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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Summer Cookbook download!

Right now you can download a free Summer Grilling Cookbook by Martha Stewart!

Click HERE to download the full cookbook...Awesome!!


Thank you, Nicole!


ps- While you're at it, check out Nicole's amazing boutique!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How to Properly Wash Fruit & Veggies

I found a new blog called Homemade Baby Food Recipes and this was one of the first articles I read.  I knew most of them, but some of them were new to me, like- "swishing" the leafy greens in  a bowl of water, and to wash fruits and veggies before eating NOT before storing.



Washing fruits and vegetables before you prepare them for your baby is an important part of ensuring they’re safe for him to eat. Washing produce removes excess soil, bacteria from handling and some pesticide residues (although it is often safer to peel some produce items if not organic – please see this page for more information).
Commercially made solutions for washing produce tend to be expensive – and as their effectiveness has never been proved, they’re really not necessary.
Fresh, running, cool drinking water is perfectly adequate for washing fruits and vegetables using the following methods…
For small items (like berries, green beans etc)…
Put the produce in a colander and rinse thoroughly, over the sink, under cold running water. Drain on paper towel.
For large items (like apples, potatoes etc)…
Hold under running water and scrub with a soft brush. This is particularly important for fruits and vegetables with bumpy surfaces, which are more likely to hold on to dirt, or with waxed skins which may trap bacteria and pesticide residues.
To wash leafy vegetables…
Dispose of the outer leaves, then cut the vegetables in half and hold under running water, so the water penetrates between the layers. You can also try filling a large bowl with water and ’swishing’ the halves around, which is an effective way to remove the dirt. Do hold the leaves under a running tap afterwards, however, to make sure all dirt has been completely washed away.

More tips for washing fruits and vegetables for your baby

  • Don’t use any type of soap, detergent or bleach to wash produce as it may leave a harmful residue.
  • If you’d really feel better using some form of cleaning agent, try diluting white vinegar with water and using the solution to rinse your produce.
  • Be sure to wash the outer skin of ALL produce, including items like bananas, avocados and melons. You may not be consuming the skin… but washing it prevents your spreading bacteria from the skin of the produce to the flesh as you cut it.
  • Even though pesticide residues may be less of a concern with organic produce, you still need to consider the possibility of bacterial contamination. So be sure to wash all produce – organic or otherwise.
  • Wash produce before you use it, NOT before you store it. This is because many fruits and vegetables will rot more quickly if washed before storage.
  • Don’t forget to wash your hands before washing fruits and vegetables… your hands can be a source of bacteria, too!
  • Don’t soak fruits and vegetables as a means of washing them, because it may cause a loss of water soluble nutrients.
What about foods like mixed salad leaves, which are marked ‘washed and ready to eat’?
The FDA says that it is fine to eat these foods without washing them again – but if the food is for our little ones, we wash it again… just to be on the safe side!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Baby A = A Teething Monster

Baby A is cutting some major toothage and she is not feeling well at all.  I feel so bad for her and can hardly get her to take a teether.

I've been trying to be creative and so far have come up with two ideas:

1) I made chicken noodle soup so she had healthy, soft food to eat.
2) I made delish fruit smoothies, so her gums could have a cool relief. Great way to get fluids and fruit in!

Today's smoothie recipe was:
homemade yogurt
natural orange juice (not from concentrate)
frozen blueberries
frozen berries (a misc bag from costco)
1 banana


What are some of your go-to meals when your kids aren't feeling well?

10 Thrifty, Healthy Ingredients to Improve the Quality of Your Meals

You all know I love this blog.  Here's a recent re-post they recently published...it's very relevant to our blog, so I thought you all might want to read it!





For the first 25 years of my existence, my food stood alone. Meat went unseasoned, starches sought no accompaniment, and vegetables … hermits, all of them. Only recently have I discovered the wonders of spices, sauces, and assorted flavorings. I had heard they made edibles better, but discounted it as a blasphemous rumor. Y’know, like gravity.

In honor of these fine, zestful components, today’s article will expound on joy and wonder of my favorite ten. The following foods generally aren’t the main focus of a dish. Instead, they’re simple, easily attainable additives that will boost the quality of your spread immensely. Some cost a few cents more than generic or mass-produced items, but in most cases, a tiny little pinch goes a super-long way.

