Friday, February 27, 2015

Teaching Kids to Forge Thier Own Destiny With

"Mistakes are proof that you're trying."

"You can't beat someone who never gives up."

These are the quotes that I've been repeating to myself -- and Aiden -- over and over and over again this week.

It's been a struggle, these past few weeks. Maybe it's the winter blues, maybe it's the daily grind, maybe it's all the things I (we) have been dealing with these past few months, maybe it's... life. And it just so happens to be our season to go through some things.


But even in the midst of all the crazy and all the things life throws, I've been trying to foster some resilience in little man. By letting him know that he has to keep going, he has to keep trying, he has to keep pushing to forge his own path.

We've been talking. A lot. About goals and what he wants to accomplish by the end of first grade (moving up reading levels and getting to the "really" hard book in math). About dreams of what he wants to do and be when he grows up. And about vision. Because without a vision, he won't be able to accomplish any of his goals.

Start 'em young, right?

We've also been doing. Practicing reading and math and really challenging his ability. Reading books about kids who've forged their own paths. And now, watching Netflix movies about the same.

Here are two movies that are currently streaming on Netflix that'll help drive home the message that I'm trying to teach Aiden:

Ever After High

Ever After High is a boarding school for teens destined to follow in their famous parents' fairytale footsteps. But, as in every high school and with every adolescent, there's drama. Lots of it. Some characters will embrace their "happily ever afters," but others will choose their own destiny and rewrite their stories.

Richie Rich 

The Netflix's original series premiered earlier this month on February 20th and has been getting rave reviews. Aiden's seen the original movie and I know he'll love this one as well.Turns out that refusing to eat your veggies will yield amazing financial gains.

{Disclaimer: As a member of the Netflix Stream Team Blogger Ambassador Program, this post is sponsored by Netflix. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A&A Takes Chicago!

A little while back, Aiden and I ventured to Chi-Town and played tourist for a few days. In addition to a new scooter and a new video game for his Nintendo 3DS, I got the kid a plane ticket to Chicago. Because he talked about visiting there quite often and because I believe that experiences outweigh things. Any day. Everyday.

All up in the clouds

Excitement on Michigan Ave.
And, thankfully, the Windy City did not disappoint. From Giordano's deep dish delicious pizza to the sites and attractions to easily navigating the city on public transportation, Aiden and I proved that you could have a great family-friendly vacation that doesn't require a beach.

After arriving early in the morning, we found a map, braved the cold, and took the train and bus to the downtown area, which is where our hotel was located. We stayed at the Hilton Chicago Magnificent Mile Suites, which was right in the center of pretty much everything. I loved that the hotel had an indoor pool, which was the place to be after a long day of doing touristy things. I also loved the suite-style rooms, partially because, for the very first time in seven years, Aiden had his own TV in the living area and I had my own TV in the bedroom. Nice!

The down side? The hotel did not have free wifi, which completely sucked considering that I needed my laptop and the internet in order to plan out our days. But... the concierge was really warm and friendly and helped me with directions whenever I needed it. (Aiden and I literally took public transportation everywhere, even to and from the airport.)

At. 3rd Coast. Cutest date ever!

One afternoon, we ventured out on a walking tour of downtown and stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant tucked away in a residential neighborhood, 3rd Coast. It was so warm and homely and the brunch was delish.

Other places that we loved? Ice skating at Millennium Park, window shopping on Michigan Ave., ooh-ing and aah-ing at The Bean (I loved it so much that I went back at night just to check it out.), riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, and spending the day at The Chicago Children's Museum.

Chicago is a busy city, but it feels a lot less busy than NYC, which is exactly what I needed at the time. Being able to chill out, spend quality time with Aiden without the pressure of school, work, and other obligations was so great. We woke up, planned out our day, enjoyed new experiences, and loved up on each other.

Oh, and we ate good pizza. Really, really good pizza.

"NYC does not have pizza like this." ~Aiden
We loved Chicago (how could we not?!), but since we've been enduring this brutal Winter in NYC, I'm itching to plan our next vacation. On a beach. In the tropics. Where there's sunshine. And sand. And aqua water.

Aiden seconds my sentiments. "I liked Chicago, but... too cold. Let's go to California or some place warm next time."

That's already in the works, kiddo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cambuyon at The New Victory Theater

What can you do when you're stuck on a ship with wooden crates, steel buckets, recycled glass bottles, and tiny matchboxes?

Apparently a whole lot!

Especially if you're one of the talented cast members of Cambuyón!

In this show, seven amazingly talented performers will wow you with the sounds of Africa, Ireland, Spain, and the Americas to form rhythms like you've never heard before. And the dancing -- whew, chile! -- will not only make you ooh and ahh and move and groove, but it'll also make you feel the rhythm of the beat... down in your soul... all up in your bones. 

