Jul 232016

Our 5 top picks for families visiting the California State Fair

The California State Fair is a great place for families, and for many it is a cherished tradition to visit every year. After visiting with my young children, here are my top picks that families won’t want to miss!

Disclosure: Thank you to Pebbles Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families

Kids Park: If you are looking for old-fashioned (and new!) carnival rides, this is the spot! While there are other carnival rides at the State Fair, the Kids Park has tons that are designed just for kids. There are height restrictions on many, but you can still find some, like the merry-go-round, for little ones. If you plan on going on a lot of rides, consider buying a wristband, which gets the user unlimited rides.

Ag Area & Petting Zoo: We spent quite a bit of time in the Agricultural area, which is where kids can see one of the more traditional aspects of the state fair. My kids loved all the stations (most of which are free), where young kids can play in the corn sensory bin or make music with parts from old farm equipment. They can also use props to practice milking a cow, saddling a pony, and roping a steer. You can see the real deal, of course, at the petting zoo, which for many families is a highlight of the state fair. Be aware that once you enter the petting zoo area, all the (very friendly and docile) animals will be walking all around you, which was a new experience for city kids like mine. Many of the animals are a bit, er, overly friendly, so keep an eye on your clothes and purse, or they might get nibbled on! Also, you are very likely to see at least one animal answer the call of nature, so watch your step (and your shoes).

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Camp Smoky: I loved Camp Smoky because it is a little forest oasis in the asphalt desert of the State Fair. It was so cool and refreshing just to walk around in the shade of the trees and listen to the very friendly young rangers teach the kids about the importance of caring for our forests. Kids can pick up a passport, which they get stamped at various stations (like the school house or the forest trail) to exchange for a bandanna at the end . The super cute puppet show teaches kids about fire safety as well.

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

Jest in Time Family Stage: We had a chance to watch the clowns of Jest in Time, and they were awesome! My kids were laughing non-stop during this pair’s antics and gentle humor. There is a special kids’ seating area up front, where young helpers can get picked as volunteers. I don’t want to give away anything, but beware of flying toilet paper in the finale!

Pebbles Play

We spent a long time at the Pebbles Play area, located just next to the Kids Park. It is a fun spot for kids to get creative, explore, and enjoy some treats! This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! 

California State Fair: 5 Top Picks for Families | Alldonemonkey.com

First off, my kids got to build toy guitars out of recycled materials using kits from YOXO®, a environmentally sustainable toy company. (Don’t miss this video of them making music with one of these guitars!)

And what kid (or adult!) wouldn’t want a chance in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile?? My kids love pretending to drive anyway, but hanging out in the Flintmobile was just on another level.

They also loved these virtual reality – I mean cereality – goggles, which gave them a 360 degree virtual view of Pebbles World. It was their first time trying out anything like this, and it was love at first sight! 

Finally, don’t forget to grab a sample of the ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and get your dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events


Future Events Include:

Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

Find more tips about the California State Fair here!

Jul 172016

10 fun ways to get creative with your kids this summer

Summer is the perfect time to get creative with your kids. The days are long, the sun is shining, and everyone is on vacation mode. Here are 10 fun ways to get your kids’ creative juices flowing this summer:

Disclosure: Thanks to Post Cereal for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

10. Art Projects: Summer is a great time to do big art projects you might not have time for during the school year. You can take advantage of the sunny weather to do summer-inspired art, like sun melted upcycled crayons.

9. Science Fun: Dive into STEM fun with creative science projects! Whether you do experiments or open-ended discovery, the key is to really let your kids explore!

8. Summer Camps: Camps are a fun way for kids to make friends and explore a topic they are interested in, like art or science. You can also create a DIY summer camp tailor-made for your kids.

7. Scavenger Hunts: I adore scavenger hunts! They are terrific boredom busters and a great way to help kids see their surroundings with new eyes.

6. Sensory Bins: Clean out the cupboards and put together some creative sensory bins for your kids. There are so many fun options and they will stay entertained for hours!

