Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reflections on The Child of A Single Mom

{Photo via}
I have a special kind of love for Aiden. It’s more than that he’s-my-first-child-and-that-makes-our-bond-special kind of love. We’ve really grown together. We’re growing together. He teaches me about love and life just as much as I attempt to teach him about love and life.

Aiden grinds with me. The kid hustles with me.

I remember taking 1-year-old Aiden to work with me when I couldn’t find a babysitter in time. I remember taking 2-year-old Aiden to Hawaii so that he could serve as the ring bearer for my friends’ wedding. Traveling 12 hours with a 2-year-old, rambunctious kid was, umm, no joke. Then there were the times that I took 3-year-old Aiden to grad school with me because there was no one to babysit. At first, I got the side eye from classmates. But, after the first couple of times, they didn’t mind. Or at least they pretended not to. 4-year-old Aiden sat next to me as I worked against the clock to meet a deadline. Several times.

There’s no doubt about it: we’ve worked! Tirelessly. And he’s done it all with a winning personality, a sense of humor, and a smile on his face.

But… we’ve played too. Hard. 

At Disney World. And on a cruise around the Southern Caribbean. In Puerto Rico. And at many events and outings all over NYC.

Aiden’s a very special little boy. And this is not just coming from a he’s-my-first-child-and-that-makes-our-bond-special place. He really is a special little boy.

Our life is far from perfect. But it’s real.

Aiden wasn't home when the horrific domestic violence incidents took place. But he was there for the aftermath. I remember when his other parent finally moved out of the apartment. He took his big screen television first, and I didn't object because I didn't want him to have an excuse to come back leave any of his things behind. That day, Aiden and I returned home from running errands, and a 2-year-old Aiden said, "Hey... where a TV go?!" 

He's such a cutie. 

We went a month-and-a-half without a television after that because I was concentrating on picking up the pieces of my life. And filling it with joy. 

I used to wonder (and still do sometimes) if I'm enough for him. If I have the wisdom and grace and patience and critical thinking skills to raise him into a socially competent young man. But then I sit... 

...And I watch him.

I watch him play with his toys and re-enact situations that took place the day before or the week before. I watch him interact with others. And I see how rough and competitive and rambunctious he can be. But I also see how kind and generous and sweet he is. I watch him read to me. Or tell me a story with so much detail and expression. I watch him clean up his toys without me prompting him to do so. I watch him correct others who are not doing the right thing.

...And I reflect. 

I reflect on his compassion and loveable personality. I reflect on his confidence. I reflect on his ability to learn from his mistakes and I reflect on his resilience. He started a new school this year and, although he's had a few rocky days, he's been holding his own like a true champ. He's smart and quirky and silly and funny. 

...And I remember that he's likeable. You'd like him. Aiden turned 5-years-old this week, but I swear, sometimes it feels as though this kid has been here before because he's got an old soul. He makes me proud to be this mother. Seriously, I'm amazed by this kid. Every. Single. Day. He's a rockstar. 

...And I listen to him. And he’ll say something like, “Mommy, I super love you,” and that just makes my day.

Back atcha kiddo. Back atcha.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

{Guest Post} Kid-Friendly, Healthy and Tasty Halloween Desserts

Written by Leslie Johnson

On Halloween night, your children will return home will pillowcases full of candies, chocolates, and sweets. As a mother who always puts her children's health and nutrition first, you can imagine my horror whenever I see them devouring piece after piece of sugary, unhealthy Halloween treats. It can be extremely frustrating to let your children indulge in Halloween candy when you know with absolute certainty that what they're eating isn't good for them. Sure, a little candy here and there won't hurt, but it's always important to incorporate some healthy choices into your Halloween celebrations if you can. For those of you who want to prepare some healthier sweets for your children, her are four scrumptious ideas.

Apple Mouths
When I was a kid, my mother used to make me "apple mouths" – a mouth-shaped dessert made with apples, almonds, and peanut butter. They're extremely easy to make and kids love them. I find myself snacking on them, too! If your children don't like almonds, you can substitute them for marshmallows.
What you need:
Apple Corer, apples, peanut butter, sliced almonds (or marshmallows)
How to make it:
Take as many apples as you like and core them. Next, cut the apples into quarters and slice wedges into the skin side of each quarter. Spread a small serving of peanut butter on the wedges and press the slivered almonds (or marshmallows) in place. Enjoy!

