Friday, June 26, 2009

Campfire Night

One of the things on my kid's list of fun things they wanted to do this summer was to make smores. I thought it would be neat to expand that idea to a campfire night. During a campfire night, we roast winnies, make smores, and just enjoy the fire. You could build a fire at a local park which has the facilities to do that, make a fire in your charcoal grill, or use a fire pit. Fire pits can range from $50-$300, so that might be an expensive purchase if you only bought it for that one time use. It could however be an investment if you planned to do several campfire night or use it when you campout. I was planning on going to a local park, but my son's Cub Scout Pack had a campfire night that we were all invited to and someone brought a fire pit. The kids enjoyed looking for sticks to roast their hot dogs and marshmallows on, but you could also use skewers. Make sure you keep safety in mind during a camp fire night by keeping your children from getting too close to the fire and having a bucket of water near the fire in case of an emergency.
After it gets dark, you can sit around the fire and tell stories. This activity was a lot of fun for my family and cost a lot less than if I would have gotten a camping site. The only money I spent on this activity was on the food and my family would have eaten dinner that night, so this was a pretty frugal activity for us. Here's a list of some items you may need for a Campfire Night.

Things to get for a Campfire Night
Campfire Marshmallows
Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
Graham Crackers
Hot Dog Buns
Mustard, Ketchup, other condiments
Charcoal, wood, etc (Things to start your fire with)
Cold drinks
I hope you get the chance to have a campfire night with your family this summer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Reading Program-4-H Fun Week 1

We went to the library activites again today. Tuesday's are 4-H Fun days. Today they let the kid's make ziplock bag ice cream. The kids loved it! Then they ate it and they gave them a lunch. This was one of the things one my kids summer fun list that they wanted to do. Here are some pictures from today and the recipe in case you want to do this with your kids.

Ice Cream in a Bag
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup of Half and Half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size Ziplock bag
1 gallon-size Ziplock bag
ice cubes
Fill the gallon size Ziplock bag with ice cubes and then add rock salt. Seal the bag. Put half and half, vanilla, and sugar in small Ziplock bag and seal it. Place the small Ziplock bag inside the large one and seal again carefully. Shake until mixture is ice cream or about 5 minutes. Wipe off top of the small Ziplock bag, then open carefully and enjoy!

County Extension Office Day Camp

I signed my oldest son up for a day camp offered by my local County Extension Office. They are doing food related things and crafts including sewing. The best part is they serve lunch and it is FREE. If they attend all of the food workshops they get a basket of cooking/baking items like measuring cups and knives. Yesterday, he made a foot stool by weaving the seat. He did such a great job. Lots of communities have day camps in the summer and most are free, so check around.

Summer Library Program- Story Hour Week 1

As I said in a previous post on this blog, my kids signed up for the summer reading program at our local library. Today was the first day of activities. Monday's are Story hour. The kids got to hear a story and then make a craft which was coasters today and then they provided lunch. We got there early and the twins sat and read books on the dragon carpet. Here are some pictures from the day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pizza and a Movie Night

My kids love pizza and love to watch movies, so why not do both in one night? This summer my kids made a list of fun things they wanted to do this summer and Pizza and a Movie night was one of those. I really like to do these nights because it's a time for my family to spend together doing something fun. We usually get our movie from the Redbox, which cost $1.00, but we have also gotten movies from the library for FREE. I don't cost the count of the pizza because I make it homemade and we would have had dinner anyways. So, I think this is a pretty frugal summer activity.

Here are the recipes that I used to make our pizza, pizza sauce cheesy breadticks, and Monkey Munch (our movie snack):

Pizza Hut Style Pizza Dough or Cheesy Breadsticks
1 1/3 cups water
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp yeast
Add ingredients to bread machine, according to manufacturer’s settings, and run dough setting. After the machine beeps, roll out the dough. You can roll the dough into two 9×13″ pizzas (great for kid’s lunches!) or into two medium pizzas or a large pizza and an order of breadsticks (as instructed above). Parbake the crust with a drizzle of olive oil on it at 450 degrees for ten minutes. Remove the crust and add sauce and toppings. If making breadsticks, add your breadsticks at this time. Place into the oven for another ten to fifteen minutes or until golden and bubbly. Enjoy!
You can freeze your pizza dough for an easier night.

Easy Pizza Sauce
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
4 teaspoons dried onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups water
Combine tomato paste, garlic, parsley flakes, onion, oregano, basil and water in 2 quart saucepan. Cook over medium high heat until mixture boils. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool a little and spread on your pizza crust and proceed with remainder of your toppings.
Makes 3 cups
You can freeze this pizza sauce easily.

Monkey Munch
9 cup Chex
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Put cereal in large bowl. Melt chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over Chex cereal, put into a large plastic bag with powdered sugar and shake well to coat.Spread mixture evenly on wax paper and allow to cool.
This does not last long at my house!
We will be doing this several more times this summer. I hope you get to plan a Pizza and a Movie night for your family this summer.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Park

Today I took the kids to play at our local park. This is one free resource that I take advantage of in our community. My kids could play for hours there. The only problem was that yesterday it was so hot. My kids enjoyed sitting down by the river and throwing rocks in because it was in the shade. We had a really good time. Here are some pictures of our trip.

The Swings

Nicholas enjoys riding his scooter at the skateboard park which is right next to the park

The Spider web! The kids love this!

The swings with brother's help
Neil loves this!
The slide is always a big hit!
Going down to the river to play
My three youngest kids trying to cool down.
Throwing rocks in the river

Summer Library Program

Yesterday, I took my kids to the library and signed them up for the summer reading program. We have done the summer reading program for many years now and my kids love it. The kids are challenged to read as many books as they can during the summer (or parents can read to them) and if you read the average number of books read by all those signed-up then you get a t-shirt at the end of the summer. They also have programs throughout the week for kids to come to. This year Mondays are story hour, Tuesday's are 4-H day, Wednesday's are movie day and Thursday is Painting Day. Also, in past years, the kids are put into a drawing each day they come for some kind of prize. In past years it has been gift cards. These activities are fun for my kids. They also have a big celebration party at the end of the summer to recognize the kids who read. I think a lot of people miss out by not taking advantage of the summer library programs. Stay tuned for activities we do this summer with this program. The thing I like best about it is that it is FREE! This year's theme is Be Creative at Your Library. My kids got a bag full of really neat stuff that we will be playing with soon. Check out your local library to see what they are doing this summer.