Looking for a gift idea? What about a Superhero Kids Portrait!

© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

What if you could make your child into a superhero?

If you’re looking for a gift for a great kid in your life, look no further! What about a customized superhero kids portrait of your favorite kiddos? Every kid wants to be a superhero! I know I did. My superhero power would definitely include flight, super strength and the ability to talk to animals. That would make me Wonder Woman. (keep that in mind for the future).

This past holiday season, I wanted to get my in-laws and my parents an amazing and unique gift – I wanted to give them portraits of all the kids in our family but dressed as comic book superheroes! As an artist, ideally I wanted to draw it myself, but as the mother of a rambunctious toddler WHO WILL NOT SIT DOWN EVER WHILE AWAKE, I knew I wouldn’t have the time. I (technically) could draw it myself, but as the comic book style isn’t my strength, it would take a long time for me to get it right. The smart thing to do would be to commission an artist who specializes in that style. So I commissioned my super talented cousin, Sonya Henar to draw our kids portrait! By the way, not only is she a stellar artist, but she’s also a fantastic singer.

Check this out. Isn’t this the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?!

SUPERHERO KIDS PORTRAIT!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

She even drew the DOG!!! BFFS for life, right?

Here is an example of a group superhero kids portrait of my nephews. Sonya can even draw your whole family if you asked her to!

Custom Superhero Kids drawing by Sonya Henar
© Sonya Henar 2016 All Rights Reserved

Everyone loved them. Each superhero kid got their own personal picture to frame and put in their room, too! Check out more of Sonya’s work at www.sonyahenar.com and order a commission at her custom artwork site. I’m so proud of her. I like to pretend to think I taught her everything she knows, but I didn’t. That’s all her.

 

Donut’s Dog Birthday Cake RECIPE

dog birthday cake recipe

Looking for a dog birthday cake recipe? I got one for you!

But better than a cake, make them into cupcakes! This way you can share with friends!

Today is my dog Donut’s 10th birthday. This little fella and I have been through so much together. Moving from Los Angeles to Memphis to New Jersey then New York, he was by my side. He graciously (well, as graciously as he could) welcomed my husband and his dog Twister into our lives. Donut grieved hard when Twister passed away and offered his comfort to us in the weeks afterwards. We were nervous that he wouldn’t adjust well to the baby, but Donut surprised us all, and assumed his role as her protector and friend from day one. On our first day home, he sat in front of the rocking chair while I nursed her and wouldn’t let Daddy near us (still working on that, haha!). Today, he is her best friend and foot massager. I couldn’t have asked for a better big brother for my baby girl.

We are celebrating his birthday this upcoming Thursday. I plan on cooking him a special dinner and I will bake him some dog food cupcakes which we will share with his friends in the neighborhood: Doc, Rufus, Vader, Bruce and Cash. (Wow, I didn’t realize there were no female dogs living on our street!)

Here are a couple pictures from his 7th and 9th birthdays. Twister didn’t want to wait until the song was over, and two years later, neither did my daughter. I knew they were kindred spirits! My husband and I sometimes wonder how Twister would have acted if she’d been around when D was born. Donut probably wouldn’t have let Twister near her. D is, after all, HIS baby, haha!

dog birthday cake recipe
Top, Donut’s 9th birthday
Bottom, Donut’s 7th birthday with his sister Twister
Donut's 9th Birthday
Donut’s 8th Birthday! I was in the throws of pregnancy memory loss so I forgot to bake him a cake this year. Instead I ordered him a present from Pet360 that made him mad, haha!!
dog birthday cake recipe
Donut’s 4th Birthday – It was freezing outside so his birthday walk in Manhattan was canceled but I don’t think he cared.

Donut’s Dog Birthday (Cup)cake Recipe
Makes 5-6 regular sized cupcakes OR a bunch of mini cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 package of Little Cesar’s dog food
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

(Optional)

  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • Cream cheese (for icing)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place flour in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk eggs and oil together.
  • Add dog food to egg and oil mixture and mix well, mash if necessary.
  • Mix in carrots or cheese (if desired) into egg mixture.
  • Add egg mixture into flour and stir to combine.
  • Place paper cupcake liners in 6 cups of a regular sized cupcake pan and fill halfway OR fill to top in a mini cupcake pan. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the cakes reach 160.

NOTE – if making mini cupcakes, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes.
Ice with cream cheese if desired!

I hope your pups enjoy these!

