Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Chocolate Chip Recommends: The Princess and the Frog

“I love Princess Tiana, she’s brown like me” says 5 year old Brooke Bellamy just as the opening scene gets underway introducing the world to the long anticipated first Disney African American princess. Goosebumps spread over my body upon the first viewing of her chocolate face on screen.

As I sit back and begin to watch the movie through my Chuck D lenses, I do run into a few cultural landmines that give me pause. Why does the African American princess have to be poor? Oh wait, I forgot about Cinderella’s pedigree. Did the first Black Princess have to be a frog for over 50% of the movie? I get the modern twist on The Frog Prince and how it ties into the transformative nature of the story, but seriously? I overheard a non-African American mother say to her child, “we thought we were coming to see a movie about a princess but instead we saw a movie about frogs”

Why did Princess Naveen have to be from an exotic location like Maldonia? What’s wrong with the prince being a brother from Brooklyn? Even though it’s the county of Kings, I guess that wouldn’t work since we don’t have monarchies here.

Why is Ray, the lightening bug toothless with a dialect and a mumble worse than Mushmouth from the Cosby kids? My heart truly sank into the pit of my stomach when he opened his mouth for the first time. Conversely, my husband had a totally different response. Ray’s warmth reminded him of a family patriarch. His judgement was overwhelming favorable and represents the varying perspectives that can exist when people of different backgrounds and experiences view something but see totally different things. Ray is a transformative almost Christ-like figure who brings wisdom and enlightenment. We fall in love with him because of his tenderness. His beauty shines thru despite his frailties. Perhaps that’s the point? If he had teeth would I feel better? Would it impact the overall outcome? Is there some hidden lesson on not judging from outward appearances?

Is Disney insensitive? Are they conjuring up negative stereotypes? Well we know Disney’s history is spotty at best when it comes to cultural sensitivity (there was a white Pocahontas at the Disney Princess experience following the screening for goodness snake). Even though it took upteen years for Disney to figure out that a Black princess was a good business idea, they have invested time and capital into this project and the only outcome they want is SUCCESS. Is my vision blurry? Am I being overly sensitive? Are people going to laugh at or judge us negatively as a result of this film? I understand the concerns and they are valid, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think that is the case here (if this were Rupert Murdock and Fox we’d be having an ENTIRELY different discussion). I don’t give anyone a pass for insensitivity or conjuring up old stereotypes, but maybe just maybe we’re (myself included) taking things a bit too seriously.

While my daughter and the children in the theatre thoroughly enjoyed themselves it can leave African American parents with unanswered questions. Having said that, after tucking those thoughts into the back of my mind and turning down the volume on the “Fight the Power” track playing in my head, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and highly recommend it! Tiana is sassy and smart while exhibiting great discipline, focus and drive. What better role model could we ask for our little girls? Jazz and the spirit of New Orleans (pre-hurricane Katrina), both play supporting roles in the film making for a wonderful musical experience. It’s an entertaining story with enduring themes of love, family, legacy, diligence, transformation and the fulfillment of dreams despite the obstacles- positive, timeless values that cut across culture or socioeconomic status.

Most importantly, Brooke gives it a thumbs up because even at her young age, she understands the validation that comes with having a princess all her own and seeing herself on screen. The entire theatre brimmed with excitement and embraced OUR new princess! I saw girls of all cultures and ethnicity proudly wearing their Princess Tiana costumes to the screening and patiently waiting in long ques to be photographed with the newest princess during the Disney experience.

I hope The Princess and the Frog becomes a Disney classic and stands the test of time (like Cinderella and Snow White- the princesses of my generation). I want my daughter’s daughter to know Princess Tiana and the future princesses of color that will follow as a result of her success. Because when it’s all said and done, every little girl wants to be a princess. After all, isn’t that what the magic of Disney is all about?

Chocolate Chip is a blog that connects, inspires and transforms African American families at or become a fan of Chocolate Chip on Facebook.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Help Jennifer: Be A Match: A Mom Needs YOU!

In September 2009, just a few days before her 41st birthday Jennifer Jones Austin, mother of 2 ages 7 and 12, was unexpectedly stricken with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Doctors have said that, unless Jennifer undergoes a bone marrow transplant within the next few months, her chances of surviving this disease are slim.

During this season of giving, give the gift of LIFE. You can help Jennifer by becoming a registered donor with the Be The Match and getting tested to determine if your bone marrow is compatible. Even if you are not a match for Jennifer you may be able to help another person in need of a life saving transplant.

The test to determine compatibility is as SIMPLE as a Q-tip swab inside the cheek. The donation process is as SIMPLE as giving blood. A surgical procedure is NOT required.

Unfortunately, because African Americans and Hispanics are dramatically underrepresented in the National Bone Marrow Registries, African Americans have less than a 45% chance of finding a match in the current pool of donors. While there are more than 5 Million white bone marrow registrants, there are only about 500,000 registrants of African descent.

To date two drives have been scheduled in New York:

Sunday, December 6, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m
Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 Odell Clarke Place (138th Street-bet. Lenox Ave & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd)
New York, NY
(212) 862-7474

Sunday, December 20, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m
Bethany Baptist Church
460 Marcus Garvey Blvd
Brooklyn, NY,
(718) 455-8400

If you cannot make it to a drive, register as a donor by going online to You can receive an at-home testing kit at no charge. The "promo code" is JJA1068.

Jennifer is a long time friend of the Chocolate Chip Family. She has been married to her husband, Shawn, for 15 years, and they have two beautiful children: a 12 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. She is an accomplished child advocate and has dedicated herself over the past 20 years to serving the needs and interests of families and children. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and Fordham Law School, and she is a long-time and devoted member of Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, where her father, the late Rev. William Augustus Jones II, served as pastor for over 40 years.

There are few opportunities, where a simple act can save a person's life. Please don't miss this chance. There but for the grace of God go I. Let's join together to help ensure Jennifer has a long and healthy life in front of her.

Click on this link to view an interview of Jennifer on WNBC that aired on December 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Recommends....Our Guide to the Christmas Season

Welcome to the Chocolate Chip Guide to Christmas....Here are a few of our favorite things:

Disney's The Princess & The Frog- In theaters nationwide December 11th - Make sure you check out our review.

A Charlie Brown Christmas- airs on ABC Tuesday December 15th 8pm EST

Truly a classic!! My brother, cousin and I used to ROFL watching those kids rock it out to Schroeder's tunes on the piano!!! (I know EVERY dance- Do you?) It's not Christmas until my mother hears Linus respond to Charlie Brown's plea "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"

Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special- airs on ABC Sunday December 13th at 10pm EST

Definitely won't be missing The Obama's first Christmas at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Alvin Ailey- at New York City Center thru January 3, 2010.

