Tuesday With Ale: Field Trip To The Firehouse

Tuesday With Ale: Field Trip To The Firehouse

Even though it was Ale’s day off from pre-school we joined them for today’s field trip. How could we pass up a visit to the local firehouse on 11th street!

The firefighters were happy to welcome the group of twenty – three and four year olds. As a token of our appreciation we first we gave them a bag of homemade cookies. Then we got right to it and asked them our research questions.

Questions:
How does the water get into the hose? How do you learn how to be a firefighter? Do you ever have scared feelings? Do you go down a pole? What is the best thing about being a fireman? How do you know where the emergency is?

After this fascinating Q&A session the kids were allowed to climb into the fire truck!

Suddenly, the alarm sounded calling out the number of the fire truck – engine 220. The firemen looked at each other and politely asked us to go with urgency in their voices. We all ran out of the firehouse to make room for the truck to leave. The firemen then jumped into the truck and sped off. We looked at them go in awe and waved saying “Be safe. Thank you!”. After the truck turned the corner we slowly made our way over to a resturant for pizza amazed at their bravery and generosity.

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SPRING! YEA!

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Finally! The snow has thawed and temperatures are above 50 degrees in New York City. The kids have all busted down their apartment doors and have run full speed to the nearest playground. Today the sandbox was packed. Even the parents were wearing sunglasses and had their toes in the sand while the little ones fought over last year’s dollar store shovels and pails.

Ale ran wild with the other toddlers suffering from too much Barney and Caillou streaming on Netflix. He could not decide where to go first. The sandbox! The slide! or the swings! To top it off he could now climb the monkey bars. He has grown a lot since our last visit to the park. Taller and stronger. The playground has much more to offer now.

It’s supposed to snow a bit on Monday. No fear. This is March, it comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Spring is right around the corner. Yea!

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When One Pre School Door Closes A New One Opens

It’s the end of February in New York City. This means the pre school application process is coming to an end. All three of my pre school applications were sent in. Then I got notice that the school that I loved and wanted Ale to attend did not offer him a space. I was heartbroken. I received an email cordially informing us that we have been placed on the wait list. It continued to tell us not to worry there is still hope. The list moves throughout the spring and summer. I was resolved to wait.

Thank goodness my husband was quick to think and look again into a new school that fell off of our radar. The school is close to home, has the hours we need and the price is not outrageous. The deadline was at the end of the week. I called the director spoke with her for twenty minutes and was impressed. Plus they had two seats left in the upcoming three’s class!! She was kind enough to hold one for Ale. She did not give me the runaround. She was a mom like me and understood my frustrations with the New York City pre school process. Amazing!

To make the story sweeter Max- Ale’s best toddler buddy from his current day care will be going to this pre school as well! Win! Win!

Good things come to those who wait — and who do not give in to the crazy NYC pre school pressures!

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Here are other posts I wrote about our rocky journey into New York City pre schools:

Pre School Crunch Time

Pre Schools Don’t Like Working Families

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Tuesday’s With Ale: Berrr! Its Cold Out! Time for Lentil Soup!

Wow! What a cold Tuesday! Today New York City reached record lows with temperatures of 4 degrees Fahrenheit. Right now is a toasty 12 degrees outside. I’m cozy at home, writing this in my fluffy slippers and eating a bowl of lentil soup.

There is nothing more yummy on a winter’s day than lentil soup. Its warm and fills your belly with goodness. Ale is taking his nap so I have a moment to share with you my recipe. The way I make Lentil Soup is the way that its made in Spain.

Warning! : This is not a cooking blog so the photos are subpar and lentil soup does not photograph well! But it sure is delicious!

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Ingredients:
2 cups of lentils
1 medium size onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 potato
1 small chorizo sausage
4 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of water
3 bay leafs
4 table spoons of olive oil
salt to taste

*In a soup pot, heat the olive oil

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* Finely chop the onion and garlic and add it to the oil. Cook and stir it until the onions become translucent

* Chop about 1 inch of the choroizo and add it to the onions and garlic. Let it cook for about 5 min. Set a side the rest of the chorizo

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* Stir in the lentils and mix them well with the garlic, onion and chorizo
* Add the 4 cups of chicken broth and the bay leafs.- Cover and let it simmer on low for 30-40 min until the lentils are tender
* In the meantime chop the potato in little cubes and thinly slice the chorizo

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* Once the lentils are tender- with a hand held blender- puree the lentils a few pulses so that at least half of the mixture is puréed
* At this point add more water if the soup has become too thick
* Add the potatoes and the chorizo to the lentils and cook on low heat until the potatoes are tender- about 30 min- Stir occasionally- don’t burn the bottom of the pot!
* Add more water if necessary and add salt to taste
* Enjoy with bread and a big glass of red wine!

