Eat Dill Pickles

The summer pickle/mason jar

Don’t throw away pickle jars.

Here is what you can do with them…

  • Bug hotels (be sure to place some plant food and some sticks or items to crawl on)  You can cover the top of the jar with old screen and a rubber band or use foil and poke small holes.  Remember to let your bug go after a short time so he won’t feel too sad to be away from his friends and family.
  • “Lightening in a jar”:  Catch fireflies if you are lucky to live in the Northeast or make one up by putting battery lights in the jar and turn off the light. Lightening bugs!
  • Collection holder for the summer…bottle caps, penny’s, beautiful rocks, shells, ticket stubs, petals, leaves, ribbons, buttons, feathers….
  • Boredom Jar: Place in the jar chores around the house with a payment on the paper.  If they complain they are bored, then go have them take a paper from the jar and do it..of course they get paid for the job.  Example:  10 cents  Take out the bathroom trash. OR:  put ideas in the jar, so when they can’t think of anything to do, you can refer them to “the jar!” Or use it for an idea jar to do projects or read stories.
  • Begin your Christmas Jar: All the change you find, or have in your pockets or purses at the end of the day go in the Christmas jar.  One day at Christmas time you give the whole coin jar to someone who looks like they need it.
  • Grow a plant in your jar/ put worms under the earth and see if you can watch them
  • Make it into a luminary. Glue with white glue and a little water torn colored tissue paper on the outside of the jar.  Place a candle inside in the evening and see the pretty colors glow through.  You can wrap wire around the tops of the jars and hang the jars if you have a place outside to hold the wire.
  • Make butter: Put real cream inside the washed out jar and shake and shake and shake until the butter gets thick.  Add some honey and you have homemade honey butter.
  • Use your jar as a “compliment”family jar. Leave pieces of paper near the jar and allow your family to write things to put in the jar about something nice a family member does.
  • Penny cleaner: Mix salt and vinegar together.  This makes hydrochloric acid.  Drop pennies inside or use a cotton swab to clean off the pennies.
  • A joke or thought for the day…write them out and read them before bed…laugh together
  • Go to the dump. It is really fun for kids.  Take all your jars you save and throw them in the big container that recycles jars….or take them to a recycling center at the grocery story and get change.
  • Use your jar for water when you paint all those amazing pictures with your children
  • Rainbow Sand: color sand, salt, or white corn meal with powdered tempera paint in plastic bags.  Now you can pour layers of colored sand into your jar to make a beautiful art piece to display.
  • Use your jar as a vase for the beautiful wild flowers you pick on your walks
  • Drink from them with a fun straw

When Food Was Fun…

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.

Elsa Schiapirelli

Summer, Food, Friends…perfect fit!

The kitchen is the best place for mega fun! Here are some edible ideas for summer treats, eats and beats to boredom.

  1. Don’t want to cook? Make food boards. Serve on a chopping board or tray rolled up meats or chunky tuna, assorted breads, crackers, chips, popcorn, etc., cheese squares or cubes, add cucumbers, carrots, berries, hard-boiled eggs, olives, dill pickles…what ever you feel like. (have your kids decide) Bring out some toothpicks  and all sit around and nibble. (Do it for breakfast with cut up waffles, syrup to dunk, berries, melons, ham, hard boiled eggs, piles of granola, etc.)

“…he that cannot lick his fingers goes not with me… ”               William Shakespeare

2. Smoothies are a craze. Let your child make up their own. One thing fun is to purchase some inexpensive fun types of cups or silly straws. Many you can get at the dollar store. Let your child pick out a “special cup” that can be just their own.  Have these “special cups” be only for smoothie concoctions.

3. Wait, smoothies make great Popsicles. Pour them in  ice-cube trays, and cover with foil. Stick a toothpick through the foil (it stands up straight) and freeze for a few hours. Let your children eat these all summer, or chop with a fork and it turns into a slushy. Oh so good on a hot day!

4. Popsicle Competition. Who can make the best tasting flavors? Homemade Popsicles can be made by juicing, adding fruit juices together, lemonade flavors, or adding chunks of fruit into the trays. Have a family or friendly competition and everyone be the judge.

