Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Makes

This weekend marks the beginning of the Citi Open in DC -- one of the first open professional tennis tournaments in the US -- and it will all go down just a stone's throw away from our house. Naturally, my entrepreneurial children have big plans for the event -- they'll be opening their long-begged for lemonade + aqua fresca stand to crowds enduring the lovely, humid 90 degree + DC days. While we aren't necessarily huge tennis fans, we generally love all organized sport fanfare and have no problem jumping on board. When we're not hawking cold drinks (or trying to track down Andy Murray), odds are we'll be working on some of these tennis makes.

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pasta with Lemon, Garlic, and Sage + 30 Days of Dinner

This "pasta" is by far my favorite new Paleo-friendly dish. It's incredibly bright and filling, so much so that I don't mind peeling and peeling and peeling the butternut squash (and then spiralizing and spiralizing and spiralizing ....). My kids wouldn't go near this one, but I can't get enough.

Despite the loveliness of this dinner, I'm happy to bid farewell to the strict rules of the Whole30/60. I just wrapped up the end of my Whole60 and I think I did remarkably well, especially considering that I was traveling and on vacation for much of the last 30 days. There was a little wine and a little soft serve in the last week, which technically means I didn't complete a Whole60, but I'm declaring victory. My plan is to stay pretty strict Paleo during the week and let up a bit on the weekends for the occasional cocktail and slice of 'za. Plus, we are headed to Italy soon and I heard that's a Paleo free pass zone.

In any event, here's the deeelish Butternut Squash recipe from The Roasted Root (I love her whole blog, actually) and my last 30 Days of Dinner -- since I was on vacation and some unexpected travel, there are lots of repeats, grilling, others cooking (yay!), and easy thrown-together meals, but I made it work. I picked up where I left off last month, on a Friday, so that's where my 30 Days start. But feel free to use the recipes however they work for you.

Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pasta
with Lemon, Garlic, and Sage
(slightly adapted from The Roasted Root)

- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and spiralized (about 6 cups worth)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp salted grass-fed butter (or extra olive oil if doing Whole30)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 4 ounces prosciutto (torn or chunked)
- zest of 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- sea salt to taste

1. Spirazlize the squash (click here for The Roasted Root's easy to follow directions).
2. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet.
3. Add the garlic and sage, and sauté until very fragrant (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the prosciutto, lemon zest, lemon juice, and butternut squash noodles. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the squash noodles are soft, but still al dente (about 12 - 15 minutes). Note: if you are having a difficult time getting your noodles to soften up, cover the skillet for a few minutes and allow them to steam.
4. Dish it up hot!!

*          *          *

30 Days of Dinner

Day 1 (F) -- Whole Foods salad bar dinner out.
Day 2 (Sat) -- Back-Pocket Bolognese (from Dinner: A Love Story), which was easy and loved by the whole family and required just a tad of tweaking for Paleo-compliance. I had mine over Spaghetti Squash Pasta with leftover roasted veggies.
Day 3 (Sun) -- leftover Bolognese with "clean out the crisper kebabs."

Day 4 (M) -- Potato Breakfast Skillet with Bacon.
Day 5 (T) -- leftovers
Day 6 (W) -- Spiced Grilled Chicken and green salad.
Day 7 (Th) -- Balsamic Marinated Steak, sweet potato fries, and roasted brussels sprouts.
Day 8 (F) -- Paleo Burgers with spicy guacamole, grilled asparagus with lemon, and salad.
Day 9 (Sat) -- dinner out -- ahi tuna, steamed veggies, and baked potato.
Day 10 (Sun) -- My father-in-law's Salsa Salmon (divide jar of salsa evenly atop 4 salmon filets, poach at 375 for 20 minutes) with roasted veggies from the farmer's market.

