Young At Art Museum – Creativity Awaits

Don’t be fooled by the name, the Young at Art Museum isn’t just a great spot for the kids, grown ups can have fun too.  Located outside of Ft. Lauderdale in Davie, the modern museum hosts an afternoon’s worth of activities to get your creative juices flowing.  The YAA’s ultra-modern structure is anything but chilly.  The colorful exhibits draw you in and begs you to shout, “play with me”.

The public library shares the space and both take advantage of the other’s existence.  Glass windows allow little ones to peep into the library and check out ways to learn more about artists.

There is an area for younger children based on Alice in Wonderland.  Crawl through a tea pot or snuggle into a book in Alice’s Reading Forest.  There are lots of opportunities for pretend play and a few soft spots for adults to sit down and watch.  My kids loved the water room.  Decorated with an intricate mosaic of a woman.  We spent at least 15 minutes – hours in kid time – using plastic dividers to manipulate the water to push boats around and creating waterfalls.  Little did my kids know that they were getting a lesson in hydraulic engineering.

Learn about water pressure and water movement in this awesome exhibit

The Stomp room is a dream come true for the child who loves to bang on pots and pans and who you promised to never buy a drum set.  Adapted from the Broadway show Stomp, kids can bang on anything, even things bolted to the walls. Trash can lids, PVC pipes and wood blocks are all fair game.  And, they can scream while going down the slide (insert ear plugs here and wave).

What?  I can’t hear you!

My kids really loved the puppetry room.  The museum has all the supplies you need to make your very own puppet and a stage to act out your “show”.  We spent at least 30 minutes creating and it was a great place to take a load off.  Even I got inspired!

Bins full of materials like papers, fabrics, plastic, and scraps of any ‘ole thing are perfect for puppet making.

 

My son showing off his work.  And, don’t worry he isn’t really a lifeguard, just a wanna be.  The lifeguards at Palm Beach are well-trained.

If you have climbers, they are going to love this play structure inspired by the Japanese print, The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai.  Not only is it beautiful but according to my kiddos, the view from the top is “super cool”.

A great place to get the wiggles out and to see the whole museum.

 

A description of the piece that inspired the play structure.

There are other examples of culture-specific art forms in this room including hands-on opportunities to weave, do stencils, fold origami and do rubbings.  One of my favorites was a display of Japanese wallpaper.

I may need one of these for my powder room.

This isn’t just an art museum where you look at paintings on the wall, kids can try their hand at creating different types of art.  They can make a moving picture or mini movie.

Draw your picture over and over and over again and then insert it in the circular wooden piece and watch it come to life.

Sculpt a masterpiece out of clay, practice figure drawing and even curate their own gallery.

Literally get your hands dirty and try your hand at sculpting.

 

There is an art form to arranging pieces in a gallery.

A couple of nice touches for parents or extra curious kids.  The museum does a great job of including images of classic and modern art on the walls so if your kids are happily playing, you can take a minute to learn something yourself.  Some of the artist spotlights have an option to learn more about their biography and their work via a QR code.  What a great way to use technology and save paper!

Take a break in the open-air courtyard and enjoy the vibrant colors and warm southern Florida breezes.  Pack your own snack or enjoy the munchies from Super Duper Grub.  They even have veggies.  I love how they have veggie sticks with most of their sandwiches.  My kids loved the Rock n’ Rollup – Nutella, strawberry preserves and banana rolled in a tortilla.  They did not forget about the grown ups, they have healthy and delicious offerings.  Don’t miss the afternoon milk and cookie happy hour.  This happy hour is kid friendly.

Super Duper Grub
It’s hard not to feel inspired eating lunch outside of the Super Duper Grub Cafe.

If a quick visit to the YAA doesn’t get your right brain synapses sparking then you may need to check out some of their more intensive art classes or camps.  We poked our heads into some of their art classrooms and just wanted to do something to get our hands dirty.  And when we got home, not one electronic device turned on.  The kids rode that creative high and played for another hour or so.  Now THAT is how art impacts life.  Get inspired!

