Cooking with Kids : Ginger Cookies

Cooking with Kids is an ongoing series where we share recipes that are easy enough to make with a two-year-old. If you’re new to the series, our first post that provides our detailed tips for cooking with little ones.

*We first published this post almost two years ago, but these cookies are delicious and ginger is our ingredient of the season, so we’re republishing them today so that you don’t let a good thing pass you by.*

Ahhh, I meant to share this post before Christmas so that you could add yet another cookie to your baking list, but time got away from me, so here we are with a delicious ginger cookie that tastes just as good on a cold day in January as it would during the hustle and bustle of Christmas.

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And I’m still smiling about how this came to be my favorite ginger cookie recipe. Calder’s sister made them a few years ago at Thanksgiving. That first batch was delicious and reminded me of the ginger chews that I used to buy in Trader Joe’s. I was so smitten that I asked for the recipe. She sent it along, and from her notes, I could see that it came from the grandma of a good friend. As I was baking these with Alex, I looked more closely at the bottle (more on that below) and realized that the recipe on the Grandma’s Molasses bottle matched the recipe I was making! Ingredient for ingredient and word for word. So, maybe you already know this recipe?

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Next Level Landscape Photography

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Ask most photographers what they truly want to shoot and the answer is almost always landscape and travel photography. If there was a viable way to make a living from nature photography, we would all be doing it. It’s not impossible, but it usually comes with the goal of selling something, a product, a place, an agenda, it’s never just a nature shot. That doesn’t stop us from taking our cameras to the woods though. There are landscape shots and then there are landscape shots. Here are a few tips to elevate your game.

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Halloween Costume Idea : Circus Strongman

Making the Strongman

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If you do a search for strongman costumes, you’ll find that there are plenty of ideas out there, so we’re just re-inventing the wheel here. Right now my big decisions are which outfit he should wear. I bought the red and navy blue leggings from Old Navy. Note that you have to look in the girls’ section of their site and store for leggings. The tank top onesies are from American Apparel. I used the sharpies to draw tattoos on the women’s stockings. As yet to be completed – his barbell is going to be made from the two styrofoam balls and a shortened segment of the dowel.

I ended up with the two outfits, because I wasn’t sure what I would find at each store, so I thought it was better to have options and I’ll return whatever doesn’t make the cut. I think we’re leaning towards the black stripes and red pants, what do you think? The next choice is whether we cut the pants or not – I think it’ll look good either way. We’ve had some unseasonably warm 70+ degree days here, so I may wait and see what kind of weather we’re dealing with the day of the parade.

As you can see, Alex wasn’t really up for a fashion shoot when we had him try this on. But it was definitely helpful – the stockings are too wide for his arms. On the one hand, this makes it reasonable to have him wear a shirt under the stockings if it’s cold and/or I could stuff them to give him some muscles. Although, I’m also thinking that it could be worth it to buy a pair of small stockings sized for little girls or babies…

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Altering the Strongman

I made the original set shown above out of a pair of women’s stockings, but they were pretty large, so the tattoos were super wrinkly unless I decided to stuff the arms and give him BIG muscles. I thought about stuffing them, but knew that our finicky guy might refuse that look, so I decided to go back to the store and pick up a pair of girl’s stockings.

After buying them, I immediately realized the second benefit – if I turned the stockings upside down, and cut a hole in the crotch area, I could slide the one piece over Alex’s head rather than cut off the stocking legs to create two sleeves (that I would then have to attach to the onesie in order to keep them up)! win. win. In addition to cutting the hole for his head, I cut off the tighter elastic material around the stocking’s waist area as well as cutting off the toe seams.

I then drew the tattoos (a heart, cloud with lightning, kite, mermaid, whale, sailboat, anchor, spiderweb, rose, stars, and a shell). I only drew the tattoos from his shoulder area down to about his wrist, this still left a bit of stocking length, and rather than cut it off, I folded it under the sleeves to create a double layer for added warmth. They were still a touch wide for his arms, but his cuteness totally distracted anyone from noticing ;-).

And speaking of cuteness, here we are on Friday night, just before going trick-or-treating at the most amazing/bizarre house (we only went to two houses, because that was more than enough for the little guy).

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Funny thing, I had just finished Alex’s barbell (two styrofoam balls and a wooden dowel spray painted black), so this is his first time holding it. As we were about to take the picture, we told him to hold his barbell in the air, and he surprised everyone by doing it!  So that’s us, surprise smiling/laughing as he performs on cue.

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After these photos, he was more than happy to walk down the street holding his barbell and lifting it up whenever prompted. What a little guy! And what a great Halloween.

