Blog Posts by Sarah Lipoff

  • Fine Art for Kids: Chalking with O'Keeffe

    One of my favorite stories about Georgia O'Keeffe is that she would often walk her property in New Mexico with a garden hoe cutting the heads off snakes that got in her way while looking for interesting things to paint. I can't say if it's a true story or not, but it sure seems fitting. Georgia O'Keeffe led a long and amazing life. Really. This woman was a true artist - ringing in photography as Alfred Stieglitz's muse and then continuing on to be a celebrated artist all on her own.

    O'Keeffe's artworks often depict flowers at their best - really close up. She morphed those pretty lilies into things that transported the viewer from looking at a plain-jane flower to looking at something really outstanding. And, it was different. AND, she really was a character. I only have the utmost respect for Georgia and all she created and accomplished.

    Well, the other morning at 6:20 am when the wee tot awoke and called, "mamammammamamama," the sun had a nice warmth to it and there

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  • User Post: The Food Tyrant Vs. White Bean Mac-n-cheese

    I don't know how else to share my total confusion and distress over the fact my daughter will only eat three things - cheese, grapes, and cookies (which are really saltine crackers, but we call them "cookies"). Sometimes oranges or pears take the place of grapes, but pretty much cheese and "cookies" rule. One day my daughter can't get enough of banana bread, and then the next she turns up her nose. Then she loves peas, and by the next meal they are playthings instead of something to eat.

    I'm seriously tired of the dinner battle, which is turning into an unending war. The food tyrant is reigning high on her throne. Whenever I have a successful triumph, my hopes of new food adventures are often dashed the next day.


    My daughter's personality is in full shine mode right now, and she can be a stinker at times. Hey, I was at that age, too, so it's only fair. I wasn't sure if I could take another night of fresh healthy food being tossed to the floor and wasted. So I

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Collaging with Kandinsky

    I'd normally start out with some catchy information about Wassily Kandinsky, but I'll save you all the gobbledygook. The lowdown is Kandinsky fashioned colorful creations and was part of a collection of artist considered Fauvists. He also hung with some Impressionists and had his toes in with the Abstract-ers, too. And, Kandinsky was also a long-time teacher with his buddy Paul Klee at the Bauhaus - a super famous art school in Germany.

    What I love about Kandinsky's work is that it is really colorful, which grabs the attention of kids and gets them excited about making art. Older kids can explore the concepts of abstract and color with this activity along with learning more about Kandinsky, while the young ones will enjoy tearing, glueing, and basically making a big mess. Collaging is the art of pasting a collection of things together to make a finished artwork - so why not use some colorful tissue paper with Kandinsky as inspiration! All you need are paintbrushes, glue, a

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  • User post: Chocolate crackers

    The other night I was in a bad way. I needed chocolate something fierce and all that was hanging about in my pantry were a few dusty items, including some super tasty cocoa. But, sadly, you just can't eat good Dutch cocoa straight from the fancy box. It has to be masterfully combined to create a torte or soufflé or something. And it was way too late to go down that route. I munched on a couple old and super pathetic crackers and pretended they were coated in dark chocolate.

    In the morning I still had a hankering for something chocolate and those lame-o saltines had me thinking. With some super basic ingredients, couldn't I make chocolate crackers? It couldn't be that hard, could it? So, I did some research and didn't really come up with much. The closest recipe I found was for chocolate graham crackers.


    I just wanted CHOCOLATE crackers.

    So, I did some experimenting and came up with a recipe that even got my husband-who-doesn't-like-sweets chowing these

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Watercolor with Warhol

    Andy Warhol was kind of crazy. I think that's what people liked (or didn't like) about him. He was a bit cooky, hung out with lots of famous people, and made these hyper-modern paintings that used the popular culture that surrounded him. And, with all that nutty behavior and interesting art, Andy Warhol became an icon himself. Along with using repeated imagery, he tied in bright vibrant colors. Warhol often placed complimentary colors next to each other (complimentary colors are located opposite each other on the color wheel - red and green, blue and yellow, orange and purple) to really make things super dramatic. Along with others, such as Roy Lichtenstein, Warhol was part of the exciting Pop Art movement of the 1960's.

