Tag Archives: summer

Monday check-in and a teaser

11 May
A favorite photo from our day yesterday. It's a sculpture found at the beach where we walked.

A favorite photo from our day yesterday. It’s a sculpture found at the beach where we walked.

Happy Monday afternoon!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve done a blog post, and I haven’t forgotten about my blog or about my loyal readers! This time of year is so crazy for us, and last week happened to just be one of those weeks where we were both working days and also both working nights, and shuffling kids from activity to activity, supervising homework, prepping meals and all the usual stuff, there was just no time for extra typing. I expect the coming weeks to be just like that, and then we’ll be on the other side of another school year, and getting to take a breather, thankfully.

But today, I’m checking in with you all and setting up a tiny bit of a teaser for you as well, a tip about some big things coming up. (And no, our family is *not* expanding in any way!)

Yesterday was Mother’s Day and it was such a lovely day. It was low-key and relaxing, church in the morning, spending time with family and doing lots of eating in the afternoon and evening–all of my favorite activities. We got to head down to the beach for the first time this season just for a walk, and it really made me feel great. I get excited when we head to the beach for the first time, as it gives me a glimpse into the upcoming season and reminds me how much we love where we live and how much we love our seasons. Each winter we experience gives us a renewed appreciation for spring, summer and fall, and if ever there was a winter to do just that, this was it!

I can’t wait for summer. Yesterday, I breathed the salt air in deeply as we walked, I let the sun shine on my face,and I could just feel it all rejuvenating my spirit. Summer will be here before we know it.

And that leads me to my next little piece for today….a teaser.

Although I haven’t had a ton of time to blog lately, my extra hours (when I have them) have been filled with some new experiences for our family, and we’re gearing up for a really *big* new experience taking place this summer. (And I repeat, no…it’s not what you’re wondering.)

I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but just know that all of the research, hard work, prepping and pre-writing that I’m doing now will be fun for you to follow along with this summer! All though you may be missing my regularly scheduled posts now, I promise that it will be well-worth it when we catch up with you this summer!

I hope you have a wonderful week, enjoy this beautiful weather!

Fun Friday: Banana Split Smoothies

29 Aug
My kids never get tired of having homemade smoothies, especially on these hot days!

My kids never get tired of having homemade smoothies, especially on these hot days!

As I mentioned on Wednesday, this was our first week of school. It was a short week but being the first week, it feels approximately two full weeks long. Not only are we re-adjusting to the school year schedule, but we are also adjusting to a new schedule, an earlier schedule for our oldest daughter, who started her freshman year of high school this week.

To top it off, while our summer has been 8-10 weeks of perfect, not-humid, summer-like weather, not a day over 80 degrees, this first week back in our non-air conditioned schools on our not-air conditioned buses, it’s been nearly 90 degrees, hot and humid every.single.day.

On Day Two, the younger kids took the bus home. They were like soggy noodles getting off the bus; they were so hot, tired and sweaty. As soon as I saw them, I knew exactly what the quick fix would be: smoothies.

Even better, I had a new frozen yogurt in the freezer here at home, an Edy’s Slow Churned, Low Fat, Limited Edition yogurt. When companies call something “Limited Edition,” it almost always becomes a favorite flavor of mine and I almost always pine for it when they take it away from me.

As soon as I saw this, it went right into my shopping cart!

As soon as I saw this, it went right into my shopping cart!

This Limited Edition flavor was made for me: Fun ‘N The Sun Banana Split Frozen Yogurt.

No, I am not even kidding you right now.

It just so happened that I had this Banana Split yogurt, I had two frozen bananas, and I had chocolate syrup. I also had a freezer full of ice and some low fat vanilla yogurt (not the frozen kind) as well. My middle daughter was immediately intrigued by the idea of a banana split smoothie, having had her first-ever banana split dessert on her birthday at a local restaurant this summer.

Suddenly the heat wasn’t so unbearable anymore, and we got to work.