The way the performers combine percussion, tap, jazz, drumming, and hip hop to find life in mundane objects makes it even more spectacular. I mean, who would think that you'd be able to make dope music from a matchbox?! A matchbox for Pete's sake?!

Come Buy On.
For over a hundred years, it was a by-word for friendly trading. [Now] it's the title of a show that celebrates rhythm in all its forms. In the mid-19th century, British ships too large to dock in Canary Island ports would hang out a sign saying 'come buy on', and invite islanders to sail out and trade with them. 'It was not only an exchange of goods, but of ideas and ways to live,' explains director Carlos Belda. 'Those English words became the Spanish word cambuyón; it was a cultural fusion.'*

Cambuyón runs from now through February 22nd at The New Victory Theater. The show is 60 minutes long with no intermission and is recommended for children ages 6 and up. Tickets start at just $15. Visit the website for more information or to purchase your tickets.

(Pro tip: Purchase tickets for this Friday, February 13th and you'll be treated to a Talk Back where you'll be able to chat with the artists after the show!)


*Quote is from Kelly Apter.

{Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Monday, February 9, 2015

Milk + Bookies Celebration at Dylan's Candy Bar

When I received the golden ticket to the NYC celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Roald Dahl book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I knew that Aiden and I had to jump on it! After all, the event was hosted at one of our favorite sweet spots -- Dylan's Candy Bar.

And the event, which took place on January 31st, was hosted by Milk + Bookies, a nationwide charitable organization that not only inspires children to give back, but also provides opportunities for children to raise book donations and give back to their peers who do not have access to books of their own.

As an educator, mom, and someone who loves getting lost in a good book, I'm all for the mission of Milk + Bookies!

Plotting and Planning

Chocolate-covered marshmallow -- the first of many!

At the NYC celebration, Aiden and I donated both new and gently used books, hung out with Willy Wonka himself, and ate lots of chocolate-covered... everything. (Note to self: chocolate fountains are dangerous.)

Check out this photo where Aiden's mouth was quite literally stuffed with chocolate-covered marshmallows:

The kid also participated in the bubble-blowing contest and got to chew bubble gum for the first -- and last! -- time. #JustSaying #TotalPartyPooper #DontJudgeMe

At some point during the event, there were celebrity readings of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Although I spent most of my time chasing Aiden away from the chocolate fountain, I did manage to have him sit still long enough to snap this picture of Michael Kelly from House of Cards:

And I did manage to blow a bubble big enough to *almost* win the bubble gum contest.


Then this happened:

Yep. That's Aiden. At the bar. Drunk off of sweet things and sugary things and marshmallow-y things. (But, hey... #YOLO.)

I'm so happy we braved the cold, got out of the house, and celebrated a lovely book with an amazing organization. As Aiden said, "It was the best day ever!"

I second that. And the way he crashed and burned once we got home, totally proves it.

Thanks to Milks + Bookies and Dylan's Candy Bar for hosting such a fun-filled and sweet event. (Pun intended.)

Visit the Milks + Bookies website to learn more about the organization and how you can donate new or gently used books to children in need.

{Disclaimer: I received an invitation to the event. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}

Sunday, February 1, 2015

{Guest Post} Style Trends for Moms

By Sarrah Juzar 
It’s a new year and we are all too excited about trying out new things, polishing our personalities and bringing out that “new me,” we promise ourselves to, at the start of every year. However clichéd or overused this new year resolution may sound, I think some clichés should always stay, clichés which sprouts optimism and even a bit of a chance for betterment. 
We all love to look and feel better at any point of the year (but the enthusiasm is quite strong at the beginning of year). As for mothers, they hardly get time to pimp up themselves and their wardrobes, but it is that time of the year when you can actually take a look at the trends and shape your wardrobe according to them.
To all the beautiful mothers out there,
While you are shopping for your little ones, how about you keep your trend list along and shop for yourself too.
Here’s all that you need for the coming seasons of the year 2015.
The Curvy Beauties:
This year has been a literal happy new year for women with beautiful curves.  We are mothers and it’s absolutely okay not to have those skinny frames because we have a whole lot to deal with. As a matter of fact, super heroes (that are undoubtedly, moms) can’t always be skinny. If you’re curvy and fit then you’re in the best shape and yes, there’s good news for you. While the world was busy making not so practical trends; London fashion week for Spring 2015 had something real to offer with their Evans Plus-size runway. Evans made waves for many years to come, with their biggest plus size runway for spring 2015. The best part was, everything presented at the runways was adaptable for all sizes. Here’s a quick look for cute curvy mommies.
Come spring, and every women (moms in particular) should get their hands on dress like this. The sheer beauty of white, with Aztecs and sequins is nothing short of perfection. The dress strikes a flattering image with this light weight layer of eyelet jacket. I say, every mother should get this for their LWDs.

