All posts by Kathy Griffiths

Fresh Asparagus – Easy Asparagus Recipe

dinner-mealFresh asparagus is a favorite at our house.  I remember the days when my son, Brad, went asparagus hunting in the fields behind our home.  As soon as the spring warm weather hit…he was on the lookout for asparagus.  He would roam the fields, among the tall grasses and look for asparagus spears that were peeking their heads above ground.  When the asparagus was just right, he would fill a sack with the spears and bring them home to be cooked and savored.

Those days are long gone now… and  the fields, of grasses and asparagus, have been replaced by homes.   Now I’m forced to purchase my asparagus from the store.   However, in the spring,  my local grocery store has plenty of fresh asparagus on hand and it’s been surprisingly tender.  So….when the season is in full swing… I load up.

I happened to be at my daughter Katie’s home several weeks ago and she was just taking fresh asparagus out of the oven.  I usually steam my asparagus… so seeing it come out of the oven was a surprise.  It was so tender and good that I want to share this easy asparagus recipe with you.

asparagus-ingred

The ingredients are:  Fresh tender asparagus (any amount you like.)  Olive Oil. (I happen to have Light Olive Oil on hand but use your preference.)  Sea Salt.  (I use a course sea salt… but use what you prefer.)  Fresh grated Parmeson cheese.  (If you don’t grate your own… grab a package of grated Parmeson cheese at the store.  I pick mine up at Costco.   That’s all of the ingredients you will need.

covertin1

Cover a cookie sheet or baking sheet with aluminum foil.

cuta

Cut off the ends of your asparagus.

asparagus

Wash your asparagus spears.

asparagus1

Spread the asparagus across the baking sheet so each spear is exposed.  Don’t stack.

add-oil

Drizzle Olive oil over the asparagus.  Don’t worry about getting too much on the asparagus… they need to be covered.  I drizzle oil and then turn the spears so they are covered well.  (Olive oil is good for what ails ya.)

add-salt

Sprinkle the asparagus with sea salt.  (Remember… sea salt is strong so you don’t need much.  I went a bit over board…so don’t follow my lead by what you see in this photo.  Cut back a bit.)

salt-on-asp

Pop the the pan under the broiler.  I timed my for 2 1/2 minutes.  You may want to check yours before the time is up.  I would’nt go much past 2 1/2 minutes if your spears are thin and tender.

add-cheese

Pull out the pan and sprinkle on your cheese.  Pop it back under the broiler for 15 sec.  Check… to see if cheese is melted.  If not…. pop it back in for a couple of seconds more.

on-plate

That’s it… an easy asparagus recipe for you.  Fresh asparagus is just the ticket for Easter dinner.

Hope you enjoy this fresh asparagus recipe as much as my family does.   As soon as I place the pan on top the stove… some one snags a spear.  Smack those hands!

Til Later,

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I put fresh asparagus and about a tablespoon of water  in a plastic bag and tie up the end.  Pop it into the microwave for about 2 minutes and it comes out just right.  You don’t want to over cook it… leave it a bit firm.

P.P.S.  Also, I cut the raw asparagus into 1″ to 1/12″  chunks and cook them in the bag… using the method above. (I only cook them 1 min.)  When they come out of the microwave, I run the bag under cold water… cooling the fresh asparagus quickly.   (Just remember not to over cook it.)   I pop open the bag, drain the liquid and dry the asparagus with a paper towel.  Put the chunks into a clean zip lock bag and store in the fridge.  It’s a perfect addition to a fresh green salad.  Hmmmm Good!

Just another easy asparagus recipe.

Easter Treat Recipe – Kids Easter Activities

Kids Easter activities can include easy Easter recipes such as making our Bird Nest Treats. They are so simple to make, your three year old can help. The ingredients are simple too…. you’ll use only 4 items.

nest-ingred

1.  One  5 oz can of Chow Mein noodles. One  12 oz package of chips.  You can use chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter or white chocolate chips. (I used the white chips because I love the color.)   One scant TB of shortening, and One package of Easter Peanut M & M’s. That’s it.

pan 2. You will need a cookie sheet or sheet cake pan. Place a piece of waxed paper on the sheet or pan.

3. Place your Chow Mein noodles in a bowl.

4. Place your M & M’s in another bowl for easy access.

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5. Place your chips and 1 TB of shortening into a glass bowl.

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6.  Place the chips in microwave and melt them using the defrost setting. You don’t want to melt them too fast. Set the microwave for 2 min. Every 15 seconds, open the door of the microwave and stir the chips just until they are hot and completely melted.

meltedchips 7. Pour the melted chips over the top of the Chow Mein noodles and toss until all of the noodles are covered.

