It’s summer, the kids are home, and they are BORED STIFF. A month ago you had all these amazing resolutions of all the things you’d do together, the quality time you’d have, the bonding, the learning. And now?
It’s hot. They’re cranky. And you’ve had just about enough of summer.
Summer is completely impervious to the fact that you’re so totally done with “vacation.”
Summer doesn’t care that it’s too hot to move.
Summer is a completely cold heartless WITCH. (Except for the fact that summer is not cold. It is hot.)
Activities? You know how it is, you find a great activity on the web, you buy all the stuff, it keeps them busy for a grand total of one hour if you’re lucky, and then there’s this huge mess to clean up.
Also, these crafts never look like they do online. So. Unsatisfying.
Okay, so I’m going to tell you a secret, as a mother of 12, and a veteran of 32 straight, un-air-conditioned summers with children: you are not going to lick this problem nor nip it in the bud.
It will always be there. Every summer.
The only thing you can do is to forget your expectations. Or, not exactly forget them, but see them as something to work towards, but not as something you must attain against all odds.
Because Baby, the odds are stacked against you.
Instead, look over the end of each (inexorably long hot summer’s) day and note what went well and give yourself a mental pat on the back for that. Feel encouraged about that. Be glad about that, and then begin the next day anew.
Small victories is the way to go here.
And now, lecture over.
So Why Kid-Friendly Treats?
Moving right along, I thought I’d pass you a tip on three cool kid-friendly treats to make and eat. Why? Because a little cooking class with the kids goes further than most crafts because after they finish cooking they can then EAT their handiwork, which takes up more of those long empty minutes and hours of summer stretching endlessly forward. *sigh*
That said, I find that kids today like the IDEA of cooking more than they enjoy the cooking process. They watch a guy on the food channel making a sauce béchamel and think, “I could totally do that,” but then you stick them in front of a hunk of bread dough to knead and it’s just too much work and they go, “Nah. I don’t want to do this.”
Besides, have I mentioned it’s HOT. You don’t want to do anything that makes you (and the kids) get all hot and sweaty.
Which is precisely why these three kid-friendly treats are so great. They involve zero stove time, don’t heat up the kitchen, and aren’t particularly labor intensive, which means no one works up a sweat. It’s just good, kid-friendly fun.
You may even find yourself smiling for REAL, watching your kids actually having a good time.
Now stop looking at your watch.
Because everything frozen tastes better and seems like actual cooking.
- Get out a colander, place it in the sink, put the grapes in the colander, and run water over the grapes, to wash them well.
- Place a clean dry towel on the countertop and transfer the grapes to the towel. Pat dry.
- Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper and place the washed, dried grapes in a single layer on the waxed paper.
- Freeze for 4-5 hours. (Tip: leave out some grapes for the kids to nosh, because they won’t want to wait 4-5 hours to sample their “creation.” Trust me on this.)
- Eat and enjoy! You can transfer any leftover grapes to Ziploc bags or freezer-safe air-tight storage containers.
Watermelon and Bulgarian Cheese Salad or Skewers
This blend of sweet and salty cools and satisfies and looks so pretty, too.
- Wash some sprigs of fresh mint in a colander, place on a towel and pat dry. Strip the leaves from the stems, discarding the stems.
- Cut a ripe seedless watermelon into cubes.
- Cut a hunk of brined white cheese, Bulgarian or Feta cheese, into cubes.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl
- Optional: grind on some fresh black pepper for a gourmet touch if your kids don’t think it’s “icky.”
Variation: Place a cube of watermelon and a cube of Bulgarian cheese on a skewer or frilly toothpick. Repeat until all the watermelon and cheese cubes are used up. Put the skewers on a plate and sprinkle with the mint leaves (and optional pepper).
Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Bites
Because chocolate. ‘Nuff said.
- Slice a ripe, but not too ripe banana into 1-2 inch chunks.
- Skewer each chunk of banana with a wooden party fork or pick.
- Place on waxed paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for at least one hour.
- Put 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a microwave-safe drinking glass. Microwave at half power for about one minute (or until melted), stopping to stir the chocolate chips every ten seconds.
- Dip and swirl each frozen, skewered banana chunk into the melted chocolate, placing each chocolate-coated banana chunk back onto the waxed paper to catch any drips.
- Eat immediately, or refreeze.