Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • User Post: Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa

    Our garden finally decided to be a garden and grow a couple of tomatoes and zucchini. This summer was a bit cooler than usual, so the rest of my stuff (peppers, herbs, artichokes) didn't really take off. But, the other day, I had a good handful of happy stuff and while savoring the wonderfully fresh smell of my collection, I had an idea.

    Roasted summer vegetable quinoa.

    You know I love quinoa (here, here, and here) and it really is a super-food often overlooked. It's also not challenging to work with and is very versatile. This recipe is so easy and can be adapted for whatever veggies or flavors you like. This healthy side can be on the table in less than 30-minutes perfect for lunch as is or for a side dish at dinner topped with grilled fish or chicken.

    And, it's super yummy.


    4 cups cooked quinoa

    1 zucchini chopped

    1 large tomato chopped

    1 small onion or shallot chopped

    1 cob of corn (corn cut from cob)

    1 garlic clove sliced

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Tints and shades with Joseph Albers

    My previous installment of exploring fine art for kids got some interesting reviews over at Shine from Yahoo!. Go ahead and check out the comments and come back if you would like, but, basically I had a critic of my creative ideas. Yeah, his feeling was that instead of being fun and educational, these art activities are creating mediocre kids.

    Well. Get over it.

    I'm happy creating a mass of "mediocre" children that have fun while discovering the wonder of color, line, shape, design, and art. Yup. Art.

    If you're with me, I encourage you to share your fantastic art activities that you enjoy doing with your kids at the end of my arty project posts - or please share them around your network.

    Let's keep creativity fun, spontaneous, and exciting.

    And this project is a great way to explore the wonders of color and design with a modern artist that has definitely influenced the way the world looks at art. Sure, Joseph Albers isn't a household name, but his simplified

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  • Summer sun flower prints

    The last couple of days have been nice and warm at my house, almost as if summer is making its last-ditch effort on some hot, sun-filled days. I figured we'd take advantage and head outdoors to use that sun for an art activity with an end result we would both love.

    The sun is hot, and along with offering us warmth and energy, it also has the ability to fade items left outdoors basking it its glow. So using a piece of construction paper as a base for some flowers is a simple way to create a sun print that will remind your child of the long summer days.

    This project is super easy and can be accomplished by any age level. Just offer some assistant with the second part of the project if working with younger kids. Start by heading outdoors and collecting any summer flowers that your child thinks will leave a nice print. Once she's got a nice collection, she can place a sheet of construction paper (any color works fine) in a sun-filed spot that isn't breezy - you don't want

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Getting messy with Kenneth Noland

    This "back-to-school" talk just doesn't seem right. I see the kids shuffling about with their overloaded backpacks and wish there were a couple more weeks of summer to enjoy. We're heading back to preschool in September, so I figured we should take advantage of the time we have left and do some super fun - and messy - art projects.

    Kenneth Noland is the last artist that might come to mind when thinking about making a mess. His paintings of circles and other geometric shapes are precise, edged, and clean. A few of his creations venture a bit into the crazy painter arena with some smudged lines and coloring outside the lines. But, for the most part, Noland's artworks are all about detailed and crisp creations showcasing shapes and lines - mostly circles. And, you know how much we love circles at my house!

    The perfect messy art project came to mind while I was gathering up a few random lengths of string. One of Noland's paintings, Heat, 1958, popped into my head while I

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  • User Post: Mushroom spore prints

    While playing in the yard the other day, the tot stumbled upon some mushrooms growing in a happy moist corner of the garden. Yeah, some "wild" mushrooms can be harmful if eaten or even touched, but, these were the safe kind - pretty much what you pick up at your grocery store. But, I wasn't about to toss them in a sauté pan with some garlic. Nope. I had other plans for those mushrooms.

    We carefully picked the mushrooms and then went on a garden scavenger hunt searching out any others. We took our happy little discoveries upstairs and spent a little time taking a closer look at those mushrooms. These fleshy earthy flavored fungi are a favorite of many. And mushrooms aren't just for slicing and dicing, they can create art too.

    Packed inside the delicate gills are tons of spores, which help propagate more mushrooms. And those spores can be turned into a really cool experiment with totally creative results.

