Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanks and Giving

Belated Happy Thanksgiving all! Hope the holiday was turkey and more. Our "more" was a 6lb brisket I made. Courtesy of Shop Rite in Oakland. Which, if I hadn't mentioned before, has the best supermarket butcher around. There are actually people in there when you need them, have questions, or need a cut of something that isn't out. I rarely see this in other markets. Maybe it happens but I've been in a lot of markets and never have seen such a helpful butcher area. Anyway, they're also the only ones to readily have a 5-6.5lb brisket around. I don't know why, but 2-3lb seems to be the norm. Well, after cooking that would amount to maybe enough for two people? Certainly not 12-14 people. So, they had a 6lb and that's what I took. By the way, for some reason I had a bug up my ass to cut the fat off PRIOR to cooking it. I don't know what I was thinking except that I HATE having to trim it when I'm cutting it 3/4 of the way through. It's so gross. So, I just grabbed a big knife and started cutting it off, as much as I could. Then, I got all nervous that I messed it up and wondered if I needed the fat. Too late. But, it came out awesome. So, I'll be doing that again.

I also made a sweet potato casserole- http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/sweet-potato-casserole-ii-2/detail.aspx. I did add a few things like an egg and a dash of heavy cream. I also didn't use regular sweet potatoes. I used yams in a can. I just drained all the syrup. Then I put all the ingredients into the Kitchen Aid (stand) Mixer I got a few years ago because of a craze on the NJ board theNest.com. Trust me it was a frenzy and this non-cooker/baker NEEDED this thing I've used like five times. BUT, for this casserole it was perfect. I hate lumpy sweet potato and this made it perfect. It looked awesome and tasted even better. Yeah, it was really sweet but in my opinion that's how it's supposed to be. Other than that, it was just a regular, nice meal. No complaints, no drama, good company and good food.

Before we could even say good-bye to our Thanksgiving meal, I was already in deep conflict with myself as to whether or not to go out for the pre-Black Friday sales that were starting Thursday night. I normally love the frenzy of Black Friday shopping and pre-E, I used to go to the mall at 7a in Paramus to catch some deals. I'm not a great morning person though and B has to work on Black Friday, alone in the store, so I really can't go out with E to do that kind of thing. Last year Toys R Us was opening at 11p so I decided to go. B hates even the thought of the whole Black Friday blitz thing and doesn't get it. So, he'd never go. But, he was fine with me going. I had waited in a ginormous line for an hour to get into TRU, met some cool people and only spent $40 getting a few things for E and his friends.

THIS year, stores were opening even earlier and it sort of grossed me out. I couldn't put my finger exactly what bothered me about it but it did. I just kind of have a whole bah-humbug spirit on purchasing. Look, I LOVE shopping. I do. And I don't need a reason. But, something about this years crazy consumerism has me not able to partake in the whole thing. So, I didn't go out on Thanksgiving. I did go out on Black Friday to Ridgewood because I needed to let E walk off some energy. It was CRAZY there because I guess people didn't want to go to the mall. Gymboree had a ridiculous sale so I got E two coats for next winter and a pair of boots for this one. But, that's it.

Cyber Monday didn't do it for me either. I was able to get E some good deals on kid movies for his Hanukkah gifts. Last year, I felt like Amazon had crazy good deals but I didn't see anything. Same with Toys R Us. Now, maybe had I gone to the store I would've seen something in person that I would've been excited about but that didn't happen.

None of this is "negative" though. It all means that I saved my money!

B said he was cool with some holiday decoration so the year before last we got blue and white stockings for the mantle. I put our names on them with silver glitter. Last year we couldn't find them so we just didn't put any up. This year, on Saturday night, we took a trip to the Christmas Tree Shop and found cooler ones! These are a navy blue with gold and silver Jewish stars on them. They look so much better in our house. The other ones were more of a Smurf blue. They were fine but didn't go as well as the navy with the gold and silver accents. I'd run to the Christmas Tree Shop if you're looking for any Hanukkah stuff. I'm sure it won't be there for long. They had a really decent selection considering most places have none. Since it was the weekend most people would be buying holiday decorations, I thought it would be nuts parking and inside. It actually wasn't a zoo in there and we were in and out pretty quick. We also made a pit stop at Garden State Plaza around 8p (for my jelly beans) since we were in the same parking lot pretty much. I expected not to be able to even find a spot. I did, by Neimans. I got in and out in like ten minutes. It was weird because on a normal Saturday you can barely get in there but I guess it was a good thing for me!

