What 's A Kid To Do After School?

An after school snack and homework always come first. TV? Sometimes, but we have created theme days for each weekday after school. Mya Mondays for when her very young cousin visits for an hour or so and Alex helps babysit. Make It, Bake It, and Take It Tuesday when we help Alex prepare a food item to take home and share with her family. Grandpa Wednesday is a special outing with just the two of us finding a restaurant with a great dessert. Grandma takes over with Crafty Thursday as she and Alex work on a craft project. And since the weekend starts after school on Friday, Relaxing Friday tends to find cartoons or playing outside as the goal.

Scheduling regular events like this sets a pattern that everyone, including Alex, looks forward to and enjoys.


Rigatoni and Sweet Italian Sausage

Alex loves loves spaghetti and meatballs.  So is rigatoni with Italian sausage close enough?  You betcha!  I don't let her do the cooking on the stove top if there is a concern of hot spills or grease burns, but I make sure she experiences all of the prep work and cooking safely possible. With this recipe she was able to place the meat in the skillet, add the rigatoni to the water, mix the ingredients together and then dish up the end results.

Simple ingredients can make a great meal - boxed rigatoni, a pound of sweet Italian sausage, your favorite spaghetti sauce, and some shredded mozzarella or shredded parmesan cheese.

Cut the Italian sausage into thirds and sautee until cooked thoroughly.  Add the rigatoni to boiling water and cook until just tender (rigatoni takes quite a bit longer to cook than spaghetti due to the thickness of the pasta).  Drain the pasta and the sausage.  Add these two ingredients to a deep skillet or a large pan and pour most of a jar of spaghetti sauce on top.  Stir until lightly coated and leave on medium heat for a few minutes to let the sauce blend with the meat and pasta.  Make sure the kids get to do the mixing and stirring, that's their favorite part.

Once heated through, add to the plates. Some like to pour a little more sauce on top, but sprinkle on shredded cheese for a finisher.  This was a meal that Alex and I were delivering so the re-used plastic Chinese carry-out containers worked great.

Mya Mondays

Sometimes Mya Mondays are funny.

Sometimes they are sleepy.

And sometimes you get to play with Santa and his elves.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

For as long as I can remember my family has made a great snack cookie by filling two graham cracker halves with a generous layer of buttercream icing.  When Alex and I were talking about making some of these we decided to make them even better by replacing the icing with soft serve ice cream.

The ingredients are simple:
  • Red box graham crackers - yes, you can use other brands and varieties but the original Nabisco Grahams are my preference.
  • Soft ice cream.  For our first attempt we used Dairy Queen soft serve for its simplicity.

The directions are equally simple.
  • Break the graham crackers into halves.
  • Spread the ice cream on half of the crackers and top with the other half.
  • Place them on a cookie sheet and place into the freezer until hard set.
  • When hard frozen, place them into freezer bags and return to the freezer until ready to eat.

This took very little time for Alex to prepare and the results were as good as we hoped for.  An added boost to her cooking confidence was the fact that she helped develop the recipe.

Our next batch will also include a layer of chocolate ice cream topped with another graham cracker.


Don't worry about making the ice cream sandwiches look neat, they taste great no matter how they look.

The softer the ice cream the easier to spread on the crackers.