Archive for March, 2011

Currently Obsessed with…Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves

Last Christmas, I became obsessed with finding Jill Krementz’s A Very Young Dancer for Magnolia.

It’s an oldie, part of a series of oversize photography books that explored the lives of individual girls living out some universal girlhood fantasy (there were also very young gymnasts, riders, and skaters). The books were published in the 1970’s and are now out of print. Dancer follows the life of a little girl in New York City who is chosen to play the lead role in the Nutcracker one Christmas. Perfect for our own little ballerina.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered these books were published by Knopf (my employer), but out of print. Alas, no amount of treasure hunting around the office turned up even one copy of the series.

So I did what everyone else does these days and I Googled the book. And that’s when I made one of my favorite discoveries of the last year: Vintage Kids’ Books My Kid Loves.

This blog, run by San Antonio mom Burgin Streetman, is an absolute find. Burgin haunts vintage shops, thrift stores, estate sales, library sales; really, anyplace there might be a used kid’s book. And the stuff she finds is gorgeous and wonderful.

I’m always looking for great books to read to the kids, so I took time to ask Burgin some questions about her inspirations and strategies.

Q: Your site is so inspiring! It sounds as if you’re constantly discovering forgotten classics. Where do you find these great books? Where would you advise a novice book-sleuth to start their search (and are there any places to avoid)?

A: We find our books everywhere. Used books shops, thrift stores, estate sales, yard sales, library sales, on-line. If you are a novice, my suggestion would be go everywhere. The times when you feel an impulse to avoid someplace, go there! Odds are, everyone else gets the same vibe when they pass, so you’ll be the only one brave enough to search. The trick too is, if you find a shop that you really like, go there, often. That’s how you make sure that if something great comes in, you’re the one who snags it.

Q: What is your philosophy on buying vintage books? Are you looking for specific titles, or is it a treasure hunt? Is there a price point you won’t go over?

A: It’s a treasure hunt, really. For the most part, I stumble across things, but if I’m really desperate, I’ll pay for something online. As far as price goes, I’m pretty thrifty. I’ve only paid premium for two books. $50 for Jim Flora’s The Day the Cow Sneezed (before it was reprinted) and $125 for the Charles Harper’s Golden Book of Biology.

Otherwise, I probably won’t pay more than $10 for something I really want.

Q: Your son is obviously a big reader (sounds like he’s already reading alone at five?). How often do you read to him?

A: When he was three and four, we probably read together three hours a day. Now that he’s in kindergarten, we read maybe 30 minutes a day of picture books, and about an hour a night of longer chapter books. My biggest piece of advice to parents who want to raise children who love books aside from reading to them, of course, is audio books. I can’t sing their praises enough. My son started listening to books like Charlotte’s Web when he was around three, and eight million hours of audio later, he loves it. More than TV even. He listens to audio books almost constantly when we are home. While he’s playing and coloring. Children can listen to them anywhere and everywhere, road trip, alone in their room, and in the end, they’ll end up with gigantic vocabularies.

Q: We all have books we remember from our childhood, but as a parent I am always amazed at the wonderful books I discover that I never knew about (I Am a Bunny and Harold and the Purple Crayon both come to mind).

What are some of your favorite discoveries (or re-discoveries) you’ve made with your son?

A: Mercer Mayer, for sure. I loved Mercer Mayer when I was growing up, but I probably only ever owned one or two of the Little Critter books. The rest I would check out from the library. Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp was a book I saw once in a book store when I was four or five years old, and I remembered it passionately for years. I didn’t remember the name or the author, just a general idea of the story and pictures. About ten years ago when book searches became so easy on the internet, I tracked it down and fell in love all over again.

Q: Our six-year-old has just started asking to be read chapter books. Do you have any suggestions of books worth seeking out for this transitional stage (beyond Roald Dahl)? Any unsung (vintage) heroes in the adventure story/fantasy genre (beyond Narnia)?

