Welcome ROCmommas, ROCpoppas, and Friends!

Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
right place. Welcome to ROCmomma. Happy reading, and please share your comments. Thank you!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Family Fun June 29 - July 6, 2012

Your kids won't even have time for the thought, "We're bored!," with something fun to do every day. Better yet, most of it is free of charge (or under $10 per person).

Red, White, and Kangaroo
Friday, June 29, 2012 from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Kango Play Center, 1565 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY
Adults are free & kids are just $4 each to enjoy admission and party fun including a Kango frisbee, patriotic arts & crafts projects, roller skating, bounce house, climbing structure, and more.

Story Time & Animal Friends
Friday, June 29, 2012 at 11 a.m.
1. Lollypop Farm, 99 Victor Road, Fairport, NY - come for the story, stay for the farm animal fun!
2. Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY - story time, sandbox, farm animals, and playground are free; jumping pillow, batting cages, and mini golf fees apply.

Model Train Open House
Saturday, June 30, 2012 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Edgerton Community Center, 41 Backus Street, Rochester, NY
Free tours of the Edgerton Model Train Room feature four views of Rochester's history, each set in a different season.

School's Out Blast at the Rochester Rhinos
Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.
Sahlen's Stadium, 460 Oak Street, Rochester, NY
Watch the game and enjoy free kids activities, including rock wall, bounce houses, live music, human foosball, and more. $5 general admission or $10 premium seating. Click here to purchase tickets.

Literature Live: Cat in the Hat
Saturday, June 30 (10 a.m. - 8 p.m.) - Sunday, July 1, 2012 (noon - 5 p.m.)
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY
Bring your camera and meet Dr. Seuss's famous cat! Included with general admission.

Trolley Rides
Sunday, June 30 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
New York Museum of Transportation, 6393 East Henrietta Road, West Henrietta, NY
Purchase your tickets, then explore the train cars, antique cars, fire truck, and the model trains in the museum. At your departure time, board the trolley and enjoy the 1-mile ride to the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Explore the second museum before boarding for a ride back to the Museum of Transportation. 

Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Bowling
Every Day (May 1 - August 31, 2012), open until 9 p.m.
Bowl-A-Roll Lanes, 1560 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY
Kids in grades K-12 can enjoy one FREE game of bowling (including shoe rental) every day this summer!

TWOs-Day at Wickham Farms
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. (repeats every Tuesday!)
Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY
Mini golf is just $2 per round, and earn double punches on your ice cream punch cards. Sandbox, farm animals, and playground are free; regular jumping pillow and batting cages fees apply.

LEGO Block Party
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 from 10 - 11:30 a.m.
Pittsford Community Library, 24 State Street, Pittsford, NY
They supply the Lego and Duplo blocks, you supply the imagination. Open to all ages. Free; no registration required.

The Zoo is Open Late!
Tuesday, July 3, 2012 until 8 p.m. (every Tuesday in July and August)
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY
Gates remain open until 7 p.m. and the zoo grounds are open until 8 p.m. Included with regular admission. Arrive earlier and check out the programming every day. My boys love the enrichment programs (most days at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. - check the schedule). Last year we enjoyed watching the polar bears swim to catch frozen watermelons, and the cougar hunting around the trees for hidden treats.

Independence Day Celebrations
Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Free Skating
Thursday, July 5, 2012 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (see coupon for additional dates and times)
Horizon Fun FX, 675 Ling Road, Rochester, NY
Print the coupon and up to 10 people can roller skate for free (includes skate rental)!

Where's Waldo? Family Scavenger Hunt
Friday, July 6, 2012 during participating stores' business hours (through July 31st)
Lift Bridge Book Shop, 45 Main Street, Brockport, NY
Visit Lift Bridge Book Shop for a list of participating stores, then stop by each store to see the display in their front window. Solve the puzzle and receive a card from the business. Collect all 20 cards and answer two bonus questions to be entered into the grand prize drawing. Participation is free.

Enjoy your Independence Day and the first week of July! As always, thanks for reading. If you check out any of these fun events, Post a Comment and let us know about your experience.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Brown's Berry Patch

This past Saturday, we were looking for something different to do with the kids and decided to try Brown's Berry Patch.  It's a bit of a drive to Waterport, but it was peak week for strawberries, plus we have heard some great things about the farm. I must say, we had a berry good time. (Yep, I went there.)

First we walked into the Marketplace. You could definitely spend some time - and some money - in there. They have unique mustards, jams, salsas, and even Bloody Mary mix. Most of it is even made with fruit from their farm. Fresh-picked fruit can be purchased inside, if you're not planning on picking your own. And who can resist an ice cream sundae made with freshly baked waffle cones and fresh-picked berries?!?!? Although, they had me at ice cream.

