feed Your Baby Solids?” thread on

User JuliaK told our parent that she found Anna Karmel’s First Meals really helpful, while Lisa M had two favorites – the Organic Baby & Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Van (which, admittedly, was also a favorite of ours – that apricot chicken! Yum!) and The Petit Appetit Cookbook by Lisa Barnes.

Lisa Barnes popped up again in JennW’s comment, when she recommended Cooking for Baby: Wholesome, Homemade, Delicious Food for 6 to 18 Months. Apparently, this is a good read for busy parents (aka, all of us!). User JuliaF said her 2 year old loves to eat everything, and gives credit to Rapley and Murkett’s Baby-Led Weaning.

One of our favorite comments, however, was a piece of advice from didinychk: [emphasis added]

When my son was barely 4 months, milk was no longer enough. We couldn’t feed him fast enough. I asked his doctor and he suggested we start him on solids in between bottles. He said just half a jar will do. My son ate the entire jar and then 2 hours later had his bottle. He still eats like that till this day. Just listen to what your baby is saying. They might not speak, but they let you know when they’re still hungry and consult with your doctor. 

Great stuff, right? Why not jump in on the conversation? Here’s a little incentive: Just ask or answer a question on by Wednesday, October 10, and be entered to WIN a 4-pack of tickets to the Hip Tot Music Fest (max 2 adults). See our kids’ favorite rockers The Deedle Deedle Dees perform at the festival, and enjoy free snacks, goody bags, and giveaways before the concert! It all happens – Sunday, October 14 at 2pm at Littlefield in  Gowanus, BK. Details at

So get to asking all those questions – and good luck!

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Enter to Win Passes to the New York Botanical Garden’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden!

UPDATE: Congrats to our winner Helene!

In preparation for Halloween , the New York Botanical Garden is hosting a month-long celebration of all things spooky, and you’re invited! The Parent Maze is thrilled to be joining up with The New York Botanical Garden in giving away one FREE family 4-pack of passes to this year’s Haunted Pumpkin Garden.



To enter, simply log onto to ask OR answer a question before this Sunday, September 30th. We’ll notify the winner by Monday, October 1st so you can get ready to get spooked!

The event takes place October 6 – 31st in the NYBG’s 12-acre Everett Children’s Adventure Garden, and boasts a number of activities for the whole family, like…

  • Navigating a garden filled with intricately carved pumpkin sculptures,
  • Decorating science bags with fallen fruits and leaves,
  • Performing in the Pumpkin Puppet Theater!

But wait! There’s more!

Your Family 4-pack of All Garden Passes (a value of up to $100, redeemable any day from the 6th – 31st) gets you into the events above, plus you can check out other special events happening in conjunction with The Haunted Pumpkin Garden, like…

- On October 6 – 8, the Spooktacular Pumpkin Party hits the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden bringing with it creeptastic live music, spooky story readings, a visit by the largest bat in the world (we’re kind of dying to see that), and more! Included in All-Garden Pass

- On October 20th, the MasterCard Budding Masters Pumpkin Carving Workshop for Kids allows children ages 8 – 15 to participate in creating a giant pumpkin masterpiece! Separate Ticket Required 

- And on October 20 – 21, 26 – 28, the Spooky Nighttime Adventures has families trick-or-treating while exploring the Haunted Pumpkin Garden using only flashlights! Separate Ticket Required

For more information about the day’s events, please visit the Haunted Pumpkin Garden website.

Happy Haunting!

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