Thursday, July 22, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake: My Favorite Recipe

When these biscuits come out of the oven, the happiness in my house is palpable.  Everyone loves strawberry shortcake.  Can you think of a better summer treat? It's always good, whether you use the spongy store-bought cakes or an elaborate from-scratch family recipe, but I think the latter are best.   My recipe?  Not so from-scratch, but very, very tasty...I use the one from the Bisquick box (!) with one small addition. 

 Here's their recipe for delicious strawberry shortcake biscuits:
2 1/3 c Bisquick baking mix
3 T butter, melted
1/2 c milk
3 T sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 425*.  Stir all ingredients together until a soft dough forms.  Use a large spoon to drop biscuits onto a greased baking sheet (usually can get 6, depending on how big you want them to be).  Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

**My addition:  Before I put these into the oven, I sprinkle them with a little bit of a cinnamon-sugar mixture that adds just a touch of sweetness.

You'll also need, of course, some sliced strawberries, soaked in a healthy amount of sugar,  whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream.

For a delicious end to any meal, begin by slicing the biscuit in half.  Top the bottom half with strawberries, ice cream, then cool whip in that order.  Place the top half of the biscuit onto the whipped cream.  Add a bit more whipped cream and a top it all off with a few more sweetened strawberries.

Come back for seconds!

photo credits:  ozmafan and karindalziel.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summertime Ideas for Kids

Most of us can smell summer coming.  We can't wait for the freedom and sunshine and loose schedules.

And then we get what we wished for.

Is there a parent out there who hasn't heard the bewildering, "What can we do now," or "There's nothing to do here!" of summer?

If you're struggling with kids that are bored, here are a few suggestions:

1.  Let them be bored.  After hectic back-to-back activities during the school year, it takes awhile for kids' brains to shift gears.  Nothing to do?  Watch clouds.  Boring?  Plant flowers?  Too hard?  Tough.  The key is to offer a few suggestions (which will be promptly dismissed) and then let go.  Given enough time, kids will find something to do--collect cool rocks, make up a game, read a book.  Kids have an incredible capacity to amuse themselves, if only we give them the time and space to do it.

2.  Plan a weekly outing.  Break up the routine of groceries and neighborhood playdates by getting out of your comfort zone.  Usually take your kids to the zoo?  Fine, but try a new museum next time.  Have a favorite park?  Save it for the fall...find a new one to try this summer.  Pick strawberries, ride go-karts, hike the dunes or in the woods.  When you try something new, it gives you all a shared experience to talk about and a sense of adventure.

3.  Have a party.  During football-soccer-basketball-swimming-lacrosse-hockey season, it's tough to get families together.  Summer can be hard, too, with people heading for the beaches.  Still, there are bound to be more bodies around than during practice/game time.  Include the kids, choose a theme, make it potluck so you have fun too, and be sure to invite some families you don't know that well.  Expanding your social horizons to include your kids friends and their families is a great way to connect--and help your kids connect--in your community.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Once You Go Minnesotan...

I've heard it said that something like 70 percent of people who move away from Minnesota move back. My parents are no exception. When they met, my dad was already in the military. My mom probably knew she would be moving around for a while when she married my dad. They did move a lot. Illinois, Virginia, California, Washington, New York...I'm sure there are places I've missed. I was born in California and by the time I came along we had only 3 moves left.

Only one of the moves really affected me. I was really too young to care or understand that we were leaving these places, never to return. I have vague memories of Washington. I was 2-4 years old when we lived there. When I realize that I do have a few memories of that time it scares me just a little because that means my kids will remember, perhaps, some of my less-stellar moments.

When we left New York I was sad. I was leaving the people I knew, going someplace (although we visited) new.

But we returned to Minnesota. My parents are from Minnesota. It was a coming home. At first, Minnesota felt wrong to me. I loved being with my grandparents but I felt out of place. Even Duck, Duck, Goose had morphed into Duck, Duck, Grey Duck which made no sense to me. I was a kid though so the transition was probably much easier on me than the rest of my family. I was picked on for my strange accent...but I sort of knew that the picking was a sign the kids liked me.

I always thought that I would move away from Minnesota. I was certain of it. I didn't. Minnesota is my home. And apparently the pull of Minnesota is strong.

Friday, July 2, 2010


If you read my earlier post then you know we're moving.  Growing up, I lived in the same house since I was 3.  Since I left home, I've moved upwards of 15+ times, but never with children. 

This will be my first experience moving with kids.  I'm looking for any and all advice on how to make it as seemless and stressless for my children, for my 5 year olds actually.