Paper Plate Tambourine Craft

This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose.

It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.
This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose.

It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.

These paper tambourines are so much fun to make. They are a great rainy day activity too. Once the tambourines are done initiate a game of freeze dancing.

Step 1: Using 1 or 2 paper plates, sildenafil fold the plate in half.

Step 2: Pour in about 1/2 cup of beans.

Step 3: Staple the edges to seal.

Step 4: Glue or staple ribbon or streamers around the edges.

Step 5: Attach bells by poking a hole through the plates. Attach with string or wire.

Step 6: Decorate with glitter, markers, tissue paper, ect.

DIY Ice Cream in a Bag

This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose. It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.
This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose. It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.

In May the Olympic torch was lit in Greece. It has been traveling the land passing from hand to hand well on its way to the London Summer Olympics. My children and I have had many conversations about the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to make it to the olympics. They are ecstatic to catch a glimpse of some of the best of the best the world has to offer.

Meanwhile, information pills as we wait for the July 27th Olympic debut, viagra 40mg we had a go at our own summer olympic games.

Day 1: Opening Ceremony and Field Games

Opening Ceremony-

Clipart: Runner with Torch by Dixie Allen via About.com

Days prior to or morning of, have each child make a flag to represent them. Each child waves their flag as they walk in line around the block, backyard, park, or area where the olympics are being held. The leader of the line carries the torch part way then hands it off to the person behind him. Repeat passing the torch until the torch reaches the last person in line.

[**we walked around the gym then separated the group into teams as they neared the starting area. I had four cones set up on one side of the gym. We had four groups of four. So as the procession neared the area where the cones were we directed the first four kids into the first lane behind the cone. The second group of four into the second lane and so on. You could let them pick teams beforehand.]

Photo: Field Day, by Sam Wolfe via Flickr

Field Games-

Spoon Relay-
Give a spoon to each team. Each person gets a marshmallow (I found these enormous marshmallows at the grocery store). Set up cones or some type of marker about 30 to 50 feet from the starting line. Place the marshmallow on the spoon. Players must hold the spoon by the end of the handle. The first person in line of each team then walks down to the cone and back. Once they have reached the starting line the next person takes the spoon, places their marshmallow on the spoon, and then proceeds to the cone. First team to finish wins.

[**Decide beforehand what to do if the marshmallow falls off the spoon. Since we had quite a few little guys we opted to just place the marshmallow back on the spoon and continue. Depending on the age group one rule could be if it falls they are disqualified or they have to go back to the starting line and start over.**]

Bing Bag Balance-
The first person of each team gets a bing bag. They place it on top of their head. The object of the game is to race down to the cone and back without dropping the bag. First team to finnish wins.
[Same rules applied as with the spoon race.]

Wheel Barrel Race-
Each team separates into twos. Each group of two decides who will hold their teammates feet and who will walk on their hands. The first set of twos walk down to the cones then back. Team member tags the second pair in line then they go. First team to finnish wins.

[We had a young group so walking down to the cone and back would have been quite a heavy challenge. We did not want to kill anyone off so we sent the second set of twos down to the cone. Once the first group reached the cone then the second set could go.]

Three Legged Race-
Pair off members of each team. Connect each pair of children by tying a length of fabric around the ankle and/or knee. Start the race with the first group of twos walking to the cone and back. Once back the team member tags the second pair. First team to finnish wins.

Relay Race-
Each team races to the cones and back. Tags the next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Hula Hoop Roll-
Each team gets a hula hoop. First group rolls their hoops down to the cones and back. Hands of hoop to next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Shot Put-
Make a Shot Put ball by crumpling up tin foil until it reaches the desired size, slightly bigger than a softball. Smooth out the lumps by putting pressure with your hands while rolling the ball around on a hard surface. You will need enough for each team. [1 ball takes about half a roll of foil.]
Place a base or tape on the ground to mark where to stand.
To play, one member from each team must come forward and stand on their team’s mark. Bend the knees, and without stepping forward or backward, raise the ball to the ear then throw. Team with farthest average wins.

Hammer Throw-
To make, take a large brown paper bag and stuff it with newspapers careful to leave enough room to close and make a handle. Gather the bottom together and twist to make a handle. Wrap the handle with fabric or duct tape. Wrap the hammer part with duct tape, otherwise it will bust open after a few throws. Tie a piece of twine around the handle.

To play, one member from each team swings the hammer around above their head then releases. Team with farthest average wins.

Photo: Catch a Falling Star, by Paul Sapiano via Flickr

Day 3: Water Races

Water balloon Toss-
Divide group into twos. Stand groups in two long rows facing their partner and close enough to touch. The first side tosses the balloon to their partner. If they catch it then the both of them take a step backwards. If the balloon falls and breaks that pair is out. Repeat until there is one pair left. They are the winner.

Water Sponge Relay-
Set up a starting line with large buckets of water and empty buckets about 30 feet away for each team. Place a sponge in each bucket of water. Have a hose nearby to refill starting bucket as needed.
The first person of each team dunks their sponge in the bucket of water, runs down to the empty bucket, squeezes out the water into the bucket, and then runs back to hand the sponge off to the next person in line. First team to fill their bucket wins.

Sprinkler Tug-o-war-
Divide group into two groups or compete by teams. Lay out a tug-o-war rope with a knot in the center. Place a sprinkler on the group at the center of the rope. Each team takes a side trying to pull the other team into the water from the sprinkler.

Water Bomb-
Fill a large bucket with water and sponges. Keep a hose nearby to refill the bucket. This can be played like tag, dodge ball or a free for all. To play free for all everyone gets a sponge and throws it at each other. To play tag then only the “IT” person gets the sponge to tag with. To play dodgeball, set up buckets in a row in the middle of the playing area. This line cannot be crossed by opposing teams. Players rush to grab a sponge to throw at opposing team members to tag out.

Blanket Balloon Toss-
Use a blanker, parachute, or large sheet. Everyone grabs part of the sheet. Place water balloons on top of the sheet then bounce.

Water Hose Limbo-
Use a hose as a limbo stick.

Drip, Drip, Drench-
Played just like “Duck, Duck, Goose!” instead use the words Drip Drip Drench and a very wet sponge to pat heads with.

Mr. Wilson-
Played just like “What Time is it Mr. Wolf?”. To play one person is it. He stands on one side of the playing area. The rest of the group lines up on the opposite side of the playing area. They ask “What Time is it Mr. Wilson?” Mr. Wilson, replies with a time. They take that many steps towards Mr. Wilson. Repeat asking what time it is and answering. Once they are close enough, Mr. Wilson will reply, “It is spraying time!”. With that Mr. Wilson sprays the hose at everyone.
This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose. It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.

In May the Olympic torch was lit in Greece. It has been traveling the land passing from hand to hand well on its way to the London Summer Olympics. My children and I have had many conversations about the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to make it to the olympics. They are ecstatic to catch a glimpse of some of the best of the best the world has to offer.

Meanwhile, information pills as we wait for the July 27th Olympic debut, viagra 40mg we had a go at our own summer olympic games.

Day 1: Opening Ceremony and Field Games

Opening Ceremony-

Clipart: Runner with Torch by Dixie Allen via About.com

Days prior to or morning of, have each child make a flag to represent them. Each child waves their flag as they walk in line around the block, backyard, park, or area where the olympics are being held. The leader of the line carries the torch part way then hands it off to the person behind him. Repeat passing the torch until the torch reaches the last person in line.

[**we walked around the gym then separated the group into teams as they neared the starting area. I had four cones set up on one side of the gym. We had four groups of four. So as the procession neared the area where the cones were we directed the first four kids into the first lane behind the cone. The second group of four into the second lane and so on. You could let them pick teams beforehand.]

Photo: Field Day, by Sam Wolfe via Flickr

Field Games-

Spoon Relay-
Give a spoon to each team. Each person gets a marshmallow (I found these enormous marshmallows at the grocery store). Set up cones or some type of marker about 30 to 50 feet from the starting line. Place the marshmallow on the spoon. Players must hold the spoon by the end of the handle. The first person in line of each team then walks down to the cone and back. Once they have reached the starting line the next person takes the spoon, places their marshmallow on the spoon, and then proceeds to the cone. First team to finish wins.

