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family traditions

Kid-Friendly, Live Like a Local, Reviews, Staycation, Things To Do, Vegas Life

Red Rock Lanes: Summerlin

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Whether it’s Christmas morning, New Years Eve or 2am on a Monday morning you will find Red Rock Lanes open for business. Located in the Red Rock Casino, the bowling alley features 72 bowling lanes, a game center, bar lounge and Pro-shop for the pro-Bowler in your family. Want to make it a date night or night out with the girls? Get down in one of their luxury VIP lanes and suites, complete with bar service and cozy seating arrangements!  Do I hear a “Mom’s Night” anyone?

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As an amateur bowler, myself, I will say that this was one of the most pristine, clean-smelling bowling alley’s I’ve ever been to and the food just happened to be tasty! The bathrooms were not only clean but pleasing to the eye, the full-service bar and lounge was a nice treat for the adults and the chicken nuggets and fries were a huge hit with all my picky eaters. 

 

 

Toddlers with a show size under 11 can wear their own shoes!

Toddlers with a show size under 11 can wear their own shoes!

If you’re not a great bowler, or your children need a little extra help, bumpers and ramps are a great way to keep the ball rollin! However, if you happen to arrive during peak hours, the ramps may be hard to come by. If this is the case, ask your neighbor in the next lane if you can share. Chances are, they are a nice family willing to do so. If not, don’t fret, the bumpers will be enough. My two-year old son pushed his own ball down the lane just fine and my four-year old ended up not wanting to use the ramp at all!

 

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The big screens play all your musical favorites from past to present! Warning! You will break out into dance at least once in front of your children.

My husband and I thought the prices weren’t bad for being the largest and most luxury bowling alley in Las Vegas at nearly $2-$3/ a game plus $4 for bowling shoes. Cosmic Bowling is only $5 a game on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm-2am. The prices for food and drink were what’s to be expected in a Las Vegas Casino, but well worth it as the food was delicious and the cocktails were on point. Have a picky eater? Step out into the Casino and find an array of different food options including fine dining and buffet!

Whether you’re planning a date, birthday party, girls night out, family event or just want to escape the heat, Red Rock Lanes in the Red Rock Casino have what you need to experience the best of what Vegas has to offer! 

 

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McDonald’s: Supporting American Dreams

FullSizeRender (1)What are your fondest memories of food as a kid? You can’t remember? Ok start out simply with: As a kid, what were your favorite foods? How about when your family goes out to eat: What kinds of choices are on the kids’ menus? That’s right, topping that list is burgers and fries…Oh and let me guess, chicken fingers?! It’s no wonder why offering selections suitable for all the little people in your life follows an easily recognizable format of universal finger foods that are familiar to the little ones, with colors and flavors that are standard across the board. What a clever idea to include some entertainment for our favorite mile-a-minute-minds whether it is crayons or puzzles or cartoon characters & A TOY?! Prizes accompanying your food was no longer limited to cracker jacks or cereal boxes! Put it all together and what does it spell? H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S…That’s right, the gold standard in keeping kids happy during meals can be credited to McDonald’s!!! The Happy Meal has been maintaining the happiness quotient of family dining since the1970s!

McDonald’s restaurants are easily the most recognizable fast food establishments in the world. I know I have talked about choosing the best healthy foods for your family, but this time, I’m talking about a special treat for everyone. So much about food quality and food prep has changed over the years (Buh-bye, trans fats!) and while fast food in general may not be best known for the health factor, there are definitely healthier choices available on their menu and even a sizeable selection of meals below 400 calories…You can order your Happy Meal with yogurt or apple slices or even Cuties! Oatmeal is on the menu, salads and bottled water. But, if you are like Heather & me, you know that a good cheat meal goes a long way & there is so much deliciousness, why waste a trip to McD’s on ‘health food’ when they have Sausage McMuffins with Eggs, Big Macs, apple pies? My favorite as a kid was taking my Cheeseburger & lining up a layer of french fries inside it. I also add a hash brown to my breakfast sandwich…hmmm, there’s a trend here! Maybe that means I’m a weirdo, but you’ll want to try it next time, I know you will! You’ll have to let me know what you think!

McDonald’s is an American family tradition. I look back on grade school and even high school remembering what a special treat it was to have a half day and get lunch with my mom and brother at McD’s. Heather associates going to her great grandma’s house with fun trips to McDonald’s. When my brother was old enough to speak, he knew when the priest gave his final blessing, that was when he could shout out, “Let’s go to McDonald’s!” Local families own and operate McDonald’s restaurants fulfilling the American Dream! There are women business owners, minority business owners – right here in our neighborhoods! In addition to serving super delicious treats, another way McD’s serves the community is through Ronald McDonald House Charities(RMHC).

Scholarships are awarded every year. Last year, more than 100 high school seniors right here in Las Vegas received over $300,000 – That is outstanding! That translates to nearly $3 million in scholarships awarded through local and matching programs. Way to go, local owners and operators, what an amazing way to give back: monetary assistance for education is the best gift possible. It means a future. (Stay tuned for details on the Greens for Grads program, a single day event where $1 per Extra Value Meal is donated.) If you have eligible students in your family, don’t forget to have them apply! CLICK HERE: Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship Program

The 11th Annual Running for the House 5K Run/1 mile walk takes place April 18th with proceeds to benefit the RMHC Greater Las Vegas.

