Kids Cupcakes: Fun Cooking for Kids

Kids Cupcakes - Fun Cooking for Kids

Making kids cupcakes is definitely one of those fun activities a mom or dad (or grandma as in this case) gets to do.  Decorating cupcakes with kids is even more fun!  

It is just plain old fun cooking for kids!  

If you are wise, you will cherish these kinds of fun children’s activities and make use of every moment of that precious time you spend with your child.  These moments are a time for sharing life together in a way that is important to your child and which your child understands.  They can also be a time for sharing, for healing, for teaching, for encouraging.  They are a time of bonding and a time of building.  

When your little boy or girl feels affirmed as important to you, you have taken them a little closer to understanding how important they are to their Heavenly Father as well!  

And so we should not be like cringing, fearful slaves, but we should behave like God’s very own children, adopted into the bosom of his family, and calling to him, “Father, Father.” 16 For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we really are God’s children.  – Romans 8:  15 – 16 (TLB) 

Plus the joy on a little face and heart is worth the time you put into having those specially-devoted moments.

Well, I kind of covered two grandchildren’s joys yesterday.

My youngest grandson Sam had his second birthday yesterday!  Yea!  

I was watching both Sam and his older brother Liam for a couple hours in the afternoon while their mommy went to a doctor’s appointment.  (Little boy #3 will be here around Christmas.)

While Sam was taking a quick afternoon nap, my 4-year-old grandson Liam (Sam’s big brother) and I baked up some kids birthday cupcakes for Sam.  

Here are the cupcakes Liam and I made together and then decorated for Sam’s birthday.

Kids Cupcakes - Fun Cooking for Kids

Liam and I did not spend a lot of time baking and decorating.  We did not buy fancy cake decorating supplies nor did we devote countless hours to perfection or detail.  

We just baked up a batch of cupcakes in cute cupcake muffin liners I found at The Dollar Tree, placed them on a colorful plate that I had found last week at a thrift shop, and topped them with some edible decorations (candy sprinkles and gummy candies).  

The two gummy candy pieces on the middle cake were Liam’s idea.  It worked!  

By the way, our cupcake recipe batch made up 24 of these cute cupcakes.  Shown above are the ones we pulled out last night as we all sang “Happy Birthday” to Sam.  There were only a few of us singing and enjoying our cupcakes last night – Sam, Sam’s mommy and daddy, grandma and grandpa, big brother Liam, and Sam and Liam’s baby brother to come (inside Sam’s mommy’s belly right now still).  Since we had so many cupcakes left over, I am wondering if Sam’s mommy may have enjoyed one of those 24 cupcakes this morning at breakfast!  Not saying so…. just wondering.  (smile)

Sam was thrilled to see his birthday cupcake.  It was just right for him.

You could also see the self confidence Liam had when he handed one of the cupcakes to Sam last night, one he had helped make and had decorated in expectation of celebrating his little brother’s birthday.  

Me?  I smiled, knowing I had had a few of the best moments possible with my grandson Liam that afternoon.  It is not always easy showing someone just how much love you have for them inside your heart, but when those special moments come, and you have a chance to show at least some of it, it’s a blessing beyond measure.  

You see…. God’s gifts do not always come in elaborate forms and in big events.

Sometimes they are captured through birthday cupcakes for kids, a little time spent together, and a heart that appreciates any moment shared with a loved one.  

The Best Pancake Recipe for Kids to Make

Best Pancake Recipe for Kids to Make

Best Pancake Recipe for Kids to Make

It’s always fun to cook with kids, but knowing what is “best” to do with them depends on a couple of things.

Do you want the most fun-kind of best, or do you want the healthiest-kind-of best when you are cooking with kids?

Let’s see if we can find the best pancake recipe for kids to make, no matter what you’re looking for as a parent and what is tops in your eyes.

Our two top pancake recipes provide two very different versions.  Feel free to use what works for your family, or just use both (at different times of course) depending on how you feel that day!  Children adjust.  Can you?  🙂

The Best Pancake Recipe for Kids to Make If You Want to Have Fun Cooking

The easiest way to have fun cooking pancakes with the kids would be to start with buttermilk pancakes from a mix.  Help the kids follow directions on the box, but then (and here’s the the fun really begins),  let the children make a few changes or additions of their own.

Caution:  Make sure your kids don’t stir the batter too much or your pancakes will be tough!  Tell them it is OK for their batter to be a little lumpy.

Also, usually special additions are added to the mix after you have mixed all the basic ingredients together.  That protects the little additions going into the batter.

Here are several variations your children might enjoy.

Additions are based on approximately 3 -4 cups of batter.

1.  Add 4 Tablespoons of peanut butter to each batch of batter; then cook as described on the back of your mix.  When done, let the kids spread jelly on each one of their pancakes and shake a little powdered sugar on top each one.   Let them top it all off with some chopped peanuts too on top if you like as well.

