Thursday, October 30, 2014

Clay-time

Clay! The kids were excited to work with clay. It was a nice change up. They thought it was the coolest thing to see the clay cut with a wire. The assignment was to make small pumpkin/jack o'lantern covered bowls. They took a hunk of clay, cut it into two balls- one small and one large. Obviously the small one was going to be the lid and the bigger one was for the bowl part.

They pounded, rolled, stretched, and molded their pieces. Tools were given to them to be able to work the clay properly. Once they completed their shapes, the clay was dried. Then they painted each piece orange like a pumpkin. Faces were painted on the bowl pieces by each kid.

The finished products were great. The best part of the class is that they have more than enough time to complete each project and take them home. I took his home, let the paint dry over night, then we shellacked it to seal in the paint. We didn't have to do that- Ms Kat told me we could hairspray it. But being in the business of "lighting artistry", we have shellac, so that's what we used.

Drawing Room
27 Central Ave, Midland Park, NJ 07432
201-447-7272
http://www.drawingroomllc.com/





Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Melinmade Works of Art




"Melinmade" schedule!

You can see her awesome stuff in person:

Nov 9 in Paramus at the Paramus Catholic school.
Nov 30 in paramus at the Paramus High school
Dec 9 in Wayne at the High school
 
 I want everything!
 Look at the HOOD!! It's the best part!

The most fun sweater coats ever!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Drawing Room: Cards & Animals

I didn't get to write about last week so I'll give you a 2 in 1. Last week the kids made holiday cards that can be printed as a real card. They drew whatever they wanted in a holiday theme and then painted them. The cards were then scanned and a copy was given to us parents to see what the finished card would look like. It's our choice whether to order the cards or not. I think it's cute and since I can never find cards I like that are fairly holiday neutral, E's own creation is the best option going.





This week they learned how to draw animals. They used these direction sheets to understand how you put different shapes together to make an animal. It was like a step by step. They had a choice of a bunny, squirrel, rooster, or one other thing I think. E was excited to do this. He loves to draw and he loves animals. Perfect combination.


They drew a mock-up first on scrap paper, then they drew it on their watercolor paper with pencil. They used craypas to color their animals in. E put his own spin on his bunny. The whiskers are in an interesting place, and I think it has on some kind of outfit, or it's striped- I'm not really sure. But, I can tell it's a bunny and that's all that matters. He's learning and having fun.



We really love this class. I also love that it's a long enough class that I can go across the street for a manicure. He really looks forward to it because they do different mediums every week. It's not like it's just the same thing all the time. They change it up and the kids seem to love it.

www.drawingroomllc.com/
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Candyless Revolution



Candyless. I know that sounds like it would be like a curse word to me. In this case, it actually isn't. Be patient and I'll get to the point.

I'll preface this whole entry by stating what I've probably stated before. I despise Halloween. In a general sense. Always have. I never really wanted to be anyone but me. Even as a kid, it was always a scramble to come up with a costume, there were always costume technical difficulties and there were some really poor choices. Like, in sixth grade, I was a hooker. Yep. A hooker. It was in the whole 80's, Love is a Battlefield era where hookers looked like Madonna, or Madonna looked like a hooker, and it was all socially acceptable. I wasn't the only sixth grade hooker walking around in a matchy diagnol sweatshirt-skirt combo and a high side ponytail swathed in a giant bow. In any event, it was bad all around. Bad idea, bad outfit, and bad that no one's parents questioned this sort of costume. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't fly now. It's been way too many years since Julia Roberts also made hooking seem like a fairy tale and harmless Halloween costume.

I just remembered that one time I went to one of those well-known NYC loft Halloween parties when I was single and in my late 20's. Again, last minute scramble for a costume. I have a ridiculous amount of formal dresses so I decided to be Miss New Jersey. Or Miss USA. Some kind of Miss. Now, that may seem like a huge ego thing but it actually was my only answer to still being cute but not trying to compete with every "Sexy ___________" (police woman, nurse, whatever) who would also be in attendance. I was going to this party with other girls who looked like they spend all day in the gym. We were all single and looking to mingle. I couldn't pull off a bare stomach and fishnets so I tried to go a more wholesome route. I'd already done hooker before I knew what one actually was. I wore a long gown, a sash, and faux-fur wrap. Thank goodness for that wrap because I realized when I got there that I forgot to shave my armpits. I spent the whole party sweating my ass off because I couldn't take off that fur. Nightmare. Curse you Halloween. Somehow I also ended up on the subway, alone, after midnight, without my shoes. I should've dressed as Cinderella.

