Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Tales of Tofu: Encouraging My Kids To Be Whatever They Want to Be


Thank you House Foods for sponsoring this post.

My kids are always talking about what they want to be when they grow up. My three year old son mostly just wants to be a dinosaur, but my daughter has several career paths in mind: a dance teacher, a horticulturist, and a chef. My husband and I are very big on encouraging them, even from a very young age, to follow whatever paths they desire (and that includes in the present too). Whether we're talking about their dreams for adult years or what activities they want to try this summer, it's important to us that they know they can be whatever they want to be.

Recently my daughter and I were having one of our "deep talks" about hopes, dreams, and how we define ourselves (or, in preschool terms, "what makes us us"), which led to a specific discussion about her ability to be whatever she chooses. To better explain to her what I meant, I likened it to one of our favorites foods: tofu. I had just gotten a copy of the children's ebook The Tales of Tofu from House Foods, which is the most endearing story about a superfood named Tofu who learns about how he can be anything he wants to be (by easily mixing with other foods), and it really did seem like the perfect comparison. As we read the book together, I watched her reactions and could see how the story made sense to her. She told me it "an-spired" (inspired) her, and immediately asked if we could make one of the book's super easy-to-prepare recipes recipes. I was in!

We decided to go with the Strawberry Papaya Tofu Smoothie, and ran to the store to pick up the ingredients (see recipe below for full list). When we got home, my daughter got to experience one of her future careers dreams of being chef as we made the smoothie together. And man was it delicious. Here is the recipe so you can see for yourself!


Strawberry Papaya Tofu Smoothie

SERVES: 2 | PREP TIME: 5 min | TOTAL TIME: 5 min


INGREDIENTS
½ pkg. House Foods Tofu Soft
3/4 cup papaya; peeled — seeded, and chopped
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup frozen mango, chopped
1/2 banana


In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Cover and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds or so. Enjoy!


One of the things I love most about The Tales of Tofu is how it helps kids and their families eat healthier by focusing on good ingredients like fruits, veggies, and tofu. (When House Foods partnered with Melissa Rauch to to create the ebook, this was part of it's purpose, which is so great!) I also love how the ebook finds a creative way to introduce kids to tofu, which is a food they might normally be less familiar with. Even though both of my kids eat tofu often, the ebook shows them the endless ways tofu can be prepared and combined with other foods. (Just like my kids, tofu can be anything it wants to be!)


Next up, according to my daughter, is Tofu Tacos, another delicious recipe included in The Tales of Tofu. I can't wait! You can download your own digital copy of The Tales of Tofu from www.house-foods.com right here. It's such a wonderful way to not only encourage your little ones to be whatever they want to be, but also to introduce them to tofu and create discussion on the importance of eating healthy foods. And of course, it's a great way to make food together, which in our house, is one of our favorite ways to bond.


How do you encourage your kids to be whatever they want to be?


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Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter, Earth Day, and My E's



My little E and E wanted to wish all of you a happy (belated) Easter and a happy Earth Day today! There's still some live action videos of our Easter shenanigans up on my Instagram Stories if you want to check out the fun we had. And today after school, the kids and I are headed straight over to a local park for an Earth Day clean up. (You can check out some of my favorite eco-themed posts on the blog right here.)

Did you have a good weekend (Easter celebrations or otherwise)? Do you have any Earth Day plans?


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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Silver Screen to Mainstream: The Original Influencers


This post is in partnership with the Chicago History Museum.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may have joined me last Friday as my mom, daughter, and I visited the most incredible exhibition at the Chicago History Museum entitled Silver Screen to Mainstream. When I first heard about it, I was intrigued by its tagline - "the original influencers" - and when I saw it in person and learned more about the history of the clothing on display, the tagline really made sense. Today I thought I'd share with you some pieces of the wonderful afternoon we spent at the exhibition. And I hope those of you in the Chicago area (and beyond!) will take the time to go check it out. It's captivating.


Jessica Roussin, Digital Marketing Coordinator for Chicago History Museum (that's her above!), gave us a little tour when we first arrived, and explained more behind the pieces in the exhibit. Over thirty garments from the 1930's and 40's are on display, by designers such as Chanel, Vionnet, Valentina, Paul du Pont, Howard Greer, and Adrian, and you guys, they are stunning. She also explained more about the history behind it, which was just fascinating to me.