[**Decide beforehand what to do if the marshmallow falls off the spoon. Since we had quite a few little guys we opted to just place the marshmallow back on the spoon and continue. Depending on the age group one rule could be if it falls they are disqualified or they have to go back to the starting line and start over.**]

Bing Bag Balance-
The first person of each team gets a bing bag. They place it on top of their head. The object of the game is to race down to the cone and back without dropping the bag. First team to finnish wins.
[Same rules applied as with the spoon race.]

Wheel Barrel Race-
Each team separates into twos. Each group of two decides who will hold their teammates feet and who will walk on their hands. The first set of twos walk down to the cones then back. Team member tags the second pair in line then they go. First team to finnish wins.

[We had a young group so walking down to the cone and back would have been quite a heavy challenge. We did not want to kill anyone off so we sent the second set of twos down to the cone. Once the first group reached the cone then the second set could go.]

Three Legged Race-
Pair off members of each team. Connect each pair of children by tying a length of fabric around the ankle and/or knee. Start the race with the first group of twos walking to the cone and back. Once back the team member tags the second pair. First team to finnish wins.

Relay Race-
Each team races to the cones and back. Tags the next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Hula Hoop Roll-
Each team gets a hula hoop. First group rolls their hoops down to the cones and back. Hands of hoop to next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Shot Put-
Make a Shot Put ball by crumpling up tin foil until it reaches the desired size, slightly bigger than a softball. Smooth out the lumps by putting pressure with your hands while rolling the ball around on a hard surface. You will need enough for each team. [1 ball takes about half a roll of foil.]
Place a base or tape on the ground to mark where to stand.
To play, one member from each team must come forward and stand on their team’s mark. Bend the knees, and without stepping forward or backward, raise the ball to the ear then throw. Team with farthest average wins.

Hammer Throw-
To make, take a large brown paper bag and stuff it with newspapers careful to leave enough room to close and make a handle. Gather the bottom together and twist to make a handle. Wrap the handle with fabric or duct tape. Wrap the hammer part with duct tape, otherwise it will bust open after a few throws. Tie a piece of twine around the handle.

To play, one member from each team swings the hammer around above their head then releases. Team with farthest average wins.

Photo: Catch a Falling Star, by Paul Sapiano via Flickr

Day 3: Water Races

Water balloon Toss-
Divide group into twos. Stand groups in two long rows facing their partner and close enough to touch. The first side tosses the balloon to their partner. If they catch it then the both of them take a step backwards. If the balloon falls and breaks that pair is out. Repeat until there is one pair left. They are the winner.

Water Sponge Relay-
Set up a starting line with large buckets of water and empty buckets about 30 feet away for each team. Place a sponge in each bucket of water. Have a hose nearby to refill starting bucket as needed.
The first person of each team dunks their sponge in the bucket of water, runs down to the empty bucket, squeezes out the water into the bucket, and then runs back to hand the sponge off to the next person in line. First team to fill their bucket wins.

Sprinkler Tug-o-war-
Divide group into two groups or compete by teams. Lay out a tug-o-war rope with a knot in the center. Place a sprinkler on the group at the center of the rope. Each team takes a side trying to pull the other team into the water from the sprinkler.

Water Bomb-
Fill a large bucket with water and sponges. Keep a hose nearby to refill the bucket. This can be played like tag, dodge ball or a free for all. To play free for all everyone gets a sponge and throws it at each other. To play tag then only the “IT” person gets the sponge to tag with. To play dodgeball, set up buckets in a row in the middle of the playing area. This line cannot be crossed by opposing teams. Players rush to grab a sponge to throw at opposing team members to tag out.

Blanket Balloon Toss-
Use a blanker, parachute, or large sheet. Everyone grabs part of the sheet. Place water balloons on top of the sheet then bounce.

Water Hose Limbo-
Use a hose as a limbo stick.

Drip, Drip, Drench-
Played just like “Duck, Duck, Goose!” instead use the words Drip Drip Drench and a very wet sponge to pat heads with.

Mr. Wilson-
Played just like “What Time is it Mr. Wolf?”. To play one person is it. He stands on one side of the playing area. The rest of the group lines up on the opposite side of the playing area. They ask “What Time is it Mr. Wilson?” Mr. Wilson, replies with a time. They take that many steps towards Mr. Wilson. Repeat asking what time it is and answering. Once they are close enough, Mr. Wilson will reply, “It is spraying time!”. With that Mr. Wilson sprays the hose at everyone.

Photo: Lombok Traditional Hand Weaving by Mohammad Fadli

As my children started school I was surprised to find some of my favorite childhood playground games still existed. I naturally assumed hand games like Miss. Mary Mack and Chinese jump rope had dissipated along with dodge ball, troche metal slides, and merry-go-rounds. Weaving is another childhood pass time that has withstood the pass of time. In the 70’s we called it Macrame. In the 80’s and 90’s we used the same technique to make friendship bracelets.

Weaving has existed since the beginning of time. Our ancient ancestors used their fingers to twist and manipulate strands of wool, plants, and wood into clothing, rugs, brooms, and baskets. The introduction of the loom and spindles created endless possibilities for weaving designs and textures.

Hand weaving is a fun way to develop fine the motor skills in children, youth and adults. You can make a myriad of beautiful projects to use at home or give away as gifts. Most of the ideas listed below are portable. Meaning you can do these projects in the car or at the beach.

Photo: property of Whip Stich

Toddler Weaving:

Toddlers can learn the basics of the up and down weaving motion through the use of lacing cards. Make your own by punching holes in old greeting cards, felt, or cardboard. You can also cut squares or shapes out of rug canvaspegboard or plastic canvas.

Photo: property of Patti's Nursery School Class

Preschooler Weaving:

Teach preschool aged children to weave with fabric, string, yarn, ribbon, foam, or paper. Mediums such as cardboard, fruit baskets, yarn, laundry baskets, paper bags, and wire racks can be use as a loom. Create works of art such as dream catchersplace mats, pot holders coasters, and mini blankets for their little stuffed animals.

Weaving Projects:

Finger Crochet

Friendship Knot Headphone Wire Cover

Sailors Knot Bracelet

Embroidery Hoop Dream Catcher

Friendship Bracelets

T-Shirt Bracelets and Necklaces

Hair Wraps

T-Shirt HulaHoop Weaving

Woven Rag Rug

Trivet Loom

Woven Rope Rug

Woven Placemat

Basket Weaving

Straw Weaving

Cardboard Loom

These paper tambourines are so much fun to make. They are a great rainy day activity too. Once the tambourines are done initiate a game of freeze dancing.

Step 1: Using 1 or 2 paper plates, buy information pills fold the plate in half.

Step 2: Pour in about 1/2 cup of beans.

Step 3: Staple the edges to seal.

Step 4: Glue or staple ribbon or streamers around the edges.

Step 5: Attach bells by poking a hole through the plates. Attach with string or wire.

Step 6: Decorate with glitter, markers, tissue paper, ect.

These paper tambourines are so much fun to make. They are a great rainy day activity too. Once the tambourines are done initiate a game of freeze dancing.

Step 1: Using 1 or 2 paper plates, buy information pills fold the plate in half.

Step 2: Pour in about 1/2 cup of beans.

Step 3: Staple the edges to seal.

Step 4: Glue or staple ribbon or streamers around the edges.

Step 5: Attach bells by poking a hole through the plates. Attach with string or wire.

Step 6: Decorate with glitter, markers, tissue paper, ect.

Making ice cream in a baggie is super easy and loads of fun. We had several failed attempts before we successfully got the mixture just right. For our first trial we used whipping cream. It reminded me of a show I once watched where the woman tried to convince a family to use butter as toothpaste. We immediately had to go brush our teeth.

The second trial we used only whole milk. The mixture never set. We even tried placing the bag in the freezer. The result was not good. Actually, look it was pretty gross. Icy and without flavor. Our final batch we had the correct recipe but learned a bit about the ice to rock salt ratio. The more ice and salt the faster the ice cream will set.

Another problem we incurred was with the baggies we used. We started out with dollar store brand baggies. Don’t skimp on the baggies. Use the higher quality freezer bags only or a large can with a lid that will not leak.

This is a great activity at a backyard BBQ or party. Set the ingredients up into stations. Make up cards for each ingredient detailing how much to measure. The kids can walk down the row of ingredients filling up their own baggies (with supervision of course). Make it an ice cream relay race. Fill up the bag as the recipe states. Have the first person take the bag and run around the block or a specified distance. When they return they hand the bag off to the next runner. Keep going until the ice cream is firm.

