When I bought my niece a Ninja blender as a wedding present, I bought one for myself, too.
I had wanted one for a long time, since none of my previous blenders had actually really worked well. They’re supposed to blend, right?
For whatever reason, though, the Ninja still sat in its box for some time, waiting patiently, stealthily in a corner, for me to get up the nerve to use it. (I guess I was afraid it wouldn’t work as well as I had thought.)
The day finally came when I broke the tape, pulled off the plastic wrapping, dumped out the instructions, washed the blender parts and placed it on my kitchen countertop.
Now, it’s smooth sailing … or should I say smoothie sailing.
So far, the most popular drinks have been banana-strawberry smoothies, banana smoothies, banana-peach smoothies, chocolate-banana smoothies, strawberry-blueberry smoothies … I feel a little like Forrest Gump with my descriptions.
Needless to say, I haven’t branched out much, although I did make hummus once.
I do feel good about the kids eating more fruit, though.
No, this is not a product review or sponsored by Ninja. I just wanted this blender, because I thought it would be a good tool for the kitchen. And, I was right.
Other appliances have been useful, but beyond the toaster, KitchenAid mixer and the Keurig coffee maker (yes, another splurge), most of my small appliances are lined up along the top of my tall cabinets. Every once in a while, I’ll retrieve one to use, but these three (plus the Ninja!) are my go-to tools.
Here is how I generally make a strawberry-banana smoothie:
3 or 4 large strawberries
1 large banana
1/4 cup white grape juice
1/2 container of strawberry/banana Yoplait yogurt
4 ice cubes
Blend on high, and voila! Smoothie time!
Here are a few random links to other, perhaps even more legitimate smoothie recipes if you want to get on the smoothie kick:
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My husband and I were sitting at our dinner table many years ago, trying to get our young daughter to eat all of her peas so she would have a ”clean” plate.
We tried coaxing then scolding, but she wouldn’t finish eating the peas. Everyone at the table was frustrated.
And then, it dawned on both of us. … She doesn’t have to finish eating her peas. And, suddenly, everyone at the table was relaxed and happier.
During my childhood I had adopted this notion you were supposed to eat everything on your plate.
I remember having to sit at the table until I had eaten most of my slice of pumpkin pie. I hated pumpkin pie. Love it now, but not then. But that was more a lesson of ‘if you put it on your plate, you need to eat it’ or that I should try new things. Not sure which.
Then, there was the time in kindergarten when I had to stay in the cafeteria and finish my meal and miss recess. I tried to tell the teacher I didn’t want to eat — I think it was chicken fried steak — but she was very stern and insisted I finish. She left a classmate to guard me to make sure I finished.
A few bites more, and I was vomiting in the trash can. See, I really didn’t want to eat it.
But, fast-forward, and we know now that forcing kids to eat everything on their plates isn’t necessarily a good idea. And, truly, the starving children in another country are not going to benefit or suffer more or less if your child leaves half of her sandwich from lunch every once in a while.
As grownups we hear “portion control,” so we need to make sure we’re not forcing our children to eat if they’re full. Maybe, in the future, they won’t have as many problems with controlling what they eat.
March is National Nutrition Month, and in connection with that, Fresh Healthy Eating, a San Diego-based company, offered these helpful tips for parents:
- Limit snacks. Children who fill up on a lot of calories from snacks eat less at meal times, and usually the snacks are not all that nutritious. Limit calories that come from snacking, and offer snacks that are healthy, such as a sliced apple with peanut butter, or vegetables they can dip into hummus.
- Eat more fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables offer a lot of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants. In addition to including some in snacking, aim to make fruits and vegetables half of their plate at mealtime.
- Watch the sugar. Added sugars fill kids up with empty calories. Pay attention to the amount of sugar that is in food and how much they are consuming.
- Avoid the clean plate club. Many parents try to get their children to clean their plate by eating all the food on it. Problem is, children are in tune with their body cues and tend to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full. When parents make them eat everything on their plate, they teach them to ignore their hunger cues, which can potentially lead to obesity problems later on. Ideally, parents should start with small amounts of food on the plate, so it’s not so overwhelming.
- Model healthy eating. One of the most important tools in getting kids to eat healthily is to model that behavior. Children who have parents who eat healthily tend to grow up eating in a more healthy way themselves.
By the way, peas are now one of my daughter’s favorite vegetables.
*Shopping is taking a little longer at the store than you had intended, and your little one needs a snack.
*With daycare pickup, basketball practice and making a stop for quick cash at the ATM, you feel like you’re driving in circles. But you don’t want to give your son drive-through food just because you’re in the car.
Here’s your solution: Baby Gourmet pouch baby foods.
Since my son is older, I hadn’t paid much attention to the baby food aisles, so I was surprised at how many baby foods are available in handy pouches.
However, for this blog, I asked my co-workers to have their little ones try Baby Gourmet and offer feedback.
I even tried one of the pouches myself, and, while it’s not my food of choice, I have to say the taste was delicious and fresh.
Jennifer has two boys, ages 3 and 1. She had already been offering ”squeezy baby food packets” to her youngest.