I pretty much have no good Halloween memories. One year, when I was around three, I was in a wheelchair because a kid ran over me with a bicycle. Broke my leg and I had a cast from hip to toe. But I have a kid now and of course, without question, he LOVES Halloween. He loves ALL holidays, from the obscure to the big ones. He really enjoys himself some Halloween. He doesn't eat candy though. That's another topic altogether. Long story short- he doesn't really ask and I don't see a need to give it to him. I don't want to hear the whole moderation spiel. He's a weird kid when it comes to any food. Including candy. I've said before- he eats to live, not lives to eat. Even if he did ask for some, if I said no, that would just be the end of it. He just doesn't care. I'm not going to give it to a kid who isn't begging for it. Just no need.

His first Halloween he was too little to know anything about candy. He was like ten months old. The next year - same thing. He wasn't even two. Then the next two years we had weird storms that pretty much cancelled Halloween. Candy was the least of our problems when we had snow and no power in October. Last year was his first "real" Halloween. He was almost five. He got candy and guess who ate it? Yup. Halloween is like the official start of the Fall into Winter Eating Frenzy. Another bad idea.

E doesn't have any allergies. But as time goes on and we go further into school, we know A LOT of kids who do have food allergies. Halloween HAS to suck for those kids. Halloween as it's known and been celebrated my whole life, it's been about the candy. The LOOT. I didn't even know until E was in a Jewish preschool that Halloween had any other meaning besides costumes and candy. FYI, Halloween is not a Jewish holiday and therefore not recognized in Jewish school. Score one for me! No Halloween in school for three years of preschool. I was thrilled. I didn't want or need him having a ton of candy and other sweets in school.

Food allergies are no joke. We've all heard of kids dying from an unexpected exposure. The whys aren't important. All that matters is that it's SO easy not to give away a threat to a child's life on this stupid holiday. I heard of the Teal Pumpkin Project and am thrilled. No eating my weight in Reese's Peanut Butter Cups before the kids even get to the door. No late night raids on my cabinets from all the leftover candy we didn't give out. Sure, E will Trick or Treat, and he'll get candy, but it won't be nearly the amount of candy we would've had in the house if we'd been giving out candy too.


The Teal Pumpkin Project is the brainchild of the Food Allergy Research & Education Organization (FARE). It's just a way to include all kids in the Halloween fun by giving out non-food items. With dollar stores and cool places like Five Below, there are more options than ever to find inexpensive non-food items to use as Halloween treats. There are pencils, rubber balls, vampire teeth, whistles, tattoos, etc.

You paint a pumpkin teal and leave it out. You should also print out a sign off the FARE site, like the photo I have here on this blog entry, and hang it up on your door or window.

I bought a light-up pumpkin I'm going to spray paint teal in CVS. I also bought these boxes of twenty individual boxes of four temporary tattoos each to give out to the kids instead of candy. They were on sale for $3.19 each. That's way less expensive than bags of the "good" candy. If other kids are like my son, they LOVE those tattoos. He can never have enough of them. I'm not a big fan of them myself, but, well, Halloween is supposed to be about the kids, right? Tattoos for all then.

I'm sure there will be people who are negative and have an issue with this new version of Halloween. Some people don't like change and not giving out candy is blasphemous to them. Great- give out candy then. No one said you have to stop. All this project is doing is recognizing that Halloween doesn't have to suck for the kids who can't have candy. They get to Trick or Treat too without knowing they're going to have to chuck their whole bag in the garbage after all their trekking around. I'm for it. Because even if your kid doesn't have food allergies, less food dye being handed out in candy form can only be a positive change in my book. I'll still be eating all E's collected loot and will be dancing around with whatever peanut butter cups I can forage out of there but I want to be part of the new non-candy-giving revolution. It's just too easy of a fix NOT to do it this way.