The texture of this ice cream is smooth and loose. It will never harden like ice cream made in an ice cream maker and it melts fairly fast. Recipe can be doubled. It just takes longer to set.

Makes 1/2 cup ice cream
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar
6-8 tablespoons rock salt
4-6 cups ice
quart sized baggie
gallon sized baggie

Place the half and half, sildenafil whole milk, viagra dosage vanilla, and sugar in a quart sized plastic freezer bag. Seal shut.

Place the baggie in a gallon sized freezer baggie. Fill baggie with ice. Add rock salt. Seal the baggie shut.

Shake bag until mixture solidifies. about 5-10 minutes. Remove the ice cream bag from the ice bag. Rinse or wipe off the bag to remove the salt. Eat the ice cream straight out of the bag with a spoon. Or in some cases with a straw.

*note: this ice cream is extremely soft.

Twilight Camp

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, hospital as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, hospital as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

My summer vacation started out in a room full of sixteen eager three to nine year olds. We spent our three days of TAGS twilight camp making crafts, side effects playing ball, information pills and competing in our very own Olympic games. We did everything over a three day period but the activities could be condensed into one day for a neighborhood, or play date, camp or stretched out if using as a bordem buster for the summer.

I loved having camp from 4:00pm to 8:00pm because the weather was just perfect. In fact it was so chilly the first two evenings I was in a panic hoping the third day would be warm enough for our water olympics. By then I was out of money and ideas so lucky it all worked out as planned otherwise we would have resorted to a movie night theme.

My agenda went as follows:
Each day when the kids arrived we made a craft. The first day we made all sorts of things using beads. Then we tie dyed t-shirts, made individual flags using paint and shaving cream, and decorated visors. After that we went and shot BB guns with the Cub Scouts in the field. The evening ended with a treasure hunt and two hours of kick ball, sharks and minnows, telephone, basketball and free play. Whoo!

The next day we made tambourines using paper plates, bells, and streamers. Rain sticks were also on the agenda but I have a really thorough cleaning lady (my 6 year old daughter) who disposed of my bag of paper towel rolls I had set aside by my desk.  Then the games began. We used the flags we made the day before during the opening ceremony. After the olympic field games we joined the Cub Scouts for a round of archery.

Then we made puppets and marionettes for the puppet theater the next day. Finished the night off making homemade ice cream in a baggie, freeze dancing and the Le Crem De La Crem– Neon glow in the dark tag. I had a few other games planned but the kids were enjoying the glow in the dark tag too much.

The final day I had planned on teaching weaving for our final art project but we needed to get started with our puppet show. I made a theater out of a huge piece of cardboard. I had thought to make fabric curtains to use with tension rods in the doorway but lacked the time. Luckily someone left a pile of large boxes in the gymnasium the day before.

Our puppet show was interrupted by the fire department. They arrived early to start the water day festivities. I did not realize how powerful fire hoses are. The kids had a blast running around like ants on a disturbed ant hill as the firemen sprayed them good and wet. We finished our day with more water day games, a brief game of cat and mouse and face painting.

Backyard Summer Olympics

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, hospital as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, hospital as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

My summer vacation started out in a room full of sixteen eager three to nine year olds. We spent our three days of TAGS twilight camp making crafts, side effects playing ball, information pills and competing in our very own Olympic games. We did everything over a three day period but the activities could be condensed into one day for a neighborhood, or play date, camp or stretched out if using as a bordem buster for the summer.

I loved having camp from 4:00pm to 8:00pm because the weather was just perfect. In fact it was so chilly the first two evenings I was in a panic hoping the third day would be warm enough for our water olympics. By then I was out of money and ideas so lucky it all worked out as planned otherwise we would have resorted to a movie night theme.

My agenda went as follows:
Each day when the kids arrived we made a craft. The first day we made all sorts of things using beads. Then we tie dyed t-shirts, made individual flags using paint and shaving cream, and decorated visors. After that we went and shot BB guns with the Cub Scouts in the field. The evening ended with a treasure hunt and two hours of kick ball, sharks and minnows, telephone, basketball and free play. Whoo!

The next day we made tambourines using paper plates, bells, and streamers. Rain sticks were also on the agenda but I have a really thorough cleaning lady (my 6 year old daughter) who disposed of my bag of paper towel rolls I had set aside by my desk.  Then the games began. We used the flags we made the day before during the opening ceremony. After the olympic field games we joined the Cub Scouts for a round of archery.

Then we made puppets and marionettes for the puppet theater the next day. Finished the night off making homemade ice cream in a baggie, freeze dancing and the Le Crem De La Crem– Neon glow in the dark tag. I had a few other games planned but the kids were enjoying the glow in the dark tag too much.

The final day I had planned on teaching weaving for our final art project but we needed to get started with our puppet show. I made a theater out of a huge piece of cardboard. I had thought to make fabric curtains to use with tension rods in the doorway but lacked the time. Luckily someone left a pile of large boxes in the gymnasium the day before.

Our puppet show was interrupted by the fire department. They arrived early to start the water day festivities. I did not realize how powerful fire hoses are. The kids had a blast running around like ants on a disturbed ant hill as the firemen sprayed them good and wet. We finished our day with more water day games, a brief game of cat and mouse and face painting.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, for sale and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, cialis 40mg as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, approved as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa.

The soup was devoured by a hungry family

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.
In the past when planning the weekly menu I always have one night reserved for  kids preference. Together they had to come up with that nights menu. Now that they are a little older and more involved in the cooking, hospital as well as planning of the meals, they each have their own night. My son loves Tortilla soup and so for his dinner choice he chose to serve Tortilla Soup. Problem was I forgot to pick up the chicken while at the grocery store. I did however have a package of ground turkey in the refrigerator. So we improvised and made turkey meatball tortilla soup instead chicken. We browned the meatballs then added the onion and remaining ingredients, substituting a can of diced tomatoes for the salsa. The soup was instantly devoured by a hungry family.

2 pounds Ground Turkey
1 cup of diced portobello mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 4 minced cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 egg whites

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.

In a mixing bowl add mushrooms, turkey, and seasonings. Mix in the egg whites until all ingredients are combined.

Lightly grease a large baking sheet. Roll meat mixture into golf ball sized meatballs. Makes about 20-24 meatballs.

Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until cooked throughly.

Variations:
– Place a 1/2 cube of Monterey Jack cheese in the center of each meatball.

My summer vacation started out in a room full of sixteen eager three to nine year olds. We spent our three days of TAGS twilight camp making crafts, side effects playing ball, information pills and competing in our very own Olympic games. We did everything over a three day period but the activities could be condensed into one day for a neighborhood, or play date, camp or stretched out if using as a bordem buster for the summer.

I loved having camp from 4:00pm to 8:00pm because the weather was just perfect. In fact it was so chilly the first two evenings I was in a panic hoping the third day would be warm enough for our water olympics. By then I was out of money and ideas so lucky it all worked out as planned otherwise we would have resorted to a movie night theme.

My agenda went as follows:
Each day when the kids arrived we made a craft. The first day we made all sorts of things using beads. Then we tie dyed t-shirts, made individual flags using paint and shaving cream, and decorated visors. After that we went and shot BB guns with the Cub Scouts in the field. The evening ended with a treasure hunt and two hours of kick ball, sharks and minnows, telephone, basketball and free play. Whoo!

The next day we made tambourines using paper plates, bells, and streamers. Rain sticks were also on the agenda but I have a really thorough cleaning lady (my 6 year old daughter) who disposed of my bag of paper towel rolls I had set aside by my desk.  Then the games began. We used the flags we made the day before during the opening ceremony. After the olympic field games we joined the Cub Scouts for a round of archery.

Then we made puppets and marionettes for the puppet theater the next day. Finished the night off making homemade ice cream in a baggie, freeze dancing and the Le Crem De La Crem– Neon glow in the dark tag. I had a few other games planned but the kids were enjoying the glow in the dark tag too much.

The final day I had planned on teaching weaving for our final art project but we needed to get started with our puppet show. I made a theater out of a huge piece of cardboard. I had thought to make fabric curtains to use with tension rods in the doorway but lacked the time. Luckily someone left a pile of large boxes in the gymnasium the day before.