Sunday was E's last Teddy Tennis class. E liked it so I guess it's sad, in a way, that it's over. But, I'm not that bothered. First of all, the class started with like eight kids in it. As time went on, it seemed it was less and less. I don't know what happened. Considering the owner didn't want to give me the $20 discount to re-sign him up, I highly doubt she was refunding money to people. So, what that would mean is that some people paid around $400+ to just not show up. That would seem weird if I hadn't spent 10 weeks in a waiting area/lobby listening to people talk about how much money they have, name-drop, and rudely talk extremely loud for long periods of time on their cell phones. Maybe $400 isn't a big deal for some of these people to waste on a kid not going to class. Of course I'm just being judgy, but hey- I call it like I see it. At any rate, my issue with the actual class was that I guess they follow some kind of timed curriculum. So, when it got down to 3-4 kids in the class, the class was ending early. Or much earlier than it did with more kids. If it was a timed curriculum and there were less kids, why not just let the kids there have extra time then? I don't know. I don't know WHAT was going on. But, it's over and I can do without being out of the house by 8:55 every Sunday mornings because that's for the birds.

We've been going to Van Saun for the past three weeks after class. One reason is, we found out by driving there that Abma's Farm is CLOSED on Sunday. I did not know this information because I didn't look it up. E loves Abma's and he loves to feed the animals there. It's a no-go for Sundays FYI. Van Saun was fine because the carousel and train were still running. Till this past weekend. We went and the sign was up- the train and carousel are closed for the season. Another good FYI to note.

My last FYI is about Barns & Noble. And it's a good one. B bought me a Nook two birthdays ago- so a year and a half ago. Normally he doesn't go for those insurance/protection plans that come with appliances or gadgets. They usually ARE kind of BS. They end up not covering anything you need it to, etc. But, he got the one with the Nook thinking I might get "something sticky" on it or who knows what. I don't use the Nook THAT often because the iphone has me completely backed up on my magazines. Yes, physical magazines, of which I have many subscriptions. As a side note, I get into phases. Sometimes I'm reading a new book every few days and then I don't read one for months. Right now I'm in that whole months phase. So, I was neatening up and prioritizing my magazines and picked up my Nook. I opened the cover and the Edgar Allen Poe face was on. That means it was "on" but not on. Resting? I don't know. But I distinctly remembered it being blank, as in totally off. I tried turning it off. Nothing. Face still there. I tried plugging it in and the face still was there, no recognition of being plugged in. I knew I had to bring it in. I didn't know about the protection plan, or at least I didn't remember. So I was geared up to be annoyed.

I went in to B&N and didn't have a lot of confidence. They sent me up to "Rory", one of their "Nook Experts" in the music section. He tried some stuff for about 10 minutes. He was baffled. He said he never saw the EAP face still on with no battery in it. He called tech support and in two minutes he put me on the phone with them. They told me they were sending me a new Nook and all I had to do was send the old one back when I get the new one. That's it. Easy. If I don't send it back within the 14 days, they'll charge me for the new one. Easiest customer service situation I think I've ever had. Go B&N!

By the way, I have a 1st generation Nook which is now going for $89. It reads books. That's all I need it to do. My next gadget want is an Ipad. I don't need a special book reading tablet than can do a few other cool things. However, I did take a little look-see at the newer Nooks, including the $249 tablet and it looked cool as hell. Same with the $199 color one. I'm sure the Kindle is great too. I just know nothing about them. To be honest, I don't know much about my Nook beyond it reading books. And as time goes on, I'm sure the newest of Kindle and Nook will just continue neck and neck competition. I'm sure either one is fine.

That about wraps up the last week or so with my reviews and whatever. I just have a few other little tidbits to take note of-

Of course I have to mention cupcakes. One, A la Cupcakes in Glen Rock is now open on Sundays through the holiday season. Yay! I mean, not really yay for me because B and I are going back on Jenny Craig. But yay for anyone else in need of a great cupcake fix. Two, I tried their chocolate chip cookie cupcake and let's just say it's a good thing I'm going on Jenny. It's indescribably delicious.

There are some deals going on right now that are worth checking out-

One month membership at Gymboree on Living Social- http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/531/deals/177914-one-month-gymboree-membership
E and I are just finishing this deal and it's been good. We've been going on Saturdays and he's been enjoying it. The Waldwick location only has classes up to Level 5 which is a little too young for E but he was fine with it. For the four classes (1x a week) it was totally worth it for us.

