Archive for July, 2010

Freaky Food at IKEA Brooklyn

We ditched the kids for a few minutes today in Smaland (aka free babysitting in the ball room) at IKEA to browse for some kitchen non-essentials. Turns out, the food section is greatly expanded since our last visit, and it’s oddly fascinating.

Lingonberry jam, Swedish hams and frozen meatballs, loads of white cheese, and chilled prawn and cheese spread in a squeezable pink tube for all! Um, OK.

I love you anyway, IKEA.

IKEA foodIKEA food

July 31 – August 1: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

cheers!

happy weekend!

10 Lunchbox essentials for back to school. — via Cool Mom Picks

David Rockwell’s Imagination Playground opens downtown. — Mommy Poppins

Brooklyn Food News (like a new fruit CSA starting in August, and more.) — A Child Grows in Brooklyn

No news flash, but fun just the same: Park Slope Moms Are Slobs. — Fucked in Park Slope

The best space-saving cribs. — Mom Finds

On Saturday, ride an old 1 or 9 subway train out to Coney Island as The New York Transit Museum takes a few of its exhibits out for a spin (cooool!). — A Child Grows in Brooklyn

10 Sensational staircases (I want one in my little Brooklyn house!). — The Stir

Win 4 tickets to see The Wiggles (but please don’t make me go with you.) — TimeOut New York Kids

3 Parenting Tips for Calming the Chaos

ice cream in Prospect Park

I’m not the best at dealing with the chaos of raising two little kids. The messiness, the yelling, the arguing, the constant activity — it’s all completely par for the course, and I know it, but it’s still hard for me. I like neatness, calm, and order. This is not an advantage in parenting.

In the course of one year staying home with the kids, though, I have come up with a few “mom rules” to help me deal with the day-to-day chaos. And they’ve given the kids certain expectations, too, which has been helpful.

The rules relate to a few of the things that occur routinely during a day — snacking, behavior issues when out and about, and arguing between the two kids. I’m not saying these will work for everyone, and of course we all have our own parenting styles. Maybe you’re all about no rules and no structure — and if that works for you, AWESOME! I hope you can teach me a thing or two.

In the meantime, I’m just saying these little mantras have helped me.

“If you’re snacking, you’re sitting.” — Whether we are at home, in the park, or in the playground, I see no reason for my kids to be running around with food in their hands. If they’re eating something, I want them seated for a moment. Focus on the activity at hand. Enjoy your food. Then resume with whatever wildness was underway.

“If you’re not listening, we’re leaving.” — Call me mean mommy (you wouldn’t be the first), but I have absolutely NO problem making my kids leave some fun activity because of bad behavior. If we’re headed to a birthday party, or Coney Island, or an excursion into the city, I remind them before we go…. What’s the rule? Jasper now recites it back to me: “If we’re not listening, we’re leaving.” Damn right we are.

“You can either agree, or it’s “mommy’s choice.” ” – Two kids seem to somehow = a million arguments a day. I mean, really. “He can’t use my stool!” “I want to wash my hands first!” “I want to watch the Barbie DVD!” “No, I want Thomas!” I try to employ this rule often. You two can either work it out and agree — sometimes they actually do! — or it’s my choice, and I make the call on whatever issue or argument is at hand.

Do you have any basic mom rules that work for you? I’d love to hear!

Recipe of the Week: Pan-Roasted Leeks

leeks

Mmm, mmm good.

We traded the heat of New York City last weekend for the cool breezes and calming surf of Fire Island. It was absolute heaven, and perfect for the kids. No cars and close-together houses teeming with other children looking to play mean kids can roam outside with an impressive amount of independence. Plus, all the fun of the beach = everyone’s exhausted at the end of the day. My fave.

Another reason it was so nice: We had amazingly fun and generous hosts who cooked for us non-stop! We had lots of great food, but one dish stood out: roasted leeks. Mmm.

We love leeks and use them “in” things all the time, but never prepare them as a dish on their own. Now we will. Their sweetness pairs beautifully with the grilled meats of summer (we had ours with steak and balsamic chicken) and they make a welcome change from the ubiquitous green salad.

Here’s how our host made them — super-simple.

