Amazing Race Party and Food Challenges

race

My family loves watching the Amazing Race.  The kids love to see all the crazy antics and challenges.  I love seeing all the settings and cultures from around the world.  And we all route for our favorite teams.  It’s kind of a life lesson in geography and anthropology all wrapped into one.  Showing the kids how people stick together and cooperate as well as how poor sportsmanship can bring down the team.

This year my daughter wanted an Amazing Race birthday party.  Since she wanted to participate I came up with the challenge and clues for her and her friends.  This was actually pretty fun and creative.  There was a dress up race around the park, a backyard obstacle course, a geography word scramble, just to name a few.  Of course I had to have some foodie challenges as well.
chopsticksobstacle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

friends

 

We actually begun at a favorite local juice shop, Juice Girl where the girls had to drink a juice and smoothie and determine all the ingredients before getting their next clue.  There was a travel to China challenge where the girls used their chopsticks skills.  Finally I put them to work with a race to make lemonade (the old fashioned way – nothing electric), as well as cupcake decorating (using candy they collected at a yogurt shop contest).  This was good idea as not only were they making things quickly but they would also be careful and make them tasty as they would be drinking the lemonade with their lunch, and eating the cupcakes after.

lemonadecupcakes

My daughter and her friends had a great time.  With all the challenges we kept 8, 9 year olds busy forabout 2.5 hours both at home and around town.  The challenges took some organizing (making simple syrup, gathering chopsticks) but really made use of things we already had at home (dress up clothes, obstacle items) and didn’t require buying much (bag of lemons, juices, smoothies).  We decided we’re going to do smaller get togethers and challenges more regularly, while we’re waiting for the show to start again.

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Take a Stand: Tips to Help Kids Raise Money Through Food/Drink

You may have heard of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  A little girl named Alex was diagnosed with cancer when she was 1 year old. When she was four years old, Alex asked her mom if she could have a lemonade stand to raise money for “her hospital”.  Her legacy lives on as lemonade stands all  over the country continue to support her pediatric cancer foundation to the tune of $100 million as of January 1, 2015.  How cool is that?!

My kids and friends wanted to make cookies and sell them at a stand at the park.  They’ve done lemonade stands but they wanted to make cookies all by themselves (for the first time) and then raise money to give to The Milo Foundation, a Bay Area dog and cat rescue group.  How could I say no to that?  Of course we were going there for the third time that week to try to adopt a dog.  The kids raised $19 and gave it to the foundation.  Ironically we didn’t find a dog there, but a few days later at the Marin Humane Society.  Guess we know where the next stand money will go.

Here are some steps to help you create a stand and raise money for something you or your kids believe in…

1. Make excellent homemade product.  If it’s lemonade squeeze it yourself.  If it’s cookies make them from scratch.  Store bought is not an option.  My kids made the recipe from the bag of the chocolate chip bag with some added sprinkles.  It doesn’t need to be fancy.  Here’s a lemonade recipe.

Lemonade

(Makes 3 ½ cups)

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, juice from about 4 lemons

½ cup sugar

1 ½ cups water, divided

Heat sugar and ½ cup water over medium heat in a small saucepan.  Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.  This is simple syrup.  Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and additional cup of water to taste.

Chill in thermos for easy packing or plastic pitcher, if location is a short walk.

Pour over ice in plastic or paper cups.

2. Create fun signs.  Kids can get really creative with this one.

3. Set up shop with friends and family to help.

4. Choose a location with lots of people.  Think parks, game fields, school.

5. Set a fair price or simply ask for a donation for each cup. (*You’ll make more $ by asking for a donation.)

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Friends and Lemonade – A Perfect Combo

 

My daughter had a friend over on a sunny afternoon and the first thing they wanted to do was set up a lemonade stand.  I was a bit taken back.  I’ve never done this before as an adult.  It seemed this needed some planning and lemons.  Hmmmmm… well I had 5 lemons.  So I said we could make a small pitcher.  (and I don’t have a plastic one).  I got to work on the simple syrup.  I realize not everyone does it like this, but this was the part that I knew and was easy for me.  Actually my daughter went to her first lemonade stand where the lemonade was from a carton.  (I told myself it didn’t matter as long as they had fun)  But certainly if I’m the mom of the stand, we’re going to make it.  The girls then remembered some chocolate chip muffins I had made the day before and asked if they could sell those too.  They sure were entrepreneurial!

squeeeeeeeeze!more squeeeezing

 

The girls made signs and talked price.  I overheard $1 per item and I suggested it be $1 for a combo muffin and lemonade but only fifty cents on their own.  They were ok with that.  Here’s where I felt a struggle.  You want the lemonade stand to be cute and genuine, not greedy.  It was coming together and my first timer stress was relieved.

