Monday, March 30, 2009


Crack with a remote control

Crack laced with heroin in Italy

Heroin crack with adrenaline and a diamond

Crack-heroin-crack layers dipped in caramel and double coated with Jacques Torres chocolate, which also contains crack

And that's all I'm going to say about that...

for now.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Happy 4th

Some people say it goes fast. And it does in a way - they grow and change so quickly it's amazing to behold. But in another way it slows the passage of time down to a crawl. It feels like we've been parents forever, or at least longer than four years. And it all started with her:

Hazel turned 4 yesterday. Thursday night we had a family party with dinner, cake* and presents.Ginger couldn't stand it so we relit the candles for her. And she was heavily involved in the present-opening.

At preschool Hazel was the special person of the week all week, with her pictures on the bulletin board. And then on her actual birthday she was the special helper and I was the cooperator so I could bring cupcakes* and take pictures. As usual, it was all unbelievably cute.

I've been telling her "I love you" more often the last few days. They're pathetically inadequate words but I know she understands the feelings I'm trying to convey because she looks me in the eye and smiles big each time. She knows I think she's amazing. She knows I love her to death. And she knows being a 4-year-old is super hot stuff.

*What did we bake for Hazel's birthday? I'll post them this week on The VGP.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

National Building Museum

Last weekend Hazel's friend Levi had his birthday party at the National Building Museum. His dad is an architect so it seemed only fitting. I'd heard of the museum, and vaguely knew they had stuff for kids there, but I'd never gotten around to going, partially discouraged by the unknown parking situation. It was tight but we found a meter spot as someone was leaving. It's literally across the street from the Judiciary Square metro station, so maybe in the future we'd take the metro. As we entered the building, this is what we saw:
It was breathtaking. Cavernous. Palatial. I immediately envisioned bringing kids here on a cold or rainy day to run around, though the running part might not be allowed. Hazel was fascinated with the fountain and probably could have stood and watched it all day. But we were late for a party upstairs.
The party was great. Adorable. We started with building, of course.
And knocking down.
Then a NBM worker read us a book about trains, handed out engineer hats, and opened bins of craft materials for the kids to make their own train cars.

Then we sang Happy Birthday to Levi and ate cake and juice. The museum gave him a t-shirt from the gift shop, and everyone got pencils and patches to take home.

After the party we wandered around the museum a little. On the other side was this transportation street projection thing. It has sensors so when you stand on a bus, car or bike and then walk, the vehicle moves and stops with you. The girls were entranced. We probably hung out there for 20 minutes, and Hazel was sweating from running back and forth, and never tired of it. We finally had to pull her away, literally kicking and crying.
On the way out I popped my head in the Building Zone, a building playroom just for 2-to-6-year olds. We didn't have time to stay and play, but I put it on my mental list.
As you can see, I'm actually learning there are some cool things to do with kids in and around DC. And the parking and traffic so far have not even approached New York, so I'm getting braver and more confident to go into the city. Speaking of, check out my VGP post on Georgetown Cupcake - yum! And with spring and summer approaching, well, there's almost no end to the possibilities!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday Field Trip: Botanic Garden

Last week the Thursday field trip was a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden, just south of the Capitol on Capitol Hill. It was the maiden voyage of the new minivan into the city, and I lucked out with a close - and roomy! - metered spot, phew.

We came here with Ed in January when they had a massive miniature village & trains set up everywhere, and it was magical. This time it was a simpler, and less crowded, pleasure, but still a pleasure to wander through room after room of plants representative of different ecosystems and climates.
Everyone took turns looking at the map to decide where to go next.

In the west gallery was an interactive "Plants and Culture" exhibit, where we spent the most time. This table taught about scents, how they're extracted, and where they're used.
This one taught about plants and cultural rituals, like henna for tattooing, tabacco for smoking, coffee and chocolate for drinking.
And this column told about plants whose names are used for people names, like this one:

When we were done, it was raining outside, so we had to scrap our plans for a Capitol Hill picnic lunch. But since we had 30 minutes left on the meter, and a room-on-wheels, we sat in the van and had our picnic there. The girls fell asleep on the way home and I didn't even get lost.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Earring Gods Have Spoken

Sheesh, this earring giveaway was more fun than I even thought. I mean, simple, yes, but super fun. I printed off everyone's name and choices, then folded the papers and had Ed choose eight. Then we laid them all out and placed a pair of earrings on each name so that each person got one of her top three. I'm so glad everyone liked different ones. And now here I am posting the winners.

