MiMi-a great name for grandma

A Grandma's spin on crafts, games, recipes & lifestyle

Why Kids STILL Love Action Figures

I marvel at the different types of toys available for kids.  Let’s face it, there are some pretty amazing toys out there.  However, kids are the same today as they have always been…and kids STILL love action figures.  They are a pretty basic toy compared to what we normally see at the top of their wish lists, but if you put a set of action figures in front of a kid, I’m guessing 9 times out of 10 you will see their imagination flourish.

Kids also love sports.  What do you get when you merge action figures and sports?  You get sports action figures of course!  Kaskey Kids sent me a set of their Soccer Guys to give an honest review.  You already know I am all about finding awesome toys, books and crafts for my grandkids and this one did NOT disappoint!

The set includes two full teams, a referee, goals, ball, playing “field” and great storage container (with a handle for easy carrying…some times it’s the small things that make all the difference).   Our Max is a very busy guy who loves action.  This set has been awesome while we are at big sister’s soccer games.

KASKEY KIDS SOCCER SET ~

They have a variety of different sports available:

  • Soccer Guys and Girls Sets
  • Basketball Guys Set
  • Football Guys Set
  • Hockey Guys Set
  • Baseball Guys Set

Kids Using Imagination ~

Playing with action figures is a great way for kids to use their imagination.  Kids have to give a voice to each of the characters and decide how the scene is going to play out.  Without realizing it, they are learning about winning and losing as they are responsible for both sides in these sport sets.

I know I may ruffle a few feathers, but I am not a big fan of the idea that kids should always win.  While I want nothing more than for all children to be happy, I will always believe it is very important for kids to learn how to handle every situation they are going to face throughout life.  So how cool that they can accomplish this during play?!?!

Adding Another Player ~

Whether it’s a friend, sibling or parent, adding in other players is also a lot of fun.  As a parent, it is a great idea to let the child lead how the play is going to take place as then this helps the child learn some leadership skills.  However, when another child is playing it will most likely not go the same way.  Of course, this is yet another great learning opportunity for all kids involved here as well.

Someone can be the referee while others are the players.  They can choose their team names or for that matter, choose the player’s name.  As kids get a little older, you can even add in a scoreboard.  Why not add in some geography lessons and let the kids decide what country their team is from.  The ideas are endless when you use your imagination!

Toys On The Go ~

How many different events do you go to throughout the year that you need “on the go” toys to entertain younger siblings.  Soccer has just started up for my grandchildren, so there is no doubt these sets will go a long way with the family activities.  Do you do a lot of tailgating?  Maybe planning a trip to the beach?  Does an older child have some extra-curricular classes they go to weekly that you want to watch but are always entertaining the younger ones so you miss out?

Maybe you want to plan just certain times that they get this set out.  I wrote about quiet boxes a while back.  Put special toys and activities in a box that they only get to play with during quiet time.  If certain toys are only available at special times, that makes them desired even more.  Check out my earlier post on how awesome QUIET BOXES FOR KIDS are!  I keep quiet activity boxes for Addi and Max in our office and replenish items in there every once in awhile.

Variety of Sets Available ~

As mentioned earlier, they have several sports available.  There are also smaller tower packs that are a great package topper, party favor or even nice for a cake topper set.  The newest set is a Football Single Pack in Pink.  Kaskey Kids is donating 10% of the proceeds from this pink pack to support the Boys & Grils Clubs of America.  Getting great toys while also helping out important causes is a definite Win-Win!

Check out their website, not only for the fun sport sets that they have, but they also have a Kid’s Corner tab with “Good Reads” and “Party Ideas.”  I can tell you that Mimi has absolutely fallen in love with this company.  For those of you who have kids that I love to buy for….don’t be surprised when your sweet babe receives one of these cool sets! 😉

Check out Kaskey Kids Website HERE!!!!!

With Love~

Mimi

 

Cooking Fun with Grandkids

I got the best phone call the other day!  Picking up my cell phone, I expected to hear my daughter on the other line.  To my surprise, it was my sassy six year old granddaughter, Addi.  Excitedly, she says, “Mimi, I’m making dinner tonight.  Would you like to join us?”  Are you kidding me?  Of course I do!  I’m not missing out on a night of cooking fun with the grandkids!

What was on the menu you ask?  We were served mini pot pies/shepherd’s pies and a strawberry rhubarb tart.  Wow!  It was delicious!

       

Let’s back up to Addi’s birthday earlier this year.  We always like to find one special “big” gift to get for the kids.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be big in size, but it needs to be extra special!  A lot of time is spent thinking and shopping for that perfect gift.  Addi has recently become fascinated with the kid’s cooking shows so ideas started formulating around that.

The Birthday Gift Idea ~

I have enjoyed watching various bakeoff shows with the grandkids.  Have you ever watched them?  Let me tell you, that they are nothing short of amazing.  I truly would have never realized that kids can cook as “professionally” as they do…even better than a lot of us adults!  Through this the birthday idea came to life!  Addi needed all of her own kitchen tools.

We have already done some cooking with Addi over the past couple of years, so I knew her passion for time in the kitchen wasn’t going anywhere.  After watching the different episodes of Chopped Junior and MasterChef Junior, we realized Addi was ready to step up her game a bit.

Now, first of all my thoughts went  to purchasing  Addi her very own kitchen prep and storage rolling cart.  I will admit that I spent time shopping for the best one.  I then realized I should probably chat with my daughter about this.  Afterall, this would take up a lot of space in the kitchen, and I had to admit to myself that it is her kitchen and not mine.  So I scaled my gift idea down a bit so that Lauren could keep her kitchen in tact.

Cooking Basket Gift Items ~

These are a win/win…Addi was able to cut food by herself and we felt safe with her doing so!

 One thing Lauren and I noticed, having the tongue out while cooking is a MUST for any great chef! 🤣

Cooking Fun with Grandkids ~

As you can see, we tried a variety of different kitchen gadgets.  This will definitely be a gift that we can add on to in the years to come.  Fostering a love of cooking in kids has so many benefits…to the kids as well as the adults.  The important thing to remember is it’s going to get messy…and that’s ok!  If kids become afraid to mess up they will lose the passion to learn.

