Monday, February 19, 2018

Putting Fun into a Healthy Breakfast

Whether it's school, camp or a day adventure, getting up in the morning is a scene every parent dreads. The alarm goes off; the kids pull up their covers and refuse to get up. As the kids finally rise and decide what to wear, it's time to head to the breakfast table. Whether breakfast is eaten at home or in the car, it is important for your child's performance. Breakfast jump-starts the brain and keeps adults and children alert throughout the morning. After eight to ten hours without food, the body is essentially a cold furnace waiting to be fueled. A good breakfast should include.
-A serving of protein-rich food, such as low-fat milk or yogurt, cheese, or peanut butter.
-A food rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereal, bread, or muffins.
-A food rich in vitamin C such as an orange, grapefruit, or strawberries.
-A small amount of fat.
Special containers make mealtime a special treat for the young child. Use clean egg cartons and fill each section with a finger food. Or fill an ice cream cone with snacks other than ice cream. Try foods such as cubed cheese, peeled apple slices, or cereal. Your youngster may find this on-the-go breakfast fun while carpooling your older children. The almighty juice boxes and bags can help to wean your toddler from his bottle. Start by filling his bottle only with water and later, let him drink juice with a straw from the box or bag. This is a pleasant diversion for your child and a convenience for you because these containers can be carried easily in the stroller or car.

Instead of serving your child plain hot cereal, set out a few small bowls of toppings from which she can choose. For instance, try yogurt, applesauce, apple butter, fruit spreads, chopped nuts, dates, raisins, fresh fruit, or granola. Your child many want to add just one topping or she might choose to mix several of them on top of her cereal to experience some new and different tastes. Some of these toppings can also be used to add creative interest to cold cereals with nutrition along the way.
Keeping in mind that creativity often means doing something in a new way, you can give your child's breakfast toast a "new look" by using a cookie cutter to make them heart shaped. This also boosts self-esteem by sending her a "you are special" message. Another way to do some creative personalizing is to form your child's initials with batter when you are cooking pancakes. Or use ketchup to squeeze an "I love you", a heart shape or her initials onto cooked hash browns. Having fun in the kitchen now should bring a love of cooking later.
Hope these tips are helpful.
Happy Parenting,
Photos courtesy of -- CC0 Creative Commons

Monday, February 5, 2018

Valentine Tea Party: The Perfect Gathering for Little Girls

Young children love tea parties. Why not invite a few of their friends over for an afternoon party for Valentines Day? Set a pretty table with linen napkins, fresh flowers, tea sandwiches and pink punch. During the party help each little guest create confectionary necklaces to take home as a party favor. Start with a pretty heart invitation and let the party begin.

A Formal Invitation

Cut a heart shape from pale pink card stock. Use a dark pink or purple glitter pen and write out the party details along the edges of the heart, working toward the center. Leave room in the middle to print each guest’s name. Here is an example of the invitation wording:

Ms. Susie Smith would love the pleasure of your company at a Valentine day afternoon tea.
Sweets and sips will be served to your hearts delight at half past three on February 14th.

Mail or hand deliver these invitations at least a week or more before your holiday party.

Set a Delightful Table D├ęcor

Top your table with a pink or white cloth. Roll the linen napkins and tie it with pretty pink ribbon. For centerpieces, cut baby roses and arrange them in teacups to place on the table. To add Valentine flair, placing red paper doilies and heart confetti on your table. Since children love balloons, fill your room with balloons in Valentine colors of red, white, pink and lavender.

Tea Time Treats

Even though this party is passed the lunch hour, serve little tea sandwiches for snacks. Cut bread into heart shapes using cookie cutters. Spread the sandwiches with fillings such as tuna salad, chicken salad and even peanut butter and jelly. For the tea, pour a pink punch. This could be pink lemonade poured into children’s plastic teacups.

For dessert bake cupcakes in advance. Allow the little girls to ice the cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Provide an assortment of baking sprinkles in Valentine colors for the children to place on top.

Valentine Necklace Favor

Let each guest make a candy necklace to take home as a favor. Provide each child with a piece of plastic wrap about 2 feet long. Set out bowls of Valentine candy in the center of the table. The girls can select a few pieces of candy and place them 2 inches apart across the length of the plastic wrap. An adult needs to help them roll the candy inside the plastic wrap making a tube. Between the candy clusters tie a bow using a piece of ribbon. Do this procedure evenly spaced to create a pretty necklace. Make sure the candy is securely wrapped inside the tube using tape if necessary. When finished not the ends of the tube together to form the necklace. As the children leave the party, let them wear their necklace home.

Tips for a Successful Children’s Tea Party

  • Avoid serving hot tea to young children. The girls probably will not like the taste and you want to avoid any hot spills or burning of the tongue.

  • Stay away from sugar overload. Serve nutritious food during the party and only one dessert. When making the candy necklace make sure the girls label the craft with their name and take the party favor home to eat at a later time.

  • Recruit older siblings to help the little girls at the party. Or think about inviting the mothers for a mother and daughter Valentine tea party.

Most of all enjoy the party together and take pictures to savor the memories.

Photos courtesy of CCO Creative Commons