Posts Tagged ‘summer’

July 9th, 2012

A Great Beat the Heat Treat – Peach Gelato Ice Cream!

Everyone is trying to beat the heat this time of year. What better way to do that than to eat ice cream! Here is a great recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream maker.

A Great Beat the Heat Treat – Peach Gelato Ice Cream!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 260 per 1/2 cup

Fat per serving: 15

A Great Beat the Heat Treat –  Peach Gelato Ice Cream!

This ice cream recipe doesn't need an ice cream maker. You can prepare it with the help of your freezer. It is a great summer time treat to keep everyone cool.


  • 3 cups sliced peeled peaches
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon peach schnapps liqueur, optional


  1. Place peaches and water in a large skillet; cook, uncovered, over medium heat until tender. Place in a food processor; cover and process until blended. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat milk to 175°; stir in sugar until dissolved. Whisk a small amount of the hot mixture into egg yolks. Return all to the pan, whisking constantly. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the cream, peaches and liqueur if desired. Press waxed paper onto surface of custard. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  4. Here is how to make ice cream in your freezer, if you don't have the ice cream maker:
  5. Combine the ingredients for your ice cream mixture following the recipe. Chill the mixture over an ice bath. Meanwhile, freeze an empty freezer-safe shallow bowl or pan. Stainless steel works well for this.
  6. Place the cold mixture into the cold pan.
  7. Chill for about 20 minutes and check your ice cream. As the edges start to freeze, stir the mixture rapidly with a whisk or spatula to break up the partially frozen ice cream. This will help make it smooth and creamy. You cannot over-beat. Return to the freezer.
  8. Stir ice cream vigorously every 30 minutes until it is firmly frozen. This may be repeated 4 to 5 times until mixture is smooth and creamy. If ice cream becomes too hard, place it into the refrigerator until it becomes soft enough to beat and continue the process.
  9. Ripen the ice cream by storing it in a covered freezer container until ready to serve.
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July 6th, 2012

Creative Ways to Spend Your Summer

Courtesy of: The Dollar Stretcher  

The fun of summer has just about worn off with the thermometer rising and your family being bored with the same old grind.  Here are some suggestions to keep you and your family active without breaking the bank:

  • Encourage your family to whip up recipes that will keep you satisfied without heating up the whole house. If you have a favorite frozen treat, figure out how to make it at home. Dig out that old ice cream maker and enjoy a wonderful indulgence. Find a new chicken salad recipe or try your hands at gazpacho. Have your helpers track down the ingredients in your refrigerator while you supervise from the chaise lounge.
  • Too tired to cook? Then try a melon and cheese plate with some cold cuts, along with bread sticks. Use your cookie cutters and make funny looking peanut butter and jelly sandwiches along with some carrot sticks and yogurt. Don’t forget to add lots of water to cool everyone off.
  • Grab a basket or even a takeout bag and go on a picnic. The park down the street might be a grand venue, or you can try a spot at the lake or beach. Cruise on over to the next town and try out a spot that’s new to you. Take along some flying disks, balls, and a blanket, but don’t invite the ants!
  • Be a tourist in your own town. Is there a famous attraction you’ve never seen? What about the museum or the zoo? Botanical gardens are a nice change of pace for those of us with hectic lives. Even a factory tour can provide you with a glimpse of your home turf that you’ve never seen before.Statute of touris
  • Just because school is out doesn’t mean you and your family stop learning. Pick a theme for the month and incorporate different aspects into your routines. Maybe you have always wanted to learn how to speak a foreign language, but never got around to it. It’s never to late to learn anything. For example, if you’ve always wanted to learn Japanese, find some language tapes, cook up some examples of Japanese cuisine, and look for references that will illustrate the daily lives of the people whose culture you are studying.
  • The library usually offers more than books. Your local library might offer story times and activities, reading circles for different ages, movies, CDs, puzzles, games, and Internet access for multiple users (very handy if Junior is tying up your home computer all day long with his games or monster-sized music downloads).
  • Work on a do-it-yourself project together. Don’t do anything too extreme, hazardous, or difficult. Instead, maybe you can work on rearranging a room. Maybe you all are getting tired of the way the family room looks. Jot down ideas for easy refits, including making new throw pillows, updating the lighting in the room, decluttering the place, and picking colors for new slipcovers. Or maybe you can make a simple piece of furniture together, like a shelving unit. Allow your family to pick out the colors and design while you put it together and paint it.
  • Go to the family spa. Even males like to be pampered sometimes. Pick out the fluffiest towels you have, heat up your robes in the dryer, and encourage everyone to do some massaging of the face and shoulders, followed by an easy spa lunch of salad and fruit and smoothies. After the light meal, it’s time for nail grooming for the males and manicures with yummy colors for the ladies.
  • Pick one day of each month to be “Give Back Day.” On that day, try to do an activity that appeals to you and enhances your community. Find things to recycle, like newspaper, glass, and plastic. Take donations of gently used clothing, household items, and toys to the thrift shop or family shelter. Help an elderly neighbor or relative run their errands. Pick up trash at the park. Volunteer somewhere.
  • Designate a movie night. Do a double feature and let your crew pick out two movies or be ambitious and run a whole marathon. Pop up a lot of popcorn, offer a variety of snacks and drinks, and let your family invite some friends over. As an alternative, try out some board or card games instead of movies.
  • Take turns introducing your hobbies or your music to each other. Even though you might not be into the latest girl diva or collectible card games, you might be surprised to find that your child has a deep interest in something you can both share. Bring out your disco records and baseball cards. Your kid just might understand you, too.
  • Start a family journal. The dog days of summer run away all too quickly, so take the time at least once a week to jot down what you did during each month. The family journal will help you plan next year’s activities, too. Along with the good times, you can document the downsides so you don’t repeat activities that were definite bombs. Let everyone take part in making entries and don’t be afraid to stick in a few pictures, even the scary ones! Use a paper journal or even a notebook left over from school or find an online journaling site.
  • Have “Do Nothing Time” each week. It’s hard to juggle multiple hats in a family and everyone needs time to recuperate from all that fun. Send the kids to their rooms with firm instructions to relax, then be sure to plop down on that chaise lounge with a big glass of iced tea and something delicious to read. You deserve to be on vacation, too.