Our puppet show was interrupted by the fire department. They arrived early to start the water day festivities. I did not realize how powerful fire hoses are. The kids had a blast running around like ants on a disturbed ant hill as the firemen sprayed them good and wet. We finished our day with more water day games, a brief game of cat and mouse and face painting.

In May the Olympic torch was lit in Greece. It has been traveling the land passing from hand to hand well on its way to the London Summer Olympics. My children and I have had many conversations about the amount of hard work and dedication it takes to make it to the olympics. They are ecstatic to catch a glimpse of some of the best of the best the world has to offer.

Meanwhile, healing as we wait for the July 27th Olympic debut, we had a go at our own summer olympic games.

Day 1: Opening Ceremony and Field Games

Opening Ceremony-

Clipart: Runner with Torch by Dixie Allen via About.com

Days prior to or morning of, have each child make a flag to represent them. Each child waves their flag as they walk in line around the block, backyard, park, or area where the olympics are being held. The leader of the line carries the torch part way then hands it off to the person behind him. Repeat passing the torch until the torch reaches the last person in line.

[**we walked around the gym then separated the group into teams as they neared the starting area. I had four cones set up on one side of the gym. We had four groups of four. So as the procession neared the area where the cones were we directed the first four kids into the first lane behind the cone. The second group of four into the second lane and so on. You could let them pick teams beforehand.]

Photo: Field Day, by Sam Wolfe via Flickr

Field Games-

Spoon Relay-
Give a spoon to each team. Each person gets a marshmallow (I found these enormous marshmallows at the grocery store). Set up cones or some type of marker about 30 to 50 feet from the starting line. Place the marshmallow on the spoon. Players must hold the spoon by the end of the handle. The first person in line of each team then walks down to the cone and back. Once they have reached the starting line the next person takes the spoon, places their marshmallow on the spoon, and then proceeds to the cone. First team to finish wins.

[**Decide beforehand what to do if the marshmallow falls off the spoon. Since we had quite a few little guys we opted to just place the marshmallow back on the spoon and continue. Depending on the age group one rule could be if it falls they are disqualified or they have to go back to the starting line and start over.**]

Bing Bag Balance-
The first person of each team gets a bing bag. They place it on top of their head. The object of the game is to race down to the cone and back without dropping the bag. First team to finnish wins.
[Same rules applied as with the spoon race.]

Wheel Barrel Race-
Each team separates into twos. Each group of two decides who will hold their teammates feet and who will walk on their hands. The first set of twos walk down to the cones then back. Team member tags the second pair in line then they go. First team to finnish wins.

[We had a young group so walking down to the cone and back would have been quite a heavy challenge. We did not want to kill anyone off so we sent the second set of twos down to the cone. Once the first group reached the cone then the second set could go.]

Three Legged Race-
Pair off members of each team. Connect each pair of children by tying a length of fabric around the ankle and/or knee. Start the race with the first group of twos walking to the cone and back. Once back the team member tags the second pair. First team to finnish wins.

Relay Race-
Each team races to the cones and back. Tags the next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Hula Hoop Roll-
Each team gets a hula hoop. First group rolls their hoops down to the cones and back. Hands of hoop to next team member. First team to finnish wins.

Shot Put-
Make a Shot Put ball by crumpling up tin foil until it reaches the desired size, slightly bigger than a softball. Smooth out the lumps by putting pressure with your hands while rolling the ball around on a hard surface. You will need enough for each team. [1 ball takes about half a roll of foil.]
Place a base or tape on the ground to mark where to stand.
To play, one member from each team must come forward and stand on their team’s mark. Bend the knees, and without stepping forward or backward, raise the ball to the ear then throw. Team with farthest average wins.

Hammer Throw-
To make, take a large brown paper bag and stuff it with newspapers careful to leave enough room to close and make a handle. Gather the bottom together and twist to make a handle. Wrap the handle with fabric or duct tape. Wrap the hammer part with duct tape, otherwise it will bust open after a few throws. Tie a piece of twine around the handle.

To play, one member from each team swings the hammer around above their head then releases. Team with farthest average wins.

Photo: Catch a Falling Star, by Paul Sapiano via Flickr

Day 3: Water Races

Water balloon Toss-
Divide group into twos. Stand groups in two long rows facing their partner and close enough to touch. The first side tosses the balloon to their partner. If they catch it then the both of them take a step backwards. If the balloon falls and breaks that pair is out. Repeat until there is one pair left. They are the winner.

Water Sponge Relay-
Set up a starting line with large buckets of water and empty buckets about 30 feet away for each team. Place a sponge in each bucket of water. Have a hose nearby to refill starting bucket as needed.
The first person of each team dunks their sponge in the bucket of water, runs down to the empty bucket, squeezes out the water into the bucket, and then runs back to hand the sponge off to the next person in line. First team to fill their bucket wins.

Sprinkler Tug-o-war-
Divide group into two groups or compete by teams. Lay out a tug-o-war rope with a knot in the center. Place a sprinkler on the group at the center of the rope. Each team takes a side trying to pull the other team into the water from the sprinkler.

Water Bomb-
Fill a large bucket with water and sponges. Keep a hose nearby to refill the bucket. This can be played like tag, dodge ball or a free for all. To play free for all everyone gets a sponge and throws it at each other. To play tag then only the “IT” person gets the sponge to tag with. To play dodgeball, set up buckets in a row in the middle of the playing area. This line cannot be crossed by opposing teams. Players rush to grab a sponge to throw at opposing team members to tag out.

Blanket Balloon Toss-
Use a blanker, parachute, or large sheet. Everyone grabs part of the sheet. Place water balloons on top of the sheet then bounce.

Water Hose Limbo-
Use a hose as a limbo stick.

Drip, Drip, Drench-
Played just like “Duck, Duck, Goose!” instead use the words Drip Drip Drench and a very wet sponge to pat heads with.

Mr. Wilson-
Played just like “What Time is it Mr. Wolf?”. To play one person is it. He stands on one side of the playing area. The rest of the group lines up on the opposite side of the playing area. They ask “What Time is it Mr. Wilson?” Mr. Wilson, replies with a time. They take that many steps towards Mr. Wilson. Repeat asking what time it is and answering. Once they are close enough, Mr. Wilson will reply, “It is spraying time!”. With that Mr. Wilson sprays the hose at everyone.

Olympic Torch Craft

This is a tutorial on how to make an olympic torch for backyard Olympic Games.

I got the original idea off Kaboose. It uses poster board and tissue paper. I did not have any tissue paper. I did however have rolls of yellow and hot pink cellophane from Easter. Instead of a poster board base we used a paper towel roll. The effect was just as magical.

Step 1: Cut large squares of cellophane.

Step 2: pick up each square of cellophane from the center of the square holding them in your hand like a bouquet of flowers.

Step 4: Twist the part in your hand and insert into the paper towel roll.

Family Togetherness: A Random Act of Kindness

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/

Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, sildenafil divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef (buy the package that says market fresh or fresh)
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
— Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
–Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream with the meatballs in the serving bowl.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, here divided
1 large yellow onion, abortion finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, pills buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/
Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, seek divided
1 large yellow onion, viagra finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef, buy the package that says market fresh or fresh
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream, optional
Salt, if needed

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well.

Serve with Lingonberry Jelly.

Variations:
Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, more or less to taste (optional)

For the sauce if using lingonberry jelly to the sauce or serve it on the side.

Serves 4 vikings, or 8-10 regular people.

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/swedish_meatballs-print/

Serves 10-12 (about 40-50 meatballs)
Meatballs:
4 tbsp butter, sildenafil divided
1 large yellow onion, finely diced (or grated on a cheese grater)
1 cup milk
2 1/2 to 3 cups bread crumbs (or 4-5 slices of bread processed in a food processor)
1 1/4 pound ground pork
2 pounds ground beef (buy the package that says market fresh or fresh)
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Sauce:
6 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 quart beef stock

In a large skillet, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until soften and translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let cool.

Pour milk into the mixing bowl of an electric mixer. Add bread crumbs and let sit; about 2 to 5 minutes or until the milk is completely soaked up.

Add the ground pork, ground beef, cooled onions (reserving the pan to cook in), eggs, nutmeg, cardamom, salt and pepper. until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a cookie scoop to measure out tablespoon sized balls. Using your hands roll into meatballs. Set meatballs on a baking sheet.