All I know is that I would've been through at least half a bag of candy I'd bought to give out by now. So far, I've just had a few random pieces that E's picked up at some pre-Halloween festivities. He's awful at picking out the good stuff so there has also been slim pickings.

http://blog.foodallergy.org/2014/10/06/the-teal-pumpkin-project-for-an-allergy-friendly-halloween/

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glazed

Packed at Glaze in New Milford
I don't know why but I never think of doughnuts. I can't even tell you the last time I went into a Dunkin Donuts. Just not my thing. I usually prefer cupcakes. Doughnuts just never seem substantial enough for me. As in, I'd want to eat like two or three before feeling satisfied. I would never do that, because, well, I'd feel like I crossed a line I could never go back the other way. There are rules, mentally, that are in the head of any serial dieter. One of them is that you don't eat more than one doughnut in a sitting. I wouldn't eat more than one regular sized cupcake in one sitting either. If you've done Weight Watcher, you know that would be like a day's worth of points. If Jenny Craig is your thing, you mentally compare the size and taste of a doughnut to their version of dessert, you just know better.
I'd seen many people raving about Glaze in New Milford though. It's just doughnuts. All kinds, interesting, odd flavors, and an ever changing menu. It sort of has the concept of the cupcake places but with a doughnut. And without the high prices cupcakes have reached. I never think to go to New Milford though. It's just out of my way.

We went to the Tenafly Street Fair on Sunday which for whatever reason, was extremely sparse. We walked the whole thing in minutes. We decided to drive around and somehow ended up going toward New Milford. When I realized where we were, I remembered Megan telling me last week that she took a special trip from Hawthorne to Glaze. I quickly looked up the address and it was basically right in front of us. It actually occupies the space that is half of where the video store used to be. Where I spent many years visiting my mother at work. If she only knew that doughnuts now live in half of "her" video store. She probably would have been happy to have had doughnuts and video. Too happy.

It's a small place but it felt smaller because it was packed. Two O'clock on a Sunday in New Milford and it was jammin'. It looked like they were out of a lot of flavors by that time but I read they are constantly making new doughnuts throughout the day. I might have come in between a refill time. I got what looked like an Oreo and cream stuffed doughnut with Oreos on top. E got a vanilla doughnut with chocolate frosting and rainbow sprinkles. B got one that looked stuffed like mine. Apple, caramel and nut. I also got a raspberry filled glazed one but I wasn't planning on eating that one yesterday. That one is for tonight's dessert.

We all ate ours after dinner, minus my raspberry one. They were the best doughnuts I ever had. There was a big difference between these and chain place doughnuts. I always feel like I'm eating chemicals at chain places. Where I assume that while they taste airy, they're probably like a thousand calories a piece. These didn't taste like that. I'm sure they're not calorie lean or anything but they didn't taste like chemicals or hidden fat. And it was satisfying. I ate my one and wasn't looking for more, or for something else to eat. I can't wait to eat my raspberry one tonight after Megan and I do our walk.

The prices were good too. We got four doughnuts, two of them considered "specialty", and it was only around six dollars and change. In these days of $3-$5 cupcakes, this was a pleasant surprise.

They don't seem to have a website but there are a few articles and a Yelp page about it. Apparently, the owner is opening another location where Crumbs was in Ridgewood. It will then be even easier for me to get a doughnut fix.

Glaze Donuts is at 358 River Road, New Milford, 201-483-8634

http://www.yelp.com/biz/glaze-donuts-new-milford

http://www.boozyburbs.com/2014/07/21/glaze-donuts-new-milford/

http://www.northjersey.com/food-and-dining-news/dining-news/modern-doughnuts-reach-north-jersey-1.1102726

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dance Education Unlimited News


 
New and Exciting
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Friday, October 10, 2014

Habit



We drove into the new Fair Lawn Promenade one night- I don't remember why. We saw a line outside a hamburger place. I was intrigued so I looked in quickly to see why the line was out the door and take a quick look at the menu prices. The line was out there because it's like Bobby's Burger Palace in the way that it is a small line area. It doesn't fit many people. Overflow has to go outside. But they don't have that same annoying system of having to order before getting a seat. If you're with someone who knows what you want, they could order and you could sit. I just surveyed the scene and we decided we'd try it one night.

Wednesday evening we had a lighting house call all the way over in Cliffside Park at 6:30pm. We knew it was going to be a long night- we had E with us. Our plan to eat close to home on our way back. We remembered we wanted to try Habit.

We arrived there around 7:30pm. It was somewhat busy but no line out the door. The ordering was easy. It was much easier than at an unnamed local burger place that shall remain unnamed. I didn't need to get us a seat. There were a few booths available. But if it was really busy, I'd have to think lack of seating is a problem. It's kind of small in there. The prices are totally reasonable. It's definitely less expensive than BBP and the unnamed place.

