City Swimming: Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School

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May is National Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Month. As I have mentioned before here, this is a topic that is dear to my heart as someone who grew up at the New Jersey shore. Although my children are growing up urban, we find ways to expose them to water frequently and work on practicing our water safety skills. The below content was provided by the Goldfish Swim School in Fort Washington, PA, where my family spent last Friday night at one of their daily open family swims. My daughter put all of our water safety skills to the test as she attempted to drown herself within an arm’s reach of her dad. It is never a dull moment in our household. Thankfully, mommy is a good swimmer and the Goldfish Swim School has lifeguards.


Water Safety Info Every Family Needs to Know

The swim and water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School Fort Washington and Mount Laurel share practical tips and skills.

May is National Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Month. This important topic impacts all families. Every adult that supervises children in or around water needs to know basic information on how to keep kids safer in around water.

When it comes to drowning, the statistics are pretty staggering. Drowning is the leading cause of injury death to children ages one to four—and the second leading cause of injury death for children ages one to 14, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, statistics show that thousands of children are hospitalized each year for nonfatal drowning incidents.  Accidents can happen quickly. A child can drown in as little as one inch of water and in as little time as 20 seconds.

Every parent and caregiver needs to keep the following water safety tips in mind:

  • Any time kids are around water, designate a “water watcher” who will avoid cell phones, conversations, magazines and anything else that might distract the adult from watching swimming children EVERY SINGLE SECOND. After all, most children who drown are supervised.

  • The American Red Cross says that the number one thing that parents can do to keep kids safer around water is to enroll them in swim lessons. Swimming is an essential life-saving skill with numerous physical, mental and intellectual benefits.

  • Get swim lessons for yourself or any other caregiver who cannot swim or is afraid of water.

  • Realize that floaties, noodles and plastic inner tubes do NOT protect against drowning. They are created as water toys, not life-saving devices. Life jackets should be designated as U.S. Coast Guard-approved.

  • Know that even the most seasoned swimmers can still encounter trouble. Make sure swimmers don’t overestimate their skills and that they understand the importance of never swimming alone.

In addition to these tips, there are several basic skills that the water safety experts at Goldfish Swim School work on with students every week. Parents can practice these skills with their kids anytime they are in the water together:

  • Work on getting in and out of the pool safely. Elbow, Elbow, Tummy, Knee! Help your little ones learn how to get out of the pool by manipulating their bodies in this order: elbow, elbow, tummy, knee. Practice this often; you can even do this on your living room floor by having your baby climb onto a couch or chair! After you practice, always remember to celebrate. Eventually, your little one will be strong enough to manage the movement on his own! This is a skill that kids continue to use to safely exit the pool — even when they are older!

  • Jump, Turn, Swim to the Wall! Once they have the movement down, let your child jump off the side of the pool to you, help him physically turn back to the wall and then assist him in getting out of the pool by using the elbow, elbow, tummy, knee method. Do this over and over again as he gets more confident let them go under the water and come to the surface on his own. This teaches kids to automatically turn back to the wall behind them to climb out. If a child were to fall into a pool, this skill could help him find the quickest way to safety.

  • Sea Otter Float. Work with your child on turning over and getting his face out of the water to take a breath when he fatigues.

We’d love to see you and your family in the pool to work on essential swim and water safety skills this summer!


About Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School provides swim instruction to children ages 4 months to 12 years-old in a unique setting with highly trained instructors, small class sizes (max 4:1 student to teacher ratio), shiver-free 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system. In addition to swim lessons, Goldfish Swim School also offers weekly family swims (for both members and non-members) and birthday party packages. For more information or to register for lessons, visit the website .

Blow dry bar at Goldfish Swim School
Blow dry bar at Goldfish Swim School


We loved the facilities at Goldfish Swim School, which were convenient and clean. First of all, the pool is so warm! I loved how cozy it was. Next, we were able to shower the kids after swimming and change them into their pajamas in their warm, private changing rooms. Then, the kids got to spin their swimsuits in the bathing suit drier and blow dry their own hair at the blow dry bar. On the way out, they each got a lollipop for the ride home too. If only it was closer to our home, we would be there all the time!_______________________________________________________________________________

[This is a promotional post. I was not compensated but did benefit from a free open swim session. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily represent those of my employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Please talk to your own health care provider about medical concerns related to swimming, or anything else.]

[Review] Hungry Harvest: ugly food, beautiful heart

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Photo courtesy of Hungry Harvest

We are not the type of family who can do a CSA (community supported agriculture). First of all, I eat the lions share of vegetables in our house and a CSA box is more than I can handle alone. I hate the idea of wasting food, so the CSA makes me feel pressured into eating everything on my own. Second, we are not creative enough chefs to spontaneously incorporate some of the more unusual foods that come in a CSA, like rhubarb or Hakurei turnips. I don’t want to have to Google my produce. However, I love the idea of supporting local farms, so when I heard about a company called Hungry Harvest, who delivers recovered produce to reduce food waste and fight hunger, I was excited to learn more.

