BONDING OVER ART FASHION WITH DAUGHTER 8, RE-IGNITES CROWNHEIGHTSMOM’S DESIGNER DREAMS…..KIND OF…..by Debra lewis-Boothman

I  had long forgotten or better yet,  given up  on my  teenage dreams of becoming a fashion designer . That was until recently, attending  a  Target Free Sundays  at the  Studio Museum in Harlem with my  8- year old daughter and  viewing the Speaking of People  exhibition. Directly after,  we  headed  to Workshop A  for the Hands On Fashion Extravaganza workshop to make our own fashion layouts from blank traced  silhouettes.

From the Speaking Of People Exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem

The workshop  re-ignited the passion  to begin thinking again about designing  clothing.  A dream I’d abandoned  so many moons ago  while  a teen. Summers  of  countless hours  pouring over the fashion pages of  Ebony, Vogue, Essence,  Seventeen, TEEN and  Cosmo .

Dreams of  one day designing my own line of  bold, vivid colorful fashions  reminiscent of  my  childhood in Barbados  were always at the  back of my mind. Although not led to a career in  fashion,   I did wind  on  the pages of magazines —writing and reporting  on fashion and being  amongst  the small  group of initial staffers to start-up a then  new  PEOPLE Stylewatch in 2002.-  launching  it to its fashion bible status of today . Choosing a path of going  to the  world of  magazines and celebrity journalism. I would end up writing about fashion  not designing  it,

Getting to share  the workshop with my daughter and seeing  her talents shine at such a young  age is so rewarding. Other families enjoying the including the  workshop mums, grandmas, dads and aunts taking the  for color, design  and Thinking Springtime  and Summer I chose bold colored  paper for the clothes and got my scissors to work in cutting them out. Gluing the paper clothes on was a lil tricky but

Crownheightsmom gos for the bold colors of the caribbean

We started out with  blank Sillhouttes

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The colored paper to create the clothes

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Cut out clothes to stick on the silhoutte

 

My  8- year old daughter ‘s creations: She   has a great eye for color.  She chose to use colored paper and colored  markers.

8-year old Kameko's vision on her silloutte

8-year old Kameko’s vision on her silloutte

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Kameko’s silhoutte all done

Take a trip  to the Studio Museum in Harlem.. What a wonderful way to bond  and learn  alongside your  child. Art Rocks!

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A GO-TO COMFORT FOOD DURING A SNOWY BLIZZARD…CURRIED CHICK PEAS INDIAN STYLE OF COURSE! by Debra Lewis-Boothman

I love Indian food especially in the  wintertime. It is my comfort food of choice . Choosing a healthier  eating lifestyle was one of my new year resolutions and since Jan 1  I have  been eating more fruits, salads and chick peas. Yes,  I did say CHICK PEAS!

Chick Peas the beans of life

Chick Peas the beans of life

After threading  through yesterday’s high winds and freezing snow and gaining  frozen toes and fingers  while heading  to pick my kids up from school  I  decided when we arrived home that I needed to  spice up  some chick peas and make the  hubs and I a spicy  Indian style  curried chick pea delight to chow down on . I needed a comfort food.

Heading home from  school  in the  snowy blizzard of 2015

Heading home from school in the snowy blizzard of 2015

I found  a curried potato chick pea recipe on foodnetwork.com  added a few of my own caribbean spices  and got  down to my culinary skills in the  kitchen.

Cooking up the  curried Chick Pea dish

Cooking up the curried Chick Pea dish

I would eat chick peas  every day if I had my way. They are delicious and not too heavy on the stomach, plus they are rich in fiber. Thinking back, I remember as a kid how  I  hated the weird distinct taste   especially when my grandma would serve them with dinner. Many times unbeknownst to her,  or so I thought, I would rake them off my  plate and  hide them in a napkin on my lap so I wouldn’t have to eat them. In  retrospect, I think grandma knew what I was doing but never said a word. So I am not too upset  that my now 8 and 7-year olds are not  turned on by  eating the small bean preferring instead to eat it as  chickpea hummus. At least they are still getting its valuable nutrients.