A: You know, I wish there were more. My son really loves the fantasy genre like Harry Potter, Narnia and Percy Jackson, but I often find so many fantasy books of old were not written with children in mind so you really have to dig. He loves Peter Pan, Treasure Island, E.B. White’s books, and L. Frank Baum has lots of books (other than The Wizard of Oz) that he loves like The Magical Monarch of Mo. He is starting to get into Lloyd Alexander’s five-part series The Chronicles of Prydain. The Phantom Tollbooth. My Father’s Dragon.

Q: What are your three favorite picture books and why?

A: Just three, really?

William Steig’s Rotten Island… I’ve read this books to so many boys that I’ve lost count and every single of of them gets their mind blown when they read it. Steig had such a wonderful, off-kilter and somewhat dark imagination, but always with a spark of uplift and hope at the end. His books never get boring to me. EVER.

Mercer Mayer’s One Monster After Another… Mercer’s pictures are so fun to look at and his words so silly to read, my son adores this book, as do I. It’s a weekly read, but honestly, we could read it everyday and my son would never stop asking for it.

Tomi Ungerer’s Zeralda’s Ogre… Any book by Ungerer is gold in my mind. My son loves them. I love them. Dark and magical. And awesome.

Thanks, Burgin! Check out her blog for inspiration for your kiddos.

Just reading her blog brought back a few of my own childhood favorites:

Big Sister and Little Sister is one that my mom read to Katie and me when we were kids. Big Sister is (what some would say) typical: always instructing Little Sister what to do and how to do it. Little Sister has to show Big Sister that she can take care of herself before they can both take care of each other “because Little Sister had learned from Big Sister, and now they both knew how.” Just thinking of it makes me want to call my little sis.

The Three Little Horses by Piet Worm is a book my godmother gave to me when I was probably about seven. The three little horses of the title decide to take a break from horsey pursuits and visit the local town beneath the field where they play. They dress up as princesses and pass among the people. It’s a sweet book with gorgeous illustrations and it has recently been reissued. I bought it for Magnolia; she loves it as much as I did.

The Children’s Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit and illustrated by Rolf Klep. The inscription is to “Sarah Marie” (my mom) from “Mother and Daddy 1960.” And it has my mom’s childhood address in it, which makes it that much more special to me. About the book: it’s a gorgeous hardcover (published by Random House!) that essentially breaks down twelve of Shakespeare’s greatest to kid-friendly prose. I blame this book for my college, and later my graduate-school interest in Shakespeare. Worth seeking out, and in print.

Happy hunting!

Currently Obsessed with…. Bloch Ballet Flats

Bloch ballet flats

Happy feet: Bloch ballet flats, from Soula in Brooklyn, $125

It may not feel like it yet, but it’s spring — which means I’m looking forward to putting away the boots and moving on to flats and bare ankles. (Can sandals be far behind?)

I’m all for a cheap shoe fix at Target or on our annual shopping pilgrimage to Austin, but you get what you pay for, and this spring I decided to splurge on a pair of flats I don’t just like, I love.

I seem to go through a pair of black flats every year, but I’m hoping these Bloch ballet flats (above) will take me farther. The Australian shoemaker has been around since 1932 and made its name producing real ballet slippers and pointe shoes, but eventually added in footwear for ladies, girls, and toddlers. Find them in Brooklyn at Soula or browse their catalogues online.

The black flats I bought were soft and supple, with a flexible soul and reinforced heel — and they were INSTANTLY comfortable.


Other spring shoe obsessions:

The Espadrille Wedge from Marais USA

Colorful Bensimon Sneakers from Basic French (you can spot them in chic shops in Brooklyn, too.)

New line of footwear from fab tee company Splendid


The Menu, March 27 – April 2 Focusing on Simple

I love doing the menu each week, and usually sit down on Saturday mornings to write it out. At the same time, I make a grocery list. We’re very fortunate to have both a world-class grocery store nearby (Fairway) and a great delivery service (Fresh Direct) to choose from; currently, we’re in delivery mode. It’s simple, it’s reasonable, and takes an errand out of our weekend lives.