My first question was: what is recovered produce? I imagined browning apples or squishy avocados. I learned though that “1 in 5 fruits and veggies go to waste because of aesthetic imperfections or logistical inefficiencies.” This isn’t rotting food, it’s food that wasn’t otherwise sellable for a variety of reasons that do not affect taste. Sometimes farms overproduce certain crops and can’t sell it off quickly enough. Hungry Harvest seeks to gather these edible items that would otherwise end up wasted.

My next concern was whether or not the produce would be things that my picky children would actually eat. Their produce diet consists primarily (almost exclusively) of apples, watermelon, broccoli, carrots, and pomegranate. I learned that Hungry Harvest allows you to create a “never list” of foods that you never want them to include in your delivery. My never list included mushrooms, eggplant, and artichoke.

My concerns were answered when I received my first Hungry Harvest delivery. Posted on the website is “this week’s harvest” so you don’t have to be surprised. There are also recipes there for the non-chefs among us. Here was what was in my mini harvest: 2 avocados, 0.5 lb Brussels Sprouts, 2 bi colored corn, 2 Valencia oranges, 1 lb strawberries, 0.5 lb guava, 2 organic yellow squash, and 1 bunch kale. I don’t love surprises, so I was happy to see what to expect and it allowed me to plan better while I was grocery shopping for the week. In terms of quality, there were a few blemishes but overall they looked just like things I would have bought on my own and tasted the same as well. I’m looking forward to making a kale and avocado salad first.

Interested in getting your own Harvest? The options include 3 sizes (mini, full, and super), with an option for organic produce. You can get veggie-only, fruit-only, or mixed produce bundles. There is also a cool “office harvest” option with snackable fruit that is great for break rooms or office kitchens and so much better than a vending machine! There are also add-ons that vary each week, like an avocado toast kit, eggs, or jam. The prices in general range from $15-$55, but Mommy Call readers can get a special discount (see below).

One of the coolest things about Hungry Harvest though is that they are committed to reducing food deserts and fighting hunger. That sounds great, but how do they do that? For every harvest they deliver, they donate 1-2 pounds of produce to help feed someone in need. In Maryland, they have partnered with Baltimore Public Schools to help food insecure families. You can also use your SNAP/EBT (formerly food stamps) to buy food from Hungry Harvest. In Philadelphia, they are donating produce to Philabundance.

Thanks to a deal on Shark Tank, they expanded to Philadelphia in the past year. They also deliver in areas across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. You can search online to see if they deliver specifically in your zip code. I conveniently got a text when my delivery was about to arrive.

Pretty impressive for a company that started in a college dorm!

Coupon Code: Mommy Call readers get 25% off their first harvest with code: CALL

[This is a promotional post. I received a free mini harvest for this review. All opinions are my own. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. I am not responsible for the content or quality of your Hungry Harvest purchase.]

Learn more about food insecurity with my podcast:

[Review] Hosting an Office Party with Paperless Post

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Paperless Post invitation
Paperless Post invitation

I recently took on the task of co-hosting an office-wide party to celebrate our first year in our new office. We knew that we wanted to have an event that would be celebratory and inclusive, but managing the details of such an event can be challenging. How do you find a venue that not only can accommodate everyone but that everyone will like? How do you choose a date and time that is best for most people? In the city, the issues of space and parking were especially challenging. In total, we had approximately sixty guests to plan for, ranging in age, gender, sex, race, and SES. In short, there was no way to satisfy everyone. Our strategy? Know that you can not satisfy everyone and be happy with aiming to please most.

When planning an office party, the best piece of advice is to manage expectations. A Winter holiday party is full of expectations– typically the office pays, there should be alcohol, there may be gifts, and the attire is more formal. So when working on a limited budget and diverse audience, a holiday party was bound to fail. We called our party an anniversary fiesta because who knows what that is supposed to be! It could be anything and therefore we were bound to meet expectations, and hopefully surpass them.

Who doesn’t like Mexican food? We hoped no one, as we chose a Cantina close to our office as our venue. This solved the parking issue, as everyone could walk from our office. We also chose an evening when no one had to work and the fewest people were on vacation.

When it came time for invitations, we chose a Paperless Post fiesta invite. It would have been easier to send a creative email, but a Paperless Post invitation made it more formal and also distinguished it from the onslaught of regular emails that we receive at work each day. A printed invitation is not as environmentally friendly and is more likely to get lost. I cannot tell you how many times I have scrambled to find a wedding invitation to find out where the church was on the day of the wedding! As a host, Paperless Post allowed us to easily track the status of our invitations and count our RSVPs. Guests were also able to message us with questions and send regrets. I also use Paperless Post for birthday party invitations (who has time to look up postal addresses for an entire class??).