We use our Ninja blender all the time, and I’m so glad we made the investment. I was thankful this week as I put the frozen bananas, the ice, the frozen yogurt, milk and regular yogurt all into the blender. Our old blender could never have handled this type of all-out smoothie that we were creating.

We added some chocolate syrup in, and we turned it on.  Level 1 blending didn’t cut it, so we kicked it up a notch to Level 2. At the end, as I saw some of the ice still in decent sized pieces, I gave it a blast at Level 3.

I poured it into the glasses. My youngest daughter handed out straws. By this time, my oldest was home from her sports practice, which had been outdoors in the hot sun. She too, was melting on the spot. Her eyes lit up when she saw this smoothie that we’d concocted in her absence. She was just in time.

It

Was

Amazing.

If you have the chance, if you have the ingredients, and you’re in the mood, I *highly* recommend you try out your own banana split smoothie. The flavor was fabulous, it hit the spot on a hot day, and I will most definitely be making this again.

And when this limited edition frozen yogurt is gone, I’ll definitely be pining for it all year long until they (hopefully) bring it back again next summer.

 

 

Monday Musings: Back to our regularly scheduled programming

25 Aug
Nothing makes me more reflective of our blessings than being able to take in such beauty on a regular basis, especially in the summer.

Nothing makes me more reflective of our blessings than being able to take in such beauty on a regular basis, especially in the summer.

It’s a Monday and here’s a Monday Musings post. We must be back to our regularly scheduled programming.

School starts up again tomorrow.

Summer as we know it and love it, is all over.

The girls and even their dad, are all excited and a bit nervous to begin the new year and I am excited for them. A new school year is an exciting thing. My job has started to pick up as well, and that makes me excited also. As I dressed for my own first day back last Friday, I couldn’t help but have that first-day-of-school feeling and tinge of excitement.

The air has already begun to get a bit cooler at night and it’s getting darker just a bit earlier; all signs of the inevitable end to summer.

Although I tend to be pretty bummed out about the summertime ending, melancholy at times, this time of year also reminds me so much of how blessed we are and how thankful I am for all that we have.

Summer is relaxing and stress-free for the most part and allows us to truly enjoy our family time together.

Summer is relaxing and stress-free for the most part and allows us to truly enjoy our family time together.

Coincidentally, I’ve been chosen to participate in one of those social media challenges which is going around Facebook this week, the “Gratefulness Challenge.” Five days, five things a day that you’re grateful for. It’s allowed me to take some time to think of all the things I truly am grateful for in my life, and it’s made me a little less melancholy as we start the new school year, embarking the months in which I count down to summer, from now through next June.

Each summer as we enjoy our time together, I try to constantly remind the kids how lucky we are. We have flexible summertime work schedules, so we are able to spend a great deal of time together, almost making up for the stress of the school year months when our schedules are maxed out with our school year responsibilities. We have chosen to live in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places in the country where we can enjoy beautiful scenery that people travel many miles to enjoy for a short time, any time we want. We are so incredibly lucky and I am grateful for the choices we’ve made all along the way, which have allowed us to have this time together.

When used correctly, "selfies" are a great opportunity to create memories with your friends and family. Never before have I gotten to be in so many photos with my kids.

When used correctly, “selfies” are a great opportunity to create memories with your friends and family. Never before have I gotten to be in so many photos with my kids. I treasure each and every “selfie” that I have with them.

In August, I always choose to celebrate my actual birthday with a dinner on the beach with the kids and my husband. It’s by far one of the most special parts of my summer each year and it means a lot to me. Because my birthday is in the middle of August, I am always reminded that summer is winding down and I am always grateful for that one last dinner on the beach, that one last opportunity to snap photos of my kids playing together, running through the sand, feet in the water, as the sun goes down over the ocean.  I love hearing the wind taking their laughter away from me, and hearing them come back to me, breathless as they laugh over whatever it is they’re doing; taking “selfies” together (I love the “selfie” trend for this reason) or climbing up on the empty lifeguard chairs, or just general fooling around. It’s a fun night for sure, but it’s my own personal reminder each year of just how lucky we are.

