Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Red, White and Blueberry Cobbler

The perfect dessert for the group you have over to watch fireworks for the 4th!

Red, White and Blueberry Cobbler
1 white cake mix
1 -21oz cherry pie filling
1 -15 oz cherries in heavy syrup
1 pt. blueberries
1 stick of butter melted

Preheat oven to 350˚
  In a 9x13 size dish, pour in all the berries and mix.  
Sprinkle the cake mix on top and then pour the butter over the mix. 

Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and berries are bubbling.

Serve while warm and with vanilla ice cream. Yum!

This dessert is rich.  To make it on the lighter side, 
only sprinkle on 1/2 of the cake mix
and follow the rest of the recipe as directed. :)

Smores in a Bag

One night at girl's camp the fun stake young women secretary
had all the fixin's for the YCLs (youth camp leaders) to 
make Smores in a bag. 

You'll need: snack size Teddy Grahams, chocolate chips and roasted marshmallows.
Open your Teddy Graham bag, sprinkle in some chocolate chips
and add your warm roasted marshmallow.
Mix it all around with a spoon or even by squeezing the bag.

Eat with a spoon. 
Yummy, Smores goodness!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Like a Broken Vessel

Last week, I watched a new Mormon Message on lds.org. I thought the message was real, timely, hopeful, and informative. I think everyone is somehow impacted by depression or mental illness - you, a family member, a friend. Take a few minutes and watch this video. It may provide the insight you are searching for.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Packing Popcorn Sculptures

My kids and I had so much fun making these simple sculptures!   With just a few materials, you can make countless designs!    This is a great art activity to add some fun to a dull summer afternoon for all ages.

You will need:

The "pill form" packing popcorn
glue gun ( if  you want to attach your sculpture to the cardboard, the popcorn needs no glue to stick to each other)

1.  Grab some packing popcorn 

2.  Cut some cardboard to be your base.

3.  Add a little water on one end of the popcorn, just a little will be enough.

4.  Stick another popcorn to the "wetted" end- they will stick like glue! Keep adding on and on to form your shape.   They really do stick with just water.

5.  Paint your incredible sculpture- Be creative!

6.  You can glue your sculpture to your base if you like.

We made a lot of snakes and used some sword toothpicks to make some fighting knights.  Add paper or other items to your sculptures to make more details.   Happy Fun Friday!  

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Reads for Tweens and Teens

Seems like we are always looking for a good book or two that our kids can read over the summer.
Our sister Erika teaches middle school English and is back 
with some great summer reads for tweens and teens.
Take it away sis....

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster 
            This is an oldie, but a goodie.  It is great for upper elementary on up.  It is a fun story of a boy who learns to be curious and interested in the world around him.  It is full of crazy plays on words and unique points of view.  This would be a fun read for a family to do together. 

A Tale of Two Castles by Gail Carson Levine 
            A medieval fantasy full of mysterious characters. A princess who discovers surprising friendships and uses her wits to solve several problems.  It is good for upper elementary readers.

The Island of Dr. Librisby  by Chris Grabenstein 
            Billy is spending the summer at the home of the mysterious Dr. Librisby.  When ever Billy opens a book from the library, he hears sounds coming from a nearby island at the lake. This novel is full of imagination and adventures.  It is great for boys and girls in upper elementary to junior high.

Prisoner B-3087  by Alan Gratz    
            This is the story of Yanek, a Jewish boy in 1930 Poland.  How can he survive emotionally and physically as he is moved from 10 different concentration camps?  Written for 6th grade and older, this story follows a fictional character while dealing with historical events.  It ends with hope and inspiration.

Fairest  by Gail Carson Levine 
            This medieval fantasy centers on a young woman whose goal is to be the fairest in the land.  As she works towards this goal, she is drawn into adventures that teach her that her kindness and intelligence are more important than outward beauty.  For junior high and above.

The Selection Series by Kiera Cass 
            Who wouldn’t want to wear gorgeous gowns and live in a palace?  Sometimes what you think you want is not all you thought it would be, and what you really want is something you never even imagined.  This series of five or more novels is a fun read for junior high to adult.

Of Giants and Ice (The Ever Afters #1) by Shelby Bach
             A girl begins an after school program that turns out to not be a s boring as she thought.  Full of adventures that are more real than bedtime stories, this tale teaches her that she is the star of her own life.  This is a fun series for upper elementary boys and girls. 

Kate Unmasked by Cindy M. Hogan 
            Determined to find her birth parents, Kate’s efforts pay off with more questions than answers leading her deep into the world of the mob.  Themes of family love and loyalty are addressed positively along with the role of choice in who you become.  This book is for high school to adult readers.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
            Another oldie, but goodie.  I read this in 9th grade and was a little ambivalent about it.  I mostly remembered the trial chapters.  This year, I read it again and was surprised at the humor and the fascinating characters.  Definitely worth reading as an adult!