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June 27th, 2012

Summer Party Games for the Entire Family

Courtesy of :

Have you ever thought about hosting a block party? With these creative summer games your house will be the highlight of the neighborhood with these terrific family-friendly game ideas from Jamie Yahn of Glitzee Glee, Redplum personal finance expert Lisa Reynolds and Excited2Learn founder Amanda Carman.

Ice cream games

You supply the ice cream, each guest brings a different topping and everyone enjoys an afternoon of frosty fun:

  • Banana split building contest: Set out ingredients, bowls and utensils and give each guest five minutes to create a banana split. The prettiest (and most complete) banana split wins!
  • Ice cream eating contest: Use the banana splits you just made or provide each competitor with a big bowl of ice cream. Whoever can eat the most — without using their hands — wins!

Photo games

The best part of playing these games? You end up with fab photos that last a lifetime!

  • Photo contest: Each family brings a digital camera and takes photos throughout the party. At the end of the gathering, share the photos and select winners: best nature shot, most creative, funniest, etc.
  • Photo scavenger hunt: Provide each guest with a list of items to find. When the explorers find something on the list, they take a photo of it. Whoever finds the most items wins!

Water balloon games

The object of playing water balloon games: get wet!

  • Toss game: Guests throw water balloons into containers of various sizes, earning one point for every balloon that makes it in without breaking! Most points wins.
  • Hoops: Shoot basketball free throws with water balloons! For extra points, teammates stand under the hoop to prevent the balloons from breaking.
  • Hot potato: While music plays, gently toss a water balloon from person to person. Whoever is holding the balloon when the music stops — or when the balloon pops — is out! Last one standing wins.

Lawn games

Whether partying in your lush backyard or tailgating on your favorite team’s parking lot, these outdoor games will put you in the competitive spirit!

  • Rollors: While on active military duty, Matt Butler created Rollors, which he describes as a “combination of bocce ball, bowling and horseshoes.” Set up a family vs. family tournament using poster board to track the winners, bracket-style! It will become a yearly neighborhood event.
  • Summer Olympics: Divide guests into teams and compete in backyard games such as volleyball, soccer, wheelbarrow races and an obstacle course. Buy medals from your local dollar store or make them at home to present to the winning teams!

Chalk activities

Sidewalk Chalk Games

Sidewalk chalk isn’t just for children — everyone can join in the fun!

  • Body tracing art contest: Provide each competing artist with an array of colored sidewalk chalk and five minutes to trace party guests on the pavement. Best likeness wins!
  • Sidewalk games: Use chalk to create old-fashioned games such as hopscotch, four-square and the long jump. Adults will want to join in too!

