Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • Fine Art for Kids: Outdoor Art Installation Activity for Earth Day

    No matter where you are on Friday, take a moment to respect and love the Earth. Spend a minute thinking about the things the Earth provides that you take for granted, like water, beautiful flowers, tasty foods, and natural wonders. An easy way to celebrate all the pretty things around us this Earth Day is to create a simple and interesting outdoor art installation.

    There are several artists out there using the Earth as their canvases. One of my favorites hangs out in the Bay Area creating his own unique and awe-inspiring rock formations. Bill Dan creates gravity defying sculptures using rocks along the banks of the San Francisco Bay. It's easy to spend hours watching him deftly balance and arrange big and small rocks into perfectly balanced natural formations. Andrew Goldsworthy finds interesting colored leaves, rocks, and grasses to form free-standing or ground based outdoor installations that draw the eye and amaze the viewer. And, he's well versed in turning snow into

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  • Naturally dyed eggs

    I love this time of year. The blossoms are blossoming, the trees are busting buds, the grass seems extra green, and sadly, my allergies don't like any of it. But, I love it. Really, I do! Something deep inside me gets all buzzely with excitement. It's spring - a fresh new start!

    And I love all the stuff that comes along with spring - like candy. Easter candy is the best. Sweet little jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and marshmallow things that you wouldn't eat any other time of year but can't get enough of during the month of April. Along with all that sweet stuff, there's egg dying. I have fond memories of dying eggs during this festive time of year, and wanted to help create some of those memories with my wee tot, too.

    But, I'm not super excited about that box dye stuff. Yes, they create bright and vibrant eggs, but I wanted colorful, saturated, AND naturally-dyed creative eggs. I did a little research, conducted experiments, and inspected the outcomes. I think the

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  • Spring seed activities for kids

    The other day, while the rain was pounding down and I thought the winds were going to blow us away, I kept chanting over and over in my head, "spring is almost here, spring is almost here, spring IS almost HERE!" Just about the time I was ready to take the babe under the house with a candle and some bottled water to wait out the monsoon, I peeked out the window and saw there was no way the wee tot and I were heading downstairs because there was standing water all over the place.


    We have a space down there that is quite large and we've tossed around the idea of finishing it to create an indoor outdoor room. It's also where all our garden stuff is stored. So, from bulbs to the weed wacker, most items were now either damp, dripping, or totally done for.

    So, yesterday, when spring had really sprung, I ventured down to see what was a total loss and what could be salvaged. I'd just stumbled across a spring de-cluttering (well, really, a trashing and tossing) article

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Spring with Klimt

    Spring is here along with a whole palette of new colors. Fresh flowers are popping up all over the place making those bare trees bright with blossoms and yards burst with brilliant hues. This time of year reminds me of the vibrant paintings of Gustav Klimt and how he captured the freshness of spring in his dreamy artworks. When most think of Klimt, his famed The Kiss comes to mind, but in actuality, Gustav loved the flowers, and many of his artworks were filled with them.

    Our friend Gustav Klimt grew up in Austria and was one of the founding fathers of the decorative Art Nouveau style. His expressive and moving artworks were based on his life experiences with love, death, and more and more love. Let's just say many of his paintings are sensual in style, full of rich color and soothing lines. With all those spring flowers popping up all around, I figured it was a wonderful opportunity to create a beautiful blossoming artwork with the wee tot!

    We started by examining some

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  • User post: The food tyrant vs. black bean quinoa veggie burgers

    The other day we went to In-N-Out and figured the babe would be in bliss over the amazing tastiness. I mean if we love the stuff, she should too, right? Yes, burgers slathered with cheese and that extra special tasty savory sauce is one of my favorite unhealthy indulgences, which doesn't happen very often. We figured it was time. It was time to introduce the wee tot to In-N-Out.

    The minute we walked in she was dazzled with the shiny redness of the place and we amazingly found a booth. The hubs ordered the food and we happily (impatiently) awaited the double-doubles - single for the babe.

    She wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of it. After delicately tasting a fry, a couple more, and touching her tongue to the burger, she was done with the place. And, when I say done, I mean wailing-in-the-highchair done.