In an earlier post, I wrote about a great recipe book software.  You create your own cookbook…family, church, neighborhood.. or whatever you choose.  The first book I created was Pappy on the Penarve…Check out my fun cookbook here!  My intention was to make an “Addi” cookbook next…epic fail!  However, I am still going to make it and include new recipes for her to try plus old ones that she has made with the family.  What fun memories!

Make time to have some cooking fun with the grandkids….you will be glad you did!

Enjoy!

Mimi

 

 

 

 

Summer Bookworm Programs for Kids

Reading should NOT be a “chore” for kids!  Instead, books should open up a world of adventure.  When reading, your child may sail the ocean and dig treasures with those pesky pirates.  Perhaps they will dress in fancy dresses and dine on french pastries with Fancy Nancy.  Maybe they prefer to dress in scuba gear and do some deep sea diving to discover all of the unusual fish and corals.  How else can children do so many things in one day, one week, one summer?  It’s looking like we need to look into summer bookworm programs for kids!

Summer reading programs not only entice children to keep reading, but they offer different awards for their achievements.  While we may not want to admit it, everyone has discovered that bribery is a great motivator for kids.  Ok, maybe it’s not bribery, but it is a great way of rewarding them for setting goals and reaching them.  I’ve compiled a list of programs…and what’s even better is that they are free!

 Wait a minute….did you say FREE????

Types of Summer Bookworm Programs for Kids ~

Pizza Hut’s Book-It Program ~

It’s super easy to sign up for this fun program.  Set reading goals and once reached head on over to Pizza Hut for some FREE pizza!  Click here for easy access to register for the Pizza Hut Summer Reading Program…..  You will have 3 options to register:

  1. Homeschool parent for kids ages 4 to 12
  2. Enroll classs from PreK to 6th grade for public, private or charter school
  3. Parent of student(s) grades PreK to 6th

Once you are registered, there is a plethora of free resources such as activities, printables and reading trackers.  Seriously, this program is amazing and this Mimi thinks you would be crazy to not take advantage of all the stuff they have to offer.  We are all signed up in our family and just waiting for June 1 to roll around so we can get started!

Public Library Program ~

There are so many wonderful things about this program that has been around for…ever!  Let’s put it this way, I’m a Mimi and I enrolled my kids in this program every year when they were young.  You do the math!  😳

The INDYPL program is open to any resdient of Marion County and once again it is FREE!  (If you live outside of Indiana, be sure to look up fun programs at your local library!)  It runs from June 7, 2021 to July 31, 2021 and they provide 3 easy ways to register and track reading time of kids AND adults.  Yes, I said adults!  They offer special offerings for us big kids too!  How awesome is that?  Here are the options for registering:

  1. Create an account on Beanstack through the Apple App or Google Play Store
  2. Use the Beanstack website to register.  The link to Beanstack is right here….what are you waiting for?
  3. Sign up at your local IndyPL branch

Once you are registered for this summer bookworm program for kids (& adults), start reading and tracking the time of books read.  Older kids and adults who read to younger kids get credit for those minutes to.  The library even provides a colorful tracker that you can pick up at the library or download for free and print yourself.  They are offering a fun Discovery Bag…go check them out to learn more!

Barnes & Noble Program ~

Kids in grades 1 through 6 enroll in this program to earn free books!  A total of eight books need to be read to complete this awesome program.  The books can be borrowed or purchased.  Once they have finished reading each book, they are asked to write about their favorite part in the Reading Journal that Barnes & Noble provides.  Bring the completed journal into Barnes & Noble between July 1 and August 31, 2021 to choose a free book from the list provided.  Here is a convenient link to Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program!

Scholastic Summer Reading Program ~

Get started with this super exciting program by registering with Home Base.  Here is an easy link to the Home Base page for Scholastic!  I will say that it took me a few minutes to move around the Scholastic website to completely understand their program…but it is going to be so worth it.  I highly suggest you watch the short informative videos.  Once your child has registered with a fun avatar name he/she will be ready to go.

This program has really been updated to coincide with how our children learn today.  They can add to their own personal avatar by reading more books…I truly believe the kids will LOVE this program.  An added incentive is all of the fun games and reading they can do on site and watch their characters come to life.  I seriously think this is going to be an excellent reading source this summer!

Other Summer Programs ~

While researching all of these fun options, I have come across several others that I am still waiting to see if they are going to do a summer program this year.  They may or may not be available in your area, but if you are familiar with them, check them out.  I was surprised to see a bank offers a program for the kids.  This particular bank doesn’t exist in my area, but it helped me to realize I should check out others around me to see if they too have something available.  A list is provided for you so that you can look into them as well:

  • Books-A-Million
  • Tails & Tales
  • TD Bank
  • Lifeway
  • Half Price Books
  • Chuck E Cheese
  • H-E-Buddy
  • Amazon

I am sure there are many more than what I have shared, so now that you know there are so many options available, I hope you will check out some of the programs I have written about or look into what is available in your community.

What I have also discovered from my research is that summer bookworm programs for kids have gone above and beyond from when my kids were young.  Not only are they offering incentives for reading, but they now also offer so many other amazing resources.  They have done a lot of the legwork to make reading fun for your kids….so take advantage of all the FREE resources they are offering!

Happy reading!

Mimi

 

 

 

The Importance of Family Traditions

Family traditions are the glue that holds families together through the years.  As you are reading this, you may recall long-established customs or you may just be thinking about a new tradition you started with your immediate family.  Regardless of the number of years you have celebrated each one, the importance of family traditions is tantamount to strong family bonding.

Small Quiz ~ ✏

Do me a favor.  Take a few minutes to set everything aside…your phone, computer, tv, game, etc.  Sit quietly for a moment and think about what family traditions you celebrate.  Think first of the holidays.  Are there traditions you do with your children that possibly your parents did with you as a child?  Have you started new ones since you have become a parent?  Let’s go a step further….write those down.

