Monthly Archives: August 2011
Who knew there is a day devoted to trail mix? We thought that this special day would be the perfect opportunity to get outside with your children and take a hike while eating a healthy trail mix snack!
Tips for planning a hike:
- Pick someplace where you would like to hike/walk with your children. This can be a trail at a nature preserve, a beach or lake, a forest, a meadow,etc.
- Plan a theme for your hike. You can go bird watching, rock hunting , seashell finding, bug discovery, etc. Do some quick online research on your theme before you go so you can identify some of the things you are looking for (i.e. birds in your area, rocks in your area, etc.)
- Bring some water and a healthy trail mix snack. We love these trail mix ideas from the Healthy Kids Snacks website.
What ideas do you have for a healthy hike and snacks for kids?
Who doesn’t love to snack? It’s hard to go between meals without some sort of snack, but the trick to healthy snacking is keeping a few rules in mind. The best part is if you snack healthy, the chances of your kids snacking healthy are higher because they will follow your lead especially if you don’t have a lot of sugary or fatty snacks in the house to begin with!
5 Tips To Healthier Snacking:
- Prepare portions of healthy snacks ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to grab a bag of chips or a cookie. Divide up almonds or other nuts, sunflower seeds, dried fruit or cut up vegetables into containers that you can grab on the go.
- Give whole grains a chance! Whole grain tortillas, cereals, pretzels, etc. are a better alternative than their white flour equivalents plus they tend to give you energy that is longer lasting.
- Have hummus on hand to spice up your vegetables. The added protein will help fill you up!
- Look at labels. Some will brag that they are fat-free or low-sugar but they are high in cholesterol, etc. Check the label to get the whole picture.
- Drink plenty of water in-between meals. Staying hydrated is key to healthy living and will help fill you up!
Tomorrow is National Trail Mix Day! Don’t miss our post on taking a hike with your kids and how to make a yummy trail mix snack!
The Contours Lite stroller was included in The Today Show segment “New Mom Essentials.” We are honored that Parenting and Babytalk magazines included a stroller from our Contours brand. To find out more about our Contours Lite stroller click here.
This week we are preparing our September and October posts. We have a lot of great resources, tips, and activities for the fall. On this Mom Monday, we are revisiting previous Mom Monday posts. Enjoy a trip down “momery” lane.
We hope you enjoyed these Mom Monday archives.
Yesterday we began the newest sweepstakes for the Kolcraft 65th anniversary. The Sealy New Baby, New Bed sweepstakes includes over $1500 in Sealy prizes! Enter today!
Summer may be nearing its end, but there is still time to have a fun picnic with your kids! We have a few ideas for packing a family-friendly picnic that everyone can enjoy.
Picnic Tips and Ideas:
- Helping Hands – Have everyone in charge of at least one thing such as packing the blanket or napkins. This way even the smallest child can feel part of the picnic planing.
- Themes – Choose a theme such as a color, or shape, or animal. For example if you choose yellow as your theme, you can include foods that are yellow (lemonade, cheese and crackers, etc.), play games that include yellow toys (frisbees, a yellow ball, etc.), dress in yellow or have yellow plates & napkins, etc.
- Games - Pick games that everyone can play whether that be hide and seek, a scavenger hunt, catch, potato sack races or I’m going on a picnic ABC game. (First person says “I’m going on a picnic & I’m bringing _____ and they mention something starting with A. The next person says I’m going on a picnic & they have to repeat the A item that is being brought and add an item that starts with B. The next person has to Repeat the phrase with the A & B items & then add an item that begins with C. See how far you can get through the alphabet doing this.)
- Relax – Allow some time to just rest and talk or for your children to play on their own minus portable electronics. There are many health benefits to being outside unplugged.
Do you have any fun picnic ideas to share?
As many of you know, Kolcraft is celebrating our 65th anniversary this year. In honor of our 65th anniversary we launched a website dedicated to our celebration. We are honoring our family of brands with five sweepstakes throughout the year.
Today we are announcing the winners from our “Families on the Go with Jeep” sweepstakes. This promotion ran in June and July. Congrats to our winners.
