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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Painting Fireworks for the 4th!

By Carly of Carly G. Media

With everyone in the patriotic spirit, Independence Day is a perfect time to craft with kids. Save your empty toilet paper rolls and grab some red, white, and blue paints to make fireworks the whole family can enjoy.

video


What you will need:
  • Red, white, and blue paints 
  • 3 toilet paper rolls
  • 3 paper bowls
  • Scissors 
  • Tape 
  • Paper

Direction: 
  • Start by cutting strips into one end of the toilet paper rolls. The deeper the cuts, the bigger the firework blast.
  • Pour red, white, and blue paint into separate paper bowls.
  • Have kids dip the fanned out end of the toilet paper roll into the paint.
  • Stamp the toilet paper roll onto a piece of paper.
  • Repeat with each color.
  • Tada! Fun and easy firework art for the holiday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Breakfast: An Edible Ode to Dad on Father's Day


Fathers Day Breakfast ideas

By Jessica a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist

Everyone told us when our first child was born that the time would fly by. They were right. Our three sons are now in fifth grade, first grade, and preschool. The last decade has brought my husband and me more mess, more noise, more laughter, more driving, more potty jokes, more sweetness, more struggle, more laundry, and more love than we ever imagined possible.

We’re finally down to one five-point harness car-seat and one booster. No more cribs, diapers, highchairs, or strollers. Kid-induced sleep deprivation is no longer an issue. We used to spend many hours arguing over how to sleep-train: Ferber vs. Sears vs. Happiest Baby on the Block vs. Babywise…thankfully, we survived that stage (twice, with our first two kids…the third one loved to sleep, thankfully). My babydaddy and I still wake up too early and stay up too late, but now we can blame Netflix, HBO, and work.

Every day I am grateful that I picked a great dad for my kids. On our first date, sixteen years ago, he charmed me with stories about his siblings and grandparents. So I knew right from the beginning that he was a family-oriented person.

Since then, his actions have demonstrated his values. He prioritizes our family’s needs. He’s loving, honest, responsible, kind, a good sport, and very well-organized. He dresses better than me, and almost always knows pop culture references before I do. He’s super goofy, which people don’t really expect at first because he has very good manners. He’s good at explaining things, and making small talk. He’s good at being a friend and teaching our kids how to be a good friend to others. Our kids know that their dad is the expert on camping and hiking. He shows them how to fix things around the house. They know he’s the one to ask about art, architecture, how to organize their desk and what’s going on with just about every sport and playoff situation going on. He explains personal finance concepts, how to run a business, and stuff that’s related to our iPhones and computers. And “he doesn’t make us eat too many vegetables, like you,” said our six-year-old when I asked him to tell me his favorite thing about his dad.

So this Father’s Day, the kids and I will be showing this very special guy how much we appreciate him with our usual festive traditions. We’ll make breakfast at home, which is very likely to include pancakes with berries and chocolate chips - a recent family favorite. There will definitely be bacon, since my husband loves bacon. Coffee and a green smoothie will also be on the menu (for us, not the kids). There will also be goofy cards and crafty homemade gifts. We always plan the day around doing a family activity, like a hike or a swim. For rainy or too-hot days, we’ve been known to visit to an art museum or an indoor rock climbing gym. Then we always head back home for some down time to relax.

Here are some Father’s Day breakfasting tips to make the morning fun and energize everyone for a fun day of celebrating Dad: 

1. Choose one of dad’s favorite recipes; keep it simple to assemble or prepare.

2. Shop for ingredients the day before to make the morning go smoothly.

3. Kids can help out too, by arranging fruit on a plate, pressing buttons on the blender for a smoothie, or setting the table. Playing “restaurant” and drawing a menu is fun for preschoolers.

Recipe ideas: -



Avocado toast: Toast whole grain bread and spread sliced ripe avocado on it. You can also mix mashed avocado with a squirt of lemon juice and spread it. Add a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper. Top with a scrambled, soft-boiled, or fried egg.