This week’s menu is an homage to some of the simplest things to prepare during the week. My go-to recipes have only a few ingredients—things you have around the house, usually—and can be whipped up in about 40 minutes. I save chopping-intensive recipes, recipes with a long lists of ingredients or specialty ingredients, for Saturday and Sunday when I can carve out more time to cook (see Sunday: Halibut with Juniper Berries or one of my all-star recipes: Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro & Soba).

Just before we get to the menu for the this week, I wanted to go back to last week’s menu and recap some of the new recruits. The Lemongrass-Cilantro Grilled Chicken and Honey Dipping Sauce was a success. Definitely a weekend recipe, with the chopping involved, but great flavor. Dorie Greenspan’s Roast Chicken for Lazy People (Les Paresseux) caught me at a very lazy moment and got even more laissez-faire than Dorie probably intended. No, I didn’t stoop to rotisserie chicken (see this Wednesday) but I did take some short-cuts. And it was still delicious. Finally, the Thai Spareribs that have been calling me didn’t happen, as my spareribs were accidentally not delivered. Another day, perhaps.

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Halibut Baked in Foil with Juniper Berries. This is a great Sunday supper. A bit of chopping, but the flavor of the celery, carrots and juniper berries, which cook in the foil with the fish, make it all worthwhile. And it’s Sunday! Worth doing something special.

Monday: One of our favorite, quick, throw-it-together meals is pastaany kindwith crispy bacon, spinach, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Enough spinach and you don’t even need a salad.

Tuesday: Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Leeks. Rotisserie chicken is a working woman’s savior in the kitchen. The only work intensive thing about this is cleaning the leeks, made easier by cutting them into 2 inch pieces, slicing in half, and soaking in a bowl of water. A side of pilaf or a crusty slice of bread completes the plate.

Wednesday: Spinach, Mushroom and Pepper Jack Quesadillas. Add a ripe avocado and sliced up tomatoes on top.

Thursday: Chicken Piccata & a salad. Lemons, capers=sign me up.

Yum. Photo by Dennis Gottleib

Friday: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables. The weather will be warmer on Friday, so back to the grill, and nothing is easier than a little lime as seasoning for the shrimp.

Saturday: Another warm (high 50’s) day: Burgers!

Here’s to a week of sunshine.

March 26 – 27: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

snowy Brooklyn spring

Happy spring? Yeah, not yet, not so much. The dreaded “wintry mix” made another appearance here this week, shocking my pansies and the magnolia buds with its snide dusting of snow. The white stuff’s gone now, but temps are still chilly and so are moods.

Fuses have been short here in the Coburn-Gillespie household — between truck drama, work, the stressful demands of Pre-K and first grade, and just trying to get everyone out the door with clean teeth and clothes, it’s been a lot. Several little skirmishes broke out this morning alone before we finally all made it out of the house — in a desperate attempt to gain some semblance of control over the morning routine, I stooped to taking away Magnolia’s tail. A low parenting moment if ever I’ve seen one.

Fingers crossed that spirits lift over the weekend!

Here’s some fun sh*t going down:

 Mischief at the New Victory Theater

It’s the last weekend to see “Mischief” at the New Victory Theater — we saw it last weekend and, while I can’t say I loved it as much as “Zoo Zoo” at the Vic, I can say it was a fun, imaginative crowd-pleaser. (We passed some happy time munching on hot pretzels and cruising through the Disney Store like tourists in Times Square before the show.)

Enjoy an open family swim, plus info on summer camp, at the LIU Children’s Academy on Saturday, via A Child Grows in Brooklyn.

Take in the Macy’s Flower Show, which opens on Sunday, via Mommy Poppins.

Get your Muppet fix at The Bell House with a screening of the Muppet Vault Series — this Sunday, they present: Superheroes! Expect classic clips featuring Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter), Superman (Christopher Reeve), Super Grover, and more, via TimeOut New York Kids.

Support a Brooklyn school — and “Beat the Not-Quite-Springtime Blahs!” — with City Stomp at the Winter Concert Series at P.S. 295.

And, if you have some time for yourself, mama — shop now for some cute summer dresses you’ll be happy you have later. I’ve got my eye on this one:

frolicking through wildflowers dress from Ruche

frolicking through wildflowers summer dress from Ruche, $49.

