Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Dog Parade & Costume Contest at Luna Park

For the 1st time, we attended Luna Park's Dog Parade & Costume Contest. We are dog lovers...and it was a treat to go to Coney Island and see over 120 dogs dressed in costumes...all of the dogs were super friendly & adorable. Some of our favs:















And the nice staff at Luna Park gave kids yummy Halloween treats.


Monday, October 8, 2018

FROZEN the Musical on Broadway

New Yorkers are reluctant to venture into the overcrowded tourist trap known as Times Square...but since it is a world-famous destination...I wanted to be sure that Lina will experience it again as a tween and remember the area when she grows up. We went to see Annie on Broadway a few years ago, but now with FROZEN the Musical on Broadway...that gave us a reason to visit one of New York's most iconic places again.

Lina was excited (as you can see from photos). She said "whenever there's a movie or TV show about New York, they show Times Square...the place of dreams & luxury."




The best part about going during October is there's LESS crowds (whew)...and my budget appreciated the extremely discounted prices (compared to summer and holidays). Re: FROZEN the musical, Lina said "it put me in a trance...the special effects and singing, plus acting, were soooooo good....it felt like I was in a DREAM!"





We ate a delicious meal at Ruby Tuesday. Lina was craving meat big time...we had been eating mostly vegetarian meals for 2 months. We ended up swapping the dishes pictured below...since she is not a huge fan of burgers (I am, and the bacon cheddar cheeseburger - extra well done - was yummy), she absolutely loved the BBQ ribs and ate every bite, as well as the mashed potatoes...I took the onion rings (she doesn't ever want that side dish) and we split the fries. Re: lunch at Ruby Tuesday, Lina said "it was soooooooooooo yummy. I could eat it EVERY DAY....sauce on the ribs was messy but worth it...I felt like a lion eating the meat."


That meal filled us up for many hours. We explored Times Square for 6 hours total during this very warm fall day (80 degrees!)...& I did it without sugary treats, caffeine or alcohol, at any of the locations we visited...I noticed many adults around us indulged, though, to plow through the crowds without feeling so much stress.

We went to Dave & Buster's for the first time...it only cost me 20 bucks for Lina to play arcade games for an hour and a half non-stop.



She enjoyed playing Candy Crush Saga for the first time ever. It was one of her favorite games at this arcade.



Re: Dave & Buster's, Lina said "they have much better games than Coney Island's arcade...Dream Raiders is great...motion, like a ride, in addition to the cool game..." The Dream Raiders motion platform video arcade game was definitely her favorite and she played it multiple times.


The Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots arcade game looked very cool.


We did go home with souvenirs...cute finger toys she won at Dave & Buster's...


AND I purchased at the St. James Theatre...a soft doll, Lina's favorite Frozen character, Anna, and the adorable reindeer Sven...these stuffed toys are now part of her beloved collection...nestled in her bed.


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

ShimmerScale FlutterTail

Meet Lina's 1st pet fish...a male red & blue Crowntail Betta (pronounced bet·ta, like “bed-tah," not bay-tah) fish, which she named ShimmerScale FlutterTail. 


Healthy...active, swimming...good appetite (not picky, from the moment we brought it home, eats appropriate number of pellets twice a day)...was not stressed with transition into conditioned water. He responds to Lina singing and follows her fingers. Lina is thrilled with her new pet. He loves listening to Lina play the piano and talk to him and he watches us intently. She makes drawings for him to look at...


He quickly began building bubble nests on the water's surface..."this behavior is a strong indication of a happy, healthy betta."





I took her to a local pet shop on the first day of fall. We got a basic, inexpensive setup (Lina is only 10 1/2 years old and this is her 1st pet ever, low maintenance...easy to clean, easy to feed, tank fits on her dresser). ShimmerScale FlutterTail LOVES resting in the leaves when he naps!...but there's still empty space in the tank, so we will go to the store soon to find a little hideaway for him (like a smooth log or cave) and a floating toy to keep the fish stimulated. He is playful, smart and curious...and loves attention.

Lina is an animal lover...she is gentle and had MANY interactions with live animals over the last decade - at ranches, farms, petting zoos, as well as visiting with other people's pets (she loves goats, bunnies, horses, dogs, birds, sea creatures etc.)...she even took a veterinary class for tweens. I figured now she is old enough to help care for a pet, observe it & learn about it...train it. When this pet passes away, she will begin to learn how to cope with grief. Then, we will move to a new home...and know what we're allowed to keep there, in terms of pets...so she can have her next (higher maintenance) pet.

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Divine Drink

Lina nicknamed mama's favorite drink "heaven in a bowl." So YUM, relaxing & warm. Perfect while transitioning to cooler temps. Chamomile & lavender & honey tea latte:




More cafés should offer this delightful drink...except our society is all about go-go-go, so coffee is king (haven't had a drop in 2+ years and feel GREAT!)...people are exhausted, pushing themselves to stay up later and later and wake up earlier and earlier...so unhealthy for their bodies and their minds. We get all the sleep our bodies need overnight (Lina, 11 hrs; me, 9 hrs) and we wake up energized (naturally), then I have a bit of English breakfast tea (no sugar). Lina never drinks soda (never has)...and doesn't have a ton of sugar daily and then crash (like many kids do). I do not de-stress with alcohol, not even wine (like many adults do), and I just drink it when socializing at special events a couple of times per year. A simple cup of chamomile tea helps me feel calm & unwind at night. Lina & I did not get sick yet (not even one cold) in the last 16 months! (Lina never had the flu, no infections.)

The chamomile & lavender & honey tea latte was a $5.50 indulgence recently (maybe I will learn how to make it for myself at home) at Couleur Café in Park Slope...we also ate the most yummy brunch there:


The 10 year old loved the scrambled eggs with cheese (ate every bit) & bacon & roasted potatoes...I loved the "bacon cocotte" which was 2 baked eggs (cooked perfectly in a small casserole dish), with Gruyère cheese and bacon + a side salad. When I was working hard at an office job in Manhattan, earning a decent salary, I used to love eating brunch at restaurants every weekend (usually both Saturday and Sunday) for years...but as a stay-at-home mom...I don't have brunch in our budget for once per week or even once every month...but this was sooooo worth it ;--)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A cool day at the beach...

Nothing is better in the summer than feeling a cool sea breeze...listening to waves crashing onto the shore...smelling saltwater...watching beautiful sailboats moving across the ocean...stepping on soft sand and dipping into the soothing seawater. We went to Coney Island Beach + boardwalk...on a cloudy weekday when it would be relatively clean and not so crowded or loud at the free beach.


We spotted another mom+daughter duo enjoying the cooler summer day together.


YES, all fingers up = hand gesture to indicate *this* summer you are 10 years old.


Drying off a bit...

After 1 hour in the water (blowing bubbles, trying to float with my help, splashing, jumping up to catch waves, going for a ride on my back)...Lina loved watching the silly antics of seagull friends on the shore...she is good at spotting birds everywhere!


Then, we walked on the prettified boardwalk...






Whenever we saw a line with a ton of day campers waiting, we avoided that line...so it wasn't a soul-crushing experience as it often can be going out and about in overcrowded New York City. We went on amusement park rides together (we especially liked a new mild thrill ride that was a combination of video game + ride), played at the arcade...ate sicilian pizza, Nutella & Oreo gelato & Churros. A simple, beautiful summer day.