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.

    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.

     • 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!

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