1/21/16

Kid Stuff for Bored Children

Kids can get so bored indoors during the winter. A nice snow may generate a sledding outing, but when fingers and toes begin to freeze it's time to come inside.

So many youngsters have electronic devices to entertain themselves, and I know some kids want to play on those all the time. They're fun, but it's not a good idea to allow a child to entertain himself for hours on end that way.

Our local schools have been closed for the past two days and will most likely remain closed tomorrow. We didn't even get snow, so there's no sledding. We got a layer of ice, making it dangerous for school buses to transport children.

I've been thinking about all those kids cooped up inside. Caretakers can make the days inside easier and more enjoyable for everyone with a little planning.

Of course, the electronic devices are here to stay, and they can be a part of a child's day. Having a variety of books available for the kids is a good idea for any day, especially bleak winter ones. Board games and puzzles will never go out of style. Cooking and crafting activities are also some things to do on a bad weather day. Most children are interested in learning something new and are eager to get in the kitchen or try a craft.

I've made a list of some of my posts with activities kids might enjoy doing when they're stuck indoors. Younger children can "help"a grown-up, while older children may be able to do many of these with some supervision from an adult. Put these in your bag of tricks and pull one out when a child complains of boredom.



1. Let them be creative -- Best Ever Play Dough




2. Cooking is always fun -- Pepperoni and Cheese Crescents














6. Kids love to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies






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1/16/16

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Any day is a good day for a slow cooker recipe, but Saturday is my favorite day to get the crock pot out and cook up something delicious. This recipe for pork roast is as simple as a recipe can be. Put the roast in the pot and pour the seasoning over the top, and the job is done. Roasted vegetables complete the meal. Today I used small yellow potatoes, onions, parsnips, and sweet potatoes because that is what I had. Roasted broccoli and carrots are good, as well.

But, as those YouTube girls Hannah and Kaylee always say -- "First things first"-- Don't put anything in the crock pot until there is a slow cooker liner in place. If you forget to use a liner then there will be a greasy, messy crock to wash, and who has time for that? I don't, and you probably don't, either. Those slow cooker liners are on my list of Top 10 convenience items for the kitchen.







Print Recipe

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

1 (3.5 - 4 lb.) Pork shoulder butt roast
1 (10.5 oz.) can french onion soup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper

Rinse and pat dry the pork roast; place in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine soup, vinegar, garlic, and pepper. Pour mixture over roast. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 4 hours or until meat tests done.







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1/9/16

Modeling Chocolate and Monkeys

Remember how much fun it was as a kid to make animals out of clay? Not much has changed for me, it's still fun to create animals. I made some monkeys, but instead of using clay, these monkeys were made from modeling chocolate. Those years of playing with clay as a kid turned out to be a useful experience for this project.

This cake was made for a two-year-old boy who loves watching Five Little Monkeys on YouTube.  I had no idea how I was going to make a cake like this, but not knowing how to do something has never stopped me from jumping in with both feet.

I started in the usual way -- searching for and collecting ideas on Pinterest. My cake isn't professional quality, but it made the child squeal with delight when he saw it, so I considered it a success. I think it takes practice to be skillful at this. My first monkey took a lot longer to put together than the last one. Working with the teeny tiny parts was the hardest for me. I'm not sure if I had too many fingers or not enough when I tried to put those little pieces together.

The bottom portion is a 9 x 13-inch cake. The bed and pillow were cut from an 8 x 8-inch cake. The cakes were frosted with chocolate buttercream. The headboard and monkeys were made from all modeling chocolate, but the bedspread is made from 50% modeling chocolate and 50% fondant. I looked at several tutorials on how to make the monkeys. The one I found most helpful is found here.





I'm including the quick recipe for modeling chocolate, but I recommend this site for more information.

Print Recipe

Modeling Chocolate

2 pounds white chocolate (can be in blocks, chips, or candy melts)
1 cup white Karo syrup

Prepare a 9 x 13-inch pan by lining with plastic wrap, leaving a wide overhang; set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate at 30-second intervals on HIGH. Stir well after each 30-second interval. Be careful not to overheat.
In a separate microwave safe container, heat syrup for 45 seconds on HIGH. Pour syrup into melted chocolate. Stirring with a rubber spatula, blend well. Mix until syrup and chocolate are completely blended, about 30 folds. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Pull plastic wrap tightly over chocolate. Be careful not to make indentations with the plastic wrap. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature overnight. The following day, cut the chocolate into smaller pieces for kneading. Knead in food coloring, if desired. Store in resealable plastic bags.






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