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

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Sampling Book Clubs for Kids – Round 2

The jury is still out on which book club subscription is The Best for kids.  In fact, what I am quickly learning is that there are many different positives to what each company has to offer.  My hope is that by detailing each one as my grandkids and I personally try them out, that you can then choose which one is the perfect one for YOUR family.  Basically, what is perfect for one family may not be perfect for the other.  However, I am positive there IS a perfect one for each and every one of you.   With all of that being said, please read on about our thoughts on sampling book clubs for kids – round 2!

Bookroo ~

This is the subscription we are currently subscribed to.  I chose the Picture Book Club for ages 3 to 6 as this choice perfectly fit the ages of my grandchildren.  We recently received our first shipment and were very excited to explore what books we had been sent.

WINNIE~

Bookroo includes a leaflet with the featured book for each month.  Winnie ~ The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-The-Pooh was this month’s selection.  I had NO clue there was a real bear who inspired this furry little guy that has been a part of almost every child’s life at some point.   Sally M. Walker is the author of this delightful story set during the time of WWII.

Addi and Max eagerly climbed up to listen to this tale of a bear named Winnie whose journey began through adoption by a vet on his way to WWII.  It is a wonderful story that I believe will become a favorite over time.  I shortened some of the paragraphs while reading to them as some were a bit long for their comprehension.  Even though we skimmed some pages, the kids were engrossed with the adventures of this cute little bear.

**SPOILER ALERTS** ~

A couple of fun facts about Winnie the Pooh that you may or may not have already known:

  • Winnie the Pooh is a GIRL
  • Christopher Robin really did exist
  • Winnie the Pooh was an American black bear
  • Christopher Robin’s father, A. A. Milne, was the original author of Winnie the Pooh

OLD MACDONALD HAD A TRUCK ~

What a fun twist to an old favorite!!!  Old MacDonald is on his farm….with an excavator, a front loader, a bulldozer….and more!  Lots of fun construction equipment in this story!

With a puuush push here, and a puuush push there, here a push, there a push, everywhere a puuuush push!  The kids love singing along to the new lyrics this story introduces.

Bookroo recommendation ~

We LOVED the selection of books so much that we are going to keep this subscription for another month before sampling another book club subscription.  The quality of books are fantastic and the selection was well rounded.  I think a key component to a great book for kids (next to the story itself) is the illustrations.  Both of these books were filled with fun pictures that made the book more enticing to read.

I am very happy to add these to Mimi’s book basket and later to the bookshelf.  Yes, I keep a basket of current books in a basket in the living room for easy access.  It is amazing how quickly the kids run to that basket to select which book they want to read.  When it gets full or a new holiday comes along, the older books go to the bookshelf and the basket gets filled with a new fun selection.

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~

The first subscription book club we had was Owl Posts for Kids.  It was also a great book club that the kids looked forward to.  Read about Owl Post Books and other kid’s book subscription boxes we are going to sample here!!!  We received books from them for about 6 months.  There are several posts that I shared on the various books and crafts we received.  You can check out the fun we had with them below!

Check out the books and crafts received by Owl Post Books here!

We are looking forward to trying to help your family choose the perfect book club for you.  Reading is such an integral part of learning and family time.  Book club subscriptions make that family time much easier.  Please share your experiences in the comments at the bottom of this post or your thoughts on Sampling Book Clubs for Kids ~ Part 2!

 

Zany Bookmark DIY Fun

You need to try these little gems!  Kids not only like to get Valentines, but they love to give them as well!  They will be filled with such pride as they help with everything from the design to the fun tassel finish.  Everyone will love being a part of this zany bookmark DIY fun!

Items Needed:

  • Photographs
  • Scissors
  • String, Yarn, Ribbon, Embroidery Floss
  • Thermal Laminating Pouches
    • (you can use contact paper, but this post is about laminating.  I have not used the contact paper, but have read articles about it)
  • Empty Toilet Paper Roll
  • Optional – Laminating Machine
  • Optional – Print Shop Program

Cut Out Photo Bookmark ~

The most fun to making this one is the photo session itself.  Have the children pose in funny ways with their hands up in the air.  Tell them to pretend they are hanging on to a tree limb or rope.  They can put both hands up or just one.  Encourage them to hold their legs in various ways as if they are suspended in the air.  It is also fun to have them make silly expressions.  This makes the final product so much more fun!