  

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Holiday Traditions With Extended Family

I love the holidays! I have some of the best memories of my childhood involve Christmas Barkada (“The Group”) parties…I look forward to sharing these with my son along with the other third generation Bakada babies.

circa 1979

circa 1979

When my mother was pregnant with my brother, my dad invited some coworkers to the baby shower. Who knew this would turn into a friendship of forty five years and counting…There were more friends of friends added to the circle, more babies and thus, more reasons to celebrate and see each other. Eight families getting together for a day (that sometimes turned to night!) of family fun. Dads played mahjong in the garage while the moms cooked and chatted in the kitchen. Sometimes perms, dyes and new haircuts emerged after our time together. The boys played video games or card games and the girls played dressing up. Our teenage years meant group trips to the mall or bowling alley. We even got disciplined together! We took turns hosting at each family home, about an hour’s drive away. I grew up with seven extra aunties and uncles and about twenty bonus cousins! I was a teenager by the time I realized we are not related by blood.

That’s me in the front row! Check out the boys: matching shirts and hairstyles too! Hahaha…

Christmas was especially fun. We always had certain dishes that were mainstays on the potluck menu. As we got older, we started requesting things like, Auntie Tita’s lemon bars, Uncle Lino’s lasagna, and even the kids started to share their creations: Cousin Cheryl’s crème puffs!!! Aside from the amazing food we shared, my favorite Christmas memory is the gift exchange. Even as a big group, the kids each got a gift from each of the families.

Matching gifts as adults.

Matching gifts as adults.

Twenty kids across eight families and we are all pretty close in age. From my brother to the youngest there is about 13 years separating us, but in between there are several years of more than one birth. One Christmas, one grandmother made the girls matching dresses. It was so awesome and cheesy, we loved being the same. We have grown to be such a big family that we eventually had to adopt a gift exchange. We had one uncle dress up as Santa every year. We are officially on the second generation Santa now…

The most recent Barkada wedding was Aug 2014.

What a gift to be part of a family of friends who have been there for each other for everything: From potlucks, house hunting, and cherry picking to life’s biggest events of weddings, graduations, European vacations, births, deaths, cancer battles, weddings, baptisms, EVERYTHING! Currently we are focusing on our dear cousin beating cancer. It has been a rough road, but having a prayer tree this big means automatically having a massive collective positive energy healing her. {We Love You Lyn, KICK CANCER’S BEHIND!}

I am blessed to carry on this tradition with my son and he is blessed to be born into a loving extended family who loves him unconditionally. They say it takes a village to raise one child. I am so lucky I have a village built in! Now more than ever, I crave time with my family and want my relatives to be a part of our lives as often as possible – even if it’s a Skype session!
The oldest of the 3rd generation is still a baby to me! J with his cousins. 

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If You Give a Mouse a Christmas Cookie

Russian Teacakes and Milk
Let the wild holiday rumpus begin.

Let the wild holiday rumpus start.

In our house, the Christmas season is not allowed to start before Thanksgiving. But it really doesn’t start until Christmas Mouse is pulled out of his (her? – not sure, it’s a mouse) plastic bin where he lives with the other holiday decorations. Christmas Mouse was sent to our family by my father-in-law and his wife when our boys were babies.

When you squeeze his foot, he sings We Wish You a Merry Christmas in a high, warbly voice. And he waves his little mouse arms and rocks side to side at the same time. At first, I hated this little singing and dancing rodent.

But surprisingly, he grew on me. These days, he is a bit temperamental in his singing. Maybe he’ll sing for you, maybe not. But we keep him.

The important thing is that once Christmas Mouse is unpacked, the wild holiday rumpus can start.

(Click this link to see Christmas Mouse in action!)

And the most important holiday tradition in our house is…

I wasn’t entirely sure how to answer this, so I asked the three main guys in my life what they thought. Two quickly said, “Christmas cookies.” The third talked about being allowed to open one gift on Christmas Eve, and waking Russian Teacakes and Milkup really early Christmas morning. But when he was told the others wanted Christmas cookies, he became super animated and agreed wholeheartedly.

When I was growing up, my mom made double or even triple batches of cookies each holiday season. Between my three brothers, me, and our friends tromping into the house after sledding or ice skating, it’s hard to believe there would be enough. But there seemed to be an unending supply.

I loved baking with my mom, and now my kids bake with me.

 

This recipe for Russian Teacakes is from the 1960 edition of Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book. Russian teacakes are my favorite Christmas cookie.  My mom, and now I, have baked them every single holiday season for my whole life. Even little kids can contribute to this tradition by rolling the baked cookies in confectioners’ sugar.

(I’m including the commentary from the original recipe because I love old cookbooks and their history.)Russian Teacakes

 

Russian TeacakesCrunchy, sugared, nut-filled snowballs.

This favorite with men came to us from a man. Carl Burkland, an eastern radio executive, often makes them himself at Christmastime.

Mix thoroughly:

  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Sift together and stir in:

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix in:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Chill dough. Roll into 1″ balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet (cookies do not spread). Bake until set, but not brown. While still warm, roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool. Roll in sugar again.

Temperature: 400°

Time: Bake 10 to 12 minutes

Amount: About 4 dozen 1″ cookies

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