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Archive for February, 2011

Quick and Easy Snack Ideas for Kids

February 09, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

If you have children, you know how much they love to snack. It doesn’t matter if they’ve just finished eating a meal – someone is always looking for something to munch on. The trick to quick and easy snack ideas for kids is to have healthy snacks around which are ready to eat. Below are some snack ideas you may want to keep in your home.

Probably one of the foods children like best – whether for a meal or a snack – is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unless they’re allergic to peanuts, most children love them. In fact, some children will choose PB&J over almost any other food no matter the time of day or night.

Bagels with cream cheese can be a good snack if you choose the low-fat version of cream cheese. Even using full-fat cream cheese is a better choice than keeping soft drinks and potato chips available for your children to snack on. Make the cream cheese more nutritious by adding fresh or frozen fruit.

Fresh fruits are nearly always a hit with children. Apples, grapes, strawberries, oranges and bananas can be enjoyed without much preparation. You can also cut up watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew and keep those available in the refrigerator. Quick and easy snacks for kids are ones they can grab and go, so fruit is a great choice.

Cups of yogurt are also common quick and easy snacks for kids. Buy plain or vanilla yogurt and add your own pieces of fruit. Strawberries, blueberries and peaches are good additions. You can also add the fruit, stir it up and then pour the yogurt mixture into popsicle molds for a great frozen treat.

Fruit smoothies are another way to get your children to eat their fruits and vegetables. Put a handful of ice cubes in a blender, various fruits and a little bit of orange juice. Blend it up until smooth. To get added color and nutrients, toss in a handful of raw spinach. The smoothie might look a little odd but your children won’t even taste the spinach.

Cut up carrots and celery and keep them readily available. You may also want to add broccoli (some children call them tiny trees) and cauliflower. Sliced cucumber might also be a good choice. Let them use salad dressing and they may be more willing to down those veggies.

Cheese sticks are pretty handy to have in your refrigerator. Most children love cheese. You can get string cheese, sticks and squares. Let your children build shapes with cheese and pretzels. They’ll have a blast and enjoy their snack when they’re finished building.

The above quick and easy snack ideas for kids are ones most families can try. Of course, you’ll want to consider any food allergies your children might have when choosing a healthy snack for them. You can also look in cookbooks and magazines to find other ideas to let your children test to see how they like them. Here’s to happy snacking!

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Quick and Easy Dinner Ideas for Kids

February 07, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: Uncategorized No Comments →

Do you have a problem getting your young children to eat their dinner? They don’t like this; they don’t like that. You may wonder how to get necessary nutrients into their little bodies. Why not give these quick and easy dinner ideas for kids a try? You may find they not only eat their dinner but also clean their plate.

Most children love macaroni and cheese but you don’t want to have it every night for dinner just to get them to eat. But you can plan to have it at least once a week (maybe twice if you make some substitutions or additions). Along with the mac and cheese, have a cooked vegetable as well as a fresh salad. Have fruit for dessert.

A big pot of chili is a quick and easy dinner your child might like. Use hot dogs and canned corn to make ‘Camper’s Stew.’ You can also add a variety of beans rather than one kind to give added nutrients. Finish off the chili by sprinkling on shredded cheese and serving homemade corn bread.

Spaghetti is also usually a hit with young children. For added fun, let the children help you make meat balls. Add canned tomatoes along with spaghetti sauce. Serve a tossed salad, black olives and garlic bread to finish the meal off. If you’d like to keep with the Italian theme, serve spumoni or Italian ice if you choose to offer dessert.

Can you think of a child that doesn’t like pizza? Instead of purchasing a ready-made pizza, buy a cheese pizza and then let your child choose the toppings. You’ll want to have sliced green peppers, pepperoni, pineapple, onions, olives and extra cheese, as well as other toppings your family enjoys. If they help to add the toppings to the pizza they’ll be more likely to eat it without complaint.

Cheese quesadillas are really quick and easy to make for dinner. You get large flour tortilla shells, sprinkle cheese on it and fold it over. Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and heat it to medium. Set the quesadilla on the skillet and allow it to cook until the shell is browned. Flip it and allow it to cook until the cheese melts. You can add items like onions, mushrooms, chicken or other foods to the quesadilla to make it more interesting.

Hamburgers and hot dogs are generally easy and quick choices for family dinners. Rather than stopping through the drive-thru, grill homemade patties or dogs on the grill. Let the children add their favorite toppings such as mustard, ketchup, relish and cheese.

Try the above are some of the quick and easy dinner ideas for kids. The meals may seem like standard fare but you can make them healthier by the ingredients you use. If all else fails, ask your child what they want for dinner or look through parenting magazines to see what other dinner ideas they suggest. Once you find a winner, write down what your child ate so you know to make it again.

For more tips, visit Menu Planning Central – and learn the quick and easy way to get dinner on the table and enjoy more quality tim with your family.

How To Get Kids To Clean Up

February 04, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children No Comments →

Many parents often wonder how to get kids to clean up after themselves.  It is a common struggle in many homes.  There are ways to turn toy clean-up time into a manageable affair. 