NOTE – A previous version of this recipe called for baking powder which I have just realized is not safe for dogs. Though the amount that was in the original recipe was small, I no longer feel comfortable including it, so it has been omitted.

Mommy-Daughter Day at Dia:Beacon

Dia:Beacon
The little one making mischief at Dia:Beacon!

My daughter and I took advantage of this weekend’s FREE event at Dia:Beacon. This weekend was part of Dia’s Community Free Days which includes free admission for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester County residents on quarterly basis. The last time I went there was before I got married, so I was hoping to see some new stuff.

Yeesh, I forget how BIG this place is. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but believe me, it’s huge!

Kiddo loved it!

There was a lot of room for her to run around. I made sure she only ran free in areas where the artwork was out of her reach. She had her eye on one particular sculpture (made of discarded metal) and she was DETERMINED to climb it. Luckily, I got to her before she could touch it.

I will have to say, that I maintain my stance on blank canvases as “art.” Not sorry. Not art. Piles of glass? Not art. Garbage. Holy crap, I was cursing under my breath because I just cannot reconcile that as art. There are two or three rooms of blank canvases up next to galleries of giant metal sculptures and down the hall is a whole room of geometric pencil drawings drawn right on the wall!! Blank canvases (canvases painted white, whatever) are not the same. Watch me take a dump on the floor and call it art. Same amount of effort. I blame Duchamp and his love for toilet humor.

However, I did enjoy most of the work displayed!

There were some pieces I loved, like The Hanged Man by Bruce Nauman (NSFW). I thought it was hilarious! Maybe the not the message the artist was trying to put forth, but humor is what I got.

Dan Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), 1973 was also one of my favorites. My daughter actually enjoyed his the best because they were all lit up!

Sol LeWitt remains my favorite artist displayed at Dia:Beacon because you know some WORK went into his pieces. My daughter pointed at one particular installation which was red, yellow and blue and started shouting, “Color! Color!” Even she appreciated it, and she’s only 18.5 months old!

Later, we finished up with lunch in the museum cafe, which is an extension of Homespun Foods, one of Beacon’s most popular cafes – SUPER delicious, and not your standard museum cafeteria food.

Anyway, even with my loathing towards conceptual art, Dia:Beacon is still a wonderful place to visit and get your culture on. The Dia Art Foundation has several locations and affiliates in the US and internationally. Check them out!

Soft Buttered Toast PBJ Sandwich Recipe

Photo credit: Will Folsom via Visualhunt / CC BY

I didn’t grow up eating the iconic American PBJ sandwich. My mom never made them for me! I have a faint memory of eating one on a school field trip to a farm, but only because I had forgotten my lunch and one of my classmates had two sandwiches and gave one to me. Truthfully, as a kid, I never really liked peanut butter. Peanuts were another story, especially if they were covered in chocolate!

Because of my stomach issues (intestinal malrotation), I eat a PBJ sandwich often as they are filling and easy for my stomach to digest. A few weeks ago, I made myself and my daughter a couple of sandwiches for lunch on toasted sandwich bread. Now, I don’t enjoy the toasted texture as much as I do the pillowy softness of untoasted bread with a PBJ, but I still wanted some crunch. And no, I wasn’t going to put potato chips inside. So how could I fix this?

Remembering a little trick I picked up when searching for the perfect grilled cheese recipe, I decided to grill the bread with a little butter, but only on one side. Next, spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread, letting the residual heat soften the peanut butter. Spread jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other slice of bread, then put the two sides together. The resulting sandwich has the crispy buttery texture on the inside with the peanut butter and jelly, and the soft pillowy outside that I love. Delicious! The kiddo loves them, and so do I! You could get fancy for a tea party by cutting off the crusts and slicing these into 4 triangles.

Try it! Let me know how you like it!

SOFT BUTTERED TOAST PBJ SANDWICH

10 m
1 serving

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of softened butter or margarine
2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon fruit jelly or jam (any flavor)

1. Spread enough butter or margarine on one side of each slice of bread.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet (I like this one) on the stovetop on medium.
3. Place bread slices butter side down and cook, swirling the pan to make sure the bread is toasted evenly. Take off the heat once it is toasted to your liking.
4. Lift bread with a spatula onto a plate with the toasted side up.
5. Spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread and jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other.
6. Put the slices together with the peanut butter and jelly on the inside.

(optional) Cut off crusts and slice into 4 triangles.

Also, you can use crunchy peanut butter or smooth! Whatever you like!

ENJOY!!!