Traditional Style Bookmark ~

You can have just as much fun creating the more traditional style of bookmark.  I love to use The Printshop program to create fun backgrounds and wording.  We had fun with the Valentine sayings and created this one saying “Bee Mine” with a little yellow bee fluttering across the top of the heart.

Once your photo session is over or you have selected from photos you have already taken, you will need to print them.  You can also have them printed at your nearest photo store if you prefer.  I like to print them myself so I can play with the sizing of the photograph. *If you are doing the detailed cutout type, you will want to be sure they are printed large enough to cut a hole in for the tassel.   I love to use my print shop program for that.

Print out all photos you are wanting to use first, then laminate them.  By doing this you can fit as many pictures as possible into the laminating pouch to alleviate excess waste.  I love having a laminating machine.  It comes in handy for so many different projects and they are very inexpensive.  Get your own laminating machine here for only $21.99.

Of course, you will need laminating sheets as well.  I love the pouches.  I found mine at the local craft store, but they do have them online as well.  Get a pack of 100 thermal laminating pouches for only $14.10!!!  I have discovered that buying the larger packs is way more cost efficient.  Plus, it is always good to have them on hand whenever you need them.

         

Once they are laminated, the cutting process can begin.  The children can help with this step as well, however, if they are younger you may want to do the more detailed cutting.  If you have chosen to make the more traditional square ones, you can have the children cut those out with more ease.

Of course, you can spread the love and add your favorite furry friend to the bookmarks as well!

Making Tassels ~

This is where that used toilet paper roll comes in.  Cut the toilet paper roll in half for easier tassel making.  Start wrapping your yarn or embroidery thread around the roll.  Continue wrapping until you get to the desired size.  I wrap mine about 15 to 20 times.  This is another fun activity for the kids to get involved in.

Gently ease the wrapped yarn off of the roll.  Tie a small piece of the same colored yarn (or get artsy and use a different color) around the wrapped yarn about 1/4″ down from the top and tie tightly.  This creates the top of the tassel.  Then cut horizontally across the looped bottom portion to create the dangling tassel part.

As you can see, the yarn creates a poofier (is that even a word???) tassel, while embroidery floss makes a more sleek tassel.  I suggest experimenting with both to see which style you prefer more.

The sky is the limit with this zany bookmark DIY fun…from the photos, to the sayings, to the tassels.  If you don’t have a program to create fun artwork, use old greeting cards or images from magazines.  You can also use various sizes of sticker letters.  Paper House Productions has tons of fun stickers….you really need to check them out!  Check out the HUGE variety of stickers from Paper House Productions here!!!   Here are some fun sayings you can use:

  • You are my fav❤rite person!
  • No bones about it, you are top dog!
  • You are beary special!
  • Bee mine!
  • You’re toadally awesome!
  • Hugs!
  • You’re a purrrfect friend!
  • You shine!
  • Sending you hogs & kisses!
  • I’m so hoppy you are my friend!
  • You have my heart Valentine!
  • Valentine you are out of this world!
  • You’re #1 in my book!
  • I’ve got my eye on you Valentine!
  • You are so cool Valentine!

Go gather your materials and get started on the fun….Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Hugs~

Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sampling Book Clubs for Kids

If you have been following me, you have read my posts about Owl Post Books.  This has been my first experience in participating in a book club for my grandchildren.  We have thoroughly enjoyed it!  The mystery of discovering what new books and crafts are inside are fun for kids and adults alike.  So a thought hit me…let’s give other subscription boxes a try to see which one we like best.  The idea of sampling book clubs for kids was born and we are ready to embark upon this journey!

As I sample each club, I will update this post to give an honest review…from a Mimi point of view as well as from an Addi & Max point of view.  I hope as we try each one you can all decide which one you may want to try.  As always, if you have tried one or more out, PLEASE let me know in the comments at the bottom of this post.

