Friday, February 22, 2013

Good old fashioned fun...

By the end of the day, let's face it, we're ALL tired. And yes, insert TV and the decibel level in your home decreases multi-fold, barring the what to watch argument. My kids TV days started by me needing a quick "babysitter" for my 3 year old when I would put my 2 year old down for a nap (yes, my wee ones are only a year apart). It quickly turned into a crutch for us both. This became apparent  when the 2 year old dropped her nap and my 3 year old still requested "my" show. 

At this point, I sucked it up and played right on through the afternoon sans TV. Exhausted? Yep. Is this a good plan for everyone? Nope. I had the energy (barely) to outlast this phase. Gradually the requests for "my" show disappeared. Instead we built, read, baked and snuggled. Now at 6 and 7 my peeps have just clued in that there are shows on TV. Oddly, they don't ask to watch them... yet. They have, however, tried to convince me that my phone CAN do what so-and-so's mom's does. Apparently, "You can download it." :) 

It's a whole new world.

Here are some fun ideas if you feel like getting down into it:
1. Puzzles- In addition to the good old-fashioned kind, check out this site for fun new games:
The Logic Zone - Logic Problems, Logic Puzzles, Cryptograms
(these puzzles are great for the airplane and are easy to print out)

2. Cooking - always fun, though messy. It can take about 3 hours to bake cookies with kids under 5

3. Building. We love Quadrilla. It's hard to stop at just one set!

4. Reading time. Yep. When's the last time you all sat down in the middle of the day to read? We're working on that now, with surprisingly good results. It's hard for me to remember that this does not mean that since the kids are occupied, I should: empty the dishwasher, switch the laundry and pick up toys off the floor. It means: sit yourself down, pick up that tomb you've meant to read since college and talk story with your kids. Novel, huh?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spicy Lentil Soup

To say I thought this recipe was delicious, would be the understatement the decade. Well, at least of the week. A good friend who lives around the corner got a recent rainy day visit from me and my little ladies (we were on an earthworm hunt- those little buggers come squiggling out in the rain). It was 10 in the morning when we knocked on her door to find a delicious smell waft out into the drizzle. She quickly ladled this gorgeous orange soup into a jar, complete with "on the side" containers of cherries and cilantro, and sent us on our way. 

Around lunch I gave it a try. First taste: spicy, smooth (she did a full puree) and delicious. I tossed in some cherries and cilantro and the flavors exploded. The tart of the cherries with the cooling cilantro and spicy soup was off the charts. I almost called and asked for more, but instead I opted for the recipe:

*Side note, I tried a brown lentil substitution because they didn't have red ones at our local market. My soup was liquid-y where hers was a fairly firm puree- as in, the cherries didn't sink- not to mention mine was brown. I missed the delicious texture and color of my rainy day delicacy. Granted, my pal has mad skills in the kitchen, but I'm not exactly a tool puttering around stove (a step above that). We chatted post soups and think the lentil sub was the culprit. You can also adjust spiciness based on the curry powder you choose.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Festive 4th of July Sangria

We love this fresh, patriotic summer cocktail for 4th of July gatherings. Try it out -
Sliced strawberries
Pineapple cut into star shapes
2 bottles dry white wine
1 cup Triple Sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
Combine in pitcher, chill for 4 hours. Stir and enjoy!

Work It Out Girl

Going to the same gym and doing the same routine, week after week, can get boring. Especially true in midsummer, one can find any number of temptations to skip the gym. Making the workout fresh and entertaining is key, plus switching it up can boost your body beyond the dreaded fitness plateau. We found a great list of somewhat unconventional gym alternatives from DailyCandy. Here are a few of our favorites:

Hoopnotica: Hula hoop-ing those hips and abs into shape. Held at Loews Beach Hotel, Santa Monica,

Cirque School: Combines circus arts with pilates and cardio for a fun full-body workout,

Aqua Surf School: Work on core strength while hanging ten with the pros,

Ojakian Cardio Tennis: Betters your backhand and your backside by combining aerobic exercises with traditional tennis moves,

Piloxing: Change it up and take out aggression with intervals of cardio, pilates moves and boxing jabs,

Cucumber Cocktails

We came across a great cocktail recipe that's perfect for chilling out and sipping poolside. It's so tasty, the phrase "cool as a cucumber" just might have been invented because of it - Enjoy!

1 cup cucumber vodka
1 cup tonic water
1/2 cup cucumber juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
handful fresh mint leaves

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker, shake, pour over ice and viola!

Patriotic Day-trip

The USS Iowa is going to be a big summer attraction. The fully-restored 887-foot long WWII era battleship will become a floating naval museum docked at the Port of Los Angeles' harbor in San Pedro. The exhibit is far from just a boring walking tour of an old relic, with special features like an interactive video game room where patrons can participate in the historical action, man the gun turrets and virtually defend the ship from enemy fighter planes. It will open to the public on July 7th.

Save Your Skin

Summer fun in the sun calls for lots of sun screen. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, with a staggering 3.5 million cases diagnosed every year, and sun damage is the cause of up to 90% of all visible signs of aging. It's often hard to find a good quality facial product for daily protection that doesn't wreak havoc on your complexion. Look for oil-free formulas, with broad-spectrum protection and at least 30spf. Here are a few favorites: