Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Culinary Beginnings

The Big Guy has started cooking lessons. And he is loving every minute of it.

Once he really started to show an interest - obsessively watch cooking shows, asking me over and over to learn to cook - I decided I wanted him to learn the correct ways to do things. I know that I can cook ... but when it comes to say, knife skills and other things? I have none.

I started researching local cooking schools and was surprised to see that there really was not much available for kids. Period. The ones I did find usually had a minimum age of 10, and were in a group setting. Nothing one on one. Some required parents be present - like a mommy and me class. And the prices. (Don't get me going on the prices.) I was not sure what I was going to do when I put it out on Facebook too see if anyone knew of a place I had overlooked. That's when Jason contacted me.

Jason and I went to school together from the time we were 12 and have remained friends till this day. I knew that he had been a chef. I had no idea he had just started his own cooking lessons for kids from his home - Culinary Beginnings. I was thrilled!

I should tell you now that this post is in no way sponsored. I am spreading the word because I think he is an amazing teacher and I want to help him get the word out.

The Big Guy and I arrived last month for his very first class. Jason has a beautiful kitchen in his Woonsocket home, complete with an area for parents to sit and wait during the lesson - with charging stations. I watched and smiled as my son got to pick out his own apron and put his name on it. Since it was the first lesson, Jason asked the Big Guy several questions about what he wanted to learn, what he did and didn't like when it came to food - even what kind of music he liked (because you need music in the kitchen).

Jason handed him a folder and they went over kitchen terms and safety together, as well as proper hand washing techniques. They went over the recipe for the day together and slowly measured everything out. Chex Mix for the first lesson.

That kid was so proud. He grinned all the way home and offered everyone Chex Mix. He made more the morning of Thanksgiving and served it with the meal.

Al took him to his next lesson where he and Jason made salad together, working on knife skills.

His upcoming lesson (taking place next week), will be making Christmas Cookies! He had the choice of making cookies or a pie and was so excited to have a say in what he would be making next. He takes his folder with him each lesson and comes home with another recipe added to it.

Other things I love? When you think of cooking, do you ever think of math, reading, motor skills or even science? Jason works pieces of all these things - and more - into the lessons. I can already see the difference in the Big Guy's confidence in the kitchen.

If you want to know more about Culinary Beginnings, you can visit them on Facebook, Instagram and their website here. Jason is running some awesome deals before the holidays. You can find them here. He caters to kids of ALL ages and even has family classes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Third Kid Edition

So I had these photos on my phone from Thanksgiving. I was just about to delete them. I have a habit of sometimes taking several photos over a few seconds to get at least one with a good smile from everyone. Look who popped into the shot for the last four to make faces. Hilarious. And to think I almost missed it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

CW Lanes and Games

I have a tip on an awesome new entertainment spot! CW Lanes & Games has opened up in the Lincoln Mall - right next to Cinemaworld Lincoln! (One of our other favorite places for kids movies all summer!)

Melissa, Jen and I were invited to take our families to CW Lanes & Games Sunday Family Tailgate event the week before Thanksgiving, for a night of bowling in a private room with football games on the big screen, food, and a tour of the new facility. 92 Pro FM, Pat the Patriot and some Patriots cheerleaders were also there to help celebrate the night.

CW Lanes & Games features the CW Bar and Grill, 22 lanes of bowling, Laser Tag, and a huge arcade. Their center opens at 10am daily, with bowling available until midnight on Friday and Saturdays (11pm during the week). The Bar and Grill opens at 11am daily.

We have to talk about the Bar and Grill. The menu? Amazing. We were able to meet Executive Chef Joseph Pestonit. Chef Pestonit has years of experience, training nationwide with a wide variety of cuisines. Selections are cooked to order, using only the freshest ingredients - which is a big deal with this mom. Most impressive is that allergies are no problem at all. The kitchen is not only nut free, but they also have dedicated Gluten Free kitchen space. Before our food was even served, we were asked what allergies our families had. I loved that they were so accommodating. And if you are as obsessed with wings as my boys are, you will be happy to know there are 18 flavors of wing sauces.