"I've been 'buked and I've been scorned...."

It is not Christmas without the beauty and power of Revelations. Without a doubt my most favorite activity of the season!

Take the children to the family matinee on December 26th

The Nutcracker- Anywhere USA. My mother and I take the children annually. This year we're headed back to the Westchester County Center to see their rendition the weekend of 12/18-12/20

Annual Riverside Christmas Concert Candlelight Carole Festival-

The Riverside Church 490 Riverside Drive New York, New York 10027

We used to love attending this event annually with our Brooklyn neighbors!! What a lovely way to usher in the holidays!

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

Without a doubt the BEST way to see NYC!

While you're there check out the Gingerbread Adventures and The Little Engine That Could™ Puppet Show

March of The Wooden Soldiers performed by the Rockettes at the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City thru January 3, 2010

Brings back such fond memories of my high school years....Shout out to Cardinal Spellman's Flag Corps who perform it annually

Ice Skating- Anywhere USA- Just found out yesterday that my husband has NEVER ice skated in his life!! We've never been able to bare the cold at Rockefeller Center, but Bryant Park or your local ice skating rink will certainly do the trick.

A Visit to the tree and the herald angels at Rockefeller Center- definitely a NYC must see
The Christmas Windows: Saks, Macy's and Lord & Taylor

MarieBelle Soho: The Cacao Bar

484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway

Simply divine!!!! We've driven very far distances to get a sip of the European-style Aztec Hot Chocolate- YUMMMMMM!!!!
484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway

A Warm Gathering of Family and Friends- potluck with the girls night crew or your neighbors- In all the busyness of our demanding schedules make sure you make time to share joy with those you love.

Your favorite things didn't make the list? Share so we can indulge too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finances and Divorce

Chocolate Chip strongly supports marriage and family. The unfortunate reality is some couples will divorce. Finances are a tough subject in marriage but can be an even trickier topic in divorce. We wish financial prosperity and stability for all of our fans and families, so we're sharing links to a 3-part series from The New York Times Money section on managing finances through divorce. Stay enlightened and informed.

Experience in Love & Money

Financial Decisions to Make As You Divorce

Money Talks to Have Before Marriage

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prep School Negro of the Week: Melissa B. Ivey

We couldn't think of a more fitting way to wrap up this 3 part series on African American children and independent schools.

Check out The Prep School Negro of the Week: Melissa B. Ivey

This is a powerful testimony about the highs and lows, blessings and sometimes harsh realities of the prep school experience for African American children. Taken from both a student and mother's perspective it puts prep schools in its proper perspective. On a personal note, I'm so very proud of Melissa's story as parents and students can benefit greatly from her candor. She is an AMAZING woman, friend, wife and mother and we appreciate her for her transparency.

For more on the film The Prep School Negro Check out:

For more information about independent schools check out the Chocolate Chip Archives:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kudos to the 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools!!

What exactly is a Blue Ribbon School? Well we're glad you asked:) Your friends at Chocolate Chip have done the research for you.

Check Spelling
"The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created to honor schools. The Blue Ribbon award is considered the highest honor an American school can achieve"

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors K-12 public and private schools that are either academically superior in their state or demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement ... "these schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation."

Blue Ribbon Schools "meet either of two assessment least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance in accordance with state assessment systems; and it rewards schools that score in the top 10 percent on state assessments."

Sounds great doesn't it, well the program is criticised because the criteria doesn't "take into account the socioeconomic status of the students and that studies show that students who come from homes with higher income and better educated parents do better than students without these advantages by virtue of their backgrounds. Thus, the award is usually given to schools with students from wealthy backgrounds."

With this in mind, Chocolate Chip salutes the principals, students and families of three NY urban schools serving children of color on being selected as 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools:

Pennington School
Mount Vernon, NY

PS 31 Samuel F. Dupont - Magnet School
for the Arts & Humanities
Brooklyn, NY

PS 380 John Wayne Elementary School
Brooklyn, NY

Check out the link below for more details on the program and a complete listing of current and past recipients.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The First Couple

Whatever your party of affiliation or politics, you cannot deny the power of the First Couple!

Check out the link below for a New York Times Magazine preview, The First Marriage by Jodi Kantor. The story is FASCINATING! Personally, the Obamas inspire my husband and I to be a better couple, and me to be an even better wife and mother. I have to admit it's been a few months since our last date night. The Obamas are not just great role models for Black families, but a symbol of all that is good about marriage.

Want to read more.....Check out the Chocolate Chip archives.

Photo Credit: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fun Family Activities....Wonderland Tea Party & Boo at the Zoo!

Chocolate Chip recommends the following family activities:

BOO at the ZOO!

My family had a blast on the hay ride at the Bronx Zoo and you can too! There are similar activities taking place nationwide so check out your local zoo.

Hey New Yorkers....Here's a few activities happening in your hood!

Lola's Tea House does it again....

Come and meet old and new friends in "Wonderland"

A Mad Hatter's Themed Tea Party
Sunday, October 25th from 3-5pm
130 Fifth Avenue Pelham, NY

Come dressed in your best Alice in Wonderland tea party garb. "Alice" will be available to take pictures with you! Space is limited, so please call and make your reservations (914.738-2100) Don't be late for such a very important date :-) Price: $20.00 per Child (tax and gratuity is not included).

Brooke and I had a great time at the doll tea party. We absolutely loved the strawberry and creme tea sandwiches and I am looking to try out some new ones:) See you there!!

Central Park, NYC

It may be rained out but Saturday features the Pumpkin and Scarecrow Festival.
Check out the link below for the list of all the Halloween festivities in Central Park.

Whatever you do, enjoy the weekend with the family!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Part II: "And Still Like Air I" RIISE!

Part II of our series on African American Children in Independent Schools

Resources In Independent School Education

is proud to present

Andre Robert Lee’s critically acclaimed documentary

The Prep School Negro

Viewing & Panel Discussion

Monday, November 23, 2009 7:00-9:00 pm
Riverdale Country School 5250 Fieldston Road Riverdale, NY

RSVP by November 12

Resources. Research. Retention.

RIISE serves as a member organization that supports the retention of families of color in independent schools. RIISE helps families navigate the complex dynamics of an independent school environment. They partner with independent schools to help foster an inclusive and equitable environment for Families of Color and help our children navigate this environment.

RIISE provides a platform for the hard work that families must do around race and ethnicity that will inevitably support healthy and successful matriculation at independent schools.

RIISE delivers by ensuring that families of color will be empowered to become vital, active, committed and fulfilled members of their school communities by instilling a sense of belonging. This vested interest and level of retention will directly benefit the vision of Independent Schools to maintain and increase a diverse student body representative of our global community.

