Pink smoothies for my Valentines

ValentineSmoothies

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

I‘m one of those mushy folks who loves Valentine’s day and all of the silliness and sweetness that go along with it. Actually, I tend to enjoy silly and sweet all year long, but especially in the name of love.

During the month of February I like to decorate with hearts and pinks and reds and lots of X’s and O’s.  My Valentiney silliness spills over into the kitchen, too, where I cannot help but spoil my sweets with sweets.

Yesterday was a rainy day and kind of dreary.  We needed a little treat to add some sunshine to the day.  So, I made pink smoothies for my Valentines.  Lucy, my four year old, was my sidekick in the kitchen (as she usually is).

While a food photographer I am not, I thought I’d share what Lucy and I whipped up so you and your Valentines can enjoy a sweet treat, too.

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Valentine’s Day sweets and treats

ValentineTreats2013

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

February is right around the corner, bringing with it Valentine’s Day.  If you’re looking for a simple way to celebrate love with your little sweethearts, why not surprise them with some special Valentine’s Day food?

Heart Shaped

With a cookie cutter or a knife, cut their food into a heart shape and even normal every-day peanut butter and jelly becomes special.  There are plenty of foods that lend themselves to this simple, heart-shaped trick that would make a fun Valentine’s Day twist such as apples, cheese, or your favorite cookie recipe.

Don’t forget those X and O cookie cutters from your alphabet collection, too.  We could always use extra hugs and kisses!  Or, you could serve red and pink food, not from food dye, but food that is naturally found in these cupid-friendly hues, such as red peppers, beets, purple cauliflower, red grapes, and more.

From breakfast to dessert, here is a round of up heart-y treats! (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun)

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5 Healthier breakfast options

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

So last week I declared the end of our family’s frozen waffles for breakfast rut.  Among other things, in 2013 I gave myself a goal of making a healthier breakfast every day, leaving the boxed frozen waffles in the freezer and the cold cereal on the shelf.

Last weekend I asked for the help of Simple Kids readers, taking the conversation over to facebook where, every morning, I checked in with what we had for breakfast. No fancy challenge or anything like that, just simply checking in each morning and reporting on what our kids had for breakfast on the facebook page. It was great!  You guys really encouraged me.  Thank you!

This morning I’m back with a wrap-up of our week and five healthier breakfast ideas for kids.

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Sunday feast: our new weekly ritual

The following is by contributor Jaimie of Two Chicks and a Hen.

Over the summer, I let our meal planning routines slide.  There were trips, food-laden events, picnics, and hot days that simply didn’t inspire me to cook.  Now that we’re back into the school year routine, I’m working more, and my eldest has homework for the first time, so I needed to rethink our meal planning, cooking, and eating schedules.

I love cooking, but when I’m under pressure and have a ton to think about and do, it can sometimes feel like a chore.  I re-evaluated my approach and discovered several things:

1. Last school year I put too much pressure on myself to serve a brand-new homemade meal every night.  I would plan a full, from-scratch meal for every dinner, but I wouldn’t always manage to actually cook them because life sometimes gets too busy.  I decided to stop feeling guilty about that and instead embrace a more simplified approach.   And we always have leftovers anyway; most recipes are not designed for one adult and two small children.

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Baking bread with children

Written by Kara Fleck, Simple Kids editor and Rockin’ Granola mama.

Last week I mentioned that our simple weekly rhythm includes a cooking and baking day.  Cooking together can happen at any time during the week, of course, but once a week I am intentional about it and set aside time specifically to bake with the children.

Our baking day is on Monday.  It is a pleasant way to start the week together and it gives us quality time in the kitchen (plus, there’s something yummy to enjoy for our labors).

Bread baking is one of our favorite things, but it isn’t a process you can speed through.  I think this makes baking bread a good tool for teaching patience.

I’ve discovered a few tips that help teach kids patience when baking and make it fun and creative for them, almost like acting out a story.  Who doesn’t love a little playtime in the kitchen?

So, let’s wash our hands, put on our aprons, and bake some bread together!

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