Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer 2012 (Day 6) Jello Jigglers (Recipe)

As I mentioned in my first Summer 2012 post, not every blog will be fascinating or show us doing/attending some sort of spectacular event.

Tuesday, this week, was quiet after the long holiday weekend, but not without a bit of food fun.

For the first time, I made Jello-O Jigglers with the kids.  We used cookie cutters to cut out star shapes.  

Mary likes them. Ben, not so much.  But the biggest fan...

...LUKE!  He can not get enough of this firm, jiggly treat.

He practically ate the whole pan!

We created red and blue Jell-O Jigglers using strawberry and berry blue flavors, but it seems that there has been quite the assortment of flavors of the past 100+ years...

...some hits...some, not so much!

Mixed Vegetable flavor Jell-O...anyone?   Anyone?

I like our flavor choices much better, thank you!

A Few Fun Facts about Jell-O

 Jello got off to a rocky start in 1845, but in 1904, with the distribution of samples and recipes coupled with a 3-inch ad featured in The Ladies Home Journal, this delightfully "light" dessert took off!

The first four flavors of Jell-O were orange, lemon, strawberry, and raspberry.  

Lime flavor was introduced in 1930.

Jell-O..."America's Most Famous Dessert"

Bill Cosby has been a spokesperson for Jell-O since 1974.

To learn more about the history of Jell-O go here.

Jello Jigglers Recipe

2-1/2  cups boiling water (Do not add cold water.)
2 pkg. (6.oz serving size) or 4 pkg. (3 oz. serving size)  JELL-O Gelatin, any flavor
STIR boiling water into dry gelatin mix in large bowl at least 3 min. until completely dissolved. Pour into 13x9-inch pan. 
REFRIGERATE at least 3 hours or until firm. 
DIP bottom of pan in warm water 15 sec. Cut into 24 decorative shapes using 2-inch cookie cutters, being careful to cut all the way through gelatin to bottom of pan. Lift JIGGLERS® from pan. Reserve scraps for snacking. Store in tightly covered container in refrigerator. 

Summer 2012 (Day 5) Memorial Day

Memorial Day was a toasty one with highs in the lower 90s. Perfect pool, ice cream, and barbecue weather!

In our little town, the Veterans of Foreign Wars does a great display lining main street from one end of the town to the other with American Flags.

Off of the main drag is a side street that leads to both our small subdivision and the local town cemetery . The cemetery is filled with many graves of veterans dating back to the Civil War.

Even with all the teaching I've done on the pioneers, and reading that Mary and I have done with the Little House series, it is hard for me to imagine life in the mid-1800s out here on the prairie!  Challenging is one word that comes to mind!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the following pictures as they represent the pride and thankfulness we have for our men and women in uniform forever protecting the stars and stripes.

Summer 2012 (Day 4) Backyard Campout & Some Pinterest Recipes

Beautiful weather continued through our Memorial Day weekend and so the kids begged and pleaded for Dad to set up our family-size tent in the backyard.  This was a good trial run for noting everything we need to stock up on or replenish before an "official" camping trip!

All three kids started out in the tent, but it was quickly apparent that the almost-two-year old was not going to go to sleep with the older two still awake.

Daddy quickly "volunteered" to take Luke inside to bed and sleep inside for the night.  Hmph!

These next few pictures make me smile because they capture each kiddo exactly where they're at developmentally!

Here's Benjamin...

Packed three days worth of clothing...and his bow...minus the broken arrows!

Pure Joy

Ready to defend Mama and his siblings!
And Mary...if she's not dancing, she's reading!

And we can't forget Luke...snug as a bug in a rug!

And now for some Pinterest Recipes...

Loaded Baked Potato Dip...yum!

Two-Ingredient Lemon Bars!

Both were delicious and easy! Enjoy.

Summer 2012 (Day 3) Summer Kicks Off Swimmingly!

With highs in the upper 80s and lower 90s, we couldn't have asked for better weather to kick off the opening of our small-town's aquatic center.

The countdown to the opening of the pool started a week earlier with the purchase of our family pool pass.  Twelve-thirty on Saturday couldn't come soon enough!