Making a curried chick pea meal is one of the  quickest  to prepare- with cooking times  of 15 minutes  and prep time of 20 minutes . I set forth to prepare  this  recipe which  is one of the easiest  and can be  a favorite on any  vegetarian, vegan or meat lovers plate.

The Chick Pea or Garbanzos Beans as my  South American peeps call them is one of the healthiest beans available.  For those who love their food spicy I say bring on the curry and the scotch  bonnet  pepper and make this baby indian style.

Quick and Easy way to make. Get  it in the can.Goya is a great brand but you can choose most others as well. You can use  dry chick peas but you will have to soak them for hours  or overnight or boil them.

Chick Peas aka Garbanzos beans is one of the world's healthiest foods that is rich in fiber. Great food for Diabetics.

Chick Peas aka Garbanzos Beans aka Chana -is one of the world’s healthiest foods that’s rich in fiber. Great food for Diabetics.

Known for its rich fiber benefits it is no wonder there is always some choice of chick pea or Chana  as my Indian  friends call it  being offered on the menu of restaurants in India . In fact chickpeas has long been a staple of the  daily diet in India.

Some of my favorite cities  with Indian restaurants that  make the best curried chick pea  meals can be found in  Covent Garden  or amongst  London’s Brick Lane curry  houses as well as in  New York City and  Chicago.

RECIPE  FOR CURRIED POTATOES AND CHICK PEAS  courtesy of The Food Network Magazine and updated to include ingredients  added by crownheightsmom.

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15 -ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 cups fried onions (one 2.8-ounce can)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (remove seeds for less heat)...–NOTE: I used Jamaican scotch bonnet peppers instead of Jalapenos and I added fresh garlic, scallions, thyme and a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. I also ncluded   1 teaspoon of Cumin.

Cook your chick peas slow and steady.

Directions
Put the potatoes, 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 3 to 6 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the potatoes.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and cayenne and cook, stirring, 30 seconds.

Add the chickpeas, 1 cup fried onions, garlic, thyme, scallions and 1/2 cup reserved cooking water; cook, mashing the potatoes with a spoon( I did not mash my potatoes), until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add more cooking water, if needed. Season with salt.

Mix the yogurt, chopped cilantro, lime juice and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Divide the potato-chickpea mixture among bowls. Top with the yogurt sauce, the remaining 1 cup fried onions, the sliced jalapeno and cilantro leaves.

Curried chick peas and potatoes smell so good and  the  peppery flavor of the scotch bonnet peppers gives it  a kick.

Curried chick peas and potatoes smell so good and the peppery flavor of the scotch bonnet peppers gives it a kick.

Almost ready  to eat and a dish I am sure  renowned chef  and Hell’s Kitchen mentor Gordon Ramsay would love.

Yummm…all spicy and ready to be devoured

You can choose to eat  your  curried chick peas alone, with flat bread, a salad or on top of rice -basmati or  parboiled,  or  a pasta  of  your choice.  I paired mine on top  of Penne and it was delicious! The  spicy  kick from the scotch bonnet peppers  hit the  spot. I was warmed  all over.

We enjoyed alongside a  glass or red!

Alongside a glass of red wine

Alongside a glass of red wine

MAGNOLIA GROWS IN BROOKLYN……CROWN HEIGHTS TO BE EXACT! by Debra Lewis-Boothman

FRIDAY’ S CUTE PIC OF THE DAY on  crownheightsmom goes to Magnolia, the heart-stopping, cute-as-ever little 20-month old happy tyke  who along with her BABY  stopped me in my tracks on Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights, Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon.

20-month old Magnolia

20-month old Magnolia

Meet MAGNOLIA . She literally brought the sun out today. In fact I think   her  cuteness is the  reason  the expected  snow storm for  Thursday went bye-bye!

I spotted the lil darling taking her baby out for a walk on Eastern Parkway. Along for the stroll was mum Natalie and dad Matthew. The  9-year Brooklyn residents  have been residing in Crown Heights for the past  three years.  Before  Magnolia came along the gorgeous couple  were  living in Do-or-die Bed-Sty!…

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Brooklyn is fast becoming the NYC borough young families are looking to start and raise their families.