Inside, we purchased tickets for the Barnyard Adventure. We actually purchased the Combo Passes so we could visit Barnyard Adventure and take a ride on the Barnyard Express (it's only a dollar more). Next you have to bring your receipt to the barnyard behind the Marketplace and get your bracelets. Then the fun begins.

After saying hello to some friendly farm animals, our boys headed straight for the giant sandbox. There are plenty of trucks and digging toys, a tunnel to climb through, and a real boat that kids can sit in and  pretend to drive.
We skipped the playground and play house, and went straight for the duck races. They also have boat races, and plenty of spots to take fun photos, too.
After riding around on the tricycle track, we tried out the rope maze. It's harder than it looks, but it's easy to get out if needed.
Next stop: the jumping pillow! Just be sure your kids are wearing socks. No shoes are allowed, and the jumping pillow can get pretty hot in the sun.
The day isn't complete without checking out Goat Mountain and the giant slide. Look up and you'll see goats walking around above the barn and silo, along various walkways. On the other side of the silo, kids can climb up to the top of the tower and zip down the giant slide.
Inside the silo, run around, listen to your echo, and crawl through a tunnel. Adults, relax on a hay bale while the kids go crazy.
Be sure to bring some quarters; you'll want to feed the goats. Buy some animal food from the dispenser, drop it in the can and watch a goat pull the rope with his teeth until the can is at the top, where he can enjoy a well-deserved treat. Impressive trick!
Pedal cars, swings, a misting tent, and the Red Barn Twister are lots of fun. The twister is an oversized tunnel that spins. Kids can climb in while others turn it, and giggles will be unstoppable.
The Barnyard Express is a fun way to take a seat, take a break, and see the whole farm. Each animal car has a horn and bells to keep kids busy while they ride.
Finally! Time to pick some strawberries. We bought two four-quart baskets in the Marketplace, and we filled one with beautiful red berries.
 Then we walked over to the cherry orchard to fill our second basket with delicious, plump cherries.
We had a great day, and I'm already planning another trip when the blueberries are ripe in July. Between June and October, there are about a dozen different fruit and berry varieties that are available. Check their web site for updated picking conditions.

If you're planning a trip, Brown's Berry Patch is located at 14264 Roosevelt Highway (Route 18) in Waterport, NY. You can purchase a meal or snack in the Marketplace, or at the outdoor Farm Grill (weekends only). There is both indoor and outdoor seating available. There were posted signs near all outdoor tables indicating that coolers are not allowed. Restrooms are located in the Marketplace.

We ended our visit right around dinner time and found a decent, low-key restaurant about five minutes away: Black North Inn. It was relatively kid-friendly. The staff was friendly, there is a kids' menu, and if you can get a table facing the water, the boats outside may be enough to occupy the kids while the adults have a real conversation. At least for a few minutes. (Non-kid-friendly note: there is no changing table in the restroom). We ordered the Chevre-Portobello Pizza, and I was sad the next day when the leftovers were gone. It was that good. Garlic, spinach, portobello mushrooms, goat cheese, and mozzarella; could there be a more delicious combination for a pizza? Probably not.

On the next sunny day when you are looking for something new to do, I highly recommend Brown's Berry Patch. Be sure to Post a Comment and let us know about your visit! And as always, thanks for reading.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Birthday Party Idea: Dinosaur Party

Last weekend, we celebrated my son's fifth birthday. He wanted a Dino Dan party - actually, he wanted to replicate the birthday party episode of Dino Dan. No pressure. We usually just invite the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, but we have now embarked into the friend-party age. We set a limit of five friends (five years old, five friends; it made sense in my head), and ended up inviting eight, plus the usual family members.

I've been an event planner since before I knew it was a profession. I love details! Even in college, when planning an off-campus building-wide party in our apartment complex, I had a clipboard and checklists.  So, if you're thinking about planning a dinosaur party - or a Dino Dan party - allow me to share some ideas and guidelines to help you.


Sure you could purchase dinosaur invitations at the store. Or, you could make them yourself. I printed the party information, four times to one sheet of paper. The party info started, "Dinosaur hunters and explorers, we need you! We will be digging for fossils and having a Dino Dan adventure to celebrate..." I cut them out (4"x 5 1/4"), then I cut brown card stock (construction paper will do) into quarters: 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" each. I mounted the party info to the brown sheets and let my son decorate each one with dinosaur stickers.


We had green balloons, streamers, and table cloths because that's my son's favorite color. Dino parties could also use shades of brown to make the party area look like a jungle. A week before the party, my sons and I went crazy with foam sheets, dinosaur stickers, and markers to make tons of dinosaur decorations. Then my almost-five-year-old started tracing his three middle fingers and connecting them to make dinosaur footprints. We made a herd's worth. Of course, some toy dinosaurs on the tables are a nice touch, too.