Pan-Roasted Leeks

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees

Wash and slice leeks, then put them in a pan and toss with olive oil and quite a bit of salt. Roast them in the oven until very soft (they’ll get brown and caramel-y in spots.)

I found a similar recipe in Nigella Lawson‘s book Nigella Express, which you could also use for inspiration. She uses baby leeks and garlic-infused oil instead of basic EVOO. Here’s the recipe.

But the point is: Leeks on their own. Delish.

Where Did the Time Go and Other Ruminations on Magnolia’s Birthday

Magnolia is FOUR today. FOUR. I have to say it again so I believe it: She’s FOUR. That means four years have already passed in her little life. Four years since she was smoked out of the womb, a full two weeks past her due date (setting the stage for the next four years of waiting for her).

Magnolia, one week old

Do I sound a little sad? Or spooked? I guess I’m a bit of both, while at the same time, happy and amazed at Magnolia’s growing self, her big girl words and thoughts.

Five months old

In fact, to look at it another way: she made it to her fourth birthday, hooray!! I’m only half joking. Despite her love of princesses and fairies, our bug is no delicate flower.

Two years old

She could teach us all something about carpe diem. If there’s something to jump off, do it. Why walk when you can skip? In fact, why skip when you can run?

3 years old

This summer alone, she’s amazed me by jumping off the first diving board she saw and riding the swings at Victorian Gardens (we couldn’t get her off them) shrieking with glee all along.

Woo-hoo!

There was a time when every picture we took of her included band-aids over skinned knees. And recently, it’s been stitches, casts, more boo-boos than you can count. But she sure seems to enjoy life.

Magnolia, 3 1/2 years

And now, she’s FOUR, heading to pre-k in the fall.

Happy birthday, big girl!

Magnolia, 4 years old

Related posts:

Recipe of the Week: Birthday Sheet Cake

July 24 – 25: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

bug carousel at the Bronx Zoo

Riding the bug carousel at The Bronx Zoo.

Cool sh*t to do on Governors Island, including a Childrens Museum of the Arts Weekend Island Outpost (FREE) and much more (dying to go, so if you’ve been and have tips, please pony up.) — Governors Island Activities & Info

5 Reasons why cruises make great family vacations. — Culture Mom

It’s hard being a mom and not a morning person. — Mom Delicious

Best spots for miniature golf. — TimeOut New York Kids

BPA-free canned foods (even tomatoes.) — One Hungry Mama

Happy weekend, mamas! Stay cool!

Summer Fun: Take the Kids to Coney Island

We’ve been to Coney Island three times already this summer — it’s an easy day trip, there’s tons to do, and on a hot, sunny day, it thoroughly exhausts the kids. Yesss!

Here’s what we’ve been doing and what you should do, too — plus a couple more ideas for fun.

Wonder Wheel

Deno's Wonder Wheel -- now 90 years old.

Take the train, baby.

For train-obsessed kids (and, oh, is Jasper one), getting there is half the fun. We’re already in Brooklyn, on the R line, so switching for the N or the Q (the F and D go to Coney, too) and zipping out there is a breeze. There’s lots of going in and out of tunnels and under overpasses, and there’s always some sort of track work going on — all bonuses for train-travel curious kids.

Have a picnic on the boardwalk.

You can of course grab all kinds of traditional New York seaside fare — hot dogs, fries, pizza, food on a stick — but it’s been so damn hot, that hasn’t sounded appealing to me. So we’ve opted instead to take along cold sandwiches, fruit, and drinks of our own and then settle at a shady table on the boardwalk.

Hit the kiddie rides at Deno’s Wonder Wheel.

The new Luna Park is there, too, but ALL of the rides at Deno’s are fit for the younger set. A guaranteed hit.

big trucks ridewhales ride

train ride

More trains, natch.

You’re at the beach — go on out to the beach!

OK, we haven’t actually dipped our toes in the Atlantic yet, but I totally would. And definitely do get sandy. Go for a walk on the beach and let the kids romp — there are playgrounds and fabulous palm tree sprinklers.

beach playgroundpalm tree sprinkler

Cool off at the Aquarium.

