Win Tickets: The Art of The Brick Exhibit at New York City’s Discovery Time Square

The largest display of LEGO® art ever assembled is at Discovery Times Square right now with brand-new, never-before-seen masterpieces

IMG_5748.jpg I was fortunate enough to join a group of bloggers for a tour of the incredible exhibit, Art of The Brick at Discovery Times Square in New York City. The creator of the exhibit, Nathan Sawaya, gave us a private tour of his masterpieces. When Nathan was a little boy he loved playing with LEGOS and making new creations from his imagination. Nathan continues to take LEGO® where it has never gone before by doubling the size of the show CNN claims is one of the “must see exhibitions” in the world, THE ART OF THE BRICK® The critically acclaimed collection of creative and inspiring art constructed using only LEGO® toy bricks by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya is in New York after enjoying record-breaking runs to sold-out crowds in Singapore, Taiwan and Australia. “I want to have the broadest impact possible to inspire people to change the way they view the world and the way they think about art,” said Sawaya. “What better way to do that than in the heart of New York City, at the crossroads of the world – Times Square.” Venus de Milo, Augustus, The David.jpg
The Discovery Times Square collection is the world’s biggest and most elaborate display of LEGO® art ever. Sawaya will be creating brand-new, never-before-seen works exclusively for this New York City premiere with more than 100 works of art made out of millions and millions of little LEGO® bricks. “This will be my largest showing of artwork to date and I’ve got some very exciting surprises in store for New York, of course, being it’s my hometown,” said Sawaya.
Here are a few of my favorites. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down, everything was amazing…
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THE ART OF THE BRICK® is the first major museum exhibition to use LEGO® bricks as the sole art medium. Sawaya transforms them into tremendous and thought-provoking sculptures, elevating the toy to the realm of art. “These works are very personal to me, since they reflect my growth as an artist as I strove to discover my creative identity,” said Sawaya. “THE ART OF THE BRICK exhibition is accessible because it engages the child in all of us while simultaneously illuminating sophisticated and complex concepts. Everyone can relate to the medium since it is a toy that many children have at home. But my goal with this exhibition when it first debuted in 2007 was to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before.” I think children ages 6 and up will LOVE this exhibit, not to mention adults of all ages!
Monumental.jpg THE ART OF THE BRICK® at Discovery Times Square runs until January 5, 2014.
Discovery Times Square is open seven days a week. Tickets are available for $17.50 (child 4-12), $22.50 (adult) and $19.50 (senior = 65). Special savings for groups of 10 or more are available with advanced reservation. Visit art-of-the-brick, call 866.9.TSXNYC (866-987-9692) or visit the Discovery Times Square box office. DTS is located at 226 West 44th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenues).
*For our Role Mommy readers, we are offering a family 4 pack so you can enjoy this fantastic exhibit! The tickets can be used at any time during the exhibit until January 5, 2014. To enter, just go to the RaffleCopter link below. We will be in touch in a week if you are selected as the winner!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nathan Sawaya is an acclaimed New York-based artist who creates awe-inspiring artwork out of a toy. His art focuses on large-scale sculptures using only LEGO® bricks. Sawaya was the first artist to ever take LEGO® into the art world and his touring exhibition – THE ART OF THE BRICK® – has entertained and inspired millions of art lovers and enthusiasts from Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, China and around the world. Originally from Oregon, Sawaya’s childhood dreams were always fun and creative. He drew cartoons, wrote stories, perfected magic tricks and of course also played with LEGO®. His days were filled with imagination. When it came time for college, Sawaya moved to New York City, attended NYU and became a lawyer. But after years of million dollar mergers and corporate acquisitions on Park Avenue, Sawaya realized he would rather be sitting on the floor creating art, than sitting in a board room negotiating contracts. He walked away from the law and took an artistic risk on LEGO®. Now Sawaya is an author, speaker and one of the most popular, award-winning contemporary artists of our time. For more information about Nathan Sawaya and his artwork, visit

Take Back the Kitchen: Alma’s Grilled Asian Tofu

Try this easy alternative to meat when you’re firing up that grill. Save some of the marinade for your corn on the cob!