FYI, I've been bead shopping this week so watch this space for another giveaway in the next month or so. Just too much fun.

See below for winners. No promises when these will go out, but eventually. Take note if I need your address.

Drumroll, please.....



REBECCA (need your address)

RACHEL (need your address again)


MAGGIE (need your address)




Monday, March 23, 2009

Tex-Mex Calzones with Black Bean Salad

These are from the latest issue of Cooking Light, and totally good. Pillsbury pizza dough isn't too bad on the fat and calories like I expected, not like their biscuits or crescent rolls, and it tastes great. I couldn't find thin crust, so I got classic. And pay attention to your salsa verde - Mrs. Renfroe's is smoking hot while Trader Joe's is quite mild, and there's everything in between. I accidentally made them too hot for the kids, a mistake I won't make again. These are going in my regular recipe rotation.

8 oz. ground turkey breast
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fat-free salsa verde
1 (11 oz.) can refrigerated thin-crust pizza dough
3/4 cup (3 oz.) preshredded Mexican blend cheese
Cooking spray or parchment
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 425. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add ground turkey to pan; cook 3 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion and next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring mixture occasionally. Remove turkey mixture from heat; stir in salsa.
2. Unroll dough; divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 4 x 6 inch rectangle. Working with one rectangle at a time spoon about 1/2 cup turkey mixture on one side of dough. Top with 3 T cheese; fold dough over turkey mixture, and press edges together with a fork to seal. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray or parchment. Repeat with remaining dough and turkey mixture. Bake at 425 for 12 minutes or until edges are browned. Serve with sour cream. Makes 4 calzones

Black Bean Salad:
1 (15 oz.) can rinsed and drained black beans
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 T fresh lime juice
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
1 T olive oil

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.
Recipes from Cooking Light, March 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thursday Field Trip: Puppet Show

My friend Rebecca puts together "Thursday Field Trips" for a bunch of Mom friends. It's actually every other Thursday, with a big break over the winter holidays, but we just started up again, and with a bang. On March 5 we all drove downtown, actually found street parking (I keep thinking it's going to be as bad as New York but the few times I've gone haven't been), and gathered in the Smithsonian Discovery Theater for Bob Brown's Penguin Playground. Bob Brown has been doing marionette shows for years, and I even remember seeing him perform at Wolf Trap when I was little.The theater was a small room, about the size of two living rooms, with chairs around the edges for grown-ups, a taped aisle down the middle, and kids sitting on the floor. There was no photography allowed during the show. It was a cute performance - Bob came out in all black and had a number of penguin puppets he brought out for short skits like walking a tight rope, juggling, ice skating, etc., all set to upbeat charleston-style music. Most of the numbers also involved him talking to the puppets and them somehow disobeying or slightly disrespecting him so that the kids roared with laughter. In fact, I watched Hazel and she was absolutely undone with belly laughing, the kind that warms a mother to the heart. Ginger liked it too but wasn't catching everything Hazel was.

After the show we hung out by a wishing well in the hall before bundling back up for the trek to the car. It was so much fun, the kind of thing that might take me years to learn about and actually get around to doing on my own. So thank goodness for Thursday Field Trips!

In front of a spider sculpture outside the Hirschhorn (modern art) museum on the way back to the car.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Earring Giveaway Extravaganza

Enough with these one-pair-at-a-time giveaways! I got together with my jewelry friends last week and busted out EIGHT pairs for your winning pleasure. Here's what you do:

1. Scroll down and look at all the earrings. That's right, I named them.

2. Place a comment listing your top three favorites in order. Make sure your name links to someway to contact you or that I know how to reach you if you win.

3. On Monday, March 23 I'll pull names from a hat and start figuring out winners. Good luck to all!

Midnight Rendezvous





Ladies Night
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