“I usually save them for the checkout line at Target,” she said before the taste test.
So, what were the results of the Baby Gourmet trial?
“My boys have each tried one of the pouches you gave me and it was a hit!”
I think what surprised and impressed me as a mom of three were the varieties of flavors. I have a 17-, 13- and 6-year-old, and I wish I had had the advantage of these pouches. It would have made being on the go so much easier. And, I would have felt confident that I was offering something organic and nutritious, as well as quick and convenient.
Yes, Cheerios, are great, but look at these flavors:
Orchard Apple, Carrot and Prune
Roasted Squash and Fruit Medley
Apple, Sweet Potato and Berry Swirl
Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto
Tropical Banana Bliss
The pouches target babies around the ages of 6, 7 and 8 months, but those are just suggested guidelines, since children older than 1 can still enjoy these nutritious combos.
I had even hoped I could encourage my son who has special needs to partake, but he wasn’t interested. I thought since they tasted so good, they would be a good way to supplement picky-eaters’ daily diets. A few of my co-workers with older children also had the same experience. So the pouch is really for babies, as it’s advertised, and very young children.
Here’s another review from co-worker, Moran, whose son is just older than 1.
“My 14-month-old is sometimes finicky about eating certain vegetables or fruits, but he ate the Baby Gourmet meals with no problem and was often urging me to feed him the meals faster!” Moran said.
“He seemed to enjoy the different food combos, which all smelled pretty yummy to me. The pouch packaging made it easy to dispense and carry the food on the go.”
Moran also offered that her son enjoyed holding the pouch himself and eating the meal directly from it.
While children can eat directly from the pouch (oh, so handy!), like any other baby food container or eating utensil, the pouches still require adult supervision. They’re not chew toys.
But the product packaging appears to be a success with moms and kids. And, Baby Gourmet and other pouch baby foods are multi-use.
Would you have thought about adding the pouch baby food to pancakes or using them to fill muffins?
If you have a 6-month-old, toddler or young child, these pouches are definitely worth trying. They are perfect for busy lifestyles, and who isn’t busy?
So, I have a new slogan for Baby Gourmet.
You’re on your way … with Baby Gourmet.
– Linda Lynn
I’ve been following the site for about 4 days now, and already have seen great deals. Free photo books, food samples, free Coke, and many other discounted and free offers.
If you use Facebook, just search for Freebies 4 Mom or go to http://www.facebook.com/Freebies4Mom. You’ll see the deals updated in your news feed throughout the day.
For all workshops, pre-register by calling 425-4412.
Unless otherwise noted, all sessions are for parents and caregivers of young children.
Here’s what’s in store for this summer:
Terrific Two’s: Learn about your 2-year-old. Focus is on their developmental milestones. All are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
June 1, Choctaw Library
June 16, Midwest City Library
June 22, Southern Oaks Library
June 19, The Village Library
Sibling Struggles: Learn methods to prepare children for the arrival of a new sibling and how to deal with sibling squabbles. Find out about sibling rivalry and what normal behavior is. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
June 2, Midwest City
June 30, The Village
Just for Fun: Games People Play(for children ages 8-12): Includes active games, quiet games and brain teasers. Kids will play games from the past and games from other cultures. Both are 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
June 14, Southern Oaks
June 21, The Village
Toileting Triumph: Toileting doesn’t have to be a major challenge. Focus is on signs of readiness, why it can be frustrating and much more. All are from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
June 16, Edmond Library
June 29, Warr Acres Library
July 20, Ralph Ellison Library
Making Your Morning Manageable: Time to eliminate chaos and come up with a routine. Focus is what parents can do to make this part of the day more calm and enjoyable.
June 25, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Warr Acres
Lullaby & Goodnight: Find a routine that includes reading to your child, to ease bedtime and naptime challenges. Sleep challenges will also be discussed. Both are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
June 30, Edmond
August 17, Ralph Ellison
Look Out, I’m Three!: Learn more about your 3-year-old. Focus is on developmental milestones. All are from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
July 7, Southern Oaks
July 8, Midwest City
July 13, The Village
July 20, Choctaw
Toddlers at the Table: Turn common concerns about toddler’s eating habits into opportunities to teach healthy habits. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
July 12, Midwest City
July 21, The Village
Those Playful Preschoolers:Focus is behavioral characteristics and developmental milestones of 3- and 4-year-olds. Activity ideas will be shared to keep little ones busy. Learn it’s OK for your preschooler to be “out of bounds.” Both are 3:30 to 5 p.m.
July 27, Warr Acres
Aug. 25, Edmond
Baby Basics: Main focus is typical concerns of parents. Colic/crying, separation anxiety, sleeping through the night and other issues will be discussed.
July 28, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Edmond
Reading Readiness: Workshop will explore the necessary reading readiness building blocks and parents’ roles in helping children become readers. Both are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 4, Midwest City
Aug. 9, The Village
Fun to be Four: Learn about your fascinating 4-year-old. Workshop focuses on developmental milestones. All are 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 3, Southern Oaks
Aug. 4, Midwest City
Aug. 10, The Village
Aug. 12, Choctaw
School Readiness: Facilitators will talk about support, encouragement and opportunity all children need for school success.