Day 11 (M) -- Balsamic Grilled Chicken, grilled nectarines, and leftover roasted veggies.
Day 12 (T) -- dinner out -- burger and a side salad.
Day 13 (W) -- Ginger Chicken with Green Onions and Roasted Southwest Cauliflower.
Day 14 (Th) -- Italian Baked Eggs (sans cheese and bread) with green salad.
Day 15 (F) -- Grilled Flank Steak and Green Beans and Beets with Balsamic Reduction (leave off cheese if Whole30 -- SO GOOD).
Day 16 (Sat) -- Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pasta with Lemon, Garlic and Sage, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Day 17 (Sun) -- dinner "out" at O'Hare airport -- a salad from Frontera Grill.

Day 18 (M) -- Chicken Burgers (I had chicken so I used that instead of turkey) with Mint + Kale Pesto (see, I love The Roasted Root!!) and sweet potato fries.
Day 19 (T) -- dinner out -- roasted beet salad, steak, potatoes, and salad.
Day 20 (W) -- Salsa Salmon (see above) with Cauliflower + Carrot Puree.
Day 21 (Th) -- Paleo Burgers with Caramelized Balsamic Onions + Avocado, Roasted Potatoes, and veggie kabobs.
Day 22 (F) -- Roasted Spaghetti Squash with leftover pesto, roasted veggies and potatoes.
Day 23 (Sat) -- Paleo Burgers, grilled hot dogs, and salad (for the start of a week-long family vacaye!!)
Day 24 (Sun) -- Balsamic Grilled Chicken and grilled asparagus.

Day 25 (M) -- Paleo Turkey Meatballs and green salad.
Day 26 (T) -- dinner out -- scallops, steamed vegetables, and baked potato.
Day 27 (W) -- My father-in-law's shrimp scampi over veggie kabobs and asparagus.
Day 28 (Th) -- leftovers and sweet potato fries.
Day 29 (F) -- My father-in-law's grilled steak and roasted brussels sprouts and potatoes.
Day 30 (Sat) -- Fried eggs with salsa, turkey sausage, Roasted Potatoes, and avocado.

Monday, July 20, 2015

National Geographic Museum: Indiana Jones + the Adventure of Archaeology

With two archaeologically-obsessed children in our home, I knew that we had to make our way to the National Geographic Museum to catch the Indiana Jones exhibit this summer. I hemmed and hawed beforehand whether to let them watch the first Indiana Jones movie, but decided I'd better err on the side of avoiding sleepless nights and wait. And since our kids are also totally obsessed with history and ancient cultures, they were perfectly fine not knowing the first thing about the actual movies -- they were able to pick up on things right away. The exhibit is enormous (which is unusual for that museum), largely due to the fact that so, so much of it is done via "personal video companion." But there are also a ton of historical and cultural artifacts to view. So, be prepared to spend a lot of time in there!!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Weekend Makes

Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month!? Without even being aware, my kiddos have been seriously celebrating all month already. I'm wary of telling them of the "holiday," but I think I'll try to work in some of these other sweet makes as sugar-free alternatives!!

1 / such cute paper ice creams! 2 / Wayne Thiebaud-inspired ice cream art 3 / our favorite frozen playdough turned ice cream parlor 4 / cute ice cream math with pom poms 5 / DIY ice cream scoop bath bombs

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

National Building Museum: The BEACH

The new temporary architectural installation at DC's National Building Museum is at once incredibly awesome and my worst nightmare. I know I tend to think of myself as more laid-back than I actually am, but The Beach turned me into a germaphobic, claustrophobic lunatic convinced that my children were going to suffocate under a sea of clear plastic balls. It was not a pretty afternoon for me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekend Makes

I'm spending this weekend away from my kiddos and back in my hometown of Oak Park, Illinois. In addition to yours truly (bwhahaha), many other important creative types have called Oak Park home, including Frank Lloyd Wright who built his home + studio there. Even though Prairie Style isn't quite my jam, I've always found his architecture inspiring and am way into the concept of Usonian homes -- the fact that our kitchen is incorporated into our living space at our new home is one of the things that drew us to it most. I've introduced the kids to Frank Lloyd Wright over the years and I've written before about Kane's interest in him, so I thought it would be fun to put together a set of Weekend Makes all about FLW. Here's to an allWright weekend!!