Brooklyn is fast becoming that borough  young families are flocking to. Crown Heights, Prospect Heights, Lefferts Gardens and Flatbush are the  new favorite areas for new renters and buyers. Don’t get me wrong there is still interest  in Fort Green, Bedford Stuyvesant, Ditmas Park, Sunset Park,  Park Slope and Boroum Hill areas .

Why the Crown Heights draw ? It  has Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Grand Army Plaza Library and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum  all at ones doorstep.

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Brooklyn Children’s Museum

Prospect Park

Prospect Park

Brooklyn Museum of Art

Brooklyn Museum of Art

japanese Garden  at Brooklyn's Botanical Gardens

japanese Garden at Brooklyn’s Botanical Gardens

Let’s not even begin to talk  culture. Brooklyn  is  a gumbo pot of cultures. It is the  epitome of what New York stands for.  For young families moving to Crown Heights you can walk down the  street and bump into someone from every caribbean island known to man, meet young hip  fashionable Hasidics, or a Korean  grocer   selling  the freshest fruits and vegetables this side of Chinatown, or even talk politics with the Yemen corner store owner . The cultures  my friend in Brooklyn are  infinite .

So as our little cutie pie Magnolia continues on her walk  here’s to wishing her a wonderful year and  hoping when she hits  her 2 year mark  on May 19 that she  stays as  sweet as ever for mummy and daddy .

Enjoy your walk  little Magnolia and take in all that your wonderful neighborhood has to offer. Soak it up!

Magnolia alongside mum and dad

Magnolia alongside mum and dad

CROWNHEIGHTSMOM CATCHES THE FLU AND REFLECTS ON THE MOM GUILT IT CAUSED …by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Just four days after appearing on WPIX TV 11 in NYC  talking about mom guilt I found  myself  laid up in bed with the flu  and feeling just awful inside about getting it.

crownheightsmom isick in bed  with the flu

crownheightsmom isick in bed with the flu

Click to WPIX-TV 11-Mom Guilt

I was pretty much feeling   annoyed at myself for  coming down with the flu  . I mean it’s not like I have super powers to shield myself from  all colds and  flu but the  “It’s your own  fault” voice echoed over and over heavily in my head.   Blame myself I did  because as of the writing of  this  post I still have yet to get  a flu shot.

I know, but I just never got around to getting it. I meant to but   kept putting it off because I rarely get sick and whenever I  do  get the flu shot I end up sick two weeks after. So this year I  said to myself I will see if I can make do without it and like many healthy  people who take their  vitamins supplements,  exercise, eat well  and  run daily.  I figured, I would be ok.

Looking back,  I should have visited my docs office when I saw the glaring headlines  stating that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention had released  flu data reports showing that  the 2014-2015   flu season was at epidemic levels with 8.5% of deaths occurring  due to pneumonia and influenza. The report also said that this was  an increase from the year and  with   19 reported deaths. There was no data for adult death as the only keeps tracks of children’s death and the 19 CDC reported  cases were   all  of children having died of the flu across  the  United States.

Click to go to the CDC.

Weighing heavily on my mind since coming down with the flu  were  thoughts of  ‘I do not want the children to catch it.’  I felt assured  that they wouldn’t because my husband and I made sure  they’d received their flu shots when school began in September. My only hope was in that the vaccine would  protect them from this bad strain of flu  going around  hoping their  little  immune systems stay strong. Right after the  first snowstorm in  November  we started  to give them   daily does of elderberry vitamins to help boost their immune systems and I began to pack  an orange a day in their lunch boxes and have been giving them  more tangerines and grapefruit slices to boost that Vitamin-C intake  . Knock-on-wood,  I can say that so far so good.  These  have  helped.