I ordered a cheeseburger and sweet potato fries. I don't know if it says somewhere that there is mayo on the bun but if it does say it somewhere, I missed it. I don't like mayo. So I asked for another bottom bun piece and they gave it to me with no problem. Bun is toasted. The burger is also piled with a lot of garnish. Tomato, pickle, onion and a lot of shredded lettuce. I don't mind the lettuce and tomato but I don't like onion and it was chopped and in the cheese so I just had to suck it up. It wasn't a big deal- it was more like if I had known it was going to come that way, I would've just asked for a plain cheeseburger. It was probably one of the best burgers I've had at any of these specialty burger places. My sweet potato fries were really good too. Crispy, not soggy. Good portion.

Accoutrements were kind of hard to find. No napkin holders out on the tables. No plastic-ware anywhere to be found. Had to ask for it. Maybe because they put all the condiments on the burgers already (including ketchup or mayo)?

I got E a kid's meal. This is where I am scratching my head. There were a few choices- I think burger, nuggets, and grilled cheese. They give the option of apple slices or applesauce over fries, which I fully appreciate. I picked the applesauce because E never even eats the fries- B and I do. I already ordered fries. I don't need extra. We got the meal and with it, as "dessert" I guess, they give a gummy "Mini Burger". Halloween candy sized. They bother to have healthier options, so they're somewhat conscious but then give out gummy candy? I just find this puzzling. I try to limit food dye when I can. I don't make it a big deal but there are some definite things we're just not having. Gummy Mini Burger is one of them. It's just not necessary! If you're a business that's into healthy options, give me an option. Do I want the gummy candy, something else or nothing? I was just blindsided when that showed up on the tray. Again, not a huge deal. E isn't into food. Any kind of food. He wanted it because it looked cool. I told him I dropped it on the floor and it was dirty. He said- "Ok". But for the parent that it could be an issue for- probably most parents, why do you have to give out a surefire annoyance?

Listen, we weren't in Whole Foods. I'm fully aware of this. It's a burger joint. Just be consistent. If you're going to bother giving me healthier options, don't just throw gummy candy on the tray willy-nilly. That's all I ask. It's like the people at the bank that ask your kid if they want a lollipop. Why?? If I want to give him a lollipop, I'll ask, thanks.

B thought it was the best of the burgers we've had at these type of places too. I don't know if we'll be back together. B would probably go there alone or take E. I wouldn't turn it down if we were out again and needed to eat but it wasn't so awesome that I'm craving or raving about it. The staff was super courteous and quick. That was a plus. It was also very clean in there.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Get Your Zen On



Yoga deal:

Powers Yoga

790 Court Street
Franklin Lakes, NJ 07480
201.904.2025

355 Warwick Turnpike
Hewitt, NJ 07480
973.728.1486

http://www.powersyoga.com/

Each person can actually come twice at no charge. Make sure you say you found them from my blog post. This is a special deal for my readers.

I asked for a description of the place- I haven't been there. But I know people are always asking for a yoga studio recommendation and this place does aerial which is like the new, hottest, exercise craze. It's the new pole dancing class or barre. Neither of which I've done but I know my friends have gone crazy for. I do my treadmill in my basement watching my shows. That's me and about all I can handle. My husband, on the other hand, REALLY enjoys yoga, so he will end up trying this place out too.

Who doesn't want to envision themselves as Pink!? That aerial stuff looks really cool actually.

Powers Yoga is dedicated to helping our customers achieve overall health and well-being through yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques on the mat, in a hammock or on a board.

Out of the box style classes encourage all walks of life to enjoy their preferred style of yoga. They all might seem completely different but each class has the same ultimate goal to unite the mind, body, and spirit through yoga poses, breathing and meditation techniques.

Powers Yoga offers daily classes in many different styles to help better serve our students. Weather you like restorative yoga, hot yoga, or aerial yoga you will find peace, calm and spiritual enlightenment at Powers Yoga Studio.

They have two studios located in Franklin Lakes,NJ. & West Milford, NJ.

Powers Yoga Style

Unique style. Yoga "newbies” tend to gravitate towards the Powers Yoga technique for a laid back and humble vibe. Often, the Powers Yoga technique has been dubbed “Jersey Girl Yoga.” Powers Yoga uses yoga meditation and breathing exercise to that strengthen the connection between mind, body and spiritually "It is thought that each person has his/her own super power and it is up to the individual to find it.