Now, let’s think about seasonal traditions.  Activities that may not tie in exactly with a particular holiday.  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…write those down too.  What about nightly family rituals, such as reading a book.  There may also be weekly or monthly family traditions, such as family game night, daddy dates, or family service days.  Let’s not forget birthdays!   Are you starting to recall more traditions than you even imagined?  We cling to traditions, sometimes when we don’t even realize it.

These events have been shown to strengthen family bonds and reinforce family values.  It warms my heart when my grandchildren will ask a question pertaining to a specific holiday.  For instance, we love to put on our pajamas, make popcorn and hot cocoa and pile in the car to drive around and look at Christmas lights.  We also always get Chinese takeout on the night we decorate our Christmas tree.  The grandchildren, now at ages 3 & 6, ask each year if we are going to do it again.  They remember and look forward to those special moments.

Holidays ~

There are numerous holidays:  Federal, State, Religious, Observance, and Sports.  There is a list below that includes some of the more known holidays here in the states, but it is certainly not all encompassing.   The important thing to remember about family traditions is quality over quantity.  It is so much fun to create reasons to celebrate, but don’t overwhelm yourself or your family.  There is nothing more depressing than a child that is let down because a parent doesn’t follow through.  So keep old traditions and maybe start a few new ones too!

  • New Year’s Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  • New Year’s Eve

Nightly or Weekly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do nightly or once a week:

  • Reading a book together
  • Family game night
  • Pizza night, taco night, Italian night (you get the drift)
  • Evening walk or Sunday walk
  • Sunday special breakfast
  • Movie night
  • Family meals together…a tough one but oh so worth it!
  • Making a story up together…one person start and give a few sentences then another person takes over, etc.
  • Highs & Lows – every morning or evening have everyone tell the best and worst part of their day

Take the read aloud family challenge – such a cool idea! ➡➡Check out this fun Family Read Aloud 100 Book Challenge with journal!

Monthly ~

Here are some ideas of activities the family can do together monthly.  Choose one day of each month and plan your activity.  Whether you do the same activity monthly or change it, start with the day and get it on the calendar!  This gives everyone something to look forward to and also helps with planning.  Stick to it!!!  This is what makes it a tradition!

  • Hiking at different parks each month
  • Zoo/Museum/Sporting Event/Play or Muscial – plan something like this for each month
  • Family service project – Work together on a monthly plan of where you can help out in the community
  • Movie Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Cook together as a family
  • Game Night – this is also listed in weekly, but maybe you need to spread it out more
  • Mommy & Daddy date night – let each child have special time with the parents

Random ~

  • Journal – keep a family journal somewhere for everyone to write in when they have something they need to talk about
  • Back to school day – make it special every year
  • Hooky day – everyone gets a day off for crazy fun family time

Check out this fun Family Journal with prompts that make it easy for the whole family to use ➡➡Check out the Creative Family Journal with writing prompts here!!!

This is a very small list of ideas.  Once again, choose what is most important to your family and follow through.  There is no need to have so many traditions that you are overwhelmed.  They are meant to be special times bonding the family together.

They can be simple.  Lauren loves going to the her grandparent’s place at the lake.  The kids know they are going to get on the golf cart and zoom all over.  It is something they look foward to every time.  They then head to the lake shore and take pictures.  How fun it has been to see the kid’s growth over these last few years with the same background.  Similar to using a yardstick to measure children’s annual growth on a wall.

In October, my mother puts out a large light up pumpkin.  It seems like that pumpkin has been around FOREVER!  However, the kids love to have their picture taken with Grandma every year.  Likewise, when our children were small we would take the same picture of all of the grandchildren at Easter around the same tree at their Grandma’s!  It’s a small thing, but it’s tradition!

               

Another fun tradition is to make food to match the color of the current holiday.  You can be as simple or creative as you like.  Believe me, the kids will have a LOT of fun with this.  I will be honest though, sometimes they turn out as a flop…these things happen.  Probably the worst one my kids remember is green oatmeal for St. Patrick’s Day…it looked just like vomit.  We laughed so hard!

     

Birthdays ~

Birthdays are a pretty big deal in our family.  The birthday person wakes up to a decorated bedroom door  (Check out the Birthday door idea by clicking here!), gets to choose what type of cake and dinner and also gets to choose the activity.  Deciding on the activity is the best part for me…yes, we still do it as adults!  I absolutely love to find different things to do as a family each year.  Bowling, paddle boats on the canal or hiking to lunch on the Monon have been some of my favorites.  As long as we are together, I am happy.  Now, for those of you who know Brad, it is a different story.   Nothing makes him happier than all being on the deck and him grilling!  That’s nice and relaxing too!

Schedules are hectic….times are crazy!  However, this is one thing you can make a point to do with your family.  Sometimes we simply forget about the importance of family traditions….but our kids don’t!  I hope you will share some of your family traditions below!

Hugs – Mimi

 

Purr-fect Cat Birthday Party

Birthday party themes are a big deal in our family.  As each year rolls around, there always seems to be a new favorite animal, superhero or fantasy figure that creeps into our world.  It is only fitting that this new love, whatever it may be, becomes the theme for that year’s celebration.  This year, Addi chose to have a purr-fect cat birthday party!

Party Dress ~

Of course, it wouldn’t be a purr-fect birthday party without a purr-fect dress!  Am I right?  Lauren ordered this adorable set from Etsy.  It was the perfect party outfit from hairbow to skirt!   She was so excited to wear it for her party…check out everything Sweet Sophia Designs has to offer below:

Sweet Sophia Designs has such adorable birthday sets! Check them out with this link!

Pre-Party Planning ~

There was quite a bit of planning ahead for this fun event.  We enjoy crafting so the time spent for these preparations was a lot of fun.  It started with collecting family cat pictures.  Lauren wanted the party to be personalized with all of the cats in Addi’s life…what a fun idea!