Tips for busy moms

1.  Children of all ages will find something fun to do at this museum.
2.  Broward County residents get a discount on entrance tickets.
3.  Give yourself 2-3 hours
4.  If you are a Broward County resident, bring your library card and you can check out books and return them to your local branch
5.  If you are lucky you may catch live music playing on one of the stages.
6.  This is a slam dunk birthday party for a budding artist, call ahead to reserve.
7.  There are traveling exhibits so check their web site to see what is on display before visiting.
8.  There is an outside play area and you know what I say about being outside!  Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Snowbirds

The Snowbirds Are Coming!

I had no idea what to expect when people said, “the Snowbirds are coming” until I experienced the influx first-hand last winter.  “The season,” as they call it starts from about mid-October and runs through the end of March with a few stragglers lingering through April.  So, just about the time the weather starts changing from hot and unbearably humid (think of your worst hair day and multiply it by 4 months) to warm breezes and delightfully comfortable; an estimated 145,000 temporarily move down here to share in the delight.  That’s about an 11% increase in a short amount of time, according to the Palm Beach Post. And, what that means to those of us that are just trying to get through the day-to-day is everything, and I mean everything is just a little bit more of a pain.  It’s like adding a 3 yr-old to your family any time you are trying to get somewhere quickly.  And some of my friends actually have a 3 yr-old in tow so may the Lord be with you!

You start the day off with positivity and deep breaths.  Your inner voice says, “We all want to enjoy this paradise that is south Florida!  Relax, try not to think about how it took you 30 minutes to get somewhere that took 10 minutes just one month ago.  Why oh why is everyone on the road at 7:25 AM???”  By lunchtime even your most well-practiced yoga breathing can’t get you through the long line at the deli counter at Publix.  Your smile has faded to the gritted teeth emoji.  And by dinner you are downing glasses of wine to take the edge off.  Don’t even think about doing that in public though, because you would have to wait at least 2 hours to sit down at dinner and enjoy those sips (or gulps). Drinking behind closed doors in the winter is encouraged here.  Well, actually in the winter it’s drinking on the lanai (covered porch for my southern friends, y’all).

But as we all know, with the Snowbirds come an influx of money that helps support many of the businesses that we get to enjoy all year long.  And, getting to see some of their amazing cars on the road is a dream come true for my kids.  I just hope they don’t expect to get a Maserati for their 16th birthday.

Now that my family is a little more prepared for the population surge this year, I genuinely appreciated reading this article on how to get ready for “the season”.  If you need me in the next few weeks I’ll either be at the doctor, the library, the mechanic, the pool or Costco.  And after all of those errands, let’s meet at a beach bar and enjoy the calm before the storm.

Thanks for the great list, Florida Weekly!

Do it now – Florida Weekly

 

Adult Time – Check – At Eau Palm Beach

Now that the kids are back in school and you’re starting to hit your stride with the weekly routine, it’s time to start thinking about Mommy and Daddy time.  Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from the kids to reconnect, relax and rediscover your partner.  You know, the person that signed up to go on this parenting journey with you.  Maybe the grandparents are in town to take over or maybe you just found a sitter for 24 hours.  Trust me, it will be worth the time away, especially if you check in to this amazing resort for the weekend, or just a night like we did.

Eau Palm Beach is located in Manalapan, FL a short drive from West Palm Beach and the West Palm Beach airport and only 42 miles from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.  Pronounced “Oh” as in, “Oh, what fun it is to have a vacation without the kids!”  Formerly a Ritz Carlton, this hotel has all the glamour of a Ritz but, with a little more modern swankiness of a boutique hotel.  Famed designer Jonathan Adler designed the decor for much of the hotel and it is so refreshing and so chic at the same time!  The staff at Eau are almost as excited for you to be there as you are, so much so they give you champagne upon check-in.  Don’t mind if I do!  Walking in the door to our room, champagne in hand, it just screams, “I have arrived at my incredibly sophisticated vacation!”  I resisted the urge to take a nap upon arrival on the immaculate bed for fear that I would mess up the pillow arrangement.