Eggs, hash browns & fruit: My kids love the task of cracking eggs into a bowl and beat them. Use frozen hash browns, or grate your own potatoes. Rinsing fruit is a fun task for toddlers.



Crepes with Nutella and sliced bananas – Mix up the crepe batter and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. Or buy crepes, ready-made, at the grocery store.

Veggie and cheese omelette: Chop veggies the night before and let everyone pick which ones they want to include. Bagel with lox and cream cheese: Shop for these ingredients in advance. Add sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and capers. Arrange on a plate – voila!

Breakfast sandwich – a scrambled egg and a slice of melted cheese on an English muffin is always a home run.

Fathers day breakfast


Monday, June 6, 2016

Celebrating Nova's 6 Month Half Birthday

By Alicia of Lollygag Learning

Reaching Nova's 6 month "birthday" felt like a big milestone in our family. She has learned so much in the past few weeks- sitting unsupported, pulling herself to stand in her crib, first words and signs, and she is working really hard on crawling. As parents we have survived half a year of parenting two little ones. We decided to celebrate Nova's half birthday and the start of a new phase of her life. I made a cupcake out of pure avocado by filling a silicone cupcake liner with sliced and mashed avocado.





Avocado Cupcake
Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
1 silicone cupcake liner
1 candle
Paper towels


Directions:
  1. Cut avocado in half. Slice one half and cut a couple slices into small segments to fit in the silicone cupcake liner. These slices will hold the candle in place. Reserve the other slices for your baby to explore.
  2. Scoop the flesh of the other half of avocado into a bowl and mash as desired. You can add a bit of water, breastmilk, or formula if you want to make it more creamy.
  3. Fill a Ziploc bag with the mashed avocado and snip the bottom corner off with scissors. Pipe the mashed avocado into the cupcake liner to create a frosted look.
  4. Serve immediately to enjoy the pretty, fresh color! This recipe will work with a variety of first foods such as banana, sweet potato, or butternut squash.


Be ready for a huge mess! We took the celebration out to our back porch and used our Bumbo Seat with the tray that way it could all be washed down after her meal. Our Bumkins Superbib saved a lot of cleaning and stains. The thing I love about Superbibs is they can be washed a few different ways. If it’s not a major mess I wipe it down with a damp cloth. I also toss them in a sink of warm soapy water, rinse, and hang to dry. A few times per week I toss the Superbibs in the laundry with my kitchen towels and washcloths then hang to dry.




Big sister Josie was very excited to be a part of the celebration and eagerly ran to Nova with a spoonful of avocado before we were ready! It was a lot of fun to watch Nova taste her cupcake and explore the texture. I did offer her a few bites of mashed avocado on a spoon but she was most interested in feeding herself the large slices I had set aside.


Keep in mind that your baby’s first meal will probably only be a few bites. The prep for our celebration lasted longer than the time she spent eating but it was a lot of fun to share the experience as a family. I am glad we have memories and photos to show the girls from Nova’s half birthday! Once Nova started showing she was done we hosed everything down... baby included!



Disclosure: I received Bumkins product in exchange for this post. All opinions are mine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Packing for a Trip with Kids

By Tammy of Musing of a Working Mom

I’ve traveled quite a bit with my oldest daughter, who is almost 5, but a couple weeks ago we had the chance to take a trip – just the two of us – for the first time since her little sister was born. We flew from Phoenix to Reno for a wedding at Lake Tahoe.

Packing for a three-day-weekend with a soon-to-be kindergartener is much lighter than packing for a trip with a baby or a toddler, but there are still some essentials I packed into her backpack (which, of course, I ended up carrying most of the time).



