Posts Tagged kids

Processed Food – What’s in your Cupbord

Go through your cupboards, don’t worry I’ll wait. Take a short inventory on what you have in stock. How much of that is processed? Be honest with yourself and don’t be ashamed. As a promoter of urban homesteading and an advocate of trashing the “crap”, I still have boxes of Kraft Dinner stashed away for those emergency days.

tyfn / Free Photos

Processed and pre package food were brought to North America for conveniences. During the wars, food supplies were low as products were being shipped to the front line. Everyone did their part and soon we were faced with a shortage. Lucky rural dwellers could depend on their own produce, but many families relied on new canned ingredients. The trend continued into the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s when modern appliances catered to a new lifestyle. Women weren’t always in the home and the need for a fast meal was met with the microwave. Mass marketers convinced us that this was the way of the future and it was a low cost opportunity to feed your hungry family, fast.

 

Dannerzz / Free Photos

Why are we now under a food revolution then? With convenience comes a price. Slowly we’ve realized that a lot of these time-saving chemicals are actually harming us. With obesity, cancer and heart disease on the rise we can’t really afford to take chances with what we put in our bodies. We’re hurting ourselves.

When I’m not blogging here, I run a blog called Diet Eats which explores current diet trends and whether they’re worth the investment. During the past few weeks I’ve been exploring some popular diet readymade meals. This is the first time in years that I’ve ate these and I must admit the experience is educating. After getting over the ingredient list and lack of flavor, the price at the end really didn’t justify what I was eating. The saddest thing was that I know people who eat these every day. Frozen fake food, nuked on high. Lovely.

As a working mom and full-time wife, I understand we all can’t put a gourmet meal on the table every night. I have on more than one occasion succumbed to the siren call of pizza on a Wednesday and yes, I do like Kraft Dinner and will serve it as the odd weekend lunch. Processed food is not good for you, but it’s there as a convenience when you need it. When you eat it every day it’s not convenient, it becomes your lifestyle.

Before you throw in a microwave meal for your toddler, stop. Remember that a few carrot sticks, a peanut butter sandwich and an apple sauce will be quicker, cheaper, better tasting and healthier – and you don’t need to be a chef to make it.

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camper’s cuisine

We work hard to keep food interesting for our kids And one of the experiences that really gets our family excited is outdoor cooking while on our yearly camping trips. The adventure begins long before the actual cooking does: choosing the food, packing the food, deciding what can be cooked on a fire and counting out the marshmallows. We get the whole family involved. Over the years, we’ve figured out what works best and what most delights hungry campers’ bellies! Here are my top 10 recommendations based on yummy factor and travel durability:

  • mini boxes of cereal
  • s’mores ingredients
  • small watermelon/bananas/apples
  • tortillas
  • salsa
  • eggs
  • canned beans
  • fresh, vacuum-sealed pasta
  • canned tomatoes
  • milk/cheese/butter

I’m not a big fan of uncooked meat with an unpredictable cooling system, but have had great success with pre-cooking ground turkey and re-heating for some outdoor tacos! For pasta dishes, we boil water on the camp stove and over the fire we’ll have a cast iron pan filled with diced tomatoes, pre-cooked meat (if we brought it) and any seasonings/herbs that we’ve brought from home. Although hot dogs on sticks are always a delight, road side corn-on-the-cob soaked in water while you’re at the beach (husks on) can also be cooked right on the grill of your camp fire (husks still on) and taste deliciously roasted once they’re done! We also bring a tabletop water dispenser that’s filled up at home and used for washing hands/food and providing cooking water. Get creative and bring foods that can also be used for a warm, energy-fueling breakfast. I’ll sign off here with a photo of some huevos rancheros made from leftover tortillas, salsa and eggs.

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Louise Gleeson is a freelance journalist and mother of four. Her professional portfolio can be viewed at www.louisegleeson.com and you can follow along as she shares stories from everyday life on her blog at www.latenightplays.com.  You can also find her on twitter @louisegleeson

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Getting ready for kindergarten

Trying to get our youngest child ready for kindergarten has proven to be quite a challenge. There are a few things we need to make sure she knows so we have been working on some basic skills with her. Who knew that getting a child ready for school would be more tiring for the parents. In a sense I think I am re-training me as opposed to actually teaching her anything.