Book Clubs for Kids ~

Owl Post Books ~

Let’s start with the box ~ even the box is a fun part of this subscription.  Each month is a different theme and the images are very detailed allowing for a fun coloring experience.  Look at this month’s cute animal theme…and it is on front and back of the box.  Of course, this box can also be used as a fun storage device as well!

There are two options to choose from when starting in this fun club.

  • Reader’s Imagination Mini ~ This one features one specially selected book and craft each month for $14.99
  • Reader’s Imagination Box ~ This one features 3 specially selected books and one craft each month for $32.99

It also breaks down into different age groups.

  • Ages 0-3
  • Ages 4-7
  • Ages 8-11

Click here to check out their website➡➡ Owl Post Books.  Depending on when  you go to their website, you may see an option for Young Adult (YA), however, this option is being discontinued.

Overall, our experience with Owl Post Books has been a very good one.  In fact, Addi just recently realized that we did this month’s craft without her and was NOT happy with Mimi.  The book choices have been loved by both kids and they have lots of fun coloring the box.  We highly recommend this monthly book club.

I have shared some earlier reviews of Owl Post Books here:  Read more about the fun we have had with Owl Post Books by clicking here!

They offer 10% off for teachers and you can cancel at any time.  Please check their FAQ page for details.

Bookroo ~

I am placing my first order for Bookroo today.  I have been researching this company quite a bit and it gets great reviews.  I am very anxious to see the type of books we receive.  The reviews all say that the choice of books is phenomenal!   Following is what I have read in my research about this fun book club subscription.

They offer options of prepay or month to month.  Both options are at a discounted rate of up to 50% off of retail value, however, the prepay offers an even deeper discount.  There are 3 options of age groups to choose from.

  • Board Book Club ~ Ages 0-3 ~ You receive 3 board books each month.  The books typically have 8 – 14 pages.
  • Picture Book Club ~ Ages 3-6 ~ You receive 2 hard cover books each month.  The books typically have 32-40 pages.
  • Chapter Book Club ~ Ages 7-10 ~ You receive 2 chapter books each month.  The books typically have 120-280 pages.

They offer a flexible delivery schedule which I personally love.  I like to have the books delivered here so the kids have something to look forward to.  Since they are not here all the time, I can choose a time for delivery that I know they are typically here.  Part of the fun is checking in the mailbox to see if there is something in there for you, right?  They also have a cancel at anytime policy, but as always you should check their FAQ page on their website.

Join me in trying this one out with the 15% coupon below…

Give the gift of reading all year round! Get 15% off today at bookroo.com

Lillypost ~

This one is also on my list as it, too, gets great reviews.  Bonus...you also are helping others with each box you receive!  Their website states:  Pick your box, choose a plan, delight your little one and give back!  How cool is that???  For each box shipped, a book donation to a child in need is given!  You and your child are helping others while still enjoying great books!

Kids Reveal Box ~

Another one that looks great and allows you to help others!  Their website states:  Choose your box, choose your plan, excite the kids and give back.  This club also includes an interactive box that the books are shipped in.  We definitely have added this one to the “must try” list.

Amazon Prime Book Box ~

Of course, we have to add Amazon Prime because I just love everything prime!  They have so many different options that it would be impossible to list them all.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you remember Highlights books?? Now you can have them delivered monthly…check it out here!

My First Reading Club – for ages 0-2 ~ Check out their adorable monthly selections here!

I Can Read – Kids Book Club Subscription for Ages 0 – 12 can be checked out here!

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg with my list of options.  As we continue to hear about more subscription boxes for kids, I will be sure to update this post.  I think the grandkids and I are going to have a lot of fun sampling book clubs for kids!

*Note ~ Through my blogging experience, I continue to partner up with different companies that have products/services I love to share with others.  As stated on my site, there are times I earn a commission and times I do not.  Please know any earnings I do make never affect the prices of my readers.   In fact, I am always trying to look for the best value to share with you and just love to find new fun goodies.  If you do see items you like, I hope you will click through and check them out!

