Monday, February 17, 2014

Homemade Snow Cones

Although the winter Olympics are looking pretty balmy, here in the good ol' USA many states are getting more snow than usual. The other day we thought we'd take advantage of the snow and make snow cones! 

This was a really fun snacktivity for the kids. First we packed a large tupperware with snow. Really pack it in there, especially if it's the powdery stuff.

Then comes the fun party. For our snowcone bar we set out coconut milk, chocolate syrup, flavoring extracts, food coloring and some homemade syrups (the same kind we made for homemade soda). We had orange and coffee syrup this time. (Coffee Syrup: 1 Tbs instant coffee + 1 cup sugar + 1 cup water)

We once visited this shave ice shack in Hawaii called "JoJo's." It was the best snow cone I've ever had, and I think this one rivals it. The secret is the coconut milk. It makes the snow taste creamy just like ice cream. For mine I did chcoclate syrup, coffee syrup and a couple tablespoons of coconut milk. It tasted like a java/mounds bar ice cream. SO good!

The boys got to choose their own combos too. One picked chocolate mint (chocolate syrup, a couple drops mint extract, and green food coloring). I barely got a picture before it was gone.

The other picked coconut mint (eew?, but he liked it) also with green coloring.

 If you want to make it even easier, you can make a Slurpee by just packing a cup with snow and adding any kind of soda. We had some orange crush left over from...well never mind, let's not talk about it. Anyway this tasted just like an orange Slurpee!

Hope you are finding ways to enjoy the snow if you have it!

Thanks for reading!
- Haley

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sochi 2014

The winter Olympics have finally arrived! I LOVE the Olympics. Patriotism, plus competition, yeah that sounds fun. :) We've been getting excited for weeks. Every Olympics we have an opening ceremonies party where we decorate and make food from the host country.

I set up a scene on our mantle with some felt, and athletes. Some of the figures are cake toppers I've collected from the grocery store, and others we made out of model magic. 

I like to use the Olympics as a big unit on geography for the boys. They made flags out of construction paper, and colored others. Find coloring pages here. We've been talking about all the countries as we watch athletes compete and finding countries on the globe. 

I did an image search for the Sochi Olympic cauldron. Luckily it's super simple so I made a little replica out of foam paper, a paper towel tube, and a battery tea light.

Thing One had a plain grey sweatshirt, so I turned it into team wear, using the silhouette and freezer paper stencil method. USA is pretty easy to cut out so you could easily make this without a silhouette. All you need is freezer paper and fabric paint (see this post for more info on how).

For food we made borscht (I used this recipe from Tyler Florence), complete with dill-sprinkled apple slivers and, my mom made a cold beef salad which included pickles and peas. We also had beef stroganoff and some Kazakh tea (chai). Several of the foods we tried seemed like odd combinations, but were really good! I love doing stuff like this because it makes us be a little more adventurous, it's good to try new things!

We will be eating up all the sports for the next 15 days. Go USA!!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Locust Effect

Well, we are 1/12 the way through 2014. How's your reading list going? I mentioned my list, I'm working on it. One book down, starting on the next, and I just ordered my copy of The Locust Effect. I am really excited to read this book. It's written by the president of International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen, and it addresses the enormous obstacle that violence poses in the fight against poverty, and what we can do about it.  

" a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development."

They have put together this video; it makes me excited to read the book! I want to bring that light.

All proceeds from this book go to International Justice Mission, and a donor is also donating $20 for every book sold this week (up to $40,000). So besides getting your next great read, you can support the  incredible work of IJM, twice! 

Broncos fans, last night was tough, but today life goes on, and that life is so very hard for many who share this world with us. We don't even know the meaning of the word defeated, believe me. This book is an excellent dose of perspective, one that we all need! 

To read my other posts on IJM go here or here.

Thanks for reading! 
- Haley

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Go Broncos!

Well, I feel like I can't be a Broncos fan and not post something about the Super Bowl tomorrow. We have been Broncos fans forever. The good thing about being a faithful fan is that you can stock up on team paraphernalia during the tough years (read Jay Cutler, and Jake Plummer), and then be all set when everyone thinks they're awesome and Broncos stuff is expensive again, yay Peyton!

Needless to say, we are excited. We've been having lots of Broncos snack times here so I thought I'd just throw up some of our orange and blue ideas, in case you need anymore for tomorrow.

Sometimes game food gets kind of heavy, so we went with a few lighter options, in team colors:

  • Dried apricots 
  • Chex muddy buddies in silicon muffin cups - I love using these reusable muffin cups. Snacks are grab and go, we save money not buying muffin liners all the time, and the bright colors can tie into any theme, we got ours here, but they would be a useful souvenir from anywhere : )
  • Apple O's (Apple Jacks), just the orange ones, crunchy and sweet, a kid fav.
  • No-bake chocolate football treats- these are so easy, and actually kind of healthy, and you probably have all the ingredients already. I based our recipe on this one I found on pinterest, but we make a few adjustments, so I'll share our favorite combo. We usually make them without the chocolate coating, but forming them into football shapes and covering with chocolate almond bark makes them the perfect Super Bowl treat. Here's the recipe:

No-bake Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup oats (not quick)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 cup dried natural coconut flakes (unsweetened)- pulsed in a a food processor until finely chopped
1/2 cup ground almonds or pecans OR crushed cereal
1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Form dough into 1" balls and store in an airtight container in the fridge. 
Makes 2 dozen

To make footballs, form into football shapes and dunk one at a time in melted chocolate almond bark. Use a fork to pull the cookie out of the chocolate and tap to remove excess before placing on a foil-lined tray to harden.

Use white sprinkles to make laces on the football (before the chocolate hardens) or pipe laces with white frosting.

Happy snacking! Go Broncos!!

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