Our second promotion, the “Summer of Sesame Street” began July 17. Enter by this Saturday, August 27th for your chance to win over $500 worth of loveable, educational Sesame Street products. The prizes include the Sesame Street DVD bundle, the Sesame Street book bundle, an Elmo 6 Volt Powered Fire Truck, the Elmo Learn with Me Potty Chair, an Elmo lunch box, and Elmo, Big Bird, and Cookie Monster plush toys. Click here to enter.
Beginning this Sunday, August 28, is the “Sealy New Baby, New Bed” promotional sweepstakes. This sweepstakes has over $1500 in prizes. Including a Sealy adult bed set, a Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crown Jewel Firm Luxury Crib & Toddler Bed Mattress, a Sealy Naturals Cotton Crib Mattress Pad, the Sealy Sweet Pea 2 in 1 Maternity & Nursing Pillow, and a Sealy Stain Protection Crib Mattress Pad. Visit us starting Sunday, August 28 through October 8 to enter.
Is there anything better than a yearlong celebration?
There is still enough sunshine and summer for ice-cream. We wanted to share this very easy-to-make and very delicious ice-cream pie recipe given to us from Janet’s mom. (You may remember Janet from Mom Monday.) Your kids will even be able to help with this easy-to-make ice-cream pie!
Lemon Ice-Cream Pie
What you need:
- Crushed cornflakes (you can also use crushed Fiber One cereal as a healthy alternative)
- Vanilla ice cream
- Frozen lemonade
- Orange marmalade
- Lemon juice
How to make it:
- Mix together 1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes, 1/3 cup sugar, 6 TBs. melted margarine
- Press into a 9 inch pie pan
- Bake at 350 for 5 min.
- Soften 1 qrt. vanilla ice cream
- Mix in 1 can (6 oz.) of frozen lemonade (Do not thaw first)
- Put ice-cream mixture into pie shell & put in freezer while making glaze.
- To make glaze take 1/3 cup orange marmalade & dilute it with 2 to 3 TBS lemon juice
- Pour over pie and return to freezer until set and ready to serve
Do you have a favorite ice-cream recipe to share?
Balancing work and parenting is an on-going process and it certainly isn’t easy, but it can be done! We have 7 tips from our Kolcraft Moms who work outside the home. Please add your own tips in the comment section!
- Be realistic - You CANNOT do it all: be the perfect mom, perfect wife and perfect employee, have a perfectly clean house, make homemade meals from scratch every night, workout every day and still have a smile on your face at 11 pm. It’s not going to happen. And the good thing? You don’t have to do it all, to do most things well. All the childcare and home responsibilities can’t be entirely yours. Divide things up with your significant other or other family helpers.
- Be organized – It’s harder to get things done when you are searching through stacks of paper or don’t have within reach what you need to get your job done. Take the time to get organized before you dive back into work. Clean your work area and make a list of goals and break them down into manageable tasks.
- Be kind - You will constantly be giving to others – your boss, customers, your spouse, your kids, but you don’t have an endless supply of energy or effort. Be sure to take care of you and be kind to yourself. It may be as simple as taking a bubble bath or taking 10 minutes to enjoy a good cup of coffee – whatever you need to recharge your battery. Just make sure to build some “me” time into your schedule.
- Be grateful – Take the time to appreciate those little moments that you have with your family. You don’t need a wonderful vacation to be able to enjoy family time (although that is always nice). Every day there will be moments that you can connect with you children whether that be at a meal, a bedtime story, really enjoying their hugs and kisses, etc.
- Be online – If you can afford it, see what services can help you with everyday chores. Perhaps it’s getting your groceries delivered through an online service like PeaPod or online dry cleaners, etc. With just a click of the mouse you will be able to get household chores done!
- Be present- Children are resilient and what is more important than mommy time 24/7 is that when you are with your children, they have your undivided attention. Remember that seeing you happy and satisfied with your life is an even greater teacher to them as you being home with them all the time.
- Be forgiving – No matter how organized or how good your intentions are, there will be days that everything seems to fall apart. These are the times that you have to be forgiving to yourself, your family and your employer. Just remember that tomorrow is a new day full of opportunity.
Nutrition impacts how your child sleeps, plays and develops so you want to give your baby the best food. But where is a mom supposed to start? How do you know what is best?
