Sincerely Carolina

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Child's Play

by caroline

Well, hello, there! I feel like it has been forever since I have sat down to write a post, but maybe it's just because I've just been so darn busy. I had a great weekend and I decided to just take a little break from the blogosphere, and really enjoy each one of the moments I wanted to soak up. There were a lot of them, so let's get started!

We spent the better part of last week and weekend in Pittsburgh for a bunch of work-related projects and family events, the first being my brother, Luke's, video awards. Luke has been in his high school's video program for three years, and will be attending college next fall as a cinema and digital arts major. We love having a filmmaker in the family, and I was rather proud to see him shine at this event. Kudos to the organizers who did such a great job giving it red carpet appeal!

Doesn't he look oh-so-handsome? (Amanda, you're a cutie, too!) Luke was the co-host of the event, so he got to wear a tux and was feeling rather spiffy. The presentation of all of the videos was wonderful, and Luke and his friend did a great job providing comedic commentary in between. I also loved seeing all of the work he has put into his projects throughout the year. My particular favorite was he and his partner's adaptation of the children's book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie — it was so cute! If you have little ones, then they will get a kick out of this (so will you!):

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Thursday evening brought the lovely surprise of being asked to be a guest for my cousin and goddaughter's "Bring a Special Person to School Day". I had a blast with Chloe and loved spending time with her in a different environment than I am accustomed to seeing her. I can't get enough of this girl!

After school, I picked up Chloe's little sister, Ella, for a sleepover at my parent's house. This girl is a little light who just never ceases to put a smile on my face. We were busy all night, and Ella was especially diligent at finishing a soap project my mom gave her. This was the cutest little kit, and Ella was completely enamored with the scent of the soaps. She kept saying, "They smell soooooo good!" 

Luke liked the kit, too, and gave Ella a hand! Love these two:

I am always thoroughly amazed by how special each one of my uncle and aunt's four children (they have two boys, too!) are to me. But this visit left me particularly overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude for the people my two kids brothers have become. It is truly a pleasure to know (and makes me a little teary-eyed) that it's intuition for either of these two young men to reach for Ella's hand as we cross the street. Or that they play her favorite song in the car, windows down, because she likes it — even if it will get a few looks from other people as we pull into the grocery store parking lot. They are just the best, and I feel overwhelmed with pride to be their mother sister. (More on my "kids", here.)

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Ella snagged a two-fer deal because on Saturday, Jacob (the three-year-old in that clan) and Chloe came over for another sleepover and evening of giggles. Shortly after they arrived the ice cream man came rolling down the street. Cue mess #1 of the evening (but it's such a cute one, right?):

Don't you miss the days when you could let ice cream roll down your chin with no abandon? :D

With three extra kids in the house, we had a ton of different food options on hand, but I decided to whip up a quick gluten-free, kid-friendly item to add to the menu.

Krispy Chicken Fingers! (Yes, we're going with the Rice Krispies spelling of "crispy" for this recipe … because we're cool like that.)

This healthier version of chicken fingers is so easy to make and the ingredients are minimal (two statements every busy parent wants to hear). My mom used to make a non-gluten-free version of this recipe when I was younger and I decided to go from memory and create my own spin.

Check it out:

Krispy Chicken Fingers

(Print me!)

  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 18 chicken tenders
  • 3 cups gluten-free, brown rice cereal, partially crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon Spike Original seasoning (or another all-purpose, gluten-free seasoning)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • olive oil (for drizzling)

NOTES: I used Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice Cereal, but I recently discovered Rice Krispies also makes a gluten-free, brown rice version of their classic cereal. Your choice!

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Crack three large eggs into a medium bowl and lightly beat. Set aside. On a shallow plate or dish, combine cereal, Spike seasoning, salt, ground pepper and thyme until ingredients are evenly distributed. Dip chicken tenders into egg and then roll in the cereal mixture, covering completely. Place each chicken tender on a baking sheet or pan. (Depending on the size of the pan, you may need to use two pans or repeat the process). Lightly drizzle olive oil on top of chicken fingers. Bake for 20 minutes — flipping chicken tenders halfway through — or until chicken is cooked thoroughly. Serve with honey mustard, ketchup or enjoy them all on their own!

 

I didn't have the chicken tenders because I don't eat chicken, but if the kids (and adults) quickly gobbling them is any indication to how they taste, then I would say they were a hit! I had the kiddos be food critics for the night and they said they were "Yummy-y-y-y!"

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Yesterday was the final leg of our Pittsburgh tour, and it was a fabulous way to end the weekend! Dan is currently working on a summer project where he has organized a collaborative amongst artists, called the Dayton Arts Project. The event will take place this August and will feature not only a bound-to-be-absolutely-amazing dance show with a mixed repertoire, but a gallery of art work, including photography, video installations and music performances. (Psst … go "Like" 'em on Facebook!)

We met up with our friend, Josh, who offered to photograph one of the dancers for some promotional items that we will be using to help get word out about the event. Josh lives in a loft-style apartment designed especially for artists –which is why a giant trampoline in the middle of his living room is completely normal! Here are a few behind-the-scenes shots:

Who wants to be a dancer now? Uh … that would be me! It was so fun to watch this process unfold, and the photos are startlingly beautiful, thanks to Josh and the lovely Angela Dice. I can't wait to see the finished product!

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Whew! Did I really just squeeze all of that into one post?! What a crazy/wonderful weekend!

I'm curious: What's your favorite way to spend weekend time? Chilling out or jam-packed fun?