Most of our interactions with our kids are a result of our doing something for them. We are the chauffeur, repairman, techie, chaperon, motivational speaker, personal groomer, chef, waiter, busboy, drill sergeant, nurse, bodyguard, lifeguard, training officer, lost-objects locator, behavioral analyst, police officer, and warden. Where’s the fun in this? It can be exhausting, right?
We have a 9-year-old daughter who’s growing up so fast. Even still, it’s difficult finding common-ground topics for conversation. There’s only so much Pinkie Pie, Taylor Swift, Sponge Bob, and the latest things made in pink, that a guy can take. She’s quickly forming a self-identity and becoming increasingly independent. She’s relying more on interactions with her friends.
We don’t want this time to slip into the abyss. We want to have good relationships with our children. Relying on our conversations about favorite colors or “I spy with my little eye,” are not necessarily going to bring more understanding of each other or bring us closer, but finding activities that we can both enjoy will!
The idea is so that we can both enjoy each others company and build our relationship from doing things together. (BTW, this concept works just as well in my marriage.) These activities provide us the opportunity to learn about what kind of people each of us are, and provides us many fond memories to last many years to come.
We learn to flow and work together, to play and learn from each other. It’s a great way to heal scars from one’s particular childhood and break generations of bad habits, patterns, and negative belief systems.
We recently found a new activity that we both love to do together, making pizza. Any of you can do this. Keep reading. It began with me reading the directions and guiding us. We found a way to cooperate and work together. Now, she has taken the helm, with confidence, and except for me dealing with the oven and cutting hot slices, is all her doing. I can be there to support and assist her while she proudly takes charge and makes a delicious pie.
To make pizza, you’ll need:
A Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan
Cuisinart or Oxo pizza cutter
Rolling pin – I like the French style that’s just a basic wooden pin.
Stainless steel dredge for flour
Ladle for adding gravy to pie
Short stainless steel spatula for serving the slices
Misto olive oil sprayer – to spray the pizza pan
Make the Sauce:Italian Gravy
Papa Sal’s frozen packaged dough, dough from local pizza parlor
Or, pizza dough from scratch How to Make Pizza Dough
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Sprinkle flour on hands and counter top surface. (We have a large butcher-block counter/wine cabinet, I built last summer.)
3. Spray a little olive oil onto the dough, just to make it easier to roll.
4. Roll out into a rough circle, until it’s about 15 inches wide
5. Spray the Lodge pizza pan
6. Transfer the dough to the pan.
7. At this point, I like to cook just the crust for about 5 minutes. It will ensure a golden brown crust with a crispy bottom, just like a good Brooklyn pie!
8. While dough is baking, quickly grate up the ball of mozzarella cheese on the largest setting and the parmesan cheeses on the smaller
9. Remove from oven and apply sauce with a large spoon, in a circular motion. Be sure to wear the mittens. This pan is super hot!
10. Apply the mozzarella cheese in a circular motion with your hand
11. Do the same with the parmesan
12. Place into the oven for about 16 minutes or until the cheese looks just right.
13. Remove and cut in six slices
14. Serve with the small spatula. Again, this pan gets super hot and takes a while to cool down. Be careful!
This pie will rival any Manhattan pie!
BTW, we just ordered the Lodge Bread pan on Amazon Prime. Next, we will make bread!
Update: OK, the bread pan arrived and we made bread. (Pic on right.) Fresh organic bread, hot out of the oven, it was better than any store-bought bread! It was a lot of fun! She really got into measuring and adding the ingredients and kneading the dough.
More things to do, in NYC, with your son or daughter:
Golf driving range at Chelsea Piers
Kick a soccer ball or play catch in any park
Kayaking ( http://www.hudsonriverpark.org/explore-the-park/activities/kayaking)
Canoeing at the Boat House in Central Park
Hiking Central Park, the Palisades, or the Catskills Mountains
Bird Watching in Central Park
Indoor rock climbing at Chelsea Piers
Go-Kart racing and Miniature Golf in Staten Island (www.sigokarts.com)
Shoot pool, local pool halls
Biking in Riverside Park
Swimming at the YMCA, Jones Beach, or Oceanside
Skiing in Upstate NY
Ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza, Wollman Rink, or indoors at Chelsea Piers
Make Chocolate at Voila’ on 79th Street
Build something together; model airplanes, woodworking, doll house, etc.
Board Games: chess, checkers, monopoly, backgammon, scrabble, etc
Go to a local museum
Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, The Intrepid Museum, South Street Seaport
Street Fairs and Ethnic Fairs
Wollman Rink amusement rides (During the summer season)
Go for lunch in other parts of the city:
Greek in Astoria
Dim sum in Chinatown and Woodside
Indian/ Bengali in Jackson Heights and Murray Hill
Thai in Woodside
Italian in Little Italy or Arthur Avenue, Bronx
Soul Food in Harlem
Dominican in Washington Heights and Park Slope
Irish in Midtown, Roxbury, Rockaway Park, Gerritsen Beach
Russian in Brighton Beach
Pizza in Bay Ridge and Sheepshead Bay
Polish and Ukrainian in the East Village,
Kosher on the Upper Westside and Crown Heights
West Indian in Jamaica, Queens
Caribbean in Wakefield, Bronx
Puerto Rican in Spanish Harlem
Columbian in Elmhurst, Queens
See Time Out Magazine for more ideas