Goodie Bags

I found inexpensive pail-and-shovel sets for the "bags" and filled them with bubbles (slap a dinosaur sticker on the bottle and they become Dino Bubbles), dinosaur stickers, dinosaur temporary tattoos, and a dinosaur rubber ducky.



  • Prehistoric Cheese & Crackers
  • Herbivore Treats (baby carrots, celery, peppers, hummus, and veggie dip)
  • Carnivore Treats (animal crackers - my son's favorite)
  • Rocks & Lava (chips & salsa)
  • Dinosaur Bones (pretzel sticks, see photo above)


  • "Crustaceous" Pizza 
  • Dinosaur PB&Js (using a dinosaur sandwich cutter)
  • Fruitasaurus Salad (pictured above; I chopped the rest into a fruit salad)

Dinner (friends left at 2:00; our families stayed later):

  • Herbivore Salad
  • Pasta Raptor Salad
  • Jurassic Potato Salad
  • Rocks & Lava (Cornbread Muffins and Vegetarian Chili)
  • Herbivore Treats on a Stick (Marinated & Grilled Veggie Kebabs)


  • Dinosaur Eggs in Nests (egg-shaped cake bites [vanilla cake mixed with raspberry preserves, coated in white chocolate and sprinkled with crushed freeze-dried raspberries], resting in Rice Krispie treats that were shaped in muffin tins to look like nests; see first photo below)
  • Dinosaur Cupcakes (made in a dino-shaped muffin tin)
  • Rock Foundation for the dinosaur cupcakes and dino eggs & nests (tube of cookie dough, rolled out onto a pizza stone with peanut butter chips, toffee bits, and graham cracker crumbs pressed in and baked for 17 minutes). We put a few cupcakes and eggs/nests on the "rock foundation" and put a "5" candle in one cupcake. This is what we brought out to sing "Happy Birthday." The rest of the cupcakes and eggs/nests were divided between two trays, for either end of the table. (see second photo below)
  • Triassic Ice cream


One of the most important things I learned during Student Teaching was to change the stimulus every 15 minutes. This is true for all ages (even adults!). So I planned out our two hour party in fifteen-minute increments.

12:00 - 12:15 p.m. - friends arriving; play with backyard toys; Dinosaur Tattoos

Materials Needed: Spray bottle with water, paper towels, tattoos (leftover from goodie bags)
Rain Plan: Play with dinosaur toys; paper/crayons/dinosaur stickers out on the table; Dinosaur tattoos

12:15 - 12:30 p.m. - Dig for Dinosaur Eggs

Materials Needed: shovels, enough hidden dinosaur eggs to yield 3-4 per guest, brown paper bags
Rain Plan: Use large Rubbermaid bin filled with rice, on a large tarp; bury eggs in the rice

We gave each child a shovel (the other half of the pail-and-shovel sets used for goodie bags) and told them that Dino Dan was here earlier and saw some dinosaurs lay eggs in the sandbox. Each person could find four eggs then we would hatch them.

The dino eggs were made with a homemade play dough. The recipe I followed called for 2 1/2 cups of flour, 2 1/2 cups of used coffee grounds, 1 1/2 cups of salt, 1 cup of sand, and 3/4+ cups of water (enough to make it stick together). We shaped the "dough" around small plastic dinosaurs and let them dry for a few days. THE DOUGH IS NOT EDIBLE. Hopefully, that's obvious; just look at it:
To hatch the eggs, the kids just used their fingers. We had a large bucket out and asked them to put the "egg shells" into the bucket, and they could put their dinosaurs into a bag. Before the party, I labeled brown paper bags with each child's name just for this part.

12:30 - 1:00 p.m. Lunch Break

1:00 - 1:15 p.m. Dino Dan Scavenger Hunt

Materials Needed: binoculars for each guest, large dinosaurs to hide, a cardboard leaf or drumstick-shape, cardboard legs (2 or 4) to hide, piñata with "final clue" inside, rope to tie the piñata, bat to hit the piñata
Rain Plan: hide the objects in different rooms in the house; hang piñata in largest doorway (remove all breakable objects first)

The mission of our scavenger hunt was to find out which dinosaur stole the goodie bags and where he hid them. First, we gave out binoculars - just like Dino Dan's - to use during the mission. Their first task was to find the suspects: some dinosaurs that were hidden. I had given each a tag with it's name, a leaf (herbivore) or chicken drumstick (carnivore), and either a 2 (biped) or 4 (quadruped).

The next clue was hidden in the backyard: either a large cardboard leaf or drumstick. They found the leaf and we eliminated the carnivores.

The next clue was hidden in the front yard: 2 or 4 cardboard legs. They found four, so we eliminated the bipeds.

The final clue was hidden inside a stegosaurus piñata. There was a tiny triceratops with a note that read, "I hid your goodie bags in the garage."