It's often about letting go of fear, and when we let go, we find our own power. One of our students said it best "It's like you teach "Jersey Girl Yoga."  It's a confident, ego-free, style of yoga.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scratch Art



 Monday was Art Experience class again. E loved this one. You could tell he was quite immersed in it because he had black finger paint marks all over his face by the end.

They did scratch art. The best way to describe it is like one of my Blue Apron meals. So much work to get to a beautiful final result. You would just never think that all the "prep" is so difficult. But it's a tedious process to get them to come out so good.

The teacher had them help separate a fall color palate of cray-pas out of the container they were in. Vibrant reds, golds, orange, pink, blues, greens, etc. Using watercolor (heavyweight) paper, a design is made and colored in with the craypas. You have to press REALLY hard with the craypas and cover every spot of the design. They drew a leaf on their papers and then colored it in. The colors of the craypas also need to be blended almost in an ombre look.

When the colors are brought to the surface you want them to look nice, not like a mish-mash, so you have to be careful what you put underneath and how you do it.

After they were done with the leaf drawing and coloring in, they covered their whole paper in black tempera paint. I assume that's how E got it all over his face like giant black whiskers. I saw the teacher use a dryer to dry the black paint quicker. I don't know if that's what you always do for this kind of medium or they were on a time constraint. I'm also going to assume some of the kids used a thicker layer of black paint than others. Or that was meant to be on there!!

They then took what looked like orange sticks- like for doing a manicure, to make their design on top of the black paint. This is where the colors come through. The sticks have both flat and pointy ends to make different designs. They were to make their leaf and then do designs within their leaves. Some of what I saw from these five to nine year olds looked professional.

The Mommy & Me class did this next door also. They just did it on an easier level. But theirs were pretty too!

If you don't see a class on the schedule but think you can pull together 3-4 kids to take one, they'll make a class for you! Just ask!

Drawing Room
27 Central Ave, Midland Park, NJ 07432
(201) 447-7272
http://drawingroomllc.com


 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Tribute

Never been a big fan of October. Most people love the fall, especially in the whole northeast area. The pretty foliage, the pumpkin everything- lattes, ravioli, scones...you name it. They look forward to riding boots, sweaters, and leggings. Hay rides, apple picking and football. (Well, I'd never look forward to football, even if October didn't already blow).

Not me. I kind of hate October. Autumn. And I consider myself a very positive person. I just can't think of October without really thinking of death. The death of summer. Of flip-flops. The leaves turning color to eventually fall off. Death. Of people.


Aunt Barbara
First there was my Aunt Barbara. My mom's older sister. She loved me like she was my mom. Had she actually lived closer, she probably would have taken over that job with joy through the good times and the hard ones. She was forty-four when she passed away. If I remember correctly, she had some rare form of cancer that like three people in the world had at the time. Or something like that. But it doesn't really matter what it was that took her. The end result is that she is no longer around. She didn't actually pass away until January of 1989, but her real decline was the fall of 1988. The weather rapidly worsened and so did she. The whole passage from summer to autumn became tainted starting there.


Me and Matt- 12/31/88
I don't even know how to describe the next awful October moment. While no one wants to remember that night, no one affected will ever forget. I don't want to go into detail because it's not something anyone wants to re-live. Suffice to say, the world lost a beautiful person with the potential to be and do great things. I often think about what he would have been like, what he would have been doing, whether we'd still be friends. I always have had a tendency to keep people around from the past. My friendships are very fluid. I rarely speak to anyone on a regular basis, but I have always been the type to be able to pick up where we left of, out of the blue, whenever. With no drama or judgment. I feel like he also would've been like that.

It's so hard to say what someone who passed on at eighteen years old would be like in their 40's, but what he was like then leads me to believe he would be fluid with people too. He was such a good person. He was a true Capricorn, which means, I was a giant pain in his ass. But he rolled with it. Exasperated, but he did. From lectures after catching me smoking cigarettes numerous times, to stupid stuff Ann and I did that he had to get us out of, to just giving me a lot of time and attention, he was special. I'd say that was the best words to describe Matt...He was "special".

