Kid Friendly Meal Using Pumpkin 3-Ways

The following is by contributor Christen Babb.


Pumpkins inspire me. They are truly one of nature’s blank canvasses.

Pumpkins are best known for their ability to be carved into a myriad of artistic masterpieces, decorating the doorsteps of homes across America. However, this ever-versatile gourd can also play the starring role in both savory and sweet foods – from soups and raviolis to pies and even ice-cream!

Since I grew up not celebrating Halloween, I tend to associate pumpkins with the latter: food.  Not only are they extremely versatile in recipes, their nutritional value is often underestimated. Known as a “superfood“, pumpkins pack a punch of  B-vitamins alongside their  mellow,  inviting,  and quintessentially American  flavor.

Using pumpkin as my inspiration , I’m bringing you a nutritious and delicious pumpkin-packed meal:  Healthy Chicken Bites (with Pumpkin!) + Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta Fries + Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars

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Work and Home: A Balancing Act for Parents Today

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

For many parents today, financial pressures continue to mount while the economy continues its  lethargic recovery.  Whether you’ve gone back to work full or part-time, away or at home, a paradigm change is created.

We’re challenged to balance our families’ changing  schedules and demanding jobs while maintaining our sanity.  Most of us already know the importance of staying organized, getting help from people you trust,  and learning when  to “unplug.”

But what other practical measures can we implement to relax and enjoy our families while at home?

This is current  struggle of mine, as I have gone back to work full time and with two young children at home.  In fact, it seems ironic that I speak from any position of authority, while frantically schlepping a breast-pump on a cross-country business trip and struggling to schedule meetings around  doctor’s  appointments, ballet classes, and preschool functions.

However, I do hope to leave you with some practical coping techniques to help create rhythm in your busy work-life schedule. I also hope to hear from you and encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Teaching Little Ones How to Handle Money

The following post is by contributor Christen Babb of Nurture Baby.

As the years change, so do our goals. In 2011, with the economy still on its way up, a common new year’s resolution is to budget better and spend wisely. We work hard to pinch every penny, but it’s just as important to impart our knowledge and experience (the good and the bad) onto the next generation.

As Dave Ramsey, a well known financial personality says, “Parents are not just responsible for providing food, clothing, and shelter for their kids. They are also responsible for teaching their kids about life—and life includes handling money.” If we don’t teach our children how to properly handle money, someone else – or some other crafty ad campaign – will.

A common way to to teach little ones the value of a dollar is to create a reward system based on a set of simple, kid-friendly responsibilities.

When to Start?

I believe it’s important for kids to start doing simple household chores before they receive a  reward – perhaps as early as 3 or 4 years old.  Tasks such as sorting and putting away silverware, feeding the pets, “folding”  the towels (don’t aim for perfection!) are fun, age-appropriate jobs for eager little helpers. It sets the tone that some jobs are not paid – they are simply responsibilities for being a part of the family. Kids who help around the home gain self-respect and take pride in a job well done. They learn early on that other rewards, such as allowance, are secondary benefits.

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