1) Freshly ground black pepper
Along with its sister salt, black pepper is one of the most widely-employed spices globally. Alas, according to sources, it starts losing its flavor immediately after grinding, meaning the five-year-old jar on your shelf is little more than grey dust. Investing in a solid mill and Costco-sized package of peppercorns will juice up almost every meal you make, at minimal cost over time.

2) Fresh herbs
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme aren’t just tremendously soothing Simon and Garfunkel lyrics – they’re also a grade-A way to turn a dish from crappy to credible. Though price is contingent on time of year, every spent cent is rewarded. Casual Kitchen makes every other good point there is to make about this, but I’ll add that some herbs last much longer than you might think. I’ve had thyme survive my fridge for more than three weeks.

3) Stock/Better than Bouillon
When heated in stock rather than water, many foods (pasta, rice, veggies, etc.) assume extra flavor. While homemade stock is always preferred, Better than Bouillon is a good alternative to cans and cubes. A dense paste, it makes 38 cups of broth per 8-oz jar. Priced at $5.95 on Amazon (and a rumored $2.99 at Trader Joe’s), it comes out to $0.16 per cup, or about half the cost of on-sale Swanson broth. (EDITED TO ADD: These are 2007 prices. 2010 prices may differ. - Kris) I used it in Thanksgiving prep at house, and the eaters were pleased. (Three cheers to Rachel, the Cheap Healthy Gourmet for the tip.)

4) Wine
Thanks to Trader Joe’s, the internet, and an expanding world of wine appreciation, a passable vino is becoming easier and easier to find. Five bucks will nab you a bottle suitable for braising and/or deglazing, which ups the flavor in meats, sauces, and vegetables.

5) Decent cheese
Whether you’re dusting penne with parmesan or grating sharp cheddar over potato soup, a smattering of frommage can invigorate a dish with mad flava. BUT, the quality of cheese matters, tons. Case in point: last night, I went to a generally reliable Irish bar for dinner and ordered a vegetable melt. Sure, the choice of produce was bizarre (broccoli, carrots, and zucchini) but the dish was totally sunk by the over-processed, barely-warm slices of Grade Z American cheese. Buying less expensive dairy is understandable, especially if it’s used in bulk (a la enchiladas), but if you can swing it, slightly better brands in small doses do wonders. (As god as my witness, this will never touch my pasta again.)

6) Real lemon juice
Frequently a main component of dessert or dinner, the lovely lemon (not to be confused with Liz Lemon) can also brighten the flavor of a sauce, salad, or slab of meat. Still, there is no substitute for having the actual, physical citrus fruit on hand. My Ma’s been a staunch ReaLemon supporter for most of her time on Earth, and I’ve always found it tastes like dishwater. At $0.25 to $0.50 a pop, go with the real thing.

7) Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
I am not a supporter of breadcrumbs on macaroni and cheese. I think they take away from the main event. That said, I ate the beloved dish topped once with panko, and completely flipped my wig. Crunchier, lighter, and only slightly pricier than American-style breadcrumbs, panko ups the ante on everything. Try it with pork chops, chicken, and fish.

8) Anchovies
Discovering a whole dead fish on pizza might be enough to make you swear off anchovies for the rest of your life (and the next one, if you’re into that kind of thing). Yet, the tiny, economical add-on will give dips and dressings a much-needed kick in the pants. This simple, healthy dip by Kathleen Daeleamans is a great example.

9) Garlic straight from the bulb
This one’s a tad personal. Ma and Pa, who are righteous in every other way, cook with pre-minced garlic stored in huge jars of olive oil. Pa believes it saves some time and maybe a dollar, but he always has to use twice the amount called for since the pungency is severely compromised. Fresh garlic is delicious, un-diluted, and according to a new New York Times article, good for you as all get out. Plus, there’s the vampire-repellant factor, and that can’t be overlooked. (BONUS: Special mincing instructions here. )

10) Condiments
Soy sauce, tabasco sauce, teriyaki sauce, mustard, honey, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce – every one of these guys can stand on their own, or be incorporated into a grander concoction. And when employed in moderation, they enhance rather than overwhelm the taste of a meal. You can purchase according to your own taste and/or buy in bulk for savings, but coughing up an extra buck will make a difference in the end product.

Also worth mentioning: capers, bulk nuts, olives, fresh seasonal veggies (as opposed to canned), flavored vinegars, various pastes, fresh hot peppers, chutneys, salsas.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Make Your Own: Mac N Cheese

This is a re-post because the recipe is pure awesomeness.
 Over the weekend, I made two huge casseroles full of this cheesy goodness and froze a bunch of it. One batch has peas, and one has broccoli. I skipped the bread crumbs, too.