Less Sinful Dirt & Worms
Whenever someone first told me about the famed dirt & worms dessert, I shrieked; it sounded nasty, but once I tried it at a friend's Halloween party, I was hooked. The chocolate pudding with Oreo topping and sweet gummy worms dish was sinfully delicious, but it definitely wasn't nutritious. I'm a fan of taking high-calorie recipes and making them lighter, so I was grateful when a friend gave me the recipe to her "less sinful" version of dirt & worms.
What you need:
2  (1.5 ounce) packages of fat-free instant chocolate pudding mix, 4 cups of skim milk, 15 gummy worms (chopped into thirds), and 12 reduced-fat Oreo cookies (smashed into pieces)
How to make it:
Combine pudding mix and milk and beat with a whisk for 4 minutes. Pour the pudding mixture into a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour. When ready to serve, sprinkle the gummy worms and Oreo cookies on top. Eat up!

Spooky Bananas
I always have a bunch of bananas in my kitchen so I can throw them into oatmeal, cereal, lunches, desserts, and a number of other delicious dishes. Around Halloween time, bananas are a favorite in my household. On Halloween night, I love to make spooky bananas for my kids.
What you need:
1 cup shredded coconut, raisins, mini chocolate chips, 3 bananas, 2 cups of orange juice, and popsicle sticks or skewers
How to make it:
Cut the bananas in half and insert a popsicle stick or skewer at the sliced end. Freeze the bananas for two hours and then dip them in the orange juice followed by the shredded coconut. Once the coconut flakes adhere to the banana, place two chocolate chips (for the eyes) and a raisin (for the mouth) on the bananas.

Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cupcakes
Pumpkin is one of my favorite ingredients to use during the fall. I incorporate it into a number of dishes, including ravioli, burgers, chili, and cupcakes. My mother gave me her recipe for pumpkin cupcakes, and it's so easy to make. All you need is one box of yellow cake mix and one can of pumpkin, and that's it; try for yourself if you don't believe me!
What you need:
One 18-ounce box of yellow cake mix and one 15-ounce can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
 How to make it:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Next, pull out 24 cupcake wrappers and place them in your muffin pans. Mix the cake mix and pumpkin in a bowl until smooth and then pour the mixture into the liners. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool on a rack and then devour!

Don't let the upcoming holidays derail your commitment to keeping your children healthy. Utilize delicious, nutritious recipes like these in order to keep your children's health in check!

About the Author: Leslie Johnson is a freelance writer and journalist who writes about physical and mental wellness for Feel free to send a comment her way!

Monday, October 22, 2012

{Personal Style} Dainty, Prissy, Pleated Skirt

Over the weekend, I joined flocks of other Columbia Alumni at Taj Lounge in the Flatiron District for Homecoming festivities, which comprised of an evening of dinner, drinks, dancing, and mingling. 

Major fun.

This delicious single momma was especially excited to mingle with one person in particular. So here’s the deal: there’s this former classmate that I’ve been enjoying getting to know. We’ve hung out a few times, and he’s smart and ambitious and kind and really, really sweet. Oh, and cute. Let’s just call him... my CU Friend. 

At Homecoming, I may or may not have touched his gorgeous face a little bit, hugged him a little longer and a little closer than the acceptable this-is-just-a-friendship-and-absolutely-nothing-more hug, and whispered sweet nothings into his ear. Loudly. In an attempt to talk over the music. But, after 3 ½ glasses of Pinot Grigio (in a 2-hour span), what else can you expect? I'm just saying...

But I digress. More on my CU Friend later. (Maybe.)

I was feeling very dainty and prissy in this cute little number. After all, you can’t go wrong with a fitted top, pleated skirt, and black sash. 

[L and I, big pimping...]
I wore the same dress a few weeks ago with a different statement necklace, and since it was quite a hit, I figured I'd try it out again, but jazz it up with patterned tights for a trendy touch. The patent pumps added a hint of elegance and the spiked clutch added a bit of edge.  

Speaking of clutches, how rocker-chic amaze is this bad boy that I scored from F21?! Love it!

What’d you guys think of the outfit?

Wait... am I allowed to say "his gorgeous face" on the Internet? Where he everyone can read it?


Have a stylish week, ya’ll!

Friday, October 19, 2012

{Guest Post} Family Fun Night

Written by Marie Hunter

Having a regular family fun night is a great way to make sure your family doesn't get bogged down in the stress of everyday life. After all, your kids are some of the most important people in your life, and you want to make sure you take the time to enjoy them and let them enjoy each other and you. Instead of having yet another movie night at home with microwave popcorn, get creative and try out some new agendas. Next time you want to plan a family fun night, consider some of these activities that will be a blast for all of you!

