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Archive for April, 2009

bike-trail-2This weekend we finally broke in our new bike trailer, which I love.

We biked the Heritage Bike Trail in Hilliard. It was a great trail for our first trip with the trailer because the trail is flat and wide.

For the most part, the munchkin was pretty happy riding in the trailer. I packed lots of snacks and books for her, and she ate and read her books for most of the trip. Towards the end of the 12 mile ride, she got a little cranky and slept for the last three miles.

The only negative to Heritage Trail is that because it so flat, the sun was beating down on us for almost the entire trip and because it was so windy on Sunday, the wind kept blowing the bike around. This bike trail certainly isn’t my favorite trail and I don’t know if we’ll bother riding it again this year, but it was a good way to test out the trailer.

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menus_0602-cherry-blossoms3With this beautiful weather, we are planning on being outside all weekend!

I’m so excited for this nice weather. The windows are all open and we are ready to get outside.

We’re planning on breaking in our “new” bike trailer this weekend on the bike trail. Here are some ideas on what to do when the weather is nice in Columbus:

Slate Run Metro Park and Farm – This is our favorite Metro Park in Columbus! If you have not been here before, you should definitely check out the farm. Read this post

Playgrounds – Some of our favorite playgrounds around the city – Read this post

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – We haven’t been to teh zoo in months and I know the munchkin is excited to go again. Read this post

Hiking in the Hocking Hills – If we didn’t already have so many plans for this weekend, we would definitely be heading out for some hiking. Read this post

[Photo: Bloosoms]

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earth2Happy Earth Day! Since today is Earth Day, I thought I would post my new favorite vegetarian recipe. This recipe is easy and healthy. My daughter loves anything with black beans and corn, so she liked this recipe.

If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, it is a great grain. I buy mine from Whole Foods. It is a chewy grain that takes on the flavors you add to it. I had to try a few recipes before I found one that I liked. Just make sure that you rise the quinoa thoroughly before using it. You also want to make sure the strainer that you rise it in has a few fine mesh or the quinoa will fall right through it.

Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Directions:

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Notes: This recipe reheats well, so it is good for left-overs. I also add hot sauce to my serving, which is fanatastic.

The original recipe came from AllRecipes.com.

[Photo: Earth]

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capital-building

I have never appreciated Columbus more than after visiting Washington D.C. for a week. I love visiting big cities, but I’m sure that I don’t want to live in one. For one, the traffic in Washington is awful – a normally 15 minute car trip can take over an hour in rush hour. On the local NPR station, they had rush hour reports until 8 p.m.! That would never happen in Columbus. Anway…

We went to D.C. because my sister lives there with her husband and two kids. My sister and I spent a week in the nation’s capital trying to entertain two two-year-olds (which was fun) and keep them a their nap schedules (which didn’t work).

We didn’t visit many of the traditional tourist sites, because taking a two-year-old on a White House tour wouldn’t be that fun. We did find some great things to do in Washington D.C. with two two-year-olds and a six-month-old:

National Aquarium in Baltimore – Our first day in DC, we drove up to Baltimore to visit the National Aquarium, which was packed because it was spring break. My daughter is currently obessesed with the movie Finding Nemo and she loved the aquarium, spending the entire time looking for a clown fish – which thank god they had. The aquarium is a great place to take kids. The only down side was that it is expensive. The kids were free, but the adults were $24 each! We also didn’t think to order our tickets online, and the aquarium does timed entry, so we had to wait an hour and a half to get in.

National Gallery Art – On our second day out, we took the kids to the National Gallery of Art. My sister, aunt, and I got to spend about 15 minutes looking at some beautiful Impression art during which we kept the kids quiet by feeding them snacks in their strollers. When they started screaming we moved onto the museum’s basement – which was the highlight of the trip to the musuem for the kids. What the kids loved about the museum’s basement was the walkway underneath the National Gallery. The walkway is a slightly bouncy moving escaltor surrounded on the ceiling and walls by lights that “move.” We rode the walkway about 10 times. The kids loved it!

Port Discovery Children’s Museum in Baltimore – On our last day, we took the kids to the Port Discovery Children’s Museum, which they loved. This is a fantastic children’s museum that appealed to our two-year-olds. There was a room specially for children under 4 years old that was great for our kids. The room was quieter than the rest of the museum, and the little kids were less likely to get run over by older kids. Definitely worth the trip up to Baltimore.

pret_bigPret A Manger – We also took the kids to a few restaurants during our week in D.C. We had Turkish, Italian, and French. My daughter ate her first creme brulee, gelato, and chocolate croissant. And yes, the kids had a few breakdowns in the restaurants. Some of the restaurants and their employees were helpful and accommodating. Some were anything but.

After one of our sight seeing trips, we stopped at Pret A Manger for lunch. I love Pret A Manger, and was so excited when my sister told me that D.C. finally got a branch of this great chain. I fell in love with the restaurant during my last trip to London. They have terrific, fresh lunch food.

However as important as the food, the employees of the Pret A Manager in downtown Washington D.C. were the nicest and most helpful restaurants employees I have ever met. Our two-year-old had the meltdown of all meltdowns in their restaurant during their lunch rush. The employees quickly offered a free cookie to the screaming two-year-old (never, ever under-estimate the power of a giant chocolate chip cookie) which instantly quieted her, helped us carry our tray to an open table, and were completely gracious to us. We thanked them by getting take-out again later that week and not taking the kids in the restaurant. By the way, their food is amazing! I love their Brie sandwich. If you are in D.C., definitely stop by for a quick lunch. I am hoping that one day Columbus will her own branch of this fantastic chain.

[Photo Credit: Capital Building, Pret]

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