US Weekly for $40 instead of $67- http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/531/deals/192806-one-year-subscription-to-us-weekly-magazine. No explanation necessary. This is one of my subscriptions.

Lastly, check out the WGirls to see what they're doing for people this holiday season. http://wgirlsnyc.org/. Here is the link to buy tickets to Hope for the Holidays in NYC- http://wgirlsnyc_hope.charityhappenings.org/. If you're looking for worthy causes to donate to this season, none are more deserving than what my girls have going on!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

New Daycare- Glen Rock/Fair Lawn borders

I saw this the other day and meant to post about it but I didn't remember to write down the phone number so I figured I'd get to it another time. Then, I opened my mailbox today and The Glen Rock Gazette was in it and there's an ad so I'm following up with a blog post.

So many people ask me if I know of any day care centers in the area. I really don't know of any this close so I thought it was a great place for a new one. It's called Rainbow Academy and from the website it looks like a chain. http://www.rainbowacademy.com/

I don't know the reputation they have so I'm not vouching for them, but if you live in Glen Rock or Fair Lawn, it's literally straddling the border on Maple Ave between the two towns. The address is Fair Lawn. I drove by a few days ago and they were still doing the build-out on the inside but it is a brand new building. It's between Brunswick Lanes and TD Bank.

They're running a special for full-time enrollees- $500 off your first month. The phone number is 201-773-8770. From the ad it seems pretty high-tech- they have that internet ParentView monitoring, which I always thought sounded very cool. A lot better than trying to rely on a nanny-cam. They also have hours from 7a-6:30p.

So, if you need daycare, it looks like a good place to check out! Good luck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday Musing?

I wanted to call this Tuesday's Tip, but I couldn't wait for Tuesday. I need to tell everyone what I'm obsessing about.

It's the Clorox Bleach Pen- http://www.clorox.com/products/clorox-bleach-pen/. Yes, I know, it's not nearly as interesting as cupcake reviews. But, let me tell you, this is like a magic invention. I think the last time I bleached any article of clothing was in the 80's. I was trying to get my jeans and possibly a denim jacket to rival Joe Elliot's in the Pour Some Sugar On Me video. It didn't work, I messed up my mom's bathroom carpet, the rips looked weird and the bleach definitely looked home-done. And not in a good way.

I had two tank tops and three thermal tops that I wear for exercise. I think I have hard water or something- I don't know what. But, three of the tops all of a sudden had these weird brown marks on them. There weren't toddler marks, as in poop, or food. And I've seen these marks before. Not in this house, in a long time, but I've seen them. I saw this bleach pen in the store and on impulse I bought it thinking I'd try it on these. Also, not to be gross, but from exercise and bad deodorant or bad armpits, I had pit stains on the thermals. I'd been told there is NO WAY to get that out. "NOT EVEN BLEACH". I'd actually tried bleach IN the water here and there over the years and whomever told me that was correct- it didn't help at all. BUT the pen...Oh the pen.

Anyone who knows me, knows when I get obsessed, I get OBSESSED. Be it jelly beans, cake, watermelon sour candy, or bleach, it becomes this whole thing. I then want to bleach everything. I actually don't really have much white clothing except the stuff I mentioned, so I went to town on that. I penned the "hard water stains" (or whatever they were). I then penned the pits. Left the clothes out for a like an hour or so while I did other laundries. Put in the washer with regular detergent and bleach detergent.

WELL. Let me tell you- the hard water stains? GONE. The pits- white as snow. I was doing a little dance in my laundry room. I wished I had more things to pen. But, I don't. So, I'm done. Until my washer messes up more shirts, but we'll just hope that doesn't happen because I need a new pen.

Happy whitening!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fun Times!

Of course there's been a lot going on. Is there always? B is always wondering when it's going to slow down but I don't think that's going to happen. And that's kind of the way I like it! Two weekends and two big parties to talk about.

Last weekend we had a surprise 40th birthday party for our very good friend Nicole. Her amazing brother, Eric, planned it with some of her other friends and it was spectacular. It was awesome because although Nicole knew she was having "something", she didn't know when, where, or what kind of event it would be. The party was at the Westwood Knights of Columbus on Crest St. in Westwood- http://westwood-washington.patch.com/listings/st-thomas-more-knights-of-columbus. It is a really great space. It's down a dead end street so it's great for a surprise because it's surrounded by condos and apartments so you'd have no idea where you are. Nicole sure didn't. It has a HUGE parking lot right in front so you don't have a far walk or a hard time parking.