I love hosting parties, but over the past six years they have mostly been geared toward small children, so it was fun to plan one for adults. Parties will always have some minor glitches– a spilled punch, an entertainer who doesn’t show, late guests or unaccounted for guests, cold food, etc. It is hard when you are the host to not take these malfunctions personally and let them ruin the fun. Whether  a party for adults or children though, it is important to remember that if you are having fun, your guests will too.


[This is a promotional post. I was compensated for this post with Paperless Post tokens. All opinions are my own. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. My office party was not affiliated with Paperless Post.]

Mom Yoga at Home

samiCan you maintain focus on your breathing while in pigeon pose as someone digs furiously through a tub of Legos next to your head? Sami can. The other thing Sami can do is motivate this exercise-phobic mother of two to get back into yoga. I have never enjoyed exercise, unfortunately. As I get older though and want to stay healthy, I know I need to maintain an exercise practice that is practical and beneficial. Yoga has been the one thing that I have been able to stick with over the years, albeit inconsistently, but there are two big barriers. 1) finding the time as a busy working mom, and 2) cost. Joining a gym or yoga studio is expensive, especially when you are not planning on going daily. This is why I was so excited to meet Sami.

Sami Fioravanti is a yoga instructor who comes to your home for 60-minute sessions that focus on your fitness preferences and tailored to your ability level. She has expertise in particular with mothers and loves to work with mothers and children together. Sessions are $25 if purchased individually or $20 each if you purchase 4 or more. Considering that you do no need to leave your living room, this is a highly competitive rate.

Sami and I met on a day when I had been rushing from work to the grocery store to my son’s school; otherwise known as a Wednesday. She came bearing a certificate of liability insurance, a short questionnaire about my goals, and a few props. My son has some experience with yoga from his school and I envisioned that Sami would help us practice together, but once he met Sami he was too intimidated to participate. So instead of joining us on the mats, he built with Legos around us, providing a lot of distractions and a noisy background. Sami remained professional though and guided my out-of-shape body back into the asanas. Afterwards I was the perfect balance of sore and energized.

I’ve tried mommy-baby yoga classes before but not only is it hard to get to them as a working mom now, but having your baby or child at a studio where they can disturb others is sometimes stressful. Having Sami work with you at home gives you flexibility that you don’t have in a studio. I really enjoyed our first session and look forward to more. Namaste.

mommaPromotion: Mommy Call readers get a free 30-minute session! Also, currently you get 10% off group package purchases. Contact Sami at

[Disclaimer: The above is not medical advice for any particular patient. You should talk to your health care provider before starting an exercise routine. I have no affiliation with Yoga w/ Sami and I was not compensated for this post.]

A Scarring First Impression

When you start your clinical rotations in medical school, they say that you should not start with the specialty that you desire for your career. The thinking is that you need a rotation or two to work the kinks out. You need to get your bearings as a physician-in-training so that once you get to your chosen field, you are ready to impress.

Some medical students do not yet know what specialty they are interested in, but I was firmly committed to pediatrics. So when I got my schedule and saw Pediatrics listed as my first rotation, I was nervous that my chances of making the best first impression would be hindered but was determined to not let that happen.

Although my white coat was bestowed to me during medical student orientation, I had not had much opportunity to don it until my clinical rotations started. With too few hours of sleep behind me, I decided to iron my white coat, hoping my professional appearance would help add to my first impression. Not only did I need to impress my supervisors, but also earn the trust and respect of my patients. My ironing board at the time was a small tabletop board, which I lay on the floor of my bedroom and knelt beside. In my haste, the edge of the iron grazed the fleshy part of my thigh above my knee, branding me with a linear scar that would shine as a pearly reminder of this first day for years to come.

As a pediatrics resident, each time I pushed a leg through my scrub pants, I saw this scar and remembered those first-day nerves. On the days in the middle of the Winter when the hours are long and the thanks are few, it felt good to remember the days when I was so eager to be the best doctor I could be. Most days of my training were spent dressing in the dark while my husband and the rest of the world around us lay sleeping. My scrubs and fleece jackets were barely different from my pajamas and my hair spent more days in ponytails than not. I shudder to think what impression some of these appearances left on my patients. However, my scar reminded me of a day when I ironed my jacket and although the skin on my left thigh stung from its new mark, I never let the smile fade from my face. I think about this as I teach eager new medical students, and even new interns each July. Eleven years later I find it hard to see the scar anymore but will always remember its symbolism.

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