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.
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.
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 (email@example.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.
For many families, Back to School time means a change in schedules. But getting everyone up and ready in the morning doesn’t have to be stressful. Here are a few tips from http://family.go.com/
Cut out caffeine during the day.
Too much caffeine can wire kids up and make it difficult for them to drift off to sleep at night. As a result, they are tired and cranky when the alarm goes off in the morning.
Keep your routine as consistent as possible — even on the weekends.
While it’s fine to let them catch up on a little sleep, it’s not smart to let them sleep their Saturdays and Sundays away. If you do, they’re going to have a hard time adjusting back on Monday morning.
If your child normally gets up at 7 a.m. on a weekday, don’t let her sleep any later than 8 or 8:30 on the weekend.
Don’t expect a young child to be able to use an alarm clock.
Most experts say that alarm clocks aren’t really useful until a child is around 12 years old or in the sixth grade. Before that, you’ll need to go in and get them up. (And, unfortunately, even after age 12 you still may need to go in and make sure they get up after their alarm clock rings.)
Use the night before to get organized.
Pack the backpack, set out the bowls and spoons for breakfast, and pick out the clothes your child will wear. Remember, the less surprises you have to deal with in the morning, the less hectic it’ll be for everyone.
What tips do you have?
Susan Simpson, Education Writer
If you have a toddler who is as picky as mine, I have a good morning solution for you.
For months, my 2-year-old son would eat a banana and drink a glass of milk every morning. Very nutritious and easy. But as time went by, my son stopped wanting bananas and if he did eat one, it was only because I asked him about 20 times to do it. It was becoming too much of a struggle.
So I found the perfect solution. A smoothie! One that is super-nutritious and packs him full of the good stuff like fruit, dairy, antioxidants and vitamins. It’s so easy to make, I thought I’d share it with you. Here’s all you need:
1/2 cup frozen berries or strawberries (just buy a big bag and keep it on hand)
1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup cranberry-pomegranate juice (the 100% juice kind – not the cocktail kind)
1/2 cup ice (I just buy a huge cup of Sonic ice and keep it in my freezer. So easy to blend and it’s only about 40 cents for a large).
Blend and there you go! It’s all you need for a serving for a hungry toddler. If you’d like to enjoy one too, just double everything except the banana.
Guaranteed, they’ll love it and they are getting all the nutrion one breakfast can give.
Do you have any toddler-tested recipes? If so, I’d love to hear about them and I bet other moms would, too!
I love the Oklahoma City zoo. Love love love the zoo. Last year while on maternity leave I took my nearly 3-year-old and new born to the zoo at least twice a week and sometimes three. And when we go to the zoo we spend the whole day. We walk the whole entire zoo. Pachyderms to bison to Acquaticus and back. In and out of the snake house through the Galapagos and sometimes the aviary. We love it there. I brag about the OKC Zoo everywhere I go.
I think it is a great place to take kids. To teach them about nature and impart on them messages of balance and environment and kindness and consequence and many many many more. There is one message though that the zoo is not capitalizing on: Eating healthy.
This despite the fact that our mayor unleashed to the world his mission to put our fine city on a diet at the zoo. If you want to eat anything healthy at the zoo you’re going to have to sneak into an animal’s cage.
While they are being fed oranges, leafy greens and other carefully selected foods to keep them healthy, the concessions areas are deep-frying French fries, hot wings, chicken fingers, corn dogs and more. You can get burgers, burritos, nachos, hot dogs and bratwurst. You can get the best ice cream in the whole world. Oh yes I am not knocking the flavor of zoo fare, just its nutritional value. But, I’d challenge someone to find something healthy to eat at the zoo concessions aside from the hamburger toppings.
It seems like adding cold-cut sandwiches, fruit dishes and veggie cups would be easy and not all that expensive. Aren’t they already buying oranges, apples, bananas and the sort for the animals? Why not order some extra for us. Maybe they could even capitalize on the whole animal thing they‘ve got going and offer ants on a log or a monkey sandwich with peanut butter and bananas.Come on zoo, give us some healthy options.
Until then, when you go to the zoo keep in mind that if you eat you’ll be consuming a high-fat, high-sugar diet. Which I think is a good thing from time to time. You gotta have a burger and fries. And in our house hot dogs are a food group. And I think I might have mentioned that the zoo has the best ice cream in the whole world. But you have to balance that out with some celery and oranges, options that one would imaging you’d be able to find at the zoo.
And I’m not saying every item on the menu should be filled with nutritional value. I And I suppose that I could avoid eating at the zoo all together and many do bring their own snacks and picnics, but when you already have to lug gear for two kids a fruit cup would be handy. I think the zoo’s’ food makes a statement … it sends a message. And I’m not really sure why they should be held to a higher standard than White Water or Frontier City, but as a place of influence and education … conservation and nature I think they are.
Oh and keep your fingers out of the cages those oranges are for the gorillas.
- Lindsey Johnson
When my son Hunter, who recently turned 2, first started eating table food, I thought “wow, this is easy.” He was easy to please and ate like a horse. Now that he realizes that he does indeed have a mind of his own and has a choice in the matter, things are a bit different. I will set down his plate of food. He examines it. He wrinkles his nose. He looks at me. And then it inevitably comes … “I DON’T WANT IT!” The first four-word sentence my son learns and it just had to be that one.
My parents always told me “This isn’t an all-night diner,” meaning, if you don’t like what you’re given, you don’t get to order something else. I am desperately trying to instill this philosophy in my own home now, with great encouragement from my son’s pediatrician.
His doctor said that especially for toddlers, if they won’t eat what you give them, you simply cover it up and put it in the fridge. If they get hungry enough, they’ll eat it later. But as a parent, this is easier said than done. The last thing you want is to send a child to bed hungry or keep him up past his bedtime in hopes that he asks for the chicken nuggets you made hours before. But the other voice in your head says “if you give in once, you’ll have to give in every time.” So here we are. The nuggets in the fridge. The hungry toddler. The voice in my head. What to do?
I’ve looked at some great parenting resources and I feel good knowing I’m not alone in this struggle and I’m doing the right thing. Babycenter.com says that parents with toddlers who refuse to eat really shouldn’t worry because parents need to take into account fluids, especially milk, when looking at their child’s food intake. Also, while looking at how much a toddler eats, parents should look at it over the course of a week, not just what they consume in a particular day. As long as they are steadily gaining weight and have a good level of energy, they are getting the fuel they need.
Of course, if you have concerns about your child’s eating behavior or food intake, you should always get the advice of your child’s doctor or other professional.
And I know Hunter is gaining weight because we got his “Look at me grow!” sticker at his last checkup just 3 weeks ago.