Category: Holiday Posts

History of Father’s Day
History of Father’s Day

Spokane is the birthplace of “Father’s Day”, even though the first attempted observance of a day honoring dads occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908.  Several other failed attempts occurred, in Chicago, IL in 1911 and Vancouver, WA in 1912.  In 1915, Harry C. Meek claimed to be the originator of “Father’s Day”, and that the third Sunday in June was the chosen day of celebration, because it was Mr. Meek’s birthday.  He strove to promote this day to honor dads.

The truth is that on June 19, 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd held the first Father’s Day celebration at the local YMCA, in Spokane, WA.  She suggested the idea to her pastor, and it was accepted throughout the city.  However, in 1920, Dodd began her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago and ceased promoting the celebration.  A bill was introduced into Congress in 1913, to give Father’s Day national recognition. However, it wasn’t until 1916, that President Woodrow Wilson, while attending a speaking engagement in Spokane during a Father’s Day celebration, decided to make the day an official holiday.  Congress resisted the idea, stating that the day may become too commercialized.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge recommended that Father’s Day be observed nationally, but he didn’t follow through with the needed proclamation.   Margaret Chase Smith, a Senator from Maine, wrote a proposal in 1957 accusing Congress of ignoring fathers, while honoring mothers.  President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation in 1966 honoring fathers, and set aside the third Sunday in June for this celebration.  In 1972, the day finally became a national holiday, when President Richard M. Nixon signed it into law.

Fun activity ideas, in and around the Spokane area, to celebrate Dad’s Day

Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Park

On Father’s Day weekend, Dad’s get into this adventure park for FREE, while other family members need to purchase a ticket at the entrance or on line.  This is a fun-filled day for the entire family to enjoy.

Spokane Craft Brewery Tours

A tour is a great way to try some of the local beers around the city.  There is the “No-Li Brew House” or the “Inland Northwest Ale Trail” offering a few different brewery stops.

Taste World-Class Wines at Maryhill Winery

If a sip of wine is more your taste, this is the place to be.  The special for June is the “Grilling and Chilling” event.  Reservations are required.  Also, there is live entertainment to be enjoyed most weekends, from May until October.

Get Outdoors with Dad

Many men love the great outdoors, and Spokane has a lot to offer, such as hiking the Centennial Trails, or taking a scenic bike ride near the Schweitzer Mountain Resort.  Also, take your dad to the Coeur d’Alene River, to see how the fish are biting.

Live entertainment

Also, there are plenty of live entertainment options, in and around the Spokane area, such as live music or stand-up comedy that your dad may love.

New Years Resolutions for the Whole Family
New Years Resolutions for the Whole Family

There’s no question – The New year’s resolutions we set for ourselves can be overdone, cliche, and downright unrealistic.

Whether it’s gym membership you’re fairly confident you’ll never use, the instrument you got for Christmas you’re determined to master by March (that acoustic guitar should NOT be for collecting dust in the corner, but let’s be real, at least it looks cool) – in no time our once well-intended goals can eventually lead us to feel discouraged, frustrated, and sometimes even with buyer’s remorse (we’re looking at you, $100 dress we said we’d fit into by May!)

But there’s a reason we invest time and money in our resolutions. We know somewhere inside our own mentality that if we have some financial or practical incentive to meet our aspirations (other than just sheer willpower), we will be more likely to complete these goals, or at the very least, not regret setting them.

So we’ve compiled a list of ideas that you as a family can make together that are no “down payment”, commitment-free, resentment-free and can be great ways for you all to bond closer together in 2018.

These are more of ideas than set-in-stone goals; giving you and your family the opportunity to try them out and whether or not they should come to be new rituals in the coming year.

So if you try any of these and fail, there’s no guilt. The most important thing, however, is to keep track of the resolutions you have completed. This will make you and your household feel more accomplished.

Family Resolution Idea #1 –

Have a “good things” jar. Keep it in a visible place that doesn’t blend in with everyday clutter but adds to the aesthetic of your home. Keep it by the front door or television so that it is always in sight. Next to it, place a stack of small strips of paper along with a pen or two. Whenever a milestone is reached, small or big, personal or collectively, remind one another to write them down and put it in the jar. Did dad get a promotion? Did Johnny score his first soccer goal? Did Sarah lose a tooth? Was a new cousin or niece or nephew born? Keep track of all the good events, and on December 31st, 2018, open the jar and read about all the amazing things that happened throughout the year.

Family Resolution Idea #2 –

Choose a day this year (sometime in May or June is usually a good time – school is slowing down for the summer) and play hooky from school and work! Go to a movie, out to lunch, and just have some quality time. Sometimes it feels really good to break the monotony of a tedious daily routine and cut loose. If it’s a hit – and we’re confident it will be) – make it a yearly ritual!

Family Resolution Idea #3 –

Start a weekly tradition. Choose an evening that works for everyone’s schedule and have a movie night, a game night,  a craft night or a night out! If you find it hard to keep consistent, keep it on your calendar, and find the “thing” everyone doesn’t have difficulty committing to.