Happy weekend, from us to you!

J & M with pretzel

Here's looking at you, kids!

On Trying to Embrace Spirited and Creative

M, posing

Strike a pose: Why just stand and smile when you can POSE?

Regular readers know we find our daughter a little, well, um…. challenging. I cringed a teensy bit at our first Pre-K parent/teacher conference when the instructor referred to her as “spirited,” which we all know is code for difficult.

But you get the kid you get, and our little bug is her own person — bright, creative, inquisitive, but also intense, impulsive, high energy, dramatic, and headstrong. We did recently buy, with some hesitation on my part, because I’m leery of labels, a copy of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka‘s Raising Your Spirited Child — and I have to say, in reading what sets those kids somewhat apart, I did feel the book described Magnolia.

But a mom I met at a party and liked — you know how you click with some and don’t with others? — recommended it to me so highly I felt we had to check it out. This mom also feels challenged by her daughter and she said the book was tremendously helpful to her in figuring out how to be a better, more relaxed parent in the face of behavior she sometimes doesn’t understand. (The book is also helpful in explaining the difference between “spirited” and bigger behavioral or emotional issues, which, based on what I read, I don’t think we have going on here.)

So we’re reading. We’re thinking. We’re trying to be more patient. And when Chrissy and I give ourselves a little more time in a situation — stop focusing so much on whatever the task is at hand — and LISTEN to M., and give her a little extra time to express herself and get things done in her own way, we often end up getting a good laugh out of her. She’s funny. Quirky, witty, zany — and sharp as a nail.

She has her own world view, and it’s rarely bland or predictable. Here are a few recent moments that define her:

  • She’s happy to get or give a big high five, as most kids are — but she likes to give hers using her foot instead of her hand. You know, just to mix things up.
  • Not long ago she was playing in the bath with some of those alphabet letters that stick to the side of the tub. She wanted to spell out Magnolia, but there was only one “A.” Oh, she said, I know what we can do — she fished around for the letter “V” and turned it upside down at the end of her name. There — we can pretend that’s an A! (Jesus, I don’t think I ever would have thought of that.)
  • Currently, she’s into wearing a tail. She saw one of the characters on “The Fresh Beat Band” dressed up in a monkey suit and sporting a long tail. She dug the sassy look. So we tied a long shoe string onto the tag in the back of her pajama pants and she’s been wearing it around, swinging it as she walks and reminding us not to step on her tail. She clearly thinks it’s the coolest fashion accessory ever (or at least a close second to things that sparkle.)
  • We’ve been joking that she’s a “hoarder” at bedtime — when we go up to her room to straighten up in the morning, it’s like she’s created her own little eco-system on and around her bed. She’s got her stuffed animals, Barbie, a beloved giant unicorn, an ever-changing array of books, glow-in-the-dark moonstones, tiaras, jewelry, and tiny rhinestones all over the place and all very carefully arranged. It’s pretty entertaining to see how she recreates the artful display nightly.
  • She often enjoys communicating by gesture rather than boring old words — why just speak, when you can create your own language through hand signals and body movements? (As you might imagine, this one gets a little tiresome for the moms — can’t you just TELL me what you want instead of doing an interpretive dance sequence that I have to translate?)
  • She rocked it out at the school dance sharing. The kids in her class were split up into three lines of dancers — she was the leader in the first line, and nervous, I could tell, but also thrilled with the position. She gamely led them all off to move across the stage pretending to be different kinds of animals — she galloped, rolled, crawled, skipped, hopped, and spun with enthusiasm, energy, and happiness to spare. I thought my heart would literally burst out of my chest with pride, and I thought — for a fleeting, insane moment — that I’d happily plan ten Touch-a-Truck school fundraisers if it meant I could see more of what I was watching.

M. — a bit of a mystery in some ways. But our mystery. We love her, and she’s certainly never boring.

Do you have a spirited child? How do you deal with it? Have you read the book?


Magnolia on Having Two Moms, Shiny Brite, and a Few of Her Favorite Things

Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas: the Rainbow Connection Edition

Are Boys Easier Than Girls?

art by M.