 

 

Valentine’s Day Family Fun

Valentine’s Day ~ The celebration of romance and love!  My dad always said it was another Hallmark holiday…😂!  As a child, it is such a fun day to share Valentine’s cards and specialty candies with your friends.  But it can be so much more than that.  Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I have always loved this holiday and I still do.  For us it evolved into a special time to have some Valentine’s Day family fun!

If your children are of school age, you are probably already working ahead with them to create their decorated box or bag to collect their precious valentines in.  IF, due to Covid this year, you don’t get to do this at school, take the time to still make one for home.  Ask family members to send valentines to fill their goody box!  While in the planning process, why not make a special breakfast to start their day out right?

Valentine’s Day Breakfast ~

Mornings are hectic, I know!  But with just a little planning, it doesn’t take much to make breakfast special for this day!   Over the years, we have added food coloring to different food dishes to match the theme of the holiday…some have been great…and some not so much! For example, I urge you to NOT make green oatmeal on St. Patrick’s Day…I promise…it does not go over well!

Last year, Lauren got pretty creative with her breakfast ideas for the kids.  Suffice it to say that they LOVED it!  It consisted of red, heart shaped pancakes with whipped cream and fresh strawberries.

They also had some festive strawberry milk.  She made a batch of strawberry milk ahead of time and poured it into heart-shaped ice cube trays.  When it was time for breakfast, they popped those ice cubes into a plain glass of milk….and voila!

There was a little planning ahead time.  Not too time consuming but oh so fun!  Next, let’s get to work on how we are going to present their Valentine goodies!  Need those fun ice cube trays….Get this 24-cube silicone heart mold by Wilton!  The trays can be used for ice cubes, gelatin, baking and candy molds!

Some other fun food ideas are:

Valentine Fruit Wands by afewshortcuts.com ~ This is an oh so easy yet festive snack recipe the kids will definitely love!

Valentine Grazing Board by ediblecrafts.craftgossip.com ~ Shove the diet aside for one day because you are going to love this Valentine’s Day grazing board!  yum!

Valentine Candy Poster ~

For many years, I would make a valentine candy poster for the kids.  It is such a fun way to give them their Valentine goodies.  It warms my heart that Lauren has continued this tradition.  They are so much fun to make and even more fun to receive.

I think it is easiest if you buy your candy first before making your Valentine poem.  Of course, you will want to try to work in their favorites.  This way you know what candy names you are working with to create the clever wording needed to make your poem work.

Types of Candy with Sample Sayings ~

Please don’t

You are  Extra Sugarfree Bubble Gum Slim Pack - 10 / Boxspecial

I love you to Image result for Reeses pieces

I wouldn’t trade you for Image result for 100 Grand bar

You are the best kid in the See the source image

Sending you hugs & Hershey's Kisses - 1 piece

This Valentine’s Day is going to be a Image result for Whoppersof a day!

To my   Sweetarts - 1.8 Oz Roll

You are A--zing!

You’re no!

You Skor - 1.4 Oz Baran A!

These are just a few examples of how you can create your own personalized Valentine’s poem.  There are so many clever sayings you can create with the names of the candy in it.  In fact, it is not only fun to make one for the kids but have fun and make one for your honey too!

Valentine’s Day Family Fun Continues ~

Now you weren’t planning on just handing these works of art to the kiddos, were you????  Of course not!  They need to work to get their special treats!  After all, you put a lot of time into making that Valentine poster for them.  So how do you suggest we do that?  Glad you asked!  Have you ever played the Yarn Scavenger Hunt game?

Items Needed for the Yarn Scavenger Hunt ~

1 color of yarn for each person playing

A room that has items to crawl under and over

Not too bad, right?  You will start off by choosing one color for each child and tying one end of each ball of yarn to something in the room.  This will be the starting point.  You can start everyone off at the same point or in different areas.  Weave the yarn over couches, under chairs, around tables.  Safety is key, but you want them crawling over and under as much as possible….even over each other at times when their yarns cross each other.

