The Importance of Outdoor Play: 80 fun things to do outdoors

Don’t you just love spending time outdoors?

We do, especially doing fun things like sidewalk chalk and playing in the sprinkler during our seventies summers.

Last week I stumbled across a new-to-me blog while looking for craft blogs. Then, I saw this list!  

What’s great about it, is she shares year round activities, so if wherever you are is in the winter season, there are activities for you as well.

Another thing I love is, that the activities are do-able for any age. They’d be wonderful for kids or grandkids. Don’t have either? That’s ok! Adults can do them, too!

When was the last time you camped or flew a kite?

Thank you, Amber, for letting me share your ideas and list! 

With such a technology driven culture today, children are spending less and less time outdoors. I for one think this is a problem. Is it because they are bored? Is it because technology today is mo…

Source: The Importance of Outdoor Play: 80 fun things to do outdoors

Seventies Summer: Swimming

Did you go swimming a lot when you were a kid? 

When I was growing up, we lived in town and during the summer either mom would take us to the pool, or we’d ride our  bikes. Those days are among my best childhood memories. 

Back then, there was a high dive and a low dive and my amazing mom used to go off the boards. She’d swim with us and we’d stay at the pool all day. 

I never forgot how fun it was to go to the pool with mom, so I used to take Little Bit to our local pool a lot. Then, they closed it and now the nearest town pool is 40 miles away. 

But here’s something cool, we can go swimming any time we want, thanks to some good old fashioned swimmin’ holes a mile down the road. 

My husband, Little Bit, and I headed down to the river this morning. I can’t even begin to tell you how refreshing that water was. 

We still make the drive to go to regular swimming pools as well, but swimming in that river is pretty big treat. 

Seventies Summer: Rollerskating

When you were a kid, did you go rollerskating? 

Man, we did! My parents would load us and all of our friends up in our station wagon and off we’d go.

Talk about some good sports! Can you imagine hauling 10 kids 20-40 miles to the nearest town that had a skating rink? 

Yesterday my husband, Little Bit, and I went skating. I felt kind of bad that we didn’t get to go in a station wagon, but we made do! 

We weren’t the only ones who had our eyes set on a Saturday afternoon of trying to stay upright on wheels. The parking lot was packed and there were families everywhere. 

At first, I wasn’t going to skate, but I could hardly stand it! Before I knew it, I was lacing up skates myself.

All 3 of us were pretty wobbly, but we had the best time! The music had a good beat, the disco balls were spinning, and they even turned on the lights for a game of the hokey pokey! 

Now I understand why mom and dad always took us rollerskating. It’s a pretty inexpensive way to get out of the summer heat, spend time as a family, and it is oh, so fun! 

Seventies Summer: Potlucks Part Two

Do you like peanut butter? I mean really, really like peanut butter? 

If so, you’re going to love this! 

We were invited to our first potluck of the summer and the first recipe I chose to make I shared in “Seventies Summer: Potlucks: Part One” which is grandma Wilma’s Rice Krispie Balls. 

I also decided to make this amazingly, fabulous recipe I got from a friend of a friend about 15 years ago for Peanut Butter Cake. 

I have been gluten free over a year, it’s been a loooong time since I’ve had cake. I’ve never bought one before, but I thought I’d try a gluten free flour blend and see if I had any luck making this cake. 

Oh. My. Goodness. It is AMAZING! So, so good! I didn’t even frost it and it is so delicious. If you are gluten free, this recipe is very doable. 

Original Recipe- Peanut Butter Cake by Millie Henderson

Bring to boil: 

  • 1 and 1/2 sticks oleo
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup water

Pour over:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

Mix in:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Bake 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes in a greased and floured sheet cake pan.

Icing:

Bring to a boil:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter 
  • 1 stick oleo
  • 6 TBS. milk

Pour over and mix until smooth:

  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 lb. or 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup nuts optional 

Use chunky peanut butter instead of adding nuts. 

* for the gluten free version, I used 2 cups Pillsbury Gluten Free Flour Blend. I also used 2 cups cane sugar in place of the regular sugar in the gluten free cake. 

* For both cakes, I use a 9×13 pan. The bake time on the original was about 30 minutes. I had to increase bake time on the gluten free to 42 minutes. 

* I used coconut milk for the frosting because of dietary restrictions. 

I’ve only shared this recipe with one person since I got it. Sharing with you makes me smile because people love this cake! As far as potlucks go, it’ll make ya kind of famous! Everybody always asks for more. 

P.S. Can you guess which cake is mine???

Seventies Summer: Potlucks Part One

Don’t you just love potlucks? 

To me, nothing brings back childhood memories like a summer potluck does. Mmm! Can’t you just “see” the fried chicken and casseroles all lined up on the picnic tables? And, the potato salads, pasta salads? And, the desserts! 

Today we are going to our first potluck of the summer and I got out my 1970’s cookbook to find something to take. 

I decided to make grandma Wilma’s Rice Krispie Balls, as a tribute to her and days gone by. 

“Rice Krispie Balls by Wilma Johnson

  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand)
  • 1 pkg. Kraft caramels (about 40)
  • Marshmallows (about 40)
  • Rice Krispies (large box) 

In the top of a double broiler, melt caramels, margarine, and milk. When all are melted, dip marshmallow on fork into caramel mixture. Drop into bowl of Rice Krispies- form into ball. (I lay 10 to 12 as they come from Rice Krispies onto wax paper and form into balls, less mess this way. Dampen hands before forming balls.) 

Let cool in refrigerator. Best to be kept in refrigerator or in cool place. This is the cookie I received the most requests for from sons in college. It was a real favorite at ISU.”

There are so many reasons I love this recipe! I like how she wrote it as if she was teaching someone standing next to her and how she mentions her sons, my uncles. 

Mostly, I love my memories about Rice Krispie Balls. You see, she’d make them when we came to visit and would keep them in the refrigerator. 

When all of the adults left the kitchen, us kids would help ourselves and sneak them out of the fridge and eat them! 

That makes me laugh now because we didn’t think she’d notice how many she made or how many were missing. 

Hmmm. I’m guessing since her recipe calls for “about 40”, she probably knew…

* note: Because of dietary restrictions, I omitted the sweetened condensed milk, and substituted 1/4 cup coconut milk. I also used butter instead of margarine, and reduced the amount to 1/4 a stick. 

A Seventies Kind of Summer

Are you a fan of summer? 

Oh my gosh, we are! We LOVE summer!

I grew up in the 1970’s, and I always wanted to share some of that with Little Bit. So, since he was a bitty little thing, we always have our own version of a 70’s summer. 

This is Little Bit’s 9th summer and I thought it’d be fun to look back to when I was 9. I plan to do a summer series and write about the things we did then and the similar things we can do now, including making the recipes that were popular in the 1970’s. 

Also, back when I was 9, my parents had 4 young kids. I looked up the median US household income for that time and it was between $9,000 and $12,000 a year! Can you imagine raising  4 kids on that?

In honor of them and their ability to raise 4 of us on one income, I thought it’d be fun to try to duplicate our summer on a 1970’s sort of budget. 

Yesterday, we kicked off things off by doing something completely spontaneous. After we got groceries, we were driving around our small town. Little Bit spotted a baseball game and wanted to stop. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing that was. Who was playing? No clue. It didn’t matter. We didn’t even know one single person there, yet we had the best time!

Sitting on those bleachers, watching kids play baseball, and soaking up the sun, THAT is what childhood and summer look like, all tangled up together. After the game, we got ice cream, and went to the park. 

I’ll tell you what, I can’t wait to share our 70’s filled days with you. I’m so excited! It’s going to be a seventies kind of summer!