Friday, June 28, 2013

Grub It Up: Orechiette Pasta with Walnuts, Ricotta, Lemon & Kale

As we mentioned in our latest 12 in 12 post, mom recently subscribed to Armommy's monthly recipe subscription, "The Monthly Spread." The monthly charge is incredibly reasonable ($5), we've been loving every recipe we've made thus far, and the pretty graphic printables don't hurt either. This has been one of our favorites -- mom didn't even need to keep all the ingredients separate for us. We were willing to eat the kale to get the walnuts and cheese that came with it. Technically, the recipe calls for crispy fried onions, but mom figured it was probably a little overkill (although I'm sure it's delicious). Either way, it's a super yummy, super fast meal to throw together.

- 4 cups chopped kale
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 3 tbs lemon zest (from 4-5 lemons) or 2 tbs zest and 2 tbs juice
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta (mom used small shells because we were more likely to eat those)
- crispy fried onions for garnish, optional

Cook pasta aldente in salted water, drain and save some pasta water. In a large skillet, add oil and garlic. Over medium heat, cook garlic until lightly golden. Add kale and cook until wilted and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add lemon zest, juice and walnuts. Add ricotta cheese and cooked pasta to skillet. Toss gently to leave large chunks of cheese scattered throughout. If extra moisture is needed to incorporate, add some of starchy pasta water to skillet. Season with salt and pepper and optional crispy fried onions. Since mom skimped on the fried onions, she added a little grated parmesan cheese to ours.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Artworks: Circle Printing

Mom spied this art project on Pinterest a while ago, but as you might have noticed, we've been much more of a "get out and explore" mode than a "stay in and art" mode lately. Mom thought it might make a good Father's Day card project, however, so we pulled our ol' paints out and went to work. It turned out to be a really nice open-ended project that spawned additional paint exploring for us. And it produced some pretty cool abstract Father's Day cards too.

Here's what you need:
- white paper (we used blank index cards because we knew we wanted card sized artwork);

- black tempera paint (we love our IKEA Mala tubes -- we were on the road for this project and it was super easy for mom to just grab the little tube of black paint to bring);

- cups in various sizes (we used the tops and bottoms of paper cups to get our variation);

- a plate to spread out the black paint (we used styrofoam because that's what we had); and

- watercolor paints (again, our IKEA Mala watercolors are super easy to travel with).

Spread some black tempera paint onto a plate -- you can use a roller, but we just used the bottom of a paper cup. Use the cups as stamps to make circles on your paper. If you're like us, you might end up also "painting" with the cups as brushes -- Kane called that his hurricane technique. Let the black paint dry thoroughly and then go back at the artwork with your watercolors. Stay in the lines or don't.

We also did some printing on the styrofoam plate using q-tips (check out No Monsters in My Bed's similar art project) and made very real looking Rorschach prints as well. Loved them all!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grub It Up: Healthy and Farm to Table at the Silver Diner

We don't do a lot of product reviews on our blog, but if you know us at all, you know we are big fans of reviewing food. So we were really excited when Silver Diner invited* us to test out its new menu full of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and locally sourced food. We were already fans of the the restaurant (you give us breakfast any time of the day? we're in), but we were really impressed with the new menu. Kudos to Silver Diner for getting on the farm to table train and offering healthy options, including healthy options that kids will actually eat (how did you know edamame is my most favorite veggie?!).

We had a super yummy din at the Ballston location. I had a chicken pizza quesadilla in a multigrain tortilla with a side of edamame and I ate almost everything (a pretty big deal these days). Kane couldn't be swayed from his favorite challah french toast with strawberries (he really WILL eat breakfast all day). And we both had lowfat strawberry angel food cake for dessert. You can check out the entire kids menu here. The Silver Diner is an inaugural leader of the Kids LiveWell program, which helps parents and kids identify healthy eating options, and you can tell from the menu. You can still get mac & cheese, but why would you when you can get teriyaki salmon with brown rice and veggies?

Mom and dad were also pleased with their meal. The new adult menu is similarly full of healthy, locally sourced options in addition to veggie, vegan and gluten free choices. And plenty of under 600 calorie options to choose from as well. They started off with the Firefly Farms Goat Cheese bruschetta, which was delicious (even though Cam and I scooped almost all of the goat cheese and bread, leaving them with a pile of delicious tomatoes dressed in balsamic vinegar). Mom had the Greek Lamb Sliders and was pretty impressed. Dad had the heart healthy California Omelette. And they split a gluten free brownie sundae that did not taste GF at all.

