next stop: Sadie's 1st Birthday Photos

Hi Friends,

What is your next stop this weekend?

Our big event this weekend .... Sadie's 1st Birthday Photos / Family Photos with Erin Carlyle Photography!  It is my job as Super Big Brother to make her smile and laugh for her photos.  This will be our 6th time to take photos with Erin (maternity x 2, my newborn, my first birthday, and Sissy's newborn).  We (aka Mommy) don't want to spoil all of our photo surprises, but we have a sneak peek for you today - Sissy's birthday shirt, hat, and bib by Little One Boutique (Mommy's 3rd time to use Little One).

All Images: Tara Johnson / Mad Max and Family

And this weekend we are also going to continue to enjoy heirloom tomatoes from Whole Foods.  I think I prefer mine on just toast since that is my fav food of choice lately (and Mommy makes me all kinds of good toast like DINOSAUR toast).

But Daddy also made this week... a pressed sandwich with heirloom tomatoes (tortilla, homemade black bean burgers, hummas, and salsa) and veggie soup with heirloom tomatoes (and also kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, chick peas, white beans, and spices).

How are you enjoying your heirlooms this week?  Did you know how many different kinds there are ... ??  Thank you Whole Foods for sharing this info with us!

Varieties and pairings:

Cherokee Purple: Very large beefsteak variety that is purple or very dark red.  It has a deep flavor and firm, dense texture that stand up to slicing.  Serve brined cheeses such as feta or with a sweet drizzle of honey.  Similar varieties include Black Krim.

Marvel Stripe: A large beefsteak variety that is yellow with an interior blush.  It’s mild, sweet and fruity with low acidity; juicy and soft.  Wonderful for gazpacho, paired with balsamic vinegar as a tomato relish or with earthy clothbound cheddar cheese.  Similar varieties include Striped German and Georgia Streak.

Brandywine: This large beefsteak variety can be pink or yellow.  It is sweet with low acidity; this is considered a “slicing” tomato with excellent texture.  It’s perfect for sandwiches, used as the base of a fresh summer salad or paired with the creamy saltiness of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.  Similar varieties include Pruden’s Purple.

Evergreen: Medium to large, this beefsteak variety is green even when ripe.  Mild and sweet, try making tomato preserves, a sandwich with triple crème brie and baguette or breading and frying slices for fried green tomatoes.  Similar varieties include Green Giant.

Black Prince: A medium-sized, round globe variety that can be purple or very dark red.  Deep and sweetly flavored with firm texture.  Sprinkle wedges with vinaigrette and fresh herbs for a simple treat; pair with Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue to match the tomato’s sweetness with a wonderful blue cheese.  Similar varieties include Japanese Black Truffle.

Sun Gold: Small and will be dark yellow or almost orange.  Tangy and sweet, it’s perfect for an anytime snack, tossing into quick salads, baking on pizzas and flatbreads and pairing with Parrano cheese.  Similar varieties include Yellow Grape.

Black Cherry: Small and will be purple or dark red.  It’s very sweet and great in salads, roasting whole, baking into focaccia and pairing with Monterey Jack for a cream-of-tomato soup flavor combination.  Similar varieties include Pink Cherry, Red Grape and Red Pear.

-Mad Max

PS: Be sure to find us on Mad About Town.


weekend update: End of Summer

Hi Friends,

How are you?

We've been very busy over here ... one thing that we can now reveal that has been taking up some of Train Wreck Mommy's time -- she is transitioning into a new job ...wait for it, elementary art (K - 4)!  I've been helping her out by doing lots of art projects with her.

On that note, Mommy starts her "new" orientation training this week.  We are very sad to see summer end here (although not the heat unfortunately).  I'm sure Mommy will miss us a lot!  Don't worry, Mommy ... I will take care of Super Sadie!  I will entertain her by letting her eat all of my trains.

Anyways ... how was your weekend?  Mommy got a lot of errands done on Saturday (Lakeshore Learning, DSW, Target, Cakelicious for Sadie's cake smash), and Sunday we had a busy morning - church, AN ALL ABOARD CHOO CHOO TRAIN PARTY at Hermann Park (Happy Birthday, A!), and Whole Foods.

Speaking of Whole Foods ... we have some exciting news to share with you! ... but before we get to that, enjoy a photo of our last summer "Art Thursday" at the Menil this past Thursday.

One thing we are looking forward to this week is heirloom tomato season!  Are you going to enjoy heirloom tomatoes this week?  If so, how are you going to enjoy them?  If not... you better not miss this treat.

Whole Foods is celebrating all things heirloom tomatoes August 14 - September 10.  We will also be sharing more information about heirlooms this week.  On Sunday, we also picked up some heirlooms already to start enjoying -- and we are going to bring you our recipes this week.  Do you think even Super Sadie will enjoy some heirloom tomatoes?  I bet so!

