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

Tag: Outdoor Fun (Page 1 of 2)

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!!!!

Pirate Scavenger Hunt

Looking for a fun activity to do with your children?  This one takes a little planning, but is well worth the time spent.  Of course, there are many variations to creating a scavenger hunt, but dressing the kids up as pirates and making some props in advance is definitely the ultimate pirate scavenger hunt that your young children will love!

PREPARATIONS~

Ok, my daughter loves a good dress up activity, so she went above and beyond for the outfits. (they are pretty cute, huh?)  Let your imagination flow with getting their pirate clothing together.  The bandanas are a must of course!  You may have some stuff to pull from a dress up box or put some clothing items together from everyone’s closet.  If things are too big, belt it up!  If you put your imagination to work you will be surprised with what you come up with.

Then get to work on your pirate map.  This one was made from an envelope.  You can also use colored paper or even a piece of cardboard.  (I know you all have more boxes than normal right now due to online shopping….right?)   Use stickers or cut out images from online to create your map.

Next, make the treasure boxes.  You can purchase these online or at your local craft store.  Decorate with stamps, paint, markers.  Fill those boxes with gold coins, candy and small treasures.  (pictures of finished version later in post)

CRAFT TIME WITH KIDS~

Now put the kids to work making their props for the pirate scavenger hunt before setting out on their adventure.

Pirate Hooks~

Make pirate hooks with plastic cups, foil and pipe cleaners.  Poke hole in the bottom of the cups.  Help the children cover the pipe cleaner in foil.  Insert the pipe cleaner from bottom of cup up through the top.  Bend it in the shape of the hook.  Voila, you have a pirate hook!

Pirate’s Pet Parrot~

Now let’s get to work on the pirate parrot.  Remember, there are no specific rules here for how the bird “has” to look.  Let the kids use their imagination and own color ideas.  Yes, in the books, a pirate always has a parrot.  However, if your child wants a cardinal, blue jay, or robin, let them have fun!  The list of items needed are included in this pin.  Follow these directions for your pirate parrot!

             

Pirate Eye Patch~

Every pirate needs a good eye patch.  You can order them ahead of time or make your own.  Of course, you can be as basic or as elaborate as you want with this as well.  Simple Pirate Patch Directions Here

SET OUT ON THE ADVENTURE~

With their map, eye patches, hook hands and pet parrots, they are ready for a fun adventure!

Addi and Max are younger and not yet reading at the time of this hunt, so their mommy had them look at their map while she vocally directed them around trees, over logs, under swing, etc. to search for their treasures.  You can make this as long or as short as you desire.  However, as you know, when kids know there is a special treat at the end, it’s not easy holding them off for too long.

What a fun and active day!  Imagination is such a good thing.  I am sure that when Addi and Max get older, they will look back at adventures such as this with wonderful memories!

Should I Get a Pet?

Yes, yes…and YES!  In fact, don’t stop at one!  Drop everything you are doing…seriously….go out a get a pet!  You already have one?  Go get another one….add a new type of pet to your family.  Have you ever considered something other than a dog or cat?  Whenever I hear someone ask, “Should I get a pet?,” there is no hesitation in my answer.  The benefits of having family pets are truly amazing!

 

Many of us already know some of the top benefits of growing up with pets.  Seriously, look at this picture.  PURE JOY AND HAPPINESS!  Studies show that growing up with pets creates:

HIGHER SELF ESTEEM…

PATIENCE…

   (for both the child and the pet 😉)

LEARNING TO SHARE…
EMPATHY & COMPASSION…

RESPONSIBILITY…

THE MANY BENEFITS OF PETS~

However, there are so many other benefits as well.  I constantly am reading about “screen time” rules.  There are many learning opportunities with technology today, but kids also need to get outside.  Time spent playing outside increases exponentially when they have the opportunity to play with their furry friends.

Which then leads to very interesting, yet fun bath times….

ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF HAVING A PET~

Owning a furry friend also provides many life lessons.  Lessons of birth, sickness and unfortunately death.  These are not subjects we choose to talk about, however, they are a fact of life, and we must all teach our children how to deal with each one.  They watch and learn from us when dealing with each of these situations.

Along with these lessons are ones more in the way of biology.  What is the purpose of whiskers?  How does a snake digest it’s food?  If my pet is very small, like a goldfish, does it still have a heart?  Why doesn’t a dog have to blow it’s nose?  Does a cat really have 9 lives?  How do birds sleep?  How do you know if your hamster is a boy or a girl?  So many learning opportunities here!!!

