Sliced Fruit Popsicles

Fruity popsicle sticks

Delicious Treats

Children love eating frozen popsicles on a stick, especially in the summer when temperatures soar. However, this store-bought snack is low in nutrition and high in calories and sugar, making the food a poor choice for growing children. Also known as an ice pop, these treats are typically made of white sugar or corn syrup combined with artificial flavorings and colors that make the snacks attractive to children. Mothers concerned about keeping their family healthy by providing a nutritious snack can serve homemade freezer pops made with fresh, frozen or even canned sliced fruit.

Gather Supplies

Parents making their own ice pops can still provide a delicious cold snack on a hot summer day for their children. Making homemade freezer pops is simple after gathering the necessary supplies and ingredients. There are online and brick-and-mortar stores that sell special trays and containers to make homemade freezer pops that have sticks. The trays and sticks are often made of a durable plastic that is dishwasher safe, making the equipment reusable. Mothers that want to use the traditional old-fashioned sticks can find the items sold in bulk packages. It is also possible to use paper or plastic cups as containers for homemade ice pops. And for the little kids, try a specialty ice cube tray in fun shapes. A small plastic spoon can be used instead of a stick.

Nutritious Produce

Sliced fruit adds color and flavor to the freezer pops, making them fun for children and parents. There is an assortment of fresh fruit available at grocery stores and farmers markets throughout the summer, but parents can also use produce grown at home. Parents can buy strawberries, kiwi fruit and peaches seasonally, leading to the freshest homemade ice pops at the lowest prices. Preparing fruit for the freezer pops is easy enough that children can help with washing the produce. Small fruit such as blueberries do not require slicing to freeze properly, but larger fruit does.

Translucent Bases

Making ice pops with clear or translucent bases allows the beautiful colors of the fruit to show. After putting the sliced fruit into a container, you need to add a base to make the freezer pops. Pouring homemade juices made from apples, lemons or pears mixed with water over the fruit provides a translucent appearance, making it easy to see the colorful sliced fruit. It is also possible to use clear soft drinks for the homemade ice pops. A clear base made of sugar dissolved in boiling water also makes a delicious homemade freezer pop that tastes more like a store-bought popsicle.

 

Starting a Garden

Two Little Boys And Father Planting In Garden

Planting a garden can teach your kids a lot about life. Planting and caring for a garden can teach kids independence and responsibility, it can boost their self-esteem, and it can promote environmental awareness. With all of these advantages to gardening, why not start a little garden of your own? Even if you are limited in space, there are plenty of options for you and your kids to get growing.

Flowers

Flowers are always a big hit in a garden for children because they are typically very easy to grow and they bloom fairly quickly. Kids will want to see results, so quick bloomers like Zinnias are an excellent choice. Sunflowers are also very popular among kids, and the seeds can eventually be eaten. Flowers can also be planted anywhere, from a tiny flowerpot inside the house to an outside garden in the ground. You may also get a bouquet or two.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are always a hit with kids. Children love growing things they can eat, and tomatoes can be eaten right off the vine. Most kids like any variety of tomato, but cherry tomatoes are always a favorite. Another advantage of growing tomatoes is that they can be grown either in the ground or they can be planted to hang upside down from a porch or balcony. There are a lot of different choices when it comes to growing tomatoes.

Carrots

Because kids like to see the fruit (or vegetables) of their labor so quickly, carrots are another great choice in the garden. They can either be planted in the ground or in flowerpots, and they will grow to whatever size they can. Since most children love baby carrots, these are a great choice for a kiddie garden, and they do not take up too much space either.

Pumpkins

Pumpkins are fun for children to grow, especially when they will be ready by Halloween. Kids love to carve pumpkins that they have grown themselves. Although most pumpkins can grow fairly big given the space, there are smaller varieties such as the Jack Be Little. These pumpkins grow smaller, but they are a great choice if you are short on space.

Planting a garden is a fun and educational activity for kids of all ages. They will learn so much from taking care of plants that you will wonder why you waited so long to introduce them to gardening in the first place.