Cat Banner ~

Once pictures were decided upon, they were pulled up in Canva to be sized and printed.  Canva is so good for this as you can also “flip” the photo so that your front and back match up perfectly, thus making your banner viewable from both sides.  *If you are putting this against a wall, however, you will only need to print one side of each image.

The cat faces (and Addi with her kitten) were printed in black and white and then adorned with party hats from the color scheme Lauren and Addi chose.  This is where having lots of random items and paper scraps comes in handy.  We used various items to decorate the hats.  There is no rule here…let your creativity flow!

They were then strung on twine to create a banner.

Pet Adoption Certificates ~

Cat adoption certificates were also made with Canva.  Everything we made was created with the free options.  If you have not yet tried Canva, you need to!  It is such an amazing online software program.  They, of course, have even more options if you choose to pay for it, but seriously, you can do SO much with the free version!

Pet Adoption Houses ~

Pet adoption houses were made from goodie boxes purchased from Amazon.  Lauren chose the ones highlighted below and then cut a circle out for each pet to be placed in the box.   She then added other goodies in the box and topped it off with tissue paper.  What a perfect combination of craft and goody box wrapped into one!

You want to be sure that the dimensions of the box are big enough for the size of kitties you purchase.  I know this sounds silly to even mention, but how many times have you gotten caught (and frustrated) when sizes are different than what you assumed?!?

Pet adoption houses were made from goodie boxes from Amazon…check them out here!

Gummy Mice ~

These were one of the cutest and most talked about goodies included in the box.  What cat does not like mice…and what child does not love gummy candies?   Of course, Lauren searched and found the perfect gummy mice!

Get your own yummy (and slightly creeping looking) gummy mice here!

Canva once again came into play as we put several mice in little zipped baggies (also purchased on Amazon) and then created the fun label topper to staple to the top.  These were small enough that we could fit 6 labels to a page and then cut out and fold over each bag.

Adopt A Kitten Backdrop & Craft Table ~

The Adopt A Kitten Banner was made from scrapbook paper.   Stencils were used to create the letters in various color schemes of paper.  They were cut out and then glued to black scrapbook paper.  We then cut the black stencil a little larger to create a border.  This created a sturdy banner that also had a bit of dimension to stand out more.

A real cat scratch post was used to display the houses.  With this she was able to create height and make more room for the children to design their own adoption boxes.  A lazy susan sits in the center of the table with colored pencils, markers and stickers for the kids to craft with.   Yarn balls were made by wrapping different colors of yarn around decorative balls, styrofoam balls and ping pong balls.  (The ones made from ping pong balls were included in the cat boxes as a kitten toy.)

Cat Photograph Collage and Balloon Form ~

If you are like our family, you have an abundance of fur baby photos.  These were put to use for the party to create a cat photo collage banner.  The photos were strung up by the birthday presents.  The awesome 4′ mosaic number form helped to create a purr-fect backdrop for photos taken while opening presents.

Order your own mosaic number and letter forms right here!

Birthday Cake & Cookies ~

The amazinging purr-fect cake and cookies were ordered from Becky’s Cakes N Caboodles.  She is a true artist at work!  Whether you want the latest popular theme or something more personalized, she delivers!  Lauren sent her pictures of all of our cats and she got to work on these gorgeous cookies!

From different cat faces to colorful yarn balls, they were almost too pretty to eat!  But don’t believe for one minute that they didn’t get devoured!  Click here to see more of her amazing creations!!!

Cat-Themed Party Food ~

It is so much fun to get creative with food, and this party was no different.  From cheese mice on crackers to cat faced taco rings, there was something “catlike” everywhere you looked!

Cheese Mice on Crackers ~

Cut your favorite block of cheese into small triangles.  Make ears on the mouse face by cutting a slit on each side of the cheese and placing mini pepperonis in the cuts.  Place on a Ritz cracker.

Seven Layer Dip in Cat Cup ~

We drew cat faces on each cup with permanent markers.  Do this with plenty of time for it to dry so you don’t smudge when you put the dip in.   Layer the seven layers of dip in each cup.  Top with tortilla chips (We used strips as they fit in nicely).

  1. 2 cans bean dip
  2. Guacamole
  3. Mix 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup real mayonnaise & 1 package taco seasoning
  4. 2 cans chopped, pitted black olives
  5. 2 cups chopped onions
  6. 2 cups shredded cheese
“Cat” Taco Ring ~

We did the traditional taco ring, however, we added extra crescent dough for the ears and nose.  Once it was done cooking, we added chives for the whiskers and cherry tomatoes for the eyes.

Adult Side of the Party ~

Want to add a little wine for the adults…look at this fun new wine chiller.  Lauren made tiny yarn balls and froze them in the ice form….so pretty and festive!  I can only imagine all the fun that will be had with this Wine Chiller mold….the ideas are running crazy already…get yours here!

Suffice it to say, this party was an absolute hit.  Kids and adults alike had so much fun that the fun continued on for hours.  Be sure to share pictures in the comments below of your Purr-fect Cat Birthday Party!

Enjoy!

Mimi

Guys! I Made a Cookbook…And You Can Too!

You heard me….little ole me made a cookbook!  I am so excited!!!   What’s even better is that it was so fun and easy to do with FamilyCookbookProject.com.  My mind is now racing with so many great ideas for gift giving, fund raisers, church or family projects, or even for the neighborhood.   Now, I keep walking around the house saying, “I made a cookbook!”   What’s even better is that you can too!

This cookbook is a compilation of recipes I have blogged about.  As a bonus, there are a few extra recipes that have yet to be added to my blog.   You will be able to save it to your computer and print out recipes as needed…or you can print the whole book.

The Family Cookbook Project ~

In a nutshell, this is a software program that lets you bring your recipes to life in a shareable form through print or save online.  I have been truly amazed at just how easy it was to put this together.  Now we have a keepsake of the beginning of our recipe blogging journey.  I have no doubt that there will be much more time spent on creating a much more indepth Pappy on the Penarve Cookbook – Version 2!