Stay Tuned....Early Steps and A Better Chance

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Prep School Negro

So many of us agonize over the educational decisions we must make for our children. Personally, we struggled for a year to decide where to send our daughter to school after 3 very successful years at a Montessori based school.

At the same time, President Obama is proposing extending the school year and the school day to help American students excel and be more competitive on the global playing field.

As parents, we debate public vs. independent vs. parochial. We jump through hoops and endure high pressured and competitive admissions processes to get our kids into the schools of our choice.

After finding what we thought was the mecca of day schools last year, we began to fear the socio-economic and cultural impact that decision would ultimately have on our child. Yes, she could be in a superior educational institution with all the resources you could imagine, but would we also run the risk of her ending up in therapy by the age of 7 from the intense pressure to fit in?

Are the country's best schools really the BEST schools for our children? And at what cost?

So what's a parent to do?

Chocolate Chip is here to help.

This is the beginning of a series of posts that we will bring you regarding children of color and independent schools. This the first in the series spotlights the documentary The Prep School Negro. The synopsis (see below) taken from the website brilliantly says it all:

"André Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket – a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre’s way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated.
In The Prep School Negro, André takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday’s accelerated desegregation and today’s racial naiveté."

Check out the website and see the link below to view the trailers.

Of course your friends at Chocolate Chip will keep you posted on screenings, new developments, etc.

Stay tuned for our next post in this series on ....
RIISE: Resources in Independent School Education

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Men II Boys Film and Lecture Tour Coming to Brooklyn & DC this week

Christian Cultural Center
12020 Flatlands Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11207
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Congressional Black Caucus
Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC
Friday, September 25, 2009
Men II Boys is the DVD companion to “101 Things Every Boy of Color Should Know,” a set of lessons for young men affected by absentee fathers and imparting “pearls of wisdom” to them as they transition from boys to men.

"Men II Boys is a testament to the men who are willing to roll their sleeves up, pitch in, and fill the gap where this tremendous void is in young boys’ lives."
See below for links to the trailer and an interview with Janks Morton, groundbreaking international and award winning documentarian.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Rememberance....9/11/01

Today, I weep thinking of all of the families that were forever changed 8 years ago by acts of terrorism. I think of all the children who lost mommies and daddies, wives who became widows, husbands who became widowers, parents who had to bury their children and all the friends and family members left behind to grieve.

I remember as if it were yesterday, attending the remembrance service at Christian Cultural Center and witnessing an 8 month pregnant 9/11 widow as she spoke of the husband she lost. My heart ached as I thought of the unborn child that would never get a chance to meet her father.

Today, I think of a 10 year old girl who lost her mother, my classmate, on that dreadful day at the precious young age of 2. I can't help but think of my own children and what it must be like growing up without mommy. I pray a special prayer for the children of 9/11.

Simultaneously I celebrate those who survived and lived to build families of their own.

Wishing all of us God's peace and comfort as we remember...

Dedicated to the families of Calvin J.Gooding and Diarelia Jovannah Mena

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Disney's Princess & the Frog: NY & LA- The Ultimate Disney Experience

Hi Chocolate Chip Fans! 

I know you must think I'm obsessed with this movie, and you're right I am!!

The Ultimate Disney Experience is coming to the Ziegfield, NYC and The Walt Disney Studios in LA!  Get your tickets now for these special showings by clicking on the link below. 

What an AWESOME holiday experience for your little princess:)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hey New Yorkers.....The US Open is coming to town starting with Arthur Ashe Kids Day!!

Although I have a particular bias for Venus Williams, it is truly an exciting time in NYC when the US Open comes to town. Festivities for the kiddies begin Saturday August 29, 2009 with Arthur Ashe Kids Day.
From 9:30am-1pm kids enjoy free grounds activities which include tennis clinics and interactive games. See the link for details including a concert featuring Jordin Sparks and others.

Also this year for the first time the US Open hosts Family Day on Tuesday September 1, 2009 which features numerous family friendly activities. Check out the link below for details including Breakfast at the US Open.

While you're there, check out Venus Williams' exclusive organic cotton graphic tee shirt that supports the environment available at the US Open Shop.
So join me in cheering for Venus and perhaps you'll be encouraging the next big tennis star that's right under your nose.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage

Hi Chocolate Chip Fans!

I couldn't think of a more appropriate post to publish from my vacation in Oak Bluffs, a haven for Black families for generations, than this on Black marriage.

According to the US Census, in the early 196o's 81% of African-American children lived in two parent holds. Today those figures have almost been completely reversed 69.7% of African-American children are born out of wedlock! The data is staggering and should put you into a rage! Clearly those of us who love Black families have an uphill battle to fight to preserve our unions. The title of one of Dr. King's book captures it best, "Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?"

The Answer: Community

If you live in the Washington DC area, you are probably familiar with the blog Black and Married with Kids. Founded by Ronnie and Lamar Tyler, this power couple shares Chocolate Chip's passion for celebrating and changing the perceptions of Black families.

The couples newest venture is a documentary, Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage. There is clearly an audience for the subject because I've watched their Facebook fan count almost double from 5000 to 9000 in the 2 weeks since the Washington DC premiere on July 30, 2009 and the release of the documentary on DVD on August 4, 2009. The evidence is clear: People want to see more positive images of Black love (think my all time favorite movie Love Jones), marriages and families.

The documentary interviews Nisa Muhammad, from CNN's Black in America 2 and the founder of Black Marriage Day, Denine Milner, Parenting Columnist, Joe Madison and several couples who share their experiences and insights on the state of Black marriage. Chocolate Chip encourages you to purchase this documentary (see link below to trailer) to support this initiative. Consider the $19.99 plus shipping, a personal investment in Black families.

Happily Ever After also features significant discussion on the role the Obamas will have in shaping the perception of Black families. I wholly agree one of the most important images from election night was the introduction of the next First Family of the United States....The impact was deep and profound. What a powerful image of a strong, powerful Black family to present to the world.

Check this post out brought to you from the vaults of the Chocolate Chip Archives on the Obama effect.

In the words of Nisa Mohammad,

"Wishing you wedded bliss",

Your friends from Chocolate Chip

Be one of the first to see Disney's Princess & the Frog

On May 31, 2009 Chocolate Chip blogged about Disney's newest and first African American Princess Tiana (see link below). You and a guest could be a chosen to attend a screening with your Chocolate Chip friends this Thursday 7/30/09 @ 12:30pm in NYC!

To qualify for the drawing send an email to with "Pick Me" in the subject line by 7/27/09 11:59 EST. The winner will be notified by Tuesday 7/28/09 12pm EST.

