Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quick Snacks

My Series on Homemade Food for Our Family:
My yogurt making update is {here}.
A post I wrote on Easy Meals we like is {here}.
Favorite Dinners around our place are tasty and quick.



Whether you are a parent with young kids at home or have a homeschooling family, keeping a few quick snack solutions on hand can be a real life saver when people are hungry NOW and you are tired or busy (or pregnant or having a crazy week, etc, etc). When bellies are full, people are happy. When I forget to feed everyone, things go bananas! It helps when they are snacks that are healthy, filling, and that kids can get for themselves.

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This is NOT a quick snack, obviously. Probably the remains of a very healthy treat. Or maybe NOT so healthy  :-) We aim for healthy, so we are okay with the occasional treat. Especially ice cream.


Here are a few we like at our house. As seasons and tastes change, the menu changes. If you like something I post here and try it out, I hope you will let me know (it's fun that way!). If you have some favorite 'go-to' menus or snacks, do share them here with a comment or a link to a post you wrote, if you are a blogger. Sharing is fun and I know I can always use a few new ideas to try.

Snacks:

Apple, whole or sliced. The kids have been devouring these a lot for the last month or more. It pays to let the kids learn to cut their own up. Our 9 year old likes to cut up apples and will often cut up an apple for a younger sibling. He's happy and pleased to share his newly acquired skill.

Yogurt or yogurt drink. My 4 year old lives on this stuff. I'd love to learn to make this, but for now we buy ours at the store. Recipes or tips, anyone? I have tried making it in a slow cooker--Failed---and have not yet tried making it in a yogurt maker--mine's too small to justify the effort.

Popsicles. I make apple juice or lemonade ones with a mold in our freezer. The kids love lemonade ones. There are tons of fun recipes to try. Here's one at Cynthia Lair's site. Quick, easy to make with whatever's in the fridge/cupboard, healthier than store bought, and less expensive, too.

Peanut butter on a spoon. The two youngest like this quick snack. Good for right before a meal when they just. can't. wait. while dinner finishes cooking.

Pumpkin bread (or banana bread). I like to make 2 large loaves at a time, plenty to eat and store for later for us. I keep this in a sealed container on the counter so the kids can grab a slice when they are hungry. I use the same tried-and-true recipe and after making it a few times, I can make it pretty quickly. It lasts about 3 days before it's all eaten up. To keep it nutritious, I make it with whole wheat pastry flour--it's an easy way to fit whole grains in the kids' diet easily, without trading flavor for health.

Steamed broccoli. I discovered that the kids will eat this up plain one day when I had a bunch that needed to be cooked before going bad. I steamed it and left it on the table, and it was gone. Nice!

Toast and butter. It's a staple. And kids can learn to do this themselves.

Hard boiled eggs. I have gotten this one down to a fine art. This is one item I 'make ahead' and it really saves me time later. This is so nice to just pull out of the fridge and hand to a toddler at the table or slice on a salad for extra protein. Even the older kids can grab one and peel themselves. Very nutritious, too. We like the organic eggs from Costco. Sometimes the little ones will eat the whites and leave the yolks. I save them in a plastic baggie to make deviled eggs later.

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs:
Place eggs in a pot and fill with water until eggs are just covered. Cover pot with lid and bring up to boiling on medium/high heat. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes, covered. Drain hot water and then peel eggs under cool running water. Keep covered in cool water in a seal-able container in the fridge, up to one week. Drain and fill with fresh water daily until all eaten.

Stay tuned for Easy Meal ideas next!!
K--share yours if you have some...and I know you do!


This post is linked up to:

the 4 Moms link-up for Snacks and Appetizers for a Crowd @ Smockity Frocks.

Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop











Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas is About Love

Christmas is a season for giving. After all, we have all been given the greatest gift, a Savior, Jesus Christ, who was born and died and rose again, so each of us could receive the gift of eternal life.

What better way to share in that love than to give from our hearts?


During this season, I like to find a way to give to a person who is is need. It just makes the whole holiday brighter; there's just something sweet about knowing one life you touch is a little better, happier, or warmer for you being in it. It also helps me to keep connected to the meaning for the season, instead of getting too caught up in all the frills and things that can get distracting.

This is such a nice video--just illustration and music.
My kids liked it. Hope yours do, too.




One way we've reached out to other children as a family is by sending out a box or two for Operation Christmas Child. They are sent out and distributed by an international charity that acts as Santa to boys and girls in third world countries.

The group is Christian-based and include a pamphlet about God's love with each box donated for each child. My kids had a good time thinking about what each child might like and then choosing them at the $1 store. The photos below are from boxes we sent out three years ago. Our project this year was a secret ;-)


 What does Christmas mean to you? I'd love to hear your stories of love! Love doesn't have to involve buying things, but it is the thought and heart of the giver that counts.



December's Fun in Pictures



The oldest two boys visited their Grandma at her home in Utah for a few days.
They had a blast with Grandma and their uncle!




 Our second oldest asked to make balloon creations. 
This is him trying out the blue "boy fairy" wings he requested. 
It turns out balloon modeling is not as easy as the book makes it look!

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Block tower building! 
Dad and our sons had a great time this month building various towers. 
This one just below was the very highest.

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Tower



Our oldest played the recorder in the homeschool co-op's end-of-term program. 
He played "Deck the Halls" and two other songs. 
You can listen by clicking HERE. :-)
He was really happy to participate in the program!

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I and my co-teacher taught a creativity class at the once-a-week co-op. 
The finale was a compilation of stop motion videos the kids made in the class. 
Click HERE to view and see what the kids came up with (ages 6-10).


We are enjoying the quiet family moments during the Christmas season. 
Hope you are, too!

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Merry Christmas, friends!