What about you?  Have you considered putting a cookbook together with all of your family favorites?  Are there treasured recipes that have been passed down through the generations?  Maybe there have been some church potlucks that everyone brings copies to share of the recipe they made.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to hop online and let each of those people type in their famous recipes?  That’s right…you can set this up so that each person can be considered a “contributor.”

How It Works ~

  1. Create an account.
  2. Give your cookbook a title (that can be changed anytime throughout the process)
  3. Invite friends and family to contribute – optional!  You can also create the recipes by yourself.
  4. Follow along with the simple layout to enter your recipes…you can even copy and paste or import if you have them saved somewhere else on your computer.
  5. Select your cover, dividers and layouts to your personal preference.
  6. The table of contents, recipe index and list of contributors (optional) is automatically created for you.
  7. Order your cookbook.  They have a calculator to make the final setup and purchase process so easy.
  8. You can go back and add recipes to your online version at any point.

 

 

 

 

*Sample of Family Cookbook Project final copy

 

 

 

 

Have You Ever Misplaced a Special Recipe? ~

Isn’t this the worst?!?!  Ugh!  If only I had a nickel for every time I went frantically searching for that special recipe!  Another problem I encounter quite often…does your recipe card look like it’s been to h*ll and back?  Stains and tears all over it.  I always say you can tell those are the most loved!  Wouldn’t it be so much easier to have them in a nice little cookbook (luckily you can choose to have any pages/covers you want laminated!)

Maybe you are not as scatter brained as I am and your recipes are already nicely organized.  (Oh, how I try to be that person!)  This is still such a timeless treasure to create and gift to others!

Better yet, maybe you have some very special recipes you won’t share because they become even more special when you bring them to the party!  I have a VERY loved sister-in-law that does just this!  We give her grief over it all the time.  I’m thinking this would be such a great idea to make and have back for gifts when the right time comes along!  (You know who you are sweet See the source image…you know I love ya!)

Dedication Page ~

Below is the picture and dedication words I chose for Pappy on the Penarve.  It’s been so much fun deciding how I wanted to display everything from the pictures to the wording…

Welcome to Pappy on the Penarve! The love of family is our number one priority. We have discovered that good food keeps family members coming back for more. Thus we are lucky to have lots of family gatherings!

This is our first edition of a compilation of recipes we have shared on Mimiblog.org (plus a few bonus extras!). Our hope is that you and your family and friends will enjoy these wonderful recipes as much as us.

The main focus is on Pappy’s amazing grilling with a few appetizers, appetizers/sides and desserts to compliment the savory dishes that come off of Pappy’s magical grill!

Enjoy!

We dedicate this first edition to Lauren, Karleigh and Eli…our amazing children and all who are a part of their world!

*********

To see the above picture and dedication in book layout is a dream come true for me!  As stated earlier, you get to create the cover and dividers, choose from multiple recipe layouts, add your own dedication and introduction…the list goes on and on!

Drumroll Please ~

So without further adieu, I bring you the final version of Pappy on the Penarve.  Click on the link below to view or to download and print a free copy yourself.  I will be making a laminated binder version for our family.  If you are interested in purchasing one, email me at mamashellatino@gmail.com and I will give you the details.

See the finished version of Pappy on the Penarve Cookbook here!!! Check it out!

Guys!  I Made a Cookbook…AND YOU CAN TOO!

Are you excited about getting started on your own personal cookbook?  I haven’t seen an easier way to create such a special family treasure!  Get started on your personal cookbook right here!

Happy Cooking!

Mimi (Shelly)

Hobo Foil Packet Dinners

If you grew up camping like I did, then you are no stranger to hobo foil packet dinners.  The thing I don’t understand though is why they were only considered a camping food back then.  Not only are these dinners simple and delicious, they can be cooked over the open fire, on the grill or in the oven!  How’s that for versatility?

Over the years, we have tried numerous types of packets.  In fact, one of our favorite family meals now is to lay out a variety of ingredients and let everyone make their own.  This ensures that everyone…even the pickiest of eaters…is happy with their own individual meal.  Once they are done eating, wrap that foil up and toss in the trash.

Recap…individual dinners made to each person’s taste, simple to cook various ways and easy to clean up…what are you waiting for?  (*Read on for the special ingredient we use!)

Ingredients ~

Basically, the sky is the limit for the ingredients.  However, I am going to list some ingredients that we have used.

  • hamburger – pattied up or crumbled
  • kielbasa – diced
  • shrimp
  • chicken – chunked
  • shaved beef
  • onions
  • potatoes – quartered
  • carrots
  • asparagus
  • peas
  • mushrooms
  • zucchini
  • squash
  • bell peppers – all colors
  • anaheim peppers
  • jalapenos
  • thick cut green beans
  • corn
  • capers
  • cheese – we use shredded and, of course, different varieties

As stated earlier, one thing that makes the hobo foil packet dinners so much fun is to offer several ingredients.  Choose from the list above or add some of your own favorites.  Put each of the ingredients in small bowls for everyone to choose from.  (*Still looking for that special ingredient?)

*Notice in this one, we used the shaved beef…delicious!

Assembling the Foil Packets ~

Do yourself a favor and invest in heavy duty foil.  This makes the cooking process go much smoother.  If you do not have heavy duty foil, then you will want to double up.  When doubling up, I prefer to cut two pieces of foil the same size and criss cross them (in the shape of a cross) before adding my ingredients.  This allows all sides of the packet to be closed up securely.

Spray the cut foil pieces with non-stick cooking spray before assembling.  NOW….are you ready for that special ingredient I alluded to earlier???  Condensed soup is the ticket to a fantastic hobo foil packet dinner.  The difference you will see with this addition is incredible!  We have used several varieties in our dinners.

