Friday, June 1, 2012

Popcorn in the Park

Week 4 of my Daily Outdoor Challenge is behind us and I believe we've finally hit our stride. Habit is beginning to take over and it is normal to head out nearly every morning and evening to explore, run and play WITH my kids. I'm embarrassed at how easily I had grown out of that habit. My 10 year old self would have been wagging her tomboy finger at my 32 year old mommy self... Outdoor play is not only good for them, it is good for me!

Want to join us? Read about the Daily Outdoor Challenge here. Select a goal. Mine is a minimum of 30 minutes outdoors playing/exploring WITH my kids through the summer. And then come back and link up your blog or share in the comments about what your family did this week.

This week we started a new tradition.  We are all pretty excited about it and will continue it as long as we aren't melting.  We will probably break from it in July and August when the humidity rises above 10%, but for now we are loving Sunday evenings with "Popcorn in the Park".

The boys jabbered about it all day.  Anticipation was high.  We quickly popped some of our yummy Kettle Corn and set out, bowl of sweet and salty goodness in hand and enjoyed some time at our neighborhood park!

I'm just loving how this Daily Outdoors Challenge is causing us to think, get creative and intentional about spending time together outdoors!

Do you have a hankering for some of your own sweet and salty kettle corn?  Here's how we make ours!

Kettle Corn {affectionately referred to as "Cinnamon Popcorn" in our home}
{Thanks goes to Camille at Flowers in His Garden for the inspiration to experiment with making our own!}

1/4 c coconut oil
1/8-1/4 c sugar (I've worked us down to 1/8 c.  If you like it sweeter, the original recipe calls for 1/4c)
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon (the magic ingredient)
1/2 c popping corn
salt to taste

We heat the oil in our stove-top popcorn maker and add two kernels.  Once those pop, pour in the rest of the corn, sugar and cinnamon.  Stir regularly until it is all popped.  When finished place in a bowl and add salt for that perfect mix of sweet and salty!

I experimented with using honey instead yesterday and it wasn't nearly the same.  I think we'll go ahead and stick with this tried and true version.

Remember when we went collecting seed pods last week?  Well, this morning we spent some time exploring those seeds.  We shook the pods and experimented with different methods of extracting the seeds.  Using a rock to open the pods was the preferred method.  We discovered that each pod contained between 16-22 seeds.  I gave the boys little baggies for their seeds and they enjoyed this activity for quite a while.  I'm not surprised.  I found extracting acacia seeds oddly therapeutic and went to work smashing pods and counting seeds!

There is something so perfect about taking a twilight stroll to the park, hand-in-hand with my hubby with our boys racing around in front of us and pushing the stroller with Greta.  It was one of those moments when I breathed it all in and took a mental snapshot that I can revisit over and over again...  Riding bikes, swinging and chasing Killdeer.   Treyton and I had so much fun playing with two Killdeer.  The birds kept teasing us by dropping to the ground and singing until we began chasing them.  Then they would fly up in the air, taunt us for a bit before landing again about 20 feet away.  I've never experience this kind of bird behavior before, although I've read that they can do this when trying to lure you AWAY from their nest.  Since we were in the middle of a school field, I can't imagine that they would even attempt to nest there...

This evening we walked to a neighborhood park again for "Popcorn in the Park!"

With Memorial Day on our minds, we called and surprised my grandfather (a retired Army colonel) with dinner to eat on his back porch while listening to the birds chirp.  He has beautiful rose bushes and a typically peaceful backyard which attracts all kinds of birds.  We ended the evening by taking a dip in the pool.

We discover that a baby mourning dove, who isn't quite able to fly, has fallen into our backyard.  This baby and its mother have taken up residence under and around the bushes along our back fence.  We enjoyed watching them and seeing how close we could get without disturbing them.

We are incorporating morning work-outs and since the weather was still so nice, we did those outside.  Nothing like running relays with my kids to realize how much I need to exercise. 

Our relays disrupt the two mourning doves, so we modify them, so the birds aren't too flustered.

Back out for more relays and calisthenics!  We grab the binoculars and spy on the two mourning doves again.  That baby is getting bigger and bigger.  We hypothesize that they won't be stuck on the ground much longer.

The Daily Outdoor Challenge


  1. Hi! I was going to link up, but I don't see any way to do so. Am I missing it?

  2. Nope. That was a technical snaffu on my part. I've fixed it.

  3. Oh, I love your Popcorn in the Park idea! What a great way to spend some down time with the family. Thanks so much for stopping by famiglia&seoul. :) We actually started our 365 Days Outdoors challenge in April and my son is loving our time outside. I'm looking forward to following along on your journey, too...especially for some more inspiration!

  4. Ooh I need to try making kettle corn with cinnamon - sounds delicious!!!

  5. Your cinnamon popcorn sounds AMAZING. I will be making it this week.

  6. I love this idea...what could be better than Popcorn in the Park?

  7. How precious these days are Heather! You will never regret spending those 30 minutes WITH your children outdoors. I'm thinking that we should implement it in our family too. Thank you for the idea! :)

    How surprised I was to find that you had linked to me! Thank you for that! AND...I am so glad you are enjoying the popcorn. I'm thinking cinnamon would be a wonderful addition. Perhaps I will add it in next time and see what the crowd thinks. FYI...we just finished off a batch of the sweet and salty stuff just a little more than an hour ago.

    Have a great week!

  8. Gina, I saw some of your posts of outdoor activities and really enjoyed them! It is so fun to share inspiration! :)

    MaryAnne, It is delicious. Your tastebuds will thank you!

    Cati, I can't wait to hear how you like it. We still make popcorn with nutritional yeast that you made one time. My boys call it pollen popcorn and we eat that on a regular basis!

    Phyllis, the name is fun and getting out and doing it is even more so! :)

    Camille, thank YOU for sharing the recipe. My family loves it! Since I've been dairy free for Greta it is has been so nice to have a little something sweet every once in a while!