Momma Monday: Mini Sorbet Cookies

July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

 Dear friends,

McGilly and I had alot of fun this week, so much fun in fact, sitting at my desk was the last place I wanted to be.  We spent alot of time with family enjoying the simple things that make summer great.  These are a treat we made for two BBQ’s we had and they were a hit. We created the recipe a little out of desperation.  We were needing a dessert for a family get together and we had limited ingredients {we were borrowing a kitchen} and no time to run to the store, we found 2 boxes of white cake mix and the ingredients for cream cheese frosting but how to make it special and we wanted something summery.  As we kept looking we discovered some limes and some crystal light packets in yummy summery flavors…lightbulb…Mini Sorbets were born, named because they looked like small scoops of yummy sorbet as we rolled them to put them on the pan.

The fun is that you can use any flavor of crystal light and I bet they will all taste delicious!  Here is the recipe…

 

Cookie Ingredients {for each flavor}:

1 box white cake mix

3 packets {individual serving size} crystal light in your choice of flavor.

We used pink lemonade and peach raspberry.

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

 

Lime Frosting Ingredients:

{this is a double batch because I freeze half my frosting when I make it for next time}

1 package powdered sugar

2 cubes of butter

2 8oz. packages of cream cheese

Juice and grated rind of 5 limes

1 tsp. almond extract

 

First. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Second. Mix the cake ingredients together until it is the consistency of play-doh

Third. Roll dough into 1/2 TBS balls {small cookie} or 1 TBS {medium cookies}

Fourth. Cook for 8 min. or just until the tops crack-DO NOT OVER COOK

Fifth. Pull cookies out and cool on a rack

Sixth. While cooking– combine softened butter and cream cheese until fluffy, add lime juice and rind, extract and then slowly add your powdered sugar until it is smooth.  You may need a little more powdered sugar depending on the size of your limes but you want the frosting to be thick.

Seventh. When cookies are completely cooled add a yummy dollop of lime frosting in-between two cookies and place on a serving tray.  I keep mine in the refrigerator until I am ready to serve because it is quite refreshing to have a cold sorbet cookie on a hot summer day:)

Also Bailey packaged half the cookies up with 5 cookies stacked in a 1/2 pint mason jar, we added a little wax paper and kraft paper tag under the lid and they auctioned them off at a bake sale for a friend of hers who is battling stage 2 cancer.  They were a hit and helped a good cause.  I love that girl!

And of course Miss McGilly helped, she even has her very own apron because we are most definitely pretty apron fans.  She always wants to be right in the middle of the action–I quite love that about her.

Just trust me the recipe is easy, yummy and delightful!  Let me know if you try it!

AshLee

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Summer Stories with Dee Dee

July 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello Friends,

What a treat, today I am guest posting about writing summer stories with the kiddies.  Check it out over on Whatever Dee Dee Wants and her wonderful Terrific Tuesday’s.  While you are over there make sure to check out my favorite Terrific Tuesday activity, PVC Waterways!

Isn’t this fabric lovely!  My aunt Steph and my Grammie gave it to me, it used to be my Great Grandma Bessie’s.

And most definitely have a Terrific Tuesday!

Ash

Young Womens Camp Craft–Blink Necklace DIY

July 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hello Friends,
Long time, no write. I got home from Young Womens Camp on Friday! It was amazing, I love working with the girls and I met so many amazing leaders. I will tell you more but I promised some of my new found friends this tutorial so here it is the most popular craft in 6 years…or so I am told…all right here… for your enjoyment!  I needed a craft for 220 girls and leaders that was under 1 dollar per girl, required minimal supplies, low mess and could be accomplished in an hour and a half.  Here is what I came up with, a Blink Necklace.  This recipe will make 25 necklaces.  They end up costing about 75 cents each.

First for the supplies:

