Poofy Cheeks

April 26, 2015

Jell-O Popsicle Melt Test

My kids love when we make popsicles together. We have made all sorts of different popsicles over the years but last year I made Jell-O popsicles that were a huge hit. Not only did my kids go nuts over the colors and flavors but I loved the fact that they didn't drip and make a mess like regular popsicles do. I learned that popsicles are treats that I have to give them outside while making sure they are wearing play clothes or swimming suits (unless I want to spend lots of extra time on laundry from the popsicle they let drip all down their shirts).
 
When I shared the Jell-O popsicle recipe on the blog last summer it was also a huge hit with you guys. The only question I got time after time was why I felt the need to add extra sugar so I am addressing that question today. I am also showing pictures from our popsicles over a 20 minute span outside in the Florida heat so you can see how these popsicles truly do not drip like regular popsicles do!
 
No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test
 
No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test
 
First off let me start by telling you the Jolly Rancher Jell-O flavors make delicious popsicles! For this batch we layered Watermelon and Blue Raspberry Jolly Rancher Jell-O. I filled the molds halfway with the blue raspberry flavor and placed them at an angle in the freezer for about an hour. Then I stuck the popsicle sticks in while the first layer was starting to freeze but not completely solid yet. After a few more hours in the freezer I layered the watermelon Jell-O filling the molds to the top and then placed into the freezer over night.
 
I let the kids each pick out their own Jell-O flavors at the store the other day so we are going to making Pineapple, Strawberry an Jolly Rancher Green Apple flavors soon! These honestly have become our popsicle of choice since they are super easy to make and there are so many flavor options.
 
No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test

Let's talk about how these melt. Instead of melting and dripping down the stick like a store bought popsicle does these just gel up into a Jell-O consistency. Of course if you have messy kids like I do they won't be 100% mess free. The picture above shows two popsicles that had been sitting on the plate for about 10 minutes out on a very sunny and hot Florida day (it was in the high 80s). The one on the right shows how it held its shape and the one on the left was picked up and eaten. When they melt it is like eating really cold Jell-O... on a stick.

The picture below was what the popsicles looked like after being out on the plate for about 20 minutes. Underneath the popsicle there was wetness which seemed to be mostly condensation since it was clear. There may have been a few drops of melted popsicle.

No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test

Okay now for the 'why do you need the extra sugar question' - The answer is that you don't need to add sugar because the Jell-O mix has sugar in it BUT if you don't add the sugar the popsicles don't freeze as well. When you try to pull the popsicles out from the mold the stick tends to come out leaving the popsicle behind. Who wants a popsicle without a stick... that isn't any fun! If you don't want to add the extra sugar then I suggest using plastic cups or ice trays for your mold so you can get them to come out without loosing the stick. If you are using a deep mold then I would add the extra sugar. (Trust me I have tested this. We would up only being able to get 2 out of 10 popsicles out with their sticks still intact. I had to use a knife to get the others out.)

 
 
No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test
 
Here is a good picture that shows the 'gel' factor. This popsicle was one from the plate after sitting for the 20 minutes. Notice the transparent layer along the bottom? Take one lick and that layer is all yummy Jell-O.

No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test

Another good photo - after the twenty or so minutes in the Florida heat you can tell this popsicle is no longer frozen solid but pretty 'melted' since it was bending on the stick.
 

No Drop Jell-O Popsicle Q&A and Melt Test


Enjoy,

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Yum

April 24, 2015

Fast Fresh Lunch in a Jiffy



I serve breakfast to my kids every morning. It might just be a quick bowl of cereal some mornings but I am up and preparing it nonetheless. Trust me I would much rather be snug as a bug in my bed but I honestly can’t remember the last time I slept past 7:45. When it come to dinner I typically cook a homemade meal every night. Afterwards I have an overflowing sink of dirty dishes starring at me from across the kitchen. The one meal I don’t typically prepare is lunch. Pull open the windows and shout it for the world to hear – I DON’T MAKE LUNCH. Can I have a break from making at least one meal a day? If you are a mom I know you are hearing me right now. We are working, we are chasing kids and we are sick of being in charge of what our families should eat 24/7. Am I right or am I right!?

When Mike has the day off we usually eat lunch out as a treat to ourselves. His days off normally fall on school days so with two of our four kids at school it is almost like a lunch date. (When you have four kids anytime you have two or less is like a break!) Greasy burgers and fries just don’t do it for me so we like to find places that serve fresh meals. There is one problem with our lunch dates though – often at least one of our two babes are sleeping around lunch time. When this happens Mike or I run down to the street and pick up a fresh salad from Wendy’s.