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Halloween Costume Idea : Disco Ball

Happy October! We first posted this a few years ago, but if you need an idea for a little one, it’s not too early to start. Below is a baby Disco Ball and here is a Circus Strongman.

I feel like it’s been so long since I really dressed up for Halloween. For the past few years, we’ve sat around the house (waiting for those dozen or so trick-or-treaters to show) and would throw on something from my bag of old Halloween costume parts from years past. Witch’s hat, Eskimo, and giant pumpkin for the win! This year Calder said we had to get serious – “don’t get out your witch’s hat” may have been a direct order. Luckily, some serendipitous inspiration struck not once, but twice, last weekend.

Moment 1: It began with me ordering this baby jailbird costume out of desperation. Did you see those tattooed arms?! A few hours after placing the order, I remembered Oh Happy Day’s strongman costume from last year – so awesome, right? And perfect for Little A. If he’s a strongman, then I’m happy to partner up as the bearded lady. And now we have a pair of costumes for our town’s Halloween parade.

Moment 2: Calder was randomly telling me that he wanted to bring 70’s fashion back (no joke). Minutes later we wandered into vintage store and found the most amazing 70’s clothes! Calder walked out with a pair of plaid pants and three rayon shirts with extra large lapels. Me? I’m the proud new owner of a psychedelic jumpsuit. All we needed was a disco ball. Enter Alex. And now we have the family costume theme that we needed for a friend’s party next weekend!

Making the Disco Ball

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Little A is a mover, and we have a strong feeling that he’s not going to put up with having a costume with a lot of frills, bulk, or even a hat. So we have to keep everything simple and make sure that it’s still easy for him to move. What we wanted to do here was to make him a sequined shirt that he could still easily move in. We thought about stuffing it to give him more of a ball shape, but his big belly is round enough.

I’ve been holding onto a sequined dress since high school (thank you Christmas band concert), knowing that it would come in handy eventually. Our plan was to make a simple sequined shirt/vest for Alex to wear over a black shirt and pants. Originally I thought I would use black felt to make the shoulder straps and snaps for closures (shown in the materials photo above), but as it turns out, I didn’t need either!

 

The straps on the top of the dress, are almost perfectly spaced for little A’s shoulders. So, all I had to do was take in the sides slightly, and shorten the dress to the length we wanted. The one challenge to shortening it was that the long zipper. In the photo above on the right, I’m showing you where the zipper ends with my thumb and how short I want it with my finger.

The dress’ sides had been brought in once before (red thread above). I wanted to bring in the seams by another inch or so, and I was going to cut off the excess fabric so that it didn’t add bulk. The one challenge I faced was that the sequins seemed to eat up the thread, and I would end up with gaps without stitching. I was using a cotton thread, maybe there’s a better choice? I handled it by just sewing the same line a few times, and it worked well enough.

The next challenge was the zipper. I’m not a zipper expert, but I do know that these zippers with small-ish plastic teeth are easy to shorten. You begin by marking the point that you want to be the new bottom of the zipper. At that point you’ll sew a bar tack over the zipper’s teeth. To do this, set your machine on a zig-zag stitch that is just wider than the zipper’s teeth with the stitch length as short as it can go (so you’re sewing back and forth over the zipper at the same point). I began by testing the stitch without thread in the needle, manually moving the needle to test stitch widths and making sure that the zipper was perfectly centered so that I wouldn’t hit its teeth with the needle.

After the bar tack is sewn, I cut out the zipper’s extra teeth, keeping my scissors as close to the teeth as possible and leaving the zipper tape intact. To close the hole that was made by the missing zipper, I sewed the excess dress hem (that would have covered the zipper) to the zipper tape on the opposite side, closing that hole. You can see this line of stitching in the photo above on the right. At this point I had a segment of the dress that was the correct width and could be  cut to the right length for the little guy. So, it was time to try it on and get that final length measurement!

He was a willing model first thing in the morning – as long as I didn’t mind him running around with his dog named Cat. He was super excited when he figured out that Cat could ride the bike by sitting in the water bottle holder. With the fitting done, I cut the dress to the length we wanted and our disco ball costume was complete!

 

Here are a few more disco shots, crazy eyes and all!

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iNaturalist

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed making observations and participating in citizen scientist projects. Check out our first phenology post! And if you know a little bug lover, then this post is for you. And definitely this one.

