Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (I used twice as much!)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Cook asparagus in boiling water 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar; cook 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Arrange asparagus on a platter; top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
- Inflate an air mattress or pool float and put it on the grass. Have your children lie on it and pretend to be Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. What do they see as they float down the river? What kind of adventures do they have? This can be altered to fit any storyline.
- Put two ‘rafts’ next to each other and give each raft a supply of water balloons. Tell the children they’re pirates and see who can take over the enemy ship. If you don’t want to use water balloons, blow up some beach balls and use them as cannons for a unique version of dodgeball.
- Pool noodle wars are always fun. Use the noodle as a sword and see who wins the battle.
- Go on a trail ride using stick horses. Take turns being the lead rider.
- Learn some camp craft together – my favorite is the plastic lanyard key chain, but there are a ton of kits out there. Check out Oriental Trading Company or Tandy Leather for ideas. Try making dream catchers, friendship bracelets, bookmarks, wallets, and more. One of my favorite sites is DuckBrand.com, which shows you how to make amazing things like roses and wallets with Duck Tape.
- Go fishing! Use a toddler/wading pool and fill it with water. Place some fish (made out of duck tape, with a magnet in the center) in the pool. Hang a piece of string from a stick and put another magnet at the end of the string. Let the kids see how many fish they can catch. Another option is to give them all a specific color to catch, and use a few different colors of duck tape for your fish.
- Learn how to tie some basic knots. The square knot and slip knots are the easiest, but knots like the half-hitch and the sheep-shank are relatively easy to learn and very useful. Grab some rope or cord from the garage, or use shoelaces as a last resort. Once they’ve learned a few, hold a knot relay race, or create some fun situations where they can use their new knot-tying skills.
- Go on another nature walk and collect a bunch of flowers, leaves and other items. Set up a station at the picnic table where the children can create rubbings, pressed flowers, or collages. If you don’t have much nature nearby, grab some Popsicle sticks and glue them together to make fun camp items like a jewelry box or a bird cage. Or just pick some grass and try to make whistles.
- Make a flag for your camp out of some fabric and markers or paint. If you don’t have material handy, use a plain-colored pillowcase. Once you’re finished, tie it to a tall stick and fix it in the ground near your tent. You may need to use a pot or a few large stones to make sure it stays upright.
- Tin foil dinners are easy and can be done in your oven. Check out THIS LINK for a few starter tips, then have dinner outside around the campfire together. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients; it’s like a single-serving casserole!
- Grill hotdogs on your ‘fire,’ by putting some pre-cooked dogs on skewers and having your children hold them over the fire until they cool.Then doctor them up with your favorite condiments.
- Trail mix is a great snack; make it even more fun by telling the children they have to eat it while hiking around the yard. I recently tried some trail mix cookies and they were incredible!We used peanut butter cookies as the base and added in ¼ cup each oats, raisins and mini chocolate chips, plus ½ cup of regular size M&Ms.
- My favorite camp treats are s’mores. Naomi posted an incredible recipe for BAKED S'MORES earlier, but if you want a few more unique takes on this treat, check out THIS LINK.
- Play flashlight tag. Same rules as regular tag, only you ‘tag’ someone by turning on your flashlight and hitting them with the beam. Note: only play this in a safe area, since you’ll be running around in the dark.
- Tell ghost stories to each other. You can do this sitting around the fire or cuddled up in the tent. Either way, you should have something fun to do afterward or your little ones may not be able to sleep.
- Take some time to look at the night sky. Being in the city, the stars won’t be nearly as bright as they are in the woods, but you can still find the big dipper, the north star, and a few of the more famous constellations.
- Watch a movie projected on the wall. If you don’t have a projector, hang a blanket on a clothes line and use a bright flashlight or lantern to make a shadow puppet show.
- Sing songs around the campfire. There are a ton of songs to choose from, but THIS SITE has all the ones I remember from my years at camp, plus tons more!
- If you’re worried about losing your little one in the dark, try putting a light stick around his neck. He’ll love the ‘light saber’ and you’ll love knowing exactly where he is. If you’re looking for a light-related craft, try combining a button cell battery, and an LED diode (one wire on each side; there is a right and wrong side) and taping them together with electric tape. Add a magnet if you want to attach it to something. It will work for hours.
