My Parents’ Native Tongue

Philippine Clip Art, Filipino Clip Art, Watercolor Clip Art, Speaking Tagalog

Philippine Symbols Watercolor Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art
 

My parents were born in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States back in the 70’s. Though Tagalog is their native language and they spoke it at home, I unfortunately didn’t retain enough of the language and I’ve been playing catch up.

I understand the spirit of what they are saying, but I cannot tell you for sure what they are saying. I know enough but I want to know more. I am inspired by this guy, Dwaine Wooley, who lives in the Philippines and speaks fluent Waray. I feel like a backwards FOB when I watch his videos. The character I played in An Infinite Ache has a huge argument with her Jewish husband about losing her culture, losing herself, disappearing down the family line. I worry about that, too. Especially in the volatile political climate we are in now. I don’t want my daughter to disregard her heritage, I want her to know that her mixed heritage is a thing of beauty.

One of my closest high school friends was a fluent Tagalog speaker and she would very patiently teach me. I also listened to songs and watched some movies to immerse myself the best that I can. I also made my parents talk to me in Tagalog. I like to think I got pretty good, but then I started to date a guy who liked to announce NO COLOR LINES whenever I would practice in front of him. I shouldn’t have let that go as easily as I did, but I was too malleable back then. I should have corrected that part of my life sooner but I wouldn’t be the first person to stick around longer than necessary. Live and learn.

Anyway, I am teaching my daughter the names of parts of the body like nose (ilong), Eyes (mata), hands (kamay), etc. I also got these Tagalog flash cards and this book to start. I’m still looking for kids songs, but that’s proven to be tougher to find.

I just wish my daughter was able to learn first hand and not through an Americanized filter like myself. But like when Marge Simpson said she was gonna teach piano lessons. “I just have to stay one lesson ahead of the kid!”

My Favorite Herbs To Grow

easy herbs to grow, herbs to grow in pots, full sun herbs

Watercolor Herb Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art.

I LOVE to cook with fresh herbs! My first herb was a pot of garlic chive that I got shortly after my husband and I moved in together almost 6 years ago. I have saved the seeds and planted and replanted and thought it died so many times but every single year it comes back stronger than ever! It started out in a tiny pot and now it’s in a HUGE pot on our porch. It grows so fast that we can’t keep up with eating it all! But I will say it was my gateway herb. Since then I’ve planted so much more.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, parsley

Since the deer in our neighborhood are assholes persistent, we can’t plant anything edible in our yard, so I keep my herbs in pots. Here is a list of my favorite herbs to grow in your garden to up your recipe game and how I like to use them.

Garlic Chive -Also called Chinese chives or jiǔ cài.  I like to sautée them with garlic and a little butter for a simple side dish, sprinkle on eggs, or mix into ground meat.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, oregano

Chive – Very good for blood flow. My daughter and I both have high platelets so we put some chives on our eggs every morning and sometimes she eats a small blade while we harvest.

ParsleyDonut loves it, and the kiddo loves to feed it to him. It saves his breath, for a minute, haha! I also love chopped parsley on salads, pastas and pretty much anything that could use a little freshness!

 

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, basil

Oregano– Chop up and add to pasta sauce, obvs. I also like to make an easy “pernil style” pork dish. Just chop up some oregano and garlic, mix with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub all over some pork chops and grill!

 

Dill – Great with fish! Brush fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh dill chopped. Bake, and squeeze lemon on top afterwards. You can also make a delicious yogurt sauce with plain yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, garlic and chopped cucumber.

 

Rosemary – PERFECT with pork. Sprinkle pork chops with salt  and rub with chopped rosemary leaves. Leave for awhile and then cook as usual. Add more chopped rosemary leaves after cooking. Make your own sausage too! I like Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade sausage.

 

Basil – Sautéed with spinach and garlic makes for a great side dish. Also toss with chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a yummy caprese salad.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, sage

Sage – Kiddo loves these. Fry the leaves up in some butter till crispy for a yummy little chip. Kiddo loves these in the morning.

Scallions – Great to sprinkle in salad, toss with roasted potatoes and of course in omelets.

 

Thyme – Can add to beef with some chopped red peppers, garlic and red onions to make a middle eastern style meatball. Eat with dill and yogurt sauce.

The BEST part about all the herbs listed above is that they all thrive in FULL SUN, so just leave them there. No need to calculate how many hours of sun vs. shade or any of that other complicated stuff. I water when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry, and that’s it!

 

You COULD start these from seed (which I used to do but with a rambunctious toddler running around and a second on the way, it’s not gonna happen for awhile) but the last few seasons I’ve bought my herbs from local herb purveyors. If you do start from seed, I highly recommend Hudson Valley Seed Company! They have wonderful heirloom varieties and are certified organic!

What are your favorite herbs to cook with? What recipes do you like to use?