Ginghams are shaping the new trends and taking them to a nostalgic new level. So don’t miss out on this trend and get at least a dress or a gingham skirt for this year. You and your little one can match a gingham outfit and look super cool.
Culottes and roomy pants:

Thankfully, the pants have changed from skinny to roomy and this year. There are culottes and denims that are big. So no more Ms. Skinny jeans, and yes to evening pants, all things comfy.
These trends are easy to be adopted and totally wearable for all the super moms. You can always experiment with colors and style as per  your own taste. Have a great year and look fabulous!
 Author Bio: Sheerin Jafri is a passionate lifestyle and fashion blogger. She writes for Sophie & Trey, an online clothing store for women.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Loving On All Thing Cute and Furry with Netflix

Aiden and I are walking from the subway to his school building. We pass a couple dogs on the way and he says, "Mommy, all of these dogs are so cute. I don't know which one to get!"

Umm... who told him he was getting a dog?!

"We're not getting a dog, Aiden."

"Why not?"

"Because... we can't have a pet in our building."

My response was not entirely true. We can have pets in our apartment, but we can't have dogs. Plus, I don't want a dog. *Shrugs* But Aiden loves dogs. And cats. In fact, he thinks my friend L's cat (what's up, Ninja?!) is his best friend. (Ninja thinks differently since every time Aiden's around, Ninja can't get a moment of peace. Sorry L. And Ninja.)

Luckily for Aiden, there are TV shows and movies and places we can visit where he can get his fix for all things cute and furry.

Puss in Boots
The world's greatest feline fighter and lover is back and available for stream in an original Netflix series that's filled with adventures and laugh-out-loud fun! Get excited for new characters, exotic locations, and mystical tales that make up the stuff of legends.

Ever since we saw Annie in theaters last month, Aiden has been intrigued by the original film. So we've made plans check out the original and we're planning on making it a date night one of these weekends.

Air Bud
The 1997 film features Team manager Josh, who discovers that his dog Buddy can sink hoop. Eventually, the golden retriever is leading the team to the championship.

What are your fave movies about all things cute and furry to stream on Netflix?

{This post is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Thank you for supporting Mommy Delicious.}

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Create A Reading Champ for Life

Aiden: Mommy, how'd you learn to read so fast all the time?
Me: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Aiden: Practice.
Me: There you have it!

(Can we pause for a second and talk about Aiden's response?! I mean... he's so my child!) What he was actually trying to ask was "How am I able to read so fluently all of the time?" And what I was trying to respond to him was that he'll have to put in some real work -- ie: practice -- in order read like he speaks.

You see, the kid's in the first grade right now, which means we're right in the thick of learning to read fluently, like we speak. He's got the sight words down pat, he's got the blends down, he's got the sounds of the consonants and vowels down, and he knows how to have discussions about what he's reading.

But he's working on tracking the words without using his fingers and reading fluently. Which means we're working on reading fluently.

And if you've ever listened to a kindergartner or first grader read a book for the first time, you know how choppy their sentences can sometimes be and how you sometimes feel like pulling your hair out because of how slowly they can sometimes read. 

Enter Reading Champs, by Rita M. Wirtz, MA.

Rita Wirtz is a literacy expert and her book, Reading Champs is all kinds of dope, particularly because it has time-tested, at-home support tools for elementary-aged children. The book is 213 pages, but it's a pretty easy -- and solid -- read.

From recognizing words to building vocabulary to self-correcting to boasting confidence, there are so many mini-lessons that anyone can do with their children (read: you do not have to be a teacher or work in education in order to maximize on the book's potential). The mini-lessons are as short as 20 minutes, but help you target a specific skill.

Of course, I went to the table of contents to search for the lessons on fluency. Not only did the introduction help me understand the meaning of fluency much better, but the mini lessons have really helped Aiden work towards building his fluency. It's not perfect, but it's improved exponentially.

At times, he's still reading by using his fingers to under each word, but his reading is much more smooth, automatic, and filled with expression. And I don't feel like pulling my hair out while he's reading aloud to me.

Because he's reading more fluently now, he's able to sustain a single reading session for up to 25 minutes at a time, which is like a miracle amazing since Aiden is very rambunctious and full of energy, and will almost always choose to be active over sitting still.

Needless to say, I'm pleased with the tips and tricks that I got from reading Reading Champs. Be sure to visit the Reading Champs website in order to learn more about the book and how you can buy your copy.

{Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed herein are my own. Thanks for supporting Mommy Delicious.}


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