Fast Fresh Lunch - Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salada

When I first heard of the new Wendy’s salads I wasn’t so sure about the flavor combinations but the BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad has quickly become one of my favorites. Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad harkens to a smoky backyard grill-out with fire-roasted sweet corn, freshly diced tomatoes, light and lively spring mix combined with Applewood Smoked bacon and grilled chicken drizzled with savory BBQ sauce, topped with creamy Simply Dressed® BBQ Ranch Dressing. The other two salads Mike likes to order include the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad.

Of course I can’t stop by Wendy’s without one of their Strawberry Lemonades so my order is a salad with and a lemonade.

Fast Fresh Lunch - Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salada

Fast Fresh Lunch - Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salada

Now can we take a second to talk about the whole difference between Wendy’s Fresh-Made Salads versus a fresh salad? Aren’t they the same thing? NO! No, my friends they are not the same thing. Some restaurants assemble their salads with only frozen and pre-packaged lettuce and produce which appear fresh. In every Wendy's restaurant, employees freshly chop vegetables every day, starting with full heads of iceberg and romaine lettuces and other veggies like cucumbers and tomatoes. Every salad entrĂ©e uses only premium white meat chicken breasts that are grilled at the time of your order and placed warm on your salad. So now do you get the difference between fresh-made and a salad that may just appear to be fresh? If I’m not making lunch for my family at least I know we are still eating a freshly made meal. Still don’t believe me? Watch the Wendy’s ‘Romaine Lettuce Journey’.

Fast Fresh Lunch - Wendy's BBQ Ranch Chicken Salada

See there – both kids napped, we ate and I got to enjoy a fresh meal without any interruptions. I could count on one hand the amount of time that has happened in the last six months! Truly I joke but we could probably be the subject for a pretty successful reality TV show at our house. As I am sure most moms can relate you will hear things like this during meal time at our house…
  • Didn’t we just have this?
  • I’m not telling you again to get in here and eat.
  • I don’t like this.
  • I have to go pee.
  • She stole my napkin.
  • I don’t want this little fork.
  • Did you forget to put the ketchup on the table?
Did I nail it on the head? I have had to stop numerous times while simply writing this post to change a dirty diaper, pick up play dough off the floor before my one year old ate it, stop my two year old from scaling the pantry shelves and tell my oldest boys they may not have a third after school snack which they are so coyly trying to persuade me into. Oh the life of a mom. Heck after my husband gets home I might just hop in my mini-van and go down to Wendy’s to order a Strawberry Lemonade in the drive-thru and then park in their parking lot to drink it in complete silence. I’ll send a cheers to all you hard working mommas while I’m at it!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Enjoy,


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April 23, 2015

Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable

Teacher Appreciation started when Eleanor Roosevelt persuaded Congress to recognize educators. The recognition started as a celebration on one single day and turned into a week long time to show teacher appreciation which is always the first week of May. This year Teacher Appreciation Week is May 4-8th and Tuesday May 5th is National Teacher Day. If you are a mom or teacher then I am sure you know the importance of showing our appreciation to the ones who educate our children and often spend more time with our children than we as parents can. My two older boys are in kindergarten and 1st grade and the things they are learning always amazes me. At the beginning of the school year Mason knew a handful of sight words and could only spell his name. Now he is reading books and sounds out big words with ease. Wyatt is reading chapter books and learning math problems I don't think I learned until I was in at least 3rd grade.
 
I am so thankful for both of the boys' teachers because I know they have a job I could never have the patience for. I know they are working before and after my kids sit down in their classroom for the day and often take their work home with them. For Teacher Appreciation Week I plan to send something fun a couple of days throughout the week. I want to send a few things the teachers can use in the classroom as well as a few things they can keep for themselves.
 

  
EOS Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable
 
I feel like the boys' teachers are Out of This World and I knew inserting an EOS lip balm would be perfect for this printable.  To grab this FREE printable go HERE and remember Poofy Cheeks printables are for personal use only. They may not be claimed as your own or sold in their printed or digital format.
 
EOS Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable
 
To make your own 'Out of this World' EOS lip balm card you will need the following supplies:
Directions:

Print the free file onto cardstock using a home printer or send it to an office supply store to be printed. Use scissors to cut out the card and then a craft knife to cut out the white circle. The white circle is the exact size it needs to be to fit the lip balm. Open the EOS lip balm and insert through the card and then close. Now your lip balm looks like a planet.

