3 Ways to Jazz Up Ice Cream Sandwiches

Who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich?

Here are three ways we jazzed up this frozen fave!

Sprinkles-A-Go-Go

Pour a generous amount of sprinkles into a pie plate.  Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and dip all four sides of each treat into the sprinkles. 

Voila!  Easy. Yummy. Cute.

Ice Cream a la Stick

We have said before that everything is better on a stick.  Cut ice cream sandwiches in half and insert popsicle sticks.   Let your imagination (and palate) run wild.  Our kids used M&M’s to decorate the sides.  After you insert the stick and decorate them, put them back in the freezer for an hour or so so they can set back up.

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Okay, this is a serious crowd pleaser and it could not be easier.

Ingredients

  • 18 ice cream sandwiches, unwrapped
  • 8 oz whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 bag of toffee chips (or you can use 4 Heath bars, chopped)
  • caramel ice cream topping

Cover the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish with approximately 9 ice cream sandwiches.  Spread 1/2 of the whipped topping on the sandwiches.  Sprinkle 1/2 of the toffee chips on the whipped topping.  Repeat with a final layer of each (sandwiches, whipped topping, toffee chips).  Drizzle the top with caramel topping.  Cover and put in the freezer for at least 5 hours.Enjoy!

Homemade IceCream in a Bag

This recipe is fun for one or a ton!  That’s right, make your own ice cream in a bag.  Kids LOVE this because it is like a game.  If you are having several kids join in the fun, have them each make their own.  It is more fun that way and it keeps the serving sizes manageable for perfect ice creamy consistency.ICe Cream in a bag - enjoy

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • 1 quart-size plastic food storage bag
  • 1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
  • Ice cubes
  1. Pour the milk, vanilla, and sugar into the smaller bag, and seal tightly (this can be done ahead of time and stored in refrigerator if needed).
  2. Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt and seal tightly (also can be done ahead of time and set aside).Ice Cream in a bag - baggies
  3. Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
  4. Shake the bags until the mixture is the consistency of ice cream. This step should take about 5-8 minutes.Ice Cream in a bag - shakingIce Cream in a bag - girls
  5. Rinse the top of the small bag (this part is the key to having yummy ice cream instead of salty ice cream!!), then open it carefully.
  6. DIG IN!!  Add a little Strawberry Freezer Jam if you want, mmmmm…Ice Creamin a bag mmmmThis recipe yields 1 scoop of ice cream.  You can double the recipe, but avoid increasing the recipe more than that at any one time.

Easy Girl Scout Sit Upons

My girls are attending camp this summer with their Girl Scout troop.  So, I rustled up a few available Brownies and Juniors to make easy sit upons.  These little gems were pennies to make since I found the tablecloths at the Family Dollar and used ribbon and duck tape from our craft stash.Sit Upons 2Supplies:Sit upon materials

  • Vinyl Tablecloths (the kind with the felt backing)
  • Duck Tape
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or Seamstress’ Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Needle and Thread (OPTIONAL)

I had the girls do their own measuring as to not miss out on a learning opportunity.  They made 15×15″ square sit upons.  Some chose to have the same print on both the back and the front, while other girls mixed and matched.  All were adorable!Sit Upon measuringLine up the squares back to back.  Using the duck tape, seal the edges.Sit Upon taping 1Sit Upon taping 2We added a ribbon so the sit upons could be bundled or wrapped.

Cut a 15″ length of ribbon and using a needle and thread, attach the ribbon to the center of the sit upon.  For a no-sew version, use duck tape to secure the ribbon.Sit Upon ribbonI chose not to have the girls fill them with padding such as newspaper so that they would fold better.  They fold to a tiny 5″ x 2 1/2″. Sit Upons 5Sit Upons 6Sit Upons in pocketSit Upons girls 3Now, just “sit upon” it!!

 

Backyard Campout

Saturday, June 28th is the date of The Great American Backyard Campout, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation.  Check out all the details on the NWF website http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Backyard-Campout.aspx.

In honor of this day, we challenge you all to camp out.  We gave it a test run in our backyards, but you can camp at a local park or campground.Emily and Grant

Elaina

Gavin and Brown Dog

Being in the backyard didn’t keep the kids from dragging their snuggly bedtime favorites outside.

Top 5 Things to do While Camping Out

  1. Sing songs
  2. Tell stories
  3. Make s’mores (see our S’more-gasbord, S’mores Squares, and S’mores Mix featured at the end of this post)
  4. Catch fireflies
  5. Enjoy some unplugged family time

Also, your kids will LOVE these Flameless Lanterns

How to make these Flameless  Lanterns

Supplies

  • mason jars
  • floral/craft wire
  • yellow tissue paper
  • LED powered candles (these were found at Walmart for 2 for $2)

 

Twist wire around the rim of the jar to create a handle.  Place 4-6 strips of tissue paper in the jar along with the illuminated candle.  Now you can enjoy a little light without the risks associated with real fire!

Perhaps campfires are a NO in your backyard.  If so, you can try the S’mores Squares or this easy S’mores Mix…

Ingredients:

  • Golden Grahams cereal
  • milk chocolate chips
  • mini marshmallows

 

 

 

 

Mix in a large bowl using a ratio that suits your palate. The girls liked to stack them up like mini s’mores and the boys liked eating the mix by the handful.

 

 

Enjoy your quality time – that is what this is REALLY all about!!

Last Day Surprise

The weather’s getting warmer, the kiddos are getting restless, the mommies are getting excited (at least these mommies are!).  All that can only mean one thing–Summer Vacation is just around the corner!  We plan to kick of the summer as soon as our little ones step off the bus on the last day of school.  Here are a few ways to get the party started!  There is quite a range, from mild to wild.  Make sure you tailor to fit your youngsters.

