The EASIEST Minty Cookie – Olympic Style

My sister-in-law was here all last week and I had SO much fun with her!  We went shopping and had some much needed girl time and Sam and I took her all over town seeing the sites.  Boston is the best place to be for the 4th of July by the way.  Awesome fireworks.

While she was here she shared with me this super easy treat.  I have to admit it, I was a bit skeptical at first.  Crackers dipped in chocolate?  Could it really be that tasty?  The answer is YES.  Absolutely yes.   We made ours all ready for the Olympics and if you want to have an Olympic viewing party or themed event then these are a must!

The ingredients: Ritz crackers, peppermint extract, baker’s chocolate or almond bark, and food coloring (optional).

Using a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate or almond bark in 30 second increments stirring in between. After melting the chocolate add in the peppermint extract.  For every square of chocolate you need 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract.  In each of our bowls we melted two squares of chocolate so each bowl had 1/2 tsp. of extract added.

If you want to add food coloring do it here. Sometimes adding food coloring to melted chocolate can cause it to become a bit thick and paste-y but a few drops of olive oil will make it smooth again as well as give it a nice sheen.  And you won’t be able to taste the olive oil at all.

Everything always tastes better the messier you do it.  It is a proven fact.  So since our bowl is so messy our cookies are going to be that much more delicious.  Dip the Ritz cracker into the chocolate completely covering both sides.  Hold the cracker on the fork and tap it against the bowl just like the picture below.  As you tap it the chocolate will smooth out until you have a nice even coat.

Place on parchment paper while you work on the rest of the crackers and make additional colors if you desire.

 Once all the cookies are covered in chocolate pop them in the fridge until the chocolate sets up.  I actually like to leave them in the fridge, the cool peppermint is absolutely delicious.  Once the chocolate hardens you have some beautiful Olympic ready treats!

These are deceptively simple.  I know it is hard to imagine that they are that good, but trust me they are SO yummy.  If you like Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies then you will LOVE these as well. And just like any other thing chocolate they can melt if left out in the heat for awhile.  Just another reason I like to keep them in the fridge.

If you want to make them sans food coloring and skip that step go right ahead.  They look just as purrty when they are left white. 

There is something about the cool, crisp taste of the peppermint with the slightly salty cracker that just works.    If you make them I definitely want to hear how they turn out so be sure to share!

Brieanna

Olympic Printables

On Monday I talked a little bit about how to host your own Olympic party/activity, and here are some printables to help you out if you decide to throw one or get you in the mood for the upcoming Olympics.

First off is a Medal Count sheet.  With spaces for six countries (print off more if you would like to track more than six) you can keep tally marks for every medal your country wins. 

Olympic Party Circles- Use these as fun, little decorations if you throw an Opening or Closing Ceremonies party, or anytime during the games.  I had to make a couple of ones for Team USA, because well….I’m American, but you can certainly use the other four designs by themselves if you’d like.

 And lastly a collection of medals.  You’ll find three large medals, a sheet of several small medals, and a sheet of medals that are left blank so you can fill in your own year or event information. Print these out, hole punch the top, and string onto a ribbon.

 You can download the entire Olympic Party Printable Set in PDF form here.  Print all the pages, or just the ones you need.  

Brieanna

Hosting an Olympic Activity

People.  I love the Olympics.  LOVE.  I look forward to them every two years (summer and winter) and get excited for them several weeks out.  I love the patriotism that takes over the country (which is even greater coming on the heels of Independence Day).  I love hearing the inspirational stories behind the athletes.  I love hearing the different national anthems played at medal ceremonies, or seeing the hundreds of flags waving through the air.  I love those dang Visa or P&G commercials that make me get teary eyed every time.  I love the spirit of friendly competition and good sportsmanship.  I love rooting for the underdog.  And most importantly I love, that even if it is only for a few days every couple of years, and even though it is over something as simple as sports, that the world seems to come together and we are no longer fighting one another, but cheering next to each other. 

With the Summer Olympic Games getting ready to start in a just a few weeks I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to put together some Olympic themed posts.

Many years ago, when I was 15 my family had a reunion that was Olympic themed.  Using many of the ideas from that family reunion I have some tips and ideas on how to throw your own Olympic activity- whether it is for your own family reunion, get together with friends, family night activity, church activity, birthday party, etc.

Aww, look at my cute family.  This is outside my childhood home with my dad, mom, me, and my two brothers.  Love my family!  I can’t believe my little brother just turned 23.  When did we all grow up?  *Tear*  Okay…moving ahead.

Depending on how many people you have at your activity assign out the countries that will be represented.  Each person could be their own country, groups of 3-10 could be a country, or each family could be their own country- which is how our family reunion was organized.  My family was Italy and each family also dressed in matching colors.

  This is a fun time to get kids involved and let them have at the flags.  You can try to match the exact flag of the country or just do whatever.  In our case each family made a flag that represented them.  I think our flag was mostly dominated by soccer balls but a drawing of a book may have been squeezed in there somewhere for me.  :)

To make the flags you can use fabric rectangles, poster board, or even regular sized paper if you are doing this on a small scale.  Attaching the finished flag to a small dowel ensures you can wave it proudly through the air.

Do you watch the parade of nations?  It is so exciting to see all the athletes march in dressed in their county’s best and following their flag.  I of course love cheering for the Americans and the hundreds of competitors but that actually isn’t my favorite part.  Nothing gets me more than when a country is announced, in comes the flag, and following behind it is one athlete who is there to represent their entire homeland.  I can only imagine the story behind their journey.  Gah!  I’m such a baby!  I’m crying here just thinking about it!  Moving on again…

With the flags all finished you’ll want to have your own Parade of Nations.  For our reunion everybody grabbed flashlights and with flags waving our entire extended family marched around the neighborhood just as the sun was setting.  I’m sure people either thought we were crazy or clearly the coolest family ever.