5. Cook Together: Take the time to try out a new recipe together or invent your own. It’s a fun way to explore other cultures, too!

4. Go Outdoors: I am a firm believer in getting kids out in nature. They naturally respond to the outdoors – so much to see and explore! It is sure to inspire them to get creative, whether with play, science, or art.

3. Get Lost in a Book: What better way to spur their imaginations then through reading great books! Reading together or independently is a wonderful catalyst to creative thinking, as their imaginations expand to include new worlds and ways of being.

2. Play Music: I grew up taking music lessons, and it was always a wonderful way to relax in my free time. Summer is a fun time to play music without the pressure of recitals or performance but instead for sheer pleasure. If your child doesn’t play an instrument, it can be a good time to explore one, or simply make your own instruments out of household items and have some fun singing and dancing.

1. Explore, Learn, and Play with the Pebbles Play Tour: This summer the Pebbles Play Tour is traveling to major cities across the US – including the California State Fair in Sacramento from July 22 to 24!! Create, taste, experience, and imagine with the Pebbles Play Tour this summer, where kids (and kids at heart) can:

  • Become an inventor with recycled materials, thanks to YOXO®, the environmentally sustainable toy company
  • Transport yourself to imaginative worlds with Pebbles virtual reality goggles
  • Put yourself in the driver’s seat by sitting in a real life replica of the Flintstones Flintmobile (don’t forget to use the #PebblesPlay hash tag when you share your photo on social media!)

And of course, kids can sample ultra fun Pebbles treats (Cocoa Pebbles or Fruity Pebbles) and parents can grab a dollar off coupon for Pebbles cereal (where available and while supplies last). Find out when the Pebbles Play tour is coming to your area!

Get creative this summer with the Pebbles Play Tour

Get Creative at the Pebbles Play Tour: California State Fair July 22 – 24, 2016

Where: California State Fair, 1600 Exposition Blvd Sacramento, CA 95815

When: Friday, July 22 – Sunday, July 24, 10 AM – 10 PM

Who: Families of all ages

How: Come and have fun!

Admission cost: Adults $12, Senior (62+) $10, Youth $8, Child (4 & under) Free

For more info: Visit Facebook.com/PebblesCereal/Events


Future Events Include:

Latin Fest, Jones Plaza, 600 Louisiana St, Houston, TX 77002
1 PM – 10 PM, Sunday, August 14
Admission cost: Free

Festival de La Villita, Little Village, 26th St. and Kostner Ave., Chicago, IL 60623
Fri. 6 PM – 10 PM, Sat. 2 PM – 10 PM, Sun. 2 PM – 10 PM
Friday, September 9 – Sunday, September 11
Admission cost: Free

Connect with Pebbles on Instagram or Twitter with @PebblesCereal or by using the #PebblesPlay hash tag.

May 302016

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Ramadan is coming, and in many homes across the world families are busy preparing for this special time. Last year as part of our world cultures curriculum, I put together this Ramadan lesson plan, appropriate for early elementary school children.  (Many of the activities could be simplified for preschoolers).  Because I like to integrate our subject matter as much as possible, it includes science, math, and literature, as well as religion.  Since it was primarily designed for children with no prior knowledge, it includes a very basic introduction to Islam.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Zachariah’s Perfect Day for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids

The Life of Muhammad

We began by talking about the Prophet Muhammad and His life.  For this I used Muhammad by Demi, one of our favorite authors.  It is a beautifully done and very respectful account of the life and significance of Muhammad.  It is a wonderful overview geared towards younger readers.  (You can also play some vocabulary games by picking out words that your students might not know, defining them together, then asking them to either act them out or draw pictures).

I pointed out how the illustrator was careful not to paint pictures of Muhammad, following a hadith, or tradition, that forbids creating images of Muhammad.  We looked at photos of the beautiful mosaics and calligraphy as examples of other types of Islamic art that have grown up over the centuries instead.  We then tried our hand at this Arabic calligraphy lesson for kids.