1:15 - 1:30 p.m. Pin the Tail on the Stegosaurus

Materials Needed: dinosaur poster (I drew & painted one; or you can buy one), paper "tails" - with each guest's name written on one, masking tape, blindfold
Rain Plan: hang the poster in the hallway

1:30 p.m. Cake & Ice Cream

1:45 p.m. Open Gifts

2:00 p.m. Say Goodbye & Thank You to Friends

I had a couple of extra tricks up my sleeve, just in case. And they came in handy. First, was Brontosaurus, Brontosaurus, T. rex (instead of Duck, Duck, Goose). The pizza was delivered a few minutes late, so this was a good time-filler. Second, while we were getting desserts on the table, it was difficult to keep all the kids in their seats. They wanted to play. So I handed out Magic Color Scratch Dinosaurs to each child, along with a scratching tool (they come with the set). The dinosaurs are black and the kids scratch designs onto them, revealing a rainbow of colors underneath. The set also comes with string, so they can hang them up at home. The kids liked scratching away, and by the time they finished, cake was served.

My son had a blast. His friends and our family had a great time, too. Even I had fun, once I put my clipboard down. I hope these ideas are helpful, and if you have any dino-rific party tips, please Post a Comment to share them.

As always, thanks for reading. Happy exploring. Happy dinosaur hunting. And happy 5th birthday to my sweet boy.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Family Fun This Weekend

Do you have weekend plans? Friday and Saturday are looking lovely - around 80 and sunny - for everyone planning barbecues, heading to sports events, or looking to take a hike. But it's probably best to have an indoor back-up plan for Sunday in case they're right about the thunderstorms. Not to worry! There's plenty to do this weekend (and Friday, too - now that the kids are out of school, we need to keep them busy).

Animal Tales Drop-In Story Time
Friday, June 22 at 11 a.m.
Lollypop Farm, 99 Victor Road, Fairport, NY
All are welcome to stop in and listen to an animal-themed story. Afterward, check out the dogs and cats inside the shelter, as well as the rabbits and other animals in the barn. Then head outside to pet the sheep and goats, and walk along the farm path to see horses, pigs, ducks, and more. Free of charge.

Tails and Tales Story Time
Friday, June 22 at 11 a.m.
Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY
Stop by the barn for story time and visit from a farm animal. Story time is free; tickets for jumping pillow, mini golf, batting cages, and concessions sold separately. Don't forget to bring your own sand toys for the giant sand box (or rent a toy while you're there).

School's Out Celebration
Friday, June 22 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Long Acre Farms, 1342 Eddy Road, Macedon, NY
Admission is $5 per person over age 2 and includes: jumping pillow, giant slide, duck races, hoop shoot, trikes, mini maze, traverse climbing wall, sandbox, and spider web. Face painting and crafts available for additional $1-3. Snacks available for purchase.

Saturday, June 23 - Sunday, June 24 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Genessee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, NY
Celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 as well as the Regency Era of Jane Austen. Activities include morning parade and flag raising on Village Square, fashion shows, live target shooting, Jane Austen dance demonstration (Saturday only), tactical demonstrations and militia drills, fife & drum concert, and more. Regular admission fees apply.

Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY
Celebrate Madagascar's Independence Day and learn about this country's people and special wildlife. Games and puzzles will be available for children. Included with regular admission.

Strawberry Celebration
Saturday, June 23 - Sunday, June 24 from 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Brown's Berry Patch, 14264 Roosevelt Highway, Waterport, NY 
Pick a basket of sun-ripened strawberries during peak season - right now! Bring your own containers or purchase some inside. Don't forget to sample some of the strawberry products in the market, too. After you've picked some berries, check out Barnyard Adventure (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) or have a bite to eat at the Farm Grill (12-7 p.m.).

Trolley Rides
Sunday, June 23 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
New York Museum of Transportation, 6393 East Henrietta Road, West Henrietta, NY
Purchase a ticket for a unique trolley ride when you arrive. While you wait for your trolley, explore the train cars, antique cars, fire truck, and the model trains in the museum. At your departure time, board the trolley and enjoy the 1-mile ride to the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Explore the second museum before boarding for a ride back to the Museum of Transportation. 

Sunday, June 24 from 1 - 4:15 p.m.
Rochester Museum & Science Center - Strasenburgh Planetarium, 657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY
There are giant-screen films and star shows daily, but given the chance of thunderstorms, Sunday would be a perfect day to go see one. Discounted tickets for RMSC members.
1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. - Fly Me to the Moon (50 min.; animated; ages 5-adult)
3:15 p.m. - Ring of Fire (45 min.; live action; ages 6 - adult)

More outdoor ideas:
More indoor ideas:
That should be enough to keep us all out of trouble this weekend. Enjoy yourself, and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Whole Week of Dinners with My First CSA Share

On Monday afternoon, I made sure my boys were excited about our first trip to Mud Creek Farm to pick up our CSA share. A while back, I wrote a post about community supported agriculture (CSA) and why I'm a fan. Now my boys are fans too.