This is one of the best/easiest Mac 'N Cheese recipes I've ever tried. Okay fine, it's the second. Ever.  Once I made it though, I had no reason to continue my search. I found it last year when I was pregnant and for the life of me I cannot figure out where I got it from...so if you know please email me so I can give credit! 

This freezes beautifully and makes a wonderful meal for a friend in need of meals. I made two this weekend- one for a family member who just had a baby. I omitted the ham and instead took a pack of hot dogs and buns.  The other was for elderly family friends who have been ill. 


When I make this for my family, I always add peas to up the nutritional value. Baby A LOVES yummy combo and eats it as a finger food.  I have made it with cheddar cheese (the hubby's favorite) and with a 5-cheese italian blend.


Smac 'n Cheese w/ ham



Prep Time: 30 minutes
Serving Size: serves 4
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
1/2 pound macaroni, cooked
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk, heated
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese
1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
ham

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.
To make cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don't let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, add 1/2 cup cheese and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole. Put the cooked macaroni into the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over it, and mix gently with a fork. Top with sliced tomato and ham; sprinkle the remaining grated cheese evenly over the tomatoes and spread the crumbs over the cheese.
Bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.


Variations:
Use a different kind of cheese.

Add peas.

Add chicken instead of ham.

Add ground turkey/beef instead of ham.


Any other ideas? This is great for the old and young.  Nom nom nom!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Natural Cooking Spray


Sick of spraying chemicals into your pans?  Here's a really easy way to ensure your family is getting only what you want them to in their food.

Fill a spray bottle with extra virgin olive oil and use it whenever you would use any non-stick spray- baking, cooking, you can even add a spritz to pasta to keep it from sticking together in one big pile.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Last day for voting!!!!

Tomorrow is your last chance, so go ahead and log your vote for our little honeys! THANK YOU!!!!




Last week my sister first told you about their Ronzoni Smart Tasta Pasta taste test…they enjoyed some delicious Smart Taste pasta and found the taste to be great and the pasta to be filling.

Now we are on to the photo contest!

Here is our entry- Lily Bean and Ava Dee enjoying their Smart Taste Pasta (taken by me):

YOU CAN VOTE ONCE PER DAY until 6/25- and just for voting you will be entered to win a $25 gift card!  (There are only 45 entries, so let’s smash this one out of the park!
Just look for our entry on Ronzoni’s contest site:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Make Your Own: Sauce

This recipe is about starting with a basic store-bought sauce and "healthifying" it!

several mushrooms, sliced
red, yellow, orange peppers,diced
onion, chopped
garlic, chopped
basil, chopped
tomatoes- I used canned/diced (organic) and also chopped cherry tomatoes
store-bought sauce
spices

1- Saute mushrooms, peppers, onions
2- Combine sauce, canned tomatoes, all other ingredients into a large pot
3-Add Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, pepper, whatever you'd like, to taste
4. Simmer for 20 minutes


Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Penne: The Perfect Toddler Food

 

































When Baby A was younger, I cut penne into cheerios-sized pieces. We babysat my niece a few months ago (who is 7 months older than A) and I cut her penne into similar-sized peices. My sister laughed when she heard and let me know that L could handle the whole penne (oops). Now that A is that much older, I realized recently that penne is the perfect toddler food. We often order it when eating out, and if I'm concerned that she'll get too messy, we order it with butter, not sauce. YUM!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Just a few days left!!!!

Last week my sister first told you about their Ronzoni Smart Tasta Pasta taste test…they enjoyed some delicious Smart Taste pasta and found the taste to be great and the pasta to be filling.

Now we are on to the photo contest!

Here is our entry- Lily Bean and Ava Dee enjoying their Smart Taste Pasta (taken by me):

YOU CAN VOTE ONCE PER DAY until 6/25- and just for voting you will be entered to win a $25 gift card!  (There are only 45 entries, so let’s smash this one out of the park!
Just look for our entry on Ronzoni’s contest site:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Looking for Something FUN for the Kids this Summer????

Check out these local Cooking Camps!!!  Kathy of Kathy's Just Desserts is holding fun hands-on culinary camps for children of varying ages.  From Kathy, "We make full meals each day, the kids get chef's hats, aprons, recipe books, and certificates!"(This applies to all camps except the one held at Fellowship House.)