The Islamic Calendar

We discussed the Muslim calendar and how it is a lunar calendar (that is, based on the position of the moon relative to the Earth), instead of the more familiar solar calendar we use (based on the orbit of the Earth around the sun).  The Muslim calendar has 12 months, just like ours does, but because the Muslim month is based on the phases of the moon, each month is 29-30 days long.  The lunar year, therefore, is shorter than the solar year by just over 10 days, meaning that the Muslim calendar seems to rotate around the solar calendar.  (You can read more about calendars of the world, including the difference between solar and lunar calendars).  So sometimes Ramadan is in the summer but sometimes in the winter, spring, or fall.

This is a pretty abstract concept for kids to grasp, so we did an activity to see how the dates on the solar and lunar calendars compared. We pulled out a calendar and did a “race” between the solar and lunar calendars, with the starting line t January 1.  Then we counted out 29 days for month one and marked it on the calendar, then counted another 29 days for month 2, etc. until we had completed one lunar year.  Now where was the first day of the new year?  How far off was it from the solar new year?  Who had won the race?  Depending on the interest of your students, you could continue the activity for one or two more cycles and see how far off the calendars are after only a few years.

Phases of the Moon

Next we jumped more into the science behind the Islamic calendar by looking more closely at the phases of the moon, since Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the new moon.  (There is a great chart of the phases of the moon in Zachariah’s Perfect Day).  They each made their own chart by cutting out pieces and gluing them on black paper.  We also did this really great visual activity that makes it very clear why the moon looks different throughout the month.  Kids will have fun taking turns at being the Earth!

Books about Ramadan

All of which teaches us about the mechanics of the month of Ramadan, but not about what it is like to celebrate it.  For this we turned to some great books about the experience of children during Ramadan:

Zachariah’s Perfect Day is a wonderful book about a boy’s first time fasting during Ramadan.  I love that it gives a very easy to understand overview about what Ramadan is, woven naturally into the story.  It shows what makes it such a special time and what a typical day during Ramadan looks like for a family.  It even includes the call to prayer and some recipes for Zachariah’s favorite foods (even deep-fried Oreos!)  The excitement and joy of Ramadan really come through, as we experience the fast through Zachariah’s eyes.

A wonderful book for young children is Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors.  Through gorgeous illustrations and simple text, it introduces major symbols and traditions of Ramadan.  It is easy to read and lends itself very easily to craft projects.  You could also have children talk about what are the important colors of their day.


My boys have short attention spans when it comes to crafts, so we did a very simple project of gluing torn paper onto crescent shapes.  (You can find tons of wonderful craft ideas on our Ramadan Pinterest board).

You can also find wonderful traditional recipes for Ramadan to prepare together.  For example, Zachariah’s Perfect Day‘s includes a recipe for parathas from India. You could also keep things simple by bringing in dates for them to try!

One of the most important parts of Ramadan is focusing on spiritual growth through good deeds and charity.  A great activity for this is to make these colorful good deed jars for them to use.  You could also do a simple service project together.  For example, we baked cookies to share with the staff at my older son’s school.

Ramadan is such a joyous time of year.  It is a wonderful way to teach children about Islam and how it is practiced by families around the world and right next door!  If possible, a great final step to this lesson would be to contact a local Muslim community and see what Ramadan celebrations you can visit with your students!


Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its second annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan. Don’t forget to check out our series from last year and follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest for even more ideas and link up your own posts below!

Participating Blogs

ArabBaba on Multicultural Kid Blogs
All Done Monkey
Kid World Citizen
A Crafty Arab
Creative World of Varya
Crafty Moms Share
Global Advocate Jr.
Colours of Us
La Cité des Vents
Words ‘n’ Needles

Jul 072015
 July 7, 2015  Summer Comments Off on 10 Summer Safety Tips

10 Summer Safety Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

Summertime means getting outdoors and having fun with your kids, but playing outside in high temperatures and bright sun can also lead to safety concerns.  As a busy mom of two active boys, I am always thinking about how to prevent injuries.  My younger son in particular has a tendency to want to leap from the highest point on the jungle gym!  From small scrapes to big scares, make sure you and your kids stay safe this season with these summer safety tips!

