7 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Veggies

1.  Start early.  Several years ago, I was reading an article about healthy snacks for kids where they mentioned hummus. Comments from parents ranged from “great idea” to “what kid eat hummus?” My first thought was “my kid eats hummus”. I fully attribute this to our early introduction of hummus, along with other foods that kids haven’t traditionally eaten like quinoa, lentils, couscous, and beans. We were just feeding our daughter (and now our son) what our family eats. We didn’t make separate meals for them. And for us, it worked. Both of our kids eat a lot of different healthy foods.

2.  Be the example.  If you aren’t eating veggies, your kids probably won’t either. Put them on the menu for every lunch and dinner. This point was recently proven to me when my daughter was playing house and said “I need a Coke. That’s what mommies drink.” Ugh. If you’ve been reading MGG for long, you know I have a love-hate addiction to Coke. Obviously it’s a bit on the “I love you so much, how do I survive without you?” side right now.

3.  Sneak them in.  When I was making pureed food for our infant, I thought it would be so easy to sneak those pureed fruits and veggies into our meals for added doses of healthiness.  I’m not the genius who came up with this idea, there are plenty of cookbooks that have great suggestions on how to do this like Deceptively Delicious and The Sneaky Chef.

4.  Prepare ahead.  One of my personal goals for 2010 was to eat more veggies myself.  I figured if they were easily available throughout the day, I would snack on them.  So between buying pre-cut veggies and spending time cutting veggies into bite-sized chunks, I put them in glass storage so I would see them every time I opened the refrigerator.  I did begin to eat more of them until I came up with #5 below.

5.  Leave them out.  Because our fruit is stored on the counter, it gets eaten quickly. I figured the same would happen with veggies so I started putting them in pretty glass dishes around the kitchen and living room. This is my current method of extra veggie consumption and it totally works. Both the kids and I are snacking on carrots and tomatoes many times a day.

6.  Grow your ownWith your own backyard garden, kids are bound to be curious.  My daughter (and friends) love to comb the garden to see what they can pick fresh off the vine.  Your garden can be as simple as a tomato plant in a container – that is how I started several years ago.  Each summer, I try to plant something new so we can practice our gardening skills and expand our taste buds.

7.  Get creative.  When I was a child, I would often come home from school to a message on the counter spelling out ‘I Love You’ in chocolate chips.  Of course, we swallowed them as fast as we could.  Although she used chocolate, the theory could apply to veggies, too.  Here are some great ideas resembling Sesame Street characters with veggies like corn, radish, peas, spinach, tomatoes and carrots.

How do YOU sneak more veggies into your family’s diet?

 

Stains, Stains, Go Away – Come Again Another Day

Or not. I’d be happy if stains just stayed away permanently.

Months ago I almost never had problems with stains.  My girlfriend asked me, ” how is that even possible with two kids”?  I figured it was some “eating with good manners” skill I’ve taught them, making me a stellar parent. Unfortunately, I’m not the amazing parent I imagined. For more than one reason.

So the answer is….my daughter, who is now 4, is old enough to eat (mostly) without spills. And at the time, my son was 6 months old and just starting solid foods so there were few spills.  We were a stain free household and proud of it.  But like they say, “pride comes before a fall” and now that my son is eating finger foods, he’s a mess!  And so are his clothes.

I had some Dreft Stain Remover on hand so I used it and it worked fine but I wanted something a little more eco-friendly.  Toys R Us had a sample of BabyGanics Stain, Stain, Go Away and after dousing shirt after shirt with it – I’m a believer. When it took a coffee stain out of a white shirt that had been sitting in my laundry bin for over a month – I was SOLD. I bought a big bottle and it’s gloriously stored right on my washing machine for daily use.

So ladies, what do you use to get stains out?

 

Turning Cardboard Boxes Into Your Child’s Dream Playhouse

Turning Cardboard into a Playhouse - plans and photos

When I was a kid, my mom threw me a 50’s themed birthday party complete with a jukebox made out of an old refrigerator box.  Once the party was over, it stuck around the house for a month or two while we continued to play with it.  Quite a bit of use for an old refrigerator box that was otherwise bound for the recycling bin.

Now that I have my own kids, I can see how busy a simple cardboard box can keep them. Here’s a few products that help turn a cardboard box into anything your child can imagine.

Mr. McGroovy’s Rivets :I love these tools to make building something out of a cardboard box a little easier and more sturdy. You can download plans with step-by-step instructions to build projects like a firetruck, castle, space ship or lemonade stand.    All you need is a few free cardboard boxes, Mr. McGroovy’s Rivets and markers or paint. For more inspiration, check out the photo gallery where people have shared their project photos.

space-podshark

Makedo : I picked up a Makedo spacepod kit at a garage sale and my 5 year old loved it! It came with instructions, stickers for decorating and over 60 connectors to make the space pod. All I had to do was provide the cardboard. Each construction kit comes with similar items to build projects such as a shark, rally car or elephant.

playhouse

My Very Own House : If building from scratch isn’t your thing, My Very Own House has about a dozen different preprinted designs. This cottage is over 4 feet tall and well loved by toddlers and preschoolers. The outside and inside are white so they can both be decorated. Made from biodegradable, formaldehyde-free cardboard. Include 8 markers.

space-shuttlecastle

 

Box Creations : Another preprinted design but they are more adventurous with pirate ships, space shuttles, carriages and castles. Made in the USA with recycled materials and includes 4 markers.

 

cardboard-boook

The Cardboard Box Book : This book would make a fun gift coupled with a few cardboard boxes and some paints or markers.

 

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful 4 Year Old!

 

My beautiful baby girl,

I couldn’t be more proud of the curious, imaginative, funny and beautiful 4 year old you have become.  You light up every room you are in and are truly the sunshine in our lives. I look forward to each day of adventure and discovery with you.  You constantly challenge me mentally, physically and emotionally and I am a better person because of you. 

I love you to the moon and back,

Mama

 

Bon Ami Cleaning Products

bon ami powder cleanser

Until recently, I had no idea that Bon Ami carried multiple cleaning products.  I’ve used their Polishing Cleanser for years and like I said here, it’s a great safe alternative to Comet or Ajax.   It’s extremely affordable – just over $1 per can.

I’ve been using their other cleaning products for about a month and they are just as good as my favorite Polishing Cleanser (now called Powder Cleanser). In fact, I was actually disappointed when my first bottle of the All-Purpose Cleaner ran out.  It cleans well, has no soapy residue, doesn’t leave any film on my black granite counters and has no smell ( a big plus to me ).

Their Liquid Cleanser is similar to their powdered Polishing Cleanser but easier to use on surfaces like shower walls and tubs.  I’ve been using it in my porcelain kitchen sink because I’m out of the Powder Cleanser and it works just as well.  Tough on cleaning but super gentle.  Gentle enough to use on stainless steel and porcelain without scratching. The consistency is similar to Soft Scrub – so if you’re a Soft Scrub kind of girl – make the switch to Bon Ami Liquid Cleanser – it’s non-toxic and works just as well!

Bon Ami uses safe, simple ingredients that you can pronounce like baking soda, limestone and feldspar – all ingredients in their original formula made in 1886.  They don’t smell fake because they use essential oils for fragrance.

The company has totally updated all their packaging but it’s still got a great classic and clean look (I’m a sucker for cute packaging).  All the cleaning products are also bottled in recycled and recyclable packaging.  Unlike many other green cleaners, Bon Ami is also priced comparably to conventional brands – from just over $1 to $3.99.   You can buy online or find a local retailer.