Rita and Me
My mom passed away five years ago on Oct 2. Her birthday was Oct 5. I'm not going to go on about my mom because I have before, and I just don't know what else there is to say. It sucks. As my son grows up, it sucks more. He would have loved to know her and vice versa. I have friends losing parents now and it's not a club to which anyone wants to belong.

Honestly, I never needed or need parenting advice from Rita...(#JokingNotJoking ??) but she would've been a great grandma and she would've loved having the job. That, I know for sure. We all miss out with her gone. The laughing. The belly laughs over nonsense. Sometimes, I just lose it, laughing manically over something I can't even explain. To the point of tears. B & E just look at each other. Shrugging. B just shakes his head and says to E- "She's just like Grandma Rita. I have no idea what she's laughing at". Then there were always the made up "factoids" she liked to dole out. Hey Rita, I thought "the sun always shines for the Jews". Really Ma? Tell that to last Saturday's drenching Yom Kippur weather. My mother said INSANE things that she really believed as true. The best was when I would look at her, not quite sure if she knew what she was talking about, and she'd say- "Wait. Don't tell anyone that. I might have made that up".

I know, if there is a place where she can see us (which most know I think that's a BIG "if"), she was LOVING my entry about freezing pb&j and so proud of my freezer packed with perfect sandwiches.

I guess I'm writing about this today because it's all a lot. Facebook is awesome for remembrance. Whether you like it or not. I admit I sometimes find it jarring when I sweep through my feed and there is a photo of my mom posted by someone else or a photo of someone else that has passed. When you're not expecting it, it can just give you a little jolt. Not in a bad way- just something you weren't prepared to see. But when I signed on Facebook early this morning, and saw Matt's face, it just brought me a smile in the middle of an ordinarily crappy week. I mostly ignored the five year anniversary of my mom's death. It's just my way. Even when Matt died, I tried to go about life as usual right away. I ended up having to deal with it better a few months later, but I wasn't ready in the moment or the moments shortly thereafter.

I'm not someone who "takes to the bed". I think after my aunt, then Matt, so close in time, I have become a little desensitized, or maybe- protective? of myself. I just keep moving. Keep busy. Keep going. Keep living. Not because that's what they'd want, but because it's what the ones left behind have to do to really live. Not to "just survive". I have a five year old that doesn't slow down for a second. I need to live. Not just go through the motions. I have to be the motion. I also need time to process, to think about what I want to say, if anything. I also don't want to write something or put something out there just because it's expected. I need to feel it. It's easy to write about politics or cool, fun places I find to go. Products. I'm passionate about those things but in a different way. Anyone that really knows me, understands that.

I think I might try to "take back October" and just celebrate them all. They all deserve it. I can't change what happened but I can try to inject some happiness into fall and remember them with the positivity they gave to everyone they touched. I eat perfect pb&j today for Rita, with a side of veggies for my Aunt Barbara who always said to me that it's imperative to have all the food groups at dinner, and for Matt...I'll hang on to a "warm fuzzy".




Saturday, October 4, 2014

Party Picks *Updated 1/13/16*


I think it's time for an updated list of places that do kids birthday parties. I did it a long time ago but since then, places have opened and closed. I see a post a week, or more, asking for birthday party venues. Sure, you can have a party in your house. More power to you if you want twenty OPC's (Other People's Children) running around your house like Lord of the Flies. I do not. I'm birthday-party-broken. I don't get excited about paper goods. I don't want to come up with a theme. I will not bake a cake. I love my kid, as of course, I have to somehow validate that in the same paragraph that I'm writing that I'm pretty much bah-humbug about birthday party hoopla. Maybe it's because I'm a summer baby. I had birthdays in my backyard. Pool and pizza. Carvel ice cream cake. But my kid's birthday is in January. Enough said.

I've had a party outside the house for him since he turned two. I've been to almost all outside-the-home parties. It feels like I've been to like a hundred of them. So I'm going to compile a list, complete with links, so you can just take my research and run with it. Anything with an asterisk is a place I've had a party. Anything with two, I either had a party or been to a party there.

The Little Gym (Waldwick)*
http://www.thelittlegym.com/WaldwickNJ/Pages/kids-birthday.aspx

We had E's 2nd birthday here. He was already taking classes there so it was easy. Party was fun. They included most everything, including the cake. I have no complaints.

Naturally Yoga (Glen Rock)
http://www.naturallyyoga.com/parties.html

Haven't been there for a party but E did take class there. It's clean, friendly, and I'd guess they do a good job for a party.