And so, as we begin our new school year and as I reflect upon our closing of another summer, another chapter in our family’s book, I am reminded of just how lucky I am, how lucky we are as a family and I know that I am very, very blessed.

(Just nine more months ’til next summer…..)

Happy Birthday To Me and To You: Mom’s Boston Cream Pie two ways

11 Aug

Boston Cream Pie is my all-time favorite kind of birthday cake.

ORIGINALLY POSTED AUGUST 10, 2012

August 11 is my birthday!

If I could choose any kind of birthday cake in the whole world, I’d choose Boston Cream Pie every single time.

In fact, I’m a lucky girl. I do get to choose my birthday cake every single year.

My parents have a tradition of letting us choose our birthday meals, which includes the cake of our choice. You may remember back in March when I posted about Don’s birthday cake of choice: lemon cake, which is great, but it’s not Boston Cream Pie by any means, and that’s *my* favorite.

For as long as I can remember, my mom used a recipe for a “quick” Boston Cream Pie, which uses a cake mix, pudding mix, and a decadent chocolate frosting. Then, in 2006 my mom happened upon a “from scratch” recipe for a Buttermilk Cake which she uses for her Boston Cream Pie, in a magazine that Hallmark used to put out.

I like them both.

So, as my gift to you for my birthday, I’m giving you both recipes. They’re both good and there are times when you really just need a quick recipe versus times when you can go all out. I personally have never made the from scratch recipe, but I’ve eaten it.

Delicious.

Treat yourself to either one on your next birthday. You’ll be glad you did!

*********************************************************************************************

QUICK BOSTON CREAM PIE

INGREDIENTS

One box yellow cake mix, baked according to the directions for round layers

FOR THE CENTER

one package vanilla instant pudding

1 1/2 cups milk (not two cups)

Mix and chill until solid.

FOR THE FROSTING

2 one ounce squares unsweetened chocolate, melted, or six tablespoons baking cocoa

2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

4-5 tablespoons hot water
DIRECTIONS

When cakes are cooled, spread filling on one layer, top with the second layer.

In small bowl, mix together all frosting ingredients except for hot water.

Add hot water one tablespoon at a time until desired spreading consistency has been reached.

Spread frosting immediately.

Top with cherries and/or sprinkles, if desired.

**********************************************************************************************

HALLMARK’S BASIC BUTTERMILK CAKE FOR BOSTON CREAM PIE

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks) softened

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs at room temperature

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup of buttermilk at room temperature

1 and 1/2 tsp. vanilla
DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter layer cake pans and line with parchment or waxed paper. Butter the paper.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with electric mixer for five minutes at medium speed until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beaters and beat well to incorporate.

Sift the flour with the baking soda and baking powder.

Add one quarter of the butter mixture to the butter-egg mixture then add vanilla and one third of the buttermilk.

Repeat, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and scraping well after each addition.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and spread to edges with spatula.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on rack for five minutes.

Turn pans onto rack, remove parchment or waxed paper and cool completely before filling and frosting.

**Use the same frosting and filling as above.**

**Photo credit: Marianne Tandon**

What We’re Doing for Fun This Summer: Letterboxing

30 Jun

Look, we found a letterbox!

ORIGINALLY POSTED JULY 30, 2012

Have you ever heard of letterboxing?

It’s so much fun, it’s free, and it’s great for a family activity during any season that’s not freezing cold. For us, that’s 3/4 of the year, but we really only get to do it in the summer for the most part because that’s when we have time to do things.

Things that aren’t school and work things.

Fun things.

Like letterboxing.

I first heard of letterboxing so long ago, I don’t even know if we had all three kids yet. I read about it in Family Fun Magazine. I don’t get that magazine any longer and I can only imagine all the amazing ideas I’ve missed, but I used to love it. I credit all our letterboxing fun to the article I read in Family Fun.

