Making Watermellon Popsicles

As a follow up to last Monday’s post, here is how we made our watermellon popsicles. Lila and Scarlett wanted to help out; Lila added the sticks at the end and lots of questions throughout, and Scarlett stepped on my feet the whole time. Some help she was. 🙂
Mommy’s little helpers.

 First I cut the watermellon into chunks that the blender could manage, removing as many seeds as I could while cutting but not getting them all out. I blended it on high for about 15 – 20 seconds, enough to make it liquid but not grind the seeds that were left. I didn’t add any water; no need. I didn’t sweeten it either.
Then I strained it into a measuring cup that had a spout to make it easier to pour into the molds. I had to use a spoon to stir the mixture in the strainer to get the juice through. (If you have the patience to pick out all the seeds first, you can skip this step; plus, the popsicles will be thicker.)

We had just enough juice to fill each mold about 85% full, then we added tiny pieces of chopped watermellon to it.

Lila adds the sticks.

 And here they are, ready to go into the freezer.


Summer Fun – Popsicles

Where I live, summer is upon us already. With temperatures hitting 34 deg.C and rising, it is time to find ways to cool off. This is the first in a series of summer fun posts, with tips and ideas for ways to cool down on those hot days, and what better way to cool off than to eat a homemade popsicle?

Scarlett eating a homemade popsicle – first time she held it alone.

The other day I picked up a popsicle mold set so that I could make some for the kids. Like most kids, they enjoy popsicles, but having store bought ones on hand as often as they would like to eat them is not always possible, nor would I want them to eat those so frequently as they are full of preservatives, food coloring, and too much sugar.

 Popsicles are easy to make. First, get some molds. Any shop that sells plastic kitchenware should have them. But you don’t have to use molds – you can use disposable cups, or plastic cups, or ice cube trays. For the cups you can use a spoon if you don’t have sticks, and for the ice cube trays, use toothpicks.

Next, pick your juice. Any juice you have on hand will work – powder mixes, canned, boxed, or frozen – so long as you don’t care if it is healthy or not. All you do is pour it into your molds, add the sticks, and freeze. You could even add some chopped or blended fruit to the juice for extra flavor.

But if you want these to be healthy and nutritious, then you will have to make your own juice, which isn’t too hard if you have a juicer or blender. Many fruits can be peeled and cut into chunks, then blended (obviously with seeds removed). Then all you have to do is fill the molds, or if you want, you can strain it. But I think thicker is better for popsicles. Some may need sugar; others won’t, so sweeten to taste if you want to.

Orange and mango flavor Tang. That is my cold coffee on the side.

So far I have made mine from orange and mango Tang, a grape concentrate, and banana and milk. While I like my kids to eat healthy, I am not so picky about it always being 100% pure health food, so I do buy Tang and the occasional concentrate since they are cheaper than the pure fruit juice. Also, my kids are fruit lovers, so I know they will eat any fresh fruit I give them and they have them daily. Since it is watermellon season for us, watermellon popsicles are next on my list of flavors to try. I just don’t look forward to picking out the seeds before blending.

Flavor ideas:
– Whatever fruit you have in season. Citrus fruits, especially those with a bit of a sour tang to them are nice. Lemon, orange and tangerine, individually or mixed, are delicious.
-Berries: strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc.
-Banana and milk – I added a little cinnamon and a tiny bit of sugar. These should be roughly 3/4 banana for the taste to come through well.

Banana and milk popsicles.

Making tips:
-A bit of lemon juice can bring out the flavor of other fruits when mixed together, ie. with papaya.
-If you just want the juice, squeeze or blend the fruit and strain before filling the molds, otherwise, leave the pulp in.
-For sweetening you could opt for honey instead of sugar, if you prefer.
-Try adding yoghurt to your fruit for a frozen yoghurt option. I plan on doing yoghurt and mango as soon as mangos are in season as the combo is heavenly. Other fruits that go well with yogurt are bananas, papayas and berries.
-Remember that liquid expands when frozen, so don’t fill your molds to the brim.

Grape juice from concentrate popsicles.

Popsicles are a great way to get in some liquid on those hot summer days, and even if you child normally won’t eat fruit or have milk or yoghurt, what child will refuse a popsicle? Making your own ensures that the ingredients are healthy – you know there are no added chemicals or coloring or extra sugar (unless, of course, you are using the concentrates, but hey, no one can eat healthy all the time) – and your child gets a fun treat.

And mommies, while you are at it, make a few extra for yourself, cause you are sure to find it more fun to join your child outside eating popsicles than sweating inside doing housework. Try freezing your favorite coffee blend. You may need to make it a little stronger and sweeter than usual since freezing can mute the flavor. You could also add rum or brandy flavorings if you like, or make a mocktail with the flavorings. I’d say freeze your favorite drink, but alcohol doesn’t freeze so you wouldn’t get a popsicle out of that. Ha.
Above all, get creative and have fun with the flavors. And make sure you have enough molds cause your kids are sure to ask for them daily.


Little Joys

Summer is upon us, suddenly, overnight it seems. It isn’t yet hot enough for air conditioners but the fans are in constant motion, we are guzzling water, juice and popsicles.

When I was out shopping with the girls a few mornings ago, I picked up a popsicle mold. I had thought about getting one long ago but I think it was the heat that morning that told me to go for it. Ha. I can blame it on the weather.
Well, I brought it home and made some popsicles with the Tang I had in the fridge, and the kids enjoyed them after their nap.

Orange Tang popsicles, right next to my cold coffee.

Her first “on my own” popsicle.

What is better than one popsicle? Two, of course!

