Fourth of July Jell-O!

Bluebird is working on the requirements for the Brownie Girl Scout “Wave the Flag” badge, and one of the things she could do was hold a celebration for a patriotic holiday.  Naturally, she chose to throw an Independence Day party.  She kept herself and her sisters busy for the two weeks leading up to the 4th making decorations (which they never hung up) and decided on a menu (Cookies and Lemonade Water).

I stepped in to help with the menu, and while we were browsing for dessert ideas, we came across a recipe for Layered Jell-O, which I’ve been searching for for years!  A link at the end of the Layered Jell-O post led us to the recipe for “Broken Glass Jell-O,” which Bluebird thought would be smashing (hee hee) in Fourth of July colors.

Bluebird attended her dessert-making responsibilities well: she cut up the colors, mixed them together and supervised my pouring of the white liquid into the dish.

The Jell-O went into the refrigerator to set, and the dessert was met with rave reviews at our little holiday dinner:

Good job Bluebird!  Thanks for making our Fourth of July dinner extra special!

Making Blueberry Jam

OR “A Masochistic Way to Spend a Beautiful Summer Morning”

Homemade Blueberry Jam is one of my most favorite things in the world. I actually look forward to the summertime and to berries ripening throughout the land so I can replenish my blueberry jam hoards. Rabbit and I had fun this morning making jam together:

She’s my go-to girl whenever something needs “smashing” in this house, so it was only natural that she help me out with crushing the blueberries.

Now, to the uninitiated, I must warn that making jam can be rather painful because it spits like nothing else, which covers you with a smattering of burns. Cover any skin that you can, stir with a very long handled spoon and do not lean over your concoction while it cooks. (And shoo away any little ones from the kitchen!)

What things look like after you’re done boiling it all down:

Yep, it’s messy; you acquire a few burns and you’ll definitely spend the entire processing time cleaning up the kitchen.

But it’s worth it, because you end up with beautiful jars of gloriously tasty blueberry jam. It’s practically ambrosia.

And, in the words of my granny, who includes an extra step at the end of all her recipes: “Yummy”

Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcakes

I am loving the Hello Cupcake! cookbook that we gave to Bluebird for Christmas. This is just one of the cute ideas in it. I made them for Recipe Club at the end of March.

It’s just cupcakes from a box, frosting from a can, strawberry preserves and Ferrero Rochers. Love it. They tasted good, too.

Planet Earth Cake

I just realized that I never showed y’all my cute little Planet Earth cake that I made for Bluebird’s space birthday party. Here it is!

If you’re interested in making one for yourself (as in, next Wednesday is Earth Day…), it’s quite simple:

Take a regular ol’ box of cake mix, mix it up and pour it into your pans–I used Wilton’s Sport Ball pans, but I’ve heard of people using Pyrex bowls. Bake it. Let it cool. Frost it with some blue frosting (I used the stuff from a can…many of you are already aware of my disdain for making frosting.)

Now don’t get scared, but this next step requires a map or an atlas:
Make some green frosting and put it into a decorator’s bag with a #3 or #5 writing tip on it and freehand some continental outlines. (Don’t worry too terribly much about accuracy, it’s a blinkin’ cake…you’re going for recognition, not masterpiece.)

Once you’ve got your outlines, put on a star tip and start filling in your land masses.

Voila! Planet Earth Cake!

I laugh every time I see how close Japan is to Alaska, and I was thisclose to leaving Australia and New Zealand off of the whole thing altogether because it was really hard to get the frosting down there, but I figured I owed it to my brother (who resides in New Zealand) to represent his place of residence…oh the fun of frosting creations.

Heart Cookies

We had made up the cookie dough needed for Bluebird’s birthday party cookies when everyone got sick; and since it’s only good for a few days, we decided to go ahead and make heart cookies instead!
We didn’t deliver them to anyone out of fear of passing on the myriad of symptoms the family was experiencing.

Super Creative Friday

We have “Creative Time” in the afternoon after naps. On Friday, we do music appreciation during Creative Time, which is just playing with Play-Doh while we listen to a specific piece of music (we’re listening to Peter and the Wolf this month). Naptime was a little short on this particular Friday, so we got started on Creative Time early and found ourselves with tons of afternoon left when we were done with the Play-Doh.

So we made some cupcakes.


The girls ran off as I was cleaning up the kitchen and started doing the things that young children do to make each other scream and cry, so I asked them what they wanted to do instead of irritating each other, and Bluebird exclaimed, “Have another Creative Time!” What do you want to do? “Make puppets!” Alright then, get out your art caddies…

Frog (they insisted that he needed ears)

Yellow Rabbit

Peacock (that one was pretty fun…)

(Now Bluebird wants to build a puppet theater. I told her to ask Daddy about that because I am not about to begin juggling three kids in the garage while I operate the table saw! Perhaps we’ll draw up some schematics in the near future and ask him to cut them out.)

Overall, a great afternoon. I don’t know why I don’t generally take more time to do stuff with them in the afternoon…it keeps them in one spot, no matter how messy the project, so there’s hardly any clean-up to be done before dinner. It was nice. And we got cupcakes out of it as well…literal icing on top of a good thing.

During dinner, while we were talking about our day, I asked Bluebird what her favorite part of her day was and she responded, “Having two Creative Times.” Awww.

Peach Butter


4-4.5 lbs peaches
4 cups sugar
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  1. Wash and blanch peaches. Put peaches in cold water. Peel, pit and slice peaches. Combine peaches and 1/2 cup water in saucepot. Simmer until peaches are soft. Puree in food processor.
  2. Combine peach puree, sugar and spices in a large saucepot. Cook until thick enough to round up on a spoon. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Ladle hot butter into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes (20 for Spanish Fork) in a boiling-water canner.

For a couple of years when I was a young girl, someone in my family made apple butter and gave us a couple jars. I absolutely fell in love with fruit butters then. This was my first time attempting to re-create some of the magic on my own and I’m very pleased with the results. This peach butter has great flavor and the spices make it absolutely wonderful.