2 Ingredient Strawberry Ice Cream :: No machines required!

This was totally Martha Stewart's idea. And I stole it. She used peaches. She called it Sherbet. I used strawberries. We think it tastes more like ice cream than Sherbet. No matter what you call it, it's a fun quick, and easy frozen treat. We loved this for it's simplicity and ease. We loved it because you don't need a fancy ice cream maker. We liked it because it was relatively quick and well, we're an impatient lot. We like instant gratification. And come on, admit it, you do too!

4 cups strawberries, frozen, stems removed
1 can sweetened condensed milk

That's it. Crazy, right? We know!


Freeze 4 cups of strawberries and place in a Ziplock bag in your freezer. Lay flat so they don't freeze together. Freeze for about 2 hours or overnight. We always have frozen strawberries on hand for smoothies, and baking. 

In a blender pour in the condensed milk and then add the strawberries. Bend until smooth. When smooth pour mixture into a metal loaf pan. Place in freezer for about an hour. 

After remove and serve!

Note, this is delicious but very sweet. You may want to cut down on the sweetness by adding a little bit of while milk to the mixture, say, about 1/3 of a cup. Test to taste. Kids might like it sweeter than the adults.

If you go strawberry (or any berry or fresh fruit) picking, this is a great way to use up a ton of berries. Fresh berries tend to go soft and start to turn fairly quickly. This is a great and fun summertime activity to do with kids of all ages. 

In the blender, always add the liquid to the blender first!
Otherwise the frozen berries will merge and freeze together and blending will be tough!

Pretty in pink!

Ready to scoop...

Ready to eat!

For a perfectly red, white and blue treat add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and top with fresh blueberry!

Play with your food!

Even a serious foodie likes to bring out his or her inner-child... I just love these plates. I think Santa will be bringing them for Christmas!

And I would hate to leave Rebecca out, so now there is one for girls!

I think these placemats are nothing less than brilliant. I mean VanGogh, would have seriously cut off part of his ear for one of these!

Instead of discouraging, next time, you might very well encourage your child to go pick their nose!

Nose-picking isn't just for kids anymore!

Your daughter wants Pinkalicious Birthday party. These darling tea cup cupcake wrappers will be sure to be crowd-pleasers!

King of the World? Perhaps serve your guests a Gin & Titonic!

We all know a few people who could use one of these...

Just hate when this happens to me...

Because sometimes you want to have your cake and eat it too!

All of these wonderful products, and so many more, can be found at Fred & Friends.

Note: I was not endorsed by anyone over at Fred & Friends... but if anyone over at Fred & Friends sees this and would like to offer up an item for a give-away, you can contact me through my profile! ;)

Happy Birthday Hungry Caterpillar!

We had a lovely day at the Eric Carle Museum last week. We joined the museum in celebrating Mr. Carle's 80th Birthday and the 40th Anniversary of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We saw an exhibit on that book -- how the idea was initially conceived all the way through publishing. The kids saw all the changes made along the way, how the end result was quite different from the initial idea. Our Very Hungry Caterpillar was initially titled A Worm Named Willie! We saw a lovely water-color exhibit featuring the works of EH Sheppard, the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh and works by Hillary Knight (of Eloise fame), Kevin Henkes and many, many others. The kids participated in a scavenger hunt of sorts as they searched for various picture book art related items hidden within the exhibitions.

From the galleries we wandered in to the gigantic art room and the kids spent about an hour in there embarking on their own Eric Carle collages. Interesting, was that they used liquid starch instead of glue as their adhesive. Its' consistency is a lot like water and it won't ruin sponges and surfaces. It was great and easy to work with. Of course it was hard to tear away from the art room, but there was still the gift shop to hit ($$$$$!!!!) and a long ride home.

We loved making the collages and will do so again.

What you will need to make your own Eric Carle Collages

Tissue paper scraps of all colors and patterns
Heavy weight paper, such as watercolor paper
Liquid starch, poured into a dish
Scissors to cut shapes out of tissue paper

You can begin any way you wish. Either start by cutting out specific shapes or randomly paste various shapes on to your paper. We were pretty abstract in our art, but Rebecca did make a picture of a goldfish swimming in a blue sea. All were beautiful and I cannot wait to frame them!