10 Summer Safety Tips

1. Stay hydrated: This tip is perhaps the most obvious.  If you are headed outdoors, make sure to pack plenty of water with ice.  When we’re out at the playground, I make sure the kids take periodic water breaks, as otherwise it can be easy for them to forget.  Staying hydrated is important even if you are just out running errands during the day, when it might be less obvious that you are getting dehydrated.  But in particular if your child is playing a sport or involved in another summer activity, make sure they are drinking plenty of water.

2. Use the right gear: Whether your child is at the pool or playing a summer sport, make sure they are using the proper gear.  This is an area where you really can’t skimp!  For heading to the park, this could be hats and sunglasses, or for a sport, the proper pads and safety gear.

10 Summer Safety Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

3. Use sunscreen liberally: Read the directions carefully to see how often to re-apply, and remember that most sunscreens are not suitable for babies less than 6 months old.  Don’t forget to include a lip balm with SPF.

4. Take breaks: Even with sunscreen, kids need a break from the sun and the heat.  This is especially true for young children, who are more sensitive.  Babies younger than 6 months old, for example, are better off staying out of the sun.   Also, remember that UV rays are strongest in the middle of the day, so if possible, to avoid being out during those times.  Depending on the climate, time of day can also make a big difference in the temperature.  So take advantage of cooler times of day to get out and have fun.  And if your child is playing a sport, make sure they have plenty of breaks during practices and games.

5. Keep a first aid kit handy: I keep a stocked first aid kit in the car, plus a few essentials like band aids in my bag.  So far I haven’t had to use them much, but I feel so much better knowing I’m prepared!

10 Summer Safety Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

6. Sign your child up for swim lessons: There are many options available for kids’ swim lessons.  You can pay for private lessons or group lessons are often offered through local gyms or the parks and recreation department.  Be sure to brush up on your own swimming skills and review water safety rules, including the signs of drowning.

7. Take time to warm up: If your child is playing a sport, make sure they take the time to warm up properly.  It can be difficult for kids not to run out and play full tilt right away, but taking a little time to warm up will help prevent injuries in the long run.

8. Listen to your body: Teach kids to pay attention to how they are feeling and not push through pain or discomfort.  Taking care of a potential injury right away will get them back in the action sooner.  And if they are feeling dizzy or very hot, make sure they get some relief from the heat.

10 Summer Safety Tips | Alldonemonkey.com

9. Don’t forget to take care of yourself: If you are anything like me, you remember to pack water and snacks for kids, but not for yourself.  Remember that you are also out in the hot sun, so you need to take care of mama, too!

10. Make sure your family is covered: It’s also essential to have a safety net for your family in case there is an injury.  Accident insurance means you can focus on your child instead of your bills.  Aflac can provide peace of mind for parents in case of a serious injury, with cash benefits to help you and your child bounce back quickly.  When your child has been injured, the last thing you need is hassle and worry over your insurance claim.  Aflac’s new One Day PaySM promise means that accident claims can even be processed in just ONE DAY.  You can feel safe with Aflac, a Fortune 500 company that has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine for nine consecutive years as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.  Find out more about Aflac’s accident insurance policies.

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

Apr 232015
 April 23, 2015  Father's Day Comments Off on Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Techie Dads

Father's Day Gift Ideas for Techie Dads | Alldonemonkey.com

Do you have a techie dad on your shopping list this year?  Here are some great Father’s Day gifts for them!

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Techie Dads

DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue - Motorola

DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue - MotorolaAt the top of my list is the stunning DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue from Motorola.  Its display is super sharp, and it has the newest, most powerful processor.  And if you are like me and hate having to stop and recharge, the DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue has a 48-hour battery!

And because there are little hands around, it’s comforting to know that the phone has water-repellent nano-coating plus Corning Gorilla Glass to help protect it from those inevitable spills and scratches.  Oh, and did I mention that underneath the woven materials there is a layer of Kevlar??  Talk about protection!

