Friday, December 31, 2010

It's Not Too Late To Set Family Goals for 2011

2010 is history!  Have you chartered your course as a family for 2011?  I'm not talking about resolutions that will last a week before you break them, but a plan of action for the entire family.

Here's one of our goals:

As parents of 4 and 6 year olds, we recognize the important role of cultural enrichment to expand upon what they learn in school.  To that end we will visit a museum/cultural center each month.  We actually started early by attending the Medieval treasure hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Cloisters yesterday and a quick visit today to the American Museum of Natural History.  We had to pull the kids away from the galaxy exhibits where Brooke learned about supernovas.  Ryan lit up when he saw "Rexy" the dinosaur from Night at the Museum.  I can't wait to watch how they grow and develop as a result of these monthly excursions. 

See not so bad...

In addition to our personal goals, each child has their own goals too: 

Read a chapter book a month
Make up bed/keep room clean daily
Learn to ride bike without training wheels
Eat vegetables...
You get the picture. 

Our friends at Kadence LLC , advise that you break annual goals into quarterly goals to help you stay on track.  Check them out for upcoming workshops to help you get the best out of 2011. 

My husband Spencer forwarded the following article to me about setting family goals, so I'm playing it forward by sharing it with you.

Here's to raising our families together! 

Wishing you a blessed, healthy, prosperous and joy-filled 2011!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Chocolate Chip Guide to Christmas 2010

Welcome to the Chocolate Chip Guide to Christmas 2010....

We've made our list and checked it twice...
Here are a few of our favorite things of the holiday season:

Our favorite television programs......

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Truly a classic!! My brother, cousin and I used to ROFL watching those kids rock 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?"
Check it out on hulu now:

The Sound of Music
"The hills are alive....."
I absolutely LOVE watching the Sound of Music which traditionally airs the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. The music, the songs, great plot and story line...Just LOVE it!
Watch this classic with the children.

The Arts....

Alvin Ailey- Revelations
"I've been 'buked and I've been scorned...."
Sinner Man, Fix Me Jesus, I Wanna Be Ready, Wadin' in the Water.....I LOVE every movement of this signature classic of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
Without a doubt my most favorite activity of the season! 
At least one tear (who am I kidding, MANY) will find its way down my cheek as I watch mezmorized by the strength, beauty, fire, power, joy and grace of this American classic set to the Negro spirituals.  Revelations touches my soul every time! 
Catch Ailey at the New York City Center now thru January 2, 2011.  You won't regret it.

The Nutcracker Ballet
If you're a member of the Chocolate Chip family, you know that our annual family outing was made extra special this year with Brooke's appearance in the Purchase College Conservatory of Dance production of The Nutcracker

Whether you see the NYC Ballet (thru January 2nd) or a local more modest production, the story of Clara and her most favorite Christmas gift set to Tchaikovsky's score is not to be missed. 

The Westchester County Ballet presents their production at the Westchester County Center this weekend 12/18-12/19  Check out the link below for tickets.  Advance sales: $18, children and seniors $12. All tickets $22 on the day of performance

Special Events...

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

Thru Jan 9th, 2011  Come to my hometown, the BX, to check out what is without a doubt the BEST way to see NYC!

While you're there check out the Gingerbread Adventures, The Little Engine That Could™ Puppet Show and Thomas the Tank Engine (1/1-1/9).  Our 4 year old Ryan is going to LOVE that!!!

March of The Wooden Soldiers
As performed by the Rockettes at the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City thru December 31,2010

Ah this brings back such fond memories of my high school years....Shout out to Cardinal Spellman's Flag Corps (I see you Karen and Melody) who perform it annually

And the traditional NYC spots....

...The Tree and Herald Angels at Rockefeller Center
...The Christmas Windows: Macy's and Lord & Taylor

Ice Skating

Although we've yet to brave the cold and long wait at Rockefeller Center, your local ice skating rink will certainly do the trick

Until a few weeks ago, my husband had NEVER ice skated in his life!! Inspired by Shani Davis and Apollo, our 4 year old got on the ice this year for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed it! 
Our local department of recreation even offers family free skate and $20 lessons for children. 

Nothing follows ice skating better than
Hot cocoa in a mug!

We've added a new Westchester spot to our list this year. 
Please send us your own.  We'll be more than willing to conduct a taste test:)
And don't forget Spencer's secret ingredient: a dash of cinnamon

MarieBelle Soho: The Cacao Bar
484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway
Simply divine European-style Aztec Hot Chocolate- YUMMMMMM!!!!