They will collect the yarn as they go in an effort to get to the end and ultimately to their Valentine candy!  For such a simple game, you will enjoy watching the children laugh hysterically as they race to get to the end.

Of course, once they get to the end of their yarn, they will be gifted with their candy poem poster.

You can also have fun decorating cookies in fun Valentine’s Day shapes.  Although the cookie and icing recipe I shared in an earlier post was for Christmas, you can still refer back to it for the recipes.  Click here to find the cookie recipe and icing for your Valentine’s Day cookies!  Making cookies is always a fun festive idea!

Whatever you choose to do to make this day special….be sure to have a full day of Valentine’s Day Family Fun!!!!

Love ~ Shelly

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Back E.T.~Imagination and Role Playing

I wish I could tell you how many people comment, “Bring back E.T.!” whenever we post a picture of Max in his E.T. mask!  There was a short span of time that EVERYTHING he did was done with that big E.T. head.  One only has to be around him for a short period of time before he has you engrossed in his imagination and role playing.  While we are all laughing with delight at his antics, we never stop to think of the many benefits there are to children when playing dress up.

Have you ever been told, “Maybe you should try walking in my shoes for a bit?”  I’m sure almost everyone has either heard that phrase at one time or possibly even said it.  This is a person wanting you to understand what their life or situation is like…a person asking for empathy.  When a child engages in role playing, they are doing just that.  Whether it be dressing up like mommy and daddy, a superhero, a princess, or even E.T., they are “walking in their shoes,” and without realizing it, learning empathy.

Sure, it’s fun to pretend they can fly like a superhero or swim like a mermaid.  However, they have also watched this person in action and are now trying to mimic them…or walk in their shoes.  The process of watching…remembering…then mimicking is building brain power without them even realizing it!

Dress Up Box ~

A dress up box was always available to our kids when they were growing up.  It was filled with costumes and accessories.  We would go to a Hawaiian themed party and the plastic leis would make it to the box.  We would celebrate New Year’s Eve and the party hats, horns and boas would be added to the box.  Old party dresses and high heels….you got the idea!

What I wish I would have done differently is to add their Halloween costumes to the box.  I tended to put those back in case someone else wanted to wear it the next Halloween.  My daughter, Lauren, keeps costumes out for them to enjoy all year long.  This is how we ended up with the wonderful days of Max and E.T.

Eating with E.T.

Playing Outside with E.T.

 

Shopping with E.T.

Brushing Teeth with E.T.

Yes, Taking a Bath with E.T.

Going to Bed with E.T.

You hardly saw Max during those days that he did not have that E.T. head on.  He would sometimes wear the whole costume, but most often he just wore the head.  There were even days that he shared it with others!

Are you thinking to yourself, “Man, I have got to get one of these adorable E.T. costumes for my kids?”  Don’t you worry, I got your back!  Order your own cool E.T. costume right here!  As stated earlier, your kids can dress up all…year…long!

My other thought here is that if you let your children dress up whenever they want it builds a sense of self confidence.  As I watched our three children grow through the different stages, it was very important to me that they learned to be kind and to have self confidence.  I put these two together because I believe they go hand in hand.  The times I would see them at their lowest in self-confidence is when they were  being picked on by others.  Therefore, it was also important to use those times to enforce why being kind is so important.

With that being said, Brad and I completely believe that Max is not going to suffer in the self-confidence area!  Whether he is E.T (where he just always looks so adorable), The Hulk (where he very dramatically transforms from self to Hulk with LOTS of noise), Spider Man (where he covers you with webs with a twist of his magical hand), or Mr. Freeze (where he freezes you and you MUST stay frozen until he unfreezes you!) he truly believes he IS those characters!

Themed Play & Crafts ~

Lauren does a fantastic job of taking their current interests and turning them into fun activities filled with themed crafts and foods.  I wrote about the alien theme when I first started blogging.  It is a small entry, but the pics are cute.  You can check the alien themed blog here!!!

I have since learned it is helpful to include directions for the crafts and food.  I searched Pinterest for some help on how to make the spaceship and found this great pin.  Zygote Brown Designs describes in detail how to make a spaceship!