We arrived early for our pick up, and went straight to the Pick Your Own Garden.

Each crop that was ready to be picked was marked with a flag and a sign. The boys took their job seriously: finding the flags in the field. Our first stop was a pink flag by the sugar snap peas. I showed the boys how to find the pea pods, then to pull and twist them off the stems. We filled a big Solo cup (this week's allotment) in just a few minutes.

Next we saw a yellow flag by the flowers. My four-year-old picked a white snapdragon, my two-year-old picked a pink snapdragon, they each picked out some flowers that look like giant mums, I picked a purple wildflower, and we added some maroon Queen Anne's Lace (or perhaps some strain of baby's breath?) to our bouquet. Pretty.

Our last stop was an orange flag at the other end of the field by the garlic chives. I'd never had - or heard of - garlic chives before, and I admit I was excited. I snipped a couple of handfuls, and then we made our way over to pick up this week's share. Holy greens, Batman! My canvas bags were overflowing with leafy goodness in no time.

The final tally: a ginormous bag of kale, more Swiss chard than I know what to do with, a head of Romaine lettuce, 2 1/2 pounds of spinach, some broccoli, garlic scapes, plus the snap peas and garlic chives. Now, what to do with it all? Well, we had my older son's birthday party this past weekend which left us with lots of extra food but not an entire meal's worth of anything. Our surplus included stale rosemary-olive oil bread which I turned into breadcrumbs, a few types of cheese, parsley, basil, celery, carrots, pasta salad, and potato salad.

As I added items to my bag, I kept thinking, "What in the world am I going to do with all this?" And around this time last year, I remember seeing some Facebook posts from friends asking for recipes for their CSA bounty. So, I know I'm not alone. I figured that some of you might be wondering what to do with your fridge full of new produce, so I'm sharing my week's menu.

A Whole Week of Dinners with My First CSA Share

  1. Quiche (recipe follows) and Tossed Salad, plus leftover Potato Salad
  2. Chik'n and Veggie al Forno with Jarlsberg cream sauce 
  3. Curried Lentils & Kale with Basmati Rice
  4. Ravioli & Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Sauteed Kale, Spinach & Garlic Scapes
  5. Marinated Tofu with Stir Fried Bok Choi, Snap Peas, Carrots & Garlic Chives and Brown Rice
  6. Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans and Fresh Tomatoes over pasta
  7. Leftovers!

The quiche was delicious, if I do say so myself (I made up the recipe)! Try it yourself:

Swiss Chard Quiche

1 Tbsp. olive oil
4-5+ leaves Swiss chard, de-ribbed and roughly chopped
2 garlic scapes, chopped
1/4 c. white wine
1 c. sausage or vegetarian sausage, cooked to package instructions and crumbled
10 sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 roasted red pepper (jarred is fine), chopped
5 eggs
1/2 c. milk
4 oz. shredded cheese (pepper jack is a good option)
1 tsp. salt-free seasoning
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat a pie plate with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the chopped garlic scapes and heat 1 minute. Add the chard and wine. Toss to coat, then cover until chard is wilted. Allow to cool then squeeze out excess moisture using paper towels.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk. Add the cheese and four seasonings and mix well. Add the Swiss chard and garlic scapes, the cooked sausage, sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and mix well. Pour into prepared pie plate and top with bread crumbs. Bake 30-35 minutes.

I made up this recipe as well:

Chik'n and Veggie al Forno with Jarlsberg Cream Sauce

3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 c. white wine
1 pkg. Quorn Chik'n Tenders (or real chicken)
2 garlic scapes, chopped
6 c.+ combined Swiss chard (de-ribbed) and spinach, chopped
1 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
1 c. milk or milk alternative
4 oz. Jarlsberg cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a skillet over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp. oil and wine. Add the chik'n or chicken and cook until browned and liquid is absorbed. Remove chik'n to a dish and set aside.

3. In same skillet, warm 1 Tbsp. oil and add chopped garlic scapes; heat 1 minute. Add chard and spinach; toss then cover until greens are wilted.

4. In a small saucepan, heat remaining oil and add 1 Tbsp. flour. Whisk and cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in milk and continue whisking until sauce thickens. Add cheese and stir until melted. Turn off heat and add parsley and basil; mix well.

5. In a large bowl, combine chik'n, greens, leftover cooked veggies, and cream sauce. Pour into prepared casserole dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes.

Cooking with all these fresh-from-the-ground foods is exciting. Trying to pair them with other foods from our pantry and fridge is challenging, but it's sparked some culinary creativity - which is usually a good thing. Plus, my grocery bill this week was only $52 for some fruit, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, bread, milk, eggs, string cheese, and juice. Not bad.

