School is starting again and that means getting back on schedule, homework and packing lunches. When you have a laundry list of 100 things to do in 24 hours, it can be difficult to make healthy lunches your child will actually eat. Team Kolcraft pulled together some of our kids’ favorite lunches to share with you.
- Mini pizzas made on wheat pita bread. Just take a pita, add cheese and pepperoni, put in the toaster oven for a few minutes and ta-dah! You have mini-pizzas.
- Deviled egg sail boats- Cut yellow, red or green peppers into a thin triangle. Put the triangle on top of the deviled egg to make it look like a sail boat. (These can be tricky to transport.)
- Cucumber logs- Cut a cucumber in half, hollow out the cucumber leaving a sturdy shell. Fill cucumber shell with tuna salad.
- Sandwich kabobs- Give sandwiches a twist by turning it into a kabob. On a skewer place a cube of bread, cheese, cherry tomato, lunch meat, lettuce, baby jerkin pickle, olive and cube of bread. Change it up with you child’s favorite sandwich fillings for a kabob he is sure to eat!
What kid-friendly lunch tips do you have to share?
We take a break from our regular baby gear news to give you an inside glance to the activities that keep Kolcraft creative. Yesterday Kolcraft engineers, industrial designers, Fashion designers, marketers, and the IT department participated in a brownie smackdown. There were brownies with frosting, s’more brownies, Twix brownies, traditional brownies, walnut brownies and brownie sundaes! Brownies were anonymously placed on a table with a number. Participants were to sample each brownie and cast a secret vote. Votes were then tallied and a winner was declared!
The event in pictures:
The empty tin speaks for itself. Ron from IT (with help from his team member, Allen) won the brownie smackdown with his homemade brownie sundaes. Stay tuned for the next smackdown when Ron defends his title.
Today is national s’mores day and what better thing to do on a summer night than make some s’mores? S’mores (meaning “some more”) have been synonymous with summer since their debut in the early 1900′s. Traditionally s’mores are made by melting a marshmallow and chocolate between two graham crackers. There have been varying recipes for s’mores including s’more clusters, s’more cookies, s’more pizzas and the list goes on.
This past weekend we discovered a new twist on s’mores when we met Lisa from General Mills at BlogHer. She introduced us to the Nature Valley Granola Thins. These scrumptious granola squares have a thin layer of chocolate or peanut butter. One bite and you will be hooked. And at only 80 calories, they are a healthy alternative to other snack choices. We loved the idea of using the chocolate Granola Thins for s’mores since you won’t have a giant bar of chocolate and box of graham crackers left over! We also are hooked on how the granola gives a little twist to the traditional s’more.
Easy recipe for Nature Valley Granola Thins S’mores
- Roast marshmallow over open flame until it turns golden brown.
- Select two dark chocolate Granola Things. Try the peanut butter flavor as a tasty alternative. You can even use one of each!
- Place the marshmallow inside the two thins, granola side out, and enjoy!
You can also prepare the s’more, wrap it in aluminum foil and place it on the grill.
What s’more recipes do you have to share?
Some days it is hard to get dinner on the table, but eating out with a family won’t work with your monthly budget either. Did you know that many restaurants have special “kids eat free” days? That’s right – there may be some dinner relief in sight at an affordable price!
Specials vary from restaurant to restaurant and are subject to change at any time, but we are listing some of the “kids eat free” deals we have found. (It’s best to call beforehand to make sure the restaurant honors these specials.)
Applebee’s - Mondays, get one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Captain D’s -Thursdays, get two free kid’s meals with any adult entree purchase, dine in only.
Chevys – Tuesdays, get one free kid’s meal with one adult entrée, dine-in only.
Denny’s - Up to two kids 10 and younger eat free with each adult purchase of $2.50 or more, from 4pm to 10pm on select nights.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit -Sundays, one child eats free with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Lone Star Steak House -Tuesdays, up to two kids eat free with the purchase of one adult entrée.
Luby’s – Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult entrée, typically on a weekday evening after 4:30pm.
Marie Callender’s -Tuesdays and Saturdays you get one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Perkins – Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 10pm, get one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.
Steak ‘n Shake – Saturdays and Sundays, get one free kid’s meal with the purchase of an adult entrée of $9 or more. Dine-in only.
We also like website My Kids Eat Free to find local deals.
Rainbows can be magical for children and adults and they are also a great opportunity to teach your child his colors! Our fruit-filled fun Friday activity will bring rainbows right to your kitchen! (This activity received 5 stars from Kolcraft. Our office loves it when we try out our recipes on them! )
What you will need:
- Fruit representing each color
- Sponge Cake (bundt shape)
- Cool Whip (or make your own whip cream!)