This would be a great rainy day craft, perfect for all ages, paired along with a couple of Mr. Carle's books!

of course a Caterpillar needs a "Bug!"

our collages in progress

collages of felt...

even Alexander could thoroughly enjoy it!

Rebecca worried that she was too old for this "baby" Museum. If anything, Alexander was slightly young.

Happy Birthday Hungry Caterpillar!

Happy Birthday America!

We've been busily celebrating our Independence with good friends, good food and great fireworks... more will be posted about that later... But I had to share these adorable little hamburger cookies! Just too cute not to share. Excuse the photo quality. I am going to make these tonight to bring to another 4th party this evening.

How to make Hamburger Cookies

You will need:

Sesame seeds
Nilla wafers
Keebler Grasshopper cookies, Girl Scout Thin Mints or the Keebler chocolate covered peanut-filled cookie, Girl Scout Tagalongs (my kids liked the PB variety better)
Canned frosting
Food coloring, red, yellow, green
Shredded coconut

In a small baggie place shredded coconut with green food coloring and shake until you get the color you desire to resemble shredded lettuce.

In a small bowl, mixing frosting and food coloring together until you reach the color of "special sauce" or cheese -- start out with small amounts of red and yellow to achieve a pastel orange color.

Take one Nilla wafer, apply a small amount of frosting to use as a glue, place the mint cookie on the Nilla wafer, then add small amount of frosting once again to be used as glue, top that with the lettuce, then a generous amount of "special sauce/cheese frosting" before adding thebun (Nilla Wafer) on top of that.
To get the sesame seeds to stick on to the bun, use an egg wash. Apply *egg wash on to the Nilla wafer then add sesame seeds and voila!

To make an egg wash use egg white, egg yolk or whole egg and 1 tbs. of water or milk. Mix well and brush on to surface.

I am going to buy some little American Flags and stick them in the middle of my burgers!

Have a Happy UnBirthday to You!

Everyone likes an excuse to celebrate something. Sometimes you're in the mood for a celebration even though there's nothing to celebrate... that's when you need to have a Happy UnBirthday Party!

One day not too long ago before our too perfect weather arrived we were feeling a little bored and blue with not much to do. I decided it would be a perfect day for a Birthday! We'd have a Birthday party, just Alexander and I... except it wouldn't be just any Birthday, it would our UnBirthday!

So we started out decorating our paper cake, which was really a cupcake because that's what Alexander wanted. I cut out the shapes for him (brown paper for the bottom and pink for the icing at his request) and I let him glue and decorate his paper cake. When it was all done we let it sit and dry and then we went to go make some Play Doh cakes!

I took some of his Play Doh toys and some items we have in our kitchen such as a muffin tin, muffin liners, plastic knives and even real Birthday candles and little sandwich flags. Those were both a great hit, We used a combination of store bought Play Doh and our home made stuff.

(We love to make our own Play Doh and it could not be easier. After testing out many recipes I found one I like the best as it does not crumble or feel funny in your hands. Click here for the recipe.)

What's an UnBirthday without any cake?

Of course we had to have a real cake. The request was peanut butter!
We made a cake from a mix, Betty or Duncan and then made the frosting from scratch. I made it first a year ago and it has become a favorite of ours!
1 1/4 Cups of peanut butter, smooth or chunky, but NOT freshly made or all natural
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 cup of confectioners sugar
Using a handheld mixer, mix until ingredients are well combined and the texture is creamy and smooth
Spread over cake and enjoy!
Also great on Banana Muffins!
We didn't go any further than that as our Happy UnBirthday Party had to stop in order to get Rebecca and Christopher from school. But we could h ave gone on and on and on with our fun. We could have made decorations like paper chains that we could have strewn across the room, and made party hats. I could have wrapped little nothing gifts like bubbles and jump ropes and boxes of chalk. There's still time to do all that one day... because we had such a great Happy UnBirthday Party that I guarantee we will do it again, but next time we'll do it when Rebecca and Christopher can celebrate too!

Our Decorating Egg-stravaganza!