The kids had an absolute blast bowling! Pat the Patriot even bowled with them a few times! It was a really great family activity. Before we were even finished with our game, the kids were all asking when we could come back again.

And once the kids realized CW Lanes & Games is available for birthday parties? They were already planning their next birthdays! What kid wouldn't want to have a Bowling, Laser Tag and Arcade party all rolled into one!

When the game was finished, we checked out the arcade. We didn't get a chance to check out Laser Tag, but it's first on the list for next time.

And for my mom and dad friends ... you Will want to check out the bar too. Perfect for a date night - without the kids. (Just don't tell them you went without them!)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Catching Up

So I'm sitting here staring at this page and wondering what to write. One of those times I don't even know where to start. I know that I need a vat of coffee this morning. I'm in catch up mode again and I don't love that.

This week however, has been pretty exciting.

The twins commercial came out - which you can see on actual TV if you live in Massachusetts or Connecticut. If you don't, you can catch it online or watch it here. (I may have watched it like a million times now.)

The Big Guy started cooking lessons this week. A few months ago he started watching the Food Network - like really watching and loving it. He saw some kids competing and decided on the spot that that was what he wanted to do. He wanted to learn to cook (and eventually be on one of those shows). But it's the learning to cook that is most important and he started asking me for lessons.

I have wanted him to have his own thing for so long - apart from his brothers. It's hard when you have 3 kids separated by one school year. They are always going to end up with not only most of the same friends, but into the same activities. I am so happy for him that he found something he really wants. All the months he spent waiting for his braces to come off his front teeth so he could start auditioning like his brothers for movies and more? No longer important to him right now.

If something comes up, he might still want to give it a try - but overall he doesn't want to pursue acting like his brothers. And that is totally OK with me. I couldn't be more proud that he made that decision on his own.

He started cooking lessons this week with my friend Jason and he can't wait to go back again for more! (Future blog post to come about the lessons!)

Yesterday we took a last minute family trip of sorts to New York. The twins had an audition on Long Island. We don't yet know the outcome, but will hopefully hear something soon. It was a long and exhausting day but I wouldn't change a thing. (Except maybe how much I end up packing for auditions ... so many bags.)

Driving home last night with the boys all asleep in the back of the car? I couldn't get a good photo of all three of the boys because the Big Guy was leaning the opposite way - but I love turning around to check on everyone and seeing moments like this.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Everyday Heroes and Disney's Planes Fire and Rescue #FireandRescue

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Disney Planes Fire & Rescue blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Have you had a chance to see Disney Planes Fire & Rescue? My boys LOVED the movie and we have been eagerly awaiting the DVD release for Blu-ray and Digital HD  - which just so happens to be Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 4th)!

For the last few weeks, I have been part of an Instagram campaign through Social Moms and Disney Planes Fire & Rescue showcasing how kids can be everyday heroes. I have loved being a part of it ... taking time to realize all the little things the boys do each day that I might sometimes overlook. Moments like one of the boys helping his brother with his homework. Or walking into the laundry room to find my oldest trying to do his own laundry for me (even though he had never done it before).

Through the Instagram campaign, I was chosen to write a post about how my boys are my Everyday Heroes. While all 3 of them are my heroes for sure, today I am writing about my 8 year old. My oldest. He was born with cerebral palsy. We didn't know it at the time. We didn't get the actual diagnosis until he was about 19 months old - just one month after his younger twin brothers were born. It had come as a shock to my husband and I. In the beginning it was like he was ahead to hit all the milestones ... until he suddenly wasn't. We were sent for a consult thinking he might need a corrective shoe to help him walk unassisted, only to be met by an amazing doctor who was able to recognize it for what it was.

In the beginning I worried about everything for him. But it didn't last long. My baby didn't know he was any different than anyone else back then and while it might have taken him a little extra time to do something, he did it. And he crushed it time and time again. There was nothing he couldn't do.