Campfire and Games
Whether you build a campfire in your backyard, head to the beach, or go to a nature site with fire pits, a campfire is always a great way to facilitate a fun evening. Put the electronics away, gather everyone around a blazing fire, and have some good old-fashioned family bonding time. Toss out all of your rules about limits on desserts and let the kids chow down on s'mores and other treats as you play campfire games, tell scary stories, or even sing together, if that's something your family enjoys. If the mosquitoes get too bad, head back inside and play some board games to finish out the night.
Active Excursions
When your kids are the sort who have tons of energy, it may be best to choose something active you can do as a family on your night out. The kids will love getting to try new activities and let some of their energy and competitiveness out in a fun setting. Consider a family trip to the bowling alley, ice skating rink, batting cages, or a laser tag facility. Using restaurant coupons for an after-activity meal helps reduce the cost of taking your whole family out on these sorts of excursions. Finish off the night with a trip to an ice cream parlor or just pick up a gallon of ice cream and some toppings for sundaes at home!
New Food Adventures
Food-centric family nights are always fun ones, so whether you cook in or eat out, splurge on delicious food your kids will love. If they're adventurous when it comes to food, consider trying out an ethnic restaurant. If you order a few dishes and share them all "family style," you can each get a taste of the new foods and get some ideas for things you may want to try preparing at home. You can also toss out all expectations of kitchen cleanliness and get everyone involved in preparing dinner and dessert at home. Let the dishes soak in the sink overnight and take care of them in the morning, because family fun night is about fun, not cleaning.
Whatever you decide to do for family night, make sure it's focused on fun, not disciplining or teaching your kids. It's OK to let loose every once in a while and overlook minor infractions. Help your kids be on their best behavior by talking with them to set expectations before you start your family fun night, and then get them involved in whatever activity you're doing. They'll be so busy having fun that they forget to act out!
 About the author: When Maire isn't lost in reading the latest hot novel, she is planning her future vacations to tropical places. She also loves taking care of her cat, Walter, and her Scottish Terrier, Pete.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We All Have Insecurites To Deal With

Last weekend, I celebrated my friends' birthday with dinner, drinks, and some much-needed girl talk. We had a really great time and I was reminded (yet again) how important it is to take time out for myself and my friendships.

While we were at dinner, I heard a lot of "I don't know how you do it" and "You're doing so much... wow!" and "I'm impressed with all that you do."

I was flattered.

But, the truth is, I was impressed with all of the other ladies at the dinner table. They are all doing amazingly great things, and still have time to hang out and have a good time.

Some are in graduate school rocking it out.

The birthday girl recently finished law school and is preparing to move across country.

Some are working 'round the clock at their day job and taking care of business with their side hustle.

Some are in relationships and it's going really well.

Some are in relationships and they've just overcome a really rough patch.

Some are concerned about what kind of mother they will be.

Some are worried if they will even have children because they're getting older and haven't gotten married yet. (I pretty much laughed at this comment because 28 or 29 is not old at all, but quite youthful, with plenty of time to reproduce.)

Some are not loving their current job, but working hard to find another one.

Some feel stuck. Some feel successful. Some feel lost. Some feel lucky.

All are blessed. 

The point that I'm trying to make is this: everyone has stuff that they have to deal with. Everyone has a different path that they must follow in life. Those paths are filled with trials and triumphs, sorrows and successes, and loads of lessons to be learned. If you allow for it to happen.

I'm truly blessed with the life that I have now. It wasn't easy getting here. But, it's not all peaches and cream either. I have my own issues and situations and roadblocks that I'm dealing with. Every. Single. Day.

As do you.

And all the other ladies at that dinner table.

So... don't compare yourself to other people. Celebrate their success, yes. But don't think that their lives are picture perfect. Because, we all have our own struggles, insecurities, and challenges to deal with.




Monday, October 15, 2012

{Personal Style} The Green Team... And Friendships

There's no secret about it: I love all things pink. Seriously, I live for the color pink and think it goes with pretty much everything.

But, I've fallen for this green jacket from the moment that I laid eyes on it. I've been wearing it so often, and it kinda makes me feel as though I'm cheating on the color pink.

[dress, jacket: H&M; shoes: Steve Madeen]
This weekend, my girlfriend, Nika celebrated her birthday in a very sophisticated and chic way. A group of us gathered together at Calle Ocho, a restaurant on the Upper West Side for an evening of dinner, drinks, and girl talk. It was a lot of fun and made me realize just how important friendships really are. (Nika was one of the first people that I met at college -- ten years ago -- and we've remained friends through distance, time, and... life.)

I stepped out with my green jacket, and paired with a black mini dress and patterned tights, which made me feel pretty retro. I finished the look off with stacked bracelets and peep-toe suede pumps. Simple and trendy and total sweetness.

