Things to Make - S'more Bars



Lately we've spent a lot of our time after school cooking. F's often tired and fussy after a full day of kindergarten and cooking seems to provide a good "just got home" activity for her. We checked out Williams-Sonoma Kids Baking, the best kids' cookbook we've tried to date. I've almost committed the oatmeal cookie recipe to memory. One of our other favorites is s'more bars; the recipe contains lots of steps, so all three kids have something to do. And the final product is quite yummy, if I do say so myself.

What are you making? How do you deal with the "witching hours" of January? Any good suggestions?

S'more Bars

You'll need:
4 tablespoons butter
6 whole graham crackers
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 and 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
1 cup miniature marshmallows

1. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with aluminum foil. Grease the foil with butter.

2. Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan on medium-low heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.

3. Put the graham crackers into zippered plastic bags and crush into tiny pieces(we used our rolling pins - wow. we finally have rolling pins - but you could be creative with this step). Mix the crumbs with the melted butter.

4. Press the crumb/butter combo into a crust by placing your hands in plastic baggies and using your baggie-hands to coat the bottom of the pan.

5. Make the chocolate filling by heating the condensed milk and chocolate chips in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and salt.

6. Pour the chocolate filling over the graham cracker crust and spread evenly with a wooden spoon.

7. Scatter the marshmallows over the chocolate filling.

8. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours.

9. Eat.



As always, the kids can't wait to lick the bowl after we finish. Usually F and P fight like crazy for the bowl, not sure how T won this round.


Places to Go - The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (Washington DC)


A week ago F had the day off school, so I thought it would be fun to take the girls to the National Mall's "dinosaur museum" while T attended preschool. As you can tell from the photos above the day started off a little rocky (despite my scoring of a wonderful parking spot (go me!). Unfortunately, "icy roads" (personally I saw no ice anywhere) delayed the opening of all the Smithsonians until 11 am (they usually open at 10) and it was cold outside, not freezing, but cold. So we decided to hang at Starbucks for awhile, but a LARGE demonstration on the National Mall made the line at Starbucks ridiculusly long (as much as I love this city, the abundance of demonstrations does get old sometimes). Sad coldness.


So we bought hot dogs (yes at 10:30 am) and pretzels from a street vendor. And slowly the moood began to perk up. Then we bought matching hats and life was looking pretty good. And finally . . . the Smithsonian opened its doors for us (and hundreds of others).


I know I'm a dork, but I've been waiting approximately six years to take the girls to the Natural History Museum. We've tried before, but up until now the kids all ran and played without learning much. So Monday, marked a huge turning point. This time we all actually discovered new things. In particular, we spent over an hour in Natural History's Human Origins exhibit. F loved the interactive exhibits in which archeologists detail a series of fossils discovered at a site and then explain how they put the pieces together to hypothesize about the people who lived there. I had no idea that some neanderthal tribes buried their dead, adding flowers to the graves. P liked the flashier exhibits (I think she hugged every statue she could find), especially the movie about what makes a mammal (we watched it twice).

A perfect "girls day" if I do say so myself. If you're interested, the Natural History Museum is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm, almost everyday. If you go before 10, street parking may be available in front. The Natural History Museum also has a discovery room for children, which we've always wanted to check out, but unfortunately it is closed on Mondays. Click here for the schedule. An Imax theatre and (decently large) cafe are on-site. The bug exhibit and butterflies also make great stops for young children. Click here to access the museum's website.

For another take on the Natural History Museum with kids, click here to read Kidfriendly DC's review.

And for another great "dinosaur" museum with kids, don't forget to check out Maryland Science Center in Baltimore. This place is so kid-friendly that even T loves it. Click here for our review.


*Lisa Scheer.

*10 Creative Decorating Ideas.

*Inkodye - this looks fun.


Places to Go - Huntley Meadows in the Winter (Alexandria, VA)


I have not posted on any places to go lately, mainly because we haven't really gone anywhere. Between moving and making the old house market ready (we just signed a contract. yay!!), we've been busy on weekends, even nice weekends, with 60 degree days (we seem to have those a lot lately). Which is making me sad. Adventures must be planned.

Anyways, while perusing my online files, I found these pictures from January and February 2009, so I thought I'd share. I've written about Huntley Meadows before, but never during the winter months (click here to see pics from summer and fall). In the coldest months, when the cattails are low, the vistas from Huntley's boardwalk become breathtaking. Temps are predicted to reach 50 degrees on Saturday, so if you're looking for something to do, I highly suggest a visit.



