Friday, May 31, 2013

Sparkly Fruit Gummies

A few months ago we launched our new cook book with a big ol’ party at our favorite cooking store, Orson Gygi in Salt Lake City. Hundreds of you showed up to say hello, have some munchies, and celebrate with us. (Thank you!) It was seriously one of the best days ever. Since neither Kate nor I live in Salt Lake City, every time we do an event at Orson Gygi we stock up on goodies for ourselves. This past trip I spent a really long time in their aisle of colors and flavorings, partially just out of sheer awe at the selection. They have literally hundreds of flavors, half of which I never knew existed.

I sat there wanting to buy one of everything, but not even knowing what I would use them for. That’s when I remembered lastChristmas when my friend Cami borrowed some peppermint oil from me to make homemade gumdrops. She brought over a plate of the sparkled jewels when she was done and they were so fun to eat! I thought it would be the perfect thing to stock up on flavors and colors for so I grabbed a few at Orson Gygi that day. And then I ordered just a few more on-line. I have difficulty making decisions, okay?

This is the basic recipe you see all over the place for “Homemade Gumdrops” but I think that name is a bit misleading. These aren’t as chewy and sticky as a gumdrop, they’re more soft and jelly-like. Almost like (and I really hate to use this comparison, because they’re way better than this- I swear) a glorified Jell-O jiggler. But they’re delicious and sparkly and kind of addicting. My kids couldn’t keep their little fingers away from these, and they loved helping smell the flavors and pick color combos.

These take quite a bit of gelatin, you’ll need a couple of boxes at least. Keep in mind you’re buying unflavored gelatin (which is found near the baking supplies and Jell-O in the grocery store.) And yes, all of that sugar is going in. C’mon, it’s candy!

To use unflavored gelatin, you first soften it by sprinkling it over cold water. It will instantly take form as the granules of gelatin absorb the water.

After it softens, add boiling water to dissolve it and you’ll have a liquid. Once the gelatin is mixed in and dissolved, add the sugar.

Bring this mixture to a boil on the stove-top. You’ll want to keep an eye on it, and like, maybe notturn it up crazy high because you’re too impatient to wait for it to come to a boil and then leave it like that while you go feed your kids Corn Pops for lunch and get distracted when said Corn Pops end up in a splat across your freshly mopped kitchen floor. If that happens, you might end up with sticky-scalding-jelly-sugar all over your brand new (and therefore pristinely clean) stove top.

The stove-top that you ironically snapped a photo of just minutes before, simply because it was so pretty and so, so clean and the fact that it’s shaped like a star makes you smile.

The same burner you then spent approximately 47 minutes cleaning.

Tips from a pro, folks.

K, back to cooking. Once the mixture finishes boiling remove it from the heat. At this point, it’s pretty much done and you can color and flavor it. (I like that there are Christmas lights flickering in this photo!)

It will easily make 2 8×8 pans if you want to just to do two colors (like red and green). If you want to experiment with a variety of colors and flavors, you can use any containers. I used a bunch of little plastic rectangular food-storage containers and I found it easiest to line them with plastic wrap and spray the plastic wrap with non-stick spray. You can pour the sugar mixture directly into the containers first and then add colors and flavors, but I mixed small batches in a mixing bowls first and then poured them in.

Are you noticing the change in background in these photos? These are my pretty new counter tops in my new kitchen. I’ve gotten lots of requests to see photos of my new cooking space so as soon as I can get through Christmas I’ll take some photos of it to show you guys. I love, love, love how it all turned out.

If you’re experimenting with small batches in random-sized containers, a good trick is to use a measuring cup to measure how much water fills the container up about 1/2 inch so you know how much sugar mixture to color.

Add food coloring and flavoring as you like. I used oils and started with about 1/8 teaspoon per cup of sugar mixture, and increased to taste from there. I’m using oils, but regular extracts will work fine too. If you can find oil, they work particularly well in things like this because you don’t run the risk of having an alcohol-ish after taste from extract. The mixture should be cool enough to test by this point so you can go by taste.

One of my favorites was coconut. Did you know they make white food coloring? I learned that fromBridget, who uses it to make her white icing bright white.

