Monthly Archives: August 2011

Safari Celery Boats

The other day, when the rest of the east coast was feeling that strange rumbling sensation that Californians call an “earthquake,” my family and I were at the zoo. We didn’t feel a thing. Rats! I can’t believe I missed it!

But we had a lovely time. We adore the zoo.

Philadelphia Zoo

Isn’t that a cool picture of the polar bear with the Zoo Balloon in the background?

And here is a close up of the cuddly guy (or girl??):

Cute widdle polar bear!

Hard to believe that furry white snuggle bear is actually one of the most vicious animals on the planet!

My Batman likes the penguins best:

Humboldt Penguin

And I like the giraffes, especially now that they have a new little baby, Abby:

My favorite exhibit 🙂

Sorry I didn’t get a better picture of the baby. But that’s either her Mommy (Stella) or her Daddy (Gus). I just love their names!

And check out this rhino:

Wow, these guys are HUGE!

I wouldn’t want to get on his bad side!

My kids have been imitating this lazy fellow for the past two days:

It's hard work being a gorilla

I shouldn’t call him lazy. Who knows, he may have already put in a full day’s work by the time we got to him.

Well, in between the earthquake and the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene, I’d like to tell you about a fun after school snack: Safari Celery Boats.

Now, if your cooking skills are not up to par, you might want to just skip this one. It’s REALLY tough. I mean it.

First you take a piece of celery. Then you spread peanut butter on it. Then stick some animal crackers into the peanut butter.

Sigh. I knew I shouldn’t have posted such a challenging recipe. I really don’t want to alienate anyone by showing off my superior skills and creativity.

Truthfully, though, this is  a great after-school snack, and one that’s easy for the kids to make themselves. Sure, it’s nice to have visions of the kids getting off the school bus and walking into the house with the delicious aroma of fresh baked cookies wafting into their sweet little noses. But the reality is, that’s just not always possible. More often than not, I’m running around, trying to finish up the laundry, start dinner, referee the bickering, clean up the toys scattered about the house… oops, I mean making the kids clean up the toys… you know… life, and all that stuff.

So it’s nice to have a healthy snack that the kids can actually prepare themselves. And it’s cute, to boot!

Safari Celery Boats

If you are in the path of Irene, which I apparently am, judging by the media hype and the “sky is falling” attitude of my fellow shoppers at Walmart this morning, then I will send some prayers and well wishes your way (and maybe you can send some mine?).  Good luck!

This post is linked up at Designs by Gollum and Mom Trends

Slumber Party

My little Sarah Crewe turned nine this month, and she wanted to have a slumber party. Our first slumber party! Woohoo!!

She invited four girls, so it was small and manageable. We ordered pizza, had cake, opened presents, made flip-flop slippers (dubbed “flippers” by the girls), and that’s where the “we” ends. I went to bed.

I was woken up lots of times. “Eeeeek!!! There’s a bug” (well, they didn’t really say ‘Eeeeeek’ I just wanted to write that) around 11 p.m., “Can we have some pizza?” around 1 a.m., “Can we paint our nails” at 2, “Can we have more cake” around 3, “Can you help us with the DVD player” at 4. It didn’t really bother me; I thought it was very cute and sweet that they felt they had to ask me every little thing.

What was missing from this sleepover was one very important  slumber party component. Drama. I’ve been to lots of sleepovers. I even babysat an 8-year-old’s slumber party once when I was in college. They all have drama. But not this one. They all got along. Nobody wanted to go home. Nobody hated anybody else and then later made up but then hated a different girl. Nobody (to the best of my knowledge) pretended to be asleep while the other girls whispered about her: “I didn’t want to invite her. My mom made me.” (Not that that ever happened to me, of course. I’m just saying it could happen.) Nobody sang, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” while one girl was in the bathroom.

"Look at me, I'm Sandra Dee" -Grease

Nobody escaped to the back porch and sang “Hopelessly Devoted to You” while she floated some guy’s picture in the pond.