  •  Two twin flat sheets from Wal-mart (5.00).  We did watermelon, turquoise, gray, and khaki colors.
  • 25 brass or silver brads
  • 25 roofing nails, can be reused.
  • 25 bent safety pins
  • 5000 (10mm) wooden beads from shipwrecked beads (20 beads per girl)
Prep work:  
Cut one sheet lengthwise so you have 25- 3X96 inch strips.  I used a rotary cutter with a pinking edge so that I did not have to turn them right side out.  Then stich the strips into tubes with a contrasting thread and a 1/4 inch seam.  Last, use the second sheet and cut out 3 inch circles, 8 for each kit.  I then packaged craft kits for each girl and they contained the supplies in the picture above.
Here is how they go together:
Place a bead in the tube and slide it to the center of the tube.  Tie a knot on each side of the bead, repeat with additional beads–adding one to each side until the beads are gone.  Bead, knot, bead, knot.
Next set aside the necklace and take your set of circles, the brad, the roofing nail, and the safety pin.  Fold one circle in half.  Puncture the half circle in the center of the fold, slightly above the fold.
Place the brad in the hole.  This part starts out messy but as soon as you make it bloom it all looks beautiful.
Repeat the last step and add each petal to your brad, fanning them out as you go to fill in the circle.
When you have finished putting on all of your petals…
Turn over your flower and lay out the brad, make sure to press it down as hard as you can to secure the brad in the center.
And last but not least to fluff– This part is done petal by petal and was perfected by the girls at camp.  Take one of the petals that is folded over.  Take the top half between your thumb and your forefinger and the bottom between you thumb and your other forefinger–then twist and pull them apart.  As you pull them apart they get ruffled and fluff up.  Do this to each petal and the result is  that your flower has bloomed.  I think I will video this step and put it up but for now just pull on those petals and ruffle them up—this is what you get…
My favorite part was seeing all the fun ways the girls were creative with these.  They switched petals with eachother to make the flowers multicolor and they were wearing them as headbands, necklaces, and at church on Sunday I saw them as belts–so, so, cute!!
I packaged them up with these tags and put a little saying inside to explain why they were called blink necklaces.  Also I made some instruction tents for the tables because I was going to be instructing 80-90 girls at a time.  Here are those downloads below…have fun because I know we did!
Downloads+
Have a great Monday and make sure to check back tomorrow for my first guest post!
Ashes

Raising a Reader Part 2: The Magic of Read-Aloud

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

From the lovely Emily at the Black Apple Shop

Dear friend,

I was going back through my posts and this one ended up with no links and with the formatting all a-rye, here is it’s better version.

This is such a fun post to share.  One of my favorite things in my kindergarten classroom was sitting in my rocking chair and reading aloud to my kids.  Although most often-and you will find out why as you read on-I was not sitting but engaging my kids in the book through my magic tricks.  I want to first tell you some of the amazing benefits from reading aloud to your children and then show you some magic tricks for really engaging them in that reading.  This information is from my experience and from an awesome conference I attended while in college that I took notes on.  Sadly I did not write who presented it so if you know let me know so I can thank her for all the students that have benefited from her insight.

“Reading aloud to children is the single most important activity one can do to raise a reader.”-US Department of Educations Commission on Reading

 Why is reading aloud so important?

  • If done well will serve to connect reading and pleasure in the brain.
  • Teaches children the conventions of print.
  • Teaches children that print can be turned into sound that carries a story.
  • It also teaches that the message in a book is permanent.
  • And to expect that a story will make sense.
  • Enriches vocabulary.
  • Increases grammar and writing skills.
  • Improves problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Contributes to a wealth of background knowledge needed in all other educational subjects.
  • Improves attention span.
  • Creates empathy.
  • Improves the imagination.
  • Proven as the single most important activity for building understanding and gaining essential skills for reading success. {NAEYC}
  • And in some studies correlates with higher quality of life, longer lifespans, improved self esteem, lowers probability of imprisonment, and increases child’s probability of staying in school.
  • …and if that is not enough it is simply entertaining and F-U-N!

 

 How can I make the most out of my read aloud time?

  1. Choose a magical book-I am not talking a book of spells but a book that you love, and that your kids can fall in love with too.  So a must is to familiarize yourself with the book-practice reading it using the following tips and remember what Mem Fox says,  “If we don’t gasp, howl, block our ears, sigh, vomit, giggle, curl our toes, empathize, sympathize, feel pain, weep or shiver during the reading of a picture book, then surely the writer has wasted our time, our money, and our precious trees.”
  2. Make it special-Have high expectations for children’s behavior but make it an environment in which the kids are comfortable to gasp, giggle, and sigh as the book lend itself.  Perhaps have a special place in your house for reading aloud or a special time or special signal to call your children to read aloud.
  3. Relish the words- pay attention to placement of words extra space, alliteration and by taking your time and loving the words you bring the words to life.
  4. More than a voice- Reading a story aloud is more than vocalizing the text.  Tell the story with your eyes, voice and even your big toe.  First tell it with your eyes {The story must be in the eyes as much as it is in the mouth-Mem Fox}  Make eye contact with your audience and know the story enough that you can look at the audience periodically.  Next with your voice {make good use of inflection, whispering, yelling, and never ever underestimate the power of a pause}, and last even enlist the use of that big toe meaning use in of yourbody language {move, jump, shiver, or sword fight as needed:)}.
  5. Encourage interaction-if the book contains a repeating phrase, pause once child has picked up the pattern and allow them to fill in the blank.  When appropriate ask questions to engage children in the story.
  6. Make the first line fantastic-draw them in and make sure to end with a bang!
  7. Add a third dimension- when at all possible have something tangible from the story to follow up the read aloud, Jim Trelease uses the example of having a bowl of blueberries to share when finishing Blueberries for Sal.

 

 What books are good read-aloud books?

There is only two clear rules.  Find books you love and avoid an overabundance of dialogue-it gets tricky when reading aloud.  Some of my favorite authors and the favorites of my students are of course, Mem Fox, Mo Willems {Pigeon Books}, Judy Schachner {Skippy Jon Jones}, and many of the classics found on this list.  This list is the top 100 books every child should know.