Jonathan Adler designed bedroom
Jonathan Adler, this bedroom is sophisticated perfection.

 

Nautical hallway
The hallway to the rooms set the Palm Beach-nautical mood
Hallway with Asian accents
Hallway with geometric and Asian accents

 

Marble bathroom
This is my dream bathroom!  Marble tiles, navy, waves of iridescent blue wallpaper.

Instead, I immediately changed into my bathing suit and explored the grounds in search of the adult-only pool.  The pools have delicious fruit-infused waters for sipping while you relax.  The lounge chairs are plush and shade is plentiful if you want to avoid the sun, like me.  And, no fear if you’ve forgotten your sunscreen, Eau has you covered!  They must have known I was coming.

Sun Bum
Sun Bum sunscreen with little shot glasses for dispensing.

Every afternoon they have a champagne toast in the pool.  Don’t miss seeing the bar staff walk around the pool with their floating bar tray filled with champagne flutes.

For the ultimate luxury, do yourself a favor and book spa appointments.  I am in no way a spa connoisseur but, I’ve had a massage or two in my day and this spa has some of the most unique treatment options I’ve seen.  And, the couple’s treatments even convinced Matt to put aside his male bravado and join me for an afternoon of relaxation.  They have everything from a customized scrub and polish bar to buff out those rough spots to couple’s treatments in your own garden suite for romance and luxury.  When you check-in you receive a glass of champagne (notice a theme here) and you’re asked to make a wish in their wishing well.  If yours has anything to do with forgetting where you are or what is on your running “to do” list, you wish is granted.  We were guided to the male/female bath lounges to enjoy the sauna, steam rooms and hot tub while soothing music played.  Before our treatment, I nibbled on a cupcake and sipped cucumber water a bit of a contradiction but, I don’t care.  Our treatment was phenomenal and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep for a few moments while suspended in the dry float bed (whatever that is) while Matt enjoyed his massage.  Afterwards we made our way to the “Self-Centered Garden” to relax some more!  The garden was beautiful and the perfect place to enjoy a light lunch, a good book or an intense game of life-sized chess.

Spa lounge chairs
Napping is encouraged!

Spa seating
It’s really hard to be stressed in a suspended chair while your feet dangle in the water.

Life size chess
Game on!  Unfortunately you have to use your brain for this one.  Checkmate.

Self-Centered Garden
The Self-Centered Garden awaits you.  Really, it’s okay to think about yourself sometimes.
Relaxed parents
This is what two relaxed parents look like.
After an intense day of pool time and spa treatments, you can’t forget about dining on delicacies and sipping something by the ocean.  Throw on that plush bathrobe and enjoy the serenity of getting ready for dinner without interruptions.  We opted to stay at the hotel and eat beachfront at Temple Orange, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant that took our breath away.  The food was light and fresh and the service was impeccable!  We toasted to the end of an amazing day in paradise and dreamed about the next time we could escape to Eau Palm Beach to recharge.  Cheers!

Tips for busy moms:

1.  Plan ahead a bit and book a room reservation. Go ahead and sign up for a spa treatment to make sure you get a time that works for you.  The treatments aren’t cheap but, they are excellent and worth the splurge.
2.  The hotel has great restaurants but, you aren’t far from Palm Beach if you want, venture out and enjoy some of the swankiest and delicious places to eat in South Florida.  Or just be lazy and stay at the hotel.  We got away with not booking a reservation ahead of time.
3.  The hotel is happy to work with you to make it a memorable stay.  They have bikes you can grab to enjoy the beach scene and flat roads.  You can get into water sports like paddleboarding  (SUP) and fishing.  They also have plenty of options if you like to party like it’s 1999, think hand-crafted cocktails and DJ music.
4.  Pack a bathing suit, cute cover-up, book/trashy magazine, something fun to wear to dinner and flip flops.
5.  For all of my Florida friends.  Ask about the Florida resident rate.
6.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!  Well, you can forget it this time since they have it poolside.