I love how lightweight it is and that it doesn’t look like all the other smart phones:  The exterior is made of cutting-edge materials in a rich blue color that will set your phone apart from the rest!

So for superior display, speed, and look, go for the DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue from Motorola!

Of course, that amazing phone needs an amazing charger to go with it!  Try the Motorola HD Station with Wall Charger for Motorola Smartphones and Tablets.  It looks great and will keep all your Motorola devices ready to go!  (Of course, keep in mind that the Motorola’s DROID Turbo Sapphire Blue with the largest smart phone battery can go two full days without recharging!)

And while you’re at it, why not get this high quality Cradle Mount Holder  for Motorola Droid Turbo w/ New Turn-Lock Mechanism for your car, designed specifically for the Motorola Droid Turbo?  I love that it has a new turn-lock mechanism.  No more phones bouncing around your car (that has happened to me before!)

Another cool accessory for your phone or camera is this JOBY Gorillapod Flexible Tripod, which comes with a Bonus IVATION Universal Smartphone Tripod Mount Adapter.  We have an earlier version, and it is GREAT.  It holds your camera or smartphone in just the right position to snap exactly the photo you want.  The grip is really strong, so you don’t have to worry about your camera or phone falling out, and the tripod really does attach to any surface!  Plus it is so small and lightweight it is easy to throw into your luggage before your next trip!

Do you want to make your home more environmentally friendly but don’t know where to begin? Try the Philips Connected Home LED Starter Kit.  It’s a great, easy to to save some money (up to 80% energy savings!) and do your part for the planet.  Plus, it lets you control the lighting from your smart phone or tablet – even when you’re not home!

One gadget that everyone’s talking about is the Fitbit Charge Wireless Activity Wristband, Black, Large. It is a lightweight, easy to use device to track all of your fitness activity.  Easy access to real time stats, plus it syncs up wirelessly with your phone and/or computer.  Remember, every step counts!

And finally, for the dad who has never really grown up, here are some super fun high-tech toys!

What dad wouldn’t love to play with this Parrot Mini Drone Jumping Sumo??  Designed to do spins, jumps, and extreme turns, it even comes with a wide angle camera to give a real pilot’s view of the action.  And of course, you can even control it from your computer or smart phone!

If a helicopter is more his thing, try this BLADE Nano QX BNF Quadcopter. It’s even small enough to fly around the office!

This drone is the way to go to really impress his buddies: The UDI U818A 6 Axis Gyro RC Quadcopter is easy to install and repair, plus it is very stable and easy to operate though it looks super serious! 

Happy Father’s Day!  How are you celebrating with the big guy in your life?

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

Aug 262014
 August 26, 2014  recipes, Summer Comments Off on Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops - Alldonemonkey.com

It was my turn recently to take snacks for the virtues class I help put on for Monkey and his friends.  I was inspired by my friend Frances’ recipe for Puerto Rican limber (an alternative to ice cream).  She was kind enough to chat with me about it, and soon the idea came together for a treat taking advantage of the last of the wonderful ripe summer strawberries: strawberry cheesecake pops!

They were easy to make, and the kids and moms all enjoyed them.  I should add that it also tastes good without freezing, as a sort of milkshake.  Here’s how you can make your own!

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops - Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Pops


1 lb cleaned and sliced strawberries

3/4 small can of sweetened condensed milk

6 – 7 crushed animal crackers (could also use 3-4 graham crackers)


Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until well blended.  Adjust to taste.  Keep in mind that you should make it slightly sweeter than you normally like, as freezing tends to dull the sweetness.

Pour into small Dixie cups and freeze overnight.  Enjoy!