Fruit games

Fruit is aplenty in summer, so have some fun with it!

  • Fruit roll: Each child tries to roll a sphere-shaped fruit (honeydew, grapefruit, orange, lime) across the yard. First to the finish line without destroying or picking up the fruit wins!
  • Seed spitting contest: This game requires little explanation… whoever spits a watermelon seed the farthest wins! The prize: a watermelon!

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June 22nd, 2012

Family Pizza Night – Pizza Recipe for Kids

Family Pizza Night - Pizza Ideas for Kids

Family Pizza Night - Pizza Ideas for Kids

Kids love pizza. They love being creative. They love spending quality time with mom and dad. What better way to satisfy all of these needs than by getting in the kitchen and creating a family pizza night?


  • Pizza crust
  • Pizza sauce
  • Bite-size and shredded toppings
  • Round or rectangular pans (optional)
  • Pizza stone (optional)


  1. Divide pizza dough into single-size portions or take a whole pizza crust and designate a section for each person.
  2. An efficient way to make a lot of individual pizzas: pat most of the dough into a large rectangle and make a grid pattern with strips of remaining dough. Let kids fill the grids with the toppings of their choice. When the pizza is baked, use a pizza wheel or large knife to cut along the grid lines.
  3. Explore other pizza shapes. How about hearts, flowers, bears, fish, or even kid-shaped pizzas?
  4. Make individual pizza pockets--or calzones--by spreading half a round of raw pizza dough with sauce and toppings, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the other half over and seal the edges by pressing the dough together with a fork. Brush with olive oil and bake.
  5. For a quick and easy pizza night, start with pre-baked pizza crust or make your pizza dough ahead of time.
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June 20th, 2012

Some Low Cost Summer Activities for Families

Courtesy of: Valley City Times Record

homemade bubbles for summer funHere are a number of wonderful low cost summer activities for kids and families that help families keep their hard-earned money in their pockets.

You may want to take each one of these ideas and put them on 3 x 5 cards labeling whether the idea is for “outside” or “inside”.  Then label a box like a shoebox with “outside” and “inside” on the outside of the box.  Let each family member take a turn picking a card of the activity which will be done for that day. This is a great way to avoid activities that cost a lot of cash and a fun way to create a family plan.

Low or no cost outings and activities are something consider for your own kids or a group of friends getting together that will create fun and memories without heating up your wallet or credit card bills:

  • Visit a farm, pet store or the animal shelter
  • Visit a fire station
  • Have cooking lessons at home (bake bread, make homemade ice cream, grandma’s cookies)
  • Visit a pizza store (they’ll sometimes let the kids make one for little or nothing)
  • Visit a television station, radio station, or newspaper facility
  • Visit the Department of Conservation’s nature centers and enjoy educational exhibits
  • Learn to knit or do needlework
  • Get a giant piece of paper and colored pencils and draw your dream house interior view with all the details
  • Participate in free summer reading programs and story times offered by many local libraries
  • Visit zoos and museums that have free or reduced rates for kids on special days
  • Have paper airplane or paper boat races or try making and flying your own kites (books at the library have the instructions)
  • Put on a theatrical performance, a puppet show or a talent contest
  • Write and illustrate a story
  • Plant a small garden or container garden and watch it grow
  • Have sack, peanut or egg races
  • Plan a picnic as an activity
  • Hold a bring-a-dish block party
  • Rent a movie and have special “movie night” snacks
  • Take your kids on a tour of family history and photos
  • Search garage sales as family fun and walk away with a few really good deals
  • Play board games on rainy days
  • Go swimming at the local lake, pond or pool (you can ask for a one day guest pass at a local YMCA to check out the facilities)
  • Visit Vacation Bible Schools, Summer Bible Clubs, Kids Camps, Day Camps
  • Walk, hike, and enjoy nature
  • Go camping in the backyard

And last but certainly not least… make your own bubble solutions and spend hours dipping bubbles and playing with family and pets in the backyard!

Do-It-Yourself Bubble Solution

  • 1 tbsp Glycerine
  • 2 tbsp Dish Soap
  • 9 ounces water
  • Mix it all up (the glycerin added to the mixture is key)
    Pour it into small plastic bottles or a pie pan, grab your favorite wand and enjoy big beautiful bubbles.

Wishing you a very busy, rarely bored and not too costly summer!

This article is adapted from one written by Megan O’Neil-Haight, The University of Maryland Extension, and originally published in Delmarva Youth Magazine, July/August 2006.

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