The screening is made possible by the Howard University John H Johnson School of Communications Board of Visitors with Woodie King Jr of the New Federal Theater celebrates Harlem Weeks 35th Anniversary.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

CNN's Black in America 2...Strong Marriage = Strong Family?

CNN's Black in America 2 premieres 7/22 & 7/23. Although I was extremely disappointed in the 2008 series for various reasons, I am hopeful that this year's reported emphasis on solutions will inspire and depict a community actively engaged in it's transformation despite societal challenges.

A part of the lead up to the event is a discussion on Black Marriage. Wedded Bliss Foundation and it's founder/executive director Nisa Muhammad are featured in the documentary and on CNN today. Created to help married couples through crisis, the organization offers Basic Training for Couples which "cover the value of commitment, responsibility to the black community, psychological differences between the sexes, sexual intimacy and conflict resolution."

Check out the Black in America 2 site for conversation starters. Toady's topic: "Does a strong marriage equal a strong family"

Mark your calendar : Black Marriage Day- March 28, 2010

Join Chocolate Chip as we support organizations like Wedded Bliss Foundation and add our voice to the celebration of Black Marriage. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 10, 2009

MJ & Russell Simmons on Fatherhood

I don't know about you, but it's been a crazy 2 weeks since the passing of Michael Jackson. So much is being said, some good, some not so good. Until his daughter Paris broke her public silence at the memorial celebration when she eloquently expressed her love and devotion for her daddy, very little has been said about Michael Jackson the father.
The Ebony team has been very outspoken about their experience with MJ and his son Blanket during a 2007 interview. Harriette Cole and others have described him as a loving, doting and devoted dad and commented on the strong bond between father and son. One can only hope that the children will be comforted, nurtured and protected so they can have the full childhood their father never had but so desired for them. Rest in Peace Michael Jackson.
Russell Simmons graces this week's cover of Jet Magazine with his daughters Ming Lee and Aoki Lee. The article entitled "A Father's Lesson for His Daughters" illustrates Mr. Simmons' commitment to his "little girls" as he balances life after divorce. Though brief, the article nicely depicts his devotion for his daughters as he nurtures and cares for them while playing an active role in their lives.

While you're flipping through the pages of Jet, be sure to also check out NYC Councilmember Helen Diane Foster who is featured with her husband Eric McKay on page 22. Congratulations on your recent nuptials! Your friends at Chocolate Chip wish you both all the love your hearts can hold!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Special Afternoon Tea for our Girls

A Doll Party hosted by Lola's Tea House!

130 Fifth Avenue

Pelham, NY 10803

A doll tea party for little girls who often enjoy carrying their dolls with them wherever they go. Please bring your daughters, nieces, or granddaughters (with their dolls!) to an afternoon tea filled with fun and laughter.

Saturday, July 11th from 3-5pm


Sunday, July 12th from 3-5pm

Space is limited, so please call and make your reservations soon!


Price: $20.00 per person (tax and gratuity not included)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inside the Lives of Children Having Children

Chances are as high school students, many us knew of at least one story of teen pregnancy. According to ABC News, for the first time in fifteen years, the rate of teen pregnancies is on an upswing.

The Primetime event, Family Secrets, is something we won't want to miss. Burying our heads in the sand won't make this epidemic go away. Educating ourselves and having honest dialogue with our children is a more productive approach.

After you watch the show, share your thoughts with other Chocolate Chip parents.

Set your DVRs :

Tuesday, June 23, 2009



United We Serve.....Summer of Service

President Obama announced today that from June 22, 2009 to September 11, 2009, he is calling young and old to serve our communities in a summer of service.

Check out the new website to view the First Lady's address on this national service campaign.

Mrs. Obama kicked off the initiative by building a playground in San Francisco. Here's a link to the article from

What service projects will you participate in with your family?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Something for the Dads on Father's Day

Happy Fathers Day to all of our Chocolate Chip Dads!

We honor and celebrate you today for all you do to make our lives special and meaningful!

This special day requires a special post.  First check out what Dad-in Chief, President Barack Obama, has to say about fatherhood.

Here's a link to the video Responsible Fatherhood featuring the President and another special guest dad

The second is a link to the President's piece on fatherhood from Parade magazine

Lastly, from the Chocolate Chip archives....

Something for the Dads..... originally published 2/1/09

Daddy's Girl- originally published 2/4/09

May you be inspired today and forever!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Chocolate Chip Recommends....

As the Father's Day weekend festivities commence, may we recommend a trip to your local movie theater.

Imagine That (Nickelodeon): starring Eddie Murphy, Nicole Ari Parker and the adorable Yara Shahidi

A wonderful family comedy that shows what can happen when a dad allows himself into his daughters imaginary world. My entire family enjoyed it and yours will too.

Check out the website for e-cards and special awards for dad from the kiddies

Up (Disney Pixar): "The adventure of a lifetime" that begins after an old man loses his heart. The story is touching and the animation is AWESOME! Probably worth going to see this one at an IMAX theatre.

Enjoy the weekend!

Happy Father's Day Dads!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shower Yourself Beautiful!

Ten lucky Chocolate Chip fans have been selected to participate in the ultimate in-home shower sponsored by Suave Skin!

Even if you weren't chosen this time around, you still have a chance to Shower Yourself Beautiful! Chocolate Chip fans are invited to create a registry for a chance to instantly win your chosen prizes. You will also be automatically entered for a chance to win the ultimate at-home shower for you and your friends. Click on the link below to access the site.

While expectant brides and moms enjoy their celebratory showers, women everywhere -- including busy moms whose own showers have long gone – can shower themselves with small indulgences that make them feel beautiful every day. Actress and busy mother of four, Holly Robinson Peete offers her personal tips on how women everywhere can shower themselves beautiful this summer:

Love, Me
Send yourself some flowers -- especially if you already need to swing by the florist to pick up flowers for a wedding or baby shower. Seasonal summer flowers, such as lavender and sweet pea, are a budget-friendly way to pamper yourself and brighten up your home.

Slip Into a Delicious Fragrance
Wear an alluring fragrance that makes you feel beautiful. Skip perfume, which can feel heavy on skin in the summer, and try new Suave® Naturals Wild Cherry Blossom Indulgent Body Wash. Infused with cherry blossom extracts and Vitamin E, this body wash leaves skin pampered and moisturized, with a delicious fragrance.

Book an Appointment with Yourself
Shower yourself beautiful by hosting an at-home spa day. Invite girlfriends over for manicures and pedicures and paint fingers and toes summer-inspired shades of sorbet. Once nails are dry, generously apply a moisturizing body lotion to keep hands and feet soft and smooth all summer long.