She needs to be able to recognize her name and start printing it. I printed her name in nice big letters PEYTON and asked her to trace the letters. She picked up a crayon and scribbled all over it. It was a purple crayon. Peyton and Purple both start with P. Close enough I guess.

We have been trying to teach her, her left and right, when she is putting her shoes on, she often gets them mixed up so I tell her wrong foot. however, now instead of teacher her, her right foot from her left foot, I have accidentally taught her ,her right foot from her wrong foot.

Opening her lunch containers is not a problem. I often pack her some snacks when we go to the beach so she is used to having her lunch box and opening snacks is fairly easy for her. The only problem here is I will have to somehow get her to eat something other than peanut butter sandwiches. I can’t even send soy butter because it looks and smells like peanut butter.

When it comes to listening skills, she has none. she likes to be the boss and hand out orders as opposed to taking them which is yet another skill we are currently working on. she feels it is up to her to hand out punishments as she sees fit and that I should just go along with her decisions. Being that she is the youngest of 4 this really doesn’t sit well with my other 3. When being asked to do a task, she prefers to shrug it off and twirl like a princess instead. If all else fails, she pulls out her ‘smoking gun’ sticks out the bottom lip and batts her eyelashes. That one always gets her what she wants but she keeps it as a last resort move.

So far I have learned that slip on shoes are a God send, crackers, cheese and yogurt are really the only thing anyone agrees on around here, as long as the crayon you choose is a color that starts with the first letter of your name, you are doing good, and most importantly, as long as you have long, curly blond hair and green eyes, and can twirl like a princess you will get through the most important part of your life with ease.

I have now come to the understanding that it is not the child who needs to prepare for kindergarten, but the parents. Here’s praying for a school year that doesn’t send me (or her teachers) into the loony bin. I will be starting a pool on how many phone calls I get from the school about Peyton’s behavior this up coming year. who’s in? HAHAHA!!

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flight of love

Sometimes what I need is a good swift kick in my parenting behind; a new perspective.

Today, I got one.

And the giver of that kick has no idea what he’s given, because as much as he deserves to have a poor me approach to life, he never does. Telling a story about his childhood is never meant to be a comparison or a lesson, but somehow it always is.

First, a confession. I don’t particularly enjoy the process of teaching my kids to ride a two-wheeler. I’ve always found it tedious and frustrating. And though I do my best to apply patience, I often fail.

My dad was raised with the support of extended family members. But the constant and unconditional love of a parent? That’s something he has never known. Due in part to their youth, the two people who held that role left before it even started: a hurt for my dad I cannot begin to imagine.

When I met him over a cup of tea this morning, he asked about our plans for the sunny afternoon ahead. I said we were going to work on two-wheeled bike riding with our son.

He told me the story of learning to ride the bicycle he found on his aunt’s farm when he was a young boy. He spent his summers there. There wasn’t anyone to teach him, so he set out on his own. He folded up a burlap sack from the barn and fashioned a seat on one of the lower crossbars of the adult-sized bike. His feet straddled and ran alongside the wheels hour upon hour until he felt like he could balance.

And then, like so many other times in his childhood, he pulled himself up to the place where only grown ups should be and he rode all on his own.

“It was the most amazing thing, realizing I could fly,” he told me.

Not a trace of bitterness in his voice, even though there wasn’t anyone there to clap and shout for him as he sped towards the horizon. I drove away from our morning chat remembering the feeling of my dad’s hand on the back of my bike as he ran up and down our street until I felt ready to fly.

And this afternoon, I’ll remember it again as I run alongside my son. And I will take in the sight of my husband and daughters as we cheer him on. And when he finally succeeds in taking flight, I’ll try and capture the moment to give to my dad.

Because the smile that will break across my little boy’s face when he feels like he’s flying?

It should be seen.

And I want my dad to know it belongs to him, too.

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Louise Gleeson is a freelance journalist and mother of four. Her professional portfolio can be viewed at www.louisegleeson.com and you can follow along as she shares stories from everyday life on her blog at www.latenightplays.com.  You can also find her on twitter @louisegleeson

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Hurray for a park day!!

I moved to this town, this time last year and met a two moms that I instantly clicked with. We decided to do almost daily trips to the park and a bit later in the season to the beach. We share parenting tips (and problems) and there is always lots of juicy gossip. This year we have expanded our circle and I expect our almost daily trips to the beach and park will be that much more fun for all the kids. It great for us moms as well, the play dates benefit us just as much as the kids.

