Introduce your children to different ethnic foods so they can become citizens of the world.

a-bon-appetit-sticker

There are so many ways to introduce your children to the diversity of the world – food is just one of them and can be a lot of fun. I hear too often from my friends that their kids are picky eaters. I say “try it, you’ll like it” and boy is it true. I have to say, I am quite lucky that both of my girls are good eaters. I heard somewhere that kids have to try something 17 times before they may enjoy eating something which is new to them. That seems like a lot, but the point being you have to try something more than once to like it.

Here are some local suggestions for different types of ethnic foods to try. I live in the Long Island/New York area, but I am sure you have similar family friendly ethnic restaurants you can try in your area.

Extra tip: Before you go out to eat, print out fun facts about the country of origin where you are going to eat to further the educational experience.

Birgitta’s Favorite Local Ethnic Family Restaurants

German – Plattduetsch Restaurant and Biergarten (Franklin Square) – During the summer, there are outdoor picnic tables and music bands on Fridays where the kids can try many different types of wurst (sausages), Wiener Schnitzel sandwiches, homemade German potato salad & potato pancakes, giant hot pretzels, etc. It is a relaxing venue for kids as well as adults and easy on the wallet.

Indian (South) – House of Dosas – (Hicksville) – South Indian vegetarian food which is super authentic with Indian “donuts” (actually called vada) – If you have never had a paper masala dosa, this the place to have it. It is hard to describe, but you have to see it – my kids love it!

Indian (North) – Akbar – (Garden City)  North Indian food with fabulous buffets which we intend to enjoy on the weekends. Great way to expose kids to Indian food so they can try different things. Even though setting is a bit more formal (table cloths), this restaurant is very child friendly and food is very good.

Italian/American – Lucky Duck (Garden City South) – From the name, one would think Chinese, but it has great Italian food and super family friendly. They sometimes have a magician on Thursday nights. Girls love the bread basket and enjoy dipping the bread in olive oil. Farafelle San Remo pasta is the kid’s favorite. If they order a kid’s meal, they will get ice cream where they can create their own sundae with whip cream, sprinkles and hot fudge which is always a lot of fun!

Japanese – Benihana – (Manhasset/national locations) – Childhood favorite we used to visit for special occasions… especially birthdays…love it for lunch with the kids because it is easy on the wallet and you can take your time since it less crowded. Entertainment built in with the chef cooking in front of you and the family picture at the end for birthday celebrations always creates a nice memory. PS – We have never been disappointed with the food or the picture (everyone is always smiling ).

Mexican – Chipotle – (Mineola/national locations) – This is our favorite choice for “fast food”. Kids enjoy the sides of rice and beans which is less than $3. I usually get the salad with toppings and they have really nice guacamole too. Love it!

Portuguese – Brasa Rodizio – (Mineola) – Great churrasqueria place which is child friendly with family style side dishes – great to expose kids to Portuguese food and they even have a kids Rodizio…even if you are stuffed, get the heavenly whites for dessert…

Turkish – Beyoglu – (Upper East Side/NYC) – I love this place! So many small dishes to try – hummus, taboleuh, spinach, eggplant, etc. Fresh food, nice outdoor seating and reasonable prices. This is a great place to try for lunch/dinner if you are checking out one of the museums on the Upper East Side (Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim, Whitney) – We are always looking for a reason to come back to this restaurant.

“Variety is the spice of life!”, I always like to say. Having your children eat different ethnic foods is just one of the many ways of introducing your children to cultural diversity. Plan a culinary adventure with your family; I am sure it will be a ride the whole family will enjoy! Buon Appetito!

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Beach and Bagels: Create summer family traditions the kids will treasure for years to come.

a Beach and Bagels Photo

It’s the summer. For our family, that means it’s time for beach and bagels. We are “morning” people and like to get up and go to the beach. We don’t want to sit in traffic. Our ritual: Pick up bagels and cream cheese, coffee, iced tea, 10 Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins and we are off to the beach.

We set ourselves up with our chairs, beach umbrellas, sunscreen and we relax enjoying our breakfast. Then it’s about reading, making sand castles, digging for sand crabs, enjoying the ocean air and spending time together as a family.

The kids look forward to it as do we. Looks like a Beach and Bagels weekend.

What family summer traditions do you have?

Spanx – It will help you keep it all together.

A Spanx Photo for blog

 

There is a reason why Sara Blakely is a billionaire. She is the inventor of the best control top undergarments for all parts of your body. It is also available for men.