As always, thanks for reading and happy cooking! If you have a great farm-market or CSA-related recipe, please Post a Comment to share it.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Family Fun This Weekend

It's going to be another gorgeous weekend in the ROC. I hope you have some time to get out and enjoy it with your kids. Here are a few ideas for you, if you're looking for something extra fun.

Animal Tales Drop-In Story Time
Friday, June 15 at 11 a.m.
Lollypop Farm, 99 Victor Road, Fairport, NY
All are welcome to stop in and listen to an animal-themed story. Afterward, check out the dogs and cats inside the shelter, as well as the rabbits and other animals in the barn. Then head outside to pet the sheep and goats, and walk along the farm path to see horses, pigs, ducks, and more. Free of charge.

Shortsville Firemen's Carnival and Parade
Friday, June 15 and Saturday, June 16 - times vary by date
Budd Park, Water Street, Shortsville, NY
Parade at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by live music from 8 - 9:30 p.m. Saturday features a chicken barbecue, rides, prizes, and music from noon to midnight. Fireworks on Saturday at 10:30 p.m

Little Links Family Fun Day at Wickham Farms
Saturday, June 16 from 1 - 4 p.m.
Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY
Free event from the Eastside Family YMCA includes arts & crafts, face painting, farm animals, an inflatable, and more. Tickets for jumping pillow, mini golf, batting cages, and concessions sold separately.

Early June Special at Seabreeze
Saturday, June 16 - Sunday, June 17 from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. each day
Seabreeze Amusement Park, 4600 Culver Road, Rochester, NY
Save $5 at the gate; click here for coupon. Not valid on Under 48" pass, Night Rider pass, or other offers. Up to 5 people may use this coupon for $5 off each person.

Freebies for Father's Day - Sunday, June 17
- Free Mini Golf for Dads at Clubhouse Fun Center, 70 Jay Scutti Blvd., Henrietta, NY
- Free ice cream cone, mini golf, and jumping pillow for Dads at Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY
- Free $3 Berry Bucks Coupon (print & bring along) good toward any purchase at Brown's Berry Patch, 14264 Roosevet Highway, Waterport, NY. Pick fresh strawberries, feed the goats, play on the spiderweb, jump on the jumping pillow, and more.
- Dads play free mini golf at Adventure Landing, 3340 West Ridge Road, Greece, NY. Dads play free mini golf with each paying player at regular price.

Enjoy the weekend, and I hope all the ROCpoppas have a wonderful Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Birthday Party Idea: Bike Party

It seems as though my soon-to-be-five-year-old son has quite the social calendar lately. He's been going to a few birthday parties and I'm always impressed with the things that parents create. Personally, I like to go crazy with our kids' parties. Before Party City, my mom used to make awesome cakes and decorations for our birthdays, and she came up with the coolest games. I'm trying to pass that tradition on to my kids. Plus, I was an event planner for about ten years, so I pay attention to the details.

Last weekend, my son went to a B.Y.O.B. party: Bring Your Own Bike (and helmet). His friend lives on a cul-de-sac which provided the most perfect location for a celebratory bike rally. My fellow ROCmomma Kathy created such a fun party, I just had to share it with you, dear readers.

When we arrived at their house, the cul-de-sac was decorated with large chalk arrows on the ground, to ensure all bikers rode in the same direction. There were road signs made from Pipeworks: a stop sign and a one way sign. They even made arch out of Pipeworks and tied different colored streamers on it, so the kids had a fun obstacle to ride through. Even the driveway was lined with a chalk-drawn "parking lot" for the bikes. The tables had black-and-white checked tablecloths, and there was a matching banner with black-and-white checked pennants, just like racing flags.

After riding around for a while, the kids took a break to make license plates and decorations for their bikes. ROCmomma Kathy had punched two holes at the top of a foam sheet for each child, and pre-packaged adhesive foam letters to spell each child's name. She had other stickers on the table - bowls of sports stickers and flower/butterfly stickers. When they were finished, the grown ups helped attach the license plates with zip-ties.

The bike decorating station also included beads, wraps for the spokes, streamers (clusters of ribbon, tied together with another piece of ribbon that is used to tie the streamers to the bike - you can make these), ribbons, and rolls of crepe paper streamers. Once the bikes were decked out, it was time to ride again.

Here's a shot of the license plate and streamers on my son's bike:
 Here are the wraps for the spokes:
 And some bike beads:
After lunch, the kids played Pin the Seat on the Bike. ROCmomma Kathy had made a poster of a bicycle, with the seat missing. It was a big hit.

A bonus tip if you're considering a bike-themed party: keep a first aid kit handy. There are bound to be a few scraped knees. Or the same kid will scrape his knee repeatedly (that would be my son; unfortunately, he gets his coordination, balance, and dexterity from me).