Aug 122014

Though many families are preparing for the start of the school year, we are still enjoying warm, sunny weather here.  One of our favorite ways to savor these last, lazy summer days is by enjoying a cool, frozen treat.  Monkey and Baby both love ice cream, but this is only part of the tale.  There are so many other wonderful icy delights you can enjoy – here is a just sampling:

Beyond Ice Cream: Frozen Treats Around the World

Piraguas - Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes

Many of us here in the United States grew up with sno cones.  Frances from Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes introduces us to a different version of sweetened shaved ice from Puerto Rico – piraguas!  She tells us that you can find carts selling this popular treat in every park and neighborhood!

Paletas, Mexican Popsicles - Kid World Citizen

And who can forget yummy paletas, the Mexican popsicles?  Kid World Citizen shares a recipe for this refreshing treat!

the piri-piri lexicon - Fruit Popsicles

A wonderful fruit popsicle recipe comes to us from the piri-piri lexicon, a French expat living in Germany.  She notes popsicles = happy kids.  So true!

Pomegranate Popsicles and Pistachio "Ice Cream" - Persian-Inspired Summer Treats - Alldonemonkey.com

Earlier this summer we tried some Persian-inspired summer treats, including pomegranate popsicles and pistachio non-dairy “ice cream.”  Yum!

15+ Favorite Popsicle Ideas - Alldonemonkey.com

For even more popsicle ideas, check out our popsicle roundup from last summer!

Sweet Tea Slushies - Alldonemonkey.com

As a nod to my Southern roots, last summer we also made sweet tea slushies, a delicious way to beat the heat!

Limber - summer treat from Puerto Rico - Discovering the World Through My Son's EyesAnother yummy summer treat from Puerto Rico is limber, which you can easily make yourself.  Frances at Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes tells us how, including a version with Oreos!

Snowman Ice Cream - La Cite des Vents

And if you are going to have ice cream, make it into art, like this adorable ice cream snowman that Eolia of La Cité des Vents enjoyed at an ice cream shop in Germany!

Kenyan Mango Ice Cream - Around the World in 12 Dishes - Alldonemonkey.com

You can also try a new version of ice cream – from Kenya!  We made ours with frozen mango, simple but delicious!

InCultureParent - Egypt

One of my favorite posts comes from InCultureParent, who put together this amazing slideshow of ice cream around the world – “from cart to mouth”!  (The photo above is from Egypt).

If you are in Chicago, be sure to check out these global sweet treats recommended by Raising World Citizens!  The Italian ices remind me of growing up in New Jersey!

And finally, don’t miss these 10 brain-freezing treats from around the world, courtesy of Mashable.com!

What are your favorite frozen treats?

May 052014
 May 5, 2014  family, food, recipes, Summer 9 Responses »

Homemade Blackberry Pie {Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop} - Alldonemonkey.com

This post is part of the Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop.  For details and to link up your own posts, see details below.

Homemade Blackberry Pie {Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop} - Alldonemonkey.comFew things evoke childhood summers for me like berry picking.  As kids we picked blackberries in the hills behind our house in rural North Carolina , and years later we found them by the side of the road by our grandparents’ cottage in West Virginia.

Now, I am continuing that tradition with my own family, driving up to the foothills of Northern California to a small, family-owned farm to find juicy blackberries waiting for us on row upon row of towering bushes.

Part of that tradition, of course, is devouring as many fresh berries as your stomach can hold, but we also manage to save quite a few to make one of the most anticipated treats of the summer: homemade blackberry pie.

Over the years I have tinkered with recipes I have found online in order to craft the one shared below.  It is sweet, but not to the point of overwhelming the real star of the show: the blackberries themselves.

So whether you find your berries growing wild, or at the Farmer’s Market, or in your grocery store, I hope you enjoy making them into this delicious pie.


Homemade Blackberry Pie

(Adapted principally from an Old-Fashioned Strawberry Pie recipe from Allrecipes)


2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

3/4 c sugar

1/3 c flour

1/2 t cinnamon

6-7 c fresh blackberries

Lemon juice

2 T butter or margarine



1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.

2. Mix together sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Stir gently into the berries, adding lemon juice as you stir.

3. Pour filling into one pie crust.  Dot with butter or margarine.  Cover with top crust.  Make slits in the top to let steam escape, and seal the edges.