Nicole was surprised by the giant bunch of us waiting for her in the parking lot but even more surprised and beyond excited to see her favorite band, local cover band, Trippin' Carla- http://trippincarla.com/ there to play for her and her guests. In typical Nicole fashion, the door opened, she saw them and just yelled, "SHUT. UP!". Ha. SO Nicole- that's her version of Seinfeld's Elaine pushing Jerry over all the time. The lead singer Jay is great, they played a fun mix of all kinds of music and they made things a lot of fun for Nicole. She knows Jay from high school so that was just nice added touch to making the night special.

Eric had gotten a food truck for the party food. It is called Two Pitas in a Pod- http://twopitasinapod.com/. One the whole food truck thing was very unique to begin with but this choice of food was also very interesting. It's not really my thing but they gave two pita choices- falafel and pork. I ate the pork and I have to say, it was really good. B had the falafel, actually he had two of them, so suffice to say he thought it was great. The fries they gave with the pitas were SICK (in a good way). Oh. My. God. I ate two plates of fries. They also had a whole "fixin's" bar inside with Israeli salad, hummus, two aioli dipping sauces, and whatever else goes with Mediterranean food of this nature. People LOVED it, which actually says a lot because it's not what you might traditionally have for a large group of people. The party was for Nicole and this is totally her kind of food.

Then there were cookies from Momofuku in NYC. Eric is a chef and connoisseur of all things good food. He picked out an excellent variety of delicious cookies - compost, blueberry & cream and cornflake marshmallow. I ate one of each of course because I had to sample everything. I loved them all. There are apparently locations around the city so I highly recommend checking them out.

They had a cake for her which was lovingly adorned with her Facebook profile photo, a pic of her going to spin class and the time she gets up for the gym- 3:59a (Yes, that's what I said), every day. It looked beautiful but we were tired and went home before cake. It was a great night and if you're thinking of doing a party in a hall, I think it was the perfect space. Everyone looked like they had a great time. We did! Happy 40th Nicole. Hope it's the best year ever!!

On to the next celebration!! This weekend we had Suzanne & Jason's wedding celebration at San Carlo in Lyndhurst, NJ- http://thesancarlo.com/. We had a great time. First we thank Nicole for babysitting because she's the best babysitter around. Now, for the party...

We knew we were going to know a decent amount of people there so that would be fun. Our table was great and we didn't stop talking the whole night. That contributed to the two-pack a day smoker's voice B and I had today (we don't smoke BTW). The place looked really nice. Roses were the centerpieces, the appetizers were all fab, and the cake was classic and beautiful. I forgot to eat dinner because I literally gorged myself on apps - fried shrimp, some kind of shrimp/risotto cake thing, pizza, lamp chops, pigs in a blanket, spinach in phyllo, etc- you know, the usual suspects. My favorite part, and I dare I say, most people's favorite part of any event. There was just tons and tons of food. It seemed endless. The DJ was good too- The dance floor was packed all night with everyone burning off all those calories.

At the end, there was a surprise Bananas Foster bar which was a HUGE hit with everyone, especially my table. We were all first on line for that and it was probably the only time of the night we were all silent. Just eating. Two of my friends, Don & Neil were raving about the coffee. They were saying it was the best coffee ever. I don't drink coffee so I'll just take their word for it.

It was just the perfect night to celebrate the beautiful bride and groom- and parents-to-be! We were excited and thrilled for them and wish them a lifetime of happiness and love.

So there you have it- two awesome parties in two weekends. We capped it off tonight with pizza/bingo night at E's pre-school in the GRJC. It's really nice that they have activities like that. We got to hang out with some of the kids in E's class and their parents, have something to do in that dreaded 5p-7p hour period, and have dinner, dessert and games. What more could we ask for? Hope everyone had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Baking anyone?

Pam, my favorite cupcake maker needs help. She had some people working that she knew were not permanent and they got permanent positions. I figured I'd help her out and post her help wanted ad in case there is anyone I know who is interested.

Who she needs:

Seeking a part time cake decorator / pastry chef for small cake shop in Bergen County. Willing to work flexible hours including early morning, night shifts and weekends.

Must have basic knowledge including
-Mixing icings and pastry creams,
-preparing and decorating cakes and other items.
-Experience with fondant, gum paste, and royal icing.
-Must possess creativity and an eye for detail,
- Strong customer service skills and be able to work well in a team environment.
-Must have a valid driver's license
- Be able to lift a minimum of 50lb

Please send your resume, pictures of current work along with salary requirements.