 

Toddlers On A Plane

Flying is terrifying if you’re just one person on a plane, never mind with a toddler. You just feel the anxiety at the gate skyrocket as soon as you arrive. Because the smiling giggling darling apple of your eye looks like a ticking time bomb never mind, you’re not supposed to say that on a plane. Anyway, we survived it, and you can too! Here’s a short list of things I recommend and a few things I learned on our recent flight to California.

BRING FOOD.

Snacks. Forget Dinner. “What did you have for dinner? Pretzels and banana bread.” When flying from New York to California, bring enough food or else endure the sugary banana bread laden guilt you get while stuffing your kid full of snacks instead of something more substantial. We got to my parents’ house at about 9pm that night (midnight our time) and she was fast asleep, but hadn’t had dinner. I rolled the parenting dice and decided to wake her so she could eat. What resulted was a meltdown of epic proportions and she barely ate anything. Shoulda woulda coulda, let’s try again next time.

BRING TOYS!!!

Crayons, coloring books, this magical water painting thingy, their favorite stuffies…anything you can fit into a bag and within the rules of air travel, BRING IT. Maybe bring something new that they haven’t seen before so the novelty lasts a little longer. What I really love are these wipeable dry erase crayons and dry erase coloring books! You can even use any dry erase book they have out there, these crayons will work fine!

PRAY.

Pray you get peaceable seatmates. God bless the two seemingly single people on either side of us on this gigantic metal tube. Too bad they weren’t seated next to each other. They would probably get along great. Super chill. Except the guy called me ma’am. Hmph.

I don’t believe in giving “treats” or “bribing” fellow passengers just because I have a small child with me on the plane. She has just as much right to be on that flight as you do. I will do what I can to keep her entertained and quiet because there is no escape while we are all trapped inside a big metal tube in the sky. And believe me, I don’t like hearing a child cry or scream any more than you do. However, her well being is the only one I’m responsible for. Get a pair of these and get over it. Also read “Why you shouldn’t give out goody bags while flying with a baby” by Rebecca Dube

AIRPLANE HARNESSES.

Good for safety. Not for sanity – kiddo HATED it and wouldn’t stop complaining because she would slouch and get the strap all up in her armpits. Halfway through the flight I said f*#k it and unhooked it. She did fine with just the lap belt though I was a little uneasy. Here’s the one I used if you’re looking for one. It’s very easy to use and probably better (for us) when she gets a little bit older.

SCREEN TIME LIMITATIONS GO OUT THE WINDOW

Make sure all devices are charged and loaded with movies, games and videos. No guarantee any of this will work but it should buy you some time. Take time to download your kid’s favorite movies and shows from Netflix. We watched A Curious George Christmas TWICE, lol.

And why oh why wasn’t the wifi working? C’mon United.

GET CREATIVE

Kiddo wanted to hide, so I fashioned a tent out of the free blanket they gave us and turned on her favorite movie. She kept pulling the blanket down between us and wouldn’t let me watch with her. Exiled.

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WATER

Make sure you have enough time to buy water before boarding, or you’ll have a parched throat and whiny toddler because she’s been inhaling pretzels for an hour. The flight attendants go as fast as they can but nothing is fast enough when you’re two.

Check out these links for more tips on peaceful flying with little ones!

  1. 25 Top Tips For Keeping Kids Happy On Board
  2. How To Enjoy A Plane Trip With Children
  3. Packing Checklist for Traveling With a Toddler
  4. Flying With Babies, Toddlers and Kids

 

Frozen at the Hyperion

My daughter is obsessed with Frozen.

OB. SESSED.

We watch it at least once a day and have since this past Christmas. She’s only two so she missed it when it first came out since she wasn’t even born yet. I’ve been trying to wean her onto Moana but I CAN’T. I am hoping my friend Barrie Kealoha can turn her, since she just performed as Moana at Union Square Park. Kiddo watched her clip three times, so here’s hoping that we’ll be able to watch it the whole way through without having to switch back to Frozen, LOL.

While visiting my parents this past week, we made an impromptu decision to take D to California Adventure and try to see Frozen. I wasn’t sure how crowded the park would be that day and I wanted to make sure my daughter saw the show. We booked the Frozen Dining Package at the Carthay Circle Restaurant to ensure priority seating. It was pricey but delicious. The dessert looked like Olaf and D didn’t want to eat him! She wanted to hug it! She ate his chocolate face and arms and some of the meringue snow that was sprinkled on the plate. I booked a little too early (11:30, I probably should have booked at 12:30 instead) because the show was at 3:00pm. But at least we got to go on a couple of rides and D got to take a short nap beforehand, so it worked out well.