  • Cream of Mushroom
  • Cream of Chicken
  • Cream of Celery
  • Cream of Asparagus
  • Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic
  • Cream of Chicken with Herbs
  • Cream of Onion

Obviously, we prefer to use the cream style soups.  I have heard there is also a cream of bacon and cream of shrimp.  We have never used these (I don’t believe I have ever seen them in the stores in our area), but I believe they would be fantastic as well.  Campbell’s Soup is our go to but obviously you can use the brand of your preference.  From all of the soups listed, I would have to say Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken are our top choices.

 Next Step ~

Once you have made your soup choice, slather 1 to 2 tablespoons across the bottom of the prepared foil pieces.  You are now ready to add your favorite ingredients.  Start with your favorite meat and then pile on your choice of  accompaniments.  There is no specific amounts to use, just create your masterpiece with enough room to fold it up securely.

Before closing, sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, dry onion soup mix or any seasoning you prefer and another dollop of the soup.

Be sure to completely cover all food when bringing the sides of the foil up and over.  There are several methods of folding the foil, just be sure to wrap it up securely.

*Pro Tip* – Write the names on top of each packet with a sharpie to be sure of which packet belongs to who to extinguish any later arguments!

Cooking the Hobo Foil Packet Dinners ~

Our preference for cooking is on the grill or over the open fire.  I absolutely love when Brad cooks them over the open fire.    These take about an hour, depending on the size of your packets.  (Somehow, ours always end up bigger than we intended!)  You will just need to be sure the meat is cooked completely through.  Grilling will take about 30 to 40 minutes.

Brad uses a cast irong camping tripod for so many different meals.  I’ve included a link to one, but it is a great idea to check out several to meet your individual needs.  As you can see, his also as a grate that attaches to it, which he uses often.  Check out firepit tripods here…Brad uses his for so many campfire recipes!

As stated earlier though, you can also do these in the oven.  With this method, place the packets on a baking sheet (just to catch any spillage that may leak out), and bake at 350℉ for 40 to 60 minutes.  When opening the packets to check if done, be careful as the heat pours out at first opening.

Cajun Style Hobo Foil Packet Dinner ~

This one has quickly become a family favorite.  This is one of the times  we do one large family packet instead of offering choices.  Most of the time we love to make our own spice blends, but we have decided why fix it if it isn’t broken…simply follow the recipe on the back of the McCormick Jazzy Tasty Seasoning packet.  I’m telling you, it is AMAZING!

Click Here to order McCormick Jazzy Tasty Seasoning and make your own Jazzy Shrimp Boil foil packets!

As always, I am including a link to order it for simplicity.  Sometimes I struggle finding this one…maybe everyone has has figured out this little secret too!  😉

Get creative with this fun cooking idea.  We have yet to serve hobo foil packet dinners where anyone was unhappy.  In fact, most people usually call us later to get the finer details so they can make them at home for their family and friends.

Happy Cooking~

Mimi

 

 

 

 

 

Mother’s Day Controversy

May 9, 2021 – The 107th Mother’s Day ~

Have there OFFICIALLY been 107 Mother’s Days?  There is some controversy over this date.  This, of course, led to some research on my part.  According to our history, 1914 is the the year that President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May to be a national holiday to honor mothers.  So I consider this fact to NOT be a Mother’s Day controversy…what do you think?

Other days celebrating “mothers” have been recognized before this.  Ann Reeves Jarvis organized Mothers’ Friendship Day to foster reconciliation between families of the North and the South after the Civil War.  She cared for wounded soldiers on both sides during the war and  felt strongly about bringing peace to all involved.  The first Mothers’ Friendship Day was held in 1865 and became an annual event for several years after that.  In fact, this is what inspired what we now know as Mother’s Day.

Sooo….Mother’s Day became a national holiday in 1914 BUT people realized long before then that mother’s deserved some respect…AM I RIGHT???

Hold up…did you catch the typos in the earlier paragraph???

Are you finding yourself stating, “Mimi needs to correct her grammar.”  Did you notice that darn apostrophe is in the wrong place…not once but TWICE in the opening paragraphs?  Well, it is indeed correct just how it is!  For all of you grammar nerds like me…Sorry!  In fact, this is what has become yet another Mother’s Day controversy.  Crazy right?  When the friendship days were first created, they were more of a celebration for soldiers and their moms in an effort to instill peace.  Therefore, it was not a day honoring individual moms, but instead moms as a whole with their sons.

I am actually sitting here stunned right now that in my mid 50’s I am just hearing of all of this.  I recently started researching Mother’s Day controversy stemming from posts I have seen on social media over the last few years.  None of which had anything to do with:

  • Who actually created Mother’s Day?
  • Where does that crazy apostrophe belong?
  • What is the right way to celebrate this wonderful holiday?
  • Is Mother’s Day too commercialized?

Personally, I have always found the biggest controversy to be finding how to share time with my mother, mother-in-law and my kids (obviously as their mother) all in the same day.  When I was a kid, we all lived so close to most of our family members making this process much easier.

The Move From Singular Possessive to Plural Possessive ~

The big move of that devilish apostrophe from Mothers’ Day to Mother‘s Day took place in 1908.  Anna Jarvis (daughter to above mentioned Ann Reeves Jarvis) held a memorial to honor her mother and all mothers.    This is technically the first official celebration of Mother’s Day.  After several years of this annual celebration, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill designating the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day.

The Controversy Continues ~

As the years progressed, Anna Jarvis became increasingly frustrated at how Mother’s Day was being celebrated.  According to Anna, the holiday was becoming too commercialized.  She spent the rest of her life trying to get the holiday removed from the national calendar.

It is so sad that such a special day is plagued with so much controversy.  However, we are not going to let this get in the way of showing moms all around the world how very much they are appreciated, right?  How you choose to celebrate is obviously up to you….simplistic or extravagant.  Keep in mind, the most important thing is just to convey love and thoughtfulness.  Let’s look at some fun ideas!