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8. With a spoon, scoop out the noodles and place them on the cookie sheet you have covered with waxed paper. (You should get about 16 nests out of one recipe.)

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9. Place three Easter Peanut M & M’s on the top of each nest. They will take about 15 minutes to set up if you just leave them at room temp. Or, you can pop the pan into the fridge for about 5 minutes.

There you go.

So easy and a great Easter activity for you and your kids. I found this recipe in a fun Family Easter Activity e-book. There is over 150 pages of Family Easter Activities which include Easter recipes, crafts, coloring pages and games.

What I really loved about this Easter activity book is that all the activities were not only simple, but inexpensive too. So many of the crafts were made with odds and ends that I already have around my house.

My grands love to make things when they come to visit. This handy e- book let’s me entertain them a bit with very little expense and effort.

Best of all… I downloaded this book and keep it on my computer for quick and easy reference. Easter is coming soon… and enjoy this season with your kids and grands… and check out this Family Easter Activity book.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

P.S. Hmmm. Coming next…. a fresh asparagus recipe that is to die for…. another simple, and easy recipe that will be a hit with your family and guests at Easter dinner.

P.P.S.  Here’s the video if you want to see me in action.  It’s an easy Easter treat recipe your kids or grands will love.

Easter Coloring Sheets

Easter is just around the color and your Easter coloring sheets are ready for you to download.   Kids love to color them with crayons, colored pencils or markers.  I keep plenty coloring pages on hand for when the “grands” come to visit.

I received a sweet note my friend, Betty.  She runs off the coloring sheets for the hospital, where she works.  So often children show up to the hospital with their folks and get pretty bored waiting for mom or dad.  The nurses and aids offer them the coloring sheets to keep them busy.  Great idea.  If you know of a pre-school teacher who would enjoy them…. simply pass on the URL of this site so their students can enjoy them too.

easter101

Three things I love about Easter:

1.  I know Spring is just around the corner.

2.  I love bright Easter colors.

3.  I look forward to our family Easter Egg hunt.

Four  printable coloring sheets are available.  Each critter is on a separate 8.5 x 11 page for you to download. The links are below.

Colored Bunny

Black and White Bunny

Colored Chick

Black and White Chick.

Enjoy

Kathy Griffiths

P.S.  I found some great Easter recipes and crafts in a Family Easter Activity Book.  It’s a Must!  Check it out!

P.P.S.   Don’t forget Easter cards and Easter place cards. I’ve designed some cute cards you can tuck into your Easter gifts… and the kids always love to put names on place cards for your guests.

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St. Patrick Coloring Page

Your St. Patrick Coloring pages are ready for you to download for your kids.  I remember how important holidays were to me as a child.  St. Patrick’s Day was one of my favorites because it was fun to catch the unsuspecting friend who forgot to wear green.  Pinches all around.

I’ve often wondered why St. Patrick’s Day was such a big deal here in the United States.  After learning there are 4.1 million people who live in Ireland and  35 million people in the U.S., who have Irish ancestry, it makes sense.  Going back several generations, there’s a bit of Irish blood in my veins also.

Kids look forward to the “wearing of the green” and celebrating one of the oldest observed holidays.

stpatrick10 Here are your St. Patrick day choices.

Tall St Patrick colored

Tall St. Patrick Black and White

Pat colored

Pat Black and White

I remember a neighbor, who made shamrock sugar cookies with green icing sprinkled with shiny sugar crystals.   I couldn’t wait to get mine.  They seemed extra special since my mom didn’t do the sugar cookie routine.   I never fell into the sugar cookie routine either… that’s why I look for mine at the local grocery store.  I love sugar cookies.

Print off the St. Patrick coloring sheets for your kids to enjoy.  Keep them busy with a few crayons and markers.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  I keep a stack of  St. Patrick Coloring pages printed since my grands visit at different times.  They are so use to having seasonal coloring pages around, they always look for them when they come by.

Preparing For Disaster And Helping Your Kids To Not Be Afraid

Preparing for disaster can be tricky business when it comes to educating children for something that may never happen.

disaster1With the convenience of technology, exposure to witnessing the effects of an emergency or disaster is much more readily accessible to our children than it was several years ago.  Graphic photos and video that come across our television screens immediately following a tragedy can cause concern for your kids.

What can you do to assure your children so they feel safe now, and yet prepare for disaster, in case it should happen?

1. Limit the amount of media your kids are exposed to during a calamity in another area, especially young children. Watching the event over and over may cause them to believe the event is occurring again and again.

2. Answer their questions truthfully. However, explain and use vocabulary that is age appropriate. Avoid over burdening them with too much information and graphic details.

3. Get informed about the type of disaster that would most likely occur in your area. Check to see what emergency preparations your city, county and state have made toward disaster planning. However, don’t expect them to come to your aid immediately. Often it’s three to seven days before emergency services are able to offer assistance.

