Get Your Kids in the Kitchen

DD_Pizza_Night-102-blog feature

Did you know that kids learn about food and eating at a very young age? That getting your kids involved in the kitchen can help shape their eating habits for the rest of their lives. Positive experiences about food early on in a child’s life may help them develop healthy eating habits in the future. A recent study found that children who are exposed to cooking through culinary classes or aiding a parent or family member in preparing their meals in their home will be more likely to choose healthier foods not only in your own home, but when they are outside of your home, too. Researchers also found that the children who were involved in meal preparation had a higher intake of fruits, vegetables and dietary fiber and an increased willingness to try new foods.

Need some fun ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen? Try these tips for all ages:

(more…)

5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Your Family

Valentines-day-dinner

Holidays | February 12, 2015 | By

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about romantic gestures for your significant other. It’s also the perfect time to show your family how much you care. Take advantage of the holiday weekend and try one of these special ideas that are sure to make their day and may even become a new Valentine’s tradition!

  1. Spend the afternoon crafting homemade Valentines with your kids. They’ll be so excited to share their creations with their friends, siblings and even grandparents! These ideas from Pinterest are simple and sweet, but you could also go all out with lots of glitter, heart shapes and lace doilies.
  2. Sneak fun Valentine-themed treats and a little love note into their lunch at school this week.
  3. From heart-shaped bacon to pink cinnamon rolls, a special Valentine’s breakfast is something the whole family will enjoy.
  4. Place a card at each family members’ spot at the dinner table and have each person write a special message in each card throughout the day. Then, when you sit down for dinner, you’ll each have a special note with messages of love from the whole family.
  5. Eating dinner by candlelight is an easy way to make family dinner extra special for Valentine’s Day. Pull out the pink and red decor, leave a box of chocolate on each person’s plate, light the candles and serve a delicious meal like Chicken and Shrimp Carbonara. This is a tradition you’ll come back to year after year!

(more…)

Create Your Own Hot Cocoa Bar

Christmas, Holidays | December 21, 2014 | By

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

Inject a little extra holiday fun into your day by creating a simple DIY hot chocolate bar. This is perfect for kids (or adults) at a holiday party or even just to make your kids’ days a little sweeter while they’re home from school. We set up ours in the TV room so we could enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while watching our favorite Christmas movie.

(more…)

Halloween Week Meal Plan

Halloween-meal-plan

Holidays, Recipes | October 26, 2014 | By

Need a little help with meal planning this week? We’ve got a week’s worth of easy dinners perfect for busy nights and festive Halloween-themed meals all planned out. Be sure to follow our Fall Favorites board on Pinterest for even more ideas!

Sunday:
You might need a little extra time to make this Roasted Butternut Squash Spiderweb Soup, but the delicious fall flavors are worth it! Another option is to make your favorite creamy soup and draw a spiderweb on top for an easy, fun dinner.

Monday:
These Halloween Baked Potato Skin Pizzas are easy to throw together with a little help from the kids. Use pizza toppings such as pepperoni and olives to create everything from Dracula faces and mummies to spiders and jack-o-lanterns.

Tuesday:
How fun are these Jack O’Lantern Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Peppers? They’re also deceptively simple to make. Just use a paring knife to carve faces in your orange bell peppers and fill them with mashed potatoes, browned ground beef, veggies and gravy.

Wednesday:
Surprise your kids with this spooky Halloween Spaghetti! A dose of black food coloring takes this recipe from your typical week-night spaghetti to a creepy Halloween treat.

(more…)

Get in the Game by Sprucing up your Table

Your family will love your extra effort to make life fun by adding a new look to your dinner table this month.  Here’s how to use what you have to honor your little athletes and celebrate the season.

  • Dig out your kids old jerseys and line them down the center of the table as a runner. Or, if you have team pendants on your walls, take them down and repurpose them for the month as a pendant runner.
  • Nothing says international like flags. If you have little ones, make placemats of different country flags and cover them with clear contact paper.
  • Make a centerpiece: fill a vase with cut greenery from your yard; pile a clear bowl full of pine cones/nuts/ or even prize ribbons, or, grab an old trophy and place it front and center.
  • Find those little outgrown mittens, hats, and scarves and arrange them around your centerpiece.

(more…)

Try these ‘Winter Game’ Contests and Join the Fun!

Parenting & Kids | February 15, 2014 | By

snow-day-tubingBeat the cold winter blues and throw a party for kids or adults. No Slope Style course or Half Pipe? No problem, use what you have and join the competitive spirit.

Start by grouping couples or families into teams each representing a different country and let the competition begin!  (You can have them draw the country from several you pre-select). Designate a judge to vote for game winners and to keep the games moving. Make a music play list to add to the competitive mood. Have fun!

(more…)

10 Activities to Get Kids Off the Couch

Parenting & Kids | September 13, 2013 | By

boys playing footballEnjoy the last few weeks of warm weather by getting your kids off the couch and movin’. Try one of these fun activities to help your kids stay active and learn some new things together as a family.

  1. Play a family game outside. Baseball, basketball, flag football, capture the flag – the choice is up to you!
  2. Go to a local farmer’s market or U-Pick farm for fresh fruit, produce, or berries.
  3. Bake a dessert together with the seasonal fruit or berries you bought!
  4. Fill up water balloons and dig out water guns for a fun family fight.
  5. Visit the zoo or children’s museum.

    (more…)

Plan a Dinnertime Family Vacation

Family Dinner | August 16, 2013 | By

Take your family on a dinnertime vacation without leaving your home by serving Italian, Brazilian, or Mexican inspired dishes this month. Make it even more exciting by putting together a themed activity for your kids that goes with each locale.

Italian Stuffed ShellsFor an Italian feast, try our Italian Stuffed Shells with a Caprese salad, Polenta or seasonal vegetable as a side and gelato for dessert.  While dinner is cooking, you can set the kids up with an Italian children’s game such as “Strega Comanda Colore” or “Lupo Mangia Frutta.” Another way to share Italian culture with your children is by reading a book with them such as “Ciao Bambino!: A Child’s Tour of Italy” by Danna Troncatty Leahy.

(more…)

Take Dream Dinners to Your Next Outdoor Event

From Portland’s Blues Festival to Central Park’s Summer Stage, communities all across the nation offer free outdoor events during the summer and August is the perfect month to take your family to an evening concert on the lawn or outdoor movie event. Shake up your regular summer routine and spend some quality time with your family by enjoying a warm evening outdoors, some new music or a favorite movie, and a picnic dinner.

Slow Cooked BBQ BeefOur Slow Cooked BBQ Beef with Rustic Country Rolls travels easily from your kitchen to the park. Just cook in a slow cooker, unplug, and take it with you. Then fix the sandwiches and serve with a salad while you are waiting for the entertainment to start.

(more…)

August is Family Fun Month

There’s no better time to focus on having fun as a family than the last few weeks before kids go back to school. Spend a day at the beach, lake, or pool. Organize a family baseball game. Take one last family vacation. However it is you choose to take advantage of the last summer month, your whole family will benefit from a little extra time spent having fun together. Here are some ideas for 20 activities to do with your family from Parents Magazine. This sand castle scrapbook would be a fun craft to help kids to put together at the end of the summer to remember all of the fun times they had!

(more…)