Gary Stevens Taekwondo (Glen Rock)
http://www.stevenstaekwondo.com/Programs.html#Birthday_Parties

E took classes here. Never been to a party there but they visit schools and do programs, and they have kid-centric groups (girl/boy scouts, etc) do events there and everyone's been happy.

My Gym (Glen Rock)**
http://www.mygym.com/glenrock/birthday-parties

Been to many parties here. They do a really good job. It's a no-brainer for ease. It's just on the more expensive side. It's clean and the staff has already been really good with the kids.

Kidville (Ridgewood) (various other locations)
http://www.kidville.com/ridgewood/birthday-parties

Jellybean Junction (Waldwick)*
http://thelearningexperience.com/uploads/Jelly%20Bean%20Junction%20Birthday%20Brochure.pdf

I did the dance party for E's 3rd. It was a little chaotic but it's a big room. I wrote an entry on this separately right after the party. You can do a search on my blog and it will come up.

Superdome (Waldwick)**
http://www.superdomesports.com/parties.html

Been to a party there. It was a good party. Kids thoroughly enjoyed it. All participated and it was co-ed 5 year olds and younger. I've been told it's expensive though and all party add-ons are a la carte. Not much included.

Bounce Safari (Waldwick)*
http://www.bouncesafari.com

Had E's 5th birthday party here. It's great, especially if you have a range of ages, a lot of them being on the younger side. They have other stuff besides bounce stuff, like big blocks, ride-ons, hula hoops, etc. It's definitely small child and parent friendly. Big comfy sectional for the parents. They are a pain about food- you have to buy everything through them, and I feel like they nickel and dime in that respect, but you can't beat the actual space, the party staff, and the fun. 

Kids Rule (Hackensack)
http://kidsruleparties.com/category/party-packages/

Ice House (Hackensack)
http://icehousenj.com/birthday-parties/

Jump On In (Hasbrouck Heights)
http://jumponinfun.com/hasbrouckheights/

Elite Gymnastics (Hawthorne)**
http://www.elitegymnasticsinfo.com/birthday-parties.html

Been to a party here once. It's definitely more economical, but you're pretty much on your own, especially in the party room- for set up, clean up, etc.

JW Tumbles (Hillsdale)
http://hillsdale.jwtumbles.com

Dance Etc (Fair Lawn)
www.dancetcstudio.com

My son takes dance here. It's a great place who will really work with you to make a cute party. I've seen many pictures and videos from parties there and everyone looks like they've had a great time. 

The Big Playhouse (Westwood)
http://thebigplayhouse.wildapricot.org/page-1595613

Drawing Room LLC (Midland Park)
http://www.drawingroomllc.com/party-experiences/

Bounce U (Paramus)**
http://www.bounceu.com/paramus-nj

Been to numerous parties here. I'd stick to ages 4+ for this one. It's not really designed for little ones but the bigger kids LOVE it.

Kids U (Paramus)**
http://www.kidsu.com/paramus.html

Been to numerous parties here. I'd choose this over Bounce U if I had more kids under 5 years old than over. It's a good space if you're having a party for 20-25 kids.

Gravity Vault (more than one location)
http://www.gravityvault.com/kids_parties/

Monster Golf (Paramus)
http://www.monsterminigolf.com/fran-nj-paramus/bday-parties.html

Powerhouse Studios (Paramus, East Hanover)
http://www.powerhousestudios.tv/birthday.html

Screamin' Parties (Paramus)**
http://www.screaminpartiesparamus.com/

Been here. The kids like it. I'm not a huge fan. I don't find them incredibly accommodating, but if the kids like it, that's all that really matters.

Funtime Junction (Fairfield)**
http://funtimejunction.com/birthday-parties.shtml

Ridgewood Culinary Institute (Ridgewood)
http://www.ridgewoodculinarystudio.com/index.php/parties/birthday-parties

Color Me Mine (Ridgewood)
http://ridgewood.colormemine.com/Party.tpl?studio=ridgewood&p=Party

Kidville (Ridgewood and other towns)
http://www.kidville.com/ridgewood/birthday-parties


Chocolate Works
https://www.facebook.com/Chocolateworksfairlawn/
http://www.chocolateworks.com/partiesnevents.html#

Making Chocolate (Dumont)
http://www.makingchocolatellc.com/Childrens_Chocolate_Parties_Dumont_NJ.html