Usually after playing, children are easily overwhelmed when it’s time to clean up their toys.   You can take the struggle out of cleaning up with a few simple changes. Start early to teach good cleaning habits. Keep the amount of toys available for play to a minimum. Develop cleaning routines and engage dad to help put toys away at the end of the day.

1. Beat The Clock

You would not even believe how well this works in my house. If your kid gets very excited about challenges, this is definitely for your family. First, I come up with what I want my child to organize, whether it’s to clean up her toys in the living room, or to organize a drawer in her room. Then, I say, ‘I wonder if you can do ______ (fill in the blank with whatever you want done) before the timer sounds. Set small goals that your child can realistically complete within 3 minutes or 5 minutes. Promise your child a reward of YOUR time when you’re done. Perhaps you can go outside together and blow bubbles or maybe you can go for a bike ride–something that will truly entice your child to want to get the job done as quickly as possible. Once you start the timer, cheer your child on. Show your excitement, and be as silly as possible.

2. Turn up the tunes.

Cleaning and organizing doesn’t have to be a boring, monotonous task. Turn up the music–your child’s favorite– nice and loud. Then encourage your child to dance and dust (or whatever needs to be done) at the same time. Join your child and get some stuff done yourself while you’re at it. It’s energizing and makes it more like a party.

3. Think up little rewards your child would love.

My daughter loves it when my husband chases her around the sofa, while she giggles endlessly. A friend’s child loves it when her mom plays silly face games with her. Promise your child that when he or she does whatever it is you want them to do for 3 minutes, you’ll do the fun thing you come up with for 3 minutes. Then, keep repeating organizing, fun, organizing, fun, etc. about 4 to 5 times. Your child will get lots accomplished and have a great time while doing so.

4. Play ‘Basketball.’

For clothes, stuffed animals and other fairly soft items that won’t break, set up a clothes hamper in the middle of the room. Have your child toss the items that are strewn about into the hamper. He or she earns a point for each item that goes in–and gets second, third, etc. chances for those items that do not. Pre-designate some fun time together or fun rewards for so many points. For instance, 10 points gives your child the opportunity to have his favorite book read to him, 15 points gives your child her choice of the board game to play after dinner.

5. Role play.

Tell your child to choose an animal and then pretend they’re that animal while they’re cleaning and organizing, such as a frog or a bunny. A bunny might grab their stuff and hop somewhere to put it away. A kangaroo might hold some stuff in their shirt and bounce to the storage area. But, they can’t tell you what animal they are. You have to guess before the one minute timer runs out. Take turns with your younger children doing this. They’ll get a kick out of it, and the job will be done at the same time.

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Family Fun Valentines Day

February 02, 2011 By: RealLifeSolutions Category: About the Family, Children No Comments →

When you think about Valentine’s Day you probably think about spending a romantic evening with your partner. Unfortunately this can leave your children feeling left out in the cold. They love Valentine’s Day as much as you do, so why not think of some family fun Valentines Day activities for the whole family to enjoy together?

You can plan a family fun Valentines Day Plan together for the entire family and then leave some time for your partner. Make heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast. For a different twist, add red hot candies to the batter. Allowing your children to eat candy for breakfast isn’t something you’ll do every day, but Valentine’s Day does come but once a year.

When you’re preparing their lunch or making sure everything is in their school bag, slip in a special Valentine for each one. Perhaps you can include a coupon for a ‘date’ with either parent to be used at a later date. Of course, if your children are older, you’ll want to be sure not to include anything that would be embarrassing to them if their friends saw it.

Another family fun Valentines Day idea is to take a little time to create a family photo collage or scrapbook from pictures taken during the previous year. You don’t have to make something elaborate, rather something your family can enjoy looking at as the years pass. Depending upon the ages of your children, you may want to allow each child to create one page to be included in the scrapbook.

Design a scavenger hunt for Valentine’s Day. Write up clues (or draw pictures for younger children) to lead them through the house. Have a wonderful sweet treat or movie the entire family can enjoy together as the final prize.

You may want to eat dinner with the children and get them to bed early. That will leave you at least some time to spend with your sweetie.

Rather than going out for Valentine’s Day, enlist the help of the children to prepare a family Fun Valentines Day dinner. Pizza is a great meal for Valentine’s Day. There is red sauce and white cheese on each one. Your children can also place some pepperoni on the pizza in a heart shape if that’s what they want to do.

Be prepared for there to be a mess in the kitchen, but try not to stress over it too much. Having toppings already prepared will make clean-up a little easier and you won’t have to worry about a little one cutting themselves slicing onions or another topping.

After dinner you could snuggle together on the couch and watch a movie together. If you think your family watches too much television you could also play a board game. When bed time comes, kiss the children goodnight and tell them you’re glad they are your Valentine.

When the children are finally down for the night you can concentrate on your main Valentine sweetie. Create a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom. Draw a bubble bath you can share with your partner if your tub is large enough for both of you. Be sure to lock both the bedroom and bathroom doors to avoid any interruptions.

Use one of more of the above family fun Valentines Day ideas to ensure that the entire family enjoys this special day.

Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers but that doesn’t mean your children don’t need to feel special, too. Take time to do something special with your children to make them feel important. However, you’ll also want to get them into bed early enough to spend quality one-on-one time with your partner as well.

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