You can parade around the neighborhood as we did or do something as simple as walking through the house if you’re doing this with just your little ones. 

Oh you can do just about anything here!  Whether you have a group of 50 or a small family of 4 there are lots of games you can play! You can play sports legitimately or create funny rules and ridiculous events.  This section is only limited by your imagination but here are lots of ideas to get you on your way.

Silly Games:
- Cottonball Shot-put: Have you ever tried to watch grown men chuck a cotton ball as far as they can?  You really should have that opportunity at least once in  your life.
- Q-Tip Javelin:  See above reason.
- Paper Plate Discus Throw: Again, you’ll want to see it.
- Equestrian Run: Each team has to provide a person for a horse and a rider.  Set up many obstacles to jump over, climb under, run around, etc.
- Relay races
- Potato sack race
- Water Balloon Volleyball: two people each hold onto an end of a towel to catch and throw the balloon over the net.
Target Shooting: Use water guns to knock down your targets or see who can hit the bulls-eye.  Especially funny if you have another team member holding the bulls-eye.
Rhythmic Gymnastics: Each group draws a song out of a hat and has a short time to prepare their routine.  I think each family at our reunion was given 30 minutes.  Every member was required to participate.  Each family was also randomly given a bag full of props that had to be incorporated into our routine.
- Obstacle Course
- Hula-Hoop Contest
- Tug-of-War
Fencing- Two people each standing on a stump has to knock their opponent off using pool noodles.
Competitive Eating- how many marshmallows can your team member fit into their mouth?  How high can a person throw a grape and still catch it in their mouth?
Board Game Tournament- bust out that Scrabble board or that Connect Four game and let the competitions begin.

Traditional Games:
- Basketball
- Soccer
- Kickball
- T Ball
- Volleyball
- Badminton
- Bocce 
- Croquet

 

At the end of your event you’ll want to have a closing ceremonies and hand out the awards.  You can create medals for everyone who participated or hand out special awards for those people whose “performance” really stood out.  Mostly meaning those people who were so fun to watch and had everyone cracking up.  Need a printable for medals?  Well make sure to come back on Wednesday when I’ll have a whole host of Olympic themed printables!

At our family reunion each family was given a little wooden plaque that had our picture on it, the year, and a very brief description of the reunion to keep as a souvenir.  It still sits on my parent’s bookshelf in their office.

Using some of these ideas you can easily put together your own activity worthy of a gold medal!

Brieanna

A Baker’s Gift

A couple of random things… I learned on Wednesday that videos don’t show up in the email feed so if you subscribe through email I apologize if the post was a little confusing.  Secondly, for some reason there was a glitch with the email feed yesterday and an old post was sent out to some readers that was published a few months ago.  I heard that a couple people had this problem so hopefully all bugs are now fixed!

After a week and half of family in town, crazy sightseeing and too much eating out, a wonderful and exciting Independence Day, and then being slammed by a killer head, nose, throat, yuck thing…I am not straying too far from my couch.  I’m taking some time to get caught up on some much needed Netflix-ing.  So I’ll keep it short and share this fun gift idea with you all today!

I would love to be the type of person that would receive this gift.  The person who is known for their amazing cooking and baking skills and is always wow-ing their family and friends with their kitchen know-how.  That is not me, I like short cuts and ease when it comes to culinary matters.  But I want to know how to cook better…that must count for something right?

This gift is perfect for those people who do know their way around a kitchen and love being up to their elbows in flour.

How do I even begin listing the different items that would work great in this basket?  There are so many!  Just head to your nearest Bed, Bath, and Beyond, walk around the kitchen section and start grabbing things off the shelves.  It will all work.  Spoons, whisks, rollers, measuring cups, basting brushes, cookie cutters, food thermometer, recipe books, mixing bowls, sprinkles, cupcake liners, anything!  To keep it girly and cute use some pink tissue paper in the mixing bowl and tie some ribbons around a few of the different items.  And of course a printable tag.

Brieanna

Special Day Plate

Until my husband and I have children in our own home, we’ve had lots of time to see other families around us and learn about all the fun traditions and little things other families do.  We’re always saying to ourselves ‘we need to remember that tradition’ or something like that.  Of course we already have traditions that we do that I love, but some are just better suited for children.  One of those ideas that I love and want to remember is a “Special Day Plate.” 

The idea behind this plate is that it is reserved for special days or occasions and getting to use it is an extra treat.  Every birthday you get to eat your birthday meal on the plate, or on the day of a big test, exciting award day…you get the picture.  I think it is such a cute idea and I can see kids getting so excited over it as well.  Here’s how I made mine:

I started with a plate for $1 from the dollar store and a Deco Color ceramic marker.

 

I picked up this marker from Joann’s and I’ve also heard really good things about Pebeo markers from Michaels.  These are markers that are specifically made to write on glass, porcelain, and ceramics.  Once I decided what I wanted the plate to say it was as easy as writing my designs on the plate.

 Around the edges I wrote ‘Today is your day- You are special’ over and over and in the inside I wrote one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes “Today you are you, that is truer than true.  There is no alive who is youer than you.”  And then some random doodling around the plate and the edges.

I did a little testing to see how well the ceramic paint would hold up and I ran it through the dishwasher…and it looked absolutely fine when I pulled it out.  But I would still be cautious and perhaps only hand wash this plate to make sure it will last for a long time and you can have lots of special days year after year.

 Brieanna

July Visiting Teaching- LDS

The message for the month of July is called Demonstrating Our Discipleship through Love and Service.  You can read the entire message here and then download the handout for the month to mail or take to the ladies you visit teach.  Want to learn more about the visiting teaching program?  Click here to read about it!

Download the PDF

 Brieanna