2.  Add 1/4 to 1/2 cups chocolate chips (mini chocolate chips work the best) and 1/4 cups white chocolate chips to each batch before cooking.   When done, let the little guys and girls spray some whipped cream on top, and give them the syrup bottle to enjoy.

3.  Add 1/2 cup of Halloween candy corn to your batter.  There is no need for any special toppings on this because the pancakes themselves are so pretty!  Just top with butter and syrup.

4.  Skittles and M&Ms work well too!

5.  Prepare traditional buttermilk pancakes, either homemade or from a mix, and have chopped strawberries and blueberries available for the kids to decorate their pancakes.  If desired, a little whipped cream makes it even more fun when adding fruit on top.

6.  If the kids would like their fruit in their pancakes, let them stir some fresh or frozen mixed berries or bananas into the batter right before putting them on the griddle.  Make sure they don’t stir the berries in too much.  Berries, especially blueberries will break open and leak out easily.  If you like purple pancakes, that works.  Otherwise, have them stir gently.

7.  Here’s an example of a recipe for pancakes using Oreo Cookies that would be fun for kids to make (and eat) –  Cookies and Cream Pancakes!  Many thanks to Julia at her Must Come Hungry blog.  These pancakes are yummy!

8.  How about having your kids make Santa Clause pancakes for Christmas?   Turkey pancakes for Thanksgiving?  Or Easter Bunny pancakes for Easter morning?  And these patriotic pancakes would be easy to make and be nice for a number of special days and holidays such as Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, the 4th of July, or on Election Day!  

If you don’t want to use a pancake mix or Bisquick baking mix, you can also use a simple homemade pancake recipe with the above additions to make some great pancake recipes for kids!

Here’s an easy pancake recipe from scratch that would be easy for children to do with just a little help at times.

Quick and Easy Pancake Recipe From Scratch

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon baking powder

Directions:

  1. Mix milk, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Add flour and baking soda.
  3. Remind the kids to only stir until all the ingredients are combined.  Over-mixed pancakes don’t cook well!
  4. Drop onto prepared (heated and oiled or sprayed) griddle or pan, cooking first until you see a lot of bubbles, then turning over to cook a minute or two on the other side.

If you want to introduce some healthy recipes for kids to your family, pancakes are a great place to start!  From oatmeal to buckwheat, cinnamon to wheat germ and bananas to berries, there are many kids recipes available to keep your family healthy.

Here’s one of the best FROM one of the best.

The Best Pancake for Kids to Make if You Want a Healthy Pancake Recipe

Paula Deen’s Vegetable Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup grated zucchini squash (grate well in advance and let set about 1 hour before squeezing excess liquid out prior to adding to batter)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tsp oil

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
  2. In a second bowl, beat together the egg, milk, carrots, zucchini, and green onions.
  3. Add the veggie mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  4. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large pan and cook on each side until done, about 2 minutes on each side.  Add oil to the pan as needed.

These pancakes can be dipped in applesauce or yogurt, or the kids can spread honey or a little pure maple syrup on them if desired instead.

Cooking kids always love what they cook.  Pancakes are no different.

If you want some healthy pancakes for the kids, letting them make their own is a great way to entice them to eat the good things of life.

Eating good breakfasts with your family is great, but making pancakes with kids is even better!  By finding the best pancake recipe to make with them, you’ll be making memories as well as growing happy AND healthy children!

Check our other great pancake recipes at the site.  There are related recipes below and in the side bar, or feel free to use our Padoozles search bar for even more!

Have fun!

8 Games Your Babysitter Can Play with the Kids

Kids Games for a Babysitter

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Once you find a babysitter, then what?

While the TV and iPad are great ways to entertain your kids, you hired that babysitter for a reason!

Instead of having him/her watch TV with your children, have her play some games to change things up a bit.

 

No, I’m not talking Monopoly or Hungry, Hungry Hippos, but instead, it would be something more creative such as these eight kid’s games:

Kids Games for a Babysitter

#1 Have a Carnival – If the weather is nice, bring the party outside. Set
up a few booths with simple games such as throwing the baseball against
some pins or squirting a water gun at a target. Have them use their
imagination. For every game that they win, give them a raffle ticket that
can be redeemed for candy or a prize.

#2 String Tail – This is a simple game that any child can get the hang of
quickly. Cut some rope so that it is long enough for the rope to drag
along the ground. Once cut, tuck three pieces of rope in the back of the
child’s pants. After that is done, you will have the children run around
trying to stomp on the rope to successfully take it out. The last one
standing wins the game.