Mother’s Day Ideas ~

  • Brunch – Break out the china, pull out the tablecloths and add in some candles.  It can be matchy matchy or all mis-matched.  The idea is to bring together a fun meal with a special table setting.  And…don’t you dare let mom make that meal….come on it’s Mother’s Day!  If the children are small, let them make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apple slices.  If it is an adult planning then maybe go a little more sophisticated.   Regardless of the menu, any mom is sure to appreciate the special attention!
  • Household Chores –  Every mom loves a break from house cleaning.  Whether you take it on the fly and just clean the morning of or you create a coupon book for mom with different duties, offering to help clean is something every mom loves!
  • Gardening and Flowers – We have spent several Mother’s Days once my children have gotten older with them helping me till the garden and plant the veggies and flowers.  I love the help and especially love the special time with the kiddos.  You can go a step further and purchase some of the garden goodies for her.
  • Free Day – From sunup to sundown, let mom just relax.  Does she love to lounge in bed or does she prefer time in the sun?  Know what she likes and make sure she is content there all day long with snacks, drinks, books and a cozy blanket.
  • Reading – Speaking of books, does she have a favorite author?  Is she on a reading social media site (like Good Reads) where she saves books she would like to read?  Look at that list and surprise her with one or two of her desired books.
  • Hiking – Is mom the outdoors type?  Plan a fun day of hiking and a picnic!
  • Casino Time – Maybe mom loves to gamble.  Offer to drive her to and from the closest casino.  As an extra bonus, add in a little extra cash for her to have fun with!  For heaven’s sakes, let her have fun!  This would be one of my mom’s favorite gifts for sure!
  • Shopping & Lunch – Need I really say more about how much fun this can be for both mom and daughter?
  • Home Made Cards – My children loved making their own cards when they were smaller.  What is important here is that you do this ahead of time so they have plenty of time to create the “perfect” card.  There is no card out there that can be purchased that is more personal than a hand made one!
  • Pet Spa – What mom wouldn’t love a break from bathing the family pet?  Either wash the pets for her or just help out…you may be surprised at how much fun you can have together.

There are truly so many ideas for this special day.  Personally, I love the gifts that are hand made or “time spent with my kids” gifts.

Also, there are some really unique ideas from Stampington & Company that you need to check out.  They have free projects, that do also include links to purchase any of the items you don’t already have.  Use the links in green below to find some really creative ideas.

This project is definitely the “Bee’s Knees” for a Mother’s Day Gift! Check it out here!  (ok, I really love this one because bees are my fave!)

You're The Bee's Knees— Mother's Day Tag & Charm Project

 

This Mother’s Day floral bouquet project is sure to be a hit…check it out!  One of the things I love most about this project is that they used holiday clearance items (like a Christmas tree form) to redefine their use.  It is so very creative.

A Mother€'s Day Floral Bouquet Project by Catherine Garmany

I can’t begin to tell you how much I LOVE these very special soldered ornaments. You MUST see these!  What is so wonderful about these is that you can use special sentiments OR you can use special photos!

Inspired by Mom Soldered Ornaments Project by Catherine Garmany

These are just a few of their unique crafting ideas.  Be sure to check out their website yourself here…Check out everything Stampington & Company has to offer here!!!  Be sure to peruse their website, but click on DIY Inspiration ➡ Free Projects➡ Search Bar (and type in Mother’s Day) for more great Mother’s Day crafting ideas.

I still haven’t figured out the more current Mother’s Day controversy of spending this awesome day with both my mother and my mother-in-law…but I will continue to work on that!  In the meantime, maybe this year will be difficult to figure out that dilemma after my kid’s see the current personal “spa day” I did on myself and my hair.  I’m thinking this year a day at my favorite hair salon may just be that perfect gift for me…*HINT HINT*

P.S.  Are you wondering about the woman in the cover pic?  That’s my mom….she’s as cool now as she was when I was a kid!

Much love ~

Mimi

Pita Bread Stuffed Grilled Cheese

Scoop it, dip it, stuff it…yep, I’m talking pita bread here!  What a fun and versatile bread.  My personal favorite is stuffing it with lots of goodies, so what could be better than some hot oozy cheese!  Pita bread stuffed grilled cheese…BLT (actually BST (spinach) and/or Caprese Style.  You have got to read on for this delightful recipe that can be made for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

BLT or Caprese Style? ~

We took it a step further and offered options.  I prepared all of the ingredients ahead of time and displayed on cutting boards and in bowls.  With this method, each person got to personalize their pita bread stuffed grilled cheese.  Of course, you do not have to always do it this way, but it is definitely a fun option.

BLT (BLS for Spinach) ~

Ingredients ~
  • Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • Cheese – mozzarella, pepper jack, provolone – shredded
  • Spinach – chopped
  • Onions – diced
  • Tomatoes – chopped
  • Seasonings
    • Garlic powder/salt
    • Everything But the Bagel
    • Onion Powder
    • Italian Seasoning
  • Butter or Olive Oil
Directions ~
  1. Brown bacon and crumble once cooled.
  2. Chop spinach
  3. Dice onion
  4. Place all ingredients in separate dish or lay out on cutting board
  5. Have each person choose their ingredients and put in medium size bowl.  Stir until well blended.
  6. Slice pita bread so that it opens to a pocket.  *It is better to have ones that are NOT already split in the middle for easier grilling.
  7. Stuff pita bread filling to the back and moving forward until stuffed plump.
  8. Cover both sides of pita with butter or olive oil. *I buttered one side, added preferred spice and then placed on griddle.  I then buttered the other side while it was on the griddle.
  9. Cook until desired doneness and serve!
*Notice the small bowl to the right.  This is the bowl we used to mix the individual ingredient choices.

You can offer choices of condiments for dipping as well.  Options such as ranch dressing or sour cream pair well with the BLT pita bread stuffed grilled cheese.

Most of the family chose this style but DEFINITELY used different ingredients.  Max had bacon and mozzarella only with no spices. Uncle Eli stuffed his with bacon, onion, spinach, mozzarella balls and pepper jack cheese.  He then seasoned the outside with the Everything But The Bagel seasoning.    Lauren chose bacon, spinach, tomatoes, mozarella and pepper jack cheese and then seasoned with garlic.

