Monday, April 30, 2012

I Turn My Head to the East: Eastern Market

I'm not sure how, but we totally forgot about Eastern Market for like a year and a half.  Probably because it was always a nightmare to navigate with stroller(s), but now that we're almost through with those, we went and spent a beautiful sunny afternoon there this past weekend.  It seems like they've added many new food options since our last visit and, in addition to the standby Market Lunch counter, we bought made-to-order wood-fired pizza from the Red Zebra stand (which took a while, but was delish), pickles from In a Pickle, and homemade limeade and lemonade from Pretzel Twist.  We skipped the indoor food stalls this time, but spent a lot of time at the flea market -- bought some $1 ribbon and a "vintage" batmobile.  Cam tried to bargain with mom for some cowboy boots, but they were all too big.  And we sat  listening and then dancing Patty Reese play blues for a LONG time (we ended up buying the CD -- especially after Cam tried to fleece $20 from the tip jar).  The market is an oldie but a goodie and we'll be back again soon!

horseradish pickles

mobile wood-fired pizza

i need this mickey mouse rocking horse

oh wait, you didn't tell me there were shoes here

yes, take these off and put these on

strike for boots

you're so cute.  no, you're so cute

i hear music

i'm so cute over here, too!

shakin it

hm. there's a jar of money right there

Friday, April 27, 2012

Huggin' Up the Big Monkey Man: Chocolate Banana Yogurt Pops

The weather is getting warmer and we've started making popsicles again!  We also happen to be super short on time today because we are getting ready for my big second b-day blowout tomorrow -- a funky sock monkey brunch.  So, we thought it would be appropriate to share a recent batch of chocolate banana yogurt pops we made.

Kane and I are OBSESSED with Trader Joe's cream yogurts -- vanilla and strawberry are our favorites, but of course the yogurt only comes in two combo packs: (1) vanilla and blueberry and (2) strawberry and banana.  We always eat all the vanilla first, then the strawberry, and then the blueberry.  But we both refuse to eat the banana yogurt.  And since we go through about 6, 6-packs of yogurt each week, we are always flush with banana yogurt that no one wants.  So we decided that we'd use it to make our first batch of yogurt popsicles for the season.

We blended up six banana yogurts with three whole bananas.  And then we took turns layering the banana yogurt mixture with chocolate sauce into our popsicle molds.  Mom tried to get us to put little bits of the chocolate sauce in at a time and then swirl it together.  Kane and I tried to squeeze as much chocolate in as we could.  They were delicious - we plan to make them again and add in some peanut butter, too.

omg our kitchen is a mess

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Slanted and Enchanted: The Good Knight Enchanted Kingdom

If you know our mom at all, you know that at times she can be mouthy and not the most PC. So she wanted to make clear upfront in this post that we recognize that the Good Knight Child Empowerment Network, a non-profit family safety organization, does a lot of good, important work.  But our trip to the organization's Enchanted Kingdom last weekend was just, well ... we can't really put it into words (nicely enough), but we think this text exchange between daddy and Uncle Steve during our visit sums it up:

Daddy:  "Rebecca brought us to some fairy castle and I'm pretty sure they're going to try and take my kidneys."
Uncle Steve: "Cover the liver!  That gold breast plate is pretty awesome though."

How did we come to visit this enchanted kingdom that will make your parents want to constantly check the Kool-aid, you ask?  Well, on several of her frequent trips to our car service center, mom takes the Maryland backroads over to IKEA (you think she's going to go all the way out there and not get some $1 fat free yogurt?!) and drives by the Enchanted Kingdom.  The first time she thought she was seeing things.  The second time she wondered who could have built such a thing in their backyard (really).  So when she saw a Certifikid coupon for the spring festival cross her email, she bought it instantly without thinking (and without checking out what the heck it really was).  Once she bought the tickets, she started to get a little worried that she had signed us up for some sort of prosthelytizing jaunt through jesusland and she finally had the good sense to check out the website.

The spring festival promised princesses, fairies, sword fights, a magic show, etc.  It sounded a lot like a renaissance festival for kids -- all right in our wheelhouse.  So mom chose to ignore the possibility that the "award winning" movie about abduction prevention might be shown (while the topic is certainly an incredibly important one, it's one mom preferred to talk to us about herself).  But our tickets just so happened to be for the day that the spring nor'easter rolled on in.  Which was probably good for them, because we're going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were a little thrown off by the rain and brought their C game.