And if all that's not enough, every Tuesday Night from 5 - 8 p.m., Silver Diner is hosting themed kids' nights at which the restaurant will entertain your children for a bit leaving you to enjoy a little kiddo-free time before din. You can check out the schedule of events here. We're gonna guess that you'll find mom and dad with some cocktails at the next Luau Night.

Thanks for having us Silver Diner, we'll be back!

*our meal at the Silver Diner was gratis, but all the views expressed above are our own. promise.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fly Away: Cape May County Zoo

It is really hard to get the two of us off of the beach when we're at the shore. But after a few days, we start to hit a wall. The sun and salt have worn us down and we need a little break. Mom's always had the Cape May County Zoo in mind as a good place to do that, but it took a rain day to get us there on our recent trip.

Word was that that zoo had brand new baby snow leopard cubs and we were PSYCHED to see them. The zoo is one of those great local zoos that have the animals fairly close up (although many of them are in cages or behind fences that make it a little difficult to see them) and we started on a path back to the cubs. It started to drizzle. Some bigger drops fell. Then the sky opened up and it poured. And all of our rain coats were back in the car (obvi). We persevered. But wouldn't you know those little cubs had just gone off view by the time we reached them. grrrrrrr.

Making a run for it, we headed to the reptile house and spent some time conversing with snakes. We thought the rain might let up, but after a while, there were no signs it was going to slow down (and plenty of flash flood warnings), so we hit the road. We got totally soaked on the run back to the car, which was super fun until we were in the car without a change of clothes. Lets just say some creative use of raincoats might have gone down.

We hope to go back on a nicer day!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Miscellaneous Madness: 2013 Summer Bucket List -- 50+ Ideas of Summer Fun

We couldn't resist. Mom claims to have several iPad notes full of our "summer bucket list," but we didn't trust her. We wanted to make sure our ideas were included and we wanted to hold mom accountable. So, here you have it.

We've already got a good start on it and will report throughout the summer on our progress. So what's on everyone else's list?!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fly Away: Philadelphia Museum of Art

On another anticipated day of bad beach weather at the shore, mom took us in to Philly to go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The museum holds a special place in mom and dad's hearts -- they visited the museum on one of their first trips together and it's also where daddy proposed to mommy when she lived there. It has a great collection of modern art, but mom knew that I would go berserk for the hall of armor. Not to mention that the museum's symbol is a gryphon and the entire main building is adorned with Greek deities and mythological figures. You had me at gryphon, mom. You had me at gryphon.

I wanted no part of the classic "pose with Rocky statue" out front -- I was chomping at the bit to get up the stairs and see the armor. Cam and I spent a good amount of time picking out with what we would arm ourselves -- Cam went for the shiniest and bejeweled. I just couldn't make up my mind because each piece was more fabulous than the next.

After we'd sufficiently planned our defense, mom walked us over to see the room where daddy proposed. Word is that on the way to the museum back in the day, a nervous daddy asked mommy what she wanted to see first. She responded that there was a modern furniture exhibit closing soon and that she wanted to make sure and see that. He asked whether she'd like to see the Monets (which reside in a lovely fountained room where he planned to pop the question). Mom said "I *bleepin* hate Monet." Panicked, upon arrival, daddy proceeded to drag mommy throughout the museum asking her "do you like this room? how about this one?" They started to attract a little crowd as people could sense he was about to propose, so mom finally threw him a bone and said she liked a certain French cloister they were in. Oh well, we all know that it worked out in the end.

The main building is set up perfectly for a wandering walk, which of course is not at all the mood that we were in (particularly after mom tried to get us to pose and re-pose for a picture in that French cloister). Mom insisted on seeing the modern art before we headed over to the Perelman Building across the street, which was starting to set up for what appears to be a really fabulous set of family programming over the summer. The museum is transforming the Perelman Building into "Art Splash" -- a set of family programs featuring a different theme each week that will include guided tours, hands-on activities, picture books and more. We got a little view at what's on tap this summer and you can bet we'll be back to see more. Art Splash opens the weekend of June 28th and runs until September 2nd.

We rounded out our visit with a roll/climb/run through the sculpture garden and quickly attracted the attention of the museum fuzz because apparently you are not supposed to do any of those things in the sculpture garden. Little uptight there, fellas. Really. Fabulous day off of the beach (even though it never did rain)!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Miscellaneous Madness: A Day in the Life (June 2013)

Our posts on the blog generally center on certain activities we do or places we go. But there are plenty of just regular days around the Not-So-SAHM parts filled with ordinary daily things -- those dishes aren't going to wash themselves, no matter how much mom likes to think they will. And part of the reason mom keeps up the blog for us is to document all these little parts of our life, too. So, last month we posted our first "day in the life" pictures of a typical Not-So-SAHM day and decided to try and keep it up once a month.