The kids had a blast at the bike party. My son didn't want to leave when it was over; we had to promise to come back for a bike-riding play date soon.

If you're tired of licensed-character themed kids' parties, why not try a Bike Party? If you live on a cul-de-sac, or near an open area with room to ride (a park or playground, perhaps), this might be your go-to idea for your child's next birthday.

As always, thank you for reading. Please Post a Comment to share your great birthday party ideas.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rochester Museum & Science Center Has a New Exhibit

Over the weekend, I showed my dominoes-obsessed almost-five-year-old the Rochester Museum & Science Center newsletter and told him about their new exhibit, Keva Planks. Both of my sons love to build with blocks and Legos, plus they build some pretty fantastic domino runs so I knew the new exhibit would be a hit with them. Since it rained buckets today, it seemed like a great day to go.

The Keva Planks exhibit is on the second floor. We bypassed everything and headed straight up there. The perimeter of the room is lined with Keva structures, obviously built by people with infinite patience and time, and extremely steady hands. And I wonder if they actually used glue...hmmm...

There is so much space to create! A large, steady table is available, or you can grab a kneeling pad and create your masterpiece on the floor. Bins of planks await, or you can wheel over one of the large crates and get started. There are idea cards for inspiration, or you can just use your imagination and go crazy.
Or you can ignore the planks entirely and just play with the kneeling pads. My younger son had a blast stacking them (see below), and lining them up to make a "bridge" so he could hop from pad to pad.
Collectively we attempted a castle, a boat, a train, a couch, a coffee table (which became a tower of coffee tables), and lots of towers. My boys also set up the planks as dominoes and had fun knocking them down. We spent over an hour just at this exhibit alone!

Yes, they really are just wooden planks. There's nothing particularly special about them. But hand a bin of them to a child (or a grown up!) and you have endless entertainment. I highly recommend checking out this exhibit at least once before it's gone on September 3rd. On the drive home, my older son informed me that we need to go there each day. So I guess we'll be heading back again soon.

If you've never been there, RMSC is located at 657 East Avenue in Rochester, NY. There are parking lots, and parking is free. There is at least one restroom per floor, and there are changing tables in all of the women's and family restrooms (I'm not sure about the men's rooms, however). Mario's Cafe is located in the basement level, or you can bring your own lunch. If you purchase your lunch, there is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. If you bring your own, you must sit at one of the tables located to the left or right of the staircase in the basement level.

As always, thanks for reading. If you've built some fun things at RMSC with Keva planks, be sure to Post a Comment and tell us about it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

French Toast Bake & Cookie Dough Dip...Who's Hungry?!

I know, I know. We're all watching our carb intake, limiting refined sugar, cutting fat, starving to fit into a swim suit, blah, blah, blah. But, come on. Life is short and sometimes we all just need a treat. Calories, be damned!

There are two recipes that I have to share with you, dear readers. If you are hosting a brunch or a play date, these are perfect. Or if you are just having a crappy day and want to bake away your stress, keep these handy.

First we have a Stuffed Apple, Blueberry, and Walnut French Toast Casserole from the February/March 2012 issue of Kiwi magazine. I made this for breakfast not too long ago when my brother and his girlfriend visited for the weekend. It is wonderful with breakfast sausages (we had Morningstar Farms Sausage Links...we're vegetarians), and plenty of maple syrup.

It takes about ten minutes to prepare, and 45 minutes to bake. You can toast the walnuts and cube the bread the night before. Just store both in air-tight containers.

Stuffed Apple, Blueberry, and Walnut French Toast Casserole

4 large eggs (or equivalent amount of egg whites, Egg Beaters, etc.)
1 c. milk (skim, 1%, 2%, soy, almond, rice...whatever's in the fridge)
10 slices whole wheat cinnamon swirl bread with raisins, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 small Golden Delicious apple, peeled, quartered, cored, and very thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
1/2 c. frozen or fresh blueberries, divided
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan or dish with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

2. Place the eggs and milk in a large bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Kids can help by dropping in the bread cubes and mixing well. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure all the bread is covered with the egg mixture.

3. Arrange half the bread mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Kids can help by topping with the sliced apples. Kids can sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar, half the blueberries, and half the walnuts. Arrange the remaining bread mixture evenly on top and have kids help by following with the remaining blueberries, walnuts, and brown sugar.

4. Bake until the casserole is set and a food thermometer inserted in the center registers 160 degrees, about 40-45 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with maple syrup, if desired. Serves 6.

Second, I bring you Cookie Dough Dip. Yes, for all of us who lick the spoon while baking, there is an egg-free way to get that cookie dough taste in a social setting. Yesterday, my fellow ROCmomma - also a Kim - came over for a play date with her son and daughter. After lunch, we satisfied our sweet teeth with this amazingly delicious dip. Apple slices, graham crackers, and chocolate graham crackers served as the vehicles to deliver the cookie-dough-goodness directly to our taste buds. YUM!