A' La Cupcakes, LLC

(201) 444-CAKE (2253)

36 Glen Ave, Glen Rock, NJ 07452

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Kid Stuff

Yes, I've been absent. Too wrapped up with the whole Penn State scandal. I'm not going to write about that because my feelings are way too strong, too emotional, and no one really cares what I think anymore on the subject. I'll just leave it at that. What I will talk about is what we've been up to in our house.

Birthday parties and just getting stuff done. I don't know where my time goes but I haven't even been able to get to a playdate for E. I was supposed to join Park and Play last week but I never got to it. I thought I'd be there the first day they opened but between the power outage and recovery from that and just other pressing errands and such, it just never happened. I plan to get there on Thursday (I think).

I still have a Music for Aardvarks make-up to do and somehow I've gotten to the last few weeks of class without managing to squeeze it in somewhere. I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving. Buy the way- Music for Aardvarks is going to be doing open registration for Winter Session in like two weeks. The 10 week winter session goes from January through March. They also are opening up sessions in Teaneck coming for winter. http://www.ahummusic.com/. You can also follow them on Twitter- @aHumMusic.

They finally moved to their permanent space in Ridgewood and it's awesome. To me, it's better than it was in the old Bookends. There are a lot of windows so even though it's in the basement of the Knights of Columbus (I think that's what it is- or a VFW?) it doesn't feel like a basement. It's REALLY sunny in there- enough to need air conditioning (which they have), because it gets a little hot when the sun is out. It's carpeted, there is nothing the kids can get into in there, and it's comfortable- not too big and not too small. I'm really happy I stuck with Ridgewood. I LOVE the Waldwick room room but the nice thing is that the windows in Ridgewood are up, where the Waldwick ones are kid-height. In Waldwick the kids can climb. In Ridgewood they can't.

We had a birthday party at In the Swing in Waldwick. I have to say- Hopper Ave in Waldwick is like a hotbed of kid-activity. In the Swing is across from the Superdome complex. I've been there for two parties so far. The first time I really didn't enjoy it because I didn't know adults can't go in the jungle gym thing and the party was for a child turning a year older than E. There were like 25 kids there so if someone wasn't in there with E, he could've gotten trampled. This party went a LOT better. Less kids and all around the same age. That worked out much better. The waiting area is big enough for all the adults and it seemed like the kids all had a good time.

So, if you're thinking of a party there, my advice is that it's great if all your kid attendees are very close in age and I wouldn't have more than 15-20 kids. Pizza, cake- it was the same as at any party.

Next up- trying out Gymboree. I'd bought a Groupon for a month at Gymboree. At first I bought Paramus. But, then I saw Waldwick was on the list of ok'd locations. SO many people bought Paramus so I didn't want to go there. I was afraid it would be too crowded and my class times would be really limited. I switched to Waldwick.

I realized the Groupon expires on Nov 17th (thanks to the reminded from Groupon). Well, September, October and now November are whipping by and I needed to use it. I went to their website and they only have ONE Gymboree Play & Learn "6" class- which is E's age group. That ONE class is while E is in school. They have a few "5's" classes which is 22-28 months. But the only one E isn't in school for is on Saturdays. I figured it would be packed because that's the only time working parents can go to these type of things.

I went last Thursday or Friday to sign him up and it was kind of weird. It's really small in there and there's no office. Or not that there isn't an office- I'm sure there is, but usually there's more of a "barrier" between coming in and the class area. That's what I'm used to anyway from Little Gym (also in Waldwick). At Little Gym, there's a real lobby, where there is a viewing window of the gym and family can watch the classes without being disruptive.

There wasn't any problem signing up for Saturdays so we were set. It just seemed...I don't know- not as professional as Little Gym. Gymboree put my info in a binder. I never thought of Little Gym as particularly professional, but they did everything on computer, we would earn points by signing up and the points were in our info in the computer, and the first point of contact there is the owner and front office. I'm just suspicious of any place that doesn't do everything on computer.

The Pros: It seems VERY clean. The staff is very attentive and at least the class I'm in, the teacher sings a lot and very well, I might add. The class is very interactive and moves quickly. Also, while most of these classes are only 45 minutes, this class seemed to go the full hour. I was pleasantly surprised by that because I'm really bummed by these 45 minute classes. It's never enough time but I feel like for the money these things cost, they SHOULD be an hour.