- Cam Jansen and the summer camp mysteries, David A. Adler (Call #: J Adler; ISBN: 9780142407424)
- The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp, Stan and Jan Berenstain (Call #: P Berenstein; ISBN: 0394851315)
- Curious George Goes Camping, Margaret and H.A. Rey (Call #: P Rey; ISBN: 9780395978351)
- S is for S’mores, A Camping Alphabet, Helen Foster James (Call #: P James; ISBN: 9781585363025)
- The Morrow Guide to Knots (Call #: 623; ISBN: 9780688012267)
- The Art of Hand Shadows, Albert Almoznino (Call # 791.5; ISBN: 9780486418766)
- Duck Tents, Lynne Berry (Call #: P Berry; ISBN: 9780805086966)
Monday, June 27, 2011
Opening Wiggle Song: Hinges (click on song name for music)
Opening Reverent Song: I am a Child of God (click on song name for music)
Opening Prayer: Given by Daddy
Lesson: Given by Mommy
Lesson Plan: Today we are going to learn about a prophet of God. A prophet is a living person who helps us to know what Heavenly Father wants us to do. This is the Prophet Brigham Young:
Brigham Young was the second Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He taught us to be thrifty and self reliant and said “Instead of searching after what the Lord is going to do for us, let us inquire what we can do for ourselves.”Lesson Application: Today we are going to practice being thrifty by going to a THRIFT STORE and picking something out that we need, or that we can make into something we need/want, for a cheaper price! Everyone can have a certain amount of money to spend, such as $2-$5, and can pick out their own item.
Being thrifty is when we make good decisions with our money and other belongings so we don't waste and so we can save up for more important things.
You can get anything really, like a new toy, pot, or book. Or you can buy something like an over sized sweater and turn it into a SKIRT just like Rachel Hutton did on the website Ready Made.
You can even decide to combine your money to buy something like a night stand that you can turn into a PLAY KITCHEN just like Toni did on her blog Design and Dazzle!
(The actual shopping and project making can be done on separate days so you don't get overwhelmed.)
When you are all done with your activity, end with a closing song and prayer.
Closing Song: The Family (click on song name for music)
Closing Prayer: Given by Brooklyn
Treats: Prepared by Lily (and Mommy)... Chewy Coconut Lime Sugar Cookies!
Friday, June 24, 2011
By Naomi Hanks
Before they came into my life
I thought I’d be the perfect wife
Clean and neat and organized
Social, fun, full of surprise.
And motherhood would be a cinch
There’d be no wrongs, no! Not an inch!
For each would have their own safe place
Their private things, their tidy space
No boogers running down the nose
Each child would smell just like a rose.
We’d cook and play and read together
Run outside despite the weather
The TV power never on
Cause we’d do crafts while dad was gone.
Play dates, preschool, training wheels
Princess parties, happy squeals
“Stay at home mom come and get me!
I’ll rule the world if you’ll let me!”
Then I married my prince charming
And found marriage could be alarming.
There were hogged covers and snores all night
Crazy war movies that gave me a fright
Battles to control the money
Feelings hurt when not called “honey”
And I got tired, fat and frumpy
Left a mess that made us grumpy
Violated personal space
Forgot to react with love and grace.
But as the time has passed us by
Many things have caught my eye,
Not only does my love wash dishes
Do the laundry and blow me kisses
But he cheers me on and gives me praise
Stops me when I start to graze
Makes the bed and helps with dinner
Earns us money, thinks I’m a winner
Makes me laugh and buys me treats
And tries to help me keep things neat.
And even though he doesn’t know
Where anything in our house goes
I know he loves me, every bit
And on our marriage, will NEVER quit!
And what about said “Motherhood”?
I’m not the best, but I’m still good.
My kids are loud and love to fight
But I still teach them to do what’s right.
They spend most days dressed in pajamas
Are sometimes rude to both their grandmas
Their noses run and I don’t wipe them
And they watch TV like it’s a rare gem.
But we still laugh and dance and play
Albeit, not every day...
And when they do bathe, it’s a party!
And what I feed them is mostly hardy
And when they cry, I wipe their tears
Brush off their knees, and chase their fears.
I love them both and they both know it
Cause every day I try to show it.
Not with ponies, or pink dresses
But by cleaning up their messes.
And not with presents or fancy food
But by teaching them to not be rude.
So nothing turned out how I thought
My fantasies were all for naught
But I lucked out and got something better
Relationships that will endure all weather!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Anyway, if you are in the Chicago area, you are welcome to attend. It is F-R-E-E to all and there will be great food and fun entertainment!
But if you're just feeling like being a homebody this weekend, you might want to try this Thousand Dollar Bar recipe that I found on the King Arthur Flour blog instead. As always, my creation doesn't look anywhere near as wonderful as the picture that accompanied the recipe, but putting that aside, these tasted AMAZING!!!
Thousand Dollar Bars:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups Carmel cut into small chunks
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 cups chopped milk chocolate or dark chocolate, melted (I used chocolate chips)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening (optional)
1) FOR THE CRUST: Preheat your oven to 300°F. Spray a 9" x 13" pan lightly with cooking spray, or line with parchment, and set aside.