This recipe calls for toffee bits. You can find them in the baking section of your grocery store, along with the chocolate chips. Here in the Rochester area, Wegmans carries Heath brand Bits'O Brickle toffee bits.

Cookie Dough Dip

8 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat works well)
1/3 c. margarine or butter, softened
1 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 c. toffee bits

1. In a food processor - or with a hand-held mixer - blend the cream cheese and butter until well combined. Kids can help by adding powdered sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, and then mix again.

2. Kids can help stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits by hand. Transfer to a storage container and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

3. Stir again before serving; serve with sliced fruit, cookies, graham crackers, you name it!

Happy eating, and as always thanks for reading. When you try these recipes, Post a Comment and let us know how they came out, or how you tweaked them.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Family Fun This Weekend

Hopefully the meteorologists have it wrong for this weekend. Friday: high of 71 with thunderstorms. Ugh. Saturday: high of 65 with a low chance of rain. Eh. Sunday: high of 71 with a pretty good chance of rain. Yuck.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and do a sun-dance...otherwise, there is plenty of indoor excitement to be found in the Rochester area this weekend.

Opening Day for Strawberry Picking
Friday, June 1 - until the berries are gone
Various Farms, Rochester Area
Pick your own strawberries at one of several farms in our area! Be sure to call the farm before you head out, to be sure the berries are ready to be picked that day. Don't forget to dress for the weather.

Friday Family Fun Night: Roller Skating
Friday, June 1 from 5:45 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
Southeast Family YMCA, 111 E. Jefferson Road, Pittsford, NY
5:45 p.m. - ? - Pizza available in the Lobby ($1/slice)
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Crafts in the Lobby
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Roller Skating in the Gym (skate rental is $4/person)
7:05 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Family Swim
7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Parachute Games
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Adventure Center (bring/wear socks)

Fairport Canal Days
Friday, June 1 (4:30 p.m. - 9 p.m.), Saturday, June 2 (10 a.m. - 6 p.m.), Sunday, June 3 (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Fairport, NY
Food, music, crafts, and more along the Erie Canal. Be sure to check the web site for events schedule, directions, and lots more information.

Exhibit Opening: Design Zone
Saturday, June 2 from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. - Sunday, June 3 from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY
Design and test a virtual roller coaster, skate park, and bike race. Test your spinning skills in a DJ Recording Studio, engineer your own light show for a dance party, and more. We can't wait to check out all the fun features of this new exhibit. Free with general admission.

Exhibit Opening: KEVA Planks
Saturday, June 2 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Rochester Museum & Science Center, 657 East Avenue, Rochester, NY
Use your imagination and build your own masterpiece. Create castles, bridges, trains, buildings, or farms...then have fun knocking them down when you're through. Free with general admission.

CLOSED for Zoobilation
Saturday, June 2 - ALL DAY
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY

Bike Rodeo & Child Safety Day
Saturday, June 2 at 1:00 p.m.
Winslow Elementary School, 755 Pinnacle Road, Henrietta, NY
Outdoor event to learn and practice safe biking and other practices, for children ages 2-13. Must bring your bike and helmet to participate in the bike rodeo. Check out the fire safety demos, school bus tours & safety, bike safety inspections & training course, plus register to win prizes. This is a free event. For more information, contact Robin Watson at rwatson@rochester.rr.com

Stroll for Strong Kids Walk & 5K Run
Saturday, June 2 - 8:30 a.m. for the 5K, or 10:30 a.m. for the 1.5 mile Stroll/Walk
University of Rochester's River Campus, 252 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY
This year's superhero-themed event is family-friendly, and all proceeds benefit the Golisano Children's Hospital. Check out the web site for registration information, a pledge form, map, and to make an online donation. There will be a bounce house and more. Free to anyone who raises $30 or more for the hospital.

Sunday, June 3 from 12 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Point Road, Penfield, NY
Kick off National Dairy Month with a dancing cow, games, a milk mustache photo booth, and butter making. Meet a baby calf, and enter the MOOOOOing contest. The dairy events are free; other Wickham Farms activities (mini-golf, batting cages, jumping pillow) are regular prices.

Trolley Rides
Sunday, June 3 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
New York Museum of Transportation, 6393 East Henrietta Road, West Henrietta, NY
Purchase a ticket for a unique trolley ride when you arrive. While you wait for your trolley, explore the train cars, antique cars, fire truck, and the model trains in the museum. At your departure time, board the trolley and enjoy the 1-mile ride to the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Explore the second museum before boarding for a ride back to the Museum of Transportation. 

Stay dry and have fun this weekend! As always, thanks for reading.
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