In the same pan used to cook the onions, heat remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium to medium high heat. When the butter has melted add the meatballs in batches, careful not to overcrowd the pan. Brown meatballs on all sides about 40 seconds to 1 minute each side until nice and browned. Scoop out and place on a baking rack placed in a baking sheet. (This helps to drain the excess fat)

Sauce:
In the same pan over medium heat, add 6 tablespoons of butter for the sauce. When the butter has melted slowly add the flour, mixing continuously with a wire whisk until smooth. Cook about 1 minute longer to brown. Continue to whisk while adding the broth in a steady stream. Whisk sauce until it is completely smooth and void of any lumps. Bring to a boil then turn the heat to low; simmer about 5 minutes more to thicken.

Add the meatballs to the sauce and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

To serve, remove the meatballs from the sauce and place in a serving bowl. If desired add the sour cream mixing well. Serve with Lingonberry Jelly, boiled potatoes and steamed green beans.

Variations:
— Mix a couple tablespoons lingonberry, cranberry, red currant or raspberry jelly, into the sauce before serving.
–Mix 1/2 to 3/4 cup sour cream with the meatballs in the serving bowl.

Classic Carrot Cake

Carrots were used in Europe as an inexpensive sweetener in cakes and puddings dating far back as the Middle Ages. It is no surprise baked goods sweetened and flavored with vegetables and fruits remain a favorite commodity. The Classic Carrot Cake arrived in America in the 20th century as a “healthy alternative” to traditional desserts. The beloved carrot cake can be found in tea houses throughout Britain and cafes across the American continent. The contents of the carrot cake vary with the region and the person making it. For some folks additions like coconut, approved raisins, approved nuts and pineapple are a must have. There are those who prefer a spongy moist cake, sildenafil others a dense cake, a light cake, a plain cake, wheat-free cake, a sugar-free cake, less oil and the list goes on.

For the past three months I have put in countless hours researching this iconic dessert. My question? What makes the perfect carrot cake? Conclusion? There isn’t one. At least not a perfect carrot cake recipe to satisfy the majority of the masses. We all have our own taste. I could post a recipe from the internet with a following of rave reviews but where is the fun in that. I was curious if I could come up with a base recipe that would support the amount of substitutions people would want to make and still be pleasing.

One note I do want to expound on is substitutions. Often times we make the rationale when replacing part of the oil with applesauce that we are making the cake healthier. Fact is the opposite is true. While it is correct that applesauce reduces the fat content it inadvertently increases the sugar content. Ideally if you choose to replace the oil with applesauce or buttermilk, remember to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Be sure to scroll down to the Variations section for alternative suggestions.

4 eggs
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon powder
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
3 cups carrots, finely grated (about 6-7 medium sized)
Cream Cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.

Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Finely chop nuts; set aside.

Wash and peel carrots. Using a box grater or food processor finely shred carrots; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together eggs and sugars until completely incorporated. Drizzle oil in a steady stream while mixing constantly to emulsify.

In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add chopped nuts; mix to incorporate. Gently fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined. (Ribbons of flour are still noticeable.) Fold in carrots until completely combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Variations:
— Replace 3/4 cup of oil with 3/4 cup buttermilk.*
— Reduce the oil to 3/4 cup to 1 cup.**
*The proteins in milk can produce a tougher crumb in cakes.
**Reducing the oil this much will result in a drier cake. We recommend reducing the oil no more that 1 cup.
— Substitute all-purpose flour for: 1 cup wheat, 1/4 flax seed meal and 3/4 white. OR substitute all wheat, spelt or a combination or whole grain flours.
— Reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
— Replace sugar with equal amount of Xylitol or 1 1/2 cups honey or 2 cups applesauce.
— Use equal parts white and brown sugar or all white or all brown.
— Add 2 teaspoons vanilla. (add with eggs)
— Add 1 cup toasted coconut. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 (8-oz) can pineapple, drained and squeezed. (add with carrots)
— Add 1 cup raisins or sultanas – soaked in orange juice or rum. (add with carrots)
— Add 1/4 cup chopped Crystallized ginger. (add with carrots)
— Substitute allspice or pumpkin pie spice for nutmeg and cloves.

Notes:
— Our carrot cake was baked using a glass 9X13 baking dish. Dark metal or ceramic pans may vary baking time.
— If you live in a higher elevation you might need to make adjusts. Click here for helpful hints.
— To make cupcakes reduce baking time to 20-25 minutes.

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, viagra 60mg ampoule beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, patient peeled and grated
9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, viagra peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9

Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, viagra 60mg ampoule beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, patient peeled and grated
9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, viagra peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, sildenafil studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the 15th-century in Milan Italy, when the ancient Romans used honey to sweeten breads. Writings dating from the 18th-century associate the bread with Christmas; yet, it was not until the early 20th-century that panettone became a widely shared Christmas tradition. Today Panettone is shipped all across the world and not only at Christmas time but Easter too.

There are just as many legends as there are versions of the bread. The first story tells of a young noble man, Toni, and his love for the baker’s daughter. To win the heart of his true love he disguised himself as apprentice to her father. One day he made a special domed bread that impressed the baker and the daughter so much that the baker sanctioned his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The second tale occurs one Christmas Eve at a lavish banquet held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. The cook accidently burnt the dessert. A kitchen hand, named Toni, saved the evening by making a sweet bread using the remains of the burnt cake and adding dried fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.

How ever Panettone came to be this rich buttery sweet sensation is a world wide Holiday favorite. Panettone is often toasted and served alongside coffee. You will also find recipes for Panettone stuffing and bread pudding in addition to this version of Panettone french toast. Panettone is not a fruit cake although it does contain dried fruit. Freshly made is always preferred over store bought but if it is not available at the local bakery try finding the brands by Bauli or Flamigni.

Source: Williams Sonoma
1/2 Panettone, about 1 pound
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Softened unsalted butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Warm Maple syrup for serving

Slice off the end pieces and discard. Cut panettone into 5 or 6 vertical slices then slice pieces in half.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice, Cointreau, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl; add bread slices. Soak, turning once, 10 seconds per side.

Heat griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. When the butter foams, add a few bread slices. Cook, turning once, untl lightly browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Turn slices over again; cook a few minutes more per side. Transfer French toast to serving plates. Place in oven; turn oven to 200 degrees. Cook remaining slices.

To serve dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4 or 5.

Keep any left overs refrigerated. Reheat in the oven, spread with butter and eat with a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.
Wheat Free Birthday Cake Recipes – Carrot Cake (this recipe is also sugar free)

6oz (3/4 cup) butter (softened)
3 large eggs, viagra 60mg ampoule beaten
6oz (3/4 cup) sultanas (golden Raisins)
8oz (1 cup) carrot, patient peeled and grated
9oz (1 1/8 cup) apple, viagra peeled, cored and chopped
9oz (2 1/4 cup) wheat free, all purpose flour
2tsp baking powder
2tsp nutmeg
2tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Before you start…

Steam the apple chunks (or simmer in a little water) until tender, then drain and puree.
Preheat the oven to 375 deg F, 190 deg C.
Take the eggs from the refrigerator to bring them closer to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Stir in the apple puree, sultanas and grated carrot.
Add the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, then carefully fold them into the mixture (a palette knife comes in handy here!). The object of folding in the dry ingredients rather than simply stirring them in is to avoid losing the air you incorporated into the mixture by beating it.
Line a 7″ cake tin with baking parchment and gently spoon in the mixture.
Bake for around one hour, until a sharp knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Read more: http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/wheat-free-birthday-cake-recipes.html#ixzz0gbVsFYw9

Panettone {Pan e toni} (meaning large bread) is an Italian sweet bread, sildenafil studded with dried fruit that has been soaked in liquor, commonly associated with Christmas. Historians are unclear as to the exact history of Panettone; however, it is said to have originated during the 15th-century in Milan Italy, when the ancient Romans used honey to sweeten breads. Writings dating from the 18th-century associate the bread with Christmas; yet, it was not until the early 20th-century that panettone became a widely shared Christmas tradition. Today Panettone is shipped all across the world and not only at Christmas time but Easter too.