- Spatula to spread Cool Whip
- Knife to cut fruit (to be used by adult only)
- Optional – crayons or markers and blank piece of paper
Some fruit suggestions:
RED: Red raspberries, cherries, strawberries, red apples slices
ORANGE: Mandarin orange slices, cantalope, peach slices
YELLOW: Bananas, pineapple
GREEN: Kiwi, Green Grapes, Green apples, Honeydew Melon
VIOLET: Purple Grapes, plums
We didn’t use indigo because the color is so close to purple, it is hard for a toddler to distinguish
Talk to your toddler about rainbows. Tell her about the different rainbow legends such as the leprechauns and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Have your child draw a rainbow. Explain the different colors of the rainbow and ask your toddler if they know any fruit that is that color. You can have the fruit out in case they need a little visual reminder.
Very simply explain the color order of the rainbow. Have your child hand you the fruit that matches that color. Cut up the bigger fruit into small slices and have your toddler help you “frost” the cake with Cool Whip. Arrange the fruit on cake in rows or columns.
Start with the inner or outer ring or place one of each fruit at one end of the cake. This will help you plan if you need to adjust size of fruit. It will also serve as a guide for your child for what color fruit to place where.
You will have to stand a few of the fruit up to fit all the colors. We found this was easiest to do with the slices of fruit like apple or orange slices.
What ways have you taught your toddler his colors?
Do meal times become an exercise of frustration as you try to get your child to eat her veggies and not be such a picky eater? You want your child to have healthy eating habits so he can grow and develop, but sometimes it seems impossible to get him to like anything that comes from a garden! My mom shutters when she remembers what a picky eater I was. She tried everything from sending me to my room if I didn’t eat, to not letting me play outside after dinner, to having me just sit there until I ate everything off my plate. (That never quite worked because I knew eventually she would have to let me go to bed. ) One day mom had the brilliant idea of letting my sister and I take turns picking out the vegetable for dinner.
I was in heaven. I knew that almost every other day, I had a choice. I finally had control over what ended up on my little Peter Rabbit plate! I was so proud of my veggie choice that I made sure to eat all my vegetables so as to prove I picked the most delicious vegetable. I was sure my whole family looked forward to my wonderful vegetable choices. I began to be interested in my sister’s vegetable choices as well and soon the vegetable wars in our house ended.
If you have a picky eater who doesn’t like to eat veggies, have her pick out the vegetable for dinner. Take it a step further and if you can, bring her to the grocery store with you and let her pick the veggies out of the produce aisle. She will feel involved in the process and most likely will be more willing to eat her veggies, because she was able to contribute and choose.
Do you have a picky eater who doesn’t like vegetables? What advice do you have to get children to eat their veggies?
July is national Blueberry month (who knew right?). What better way to celebrate this vitamin-packed fruit than to make some healthy blueberry treats with your kids?
Fun Friday Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles
What you will need:
- 12 paper or foil baking cups, 2 1/2 inch size
- Zest and juices of one small lemon
- 2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (We like to use sugar in the raw or Stevia. If using one of these substitutes, use less than recipe calls for.)
- 1 pint blueberries
- 12 popsicle sticks
- Line twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups with the paper or foil baking cups.
Ready, Set, Make!
- In a bowl, blend the lemon zest, lemon juice, yogurt, and sugar until smooth.
- Stir in the blueberries.
- Divide the mixture within the paper-lined muffing pan cups.
- Freeze for 1 1/2 hours, or until almost firm: insert a popsicle stick in the middle of each popsicle.
- Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
- To serve, peel off the paper liners and let the popsicles stand at room temperature for about 4 to 6 minutes to soften slightly for easier eating.
If you want to store them in the freezer for a longer time, cover them with plastic wrap.
What healthy summer recipes for kids do you have to share?
What you will need:
- celery sticks
- peanut butter (we are fans of natural peanut butter)
- Wash the celery and have an adult cut it into pieces (about 5 inches long).
- Spread peanut butter across the u-shaped part of celery.
- Press raisins into peanut butter. We think 3 is a good amount.
You can also use cream cheese instead of peanut butter and nuts instead of raisins if you want variety.
What fun recipes do you like to make with your children?
Today’s Tip Tuesday talks about your toddler. (Yes, we did want to see how many t’s we could put in that sentence! ) It’s no secret that toddler’s can be fussy eaters. At times meals can turn into “food wars” if your toddler won’t eat. All sorts of tactics are used from bribing them to desperate pleas to eat. One way to make your toddler’s mealtime fun is to use a cookie cutter to make his food into fun shapes. Your toddler will look forward to see what surpise shapes will be on his plate!
What creative ways have you helped a fussy toddler eat his food?
Who hasn’t grown up having hours of fun with play-dough? Here at Kolcraft we were talking about all the “works of art” we made out of play-dough so we had lots of fun “test driving” today’s fun Friday activity; edible play-dough! This simple activity is easy to do, edible and good for the environment!
What you will need*:
- 2 cups of peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons of honey
- Nonfat dry milk or milk plus flour
- Cocoa or carob for chocolate flavor (optional)
- Edible treats for decoration (we used strawberries)
*We used organic ingredients
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix adding enough dry milk or milk plus flour to reach of the consistency of bread dough.
- Add cocoa or carob if desired
- Shape, decorate and eat!
Share your fun play-dough ideas with us in the comment section or post your edible play-dough art in our Magical Moments Gallery!