Where is Your Dress Up Box? ~

Playing dress up is SO MUCH MORE than just a fun way to keep the kids occupied.  It stirs their imagination and aids in their emotional development.  So if you haven’t done so yet, go create that box of imagination for them.

It can be a bigger, dual purpose box like this!

It can be a pretty basket like this!

Regardless of what you use, you won’t regret making this an option for your kids.  You, too, can bring back E.T. and spark their imagination and role playing.  They can enjoy this for years!  And who knows, when you become a Mimi, you may find yourself dragging it back out again! 😉

 

 

Making Memories With Christmas Cookies

Christmas traditions are a very important part of the spirit of Christmas!  This year has made us all look back at years past and re-evaluate what truly is important.  It also has urged us to look forward, past 2020, and decide what we wish to carry with us for the coming years.  Spending time with loved ones is something I believe we can all agree is at top of the list.  How amazing is it that a small little cookie, decorated with sprinkles and festive colors can do just that?  Making memories with Christmas cookies is a tradition my mom started with us years ago.

We would sit in our cozy little kitchen at a fold up card table.  There was one gingerbread cookie sheet that was the moldable type.  I can still see my pudgy little fingers molding the soft cookie dough into the form until it was just right.  Mom would pop them in the oven and it didn’t take long for the sweet smell to fill the small kitchen.  Anticipation is what comes to mind!

Bowls of colorful icing would be brought to the table in preparation for the next step.  Once those cookies were done, we got the wonderful job of icing each gingerbread man and woman in an attempt to make the prettiest one.  Corn cob butter brushes were converted to paint brushes for the icing.  My heart still warms as I think back to these sweet memories.

Carrying On The Tradition ~

Fast forward to the 1990’s.  It was now time for me to start making memories with Christmas cookies with my own small children.  The cookie shapes and icing methods have changed a bit, but the family fun remains the same.  We switched to cookie cutters and small kid’s paint brushes for the icing.  (only because the corn cob butter brushes have become next to impossible to find!)

As the years progressed, the kids would each start inviting a couple of friends for the annual Christmas cookie decorating event.  The cookies were made ahead of time, which left the icing fun to them.  Back then we would add extra Christmas festivities to the day with Christmas Bingo and Christmas Scavenger Hunts.  It became a day they looked forward to each year.  Thus the Christmas tradition lives on.

Making Memories With Christmas Cookies~

Fast forward to 2020…the tradition lives on!  We just celebrated Year 15 with the same girls….and my son joins in each year to help with one or two.  These girls are now in their 20’s and 30’s and somehow we all manage to find one day each year for Christmas cookie fun!!!   We have also happily added my precious grandchildren.  Isn’t this what Christmas is all about?  Making memories with those that you hold dear to your heart!

Making memories with Christmas cookies is so much more than just decorating cookies.  It’s sharing stories and laughter while you all create your works of art.  It’s laughing and reminiscing about the year’s past.  It sharing dreams of the future.  It’s watching your children’s friends treat the new kiddos at the table with love.  It’s a whole lot of love wrapped up into one short night!

We have tried different cookie recipes and various icing recipes as well.  We have come to the conclusion that these are our favorites!  In fact, we love them so much that we can’t seem to get the cookies all decorated before we start enjoying our works of art.

Recipes ~

Perfect Printable Roll Out Cookie Recipe – No Need To Chill!

The BEST but oh so easy Cookie Icing Recipe can be printed right here!

Of course, I have to share with you some quick links to get you started on your Christmas cookie adventures.  We have found that we tend to add one or more new shapes each year, however, there are several that tend to be the tried and true favorites.  You have to have a good Santa, Christmas Tree, Reindeer and Candy Cane.  Get Christmas Tree, Reindeer, Santa and Candy Cane cookie cutters in one grouping!

We also have come to love the cute little penguin.  He is so fun to decorate!  You will definitely want to add the penguin cookie cutter to your collection!

Another favorite is the snow globe…this one has created a lot of imagination over the years!  The snow globe cookie cutter is a definite favorite of the whole cookie crew!

