London's Olympic Park reopens to the public, 1 year after the 2012 Olympics

London Olympic Park (a Churchley photo set on Flickr)

I can't believe it has been exactly 1 year since we visited London's Olympic Park!  It seems like a lifetime ago that we were in the thick of the London 2012 Olympics, enjoying the Olympics-themed food, the souvenirs, the sports, the exhibits.

To commemorate the 1-year anniversary of the London Games, the northern section of Olympic Park reopened to the public this weekend.  So what does the park look like now?  USA Today reports that Olympic Park is undergoing quite a big change.  Here's what has happened (or what is going to happen) to some of the major buildings inside Olympic Park (along with photos of the buildings that I took on July 28, 2012):

How to fry tofu

How to fry tofu -- that sounds like such a stupid title.  The phrase seems self-explanatory -- just get some tofu and fry it!  But it's not as simple as it sounds; at least it wasn't for me.

We first started eating tofu regularly after my kids fell in love with the fried tofu cubes sold at our local farmer's market.  I jumped at the opportunity to cut more meat from our diets -- but when I tried frying the tofu myself, it just didn't come out the way the farmer's market tofu vendor's did.  I tried dipping tofu cubes in egg whites and panko bread crumbs before frying them.  I tried deep frying them.  I tried pan-frying them.  I tried baking them.  Nothing I did resulted in the crispy, golden-brown squares my kids craved.  The tofu was too white.  It didn't have that crispy "skin".  It broke apart and crumbled.  It took ages to fry.

Keeping cool at the Disneyland Resort

How crazy is this mid-summer heat wave??  Triple digits on the East Coast, wildfires on the West Coast... it makes me want to retreat to an air conditioned bedroom and stay there until school starts.  But summer is also the time to travel and do fun things like visit the Disneyland Resort.

There's no question that the searing summer heat is one of the disadvantages of visiting the Disneyland Resort during the summer.  But for many families, summer time is the only time they get; besides, the parks are open later and most of the rides are open, so visiting the resort in the summer does have it's advantages.   You can make the most of your visit by planning ahead and taking steps to beat the heat, including:

How to host the perfect tea party

Cadbury's ice cream bars

In this age of Twitter parties and Google hangouts, the notion of a tea party might seem old-fashioned.  In fact, when I Googled the phrase "Tea Party", the first page of search results consisted entirely of links to organizations, people and subscribing to a part libertarian, part conservative (and 100% cray-cray) political ideology.  But attending a tea party must surely be one of the true simple pleasures in life.  What could be nicer than getting together with friends over a cup of tea, for no other reason than to get together?  In the hopes of preventing the tea party from going the way of stenographers, rotary dial phones and video cassette recorders, I've decided to post the perfect recipe for hosting a proper tea party:

Join the American Cancer Society's 3rd generation Cancer Prevention Study

Helping in the fight against cancer is important to me.  I know too many people who have suffered from cancer to be indifferent.  The problem is, money always seems like the best way to help -- but I don't have much of it.

Fortunately, as the late Susan Niebur once wrote, "There are as many ways to fight cancer as there are types of cancer".  She identified 4 categories of ways you can help:

  • Donate 
  • Educate
  • Advocate 
  • Volunteer

The evolution of a business card

Our business cards have arrived!  Yes, I said "our", not "my", because this year there are 2 members of our family who want to let people know how to contact them on social media:  yours truly and The Pea. Yes, The Pea is even busier on her social media channels than I am (no, it doesn't bother me; I actually prefer it to texting, which she doesn't do, because I can follow her conversation on social media), and she wants something to hand out to the new friends she makes at summer school and summer camp.

The Pea's first crepes

The Pea started a week of cooking camp yesterday, and she had mixed feelings about her first day.  She didn't know anyone in her class, and everyone else was attending camp with a friend, so she found it difficult to join a cooking group and spent lunch hour by herself.  My heart goes out to her, but it's one of those learning experiences you have to let your child go through, and I have no doubt (okay, maybe just a teeny doubt) that she'll finish the week with some new friends.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, then and now

When I told the kids we'd be taking them to Marine World, they had no idea what I was talking about.  "You know, that theme park we always pass by on our way to Tahoe or Napa".  "Oh, you mean Six Flags?".  "Yeah, that one".  See, it used to be called Marine World Africa USA.  That's what it was called the last time we visited.  Yup, it has been a while.  They don't even remember their last visit.

The park has changed quite a bit since we last visited eight years ago. Actually, that's probably not true.  They've added a few more roller coasters but it's still a mix of thrill rides, family rides, animal shows and animal encounters.  No, Six Flags hasn't really changed all that much.  We're the ones who've changed.