Family Resolution Idea #4 –

As the years go by, we’re becoming more and more dependent and addicted to technology. Make a conscious effort this year to not check devices during mealtimes. If it helps, put a sign up on the refrigerator or in a place that’s visible from the table to act as a reminder. This will force you to have more genuine interaction and will inevitably bring you closer together!

Family Resolution Idea #5 –

Set a goal to visit a place you’ve never been. Whether its a short road trip off the beaten path, or an airplane across the country – go see it! Travel! Depending on if your kids are older or younger you can personalize the trip, and it will give you all a chance to bond and make memories to last a lifetime. Traveling with small children especially is not easy, so sometimes even making a short trip to visit family is well worth it for relatives who do not get to see them very often.

We hope that you adopt one or more of these ideas into your upcoming year, or they at least gave you some inspiration to set some attainable goals. May you draw closer with your spouse and children and grow together as a family unit this year. Cheers to 2018!

Santa Claus Around the World
Santa Claus Around the World

The general concept of Christmas is quite universal. It most often has to do with Santa Claus, gift giving, spending time with family and spreading joy. However, around the globe Santa is called by many different names, has many faces and is accompanied by a multitude of different traditions. Exploring each countries distinct Christmas celebrations can be a fun way to engage with the world and perhaps give you new Christmas Traditions to explore.

Germany:

Christmas in Germany is a very cozy time of year. The country is known for its numerous Christmas Markets or Christkindlmarkts . Every major city in Germany will have a Christmas Market which is filled with small vendors selling schnitzel, schweinebraten or glüwein (hot wine). They also sell lovely handmade goods from slippers, to woodcarvings, ceramics or hats, scarves and gloves.

Image result for christmas in germany

Santa Claus is called the Weinachtsmann and he is responsible for bringing the Christmas presents which typically come on December 24th not the 25th. There is also someone called the Christkindl, which is not the “Christ child” but is more a Christ-like representation who typically comes in the form of a female angel. The Christkindl is a very popular face of Christmas and in some households, it is responsible for the giving of gifts.

The advent calendar is also a very important German tradition.

France:

The nativity is very popular in France around Christmas as most of the French population identify with the Catholic traditions. You can wish a simple Merry Christmas by saying “Joyeux Noël!” and Santa Claus is called ‘Pere Noël”.

Yule logs typically made out of cherry wood are also a popular Christmas tradition and are burned with splashed of red wine to bring out a nice smell. Christmas dinner is normally eaten late on December 24th and presents await from Pere noel on the 25th.

Japan:

Christmas is a new holiday in Japan and has only begun to be celebrated recently due to the spread of western world traditions. Christmas eve is much more celebrated than Christmas day and is typically thought of as a day for lovers, much like the Valentines tradition. They have taken on eating fried chicken as the preferred Christmas dish followed by  a sponge cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Merry Christmas in Japan is Meri Kurisimasu! Santa is called Santa San or Mister Santa and is typically responsible for the bringing of gifts.

Brazil:

The nativity is also very popular in Brazil around Christmas time. Due to the fact Brazil was ruled by Portugal for many years, the religious practices between the two countries are very much the same.  Going to a midnight mass service on Christmas Eve is very a very common tradition! Children often will leave a sock near the window in hopes that Santa or Papai Noel will find it and exchange the sock for a present.Image result for christmas in brazil

Since it is summer time in Brazil at Christmas time, going to the beach Christmas day is a popular activity. They also have something called the 13th Salary, which comes in December, meaning that everyone makes double the salary that month! This is intended to boost the economy and gift buying for the holidays.

The world is a vast place filled with a myriad of Christmas traditions. Exploring the traditions of countries you have visited, dream of visiting or are just curious about can help give your Christmas’ new perspective and meaning!

Tips to Keep Kids Safe this Halloween
Tips to Keep Kids Safe this Halloween

 

Trick or Treat!


Halloween is a beloved holiday celebrated by most American children around the country. What kid doesn’t like getting free candy? And in copious amounts that will last them for weeks or even months to come?

Some parents opt for more family-friendly traditions, such as harvest festivals, or a celebratory gathering where there are other children. Some families decide not to celebrate at all, as many religions highly discourage parents from letting their children participate in a holiday with known Wiccan roots. However, if you are in the majority, Trick-or-Treating is the go-to practice for millions of children and young adults every October 31st.

 

Use the Buddy System

Up until a certain age, children should obviously be supervised while they go door-to-door at night approaching stranger’s houses. But once they reach an appropriate age (TBD by each parent’s discretion) it is best that kids travel in groups. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many times young preteens and young teens can get caught up in sugar-fueled excitement that they may lose track of their surroundings, and, one or some of their group.

Remind your child to keep an eye on everybody he or she is with. The buddy system goes all ways – everyone watches out for each other.

If someone gets lost or accidentally left behind, agree to have a designated meeting place that is open, and well-lit – such as under a streetlight in a park or a location close to the starting point. Thankfully we live in a more technologically-savvy culture, so sending phones along in case of a problem is also a good idea.