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Zarbees Elderberry for kids helps their immune system stay healthy

Day 5 of being bed bound,  I  literally  crawled out of my  bed and forced myself to go  outside  taking our dog Hiro with me out for a walk. This was  more so because I really needed the walk more than our Akita  did . I needed to feel the cold air biting my cheekbones and passing  through  my nostrils. Doing  this  would  somehow  cleanse  me  of this  flu bug that had invaded my body and rendered me down,  but definitely not out.

Going for a walk with our dog Hiro  helped big time!

Going for a walk with our dog Hiro helped big time!

I was definitely thankful  that it was the long MLK holiday  weekend  so the worry of  shuttling  back and forth on the subway with the kids I did not have to do until Wednesday. This thankfully gave me some extra time to recover at home.

On the mend . I owe my recovery to a little vegetable called Ginger root . Yes, thank goodness for ginger root.  I live by this veggie’s properties which act as a herb . I am drinking my ump-teenth glass of ginger tea, which as far as I am concerned is the reason that I am feeling so much better. With my appetite gone, my six times a day freshly  grated  ginger root  tea became my constant companion. Simmered in hot water   with a teaspoon of  brown sugar  to taste  I devoured a cup of it every two hours .Boy, did it work wonders. It got me on the mend and I cannot recommend it enough. It also helps that it tastes oh so good. It has definitely been my savior.

Ginger root does the body good

Ginger root does the body good

HOW TO PREPARE YOUR OWN  GLASS OF GINGER ROOT TEA .

What you will need to begin –

Frozen  ginger-root grated

Frozen ginger-root grated

Grated ginger root in hot water

Grated ginger root in hot water

Wash 3 roots of fresh ginger and freeze  overnight in a zip lock bag.. (Note – fresh ginger root is usually sold at  your local supermarket,  in the  fruit and vegetable section. You can also find at  the Korean Vegetable grocers . Pick up enough to last you a few weeks .. You are freezing the ginger because it makes it easier to grate it .)

You can choose to peel off the beige skin or keep it on. I usually peel mine.

Grate  one root and scoop the  grated contents into  your personal coffee mug

Add hot water and sweeten with brown sugar  or your chosen sweetener to taste. You can also choose not to sweeten.

The ginger root’s pulp will  settle at the bottom of your cup. Stir it up and  drink up all the contents . It’s the grated pulp thats the secret weapon to curing you and getting you on the mend.

With my flu ebbing away  as I sipped on my ginger tea my only wish was  that it would also cure  the mom guilt I felt about getting sick.  I finally decided that  I was going to stop beating myself up about it.   I am not a genie or a  wizard with  powers to  protect myself from  getting sick. It’s nature, it happens and  I was over  feeling guilty about it  .

Looking into the  subject of Mom Guilt I found that moms all walks of life—-rich, poor, black, white all experience this guilt. Although  usually attributed to working moms —-as was discussed on WPIX-TV 11—-and moms  balancing home and work life  I found that mom guilt attaches itself to a woman the moment she gives birth and stay-at-home moms  battle it just as often as working mom do .

Looking back at my own mom guilt , I tried to recall  how far back it ran and hit it on the nail at the newborn stage when i would   feel guilt if the babies  cried  too much. I remember  usually thinking  maybe I didn’t nurse long enough or maybe  I didn’t spend enough time burping.   As they got older the newborn guilt transferred   into the toddler guilt  and those feelings  included the am I spoiling them, am I giving in  and lifting them up whenever they cried , is the temper tantrum a result of my not being in control.,  there was also the  diaper rash guilt feelings of feeling  responsible for leaving on that wet diaper way too long, and the not packing enough snacks or clothes when we went out  for when messes occurred.  The list goes on and on and it made me ask my husband if he ever experiences any dad guilt feelings. He said of course dads get it too. But  my response to this was not in the same way  moms do .

When I appeared  alongside  Denise and Melisssa of the MOMS on PIX 11-TV NY discussing this topic   morning news anchor Sukanya Kirshnan  gave out  tips  to  help combat it. See below.

http://pix11.com/2015/01/12/dealing-with-moms-guilt/

I am happy that  my husband held down the fort while I was out of commission helping  with the take home  homework, making  breakfast, lunch and dinner and doing the  food shopping.  He allowed me to get all the rest I needed in order to get back to a healthy place.