Grilled Asian Tofu:

one lb firm, organic tofu (preferable frozen and then defrosted which gives it a spongy texture)
One TBS of the following (can get most of the ingredients at supermarkets but some in your local Asian food stores):
sriracha sauce
Hoisin sauce
Soy sauce
Peanut butter
Red wine vinegar
One tsp. each:
sesame oil
hot chili oil

Mix the sauces together until combined in a medium sized bowl
Marinate the tofu in the sauce for at lest a half hour and up until 24 hours
Grill the tofu on each side until it is browned or has the cool ridge marks from the grill. It’s done when it is heated through since tofu is already cooked.
– See more at:

Design a Family-Friendly Kitchen

Contributor Katie Schlientz shares how to create a space the whole family can enjoy with tips from award-winning kitchen designer Jason Landau.
Landau_bay window.jpgThe kitchen is a place where you catch up on each other’s day. It’s the place where the kids sit at the table, diligently (ha!) doing their homework. It’s a place where you throw your mail, catalogs collecting on the countertops. Oh, and it’s also the place you’re supposed to cook.
In most households, the kitchen is the hub and heart of the home. It’s a multifunctional space, serving several functions as needed throughout the day. When designing a kitchen, you have to consider how you can create a space that allows you to transition easily from task to task.
Jason Landau, owner of Amazing Spaces, LLC in Briarcliff, should know. The award-winning kitchen designer has designed family-friendly kitchens all over the tristate area, including his own.
“Designing a kitchen that suits the entire family’s needs can be a very difficult task,” Landau says. “The kitchen design must fit into the lifestyle of the family it serves.”
Redesigning your kitchen? Check out Landau’s tips on how you can design a space the whole family can enjoy:
• Organization is key. Think about the activities that take place in the space. Design and arrange things that will fit the demands to fulfill those activities. For example, if the kitchen serves as a work space for the kids to do homework, you want to make sure there’s seating and lighting that accommodates that activity.
• Shared work space. Speaking of homework… These days, you’ll find more students turning on a computer to complete their assignments instead of using a pen and paper. More and more modern kitchen designs are including a computer desk (and hey, now you can look up those recipes on Pinterest a little easier).
• Choose kid-friendly cabinets. If you have young children, you may want to considerable lockable cabinet drawers to keep small hands away from cleaning supplies and sharp knives. Another feature to consider is the self-closing drawers that cannot be slammed shut.
Landau_chalkboard.jpg• Add comfortable seating. Bringing couches, armchairs or other living room furniture into the kitchen encourages families to sit together somewhere other than in front of the TV. If you have a bay window, try installing a window bench where the kids can lounge while you’re cooking dinner (they may even offer to help!).
• Install a custom chalkboard. Chalkboard paint allows you to transform any cabinet surface into a chalkboard. You can turn the side of a cabinet into a menu board, a place for the grocery list, or an accent wall.
Jason Landau, owner of Amazing Spaces LL and award-winning designer, is available for expert advice, recommendations and consultations. He brings two decades worth of experience in space planning, kitchen design, and working with the world’s finest cabinetry firms to your project. Call him at 914-239-3725 or visit
Photographs and kitchen designs by Amazing Spaces, LLC

Just Desserts: What’s Cooking with American Baking Competition’s Paul Hollywood

103041_D01551b.jpgAs we gear up for the finale of the CBS reality series, “The American Baking Competition,” all eyes are on Francine, Darlene and Brian – the three finalists who are about to hit the baking stratosphere as long as they impress judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.
We recently got the chance to chat with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood who shares the ins and outs of the competition and even discloses his favorite desserts. And we’ve even got one of Paul’s spectacular recipes that was featured on the show last week.
Take a look…
Question: How do the American bakers differ from the ones he encountered on the UK show?
Paul: I can’t help remembering how he looked when Francine presented him with the chocolate and bacon pie… and his surprise that it tasted great. The flavour combinations that they used were very different. The standard was the same and overall I was very impressed but the flavours were often those I hadn’t come across together before.
Question: Have the Americans have inspired him to try different flavors in his own baking?
Paul: Yes. I was going to use bacon in a tart the other day which is something I’ve never done before
Question: Out of all the desserts that we’ve seen so far on the show, which ones have been some of his favorites?
Paul: The technical challenge of the large chocolate soufflé was incredible. As was Effie’s millefeuille – really delicious
Question: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?
Paul: Baking powder contains baking soda combined with a packing agent
Question: Can you substitute oil for butter or margarine when baking?
Paul: Absolutely. You can use flavoured oils too to give your pastry and bread different and interest flavours. It’s fun to experiment
Question: What cake do you wish for on your birthday?
Paul: A sacatorte
Question: What trends do you see emerging in the dessert world? Is it similar in the US and the UK?
Paul: I think the macaron has been and will continue to be a strong market. You can change the flavours so much that you can keep them interesting. It’s the same in the US and the UK
Question: What do you feel was the most challenging aspect of the competition for the contestants?
Paul: I think that the technical challenges will always be the hardest as we are asking the bakers to make something that they potentially have never made before, which is a touch ask. We deliberately chose obscure bakes to make sure there was a genuine challenge
Question: What ingredients should a baker always have in their pantry?
Paul: Flour!
Question: What is your favorite flavor?
Paul: Lime
Question: In which contestants, do you see a bit of yourself? Why?
Paul: James. He was very inventive and creative most of the time and had some great flavour combinations. Where we differ is in the execution as he messed up a few times. Practice, practice, practice is the key.
Question: What is your advice to future contestants applying to the show?
Paul: Again, it would be to practice. And to listen to advice. Don’t think that you’re the best when you enter and be prepared for constructive criticism.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to tackle a celebrity recipe, then try out the dessert the contestants attempted to master during the semi final round:
Paul Hollywood’s Napoleons Courtesy The American Baking Competition
napoleon (3) (1).jpgYield: 4 completed Napoleons
Rough Puff Pastry
250 g all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250 g butter, room temperature
150 ml cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a large metal bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely to coat the butter.
Drizzle two thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover dough and refrigerate for 20 mins.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for another 20 minutes.
Using a ruler, roll out and cut into 2.5″ x 3×5″ rectangles. You should have 12 pieces. You may control the rise of the puff by making small slits on top of each piece.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