"My triangle and rectangle turned into a house!"

Weekly Menu, March 20-26 All Hail the Spring Equinox

Last week was, in many ways, a typical whirlwind with parent-teacher conferences, touch-a-truck drama, and after-work obligations. And yet as the week progressed, and the weather got warmer, you could feel everyone’s mood lighten. By Friday, I was walking with bare legs & open toes down Broadway singing along to Jackson Browne’s Somebody’s Baby; to my mind a quintessential summer song. It’s all happening, peeps. Tonight, at 7:21 pm, we officially enter spring.

Yes, rain and snow is forecasted for Wednesday. Doesn’t matter. Winter is going down. And in the face of all the news of the world, this one true thing fills me with optimism, like Jasper singing in his sweet voice “don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing, is gonna be alright.”

Photo by Ali Smiles

Happy spring, everyone!

Weekly Menu:

Sunday: Supposed to be a warmish day, so I’m thinking Lemongrass-Cilantro Grilled Chicken with Honey Dipping Sauce à la Food & Wine. Scallion rice as a side.

Monday: If the rain comes as forecasted, we’ll all be in the mood for Spaghetti Carbonara & Salad

Tuesday: Ancho-Shrimp Quesadillas (inspired by Homesick Texan). The New York Times posted some great quesadilla recipes this week for those of you looking for inspiration.

Wednesday: Back to Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table for Roast Chicken for Les Paresseux (lazy people).  Sautéed green beans on the side.

Thursday: Black Bass & Vegetables in Foil adapted from The New York Times

Friday: Seems like the day to order out. Fornino’s, here we come.

Saturday: Been dying to try the slow-braised Thai Spareribs from the February 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. Cold Thai beer, cilantro-sesame rice. Yum.

Photo by Hans Gissinger for Bon App

Have a sunny week!

March 19 – 20: Weekend Links for Brooklyn Mamas

awesome allie first kid astronaut

Possibly on tap for the weekend….

Think this play from the Vital Theater, Awesome Allie: First Kid Astronaut, looks like loopy fun. — Mommy Poppins

Another theater option is Mischief, from the New Victory. It combines dance, clowning, and puppetry. — TimeOut New York Kids

And, from New York magazine’s fab “Best of New York” issue, love their pick for Best Anti-Ballet Class: It’s the super-cool-sounding Kid’s Circus Sampler class at the Circus Warehouse in Queens — so bummed my kids aren’t old enough for it. (It’s ages 7 – 11.) But maybe yours are! There are still a few spots left in their Saturday class.

Last: A repeat visit to Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain may be in order. I could totally use a Cherry Lime Rickey pick-me-up.

Happy Weekend!



4 Questions for Samantha Razook Murphy, Founder of Curious Jane Camp for Girls

curious jane camp

"Powered by girls."

Samantha Razook Murphy

Samantha, with her daughters.

We’ll be away during July this summer (yippeeee!), but back in Brooklyn in August with a whole lotta nothin’ to do. Which means: Time to deal with summer camp.

We’ve done the Prospect Park Y and Beansprouts, our old nursery school. But the kids are older now and it’s time to try something new.

When I heard — randomly, at a party in Manhattan — about Curious Jane Camp, I knew I wanted to explore it for M., and I did.

Curious Jane is an all-girls camp setting with a focus on science, design, and creativity. The goal is to empower young girls to become independent problem-solvers by experimenting in a fun environment. I thought M., a creative thinker with her own world view, would love it. And she spends so much time with her older brother and boy friends in Pre-K, I thought the girls-only setting would be an interesting twist for her.

So I signed her up! And then was dying to speak to Samantha Razook Murphy, the camp’s founder, about how Curious Jane came to be. Happily, she agreed!

Samantha, who holds a BA from Yale and a Masters in Industrial Design from Pratt, was inspired to create Curious Jane and Blue Tree, a camp for older girls, by her daughters. She wanted to give them — and all girls — a chance to learn, explore, and be creative in a high-energy, gender-affirming space.