*At home with Kelly Wearstler. I could live here. Really.

*Egypt, A Year Later, Still young, Still fighting. Beautiful photos.

*Who knew you could have this much fun at the Golden Nugget hotel?

*I love these sort of videos (the kind where one thing knocks over something else, starting a whole long chain of events), they have one at the Hirshhorn and every time I go I watch it over and over again (the kids love it too).

*Tree line.


Amazing how much changes in three years. Dora is long lost and F would never wear a princess dress out in public. But we still collect a lot of sticks along every walk.


Looking back moments like this always seem so precious. But then I remember how randomly such moments would arrive. How all of a sudden one of the girls would sit for what seemed like forever exploring a stick and they'd scream like bloody murder if I tried to move them along. And there were always two. One who wanted to sit and one who wanted to go. And who wanted to do what would change on any given day. I'm exhausted thinking about it.


Things to Read - New Reads on the Nightstand

12.20.11 (3 of 9)

Every year for Xmas my mother-in-law "surprises" me with books off my Amazon wishlist. My wishlist is up to 300+ items and I don't prioritize, so I never know what I'm going to get, other than that it will be something I want, which is the best kind of surprise. Plus she always tries to pick a good variety - fiction, nonfiction, art, etc. This year I received the books photographed above and I'm having a lot of fun with them.

1. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual (illustrated by Maira Kalman, written by Michael Pollan). Anyone who knows me knows that I would want this book. I love Maira Kaira Kalman (check out my review of her children's book, Smartypants, here). And ever since I finished The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Michael Pollan has achieved rock-star status in my mind. Pollan begins the book by noting that nutritional science is a very young discipline (he compares it to surgery in 1650), so many holes in the research still exist. Despite nutritional science's inadequacies all experts acknowledge that the Western diet (defined as "lots of processed food and meat, lots of added fat and sugar, lots of refined grains, lots of everything except vegetables, fruits, and whole grains") causes health problems. Hence, Pollan's guidelines, which he summarizes in the following seven words "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." All of Pollan's 83 derivative rules rest on this concept. I like #22 - "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car" and #7 -"Avoid foods containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce" But most of all I like #83 - "break the rules once in awhile" because "obsessing over food rules is bad for your happiness", hence why I love Michael Pollan.

2. The Museum of Innocence (Vintage International) (Orhan Pamuk). When this book first came out in hardcover the New Yorker published an excerpt (disguised as a short story) that made me want to read the whole novel immediately (Istanbul? a forbidden relationship? love? drama? OF COURSE i wanted to read it). But I hate paying hardcover prices (I'm cheap like that). So I waited. And waited. And now I own it and will soon dive in (but first I have a few other books to finish).

3. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (Mindy Kaling). I love the title of this book. And I love Kelly Kapoor on the Office. So I really wanted to love this book. And I did LIKE the book, especially towards the end when Kaling stops talking about her life history and starts being funny. Regarding the autobiographical aspects, I enjoyed learning how Kaling became famous, but I became a little bored by her message that high-school dorkiness makes you more successful (I too had dorky moments when young (no surprise there), but I don't quite see how this has made me so much happier in life. nor do i see the cool kids from high school looking like life has passed them by. in fact they all seem cooler than ever). All in all a three star read (sorry Mindy).

4. Keri Smith Boxed Set (Keri Smith). I find Keri Smith books endlessly inspiring (click here to read my review of Smith's "How To Be An Explorer of the World") and this set was no exception. Most of her "creative" suggestions are silly and some are simply inane, but ALL of them are creative. Especially if you have children. If you can imagine that a book is not a book (instead let the book become a: window, portal, school, form of movement, etc.) then you can imagine much else as well. Smith helps me think out of the box (or maybe I should say "out of the book").

5. A History of Women Photographers (Naomi Rosenblum). Whenever I discover the existence of a seemingly great photography book, I always hope that the book contains more photos than words. And I'm usually let down. This was no exception. I'm excited to spend the next few months (who am I kidding? i mean the next few YEARS) learning about the history of women and photography, but I wish even more photos accompanied the (expansive) text.

What about everyone else? Anything you've been reading lately? or looking forward to reading? I'm still making my way through 1Q84, which (so far) has been a joy to read. an absolute joy.