8 OZ Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 OZ Heavy Cream
4 OZ Frangelico
Heat the cream until it just starts to boil.
Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.
Let the mixture stand for at least 10 minutes then add flavoring.
Whisk until smooth
Refrigerate until mixture firms.
Whip ganache in the stand mixer until it reaches a soft, whipped consistency and is lighter in colour.
Pipe dots onto cooled layers of pastry followed by a piped layer of whipped cream.
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
2 oz dark chocolate
Whisk powdered sugar and water until combined.
Spread over assembled Napoleons
Melt chocolate over a double boiler
Pipe lines of chocolate on top of the water icing.
Using a toothpick pull the chocolate through the white icing.
Make sure you tune into the finale of The American Baking Competition at 9pm ET on CBS. And if you’d like to tweet along with us, just follow @BakeOnCBS #GetYourBakeOn @ChefMarcela @FoxOutdoors @HollywoodBaker and use these hashtags for the baker you want to see win it all: #TeamDarlene #TeamBrian and #TeamFrancine.

Summer Fun With Kids in New York

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An oldie but a goodie…
It’s week number two for the Summer of Dylan (our daughter is away at sleepaway camp), and so far, since his sister has been gone, we’ve hit amusement parks, water parks, kids movies galore, the Hamptons, a Mets game and now, the Bronx Zoo!
In fact, while my hubby and son were supposed to go camping this weekend, they decided to bag the trip when they saw that a major thunderstorm was on the horizon. And so, on Friday night, when my son shed some tears that he wouldn’t be pitching a tent somewhere in the wilds of Westchester, we cheered him up instantly with a suggestion that we head to a Met game at Citi Field. We scored some great seats and I was pretty pleased since the stadium now offers healthy food from Subway instead of just hot dogs, burgers, fries and soda. While the game was a bit slow – the Mets played the Braves and couldn’t seem to catch a break that night, we still had a great time and then went home to get ready for the next day’s adventure.
While searching online for things to do, I initially suggested we hit Coney Island and visit the New York Aquarium and Deno Park but my son, who is not that interested in car rides that last longer than one hour, opted instead for a visit to the Bronx Zoo. And so, we hopped in the car and within 20 minutes, we arrived.
Incidentally, a major suggestion for anyone visiting parks and zoos in New York this year – buy an annual pass! For $150+ you get park passes for two adults and up to 3 kids and it enables you to visit zoos and aquariums for free! Another great find – New York Pass – buy this card and it gets you amazing discounts at tons of New York tourist attractions.
Once we secured our passes, we then proceeded to traverse the zoo for nearly four hours – visiting monkeys, gorillas, snakes, birds, buffalos, giraffes, a zebra, okapi, a chorus of sheep, a gaggle goats, prairie dogs, an extremely vocal sea lion and much more. In fact, in that amount of time, we didn’t even get to see the lions, tigers, bears, birds of prey or penguins! Good thing we have our park pass so we can go back real soon.
Since I just picked up photo shop, I put together a little collage from our day at the Bronx Zoo and will be adding some video soon too! In the meantime, if you’d like to have an ultimate New York weekend with your kids, here are some of my favorite locations:
Friday Night: LET’S PLAY BALL!
Met Fans…
Take in a Mets Game
After the game, hit Lemon Ice King in Corona
Yankee Fans…
Take in a Yankee Game
Hit City Island for awesome seafood and dessert after the game
The Burbs…
Spend a half day at the Bronx Zoo
Zip over to Rye Playland for an afternoon of fun
The City…
Take in the Central Park Zoo
Head on over to Victorian Gardens at Wollman Rink in Central Park
Splish Splash in Long Island
Splash Down in Fishkill, NY
Jones Beach
Cooper Beach in Southampton
More summer fun to come including movies under the stars, aquariums, pools galore and hiking and biking adventures! Any suggestions for great places to visit with kids? Comment now!