Kid Zone in front...Monster Blue Slide in the back.  Mary is officially tall enough to ride...Ben just a smidgen too short!

Toddler Zone/Zero-Depth Entry
I've got my hands full with three, that's for sure.

Ben is the one I'm most nervous about.  Mary is truly a swimmer, but Ben is still weak in swimming skills.

Usually, I'm preoccupied with Luke.  He's sort of "top-heavy" at this point, and so if we go to the kiddie zone (rather than the toddler area) I really have to watch him like a hawk. He tends to fall forward, but is not tall enough or strong enough to stand back up after inhaling a mouthful of water.

In that split second of eyes on Luke, I'm worried that Ben might go under.  He tends to want to chase after sissy and her friends, but the water gets too deep too quickly.

I feel like last year, I was better able to manage all three. Luke was not mobile (he didn't even walk until about 14 or 15 months) and always on my hip and so I had a free hand to corral Benjamin. 

So what does this means a lot less gabbing with the other moms at the pool and way more concentrated focus on my own kiddos!

As you can see, I let my little ones purchase snacks from the snack bar.  They were over the moon excited to order microwaved popcorn!

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Summer 2012: Day 2 (An Afternoon of Sewing)

For our 2nd full day of summer vacation, Mary Catherine and I spent the afternoon sewing. We tried our hand at making some ruffled dish towels for the kitchen.

I followed Julia's tutorial. (I just love her!)  And since this was a simple project that involved lots of straight line sewing, it was a great opportunity for Mary to practice her 1/4" and 1/2" seams.

They turned out quite cute, were very economical to make, and added a touch of "handmade" to our kitchen.  They are my new "go to" solution for replacing paper towels with cloth for hand-drying throughout the day.  

(We are trying to make a concerted effort to reduce the amount of paper products we use in our home.  The ruffled dish towel is a perfect place to start!)

I purchased brand new flour sack cloths and a yard of a sweet calico fabric that complements my kitchen.  I created two (2) 9 x 24 inch ruffled dish towels and have enough fabric left over for a future complementary project!

Here's to living more naturally and beautifully!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer 2012 Posts (Day 1) Strawberry Shortcake & a Movie

Just a quick disclaimer: 

Throughout this summer, I will be posting "Summer 2012" posts. 

These are meant to be a pictorial diary of what the kiddos and I enjoyed doing each day. Some days I will include directions for a recipe or craft and other days will just be a photo op for posterity. 

These particular posts will be titled and labeled as "Summer 2012". Feel free to skip these posts or follow along to see what we are doing!

Happy Summer 2012!!!

Summer 2012: Day 1 (Strawberry Shortcake & a Movie)

To officially kickoff Summer 2012, the kids and I made homemade strawberry shortcake and rented a Redbox, HUGO.

HUGO was a delightful movie that captivated my children's attention...especially the automaton!   Set in 1931 Paris, Hugo Cabret is a 12-year old boy that helps his uncle (his new guardian) maintain the clocks in the train station, Gare Montparnasse.  Both an artist and film lover, like his father, Hugo comes to discover that a legendary film maker, whom both he and his father admired, is very much alive.  

To learn more about the film HUGO click here:  Wikipedia, and to determine if this film is appropriate for your family visit the Catholic News Service

What my kids and I found fascinating, is that this 3D adventure film directed by Martin Scorsese and based on Brian Selznick's novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is about a real film maker named Georges Melies and actually includes original film footage from the early 1900s.  The cinematography was amazing...even if the story line did drag just a bit.  My kiddos enjoyed it enough that they asked to purchase this one on DVD.   

To accompany movie night, I made homemade strawberry shortcake.  It is a tradition around our house to use "drop biscuits" for our shortcake and with the fresh strawberries.  I can't remember my mother ever serving us those little yellow sponge cakes...but man I loved eating those at friends' homes!  ;)  My kids have yet to discover the little yellow sponge cakes so they don't know what artificial delights they are missing! :)

Strawberry Shortcake, a Redbox Rental, and a Slumber Party in Mom & Dad's bed!

How did you kick off your summer?!!!