Things to Look At - 10 Great Websites for Buying Cheap Art (Part II)

Last week I highlighted some of my favorite online sources for cheap art (click here to view the post), where each website showcased the work of several artists. This week I'm featuring websites that feature a single artist. Here goes:


1. The Animal Printshop - I love these prints. Hundreds of different types of animals are photographed, all beautifully. Print prices range from $25 for an 8x10 to $1950 for large prints.


2. Paper Jam Press - They also sell "Do Whatcha Like", "Fight the Power", and several other key slogans. All prints sell for $34.99 and measure "10.75 x "14.75.


3. Rifle Paper Co - Perfect for a kid's room or a family room. Prints range from $20 to $50. Sizes vary.


4. Michelle Armas - Sells beautiful prints and paintings. Prices range from under $100 to thousands for her large originals.


5. Fifi du Vie - Also sells notebooks and totebags. "14x11 prints cost $25.


6. Little Things Studio - I think these prints are so beautiful and the slogans are perfect. Such as "Sometimes" said Pooh, "the smallest things take up the most room in your heart." And "In order to be replaceable one must always be different." "11x17 prints sell for $20. Other sizes are available.


7. Bold and Noble - Prints cost $69 and measure 500mm x 700mm.


8. Miles of Light - So pretty. Plus a large selection. "8x10 prints cost $30.


9. Eye Poetry - Simply beautiful photos. "8x10 prints cost $30.


10. Patterns from Above - These are expensive, but beautiful. An "18x18 limited edition sells for $100.


Things to Make - 3D Construction Paper Pictures


A few weeks ago, while the kids spent the morning painting, I sat at the table with them and cut construction paper into strips. I then "tinkered" with the strips (for lack of a better term) - rolling them up, cutting patterns onto them, folding them in different ways. I didn't really have a plan, it just felt nice to make something three-dimensional for a change (other than food).

Anyways, the kids started to watch what I was doing and soon they started folding and crafting their own strips. We spent the rest of the morning making pictures with our scrap-art - dogs, flowers, faces. We treated the strips like blocks and everyone (even two year old T) had some creative ideas. I think we might try this again some time, see what else we can come up with.


Things to Make - 3-D Construction Paper Pictures


A few weeks ago, while the kids spent the morning painting, I sat at the table with them and cut construction paper into strips. I then "tinkered" with the strips (for lack of a better term) - rolling them up, cutting patterns onto them, folding them in different ways. I didn't really have a plan, it just felt nice to make something three-dimensional for a change (other than food).

Anyways, the kids started to watch what I was doing and soon they started folding and crafting their own strips. We spent the rest of the morning making pictures with our scrap-art - dogs, flowers, faces. We treated the strips like blocks and everyone (even two year old T) had some creative ideas. I think we might try this again some time, see what else we can come up with.



Things to Do - Morning Art


A week or so ago, F woke up saying she had a sore throat and an "achy knee", both of which made her "too sick for school." She seemed fine, but I guessed that she needed a day off (don't we all need a day off sometimes?) so I let her stay home. And P got to stay home with her. We spent the morning painting and crafting, pajamas still on. And it felt great to have all three kids together with no pressure to go anywhere or do anything. I miss days like this.


*The National Gallery's Stories in Art program (for kids 4-7) just stared its winter session. Free classes on Matisse, Georgia O'Keefe, and Frankenthaler continue through March. My kids love this program, a story and a craft project accompany each presentation. A great way to spend a Sunday. Click here for our review from last year. Click here for more info on the current program. The National Gallery also hosts an Artful Conversations program for children 8-11.

*These murals using translucent objects and shadows are amazing. Definitely worth a click.

*New pics on my other blog, Because It Is A Holiday.

*Real life reindeer. Wow.



Things to Do - A Vintage Shirt


I'm always a little jealous of parents whose children don't care what they wear. From the moment F entered toddlerhood we started arguing over clothes. I assumed this was a normal part of the terrible twos, but as she grew older it didn't get better. I'd show her the mini-Boden catalogue and she wouldn't like much of anything (how is that possible? how?) then my mom would send a box of clothes from the thrift store and she would go crazy over everything, the sparklier the better. I officially lost the war two years ago when we stopped at a Walmart during vacation. F loved everything. She yelled at me for never taking her there before. I had to drag her out. Now she picks her own outfits, I stay out of it.

