rocket ship

apple, whip cream, strawberry

5…4…3…2…1…BLAST OFF!

We were invited last weekend to visit the Virginia Air & Space Center on the opening day of their new hands-on exhibit “Space Racers,” which is based on an animated PBS Kids show by the same name. Children are able to explore space through the multitude of interactive exhibits in this new installation.

We had actually never been to the Virginia Air & Space Center, so we took our time investigating the rest of the center before heading upstairs to the new exhibit. Avery was completely enraptured.

A view above and below of the new exhibit. There is an area (above) geared towards the younger preschool set, packed with coloring stations and soft blocks for building rockets.

It doesn’t get more hands-on than this. Did Avery understand how this activity relates to space travel or did he just have fun trying to snap blocks together while wearing big gloves? I’m not totally sure, but if something educational manages to entertain this high spirited five year-old on a hot day and it isn’t a video game, I’m all for it. We will be returning for sure.

Garfield

Mozzarella cheese, raisins, apple, chocolate hazelnut spread

This fat cat is a superstar in our house. The TV show, the comic books, you name it – Avery loves Garfield.

It all started with a stack of comic books I found while digging in my parents’ attic. I once considered them my most cherished possessions so naturally I decided to pass the stack along to Avery. I adored those books growing up and those characters were probably the first images I ever really mastered drawing. Anyhow, they didn’t age well and the brittle pages were falling out left and right, but Avery still thought they were the greatest books on earth. Keep in mind he can’t read yet, so I have to read every single word and sound effect. And normally I have to offer an explanation of WHY the joke is funny (some of the humor is WAY over his head), but he giggles hysterically anyway.

Fortunately, I picked up some like-new treasuries printed in the nineties at a recent garage sale, so he’s back in heaven again happily memorizing every strip from the “PFTTTT” to the “SHOOMF.”

up, up and away!

carved apple basket, whip cream, strawberries, pretzel sticks

And we’re back from maternity leave! I’m starting to feel like a normal person again and we’re trying desperately to get back into our weekly groove. Avery was anxious to start up our tradition again and helped by mixing batter and coming up with the idea – a hot air balloon. And now we have another little guy to share the experience with, but he’ll have to wait on those pesky teeth before he can really participate. For now, he seems content to sit in his bouncy chair and watch the action.

Lunchbox ideas on bisquick.com

We recently welcomed a sweet baby boy to our household, so the pancake making has slowed down in the previous weeks. But in the meantime, get your pancake fix at Bisquick.com and learn three fun ways to enliven your child’s lunchbox.

I do hope to be back soon in a few days in honor of Shrove Tuesday – can’t miss it!

 

snowflake

sifted powdered sugar

Last week we experienced a debilitating amount of snowfall on the Virginia coast. Two days later, the temperature rose to 60 degrees and the snowman my husband and son crafted in the back yard was nothing more than a puddle.

This pancake could have been great, but alas, I am out of practice with cutting out paper snowflakes.

Tips: Make a stencil out of paper and place on your pancake. Sift a thin layer of powdered sugar on top and remove the stencil. Voila!

sunshine

Clementines, boiled egg, blueberries, chocolate hazelnut spread

And in the words of another favorite band from my mid-20s: Super Furry Animals

In honesty
It’s been a while
Since we had reason left to smile
Hello sunshine
Come into my life

Yes, please stay with us sunshine. I need you in my life during these chilly winter months.

rain cloud

Tiny drop of gel food coloring in the pancake mix, blueberries

I came to a realization the other day that I really miss the music of the early 2000′s. Was it really better or did it mean so much more to a girl in her early 20′s navigating the world solo for the first time? This pancake in particular brings to mind a song from one of those bands I adored: Travis.

Sunny days
Where have you gone?
I get the strangest feeling you belong
Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?
Why does it always rain on me?
Even when the sun is shining
I can’t avoid the lightning

Anyhow, we had one torrential downpour last weekend, coupled with a tornado warning, and the next day was warm and sunny. Seasons in Virginia are completely unpredictable.