December 14, 2012

Homemade Donuts

These homemade donuts are simple, and delicious!!

This was an activity my daughter did with her friends.  Then I also made a batch with my family.  Here's the recipe, you'll see how easy they really are!

To make the doughnuts you need refrigerated biscuit dough and hot oil for frying. 

First you need to flatten the biscuit dough.

Then cut out the donut holes.  I used the cap to the oil bottle and it worked perfectly.  Make sure to save the middles to make scrumptious donut holes!!

Heat the oil on the stove.

When your oil is hot enough then put your donuts in and let them cook.  You can generally tell when the oil is hot by flicking a few drops of water on the oil.  If the oil is hot, it will instantly start to spit and sizzle when the water touches it.  If the oil doesn't react, then it's not hot enough yet.

Also, be careful that the heat for the oil is not too hot or your donuts will cook too fast on the outside but still be doughy in the middle.

Half way through frying, make sure to flip the donuts to cook both sides evenly.

When done your done frying your donuts, place them on a paper towel or a cooking cooling rack to let the excess oil drip off.

Then you can coat the donuts with glaze frosting (see recipe below) or sugar and cinnamon.

3 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Cold Water Or Milk

Mix ingredients together. The glaze will be runny, but will harden a little as it dries.

These donuts make a lovely family treat for breakfast or dinner!!

December 12, 2012

Christmas Lights Fun

A family tradition of ours around Christmas time is to drive around and look at the Christmas lights in the nearby neighborhoods.
I put this invite on the door in the morning.  Everyone saw it as they left for work and school.

{Click here to print your own Christmas lights invitation}

We have a few favorites of people who really know how to "deck the halls" each year and have the lights timed to music and everything.

We turn on Christmas music (it plays on several different radio stations) and we sing along, caroling in the car while we scour the town for lights.  It is exciting to try and find as many light displays as we can!  

December 11, 2012

{Tuesday's Tip} Appreciate the Arts

Recently I took my daughter to a local Christmas talent presentation.  It was relaxing and enjoyable to be together.  I think it is important to expose our children to different arts.  It does not have to be expensive Broadway plays, operas, and ballets.

At this time of year there are many different inexpensive performances happening in the community.  Why not try taking your family to a local showing of the Nutcracker, Christmas carol, or other musical performances.

In my town, there is a small Christmas opera that is playing this weekend at a local church, a ballet that is coming up, and a symphony rendition of The Messiah playing just before Christmas.  Each of these events are $5 or less and they all sound like perfectly fun events! 

So be sure to check out the local arts events that are going on in your community so that you help encourage your children to appreciate the arts.  Also, it can help to demonstrate to your children the proper manners and respect that is appropriate when attending such events.

December 10, 2012

Lord of the Rings Marathon Date

Okay, I admit it.  My husband and I LOVE The Lord of the Rings.  My husband has read the books many times.  And, as you all know, the Hobbit is coming to theaters this week, on December 14!  I am so excited (squeal)!

So for our fun date this week I wanted to watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy to get ready for the opening day of The Hobbit.

I crafted a date card that read...

"My precious, 

Tonight we shall see if you can answer my riddles.  
If you pass the test, then we will watch these together!"

{Click here for your own free 4 x 6" LOTR date card}

Then I taped it to the movies and left it out where my husband would see it.

In the story The Hobbit, Bilbo is lost in the dark tunnels of the goblins.  That is where he meets Gollum.  Gollum does not know that Bilbo has found his lost ring--his "precious"--Bilbo needs help getting out of the tunnels.  So they play a game of riddles.  Whoever cannot guess the riddle loses and the winner gets what he wants.

So I thought it would be fun to play a game of riddles together with my husband.  Online I found this page with lots of riddles.  I typed up only the riddles (so we couldn't cheat) and then we took turns asking each other and guessing.  Then we looked up the answers on the website.

Here are a couple of examples of riddles with their answers.

1. It is greater than God and more evil than the devil.  The poor have it, the rich need it and if you eat it you'll die.  What is it? 
          NOTHING.  nothing is greater than God, nothing is more evil than the devil, the poor have nothing, the rich need nothing and if you eat nothing you will die.

2.  I am the beginning and the end, and the end of time and space.  I am essential to creation, and I surround every place.  What am I?
        The letter E. End, timE, spacE, Every placE.

Clever, right! Did you guess the correct answers??  I didn't,  I had to cheat.  ;)  

So pick a few riddles that look fun to you and have fun playing a game. Then snuggle up and relax as you enjoy The Lord of the Rings!

December 6, 2012

Sporty Date Night

I know we talk a lot about family activities.  But we also need time as a couple to rejuvenate and have fun together.  If we are happy as a couple then our kids will be happier too.

It does not need to be expensive or an all night adventure.  My husband and I try to do something together once a week.  Whether it is a stay-at-home date or a let's-go-out-on-the-town date, it doesn't really matter--it is always fun!

For this date I wanted to do something active with my husband.  I decided we would play racquetball at our local gym.  I put an invitation by the door along with our racquets and ball, so when he left in the morning he would see it and be excited about it all day. 

You can use this invitation for any sporty activity you like.  Golf, soccer, basketball, bike riding, tennis...the list is endless.

{Click here to print your own sporty date night invitation}

Then of course the "loser" of your friendly competition gets to buy the treats.  You gotta have a treat to end off your date! :)

December 3, 2012

Fruit Pizza

Tonight we made individual fruit pizzas for our snack, and they were a hit!  They are fun because everyone can make their own just the way they like it.  

Here's what you do. First, cut up some fruit that you want to use as your toppings.  I used fresh bananas, strawberries, and kiwi but pineapple, mandarin oranges, or other berries would also make great toppings.

Then as the base I used snickerdoodle cookies ( favorite cookie).  Spread cream cheese onto your cookie as the "sauce" for your pizza.  I found some whipped cream cheese at the store that was very easy to spread onto the cookie. However, I recommend adding a little powdered sugar to the cream cheese before you spread it to sweeten it just a little. 

Then add your fruit toppings and EAT!

These fruit pizzas are delish, sweet, and easy cooking activity for everyone--even the young ones!  Plus, after eating the fruit, these pizzas don't leave you feeling guilty afterwards, another bonus. :)

December 1, 2012

Cinnamon Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

With my kids I have decided to do a monthly learning theme.  This month has been cooking.  They have practiced measuring, mixing, pouring, etc.  That means that there will be quite a few recipe posts coming up because I'd really love to share the fun recipes that we've tried.  We made both dinner dishes and yummy treat--it's been so fun!!

We recently tried two new pumpkin cookie recipes we have made with that were both divinely delicious!

The first recipe was cinammon pumpkin oatmeal cookies which was in the Idaho Falls newspaper. Since I don't have the link to that article, I'd like to share it with you here.

Cinnamon Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups quick oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raisens
3/4 cup cinnamon chips

Baking Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet with shortening.

Mix the oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of mixer cream brown sugar, and butter together.  Add the eggs and beat.  Add the pumpkin and beat.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture.  Beat until combined.  Add raisens and cinnamon chips and beat in.  Do not beat more than necessary.

Drop dough in rounded mounds about 1 1/4 inches in diameter onto the greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 min.  Or until the cookies brown on the edges.  The centers will be soft.  Remove and cool on a rack.

The second recipe was pumpkin snickerdoodles, which I saw on Pinterest from this from.  These snickerdoodles just a add a subtle pumpkin flavor and a few more spices that coat the cookie on the outside, and they are fabulous!

Both of these cookie recipe are perfect for fall and winter, and I'm sure they would make great neighbor gifts for the season!
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