In addition to joining No Monsters in My Bed, our friends from Where the Watermelons Grow have joined the 12 in 12 challenge. We all took these photos on June 4th -- it's funny to see the different things we were all doing on the very same day. Mom didn't really love any of the pics she captured this month, but it is what it is. Check out WWG's post here and then join us next month!

7.15 a.m. -- on mornings where Kane gets up before Cam, he gets a little extra iPad time to himself.

8.10 a.m. -- thank goodness mom found a kids parkour class for Kane. he spends a lot of time working on "his moves."

9.30 a.m. -- we hit the grocery store up for some fizzy water before Cam's first dentist appointment. she runs the aisles twirling and giggling and trying to get mom to buy candy before she gets her pearly whites checked out.

10.00 a.m. -- dentist. like a pro. 

11.35 a.m. -- we kill a little time at a nearby park before picking Kane up from school. Kane hates the swings, but Cam always ask to be pushed higher and higher. 

12.00 p.m. -- we stop by our most favorite lunch place -- Jetties Something Sweet -- for our usual: The Summer House sandwich for mom, a Hadley Plate and PB sandwich for the kids to split. plus at least two cupcakes (for the kids, of course). 

1.00 p.m. -- playdate at a good buddy's house. pirates in the backyard.

2.30 p.m. -- Kane plays with his new Playmobil knight set (whenever one goes to the dentist, both get presents. mom is such a sucker). 

3.15 p.m. -- Cam watches afternoon traffic on our busy street (dons the second of three outfit changes for the day).

4.15 p.m. -- mom waters our flowers. this is supposed to be a "kids help" activity, but we were both behaving badly that day and were sent inside. 

5.45 p.m. -- the muffin pan crab and corn cakes from armommy (a pretty and tasty monthly recipe subscription service mom just joined) cool in advance of dinner.

6.00 p.m. -- mom gets a head start on dinner dishes while watching VEEP (and probably pees her pants at JLD's hysterical rants). 

7.00 p.m. -- waiting for daddy to come home early. as a treat, we surprise him with a "mummy wrap" game we learned at school that day.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Artworks: Sand Art Jewelry

There were pretty serious storms hitting the east coast (and elsewhere across the country) last week and we took some part of one rainy day to work on a project that has been our list for a while. Mom spent much of her summers growing up on a little island in Lake Michigan and Grammie B always had a fantastic set of beach-centered art projects for mom and her siblings to do. One of mom's most favorite projects was making sand art jewelry. It's incredibly easy, but makes pretty and wearable art.

Here's what you need:
- plastic tubing and stoppers (we bought these pre-cut kits of bracelets and necklaces)
- a tiny funnel (the kits we purchased came with these)
- dry sand (we scooped ours from the beach, but if you are at home, sandbox sand works just as well)
- liquid food coloring
- a small container and spoon for mixing

Mix a few drops of food coloring into a small scoop of sand -- the tubing is tiny and a little sand goes a long way (although you can make other sand art with the leftovers). Place the funnel in the end of the plastic tubing and pour the sand in (we found out the hard way that wet sand is difficult to get in -- it worked, just took a little pushing and prodding). Layer the sand in whatever colored design you like. Then push a stopper in and wear it!

FYI, No Monsters in My Bed posted a great set of beach vacation activities last week and we've added those to our list as well. Check it out!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fly Away: June in New Jersey

When things get busy, mom's head tends to resort quickly to triage mode. Whatever doesn't need immediate tending to gets filed away in a mental pile somewhere. So neither Cam or I were really surprised when mom realized a few weeks ago that school was ending several days earlier than she thought. Which also meant that our June trip to New Jersey was right upon us. Not to worry -- unlike mom's lack of preparedness for the end of the school year, we have packing for the shore down to a science. Everything has its place and we all do our parts. Cam and I make sure we have our loveys and books and every single bathing suit we own. Mom takes care of the rest. Sounds fair, right?

The Greens usually convene on the east coast at Nona's house for July 4th, but this year a few of our family members are going to be traveling elsewhere and this June trip also happened to fall on mom's birthday and Father's Day. So we decided to do it up right and all get together a little earlier this year. Things didn't go exactly as planned. The weather was bizarre. It was either a perfect beach day or a monsoon. Daddy was traveling for work and was routed and rerouted all across the country. We had to modify the Green Family Olympics. Daddy eventually made it with a few hours of mommy's birthday left. BUT, in the end, we had a fabulous week full of family, friends and beach, beach, beach.

We even made it home last night with just enough time for mom to fill out our forms and scrounge together sunscreen for camp. Which starts today, obvi.