Wednesday, April 18, 2018

WDW Wednesdays - Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-the-Road

This morning I woke up to some pixie dust in my inbox! Super excited to have received an invite to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On-the-Road in Chicago. I knew I'd be excited when something like this came, but I didn't realize how giddy I would be. I cannot wait to attend and tell you what I learned. Stay tuned next month! Dare to Dream. (Next I'm dreaming of the big celebration, small steps).

Monday, April 9, 2018

Macy's Culinary Council - Rick Bayless

Meeting Chef Rick Bayless at Macy's on State Street

Last weekend I was invited to Macy's Culinary Council at Macy's on State Street. They had a special Children's Cooking class with Chef Rick Bayless. My niece came along with me so she could partake in the the days lesson. She, as was I, were awe struck by the opportunity to learn from one of my favorite chefs.

Before the day's class I was able to sit with Chef Bayless and ask him a question.
Why should be include our children when we prepare our food and at what age should we start including them?

Chef Bayless began by answering the second part of the question.

"There is never an age that is too young for people to get involved in how they are going to nourish themselves, because you die if you don't eat. So to me it's an important part of just being a human being. If you don't know how to make your own food then I think you are at an incredible disadvantage. There is something that is hardwired in human beings to connect to the source of their food. In the last, probably about 30 years or so, we have fully disconnected ourselves from the source of our food, so that people don't have to ever come in contact with it, they never have to know where their food comes from, and they don't even ever need to see it being prepared. They can just buy it all prepared for them so that all they do is put it in their mouths. And I think that is a pretty dangerous thing for us to do because it takes away a basic understanding of what their food is.

Chef Rick Bayless Macy's Culinary Council

I give him an example of how I've tried to involve my kids in our cooking process. We have started making their mac n cheese from scratch, and we like for our kids to see the different cheeses that go into the dish, and how we can add different flavors by adding other ingredients like bacon.

He goes on to say, that there is nothing wrong with the components of mac n cheese, "but making it from scratch lets them know what is going into their food. Suddenly the flavors are also more lively because they are not using dehydrated cheese, but real cheese. Then you can start doing add ins, what does this flavor give to it, and all that. Its just a great way to think about food. And that's why I said there is never an age at which they are too young to do that.

My niece excited for her class

I grew up in a restaurant kitchen and by most peoples standards today, everyone would say oh its so dangerous, you can't be there, you can't have kids there, they couldn't be there until they were fifteen years old, or what ever. I started hanging out in our restaurants kitchen when I was four years old, and there was never an accident or never anything because you learn to respect it, even at four year old. And I think keeping kids away from the kitchen is doing a disservice to them. There is nothing that a child can not handle in the kitchen".

Every participant received ingredients to make their Guacamole

My niece and a big group of children were given all the ingredients and extra fixings to make their own Guacamole. They were able to experiment by adding cheese, bacon, lime, cilantro, etc, until they found a combination that they liked. I was happy to see Chef Bayless taste some of the participants samples, and give words of encouragement. He tasted my nieces, and told her "you really like lime", LOL, I think she may squeezed her lime a bit too much. After the class I made my way to her table and got my own taste. I think she did a great job, and once I got through chip number 3 the lime wasn't as strong, so my guess is she must have splashed some extra lime last minute. After attending this class and see how organized it was and how involved the participants and chef were, I look forward to attending a class myself.

Check out upcoming events at Macy's Culinary Council!

On a side note...I do love my Big Macs, but now I'll think about what goes into them.

The finished dish, yummy guacamole!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

You're My Little Cuddle Bug - Book Review

I received a free product for review. All opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Olivia enjoyed her review copy of You’re My Little Cuddle Bug. It was the perfect size for her to hold and flip through. I liked that the story was easy to read and that my 5-year-old could also read to her. It was a good way for these two sisters to bond. Madeline has been reading this book to her little sister as a bedtime story for the past couple of nights.

The illustrations are vibrant and colorful, and the cut outs are a cute way to showcase the books words. Olivia likes touching the raised pictures. She gives the book two thumbs up!

If you’re looking for a cute board book to add to your child’s Easter basket this year or for the upcoming "Dia Del Nino" (Children's Day, April 30th, Mexico), we recommend this adorable bug book.

You’re My Little Cuddle Bug
By Nicola Edwards
Illustrated by Natalie Marshall
Silver Dolphin Board Book $8.99
ISBN: 978-1684122585
18 pages; Ages 0-2

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Making Our Way to Walt Disney World

We are back from our fun filled Disney World adventure. I can’t wait to share our experiences with you, who know maybe you’ll pick up a trick or two along the way.

For us, we try and maximize all available days while we are there, and that includes taking the first flight of Chicago to Orlando. So we made sure to book a 5:30 AM flight. Yep, that early, even with two kiddos in tow. We know are kids and were lucky enough to have them sleep on the flight. That also goes for the flight home. We try and get the latest flight we know our kids can handle. In this case it was an 8:45 PM flight, arriving in Chicago at about 11 PM. Again kids slept on the ride back. The other good thing about these times is that when traveling with Southwest, the prices are always the lowest. And who doesn’t want to save a little cash and use it at Disney.

We decided that once again we were not going to tell Madeline or Olivia about our trip. Cause there is nothing worse than days, weeks, or even months of, “Mommy, are we leaving yet?”; that would not be fun for me. I’m sure once they are older a Disney Countdown will be a good fun activity. So early that morning, after not much sleep (because we are all kids inside and super excited to go too), I woke up Olivia first. I got her dressed in a Minnie Mouse outfit and asked her “Guess where we are going?”, but she was still so sleepy, LOL, she just went back to bed!

Next was Madeline, “honey, wake up, time to go to school”, ha, that wasn’t going to get her up. I said, look I got you a new outfit, she opened her eyes a little. At which her Daddy said, “how would you like to skip school today and go somewhere fun?”. Well now we got her attention. Her Daddy gave her favorite stuffed animal and he was wearing a Mickey shirt. “How about we go to Disney World”? Well that got her right up and was excited, just as we had hoped. She jumped out of bed and said, “I have to go tell Olivia!”.

We all got dressed and ready to go. Getting to the airport and getting on our flight was uneventful. I have to say that booking a February flight in Chicago, I was a bit worried that the weather would somehow affect our trip. Thankfully it didn’t. Once we arrived, it was a smooth transition. Because we booked with Disney, and were going to use the Magical Express Transportation, (free to resort guests), we were able to bypass baggage claim. Disney had sent over special luggage tags that would indicate that those bags would be picked up and delivered to the resort we were staying at. This was a great convenience as it allowed for us to get on the bus to our resort a lot faster, and allowed for us to maximize the time we would be spending at our first park the first day. Normally in the summer time, the parks are open later into the night, 10pm to sometimes midnight. In the winter we were looking at anywhere from 6pm to 9pm closing times. Can't wait to tell you about Hollywood Studios!

I hope you follow along as I recap our trip.

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