As you can see, each person’s individual tastes took a big part in making these a success!

Caprese Style ~

Ingredients ~
  • Spinach – chopped
  • Mozarella balls
  • Mozarella – shredded
  • Fresh Basil – chopped
  • Tomatoes – chopped
  • Balsamic reduction
Directions ~
  1. Chop spinach.
  2. Chop fresh basil.
  3. Chop tomatoes.
  4. Slice pita bread so that it opens to a pocket.  *It is better to have ones that are NOT already split in the middle for easier grilling.
  5. Stuff pita bread filling to the back and moving forward until stuffed plump.
  6. Cover both sides of pita with butter or olive oil. *I buttered one side, added preferred spice and then placed on griddle.  I then buttered the other side while it was on the griddle.
  7. Cook until desired doneness and serve!

As you can see, the steps are the same.  Only the ingredients are different.  I drizzled mine with a balsamic reduction and it was FAB!  *I actually keep the Alessi brand of Balsamic Reduction on hand for many different recipes – delish!

I’m going to be honest here, we made these for dinner just last night!  The funny part is I made one again for brunch this morning!  I kid you not…I am obsessed!  They just add a different element from the traditional grilled cheese.

Now, I’m including links to some of the ingredients I mentioned.  You, of course, can get them at the store.  I am including these more for you to have a visual.

I seriously LOVE this sxxx…Alessi Balsamic Reduction! I have it in the fridge at all times.  In the summer, I love to throw together a quick spinach, mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil salad.  I also use it in a lot of appetizers!

If you have not yet tried Anything But the Bagel Seasoning, do yourself a favor and do so!  Try this test…pull up Pinterest, type in Anything But the Bagel Seasoning and look at the results.  One would think you would get a lot of results with just the seasoning…but NOOO…you get all kinds of recipes using the seasoning.  I’m telling you, this seasoning is awesome for so many things!

Did you love the cutting board in the pics as much as I do? Check out the link here for own charcuterie cutting/serving board!   This board is so versatile and fun!

 

 

Rum and Coke Mini Desserts

As a child, we had dessert every night after dinner.  Some were simple, like Jell-O with whipped cream while others were more intricate desserts.  I loved when mom made Coca Cola cake with chocolate fudgey icing.  It was so delicious!

However, I don’t remember mom adding those cute little rum bottles on top….hmmmm!?!  Well, it may not be a family dessert, but these rum and Coke mini desserts are definitely one to add to your entertaining menu!

I used a variety of glasses to make the presentation more exciting.  Get creative!  When I presented this fancy dessert, it definitely made a great impression.  Seriously, doesn’t this picture make you want to dig in?  If you answered yes, then hold on….because they aren’t even finished yet!

But first, check out some of these fun serving ideas…

Use some footed dessert bowls like these…

These are so beautiful with the scalloped edges…

Step 1 – Cake Ingredients ~

  • 1 Cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 Cup Cooking Oil
  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 3 Tbsp. Cocoa
  • 2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Baking Directions ~

Preheat oven to 350°.  Prepare a 9″ X 13″ cake pan with cooking spray.

Combine sugar, flour and salt in large mixing bowl and set aside.  In a saucepan, mix Coke, cooking oil, butter and cocoa.  Bring this mixture to a boil.  Pour the Coke mixture over the flour mixture and beat well.  Add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla and combine thoroughly.

Pour cake mixture into 9 X 13 pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  (Insert a toothpick to check for doneness)

*** TIP ~

Substitute vinegar and milk for buttermilk if you do not have buttermilk on hand.  Put 1/2 Tbsp. white vinegar in measuring cup and then pour 1/2 cup milk on top of it.  Mix and let sit a minute.

*** TIP ~

If you do not want to make the cake from scratch, you can use a chocolate cake mix instead.  Use the following ingredients for this easier method:

  • 1 Box Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Coke

Mix thoroughly and bake for 25 minutes.  Insert toothpick to check for doneness.

Step 2 – Instructions After Baking ~

Whichever cake method you choose to use, let it cool completely after baking.  Set your desired serving dishes out for easier preparation.  Cut the cake into 1″ cubes and place 4 to 6 cubes into each glass, depending on the size of the serveware you are using.

Step 3 – Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients ~

  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese – Softened
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter – Softened
  • 3 3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 3 Tbsp. Rum
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Caramel Syrup
  • Pinch Kosher Salt

Step 4 – Cream Cheese Frosting Directions ~

Beat cream cheese, buter and sugar in Kitchen Aid stand mixer or in large bowl with hand mixer until fluffy.  Add cream, rum, vanilla and salt.  Beat until a stiff peak forms.

Step 5 – Layering Frosting on Rum & Coke Mini Desserts ~

Place a heaping tablespoon or two (depending on size of serving dish) of cream cheese rum frosting on top of chocolate squares.  Repeat with another layer of chocolate squares and frosting.  *If you are making these yummy desserts ahead of time, place in refrigerator at this point.

Step 6 – Final Steps ~

Drizzle caramel syrup over top of each dessert and then top with mini bottle (1.7 ounces) of your favorite rum.  Please note, you may not want to use the entire bottle of rum if the glass is a smaller size (like martini glass pictured in this article).  If the rum is too excessive, it will overpower the delicious flavor of all the ingredients.  Therefore, I chose to keep the lid on the mini bottle and let each person add to their desired taste.

********************************************************************************************************************

*** NOTE ***

If you want to make you Coca Cola cake “family friendly,” top it with this fudgey icing instead:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 1/3 Tbsp. cocoa
  • 6 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a saucepan, cook butter, cocoa and milk until butter melts.  Add in remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly mixed.  Spread on cake.

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Don’t Forget to Save/Pin this Recipe!!!

I kid you not, this rum and Coke mini dessert recipe is one you want to add to your recipe favorites.  In fact, be sure to pin this on your Pinterest board as well for easy access!

 

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