As busy as we all are with work, career-building, grad school, side hustles, boo-thangs, finding ourselves, growing, maturing, figuring our ish out, and, in my case, motherhood, it's so important that we take time out to enjoy each other and celebrate life.

Seems that I'm being reminded of this quite often these days.

Hope you all have a stylish week!

Friday, October 12, 2012

On Building Strong Children

If you hang out with Mommy Delicious on Facebook, you probably already know that Aiden's teacher and I email each other quite frequently. Sometimes we email several times in the week, but we communicate at least once per week.

It's my way of staying connected since I work full time and cannot physically be present at his school.

Last week, the kid was having a hard time turn-taking and being gentle with his peers. His teachers and I developed a short-term plan to get him where he needed to be. And fast. We were consistent in our actions -- at home and in school.

The results?

Well, let's just say that today's email from his teachers made me smile.
"We would like to thank you so much for working with Aiden.  This week he has shown much improvement.  We thanked him today in our large groups meeting for asking someone if he could play with them, for telling someone else, very politely, that he was still working with a work and then for telling a friend that we are all winners! Thanks again for your hard work and support!"

As the saying goes... "It's easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." ~ Frederick Douglass 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Five Must Have Accessories for Fall

Written by Debra Johnson

You already have the bold royal blue skinny jeans and the blood red lipstick for the fall, now all you need is the ultimate accessory or two (or five) to complete your look. Here are five items you don’t want to miss out on this year:

Fringe purse: Fringe may have been a really popular summer item but good news this look can carry you into the fall. Fringe in a neutral shade (grey, camel, burgundy and black) purse is a must have for your carrying needs. Whether you choose a clutch, hobo or cross body just make sure it’s sporting some fringe. 
IPhone 5 : Of course you have to have the latest and greatest from the folks over at Apple. iPhone 5 has been released and the lines have formed. It’s the ultimate accessory for the woman on the go and that wants to keep up with the tech trends. On a budget? Wait for your upgrade or stick to the iPhone 4S, they are being sold for pretty inexpensive prices. 

Red plaid scarf: It’s cuter than it sounds. If it reminds you of the Seattle grunge music scene circa 1994 or of the English horse riders, then get it. It’s in this fall. It adds a touch of class and fun to any neutral outfit. Have fun with it! 

Grey booties: It’s all about the booties. And this fall, they need to be in a lighter grey color. These go with just about any outfit in your wardrobe and add some pizazz to any outfit. You can find grey booties anywhere right now, they are that hot! 

Old school eyeglasses: There is a fine line when it comes to wearing old school eyeglasses. First rule, you must have a prescription for glasses or you will be classified as a ‘hipster’. Second rule, avoid the overused black, square (and hipster) looking ones that were all over the place last year. Try out a different shape and the tortoise shell pattern. Ultra fab and a look anyone can pull off! 

You can find any of these trendy pieces online or at your local shopping mall. The rule of thumb is to take the trend and make it your own. Add your own personal style and touch! Be you, be bold and be beautiful as you are! 

About the Author: This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sesame Place's Halloween Spooktacular {Review}

Over the weekend, Aiden and I had the opportunity to hang out with the entire Sesame Street clan at Sesame Place for The Count's Halloween Spooktacular, and I must say, I was thoroughly impressed with the way the parked is decorated for the season!

[The kid started out as a Transformer and ended up as a Ninja Turtle. Sorta.]
I'm so used to seeing water rides and sunshine that I wasn't too sure what to expect of The Count's Halloween Spooktacular. But, nevertheless the kid and I were still able to smile and sing, "Sunny days, drifting the clouds away..."

[Trick or Treat!]
In lieu of water rides, there was a hayride, several trick or treat stations (where kids were given candy, chips, toothbrushes... you name it!), an Un-Haunted House (which was particularly fun to go through), and a maze where we had to help Abby find her wand. (Aiden liked it so much that he requested to go back to it. Twice).

The pumpkin patch proved to be a fun way to get in the spirit of things, and Aiden soaked it all up.

[Strike a silly pose!]
I loved that all of the characters were dressed in costume -- it really brought the entire theme to life and made the experience that much more magical.

["Mean Aiden," as Aiden puts it.]
I'm also happy that one lucky reader will win a family pack to experience Sesame Place's Halloween Spooktacular. The contest ends tomorrow so head HERE to enter!

Good luck!

[Obviously Aiden and I are #TeamBigBird]
{Disclaimer: Our visit to Sesame Place was a sponsored event. All opinions expressed herein are my own.}


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