There are just as many legends as there are versions of the bread. The first story tells of a young noble man, Toni, and his love for the baker’s daughter. To win the heart of his true love he disguised himself as apprentice to her father. One day he made a special domed bread that impressed the baker and the daughter so much that the baker sanctioned his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The second tale occurs one Christmas Eve at a lavish banquet held at the court of Ludovico Sforza. The cook accidently burnt the dessert. A kitchen hand, named Toni, saved the evening by making a sweet bread using the remains of the burnt cake and adding dried fruit, spices, eggs and sugar.

How ever Panettone came to be this rich buttery sweet sensation is a world wide Holiday favorite. Panettone is often toasted and served alongside coffee. You will also find recipes for Panettone stuffing and bread pudding in addition to this version of Panettone french toast. Panettone is not a fruit cake although it does contain dried fruit. Freshly made is always preferred over store bought but if it is not available at the local bakery try finding the brands by Bauli or Flamigni.

Source: Williams Sonoma
1/2 Panettone, about 1 pound
3 eggs, lightly whisked
1 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau (optional)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Softened unsalted butter for brushing
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Warm Maple syrup for serving

Slice off the end pieces and discard. Cut panettone into 5 or 6 vertical slices then slice pieces in half.

In a bowl, whisk eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice, Cointreau, granulated sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into a large shallow bowl; add bread slices. Soak, turning once, 10 seconds per side.

Heat griddle on medium heat; brush with butter. When the butter foams, add a few bread slices. Cook, turning once, untl lightly browned, 3-5 minutes per side. Turn slices over again; cook a few minutes more per side. Transfer French toast to serving plates. Place in oven; turn oven to 200 degrees. Cook remaining slices.

To serve dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Serves 4 or 5.

Keep any left overs refrigerated. Reheat in the oven, spread with butter and eat with a cup of hot chocolate. Mmmmmm.

Photo: property of Heath Brandon via Flickr

One Tuesday morning I was waiting at a stop light when I noticed the van in front of me was none other than my friend Ednelle. She was on her way to grab her morning coffee from Starbucks. She texted me to tell me that the person in front of her paid for her coffee. The person in front of them had paid for theirs. Apparently the chain had been going on for much of the morning rush.

Ednelle’s kind act reminded me of a similar random act of kindness on the Florida Turnpike. Many times I was the recipient of a free toll. In turn I happily paid for the person behind me. It is a simple thing that amazingly brought a smile to an ordinary day.

The attribute I love most about my kids is their passion for life. They are so excited about the world around them. I decided to harness that joy and put it to good use. This summer to pass the time away we will perform random acts of kindness in the community. Our first victim was the pest control guy. We gave him a gift certificate for an icy treat at the frozen yogurt shop. He was a bit confused and suspicious at first. Once he realized it was a legitimate act of kindness and nothing fishy he smiled and graciously accepted the offer.

Our goal is to target the people in our community who tend to get over looked (like the hard working pest control man) and could use a little appreciation. In return I hope my children will see that it is far better to give than receive.

1. Leave a gift of appreciation for the mailman in the mailbox.
2. Take a tasty thank you treat to an area fire station.
3. Make lovely artwork to take to a local assisted living residence.
4. Make tissue paper flowers to take to patients at the hospital.
5. Take balloons to the kids at the children’s hospital.
6. Hand out flowers to cashiers at a grocery store or other place of business.
7. Put coins in several parking meters.
8. Mow your neighbors lawn.
9. Leave a small prize for the waitress.
10. Pick up trash at the park and in parking lots.
11. Donate food to an animal shelter.
12. Pay the toll for the car behind you.
13. Hold the door open for patrons entering a business.
14. Volunteer at a blood bank passing out water and fruit.
15. Deliver notes of appreciation to all your doctors. (including the Pharmacist.)
16. Take dinner to someone who is alone or financially strapped.
17. Send a homemade thank you gift to someone in the military.
18. Do an hour of yard maintenance for a preschool/daycare.
19. Donate several small stuffed animals, sick and coloring books with crayons to the police department to give to traumatized children.
20. SMILE!
21. Tape a thank you note to a police car window.
22. When going to the store call a friend to see if they need anything.
23. Give a flower to the receptionist at your next appointment.
24. Help an overwhelmed mom.
25. Help a co-worker.
26. Pass out tissue paper filled saches of candy to people at the park.

Summer Travel: Fly or Drive?

http://www.deepsouthdish.com/2012/04/easy-homemade-pizza-sauce.html

http://www.deepsouthdish.com/2008/10/thin-crispy-homemade-pizza.html
If you have tile then you know how dingy grout can become. Here are several homemade cleaners that are affordable and actually work.

For Basic Cleaning:
Combine: equal parts table salt, recipe treatment baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix to form a paste. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

Mold and Mildew:
For Colored GroutDampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes. Wash grout with soapy water and rinse.

For Light Colored Grout1:1 ratio of bleach or use Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag.

Hard Core Grout Cleaner for Floors and Bathrooms:
Combine: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 7 cups warm water.
Scrub grout with mixture using a toothbrush or grout brush.


If you have tile then you know how dingy grout can become. Here are several homemade cleaners that are affordable and actually work.

For Basic Cleaning:
Combine: equal parts table salt, recipe treatment baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix to form a paste. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

Mold and Mildew:
For Colored GroutDampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes. Wash grout with soapy water and rinse.

For Light Colored Grout1:1 ratio of bleach or use Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag.

Hard Core Grout Cleaner for Floors and Bathrooms:
Combine: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 7 cups warm water.
Scrub grout with mixture using a toothbrush or grout brush.


We

source: Heavenly Homemakers
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Mix uncooked pasta, visit this milk and salt in a large sauce pan.  

Cook over medium-high heat STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).  

Remove from heat.  Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Serve immediately.
If you have tile then you know how dingy grout can become. Here are several homemade cleaners that are affordable and actually work.

For Basic Cleaning:
Combine: equal parts table salt, recipe treatment baking soda and white vinegar into a bowl. Mix to form a paste. Use a sponge to scrub the mixture into the grout. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a damp rag.

Mold and Mildew:
For Colored GroutDampen a rag with white vinegar and scrub. Let sit for a few minutes. Wash grout with soapy water and rinse.

For Light Colored Grout1:1 ratio of bleach or use Hydrogen Peroxide. Spray the peroxide onto the grout. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe the grout clean with a wet rag.

Hard Core Grout Cleaner for Floors and Bathrooms:
Combine: 1/2 cup baking soda, 1/3 cup household ammonia, 1/4 cup white vinegar, and 7 cups warm water.
Scrub grout with mixture using a toothbrush or grout brush.


We

source: Heavenly Homemakers
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
3 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

Mix uncooked pasta, visit this milk and salt in a large sauce pan.  

Cook over medium-high heat STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).  

Remove from heat.  Add cheese and stir until melted. 

Serve immediately.

Clipart: courtesy of RoadTripAmerica.com

School officially ends in four days; although, viagra sale my summer vacation will not start until 12:00 pm June 15th. I am so ready for relaxing days at the lake. What I really want is to take a road trip. We have family in neighboring states that we have not seen for ages. The plan is to take the car enabling us to stop along the way and explore the sites.

The big question when planning any long distance vacation is, is it better to drive or fly. I found this really great site that does all the travel calculations for you. The BeFrugal.com fly or drive calculator calculates the cost of the trip in addition to the amount of time it takes to fly and drive to a selected destination. For instance, air travel from the central valley in California to Seattle Washington will take us 5 hours and about $1400 in fees. This amount includes travel to the airport and parking fees. On the flip side, the drive is 14 hours and only $500 with an estimated cost of $79 for wear and tear on the vehicle. I can’t vouch for how accurate the data is, such as the fluctuating cost of gas, but it is a pretty nifty tool to give you a guesstimate to which is better: fly or drive.

**If a road trip is part of your summer plans be sure to log onto Road Trip America for planning advice to get the most out of your trip.