Chocolate Etc, (Wyckoff)
http://chocolateetc.com/parties/

Ramsey Theater (Ramsey)
http://www.ramseytheatre.com/?p=content&id=Birthday+Parties

Sky Zone (Allendale)
http://www.skyzone.com/allendale/Birthday-Parties

World Class Sports Academy (Westwood)
https://www.facebook.com/World-Class-Sports-Academy-482866441874166/

I had a party here. I like it a lot. The cafe area in the front for the parents is really nice and convenient. It just needs to be a smaller party. Optimally, you'd have between 10-15 kids. They can accommodate 20, but I think 10-15 is more realistic, especially if they're 6-7 year old boys.

Wyckoff School Of Dance (Wyckoff)
http://www.wyckoffschoolofdance.com/

Wyckoff YMCA (Wyckoff)*
http://www.wyckoffymca.org/programs-services/parties/

I've had a party here. There were 40 kids there so it was chaotic. But they do a good job. I was just at a Lego party there the other day. All the kids were very happy there. I would totally do a party there again.

Abma's Farm (Wyckoff)**
http://www.abmasfarm.com/events.php

It's a cute farm place. Best in spring/summer/fall. I've been to winter parties there and I don't love it. It's also really dependent on the weather obviously. My friend had it in her mind she HAD to do a pumkin/fall themed party there for her four year old. It rained and it was freezing. Enough said.

Planet Swirl (Multiple locations)
http://www.planet-swirl.com/parties.html

Billy Beez (West Nyack, NY)
http://www.us.billybeez.com/#!billy-beez-palisades-birthdays/cq77

Rockin Gaming/Rockin Glamour (MOBILE parties)
http://www.rockingaminparties.com/glamour-party-pricing/

Chef It Up & Chef It Up 2 Go
http://chefitupkids.com/chef-it-up/chef-it-up-party-packages/

http://chefitupkids.com/chef-it-up-2-go/chef-it-up-2-go-party-packages/

Fun Bus (mobile)
http://www.funbuses.com/bergen-county/

Little Shanti Yoga (Mobile)
http://littleshantiyoga.vpweb.com/default.html

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Matisse Inspired



It's been a busy week. I don't even know how it got to be Wednesday but here we are. I didn't get to write about this past Monday's art class at The Drawing Room until now. I said I'd write about it every week because every time I post about it, people ask more about the classes. I aim to please and I really think it's important to make sure everyone knows about the coolest everything. Everything there is to do, see, taste, make, sample, buy, try, wear, and drink.

This week the class learned about Matisse. Here's a little history on Henri Matisse: http://www.henri-matisse.net/artofmatisse.html

They had two teachers. The teachers don't just "tell" the class what to do- they give them a little history as they show them what to do. Then they send off to their work stations to do their own thing. This class made Matisse like collages. There were pictures of Matisse paintings up all over the classroom, like with the Blue Dog two weeks ago. The pictures are up for inspiration so the kids can see visuals of what they're supposed to be doing.

They basically cut a lot of shapes out and glued them to their poster-sized "canvas". They got to pick the colors and shapes, cut them out, and then glue them on.

I think this was a harder assignment for Ethan. It really pushed him. At five and a half to come up with the shapes, draw and cut them out, then glue them on was a lot. It's interesting because we always think in terms of doing physical activity to expend his vast wealth of energy. But after this particular class he was actually tired- physically and mentally. It was GREAT! I said to him that it was the third class, he's done three projects so far, and I counted them off. The Blue Dog, Still Life, and now Matisse collages. I asked which he liked best and he said he liked them all the best. I told him he's allowed to pick a favorite (he can be "fair" or "even" to a fault). He still said he really liked them all.

I'm really proud of his concentration and progress in this class. Two hours might ordinarily be difficult at this age, and for a boy. But the class seems to whip by. I usually stay for about a half hour or forty-five minutes to take pictures and understand what they're doing. Then I go out for a little while and come back to do work on my computer in another room. I pop in and out just to see the progress and maybe take some more photos. He's always engaged, quiet, and enjoying making his creations, as are all the other kids. It's amazing to watch.

Drawing Room
Fine Art & Sculpture Studio
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/drawingroomllc

Site/Page about Henri Matisse, with his works: https://www.artsy.net/artist/henri-matisse

Finished "Matisse" collage

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