I remember reading the article and saying to Don, “When our kids are bigger, I want to do this,” and I never forgot it. In 2008 we began our letterboxing adventures. Alexandra, our youngest, was three.

You’re probably saying, “Get to the point! What IS letterboxing???” I take the long way around sometimes, when I tell a story.

Okay. Here’s what it is and here’s how you do it:

All around the world people are hiding, and finding letterboxes!

All around the world, literally, people are hiding these little boxes in secret places and uploading the clues to help you find them, online.

I kid you not.

It’s like a giant treasure hunt, really.

Here’s what you need to get started:

*A notebook of some kind (Mine is super fancy because I’m crafty and I actually have notebooks like this just hanging around in my office. However, it can be a simple composition book.)

*A pen

*A rubber stamp (some people make their own. I used a Stampin’ Up! stamp of a globe. I thought it appropriate.)

*An ink pad

*Something in which to store all those things. I used to use a gallon ziploc bag. Then I used a big manilla folder. Now they’re in an expandable file I found in my office. That’s the most durable thing I’ve used so far.

Now here’s what you have to do:

1) Visit this website for Letterboxing North America (assuming that’s where you live).

2) Click on the state you want to explore. Click on the area of the state. Ours is set up by counties.

3) Check out the list of letterboxes in that area and pick some to print out. I read the clues first to see if it says the last time the box was found or if it’s missing, or if the terrain is notable in any way, such as rough or rocky or easy.

4) Print out the clues for the boxes you want to look for. We started with boxes right in our own city to get the hang of it, and then expanded to nearby cities and now we do them even if we’re traveling on vacation and think we’ll have a chance to look for a letterbox.

Now you take your clues and go.

1) You park your car where they tell you to, and start following the clues until you reach the hiding spot where they say the box is. We told our kids right off the bat that sometimes the boxes are missing or we won’t find them, just so they wouldn’t be so disappointed if that happened, but it’s not been the norm for us.. Usually we find them.

2) When you get to the hiding place you find the box. It’s usually a tupperware type of plastic box. Open the box. Find their stamp, ink and notebook.

3) You stamp your stamp into their notebook and we like to leave a little note with the date and our last name, so they know at least when the most recent one was found. We sometimes will look back to see how long the boxes have been hidden in that spot.

4) Then you take their stamp and their ink (or use your ink if needbe) and stamp their stamp into your notebook. Put the date and where you are so that you too, can look back in the future and see all the places you’ve explored and found letterboxes, and how long you’ve been doing it.

5) Put all their stuff back in their box and REHIDE the box. Don’t just leave it out there in the open. Put it back where you found it and cover it back up as it was so that the next person can find it.

That’s it! Done! Fun times!!

We never even knew this spot existed until we followed the letterboxing clues. The box ended up not being there, but the stunning location we found instead made up for it.

We have not only found some neat letterboxes, but we’ve found some incredible spots, gorgeous places that we never knew existed in our own state. We’ve also explored some neat historic places both in our state and in other states, where we’ve found letterboxes.

Letterboxing makes a day trip double the fun.

Some state parks have a series of letterboxes in them, sometimes three or four of them. You can spend the day hiking through the park and finding them.

A few things to keep in mind:

Dress appropriately. Sneakers work better than flip flops, for example.

Sunscreen, snacks, water, tissues and band-aids are all good things to bring with you. You never know what you’ll need but those basics have served us well.

Next time you’re looking for a fun, active way to spend the day together with your family, give letterboxing a try!

It’s summertime!!!

18 Jun
It's here! It's finally here!

It’s here! It’s finally here!

ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 24, 2013:

Yay!!

Yahooo!!!

Woot, woot!!!!!

Today is our last day of school. Tomorrow is our first day of summer vacation.

At times during this school year, I seriously did not know if I’d make it through to the end of the year. But I did,  we did, and now it’s summer!