Cookies to Die For by Dene Low  
            This is a fun read about a mom who has a relaxing weekend planned while hubby and kids are gone camping.  Being held prisoner in her own house changes things. 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio 
            A boy with a severe facial deformity is finally able to attend public school.  He wants to fit in and make friends, but his first impression is hard to get past.  This book is written on about a 5th grade level, but is great for everyone.  It would be a terrific family read that could lead to some important discussions about hanicaps and dealing with people who are different.

Flavia de Luce Series by Allen Bradley 
            I love this series. Even after reading the seventh book, I still enjoy the characters and want more.  Flavia is about 12 years old in post WWII England.  Her love of chemistry and uncontrolled curiosity lead her to solving local murders.  Written with wit and skill, these novels are told from Flavia’s point of view adding to the humor.  The author is a talented writer that develops wonderful characters and layers of story lines.

Happy reading this summer.
I'm off to the bookstore!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

I Am a Child of God Week

I feel that one purpose of summer is to encourage children - to build them up. School is rewarding, enriching, and edifying, but school can also be taxing, lonely, and humiliating. A child's self-worth can really take a beating. When summer rolls around, I try to sprinkle in some experiences that nurture and invigorate my children's self-esteem. I want to build their character and help them remember just how special they truly are.

Last week, our family participated in what I called, I Am a Child of God week. Each morning we had a family devotional addressing one aspect of this important truth. On some days, we also participated in an activity to reinforce that day's topic. I am happy to report that it was an uplifting week. Just what I hoped for!

Here is the complete outline of our week including all the quotes and materials I used. Below is a brief summary of what we did each day.

Monday: Introduction to I Am a Child of God Week
Each of my children woke up to a surprise outside their bedroom door. They found an I Am a Child of God printable, journal, and confetti. When finding the surprise, they naturally raced to find me because they were so anxious to find out what was going on. We had a special breakfast of tie dye waffles and I introduced the week to them. Over breakfast, we read different quotes testifying of our divine worth. After each quote, we discussed what truths we just read. We then talked about two ways to help us remember that we are children of God. One way is to record the daily miracles we see in our lives. (Remember the notebook that was set outside their bedroom doors.) Some daily miracles include: My prayer was answered today. Someone invited me to sit with them at lunch. A friend smiled at me in the hall. My dad and I worked on a project together. My mom made me a delicious dinner. The little things in life aren't so little. They are blessings and evidences that you are loved especially by your Father in Heaven. 
I found the I Am a Child of God printable here. My kids have their printables posted by their beds. Hopefully, they'll read it each morning when getting up and again each night when falling asleep. 
Tuesday: I Have Talents
We started the morning by talking about each of our talents. Some talents are obvious: singing, dancing, sports, intelligence, etc. Some talents are not as obvious, but just as important: a good listener, friendly, self-less, confident public speaker, etc. I then told my kids that today we are going on a picnic and will hopefully gain some new knowledge to help us develop new or old talents. We went to a nearby wildlife park and ate our picnic lunch before exploring the park. I told my kids that they all had to learn something new. 
I had a lot of fun making their picnic lunches. I went a little overboard with the packaging, but it was a special week and I wanted the picnic to feel different. I was surprised by how much my kids appreciated these lunches. They really were excited to open them!
Our sacks were brown gift bags. I used chalkboard stickers to label everyone's bag and tied the top with red and white baker's twine. 

I wrapped their croissant sandwiches in wax paper and used a toothpick to hold the wrapping in place. Once they unwrapped their sandwiches, they had a sheet of wax paper to use as a place mat during the picnic.

I put their cookies in colorful paper sacks.

I found these chicken pot pie tins for our fruit at the grocery store. I think everything tastes better in cute packaging :) Our lunch also included carrot sticks with ranch and potato chips.

Wednesday: Don't Be a Dipper, Be a Filler 

Our discussion focused on being a "filler" not a "dipper." I read an excerpt from Mary Ellen Edmunds' book, MEE Speaks. We talked about filling people's buckets with kind words and actions. We don't ever want to dip into someone's bucket and make them feel any less than who they really are: a child of God. 

As a surprise, I gave each of my children a small bucket filled with a few of their favorite things. 

Thursday: Service Helps Us Remember Our Divine Worth 

This morning I surprised my kids by telling them that we are going to do a service project. But, before we got to work, we talked about the importance of service. We discussed two points: Through service, we can help others feel God's love for them. And, service helps us remember God's love for us. Our service project was going to our neighbor's home and pulling their front yard weeds. Our neighbors recently had a baby and haven't had the time to do yard work. We sneaked over there first thing in the morning and pulled their weeds without getting caught! 