2) In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour. At first the mixture may seem dry, but will come together as you continue to beat at medium speed.
3) Take the dough (it will be somewhat stiff) and press it evenly into the pan. Lightly flouring your fingertips will help with any sticking.
4) Prick the crust all over with a fork. The holes will allow steam to escape and the crust will bake evenly with fewer bubbles.
5) Bake the crust until it's lightly golden brown on top and the edges are deeper golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately run a knife around the edges to loosen the crust. Set it aside to cool completely.
6) FOR THE CARAMEL LAYER: Melt the caramel and cream over low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the caramel over the cooled crust and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill and firm up.
7) FOR THE CHOCOLATE LAYER: Melt the milk or dark chocolate slowly in a double boiler or over very low heat. If it seems very thick, add a tablespoon of shortening to thin it. Pour evenly over the chilled caramel layer and spread to cover all of the caramel. Return to the fridge until the chocolate is well set. Cut into 2" x 2" squares to serve. It's best to store these bars in the refrigerator.
8) These bars can also be cut and dipped in milk chocolate to resemble Twix ® bars. After the caramel layer has chilled firm, cut down the length of the pan, splitting the bars into two long, narrow bars. Then cut each long strip into "fingers". Dip the chilled bars into melted chocolate and place on parchment paper to set for several hours.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Start by going outside and lying in the grass. Close your eyes and listen to the nature noises all around you. What other senses can you use with your eyes closed? Smell the grass and the fresh air. Feel the warm sun on your skin. Listen to the birds, the wind and the bugs. If you hear noises you can’t identify, try to figure out what’s making them.
While you’re lying so still, watch how many bugs magically appear around you. See how many you can find and talk about what it might be like to be a bug and live outside in such a giant world. If you’re looking for a game to play while you’re out here, try our bug bingo checklist.Now that you have an idea of where all the bugs are hiding, try to catch a few. Nets and bug vacuums are wonderful tools that can be found at any toy store, but don’t underestimate the power of two hands and a little patience. Look under rocks or where there are tell-tale signs of life, like ant hills. Use a magnifying glass to look at your new friends and make notes about the environment where you discovered them. If you’re going to have your bug friend over to stay for a while, you’ll need to make sure all the same items are in his box: leaves, dirt, rocks, twigs, flowers, moss, a bit of water, etc.
If you’d like to sing while you’re searching, modify the words to the song “Going on a Bear Hunt” to say “Going on a Bug Hunt.” You can find the original lyrics and tune at this site:
It’s a good idea to make a bug habitat before you go on your bug hunt. Store-bought ones are easy, but homegrown ones are just as fun – all you need is a box or jar with holes in the top. You’ll add all the extras to either option when you catch your bugs.
Now that you have some new bug friends, do some research together to know more about them. What kind of bugs are they, if you don’t already know? What do they eat? Where do they live? How long do they live? How do they grow? What makes them special? This is a great time to educate your child about the bugs’ life-cycle, habitat and food. If you can’t care for your bugs long-term, plan on letting them go after about 2 days.
Now that you’ve seen them in action and learned more about them, pretend to be a bug! Make tunnels like ants, put on a ‘stinger’ (I recommend toilet paper rolls or birthday hats) and play tag with your bums (I call this Bee Tag), do the crab walk or hold spider relays. Or make up your own game using a part of the bug you found.
You can also take a field trip to a natural museum to see the insect display. It can be fascinating for your little one to see all the different kinds of butterflies, beetles and other creepy crawlies science has documented. Talk about your child’s favorite one and bring along supplies to draw a picture.
If you really want to see the world from a bug’s perspective, try watching a movie. There are plenty of amazing documentaries out there if you think your child would be interested, but even “A Bug’s Life” would be fun after these activities.
(Click on image for source)
Suggested Reading: (See call number 595 for a wide variety of non-fiction books on bugs)
- Big Book of Bugs – Theresa Greenaway, DK (ISBN: 9780789465207; Call #: 591.53)
- The Transmogrification of Roscoe Wizzle – David A Elliot (ISBN: 0763611735; Call #:J Elliott)
- The Very Lonely Firefly – Eric Carle (ISBN: 9780399227745; Call #: P Carle) See also: The Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug, The Very Busy Spider
- Ant Cities – Arthur Dorros (ISBN: 0690045700; Call #: J 595.796 D7379)
- Bug Boy – Carol Sonenklar (ISBN: 0805047948; Call #:J Sonenklar)
- My Father’s Hands – Joanne Ryder (ISBN: 068809189X; P Ryder)
- Miss Spider’s Tea Party – David Kirk (ISBN: 0590477242; Call #: P Kirk) Look for others in this series, as well as a TV cartoon series about Miss Spider. See also: Miss Spider’s ABCs