Archive for June, 2012

10 Summer Treats to Make with Your Kids

June 20th, 2012 by admin

Yeah!  It’s summer and the kids are out of school.  Now what to do with them?  Why not turn snack time into family fun time?  Make these yummy snacks with your kids for something fun to do and fun to eat.

  1. Meatball turnovers: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Take a box of refrigerated pie crusts out and allow it to come to room temperature (about 15 minutes).  In the meantime, take ½ lb. of cooked meatballs and cut them into ¼” pieces and warm them through with an 8 oz. can of tomato sauce.  Let the mixture cool.  Then unroll the pie crusts onto a floured surface and let your child cut out 4” circles with a cookie cutter.  Reroll crust until you get 10 circles per crust.  Add about a tablespoon of the meatball mixture to each round.  Top with ½ t. of parmesan cheese, leaving a ½” border of crust around the meatball mixture.  Have your child dip their finger into a little bit of water and wet the edges of the circle and fold the crust over the mixture and seal.  Next, have your child crimp the edges with a fork. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
  2. Fruit dip:  This dip is a great way to get kids who might not be that fond of fruit to eat it. Have your kids mix together a container of flavored cream cheese and a small jar of marshmallow fluff until of the mixture is all the same color.  Serve with apple slices, banana chunks, peach wedges, strawberries or pears for a light afternoon snack.
  3. Cinnamon and sugar chips: Brush melted butter onto 3-4 flour tortillas and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges and transfer them to a baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until crisp.  These can be enjoyed alone, or for an added touch you can drizzle chocolate syrup over them and serve with ice cream.
  4. Snack kabobs: Kids tend to like anything served on a stick.  Slice some firm fruit into 1” slices and give your kids small cookie cutters to cut fun shapes out of the fruit. Repeat using slices of your child’s favorite cheese. Thread the fruit and cheese on the skewers.  Warning: Skewers can be sharp so you may want to blunt the ends before allowing the kids to make and eat this snack.
  5. Silly PB&J’s: If you’re looking for a healthy snack, consider making silly PB&J’s.  Toast two whole-grain waffles. Spread one waffle with peanut butter and jelly.  Sandwich the two waffles together.  Next, cut the waffle sandwich into wedges and stick toothpicks into each wedge.  If your child is allergic to peanuts, try using Sun butter which is made out of sunflower seeds as an alternative.
  6. Fruit juice popsicles: These cold treats have been around forever.  You can use Popsicle molds or small paper cups and a Popsicle stick to make them.  Fill the bottom of the mold or cup with fruit juice and let it freeze.  Next, add a layer of whipped topping and freeze again.  Finally top it off with another layer of juice.  Get creative and choose juice colors to coordinate with holidays or themed parties.
  7. Cereal clusters: Help your kids melt 4 T. of margarine and a bag of mini marshmallows in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Then add whole grain Cheerios and some dried cranberries or strawberries to a bowl.  Next, pour the melted marshmallow mixture and let the kids stir them altogether.  Set out some cute cupcake papers and have the kids spoon some of the cereal mixture into each cup.  Let them cool and then enjoy!
  8. Ham and cheese pinwheels: Set out a flour tortilla for each child and have them spread a layer of whipped cream cheese on their tortilla.  Then using some thinly sliced ham (or turkey) have them add a layer of meat to the cream cheese.  Tightly roll up the tortilla and slice them into pinwheels.  Use toothpicks to hold the wheels together for a protein rich snack.
  9. Fruit smoothies: Fruit smoothies can be served for breakfast or as a creamy afternoon snack. Have your child add some frozen fruit and yogurt to a blender.  Put the top on the blender and press the pulse button until the mixture is at the desired texture.  If it seems too thick, you can add a splash of milk or juice to thin it out.  To make this more decadent you can substitute the yogurt for frozen yogurt.
  10. GORP: GORP stands for good ole raisins and peanuts.  This is a great snack to serve in the morning or to take with you on a bike ride or to the park.  Your kids can pick and choose what they add to their GORP mixture.  Goldfish crackers, craisins, pretzel sticks, dried apple chips, and chocolate covered candies are popular additions.

Enjoy these kid-friendly snacks and some quality time with your kids this summer.

10 Reasons Some Scary Movies Can Be Okay for Kids

June 4th, 2012 by admin

I remember watching the original version of The Time Machine on TV when I was little, and afterward having nightmares for months. And while those months of nightmares felt like a lifetime right then, was I really scarred for life? Not so much. As an adult I watched it again to see if it was still as scary as I remembered it being before watching the remake. It was fun to compare my perceptions as a child versus now and also the two versions of the movie. A lot of parents try to prevent their kids from scary movies, but should they be sheltering them or should they allow their children to watch horror shows? While parents should monitor what movies their kids watch, they don’t need to go overboard. Some scary movies can be okay for kids and here are 10 reasons why.

  1. Handling fear – Scary movies are a great way for kids to learn how to handle fear. No matter how real it may seem, it’s just a movie after all. An occasional horror movie may help your child to confront their fears and deal with them.
  2. Thrills – Some kids enjoy being scared a little and like to watch spooky movies just for the thrills. It’s fun to shriek, giggle and hide their face all the while making fun of their siblings or friends. By the age of 8 to 10 youngsters may be looking for more thrill seeking adventuresome movies to watch.
  3. Reality vs. make believe – Watching a scary movie can help kids learn to differentiate between reality and make believe. In order to deal with the fear factor they need to step back and realize what they’re watching didn’t actually happen, but was all made up in a movie studio.
  4. Learn to analyze – Once they put it into context, kids can learn to analyze the horror movie and how it was made. They can also contemplate why one thing makes them scared while other things don’t.
  5. Just for fun – Kids might want to watch an occasional horror movie just for the fun of it. Maybe it’s a change of pace from their normal viewing or a special occasion. And really, who doesn’t like watching scary movies on Halloween?
  6. Pushing boundaries – Children can’t be raised in a vacuum, and sometimes pushing the boundaries is a good thing. Kids who have never watched a scary movie while growing up certainly won’t know how to deal with it as an adult.
  7. Share a passion – Some people really enjoy watching horror movies, so for kids it could be a way of sharing a passion with someone in their life. Whether it’s a parent, sibling or friends, watching a scary movie together is a unique way to share something special.
  8. Part of growing up – Everyone needs to get the daylights scared out of them at some point in their life. It’s all a part of growing up, so watching scary movies is a pretty harmless way to clear that hurdle.
  9. Fitting in – Kids always want to fit in with their friends, so never watching a scary movie will make them feel left out. When all their friends are talking about the latest spooky episode, they want to be included in the conversation.
  10. Snuggle time – Parents can use this as an opportunity to get some snuggle time with their kids as they get older. Watching a scary movie together may be a good way to squeeze out a few extra hugs that have diminished over the years.

Parents don’t want their kids to have nightmares, but they do need to be careful not to shelter them too much. Children under the age of 7 have trouble separating fiction from reality, so watching gory movies at that age would be a bad idea, and I’m certainly not advocating that. However, with a little discretion, parents and kids should be able to decide on a few movies with appropriate scariness. Be sure to include some humor and a happy ending is a must. There’s even some evidence that kids are better off watching scary movies without their parents. Mom and dad may reinforce the fear and make it even more frightening to the child. Just remember that different things are scary for different people. An occasional thriller may not be a bad thing for your child.