Schedule a "Tea" Time
Studies show that taking even a two minute break from your hectic schedule can reduce stress levels. Try this trick to add some relaxation to your daily grind. Instead of rushing through lunch, schedule a leisurely tea time for yourself complete with mini tea sandwiches and a cup of chamomile tea. Then get settled in a quiet part of your home or office -- free of distractions -- to start your summer reading list.

Shower Yourself Beautiful Every Day
Trade in your daily shower for a relaxing bath that’s fit for a queen! Transform your bathroom into a private sanctuary by lighting an aromatherapy-inspired candle and playing your favorite tunes. Be sure to use Suave® Naturals Lavender Vanilla Calming Body Wash. The soothing scent of lavender will calm your senses and transport your mind to a tranquil oasis.

Enjoy! You deserve it!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Chocolate Chip for your marriage

September 18, 2007 marked the inaugural post and official launch of Chocolate Chip. Only personal friends received that message, but today I'm sharing it with the entire Chocolate Chip family.

There's no way I could know where each of you are in your faith journey, but as I approach my 13th anniversary next week, I share what has carried me through all these years.

It is my hope that you are blessed by this message and that it helps you to look at your spouse and your role just a little bit differently.


During my study this morning I found something that hit me like a ton of bricks and my spirit is leading me to share it with you. This comes from the Life Application Study Bible and its commentary on the book of Ephesians, Chapter 6 in particular. It reads:

"The home and the church are difficult places to live the Christian life, because our real self comes through to those who know us well. Close relationships between imperfect people can lead to trouble-OR TO INCREASED FAITH AND DEEPENED DEPENDENCE ON GOD (emphasis is mine). We can build unity in our churches (and families- inserted by me) through willing submission to Christ's leadership and humble service to one another."

I think it says it all. I pray that we will continue to lift each other up as we build Christ centered families. Submitting to Him praying for increased faith, wisdom, and understanding not only during the difficult times but on a daily basis. I pray for humble hearts that lead us to repent to each other when we make mistakes and forgiving hearts that help us stand up when we fall.

In Jesus name, AMEN

Saturday, June 6, 2009

SuperMoms Roundtable

Can I Have It ALL?

This is the perennial question of many working moms. The struggle between maintaining a great family life, raising successful children, sustaining a career, maintaining an active community life all while taking good care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually. Live one day in our shoes and you know this juggling act is NO easy feat. BALANCE IS THE KEY TO LIFE! Admittedly, achieving it has been my prayer for years!

If you're anything like me, you'll want to attend the SuperMoms Roundtable presented by
Go Red For Women® and sponsored by Balancing Life’s Issues.

The Host: *Traci E. Alexander
President of Mz. Mom, LLC, Professor Traci E. Alexander is an award-winning journalist, communications specialist and mother of two children

Millie H. Becker President, Skyqueen Enterprises and mother of one child
*Sharon Epperson CNBC personal finance reporter and mother of two
Carolyn Glickstein Professional geriatric care manager and mother of two
Marian GryzloFounder and president of Think to Lead, LLC and mother of two
*Patricia Hayling-Price President of Exceed Now and mother of two
*Lynne Perry-Bottinger M.D., FACC Assistant professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University and Cornell University and mother of two

06/11/2009 8:00am -- 10:00am
Fee: $30/person by June 8
Location: Hilton Rye Town 699 Westchester Avenue Rye Brook, NY 10573

See below for an excerpt from website. A link to details follows:

The stress of motherhood is more than even some of the most prepared, organized moms can handle but add a 50-hour work week, not to mention being present in your other important roles as wife, daughter, sister, best friend, and showing up for yourself becomes a distant concept. It is easy to get out of touch with our feelings, our bodies, our perception of ourselves and miss even obvious signs that our hearts may be at risk.
Go Red For Women® encourages women to share with others to inspire conversation, compassion and a greater understanding of the important journey to heart health. At the SuperMoms Roundtable, hosted by Traci E. Alexander, we will do just that and get to the heart of the matter for working mothers.

This powerful event presents a panel of supermoms—from different backgrounds and stages of life, engaged in a candid discussion about life’s issues. You will have the chance to share stories of struggle, success and support and learn from one another and our featured expert, founder and CEO of Balancing Life’s Issues, mother of three and stepmom to two, Wendy Kaufman .

*Kudos to my fellow Jack & Jill moms for their participation in this worthwhile event

See you there!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kids Consignment Shop Blowout Sale This Weekend!


SWITCHKIDS, A HIP GREEN store for kid and baby stuff in Yonkers, NY, is having a huge sale this weekend in order to reduce inventory in preparation for their upcoming relocation to the Yonkers Waterfront. Winter clothing will be 50% off and spring/summer product will be 30% off of their ridiculously LOW prices.

This IS a recession friendly event:)


1550 Central Park Ave

Yonkers, NY 10710

(914) 793-2490
Come in Saturday June 6, 2009
and mention their site for an additional 10% off

Special hours this weekend:

Saturday 6/6/09 and Sunday 6/7/09


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Does the President's hair feel like mine?

How incredible is this picture! I received this email and had to share it with you. So simple yet so profound. Enjoy!

Obama bends over so the son of a White House staff member can pat his head during a family visit to the Oval Office May 8, 2009. The youngster wanted to see if the President's haircut felt like his own. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This little boy wanted to see if the President's hair felt like his.

Perhaps at the beautiful demonstration of a child's curiosity when we don't "shush" them.

Perhaps at the thought that this young boy could see part of himself in the President of the United States, for the very first time.

Perhaps at the humble way President Obama bent down. Perhaps all of the above.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Night at the Museum

My family LOVED Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian!

What if your child could have their own night at the museum? Sounds impossible? Well they can! You can schedule a nocturnal expedition/sleepover at New York City's American Museum of Natural History!

Let's be clear upfront, this is NOT a recession friendly activity, but it is something to look forward to :)

Here's an excerpt from their website:

Imagine yourself traveling as a paleontologist on an expedition while watching Dinosaurs Alive! in the LeFrak IMAX Theater, exploring our live-animal exhibitions with knowledgeable Museum explainers, and challenging yourself with one of our fun Museum Quests. End your night by falling asleep in the darkened halls of one of the world's most famous museums.

As the doors close and the lights dim, you and your group will head out with flashlights in search of adventure. Find yourselves in the Hall of North American Mammals, staring down a herd of wild buffalo. Climb the stairs and you're in the Age of Dinosaurs, standing beneath a 65-million-year-old T. rex. Then, as the night comes to a magical close, settle down beneath the 94-foot-long blue whale, next to the Alaskan brown bear, or at the base of a volcanic formation.

Cost: $129 per person (Members: $119 per person)

Admission Price includes:
Evening snack and light breakfast
Cots for all participants
IMAX film
Take-home activities
Fossil exploration by flashlight
Live-animal special exhibition (seasonal)
Time: 5:45 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Open to: 8-12 year olds

Parents Do You Want to Manage Your Money Wisely?

