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to eat, Asian Style Kale

by Juliemara


Kale is a super nutritious food, you can read about all it’s great benefits here. Its so good for you that even cooking it down a bit helps to breakdown the fibrous leaves so that the nutrients are more easily absorbed into your system when you eat it. Raw it’s a very bitter leafy green. But many people eat heaps of it for all the nutrition. Some people make kale chips by washing and drying the leaves then misting with olive oil, sprinkling with salt and baking until crunchy. Other people juice the kale and drink it. I wanted to figure out a way to really enjoy the kale because I’ll be completely honest, I’m more of a chocolate ice cream kinda girl than the tough bitter greens kind.

I came up with this recipe on my own by combining the flavors and textures that my husband and I enjoy and as an added bonus, the girls like it too!

Here’s what you will need:


1 large bag or head of Kale

2-4 shallots cut small

4-6 garlic cloves, sliced thin

1 pkg drained and dried extra firm tofu, crumbled



2 tbl spoons olive oil

2 tbl spoons sesame oil

2 tbl spoons soy sauce

2 tbl spoons rice vinegar



First boil the kale for a few minutes, just till limp.

Rinse with really cold water to stop the cooking, strain well. In a deep saute pot heat the olive oil on medium heat and saute as much garlic and shallots as you have the energy to peel and cut. When the shallots and garlic slices are becoming translucent add the kale and tofu. Stirring constantly while heating on medium low add each of the sauces, sesame, soy, rice vinegar and soy. All the quantities are guesstimate. I add these based on taste.



I would recommend that you add a little of each and taste as you go along. Cook until the tofu is thoroughly heated.


It makes about four servings and can be stored in the fridge for a few days and reheated in the microwave.

let me know how you like it.


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“A Portrait of My Children…”

by Juliemara

“A Portrait of My Children, Once a Week, Every Week”



Jordan 467 days old, after eating blackberries

Talia 467 days old, still hasn’t learned that chairs are for sitting

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First trip to the Zoo!

by Juliemara

20130129-225312.jpgWe went to the zoo! It was so much fun. We debated for a long time when would be the perfect time to go to the zoo for the first time. During the summer and fall the girls were still a bit young for the trip to the far side of town to be worth it (we live about 30 minutes from the Atlanta Zoo) and they weren’t too mobile and putting too many things in their mouths. But with the crazy winter weather we have been having a warm winter day, we decided, was the perfect opportunity.

The girls loved it. The zoo is a really great one as far as zoos go.

The first thing you see as you enter the gate are the flamingos.

20130129-224935.jpg I found myself repeating to words to Bill Martin and Eric Carle’s “Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear” “I hear a flamingo fluting in my ear” such a great book.

The girls would have been happy to stand and stare at the flamingos all day but the busy bee in me knew there was a zoo full of animals to see.

When you take your little one to the zoo for the first time and they want to stare at an animal for an hour, I recommend you let them, enjoy your coffee and realize it will probably be the last time they stand still at the zoo.

We didn’t try to see every animal that lives in the zoo, we chose a few to check out for this first trip.

20130129-225012.jpgWe saw the elephants and the panda bear. The girls were completely silent at first, I imagine they were in shock, trying to figure out how the animals from the books were moving around in front of them. Once the shock wore off they would squeal and shout in excitement every time they saw a new animal. I wish I could understand what they were saying.

We visited the petting zoo where the girls used the brushes provided to brush the animals. They were brushing like pros in no time. I was a little worried that the girls would get trampled by a startled goat but I quickly realized they are as docile as animals get.



Again the girls wanted to move in with the goats. When it was time to move on Talia caused quite a scene, toddlers.

Next we went to visit Po the toddler panda, he is about two years old. Did you know that it is Chinese tradition to only name a panda after its 100th day of life. He is really cute.

Lastly we went to the playground. There is a little school bus jungle gym just for toddlers. The girls had such a good time climbing up and down the steps and driving the bus. They hardly noticed the three story slide right next to them for the bigger kids.







20130129-225427.jpgEven though its a trek to get there we will be visiting the zoo as much as possible in the spring. We had so much fun!

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15 months daily routine

by Juliemara

Back when the girls were brand new little newborns I posted about there daily schedule, it looked something like this
Feed 1.5 hrs
Play .5 hrs
Sleep 1 hr
All day, and at night the sleep increased to 2.5 hrs with no play time.

(see the post here)
I can confidently say I am glad we are past that time.