    Mushroom spore prints.

    Hey, if you aren't up for hunting

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  • User Post: Sun Melted Crayon Creation

    I don't know about you, but the sun is shining strong at our house. Sure, we have a bit of morning fog, but by mid-morning, our sky is free of any clouds and the sun holds its own high in the sky. The other day while we were outside playing, the tot left a crayon outside, resulting in a big melty mess for me to deal with later in the day. Crayons are mostly oil along with an itty-bit of color pigment mixed in. While I was slaving away cleaning that mess, I got an idea for a fun way to explore the wonders of melty crayons.

    Science and art really go hand-in-hand. They both often use the concept of experimentation and sometimes the result is unsure. Artists try new materials to create interesting artworks and scientists write out a hypothesis when testing theories. I figured we could do the same with this exciting summer art experiment.

    This is a great project for kids aged 6 and up. You may have to offer a helping hand at some points with the younger ones, but, for the

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  • Onesie/T-shirt Bag

    I finally went through all the old clothes stuffed in the wee tot's drawers and found so many onesies full of stains and stuff. Sure, they were clean, but they had endured the wonders of baby-hood and were ready to move on to the world of Goodwill. But, before dropping them off, I pulled a couple that I had other plans for.

    My daughter loves bags. She turns pretty much anything into a carrying implement and then attempts to shove as much stuff into it as possible. She's transformed the husband's socks, an old ring box, and even wrapped paper towels into ways to carry all her goodies. I knew we could turn that onesie into something fun she could proudly trot around with.

    But, we had to do something about those stains first.

    So, we got out a few simple materials and got started. This is a great project for old t-shirts, too! And, the younger set, aged four and up, can have fun with this (even the adult ones). In fact, I really got into making a few old t-shirt bags

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Pepper Prints with Edward Weston

    There's nothing cooler than when you look at something in a new way. Edward Weston turned simple things into superior works of art by changing up our idea of perception. Weston was an American fine art photographer taking pictures of just about anything in the 1920′s. His close-up images of various items from nudes to heads of lettuce (really) gained the attention of the art world - and regular people who found his pictures stunning. And let me tell you, Weston's ability to grab you by your eyes and suck you in is addictive. Once you see one photograph you like, you just want more.

    One of his most iconic images is of a pepper. His ability to focus on the graceful angles, curved textures, and light and shadow of the simple natural form proves his talent. I can't deny that Weston has been a big influence on my interest in photography and inspiration to keep searching for unique ways to turn the norm into something spectacular.

    So, the other day when red peppers were on

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  • User Post: Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

    This week got away from me. Between our dishwasher drama, picking out the right one, and then spending about three hours entertaining the plumber while he was installing it, I'm ready for the weekend. But, I had made a promise earlier in the week, and I wasn't going to let the day end without making things right.

    We got an amazing deal on our new dishwasher thanks to some awesome guys that work at our local OSH. I promised I was going to bring them cookies because they were so wonderful while trying to hook me up with the dishwasher I wanted at the right price while maintaining composure while my tot screamed, "NOnooooonononNONONONOOOOOO."

    Even enticing her with shiny light up buttons on the washing machines didn't help.

    But these guys kept their cool, and even after we made the initial purchase and they discovered we could get the dishwasher for less, our guy called us up and told us to come back in. Yeah, that's right. He called us, re-did the whole transaction,

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  • User Post: Carrot Surprise Muffins

    I bought too many carrots. Last week I was really excited about the idea of getting back into juicing and making our own juices at home. I made the mistake of offering the child some of the flavorful stuff from the store the other day, and now it's her new favorite thing - JUICE! I have nothing against juice - it's just that some have a lot of sugar and natural/organic juice is expensive.

    Thus, the 5-pound bag of carrots sitting in the back of the fridge.

    I made a big pitcher of carrot-apple juice about two weeks ago and we guzzled it down. But, I lost my juice-making-chutzpah last week, and I'm totally not feeling it today.

    Carrots are full of goodies, like antioxidants, which keep the body healthy and working wonderfully. Along with vitamin A to help eye function and development, they contain beta-carotene, which keeps us looking young by fighting cell damage.

    I couldn't let those lovely carrots go to waste...


    I had a couple of random

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