New York Urban League
and the
Greater Hudson Valley Chapter of the LINKS
collaborate to host the
Citigroup Financial Connections Certificate Series for Adults
at the
Mount Vernon Central Library
28 South First Avenue Mount Vernon, NY 10550

2009 Westchester certificate Series
SATURDAYS June 6th, 13th, 20th 27th
10:00am-1:00pm (Refreshments Served (9:30am - 10:00am)
Workshops are Free!!
However You MUST Be Registered!
Call or Email
Diana B. Coleman with your contact information (212) 926-8000 ext. 147–

I. Banking and Money Management
¨ Money in our Lives and how toMaximize use of Financial Services
¨ Checking Account Maintenance
¨ Identify Goals to Create a Realistic Financial Plan
II. $$ Mgmt: Saving and Investing
¨ Difference between Saving and Investing
¨ Understanding various Saving and Investing Products
¨ Introduction to Investments and Financial Planning
Important: We will not accept any new participants in the credit workshops. PRIOR to attending any CREDIT workshop you MUST attend session I or II (preferably both). By attending all sessions you get the most out of the series.
III. Spending and Credit
¨ ABCs of Spending and Credit
¨ Establishing Credit
¨ Maintaining Credit
¨ Credit Scores
¨ Identity Theft
IV. The Credit Landscape
¨ Expenses & Budgets
¨ Managing Credit Challenges
¨ Prime and Sub-prime Lending
¨ Predatory Lending / Practices
¨Bankruptcy – Updates

Sunday, May 31, 2009

All Hail Princess Tiana!

If you ventured out to see "UP" this weekend, you were one of the first to see the trailer for Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" coming to theatres near you during the Holiday season (NY/LA limited release 11/25/09, nationwide 12/11/09).

When I first saw her brown face on the screen, I squealed with excitement for the unveiling of Disney's first Black princess!!! My heart DID drop when she quickly turned into a frog after kissing the frog prince, but I stopped myself from passing judgement and decided to wait optimistically for the movie's release in 4th quarter. My 5 year is already looking forward to her Princess and the Frog themed 6th birthday party in Feb 2010. I anticipate that Tiana will become her favorite Disney princess, much like her favorite Cheetah girl is the one who looks like her.

I've allowed my daughter to enjoy all things Disney as I did as a child, but the preview of Princess Tiana really made me feel like it's a new day. Clearly a movie like this won't come without its challenges. The cover story of NY Times Sunday Styles section on 5/31/09 highlights the critiques ranging from excitement to skepticism. Should the setting be New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? Will it dispel or emphasize old stereotypes? Why isn't Prince Naveen Black? Or will we simply fall in love with and embrace Tiana as we have other Disney characters throughout the ages?

Despite Disney's efforts to get feedback from consultants such as Oprah and the NAACP, my BIGGEST problem is the absence of African Americans at the table in the creative process at Disney. It's heart breaking that in 2009, African Americans still don't have the power to green light projects or influence content to ensure that Disney gets this movie RIGHT. What a SHAME!

Below are links to the Disney website, the full movie trailer on YouTube and the NY Times article.

Come on parents! Post your comments and lend your voices to this discussion. We want to hear what you think.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Westchester Children's Museum Explore-a-thon- June 7, 2009

Did you know that Westchester County, NY will soon have it's own Children's Museum?

The Westchester Children's Museum is slated to open in 2010 at the Boathouse in Rye Playland!

WCM will be hosting it's 3rd Annual Explore-a-thon on Sunday June 7, 2009 from 9am-12noon at the Boardwalk at Rye Playland. Come out for an educational, fun-filled day which will help make the museum a reality!

Families: $75

Sponsor a child: $100

Sponsor a group: $1,000

To participate and/or donate go to

See you there!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Wishing you Mother's Day greetings from Chocolate Chip!

You love and nurture your children and kiss boo boo's to make them feel better
You chauffer little people from place to place all because you want the best for them
A mother's job is NEVER done!!
YOU deserve all the praise!!

Check out the link below.  Although my name is included in the piece, insert yours becasue we've all earned this special recognition:)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Could your child be the next Rudy Huxtable or top child model?

Come see what everyone is buzzing about…
June 19TH, 2009 5:00-7:00 PM
Due to an overwhelming response from our 4 most recent sold-out workshops, Product has decided to do it one more time! Throughout the years, parents have called asking us hundreds of questions about the industry. What kind of photo's to take? Where to submit? How to submit? What are the steps? What does the commitment truly entail? And so forth...Whether in the business or not, we realize that there is still so much that parents wish to learn, to help their child develop and grow as a model or actor. While we realize that parents are the glue to this business, unfortunately, we do not have enough time in a work day to give you the answers that you truly deserve.
So with that in mind, and due to overwhelming interest and popular demand, PRODUCT model management has decided to participate in a series of informational workshops helping to educate aspiring models and performers. The 4th of our workshops will consist of: A one hour intensive crash course on the ins and outs of the world of baby/child and teen modeling - Learn about how to get started in the business, how to find the right agent, how to put together a portfolio, photos, comp card/headshot printing, what to expect at go-sees and auditions, and how to ultimately land that first job. The 2nd hour will be an open Q & A forum allowing models, performers and their parents to ask any and all entertainment related questions and have them answered by any of our 3 agents. Feel free to ask anything! This is your chance to learn all you've always wanted to know but were afraid to ask!
PRODUCT MODEL MANAGEMENT and its agents have over 20 years experience in the industry. Family owned and operated, our agency has placed models and talent in top magazines like PARENTS, VOGUE BAMBINI, and VANITY FAIR, our kids can be seen in the latest campaigns for GAP, CHILDREN'S PLACE, LIMITED TOO and BENETTON. A select few have also had the pleasure of walking the runways at NY FASHION WEEK, at the Javits Center for Vogue Bambini’s Children’s Club show and much more.
Now is the time to take advantage of our knowledge and gather all of the informational tools necessary to start marketing your child in time for the upcoming high season. PLEASE NOTE**These workshops will be limited to a select number of respondents, so if you are interested, please get back to us right away! The cost of our workshop is only $125/per 1 PARENT & CHILD, and whether you’re new to the business or a veteran, this is a GREAT – and incredibly affordable investment - and an opportunity to find financial success in the industry, and jump start your child's career in 2009!!
All in attendance will receive a mini model gift bag with a model information packet, discount coupons, and more. One lucky winner will receive a PRODUCT GRAND prize package: A go-see bag: including a free portfolio, model planner, a free photo shoot, 100 free composite cards, and many more goodies. PLEASE e-mail us at to secure your seat for June 19th, 2009!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Celebrating Earth Day at the Bronx Zoo

April 4–19 & 25–26
Come party for the planet during our month-long celebration. Enjoy eco-friendly games and activities, musical shows and theater, and an Earth Expo showcasing green products & services. Learn tips to live green, and don't miss the wildest event of the year—the WCS Run for the Wild on April 25!
All events located on Astor Court unless otherwise noted.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Essence: Michelle Obama & Mom

The Chocolate Chip Team is ECSTATIC about the May 2009 Issue of Essence Magazine featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and her mother Marian Robinson! This issue reflects the very heart of our organization.

