Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • How to make a summer outdoor play teepee!

    I don't know about you, but I'm ready for summer! Between the crazy weather, trying to potty train the babe, and keeping up with the cooking, cleaning, cooking, cleaning, and cleaning, I've got my sights set on some exciting and fun family stuff. In just a couple of weeks the preschool the wee tot has been attending - and I've been helping out at - is closing up shop for the summer. I'm looking forward to a bit more free time, but know my daughter will miss her friends - and all the cool stuff at the school.

    I'm not looking forward to the loss of that bit-o-income. With less work comes less money.


    I needed some inspirational free activity ideas quick. We have been spending tons of time working outdoors turning the yard into more than just a dirt lot (which it REALLY was) and fixing up that dry, barren spa deck. But the tot was going to need more than bubbles and popsicles to fill her days.

    Yeah, there's lots of free family fun out there like going on a

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Stamps with Hokusai

    While the wind was blowing the other day, The Great Wave Off Kanagawa from Katsushika Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji came to mind. I felt like I was caught in the middle of one of those humongous waves riding out the storm. So, I figured while the weather outside wasn't offering up any fun-in-the-sun, the wee tot and I could create something pretty cool.

    Japanese woodprint artists would traditionally sign their names using carved stamps along the side of their finished works. Hokusai was known as a master of creating detailed but yet soft prints of everyday life, otherwise known as Ukiyo-e. During the early 1800's he meticulously created thirty-six wood blocks of Mount Fuji, which were enthusiastically appreciated by the western world and collected by famous artists, such as Claude Monet and Edward Degas. And, people of all ages still find his artworks stunning today.

    Well, my wee tot is a bit young to get out the wood carving tools - heck, I've done a number

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  • The Scribble Stage: Fun art activities for your little scribbler

    The moment a child figures out how to pick up a crayon, she begins an adventure through art from scribbling to realistic creations. Just like with learning how to read or write, children go through levels of development in art - and it is a fun and educational journey. And, with summer right around the corner, there are lots of exciting ways to keep those little hands busy - and out of trouble!

    The Scribble Stage

    Viktor Lowenfeld, an art education professor at Pennsylvania State University, published Creative and Mental Growth in 1947, detailing the development of art in children. His writing teaches the Stages of Artistic Development, which ties together the intellectual, emotional, and aesthetic growth of art in children. According to Lowenfeld, the first stage of a child's art development is the scribble stage. Youngsters, from birth to the age of four, explore their abilities to make marks using various materials, including that pen you left out on your home's

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  • The food tyrant vs. pizza poptarts

    The other day while we were at the preschool, one of the boys had a slice pizza for lunch. My daughter hadn't seen pizza before (yes, gasp), and she was slightly interested. You see, pizza contains the dreaded tomato, and the food tyrant had refused to touch, smell, or eat anything containing any of the red stuff. So, I was totally surprised to hear, "pizza" from the back seat the entire ride home. I figured I could make pizza, but in an easier-to-eat-less-mess version perfect for the little ones, which cleverly hides that tomato by making...

    Pizza poptarts!

    These are totally easy to make, and for those of you not interested in putting together stuff from scratch, you can use frozen pizza dough and your favorite pasta sauce. I decided to take things a bit further by making our own pizza dough and fresh tomato paste with a couple of tomatoes that were just begging to be eaten.


    1 package yeast

    1 cup warm water - about 100 degrees Fahrenheit

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  • Summer outdoor art activites

    With the weather finally seeming like spring (what was up with that rain last week?!), summer is right around the corner. I am dedicating myself to spending more time outdoors and using the grill this summer. You see, the wonderful grill was out on our newly renovated spa deck, which was great and all, until it was time to grill. The deck is right off our bedroom located down the stairs and around the corner from our upstairs kitchen. Who wants to trek raw meat through the house? Not I! So, last summer that grill sat in the corner of the spa deck collecting wasps.