I asked her a few questions about how it all came together….

I know you were inspired by your girls to create Curious Jane — but wow! You began in 2009 and now have Curious Jane, Jane Jr for younger girls, Blue Tree for older girls, and camps in multiple locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and beyond. How did you make *that* happen, lady?

Yes, our first programs opened in summer 2009. Prior to that I had spent a lot of time in all-girls residential programs and balanced that with a fair amount of design work and teaching (my background is in graphic and industrial design).

The honest answer is, in 2008, my husband and I had to make some major changes professionally, and this became the “opportunity” for me to quickly start something new! With my background in residential camps, Blue Tree was a natural extension and allowed me to choose and shape the classes that I wanted to offer. Basically I thought — as a somewhat shy, nerdy, creative teen girl — “I would have loved something like this!”

Curious Jane popped into my mind a few weeks later — just as you said, inspired by my girls and, specifically, their age. I figured if we were doing this for the older girls, why not bring it to a younger set? I was surprised by the positive impact the all-girl environment had on girls of a younger age. Curious Jane was incredibly well-received by families and, from the first to the second year, grew by over 500%. We were able to move out of my home and into a little office — and I was able to bring Jen (my right-hand woman) in with me to help develop and grow the programs.

I tend to be a “tortoise” who surrounds herself with “hares.” And while I wouldn’t have naturally grown as quickly — family, friends, co-workers, camp families — all told me, yes, you can take the programs here and here and here. And so we have!

We’ve added after-school programs, summer camp locations, and a social media presence (thanks to a close friend and her web group). It’s been a group effort and lots of people in many different circles have played a part.

What can Curious Jane offer girls that other camps would not? If you had to really distill it, what sets it apart?

The all-girls environment. The staff. The variety of project-based “themes” all under one roof.

The program and all-girls setting also draw a fantastic staff who are just as enthusiastic about this type of program as the campers are. It’s a creative, supportive, open setting. We consciously remove any emphasis on finding the “right” answer, and our goal becomes instead to try it out and see what happens.

And it’s nice that families can sign their daughters up for one camp/location that offers a lot of varied, fun activities. In three weeks, a camper could take Toy Design, Robotics, and our Magazine class. I look to my own girls, their friends, and my campers for hints on what to offer.

There are so many options out there for NYC parents. What have you learned they really want and are most impressed by in a camp experience?

I find that parents need something that fits their schedules; they like to work with programs that are flexible and take the time to get to know them and understand their logistical needs. They are also looking for something that their children want to go to each morning. If their daughter wakes up saying “great, I’m ready for Curious Jane” or comes home saying “I did the neatest thing today!” — that makes all the difference for a parent.

Parents don’t necessarily like a day packed with trips and they do like programs that are smaller in scale. If the staff is friendly and energetic, and their child is having a fun time with their projects and friends — that’s perfect.

I see you offer some cool-sounding weekend workshops for girls in 1st – 5th grade. What else is next or new for Curious Jane?

We have lots going on. Remember, I’m the tortoise! So I have my nose to the grindstone preparing for summer — there are lots of new projects and activities I want to bring into the camp. Our weekend workshops are small and a great way for families to “test-drive” us as well as for me to get a chance to be hands-on with the girls.

We have our after-school classes going on. I’m very excited about some recent collaborations; I’m contributing projects for the Kid DIY section of momfilter, and this summer, campers will have a chance to contribute work to Kiki Magazine. My voice will be backing out of our blog a bit, as girls contribute more work and ideas, and the blog will become truly “powered by girls.”

Cool — I’m so impressed, and excited for Magnolia to join you in August! Thanks, Samantha!

Want a chance to win a FREE WEEK of camp for your daughter? Of course you do! Enter to win now through March, 29 over at Curious Jane. And, while you’re there, see Samantha‘s list of “10 Tips to Help You Choose the Perfect Camp.”

Calling Kids of All Ages: Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn, April 9, 11am – 2pm, Rain or Shine!