"Hopelessly Devoted to You" -Grease

In fact, I’m pretty sure the only singing that went on was when they started singing something from Spongebob (but I am proud to say that my daughter said in response, “That show is so stupid”).

There was one point that the girls put on a little show that looked suspicially like the slumber party scene in 13 Going on 30 (minus the Pat Benatar music… man, that would’ve been awesome):

13 Going on 30

I made my first attempt at cake balls, which I think came out quite nice:

Cake Balls

I borrowed the book Cake Pops by Bakerella but I think I’m going to have to buy it. It’s full of great ideas! I also made cupcake bites:

Cupcake Bites

I’m really happy that my daughter had such a fun sleepover. Although I am continuing to wonder why I got so lucky. Does that mean the next one will be a disaster?

Don’t answer that!

This is not a real post.

This is a not a real post. And you are not really reading it. In fact, you’re not even here. You’re on an island in the Carribean, sitting on the beach, watching the waves crashing on the shore. The sun is warm, the water’s cool, and that cute young cabana boy is bringing you a daiquiri. And perhaps that’s not all he’s bringing you…

Hey! Stop it! This blog is G-rated, thank you very much. Get up, you have to make dinner!

I’ve told you about this chicken before, maybe more than once. And I’ve pestered encouraged people (like my sister) to make it. It has become my absolute favorite slow cooker meal. I make it so often that I’m pretty sure my family will feel the need to have an intervention soon.

I got the recipe from Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking blog. It’s so easy. You just take chicken breasts, Philadelphia cooking creme (Santa Fe blend), and a can of diced tomatoes. Dump them in your crockpot, and cook in low for 4-5 hours, shredding the chicken in the last hour. Then serve on taco shells. That’s it. Click here to see the full recipe laid out all nice and pretty, and a nice picture.

My kids love it, although I found out last night they like it better on soft tortillas than on crunchy taco shells.

I don’t have a picture (which is why this isn’t a real post), because I’m on vacation, and I’m supposed to be taking a blog break, anyway.

My favorite part of this recipe? The leftovers are fantastic cold, on a Triscuit. Maybe with a daiquiri. On a beach. In the Carribean. Or your living room. Whatever.

Tortilla Fruit Pizzas

"Keep your eye on the fruit." -Caddyshack II

I’m thinking Dan Akroyd had it right- the proper way to cut open a watermelon is to blow it up with a golf ball. I mean, it can’t be any messier than the usual way, can it? You could just have the kids stand around the watermelon with their mouths open, waiting for pieces to fly in. It could work.

But this is perhaps a neater way to eat fruit.

I wrote this recipe out for 1 tortilla, but it is very easy to make as many as you like. I made six, one for each of us, for lunch. This is a great recipe for getting the kids involved. You can put the fruit out in bowls, and let everyone “decorate” their own pizza. I didn’t do that, though. I said, “Go away, I’m making lunch.”

But next time, I promise to let them help. Cross my heart.

Tortilla Fruit Pizzas

  • 1 small flour tortilla
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • cut up pieces of fruit
  • 1/2 tsp honey


  1. Preheat oven to 425˚
  2. Place tortilla on a cookie sheet. Spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon on top. Bake in preheated oven for 5-7 minutes, or until crispy and starting to turn light brown.
  3. Arrange fruit pieces on top. Drizzle with honey. Cut tortillas into pieces, pizza-style, and serve.

Click here for printable

Tortilla Fruit Pizza

Use any fruit you have available. I happened to have kiwi, nectarines, plums, and cherries that I was trying to use up. This would be good loaded with summer berries, and perhaps a dollop of whipped cream. Or in the fall, with different kinds of apples and more cinnamon sprinkled on top. Use your imagination!

The Critics really liked these sweet little pizzas. I made Sarah Crewe‘s without the honey, because she doesn’t like it. Everyone else gave me lots of “Mmmmm”s and “This is so good!” and asked for seconds, even though there weren’t any.

So, even if exploding golf balls aren’t your preferred method of chopping fruit, you can still have a little fun with your fruit this summer. And make your Critics very happy 😀


This post is linked up at Designs by Gollum and Momtrends Friday Food.