For my kid, who loves to draw and practice writing, this is what I packed in her carry-on:
  • Favorite stuffed animals and favorite blanket
  • New travel coloring books (some she picked out and one I surprised her with)
  • Notepad and pencils/crayons
  • Headphones to watch a movie on the plane
  • Books (not pictured)
  • Change of clothes
  • Sweatshirt
  • Water bottle (empty before going through security)
  • Snacks
  • Wet bag (if you need to change clothes, you will likely need the wet bag)


My own carry-on list was a bit different. Using the three-pack set of clear travel bags from Bumkins, I packed the small bag with toiletry items: unscented lotion, lip balm, hair ties, etc. The medium bag I used for electronics: phone chargers, headphones, etc. The large bag I used for snacks – it’s large enough to pack a few snack bars as well as some small Bumkins Snack Bags filled with other treats such as almonds and trail mix.


Other items in my carry-on included:




  • Water bottle
  • Travel coffee mug
  • Sweater
  • Laptop and DVDs


  • Since it was a short trip, we shared a suitcase. At the last minute, we actually had to downsize the suitcase because there was a back-up with checked luggage at the airport and we had to carry everything on. The smaller suitcase meant I had to downsize my toiletry bag, so I pulled out just the inside insert and slipped it into a Bumkins Wet Bag in case any liquid items leaked on the flight. (Tip: Don't completely fill any containers with liquid items; leave room for expansion.) We luckily had no leaks and used the wet bag as a laundry bag for the remainder of the trip.


    The trip was quick one, but we had a great time visiting family and going to the wedding. My daughter enjoyed splashing around in Lake Tahoe just before we left for the airport, so the change of clothes and wet bag in her backpack worked out perfectly!

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Sweet Start to the Morning

    By Carly of Carly G. Media

    We turned one of Cadyn’s favorite lunch in to a super sweet brunch: peanut butter banana french toast.
    • 1 egg
    • 2 slices of toast
    • big spoonful of PB
    • 1/2 banana sliced
    • maple syrup
    In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg. Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top of each slice of bread. Place the banana slices on top of one of the slices of bread. Place the other slice of bread on top of the first, to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

    In a skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and place in the heated skillet. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve hot.

    video

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    One Love, One Meal

    By Jessica a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist


    Finding a single delicious and healthy meal that works for every single person in the family can be a challenge. One of our kids recently announced he’s not eating pot stickers anymore because he’s tired of them. Another one isn’t eating cheese. The third one tends to change his mind daily about which vegetables and which types of meats he’ll eat.

    But one meal that my kids always like is the meal that they made themselves. No matter what it looks like or tastes like, my kids love whatever they’re eating, as long as it’s seasoned with a hefty sprinkling of “I did it myself!”

    The “build your own dinner” approach promotes a family culture of healthy eating. Nutrition guru Ellyn Satter, Registered Dietitian and author of Child of Mine, Feeding with Love and Good Sense, advocates for a “division of responsibility in feeding” between the parent and the child. In this model, the parent’s job is to offer a variety of nutritious foods, provide guidance on where and when meals should take place, and promote a peaceful attitude about eating. The child’s job is to decide whether they want to eat and how much to eat. Building their own dinner encourages the child to eat what they made.

    Try these “build your own” meal ideas; feel free to customize the options for your crew!

    Burger Buffet: Set out the burgers, buns, sliced cheese, slices of tomatoes and onions, and lettuce leaves. Condiment possibilities could include ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles…and try offering barbecue sauce and Sriracha too. Turkey, bison, or veggie burgers are lean protein choices.

    Pizza Party: Did you know that pizza is the most popular school lunch meal? Buy (or make) small personal-size pizza crusts, or use English muffins or flatbreads. Possibilities for toppings include marinara sauce, pesto, shredded mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, roasted vegetables, fresh arugula, fresh basil, pepperoni, and slices of prosciutto.

    Taco Tuesday (or any day ending in “y”): Tacos are a great way to use up leftover rotisserie chicken, pork chops or fish. Or, try using lean ground turkey or lowfat refried beans. You could provide a choice between hard taco shells or soft 6-inch tortillas. To round out the taco fiesta, add bowls of shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, chopped avocado, and pico de gallo. Don’t forget the hot sauce!