Tip: save small container lids. Cut a small slit in the center and place the Popscicle stick through the slit. Not the lid catches the drips and not on the clothes. Hooray!

5. Jello Jigglers are a great sensory experience and they taste good. Allow your child to help make them. The recipe is on the jello box. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Let them use scissors (washed) to cut the jello up and play with it. Eating and playing is allowed. (Hot water is required)

6. Jello Fish Bowl. Make up a blue Jell-o recipe and put into a glass bowl. Place green or purple grapes in the bottom. Allow the jello to set and then use a skewer to add gummy fish. Share with family or friends.

7. Going fishing?: Place fishy crackers in a tiny container. Using straight pretzels as the fishing pole, have them dip in cream cheese, peanut butter, butter, Nutella, bate and stick in the fish to catch some. Then eat them up.

8. Fruit Roll ups are great for crafts. You can make mini purses, bows on cupcakes, flowers, circles. Go to town…

9. Peanut Butter Clay: 1 cup peanut butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered milk, 3 Tables spoons honey. Mix together well then play. (you will want to take a snitch)

10. Dirt Dessert: (Family Favorite) Smash Oreo cookies up to look like dirt. The best way I found to include the kids is to put it in two freezer bags and let them hit the bag with a rolling pin or spoon. Layer clear cups, or a big clean flower pot, with chocolate, butter scotch or vanilla pudding (Whichever you prefer), the Oreos, cream cheese and or whipped cream. Make sure the tops are completely covered with the “dirt.” Place artificial flowers on the top as a center piece or make flowers with gum drops and skewers. Serve the large pot with a clean/ food safe potting shovel. It is a great crowd pleaser!

11. If you read any books this summer that can be turned into a special themed dinner  to use to encourage and continue reading. The story Stone Soup is a great starter. It doesn’t work unless you have the kids help.

12. Turn your tongue Blue Day! Its another family contest and get the camera ready. Choose which is the winning factor for tongue dying. Frozen blueberries, grapes or raspberries, blue fruit pops, blue jello, blue Italian ice, blue gummy sharks, or blue gum balls. I’m not telling which will win!

13. Flavor your own popcorn: You can make this into a contest too. (But everyone is the winner!)

14. Did you know many stuffed animal and doll friend’s birthdays are in the summer? Go figure. Have your child make a party for them that all invited to. Of course the Lovey will request their favorite dinner or dessert. That is up to you to figure out that edible surprise.

Nonsense Summer Days

“A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”  Roald Dahl

When I was a child my father would sing this little phrase before he would flip us on our beds. “One for the money, two for the  show, three to get ready and four to go…flip!

Stay-cations? Schedule  your days around a bit of nonsense:

“One for the money” Monday: Chores made fun, lemonade stands, car washes…Write down small tasks with the cash reward amount next to the task and fill up a jar. Be prepared to pay up when the job is completed. Allow a trip to the dollar store, candy store, tag sale where you can buy treasures cheap. Let them chose even if YOU don’t think it will be fun. They worked for it, let them learn about it.

“Two for the  Show” Tuesday: Today is movie day. Tell your child you want her to put on a show for you. (Children are masters at this without your help!) OR go allow your child to pick a free movie at the library. Have a movie time with friends. Watch shows that involve “cool” stories like Snow Dogs, Frozen, Happy Feet or Polar Express. Watch in the basement if you have one. Place pillows, blankets in the freezer for a few minutes of chill. BRRRR! AHHH!

“Three to get ready” Wednesday: Plan and Prep for a family outing for the next day. Have a family planning time where you decide a list of things you can do together for an outing. (Not expensive, just fun together) To have them guess tangle a room with string with  the final destination at the end. Have then untangle to discover.

“Four to GOOOOO,” Thursday: This is a family adventure day. Penny walks; Heads you go left, tails you go right. See where you end up. A scavenger hike on a bike, in a car, in a yard, in your house on a stormy summer afternoon. Use your imagination or look up what to do with kids, you your area where you live.

