Jul 3, 2013

Independence Inspiration

Independence Day Inspiration

Looking for some last minute ideas to include the kids this 4th of July?  Here are some of the recipes and activities we'll be using to celebrate America's birthday!

Edible Eagles

In the kitchen today is Chef Noah with a delightful eagle food craft just perfect for your 4th of July festivities.

Chef Noah has gathered all the necessary items for this activity.  You'll need:

  • pastry brush
  • small bowl with corn syrup
  • marshmallows
  • coconut
  • chocolate covered marshmallow cookies, pinwheels or chocolate covered Oreos
  • cashews
  • black piping gel

Place one chocolate covered marshmallow cookie onto workspace.  Prepare marshmallow by painting the sides with corn syrup.

Roll the marshmallow in the coconut and apply to top, leaving the bottom without coconut.

Add coconut covered marshmallow to chocolate covered marshmallow cookie (end without coconut is the bottom and should be directly on top of the cookie).

Use cashew for a beak.  Insert into marshmallow.

So far, you should have this:

Using black piping gel, give your eagle two eyes.

 And you will end up with adorable eagles!  Cute for a kids' place setting at your family gathering or as a kids' activity in case of rain.

Patriotic Pie

Supply list:

  • 1 can of blueberry pie filling
  • 2 cans of cherry pie filling
  • 1 pie plate
  • 2 premade pie crusts
  • ravioli cutter
  • star cutter
  • rolling pin

Place one pie crust in pie dish.

Add cherry pie filling to 3/4 of the pie and blueberry pie filling to the remaining 1/4.

Open up the other pie crust on a cutting board.

Use the ravioli cutter to cut stripes.

Place on pie to form stripes.

Cut out stars from the pie crust and assemble on the "blue" field.  Bake for 35- 40 minutes at 425 degrees.

Uncle Sam Hat

Things you need to gather:
  • Oatmeal container
  • Foam sheets (12 x 18 work wonderfully) in red, white and blue
  • Paper Plate
  • Glue Dots
  • Foam Stars
  • Measuring Tape
  • Scissors
  • X-acto blade and cutting mat

Measure your oatmeal container. Ours was 16" in circumference so we cut a piece of blue foam into a 16" x 3" piece.

Flip your oatmeal container upside down.  Using glue dots, adhere the blue piece around the oatmeal container (as shown below).

Measure from the top of your blue line to the top of the container.  Cut strips of red and white foam to fit the space.  Since our circumference was 16",  we cut our strips to 1" wide and 6.25" high.

Using glue dots, adhere the red and white stripes on to the container, alternating between the two colors.  Cut a white foam disk to fit the top of the container.

Get your foam stars for the decoration step!

Decorate the blue band (or anywhere else you want) with the foam self-adhesive stars.

Cut the center of the plate into 6 sections with your X-acto knife.

Place plate on the bottom of the hat and secure the paper plate tabs to the inside of the hat with glue dots or hot glue.

Apply any last minute design elements.

Your little ones will love celebrating in freedom style.  

Author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist

Jul 1, 2013

Reflections: Lessons From A Lake

"Don't pack anything fancy, girls. We're going to Grandpa's cabin by the lake in the woods for vacation this year." The words were hardly out of daddy's mouth before I began to shudder. Even though I had been quite young and several years had passed since being there, my fears were quick to resurface. As I recalled, the cabin was more like a shack - made of roughly hewn logs from trees my grandfather had chopped himself.  The woods had been wild, "bug-gy", and also known to have an occasional bear. When we swam in the lake we got leeches on our toes. And perhaps what bothered me more than anything was the secret I carried deep in my heart. My grandpa scared me. He was a huge man with an even bigger voice. He had a head of wild red hair, rarely shaved, had worked deep in the coal mines all his life and was wrinkled and rough.  I attempted a smile at daddy, but my mind was screaming, "Shack, Bugs & Bears, Leeches, Scary Grandpa!"

Upon arrival my memory of the roughly hewn cabin was indeed a reality. So much for a comfortable week. Grandpa stepped out of the doorway and his booming voice bellowed out his welcome. His embrace was bone crushing. I went weak-kneed.  But...supper was amazing! Grandpa had caught fish that afternoon in "his" lake, cleaned them and fried them up for supper. I don't think I'd ever had anything so tasty. And dessert - homemade blueberry pie! He actually winked at me when he served it. Like he had a secret or something.

The next morning Grandpa asked me if I would like to "go to the blueberry store" with him. I knew there weren't any stores around and then he winked again. We walked down to his rickety dock, climbed into his ancient wooden rowboat and set off. I had to admit, the view on the lake was beautiful! In just a matter of minutes, Grandpa pulled into a cove and tied the boat to a tree stump. I stayed close behind him, always mindful of what might be lurking in the bushes. "Are there bears?" I asked. "No, not here," he boomed, "I'd just scare 'em away." We'd hardly walked at all before coming to an immense patch of blueberry bushes. "Pick all you want, honey. They grow wild here."  On the way back to the cabin, Grandpa taught me how to row the boat!  His booming "Pull left, pull right" echoed across the lake and actually made me laugh!

No, I still don't swim in lakes. But I know that rough old cabins and rough old men have often been roughly hewn from hearty beginnings.  Once you begin to sand off the rough exterior you may find some beauty underneath. I can still row a boat and I can make a tasty blueberry pie. Thanks to a weathered old red-haired miner who lived on a lake and took a little girl blueberry picking one fine summer day.

This month we are featuring an awesome array of books with the theme of WATER.  And just as I began our family vacation with a pout on my face as I feared going to Grandpa's cabin, we'll be sharing a special book about a fish who was also pouting about a fear he was facing. Goodness, we have a sea serpent, a whale, a water park... July is "overflowing" with great water books and activities! Enjoy!
Mary Byrne Kline

Labels: ,

Jun 28, 2013

Even "Fish" love MARBLES!

At four years old, grandson Judah is the "fish" in our backyard pool. He jumps, dives, cannonballs, flips and begs to be thrown in upside down. That day the only way I got him out of the pool was when it began to thunder and an afternoon shower sent him scurrying into the back porch. Although he was disappointed, he quickly became interested in the small bag I set down and opened on the floor - its contents rolling out with bright colors everywhere. Judah was mesmerized!  Marbles! 

After a few tries at "flicking" his thumb, he had it - he was ready to shoot. We giggled and shot marbles all over with great delight - until the shower stopped. Then my little "fish" was back in the pool.  But I'm keeping the marbles close by for the next rainy day...

Why not purchase a bag of marbles for your child(ren) and begin a new tradition of playing "Ringer"!

View How to Play Marbles on Howcast

The first person to shoot in a game of marbles is determined by lagging:
  1. Draw a line on the ground.
  2. The players shoot at the line from 10 feet away.
  3. The player closest to the line goes first.
The Game
  1. Draw a ring (a large circle – usually about 5 to 10 feet across) and put 13 marbles in it . The marbles should be in a cross and spaced 3 inches apart - or may be placed randomly.
  2. Each player shoots in turn from outside the circle, trying to hit a marble out of the ring while keeping his shooter inside the circle.
  3. If the shooter has a miss, his turn is over and he picks up the shooter.
  4. If the shooter has a hit but the shooter also rolls out of the ring, he keeps the marbles that rolled out and his turn is over.
  5. If the shooter has a hit and the shooter stays in the ring then player shoots again from the place where the shooter stayed.
  6. On each new turn a player shoots from anywhere outside the ring.
  7. The one who collects the most marbles wins!
Mary Byrne Kline

Labels: ,