Another big topic is bullying.  There is a myriad of articles out there explaining why having a pet helps curb bullying.  This personal story discusses how having a pet helped out.  Not only does she explain how her dog was a great companion, but it also gives examples of how animals (of all types) can be a benefit to children, even  if you are not allowed to have pets in your current living situation:  https://www.ourfamilyworld.com/bullying-and-cyberbullying/bullying-prevention-bullying-and-cyberbullying/pet-stop-bullying-boost-self-esteem/

TYPES OF PETS~

I urge you to consider letting your child raise different types of pets.  Many people do not think of any companions besides a dog or cat.  This is a great read on the types and benefits of other options available to us:  https://www.healthline.com/health/best-pets-for-kids#brine-shrimp .  Of course, all pets have different types of care you need to consider.  Not all of these animals/reptiles are cuddly yet they can still be good companions.

Have you considered any of these options?  Fish, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, birds, turtles, lizards, frogs, geckos, rats…yes rats!  Explore your options!

SO…SHOULD I GET A PET?

Once again, YES!  More than anything, pets help teach a child about unconditional love.  A love that every child should receive and give!

4th of July Fun – Keeping it Simple

It’s the eve of July 4th.  If you are a planner, then you have your menu and activities laid out for the family celebration.  However, if you are more of an impromptu person like myself, you are frantically searching through Pinterest and other websites for new and exciting ideas.  I always feel like I have to find the latest and greatest ideas that surface each year.  It’s great to add new and exciting ideas to family events.  But as I get older, I many times ask myself, “What is wrong with some of the simpler foods and activities that we have always had through the years?”

Don’t we all love a good barbecue with hamburgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and watermelon?  Does anyone ever play bocce ball and frisbee anymore?  Remember when we ran through sprinklers after eating big slices of watermelon and having seed spitting contests?    We giggled and laughed, and our parents loved it because because our sticky faces and bodies got cleaned up a bit during the process.  Good memories indeed!

Then everyone puts on the bug spray, grabs their blankets and sits down for the fireworks show!

Unfortunately, many of the fireworks have been cancelled this year due to Coronavirus.  However, this does not have to keep you from celebrating this very special day.  Great memories are made with or without fireworks!

READ THE FOLLOWING AND REMEMBER ABOUT KEEPING IT SIMPLE~

This poem, which was written by Patrick Hall,  went around the internet in a frenzy when the Coronavirus first entered our lives.  Whether you have read it already or not, take a minute to read and absorb:

 

 

My wish for everyone is while we are all going about creating new 4th of July traditions, take some time to enjoy the simple fun of the old family fun.  Take some frisbees to your family gathering.  Teach the little ones to play jacks.  Have a coloring contest.  Throw up a net and play badminton.  Have a water balloon fight!  Play ring toss.  Play Patriotic bingo~who doesn’t love a good game of Bingo?

FREE 4th of JULY COLORING PAGE LINK~

There are many wonderful links on Pinterest for free coloring pages.  Here is an example from chrissiegrace.blogspot.com:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/158540849356925077/

 

Maybe you can quiz everyone on their knowledge of the lyrics in The Star Spangled Banner….😉   Here is a little cheat sheet for ya:

I hope you all have a wonderful 4th of July!

Family Fun on the 4th of July

July 4th is right around the corner–it’s time to get the grills cleaned and find all of your red, white & blue apparel!  Let’s have some family fun this 4th of July!

We, like most families, always get together to celebrate Independence Day!  Recipes, new and old are made, fireworks are purchased, and fun family crafts are decided upon.  As I get older though, I realize I may not have done a great job instilling in my children “why” we celebrate this great day.  Don’t get me wrong, they knew the importance of the day, I just don’t think I took the opportunity to teach some historical facts like I could have.  If I had it to do over, I would have used this time to create fun ways to teach the kids more about our history.  This is truly a great time to have family fun AND teach some history about why we are celebrating.

Did You Know???
    1. Two of our presidents (who also were signatories of the Declaration of Independence), died on July 4, 1826.  Literally the same year!!!  Do you know which presidents they are?
    2. Another president (who was not a signatory of the Declaration of Independence) died on July 4, 1831.
    3. We also have a president who was born July 4, 1872.

Do you know the answers?  Follow this link to check your knowledge:  https://mimiblog.org/2020/06/30/fun-facts-page/

 

Sooo, how did you do?          Don’t get upset if you didn’t know all of them.  I must admit that I learned some new facts today too.  See, I told you I should have taken the time when my kids were younger…I guess you are never to old!

July 4, 2020

So what’s in store for this year?  We have decided to do some tie dye shirts now that the kids are getting a little older.  I’m sure it will be messy, but it will be fun.  After all, that is  what makes good memories.  This is the tutorial (by Happiness is Homemade) that I am going to follow.  I did not create this pin, but I like the way it walks you through step by step if you have not tie dyed before:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282309018/

I am also including this link (by Leigha Doran) as I love the way this one turned out (this is an image only pin):  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/730709108282308707/

The girls and I are working on the rest of the details….I will share them with you when they are finalized.  Until then, I hope you are inspired to add some new fun to your family celebration, and I look forward to hearing about your ideas!