4. Prepare your family for an emergency. It helps the family accept the fact that emergencies do happen, but you can do something about it. When your kids know you are prepared, they will be less concerned.

5. Allow your kids to be part of designing the emergency preparedness plan. Have a communication strategy with telephone numbers so they will know who to contact.

Discuss the safety rules and decide where you will meet in case you are separated. Practice the plan. This will help you determine the “holes” in the plan so your can make revisions.

6. Assemble a disaster kit that will aid you in case you have to leave your home in a hurry. It’s suggested the kit should supply very basic needs, such as food, water and protection for at least 72 hours. Planning for 84 hours is even better.

7. Store enough food and water in your home to last from 3 to 7 days, in case you have to remain in your home during the emergency. Light, cooking and heat sources will be necessary also, in case electricity is not available for an extended period of time.

8. Involved your children in gathering supplies and putting your emergency reserves together. Participation will give them a sense of control. They will actually cope better during a disaster, if one were to happen.

Til later,

Kathy Griffiths
Insightful Nana

P.S. The better your family is prepared for disaster, the less concern your kids will have about surviving difficulty. Sometimes is not a matter of whether you will survive, but how well you survive.

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Growing Indoor House Plants That Purify The Air

Growing certain indoor house plants that purify air came as a surprise to me.   It does make sense when you come to think about it.  Trees do the same thing for the environment.   They say the jungle in South America near the Amazon are the lungs of the earth.

peacelily11Research from NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Admin.) found that certain house plants act as natural air filters to clean and purify air.   Toxic substances such as formaldehyde, benzene (cigarette smoke,) air mold spores, and allergens, that cause allergies and asthma, are prevalent in our homes.  These toxins can be greatly reduced by having certain air purifying plants in your surroundings.

If you have the space, there are several indoor palm plants that are at the top of the list for purifying air in your home or office.  However, if your space is limited, there are smaller plants like English Ivy and Boston Fern that are very effective for reducing air mold spores and formaldehyde.

Even the hardy Heart Phiodendrom and Peace Lily are on the chart for being air purifying house plants.  (I love a Peace Lily because if I neglect it, beautiful blooms still appear.)  The easy to grow Spider Plant is a dandy for reducing  Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide.

smplantchartHere is a chart suggesting which house plants purify the air.

If you’re interested in having one of these handy charts so you can refer back to it when you go shopping… simply fill in your information below and I’ll send you a download link.

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Well, my favorite natural indoor plant purifier is the Boston Fern, and the Peace Lily… so I’m going to keep my eye open for a good deal.

Happy Birthday Mr. President — George Washington Of Course

Happy Birthday George Washington…  You are 282 years old today… Congratulations!

270px-gilbert_stuart_williamstown_portrait_of_george_washingtonIn the past several years, I have become very interested in American history and the lives of our Founding Fathers.  (Now why couldn’t I have been this passionate about American history when I was in school?)   Anyway… I am amazed at the dedication and brilliance of George Washington.

He was born in 1732 and was educated at home by his father.  (One of the first models of home schooling ?)

At the age of 20 years old he was a major in the Virginia Militia.  He became one of the largest tobacco plantation owners in Virginia owning over 6,600 acres of land and owning over 100 slaves… which he eventually freed.

After Massachusetts was attacked by the British in 1775, Washington appeared at the second Continental Congress dress in Military attire. He accepted a commission to lead a Continental  Army against the British in order to protect the citizens of Massachusetts.

He was one of the members of the Continental Congress who signed the Declaration of Independence.

After the Declaration of Independence was signed, he continued as the the General of Revolution until it ended in 1783.  He was 51 years old when the war ended.

He was elected President of the United States by 100% of the Electoral votes but declined his salary of $25,000 per year.   He served eight years and could have stayed in his position for a lifetime.  He set the precedent of leaving office after two terms.

He feared that if a President served longer than two terms, he would gain too much power and become a monarch.

During his farewell address he warn about getting involved in foreign wars.  He also
warned against failing moral values and said religion that aspired values would be our only saving grace.

I found this Interesting information from his papers.

Head Quarters, New York, August 3rd 1776. 
Parole Uxbridge. Countersign Virginia
That the Troops may have an opportunity of attending public worship, as well as take some rest after the great fatigue they have gone through; The General in future excuses them from fatigue duty on Sundays (except at the Ship Yards, or special occasions) until further orders.   The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish, and wicked practice, of profane cursing and swearing (a Vice heretofore little known in an American Army) is growing into fashion; he hopes the officers will, by example, as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they, and the men will reflect, that we can have little hopes of the blessing of Heaven on our Arms, if we insult it by our impiety, and folly; added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense, and character, detests and despises it.

