Grape Jelly like Grandma’s

Store bought grape jelly just doesn’t have the same rich, fragrant taste that comes from home grown grapes.

We have a Concord Grapevine that shades our entire patio each summer.  September-October we have enough grapes to can jars and jars of jelly (while the local possum still manages to steal his share)


First clean the grapes of stems and leaves.  Wash well and let dry. I probably used between 4-5 pounds of grapes.  Sterilize the jars and lids you will use and place them on a clean dish towel.  Place grapes and 1/2 cup water in a pot, turn heat on low and begin smashing grapes.  Once grapes are well smashed, bring to boil then reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Line strainer with cheesecloth and drain grapes into strainer over a heat proof bowl.  Allow time for the grape juice to drain.

Transfer grape juice, along with 7 cups of sugar (you can reduce this amount if the grapes are very sweet, however you may need to use low sugar pectin) stir bringing to a boil.  Boil for one minute, add 1 pouch of liquid pectin, bring to boil again.

Stir in 2 Tablespoons of butter (to reduce foaming) and remove from heat.


Skim off any foam, then pour into sterilized jars.  Place lids and rings on jars, making sure there is no jelly on the edge of the jar that may effect the seal. Put sealed jars on rack in canner or pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, covered, then boil 10 minutes. With tongs, transfer jars to a towel-lined surface to cool.  You will hear the lids pop, an indication that they are properly sealed.




Eric Carle Baby Shower Cake

Eric Carle Theme Baby Shower for Melissa

Congrats Melissa

I work with an awesome group of girls!  Together we have a variety of talents that create the best parties ever !

Of course it doesn’t hurt that because we work with children, we are just kids at heart 🙂 Thank you Megan for the adorable banner.

Congratulations Melissa!  We can’t wait to meet your new little one.





cake pops by Tracey ladybug crackers by Esther

cake pops by Tracey
ladybug crackers by Esther



polar bear, polar bear paws & "cherry pie"

polar bear, polar bear paws & “cherry pie

hungry caterpillars by Esther

hungry caterpillars by Esther



more caterpillar food :)

more caterpillar food 🙂  Decorations – Lucy



delicious broccoli salad and pasta salad - Lucy

delicious broccoli salad and pasta salad – Lucy

Eric Carle Baby Shower Cake

Eric Carle Baby Shower Cake


10 little rubber duck punch

10 little rubber duck punch


and more caterpillar food

and more caterpillar food

Adorable Mommy advice tree by Lucy and guess the number of caterpillars in the jar

Adorable Mommy advice tree by Lucy

Continue reading

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Bread


Ingredients for 1 Loaf

3 Ripe Bananas

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup Melted Butter

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 3/4 Cup Flour

2 3/4 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

Freshly grated Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray,

Place 3 ripe-overripe bananas in mixer bowl



mashed bananas

Add eggs, butter, sugar and vanilla and beat well.

Add dry ingredients, including about 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg



Mix until just blended (do not overmix)

banana bread batter


Add chopped Walnuts or Pecans and fold in.



Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 45 minutes.

banana bread batter

Bake until golden brown and knife inserted comes out clean.

Banana Bread



Ataif / Kataif


Ataif or Kataif is a Middle Eastern dessert typically served during Ramadan.  These little stuffed pancakes are fried and drenched in a delicious rose water scented sugar syrup.  There are various fillings, but sweet cheese filling is one of our favs.

Sugar Syrup (qater)

2 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Water

2 tsp Rose Water


Bring water and sugar to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly.

Once the syrup starts to boil and becomes clear turn off heat and add rose water, set aside.

Ataif Batter

2 Cups Flour

1/2 Cup Semolina (Smeed)

1/2 tsp Yeast

2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Salt

2 T Vegetable Oil

2 tsp Rose Water

3 Cups Lukewarm Water


Whisk together all the ingredients,


until it becomes a thin batter.  Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes while you prepare the filling.


Grate sweet Arabic Cheese (or you could use mozzarella).  Toss in a couple tablespoons of sugar, 1 tsp Cinnamon and 2 tsp Rose Water.  Now your batter should be ready to use.