 

Superfood for Your Kids

Greek Yogurt With Peaches And Granola

It's not a secret that cupcakes, cookies, pizza and other not-so-good food will eventually find their way to your child's mouth. Heck, if we left breakfast, lunch and dinner up to our children, it would be nothing but chocolate and greasy pizza, and this is a big reason why you should be paying close attention to the food that lands on your child's plate.

If you want your child to eat something that is a nutritional powerhouse, here are eight superfoods your kid may actually enjoy:

1.  Eggs
Recommended serving:  One egg
Age group:  Three and up

Eggs are a great source of protein and vitamin D, which helps the body soak up calcium. Consuming protein in the morning can help your child feel satisfied throughout the day, preventing those annoying afternoon hunger pains in class. Kids love scrambled eggs, and a hardboiled egg makes a good snack.

2.  Fruit
Recommended serving:  Two cups a day
Age group:  Three and up

Just about any fruit on the market is going to be great for your kid. Fruit is packed with a ton of minerals, vitamins and fiber to keep your child's digestive system on track. While all fruit is healthy, consider a variety like melon, kiwi, blueberries, grapes and oranges.

3.  Greek Yogurt
Recommended serving:  One cup a day
Age group:  Three and up

Low-fat greek yogurt is known to contain healthy bacteria that can help boost immunity and aid digestion. This kind of yogurt is also known to have three times more protein than a regular yogurt found on the store shelves. If your child isn't a fan of plain yogurt, consider adding a pinch of honey or maple syrup to give it some flavor, or mix in some fruit! Add a sprinkle of granola for crunchy fun. Use as dessert with sweetened fruit and granola layered for a parfait.

4.  Milk
Recommended serving:  Two cups a day
Age group:  Two and up

The protein and calcium found in milk is your fuel to keep the brain and body going strong. The protein found in milk can help build brain tissue, while calcium can help keep kids' teeth and bones strong.

5.  Nuts
Recommended serving:  Two ounces a day
Age group:  Five and up

Nuts, which could be the number one superfood, are made up of healthy fats, which is extremely helpful for growth and development. The healthy fat found in nuts can give your child a burst of energy to get through the long school day. Start younger kids on softer nuts like cashews.

6.  Oatmeal
Recommended serving:  Two cups a day
Age group:  Two and up

Studies have shown that children who eat oatmeal are able to concentrate better in school. Oatmeal is filled with nutritious fiber-rich grains, and since it's digested slowly through your system, it creates a steady stream of energy.

7.  Tomatoes
Recommended serving:  Half cup a day
Age group:  Three and up

Tomatoes are known to be packed with a nutritious ingredient called lycopene and is known to help protect us from many cancers. A great way to throw tomatoes into a child's diet is by creating a homemade pizza sauce, meatloaf or a bowl of salsa.

8.  Squash
Recommended serving:  a cup a day
Age group:  6 months and up

Squash is packed with nutrition and fiber, and can easily be pureed for babies and toddlers. It's naturally sweet and is good mixed in with applesauce, in soups and as a side dish with other veggies. Don't let the thought of cutting up and steaming squash prevent you from serving it; these days you can find pureed squash in frozen blocks and cut into chunks (raw and frozen).

 

Crazy Crayons: A Fun, Inexpensive & Creative Classroom Gift Idea

It has been insanely cold here this week so instead of sending the kids outside to play, we've been creating gifts for our neighbors and their teachers & friends.  Yesterday, we made cookies & pumpkin bread...today is "crazy crayon" day.

I found this "recipe" on Martha Stewart and thought it would be a really great "rainy day"...(or just plain bitterly cold day) craft for the kids and I to try.  Once they were completed (see photos) the kids decided that they would make a great gift for their friends at school.  I couldn't agree more.

Here's how we made ours....