Around the time he hit first grade, that is when things got tough again. It isn't easy when you have two little brothers just a year younger than you, starting to do everything you can do and more. It was incredibly frustrating for him. When he fell behind in swim lessons, had trouble ice skating ... when he saw them do anything faster or better? That was it. He was done trying.

His cerebral palsy had once been just something he had that was no big deal. His muscles just need a little help. Suddenly he was letting it define him. I can't do it because I have cerebral palsy he would say. As his mom, it broke my heart. He even started feeling like he didn't want anyone to know - once going so far as to deny he had it when a friend asked.

Why am I writing this if that is how he feels. Well, when trying to decide what I would write about, I actually asked him. I told him I wouldn't do it if he didn't want me to write about it. I could write about something else. I told him he was my everyday hero because he doesn't let anything stop him and he beamed and told me that it would be OK for me to write this post.  You see, the last year we had something of an amazing turn around.

He's had his ups and downs and his moments of frustration, but my baby worked so hard. For several months he was so active in wrestling and some other sports that it actually replaced his weekly physical and occupational therapy. He was told he didn't have to come back for awhile and we would see how he did! He got the hang of swim and worked so hard he is just 2 levels away from making swim team now - which is his new goal. He is no longer wrestling, but  towards the end of the season? He earned a medal wrestling kids who were mostly older and more experienced than he was.

His neurologist sometimes calls him her miracle child when she sees him. It always makes me teary. He's her only patient with cerebral palsy who can do ... all of this. Every day he keeps going. Through all the things that frustrate him. Schoolwork taking longer. Sometimes having to find another way to make something work. But he does it. He is my Everyday Hero for sure and the fact that he allowed me to write this post makes it even more true.

I loved watching Disney's Planes Fire & Rescue with my boys for so many reasons. World famous air racer Dusty finds out that he may never race again. He has a disability in a way. His gear box is broken which could cause him to crash and the very one he needs is no longer made. Realizing he can no longer race, he has to shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting.

Dusty steps up to help a friend who is hurt by a mistake he made - joining forces with a team of veteran firefighters to save historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. Dusty has some mis-steps along the way. He has to learn that it's not just about what one person can do.

The movie is not only really humorous at times, but it sends such great messages. Everyone has to work together - everyone - from the ones in the air to the ones on the ground - to get the job done. No matter how big or small your role is, you are needed. You can make a difference. Along the way Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

It's a high action adventure story that the entire family will enjoy. I know mine did. We can't wait to pick up Disney’s “Planes Fire & Rescue” tomorrow on Digital HD (available on Blu-Ray too)! For more on Disney's Planes, you can like the Facebook page below.

You can also join us for a fun #PlanesFireandRescueSweeps Twitter party this Thursday, November 6th, from 7-8pm EST (4-5pm PST). We would love for you to participate and share your photos, etc. You’ll be entered for a chance to win great Disney prizes!
This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Disney Planes Fire & Rescue blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

                     How I'm choosing to remember today. My favorite of all the old photos.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My last baby

Here we are.

Another month has gone by without a blog post. I swear I am jumping back into this. I miss it like crazy. Writing is who I am. But as usual, life is crazy.

We are in a constant state of packing - unpacking - and packing. Settled in again, but looking ahead to the next. (More on that later.) The boys had their very first trip to Disney. And we have been on the go ever since.

Sometimes I get caught up in the chaos that is our day to day routine. A little voice this morning made me slow down. This guy came downstairs before his brothers got up to tell us his front tooth came out. Last week he lost the first front tooth and I knew it was just a matter of time. It took me a few moments ... but then it hit me. My last baby to lose his front teeth.

Again, I want time to stop.

He crawled under the covers and told me how excited he was to see the tooth fairy again. And that pretty soon he was going to be 8. I told him he still had almost a year to go and how about we just be 7 for now. Or maybe Mommy would have to find Dr. Doofenshmirtz and shrink him back to say ... age 3 or 4. He gave me the biggest smile (oh my gosh no front teeth!) and told me Mommy that's just an animated cartoon.


I need ET.

Or Dr. Doofenshmirtz's shrinkinator.