*I printed my file to Office Depot and the cost was $0.70*


EOS Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable

 

EOS Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable


EOS Out of This World Teacher Appreciation Printable

Even if it is a simple note telling your child's teacher how much you appreciate them I'm sure they would be so grateful. I personally don't always get a lot of time to see or talk to the boys' teachers so I'm sure they would be appreciative of a note telling them the differences I have seen in my boys or how much I appreciate the time they put into teaching my children.

Enjoy,

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April 22, 2015

Frozen Autograph Book Tutorial - DIY Disney Signature Book


I know, I know I'm sharing yet another Disney post and it has to do with Frozen but what can I say? What little girl doesn't want a Frozen signature book? We have fallen into the Frozen obsessed category over here and a certain two year old sings Frozen songs all day long. Her favorite line is I don't care what you're going to say and in her terrible two stage I think she is trying to tell me something by singing it over and over. This afternoon we were riding in the car and she told my husband he was Kristoff, she was Elsa, baby brother Emmett was Olaf and I was Sven.
 

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com



 
Since we live so close to Disney World we surprised all of the kids by pretending we were dropping them off at school yesterday and heading to Magic Kingdom instead. When we make quick day trips we stick to rides we really like and don't usually stop for parades, characters or shows. Yesterday was no exception. In a few short weeks we have five nights booked at a Disney Resort and that is when we take things slower and immerse ourselves into the total Disney experience. As I mentioned before I am SO excited for Delilah to see Anna and Elsa for the first time. (Heck I might even be more excited to see her reaction than she will actually be to see them!)
 
Since Delilah's favorite Disney characters are Anna and Elsa (with Mickey and Minnie following up as a close second) I wanted her to have a Frozen autograph book. Originally I was going to turn a scrapbook into an autograph book but I couldn't find a book I liked anywhere! I wanted something without lined paper and after searching everywhere I gave up and decided to DIY my own. I saw some really cool Frozen books but when I saw this Frozen golden book I knew it was perfect because I could easily remove the pages and use my hole punch through the covers to add binder clips.
 
Keep reading for the Tutorial - I have used some affiliate links in the directions so you can see the exact supplies I am referencing.
 
Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com
 
Supplies Needed:
  • Frozen Golden Book
  • Exacto Knife
  • Crop-A-Dile
  • Binder Rings
  • Shimmer Cardstock (10 pages of 8.5x11)
  • Paper Cutter or ruler and scissors
  • Wire Cutters
  • Ribbon (in various colors and sizes)
  • Lighter
  • E6000 Glue
  • Olaf Buttons (I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics for $4 and used a 50% off coupon)











Step 1:
Use an exacto knife to cut along the front cover and first page of the book. Repeat with the back cover and last page of the book. Gently pull the covers apart and take the pages out. Use the exacto knife to score and cut through the middle of the book spleen. Trip off any scraps if needed.

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

Step 2:
Use wire cutters to cut off the staples as close to the cove as possible.

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com
 
Step 3:
Use your paper cuter or scissors and ruler to measure and cut the cardstock. I trimmed my 8.5x11 inch paper down to 8x11 inches (the Golden book is 8 inches). Then I cut the piece of paper in half so I had two 8x5.5 inch pieces of paper. I cut 10 pieces of paper so my book has 20 pages (40 if you count front and back)
 
Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

Step 4:
Use your crop-a-dile to measure and place holes through the top and bottom of both book covers. Then measure and punch holes into the cardstock that line up with the holes you put through the covers. Place binder rings through both sets of holes to hold the book together.

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com
 
Step 5:
Double knot ribbon pieces around both binder clips and use a lighter to seal the ends from fraying. Embellish the ribbon with Olaf buttons from the button pack. Take the Olaf pieces without button backings and use E6000 to glue them over the illustration of Olaf on the front cover.

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

When I showed Delilah her book she exclaimed 'Mommy it's so pretty!' and I knew I had her approval. I still haven't been able to get the Meet Anna and Elsa fastpasses for our vacation but I am not giving up. Monday night I looked for fast passes for our Tuesday Disney trip and they had one fast pass for Anna and Elsa available but it was for 10-11pm and I knew we would be leaving around 6pm.

Frozen DIY Disney Autograph Book #DisneySide www.poofycheeks.com

Mike and I thought the boys might be getting too old for autograph books but when I asked them Mason, our five year old, seemed quite angry that I had considered not making him one. I have been looking for a Golden Book that he would like to use as an autograph book but no luck yet!

Out of all of the Disney characters who is YOUR favorite? Mine would have to be Minnie Mouse followed by Snow White.

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Enjoy,

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