Other random day ideas:

Nick-Nack-Patty-Wack Monday: Learn something new today. A magic trick, a science experiment, a unique art project, a new sport, a new food. (Gak, Slime, or OOObleck are good choices in the recipes)

Tutty-Fruity Tuesday: Visit fruit stands, or go to the grocery store. Make up a new type of smoothie and drink in fun cups, or place in ice trays and make up some Popsicles. Have a family watermelon seed spitting contest. (BTW the record is 66 feet 11 inches to beat)

Whatcha-ma-call-it Wednesday: This is a silly day. Wear your clothes backwards, have a crazy dinner using different utensils, get squirted with the hose or make your own slip and slide, make it so if you say a certain word you have to do….be creative and have some fun with it…

Share this link of ideas to your friends so they can have some summer fun with summer days too…



“Say Lovin’ Words” beyond…

Sticks and Stones can break my bones,

but words can actually destroy me.

Our children listen and watch. The way we speak about other people, issues, or living things; our choice of words, tone, and body language, will be picked up and mimicked. Adults are models for children.

“Say lovin’ words” about other people’s circumstances and about the beautiful world we live in. Be careful about grown-up issues that are too developmentally intense for children and do not speak about them when they can hear. Be careful how you speak in front of your children.

I have observed preschool girls stand with hands on hips, whispering and pointing at other little children and shun.

I have observed children say a parental script exactly down to the tone it was presented.

I have talked children back in to enjoying something in nature that was told by an adult was dirty, ugly, gross, or boring but when returned to their natural earth connection which is their birthright, they love it and love learning about it; such as holding and reveling in worms.

The world is harsh already. Teach children to  use words which contribute to a better place to live for all living things and allow them to be loving humans by you leading the way.



That first “stupid” comes out of your angel’s mouth.

“Gasp! Where did they hear that?” We look around like we are s…

My dad had creative ways to alter big family squabbles and wrangles.

He used to say, “DDDDDDDDDD!”

It always got our attention and he meant business.

With a cheesy grin and brows raised, he would glare out the side of his glasses staring us down and then complete the moment by saying…

“Children….Say lovin’ words.” in a sing-song fashion.

He would then return back to what he was doing while his six children knew exactly what that meant.

That was it.

When your baby is small is when you determine your word weather. I will tell you that it is extremely difficult to change your word weather later! Some of our taboo words in my husband’s and my home were stupid, dumb, shut-up, fat, butt,  kill,… and no swears ever. Discover substitutes and model them for your children.

Some families can stir up a pretty harsh word storm meant to be hurtful and demeaning. It creates a weather that is difficult to get rid of and feels scary and sad. Words do hurt. Words are lethal.

Begin young to determine your family language.

Do something strange to get your kid’s attention away from word hurting, in a fun way.

To this day, I can hear my father make that noise and say those words.

It makes me smile.

Do you know what?

It worked.


Put a Pause in it…

The very minute your baby enters  your life you shift into something I refer to as “maintenance mode.” It is an entrance to a never ending treadmill ride where you are constantly running in sync with time.

  • Baby wakes up.
  • Baby needs changing.
  • Baby needs food.
  • Baby needs a bath.
  • Get baby dressed.
  • Put baby in the car seat.
  • Take baby out of the car seat.
  • Feed baby again.
  • Change baby again…

And it just keeps going on and on and on and on. And you coast on maintenance mode driving and rushing forward until you crash in bed for a few minutes before baby wakes again, and it starts all over.

Adding more children that speed on that treadmill gets going faster and faster and doing things seems to be always on a deadline to “hurry up.”

So I am suggesting every once in awhile to push stop on that treadmill and look at your child…right in the eyes.

I heard one mother of triplets used to do it when she would place her babies in their car seats. She took one moment out of her day and looked right in their eyes…  and paused out of maintenance mode and forgot about time.

She may have given them a rasberry under their chin, tweeked their nose and said “You’re a snicklefritz,” or sang a song…”I love you, a bushel and a peck, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck…”

Every once in awhile put a pause in maintenance mode. We all know “IT” has to be done and the treadmill keeps rolling, but you have control of the pause button. And when you stop and look, you are once again reminded why you love being a parent. It’s that baby!