I.love.summer.

Today I will make the same type of disclosure statements to you that I made last summer.

I promise that my posts may not always be on time.

I promise that I won’t be sharing them on Facebook at 6:30 in the morning each day.

I promise that they may not always be on the same posting schedule as they are during the school year, so there may not be three a week.

I promise that I am putting my family first and spending lots and lots of time with them.

I promise to sleep late, wear sunscreen and eat supper on the beach. Often.

And I promise that if we do anything super-cool, or eat anything super-delicious I will share it with you so that you can do it too!

Enjoy your summer, enjoy your family, and remember that summer will be over in the blink of an eye.

Make the most of it!

Monday Musings: Spring is on the way!

7 Apr
Spring is on the way!

Spring is on the way!

ORIGINALLY POSTED MARCH 11, 2013

One of the things I so love about living in New England is the fact that we get to experience every season. I love and appreciate them all, even winter.

My scrapbooks and photo albums would not be complete if they did not have photos from each season: snow days, snow men, and sledding in the winter, jumping in the leaves, apple and pumpkin picking in the fall, and of course my all-time favorites: swimming, fishing and boating in the summer.

When I first met my husband, I distinctly remember though, a conversation where we discussed the start of spring. Not the first official calendar day of spring, but rather the first day. That day you know that spring is coming. The sky is blue, the sun shines, it looks like spring, it even smells like spring. We both knew which day we were talking about and we both knew that there was nothing like that day every year.

I know too, that if we didn’t experience the winter, we would not appreciate the spring, not as much as we do.

Today, I was reminded of that conversation and I actually think of it every year at the start of spring. After a particularly long, snowy winter, today was gorgeous. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. We’ve been seeing buds from our flowers appearing in recent weeks. The days are now officially longer. It’s coming, and I’m so excited for a new year’s springtime to start.

This week, the kids brought out the jump ropes, and played outside again, without needing snow boots and snow pants.

A sure sign that spring is on the way: the sidewalk chalk is out!

A sure sign that spring is on the way: the sidewalk chalk is out!

And today….today they played with the sidewalk chalk in the driveway.

I absolutely love sidewalk chalk. I think that it’s one of the truest signs that spring is coming, when I see our driveway covered in my kids’ artwork. You never know what they’re going to draw and it’s always beautiful, full of bright colors and it’s always creative, full of whatever theme they’re currently into at the moment. It changes after each rainstorm, another sure sign of spring. And then, new art appears.

I used to run classes at my house when I was a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and I once had a customer say to me that she always waited with great anticipation to see what the art would be on our driveway whenever she came to our house. It always made her smile.

It always makes me smile too. I love seeing it in front of me when I back out of the driveway and I love seeing it again when I come home at the end of the day.

It’s warm and it’s welcoming.

Last summer, after several seasons of wishing and hoping for one, I received a special gift for my birthday from my husband: a bench for my front yard so that I could sit out there and watch my kids play in the spring,  summer and fall; I could curl up and read a book, and all the while, listen to them chattering, running, jumping, riding bikes and scooters, and watch them with their chalk.

Big bows and applause for a job well done!

Big bows and applause for a job well done!

Today, I pulled my bench out of the garage and dragged it out to the driveway.

I got my book, my camera and my phone, and a blanket for my legs.

And then out I went to watch my kids, as they ushered in the spring.

Monday Musings: Remembering our summer

16 Sep
Even though it's not officially over, it's over.

Even though it’s not officially over, it’s over.

I know.

You’re going to say, “But it’s not over yet! It’s not over til it’s officially over!”

It’s over.

Finished. Done.

Gone, but luckily, not forgotten.

In fact, we spend lots of time thinking about, talking about and remembering all of the fun times we had this summer, thanks to a great new tradition that I started last summer: The Summer Time Line.