We recently met Michelle who works for the HappyFamily organic food company as one of Chicago’s local representatives. She is a mom to twin 10 month old girls and is passionate about giving children the best healthy start to life. We had a few minutes to catch up with her and get the inside scoop on raising a happy, healthy baby.
HappyFamily was started when your founder, Shazi Visram, realized there was a real need for busy parents to find a solution to giving their babies healthy food. Can you tell us more about how HappyFamily came to be?
Shazi’s vision came about as she listened to a friend’s anguish about the difficulty of finding the time to make her own baby food between caring for her baby, keeping up with her work, and all of the other demands of her very full life. When we launched our first product line called HappyBaby in 2006, there were no other homestyle options on the market. The only alternative to highly processed baby food in jars was making your own at home, which can be time consuming for busy families.
You gave your twins a healthy start. Can you tell us about your mom journey with this? Were you overwhelmed at where to begin?
The amount of information out there about what you should and should not feed your children is definitely overwhelming. I knew from the start that I wanted to stick with organic, fresh foods as much as possible. My approach when I need to use packaged foods has been to find products that are certified organic and have ingredient lists I can easily understand. The minimally processed foods will typically have a list that is relatively easy to decode. If I don’t know what an ingredient is, I look it up. So far, the process has been very manageable and I have peace of mind in knowing what I’m feeding my kids.
What is the biggest challenge to raising your kids in an organic environment and eating healthy?
For me, it’s time. Shopping for the best foods and cooking wholesome, healthy meals can be very time consuming. Add to that the fact that parents and kids are constantly on the go with work, school, and countless activities, and it can seem impossible to keep up with healthy eating. I try to get around this by being diligent about planning ahead. Each week I make a list of meals we will eat, including snacks and meals that can be taken “to go” if needed. (For my girls, this means snacks I can throw in the diaper bag in case our outing runs too long.) I use that list to do all the grocery shopping for the week. The planning takes a little extra time on the weekends, but makes life so much easier during the week.
This can be more difficult if your kids are not always eating under your supervision – for instance, at daycare or school. Be sure to find out what foods are being offered and pack food from home if possible. As parents, I think our best bet is to teach our children about healthy foods and lead by example so that they will automatically make good choices when we can’t choose for them.
Can you give us 3 tips any parent can do to help their children to live a more organic & healthy lifestyle?
Make a healthy diet and regular exercise the norm for the whole family. It’s so important not to overlook our own health since our children will learn from the examples we set.
Choose organic whenever possible. When organic foods are not available, or are cost prohibitive, use the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists as a guide: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/
Make healthy eating fun by cooking together, visiting farmers’ markets, and planting a small garden. Even though my girls are only 11 months old, I already take them out in the backyard with me to pick the veggies that we grow. Their faces light up when I let them have a taste.
Now for a quick glance into Michelle’s life.
What has been your greatest joy as a mom?
Watching my daughters grow and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they learn something new.
What keeps you going through busy days?
Remembering how blessed I am to have two happy, healthy babies and a wonderful husband. It helps to keep things in perspective.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
A giant piece of chocolate cake.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it?
I would “sleep in” until at least 7:00am (I can’t remember the last time that happened.) Then, I would treat myself to a morning at the spa, followed by meeting the girls and my husband for a picnic lunch or trip to the zoo and finally, dinner and a movie with my husband.
If someone was going to write a book on your life, what would the title be?
If you have a petite Picasso on your hands, you probably also have a plethora of broken crayons! Turn those scraps into a brand new, multi-colored crayon. Today’s craft will not only let your children’s imaginations soar, but it will also help teach them the importance of reusing and recycling. It is time to melt crayons!
What you will need:
How to make recycled crayons:
1. Let the kids peel the paper off of their broken crayons and break them into smaller pieces if needed.
2. Spray the muffin with vegetable oil.
3. Put the crayons in each cup of the muffin tin. The kids can help decide what fun colors they want to combine.
4. Have the adult place the muffin tin into a 275° oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the crayons are melted.
5. Once the crayons have cooled completely, pop them out of the muffin tin
The kids will love to color with their cool new recycled crayons! If you want to take recycling one step further, create a holder for their new crayons out of an old glass jar or metal can. Let the kids decorate their containers with scraps of fabric or old magazines.