Kid's Classes -
North Penn Community Education � 
2010 Cooking Camps -
A.G. Doll Camp - Tues., July 6 - Thurs., July 8 - 10:30-12:30
Christmas in July - Tues., July 6 - Thurs., July 8 - 1:30-3:30
Cooking Around the Clock - Mon., July 12 - Thurs., July 15 - 10:30-12:30
Cooking Around the World - Mon., July 12 - Thurs., July 15 - 1:30-3:30

Methacton Community Education
2010 Cooking Camps - Beginning Cooking Camp - Mon., July 26 - Thurs., July 29 - 10:00-noon
Cooking Around the USA - Mon., July 26 - Thurs., July 29 - 1:00-3:00

Mermaid Country Day Camp - 2010 Cooking Camps -
A. G. Doll Camp - Mon., June 21- Fri., June 25 - 9:00-noon
Cooking Around the Clock Camp - Mon., June 21- Fri., June 25 - 1:00-4:00
Beginning Cooking Camp - Mon., August 9 - Fri., August 13 - 9:00-noon
Cooking Around the USA - Mon., August 9 - Fri., August 13 - 1:00-4:00

Lower Gwynedd Parks & Recreation - 2010 Cooking Camps -
Beginning Cooking - Mon., August 2 - Thurs., August 5 - 10:30-12:30
Cooking Around the Clock - Mon., August 2 - Thurs., August 5 - 1:30-3:30

Radnor Parks & Recreation
- 2010 Cooking Camps -
Cooking Around the Clock - Mon., July 19 - Thurs., July 22 - 9:30-noon
Cooking Around the World - Mon., July 19 - Thurs., July 22 - 1:00-3:30

The Fellowship House of Conshohocken - 2010 Cooking Camps -
Beginning Cooking - Mon., June 28 - Thurs., July 1 - 10:00-noon
Cooking Around the Clock - Mon., June 28 - Thurs., July 1 - 1:00-3:00
A.G. Doll Cooking Camp - Mon., August 16 - Thurs., August 19 - 10:00-noon
Eat Like the Phillies Cooking Camp - Mon., August 16 - Thurs., August 19 - 1:00-3:00


Adult classes are available, too! Check out her website



pic 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!!!

Baby A is admiring the beautiful t-shirt quilt we made for JP.
Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fresh.

Have you gotten your tickets yet? 


We are really excited to check out the screening in Doylestown next week. Interested in attending?  You can purchase tickets here.

 
(From their website)

FRESH is more than a movie, it’s a gateway to action. Our aim is to help grow FRESH food, ideas, and become active participants in an exciting, vibrant, and fast-growing movement.

When I write we, I don’t mean our small team (officially two of us, with lots of amazing helps from our interns and volunteers) but I mean YOU. All of you. FRESH is a grassroots efforts for a grassroots movement. It’s been tremendously exciting to see the movie catch on and spread like wild fire, being used all over the country as a platform to raise awareness and connecting people to the solutions available in their community.

Within a month of our launch, we’ve received over 20,000 visitors and hundreds of screenings have already been organized. We want to reach 1 million folks. Not just because that would totally feel nice to our ego (mine especially!), but because, we believe that FRESH can truly help get us to a tipping point, when sustainable food will no longer be just a niche market.

Please help us reach 1 million people (to start with that is.) Organize a home screening or a community screening. Get in touch with us, let us know what we can do more and better. We’re open!

And join us on Facebook & Twitter.
Ana Joanes & The FRESH Team

Grow Your Own: Herb Garden

I decided to try my hand at growing herbs. I started with cilantro and basil and so far, so good! I'll be transferring them to a bigger pot soon, and intend to keep them inside, in the window. 

Do you grow herbs inside? What do you grow?

Friday, June 18, 2010

A little voting reminder!

Last week my sister first told you about their Ronzoni Smart Tasta Pasta taste test…they enjoyed some delicious Smart Taste pasta and found the taste to be great and the pasta to be filling.

Now we are on to the photo contest!