What I liked the best is that all the equipment is able to be manipulated/climbed on, etc by the kids alone. Well, unless you're a total helicopter parent (which there definitely was one giving E the stink eye for daring to come near her little princess, but whatever). At Little Gym, if E wanted to go on the balance beam, I had to help him. Same with the rings, the uneven bars, etc. He could do some stuff on his own like play with the balls, shoot hoops, and climb on the mats. But, he's almost three now- he doesn't want my help nor should he really need it in that kind of class, in my opinion. At this point, I don't even like to take classes I have to be in the room for because I'm seeing how he's thriving without me in school and in ballet- he behaves SO much better in those settings. At Gymboree, he was able to do everything without me, but it wasn't so easy that it was boring. He really seemed to enjoy every minute.

The Cons: They just don't really seem to adhere to the age groups for the class. One really nice dad told me it's usually mixed ages because there aren't enough people sometimes. He and his wife work so they can only come on the weekend. I'm baffled as to why these classes aren't filled. Try to get into Aardvarks on a Saturday and I'm pretty sure those spots are filled within hours of open registration. So, some of the kids in this class seemed MUCH younger than E. It was fine and it'll be fine for the next three weeks but I wouldn't sign him up for it and pay a premium for him to have to be "careful" of smaller kids in a gym-type class.

Like I said- he had fun, but I had to constantly watch that he was mindful of smaller kids around him. Not because I thought they'd really get hurt- he wasn't doing anything but running and jumping like he should be. But, because I felt like I was getting side-eyed like he was being wild or something. The only other MINOR thing I didn't like was when the teacher pulled out this big Gymbo stuffed doll. The kids were supposed to dance with it. But, there's only one doll, one kid went mental over it, and that was it- she got the doll. Then the sister was fighting over it with her, but the doll didn't get to anyone else. No quicker way to start a domino effect of meltdowns than to hand one doll between six or so kids.

That's my review for the most part. It's a decent place- I didn't investigate the pricing beyond the month I've gotten from the Groupon. Next week I'll inquire more. I heard not-so-great things about the Paramus location and it's just not in a good spot. It's on Rt 17 which is always a traffic nightmare so I didn't really want to go there. I love going to Waldwick for anything- it's easy and no traffic. But, I am curious if Paramus looks as clean and nice as Waldwick and check out their pricing as compared to My Gym in Glen Rock and Little Gym. I would've loved to go to My Gym, but I missed their grand opening deal and it's just really expensive for another "Mommy & Me" kind of class. Their drop off class doesn't start until kids are actually over three years old. Well, that's not till after the new year. So, that's out until he can go on his own. I also haven't been inside My Gym but I assume since it just opened it's in top shape.




That's about it. E missed what sounded like a fun birthday party this past weekend because of Teddy Tennis but that's over in two more classes, so I'm assuming we'll be looking at a lot more Sunday birthday parties and a lot more venues!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Time is flying!

I don't know how it got to be November. Time is just flying and I'm not prepared. We certainly weren't prepared for SNOW in October. But, enough about that. Power is back and all is good for now.

School for E is going well. He seems to really like it and get a lot out of it. He's been staying for lunch and I had to leave him there a full day last week and he was totally FINE. Now, in retrospect, I SO wish I'd signed him up for five days a week. We live and learn. I just didn't realize he'd be able to handle it so well. For any moms on the fence for kids going into the 2's class next September, don't think about how old they are when they're getting signed up, think about how old (and READY) they'll be when they actually GO to school. E is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was when I signed him up and he just seemed so little then.

But, had he been in school five days, he wouldn't have gotten to do ballet, which he is flourishing in. Moms of boys- don't hesitate to sign up your little man. E is doing a great job and LOVES it. I'm so happy I found Wyckoff School of Dance. They are having a little "recital" or holiday show and he's going to be a soldier. I'm sure it will be really cute. The only thing I wish was different is the way they do tuition. You have to pay half up front, then the rest by Oct 31. It goes until May or June so I kind of felt like the second half should've been due closer to January, but whatever. It's a small issue. I'm pretty sure you can also sign up whenever so if you're thinking of signing up but aren't sure- take the plunge. It's SO cute.