We've been busy this morning. First the kids all made watercolor resist pictures. They drew pictures with white crayon on white paper and then applied water colors to the paper to create some wonderful pictures. Then we colored our eggs. I bought 3 dozen eggs... I figured that would keep us busy enough! We had a great time and I love the way our eggs turned out! See below to learn how to achieve some of the unique results! Ok... now I am off to bake because the kids want to decorate cookies. I'm glad they are busy and having fun and being creative but all this fun is tiring me out!

This egg was created by first dipping drawing an image on the egg in white crayon then placing the egg in yellow food coloring, then placing it for a much longer time in the blue food coloring.

After we had dyed most of the eggs we added a little bit of cooking oil to some of the colors. We took a white egg and dipped it in blue and purple. I love the speckled look the cooking oil gave the egg.

This white egg was also dipped in to the blue that had the cooking oil in it.

As was this. But first we took an egg let it soak in pink food coloring and then soaked it in the blue coloring with the vegetable oil.

This egg was an accident! I took a pink egg and placed it in orange. I had just added an extra color tablet to the yellow and it hadn't quite mixed in. Looks like a sunset!

We took a pink egg and dipped in purple for various lengths.

A light blue egg dipped in purple on one side and green on the other. We found that adding extra food coloring and extra vinegar made the colors super vibrant. And if you make a mistake everything can be washed off with soap and water!

Here we cut our shapes from thin masking tape and applied it to the egg as decals. The egg was then dyed green and the tape was removed for a batik-y effect.

One white egg dipped in yellow on one side, then blue, then green. On the other side dipped in pink and purple.

A white egg dipped in blue and green.

Here a white egg was dipped in yellow then taped with thin masking tape, then soaked in pink then purple food coloring. The tape was removed to give the egg this very cool effect.

What happens when you dye brown eggs pink then yellow? This lovely red! We'll definitely dye more brown eggs next year. We only dyed two this year. They happened to be sitting in the fridge.

White tape was cut into shapes and then applied to the egg. The egg sat in pink food coloring and the tape was removed.

Our Most Egg-cellent Day!

I felt terribly when I dropped Alexander's Easter cupcakes yesterday. On the floor. On the garage floor! Splat... He made two cupcakes at school and he was so looking forward to eating one when he got home. He was disappointed. He was sad. But I was amazed that he didn't have a tantrum. That he didn't shed a tear. I certainly would have. I wanted to. I felt terribly and told him that we would make some new ones. Tomorrow.

Well, as of Midnight tomorrow became today. And I had a promise to keep. Since both boys were a little sad that Rebecca had a play date and they didn't I told them that I would be their play date and we would have a great day!

We took Rebecca to her friend's house then went out in search of cake mix, frosting, m&ms and other decorating goodies. Since Wendy's was just down the street I took the boys there for lunch. It is Christopher's most favorite place ever. And since I don't let my kids eat fast food much, I decided that today would be the day. What more could he ask for? A day with Mommy and Wendy's and decorating Easter cupcakes? Nothing could be better than that!

After lunch we came home and I sent the boys to the playroom while I baked the cupcakes. Yes, right out of the box. After all, we know the kids will eat the candy and the icing and toss the cake part... so I'm not going to much effort on that part!

I set all the goodies out on the table. I had some m&ms together in a bowl, and the rest were all separated by color. We had the frostings, the sugar sprinkles... everything ready to go. Once the cupcakes were cooked and cooled they were ready to be decorated... Didn't they come out great?
I'm so proud of my boys and I had an equally wonderful day as well. Tomorrow, the cookies!

Floral Arranging 101

My Son clearly spends too much time with his Mama! Yesterday he went out to play for a while and came back, banging on the kitchen door, fists filled with goodies he had collected from the outdoors. He placed the items, sticks, branches, acorns, dead leaves, gingerly on the kitchen table and said he wanted to do something with his stuff. He, initially asked for the glue, but I had no paper large enough, and the thought of more pine needles shedding all over my home so soon after Christmas sent my heart racing. He agreed to do something else with them instead. Then he told me that he wanted to make a centerpiece. So I gave him an inexpensive vase and let him work away. He was quite proud of his end result which now sits on display in our foyer! I love that this was all Alexander's idea! I bet you would have fun doing a similar project with your little ones.