(Gotta love a great brand name!)
607 East Boston Post Road
Mamaroneck, NY 10543
Phone: 914.777.3600

Don't forget to add
Your Personal Touch...

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. 
We've even turned a play date into a holiday experience.  This Sunday 12/19 Brooke will be meeting up with her BFF at Lola's Tea House to decorate a ginger bread house.

Your special holiday dish
Ask my husband, the kids, their pediatrition (even her husband and staff put in their requests) and teachers... 
I only whip them up for the holidays which makes them an extra special treat! 
I'm also known for my Gingerbread Waffles (thanks Rachel Ray). 
 Share you speciality with the Chocolate Chip family:)

and finally but FOREMOST...

The Reason for the Season

Celebrate the birth of Christ with
Christian Culture Center's
Creative Arts Department Anuual Christmas Production
12020 Flatlands Avenue
Brooklyn, NY
Wednesday 12/22 and Thurs 12/23

Whatever you do make this blessed and joyous holiday season an extra special one for you and your family.

From our family to yours,

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Gift of Reading- Great Childrens Books for the Holiday

I'm excited to share this book with you written by The Play Groop, a collective of moms.  I must disclose that many of the authors are Alpha Kappa Alpha members and Jack & Jill mothers, so  I am especially proud and applaud them on their inaugural effort, Trying My Best to Be Good! 

It is a sweet story about a little girl trying her best to be good as she counts down the 5 days before Christmas.  It is when we're trying our hardest, that test and temptation come knocking.  And so it is for this little girl.

We LOVE the David series by David Shannon and It's Christmas David! is no exception.  We often substitute our son's name because he can be equally as mischievous:) 

As usual David is getting into all sorts of stuff...sneak peaking at Christmas gifts, eyeing the Christmas cookies too closely, and  running down the street bucked naked (as the late great Robin Harris would say) as only classic David would do.

A delightful holiday read for the little boys in your life.  Check out the entire series. No David! and David Gets In Trouble are among our 4 year old's favorite books. 

'Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters' by President Barack Obama "celebrates the characteristics that unite all Americans - the potential to pursue our dreams and forge our own paths."

"Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters" is a tribute to 13 groundbreaking Americans, from the first president, George Washington, to baseball great Jackie Robinson to artist Georgia O'Keeffe.

The president will donate any author proceeds to "a scholarship fund for the children of fallen and disabled soldiers serving our nation,"

Excerpts from Washington Post:
Purchase it on Amazon:

Lastly, I've decided to add the Sugar Plum Ballerina series by Whoopi Goldberg to my Christmas shopping list.  We've been so focused on Judy Moody, Ramona and Wimpy Kid lately, that I'm hungry to sprinkle some color into the mix. 

#1: Plum Fantastic
#3: Perfectly Prima

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Something for the Dads!!

7 Moves That Will Make You a Better Dad

Found this article on MSN today and had to share it with all the Chocolate Chip dads.

After you read the article, check out The Fatherhood Initiative They are doing incredible work supporting dads.  You've probably seen their psa (my favorite) while pumping know the one of the dad jumping rope with his daughter and her friends.  Priceless!

We hope it makes a difference for your family.  Make sure you play it forward by sharing and passing our link onto another dad:)

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Nutcracker- Purchase College Conservatory of Dance 12/3-12/5

You may recall from Chocolate Chip's Guide to the Holidays that we have a family tradition of seeing a performance of The Nutcracker annually during the Christmas season.  This year is extra special for us because our daughter is performing in Purchase College Conservatory of Dance production of The Nutcracker which premieres this week!

Consider this an open invitation to our Chocolate Chip family to join us if you're looking for a special treat to jumpstart the holiday season.

I am proud to share that through a generous angel donation, the 2nd grade class of Pennington School was in the house today for the school performance cheering on their class mate.  What a wonderful way to expose children to the arts.  It has been an incredible learning experience not only for the young patrons, but also for the over 200 community children involved in the production.

Public Performances are as follows:
Friday 12/3 @ 7:15pm*, Saturday 12/4 @ 2:00pm and 7:00pm and Sunday 12/5 1:00pm and 5:00pm*.  Purchase tickets online or call the box office at 914-251-6200.

Special shout out to Jack & Jill girls Kiersten Hardy and Chloe Edwards who are Angels in the production.

Hope to see you there!


* Brooke's performances