    Well, yesterday afternoon, when the wee tot decided she wasn't going to nap, and I needed to figure out a way to stay sane and get through the afternoon, I figured we may as well create a fun artwork with Warhol as influence. My daughter is just starting to

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  • User post: Quinoa banana bread

    I had a couple of brown and squishy bananas hanging around that really needed something done with them. They'd been eyeing me for a few days now. I also happen to have a wee tot hanging about who isn't excited about eating most meat proteins and quickly growing a bit tired of cheese and beans. So, I figured making quinoa banana bread was a great solution!

    Quinoa is an odd little grain that turns from a small round ball into a spiraling curl no bigger than a pea. Along with a nutty flavor, quinoa is packed with protein - a healthy 22 grams per cup. For finicky eaters already feeding on solids that don't find chicken or tofu enticing, creating a meal that provides nourishment and is enjoyable can be accomplished through introducing quinoa into recipes.

    This quinoa banana bread recipe creates a moist and tender bread that isn't too sweet allowing the banana and quinoa flavors to shine through. You might notice that instead of butter, the recipe calls for oil. That's

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Shapes with Mondrian

    Afternoons at my house seem to be getting longer and longer. Those hours after the wee tot wakes up from nap are sometimes super challenging, with crying, wailing, foot stomping, and plain boredom (and I'm not just talking the babe). Time to get out the paints!

    Young kids might not seem like they can do much more than scribble, but that's what they are supposed to do. During a child's first creative marks, she is figuring out how to hold a crayon and learning what she can do with it. That doesn't mean she's too young to try new things, learn more about art - or look at famous art! Repetition is key, and doing the same thing over and over sure helps hone skills (such as holding a mark making implement) but can get boring for parent and child. So, why not mix things up with the help of a famous artist - Mondrian!

    Piet Mondrian was an interesting artist who painted in a way no one had done before. At first he painted in a realistic manner, but later began exploring cubism,

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  • User Post: Fine Art for Kids - Red with Rothko

    Mark Rothko was an abstract artist that came to fame in the 1940's. His color-field creations covered large canvases, using shades and hues of vibrant color. His concentration on color, composition, and balance created artworks that compel, as well as sooth, the viewer. Rothko's famous works were often titled just with a number - often being the number of the paint he used for creating it. His linear, box-like style was simple, but yet had depth. When asked about his work, Rothko commented, "Silence is so accurate," fearing any input would spoil the viewer's experience.

    Well, the other day, the babe and I were both feeling a bit stir-crazy, so I figured doing a colorful and creative artwork would be fun. And, why not use Rothko's grandiose color paintings as influence? Even the wee tot can have fun with this project! Older kids can get into color theory when taking into consideration color mixing and combinations!

    Start by taking another look at Rothko's artwork. One of

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  • User post: Nut-free granola bars

    My wee tot isn't excited about eating anything. She likes cheese and grapes. And then she doesn't like cheese or grapes and only eats pasta. Then she turns her nose up at pasta and only wants oranges. This makes packing a little lunch challenging when we hit the preschool. Add to that the kiddy-school being nut-free (and meat-free) and I've got a challenge figuring out what to make for the babe.

    I've discovered that the tot likes raisins, and she will tolerate toasted o-shaped cereal (you know, Cheerios), and oats have good healthy protein - AND, you know how I love the wonders and taste of quinoa, which is uber-packed with protein, so I set my sights on concocting some sort of granola bar with all those lovely items.

    Now if you are looking for a super-sweet gooey granola bar, this isn't for you. If you want a crisp and light granola bar, then these are perfect. You can also add and change to create the best granola bar for your family. My daughter couldn't get enough

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  • Fine Art for Kids: Paper cutting with Matisse

    There are several art activities that are fun, easy, and doable for just about any age that I use as good-ol-go-to projects when something needs to be done. Paper cutting in the style of Matisse is one of those awesome activities. Just about any age can get into this engaging project, and you can put a spin on things to connect with other learning areas - such as math!

    So, the other day, when the babe and I were really getting sick of all that rain, I figured it was the perfect time to get out the scissors and see what we could do. The majority of Henri Matisse's life consisted of creating colorful and vibrant portraits, landscapes, and still-lives. Matisse started painting while recuperating from appendicitis in childhood and things evolved from there. He hung with van Gogh and the other Impressionist artists in France and then comfortably moved into the modern art movement with buddies such as Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin. Matisse's real claim to fame is as the father of

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