Cheers to him as I sip on another cup of ginger tea .  Baby, I am back!

CROWNHEIGHTSMOM KICKS IT UP WITH THE ROCKETTES AND IT’S SPECTACULAR …by Debra Lewis Boothman

rcmh_041110_5521Mention the  name Rockettes  to any little girl and the reaction —– automatic  excitement.! The annual Radio City  Christmas Spectacular featuring  the  Rockettes, Santa, the Nutcracker and a  Living Nativity ended just weeks ago . My family and I didn’t attend this year  so finding out   we could  see them  for free and in our local neighborhood   was luck shining down on us.

The Rockettes  were going to be the special guests at Dancewave’s Open House on Jan 10.  The Brooklyn non-profit dance education organization  was having an Open House and the Rockettes were going to be there.. It was like being given a belated Xmas gift with extras added in including   free  dance tips, autograph signing with the iconic precision dancer company members as well as   information on Dancewave’s  Spring semester  class offerings . My daughter and I  jumped at the  offer.

Debra Lewis-Boothman AKA crownheightsmom strikes a pose with the iconic Rockettes

 

 

 

My 8-year old daughter Kameko (in stripped leg-warmers) learns how to strut and kick  with the glamorous Rockettes

My 8-year old daughter
(in stripped leg-warmers) kicks it up with the Rockettes

Donning  our dance gear  we headed  off to Park Slope . When we arrived  we met Dancewave’s  Executive and Artistic Director, Diane Jacobowitz  who was responsible  for bringing out the  Rockettes.

Between speaking with parents about her  non profit’s class offerings for adults and children   Jacobowitz pointed out a sentiment echoed by every family present. “Everybody from every neighborhood loves the  Rockettes,” she  says .  That’s very true, thus why the event was  such a draw for Brooklyn  families.   Not only residents of Brooklyn were in attendance also there were families as far as the Upper West Side.

Says Jacobowitz, “Here is an opportunity [to see them] in your local neighborhood. ” Indeed it was. The Rockettes were in BROOKLYNNN,  baby!

The event was definitely an opportunity for that up-close-and-personal meet and greet.  Checkout below  for visuals of the fun day .Also do not forget that  the  Rockettes will be struttin’  and  kicking it up this Spring when they present Spring Spectacular an ode and celebration of all things New York  NewYork with  hottie Derek Hough as a bonus dancer. Not bad at all.. Definitely not too shabby!

The dance lessons with the Rockettes begin. Lots of questions from this group of girls and they are all quick learners.

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Learning  how to execute the perfect Rockette high kick.

 

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She has the Rockette stance

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My 8-year old daughter (in stripped leg-warmers) kicks it up with the Rockettes

 

A Rockette is BORN! Tadaaaa!

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The event was Fantastic! Dancewave has wonderful dance  classes to choose from—ballet, hip-hop, modern, street jazz, creative movement , contemporary  and more .  My kids are interested in the  hip- hop  classes which we will audit on the 21 . I also love that Dancewave   has adult  classes. This makes it quite  the place thats all about the family .

A Goodbye from the Rockettes who say,  ” It was beautiful  being here.” Adding,  “Being around children is one of the most important things.”

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PADDINGTON BEAR MOVIE SHINES WITH AN EXTREMELY CUTE BEAR, A VILLAINOUS NICOLE KIDMAN AND CLASSIC CALYPSO MUSIC Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

A warm, feel good family movie that will make you laugh, scream, cry and cheer-crownheightsmom

Nicole Kidman who stars in  the Paddington Bear movie opening Jan 16 says she would have done a lot more  movies her kids could go see if only she was offered  children’s film scripts she found interesting. That time my friends has finally come and  it’s just wonderful!

“It [children’s movies] was something I have always wanted to do ,” says Kidman 47.  ” I don’t get offered a lot of children’s films I find interesting or compelling.” The star sat  with the MOMS‘ Denise Albert and  Melissa Musen Gerstein  for their first Mamarazzi event of 2015, before screening the Paddington Bear movie  at the Film Society at Lincoln Center on Jan 7.  “It was just a gorgeous script,” says Kidman. “Adorable!” the star adds.