We have perfected the older baby schedule, from about 10 months until recently, that includes two naps a day.
The day looks like this,
6:00 wake up, milk

7:00 breakfast -fruit, cheese, Cheerios or pumpkin pancakes

8:30 milk


9:00 nap
10:30 wake up, snack – sautéed veggies and a protein.
Get going to do something- park, music class, story time, play date, catch air



12 Lunch – fruit, veggie, pasta, protein.
More playtime
2:00 milk
2:30 nap
4:00 wake up, snack – yogurt, fruit
6:30 Dinner (current favorite – corn on the cob)
7:00 bath

7:30 milk
8:00 bedtime

At 15 months old the girls are slowly transitioning to just one nap a day.

That day looks like this,
6:30 wake up, milk
7:00 breakfast
9:00 snack
Get going to do something- park, music class, story time, play date, catch air
11:30 Lunch – fruit, veggie, pasta, protein.
More playtime
12:00 milk
12:30 nap
3:30 wake up, snack – yogurt, fruit

5:30 snack
6:30 Dinner (current favorite – corn on the cob)
7:00 bath

7:30 milk
8:00 bedtime

Some days are tricky with the one nap a day schedule, bored babies get cranky quickly so activities have to we’ll planned and timed.


But because the girls are much more mobile now there are several great places to take them to play not far from home.

In another few weeks I think the girls will be ready to have one nap a day on a regular basis and if they need a snooze later in the day maybe they will learn to lay down on the couch and go to sleep? Does that even happen?


Please remember to vote for us for TOP BABY BLOGS!

Voting is on going, as I accumulate more votes my ranking goes up. In order to stay highly ranked I have to continue to get as many or more votes than the other blogs listed. There is no winner it’s just a great way for Smiling Watermelon to get publicity. So vote everyday!





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Happy Friday

by Juliemara


It’s almost the weekend. I absolutely adore the 50 or so hours from Friday evening until Sunday night. As exhausting as two toddlers are I cherish every moment of our two days together each week. I struggle with how to spend this time. On one hand I want to be at home with our girls enjoying our beautiful home and wonderful back yard and deck. But the girls spend most of their time at home with the nanny so I also feel that we should be taking them to see new places and things. But going out it always a risk. If outings and meals are not timed to perfection the day could turn into a giant temper tantrum pretty quick. Although the older the girls get the more they have been able to adjust to being out longer than usual, being up longer than usual, and being a little hungry until it’s time to eat. They are growing up so fast.

Here is a fun video of the girls from last night, they are practicing getting their dance on for the weekend!




Please remember to vote for us for TOP BABY BLOGS!

Voting is on going, as I accumulate more votes my ranking goes up. In order to stay highly ranked I have to continue to get as many or more votes than the other blogs listed. There is no winner it’s just a great way for Smiling Watermelon to get publicity. So vote everyday!

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A Day at the Park

by Juliemara




Jordan-white shirt with flowers, Talia-Navy shirt with flowers)

This past weekend we took a trip to the park near our house with my parents who were visiting from North Carolina and my niece and nephew who live here. It’s the same park where we took the girls swinging for the first few times.


Talia-left, Jordan-right)

But we haven’t been back since then because the playground is covered in wood chips.


While the girls were only crawling it was no big deal to hold them in the playground if they weren’t swinging, but when the started walking it wasn’t fair to expect them to be ok with NOT getting to run around, but they would just eat wood chips, so we didn’t go there. So for the past 6 months we’ve been mainly going to a great park about 20 minutes from our house that has AstroTurf and a sail shade on the playground.
Now at 15 months the girls don’t really put things in their mouth as much and even if the do, they don’t try to swallow things that don’t taste good. Brilliant children. So off to the wood chip covered park we went. It was so awesome. When I was there previously I didn’t even pay attention to the perfect toddler sized jungle gym along side the three story talk jungle gym for the bigger kids.


Talia and Jordan had the best time running up the ramp and choosing from four different slides to go down.


The cousins were such a huge help. Even though they are big kids they are still small enough to get inside the jungle gym and help Talia and Jordan navigate there way and make sure they didn’t get hurt.



There were steps to climb, small spaces to discover, and rails to reach for.







It’s a perfect park for tiny toddlers with swings and a separate playground for the big kids.




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Favorite Find – DIY Clothes for Kids

by Juliemara

A quick background, I am a designer for Carters, the baby clothes company. Which means I draw tops and bottoms then I color them in. Specifically little boys swim trunks and matching rash guards, the coordinating hats, sunglasses and flip flops.


Then for the winter season I do the same with coats and cold weather accessories and shoes.
Yes, I have a really fun job. I color all day. Ok, it’s a little more complicated than that, but only a little. I’m sure you are imagining me like this…



but no, I do all my drawing and coloring on the computer.

Part of my job is to research new ideas and inspirations, in magazines, in stores, but mostly on line. Sometime I stumble across things that I love not just for inspiration for work but for being a great idea! The designer in me is always looking for fun ways to get my girls to think creatively and to create on their own.

