Tag Archives: cooking with kids

Birthday Party for a Cowgirl Wannabe’

My daughter wants to be a cowgirl.  She dreams of owning a horse  and wearing cowboy boots with manure on them, instead of city-slicking fashion cowgirl boots tucked into skinny jeans. But, we live in town.  A big town.  A big town not zoned for horses.

She dreams about horses so much, one night she sleepwalked into our room looking for the barn to feed the horses.

.IMG_1551

Meeting Miss Rodeo Montana last summer only fueled the dream. 

Schills and Brauns 130

Visiting my friend high school friend, Janet, and her horses, didn’t help either. 

Schills and Brauns 026

Each summer we visited she petted, fed, rode and fell in love all over again. What’s not to love? Chaz with her twins, Whiskey Girl and Wyoming on the North Dakota prairie. Even as a toddler, Beka walked under and around these hand-fed pets.

When my Cowgirl Wannabe’ was planning her birthday party, we discovered early on it would be challenging to combine her loves if buying ready-made items. She wanted pink.  She wanted lace. She wanted vintage.  She wanted horses. Many things I found on the internet or in the stores were red/blue and geared towards cowboys. Since I’ve always been a DIY, homemade kinda’ mom, we were up for the challenge.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 002

When she found this beautiful calendar at the Dollar Store, I knew we could pull off the horse part easily and inexpensively.  On the back of each calendar was a page with smaller pictures of each month’s pictures.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 006
These were laminated and turned into magnets for each guests’ goodie bag.

More Birthday! 056

We hung the pictures from the grapevine garland that’s along the fireplace year around and added twine.

 

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 104

A doll was dressed in denim and cowboy boots and decorated the desert bar on the buffet.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 129

We already had strips of fabric for a background from another birthday party, so we took out some colors and added strips of tan fabric and lengths of twine. The girls stood on a step stool for their picture.

More Birthday! 076

A wooden crate was decorated with lace, twine and a flower, then filled with props for the Cowgirl photo shoot. Pictures of each guest were emailed to them after the party. We printed off one picture for each girl and put it in a picture frame card for the thank you.

After being inspired by a summer project of serving from Focus on the Family, Beka decided instead of each girl bringing a gift for her, they would bring a gift or used clothing for the shelter for women and children.  We were thrilled to see the donations brought in.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 046

Even grandson, Finnean, looked adorable in a mustache.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 117

Glasses were pint jars and 1/2 pint milk bottles with strips of tan fabric previously used for vases at our writers conference last May.  Beka pulled off tan buttons and added some pink. She made a few out of lace just because.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 125

A drink station was staged on a child’s cupboard.  The white enamel coffee pot held pink lemonade.

More Birthday! 011

Pink plastic silverware was wrapped in brown paper and white doilies, which was Beka’s creation. The pink paper plates looked adorable on vintage white paper plate holders.  The small crate was found at the thrift store for $.99 and stained to look aged. The meal was a sandwich bar, fresh fruit and veggies.  Simple. Healthy.  Adaptable to food allergies or strong dislikes.

More Birthday! 077

A ladder in the dining room held the chips.

More Birthday! 083

These “feed bags” are actually burlap rice bags. I removed the zippers, turned them inside out, and  hot-glued a doily on.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 106

Beka didn’t want cake, she wanted cookies and ice cream. To simplify feeding the girls, we purchased the small cups of strawberry swirl ice cream.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 103

The sugar horse decorations were found at Dawn’s Cake and Candy World. I can’t give you the recipe for the sugar cookies, because the dough came in a tube. Sometimes a momma’s gotta’ do what a momma’s got to do.

 

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 111

Since we had a hard time finding horse party items, we  also bought this horse mold at Dawn’s for melting chocolate.  The gold is a fine edible powder that rubbed on easily.

Libby and Erik 005

After seeing these on a blog, we knew this would be the one thing we HAD to make for the party.  These are Nutter Butter cookies dipped in chocolate, with Wilton candy eyes, almond ears and hard caramel noses.  Instead of cookie sticks, I used skewers because they matched our theme better, were thinner, and cheaper.

Since this was way too much sugar for one day, some horses were on display, the rest were tied up in clear bags and sent home in the girls’ goodie bags.

 

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 074

Granddaughter, Maddelyn, loved her little horsie.  She came with her mommy and siblings to help make them a few days before the party and had a hard time waiting until she could actually eat one.

Beka's Amazing 11th Birthday Party 110

Aunt Cindy’s recipe has been a family favorite since Christmas of 1996, and  was the first cookie Beka baked for her party. 

 

More Birthday! 033

At the end of the day, the City-Slickin’ Cowgirl was very, very, happy, even without a horse in the backyard.

 

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Cookies

Cream together:

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Add:

2 cup flour

Chill dough if too soft.  Roll into balls and flatten slightly with a fingerprint hole in the middle. Fill the hole with seedless raspberry jam.  Bake at 350° 14-18 minutes, until edges are brown.  Do not over bake.

Drizzle glaze over baked cookies.

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 teaspoons water

Making your home sing Mondays        WHWButton#2

MOM! What’s for breakfast?