Once they’re in their containers or pans, chill them for at least 4 hours in the fridge. When they’re chilled and set, pull the mixture out by the plastic and peel off onto a cutting board that’s been sprinkled in sugar. Since I was making small batches, I placed them directly on a plate of sugar and turned to coat all sides.

Use a sharp knife (it might help to coat with cooking spray) to cut into cubes and roll the cubes in sugar. It helps to have a plate of sugar nearby to coat the sticky sides and make cutting easier. I also found we all liked these much better in smaller pieces, like 1/2 inch squares as opposed to 1 inch squares.

Leave the candies out at room temp for a day or two (overnight is fine) so the sugar can crystallize and form a crunchy exterior.

We did blue with blueberry, green with lime, lemon with yellow, tangerine with orange, strawberry-kiwi with pink, and coconut with white.

People are always asking us for goodies that pack and ship well- and these fit the bill!

I had excellent intentions of making a printable to go with these (Have a Holly-Jelly Christmas??) but I opted to take a nap today instead. Yes, really. So if anyone can think of a particularly catchy phrase for a printable I just might make one up for ya!

Print This!

Sparkly Fruit Gummies

Recipe slightly adapted from LHJ Magazine

6 tablespoons unflavored gelatin (about 8 envelopes*)

1 1/2 cups cold water

2 1/4 cups boiling water

6 cups sugar, plus extra for coating

Extract or flavored oil

Food coloring

*Measure out the gelatin in tablespoons, as it may be more than 8 envelopes. If you have a partial pack at 6 tablespoons, just add all of the partial pack.

1. Line 2 8-x-8-inch pans, or a variety of smaller rectangular containers with plastic wrap and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over the cold water in a 6-quart pot. Let sit for 5 minutes, then add the boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sugar.

2. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and gently simmer for 25 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. At this point you may pour the mixture into the prepared pans and then add flavors and colors as desired, or carefully pour hot mixture into a mixing bowl in batches to color and flavor and then pour the mixture into the prepared pans. Cover finished containers with plastic and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

3. Lift plastic from pans and peel off candy. Turn candy onto a cutting board that’s been sprinkled with sugar. Coat a sharp knife with cooking spray, then cut candy into 1/2-inch cubes. Roll in sugar.

4. Leave candies on parchment, foil, or waxed paper at room temperature for one to two days to allow the outside to crystallize. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

PS: LAST DAY to enter our fantastic giveaway! Click here for the details!

(Edit: Lots of people have asked about the cute mason jar with the cut-out lid in the photo above. It’s from Orson Gygi, too!)


Thursday, May 30, 2013

100 Great Play Ideas For Kids

It's summer!  No school for many kiddos right now- Yeah!  I found this great list of ideas of things to do and play with your kiddos to keep them active and away from the "screen" this summer!  Check it out from the Nurture Store!

kids activities play ideas

Screen Free Week ideas

Just as a healthy diet can certainly include cake, so a balanced childhood can include screen time. Family movie nights, skyping with Grandma and typing stories on the laptop are all great fun. It’s just there are so many other fun thing to do if you step away from a screen.

Click each idea to see the full details.

And you can print off the list at the bottom so you really can log off and go play.
screen-free week kids activities

Step away from the screen and play

1.With shadow puppets 2. In the jungle 3. With chickens 4. Under the sea 5. In space  6. With water beads 7. In a bath of jelly 8. On a building site 9. Camping 10. Yoga 11. Dressing up 12. Pirates 13.With potatoes 14. Dinosaurs 15. With homemade play dough 16.With toothpicks 17. Washing up 18. With salt dough 19. Mad hatters20. With your feet

screen-free week kids activities

Step away from the screen and cook

21. Jam 22. Bunny rabbits 23. Lovehearts 24. Marshmallow lollipops25. Child-made soup 26. Chop chop salad  27. A snowman 28.Homemade cornettos 29. Welsh cakes 30. Maths cocktails 31. Eggs32. The alphabet 33. Snowflakes 34. Cookies 35. A rainbow 36. A gingerbread man 37.  A gingerbread house 38. Mini meringues 39. A car 40. Ice cream play dough