I actually really liked the magic show (kudos to the youngin's who did some nice magic) and Cami was way into seeing "Snow White" and the disco ball in the ceiling.  The tour of the kingdom and "fairy chambers" got the shaft from the nor'easter (although we're not sure how much more time we would have wanted to spend on the tour anyway).  And daddy came around -- mom saw him talking to Snow White and could only imagine what that conversation was like, but apparently it was to confirm that they do hold adult parties there.  It's what he's requested for his next birthday party.

cam worked some magic of her own and figured out how to use the iPhone camera

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Had Myself a Ball in a Small Town: Potomac Overlook Park

Since our rather unsuccessful trip to Huntley Meadows, mom has been wanting to do another outdoor adventure with us.  We decided to head back over to Virginia, all good sense aside, and take a hike at Potomac Overlook Park.  It was a gorgeous day and we were up and at 'em early -- we arrived at 9 a.m. despite rush hour traffic.  Because the nature center doesn't open until 10 a.m., we headed off into the woods.  Only to find that we actually just took a neighborhood shortcut to a swimming pool.  And downhill.  So we trudged back up hill to the parking lot and tried again.

We started off toward the path marked "Potomac Overlook" and when we got closer mom burst out laughing.  On the drive in to daddy's office that morning, daddy asked mom where we were headed that day.  When she told him Potomac Overlook, he said "Hmm.  Do you think there might be an overlook of the Potomac there?"  (see, it's not just mommy's fault that we are smart a*ses).  Mommy replied, "I don't know.  It might be a red herring."  And she was right (see signage below, which picture mommy texted daddy "f'in red herring.").  

We took the path anyway and had a nice hike in the woods.  Although after a bit I totally faked an injury so that mom would carry me.  First I told her a bee stung me.  Then I told her something was in my sock.  Then my shoe.  And finally I just screamed at the top of my lungs every time she tried to put me down (which meant that I hiked for a fair bit of time screaming at the top of my lungs).  Once I quieted down, we saw a deer come out to drink at a stream.  The trails are well maintained and marked fairly well, but we don't suggest bringing a stroller -- it's quite hilly.  Mom gave us our first lesson in trail marking (as in how to find a marked trail, not how to mark it ourselves) and we had a lot of fun following the different colored trails.  

We intended to hike to the point where you actually can see the river, but somehow ended up at the nature center (guess the trails weren't that well marked - it surely couldn't be user error), which was AWESOME.   There is a super cool Kid Cave (meant to mimic a bat cave, so you know Kane was out of his mind psyched) and we played in there for quite a while -- making cave drawings, listening to cave sounds, and making sure Batman and the villains checked it all out.  And then we went upstairs and were so excited to find a bee hive and large taxidermied animals!  There was also a neat exhibit on energy that would be interesting for slightly older kids.  We spent a fair bit of time upstairs and loved the library -- of course Kane wanted mom to read him the thesaurus (which worked out well because he had asked her earlier what the word "mighty" meant and mom got herself in quite a pickle trying to explain that it meant multiple things like "very" and "strong" and Kane wanted to know what it meant then if you said something was "mighty strong.").  

So given that we were out and about hiking around the vast Virginia wilderness, you might be wondering why the title to this post starts with a little J.C. Mellencamp.  After we were done at the nature center and were playing at the small playground (which happens to have a mean slide) we ran into the KidFriendly DC crew, who were also checking out the park on recommendation of No Monsters In My Bed.  It was too much - what a small town.  And it was nice to meet one of the KFDC kids and their friends (even though Kane pulled some of his Batman stunts).  

We LOVED Potomac Overlook and already have plans to go back.  Although a stroller wouldn't be good on the trails, there is a paved road you can walk down to visit the nature center.  So this is a totally visitable place with littles.  

yes, i think this outfit is totally appropriate for hiking and i insisted on it, including polka dot socks.

lots of live (although not lively) animals in the nature center.

snake skin! 

this is the culprit.

treehouse dance party.