I love getting ideas from two of my favorite bloggers who I follow Ashley Ann, who has five kids and created a whole studio just for creating and crafting with her kids.





And Joel, who has two kids and creates fun craft projects for his kids from items found mostly around the home.



Today I stumbled upon Gio Kit. It’s DIY clothes for kids. A garment with an outlined drawing and fabric markers. How fun!



It will be a little while before my girls are old enough to tackle this art project, but in the mean time they can practice on plain white t-shirts.

I’m ordering these markers and shirts from amazon today and will share their masterpieces with you soon

Don’t forget there is always a carters coupon link on the right side bar for you to print and use. If it is ever not updated please send me a message and I will update it or send you a coupon asap.
here are two current ones
20% off $40 or more
15% off everything
Please vote today and once everyday on Top Baby Blogs. The more votes I get the higher my ranking stays, help us be #1!
Thank you

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Just Jordan

by Juliemara


20130121-212627.jpgAt 15 months Miss Jordan has learned how to sleep though the night. Ill talk about Talia later. I am sure that writing this is a mistake and tonight she will wake, but in so proud of her today that I want to remember it.

20130121-212633.jpgThese pictures were taken a while back. It’s not often that I am home when they are napping so the day I was able to take thee day time sleeping pictures was a special chance. She managed to get that sleep bunny lovey on her back and months later she still sleeps most of the night with her little tushi up in the air.

Each night she goes to sleep most of the time it hour a fuss between 7pm and 8pm and she doesn’t wake up until about 7 or later.


Now is Miss Talia could just get the hint and do the same. But i know she will when she is ready. For now she still wakes up once a night and cries a bit until she goes back to sleep. I don’t go in unless she cries for longer than 10 minutes. It’s not easy or fun to lie awake in bed and listen to your baby cry, but when ever I break down and go in it always makes it worse. She cries louder and longer, so I just take a deep breath and wait it out. Within a few minutes she is usually back sound asleep

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Getting out

by Juliemara


It’s the little moments that I love with my girls. We don’t always stick to strict nap time on the weekends. Especially now that the girls are transitioning to one nap a day. So afternoon naps are usually started in the car and sometimes transferred to the crib.
Everyone once in a while, when I am on my own in the afternoon and the girls fall asleep in the car I’ll just let them take their whole nap there. Afterward we will hop in the wagon for a little stroll down the block before dinner.





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15 Months

by Juliemara

15 months

I had to bring it back, I was itching for those cute naked baby white couch photos. So I gt my chalk out of the draw wipe down the chalk board the girls have come to love coloring and found a fun font to use for 15 Months! In all the photos Jordan is on the left and Talia is on the right.

15 months

We went for a well visit to the Pediatrician last week here are the girls stats

Talia – 20.9 lbs, 31 inches

Jordan – 20.7 lbs, 31 inches

They were so cute at the doctors office, checking out every inch of that tiny room. And moving the little chair around to this corner, then to that one and back again. They like our doctor but weren’t too happy with the three shots they had to get. They recovered quickly though and were fine for the rest of the day.

15 months15 months15 months15 months15 months15 months

15 months15 months15 months

These days Talia and Jordan are more fun than ever they understand everything we all say in Hebrew and English! They follow directions when we say get this toy and put it over there. Or get the green ball. They have so many words already. Some are actual words and some are pseudo words (sounds that have a consistent meaning). They have words in English like Ball, no, yup (yes), bye bye and mama. They have words in Hebrew like toda (thank you), par par (butterfly) and aba (dad). Then they have the pseudo words like maimai (mayeem – water or milk), then they make sounds for some animals huv huv for dog or anything that resembles a dog, grrr for anything that looks like a bear, maaaa for a cow. And they have signals for wanting something or more of something, being all done or wanting to be all done with anything. Both girls sniff with their nose when they see a flower. Jordan’s favorite word at the moment is uh-oh, she says it consistently. She says it when something bad happens but she also says it when she does anything, sees anything, wants anything, hears anything, all day she says “uh-oh”, “ah-oh”, “ooh-oh”. And Talia had perfected “Hi”, she says it when you walk in the house, in the room or if she just hasn’t seen you in a second. The way she says it is really funny, it’s not a sweet soft high pitched “hi” it’s more like a raspy sharp, “hi”. Like she is yelling it at you, but always with a smile.

15 months

Then they have their twin babble, they talk and talk to each other in their own little language all day long. And maybe I just wanted to hear it but yesterday when Yasha and I were playing with the girls before bed time Talia wanted Jordan to come sit in the chair next to her so she patted the seat and said “Jordan”.


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