My business, TLB Music, is hosting a mini-camp summer series for NYC kids 18 months – 5 years and this patriotic windsock project is one of our campers’ activities of the week!  This craft is perfect for young children and the end result looks great as a decoration for the Fourth of July.  Follow these easy instructions to create your own and scroll to the bottom of this post to see the craft supplies I used!

Student Materials:
blue paper, white paper stars, red and white crepe paper streamer strips, glue stick, string

Teacher Materials: star hole punch, small circle hole punch, scissors

Teacher Prep: cut 8 1/2 x 11 blue paper into 7 x 11 pieces (2 per child)
punch white stars (12 per student)
cut strips of crepe paper streamer into strips  (8 per student, 4 red, 4 white)

*If students are older, they can help with the “teacher prep” section!

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This smoothie bowl is so delicious, hydrating and nutritious.  The smoothie itself is amazing but the fresh watermelon and pomegranate seeds on top bursting with flavor are the best part!

Watermelon Pomegranate Smoothie Bowl

For smoothie, blend together:
2 frozen organic bananas
1 cup fresh organic watermelon (hydrating and loaded with vitamins & antioxidants!)
5-6 frozen organic strawberries
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder (I use Navitas. 2 tablespoons = 260% vitamin C!)
1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Vega’s vanilla protein smoothie powder.)
1/4 – 1/2 cup soy milk (I used Silk’s organic soy milk.  You can use any dairy-free milk!)

Toppings:
shredded coconut (I use Let’s Do Organic coconut.)
organic pomegranate seeds
sprouted buckwheat groats (I use Emmy’s Super Cereal.)
organic watermelon balls (I used this cookie scoop by OXO to make the melon balls.)
sliced organic strawberries
sliced organic banana
black chia seeds (I love Nutiva.)

Follow me on Instagram (@thebirdfeednyc) to see more smoothie bowls!

This smoothie bowl’s base is made with one of my favorite blends: bananas, cherries and strawberries.  It gets an extra boost of antioxidants and vitamins from the yummy superfruit powders blended in and sprinkled on top!

Pretty in Pink Smoothie Bowl

For smoothie, blend together:
2 frozen organic bananas
1/2 cup frozen organic cherries
10 frozen organic strawberries
1 tablespoon Goji powder (I use Navitas. Extra boost of beta-carotene & antioxidants!)
2 tablespoons pomegranate powder (I use Navitas. 2 tablespoons = 260% vitamin C!)
1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Vega’s vanilla protein smoothie powder.)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of dairy-free milk (soy, coconut, almond, cashew, hemp, etc!)

For toppings, I used:
shredded coconut (I use Let’s Do Organic coconut.)
hemp seeds (organic shelled hempseed by Nutiva.)
pomegranate powder (Navitas brand is delicious!)
sliced organic banana
hemp granola (I love this granola by Nature’s Path Organic.)
black chia seeds (I use Nutiva)

Follow me on Instagram (@thebirdfeednyc) to see more smoothie bowls!

I make a smoothie bowl almost every day. It’s the most delicious way to load up on healthy fruits, protein and fiber! Here’s the recipe for my new favorite.

Frosted Berry Bowl

For smoothie, blend together:
2 frozen organic bananas
1 cup frozen organic blackberries
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries
5 frozen organic strawberries
1 tablespoon Goji powder (I use Navitas. Extra boost of beta-carotene & antioxidants!)
1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Vega’s vanilla protein smoothie powder.)
1/2 – 3/4 cup of dairy-free milk (soy, coconut, almond, cashew, hemp, etc!)

Toppings:
shredded coconut (I use Let’s Do Organic coconut.)
cacao nibs (I use Navitas.)
sliced organic banana
frozen organic blueberries
frozen organic blackberries
sprouted buckwheat groats (I use Emmy’s Super Cereal. Stays crunchy in your smoothie!)
hemp granola (I love this granola by Nature’s Path Organic.)

Follow me on Instagram (@thebirdfeednyc) to see my smoothie bowl creations!

I created this Upper East Side, NYC scavenger hunt for all the wonderful UES kids I know!  Print a copy and explore the neighborhood!  Can you find all 20?

Click the link below to download and print the free PDF.

Upper East Side, NYC Scavenger Hunt for Kids PDF

Want more scavenger hunts? CLICK HERE


Legendary soul and R&B singer/songwriter Ben E. King passed away yesterday on April 30, 2015 at the age of 76. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite recordings in his honor.

1. “Spanish Harlem”(1960)
King moved to Harlem, NYC when he was 9 years old.
 

 
 
2. “This Magic Moment” (1960)
King with The Drifters, singing the lead.
 

 
 
3 “I (Who Have Nothing)” (1963)
This song is based on an Italian song called “Uno Dei Tanti” (“One of Many”).  Although King was the first to record it, many others followed: Tom Jones, Petula Clark, Liza Minnelli, Neil Diamond, Donna Osmond, Gladys Knight and more!
 