Friday: The Temple Helps Me Remember Eternal Truths

We read from Elder Quentin L. Cook's talk, See Yourself in the Temple. I then gave each of my children a framed printable with Elder Cook's message. I found the printable here. Also, the frames were each under $2 at Wal-mart. My children have each of their frames displayed in their rooms. What a great reminder! 

It truly was a great week! You can also do these devotionals as weekly family home evening lessons. Have fun with it and build each other up! 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fairy Gardens

My daughter and her friend made fairy gardens last week. It turned out to be a fun activity - perfect for a summer afternoon. Here's how they created their gardens.

We bought small terrarium vases at Jo Ann's. They were $4. We went with this size because the girls wanted to keep their gardens in their rooms on their desks or bookshelves.

They then went outside and gathered sticks, flowers, grass, rocks, tree branches, etc. for their gardens. It was like a scavenger hunt. They were armed with paper sacks to put their findings in and had only one rule: The items they gathered had to be on the ground. I didn't want them yanking branches and flowers off limbs and stems.

After their walk, they came back and created! It was fun to hear them talk as their creative juices flowed.

At Jo Ann's, we also bought these cute fairy figurines. We thought it would be nice to have an actual fairy in the garden.

My daughter has switched out her garden a couple of times. She's having lots of fun adding new pieces and rearranging old ones. She's already talking about how her garden will change when it is winter - a winter wonderland. These gardens make a cute addition to any bedroom or yard. They're pretty magical! 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fried Zucchini

Growing up, our parents would often let us choose a restaurant to eat at for our birthdays.  I loved this tradition and still love to eat out today!  We would go to Garcias, the Marble Club, or Black Angus many times in our home town.  I remember one such outing at Black Angus,  my parents ordered fried zucchini for an appetizer- "wow, a little meal before our meal" I thought "how fun is that".  Ever since, I have loved ordering the dish as a special appetizer treat.  If you can't make it out to dinner though, making your own is the next best thing.   Enjoy!

Fried Zucchini

2 Zucchinis
1 Cup Milk
2 Cups Italian Bread Crumbs
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper 

Slice your zucchinis into medium thick discs- all about the same size.    Pour enough olive oil to generously cover the bottom of a skillet and heat to medium high heat.  Dip each zucchini disc into your milk and then coat with bread crumbs.  Cook in oil for about 1-2 minutes a side.  Cool on a paper towel to relieve excess oil.  Sprinkle while hot with a little salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with Ranch dressing as a dip.

Print this recipe {here}

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Simple Red, White and Blue Table Decor

Add a little red, white and blue to your home.
You can't beat this color combination in the summer.
And team it up with a mason jar-- it's a win!
 I love decorating with mason jars.
I grabbed a couple empty wide mouth jars and painted them up.

I'm using the 2oz chalk paints put out by Americana. 
Everlasting and Vintage.
In the fall I used the same chalk paints and painted pumpkins for a table centerpiece. 
The Vintage color is more of a gray/blue, 
so I mixed in some acrylic royal blue to get a richer blue color.
They turned out great! 
I just left them as is and didn't sand to distress like I usually do.

 You could paint up 3 jars in red, white and blue and 
line them up on a table runner for your centerpiece.
That would look so cute on this striped runner.

I have this 2 jar size box on my kitchen table for flowers.
 It's similar to our milk bottle caddy and 5 mason jar caddy.
To make a box that will fit 2 jars, the inside box dimension needs to be 7 1/2" x 4".
I made up a bunch of these 2 jar boxes 
for a PTA teacher appreciation luncheon a few years back.
I just love the silver handles on the sides.

Added the red carnations to finish the look.

Here's to red, white and blue!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Super Size Jenga

Today we're kicking off Summer Fun Fridays!
So glad it is summer!
I've been wanting to make a large sized Jenga game.
There are those cool giant sets out there made out of 2x4s.
I wanted a larger set, but for it to still be easily portable.
I came up with Super Sized Jenga--
a step larger than the original. 

You'll need 4 pieces of 1"x 2"x 8's.
The great guys at Lowes cut them into 6" pieces for me.
This saved me so much time!
You'll end up with about 60 six inch pieces. 

Next you sand.
Use an electric hand or belt sander
and get those pieces smooth!

I thought it would be fun to stain my pieces different colors.
Had the kids help stain. 
I'm using Minwax wood stain in the 4 colors I had sitting in my garage.
Here is our stain guide:

The original Jenga has 54 pieces and stacks them in 3s.
My Super Size Jenga will stack in 4s and you can use all 60 pieces.

Doesn't it look great with the different wood colors?!

This game is fun for the kids and the whole fam.
Play it outdoors or in.
The size is perfect to tote along with us on vacations to the lake this summer.
I might bring it up to girls camp too.

Have a fun Friday.
Make it a game day!

Stop by the blog each Friday for another kid friendly craft, game, or project idea!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...