I’ve made some every day since and the kids ask for them at odd times, but I figure, why not? It is juice, they get to cool off and get some liquid in, and I get some peace and quiet for as long as it takes them to eat one. The only rule I made is that they must eat it on the balcony so I don’t have to clean drips off the floor.
Aside from orange, I have made grape and banana ones. The banana I mixed with milk and a little cinnamon so they were a little more like ice cream. Yum!

                                                         The little joys of life!

At the Park

There is a really nice park right next to the school Glad works at, literally next to it. It is a famous park here and was recently redone. It’s one of the most beautiful parks I’ve seen here.

One of the many fountains.

That is Logan hiding in the grass.

Playing with some seeds.

Searching for more seeds. I love how Lila’s dress is billowing out.

After the park closed (they all close for several hours in the middle of the day), we went to visit daddy at school again. The goal is that Logan will get used to school and like it before he actually has to attend.

Claiming daddy’s spot.

Trying to get one of Scarlett and myself. I rarely have pics of me since I am always behind the camera.

Logan’s latest thing is building trains with Lego. For a long time he never used it except to throw it around. Then all of a sudden he started coming to me to show me what he had made. Now he always asks me to take a picture of his latest creation.

You will have to excuse the sometimes clear/sometimes not pics. My camera has become tempermental and will sometimes refuse to take clear pics, no matter how still I hold it. Also, I discovered that the flash will work from time to time but when it works is beyond my control. So frustrating.

Sunny Day Fun

Note: the pics in the last post are from yesterday and these are from this morning.

What better way to spend a sunny day than having water play?

“Washing” their tummies.

I love how the water looks stuck in the air.

Here is a short clip of them having fun. I need to get a larger memory card for the camera. It will only film 7 seconds before it says the card is too slow and that it can’t film any more. I guess 128 mb cards are now obsolete.

Our Visit to the Zoo and More

First we have pics from Glad’s birthday. For all of you who wanted to see that cake you heard so much about, here it is.

Family pic. These kind are the worst. I wasn’t prepared to look nice, was hot and sweaty, and I look fat. Just being honest here. I don’t like how I look in this pic at all but have to show it so you can see all of us there. Glad is wearing his new shirt.

Playtime afterwards, once the chocolate and wine had a chance to kick in. Ha. (Disclaimer: Logan doesn’t usually run around looking like that!)
Ok, well, we finally did it. We went to the zoo! I’ve been pestering Glad to take us for several months now, but he was too busy, working every day. He said that when his current job ended he would take us. So last Thursday we went. I kept telling Logan we were going to see animals in the zoo, but I don’t think he was prepared to see so many. He was in heaven. If you look at his legs you can see he was doing a little dance because he was so excited.

The giant pelican. I’ve never seen one this big. It doesn’t look big here, but seeing it up close it was massive.

Happy boy. That is a sambar deer in the background.

This emu wouldn’t take his eyes off of us.

The elegant peacock.

Lila slept most of the time there. Here she had just woken up.

Checking out the lovebirds.

Ducks. Logan was getting tired by this time. I had changed his pants cause he peed, and daddy would only carry him if he took his shoes off. Logan didn’t mind.

This funny looking bird is called a cassowary.

Mommy and Logan.

Daddy and Lila.

Checking out the deer.

The Indian gharial, found only in rivers in northern India.

Happy girl.

Some deer were wandering around the parking lot. They were very tame and wanted to be fed.

He was very tired and cranky by now.

He finally fell asleep on the way home after eating a snack.

But she didn’t.

This zoo is actually part of a national park that is located in the middle of Chennai. It has a large deer sanctuary and they roam everywhere. It is also the cheapest zoo I’ve ever gone to – 5 rupees per adult, kids under 10 get in free. You pay another 10 rupees to bring your camera in and away you go. (You get roughly 48 rupees for 1 US dollar, so you are only paying a few cents to get in.) Of course this is only a small zoo – they didn’t have any large animals like tigers or elephants. For those you have to go to the larger zoo that is outside the city, and we will, someday soon.

It’s been a while since I posted anything about the kids and their progress. Hmm…let’s see. Something cute Logan does is, when he wants something, he will say “uh hu, uh hu?” In other words, “Yes? Can I?” He usually says this when he wants to watch a video. The other day he wanted to make sure I said yes, so he did this.

Says “uh hu, uh hu?”
Claps his hands (for please), then pats his chest (for me).

It was too cute, so of course I said yes. I mean, how can you pass up such a cute request. He had the smiles to go with it too. He isn’t talking yet, but knows how to make himself understood with lots of gestures and the ever present “uh hu”.

For a while now Glad has been trying to teach him to say “meow” (don’t ask me why). Logan can’t get it and will instead say “aum”. Now he thinks it’s a game and says “aum” every time daddy asks him to say “meow”.

At the Park

One of the best things about digital cameras is you can take as many pics as you want without worrying that you are wasting film on bad pics. I took many more than I have posted here; I only like to post the best.

Something we like to do together is go to the park when we are able. Of course, I go with the kids more often than Glad is able to go with us, but when he does come, Logan has a great time. These were taken yesterday evening. Hope you like them.

This is outside our building before leaving. Our dog was outside so Logan decided to pet him as much as he could since I hardly ever let him touch a dog outside. He usually wants to pet the strays and they are so dirty and full of disease, so I can’t let him.

Lila waiting to go.

Getting them both to stand still was not easy.

Contemplating life together.

Watching the skaters.

She fell asleep as soon as we arrived.

Learning the handstand.

It’s chase-and-tackle-daddy time.

I think Logan is winning.

Logan is looking more and more like daddy all the time.

The chase is on again.

Soccer practice. He shoots…and scores.

Tired after the game.

Clapping for himself for having kicked the ball.

When we got home, Lila surprised us by rolling over several times. So now she knows how to roll. I can’t leave her on the bed any more.

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