Aug. 10, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Warr Acres
Tripping Through Toddlerhood: Topics include, tantrums, biting, sharing and other common toddler challenges. Parents will learn how to minimize frustrations.
Aug. 11, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Edmond
Teaching Children to be More Cooperative: Focus is on when to discipline or ignore unwanted behaviors. Learn guidance techniques used by experts.
Aug. 27, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Warr Acres
To see the Oklahoma City-County Health Departments newsletters, including schedules for upcoming play groups, workshops, and health and child guidance screenings, click here .
Yep, that’s right! For just one day, Sonic is giving away free ice cream cones to all kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, to help celebrate their achievements this past school year and what’s to come.
Sonic has partnered with Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan to help celebrate these students’ successes on what better date than 5/29, of course!
To download the coupon, click here.
Just let them know you have the coupon when you’re ordering.
Now go out and celebrate your child’s great school year!
The four pillars of the First Lady’s campaign are:
Helping parents make healthy family choices;
Serving healthier food in schools;
Making healthy, affordable food more accessible;
Increasing children’s physical activity.
Since the announcement today, I’ve received e-mails or read about resounding cheers in agreement from organizations that include the American Diabetes Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Medical Association and more.
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic and security of our nation is at stake,” Obama said, according to a news release from the USDA. “This isn’t the kind of problem that can be solved overnight, but with everyone working together, it can be solved.”
Recent studies put the health care costs of obesity-related diseases at $147 billion per year, the USDA information stated.
Weighing in from the the pediatrics academy, Judith S. Palfrey, president of the organization that represents 60,000 pediatrician, called rescuing children’s health “a medical and moral imperative” in a news release.
“Over the past twenty years, our nation has seen an alarming rise in the number of our children who are overweight and obese. It will take a concerted effort and thoughtful collaboration to help create healthier communities for children,” she said.
The pediatric academy is asking pediatricians to start calculating the body mass indexes, or BMI, for patients over 2, among other recommendations.
The Let’s Move! campaign is a collaborative and community-oriented effort. Joining Obama for the announcement included local students, members of the president’s Cabinet, Congress members, many of the nation’s mayors and leading representatives from the fields of media, medicine, sports, entertainment and business communities.
~ Lillie-Beth Brinkman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Setting aside concerns for salmonella from raw eggs and pollution that might be captured in each falling snowflake, we made snow ice cream today.
It didn’t take long.
Beat 2 eggs, add 2 tsp. of vanilla, 1/2 cup of sugar and a little milk, and you have a sweet little concoction to add to the light and fluffy stuff that is resting several inches deep on your windshield. This was my sister-in-law Sandy’s recipe for snow ice cream. (She has to share this with me every time it snows, because I forget.)
After spooning up a bowlful, I placed the snow in individual cups and then poured just enough liquid fun to make the snow stick together in the consistency of ice cream. Yum!
The kids tried it, and one review was good. My 4-year-old scrunched his face and didn’t think it could take the place of a Braum’s yogurt “twist.” And my 15-year-old said it was nasty. But my husband and youngest daughter liked it.
This treat is one my husband and I remember having as children. Recipes might have differed, but it was something we looked forward to when it snowed. Whether true or not, you were always supposed to wait until the second snow. (This was our second snow. )
Bad weather days can quickly become good family fun when you make a little, simple effort.
– Linda Lynn
If the answer is yes, then a free workshop by the Oklahoma City-County Health Department may have all your answers.
The free parenting seminar will be at the Edmond library on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. It’s perfect for parents and caregivers of children from birth to age 5. The experts from Child Guidance Services will answer questions and address concerns, and give out great information about issues related to eating. Techniques and resources will be provided.
To register, call Child Guidance at 425-4412 to register. For more information about this program and others, call 427-8651 or go to www.cchdoc.com.
We have an ongoing struggle in our home almost every night at about 6:10 p.m.
What’s for supper?
Whether you call it supper, dinner or whatever, what it means in my house most of the time is, “What is Mom going to fix tonight?”
My husband doesn’t cook, so thankfully he’ll throw out the idea of takeout, which I gladly latch onto if I’ve had a particularly tiring day.
With two parents working outside the home, it’s difficult to get a balanced meal on the table when my children are hungry.
My mom used to suggest I cook on the weekends and then freeze the food. Yes. That would be a good idea, but, so far, I haven’t successfully done this.
Then, there is the crockpot moms who always have a meal waiting for them when they get home. Yes. That’s a good idea, too.
This week, we have had chicken Dorito casserole (I made), Sonic burgers and lasagna/broccoli/bread (I defrosted and shoved it in the oven).
This morning, I washed strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, placed them in a tray and stuck those in the refrigerator for after-school snacking.
I don’t think this is a bad run for the week, but I still labor over this. I have no idea what we will eat tonight.
If it were just me, I’d probably eat cereal.
Do any of you struggle with evening meals? Or have you overcome the last-minute rush?
Share your ideas (and recipes!) that have fed your successful meal planning.