P doesn't seem to care what she wears, but after watching F refuse my fashion advice, P decided to follow in her sister's footsteps. So now F dresses both of them.

On the upside, T lets me pick out his outfits (more or less), but he has so many wonderful hand-me-downs that I rarely shop for him. I found this shirt at goodwill last week and fell in love. A true vintage relic. And he loves it too, probably because it's one of the first times I've ever made a big deal out of buying him clothes ("look T I bought a special shirt, just for you. a really nice special shirt.") but I'll take what I can get. He picked the hat.

Isn't it adorable on him?

Have a good weekend everyone!!


*I really like this quote. I hate when people make assumptions about me when they learn I'm a SAHM. I hate even more when people make assumptions about Dan when they find out he's a corporate lawyer. We're all so much more than our jobs, or at least we should be.

*Humans In Big Gatherings: An Infographic. Sort of an odd graph, but fun to look at. The impact of Christianity is not to be understated. Along with China and Facebook (link via Curiosity Counts).

*Ye Rin Mok's Details. I love the pink couch.

*Graphs of worldwide gender inequality. Go Canada!!

*A giant mirrored building facade turns everyone into superman. so cool.

*Rugs made from old stuffed animals. Interesting (link via Blissfulblog).


Things to Look At - 10 Great Websites for Buying Cheap Art (Part I)

The problem with moving is that all of a sudden you have a house full of blank walls begging for "something" to fill them. Lately I can't stop browsing cheap art sites searching for ideas. Here are 10 of my favorite online shops that sell multiple artists (I'll post next week on some of my favorite sole artist sites) - any suggestions for other good places to buy "cheap" art?





1. Saatchi Online - I can spend hours on this site. Hours. It goes on and on. Most of the artists sell prints for reasonable prices (under $100). Special "collections" often feature low priced art (such as 100 prints for under $100).




2. Art River - Sells posters and prints from famous modern artists (Cy Twombly, Paul Klee, Damien Hirst, etc.), often from museum shows. Prices are reasonable (approximately $50 - $100) and most of the prints aren't sold through conventional resources like Art.com. Though keep in mind that (obviously) none of these are limited editions, so it is not a collector's site.





3. 20x200 - This website introduces at least two new editions a week: one photo and one work on paper. Most are available in three or four sizes. The smallest prints (usually 8"x10") are printed in batches of 200 and sell for $20 each. As the size increases, so does the price. 20 print editions of the 16"x20" size sell for $200 and the site also offers 2 editions of a large size (usually 30"x40") for 2,000. I love their prints and have bought quite a few in the small size. Note that you can buy all their prints framed or unframed.




4. Postercabaret
- Really beautiful posters and prints for low prices ($30 to $50), the site represents several different artists, with unique styles. A few of them sell "rock posters" for bands like Beirut, Ray Lamontagne, and Andrew Bird.




5. Worthwhisland - A new site I just discovered through Daily Candy, it doesn't have much yet but the art is good (so far). Almost all prints are offered in limited edition prints of 50 or less. Most prices range between $100 and $200.



6. Etsy - An obvious choice but hard to navigate. Etsy has some amazing stuff and some not-so-amazing stuff. Prices are all over the place; you just have to dive in and search. One of my favorites is Debbie Carlos, who sells poster-sized photographs on vellum (pictured above). I want one. Also, the blog Best of Etsy, does a great job showcasing wall-worthy artwork.

7. Purephoto - I found Purephoto through Gweneth Paltrow's blog (click here for the article), where she also listed other cheap art websites (Purephoto was my favorite). The site sells some really good photos (and some really cheesy awful ones). I find several of the prices ridiculously high, but the site offers a "shop by price" search that goes as low as "less than $25" so you can screen for your pocketbook. (Note that the photos for purephoto are embedded, so clicking on one will take you directly to the website).





8. The Beholder - This site sells prints and originals. Prices range from $10 to $4000, the selection is both diverse and really good (lots of photography and paintings). You can also run searches based on price or size.




9. Land of Nod - Sort of an odd choice, but they sell some really great prints (for the nursery or elsewhere) for only $19.95 each. Land of Nod also sells frames that match the size of their prints, so you don't have to worry about professional framing.





10. Society 6 - A great site, prints sell between $20 and $30, with an incredibly diverse selection. They also sell tshirts, framed prints, stretched canvases, iphone covers, and hoodies.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...