You’ll need some A/C after beach time, so head to the Aquarium to chill out, take a bathroom break, and visit the sublime creatures from the deep. Our brood is currently grooving on the sharks.

sharks, Coney Island Aquarium

Duh-dum... Duh-dum... Duh-dum, duh-dum, duh-dum. Duh-dum.

Stop at Nathan’s for lemonade.

Cold and sweet. Give yourself a chilly little lift before the ride back home.

Nathan's at Coney Island

For more ideas on what to do in Coney Island — a Brooklyn Cyclones game, pizza at Totonno’s, a behind-the-scenes look at the circus, and more — check out this rockin’ post from Mommy Poppins.

The circus, by the way — a small, one-ring number by Ringling Brothers — is on through September 6th. Have fun!

circus at Coney Island

I Love My…Mabel’s Labels for Back to School

I ordered these a few years ago when Jasper was going into pre-k and they have been terrific. Tag everything: from clothes, to sippy cups, to school supplies, to shoes.

Tag, you're it

Mabel’s Labels (www.mabels.ca) is an easy-to-use site, that offers each product separately, or in one of their combo packs. We picked a combo pack for Jasper last time around, and have been very happy. But I think we could use more bag tags (good for things like backpacks and lunch boxes), and possibly some skinny-minis (good for school supplies, water bottles).

There’s a fun design element to the site: you pick your colors/design, and your icon (or have your kids pick what they like). I think Jasper would like a shark this year:

Bag Tag by Mabel's Labels

Both kids have been in camp this summer, and I’ve been feeling very remiss not having tags for Magnolia yet. Since she’s heading to pre-k this fall, there’s no time to lose. The “Classic Ultimate Back-to-School Combo” seems like a good choice. Thirty-nine dollars buys you 16 shoe labels, 50 “tag mates” for clothing (washer and dryer safe), 40 skinny minis,  and 2 teeny tags (for backpacks and lunch boxes). I chose a ballet icon for our little ballerina, and the color combo, “cotton candy.” Perfect!

Courtesy of Mabel's Labels

And now I’m done! No more lost swimsuits at camp or missing Sigg containers at school. Orders take about 2 weeks to receive with standard shipping.

Happy shopping!

The Weekly Menu, July 18 – 24 (or, What Should We Do with the Kale?)

Well, we had fun this weekend: Connecticut pool time with the bubs and grandparents. Jasper learned how to swim under water, and Magnolia confirmed her status as a water hound.

A few things we picked up at the CSA

The menu this week is CSA dominated. We picked up our first fruit share; exciting!! But, ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached the part of the summer that includes KALE. What do you do with it? We find kale a little daunting.

Don’t you feel like the summer is racing by? I feel an intense need to start main-lining peaches, RIGHT NOW. More to come on that front.

The Menu:

Sunday: Pasta & Pesto (store bought and delicious) with sautéed CSA squash and zucchini, and the tale-end of Jersey corn we bought last week

Monday: Grilled Salmon, CSA Green-Leaf Lettuce Salad with Goat Cheese and Grilled Tomatoes and Rice Pilaf

Tuesday: Grilled Skirt Steak (still grooving on the Mark Bittman thing) with Grilled Onion, plus an Arugula and Cucumber Salad (also from the CSA)

Wednesday: Vegetable Burritos starring Zucchini

Thursday: Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Red Chili Flakes & CSA Green-Leaf Salad with Slivered Raw Fennel (I’ve come around to raw fennel)

Friday and Saturday we are being entertained, hooray!

Have a great week! I’m counting down to birthdays & Martha’s Vineyard!

July 17 – 18: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

Kids Glass/Skyline Design

Kids Glass/Skyline Design

Walls that invite kids to create. — The New York Times

17 Things to Do in Prospect Park. — Mommy Poppins

A shoulder tote with a handle for your kid to hold onto (genius!). — Mom Finds

A (happy) response to that New York mag piece on parenting. — NYC Single Mom

Tips + tricks for Sesame Place (you know you’ve thought about it…). — A Child Grows in Brooklyn

Kidding Around: A day of indie designer shopping and book swapping at the Brooklyn Indie Market in Carroll Gardens (sounds way cool.) — Brooklyn Based

New takeout in Park Slope from Fornino. — The New York Times

*** Kids Glass from Skyline Design, pictured above.


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