Here is our entry- Lily Bean and Ava Dee enjoying their Smart Taste Pasta (taken by me):

YOU CAN VOTE ONCE PER DAY until 6/25- and just for voting you will be entered to win a $25 gift card!  (There are only 45 entries, so let’s smash this one out of the park!
Just look for our entry on Ronzoni’s contest site:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Make Your Own: Turkey Meatballs


1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/4 c. quick cooking oats
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 egg whites
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; shape into 3/4 inch balls. Place meatballs in spray coated pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until no longer pink; remove from pan. Use as directed in Minestrone Meatball Soup.Microwave Directions: Prepare meatballs as directed. Place half of meatballs in 9 inch microwave safe pie plate; cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes or until no longer pink; rotating plate 1/2 turn halfway through cooking. Remove from plate. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
Serving Size: 6 meatballs. 70 calories. 11 g protein. 1 g carbohydrate. 2 g fat. 22 mg cholesterol. 65 mg sodium.

 Oddly enough, this was my FIRST time making meatballs! They were really good. J and A couldn't stop eating them!

Thanks, cooks.com!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

May we have your vote?!

Last week my sister first told you about their Ronzoni Smart Tasta Pasta taste test…they enjoyed some delicious Smart Taste pasta and found the taste to be great and the pasta to be filling.

Now we are on to the photo contest!

Here is our entry- Lily Bean and Ava Dee enjoying their Smart Taste Pasta (taken by me):

YOU CAN VOTE ONCE PER DAY until 6/25- and just for voting you will be entered to win a $25 gift card!  (There are only 45 entries, so let’s smash this one out of the park!
Just look for our entry on Ronzoni’s contest site:

Eat Local~ Merrymead Farm

I recently discovered a blog called Eat Local Philly. I know, awesome, right? I am really excited to read about familiar and new places to visit and try.  One of their posts was about our local farm so I thought I would share. We take the girls here in the fall to check out the pumpkins and their ice cream is the best anytime of year!


Post image for Merrymead Farm

Merrymead Farm

 Eat Local Philly by Jo-Lynne on 6/10/10


Merrymead Farm is located in Lansdale, Montgomery County.

It’s been years since I’ve been to Merrymead, but this is a lovely spot to stop and visit.  There are all kinds of seasonal activities for the family, and if you visit between 3pm and 6pm, you can see the cows being milked — a great opportunity to introduce your kids to where their food comes from!
We are a family owned and operated working dairy farm and farm market. Merrymead is one of Pennsylvania’s Century Farms and has been in the same family for over 100 years.
Registered Holstein cows supply the National Quality Award Winning Milk – which is processed, packaged and sold on the premises, along with buttermilk, heavy cream, and half & half. Enjoy a delicious ice cream cone or take home a Gram’s Apple pie, fresh from our bakery!
Their hours vary by season, so it’s best to check the site.
Merrymead Farm
2222 Valley Forge Road
Lansdale, PA
610.584.4410

Jo-Lynne is the founder of Eat Local Philly.  When she’s not seeking out new sources for local foods, she is probably elbow-deep in bread dough or musing on weighty topics such as fashion and reality TV on her personal blog, Musings of a Housewife. You can also find her beautifying the blogosphere at DCR Design.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Make Your Own: Baby Food, do you need all those fancy gadgets?

Your baby is approaching that amazing time in life- time to start his first solids!!!! It's exciting and one search online can prove to be VERY overwhelming.  Food mills, steamers, freezer bags and trays, containers for refrigeration, bags for transport, ice packs, etc etc etc.  While all of these tools are great ideas, are they necessary? In my opinion, no.

My rule of thumb is: Can I use this AFTER this stage of life? If not, then I try to find something else to use.

Pureeing:
I pureed most of Baby A's food with The Magic Bullet



We received one as a wedding gift, so I did not need to run out and purchase one. I liked it better than the blender because it was more compact. If I didn't have one, I would have used our blender.




2. Freezing
I used regular old ice cube trays. End of story.


3. Storing in the Fridge
I used Tupperware or small colorful take and toss cups.


4. Heating- no gadgets needed. I used the stove or microwave. Sometimes I even heated up in a pot of hot water.

6. Serving- I always serve A out of glass bowls or dishes. She does not have them on her tray- she would just throw them. Now that she is older and self-feeding, we just introduced bowls with suction cups, but she still pulls them off!


7. Utensils- When she was really little, we used tiny gerber spoons.


Now that she's older and goes to babysitting, I send the take and toss utensils. They are reusable, but it's not a tragedy if it gets left behind somewhere.




What are your must-haves? Leave a comment and tell us!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Make Your Own: Quiche

I woke up Saturday with some energy and a quiet house, so I threw a quiche together for breakfast. I prefer to make mine crustless.  I used cage-free, grain-fed, organic eggs and they were delish!

