how a spider makes a web and other movie lessons

“Momma, how does a spider make a web?”

“Well, Miss L, it’s pretty neat! Spiders can spin silk and they use that silk to carefully weave a web to trap other bugs for food.”

“Wow! How does it eat the bugs it catches?”

“Well… the bugs can’t see the web, so they fly into it and get stuck. Then the spider wraps will wrap its prey in silk and take it to its nest to eat it.”

“OH! I KNOW THAT! I seen that in a movie!”

“Really? Was it a movie at school?”

“No… it was the Wizard and the Ring with the little people. The second one.”

“Lord of the Rings? Or the Hobbit?”

“I don’t know which one. But it was the second one. With a huge spider. Yeah, the number 2 movie.”

Her Kindergarten teachers aren’t going to know what hits them with this movie buff next year. She has her movie buff Daddy to thank. 


Miss L’s kale salad

Miss L has been hooked on kale for a long time. She was born right around the time that the kale chip “fad” emerged, so she was subject to my kitchen experiments to try and transform an incredibly dense leafy green into something delectable. I did something right, in that my recipe got her hooked on those chips and a gigantic bunch of $1 kale began coming home from Farmer’s Market every Sunday after that.

So when I flipped upon a recipe for kale salad in Martha Stewart Living a few months ago, I tore it out and told Miss L all about it. And at Farmer’s Market that week, we replenished our supply of hard dates, kale and avocados. But there was one big problem: the kale in this recipe was raw. And while I may have conquered my fear of leafy vegetables, I still can’t tackle the density of raw kale. It’s just… well… RAW. So we improvised, and decided to just cook up the kale a few minutes short of chips and use that instead! And dear friends… we can’t get enough of this stuff! In fact, Miss L eats at least 3 portions each time we make it!



Miss L's Kale Salad
Prep time
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Cuisine: salad
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 bunch kale (curly or Dinosaur) with the stems removed, leaves separated or thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 ripe avocados, cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 2 ounces Parmesan, shaved
  • 8 large or 10 medium dry dates, pitted and cut into slivers
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Set the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Separate or cut the leaves. Spray or toss with a light coating of olive oil. Lay out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the leaves start to crisp up.
  3. Remove the leaves from the oven. Mix the kale, avocado, Parmesean and dates together with the remaining olive oil. Squeeze ½ of the lemon into the bowl and mix again.



Miss L’s final “pre-ballet” class of the year is tonight.

Enrolling your child in activities like dance are a modern ritual. And seeing them grow and learn and enjoy it more with each passing day is a real treasure. You wouldn’t think that much would come in just 2.5 short years, but when that span goes from 2.5 to 5 years old, it’s leaps and bounds over what your imagination held.

We began ballet as a duo in “Tutus & Toddlers”  as she learned the basic structures of dance and movement. Then she tip-toed into “Creative Movement” all on her own last year. This year, she practices her dance moves at home with precision along with the French to accompany each change of position.  

The ritual of ballet class has stayed the same since the beginning. A simple pink leotard with pink tights and no underwear. A classic ballet bun sweeping all of that hair off of her face and tucked into a hairnet, no matter what screams and shrieks and tears may emerge. Pink Capezio ballet shoes in size 8… then 9… now 10.5. (As seen above) One class a week where the children tip-toe away into a closed room. One day a year where parents can spy on them. One performance a year where they can share what they’ve learned in that same simple ensemble. No glitter or costumes allowed. And absolutely no make-up.

Will Miss L continue with ballet forever? Who knows. Will she take tap/jazz/modern dance? I hope so… but I can’t see the future as clearly as others.

Will she become “a dancer?”

She already is a dancer. And she was one before she stepped into a ballet studio.

She moves with the faintest music in the background. She skips when she is elated. And she jumps up out of her seat to boogie-down whenever and wherever she gets the urge.

She is a dancer no matter if she ends up dancing on pointe or not.

I hope she’ll continue to study dance to refine her moves, but she had the heart of a dancer when she was born.

Here’s a peek of her Creative Movement performance last year, as filmed by another parent.


squash blossom quesadillas

There’s a certain summer treat that I take special delight in buying at Farmer’s Market each summer: squash blossoms. I think it’s mainly the fact that I’m buying flowers that are also food that give me a little giggle each time I do it.

But whatever does one DO with squash blossoms at home? Well, since I’m deathly afraid of frying pretty much anything, stuffed blossoms are out of the question. Instead, I love to indulge in some easy to make quesadillas!


Squash Blossom Quesadillas
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An incredibly easy way to brighten up your normal plain quesadilla!
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
  • 8 squash blossoms (cleaned and trimmed)
  • 4 6" tortillas
  • Queso Oaxaca (or any other cheese you'd like)
  • 1 T Canola Oil
  1. Trim and clean the squash blossoms. Heat the canola oil on medium in a medium-sized frying pan.
  2. Place cheese in one half of the tortilla. Layer 2 squash blossoms over the cheese. Add an additional layer of cheese and close the tortilla. Press down gently to form the quesadilla.
  3. Fry the quesadilla until golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.
  4. Serve with your favorite salsa!


#kidart : fairy houses

Sometimes you head to the craft store with a mission, and other times you discover the best projects while you’re wandering through the store in search of something else.   

For this project, it was the latter. We were in search of eyelash yarn (for another project), when we came  across these tiny houses. 

“Momma, can we decorate a bird house?”

“Sweetie, those aren’t big enough to be bird houses.”

“Well what are they houses for?”

“Well, I bet they’d make perfect fairy houses?”

“Momma, can we make a fairy house?”

So we picked out 4 houses (at Joann’s), then went to the paint aisle and got 2 sets of paint packs (with 6 colors each) and set about making some fairy houses. 

Setting up the art space was easy: one brush for each pot of paint (no need to rinse the brush between colors), & paper towels.

Then it was up to Miss L to use her imagination! And boy did she!


Some had stripes. Others had dots. There was even a small depiction of her imaginary friend on the side of one! Each one was lovingly covered in paint, as I requested that there be no wood showing at all.

(There’s an added bonus when you’re using the coordinated passion sets as all combinations end up looking amazing!)

One they were done, we went in search of glitter spray to coat them with “fairy dust” and picked up some clear coat as well. Then it was off to the garden to become homes for some lucky garden faires. 

But, that’s not where this craft ends. Because after those were done, Miss L requested to get some more. So we did. And she painted them. And then she asked Daddy to buy done more. And he went to a different craft store (Michaels) and found new models and brought those home. 

And we are now officially housing more fairies than any other house in the neighborhood. Which is pretty cool!

Cost per house: $1-$1.50

Cost per paint set: $1-1.50/6 paint pots