Hot for heirlooms: (from Whole Foods)
-Heirlooms are classic varieties that are prized today because of their intense flavors, vibrant colors, and unique shapes.  They’re delicate, so they must be handpicked and packed.
-When shopping for heirloom tomatoes, be sure to choose tomatoes that are heavy for their size and store them on the counter at home – not in the refrigerator.
-Remember that heirlooms ripen quickly, so buy frequently and enjoy soon after purchase. Size and shape have no correlation with quality; large or small, they’re all delicious!

-Whole Foods Market carries a wide selection of organic heirloom tomatoes.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday, and we will share more about varieties and pairings (and we will share our recipes soon this week too!).

-Mad Max

PS: Be sure to visit us at Mad About Town.


Super Sadie's Crazy Cherry Update

Hi Friends,

Sadie here ... How was your week?

We've (Max and Mommy) obviously have had a really hard time keeping up with my Weekly Updates, ahem.  And we've had a few things pop up on us this week too (to make matters worse / less time).

But we would still like to bring you some sort of update ... so here it goes quickly!

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Sadie's Week Who Knows Update Almost 9 Months (whatttttt!?!?!)

Weight: Well, I had to go to the doctor last week (and my brother too) for being sickly.   I only weighed 17.2 lbs!

Height: Not sure.  Obviously very tall!  (Probably average).

Health: See note above about the doctor.  Both myself, my brother, and Train Wreck Mommy came down with something last week ... my FIRST time to be sick, and my FIRST fever.  Turns out it was a cold / viral infection (and ear infection for Max).

Sleep: Let's not even go there right now.  Okay ... well Mommy has me to about one morning nap and one to two afternoon naps around the same time.  Where I sleep is hit or miss!  I sleep w/ my Mommy mostly at night, but that is mostly her fault.  Why would she want to sleep without me??  The good news is ...the last few nights I slept very well.  When I was sick, not so much.

Diet: Mommy's milk only and ... I'm eating all kinds of stuff now!  Daddy makes my food, I also eat puffs, and I eat some small table food / cut up pieces.  You did see me eating delicious (Whole Foods) cherries this week, right?

Social: Summer with Mommy?  When I am NOT social!  Monday was music class with Max.  Tuesday was the Toddler Time at the library w/ Mommy, Max, and YaYa.  Thursday we went to Moody Gardens (our first trip to the beach - well, Palm Beach) with Mommy, Max, Mimi, and the cousins.

Clothes: I can still fit in some 6 months clothes.  I really should probably be wearing 9 months plus clothes mostly though.

Baby Gear: I don't think Mommy has bought anything new to rave about lately, but she has several things on her list.  Yay for shopping!  Mommy is always loving her Ergo of course.  If you are looking for a baby carrier, the Ergo is really the ONLY one you should even consider (besides a wrap of course).

Crying: If Mommy leaves, time for me to pitch a FIT!

Likes: Putting EVERYTHING in my mouth!  It is so delicious.  I love also crawling really fast to electrical outlets and brother's small toys.  I also like pulling up on everything and "scaring my Mother."  And lately - I love water!  I love splashing in the bath with brother.

Postpartum: From Mommy - I'm just trying to survive.  And how are you!?

Milestones: So many ... first sickness, first beach day today ... OH the other night Mommy said "mama" and I said "mama".  Then she said "dada" and I said "dada".  So easy to please, isn't she?

What is Max Up To This Week?: Bringing lots of joy to myself and Mommy and Daddy!  He's such a hoot!  Lately he's focused on trying to go potty, playing with trains, and watching Caillou.  Tough life!

So how are you?  What is your update??

Stay tuned... this weekend we are going to make some cherry recipes to share with you, and some cherry-inspired kids art projects!  If you are in Houston, don't forget to head to Whole Foods for their Cherry Fest!

-Super Sadie of Mad Max and Family

PS: Be sure to visit us at Mad About Town.


next stop: Sweet Cherry Fest

Hi Friends,

How are you?  What is your next stop this weekend?

We don't have anything major planned this weekend (that I am currently remembering!), but we are gearing up for a small out-of-town vacation next week - next stop, our first trip as a family to San Antonio and Sea World!

But I know we also will make a stop at the Cherry Fest at Whole Foods this weekend.  We have a really nice crate of cherries we are enjoying this week (we as in Mommy, Daddy, and really SISSY of all people since I am enjoying meals of air and cereal this week) from Whole Foods.  Thank you!

Are you enjoying cherries this season?  How do you enjoy them?  I think my family prefers them just how they come! ... even Super Sadie, can you believe it?  But Mommy wants to try out some other creative ways to enjoy cherries, and we'll share that with you soon.  Any suggestions on how to enjoy them?  (We were also thinking - how can we make cherry-inspired art?!)

In the meantime, please enjoy some fun facts and foodie ideas about cherries from Whole Foods.

Image Credit: Mad Max and Family / Tara J

Where are my cherries, MAMA!? ... says Sissy.  (Notice Sadie's lovely cherry dress from Carter's).

Yes, your little one might also enjoy some fresh cherries.  Sadie is also working on her pincher grip!