I always have a first aid kit with me because my philosophy is, if I have it with me I will not need it. If I forget the first aid kit I will need it. My essentials are: tons of band aids, polysporen for kids, baby wipes, a few bottles of water, medicine dropper, a big bottle of benydril, a stick of after bite (all natural)and an exema stick. I also recently found out that to neutralize the bee venom, tape a copper penny to the bee sting. I have not had the pleasure (thank God) of having to test that theory. I also have the baby sunblock, the sports sun block and the waterproof sunblock.

Being a stay at home mom doesn’t mean that I actually spend my entire day at home, in fact, I spend very little time during the warm weather months cooped up in the house. Generally once I get the kids off to school, my youngest and I venture off to the park or the beach for the majority of the day.

Today was a park and picnic day. We went with 4 other moms and their children and let them play till the kids were hungry and then sat down on blankets to have a snack. I am always Leary of the people around us at the park. I always look around and make sure I can see or hear my daughter at all times. With all the reports of attempted child abductions that have surfaced in our town and towns close by to ours, I am just a bit more cautious with all of my children. We go over safety rules on a weekly basis.

I am eager to get a chance to finally spend time at the beach and the new water park. I know my daughter will be elated to see that. from a distance it looks incredible. Gone are the days of hearing “I’m bored!!” between the water park, the beach and the park, I should be über busy this summer with all 4 of my kids. Ok yes I  am not including the days that will be filled with rain and thunderstorms but I am sure I will be able to find something to do with them.

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Easter Bunny & Chocolate

Happy Easter!

Working on the boys Easter baskets. So what are you putting in the Easter Basket? Feel free to comment below.  What are your healthy choices? Here is a list of things that we have put in the boys basket . Yes chocolate is in their basket it would not be Easter without a few chocolate eggs right?

Our Easter Basket Goodies

  1. A summer outfit and a few tee-shirts
  2. Fun games they can play with each other
  3. Card games
  4. I also made both boys a CD with their favorite music for the car
  5. Play-doh

I found a web-site click here. That had free printable. Here is what they look like. I have mine all printed out and ready to go for Easter Sunday for the boys to have their egg hunt

 I love this recipe thought I’d share with you. Turkey Stuffing! Need a easy stuffing recipe for your Easter Turkey?  Simple yet tasty recipe. *Recipe found on Cooking Nook*

Best Turkey Stuffing

3/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
2 cups chopped celery
4 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
14 cups dried white bread, cubed

In a large frying pan, melt butter over a medium heat. Fry onions and celery together with the dried herbs, salt and pepper, stirring often, until vegetables are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a very large bowl. Add the bread cubes and mix well.

If you are making the stuffing ahead: Transfer the cooked vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Let cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for 24 hours. Mix with bread cubes before stuffing the bird.

Stuff the turkey at both ends with this mixture. (see our Roast Turkey Recipe for directions on stuffing the bird).

IMPORTANT:
Stuff the turkey just before baking it. Do NOT stuff the bird ahead and let it sit, even in the refrigerator. It can become infected with bacteria and make you quite ill.
feel free to share your favorite stuffing that you use.


Enjoy your Easter Weekend with loved ones!

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Beating the winter BLAAAHHS!

Keeping 4 kids active in during these gloomy winter months has proven quite easy this year.We live in a fairly small town but there is a fair amount to do. My least favorite words are “mom…im bored!” and I very rarely hear them. I try to keep my kids as busy as I can.

Every Tuesday my 3 oldest children go to youth group. It is run by our local church and they enjoy learning about God and playing games with their friends. On Wednesdays, my 3 oldest have martial arts and soon my youngest will join. they spend 45 minutes exercising their whole body and their minds as well. The class they take is a real life super hero class. They are taught not only martial arts but also how to be respectful of others and how nutrition is just as important as excercise and to use integrity in every given situation.

Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays are always our busy days. My two oldest, boys, are from a previous marriage, and go to and from their dads place on those days. We try to take our children bowling on the weekends and also, take them to church almost every Sunday. I believe having faith in God is also helpful in raising well-rounded children.

There are a few other things we have been meaning to do this winter but have not had a chance to do so thus far. We have been planning on taking our children skating at the local arena and tobogganing, however there has not been enough snow and im sure the few inches we got yesterday will be gone by tomorrow.

We certainly cannot wait till the spring as we can get to the park and go for walks and in the summer the beach is an almost daily occurence as is the local ice cream parlor.

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