If you’re a longtime reader, you might remember when I wrote about last year’s summer time line. I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but it worked out great! And, even better, when we were all done reminiscing about our summer, we used all of the photos and labels to make a great summer scrapbook of memories. It was fantastic.

And we left room for this summer’s memories in that book!

So guess what?

This summer, starting on the last day of school, we began our summer time line for 2013.

On the last day in June, I put my plan back into action. While they were at school I ran out and got what I needed: a roll of doodle paper at Christmas Tree Shop, just like last year, and then I thought long and hard about how I’d utilized my labels last year for our scrapbook. I decided to go to our local learning store and pick up some bulletin board edging with all of their favorite colors to use for my actual line, and some name tags with peel-off backing for my labels. Those served two purposes: 1) they were prettier than the post-it note type of labels I did last year and 2) when it comes time to put them into the scrapbook we can just peel off the backing and stick them on the pages with the photos. Right now they are on the time line with tape. As an added bonus, the bulletin board edging is double-sided, so I can use strips of it from the same bag if I do it next year, just using the other design on the flip side.

Once again this summer, our time line is full of great memories.

Once again this summer, our time line is full of great memories.

When the kids walked in from school, they saw the blank canvas taped up on the wall, labeled Summer Memories 2013. I hadn’t told them I had planned to do it again this year and I wasn’t sure what their reaction would be.

“Oh yay! We’re doing that again,” one of them called out as they were halfway up the stairs.

I’d started the time line myself with one label: The Last Day of School. The last day kicks off our first day of summer.

And then it began. Every so often we would write up the labels, and when I could, a few times over the summer, I’d print out my wallet-sized photos. This year I was more liberal about printing out photos, knowing ahead of time that we were making a scrapbook. At one point I was kind of stuck because I didn’t have a printer for a short time. Once I got a new one, I was back on track.

Last year the time line stretched around the corner of the wall from the living room into the dining room. This year it went that same way and then by mid-August we were out of space again. So, we added a new strip of paper onto the opposite dining room wall with more bulletin board edging across it and printed out the rest of our photos from August and Labor Day weekend and week.

This year we spread onto a third wall with our summer memories.

This year we spread onto a third wall with our summer memories.

With that, our time line is done.

And now, as the air gets just a little crisper this week, and the sun sets just a little earlier each day, we look all around us at the memories we made this summer.

Soon, but not too soon, we’ll take the time line down and add the pages to our scrapbook from last year.

Maybe in the fall. Or before Thanksgiving.

Definitely before Christmas cards arrive.

But for now, we’re just content to remember what a great, great summer 2013 was and how lucky we are to have our memories.

The first two weeks of August filled one whole wall of our time line.

The first two weeks of August filled one whole wall of our time line.

Monday Musings: It’s over and done…have a cookie.

26 Aug
All's quiet as we prepare for the first day back to school, back to routine.

All’s quiet as we prepare for the first day back to school, back to routine.

Well folks, that’s that.

Summer’s over, at least for us. The best two months of the calendar year have flown by, but they’ve been two wonderful months, for sure.

Tomorrow is the first day back to school.

We’ll be starting our first year where both our elementary kids are on the intermediate hallway. No more primary grades. Ever.

We’ll be starting our last year of middle school for our first kid. Next year…high school.

Yikes.

On a happy note…only ten more months until summer.

To celebrate, let’s have a cookie.

A couple of weeks back I tried out a new recipe, modified it for our needs, and it was a huge success. So today I’m sharing that recipe with you. Enjoy your week, munch on a cookie, it makes everything seem better.

These were in a new cookbook I received from a family friend recently. Everyone loved them!

These were in a new cookbook I received from a family friend recently. Everyone loved them! They’d make a great after school snack!

Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

(with our modifications in italics)
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter (we use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk (we use skim)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cup white flour (we did one cup of white and 3/4 cup wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional and I did NOT add it in)
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking or old fashioned rolled oats
1 pkg. Semisweet Chocolate morsels
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional and I did NOT add it in)
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In large mixing bowl combine brown sugar, butter and granulated sugar.
Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, milk and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed until well blended.
Add flour, baking soda and salt.
Beat at low speed until soft dough forms.
Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2″ apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 9-10 minutes for chewy cookies or 12-13 minutes for a crisp cookie (I DID TEN.)
Let cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets. Cool completely before storing.

Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies.

Fun Friday: Spanish Flan

23 Aug
Subliminal message for me.

Subliminal message for me.

Elizabeth wanted me to make flan.

Really badly.

She saw flan featured on “Sabrina The Teenage Witch,” and figured if it was so great on the show, enough that an entire episode was devoted to it, then it must be so great in real life too.

I had to make it.

She even found me a lower-fat recipe so that we could make one that everyone in our family could try.

We bought the key ingredients.

They sat on our counter for weeks.

I kept forgetting.

It’s not like I don’t ever do *anything* around here.

So I finally told her to get a piece of paper and write me a note and leave it on the table for the next day, a Friday.

I think instead of a note, I got a reminder poster. It was easily a 9×12 piece of paper.

But it worked, I remembered.

How could I forget, with a note like that?

That next day we set to work, making our flan. I personally LOVE flan. I love anything flan-like. Puddings, custards, things like that. Love them.

So I was very excited to try this out.

Recipe or science experiment? Both!

Recipe or science experiment? Both!

The recipe was easy enough to follow and it was one of those that was like a science experiment. I love that too. The sugar had to be cooked on the stove until it turned a light caramel color and liquified. The kids had never seen that before. It was neat to see and to show them.

The other very cool thing about this recipe was that you cook the flan “right side up” but you serve it upside down.

Once the sugar was liquified, Elizabeth poured it into a pie plate and it hardened right away, which was also very cool. (Cool to see, but hot to the touch, which we learned the hard way.)

She mixed the rest of the ingredients, poured them on top of the hardened sugar and then it was ready to bake for one hour.

Elizabeth was very excited that we were finally making her requested recipe.

Elizabeth was very excited that we were finally making her requested recipe.

Although the prep is relatively quick, the cooking and cooling parts in order to get to the eating part take some time.

While the flan cooked we ate our lunch, and while it cooled, we went and ran some errands. We came back hungry, perfect timing for trying out our new dessert.

I had a little bit of trouble getting the flan out of the pan. Although it was cool and we’d flipped it upside down, it wasn’t coming out. However, using a technique only known to soon-to-be-fifth-graders apparently, Elizabeth banged on the bottom of the baking dish which was now facing bottom up, and out it slid.

“See Mom? I told you that would work. I told you to do it my way,” she said.

This is how our flan looked when it came out of the oven, before we flipped it over.

This is how our flan looked when it came out of the oven, before we flipped it over.

I’m a big “I told you so” person too, so I can’t disagree. She did, in fact, state that I should try banging on the bottom of the dish.

We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon snack. We had both Cool Whip and Whipped Cream available for topping off the flan, since some people like one or the other. I had to restrain myself from having more than one piece. I was trying to lead by example, but I really wanted at least two slices. I had to walk away. Literally.

Before I share the recipe that Elizabeth found with you, I have to share one more funny tidbit. The girls had recently seen the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” which is a really silly movie, but the kids got a kick out of it. In this very silly movie there is a character named Lafonda. Having just seen the movie, Elizabeth decided she would actually name her Spanish Flan.

The name she chose: Laflanda.

And now, without further ado, here is the recipe she found for Spanish Flan, on one of our favorite sites: Allrecipes.com.

Our finished product, Elizabeth's special request: Spanish Flan.

Our finished product, Elizabeth’s special request: Spanish Flan aka Laflanda.

Ingredients
(From Allrecipes.com)

Recipe makes 1 – 9 inch round
  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk, evaporated milk and vanilla until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake in preheated oven 60 minutes. Let cool completely.
  5. To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.