 
 
4. “Stand by Me” (1961)
One of my favorite songs of all-time (first song I learned on the Double Bass!) and the song people most associate with King. He wrote it along with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
 

 
 
5. “Save the Last Dance for Me”(1960) Another one of my favorites of Ben E. King with The Drifters.
 

My favorite park, today and 79 years ago today!

Top Photo:
Washington Square, Looking North (April 16, 1936)
photo by Berenice Abbott source

Bottom Photo:
Washington Square Park, Looking North (April 16, 2015)
photo by Carina Zimmerman

View full images:

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American jazz singer and songwriter Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915- 100 years ago today!  Her unique vocal style and personal story make her one of the most influential and captivating performers of the 20th century.  Celebrate “Lady Day” by watching and sharing these three spell-binding performances today!

“The Blues Are Brewin’” This performance with legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong is soothing and sultry. Perfect rainy day music!

 
“Strange Fruit”: This powerful song is unforgettable and this live performance is just as haunting.

 

“Fine and Mellow”: This classic 1957 performance features talented jazz musicians like Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ben Webster, and Gerry Mulligan alongside Lady Day.

 

photo source

This picture was taken by one of my favorite photographers, Berenice Abbott, 76 years ago today!

View of Lenox Avenue, Harlem, at 135th Street, showing businesses, pedestrians and shoe-shine stand.
March 23, 1939 by Berenice Abbott

photo source


This past weekend I attended both the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival and The Seed Experience Market.  I had such a great time, met inspiring people, tried amazing vegan food, and spent way too much money!

On Saturday, my business (TLB Music) joined The Solutionary School at the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival to lead a “Compassion Rocks” music class for the children at the festival.  It was so much fun!  We sang songs about animals, love, compassion, and world peace while the kids played on drums, shakers, and bells and we even drummed together on the Djembe:
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Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield MA- 111 years ago today! His children’s books, written under the pseudonym Dr. Seuss, are unlike any others, filled with completely unique stories and characters, always delivering timeless, inspiring messages.  Here are 10 of my favorite quotes to read and share in honor of his special day.  Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

 
1. “Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no one alive who is you-er than you.”

2. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

3. “Only you can control your future.”

4. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

5. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

6. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

7. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

8. “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

9. “If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”

10. “And the turtles, of course…all the turtles are FREE. As turtles and, maybe, ALL creatures should be.”


These activity sheets are perfect for beginning violinists! Use the guide to teach the basics of bowing (up vs. down bow) then practice on open strings with the sheet music.  Click on either image below to download the free, printable PDF:

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I woke up craving spicy food so I decided to dedicate today’s post to spicy, satisfying vegan recipes! These 5 recipes are filled with nutritious ingredients, metabolism-boosting spice and tons of flavor.  Don’t they look delicious??

 
1. Easy One-Pot Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles {vegan, gluten-free} by Delightful-Delicious-Delovely
***view the recipe***

2.  Gobi Manchurian: Fried Cauliflower in Spicy Sauce {vegan} by Sinfully Spicy
***view the recipe***

3.  Kung Pao Chickpeas {vegan, gluten-free} by She Knows
***view the recipe***

4. Best-Ever Quinoa Chili {vegan, gluten-free} by Making Thyme for Health
***view the recipe***

5.  Simple Bean & Veggie Tacos {vegan} by Craftsy
***view the recipe***

Did you know that January 29th is National Puzzle Day?  I love puzzles!  I snapped the picture above on New Year’s Day, at the start of our 1000-piece challenge.  Puzzles give your brain a fantastic workout- making them extremely beneficial (for both kids and adults) and SO satisfying to complete!

Cognitive Skills:  When kids work on a puzzle, they practice identifying colors, letters, and develop spatial awareness.  Puzzles also encourage kids to work on their memory.

Hand-Eye Coordination:  Getting the pieces to fit just right requires this valuable skill!

Fine Motor Development:  Picking up and placing puzzle pieces benefits fine motor development immensely.  The smaller the pieces get, the greater the challenge!

Problem Solving:  You have one goal in sight when doing a puzzle.  This requires children to think logically and come up with a plan to complete the task!

Social Skills:  Working in a group to complete a puzzle encourages kids to practice sharing, taking turns, and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

In honor of today’s holiday, I put together a list of some of my favorite puzzles for toddlers, big kids, and adults.  The toddler puzzles by Melissa & Doug have withstood years of play in our playspace and music studio’s lobby- I highly recommend them.  As kids get older, increase the number of pieces and decrease the piece size to keep up the brain-boosting power of puzzles!

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(click to enlarge)

Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn Heights
January 21, 1978 by Dinanda Nooney

photo source

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