Thursday, July 30, 2009

simply raspberry jam

I know, it is a little early to be thinking about Christmas, but wouldn't this be a great gift? Local raspberries in season have resulted in raspberry jam, raspberry smoothies and fresh raspberry lemonade. These little jars were so cute, we filled eight of them with this simple jam recipe. But now we are not sure if we can wait until christmas to give them away.

Simply Raspberry Jam
8 cups raspberries - fresh or frozen
5 cups sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Mix all the ingredients in a large pot and heat to boiling. Stir frequently and boil for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and spoon any bubbles from the top (there is nothing wrong with them, they just don't look pretty in the jar). Spoon the jam into warm jars, wipe off the rims of the jars and place lids and rings on.
Process (heat in boiling water bath) for 15 minutes.
Makes about 4 pints.

Monday, July 20, 2009

photo fun for simple scrapbooks

With two kids and a busy life I am very far behind on our scrapbooks but I am trying to catch up. This is a cute, simple, but creative scrapbook idea that will be fun to look back on. This is a peek into the things that they love at the moment and play with everyday.

Our littlest one loves her dollies no matter what size and her favorite book that she asks for everyday is "Go Dog Go". She knows it so well now she gathers her blankie and all of her little friends on her bed to read to them.

These are a few other things that you would step over or see being packed around by our other little girl. She loves her backpack and would put her whole room in it if it would fit. It will be filled with Fancy Nancy and Holly Hobbie books, a Hello Kitty game, her blankie, baby, dress-ups, tootsie roll pillow, and swim goggles. We always see the hoppy ball go up and down the hall at least a few times each day.

This photo idea would be fun to do for each person in your family or have your family go in on one together. If anyone has any simple ideas for scrapbooking to help ones like me stay caught up we would love you to share your thoughts. Happy scrapbooking!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

tin can stilts

We saw these tin can stilts this summer at a local festival. Every child that walked by could not resist stepping on and giving them a try, including ours. At the summer festival some were made from cans like these and others were made plastic buckets. We looked around our house and found cans and some yellow rope to create ours.

1. We spray painted the cans white, you could choose any color or leave them plain.
2. Drill holes on two sides of each can.
3. Measure the length of the rope handles for the height of your child.
4. Poke the rope handles through the hole and tie a knot to keep it from slipping out.
5. Ready for little legs to go walking.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

little BUG box

We are looking for little bugs to visit our bug box.

We made these little necklace bug boxes from empty spice or candy sprinkle jars. These already have the holes in the top for air and they are just the right size to tie a ribbon on and wear it around to watch your new bug friend.

We found a ladybug and then we added
some leaves and grass to help her feel cozy while she is visiting our bug box.

We found our idea here.

Friday, July 10, 2009

map it

Summer is a great break from school and the daily homework grind. This season of fun is also a whole other world of learning adventures just waiting to be explored. There are lazy afternoons for reading, perfect weather to discover science at the beach or in the backyard, and more opportunity for hands on learning of the basic skills of life.  Simple ideas can keep children learning in fun ways all summer long.  One way is to hang a map in a central area of the house.
  • When kids hear things about places in the world locate them on the map.
  • Find home cities of extended family and mark them with small picutres.
  • Track the travels of friends who are on vacation.
  • There is just enough time left in the summer to learn about a different continent each week. Try foods and study about culture and traditions.
  • Our favorite game is to write the name of a location on a small sticky note. The first person to find it on the map gets to write the next one. Sometimes it takes a few minutes and sometimes a few days.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

summer strawberry shortcake

I love strawberries!!! Strawberry Shortcake has always been one of my favorite summer foods especially when the strawberries are fresh from the garden. My mom always made this classic biscuit like shortcake when I was little and I love it warm from the oven covered with strawberries and cream. I braved turning on the oven on this hot summer day for this yummy summer dessert and it turned out so good!!

2 Cups of Sliced Strawberries
1/2 cup of Sugar
1/3 cup of Butter
2 cups of Flour
1/4 cup of Sugar
3 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1tsp Vanilla
3/4 cup Milk
Whipped Cream

Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar on the sliced strawberries and then let is sit. The sugar will draw out all of the juices.
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Place butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor or blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
Place crumbs in a bowl and stir in vanilla and milk just until combined.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and gently knead. I had to add a little more flour here because mine was still a little sticky. Knead about 20 times and then roll it out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out whatever shape you would like. You could use cookie cutters, the top of a cup, or just cut it into squares.
Place them on a greased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. I then sprayed mine with cooking spray and added a dash of cinnamon sugar on the top.
Bake these for 8-10 min until they are golden brown.
Split shortcake and fill with strawberries and cream.
Makes about 10 shortcakes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

chili lime chicken

Amazingly simple and amazingly good!

2-3 chicken breasts
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. chili powder

1 cup salsa
8 oz. frozen corn
2 cups black beans (or one can)

Put the first three ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. Break up the chicken and then add the next three ingredients. Cook until warmed through.

Serve on warm tortillas or over chips with cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes.


*This is quick and easy to put together and can cook while you are gone. Dinner will be ready when you get home.
*Use fresh tortillas and this will taste like something from a good Mexican restaurant.

black beans and rice

Here is the simplest of our black bean recipes. This is a favorite quick lunch or dinner.

2 cups water
1 cup rice
2 cups black beans (or one can)
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup salsa
2 tbsp. taco seasoning

optional add-ins:
1 cup corn
1 pound ground beef, cooked

Place all the ingredients in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil, and cover. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve beans and rice on warm tortillas or corn chips and top with cheese, sour cream, and/or avocados.

TIPS: This is a fun recipe for a dinner kit gift. Start with a new pan and fill it with a package of rice, a can of black beans, a can of tomato sauce, a bottle of salsa, a package of taco seasoning, and a bag of chips. Put in the recipe and wrap it all up for a cute "welcome to the neighborhood", get well, or wedding gift.
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