It is my biggest wish that each of these girls (and my son) carry this tradition on with their families.  That they too can have their hearts filled with happiness as mine is each year we all gather.  We continue to add new “things”  to our group each year…sometimes its gifts, aprons and ornaments we share with each other and other times it is even better because its a new “crew member.”  And just like that….we continue making memories with Christmas cookies!

Grilled Caramelized Onion, Apple and Canadian Bacon Flatbread

When it comes to pizza and flatbread, Pappy and I definitely have different opinions on which ingredients make a great pizza.  Traditional toppings are wonderful, but sometimes I like to get adventurous.  Sunday was a perfect day for grilling pizzas with Pappy on the Penarve.  The weather was crisp, the tv was roaring with football games and fun ideas were rolling through our heads of our upcoming creations.  My final outcome was grilled caramelized onion, apple and Canadian bacon flatbread…..AHHHmazing!!!!

The wonderful thing about flatbread pizza is that everyone can create their own masterpiece.  They are just the right size for one…or two if you decide to share.  However, the only one I was sharing my grilled caramelized onion flatbread with was a nice glass of Chardonnay!

THIS RECIPE IS SO VERSATILE!!!

Caramelizing onions is a must for this yummy recipe.  However, you may wish to alter the recipe a bit after you prepare the onions.  Maybe you wish to use only onions and no fruit.  Apples were used in this recipe, but peaches or pears would be just as delicious.  The trick is that whatever you choose to add in, you must cook them over low heat for 25 to 30 minutes to get the caramelizing to take place.

The flavors mixed very well with Canadian bacon, but maybe you prefer no meat….it would still be fantastic!

While the onion mixture is cooking, you will need to prepare your flatbread. Brush it with a thin layer of olive oil then layer fig spread over the top of the oil.  Add the caramelized onion mixture on top of the fig glaze.  Top with fresh spinach or other greens of your choice.  Next will be your choice of cheese.  We prepared this with blue cheese.  Goat cheese, brie or feta would work wonderfully as well.  Lastly, top it off with some toasted walnuts and dried cherries.

IT’S TIME TO GRILL ~

Slide a pizza board or pizza peel under the flatbread to transfer to the grill.  If you do not have a pizza peel, it’s a good idea to add it to your cooking arsenal….once you taste these babies you are definitely going to be making more.  Here is a link to one of my favorites.   I absolutely love this pizza peel with a foldable handle for easy storage!

Once you have transferred the flatbread to the grill, close the cover and grill for 8 to 10 minutes.  Check on it after 5 minutes to decide the correct amount of time for the level of crispiness you prefer.  Then top it off with balsamic glaze….perfection!

KID FRIENDLY~

Now you are looking at me like I am crazy!  Kid friendly you ask?  What child likes blue cheese?  Well, I know there are some kids out there that do eat different cheeses, but if they don’t, substitute mozzarella.  Easy peasy!

The really cool thing about flatbread pizzas, is you can have a small layout of different toppings and let everyone make their own.  Psst…..kids are more apt to eat their dinner when they take part in the process of preparation.  So let them dig in and have fun!!!!

 

Get Outside!

Well hello weekend….and what a beautiful weekend it is!  What is on your agenda?  Laundry, housework, cleaning the garage, paying bills?  Put all of these chores aside, if only for a while, and get outside!!!

It’s Good For Your Health!

Everyone “knows” it’s good for your health to get outside.   Why is it that so often we simply “forget” just how good it actually is for us?

  • Vitamin D boosts your mood AND your immune system
  • Nature helps lower cortisol levels and reduce stress
  • Natural environments improve mood
  • Nature helps improve memory and attention
  • Fresh air increases your energy level

It’s Good For Your Family!

Whether you plan a day trip or a weekend getaway, hiking creates wonderful family memories for years to come.  It’s just a bonus that it also provides so many health benefits.  Sit and think for a moment…how long has it been since you decided to do an impromptu family fun day?   The unplanned activities are many times some of the best!