The issue includes:
The First Lady's thoughts On Raising Smart, Confident Kids and Strong Marriages
Why President Obama is Thankful for His Wife

If you are not a subscriber, you MUST pick up a copy TODAY! Better yet, stimulate the ecomony and purchase a copy for a friend. Not only is the cover beyond BEAUTIFUL, the content is substantive and inspiring.

Kudos to Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-In-Chief, Dawn Baskerville, Executive Editor, Lisa Hunt, Creative Director and Mikki Taylor, Beauty and Cover Director on a job well done!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Casting Call for NYC Families!!!

Hi Chocolate Chip Friends!

FAMILY CASTING Left/Right TV is looking for families! MAYBE EVEN YOURS!
We are looking for a newly blended and/or interracial large family!
We are searching for REAL families dealing with REAL issues: sibling adjustments, financial stresses brought on from the current economy,distribution of labor and any other issues that come up in a modern American home. And we're looking for bright, articulate, dynamic people! Also - in each case, we're looking for some, if not all, of the children being old enough to articulate their experiences (10ish) and with a minimum of four children living in the home.

Here's some more specifics:
1. A newly blended, interracial step family -- i.e. An African-American woman with African American children from a previous marriage, marries a White man with White children from a previous marriage. Kind of like the Brady Bunch - but we're hoping for a union of a year or less and with this racial component to their family story.
2. The same idea, without the racial component! We're looking for a modern Brady Bunch style family -- We know there are many great things about combining families and many challenges, too and we'd love to share all those stories both good and bad with the country at large!
3. A large family with 2 parents of different races. Again, we feel as though there are great stories about the triumphs and challenges of raising a family in Obama's America when there's two people of different races and backgrounds doing the parenting.
We're REALLY excited about this project so hopefully you have some ideas about how to track down the right people? Maybe you can even help us or maybe it's YOU!

Here's a little about Left/Right TV: We're a boutique production company that produces all range of documentary and reality genres -- we've done competition shows (I Wanna Work for Diddy, VH1), Docusoaps (The Salt N Pepa Show & The Agency, VH1; Exiled, MTV), archival documentaries (2 History Channel specials on Lincoln & Einstein), and some tough to categorize wonderful things (This American Life, Showtime; I Pity The Fool with Mr. T,TV Land). And last weekend another of our shows premiered on Style which is a behind the scenes look at Marie Claire magazine called 'RUNNING IN HEELS'. We also have solid working relationships with other networks such as Oxygen,Bravo and A&E.
If you want to submit your family please email them ASAP and tell them that you heard about it from Sandra Philippeaux at 3PX Productions:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Alpha Kappa Alpha Names Rev. A.R Bernard Economic Growth of the Black Family Award Recipient

On April 2, 2009, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc honored Rev. A.R. Bernard as it's Economic Growth of the Black Family award recipient during the North Atlantic Regional Conference Public Meeting.

In 2008, Pastor Bernard demonstrated his considerable clout by inserting himself into the citywide debate over affordable housing, leading the opposition to the sale of Brooklyn's Starrett City, a move which would have resulted in higher rents for its approximate 6000 units. Rev. Bernard’s skillful leadership led to his team winning the bid to purchase the property for $600 to $700 million versus the asking price of $1.3 billion. The lower price tag will help keep Starrett City, the nation's largest federally subsidized housing complex, affordable.

Pastor Bernard's achievements and charismatic leadership in this City have been outstanding. The record may never accurately show the impact his leadership has had on the economic development of New York City and its families, but his anointed work and fight for the economically under served will not go unrewarded.

See link below for footage of the award presentation

See link below to the Crains article when AR Bernard was named one of the 25 New Influentials

Thursday, March 26, 2009

African American Family Celebration at the National Zoo

If you can't get tickets for the White House Easter Egg Roll, here's another fantastic option.

Celebrating the African American Family
April 13, 2009Free admission
Easter Monday has been a Washington-area multicultural tradition for many years. Visitors enjoy a variety of special family activities, including an Easter egg roll and hunt, crafts; entertainment ranging from children's dance troupes to costumed characters and storytellers; and special opportunities to learn more about our animals. In addition, we offer an array of delicious food.
Admission is free, and this fun-filled day traditionally welcomes thousands of area families.
Easter Monday will be held rain or shine.
Children's Activities
Easter egg hunt
Easter bunny
Organized field games and activities
Arts and crafts
Arcade games
Create-a-Critter (in front of Lemur Island)
Double-dutch jumping rope (12-2 p.m. at various locations throughout the Zoo)
Pathways to Freedom—The Peace Quilt
In honor of the work and life of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, the Pathways to Freedom—The Peace Quilt will be displayed for visitors to trace the various civil rights and freedom trails, as well as the important events in Parks' life. The quilt was specially created for the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Pathways to Freedom Chapter of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute of Self Development, an organization co-founded by Parks to continue her legacy. The quilt is the concept of Ella McCall-Haygan, a personal friend of Parks and regional director of the institute. It was made and designed by international award-winning quilt-maker Geri V. Ford. McCall-Haygan will be on hand to share Parks’ story.
Live Entertainment Schedule

11 a.m.-4 p.m.
DJ George of Talk of the Town

11 a.m.
Mutual Agreement: an a cappella gospel quintet

11:40 a.m.
Webb Elementary School Dance Team

12:15 p.m.
Lara Family and Friends Steel Drum Team

2 p.m.
Baba Jamal Koram: master storyteller in the oral history and traditions of West African cultures and music

3:15 p.m.
Fan Fan/Global Beat 101: Caribbean and reggae music

Animal Program Schedule
10 a.m.
1 p.m.

Meet a Naked Mole RatSmall Mammal House

Meet a Kori BustardKori Bustard Exhibit (behind Bird House)

Meet an InvertebrateInvertebrate Exhibit

Meet a GorillaGreat Ape House
10:30 a.m.

Giant Octopus FeedingInvertebrate Exhibit

Meet a CheetahCheetah Conservation Station

Giant Fish or Stingray FeedingAmazonia, entrance level

Elephant BathElephant House
1:30 p.m.