Let’s Go Camping!

Do you have a favorite camping story?  Maybe you have a story that you would consider more of a camping nightmare?  Regardless of whether it is good or bad~ if you have ever been camping with your family, you have some wonderful memories!

My family grew up camping…every….single….weekend!  You don’t see families camping  as much these days.  Sports and other summer activities have become more popular and occupy most of the summer days.  While I love all of these options for kids today, I sure do miss the family togetherness of a good ‘ole camping trip!

Well, if you are one of those families that has a summer calendar jam packed with summer camps, sports, and family vacations, maybe you can plan a “camping day” with your kiddos like my daughter did.

How to Create Your Own Camping Site:

She set up the kid’s tent along with their camping chairs, added a couple of logs with a battery operated candle nestled in them to create the “fire” and engaged the kids in their own camping experience….right in the middle of their living room!

They enjoyed s’mores (which she toasted over a candle)  and drinking juice from their own canteens.   Their Chuckwagon meal consisted of a frozen breakfast bowl set in a tin tray for the “camping look.”

The kids also enjoyed making their own binoculars (with a little help from mom.)  These were made from toilet paper rolls, construction paper, yarn and a little glue (the glue is definitely where help from mom comes in.)

You can even have a supply of stickers and crayons so they can decorate them to their liking (this can even help with arguments of which ones belong to whom!)

So why not have a little “camping” fun with your kids or grandkids.  A camper or tent is not in your future?  No problem!   Traveling to a lake or mountain does not fit in your calendar?  No problem!   You don’t even have to buy coolers and fill them with all the camping necessities.  You can still give your children the camping experience by setting up a fun-filled day right at your own home!

Secret Treasures

Evidently there is some secret character that comes and drops coins in the landscape when Addi and Max come to visit.  Even more curious is that it seems they all are found in the general vicinity of Pappy’s grilling area….hmmm!

When the kids first get to our house, there is flurry of activity with very important decisions regarding snacks, drinks, and what toys they want to play with.  Meanwhile, Pappy will scurry off outside to start the firepit and grill for the evening.

Once all decisions have been made, we all head outside, with little hands full of all the goodies they have collected inside.  However, even better treasures await them outside.  Pappy announces, “Addi, Max~get over here quick!  It looks like secret treasures have been left yet again.

They run over by Pappy, already forgetting those items that were oh so important just a few minutes ago…and the search begins!  Quickly, Addi eyes some silver and copper coins (she is the master egg hunter just like her mother!).

However, they know there are still more goods to uncover in the rocky path, so they continue on~each trying to find the most coins to add to their piggy banks (or pockets if we are discussing Max).

This continues on until the every inch of the area has been combed.  They make sure to put their new finds in their own secret areas to save away for a rainy day.  Leave it to Pappy, he has always been the one to help us all understand the importance of saving….all while making it fun!

                               

 

Wildlife Feeders

Anyone who knows Mimi knows my love for all animals.  This is something our daughter is instilling in her kids as well.  I truly believe children who are taught to love and care for animals carry that on into how they act with their friends.

This fun little craft requires only 2 items:  pipe cleaners and cheerios.  What a fun activity that benefits wildlife.

   

Start out by making a loop at the end of your pipe cleaner.  Addi & Max had fun trying to slide the cheerios that were stuck together in different formations onto the pipe cleaners without breaking them.  Addi also used her creative side and decided to start forming the pipe cleaners in different shapes.

Once we had several done we went out to hang them.  It’s best to hang them on branches that have others close by for birds (or other wildlife) to munch on more easily.

           

Now we get to sit and anxiously wait for those birds to find them and start feasting!

Snack Mix for Little Hands

The minute the grandkids walk into our house, we hear, “Hi Mimi and Pappy!”  If we are lucky we get a kiss and a hug and then the next phrase that comes out (usually from Max) is, “Mims, I want a snack!”  I always keep a snack bowl full of fun snacks…some healthy and some not so healthy.  However, when the kids are coming over to spend the day, you have to step it up a notch and make special treats.  We like to bake together, but today was hot and sunny, so yes, it’s time to spend some quality time outside…POOL DAY!  So we need an easy snack that we can set outside and reach for whenever that hunger pang strikes.

This is such a quick and easy way to satisfy those little snackers.  Sneak in a few “healthy” items, add some salty and sweet, put them in a pretty bowl and voila….you have some smiles on your grandkid’s faces (and you don’t have to keep running indoors for something different because there are so many options for their little hands to choose from.)

« Older posts
%d bloggers like this: