Frankenstein Pudding Cups

Another school-sponsored Fall Festival has passed and we were in charge of the bake sale again.  This adorable treat was NOT created by us, but by a 5th grade buddy and her mom.Frankenstein Cups 3They simply (and quite artistically) drew adorable monster faces on small, clear plastic cocktail cups with a Sharpie.Frankenstein Cups 1

Then, added green food coloring to a batch of vanilla pudding and spooned it into the cups.  What is Frankenstein’s coif made of? Why, Oreo cookie crumbles of course!

Thanks Lisa and Reagan, these little babies were monstrously delicious!!







Special Plate

It is fun to celebrate not only major accomplishments, but small victories as well.  To do so, I made this plate at a paint-your-own-pottery joint with my sisters and sister-in-law. That alone was a hoot. I’m no artist and painting on pottery was new to me.  I toyed with a variety of phrases and settled with, “You’re A Big Deal Around Here!”Way to go plate 1 Way to go plate 2There are a lot of reasons one might want to whip this out at mealtime to honor a family member.  The kids feel so special even without an unnecessary over-the-top celebration.

Great Afternoon Snacks

Many of you have asked what we give our kids for afternoon snacks.  Ask and you shall receive!  BTW – these are perfect snacks for adults, too.Snacks are given to bridge the gap between two meals as opposed to filling a child’s belly.  You can guarantee that if the snack is too big there won’t be much room in that belly for a healthy dinner.

  • Banana Medallions dipped in Sunflower Seeds
  • Cheez Its, Craisins, and Chocolate Animal Crackers
  • Granola Bar or Granola Thin and Small Glass of Milk
  • Frosted Mini Wheats and M&Ms

Sometimes a snack needs to have a little more “oomph” in order to provide enough nutrition and staying power for after school sports or other high energy activities before dinner.

  • Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
  • Mini Pretzels with a Cheese Stick
  • Greek Yogurt

S’mores Salad

If you thought this recipe had anything green in it, think again.  Periodically I have my kids come up with their own recipes for dinner and dessert.  When my son Grant asked if he could prepare dessert one evening, the S’mores Salad was born.  It was such a hit at our house I used it at Girl Scout camp.  The kids loved it and the adults raved about it.S'mores Salad 3


  • Golden Grahams Cereal
  • Milk Chocolate Chips
  • Mini Marshmallows

Dining In – Assemble the ingredients in individual oven safe (or microwave safe) bowls and heat until the chips start to melt a little.

Dining Out – At camp, the campers layered the ingredients in plastic cups and let them rest in the sun.  After lunch each cup had transformed into its own gooey-goodness.S'mores Salad 1

S'mores Salad  2S'mores Salad 5

Baby’s Box O’ Stuff

Now more than ever our family is on the go.  This soccer field, that piano lesson, this dance class, that baseball field, this school assembly, that birthday party, this meeting, that class, and the list goes on.  Elizabeth (aka Baby #5) is toted about town a lot more than her siblings were at 10 months old.

By the time I check, check and double all the loot that is required for the activities the other four are doing, I sometimes arrive at a location and realize I have nothing for the baby.  So, she moves on to my keys, phone, ink pen, etc.  Now I keep this in my van – Lizzy’s Box O’ Stuff.  Box O' StuffIt is nothing more than an old Pampers wipes box containing a few things that if were left behind, no one would really miss and no cash would be lost.  Currently, Lizzy’s box holds the lid from a icing container, 2 plastic spoons, 2 scoops, a children’s fork that doesn’t really pick anything up, a (clean) toothbrush and a dull plastic cookie cutter.Box O' Stuff contentsNow, these items may seem blah to you, but I assure you Elizabeth (and believe it or not, the other kids as well) is fully entertained by the box’s contents.  Our family strives to leave a location better than we found it.  And, while I certainly do not leave a place without collecting my things and strongly frown upon littering, if I were to lose an item from this box, no tears would be shed.

Leave a comment telling us what’s in your Box O’ Stuff!

Brown Bag It!

It’s that time of year again…back to school.  We would much rather keep our kiddos at home with us, but alas, we must send them back to class.  At least we can do our best to fill them with healthy fuel for their bodies and brains.

We have both been flagged down by numerous teachers and mothers asking us, “How do you get your kids to eat like that?”  “Like that” is healthfully.  Our kiddos are used to eating a veggie, a fruit, a protein, and a carb at lunchtime.  We also throw in some kind of special treat for our school-aged children.  And the drink of choice is always water.  Even the best juice boxes are just empty calories, and milk tends to get warm before lunchtime rolls around.  And warm milk is just gross!

Because we each are grocery shopping for families of six, budget is also always on our minds.  We limit convenience foods such as prepackaged sandwiches, fruit, veggies, and other snacks.  These items are WAY more expensive!  Cheese sticks and yogurt cups are about the only individual serving sized items that we buy.

Here are some examples of our kiddos’ favorite lunch combos.

Greek yogurt, raisins, red peppers, and bear-shaped grahams.

Hummus, whole wheat crackers, a kiwi, carrots, and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.

Cheese stick, whole wheat crackers, strawberries, orange peppers, and 3 Starbursts.

PB&J on whole wheat bread, a clementine, sliced cucumbers, and 2 tablespoons of M&M’s.

With lunches like these, you can be sure your kids are giving their bodies what they need.  Enjoy!

Make Your Own Toy Bow and Arrow

My boys are always fashioning bows and arrows out of various things found in the yard and in our house.  While their efforts are admirable, they rarely succeed in making anything that can actually hit a target.  UNTIL NOW!Bow and Arrow

Supplies:Bow and Arrow supplies

  • string
  • scissors
  • a flexible ruler (it needs to have a hole at each end)
  • a pencil (preferably one that has never been sharpened)

First, cut a piece of string 1 1/2 times longer than the ruler.  Then, tie a knot through one end the ruler.Bow and Arrow prep 1Flex/bend the ruler a little to form an arch and attach the other end of the string to the other hole in the ruler (little hands may need a helper with this part).Bow and Arrow prep2And there you have it!  Now use the pencil to fire away!Bow and Arrow set up

 Bow and Arrow


Flip Flop Cookies

These flip flop treats were made on a whim while we were at the beach.  Mary’s sister had seen similar sandals made by a friend and knew we would LOVE them.


  • Nutter Butter Cookies
  • Icing (We used gel icing because it was all we had at the beach.  A thicker icing may be even better for pulling off this look.)
  • Candies for decoration (We used jelly beans cut in half because it was all we had with us at the beach. Waste not, want not!)
  • Crushed graham crackers for displaying.

Using the icing, outline the top of the cookie to look like the thong of a flip flop.  Decorate with candy if desired.

They didn’t last long once the kids saw them, but they were cute!

Backyard Water War

We love having our kids home all summer, and we don’t want to keep them cooped up in the house when the temperatures soar.  You can cool off during the dog days of summer without even leaving your yard with some great water activities.  Here are some of our favorites.

Beach Ball Blaster

Use whatever water squirters you have around the house and an inflatable beach ball for this fun game.  Simply establish a starting line and a finish line and have your kiddos work together to get the ball to the goal while only using water pressure.

Sponge Brigade

We used the big carwashing sponges for this crowd-pleaser.  Start with an empty bucket at one end and a full bucket at the other.  Have the kids start at the end with the full bucket, and use nothing but the sponge to fill the empty bucket.  They’ll be working as a team before you know it!


There’s nothing fancy about this one.  A plain, old garden sprinkler will do unless you have something cuter!  Just turn it on and let ‘em run!

Soupy Slingshot

We drew a big target on a folded up shower curtain liner and hung it on the fence.  We were able to find some slingshots (with water-friendly shots included) at the dollar store.  The kids took turns firing their shot at the target.  You can also let the kiddos use water guns or squirters to aim at the bullseye.

Bubble Bopper

A battery-operated bubble blower makes this game lots of fun.  But if you don’t have one, someone can blow the bubbles while others bop them with fly swatters.  Some of the older kids decided to use the fly swatters as bubble wands, too.

In addition to the games we had set up, we had plenty of water guns, squirters, sponges, water bombs, and water frisbees sitting around so kids could be spontaneous.  And moms, don’t forget to wear your bathing suits, too!  With all this water flying around, you are bound to get wet.  And it will feel so good!

Cool Treat

Before the party we placed frozen ice pops in a bucket of ice and snipped the tops off.  Then we put the bucket back in the freezer.  When it was time for a treat no one had to wait to have their pop opened.  One of our little wet friends said, “That is a lovely display” (you gotta love kids).Now, go get wet!!