Sunday, October 19, 2014

Teaching Kids the Power of Endurance

First day of school...

Aiden (to the Head of School): Excuse me, what floor's my classroom on again?
Head of School: Third.
Aiden (to me): It's okay mommy, you don't have to walk me up. I got this.

And off he went. Up the stairs. Into his classroom. And ready to take on first grade. Just like a total boss!

Ever since he began this new chapter and milestone in his life, Aiden's quickly learning what I've been meaning when I've been saying that all he has to do is try. That showing effort counts for a whole lot in this world. That persistance and perseverance will take him places that being cute and charming and a ball of energy will not.

He's learning the true power of having grit.

Especially when it comes to fluently reading "harder books," as he puts it.

Our conversation about hard work and perseverance is pretty much a daily occurrence these days, and, in my attempt to not let our talks turn in to a Mommy Lecture, I'm trying to find other ways to introduce the conversation.

Through books. And children events. And movies.

Like Akeelah and The Bee on This movie is about eleven-year-old Akeelah Anderson, who is determined to spell her way out of South Los Angeles and make it to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. This is a movie of persistence, talent, and the power of hard work.

It makes for a great discussion about endurance and finishing strong. And that's exactly what I hope to instill in Aiden.

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Ambassador Program, this post is being sponsored by Netflix. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Knights and Princesses and A Slumber Party to Remember

Last weekend, Aiden and I were lucky enough to participate in the slumber parties of all slumber parties! We traveled to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine on the Upper West Side to attend The Knightwatch Medieval overnight children's event. As soon as we stepped into the cathedral, we were transported centuries back in time into Medieval splendor where kings, queens, knights, and princesses were commonplace.

Once we received our noble title and coat of arms, we joined our group in the front of the cathedral where, in Act 1, we learned that the princess was placed under a spell by a magician and everyone needs to participant in a scavenger hunt led by the Court Jester in order to find clues throughout the cathedral... that'll lead us to the key... that'll reverse the spell on the princess so that she can marry the knight.

And so began the most epic and interactive play Aiden and I have ever taken part in.

From using their own personal map of the cathedral to figuring out which part of the cathedral to run to next to seeking and finding clues to using those clues to help figure out where the next clue will be... everyone -- kids and adults alike -- was engaged and excited to be apart of the mission.

The best part? As we found clues and got one step closer to solving the mystery and helping reverse the magical spell placed on the princess, we got to watch another scene of the play. And that scene revealed so much information about the characters in the play, their motives, their potential next steps, and their true feelings.

Even better? The children and audience members were so excited to learn more about the characters as the plot thickened and even more excited to use their new-found knowledge to help them find more clues.

I won't spoil it by telling how the interactive play ends, but as soon as the mystery is solved, we all gathered in the nave to celebrate with traditional medieval dances and music, which we learned throughout the course of the evening.

This review wouldn't be legit if I didn't say something about the child-safe broadsword fighting workshop that all the kids were able to participate in. My sword-loving son loved, loved, loved this part of the event. He's still asking if we can go back so that he can practice sword fighting.

After the celebration was complete, we all got into our pajamas, set up our cots, and gathered around in the nave for story-telling time. (Be sure to bring an extra sweater and/or blanket with you because the nave gets drafty at night.) Both the children and adults were able to share a story, which was really special. I tell ya, kids tell the most funny and animated stories! Ever!

Before getting into bed, the children were able to use their flashlights to explore the cathedral, but, naturally, that turned in to a game of hide-and-go-seek. There were giggles, there was whispering, there was the sound of little feet running to and fro. It was, in a nutshell, glorious. And exactly what childhood is made of! 

For more information about the Knightwatch Medieval, visit the website. There will be three more chance this season for you to participate in all this amazingness: October 17th, May 29th, and June 5th. Tickets are $135.00 per person and discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.

Based on Aiden's experience -- and that of all the other children -- it'll be worth every penny!

{Disclaimer: Aiden and I were guests of the Knightwatch Medieval. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Bronx Zoo's Boo at the Zoo

Photo via Bronx Zoo
Folks, Halloween's upon us and, even though the air is crisp and cooler, things are just beginning to heat up at The Bronx Zoo!

From now through Sunday, November 2nd, grab your littles and head over to The Bronx Zoo for spooks and spectacular fun at Boo at the Zoo! There's so many activities, including a magical illuminated pumpkin walk, costume parades with stilt walkers, giant puppets, Broadway show performances, arts and crafts, trick-or-treating, and much more!

Want more?

You and the entire family can also visit the animal exhibits of bats, owls, and other iconic animals of Halloween.

And, remember that time Aiden and I went on the Dinosaur Safari? Well, you can also enjoy this trip back in time before it goes extinct!

Photo via The Bronx Zoo
Plus... you don't want to miss the premiere of the Jack 'O Lantern Illumination -- Creatures of the Night, where you'll be amazed by over 1,00 hand-carved Jack 'O Lanterns, skillfully sculpted into various animal shapes (read: bats, reptiles, marine creatures, mammals, nocturnal birds, bugs, and more).

Since visiting The Bronx Zoo can be quite a trek, make a day of it by enjoying the many attractions that the zoo has to offer. Not only will it be a safe and fun way to celebrate the Halloween season, but it will also be educational, interactive, and entertaining for the whole family.

Visit The Bronx Zoo's website for more information about Boo at the Zoo! Aiden and I will be there this weekend. In full costume, of course. Hope to see you there!

{Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for the Zoo Crew and this post is part of a sponsored series. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Speak Life

Every morning, when we get to Aiden's school building, before I let his hand go, I whisper into his ear.

I tell him that he's to go into the school, with his shoulders squared and head up. I tell him to be proud of who he is and what he has to offer to his school and to his classroom. I tell him to follow the teachers directions and be an example in his classroom. I tell him to try new things. Because we can deal with him failing and we can deal with him learning lessons. But not trying is just not acceptable.

I tell him to be kind and friendly and respectful to his peers.

I tell him to read.

I tell him to explore. And share his findings.

I tell him to pet Mr. Bunny, the class rabbit. He loves that thing.

I tell him to be great. Because he's destined for greatness. And he's destined to do amazing things in this world.

I speak life into him. I speak health and happiness and prosperity and good success into his life.

And then I give him a big hug and a big kiss, tell him that I love him, and send him on his way.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Toyota #TeenDrive Safety Clinics in NY & NJ

I don't have a teenager. (Although, most of the time, I do feel like Aiden's 6 going on 16.) But I remember back when I was a senior in high school and my then-boyfriend (aka my high school sweetheart, aka the person I thought I was going to marry... ah... young love!) first got his drivers license.

I remember that our entire crew was super excited and super happy that he got his drivers license. I was especially happy because I had a boyfriend who had a car and who could drive.

One day, as he was driving us home from school, his best friend (who was driving in his own car) thought it would be a good idea to see who could drive the fastest. Deep down inside, I thought it was a stupid idea. I mean, driving over the speed limit just to see which car's doper and can do doper ish just didn't make sense to me. But, I went along with it. Because, you know, I'm a girl and what the heck do I know about cars and guys and what makes guys look cool.

Zip zero, apparently.

So we drove. Fast. Too fast for my liking. They laughed and said things like, "Yo!!!" I clung to the handle on the passenger door and prayed to God that we would make it out alive.

We did.

I'm still here. He's still here. His best friend's still here. Our relationship is not still here.

Later on that day, I told him that I was way too scared to get back in the car with him if he was gonna be driving over the speed limit like the road is some kinda roller coaster, there to provide adventure just for the thrill of it.

But, honestly, I wish I had the guts to say something to him before we got in the car. Like, drive safety and smartly because, when you don't, you not only risk your life, but the life of others as well.

I didn't tell my then-boyfriend that, but I do intend to tell Aiden -- and every other teen who would listen -- when they get their driver's license. Because, if I don't tell them, they may think it's cool to do stupid things like drive as fast as they could to see if their car is "cool" or not.

Not gonna happen. Not with my Aiden.

That's why I'm partnering with Toyota and their Teen Driver Safety Clinic. If you have a teen who drives -- or if you love a teen who drives -- visit their website to learn more information or to RSVP for the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic. If you're on social media, follow along with the hashtag #TeenDrive365 to stay in the know.

{Disclaimer: I am a member of the Stiletto Media Blogger Network. This is a sponsored post written for #TeenDrive365 and the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. For more information on the Toyota Teen Driver Safety Clinic, please visit}

{Giveaway} Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis

New Yorkers... get ready for some serious awesomeness! 

From October 17th until January 11th, The Big Apple Circus will be in town for its annual engagement under the Big Top at Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park with its all-new show, METAMORPHOSIS! 

Performers from the United States, Russia, France, and Mongolia will be coming together to bring you the thrilling flyers of the trapeze, the razzle-dazzle of the rolla bolla, the risky rhythms of the Risley team, camels, horses, elephants, humor, fun, and memories that'll last a lifetime!

Aiden and I have always been fans of the circus because there's just something so magical about sitting under the Big Top next to cheering fans, eating popcorn, ooh-ing and aah-ing, sitting at the edge of our seats and watching performers literally defy the laws of gravity... whew

And we'll be hanging out under the Big Top on opening night, which is Friday, October 17th to do just that -- be in awe. Aiden's really excited and, since I've mentioned it, he's been asking about it... every... single... day. I just smile and nod and tell him today's not the day. (But what I really wanna say to him is, "Relax, boo." #JustSaying).

And, because I love you, I want to share the experience with you and your littles. That's why I'm so happy that the good folks over at The Big Apple Circus have graciously offered to give two tickets away to one lucky Mommy Delicious reader. 

One (1) lucky Mommy Delicious reader will receive two (2) tickets to the opening night's performance, which is Friday, October 17th a t6:30pm (doors open at 5:30pm). 

To enter: 
Head over to The Big Apple Circus website to find the answer to the following: The Big Apple Circus is a non-profit organization and does amazing work with several community programs. Name one of the community programs in the comments section below. 

One (1) lucky winner will be chosen via on Monday, October 13th at 5pm! 

Good luck!

{Disclaimer: This post and giveaway is being sponsored by The Big Apple Circus. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Old Man and The Old Moon at The New Victory Theater

Photo via New Victory Theater
Banjos. Acoustic guitars. Fiddles. Accordions. Glass harmonicas. Those are just some of the instruments you'll hear in The Old Man and The Old Moon, which is now playing at The New Victory Theater. Jumping. Jamming. Clapping. Singing. Moving. Grooving. That's exactly how the folk-rock fable begins.

Then the storytelling begins. And not just any old way either, but with an amazing use of puppetry, props, lighting, and ever-changing characters.

Infused with contemporary folk music, The Old Man and The Old Moon tells the story of a husband who abandons his duties of filling up the moon with liquid light so he can sail the seas in search of his wife, who followed the sound of a familiar melody out to the ocean. What follows is a story filled with love and loss and laughter and adventure. Audience members will find themselves fully invested in the old man's journey and rooting him all the way -- even when he's being deceitful -- because we know that in the end, all that he does is out of love and devotion for his estranged wife.

Photo via New Victory Theater
Throughout the old man's journey, different characters drop little buckets of knowledge and wisdom that'll leave you nodding your head in agreement:

"Lay eyes on as much of the world as you can..."

Yes, yes... I agree.

"I remember hope. And I remember what happened afterwards. And I prefer not to feel either..."

Wow... talk about when sweet turns sour!

While some of the humor and music went a little over Aiden's six-year-old head, one of the story's messages is something that he took away with him. When I asked him what the show was about, he brilliantly answered, "It's about how to survive."

Amen to that!

Because, in a lot of ways, it is about how to survive -- when you're inside the belly of a giant fish, when you're lost at sea, when you're in the middle of a war zone, and when love takes a different turn than you ever thought it would...

The Old Man and The Old Moon is 90 minutes long with no intermission, which may be a little long for the younger ones to sit through. However, Aiden didn't seem to mind the length of the show too much because he was too busy wondering what was going to happen next. The show runs from now through October 13th and tickets start at just $15. Visit The New Victory Theater website for more information or to purchase your tickets!

{Disclaimer: Tickets to The Old Man and The Old Moon were provided to me in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}


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