Nicole Kidman plays a not-so-sweet Natural History Museum Taxidermist

The movie  released already  across France and the UK  has grossed  international box-office receipts totaling  $109,713,825 thus far  according to Box Office Mojo .It is set to open  in the USA on Jan 16.

Paddington is the type  of  family movie  that will  certainly   have adults and kids alike swooning  and wishing  for their own real-life Paddington Bear. I, for one,  after seeing the movie  wanted  to leave the screening room  with a new addition to my family and loads of marmalade. I wanted a warm  cuddly  bear. Heck,  give me the adoption papers ASAP, I will  sign on the dotted line .  Paddington Bear is a  keeper.Not to mention, he’s as cute as a bug.

On all accounts   I absolutely ADORED the movie.  It has definitely achieved what Nic Kidman hoped  movie audiences will take away after see  the  film. “For me, it is just so nice  when people come out feeling great,” she tell Musen Gerstein. Adding, “It makes you feel good.” Indeed, it does Ms. Kidman. Indeed, it does!

The MOMS Denise Albert and  Melissa Musen Gerstein  both decked out in Trish

Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein both decked out in Trina Turk from Rent The Runway pose with Kidman.

Having already  had the sneak peek, which, my kids were not too happy about missing  I had to promised  that our tix will be  purchased way ahead of time on Jan 16 so we can go directly to the movie theater after school . In the  meantime reading  the new Paddington books  at our local Barnes and Noble bookstore in Cobble Hill will suffice .

It is not often that  Hollywood gets it right when it comes to film adaptations of books but with Paddington the  seamless adaptation drawn from the characters immortalized in the books  hooked me right away. Those not familiar with the books will certainly want to read more about this cuddly Peruvian’s bears many adventures.

The movie  tapped into so many of my emotions within its 95 minutes—-I laughed, cried, cheered , jeered and soared . I became a kid again remembering back to my young childhood days of losing myself  with Mr Bond as my guide while  reading about  Paddy on his adventures. There is never a dull moment.

You  kids can pick up a book and read along with Paddington at bookstores  nationwide

Your children can pick up a book and read along with Paddington .Reading is FUN!

Being married to  a British citizen it  was special looking for  familiar  sights  and places I have been in London.  Even more exciting  was seeing  and hearing  the sweet sound of  classic calypso music  being played throughout the film. I am from Barbados so to know that the music of the late Trinidadian calypsonian, Lord Kitchener  was included on the movie’s soundtrack was exciting. Kitchener’s  flute tinged tune ” London is the Place for Me” adds to the  movie’s splendor.

It has been said that  Michael Bond the author and  writer was so influenced  by the caribbean  culture in  London during in the late 40s and early 50s that he  include  elements of it  in his writings. It is definitely included beautifully  in the movie.

See Lord Kitchener and others embarking  on London in  the 30’s below

 

See D Lime and Tobago Crusoe featured in the movie perform “London Is The Place for Me “below:

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Kidman truly owns this role.  Presently filming the drama “Genius” alongside  actor Jude Law  it was surprising to hear her share  with the audience that  she almost considered giving up the  craft she loves. “At one point I was going to stop working,” she says.  “It  was happening when I was pregnant with Sunday.  I talked to my mum about it. I said, I am done.  My mum  had given up her job to help raise us at home and she  said to me, ‘You should still do something creative. Still keep a finger in the pot because I just feel that  it is your destiny and you shouldn’t give that up completely. ‘”

Mom knows best. “I was thinking,  ok maybe she is right.and so I  went and started to do some films and started producing  and that is how I manage my life now.” Plus, she adds, “I always have them[her family] travel with me. ”

 

Clearly having her family around her while filming  impacted Kidman’s  work. The results?   A job well done!

Padding Bear opens nationwide  on January 16. Check your local listings.

Click here for a history on Paddington Bear and his creator  Michael Bond