Are you using iNaturalist yet? We’ve mentioned the app a few times in other posts, but thought that a formal introduction was in order.

iNaturalist provides both app and website forums for sharing your wildlife observations. These observations can be seen by other wildlife enthusiasts, naturalists, and scientists. Basically, it’s creating an amazing forum for collecting data about wildlife across the world, and the best part is that you don’t have to be an expert to contribute data. This is citizen science at its finest!

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Having many observations across a wide geographic area and over a number of years help scientists track data about the location, movement, and timing of biological activity. For example: is the range of a species changing? are they migrating earlier or later in the season? is the timing of plant budding out/flowering/fruiting changing? Simple observations across a large group of people help to collect the data that will answer these questions.

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tomato jam

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve shared a super simple ginger dessert and a savory shepherd’s pie minus the mash. You can find our archive of previous featured ingredients here. So far we’ve

Tomato jam is the jam! Bet you didn’t see that coming.

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I do find that many people are surprised at the idea of a tomato-based jam. This isn’t something to pair with your peanut butter. This is a savory and slightly spicy jam that’s serves as an amazing condiment. I like to pair it with cheese, but it’s also amazing as a spread on savory sandwiches. Think of a grilled cheese with caramelized onions and a thin spread of this amazing concentrated tomato+spice flavor. Or imagine a pulled pork sandwich with a spread of jam. Do we have your attention? This stuff is amazing.

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Sweater Season

It’s sweater season! … at least for a day. Oh fall, you fickle thing.

I wanted to share the details on two sweaters that I’m excited to start rotating into my wardrobe this season.

Bohus Cowl

First up is the Bohus-inspired cowl neck sweater. It’s from an issue of Vogue Knitting, but lucky for you, the pattern is now available as a free download from their site!

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If you don’t know much about Bohus sweaters, it’s worth going down that rabbit hole and learning about these beautiful designs.

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

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Sarah Here :

Happy Friyay babies! As a photographer, people are always asking me, “How long have you been taking photos for?” And my response is usually, “ah, about five years.” As I drove away from the shoot today, I realized I’ve been lying to everyone. I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember.

I can remember taking stealing my Pop’s camera and taking it to school in first grade. My teacher promptly confiscated it and when I tried to turn it on at the end of the day, I couldn’t. I was so terrified that I broke it and that my Pop would be upset. I’m not sure whatever happened to that camera, but I don’t remember getting yelled at so I’m sure it was fine.

When I was a couple years older, I was gifted all types of funky polaroids and when I got to middle and high school, my parents bought me point-and-shoot cameras. A lot of them. I wish I were kidding, but I probably went through five or six cameras! One was stolen at a party, another I lost on a ski slope, one was carelessly put in my backpack and the screen broke, another got too hot at the beach and the screen exploded, and so on. Even though I would lose or break these cameras after only a few months, my mom always bought me a new one. She scolded me for being careless, but she never gave up on my love of photography even though at the time, I’m not sure we knew the extent of it.

Now, let’s say twenty years later, I’m still taking photos. I find it intuitive to capture a scene and tell a story and that’s why in 2008 I changed my major from magazine journalism to photojournalism. I can still remember the moment, the first time I said it aloud to my roommates, ‘I think I’m going to switch majors.’ The uncertainty was overwhelming. My parents asked logical questions like, ‘Can you actually make a career of it?’ I wasn’t sure, but I knew I wanted to try and here I am, almost ten years after making that decision and I’m still not sure. I mean, I’m doing it, but it looks radically different than I envisioned and that’s what I hear when I talk to my fellow TU alumni. We’re all hustling, few of us are working at newspapers and even fewer are employed full-time as photojournalists. We’re the freelancing generation. We hustle. We have to prove ourselves at every gig and we’re terrible at business, but that’s not why we got into it. We wanted to tell stories and I think we’re all doing just that.

With this question of, “How long have you been taking photos,” in mind, I looked back through my archives and discovered I have digital images from way back in 2004. Then I decided to browse year by year to see what exactly I had been up to during the last decade of September 22s. With just a single photo, I’m able to remember the days so clearly and the two years that lack an image, I lack recollection. I’m lost without my camera so even if it turns out that I can’t make a career out of it, I can make a life out of it and that’s just fine with me.

On this day :

2007 : I distinctly remember throwing up in the parking lot of a Breaking Benjamin concert although I cannot remember a second of the concert.

2008 : Probably getting stoned on campus, contemplating switching my major to photojournalism.

2009 : Katie Albin and I jumped on a tiny three-foot trampoline, in the middle of Temple’s campus and I don’t think we have ever laughed harder.

2010 : I spent the day at my sister’s apartment in Philly before heading to the Reading Terminal Market to shoot video of street musicians.

2011 : I lazed away with my then boyfriend as I would move to Thailand in just a few weeks.

2012 : I photographed an event on an army base, a new and different experience for me.

2013 : The Schu siblings visited the Bloomsburg Fair with baby Alex in tow!

2014 : I worked a gig in Charlotte that tested my knowledge and techniques. I remember feeling the pressure to deliver that day.

2015 : I learned a new (and horrifying) shat kriya technique during my yoga teacher training in Nepal.

2016 : Whatever I was doing, I didn’t take a photo of it.

2017 : Today I’m taking a three-mile walk across town with Cash to pick up my Schubaru from the shop.

2018 : Will surely be my most important September 22 as I’ll be celebrating my best friend’s wedding. <3

What are you up today? And how about ten years ago? And what about ten years from now? xo

 

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Ginger + Vanilla

Ginger is our ingredient of the season. You can find our archive of ginger posts here and our previous featured ingredients here. Today we’re adding something sweet to the docket.

Get ready to start planning your next dinner party, because we have the perfect dessert : vanilla ice cream + ginger spread. This is such a simple combination, but the results are phenomenal. ginger_icecream

We used Talenti Vanilla Bean Gelato for the base, and topped it with a syrup made from Ginger People’s ginger spread. I scooped some paste into a ramekin, added almost an equal amount of water, and microwaved it for a few seconds until the syrup was warm but not hot. Then I gave the mixture a good stir and drizzled it over the gelato.

Can’t find ginger paste in your grocery store? Amazon delivers.

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And I’m not joking about the dinner party. Sometimes a fancy dessert is in order. Sometimes you can plan ahead and bake something the day before. But sometimes, a tub of ice cream is the way to go. This combination takes that easy dessert and dresses it up just enough to leave an impression.

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Plus, maybe it’s time that we make ginger the new flavor of fall! Pumpkin’s had its run. #outwithpumpkin #gingerishot #gingersarehot Wait. Am I doing this right?

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A Day at Circular Quay in Sydney Harbor

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Your first stop in Sydney will inevitably include a trip to the harbor and really it should, it is the most beautiful and active harbor I’ve ever seen. There is so much going on around The Quay that you’ll have no trouble spending an entire day in this area.

First, take a stroll up and down the steps of the Sydney Opera House and wander around the backside to watch the ferries streaming back and forth to Manly beach. If you can, try to spot the Sydney Harbour bridge climbers and contemplate if it’s something you’d like to do yourself.
If you’re hungry, head down to the Opera bar. Nestled right under the opera house near the water, the Opera restaurant and bar has mostly outdoor seating, with a few tables undercover. From this vantage point, you’ll be able to shift your gaze from the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the majestic Sydney Opera House all the while making sure those ballsy Sydney seagulls don’t steal a hot chip from your plate. Watch it, because they will.
After you’ve had a bite, wander slowly around the harbor, taking in the sights of street performers and beautiful sounds of street musicians. Over the course of the weekend that I stayed in the Sydney CBD (central business district) I discovered a handful of new favorites. There is some serious talent hanging out at the harbor waiting to be discovered or simply playing in-between gigs.
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If it’s the weekend, the street artisan market will be in full swing. Wander the long way around the harbor (past the big cruise ships and the Park Hyatt) until you see the bridge overhead. Wander through the lovely lawns of the park and take a rest under the bridge on the Adirondack chairs. Then hit up The Rocks Market. Simply head down George street until you see Argyle Street and you’ll run into it. Weave through all the market stalls, following the market onto Playfair Street. If you’re feeling an afternoon snack or brew, the market streets have ample offerings in the way of food stalls and sitdown restaurants.
After some shopping in The Rocks, roam back towards George Street and The Quay and you’ll see the back entrance of the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s free of charge so enjoy and leave a donation on your way out if the experience spoke to you.
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After art comes gelato. There are a plethora of places nearby, I had Royal Copenhagen, it was divine. I highly recommend the passionfruit, but go ahead and sample them all first.
Take a nice rest on the lawns in front of the art museum while you watch tourists enjoying the harbor for the first time and locals making their way home from work. Let flocks of Australian white ibis invade your spaces as you listen to your new favorite street musician.
If you’re feeling energized, walk back up through the rocks to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Stroll to the center or climb up into the Pylon Lookout and watch the golden hour cast a beautiful color on the city of Sydney with soft yellow light. If that sounds like too much work, head into the Sydney Theatre Company, or one of the other dozen theaters, take a seat, and enjoy the show.
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