Boy, have things changed.  Do you think Washington is turning over in his grave?

Washington was an amazing man and was one of the most prolific writers if his time.  Many of the enactments of  government were initiated because if his pen.

He was a man of impeccable integrity.

Happy Birthday Mr. President.

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  My other favorite founding fathers are John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  Abraham Lincoln is another President that I admire.

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Make Family Meals A Part Of You Routine – Planning Family Meals Together Reap Great Rewards

Make family meals a part of your dining routine.  Planning family meals together can reap great rewards for you and your loved ones.

Because of the hectic lives we seem to lead these days, getting the family together in the same place at the same time can be difficult.  Between work schedules, errands, and running the kids around after school we seem to have less and less time.

familymeal1Owing to the fact that we are so busy, it’s hard to get together for a family meal.  Sometimes it’s just easier to stop for fast food on our way home from work.  Even then, when we get home… the family has  a tendency to eat on the fly.

Studies show that families who have sit-down meals, that have been prepared at home, benefit in several ways:

Healthy Family Meals:

Meals that are prepared at home are more likely to be balanced and nutritious.  Eating nutritious meals enhances the immune system so families ward off illness.

Children and parents have less obesity problems when they eat more family meals at home, rather than at fast food establishments and restaurants.

Family Bonding And Sharing Time:

Sitting down to a meal gives parents and children an opportunity to find out more about each other and be involved with the everyday events of each others lives.

Dad has the opportunity to share his day and plans with the entire family, rather than sharing it with mom only.

Mom can tell the family about her day at work and some of the new things she’s learned and people she’s met.  If she’s a mom who stays at home, she can share the cute things the baby did… or a new thing she has learned at the class she is taking.

Children have the chance to tell their family members about school, sports, and friends.
Young kids get so excited when it’s their turn to share.  Older kids may not show their enthusiasm, but they want to share just the same.

Opportunity To Teach:

It’s a great time to discuss current events or new ideas.  Family values can be strengthened though positive discussions.

Resolve or Prevent Potential Problems

When parents sit down to the table with their kids and discuss the events of the  day… they have the opportunity to become mindful of concerns and problems their children may have.  It’s also a good time to become aware of potential problems their kids may be facing.

It’s not advisable to discuss serious issues at the table because you child may not feel safe in discussing them in front of others.  For some matters, keep the conversation in mind and help your child at a later time.

Bottom Line:  Set aside time for at least one sit-down meal per week.  It can make a remarkable difference in your relationships with your kids.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Often we become over-whelmed with meal planning…. I know I do.   I checked into to this Meal Planning Service several months ago and found it to be a wonderful program.   I’m proud to be an affiliate.   It’s really worth your while to check into it.

Kids Coloring Pages – Valentine Cards

Your kids coloring pages are here.  Here are two Valentine card designs to choose from.   The  kids can color their own Valentines to surprise mom and dad,  grandma and grandpa…. or their friends.

Of course, there is the back and white printable for coloring… or they can choose the pre-colored version.  The small icon is on the back of the Valentine card.  When the card is folded, the inside will be blank so the kids can sign their names, design their own art work or put stickers inside, etc.

valentinepost1bk-valentine-post2

Pre-colored Valentine Cards

Black and White Valentine Cards

Last year, some of you may remember the “Love Notes.”  They were very popular.  If you didn’t get your “Love Notes,” they’re still available.  As long as your checking out “Love Notes” you can cash in on a making clever paper craft Valentine holders for your gifts.  You’ll get raves!

Have a great day… and make sure you run off plenty of kids coloring pages so they can make their
Valentines cards in time for an early delivery.

Til Later,

Kathy Griffiths

Insightful Nana

P.S.  For a little higher quality Valentine card, run the coloring pages on light weight photo paper.

Stand By Me World

“Stand by me world!,” is the plea we’re hearing from the people of Haiti…. and the people of the world are responding.  Planes from the United States as well as China, France and Spain have responded to the call quickly and goods are at the airport, as we speak.  Many church organizations are also sending relief.  Now the challenge is, how to get the goods out to the people.

Earlier today, my friend Andy, posted two videos on his blog concerning a project called “Playing For Change.”  In light of what’s happening in Haiti, I wanted to share one of the videos with you.

As the people of Haiti are pleading, “Stand By Me World,” each of us individually will decide how to answer that cry.  Personally,  I have my plan in mind and will execute it promptly.

Til Later,

Kathy

Insightful Nana

P.S.  Go to Andy’s site and read about, “Playing For Change.” It’s certainly is a worthwhile project.

P.P.S.  If you’re looking for a way to contribute to the relief efforts, the Red Cross is pleading for donations.  Many church organizations are also accepting donations for the cause.