Family Togetherness: Valentine’s Day Character Awards

http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/pop-up-card-for-mothers-day?czone=holiday/spring-celebrations-cnt/celebration-mother-day&center=307033&gallery=342079&slide=341465#slide_0

http://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-it-february-yet.html

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/puppy-love-975382/

http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-about-it-thursday_11.html

http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-clue-date/

http://myheartvine.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentines-day-kids-coupons-coupon.html

http://puttiprapancha.blogspot.com/2012/01/tree-of-hearts.html

http://hoosierhomemade.com/valentines-day-decorations/
http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/pop-up-card-for-mothers-day?czone=holiday/spring-celebrations-cnt/celebration-mother-day&center=307033&gallery=342079&slide=341465#slide_0

http://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-it-february-yet.html

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/puppy-love-975382/

http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-about-it-thursday_11.html

http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-clue-date/

http://myheartvine.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentines-day-kids-coupons-coupon.html

http://puttiprapancha.blogspot.com/2012/01/tree-of-hearts.html

http://hoosierhomemade.com/valentines-day-decorations/

I have been dying to make this chandelier for my daughter’s fairy garden bedroom since last fall. With my husbands crazy work schedule and my number rule- never go shopping with kids, unhealthy I have yet to make it to the dollar store to see if I can find the items. The chandelier is only one of all the amazing crafts on Dollar Store Crafts that can be made from dollar store items, cost scraps from home or other cheap finds.

Here are a few of my favorite lastest posts on Dollar Store Crafts for Valentine’s Day:
Duct Tape Rings– Duck tape wallets and such are the latest teen fashion. Add an accessory like a duck tape ring to compliment any outfit.
Valentine’s Day Gumball Machine– A cute V-Day gift for a teacher.
Leftover Candy Cane Mints– a perfect save to make for Valentine’s Day hot choclate.

If You:

  • Love to craft and write about it
  • Write tutorials that are easy to follow
  • Love to find great craft projects and share them
  • Shop often at a dollar store near you
  • Take great photos
  • Can contribute one or more articles a month

And are Interested: in working for Dollar Store Crafts

Then Email:Heather at heather@dollarstorecrafts.com with answers to the info from here.
http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/pop-up-card-for-mothers-day?czone=holiday/spring-celebrations-cnt/celebration-mother-day&center=307033&gallery=342079&slide=341465#slide_0

http://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-it-february-yet.html

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/puppy-love-975382/

http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-about-it-thursday_11.html

http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-clue-date/

http://myheartvine.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentines-day-kids-coupons-coupon.html

http://puttiprapancha.blogspot.com/2012/01/tree-of-hearts.html

http://hoosierhomemade.com/valentines-day-decorations/

I have been dying to make this chandelier for my daughter’s fairy garden bedroom since last fall. With my husbands crazy work schedule and my number rule- never go shopping with kids, unhealthy I have yet to make it to the dollar store to see if I can find the items. The chandelier is only one of all the amazing crafts on Dollar Store Crafts that can be made from dollar store items, cost scraps from home or other cheap finds.

Here are a few of my favorite lastest posts on Dollar Store Crafts for Valentine’s Day:
Duct Tape Rings– Duck tape wallets and such are the latest teen fashion. Add an accessory like a duck tape ring to compliment any outfit.
Valentine’s Day Gumball Machine– A cute V-Day gift for a teacher.
Leftover Candy Cane Mints– a perfect save to make for Valentine’s Day hot choclate.

If You:

  • Love to craft and write about it
  • Write tutorials that are easy to follow
  • Love to find great craft projects and share them
  • Shop often at a dollar store near you
  • Take great photos
  • Can contribute one or more articles a month

And are Interested: in working for Dollar Store Crafts

Then Email:Heather at heather@dollarstorecrafts.com with answers to the info from here.

I have been dying to make this chandelier for my daughter’s fairy garden bedroom since last fall. With my husbands crazy work schedule and my number rule- never go shopping with kids, thumb I have yet to make it to the dollar store to see if I can find the items. The chandelier is only one of all the amazing crafts on Dollar Store Crafts that can be made from dollar store items, viagra buy scraps from home or other cheap finds.

Here are a few of my favorite lastest posts on Dollar Store Crafts for Valentine’s Day:
Duct Tape Rings– Duck tape wallets and such are the latest teen fashion. Add an accessory like a duck tape ring to compliment any outfit.
Valentine’s Day Gumball Machine– A cute V-Day gift for a teacher.
Leftover Candy Cane Mints– a perfect save to make for Valentine’s Day hot choclate.

If You:

  • Love to craft and write about it
  • Write tutorials that are easy to follow
  • Love to find great craft projects and share them
  • Shop often at a dollar store near you
  • Take great photos
  • Can contribute one or more articles a month

And are Interested: in working for Dollar Store Crafts

Then Email:Heather at heather@dollarstorecrafts.com with the info from here.
http://www.marthastewart.com/how-to/pop-up-card-for-mothers-day?czone=holiday/spring-celebrations-cnt/celebration-mother-day&center=307033&gallery=342079&slide=341465#slide_0

http://maureencracknellhandmade.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-it-february-yet.html

http://familyfun.go.com/recipes/puppy-love-975382/

http://poppiesatplay.blogspot.com/2010/02/think-about-it-thursday_11.html

http://www.thedatingdivas.com/tara/the-clue-date/

http://myheartvine.blogspot.com/2011/02/valentines-day-kids-coupons-coupon.html

http://puttiprapancha.blogspot.com/2012/01/tree-of-hearts.html

http://hoosierhomemade.com/valentines-day-decorations/

I have been dying to make this chandelier for my daughter’s fairy garden bedroom since last fall. With my husbands crazy work schedule and my number rule- never go shopping with kids, unhealthy I have yet to make it to the dollar store to see if I can find the items. The chandelier is only one of all the amazing crafts on Dollar Store Crafts that can be made from dollar store items, cost scraps from home or other cheap finds.

Here are a few of my favorite lastest posts on Dollar Store Crafts for Valentine’s Day:
Duct Tape Rings– Duck tape wallets and such are the latest teen fashion. Add an accessory like a duck tape ring to compliment any outfit.
Valentine’s Day Gumball Machine– A cute V-Day gift for a teacher.
Leftover Candy Cane Mints– a perfect save to make for Valentine’s Day hot choclate.

If You:

  • Love to craft and write about it
  • Write tutorials that are easy to follow
  • Love to find great craft projects and share them
  • Shop often at a dollar store near you
  • Take great photos
  • Can contribute one or more articles a month

And are Interested: in working for Dollar Store Crafts

Then Email:Heather at heather@dollarstorecrafts.com with answers to the info from here.

I have been dying to make this chandelier for my daughter’s fairy garden bedroom since last fall. With my husbands crazy work schedule and my number rule- never go shopping with kids, thumb I have yet to make it to the dollar store to see if I can find the items. The chandelier is only one of all the amazing crafts on Dollar Store Crafts that can be made from dollar store items, viagra buy scraps from home or other cheap finds.

Here are a few of my favorite lastest posts on Dollar Store Crafts for Valentine’s Day:
Duct Tape Rings– Duck tape wallets and such are the latest teen fashion. Add an accessory like a duck tape ring to compliment any outfit.
Valentine’s Day Gumball Machine– A cute V-Day gift for a teacher.
Leftover Candy Cane Mints– a perfect save to make for Valentine’s Day hot choclate.

If You:

  • Love to craft and write about it
  • Write tutorials that are easy to follow
  • Love to find great craft projects and share them
  • Shop often at a dollar store near you
  • Take great photos
  • Can contribute one or more articles a month

And are Interested: in working for Dollar Store Crafts

Then Email:Heather at heather@dollarstorecrafts.com with the info from here.

On Valentine’s Day we express our love or appreciation to those we care about by exchanging cards and candy. This year I wanted to take it one step further. I wanted my family to know just how much I love them and what I appreciate most about them.

Each of us has a special gift or talent within us that when cultivated and allowed to blossom will make our homes a lovely place. The Valentine’s Day award is in recognition of the good ways we have used our talents over the past year.

The Festivities:

Good Eats-
Strawberry and milk smoothies with a dollop of whipped cream and chocolate covered strawberries.

The Awards-
Courageous Compassion Award:
My oldest son earned the award for Courageous Compassion. He has the ability to make others, physician adult and youth alike, viagra feel accepted. He has the courage to include everyone in his play at school bringing children of all aptitude together. Moreover, approved he can sense when someone is hurting emotionally and help bring a smile to their sad face.

The Heart of Valor Award:
Our daughter earned the Heart of Valor award. She can recognize a need and willingly steps in to help. She is full of passion. She reminds us to view the mundane as a grand fairytale full of adventure. She teaches us to love everyone and even homework can be a delight.

