Fun Recipes for your Kids to Make this Summer

At GameTruck, we’re all about helping you play and create family memories. From booking video game or laser tag parties to providing fun activity ideas, we’re helping you rock this parenting thing. This week we’re going to help your kids star in the kitchen with delicious recipes. 

Use this blog as a beginners cookbook for your kids with no add pop-ups or long recipe back stories about great aunt Mildred twice removed and her journeys through Wisconsin. This blog delivers recipes, directions, and helpful tips that are straight to the point, and I wish they made these for adults. 

Help your kids explore and learn about cooking with these three recipe ideas. 

  • Recipe 1: Homemade Lemonade
    • Ingredients 
      • 1 ¾ cups white sugar 
      • 1 cup water
      • 9 medium lemons, or more as needed
      • 7 cups ice-cold water
      • ice as needed
    • Directions
      • Step 1: Combine sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Stir to dissolve sugar while mixture comes to a boil. Set aside to cool slightly.
      • Step 2: Do you feel how firm the lemons are? Roll them around on the counter to make them soft.Cut in half lengthwise. Squeeze into a measuring cup.  
      • Step 3: Watch out for any seeds! We don’t want those. 
      • Step 4: Continue juicing until you have 1 1/2 cups fresh juice and pulp. 
      • Step 5: Add 7 cups of ice-cold water into a pitcher. Stir in lemon juice, pulp, and simple syrup till it tastes yummy.  
      • Step 6: Don’t forget the ice!
    • Helpful Notes 
      • Nine medium lemons should yield about 1 1/2 cups juice and pulp, but the number required will depend on the size you use.

  • Recipe 2: Strawberry Banana Smoothie
    • Ingredients
      • 1 cup frozen strawberries or berry mix
      • 2 cups orange juice
      • 1 banana, cut in pieces
      • ½ cup milk
      • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • Directions
      • Step 1: Wash fruit if needed.
      • Step 2: Add to blender.
      • Step 3: Mix until desired consistency.
    • Helpful Notes
      • To make any simple smoothie recipe thinner add more juice or milk. To make any simple smoothie recipe thicker add more fruit.
      • If using canned fruit, include the juice for extra flavor.

  • Recipe 3: Five Ingredient No Bake Energy Bites
    • Ingredients
      • 2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
      • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
      • 1/4 cup honey
      • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Directions
      • Step 1: Add all ingredients into a bowl. 
      • Step 2: Mix well.
      • Step 3: Roll them into balls and store in an airtight container. 
    • Helpful Notes:
      • As a substitute for peanut butter, try almond or sunflower butter!

Cooking with your kids is a great way to build new memories and teach them life skills. Feel free to save this blog in your cookbook or help your kids craft their own to store these for later!

4 Mobile Camera Tips to Improve Your Summer Photography

I’m so glad that I live in the digital age. It might sound odd, but with my mom brain, I struggle to remember all of the small details. I don’t want to forget the memories I made with my family. I want to cherish them forever. From family vacations to GameTruck birthday parties, I don’t want to lose a single memory. This is one of the biggest reasons why I’m so thankful for my phone. 

Pictures help us relive memories and reignite our emotions. (This is why I can’t bring myself to delete a single picture of my kids 🙂 While photography seems to come naturally for some people, it doesn’t for me. It’s been a creative journey for me, but here are four tips that made the difference for me that you can try to take your photography to the next level!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Rule of Thirds
    • In this photography rule, an image is broken up into nine squares. This can also be called “framing”. In this approach, try to get the best parts of your image where these lines intersect. This will give your photo a natural feel and gently guide the eyes to where you want them to go. Try lining your subject up on these lines to achieve this effect. 
    • To set this up on your iPhone, go to your settings, select apps – choose camera, and then select “grid lines”. This will allow you to use the Rule of Thirds with every picture you take to help you get awesome photos! 

  • Natural Light
    • Lighting can make all the difference in a picture, and Natural is best. A flash rarely looks good on anyone. Natural lighting compliments most people and subjects. It is also the best option if you’d like to edit the photo later. 
    • Being mindful of the lighting also allows you to be creative. It can help convey the mood and the overall tone of the picture. You can try different angles in natural light, candles, sunsets, and so much more! 

  • Avoid Digital Zoom
    • Avoided at all costs on a smartphone! By using digital zoom, you’ll get a grainy, poor resolution image. Digital zoom also magnifies any shaking or movement in the hands. 
    • If you need to zoom, move closer to get that awesome picture of your kid in their little league uniform or blasting away opponents at a GameTruck laser tag party!

  • Use HDR
    • Many smartphones are now equipped with High Dynamic Range or HDR. It adds detail from both dark and light areas of the picture for a balanced exposure. This is a great option to use if your picture has a dark ground and a bright sky. Turning this feature on in your settings will help balance your pictures out. 

Summer, to me, has always been a season of new adventures and journeys. Taking nice pictures and videos will help you and your family always remember the memories you’ve made over the years together.

So, at your next GameTruck event, try one or all of these tips to take your photography skills to the next level!

Take a Local Vacation – 5 Ideas You Need to Try

As a kid I never really understood how much planning my mom did each summer for our family. I never saw all the hard, behind-the-scene work she did to make to make each summer season a blast. It wasn’t until I became a mom that I learned. While summer is a never-ending-fun-fest for kids, it can be a stressful season for us moms as we scramble to find things for the kiddos to do while still being mindful of the bank account. That’s why a local vacation is perfect! Entertain the kids and yourself, keep your sanity, and build family memories all at a great price! Here are a few ideas to try this year from your friends at GameTruck.

  •  Nature classes 
    • National parks are a great summer idea especially if there’s one in your area. Many times they will offer free or very affordable classes and experiences. Kids can learn about various nature topics up close and personal from petting snakes to learning about foliage to the importance of conservation.

  • Try something unique to your town
    • Is your community, village, town, or county known for something? If you if you’ve never tried it, then do it together as a family. For example one place that my family lived in had historic murals painted on the flood walls that depicted Ohio history. The artwork highlighted things that were unique and special to that Rivertown. In another place our town was home to Ohio’s oldest brewery, so as a family we ate there for the first time one summer. Maybe you live in a city that is known for a historic sporting stadium? See if you can attend a local game there. Maybe your county is known for its natural parks or monuments? Take a family trip to go see them.

  • Children’s museum
    • Children’s museums are a great opportunity for students to explore and express their creativity in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). They offer opportunities for sensory development and growth for children. Kids will have a blast playing and learning at the same time with other children. Most children’s museums are very affordable with all day passes and offer activities from painting to water tables to imaginative play.

  • Start a new family evening or once a week tradition
    • Start a tradition that is unique and special to your family. For example with my family when Pokémon go was a big thing, we would go on family walks in the historic district of our town to catch Pokémon. It was an awesome time! The kids got to learn about local history, get exercise, and play Pokémon go with each other. Our family still talks about that summer to this day!

  • Celebrate art and music
    • Check with your local community center to see what types of events that are going to be offered this season. Support local artists, musicians, and fans. Sometimes communities will put on free concerts for families to attend. Others will do artist alleys where families can tour paintings and drawings from local artists. These types of activities can introduce kids to different types of creative expression at a free or very affordable cost.

Local vacations are an awesome way to connect with your family and create new memories at a price that makes even the wallet smile. Try one, all, or customize this list for your family this summer to grow closer together with new experiences!