Teddy Tennis- Well, I'll say this....E seems to love it and he's good at it. It's an interesting class with a really cool curriculum. But, we're not going to continue for the next session. One, for tennis skill retention, I'd have to keep signing him up every session. It's like $440 for 11 or 12 weeks. That's really expensive for a 3 yr old class. That's fine- that's what it is, but I can do another 10 weeks of music for half that. There was a discounted rate given for a certain time to re-sign. I missed the cut-off for that because I wasn't sure what we were going to do. I thought we might try something else that's during the week- we are doing tennis on Sunday morning. But, then I didn't really get to research anything else so I figured I'd just sign him up for tennis again for now. I asked if I could still get the discounted rate (which only expired Oct 21) and I was told we couldn't still get that rate. This just left a bad taste for me. I own a small business and if someone brought me an expired coupon, just as a show of good faith and to make the sale, I'd totally take it. Common sense would dictate to me that I'd want some of the money vs NONE of the money.

I don't know. Maybe they're used to dealing with all people who just have tons of FU money- it seems that way from the showy chatter overheard in the waiting area, but I digress. At any rate- it was only a $20 discount (I didn't know what the amount was at first- I just knew there was a discount). I was told "it's only $20, so I hope that won't be a deterrent to signing E back up...". I was just sort of taken aback assuming there would be no issue with giving the discount. Well, if it's only $20 then why wouldn't you just suck it up to give the discount? I just don't understand that mindset and I didn't like it on principle. I just know that's not the way B and I do our business. C'est la vie. I'm pretty sure the likelihood that E is the next Agassi is very slim and I'm not worried about finding another activity.

Like I said- the teachers are great, it's a cute program, and if you're a tennis person and want your kid to play, this is a great into for it. I may return to it sometime, just not now.

I'd bought a Groupon for a month of classes at Gymboree in Waldwick. The Groupon expires on November 17th so if anyone bought it and forgot about it- this is the time to use it!! I'm going to start that this week.

I also just bought a Living Social deal for a month at Cutie Patootie in Englewood. I'd reviewed it in a previous blog. I like it. With the deal, it's totally worth it. It's an unlimited month for $35! Normally it's $15 PER visit. So, I jumped on that. http://livingsocial.com/deals/129747?ref=personalized-link-box-34792490&rpi=34792490

Another deal going on is a Groupon for 5 open bounce + pizza/juice at Screaming Parties. I've never been there but I've been hearing raves and I'd been meaning to get there. This deal was only $29 and it seems awesome to me. I'm joining Park and Play but I need a little variety. Especially since PNP is closed on Friday. I may need stuff to do on a Friday that E is off since it seems like he never has school on Fridays. http://tinyurl.com/7msd2z6

Ok- well, life is finally mostly back to normal since the power outage. Fridge is restocked and I've caught up on most of my tv shows. Including Revenge, which B and I are LOVING. It's so awesome and CRAZY. But, it's not something you can just jump into- you need to start from the beginning. It's so worth it to see how dark & twisty (stealing from Meredith Grey) Emily Thorne REALLY is....Check it out. I swear you won't be disappointed. You just have to really suspend some disbelief. Here's the link to watch it online- http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/revenge

Ok- off to print out my Groupons/Living Social deals, etc...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Deals of the day (that I like).

Lots of awesome deals right now. I'm always looking for stuff to do with E and passes or unlimited play anywhere sounds good to me! And cupcakes ALWAYS sound good.


-$10 for $20 at Cupcakes by Carousel. I always buy this one for when I need to bring a dessert to someone's home. http://www.groupon.com/r/uu6432160

-5 open bounce passes + pizza & juice to Screaming Parties in Paramus- $29! I've heard raves about this place so I bought it. http://tinyurl.com/7msd2z6

Living Social-

-Cutie Patootie: One Month of Unlimited Play Center Sessions ($35) or Eight Open Play Passes, Two Classes, and $50 Toward a Birthday Party ($69) - http://livingsocial.com/deals/129747?ref=personalized-link-box-34792490&rpi=34792490

I had a membership there over the summer and it was VERY useful on rainy/crappy days.

Monday, November 7, 2011

New Park N Play- Open House this week

Got this email today-

Don't forget - this week is The New Park 'N Play's Open House!

Come for a visit and see why we are the Best Bargain in Bergen.

I've said before Park N Play is a great deal for those winter days when you have nothing to do with your kid(s). They play, you can socialize- it's a win-win.

Just remember it's cold in there often and you can't wear shoes. I bring slippers. Kids all should be wearing socks or some kind of slipper/sock that is non-skid. Just no outside shoes. I also dress E pretty warm in there- not overly so, but sweatshirt/sweatpants, etc. It's probably not so cold yet, but it will be!

Lastly- the address says 15 Shuart Lane but the door and parking are actually on the other side of the church, so when you locate the church, drive around to the other side and you'll see a large lot to park in and you go down the stairs to the room.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Soldiering on...