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Here is Ale dressed for the cold. We went out for a moment this morning.
Stay warm everyone! Bundle up!
If you live in a warm place- can we switch? Thanks!

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Pre-School Crunch Time

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Its January, so for moms of two year old children across my neighborhood in Brooklyn this means that the pre-school applications are due by the end of the month to snag a seat in September.

AGHHHH!!!!!

I am so frustrated by the entire process and the cost that is attached to it in high application fees (up to $100 to apply for limited spots) that I am only planning to apply to three schools. Some moms on my block may tell me that I have lost my mind. The general consensus is to apply to around ten schools. This is to secure a seat in at least one and get on a wait list for others.

This all sounds like Ale is applying for college. There are even pre-schools with early admissions processes!! Its insane. I fell into the peer pressure from other moms in my daycare to take our children out at three years old and send them off to a preschool by September. Its insane because at the end of the day all of the programs are play based with a bit more structure than Ale is getting now. I am continuously questioning if this is all worth it. I know for sure that I want Ale to attend a pre-K program to get ready for kindergarten but I wonder how important pre-school is for the “academic” growth of a three year old child.

When I attend preschool open houses there are parents that ask a myriad of questions- regarding the school, how they will decipline their little angel, if the food that is served is organic, and how potty training is handled. If you’ve seen one fancy daycare you have seen them all. They all offer, Spanish, yoga, and organic hot dogs. I just want to know how much I have to pay a month and when are the drop off and pick up times. If the cost and the times do not follow our working parent schedules then I walk out the door. Simple as that.

My fear is that since it looks like all of Ale’s friends will be leaving the current daycare in September he will be the big kid surrounded by 18 month olds. Perhaps I should succumb to the peer pressure simply because these are the “norms” here, and Ale has the potential to be left behind socially.

Maybe our new Mayor Bill de Blasio will indeed institute universal pre-k in time for Ale when he is four years old if I just hold out a bit longer. Can I take that chance?

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt:
Monday, January 6, 2014
Tell us about a time you bent to peer pressure.
BlogHer NaBloPoMo

Related post:
Pre-Schools Don’t Like Working Families

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Tuesday’s With Ale: Snow

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New York City had its first real snow fall today. We headed out to experience the winter wonderland. Ale enjoyed stomping in it and catching it with his hands. There is nothing like a toddler to remind you of the magic that surrounds us everyday. His “Wow!” was pure joy and delight.

Tuesday’s With Ale: Winter

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This is not a blog post that I will gush about all of the fun things I did on my Tuesday off from work with my little boy, Ale. I will not talk about all of the sweet things he did and said. Why you ask? Because it’s rained all day and it’s winter in New York City. All of the great outdoor neighborhood activities we enjoyed in the warmer months are gone. My goal now with Ale is to reduce the Caillou, Thomas, Dora all day marathon by a few hours.

Unfortunately, I am not a mom who peruses Pinterest looking for amazing toddler activities. I just want a place for Ale to explore, run and shake the sillies out. The local YMCA can be a life saver with their indoor soft playground. The downside is that the entire neighborhood also has the same idea. The soft playground turns into a baby discotheque with a bouncer at the door handing out tickets. They only let in a few people when others leave to abide by the occupancy limits of the fire code. I swear there are a few nannies who run an underground YMCA ticket ring!

On Tuesday we did make it into the soft playground. Ale went wild climbing and jumping on the foam blocks. The energy of the children in the room was so frenetic that it was obvious that we all come from small living spaces. Cabin fever is truly an ailment that city kids all suffer from. Ale jumped and danced the allotted one and a half hours of free play. As the time was running out the children suddenly became tired. During the last fifteen minutes the noise of room suddenly dropped a few decibels. They started wandering off the mats to look for water and snacks. Nap/lunch time was near.

Despite my complaining I am grateful for the YMCA. We need this vital play space as the temperatures drop. Sometimes, however, I think that it’s me rather than Ale who needs to get out. The idea of being trapped indoors all day with a toddler is frightening, even if he is content to just watch Thomas and Friends. The guilt to be a better mom ultimately sets in so the urgency to run out becomes paramount. So next up… the Children’s Museaum. Here we come!

How many days to summer???