How to BBQ Donuts

Summer is the perfect time for sparking up the BBQ, but grilling isn't just for meals, it's wonderful for desserts too. For years, I have read about people grilling donuts, but I never got around to trying it... until a few week sago. Let me tell you... grilled donuts are easy to make and they did NOT disappoint!

Step 1 - Buy a box of glazed donuts. We tried chocolate and plain, and the plain were much better. I've heard it works well with old fashioned sugar donuts too. That's next on our list!

Step 2 - Clean your grill really well. You may even want to turn it up really high to burn off any nasty bits of food.

Step 3 - Place donuts on grill (over medium heat).

Step 4 - Cook a couple of minutes on each side. Watch them closely. You want the glaze to caramelize, and you want grill marks... but you don't want them to turn black. You'll want to use tongs and a spatula to keep the donuts from breaking apart.

The donuts will be slightly crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. You can eat them plain, or you can top them with ice cream and a bit of chocolate sauce.

Grilled donuts were a big hit in my house, and we will definitely be making them again. If you give them a try, let me know what you think.

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

Birthday Letter to My Youngest Son on His 11th Birthday

Every year on my boys' birthdays, I write them a letter. My hope is that each letter is a snapshot that captures each boy's personality at this point in time. I want them to know how much I love them and how proud I am at each stage of their lives. Today, I am sharing the letter I wrote to my youngest son today... on his 11th birthday.

My sweet boy:

Your birthdays are particularly tough for me, because as my "baby", you are my last chance to enjoy each age and stage of being a mother. It is bittersweet though because the older you get, the more special you become, and the more I cherish my time with you.

Here are some of the things that make you the awesome 11 year old you are:

  • You tried being a goalie for the first time this year. I always hesitated to let you try because I know how sensitive you are, but you did great. You learned a lot about hard work and adversity, and I know you will carry these lessons with you through the rest of your life.
  • You dealt with living through a pandemic. You impressed me with how well you adjusted to the seismic shift in your schedule and your life. It is a crazy time we are living in, but you are handling it really well.
  • You still like to have me read you stories at bedtime. I know this is something that will come to an end soon (and without warning), so I will continue to treasure this special time we have together... for as long as it lasts.
  • You had a great year at school. Every year you gain a little more academic and social confidence. I know it is something you work out, and I am super-proud of your efforts.
  • You are a clown with a quirky and clever sense of humor. You are always making Dad, your brothers and I laugh... and when you get giggling... I sometimes wonder if you will ever stop.
  • You love playing with your friends, your brothers, and your cousins.
  • You really love playing outside. Some of your favorite activities are: riding your bike, playing street hockey, making trick shot videos with your brothers, playing golf, and shooting baskets.
  • You have a wonderful way of quietly observing a situation and asking thoughtful questions.
  • You love multi grain crackers and fruit roll ups.
  • You give the best cuddles.
I know this year (with Covid restrictions in place) your birthday is a little different, and you won't be having the big party you are used to, but I hope you still have a fantastic day. You are a special boy, and the sweetest 11 year old in the whole world. I love you to the moon and back!

Happy birthday!



THE BEST Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches... from a cake mix!

Summer is synonymous with ice cream, and there is nothing better than a homemade ice cream treat. Today, I am sharing a recipe with you that is easy to make and totally delicious. You are going to love these homemade ice cream sandwiches (made with the help of a cake mix).

The key to these ice cream sandwiches is the easy to make cake mix cookies.

Ingredients for cake mix cookies:

1 box (quality) chocolate cake mix (I like the Duncan Hines chocolate fudge)
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp real vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 - 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)

Directions for cake mix cookies:

1) Mix cake mix, oil, vanilla and eggs until well blended. 

2) Stir in chocolate chips.

3) Refrigerate dough for 20 minutes for easier rolling.

4) Roll dough into 1-inch balls, roll in sugar, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2-inches apart. (I like to use a cookie scoop to get uniform cookies... and it speeds up the process too!)

5) Bake at 350℃ for 9-11 minutes. Let cool on tray for 1 minute, and then move to a cooling rack. Store in an air tight container.

To transform the cookies into ice cream sandwiches:

Let ice cream soften slightly, flatten a scoop of ice cream on a cutting board, and place ice cream in between two cookies.

This face says it all!

You are going to want to save this recipe, so I made you a printable recipe card. 

To print the recipe card I designed: click on the photo below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 4x6 photo.

Have you ever tried making your own ice cream sandwiches? The possibilities really are endless. Pick your favourite cookie, pick your favourite ice cream flavour, squish them together, and enjoy!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

2020 Summer Checklist... Covid Edition

Every year my boys and I put together a summer checklist. We include 50 of our favourite summer activities, and we spend our vacation checking items off the list. This year, our list has been adjusted to conform with Covid social distancing and travel restrictions, but there are still tons of easy and inexpensive adventures in our future. Below, you will find a FREE printable version of our 2020 summer checklist, as well as some really helpful links.

To download our list: click on the picture above, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8x10 photo.

Then, check out the links below for more helpful hints, tutorials, recipes, and ideas.

1) Celebrate Canada Day

2) Watch fireworks or play with sparklers

3) Have an outdoor picnic or BBQ

4) Go to a splash pad, swim in a pool or run through a sprinkler

5) Buy a meal from a food truck or local restaurant

6) Paint a rock and leave it for someone to find

7) Read a book outside

8) Have a water fight or NERF gun battle

9) Have a movie night outside or go to a drive in

10) Do an “at home” escape room

11) Eat donuts from a string (with no hands)

12) Have a parent/child “one on one” date (kid’s choice… under $20 and 2 hours)

13) Plant something and watch it grow

14) Make a craft

15) Build a fort (inside the house or outside)

16) Get ice cream in PJs (drive throughs are OK)

17) Play catch, basketball or street hockey

18) Make homemade ice cream or make milkshakes

19) Go for a bike ride

20) Decorate a cake or bake cookies

21) Spend time at a cottage, beach or park

22) Do a science experiment

23) Play a board game outside

24) Go geo-caching

25) Have a "kids pick the meals" day

26) Play chocolate bar BINGO (like regular BINGO, but with chocolate bar prizes)

27) Play golf or mini golf

28) Learn a “trick shot” or magic trick

29) Try a new food or a new recipe

30) Have a theme day (e.g. spy training day, "parents say yes" day or "spend our gift cards" day)

31) Camp at a campground, in the backyard or in the living room

32) Have a PJ day

33) Build a large puzzle

34) Make a video

35) Fly a kite

36) Have a dance party or sing karaoke

37) Go on a scavenger hunt

38) Organize a drawer, closet or room

39) Play with water balloons

40) Do a good deed or raise money for charity

41) Go on a road trip to another city or town

42) Make an obstacle course in the yard or go for a walk in the rain

43) Roast marshmallows, make s'mores or cook a different campfire treat

44) Write and mail a letter or postcard

45) Visit at least 5 different ice cream stands

46) Go stargazing

47) Pick your own

48) Pick your own

49) Pick your own


Creating and completing a summer checklist really is one of my favourite family traditions. We've had to "tweak" it a bit this year due to Covid, but we still have lots of wonderful activities planned. 

Does your family have a summer checklist? Are you planning to print mine? If you don't want to include all the items on the list, you can just choose your favourites. Have fun!

Gina (aka East Coast Mommy)

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