    Pasta Night: Steamed and sauteed veggies, chopped in bite-size pieces, are appealing additions to pasta. Protein options might include bite sized pieces of chicken or other meats, tofu, or edamame. Sauce options could include a marinara sauce, a pesto, a meat sauce or an alfredo sauce. Offering a sesame-peanut butter sauce would please family members who are in the mood for Asian flavors instead. Put out two kinds of noodles so that everyone gets to choose between bowties or penne, elbows or fettuccine, or whatever you wish. Make the pasta in advance and toss it with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.

    Baked Potato Bar: Bake the potatoes in advance, or, in a pinch, microwave them. Set out chopped green onions, sour cream (try a light sour cream, or mix plain nonfat Greek yogurt with sour cream to lighten it up), and shredded cheese. Non-traditional toppings could include turkey or bean chili, steamed vegetables, and any leftovers.

    Remember: 
     • Prep ingredients ahead of time and keep them in the fridge, ready to be pulled out on a busy weeknight.
    • Keep portion sizes kid-friendly.
    • Don’t stress about providing too many choices; the younger the child, the fewer the options!

    Featured Products:



    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

    Every year, Americans use approximately 102.1 billion plastic bags, creating tons of landfill waste and pollution in our waterways. (www.ewg.org) 

    Earth Day makes people reflect on their impact on the environment.  What are they doing right? What could they do better?

    You don't have to make huge changes to make a difference.  There are little steps you can take that will add up over time, and Bumkins is here to help!  Check out the following tips below for some easy ways to make your life a little "greener."



    Tips for Reducing Lunch Waste at School or Work:
    • Carry your lunch in a lunch box or a reusable snack bag.
    • Try a reusable container for your drinks.
    • Use reusable snack bags instead of plastic bags.
    • Use reusable forks, spoons and knives or wash plasticware and use it again.
    • Buy food items in bulk and make individual servings using reusable containers.
    • Get fun cloth napkins to wash and reuse.
    • Bring a thermos or coffee mug from home to the cafe instead of using disposable cups.


    Tips for Traveling Green
    • Pack toiletries in reusable travel bags instead of disposable plastic bags.
    • Bring a reusable water bottle and refill from water fountains instead of buying individual bottles.
    • Bring reusable wet/dry bags for soiled clothes, spill-able bottles and a tote bag for groceries.
    • Don't buy travel sized items, dispense product from full-sized bottles into small reusable containers like these.
    • Turn off — and unplug! — lights and electronics while you're away. Turn down the thermostat. Suspend newspaper delivery and mail services.


    Tips for Staying Green at Home
    • Use rags or hand towels instead of paper towels or napkins.
    • Use art smocks and bibs that can be washed and reused to protect clothing.
    • Cut your shower time by 20% or take one fewer shower per week.
    • Buy locally sourced food when possible, instead of .
    • Cloth diaper your baby! The Union of Concerned Scientists has estimated about 18 billion diapers are thrown into landfills every year.  
    • When crafting, use reusable splat mats instead of disposable tablecloths or newspaper to protect tables and floors.
    • Avoid using disposable plates, cups, silverware, napkins, etc. (Including food to-go!) 
    • Minimize toilet flushing—“if it's yellow, it's mellow, if it's brown, flush it down."
    • Replace your light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, which use less energy.
    • Avoid using the clothes dryer by hanging your clothes out to dry whenever possible.
    • Turn off—and unplug!—lights and electronics while you're away.
    • Donate unused items to thrift organizations and shop at thrift stores to buy gently used items instead of new.
    (http://www.earthguardians.org/50simplethings)

    Have Plastic Bags to Recycle? 

    Visit PlasticFilmRecycling.org, enter your ZIP code into the search tool, and it will find the nearest place to take any unwanted plastic bags. You can also use 1800Recycling’s recycling search tool to find your closest plastic film recycler.

    There's no need to go completely off the grid to help save the environment.  Making a few adjustments will add up over time, benefitting both you and the Earth.  Just by replacing disposable products with reusable ones, and reducing your consumption, you'll not only help save the environment, you'll save money—a win/win situation! a Rafflecopter giveaway