Archive | February, 2015

Sur La Table Offers American Girl Cooking Classes In Honor of Girl Of The Year, Grace

20 Feb
Image from AmericanGirl.com

Image from American Girl

Meet Grace, the 2015 American Girl of the Year.  She loves to bake with her friends and create new recipes.  Her dream is to start a french bakery after taking a trip to Paris.

Picture 17

Image from Sur La Table

 

Inspired by Grace’s passion for baking, a new series “American Girl at Sur La Table: Make and Bake French Treats” will be offered at Sur La Table culinary locations nationwide for girls aged 8-12.    Chef instructors will first teach young bakers the fundamentals: following recipes, measuring, mixing and working safely in the kitchen. Then, girls will get a hands-on experience in the kitchen, learning the chefs’ secrets.  Recipes featured in the class include Chocolate-Glazed Eclairs, Pate a Choux, Apple Tartlets for girls and dolls, and Eiffel Tower Sugar Cookies. At the end each girl gets to take home an American Girl goodie bag, including an American Girl apron and a cookie cutter from Sur La Table.  The classes are 2 hours long and will be available on March 22, April 19, and May 17. The cost for each class is $39.  Find a location near you or reserve by phone 800-243-0852.

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We got a sneak peek of the class the other day and it’s AWESOME.  Although, my girls are younger than the age for the class, they had a wonderful time.  They love to bake just like Grace.  During our class the girls learned how to make Eiffel Tower Cookies.  They learned about which ingredients go into making the vanilla cookie mix.  They also learned how to make Royal Icing using confectioners sugar, meringue powder, and water.  A couple of secrets they took home with them included using flour on their cookie cutters and using a ketchup bottle for piping.  After the class they asked to come home and make more with the Eiffel Tower cookie cutters and apron that came in their gift bag.  Thank you Sur La Table W 57st and American Girl for such a fun afternoon.

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Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information about the class came from Sur La Table.  Information about Grace came from AmericanGirl.com.  I attended the event on behalf of ThirtyMommy.

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Celebrating The Chinese New Year With The China Institute’s We All Live In The Forbidden City ( BOOK GIVEAWAY)

18 Feb

Tomorrow, February 19 is the start to the Chinese New Year.  The year of the Horse has come and gone and we are moving into the year of the Sheep.  The China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City program includes children’s books and educational workshops that celebrate Chinese cultural history and fun for kids, a great resource for at home or in a classroom. 

Image from The China Institute

Image from The China Institute

Living in NYC, a city rich in culture, my girls are always asking about different cultures.  To celebrate the Chinese New Year, we received two books from the China Institute to teach them about the culture and history of China’s Forbidden City (mentioned below).

Image from The China Institute

Image from The China Institute

This is the Greatest Place!, published by The China Institute, is an adorable book for children ages four to eight (which happened to be the age range my girls fall into).

Rabbit is eating breakfast with his friends Baby Squirrel, Young Porcupine, and Little Brother Panda when an unexpected visitor arrives. He is a master builder, searching for inspiration to design a great palace for the Emperor of China. Together, Uncle Builder and the little animals explore how nature supplies us
with the wonders that enrich our lives. Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, this book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and lift-flaps. -http://www.walfc.org

My girls loved the illustrations and the characters.  They loved the flip pages that describe how nature inspired the Forbidden City.  It’s an educational book in which engaged my daughters.    It is available here for $12.95.
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In the Forbidden City, also published by The China Institue, is a book for children ages nine and up.  This was a little above my girls but I think they would gain good knowledge when they are older.   It’s more in-depth with the history of the Forbidden Palace.  The drawings and details are incredible.

This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes.  Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the  drawings more closely. -http://www.walfc.org

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Image from The China Institure

Find activities, lessons, crafts and more at http://www.walfc.org/play/activities/ 

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Or why not make your own dumplings to celebrate The New Year! Recipe from China Institute

Image from The China Institute

Image from The China Institute

Ingredients:  Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pork & Chive Filling:

  • 1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 green onion, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

 Directions:

Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don’t add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well. Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers. Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers. To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings.
GIVEAWAY:  A lucky winner will receive a copy of This is the Greatest Place! OR In the Forbidden City.   Leave a comment below with your Zodiac Sign and/ or your favorite Chinese dish/ recipe.  Contest ends February 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm.
Image from Calendar777.com

Image from Calendar777.com

To learn more or find out about events to celebrate the Year of the Sheep, visit: http://www.chinainstitute.org/
Disclaimer:  I received copies of the books for review.  Information in italics as well as the recipe are from the China Institute.  All other opinions expressed are my own.

A Valentine’s Giveaway!

5 Feb

I recently posted about some of our favorite gifts for Valentine’s Day! One lucky winner will win a Teleflora Sweet Embrace Bouquet and $20 in Driscoll’s coupons so you can make your someone special something sweet (find out more here)!  The giveaway begins now and ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday, February 8,2015 so ENTER NOW by clicking the link so you don’t miss your chance to win these wonderful prizes.

Sweet Embrace Bouquet, Image from Teleflora

Sweet Embrace Bouquet, Image from Teleflora

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Homemade Driscoll’s Raspberry Jam! Find recipe here! Image my own

Thank you to Teleflora and Driscoll’s for providing the products for the giveaway!

 

Valentine’s Day Is Almost Here…

4 Feb

Valentine’s Day is a little over a week away, are you ready? My girls have been ready since we took down the Christmas tree, adding hearts around the apartment, hanging Valentine signs, and making Valentine’s for their friends.  I however, always wait to the last minute to get the girls and their teachers a little something. Every year our Valentine favorites include flowers, something sweet, a good read, and/or a little piece of jewelry.  This year, I’ve come across these sweet ideas for friends, family and/or your little Valenitne(s).

Teleflora’s Sweet Embrace Bouquet: Flowers are one of our favorite gifts for any occasion.  They brighten a room and put a smile on a face.  The Sweet Embrace is a 3-in-1 gift that includes a pink and red bouquet of roses, carnations and chrysanthemums in hand-blown red glass vase wrapped with an adjustable bracelet made of golden wire and shimmering red hearts.  Once the flowers come to an end you can reuse the vase for many more occasions.  The bracelet can be used as a great accessory. The perfect gift for friends, family or a teacher.

Image from Teleflora

Image from Teleflora

From the Heart, Homemade Raspberry Jam:  Ever since the girls made homemade jam for jam cookies, it’s the only jam they want to eat.  We use the Driscoll’s recipe and it is delicious.  They decided they want to make more and give it as a gift to their teachers, friends and family.  Add a special touch to the jar(s) by letting them write a special saying and decorating their jar.  To make a cute saying on the top of your jar, trace the inside of the lid to create a template you can glue or tape on when you jam is complete. Make your own gift tags with this printable.  Use red paint to create thumb print hearts.  Tie your tag to the jar. photo 2-6 photo 1-6 An Awesome Book Of Love by Dallas Clayton: We stumbled across this book at Barnes & Noble and loved it.  It’s an adorable book about the many faces of love.  Recommended for kids ages 4-8.  A great read to snuggle up on the couch to or a great gift for a teacher, to add to their classroom library.

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Image from Barnes and Noble

Vintage Stamp Jewels Rose Gold Heart Bracelet on Etsy:  I love this delicate bracelet.  I came across it on Etsy when I was trying to find Valentine’s ideas.  You can choose any chain length.  My girls have a hard time separating.  This would make a wonderful gift so they could have a reminder of how much I love them and that I will always be there.

Imge from Ety

Imge from Esty

What are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received or given your kids for Valentine’s Day?   Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!