    I figured I could at least attempt to create a burger she might like and had my sights set on some sort of veggie burger. I know she likes quinoa and black

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Stars with Jasper Johns

    Just last week, the wee tot's favorite shape (heart) was replaced with the star. She walks around yelling, "staaaaaaah" and pointing at any stars she sees around her. So I figured it would be fitting to create a few stars with some motivation by famed painter, Jasper Johns.

    During the mid 1950's, Jasper Johns broke onto the American art scene and helped move the art world from Abstract Expressionism into the land of Pop Art and Minimalism. His canvases were layered with thick paint, covered with big, bold shapes, and sometimes even came right out at you through his style of building canvas on top of canvas.

    A couple of Jasper Johns' paintings are right here in San Francisco at the SFMOMA, which I took the wee tot to visit just about a year ago. Sure, she had no idea what she was looking at, but I stood in awe while looking at his paintings. I knew one of my favorites, Flag (1954), would be the perfect inspiration for an afternoon star painting project with the babe.

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  • Whole wheat honey crackers

    The other morning the wee tot awoke not only a slight shade of green but with the wonderful dry-heaves occasional throw-up thing. I knew right away that the day was a wash and any plans were pushed aside. Stopping the babe from tossing her cookies was of the utmost importance, and I quickly quizzed myself on all the things that help tummy ick.

    Crackers and ginger ale.

    Amazingly, I had ginger ale. Unbelievably, I was fresh out of crackers. For those of you living in the northwestern part of California, you are fully aware of the freakish monsoon like conditions taking place. The hubs and I had spent the previous day stocking up on anything and everything possible to get us through the next couple of days so we wouldn't need to leave the house in the pouring rain. Somehow, those crackers were forgotten.

    But, have no fear, there are simple ingredients that are easily tossed together to create tasty and happy-tummy-making crackers. I figured if I used whole wheat, she'd

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Etching with Klee

    Paul Klee was an interesting guy. He had a great imagination that shined through in his child-like paintings. But, you'd never know when you met Klee that he had so much going on in his head. He was pretty reserved and kept to himself. I guess you could say painting truly was his way of expressing himself, and in his cubist abstract paintings, line, color, and excitement shined through. Klee was best-buddies with another expressionist - our friend Kandinsky!

    We have fish at our house in a big tank and they've been swim-swimming around for almost seven years having a great time and getting bigger and bigger. The wee tot just started taking notice of fish one and fish two, and loves feeding them every morning. So, this early am, while she was sprinkling the fish food, Paul Klee's The Golden Fish popped into my head. I knew we had to create our own rendition!

    Although Klee was a painter, your child can replicate his fishy painting through an art process called etching. An

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  • User post: The food tyrant vs. chicken nuggets-o-happiness

    Well, a battle was won last night. We'll see if the winning team comes out ahead tomorrow. But, for tonight, I am claiming victory of the longstanding toss-the-meat-to-the-floor-dinner-time battle II. Victory was had almost a year ago with my pineapple turkey meatballs, but, sadly, it didn't last long. Within a few short days, meat proteins were quickly tasted, chewed, spit out, and tossed to the floor.

    I'd pretty much given up and had even tentatively held up my white flag of defeat, but last night, I had one single little chicken breast waving at me from the freezer. It whispered, "don't give up on meeeeeee" in this little voice. And then, divine intervention stepped in.

    Chicken. Nuggets.

    I will admit to having a great love of chicken nuggets from the place that shall not be named during my childhood. I loved those crispy fried pieces of who knows what dipped in that small container of barbecue sauce, or maybe honey. Hmmmmm.

    So, I figured I'd concoct my own

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Marker Wash with Morris Louis

    Morris Louis isn't an artist you've probably heard of. You probably haven't seen any of his artworks either - but maybe you have and didn't realize it. His paintings are so soothing that your eyes just glide around them while leaving a warm fuzzy feeling in your tummy. If Louis Morris' paintings were blankets, I'd envelope myself in as many as possible and feel complete on so many levels. The color, the blending, the softness, the movement and line....

    There's not much to know about Morris Louis. He was a Washington D.C. native who lived a short life, painted sporadically, and now has artworks in famous museums all over the world. He kept to himself, but rubbed elbows with some of the other Color Field painters in the 1960's, such as Helen Frankenthaler. Basically, Louis covered an un-primed canvas with lines and spots of watered down paints creating bold and vibrant areas of color, along with dark and moody abstractions. What's not to love?

    Morris Louis was on my mind

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