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Archive for August, 2012

Aside from the thought provoking show on the 6th floor, the MoMA hosted a Pop Up Adventure Play workshop for kids (in the basement of the research area) where kids could build a shelter out of recycled materials. This is about the most exciting thing Ezra can do on a rainy day… and it was a perfect activity that kept him occupied while his sister napped in the stroller. At first he built his first shelter – and some little girls liked it so much that he offered it to them and announced that he would build an extension and become their neighbor. (Thank you Pop Up Adventure Play for reminding us of how simple play can be with the most basic materials.)

Sadly I was not allowed to take photos in the Century of the Child exhibit but it had some great things on view for adults – like some of Ms Montessori’s handmade toys and a vintage Barbie House. See the website here and walk through the last century of how children have been perceived by adults culturally, and how it plays into marketing toys and childhood.

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The great advantage to living in Queens (among other advantages) is feeling like the US Open is a neighborhood affair! Over the weekend we got to Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day for the 3rd year in a row. Ezra loves checking out some of the newest Mercedes models (and got to meet the company president, as well as my favorite Olympic star/gymnast from my youth Nadia Comaneci). Zoe loved the face painting and tennis players on stilts, and we even got to watch Roger Federer play a round or two!


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Now that we are back home – kicking around in our own neighborhood for the most part – we are finding local fun things to do . One exciting event that’s coming to our backyard soon is the US Open and our little family has discovered that we love tennis. I’ve never hit a ball around in my life and now even I cannot get enough of it. And that tiny tennis racket that my husband gave to Ezra when he was a baby – it’s finally getting some use. Meanwhile recently there was a ’10 And Under’ Tennis day in our VERY local park. We got a lot of play time and instruction AND got to register for free tennis lessons in the fall! Ezra was even interviewed for a local news channel, NY1. US Open, here we come!

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It’s always nice to come home from traveling around to other places, and get to visit some famous places in Queens. One such place is Louis Armstrong’s house just several blocks from us in Corona Queens. As the story goes – Louis went off on tour and when he returned his wife had purchased this home in the neighborhood where she grew up … and they lived there until his and her deaths. The fact that such a famous couple lived in such a modest neighborhood is still endearing to everyone who lives there or visits.
Every year the museum throws a block party with new jazz musicians featured and – we love this part the best – they open up Satchmo’s garden back yard to viewers. We love sitting back there. The house tour is great as well — we particularly loved the blue kitchen with appliances hidden in the counter tops!

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Some time ago we saw the Figment show at Governors Island – and I completely forgot about the photos I took until now. We love Governors Island because the kids always love a ride on the ferry, and the island is ‘car free’ so we can scoot and bike everywhere. The forts on the island are particularly interesting as well.
Of course being such a huge fan of tree houses – I found the piece by Benjamin Jones to be the most exciting piece in the show. You can see it in the photos below and it’s my newest dream house to date. The ‘giant hands’ were great too and Zoe loved the dress up aspect of the day.

(Another momma blogger from our ‘hood posted some images of Figment as well … check them out here – and note I’m not alone in my tree house lust!)

Looking at Manhattan from Governors Island:


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Although it’s not quite the one year anniversary of EzraZoe blog, we are getting near to it. And my very first blog post was one on Ezra’s birthday — so when Ezra turned 6 last Saturday, I couldn’t help but think of these photos and how big he and his friends (and sister) have grown since only last summer! This year Ezra wanted to do something low key and intimate for his birthday – and we were so happy to oblige. On the night before his 6th birthday we poured over his ‘5th Birthday Book’ that I made for him last summer, and talked about how much he’s grown. I made him cupcakes with cars on top (still an Ezra favorite) after putting he and Zoe to sleep, and got his gifts ready for the next morning. He was so excited to wake to his special solar panel gift in the morning — yes, he’s obsessed with solar power lately and plans on designing solar powered cars when he grows up. What curiosity will be next?

Just a tip – to make the best ongoing gift for your kid’s birthday simply print out photos from birth on, staple them together and write something memorable (or simple) on each page. It’s a gift that kids never tire of … a book about themselves!

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We went to a children’s ‘Lunch Hour’ event at the main branch of the New York Public Library. Cookie Monster acted as sous chef to celebrity chef Rocco Dispirito – a chef from around our neighborhood (Queens) which made him particularly fun to blog about after being out of town for a few weeks. (As it turns out, Cookie Monster and Sesame Street characters hail from Queens as well.) Kids got to play with hand-out sticker books and coloring books until Cookie Monster arrived to toss most of the ingredients around the stage. Meanwhile Rocco dazzled parents with his white bean chocolate chip cookies. Yeah you heard right – he replaces flour (and gluten, and dairy and tons of sugar) with much healthier ingredients. And I’m telling you – the chocolate chip white bean cookies are TO DIE FOR. In the end you have a cookie that is 45-70 calories instead of the standard 200-400 calories for an average chocolate chip cookie. AND it’s still chewy and yummy. Good for parents and – with most the processed stuff out – good for kids too.

Get the recipe here (below the photos) or check out the library’s website, and happy baking!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes 12 large cookies, 74 calories each)
Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup canned white cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons agave nectar
3 large egg whites
4 packets (about 4 grams) powdered stevia, such as SweetLeaf
1/4 cup puffed millet cereal, such as Arrowhead Mills
1/4 cup mini chocolate chunks
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine vanilla, cocoa, cannellini beans, and agave, and blend the mixture until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl halfway through blending.

3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the stevia. Continue to beat the whites until they are creamy and nearly stiff. Add one-third of the egg-white mixture to the cocoa-bean mixture in the food processor. Blend to combine, about 30 seconds. In 2 batches, fold the lightened cocoa mixture into the egg whites until they are almost fully combined. Add the millet to the batter. Fold batter until the millet is evenly dispersed and cocoa mixture is completely incorporated.

4. Drop mounded spoonfuls of batter onto the prepared sheets. Spread butter out to form cookies about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and turbinado sugar on top of the cookies.

5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the pans one turn halfway through baking. Using a metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

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