The Radiant Heart Award: Our youngest earned the Radiant Heart award. He is warm and cuddly just like a giant teddy bear. He bares a gentle kindness. He is aware of other’s feelings and calmly goes about to give them comfort. If you say you are in pain he is there to rub your back. If you are sick or sad he will offer a hug.

The After Awards Party-
Watch the Wizard of OZ.

Santa Wish List Ornament

Chicken chili is what you get when chicken cacciatori is on the menu, help cost but the masses demand chili. My children tend to shy away from soups with excessive amounts of broth. They would much prefer a heartier stew or chili.

As with most chili recipes this one also has some kick to it. It is just perfect for my milder taste buds. However, side effects medications if you think it is not hot enough increase the red pepper flakes to 1/2 – 1 teaspoons.

Source: Not Without Salt

2 large yellow onions, pilule medium dice
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
1/4 cup minced cilantro stems
3 cups chicken cooked, shredded

Cook the onions in the butter over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked chicken, black beans and cilantro stems to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the cilantro and sour cream.

Variations:
– Add 2 diced celery sticks
– Replace the black beans with white beans and kidney beans.
– Omit the bell peppers substituting 3 stalks celery finely chopped

– This recipe works great with leftover turkey from the holiday.

– For a vegetarian version omit the chicken and add 1/2 cup lentils.
Chicken chili is what you get when chicken cacciatori is on the menu, help cost but the masses demand chili. My children tend to shy away from soups with excessive amounts of broth. They would much prefer a heartier stew or chili.

As with most chili recipes this one also has some kick to it. It is just perfect for my milder taste buds. However, side effects medications if you think it is not hot enough increase the red pepper flakes to 1/2 – 1 teaspoons.

Source: Not Without Salt

2 large yellow onions, pilule medium dice
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
1/4 cup minced cilantro stems
3 cups chicken cooked, shredded

Cook the onions in the butter over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked chicken, black beans and cilantro stems to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the cilantro and sour cream.

Variations:
– Add 2 diced celery sticks
– Replace the black beans with white beans and kidney beans.
– Omit the bell peppers substituting 3 stalks celery finely chopped

– This recipe works great with leftover turkey from the holiday.

– For a vegetarian version omit the chicken and add 1/2 cup lentils.

Cobb salads have always been my favorite. The egg, visit this bacon, side effects lettuce and dressing taste so satisfying and filling. We were in the rut of serving lettuce with carrots and celery for so long salads became really boring. I have since tried to remember that a salad is just another way of eating a sandwich. Anything you would put on a sandwich could be combined to make a salad.

Cobb salads traditionally consist of boiled egg, meats and cheeses. I love a sprinkle of blue cheese and a couple slices of beets.

Spinach
Egg, sliced
Red Onion, sliced
Bacon, chopped
Ham, chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
Pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Vinegar
Oil

Place spinach in a large bowl. Top with egg slices, onion rings, ham, bacon, mushrooms, and nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little vinegar and oil.
Chicken chili is what you get when chicken cacciatori is on the menu, help cost but the masses demand chili. My children tend to shy away from soups with excessive amounts of broth. They would much prefer a heartier stew or chili.

As with most chili recipes this one also has some kick to it. It is just perfect for my milder taste buds. However, side effects medications if you think it is not hot enough increase the red pepper flakes to 1/2 – 1 teaspoons.

Source: Not Without Salt

2 large yellow onions, pilule medium dice
2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
2 yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and large-diced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans
1/4 cup minced cilantro stems
3 cups chicken cooked, shredded

Cook the onions in the butter over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the bell peppers, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes and their juice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add cooked chicken, black beans and cilantro stems to the chili and simmer, uncovered, for another 20 minutes. Serve with the cilantro and sour cream.

Variations:
– Add 2 diced celery sticks
– Replace the black beans with white beans and kidney beans.
– Omit the bell peppers substituting 3 stalks celery finely chopped

– This recipe works great with leftover turkey from the holiday.

– For a vegetarian version omit the chicken and add 1/2 cup lentils.

Cobb salads have always been my favorite. The egg, visit this bacon, side effects lettuce and dressing taste so satisfying and filling. We were in the rut of serving lettuce with carrots and celery for so long salads became really boring. I have since tried to remember that a salad is just another way of eating a sandwich. Anything you would put on a sandwich could be combined to make a salad.

Cobb salads traditionally consist of boiled egg, meats and cheeses. I love a sprinkle of blue cheese and a couple slices of beets.

Spinach
Egg, sliced
Red Onion, sliced
Bacon, chopped
Ham, chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
Pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Vinegar
Oil

Place spinach in a large bowl. Top with egg slices, onion rings, ham, bacon, mushrooms, and nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little vinegar and oil.

The idea for the Santa Wish List came from a ‘Breakfast With Santa’ event we recently attended. Santa so graciously cleared his schedule to come mingle with the children as they dined on breakfast casseroles, ampoule fruit and sausage. A young couple loitered by the piano casually leading the congregation in merry song. It was the very picture of a classic Cary Grant film.

The children were lead to a craft table to make a wish list before lining up to sit on Santa’s lap. The kids were so happy with their Christmas wish list ornament they wore them as bracelets for the rest of the morning. They are so adorable. I thought they would make a fun family tradition. I could see us years from now laughing over how silly our wish list wants were year after year. Then sharing treasured memories about the gifts we actually received.

This is the materials list from the party. The ladies were avid scrapbookers so they were well equipped with all the fancy paper, try specialty punches and brads. I have spotted spools and punches at the dollar store. You can even forego the the extra embellishments and they will look just as amazing.

Materials:

  • Wooden spools
  • Red Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Thin ribbon 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness
  • White cardstock
  • Decorative hole punch- star or Christmas tree
  • Rubber bands
  • Double sided tape or hot glue
  • Fine tipped black ink pen
  • Tiny star brads
  • Scrapbook paper

Instructions:

1. Paint the spools red. (or use desired color)

2. Cut out strips of cardstock the same width as the inside of the spool and long enough to wrap around the spool twice.

3. Hot glue or tape one end of the cardstock to the spool. Wrap the paper around the spool once; secure with hot glue, leaving a good size tail.

4. Wrap the rubber band around the spool to hold the paper in place until dry.

5. Write wish list on the paper using fine tip pen. Write name at bottom of paper. Embellish paper with a decorative punch or stamp (optional).

6. Cut a small tag of cardstock, about 1/2-inch long and 1/4-inch wide. Write the year or person’s name.

7. Thread a strip of ribbon, about 5-inches, through the middle of the spool and tie it together. Attach tag using a decorative brad.

8. Remove the rubber band and hang it on the tree.

Saint Nicholas Day Stocking Tradition

Photo: Klompen – A Family of Wooden Shoes

property of be_khe’s – Flickr.com

Today commemorates the death of St. Nicholas of Myra. St. Nicholas was born into a wealthy family from the small village of Patara, story view about it located on the southern coast of modern day Turkey. Though Patara was under Greek rule at the time, health St. Nicholas’ parents raised him to be a devout Christian.

Nicholas grew to develop a generous love for mankind. He lived his life ministering to the less fortunate and children. His reputation for secret gift giving is reflected in a Dutch tradition on the eve of December 5th. That night before bed children line up their clogs out on the porch or in the entryway in hopes that St. Nicholas will stop by to leave a treat. On the morning of December 6th children wake to find candy, coins and/or a small present in their clogs.

Here in the Western world we have a similar tradition. Stockings are hung the night of Christmas Eve to collect little treats from Santa Clause. Some families choose to reserve the stocking tradition as part of the St. Nicholas day celebration rather than on Christmas. We do both.

December is a wonderful time to create this amazing magical world filled with surprise and wonderment. Recognizing traditions from other countries or faiths can add to the Christmas season building roots of tradition that remain with our children forever. Adopting the St. Nicholas feast day into our winter wonderland traditions is something our children look forward to all year.

On the eve of St. Nicholas day we unpack the stockings to hang up. You could also use shoes instead of stockings. The next morning the kids might discover an orange or a small bag with hot chocolate mix to have with breakfast. There could be a treasure map to have a scavenger hunt or a special stationary set to write letters to Santa with. This year there will be tickets to a local Nutcracker ballet show.

St. Nicholas stockings, or clogs, could also serve as a fun daily advent calendar. Use pencils, a small piece of candy or puzzle pieces to put together on Christmas Eve.