Do you find yourself always going to the same one or two parks?  I am sad to admit that we have not taken advantage of all of the amazing places available to us, some less than a half hour away!  I don’t know if I would call it a bucket list, but I decided that our family needs to branch out and try some new spots.  Included below is a small list of some of the parks of various sizes that have hiking trails as well as other amenities.

  1. Broad Ripple Park
  2. Brookside Park
  3. Brown County State Park
  4. Clifty Falls
  5. Eagle Creek
  6. Fort Harrison State Park
  7. Holliday Park
  8. Indiana Dunes State Park
  9. McCormick’s Creek
  10. Mounds State Park
  11. Pokagon State Park
  12. Shades Park
  13. Spring Mills Sate Park
  14. Turkey Run State Park

Let’s Talk Food!

I absolutely love the ideas that sweetcharli.com shares here…Creative picnic lunch ideas….CLICK HERE!

  Sandwich kebobs, apple sandwiches and banana rollups…sounds delish!

Lilluna.com also has some fun and healthy ideas…Check out these easy picnic lunch ideas!

Lots of protein and veggies!

Extra Activities For When You Get Outside!

Hiking and picnicking definitely make for a fun-filled day, but since we are on a roll, let’s add some extra fun.  Why not add in a little scavenger hunt for the kids?  Print out as many copies as you need of the activity sheet I created to help enjoy the day further.   Download and print outdoor scavenger hunt!

So get outside…and don’t forget to take pictures of this fun-filled day!  I would love for you to share other parks your family goes to so we can add them to the list!  Happy Weekend!!!!

Fall is Around the Corner!

We have all heard the jokes…let’s just skip through Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas and move on to 2021!  Everyone is officially FED UP with 2020.  However, we still have time to make this year memorable in ways other than the dreaded virus that has haunted us these last few months.  I truly believe this.  Maybe it’s because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE HALLOWEEN!  Let’s set aside the frustration and enjoy the rest of this year because YES~Fall is Around the Corner!  Ok, ok I hear you.  It’s August 14 and the official start of fall is September 22.  That means we have time to plan new activities, make new crafts and search for delicious new recipes….let’s go!

Start Collecting Pine Cones and Nuts NOW!!!

The wonderful thing about crafting with nature’s wonders is that adults and children can craft together using the same materials but with different outcomes.   Pinecone and nut crafts have evolved through the years.    I have been urging my family members to start collecting pinecones and nuts now so we will have a nice inventory when we get ready to start crafting.  I am absolutely loving some of the ideas I am seeing on Pinterest like these cute ideas:  Click here for some creative nature holiday crafts like the pics below!!

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Shark Week Games

“I Spy” Shark Game

Shark Week preparations are still going on here….are you ready????  Whether you choose to make your own or purchase them, you should definitely have some fun Shark Week games on hand and ready to play!

Everyone loves a good game of “I Spy.”  I created a special shark search game along with a search key for you to share with your kids.  They can sit and search for them on this post or you can use the link below for a printable version:

Mimi’s Shark Week “I Spy”

 

                     

Other Shark Games ~

You may already have the Shark Bite game in your game closet.  We have had this game for quite some time and we love it.  However, I must be honest in telling you  that it took a bit for the kids to get used to those shark jaws.  Players take turns using a fishing rod to fish for colorful creatures.  But be careful…you never know when the shark is going to bite!  Of course, it doesn’t actually bite, the jaws just come up to get the creatures.  The other wonderful thing about this game is that it doesn’t need batteries!

           Get the fun Shark Bite game now!

Another fun one that I need to add to our game closet is “Sharkopoly”.  You knew it was just a matter of time before this was created, right?  Of course, this one is for kids a bit older, but what a fun way to keep Monopoly going in your household.  Remember fighting over which token everybody got?  These new tokens include a shark, jawline, fin, flipper, buoy, and a mask with snorkel.

 

           Forget the “old” Monopoly — Give Sharkopoly a try!

 

Whether you find games online, print out free copies or purchase games to keep around, I’m sure you will have a lot of fun with these for Shark Week as well as throughout the year!  Have fun!

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