Greet Your Kids at the Bus Stop With:

  • water guns
  • water balloons
  • silly string
  • bubbles
  • a greeting written on the pavement in sidewalk chalk
  • a tray of goodies and/or drinks (perhaps with little umbrellas)
  • whipped cream pie in the face
  • popsiclessummer

Happy Summer!

Sunshine Cupcakes

Whether you are celebrating the end of the school year or the start of summer (or like us, BOTH) these cupcakes are perfect.Sunshine Cupcakes 1What you’ll need:

  • Lemon Cake Mix and the ingredients to prepare according to the directions on the box
  • Lemon Icing (I added a little more food coloring to make them really yellow)
  • Small Pretzel Sticks (you will need to break them in half to be “rays”)
  • Sour Gummies shaped like semi-circles
  • Sour Fruit Strings (cut in approx. 1 inch lengths for mouths)

Sunshine Cupcakes 2Assemble according to our pictures.  Here’s to the best season EVER!!  Yeah, Summer!!!Sunshine Cupcakes 3

The Great Hiking Party

The leaves are budding, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining.  Spring is here and what better way to enjoy it than to host a Great Hiking Party?

We’re not talking mountains and grappling hooks.  We mean head out to your backyard or visit a local park and enjoy all that nature has to offer.

Sweet & Salty Trail Mix

Children love to prepare their own snacks, especially when M&Ms are involved!  Give each kiddo a bag and let them create their own nutritious trail mix.  The sky is the limit, but here are a few of our favorite “Trail Mixers”.

  • Goldfish
  • Peanuts
  • M&Ms
  • Cherrios
  • Raisins
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Pretzels
  • Teddy Grahams

Water Bottle Lanyards

  • water bottle (we used 12 oz bottles)
  • grosgrain ribbon (4 feet length for each bottle)
  • thick rubber bands (we recommend the strong, thick ones that you find on produce)

Earth Friendly Nature Caddy

Encourage kids to explore the world around them by gathering objects that they find on their hike.  Use these recycled materials to create their own collection caddy.

  • used tissue boxes (the ones shaped like cubes)
  • brown paper
  • old newspapers
  • double-sided tape
  • stapler

Cut the top off of each tissue box so that you have an open cube.  Using the brown paper, make a rectangle (approx. 5”x 19”). Cover the four sides of the box with double-sided tape.  Attach the brown paper to the outside of the box.  There is no need to cover the bottom and you need to leave the top open so that the little ones can fill it with treasures.

Cut a full newspaper sheet in half on the vertical fold.  Each caddy will need 1/2 of a full page.  Fold each half in 1 1/2″ folds until the entire 1/2 of the page is folded into a long narrow rectangle. This will be your handle.  Staple the edges of the handle inside the caddy.  You can adorn your caddy with an adorable label or you can go all natural!

Now you are ready to collect some of nature’s gifts.

If you want to go even greener…

Try Reusable Water Bottles from Tupperware.

and

Try Reusable Snack Bags from ReUsies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May is National Lyme Disease Month

They may be tiny, but they carry a crippling disease for which there is no cure.  We are talking about ticks.

The National Capital Lyme Disease Association is dedicated to building support, increasing awareness and finding a cure for Lyme Disease.

Here are a few tips from National Capital Lyme Disease Association.

1.  Avoid tick-infested areas when possible. Stay in the center of trails, avoiding contact with overhanging grass and brush, while walking in the woods. Trails are less attractive areas for ticks to live than dense underbrush. 2.  Wear EPA-approved repellants appropriate for adult skin or children. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application carefully; some repellants are designed for application to clothes and equipment only.

3.  Daily full-body tick checks of all family members are your first and most important prevention against Lyme and tick-borne diseases.  If you are diligent about checking for ticks, there is no need to limit or abandon your usual outdoor activities.

4. Use a fine-tipped tweezers to firmly but gently grasp the tick’s mouthparts as close to the skin as possible.  Gently pull the tick straight out, with slow but constant pressure, being careful not to twist or jerk it, as this can leave the tick’s mouthparts in your skin.

tick_removal

Please visit National Capital Lyme Disease Association for more information.

Have a great Spring and Summer!!

 

 

 

Boo-booed Book Basket

Few things in our house are as “loved-up” as books.  So, it is no surprise that with 5 kids under roof a page gets torn here and there.  Thus was born:

The Boo-booed Book Basket.Boo-boo book basket 2

Now when a book gets a boo-boo, the kids put it in the basket and I can carefully tape it up and restore it for reading when I get a chance.  So, before you pitch a beloved book because you don’t have time to fix it, put it in The Boo-booed Book Basket and patch it up in your “free time”.

Star Wars Party Under $50

My son wanted a Star Wars party for his 7th birthday.  My efforts to pull off the theme met my little man’s expectations and that’s the most important thing (oh yeah, and that I was able to entertain for less than $50).Star Wars Party light saber wars 3The cake was simple.  Just a good old boxed cake mix, frosting and some clip art.  Also, adding Popems around the perimeter made all the kids salivate. Who knew?Stars Wars Party CakeThe rest of the food was simple.  A few munchies and some Star Wars gummies I scored at the grocery store.Star Wars Party buffetStar Wars Party gummiesThe best part of the party was definitely the Light Saber Battle using light sabers I made out of pool noodles.  I bought pool noodles from the Dollar Store and cut them in half.  I wrapped duck tape and black electrical tape about one end of each of the noodles to look like a handle.  The kids had a ball and there were very few casualties.  Star Wars Party light saber warStar Wars Party light saber war 2At the end of the night the kids watched Return of the Jedi.  Voila! A Star Wars party.  One little guest was quoted as saying, “It was the best party EVER!”