Being a former (okay, on hiatus) actor, I couldn’t allow myself to take pictures, so these official show photos were graciously provided to me by Disney and Jade (@arendellebell on IG)

KRISTOFF TAKES ANNA TO THE TROLLS IN ‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort)
OLAF DREAMS OF SUMMER IN ‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort)
ANNA AND ELSA IN ‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort)
‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Scott Brinegar/Disneyland Resort)
ELSAÕS CORONATION IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
PRINCE HANS MEETS ANNA IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
ANNA AND ELSA IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers.(Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
KING AGDAR AND QUEEN IDUN WITH ELSA IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
PRINCE HANS MEETS ANNA IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
ANNA AND ELSA IN ‘FROZEN – LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on Disney’s animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers.(Piotr A. Redlinski/Disneyland Resort)
ANNA AND ELSA MEET THE DUKE OF WESELTON IN ‘FROZEN Ð LIVE AT THE HYPERION’ — A new theatrical interpretation for the stage based on DisneyÕs animated blockbuster film, Frozen is now playing at the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure Park. The show immerses audiences in the emotional journey of Anna and Elsa with all of the excitement of live theater, including elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and show-stopping production numbers. (Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

 

The most beautiful, wonderful, and amazing part of the show for me was when Anna appeared. She. Was. Black. The super talented Domonique Paton.

My jaw dropped open and I almost shouted in glee! And then Kristoff was also played by a black actor (Chris Culberson). I thought of all the kids in the audience, of all colors, and especially my daughter who is mixed. Growing up, I didn’t get to see many actors who looked like me on TV, or very much diversity at all, so knowing my daughter will be able to see herself and especially multiple ethnicities represented onstage and screen brings me so much joy.

I would love my daughter to see the Asian Elsa Kailyn Leilani someday! I wonder if it’s possible to get a heads up on who will be performing…

Exploring Another Love…

I am an official art school drop out.

And I can’t go back and get my degree because the school I went to went out of business, but not before I managed to complete one out of two required years. Oh but that year was grueling. So many sleepless nights and that was the year I gave up coffee. Really. THAT was the year. I think I still have the mark from when my forehead slammed on my keyboard when I fell asleep in class. My schedule was crazy back then. Full time school, part time work, rehearsing for a show, AND in a relationship. It’s no wonder that halfway through that year I got SO SICK that my voice disappeared. I remember laying on the couch feeling so miserable and tired that I thought to myself…if I died right now at least I’d get some sleep.

Anyway, I have always loved digital art. My dad had an old Amiga computer and I made my very first campaign posters in 5th grade on it when I ran for Chief of Safeties (I lost). I can’t even remember the name of the program, but it was so fun making those signs. That dream collapsed after that first year in college, but like drawing, I’m slowly finding my way back to all the things I used to love. And I finally decided to put that half year of art school to good use and try to get some of that investment back by putting some artwork on Etsy! I’ll continue to add more as time goes on. Gotta put the random thoughts and colors swirling around in my head somewhere, right?

 

Did Love or Life Get in the Way?

Here I go again…seemingly lazy’ing it up on this blog thing again.

I’ve made progress on a lot of things. Reminding myself of that fact keeps the guilt away. I got a PO Box and set up my mailing lists and e-mails for both my sites (blog, pro). Not really sure what went wrong. Did discouragement sneak in somewhere? Did the mundane tasks of every day life get in the way? Racking my brain over it and there’s nothing there. Sitting at my desk in front of the computer and just…blank. Perhaps I’m suffering from a bit of writers’ block. It’s not for lack of trying. I did reach a lot of my goals for this month, so it’s good! The chores got done and meals were cooked and appointments were kept…but there were nights I had free where I could have spent more time on the design or more time writing. There were some afternoons I could have spent making jewelry or drawing, things I haven’t done in a long long time. But I didn’t do any of those things. I colored with my daughter, I watched a movie with my husband, we attempted potty training (oh boy), I gave my daughter her first voice lesson (singing vowels and she would copy me, OMG so cute and off key!)…these are really the sweetest days, and they must be loved and lived and experienced before they’re gone.

A few updates…

I interviewed my friend Lora Nicolas on the delicate balance of motherhood and working in the entertainment industry. I don’t know how she does it. She told me and I have proof and I still don’t know. Maybe as I continue to write her feature, it will come to me. Piece to follow.

Got some exciting news regarding a potential upcoming project, but as nothing is finalized as of yet, I don’t want to jinx it by spilling the beans too soon. Hopefully everything goes as planned!

What I’m thankful for…

A few years ago I used to write down what I was thankful for each day. Trying to get back in that habit and improve my outlook on things a bit. I’m not a negative person but it’s too easy to let the poison creep in if you don’t arm yourself with joy.

  1. Choosing to spend time with my daughter and husband instead of pouring all my spare time into extra projects. Everything else and this blog will survive a few days or weeks hiatus. My family is the center of my heart and nurturing them fills me.
  2. Reaching many of my goals for the month, doubling my views (albeit very small), created mailing lists, brainstormed posts and continued getting myself organized.
  3. Flexible employment and powerful female co-workers and supervisors.
  4. My daughter’s lilting laugh. Her laughter lifts my mood instantly.
  5. This little monster, always.

Count your blessings, even on your worst days, you have at least one.

In conclusion…

Love and life did NOT get in my way. My love and life ARE my way. Everything else will follow. I have to keep remembering that. Cherish everything and don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for it.

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!!!