If you've been reading here for a while, you likely know that I have a background in fashion (I majored in theatre in college and spent much of my senior year studying costume design, and later ran an eco-friendly womenswear label for close to 15 years), and the history of fashion in America during the 20th century has always had a place in my heart. I didn't know a great deal about this particular era though, and walking through the exhibit was such a rich lesson in how, as America headed out of the Great Depression, celebrity culture emerged and began to affect mainstream style. Long before blogs and social media existed, Hollywood movie stars were true influencers, and for the first time in history, designers began creating garments for the everyday woman based on what these stars wore in their films and beyond.


While Silver Screen to Mainstream showcases fashions from Paris, New York, Chicago, and Hollywood, it was (understandably) the section featuring dresses that were all worn by Chicago women that most resonated with me. An evening dress made of silk and ostrich feathers, which was a copy of a design made by Jenkins Gowns for a performance by opera singer Helen Jepson, was custom made for the woman who ultimately donated it to the museum (Mrs. Otto Madlener) by Stanley Korshak Chicago, a high end women's apparel store here in Chicago. The dress is absolutely jaw dropping in person. My daughter couldn't take her eyes off it. It was so cool to be able to explain to her how old it was (she's 5, so anything more than 10 years old is ancient in her eyes), the story behind it, and how it was created during a time when our country was truly reinventing itself after a decade of difficult times. (The exhibit also had a "cinema" that explained more about fashion of this era; my daughter watched the video five times.)


In addition to the plethora of glamorous dresses on display, the exhibition also has a section of casual dresses handmade by women who weren't designers or famous on any level from patterns ordered from catalogs. One of the dresses is even on display inside out, to showcase the detail that was put into sewing it. Even these house dresses are simply gorgeous, and it was so cool to learn more about the time when sewing patterns first became commonplace.


It was also a treat to get to see the shoes, evening bags, and jewelry worn at the time, and the ways in which Hollywood had influence over accessories as well as clothing. I was specifically drawn to the dress clips on display, which were very on trend at the time. They were convertible, and could be worn on necklines, on shoes, or as brooches. My daughter was intrigued by the pocketbooks, which were quite fancy, and made from materials like suede, metal, and even plastic.


I took so much from this exhibition (as did my mom and daughter!), but I was especially intrigued by how, despite serious hardships and adversity as a result of the Great Depression, people in the 1930's and 40's used fashion to retain a sense of normalcy - or to at least appear to be together, even if the rest of their lives were not. Going to the movies was an escape from reality that provided a sense of optimism, and women were inspired by the fashion of the stars, so they took a little of the movies with them and made that fashion their own. Some were able to purchase designer replicas of what the actresses wore, and others (most, I'm guessing) purchased inexpensive patterns and created Hollywood inspired garments from them. Whatever the means, in a time of uncertainty, the fashion of the cinema was moving far beyond the silver screen and providing the mainstream with an exciting, new American style.


If you live in the Chicago area, or are planning a trip to Chicago, I highly recommend stopping by the Chicago History Museum and checking out Silver Screen to Mainstream (which runs through January 21, 2020) in person. It tells a fascinating story, and the hard work by Collection Manager Jessica Pushor and Guest Curator Virginia Heaven is evident. Then stay and explore the rest of the museum, which is full of fun for the entire family. Essley was obsessed with the lifestyle Chicago style hotdog. I was obsessed with the gorgeous event room (seen directly above).


For more information on Silver Screen to Mainstream, visit Chicago History Museum's website.


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Monday, April 15, 2019

National Parks On My Mind



When I was in my twenties, much of my summers were spent in a 1978 Southwind RV, traveling the U.S.. (Okay, so a lot of that time was also spent on the side of the road attempting to fix the vehicle, but that was, um, part of the adventure or something.) And while there were lots of random stops to visit friends and various attractions, most of the destinations were music festivals (where I vended the eco-friendly clothing line I owned at the time) or National Parks.

It's been a few years now since I've last officially been in a National Park, but I daydream of them often (especially my favorites: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Rocky Mountain, and Redwood). And I can't wait to take my kids on a tour of them on our own summer adventure once they're a little older.



A few days ago, I stumbled upon this new collection of eco-conscious clothing from Free People in partnership with the National Park Foundation, and was instantly smitten. And no, this isn't sponsored; I just loved them all too much not to share. Whether it's the nostalgic aspect of seeing them or the fact that I'm drawn to the style (or both), they make me want to put on one of the pieces and hop on the next RV I see headed west. This time I think I'll opt for a slightly newer model though...

What is your favorite National Park you've visited?


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