Heat non-stick pan over medium heat, use a paper towel to lightly oil the pan.

Ladle small amounts of batter into the pan.


Cook on one side, until the Ataif bubbles, becomes dry and lightly brown on the bottom.

Set aside and cover with a clean dish towel. (Note: these aren’t pancakes, don’t flip them over and cook the other side)



Put a small amount of cheese filling on the Ataif.


Fold over and pinch edges together to close.


Once you have filled all of the Ataif, heat about an inch of oil in a frying pan.

Place Ataif a couple at a time in hot oil and fry on both sides until golden brown.


Remove from pan, drain on paper towels.


Dunk the Ataif into the qater and place on serving plate.  Serve extra qater on the side.


Enjoy while warm 🙂


DIY Dramatic Play Kitchen

So I’m sure everyone sees things on Pinterest that they would like to do.  I have pinned so many things that I never really had the courage to try.  About a week ago, one of my teachers brought a desk to the center thinking they could use it for their teacher area, but it was too big (thanks Megan :)).  When I saw it, I had a vision, and all the Pinterest ideas went flying through my mind. So I asked one of our other teacher to help me carry it, cut off the legs and cut a hole for the “sink” (Thank you Billy), then I went to town.


We added a piece of wood as a backboard.


I sanded it down and added holes for the faucet.


Painted the top with a silver semi-gloss and the base black


I decided the “table” area would look cute with some decoration, so I mod-podged a laced scrapbook paper down to the table, and coated the whole table with Mod Podge.  After that I sprayed it with a clear acrylic.



Installed a “backsplash” and “sink” (stainless steel bowl)




Burner plates and an oven knob




A towel rack




Brought it into the classroom and added some accessories:



And… The final reveal



IMG_2378                                    IMG_2390



Raspberry Danish

Raspberry Danish


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2  1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk(slightly warmed)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 14 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

Add yeast to the warm water and leave till it gets bubbly, then add milk, egg, sugar and salt.


Cut butter in small (about 1 tablespoon) pieces and place in food processor.  Add flour and pulse until mixture is crumbly but you can still see small pieces of butter (this is what makes the dough flaky)



Fold the wet and dry ingredients together until you can form it into a ball, do not over-mix.  Wrap with plastic wrap and rest in refrigerator for several hours.


Okay, I forgot to take pictures of the next step 🙂  Roll the dough into a rectangle about 10 x 18 on a piece of parchment paper.  Make diagonal slices on the outer thirds of the dough.  Spread seedless raspberry (or other jam of your choice) down the middle and start “braiding”.  Transfer the braid with the parchment paper to a cookie sheet, and let rise.


Brush egg wash over top and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.


You can enjoy it like this, or mix some powdered sugar with a little lemon juice and drizzle over the top.


Spicy “Crab” Roll Sushi



One of our favorite places for dinner is Sushi Deli in San Diego.  There sushi is delicious, but it is so popular the wait can be very long.  Sometimes we just need some sushi without the wait, so I decided to try my hand at a spicy crab roll.

I first prepared brown rice (about 3 cups cooked) in my rice cooker, then let it cool.

I covered the rolling mat with a ziplock bag to make it easier to clean.


Place seaweed on the mat.


Spread rice over the seaweed.


Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds (or black sesame, or both)


Shred imitation crab and mix with mayo and Siracha to taste.  Spread a line of the crab mixture down the middle and begin rolling.



Cut into 8 pieces, add more spicy mayo and Enjoy!



Sourdough Starter


Combine 1 Cup Water and 1 Cup Flour in a glass or ceramic container.  Make sure to mix with a wooden spoon, do not use metal.

Cover the container with a coffee filter to protect the starter and still allow air.

“Feed” your starter with 1 Tablespoon flour and 1 Tablespoon water 4-5 times a day for the first 2-3 days (don’t forget the wooden spoon 🙂

The starter should become bubbly with a slightly sour smell.

sourdough starter



At his point you can put your starter in the refrigerator and pull it out about once a week to feed it.  When you use some of the starter make sure to feed it again.  The longer you keep and successfully feed your starter, the more sour the flavor.