1 / A nature-based building box is an awesome way to help kids learn about Wright's architectural connection with nature.

2 / Perhaps it's slightly cheating to include pre-made blocks in a Weekend Makes, but these Frank Lloyd Wright LEGO sets are serious makes. Kane would lose his mind.

3 / I first introduced the kids to Frank Lloyd Wright by reading them Blue Balliet's series of books for kids that involve Wright's Robie House. Each book in the series features prominently the set of math puzzles known as pentominoes. Print off your own here and get to puzzling!

4 / Love these Wright-inspired votives.

5 / One of the best FLW stained glass projects for kids I've seen.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 27

We had a pleasant, but unexpected extension of our July 4th holiday weekend at the shore. By the fifth beach day in a row, Kane needed a break and asked to go back to the house. Grandpa D-Rock obliged and Cam and I followed later -- only to find them curled up on the couch, eating cereal and reading. Obviously Cam had to get in on that immediately. Family is good, man.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Summer Bucket List Update #1

Ooooweee!! We've made it through the first month of summer break and are due for a 2015 Summer Bucket List update. We are en fuego this year, I'm not gonna lie. We have a bunch of camp and trips coming up, so I'm expecting our rate to slow down a bit. But the kids are on a real mission this summer -- we've crossed a whopping 32 activities off our list through July 4th!! Check it our below and get to summering!

1. - 5.  Five new geocaches -- I'm not sure if we've just really nailed picking solid caches or it's the few years experience hunting that we've got under our belt now, but we found all five caches we looked for thus far.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Kane's New Room!!

Unlike Cameron's new bedroom, where we were basically starting from scratch, Kane had most of his furniture already locked down. When you're 18 months old and get kicked out of your crib by an arriving sibling, and your mom and dad refuse to buy a toddler bed, you get hooked up with the furniture they tell you you'll take to college (I'm only partly kidding). But I still wanted Kane to be excited about moving and getting a new room. He has a strong personality and a real love for adventure, collecting, travel, and the color green. And he builds with legos for HOURS (seriously, HOURS) at a time while he listens to a variety of audiobooks. So that's where I started.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekend Makes

We are spending our holiday weekend at the beach, but since we travel with arts + crafts, we've got plenty of weekend makes lined up! Hope everyone has a fabulous July 4th weekend!!

1 / I love Studio DIY's bingo cards -- the kids were waaaay into the Superbowl edition too.

2 / In the event it rains, and that's not unlikely given our weather lately, our rain paintings are super easy to spin as firework prints.

3 / Hello Wonderful's super cute rockets would be a great way to keep the kids busy until firework time.

4 / These DIY temporary watercolor tattoos are gorgeous!

5 / The kiddos loved the firecracker straws I made for A Subtle Revelry last year.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Project 52 -- Week 26

These two beach nuts. Kane is almost always in motion and Cam will stop only to let me take a photo every now and then. Their response to the pouring rain today?: "Why do we need to leave? It doesn't make any sense. We're already in bathing suits."

Kid-friendly Bubble Tea!

My gosh, my kids have been eating A LOT lately -- both in terms of frequency and amount. And having them home for the summer has meant an endless cycle of meals and snacks, with a peppering of requests for sweets and treats at every turn (how does that Ice Cream truck do it!?!). Needless to say, I've been on the hunt for healthy and fun snacks and this bubble tea did the trick. Head on over to Honest to Nod to get the goods! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ice Chalk Popsicles


I can't get over how much the kids loved these ice chalk popsicles! I'd seen several different recipes to make something similar and we even had them on our Summer Bucket List, but ours kind of came together spur of the moment one day. We'd been painting outside with our favorite washable tempera paints and forgot to bring them in when we sought refuge from the heat. When we went out later to clean up, the paint had had it too and dried up quite a bit. Instead of tossing it, we added water and turned it into these fabulous popsicles (which really fit the bill the next scorching day!).