Did I mention we live at the end of a steep shared driveway?  I think this is why the idea for the stand was stressful for me too.  We decided we’d have to locate it down the drive and at the park.  It was a lovely day and we thought this might actually mean a few customers and traffic.  It took my husband and I and the girls to haul all the stand items to the park.  There was a plastic tub to set the sale items ( I guess the actual “stand”).  The pitcher.  Glass at that.  Note to self – buy plastic pitcher for next time.  Muffin tray.  Tea towel. Plastic cups.   Again I didn’t have throw away,  so I instructed the girls to please have them returned.

 

The girls set everything up and after about five minutes left dad in charge and they were going to recruit people to come over from the playground.  I went back up to get a change box and when I returned my husband was at the stand and the girls were playing on the swings at the park.  I didn’t have high hopes for the endeavor and my husband had things under control so I left for an errand.

 

I was very surprised to come home and find everything back home with only a few muffins left and an empty pitcher.  They made $5 total and split the profits (the girls, not my husband).  Apparently there were customers and the girls got busy.  I think it was a success!  The girls had fun, my husband spent some time in the sunshine and we have simple syrup ready for the next lemonade stand request.  Just have to remember those lemons…

 

 

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The Heat is On… Time for Lemonade! (Recipes for Kids)

From Lisa Barnes

For us in the San Francisco Bay Area, the temperature has soared this week. A favorite to quench thirst for all ages is lemonade. In working on my latest book I test drove all kinds of lemonades – sparkling, traditional, herb infused, and more. The basic lemon can really be turned into something special.

Besides the yummy drink, making lemonade can provide a fun activity for children. If you have a tree, there’s the picking. My kids love to go to Grandma and Grandpa’s to pick lemons with “the picker” — a long handled pole.

Then there’s the juicing. Of course this can be done with a machine, but you can also use a hand-held citrus squeezer. Kids love to test their muscle strength, plus it makes the chore last longer (sometimes a necessity for parents looking for some down time). If you have too many lemons and an abundance of lemonade, be sure to share with friends or set up a stand.

The positive power of one child and a refreshing drink created a unique foundation that evolved from a young cancer patient’s front yard lemonade stand to a nationwide fund-raising movement to find a cure for pediatric cancer. Since Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004) set up her front yard stand at the age of four, more than $17 million has been raised towards fulfilling her dream of finding a cure for all children with cancer. Nationwide the effort continues: AlexsLemonade.org

Refreshing and Inspiring!
Here are two different recipes, one requiring lots of lemons and ice for a thirsty few and one that makes a glass or two with just a lemon hint (from my friends at SmallShed Flatbreads in Mill Valley, California).

Frozen Lemonade

This is the perfect lemonade for sipping on a hot afternoon. It is really great whipped in the blender, but if you don’t want to bother you can skip the last step and just pour over ice. Please note the color if this will be golden rather than bright yellow due to the use of raw sugar. You can always substitute white if you prefer.

Makes 3½ cups

½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, juice from about 4 lemons (organic if possible)

½ cup raw turbinado sugar

1½ cups water, divided

2 cups ice cubes, break into chunks if large

Heat sugar and ½ cup water over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. This is simple syrup.

Combine lemon juice, simple syrup and additional cup of water in blender with ice cubes and blend until slushy. Add more ice as desired.

Small Shed’s Fresh Squeezed Maple Lemonade

“I have always found foods to be most enjoyable when prepared simple, and nothing is more simple than our house-made lemonade. Frequently our customers will bring a box of Meyer lemons in from their yards and trade us for a Flatbread pizza!” – Ged Robertson, chef owner at Small Shed Pizza.

Makes 2¼ cups

Juice squeezed from 1 lemon, about ¼ cup

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste

16 ounces sparkling water

Put ingredients in a pitcher and stir with a spoon. Pour and serve over ice.

Tips: first roll lemons pressing between your hand and a counter. This will make them easier to squeeze, and yield more juice.

Variations: You can substitute regular still water for sparkling, and honey for maple syrup. This lemonade tastes great made with hot water too!

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See also Organic Lemonade Has 10x More Antioxidants Than Regular
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler and lives in Sausalito, California.
Image Credit: © Norma Cornes | Dreamstime.com
OrganicToBe.org | OrganicToGo.com
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