Touch a Truck Brooklyn

Chrissy and I are excited to tell you about — and if you live in Brooklyn or nearby, invite you to! — a cool event we’ve been working on since last November. And by “working on,” I mean “devoting our lives to.” It’s been fun, but also overwhelming (more on that in another post. Maybe.)

Anyway, on to Touch-a-Truck Brooklyn!

What it is: A fun, exciting event where kids can climb in the driver’s seat of the trucks they see in everyday life — and some unusual ones, too — to “drive” and explore them with the help of the person who brought the vehicle. Admission: $5 a person; kids under two FREE. All proceeds will benefit the arts programs at P.S. 295, The Studio School of Arts & Culture (the elementary school Jasper and Magnolia attend.)

Vehicles scheduled to come include:

* FDNY fire engine

* NYPD police cruiser

* garbage truck

* tow truck

* dump truck

* concrete mixer

* ambulance

* vintage Airstream trailer

* a moving van

* The Truck Farm, a traveling garden and CSA

* The BioBus, a mobile science lab on wheels — sponsored by Target!

* vintage soda truck + other vintage cars from the Brooklyn Antique Automobile Association

* The Chip Shop delivery car, a funky little British ride

* and more!

There will be yummy food, too: Know how popular NYC food trucks have become? Well, we’ll have some of the best on hand selling sweet and savory treats:

* Frites ‘N’ Meats, selling their amazing burgers, fries, and hot dogs

* Country Boys Foods, selling delicious tacos and more — they’re one of the famed vendors from the uber-popular Red Hook ball fields

* The Treats Trucks, selling a variety of yummy sweet treats to please both kids + parents.

Where the idea for Touch-a-Truck came from: As New York City’s public schools face dire budget cuts, parents are looking for new and creative ways to raise money to benefit them. Chrissy and I attended a Touch-a-Truck fundraiser at a school in Connecticut and thought it would be cool to transport the idea to Brooklyn. So, yo — we did!

And we got some generous sponsors on board to help — TAT would like to thank:

TargetUnion MarketGreschlers’ HardwareStomping Ground PhotographyQuadrozzi Concrete Park Slope PlumbingPaul SignsSidecarAstoria Federal SavingsEagle Provisions

So mark your calendar and come join us! With help from others, we’ve worked hard to make this happen for P.S. 295, our children, and kids all over Brooklyn.

Now let’s get down with some big, bad trucks — and awesome food — on April 9! See you there!

Weekly Menu, March 13 – 19 Bring on the Warm Weather

Last week my (very brief business) trip to Florida left me longing—even more than usual—for summer. Short sleeves, short skirts, dresses, bare feet, and most importantly: the beach the beach the beach. Sand between my toes, sun beating down, listening to waves pulling at the shore, star-lit nights. And temps above 70 degrees. Sigh. I’ll have to wait until school break in April to put my bare feet in the sand again.

So this week, the menu is all about hurrying to my favorite season.

It’s not that I don’t like spring. I’m thrilled that the perennial tulips I planted two years ago are coming up as promised for their second showing, and that the daffodils are filling in around the yard. Even the finicky French tulips seem to be making a play for a second year. I can’t wait to see the Japanese Magnolia bloom, and the almost fluorescent color of the new green leaves on the trees.

It’s just I’m impatient; I want what I want when I want it. And I want summer now.


Weekly Menu, the I Want Summer Edition

I’ve got charcoal for one grill and an extra tank of propane for the other, so we’re ready to go!

Sunday: Spice-Rubbed Chicken and Vegetable Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Chipotle Cream, a summer fave.

Monday: Pasta with Corn, Tomatoes, and Basil. This is one we make over and over June-September. Sometimes we throw in bacon, sometimes goat cheese. Since it’s hardly corn & tomato season, tonight we’ll probably throw in both.

Tuesday: Grilled Steak, with Arugula & Shaved Parmesan

Wednesday: Black Bean and Feta Tacos with Slawcooks up in 10 minutes via Smit Kit

Thursday: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables

Friday: Grilled Salmon with Chili Glaze and Salad

Saturday: Grilled Pizza with Fontina and Prosciutto

May all your days this week be warm (or warmer).

Better, yes?

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