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Tuesday
Jan142014

Getting Your Kids to Eat Veggies

The new year is here, and I know I'm not the only mom who is on a mission to lose a few pounds. So, in an effort to eat healthier, I've been making sure my kitchen is very well stocked with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Not only am I eating healthier, but I'm getting my family on board too.

I'm pretty creative in the kitchen and I'm constantly thinking of easy ways to get myself and my family to eat more fruits and veggies throughout the day.

Here are some things that work for us, and might work for you too:

1) Frozen onions, peppers and spinach might not sound very appealing, but they are some of the easiest veggies to sneak into food. My kids absolutely love veggie and cheese omelets or breakfast burritos packed with spinach, onion, bell peppers and mushrooms.

2) I always have a variety of canned beans in the pantry. It's so easy to make your own Bean Salad by mixing up some canned beans and light Italian salad dressing. When my son was two years old this was one of his favorites.

3) Bake your own muffins or mid-morning snacks with healthy ingredients instead of grabbing the processed stuff. If you think you're too busy to do this, I assure you it can be done. My sister, who works full time and has an active toddler, bakes in bulk on the weekend, then, uses some of her muffins throughout the week, and freezes the rest in single portions. From my experience, your family will prefer your home-made goodies to the sugary store bought snacks

4) Dip, Dip, Dip! It's such an easy way to get kids eating raw veggies. I always make my kids their own little plate of veggies and dip in the late afternoon or before dinner if they're asking for a snack. Their favorite dip is ranch, but sometimes I make my own yogurt dip as a healthier alternative.

Homemade fruit smoothies, spinach dip with whole wheat pitas, and green salads with Ranch dressing are also really popular with kids too. I'm also looking forward to planting more cherry tomatoes this spring, because the kids will eat them straight from the garden.

If you still need more ideas, check out my fun food board on Pinterest or Weelicious.com for more healthy kid-friendly recipes.

What types of veggies do your kids like to eat? 

Monday
Jan132014

Best Blogs for Local Fun: Alaska

Welcome to Week 2 of our 'Best Blogs for Local Fun' feature.  This week, I'm highlighting hyper-local blogs from Alaska, and, even if you're not from Alaska, these websites are still pretty fascinating. 

AK on the Go is a popular travel blog that focuses on Alaskan destinations for families. Erin Kirkland launched the site in 2009 and is now also the author of: Alaska on the GO, Exploring the 49th State with Children. Her guidebook, published by University of Alaska Press, is due for release in March 2014. I have a feeling that her book is going to be the go-to resource for families travelling around Alaska and I can't wait to check it out!

Read more at traveling around Alaska with Kids at AK on the Go. 

The next blog I want to tell you about is called Skedaddle.  I love the way this blog is described on their about page. They say that Skedaddle is a "website is aimed at helping families get out of their comfortable houses and into the amazingly dirty, unpredictable and fabulous natural world." How cool is that?  

I was also surprised to find this really neat tutorial on How To Make DIY Fire Starters on AKskedaddle.com. With the frigid weather we've been having across America, this could definitely come in handy!

Have you ever lived or vacationed in Alaska?  If so, what websites or other resources did you use to get around?

Thursday
Jan092014

How Almost Any Mom Can Get Organized

 

Are you constantly trying to get more organized?  I have always tried to be organized, but I still felt like there was just too much going on. Between the kid's activities, school, work and managing a household, it was a bit chaotic. I've always admired women I see who are uber-organized. Now that I'm following their lead, I finally feel like I'm getting things under control.  Here's how I'm doing it.

 

How a Busy Mom Can Get Organized

Step 1: The first thing you need is a binder. I picked out this vibrant binder (above) because the design makes me happy and it's so colorful. Getting a really bright binder with a funky pattern also makes it easy to find if you're moving it from room to room around the house. 

Step 2:  Get a Few Other Supplies - Buy clear letter size sheet protectors to place throughout the binder. You can put any pending bills, school forms or stamps right up front so that you don't forget about them.  That way, your most important paperwork will be the first thing you'll see when you open your binder.  This helps tremendously!

If you don't already have a 3 hole punch . you'll want to get one of those too.  And, I personally LOVE having a thermal laminator so that I can laminate any papers that I'll be using often.  This helps to keep them clean and easy to find in the binder. If you don't want to get a laminator, Scotch sells packs of self-sealing laminating sheets that are really easy to use without a laminating machine.

Step 3 - Insert a calendar into your binder. My husband and I like coordinating our schedules on a Google Calendar, but nothing beats a good old fashioned paper calendar to track your events and activities throughout the year.  If you already have a paper calendar that you started for this year, you can easily punch holes in it and pop it in your binder, like I did above.

Step 4 - Get the Confident Mom Weekly Household Planner. Susan, a.k.a. The Confident Mom, has made an incredible household cleaning/organizing schedule for the entire year! This is a huge help to getting organized because she tells you exactly what you need to stay on track. Having reminders to change the sheets on the bed, clean out the microwave and even make "me time" can help you feel so organized.  I like using her suggested taks, but you can also print off a blank copy if that suits you better. 

Step 5- Make Your Binder Work For You.  There is a tremendous amount of resources out there. You can make your binder as simple or detailed as you choose.  I decided to add in a blank weekly planner so that I can keep track of our weekly finances and Money Saving Mom has a fantastic list of Resources to Help you Get Organized you can check out too.

For the first time in a long time, I feel quite organized and it feels wonderful!  I'm sure there will be things that slip through the cracks, and I am definitely a work-in-progress, but at least I know I am doing everything I can to stay on track.

What do you do to find simplicity and harmony in a busy household?  I'd love to know more tips!

Tuesday
Jan072014

Valentine Book Mark Craft for Kids