Monday, April 21, 2014

Ribbon Jell-O Recipe

This dessert is fantastic for picnics and parties.  Keep in mind, though that it takes all day to make but the results are so worth it!

What you need:

 4 small boxes of jello - any flavor
1 c. boiling water for each color until dissolved
1/2 c cold water
2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
2 pkg unflavored gelatin
2 c. (16 oz) sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla
Glass 13x9 cake pan
Whipped cream (optional)
Crushed nuts (optional)

What to do:

Make sure refrigerator is leveled.  If necessary, place a magazine or a thin book on the shelf so that the jello will set evenly in the pan.

Place first color of jello in a medium size bowl and add 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir until completely dissolved.  Then add 1/2 c. cold water.  Stir.  Pour in glass pan and place in refrigerator to set.

Meanwhile, make the white mixture:

In a large sauce pan, bring 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of sugar to a boil, stirring constantly until all sugar is completely dissolved.  (Do not use a whisk to stir)

Place the 2 packages of unflavored gelatin in a cup and 1/4 cup of cold water.  Stir.  Then add to boiling milk mixture.  Stir until smooth.  Remove from heat.

Add 2 cups of sour cream and 2 tsp of vanilla to boiling milk mixture.  Use hand mixer to mix very smooth.

Divide the white mixture in 3 separate bowls (about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups each).  Set aside.

Once first color of jello is set, pour first bowl of white mixture on top of jello layer.  Place dish back in the refrigerator to set.  Continue making the next color of jello.

Repeat steps until all layers are added and set.

Add whipped topping and nuts if desired.


*You can make all colors of jello at once and allow to sit at room temperature.
*Try different jello colors for different occasions, such as blue and pink for a baby shower, red and blue for a Fourth of July picnic or pastel colors (lime, orange and lemon) for Easter.
*Before adding next layer, touch the top layer to be sure it's not tacky and doesn't stick to your finger.  If it's still tacky, place dish in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up setting.
*You can spread whipped cream over the whole top to finish the jello dessert or use a squirt whipped cream to squirt a little "cloud" on each piece individually.
*This dessert can take all day.  Allow at least five hours or more to finish.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Did You Say?

I've been saying that a lot lately.  "Huh?  What did you say?"  Since we got back from our Old Man's Cave trip, I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and then it spins around like a top and it hasn't stopped since.

I've trained my eyes to focus on what I'm concentrating on and allowing my other eye to look at someone else who's trying to have a conversation with me while words to someone else is coming out of my mouth.  All along I'm trying to complete the task at hand.  Looking at two different things does nothing.  The brain is only trained to focus on one thing at a time, but my brain won't accept that.

A good friend told me one day, "Hun, you can't multitask anymore because you're already multitasking a million other things right now and you can't add anything else."  Oh, how I love her!  You know who you are!

So for two weeks, I've been nonstop.  So overwhelmed, I completely forgot about my Happiness Project.  We somehow slipped into the exciting world of gymnastics, which has now been added to the schedule of Girl Scouts, violin lessons, Safety Patrol, and study groups.  I'm now down to one free night a week, and that's if I'm lucky.

That's when it hit me, out of the blue and I thought to myself, "Hey!  You were going to sign yourself up for tap lessons!"  Just when I was trying to keep the schedule as simple as possible, we added one more thing and blew my little Happiness Project goal out of the water.  Honestly, it's okay.  Once school is over, we'll be down to two activities per week and maybe I can squeeze a tap lesson or two in there for me.

As if a crazy, busy schedule wasn't enough, I get to add the role of Referee to my list of duties.  I can honestly tackle this schedule with success if I didn't have a child who cries over everything, one that complains about the child crying over everything, arguments every two minutes by fighting siblings and kids who can't do a one-minute task in one minute.  It's that time of year where everyone is trying to squeeze everything in at once before school lets out and if I think too much about what's on my schedule, I will simply breakdown and cry.  So I take it one day at a time, one minute at a time and try to avoid those conversations that start out with, "Hey Jill!  You know what would be fun....?"  "Hey Jill!  You know what we should do...?"  "Hey Jill!  Let's sign our kids up together for...."  "Hey Jill....."

Hang in there with me.  I might need a rope to pull me out of this sinking schedule hole, but as I check To-Do's off my list, I'll find more time to write.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Adventure #2 - Old Man's Cave

It happens every year.  The week before Spring break:  nice sunny weather.  The week of Spring break:  cold, rainy and snowy.  When the kids go back to school the following Monday:  Sunny and warm all week.  Never fails.  This year, we didn't let the weather keep us down.

Jeff and I took the girls to Old Man's Cave and stayed in "our" log cabin for a few nights.  Going to Old Man's Cave goes way back to the start of when Jeff and I started dating, 16 years ago.  I came home from work one Friday night and Jeff told me to pack a weekend bag.  He wouldn't tell me where we were going so he gave me a few basic hints of what to pack but that was it.  I got into his truck and looked in the back.  I saw firewood, rope, and an axe, amongst other things.  I started to panic and wondered who I had just gotten engaged to. 

"Uh, Jeff...  You have to tell me where you're taking me," looking in the back of the truck.

Jeff looked in the back and said, "Yeah... that doesn't look good, does it?"

That's when he told me he was taking me to Old Man's Cave.  We loved the cabin so much, that we stay in the same cabin every time we go there.  This time, we shared it with our two girls.

Oh yeah, the firewood and axe was for the wood burning fireplace, just in case you were wondering; and the rope and other things were from the stables where we lived.  He always had farm stuff in the back of his truck.  I love telling that story.

We had a fantastic Spring break.  It snowed really hard the first night, almost an inch, but luckily it was all melted by the next afternoon. 

So to stay warm, we hung out in the hot tub!

We hiked everyday.

The ice on the hiking trails was breathtaking.

The ice was so thick in some areas, the kids had fun sliding down the frozen waterfalls.

Having a tasty snack.

Our little explorers.

 Winter is our favorite time to visit Old Man's Cave.  It may be cold, but the trails are so beautiful with frozen waterfalls, and sitting in a hot tub with snow on the ground makes the achy muscles all go away.

My Happiness Project continues with Adventure #2!!!  It was so nice getting away from phones (no cell service there!), internet, schedules, homework, meetings and have-to's.

If you would like to see more of my photos from our trip, visit my Flickr account.  Enjoy!