Ingredients:
1/2 an onion, diced
Red, yellow, orange peppers, diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1 cup spinach, chopped
8 eggs
1/2 cup feta cheese
4 pieces turkey bacon
1/2 cup milk
pinch of pepper or whatever spices you desire


1. Saute veggies until brown.  Add spinach at the end.
2. In a bowl, mix eggs, milk, spices
3. Cook or bake turkey bacon until crisp. When cool, crumble.
3. Combine all ingredients in a greased 9-inch pie plate
4. Bake @ 325 for 35 minutes

Sunday, June 13, 2010

CHOP's Healthy Kids Day

Guest Post by Mamacheaps!!!  We took Baby A, too, and I am not as together as my sister to write such an amazingly comprehensive review, so my friends, grab your coffee and enjoy!



We had a great time at Healthy Kids Day!  This COMPLETELY FREE event was held at the Mann Music Center in the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia.  Sponsored by Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and a myriad of other generous companies, every single thing at this event was free.  Parking was free, lunch and snacks were free, the ton of activities were free:  face painting, games, rides, balloon animals, character meet and greets and more.  There was a free concert by Hip Hop Harry and the Laurie Berkner Band (we LOVE Laurie!).  CHOP had a huge tent set up with tables full of helpful information on everything from promoting literacy in kids to treating childhood asthma.  They were handing out all sorts of goodies for the kids: everything from water bottles and sippy cups to bicycle helmets (again, all free).
We arrived at the Mann Music Center just after noon and stood in line for a bit to get our concert tickets.  We were ready for some Healthy Kids Day fun!
Despite checking our local weather before leaving home (which forecasted showers LATE AFTERNOON into the EVENING) we noticed that the sky was getting rather dark.  Gigantic, billowy clouds (not unlike those in the movie The Perfect Storm) looked like they were swirling in our exact location.
Within about 10 minutes our view of the Philadelphia skyline went from this:
To this:
Good call, Philly weather forecasters!
A brief, but powerful downfall ensued.  There wasn’t much shelter where we were, so we covered Lily Bean the best we could and waited it out.  As the rain subsided, we were left with a cloudy, on again off again spritz and air so thick with humidity I kept forgetting that I was not in the Amazon.
We forged ahead and saw that there was a character meet and greet up ahead.  Great!  Lily Bean usually LOVES anything in costume- in fact, before the sudden downpour she had energetically high-fived the large, furry Kixx mascot.
The two characters up for picture opps were Princess Jasmine from Aladdin and Spiderman.  Well.  No-Nap-Lily-Bean took one look at Spiderman and FREAKED!!!  In fact, this was the best picture I was able to get of her and Princess Jasmine.  Note: shifty sideways glare towards Spiderman to make sure he was staying far away from her. LOL
Tears were immediately forgotten when we found this gem:  There’s a Party in Our City Yo Gabba Gabba Tour is coming!!  (Yep, guess where we’ll be on 8/29/10?)
We made it to the top of the hill and turned to see quite possibly one of the best Philly skyline views in the city (are you noticing the ever-present Ghostbusters-like swirly cloud madness?):
We checked out a couple of the exhibits before picking up our free lunch provided by the folks at Aramark.  There were tons of exhibitors with tables to explore- like the Philadelphia Zoo!
After lunch we made our way to the amphitheater for the concert!  True story:  Lily Bean and I both have hair that reflects how much humidity is in the air.
My hair begins to resemble a Chia Pet:
Hers erupts into a luscious sea of curls.  I daresay I got the short end of the stick on that deal.
The show began!  The first act was Hip Hop Harry.  Ermm.  I want to find something nice to say about him.  Really I do.  I can’t.  It was LOUD and obnoxious.  And made me feel old.  But the kids sure dug him!
Little Hip-Hopper:
Hey! Get a load of THIS ONE, Philly weather forecasters-  NICE call… NOT!!
And then it was time at last to listen to Laurie Berkner!  Lily Bean just loves her and honestly, her music is some of the only kids’ music that I can stand. :)
And there you have it- Healthy Kids Day was a real success, despite the sporadic downpours and the musical stylings of Hip Hop Harry.  The crowd was HUGE and sometimes the lines for different activities were long, but overall we felt that it was very well organized.  MANY volunteers were on hand and the event could not have been as successful without them.  Families were able to take home tons of useful information on all sorts of kid related topics.  Best of all, it was FREE!
p.s. It’s 10:13 p.m. and has yet to rain a lick this evening.  Awesome.  ;)

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