Yeah, so we still don't have power. And we lost our hotel room. Everything was booked from Glen Rock to midtown Manhattan to Rockland County, NY. I took E to our house today in mid-afternoon because he was running on empty and seriously needed a nap. The house was 43 degrees. I put him in 2 pair of pajamas, 2 sleep sacks, and SEVEN baby blankets. Then, I thought his head might get cold so I put the old "Swaddle Me" fleece over the side of his head and one ear when he was sleeping. He slept for two and a half hours. I had to wake him up. I guess he REALLY needed to sleep with all this moving around. I felt so bad for him. And me.

I do have some positive things to say though. I'll go through them one by one.

Holiday Inn Hasbrouck Heights- It was the only place with a room for us and we thought it was great. It's where Bananas Comedy Club is located. B and I had gone there once to the comedy club. It's kind of weird for that because it's just a regular kind of conference room in there vs what you think of as a comedy club. BUT, as a hotel- it's pretty good. Kids eat free which is a huge bonus. The king room was spacious enough for us and a crib. We had a mini-fridge and a microwave which was key for the few things I was able to rescue from the house for E to eat, some milk, drinkable yogurt, cheese, etc. Thrilled. The restaurant downstairs has a full service bar (yes, I had a Malibu bay breeze) and we did eat breakfast there and it was pretty good. The dinner menu also looked like it would've been worth a shot. But even if you don't want to eat there, you're right on Rt 17 by a million other restaurants.


Bensi- We normally eat at Bensi Paramus Park but we saw there was a Bensi right by the hotel so we ate there. It's MUCH smaller than the one in PP and no TV but it was a good meal and good service. Can't complain. I had the penne vodka with sauteed chicken. As usual B just had a salad and they of course thought it was mine. *sigh*


Music for Aardvarks- E normally attends their class in Ridgewood. Because Ridgewood schools were closed and they follow the Ridgewood school schedule they had to cancel classes there. BUT, instead, they offered a FREE drop in class at noon in Waldwick. I think I answered them back within, um...30 seconds of receiving the email. We went and it was great! I was SO happy. Otherwise, it would have really been a difficult day trying to entertain E all day myself. Sean, Cindy and Kellan all made it a really great class. We even saw some old friends. They told us the class filled up within 20 minutes of sending that email out so they even added another class. I just thought it was really nice to rally around their enrolled students and get something together quickly to make sure these kids still had something to do while their stressed out parents worried about power loss and where they were going to sleep.


Another accolade and happy dance goes to the Glen Rock Jewish Center Nursery School. They are letting E stay at school tomorrow as long as I need. I was so worried about what I was to do with him tomorrow and now I don't have to worry. That's a huge relief for me. He'll be somewhere warm, happy, fun and familiar.


Oh, actually, I can't forget a general shout out and pat on the back for Glen Rock PARENTS. The whole lot of them for the most part. No school on Halloween and Trick or Treating cancelled? Have no fear- Glen Rock parents to the rescue. I don't know how it started but parents mobilized QUICKLY to do a Trunk or Treat in the parking lot of the high school at noon on Monday. Parents parked and opened their trunks full of candy. Kids wore their costumes and Trick or Treated through the parking lot. Parents got rid of their candy, no one had to go door to door, no one was knocking on doors all night. Kids got to hang with their friends while the parents chatted and hung out too. To me, it seemed like a HUGE success. A total win-win for everyone. I wish Trick or Treating happened like that every year! Having to answer the door 500 times over the course of like four hours is something I can definitely do without. It seemed like everyone was happy and it only lasted like an hour and a half! E thought it was super- he got to see Sydney and Jordan (Mother's Helper and her sister) and see everyone's cool costumes.


Lastly, I want to thank Noreen, Jenelle and my MIL & FIL for letting us come over and hang when I needed it. I appreciate it greatly and so do B & E. E had a great time playing with Cayleigh, Will and Madison. I totally feel I can myself comfortable in all your homes and that's really nice when things are crazy like they have been these past few days.

Today, of course, I picked up some cupcakes from Pam (A la Cupcakes) because WTF am I supposed to do without them really? I need something to get me through this. Those will do it.

That's about it for my positivity though. I want to be powered up. I threw out hundreds of dollars worth of rotting food today and it was just so sad. And stinky. :-(  I'm not sure if it's positive or a negative but I've eaten almost all of E's Halloween candy. My car looks like a wasteland where Hershey wrappers go to die.