Or ask your Mommy or Daddy to blend your cherries up with some apple sauce!  Mmm, Sadie ate this whole batch tonight (with a side of sweet potatoes).

From Whole Foods Market Houston:

Know your cherries
Several varieties can be found in stores throughout the summer. Each is uniquely delicious; try them all to determine your favorite!

Bing: The best-known variety grown in the U.S., appreciated for its intensely sweet, vibrant flavors.

Staccato: A large, late-season variety, this super-sweet fruit is dark red, almost black in color.

Rainier: Large cherries with a golden color and a pink or red blush, pure yellow flesh and firm, fine texture. With their delicate flavor and extraordinary sugar levels, these are considered by many to be THE best cherries!

Skeena: Large round cherries with dark round skin. This later-season variety is known for its juicy sweetness.

Sweetheart: A late-season variety with dark red flesh and skin. It’s heart-shaped, of course!

Cooking uses and ideas:
· Breakfast—Sweeten up your morning and add some cherries to pancakes, toss them into your oatmeal or yogurt or bake them into a granola bar to keep you full on the go.

· Salad— Mix cherries with walnuts, zesty vinaigrettes, and spinach for a light meal or combine it wild rice for a different spin on salad.

· Grilling—Throw them on the grill or add a sweet cherry sauce to make pork chops or any other meat choice have an extra kick

· Desserts— Add cherries to a pie or toss them into an ice cream sundae for a quick summer treat.

· Drinks—Chop and blend cherries up with your other favorite fruits for a healthy smoothie, coolers, and maybe your own homemade cherry lemonade.

More to come about cherry season and our delicious cherries from Whole Foods!

-Mad Max

Be sure to also find us on Mad About Town.


weekend update: National Eat a Train Month?

Hello Friends,

Happy July! How are you?

Mommy said July is one of her favorite months (ahem, okay, Mommy we get it – your birthday). Are you enjoying July? We sure are … although our first week of July was spent sick (me, Mommy, AND Sissy had a cold. And I had an ear infection). It was Sissy’s first time to be sick (first fever, first cold)! And since we were sick … we spent a lot of time at home / inside, and we spent some extra time with the Grandparents (thank you for your help!). How did you spend your holiday weekend?

A few highlights from us …

1) We spent Sadie’s first 4th of July with family at Ya Ya and Pop’s. Mommy and Daddy let me stay up to watch 4th of July Fireworks for the first time! I waved a flag and yelled yay! Fireworks! (What else am I suppose to do?). Happy Birthday America! (Sissy prefers to eat trains over hot dogs). Sissy's 4th of July outfit was from Target mostly, and mine was from The Children's Place.

2) I made lots of art for the 4th of July. Below is my torn paper collage flag - super easy - you can just use colored construction paper, or tissue paper, or any other paper of appropriate color!

3) I made Cool Whip art with Mommy. Mommy said I am the only kid that wouldn’t probably eat it too (hey, we are plant-strong and healthy over here).

Directions for Cool Whip Paint:

Big Container of Cool Whip (or Whipped Brand of your Choice)
Jello Packets (Colors of your Choice)
Bowls or Containers
Black Paper or Other Dark Construction Paper
Paint Brushes (Optional)

Directions: Put some Cool Whip in each bowl (each bowl will be a different color of “paint”). Add some Jello color of your choice to each bowl (Mommy and I did the primary colors – red, yellow, and blue). Stir! Now you are ready to paint. You can paint with your fingers (eww – yucky, I told Mommy) or with paint brushes. We chose to paint on black paper.

We also made our own Rainbow Playdough.  Thank you Tinkerlab for this idea and recipe!

So how did you enjoy this long holiday weekend?

Also ... what are your favorite summer treats? We hope CHERRIES are on your list! We are celebrating cherries this month with Whole Foods and their Cherry Fest (this is peak cherry season, you know!). Stay tuned this week for some of our favorite ways to enjoy cherries!

Image Credit: Whole Foods Market
But in the meantime ... while you are waiting, be sure to mark your calendars (for those of you in Houston) for the upcoming Cherry Fest:

Whole Foods Market’s “Cherry Fest”

When: Friday, July 12 - Sunday, July 14 (12 - 5pm)

What: Celebrate summer with a cherry on top! Join any Whole Foods Market Houston or Sugar Land stores for its third annual Cherry Fest, from Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 14. Cherries will be in abundance, so now is the time to indulge in these delicious, peak-of-season treats. Whether you want something savory or sweet, or simply like diving into a heaping bowl of chilled cherries you will be able to experience it all during Cherry Fest! There will be plenty of great store activities as well as plump, delicious cherries to taste either one-by one or in the many different cherry-licious recipes that will be available. Don’t miss out!

Where: All Houston Whole Foods Market locations

701 Waugh Dr.; 2955 Kirby Dr.; 4004 Bellaire Blvd.; 6401 Woodway Dr.; and 11145 Westheimer; 15900 Southwest Freeway in Sugar Land, & 6601 S Fry Road in Katy

-Mad Max

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