4. Back for 30 minutes, or until crust is slightly browned.

Homemade Blackberry Pie {Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop} - Alldonemonkey.com


Now it’s time to share how you are getting ready for warmer weather!


Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop 2014

Welcome to our Second Annual Backyard Barbecue Blog Hop!  I am so excited to be joining with my blogger friends to create a collection of fabulous ideas for family fun this summer.

Be sure to visit all of our co-hosts to see their amazing posts and be sure to share yours at the end!


All Done Monkey
The Squishable Baby
Creative World of Varya
Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes
Twin Falls Mommy
In The Playroom
Slow Family
Adventures of Adam
Adventure in a Box
Planet Smarty Pants

Now your turn:

Apr 102014

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

As many of you know, we just returned from a wonderful trip to visit family in Costa Rica.  While we were there, we were able to take our little volcano lover to visit two of the active volcanoes in that country, Poás and Irazú.

As a result, I thought this would be a good time to share a fun volcano craft we did a few months ago.  The Monkeys and I actually did it for my husband’s birthday, but it would also work perfectly for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.  It’s easy to do with one child but also makes a great keepsake for siblings, as shown here.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

We used red and yellow paint for the lava.  Red had the best effect, although yellow turned out okay on the white paper.  If you are doing two or more kids, be aware that the yellow will not show up very well on top of the red, so it is better to either separate the hand prints a bit or do both in red.

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

While Baby was napping, Monkey and I sat down to do step one.  I painted his hand red then made his hand print in the upper half of the paper.  (We did two versions just in case, since this was an experiment!)

Later in the day I painted Baby’s little hand and did my best to do a hand print with them.  He really had fun with the paints!

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Finally, I added the mountain below so that the hand prints look like lava exploding out of the volcano.  An older child could also do this step.  (Monkey was “too busy working” with his legos at this point so suggested that I do it).

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

Hand Print Volcano Card - Alldonemonkey.com

I was the only one who thought my humor was funny, but since I had the pen it didn’t really matter lol 😉

Have an explosive day and always remember that we lava you!




Jul 312013

Global Kids Beat the Heat - World Citizen Wednesdays on Alldonemonkey.comWelcome to World Citizen Wednesday!

Each week we pose a question to members of the fabulous Multicultural Kid Blogs group and share their answers here.

To find out more about these amazing bloggers, check out the Multicultural Kid Blogs Facebook page and our new Multicultural Kid Blogs website!

This week we ask…

What are your family’s favorite ways to stay cool in hot weather?

Stephen of The Head of the Heard: Open all the windows and strip down to the essentials. And we got a little paddling pool on the balcony for our son.

Jennifer of World Moms Blog: Ice pops! We make our own by freezing fruit smoothies, which means, yes, the kids can have them with breakfast!

Leanna of All Done Monkey: We have a kiddie pool in the backyard, plus our son loves to play with the garden hose (supposedly helping water the plants). Splash parks are also really popular here.

MaryAnne of Mama Smiles: Kiddie pool, sprinkler, and homemade popsicles!

Diana of LadydeeLG: We like water table, inflatable pool, sprinklers.

Annabelle of the piri-piri lexicon: Water play: pretend kitchen with plenty of water in jars, pots, pans, etc.

Amanda of Expat Life with a Double Buggy: We have a little pool which the kids play in – they love to use their slide to get in to it. The excitement of splashing & giggling is a real sign that summer is here!

Heidi of 2 Kurious Kids: The Pool for sure! We live close to the beach too:)

Kristen of Toddling in the Fast Lane:  Kiddie pool, splash pad at the park, visits to the aquarium (air conditioned fun!)

World Citizen Wednesdays - Alldonemonkey.com

Thanks to all the bloggers who shared their answers here! You can read answers to earlier questions in our previous installments of World Citizen Wednesday, including tips for traveling with kids!

Find out more about these wonderful bloggers by visiting our new Multicultural Kid Blogs website, liking us on Facebook, subscribing to our Facebook feed, or following us on Twitter and Pinterest!

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