Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Camping With Kids - Beyond the Essentials

You've pored over the camping checklists and packed all the necessities - but what about the fun? Here is my list to keep kids happy and active on the road and on the campground.

Bikes - If you bring no other activity you must bring bikes or scooters. I once saw kids "riding the loop" for over two hours. Make friends and ride the loop. Watch out for cars and don't forget the helmets!

Mad Libs - Great for the car ride and hanging at the site. Younger kids? Adults or older children can do the writing and reading.

Large, soft disc flyer - Frisbee is fun but getting hit in the nose by a plastic frisbee is not. Younger kids have a hard time with traditional frisbees but almost anyone can handle the big floppy flyers that are out now. Some models even fold up if you're short on space.

Track Ball - Easier and more fun than just plain catch. Family of four or more - buy extra rackets (and a few extra balls as they will get lost). Everyone loves that zip noise - it just screams camping. We also bring a soccer or kick ball as it's easy to start up a game with neighboring kids.

Cards & Games - An assortment of games is always good to have on hand - especially for rain and/or in the car. Some favorites: Blink, Uno, Jenga, Mancala and Rush Hour.

Art Supply Bag/Journal - Artist in the family? Pack a large ziplock with paper, small markers or crayons and scissors. A journal is also a great thing to pack for older kids - helps to keep that writing going in the summer!

Books - Always plan on a little tent time (rain or just a need to relax) - books are a great way to wind down. Pack some new and some old favorites. Trivia or informational books are good too - Guinness Book of World Records, Gross Facts or books about the nature and wildlife in the area where you will be camping.

Snacks - Make sure to pack lots of snacks - especially if you'll be hiking. There's nothing worse than a whiny kid on a beautiful hike. Low blood sugar = unhappy kid. Snacks are the answer. Pre-pack bags of trail mix, dried fruit, crackers, etc.

S'mores - Camping isn't camping without s'mores! Don't forget the sticks.

Now get out there!

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Clock

Have you seen this popular clock idea yet? The idea is so fun and the best part is it's so personal!  All you need are some fun family pictures, your choice of frames and now you can get the cute expression (time spent with family is worth every second) and the clock mechanism in a kit. Choose from over 50 colors for the wording to fit to your decor.

Click to order here.
This kit always sells out quickly! Taking pre-orders now and will ship later this month

View more vinyl designs or create your own at:

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Here is a photo to help you plan out your clock. You can choose different size or shape fames for a different look. Imagine the possibilities!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Uppercase Living - New Holiday Designs

New Holiday Designs Available Now! 

See more, design your own or purchase at:
Jessica Plesko - Uppercase Living Independent Demonstrator
Uppercase Living - fun and fabulous vinyl decor for your home and office.

Uppercase Living - New Thanksgiving Designs.

New Thanksgiving Designs From Uppercase Living!

See more, design your own or purchase at:
Jessica Plesko - Uppercase Living Independent Demonstrator
Uppercase Living - fun and fabulous vinyl decor for your home and office.

Uppercase Living - New Halloween Designs!

New Halloween Designs From Uppercase Living!

See more, design your own or purchase at:
Jessica Plesko - Uppercase Living Independent Demonstrator
Uppercase Living - fun and fabulous vinyl decor for your home and office.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Eat Your Greens

I've finally found a way to get Monkey to eat greens without complaint! I'm not promising this will work for you - but it's worth a shot. I first made these tacos without adding greens and they were a hit.  Another day I decided to make them again and I happened to have a huge amount of rainbow chard arrive in the CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) box (or "the food box" as Monkey likes to call it). So I decided to grab some of that, chop it really fine (I'm talking super fine - like I used to for spinach eggs back in the day). I threw it in and hoped for the best . . . the verdict? "These are even better mom!" The next time I tried kale and held my breath - success! So now I add even more of whatever hefty green I have on hand! So far it's worked every time (and he even knows they're in there now). He always brags about how he's getting so many nutrients as he scarfs his tacos (such a kiss ass). So now you can try it - but if you have a picky eater like mine and want to start small try it w/out the greens - then next time add a little and then if it's working for you - a lot!

I used to dice even smaller than this (when I was being sneaky)

Turkey, Chard and Potato Tacos

All of the following measurements are extremely arbitrary! So feel free to play around with the amounts.

1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion - chopped
1-2 garlic cloves diced
2-3 small potatoes (I've used yellow fingerling, baking, purple and new - they've all been good). Peeled and cut into one inch cubes.
1lb ground turkey (or a bit more)
taco seasoning of your choice
1 bunch of swiss chard, rainbow chard, kale or greens of your choice (you could try spinach but I like a heftier green) diced very small.
Small corn tortillas (18-20 or more)
Oil to crisp tacos (I use canola since it won't smoke like olive oil at higher temps)

1) In a skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and then the potato. You want to cook until the potatoes are tender. Sometimes I add a little water and put the lid on to steam it a bit (this also reduces the chance of the potatoes sticking to the pan).

2) When the potatoes are almost tender - add in the chopped greens. Cook until tender and turn off heat.

3) Simultaneously, in a separate pan, brown your turkey. Drain fat if it's too fatty but you usually won't have to. Season with taco seasoning. I like to put on my seasoning, add about a 1/4 cup of water and let simmer. You can use a packet or make your own.

4) Once the turkey is browned - add the potato mixture and mash with a potato masher. You want it all to mush together. This helps keep the taco filling together and insures your greens are all incorporated.

5) The next bit is a bit of an assembly line. You'll want to have a pan for your tortillas, the taco mixture and a pan with oil (on medium or med/high) to crisp your tacos. Just a small layer of oil is good.

6) Warm your tortillas - you'll want to make sure they harden a bit so you can fill the tacos and keep them shut with a toothpick w/out it ripping through.

7) Fill each tortilla with about 2-3 tablespoons of filling, fold in half and secure with a toothpick.

8) Place filled tacos in the hot oil to crisp the bottom - then lay on a plate lined with paper towels. I let them brown for a couple of minutes. I usually put them in the oil, then go back and get the newly warmed set of three tortillas - fill them and remove the crisped tacos - repeat, repeat, repeat.

Serve with salsa, sour cream and avocado - or whatever else you'd like!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Summer Reading

I've signed up Monkey for the summer reading program at the Seattle Library every year - even those years he couldn't walk or talk. It's a great program. Your child reads (or you read to your child) at least 10 books and you get a free paperback book AND a family pass to the Burke Museum. You can even sign up online! So do it now - now!

So we've done it every year and Monkey loved going to the library, getting the stickers, seeing his name on the wall, choosing a free book and the museum visit. But this year is especially exciting (mostly for me) because Monkey can start reading books on his own! We are going to head down to the library tomorrow after school to sign up. I'm giddy with anticipation.

I also heard about some other summer reading programs which I've yet to check out. So I'll link them here so YOU can. Then I googled and found some more. So let me know how it goes!

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading
Pottery Barn Summer Reading Challenge
Scholastic Summer Challenge
Half Price Books Feed Your Brain Summer Reading Program
Old Spaghetti Factory - Reading Can Be Magical

Wishing you were a kid again to cash in on all this action? Seattle Library has an adult reading program too - for every three books you read and comment on you get entered to win a Kindle.

Get reading!