While it is more expensive than some other brands, the high quality of the products warrants the price. Butt lifts, muffin top control – you name it, Spanx has the product!

I don’t want this to read like a product endorsement/marketing ad, but I have tried many “control top” garments and can definitely say that Spanx is the absolute best!

Losing weight is tough enough and after you have children, you may need some extra help to keep it all together.

What is the parenting life lesson? It’s ok to ask for help. Happy wife = happy life.

 

 

There never seems to be a good time to have those difficult conversations with aging parents, but it is important to make time before it’s too late.

a lets talk heart

Having recently gone through being an executor for a last will and testament, it was an enlightening experience. This person was luckily very organized, but really got me to thinking about needing to have conversations with my own parents about making sure “things are in order.”

I am definitely not an expert in this area, but you have to start somewhere. I casually started discussing with my father my “lessons learned” from being an executor for this person’s estate. It was not a lengthy discussion, but got the conversation started.

There are so many things to think about, but here are some high – level items to consider:

 Overall Will Questions 

· Do you have a will?

· Who is the lawyer who worked on the will for you?

· Who is the executor?

· Do you have a copy of the will in the house? Where is it?

· Where do you keep important documents? birth certificate, house deed, life insurance, etc.

Burial

· Gravestone or Cremation?

· Do you have a plot?

· Where is it?

· Funeral Home?

· Special requests?

(Helpful to have a joint bank account to cover funeral expenses)

General

· How to dispose of items? (Special things you want certain people to have)

· People to notify?

These are just some basic ideas to have an initial discussion. There are so many other things to think about also (power of attorney, estate planning, if your parents can’t take care of themselves one day (what they want to do)….

Like I said, there is never a good time to have these types of conversations, but they do need to happen. Just start with some of the basics and hopefully you can get the conversation started.

Spend an evening watching “old school” movies with your kids you enjoyed as a child.

A movie night photo

Aren’t there some movies you can watch over and over again and bring a smile to your face when you watch them?

Sometimes it is just fun to have a lazy day/evening and watch movies. It’s interesting to get your children’s perspective. Do they enjoy the same parts of the movie you do?

You can stream many of these movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime. I even like to go “old school” and borrow a movie from the library. How about Jiffy Pop popcorn you make on the stove?

Here are some of my “old school” favorites :

1. Airplane

2. Animal House

3. Back to the Future I,II,III

4. Breakfast Club

5. Coming to America

6. Dirty Dancing

7. ET

8. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

9. Godfather I, II, III

10. Gone With the Wind

11. Grease

12. Home Alone I, II, III

13. James Bond movies

14. Moonstruck

15. My Big Fat Greek wedding

16. Overboard

17. Pretty Woman

18. Sixteen Candles

19. Raiders of the Lost Ark

20. Risky Business

21. Something about Mary

22. Sound of Music

23. The Wedding Singer

24. Top Gun

25. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

You’ll have to make the call on what is age appropriate 🙂

Extra Credit: “Summer Homework” – As part of their journal writing, have the kids write up a movie review: Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, favorite actors/actresses, favorite part of the movie, etc.

What are some of your “old school” favorites?

 

The summer vacation should be fun, but there needs to be “summer homework” also. Teach your children the importance of developing good study habits.

A summer Homework Photo

You may have noticed I did not post for the last few weeks. For the last two months, I have been studying very hard to pass the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam – 4 hours, 200 questions and I am happy to say I passed the exam last week. My daughters knew I was preparing for this exam and that I had to stay focused and make the time to study. I needed to limit “extracurricular” activities/events so I could complete this goal. I told my girls, “If you work hard, you can play hard.”

While I want my daughters to have fun this summer, I also want to make sure they continue to practice and build upon what they learned this past school year. We have daily “summer homework” which consists of the following:

>> Writing – Daily Journal question (For example, “What have you learned about soccer from watching the World Cup?”; “What are your favorite activities over the summer?”; “Why do you love your puppies?”

>> Math – 4 pages (I am using all of the leftover math sheets they had in their school workbooks)

>> Reading – Few chapters (Joined the Library Summer Reading Club)

>> Piano – Practice 3 to 5 times/week

They don’t seem to mind the “summer homework” because they know once it is complete, there is some fun in store for them also. Learning is a life-long process; it does not take a break over the summer. They are already working hard and playing hard. We hope to keep the momentum going throughout the entire summer 🙂