Meet an Aldabra TortoiseReptile Discovery Center

Asian Otter Feeding DemoAsia Trail Otter Exhibit

River Otter FeedingUpper Valley Trail
1:30-3 p.m.
10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Caring CorralKids' Farm

Caring CorralKids' Farm
2 p.m.
11 a.m.

Meet a Flamingo KeeperFlamingo Exhibit (behind Bird House)

Meet a KiwiBird House

Meet a HippopotamusHippo Yard or Elephant House

Elephant Training DemoElephant Yard or Elephant House

Meet a Naked Mole RatSmall Mammal House

Meet a GorillaGreat Ape House

Meet a GorillaGreat Ape House

Giant Octopus FeedingInvertebrate Exhibit

Meet an InvertebrateInvertebrate Exhibit

Spectacled Bear Feeding DemoLower Valley Trail

Eagle Feeding DemoValley Trail

Giant Fish or Stingray FeedingAmazonia, entrance level
2:30 p.m.
11:30 a.m.

Meet a CheetahCheetah Conservation Station

Sloth Bear Feeding DemoAsia Trail Sloth Exhibit

River Otter FeedingUpper Valley Trail

Meet a HippopotamusHippo Yard or Elephant House

Giant Fish or Stingray FeedingAmazonia, entrance level

Seal or Sea Lion Training DemoValley Trail

Great Cats Keeper TalkGreat Cats Exhibit

Great Cats Keeper TalkGreat Cats Exhibit
3 p.m.
12 p.m.

Meet a Marabou StorkMarabou Stork Exhibit (outside Bird House)

Birds in the Forest FeedingBird House Indoor Flight Room

Meet an Aldabra TortoiseReptile Discovery Center

Meet a Banded MongooseSmall Mammal House

Giant Octopus FeedingInvertebrate Exhibit

Meet an Aldabra TortoiseReptile Discovery Center

Meet an InvertebrateInvertebrate Exhibit

Dance of the JelliesInvertebrate Exhibit

2009 White House Easter Egg Roll

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are pleased to announce the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll. The White House Easter Egg Roll will be held on Monday, April 13, 2009 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. Talented performers, special guests and thousands of visitors from all over the country are expected to attend this year. For the first time, tickets for the Easter Egg Roll will be distributed online so that more children and families from across the United States have the opportunity to experience this event. There will be no ticket distribution on the Ellipse the weekend before the event. More details about the ticketing process are below.
ThemeThe White House Easter Egg Roll dates back to 1878 and is an event designed to encourage children and their families to come outdoors and celebrate the start of the spring season. This year’s theme, ‘Let’s go play’, encourages America’s youth to lead healthy and active lives. The White House will open the South Lawn to children age ten and under, along with their families, to enjoy sports, cooking classes, live musical performances, storytelling and, of course, the traditional Easter egg roll. Please come dressed to be active and participate in all of the events.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Children & Grief

Earlier this year, my Uncle Walter passed away. While he was hospitalized the last 6 weeks of his life, my 5 year old prayed often for his peace and healing. When he made his transition, I was faced with how to help my daughter understand death. She processed things in her own child like manner, "Mommy how did Uncle Water get to heaven?", she asked.

Just weeks later I was hit with the tragic murder of a dear friend from high school who left behind a 2 year old daughter. And again less than 2 weeks later I loss another dear friend, this time to Lupus. Not just my friend, but a daughter and mother to a 5 year old little girl, just a few weeks older than my own. So during our nightly prayers we have added these little ones to our prayer list, that God will protect and cover them with His grace and mercy as they grow without their daddy and mommy.

So I ask you, how have you had to handle death with your children? How do you help them understand loss while trying to protect them from the pain of grief?

In Loving Memory of Marc Stewart & Tiffani Roberts

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jack & Jill Turns 70

Below is a link to an article from the current issue of UPTOWN magazine that highlights the 70 year history of Jack and Jill of America, Inc.

Jack and Jill of America, Inc. is a family organization that provides cultural, social, civic and recreational activities that stimulate and expand the mind to enhance life. It is the largest and oldest African American family organization in the United States.

Along with sororities, fraternities and other exclusive organizations, J&J comes with it's own set of stereotypes and preconceived notions. The reality is , its goals and founding principles are rooted in providing opportunities for the development and advancement of our children. After all, isn't that what we all want as parents for our children?
Post and share your remarks.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Black History for Young People

Here are a few reads to share our history all year long with our children:

For the littlest ones...

Brown Sugar Babies a photo book by Charles R Smith Jr.

My People by Langston Hughes, illustrator Charles R Smith Jr.

For lessons on slavery and the road to freedom:

Henry's Freedom Box

The Patchwork Path A Quilt Map to Freedom by Bettye Stroud

Family by J. California Cooper
In 1998 I began to use this book to introduce slavery to 16 year old girls participating in a leadership development program. In most cases this was the first real lesson the students had ever had about slavery. A wonderful poignant story about the love between mother and child.

Share your favorite stories when you post your comments.

Happy reading!!!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Opportunity for Johnson & Johnson Campaign

Hi Chocolate Chip Fans:

See below for an opportunity with Product Model Management. The deadline for photo submissions is TODAY 2/19/09 at 4pm.

All the best!!!



Monday, February 16, 2009

State of the Black Union- February 28, 2009

Strong families make strong communities.

Every year I try to clear my schedule on the last Saturday of Black History Month, to be apart of Tavis Smiley Presents The State of the Black Union.

It really doesn't matter whether you agree with Smiley's politics. This town hall meeting does an incredible job bringing together many of our best and brightest to analyze the critical issues affecting our families and communities.

On February 28th, check out CSPAN for live coverage.

Here's a link to Smiley's site to learn more.

Here's to strengthening our communities one family at a time!


Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Pressure of Finding the Best School

I don't know about you, but for the past 7 months, we've been focused on finding the best school for our daughter. After 3 great years at her current school, we've thoroughly researched and have pursued new opportunities.

Despite our diligent efforts and the stellar reputations of the institutions, there is tremendous pressure to make the best decision. We want to get this thing right and we know you do too. Below find 3 resources to assist you with your process.
Check Spelling

Great Schools is a site that we've found quiet helpful. Most recently they've added high school ratings.

If you're focusing on NYC independent schools for kindergarten and 1st grade applicants, check out . Their mission is increasing diversity in NYC independent schools.

For the college bound juniors and seniors, I strongly recommend, Ivy Educational Consulting, a private educational consulting firm that specializes in college admission counseling. With her extensive background as an admission director at one of the country's most highly selective colleges, Karen A. Williams will provide individualized attention to students seeking help with school choice, admission strategy, essay development, and interview training.

Karen will be a regular contributor to Chocolate Chip. So look out for future posts from Ivy Educational Consulting.