Why is it that kids always wake up earlier and hungrier than their parental units? 

It never seemed right that the most energy buzzed in the people with the least amount of responsibility.

I used to get up early and make a nutritional breakfast for my kids every morning.

Used to.

Somewhere between babies #5 and #6 and three bouts of thyroid cancer, it wasn’t easy anymore.  Yep, the kids had to eat, but it wasn’t going to be homemade waffles, muffins or pancakes.

We ate a lot of cold cereal, instant oatmeal, cold cereal, fresh fruit, cold cereal and whole wheat toast.

Sometimes mommas gotta’ do what mommas gotta’ do.

Of course, getting my kids in the kitchen greatly improved our culinary fare. One of the recipes that got us through many mornings was Baked Oatmeal.

fosters 007

I blogged about having Kids in the Kitchen a few years ago.  It’s true.  Kids make a mess.  But, if you don’t let them mess up the kitchen, they can’t learn to cook for you.  Simple as that.

Oatmeal Jars 002
Beka and I wanted to be ready for school this year, so decided to make those cool jars people are always making and pinningimage and giving away for gifts.

Oatmeal Jars 003

All the dry ingredients were placed in the jar.  We’re “git’ ‘er dun” kinda’ people, not “perfectionist you can pin me now” kinda’ people.  The layers aren’t perfect, the lids don’t match, but hey, Beka finished this quickly.

I also learned the hard way, the more you demand perfection from non-perfectionist people, the less they wanna’ work with you. You can either allow the children to do a project and accept how they do it, or you can do it yourself and have it perfect.

Oatmeal Jars 005

We  substitute the butter in the original recipe with applesauce, so one small organic (did that impress you?) no-sugar added cup of applesauce is placed on the top of the jar.

Oatmeal Jars 008

Since I can never find my tape, why yes, I have blogged about that, thank you for asking, you can read that blog here,so my son, who just got his drivers license and will go anywhere if I hand him the car keys, drove to three different stores looking for blue tape.

I have just enough residual OCD that this look was really, really bothering me.

Yes, I know the jars will be in the cupboard.  I know nobody will see them. But, they were buggin’ me.

Oatmeal Jars 012

I had these….

Northwest Christian Writers Renewal 2013 156

leftover from these quart milk bottles I’d decorated for our writers conference last May. The decorative fabric was slipped off and put in a scrap drawer.  The bottles are being decorated anew for an October wedding.

Oatmeal Jars 013

Slipped them over the top, added the tag with the wet ingredients to add and we were dun.

D.U.N. dun.

We make a smaller batch now that so many kids have flown the coop, so this recipe fills an 8×8 pan.

Beka’s Baked Oatmeal

Place the following in the jar:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oatmeal (we use quick or old fashioned

Tape to the top:

  • 1 – 4ounce unsweetened applesauce

Wet ingredients to add:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Bake 350° for 30 minutes in a greased 8×8 pan.  You may add any combination of nuts, fresh fruit,  or dried fruit to this. 

I love putting almonds and dried cranberries in one corner just for me.  The kids think it is yucky, so I let them eat theirs plain.  You can serve it in a bowl with milk or on a plate as a piece of breakfast cake.  Yea, tell ‘em it’s cake for breakfast.  It can also be topped with warmed applesauce as frosting. 

Beka's Baked Oatmeal 004

Baked Oatmeal.

It’s what’s for breakfast.

 

 

Beka’s Tea Party With Daddy

Daddy made a list of things he wanted to do during his ten-day Christmas vacation.

He fixed things, made things, visited friends, had friends over,
ate sushi and explored Seattle with his family.

But, there was one extra-special item on his list,
making cookies with Rebekah using her new Easy Bake oven.
Beka was excited about her Daddy time,
but I think she was a little skeptical about his culinary skills.
 


They begin by gathering all their tools, Daddy reading all the directions.
Did you read that correctly?
A man reading all the directions.

It was a great moment for more than one reason.

Beka is being powdered with flour to keep the dough from sticking from her hands
as she rolled the Easy Bake dough into six very small cookies. .
 
 
“Daddy, I don’t think you know what you are doing,”
Beka had giggled skeptically at this time.
 
 
Dad’s great advice was to eat the dough off her hands. MMM good!
This isn’t your typical culinary school, as you can imagine.
 
 
 Beka is using the special wand to guide the pan into the oven.
Daddy cautioning her to not push it out the other end.
 
“Rebekah, these are perfect,” Daddy affirmed and drooled at the same time.
 
 
At about $3 per bag, the cost came to about $.50 per bite, but all together,
I figure it wasn’t expensive, it was priceless.
 
 
Somebody is using very good manners during this tea party.
She is also enjoying the chocolate milk, because Mommy never buys it. (Mommy doesn’t let her lick her hands in the kitchen, either, but sometimes you just get to break the rules.)
 
 
 


Someone is using very bad manners during this tea party.
Daddy is slurping the chocolate milk because he carelessly poured too much.

But, despite this social faux pas,
Daddy can be totally commended for
making very special cookies
and very special memories
with his very special little girl.