screen-free week kids activities

Step away from the screen and make

41. Caterpillars 42. Butterflies 43. A robot 44. A town 45. A playground 46. A marble run 47. An incy, wincy book 48. A superhero peg doll 49. Your own doll 50. A meadow 51. A horse riding stables52. Chocolate play dough 53. A weather station 54. Beautiful candle holders 55. Rockets 56. A boat 57A dinosaur land 58. A den 59.Story stones 60. A comic

screen-free week kids activities

Step away from the screen and be arty

61. Try blow art 62. Set up a painting station 63. Decorate flower pots 64. Explore symmetry 65. Reverse print 66. Make a roly poly painting 67. Try contact paper art 68. Use oil pastels 69. Print with flowers 70. Go big! 71. Paint with marbles 72. Create a self portrait73. Make a marvellous hat 74. Thread an art bag 75. Try old materials new ways 76. Make a store cupboard collage 77. Spin! 78. Try waterpainting 79. Paint outside 80. With cotton buds

screen-free week kids activities

Step away from the screen and play outdoors

81. Make tree gargoyles 82. Make mud pies 83. Plant a tree 84.Create cement art 85. With worms 86. With bugs 87. Go on a treasurehunt 88. Play in a rock pool 89. Create a fairy garden 90. Make a miniature garden 91. Grow some seeds 92. Start a garden journal 93.Plant sunflowers 94. In a story tent 95. Build a sandcastle 96. Make a bird cafe 97. Wear woodland jewellery  98. Hand print a sunflower99. Race snails 100. Hunt mini beasts

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Make Your Own Hoodie

This is such a cute and looks fairly simple- that even I can do it!  I really like Hoodies especially after moving to Alaska when it rains or sprinkles quite a bit in the summer.  This idea from Mark Montano is great!

You'll need:
Sewing machine
2 t-shirts
Measuring tape
Matching thread
Long shoestring
Straight pins
Fabric Chalk
 Lay your t-shirt flat
Draw a v-neck line in the front 
Carefully cut it out.  Don't cut the v in the back! 
Measure around your neckline 
Lay out your 2nd t-shirt.  You'll be working on the hem! 
Add 1" to your neckline measurement on the tape measure 
Fold the tape measure in half 
 Draw a line on the t-shirt as shown that exact folded length
 Draw out your hood like I did here
Cut it out 
Flip it inside out 
Stitch up the back
It's going to look like this.  A monk wearing green! 
 Pin the neckline of the hood to the neckline of the t-shirt starting at the center back and working your way to the front
Overlap the center front parts of the hood 1/2" 
Stitch around the neck 
On the INSIDE of the hem of the hoodie near the center front, draw two small dots.  These are your holes in which you will thread the drawstring (shoestring) 
The hem of the 2nd t-shirt is going to be your tunnel for the drawstring
Cut a very very tiny hole on the inside where you drew the dots.  You'll have to separate the fabrics so that you don't cut through both sides. 
Thread your drawstring and you're done!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Bead Bracelet

Check out this cute bracelet made from the pages of your favorite book!!  This great tutorial from Mark Montano is super fun and very versitile!


One of my favorite projects from 

Here's the how to video!


Book pages
Drinking straws
Transparent tape
Elmer’s glue
Acrylic paint in colors you like
2 yards of heavy duty cord
1 large lobster claw
1 jump ring
Shoebox lid or cardboard
Straight pins

 1.    Cut your book pages in 2” wide strips the length of your book.

2.    Place a small piece of tape at the end of a strip and on the drinking straw and roll the book page around the straw.
3.    Add some Elmer’s glue to the end to seal the bead.
4.    Cut off the straw and start again until you have about 21 of these beads.

 5.    Stab some straight pins in a shoebox lid or some cardboard to create your drying board.

6.    Paint each side of each bead and place on a pin to dry.

 7.    Thread your lobster claw and tie a knot around it in the middle of your cord 
exactly at the 1-yard mark.

8.    Put one end of your cord through one end of a bead and the other end of the cord through the other end of a bead and pull until the string is taught.
9.    Position the lobster claw so it’s in the center of this first bead.

 10.    Repeat step 8 until you’ve used all of your beads.

11.    Once the last bead is in place, tie your cord in a very secure knot around a jump ring.
12.    Cut the excess cord and tuck the ends inside the last bead and dab some glue on the ends to secure them inside the end bead.
For 35 more paper projects, grab a copy of