  • We gathered up all of our crayon scraps (we used about 40 crayons and parts to make 10 crazy crayons).
  • Then, I put the kids in charge of peeling.  (This takes awhile so you may want to pop in a movie or turn on some holiday music while they peel).  If you plan ahead, you may want to soak the crayons overnight or for a few hours so they are easier to peel.
  • Next, I sliced the crayons (using an old chopping knife) into pea-sized pieces and sorted the chopped crayons into small bowls by colors - (reds & oranges, blues & greens, blacks & greys, etc...)
  • After that, I let the kids sort the pieces into muffin tins.  We talked about "earth tones", primary colors, holiday colors etc...as they put the pieces into the muffin holes.
  • Finally, I baked the crayon pieces in a 200 degree oven for 15 minutes.  You may need to bake them longer or shorter...they will look like liquid when they are completely melted.
  • It takes an hour or so for the crazy crayons to become solid so I put mine in the freezer when the kids started getting impatient.

That's it!  Wa-la...a fun, educational & "green" craft project & gift idea.

We are going to make more later this week and put them into cute baggies for a little gift for the kids' classmates.

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12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk

bigstockphoto_Lastone_Therapy_Stones_2384922

I just stumbled upon this article and thought I would share it.  Chances are, you've never sought advice about parenting & motherhood from a Zen Monk.   Continue reading this article to find out why you should....

 

I’m not a Zen monk, nor will I ever become one. However, I find great inspiration in the way they try to live their lives: the simplicity of their lives, the concentration and mindfulness of every activity, the calm and peace they find in their days.

read more | digg story

Do you Freecycle?

Freecycle Network

If not, you should. 

I heard about Freecycle.com about a year ago and assumed it was a glorified garage sale "free box".  You know what I am talking about.  The box filled with crap like stuffed animals and broken Happy Meal toys that no one wants....

Boy was I wrong.   A friend reminded me of Freecycle the other day.  He loves to cook and wanted to purchase a pressure cooker but couldn't afford it.  He joined Freecycle and posted a message..."Wanted: Pressure Cooker" - within two days he was trying out his brand new (to him) pressure cooker recipes.

I wasn't completely sold, but joined anyway.  I am trying to downsize a bit so I figured I could at least use it to declutter a bit.  

Part of my downsizing plan means getting rid of the gym membership so I posted...."Wanted:treadmill"..."If it is collecting dust at your place, let it collect dust at mine instead". =)   

Within 24 hours, three people responded.  This morning...instead of driving to the gym, I ran for 20 minutes on my new (to me at least)...and surprisingly nice treadmill.

This weekend someone was giving away a trampoline....

This morning, someone was giving away a plethora of baby items including a crib, bassinet and car seat. 

Tonight...I am going to give away a computer monitor, keyboard, kids' games and mouse. 

It is an absolute blast.  I love reading the posts.  I am anxious to grant wishes...and I am really excited to share my pile of pre-pregnancy jeans with someone who may actually be able to squeeze into them!

Click here to get started....

What You Should & Shouldn’t Buy Organic

organicsA list of foods that you can safely buy non-organic, and things that you really should buy organic.

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20 Extraordinary Uses for Old Pantyhose

I don't think I've worn pantyhose since I left my job in 2002.  (I prefer skirts, tall black boots and sweat socks now).  =)  Oddly enough, I still have piles of pantyhose cluttering up my drawers.  Check out this article that offers some fantastic uses for the dreaded pantyhose. 

When your pantyhose have runs and tears in them, don't throw them away. Someone somewhere will have a use for them. Here are twenty useful ways to recycle them.

  1. Cut the legs off and use to keep all those odd bits of soap that tend to get left in the bathroom. Tie the end and keep it beside the sink for hand washing.
  2. Put mothballs into a leg and tie it to the rail in your closet
  3. Fill a leg with lavender and use to scent your closet

Continue reading.

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12 Volt Battery Hack – *Must See*


12 Volt Battery Hack! You'll Be Surprised... - The top video clips of the week are here

I was just doing some research for my "other" gig and came across this video. It is amazing! =) The timing couldn't be better because I was just about to purchase new batteries for my bathroom scale and children's thermometer. Saved $10 bucks just by watching! Cha-CHING!

Sustainable Living and the Work/Life Balance

Enjoy this wonderful video about thrift shopping and green living.

"Quality of life is not about money - time is the key to it all and it is never to late to build a bridge to the ones you love".

Amen, sister! Enjoy.