But, one of my most favorite read alouds- one that would lead to my kindergarteners coming back as 1st graders to show me the book they checked out, or reading to me before school on the playground to tell me what happens in one of the books from the series we didn’t read-was during the second half of the year I would read a chapter from the The Magic Treehouse Series everyday until year end.  “No pictures with 5 year olds?!” you say-twenty six to be exact-and they loved every minute of it.  Most days I would be standing and acting out the action scenes as I read or slowing my speech as the egyptian ghost came down the hall of the tomb but they loved it.  So much in fact if I forgot I would get at least 5 hands reminding me we needed to find out what happened to Jack and Annie.

 Fieldtrip to the Bookstore/ Library- One great way to find books your kids are sure to love is let them test them out first.  Let them pick out the books that look like fun and then spend some time reading to them-you will know instantly those that should be purchased or brought home, and those that should be left behind.  McGilly and I already are pro’s at this.

 

How often should I read aloud to my kids?

Simple Answer: As much as you can but at least 20 minutes a day.

“In education, there is a lot of theory, but the achievement and life-long benefits to 20 minutes of daily read-aloud are fact.” -Esme Raji Codell

Helpful hints to pack in more reading:

  • Store books in the pockets in the backs of the front seats of the car
  • Keep one in your bag for check out lines and waiting rooms
  • Definitely add some bath books to your bath time toys {One of McGilly’s favorites}
  • Keep track of reading using a chart or simply adding a circle or star with the books name to the back of your child’s bedroom door.  This is an idea I just heard from a friend {thanks Jaime} this helps her and her kids to see how many books they have read.
  • Make it part of your routine.

 

There is so much more I could write but instead I will direct you to some of the most helpful of websites on reading aloud:

And last but not least just one more thought on the subject if I haven’t convinced you already on the importance of read aloud, this is from the America Reads website:

 

What difference can reading to a child for 30 minutes a day make?

If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is 5 years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of brain food!

Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child’s hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes, fairytales, and stories.

A kindergarten student who has not been read to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.

If you read 30 minutes daily……the child has 900 hours by age 5.

If you read 30 minutes weekly……the child has 130 hours by age 5.

If you read less than 15 minutes weekly…..the child has 60 hours by age 5.

 

I truly believe from my experience as an educator and as a mother, that 30 minutes of reading each day is the best investment you can make in the future of your child.  It’s not easy sometimes but I promise it does get easier.

Have  a happy day and go read a book!

Ash

GTYWC

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Dear Friend,

My grandma told me that when people during the 19th century were going to Texas to escape debt, they would put a sign up that said GTT, Gone to Texas.  So here is my official sign, GTYWC.  I came back from my trip to NY and jumped into the Fourth of July celebrations and my responsibilities as the Camp Craft Director for my stake.  This entails creating and compiling the supplies and carrying out two crafts for 220 young women and their leaders while camping at Heber Valley Camp and  I am also sewing a lovely backdrop banner for our theme of Happily Ever After.

It is going to be so much fun but the week before camp is crazy so I am going to try and post as much as possible but expect a regular return after the 15th.

And make sure if you haven’t already to check out  the fourth of July printables on Two Penny Blue.

Happy Fourth of July!

Ash

 

 

Wednesday Weigh-in +Book Making Tutorial

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment


Dear friends.

As you can see I am now down 2 more pounds.  Wahoo!  Last week was a wash but this week and our traipsing around New York got me back on track.  I wanted to share my tutorial for the Weigh-in Book and next week I will show you how a week in my book looks.

First gather your supplies…

Print the necessaries form this post. and you will also need a cardstock tent that is 4.25 X 3 inches, a pair of scissors, a hole punch, a rubber band, and a glue stick {or to make your own book you’ll need two 1/2 sheets of card stock, and a stack of 1/2 sheets for pages, and a piece of patterned paper for the binding}.

 Next, use the patterned paper and begin rolling from one corner.

 Then glue the corner down to secure the paper tube you have just made.

Next, fold the small piece of cardstock over the binding edge of your book.

 And, hole punch two holes through the binding.
Next lay the tube down along the binding and trim it to fit.  You may need to add a little more glue if you don’t trim to the center of the tube.
 Next, thread the rubberband through from the back of the book so the ends are sticking out the front holes.

  Last thread your tube through the ends of the rubber band to secure.
Now, you have a lovely bound book.  I think this could be used for lots and lots of things, wedding programs, birthday favors and you could use patterned paper to match the theme.  Have fun with this and thank you to Linda Marriott for teaching me how to make this in college.
I have wanted to start adding a picture each week to chart my progress so of course I went to the trip pictures thinking, there has to be one in there, but everything is from my waist up, this one is the only showing more than half my body…too funny!  We are two goof ball sisters.

Oooo...a sting ray at Mystic Aquarium

Ambie looks quite amazed...silly girl.

Have a great day!
Ash

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