#3 Scavenger Hunt – A scavenger hunt can be done in many different ways.
Before you give the children a checklist, you can either try to find
things outside without them knowing or even hide things throughout the
yard. Remember, don’t make it too challenging or they may get a little
frustrated. Generally, the older they are, the more challenging a hidden
objects game should be.

#4 Water Limbo – For those hot days, water limbo is a simple way to cool
off and have fun. Grab the water house and squirt a steady stream ahead.
Using that stream, have the children limbo underneath without getting wet.
Just like limbo, keep moving the water stream down until they can’t do it
anymore.

#5 Bubble Pop – If you’re going to watch children under the age of three,
popping bubbles with a racket can be a blast. Be careful, though, because
most children tend to get rather wild with their racquets. While you can
turn this into a game, many toddlers just have fun chasing bubbles through
the yard.

#6 Create Slime – While this isn’t really a game, it’s a great hands-on
project that children of all ages really enjoy. What you’re going to want
to do is grab corn flour, salt, water and food coloring of your choice.
Mix these ingredients in a bowl and mix. After you mix, you should have a
big pile of slime that creates fun for hours.

#7 Hide and Seek in Groups – No, this isn’t your hide and seek you’re used
to. Instead of having everyone hide and having one person count, you will
do the opposite. Have one person hide and when each child finds him/her,
they will join them in that hiding spot. The last person to find the
group loses! This is a great way to switch up the hide and seek game we’re
used to.

#8 Skits – For older children, this is a great way to keep them
entertained for hours. Gather up some costumes, set up props and have
them complete a small play. This play, obviously, doesn’t have to be a
piece of art, but instead, it should be something to allow them to be
imaginative and help pass the time.

These are all great games for kids that you can play the next time you watch
children of all ages.  Remember, when you are babysitting, always provide
supervision to prevent the situation from getting out of hand. Parents need
to trust their babysitters to keep their children safe as well as happy!

Does anybody else have games they would like to add to this list?

What did you play with your babysitter as a child?

Hannah Munson helps run the website HowMuchIsIt, a website that helps
consumers around the globe find prices on complicated matters such as answers to questions such as, “How much do you pay a babysitter?

Take a Horseback Riding Vacation in Palo Duro Canyon Texas

wild west family vacation in texas

The views are spectacular in Texas at Palo Duro Canyon, and there are plenty of things to do for kids and adults alike, but experiencing the environment of the canyon as western folk did back in western days is an experience an entire family will remember and cherish forever.

If you’re interested in finding the best place to go for a family vacation where you can enjoy beauty, history, and horses, here’s the info you need to plan a horseback riding vacation in Palo Duro Canyon Texas.

palo duro canyon texas

Imagine the west as it once was at Palo Duro Canyon in Texas.

Check out the Old West Stables located right in the Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

An outfitter who can provide the knowledge of the area AND the horses for you and the kids, Old West Stables is an excellent resource for those who might like or need the services they provide.

horseback riding vacation in texas

Old West Stables in Palo Duro Canyon

Old West Stables also hosts wagon rides and campfire breakfasts, and they run a snack bar right inside the Palo Duro State Park that boasts of their top notch hamburgers.

There are trails rides and fun horse-related activities for the entire family.  However, there is a minimum age limit of 6 years old and a maximum weight limit of 250 pounds to to on their one hour guided ride on the Palo Duro Canyon trails.

You can get more information about their services, events, and reservation contact info at http://www.oldweststables.com/

If you already own horses, you can also go family camping at one of the park’s campsites and take your horses with you.

Traveling in Texas with kids (and horses) is fairly common, so it’s not surprising the Palo Duro State Park in Texas has both an equestrian campground as well as large trailer parking in addition to their equestrian trails with corrals and water for horse family vacations.

You can get more information on the Equestrian Camping Sites and the canyon’s back packing, primitive, family tent camping, and RV campgrounds at the Palo Duro Canyon State Park website at:  http://www.palodurocanyon.com/.

Add to your horse back riding vacation by seeing the American Quarter Horse Museum and Hall of Fame in Amarillo, TX, just a few miles from the canyon.  

If you still have a little more time, there are a couple of other places and things to do in Amarillo, TX and around the canyon area which are fun family vacation ideas for amateur horse enthusiasts and wild west lovers.

The Cowboys and Cowgirls of the West company in Amarillo Texas offers horseback riding and horse-related activities for beginners through experienced riders and, like the Wild West Stables, hosts horseback tours of the canyon.  They also offer horseback riding getaways in Amarillo Texas and in other areas like New Mexico by the way.

If all the horsing around (pun intended) has you hungry, you can order a chuck wagon meal right there at “Cowboys and Cowgirls” as well.

Sick of horses?  How about a cattle round up vacation!  You can find out more about that at Cowboys and Cowgirls of the West in Amarillo too!

Take horseback riding lessons to learn a little more about these beautiful animals which our wild west ancestors depended so much on.