    After we re-did the deck, the grill ended up in a much better location, and I was ready to entertain again! When having guests over, I like to keep things light, simple, and super easy. This way I can keep one hand free for eating and the other for helping out the wee tot if she needs assistance. I found some fantastic ideas for eating nice and light from my friends over at Ladies' Home Journal, which

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Expressing with Haring

    What I love about Keith Haring's art is that it is what it is. His images are simple with prominent strong black lines and areas of color. An American artist that grew up in the 1970's, Haring was a bit different and hooked in with the alternative art crew thriving in New York during the late 70's. His buddies, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, took art outside the typical gallery and museum setting and hit the streets, bringing graffiti art to the mainstream. In the mid 80's Haring found the perfect canvas for his art - unused subway panels. He used white chalk to create hundreds of images that entertained and moved the viewer.

    His childlike style was eye-catching and different from anything else in the art world, and Haring began to gain attention from museums and galleries. He remained true to his unique style until his death in 1990. Let's be honest, some of Haring's images aren't for the kiddies, but he is an inspiration and wonderful influence to all

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  • Recycled plastic bag pompom flowers

    We survived our spring garden cleaning spree and have been enjoying the benefits of a nice green yard and some happily sprouting veggies. Amazingly, the wee tot has really gotten into gardening and actually has been listening when asked to stop pulling the plants out, but instead to put them back IN the ground. So, now she happily digs up the few plants in her little garden and then re-plants them.

    Hey, it keeps her busy.

    A few flowers are starting to raise their heads to the sun and the temps are steady in the upper 70's and low 80's making me feel more like summer than spring. But, our indoors reek of winter. There are big blankets everywhere, a fireplace that needs cleaning, and some dowdy place mats and dishes hanging about. The real issue is the wee tot's room. Now that she's progressing from baby to toddler, it was time to up-date her room with some summer style.

    Those flowers were my inspiration for my complete Internet search, looking for some fun ideas and

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  • I don't know about you, but my plans for Mother's Day include chocolate. Lots of chocolate. One of my favorites of all chocolate goodies is chocolate soufflé. The last time I attempted these oh-so-decadent soufflés, I headed for failure with a daunting recipe, and was also majorly distracted when my daughter fell down the stairs, so I figured it was time for a re-try.

    And, with Mother's Day just days away, why not give myself a little pre-mama day treat?!

    So, while the babe was blissfully slumbering (safe from any falls or random ouches), I tweaked the first recipe I attempted to an uber-easy creation just about anyone could bake. And, with total success!

    Your kids or husband could comfortably put these together and surprise you on Mother's Day. Just leave the recipe hanging around somewhere they may happen upon it (hint, hint), and there you go - chocolate soufflé!


    1/2 cup Dutch cocoa

    1/4-cup sugar

    2 Tablespoons flour

    1 Tablespoon

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  • Health-nut cookies

    The other day I had a cookie fix like you couldn't believe. I wanted crisp, light cookies that were tasty but weren't going to make me feel horrid for eating a few. Yeah, there is no such thing as a truly healthy cookie, but an okay-for-you-with-some-healthy-ingredients cookie was possible. I didn't have much in the cabinets, but I knew I had enough of this-and-that to concoct something good.

    Health-nut cookies!

    I had some wayward pecans hiding in the freezer where they were staying fresh and happy. Pecans are a funny little nut packed with tons of health benefits. From aiding in heart health to keeping the brain working right, pecans contain antioxidants, plant sterols, and vitamin E. So, I figured adding them in with some fiber-fantastic oatmeal, sweet raisins, and brain-boosting cinnamon, I'd have some flavorful and healthy cookies!

    Here's what you need

    1/2 cup room temperature butter

    1/4 cup sugar

    1 Tablespoon brown sugar

    1 teaspoon vanilla

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Primary Pollock

    Although spring is in the air, the weather outside is still a bit cool. So, the other day when the babe woke up from her nap and it was drizzling outside, I knew we had to figure something out to fill our dreary afternoon. Toddlers may not be able to do much as far as art projects go, but they sure know how to make a mess. And I know of an artist that also knew how to make a big mess with awesome results.

    Jackson Pollock.

    Pollock hit it big in the mid 1940's with his drip and drizzle method of painting on large canvases flat on the floor. Instead of using brushes, he would pour paint directly from the can, or use a stick or spoon to drizzle all over the place. No one else was really doing this style of abstract painting, and Jackson Pollock had an artist attitude to match. He was grumpy, kept to himself, liked to drink and have a good time. Pollock took painting to a whole new level, sharing with the viewer a place both chaotic and comforting. Although it may have

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