There are several stables that offer riding lessons close to the canyon.  See a video here from the Golden Horse Training Center just minutes from the canyon:  http://www.retvofama.com/goldenhorse.htm.

Even kids with disabilities can enjoy a horseback riding vacation here!

If you are traveling with a family member with a mental or physical challenge or disability, the 7 Star Therapeutic Riding Center in nearby Claude, TX offers equine-assisted therapy and riding lessons for individuals with any number of illnesses, physical challenges, or disabilities.  They also have horse therapy for veterans.

You can get more information about their services at http://www.7starhorsetherapy.org/.

wild west family vacation in texas

The wild west awaits.

Palo Duro Canyon is a beautiful place, and its rich western history makes it an irresistible family vacation destination.

You can combine the scenes with the historical richness the area has to offer by taking a horseback riding vacation together with your family members and a few horses to help you get back to, or discover for the first time, your western spirit of excitement and adventure.



Camping With Kids at Palo Duro State Park Texas

palo duro canyon in texas

Palo Duro State Park in Texas oversees the Palo Duro Canyon, a western, rustic gorge in the northwestern panhandle of Texas and the 2nd largest canyon in the United States.

The folk around here call it the Grand Canyon of Texas.

And a canyon it is too.

That’s why you’ll want to know a few things about camping with kids if you travel to Palo Duro State Park Texas for a family getaway.

Here’s what you need to understand, and be prepared to do, if you plan on camping with children here in the Grand Canyon of The Lone Star State.

Know about the Canyon Temperatures

Texas is a southern state, and winter temperatures are not bad relatively.  However, it can get down to the teens even in this canyon in the south.

If your family camping vacation is during the winter months, you’ll want to have sleeping bags for the kids that are warm enough to tolerate temperatures as low as the teens or so.

It’s the heat of the summer months, though, that surprise some parents and which parents should be prepared for.

A canyon acts as a cauldron.  The hot temperatures of Texas settle in that basin with no place to go, and temperatures can be extreme during the summer months when the area is having a hot spell to begin with.

My family was just there for a weekend family getaway this past weekend.  The temperature on the rim was over 100 degrees.  The temperature down on the floor was 115 – 120 degrees!

Palo Duro State Park Texas Temperature

A view of the temperature at Palo Duro State Park Texas during our weekend family getaway last week

If you’re going camping in Texas with kids during the summer, be prepared for very hot weather.  If you’re going camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, be overly prepared and cautious of any high temperatures that could lead to dehydration, illness, or risk.

Take sunscreen, caps, and plenty of water.  Have shelter and protection.  Be aware and alert to temperatures that get too hot for the kids at play, and direct them to a different activity, or take a short drive up to Amarillo TX to do something there and get out of the heat.

Being on watch makes a difference.  Being cautious makes all the difference in the world.

Be Aware of Area Weather and Flash Flooding in the Gorge

This is a beautiful area to go camping in, and the weather will generally comply with your plans to have a good time, especially since Texas is generally dry over the summer months.  Chances are you won’t get rained out if you travel here to get away from it all and to let your children have a little fun with all the great cowboy and cowgirl things to do here.

But if it DOES rain, use a watchful eye and be ready to take the children to higher ground if you’re camping on the canyon basin and you see water accumulating on the ground.

With plenty of high terrain for downward momentum, heavy rains can collect in the basin causing flash flooding.

Palo Duro State Park Texas Flood Guage Sign

Always keep an eye on nature when camping with children in a canyon or valley.

Most chances are you’ll never encounter a problem at all, but whenever there is nature or wildlife involved, it always pays to be aware of your environment.

Let the Kids Enjoy the History but Make Sure They Also Respect the Excavations Currently In Progress.

Indians lived here.  Cowboys rode here.  Calvary fought here.

This area is full of the stuff Cowboy movies are made of, and it’s no wonder archeologists today crave to know just exactly who WAS here and exactly WHAT they did.

While the park lands are open via trails and in open fields and valleys for exploration such as  hiking, biking, and horseback riding, you might also be observant enough to notice the lights of archeology digs going on deep inside some of the caves and crevices.

history of palo duro canyon in texas

We just happened to notice a big light for an archeology dig inside this cave as we drove through the canyon last weekend. Notice the walkway that goes right up to the cave door!

 

Camping with kids in Texas is always a taste of nature and history.  Camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park brings both nature and history right to the front door of your family tent or RV.

Your entire family can see history being discovered in Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, but help the kids be respectful of what’s going on there now.

While camping here can be a fun getaway for a family, it is also family camping in an environment that takes understanding and awareness on the part of parents.

Be informed.  Be aware.  Be a parent.

Then just go have some fun and enjoy the sights.

PS, Here’s a list of the best things to do in Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas.  Go to that article now or check our other related posts below.



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