 

Use a Flashlight or a Guiding Light

This is a great tip especially if you have more than one child or more children are coming with you around the neighborhood. Not only will this help a child navigate sidewalks and spot low-hanging branches, but it will aid the parents or the adult supervising in spotting where they are at all times.

If children are unaccompanied by an adult or older sibling, this should also aid their group in staying together and being aware of each other at all times.

 

Candy-Check

Unfortunately, not everybody can be trusted. When your child has finished Trick-or-Treating, regardless of age, have them pour out their candy into a pile. It is important that the stash be examined for any kind of obvious tampering, such as an opened wrapper; in which case the piece should be tossed out. While a lot of times this is accidental, it is good to use precaution. If you find a sweet that is not in commercial packaging or appears to be homemade, unless you trust the person from whose house it came, THROW IT AWAY. Homemade candy is not really acceptable in this day in age, and for obvious reasons.

With food allergies, make sure upon reading the ingredients that the food is not anywhere in the candy. In cases of incredibly sensitive peanut allergies, many times the label will tell you whether or not the treat was manufactured in an environment where peanuts were present. This is good information, especially if your child cannot even be near peanuts without have some sort of reaction.

 

“Treat”-ing While Trick-or-Treating

It is best that children do not eat candy while going door-to-door – especially for smaller children, as this can pose a choking hazard. Instead, send your child out after dinner or make sure they have a snack in their stomach before they head out. This way, kids will not be as tempted to begin eating any of the candy until after it has been inspected.

We hope these tips and ideas can keep your kiddos safe this Halloween, but also not hinder any fun there is to be had! For more information, visit:

www.esfi.org

www.fda.gov 

Is Your Child Nervous to Go Back to School?
Is Your Child Nervous to Go Back to School?

Jitters. Anxiousness. Butterflies.

Whatever you or your child calls it, going back to school after a long summer can be scary. Being in a season where kids are not around their peers 25-30 hours a week and then having to go back can seem daunting, especially when they’ll have a new teacher, new curriculum, and possibly brand new peers as well.

Most of worries children experience are totally unrelated to ours. Kids have their own stress; their own ways they feel unprepared or inadequate – whether that be in academics, the social structures amongst students, or even just learning how to balance a schedule again.

Your child may not fit into this category – some relish the back-to-school shopping, new notebooks and pencils. Others can seem indifferent. But many children can appear frightened or even resistant to the first week of September. This does not necessarily mean that they will struggle as a student – in fact, many of the ones that are anxious are actually that way because they have a desire to perform well but are worried they will fall short.

“What if I don’t know the answer when a teacher calls on me?”
“Who will I sit next to?”
“What if I get lost and can’t find my classroom?”

Whatever the woes may be, here are some ideas on how to prepare your child for school and ease their anxiety.

Consistency

Kids may not know how to articulate this, but structure, consistency, and predictability are huge during child development. Not knowing what to expect at school or having way too much variety can detract from a child’s learning and peace of mind because they are constantly working to adapt.

That’s why it’s a good idea to start implementing small elements of structure and consistency into the regular everyday before school starts. This could look like, but isn’t limited to:

– Eating breakfast every day (even if it is not at the same time)
– Going to bed around the same time (notice we say “around” – it is more difficult in the summer for sure!)
– Setting an alarm clock in the morning a few minutes earlier every day until it is back up to school time
– Having (or helping!) your child pick out their clothes every night before bed so they know what they’ll wear the next day 

Talking it Out

Encourage your child to talk through their fears and mention specifically what might be bothering them. Tell them it’s normal to have concerns and it’s okay to be scared. Sometimes they may not want to admit this in front of other people, so maybe seeking a private place to have these discussions might help your child open up if they are having difficulty doing so.

Make Plans and To-Do Lists

When your child voices their fears, it is easy for adults who have been there to say, “You’ll be fine!” or “There’s absolutely nothing to worry about!” Validating your child’s concerns is very important, not only because it shows you care but that you can relate to some degree. Ask questions for clarification and to show you’re listening.

Then, help them come up with ideas of a game plan for any specific hypothetical predicament that worries them. This can stand as an excellent teachable moment both in critical thinking and problem-solving.

For example, if one issue is about finding the bus, practice walking to the bus stop together or finding out what number the bus will be.

If one of their fears is about forgetting their lunch in the before school, create a morning checklist of things they must do before leaving the house.

These ideas and more can help your child feel more prepared for school and every aspect it entails. For more information or more ideas in helping your child, go to www.anxietybc.com

Where Did the Tooth Fairy Come From?
Where Did the Tooth Fairy Come From?

The typical American childhood can have an element of magic and wonder when the trifecta of all mystical characters come to call: Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

Can you remember when you were a child, anxiously waiting for Santa Claus? It seems that good old Saint Nick has a whole subculture of the Christmas season dedicated to him; with movies, songs, and rituals based around his appearance in every home on Christmas Eve.

Then there’s the Easter Bunny. Although not as prominent, children can get their picture taken with the rabbit in certain malls and shops, similar to Santa. Many parents put together an Easter basket for their children which frequently include references to the Easter Bunny (bunny-shaped candies, eggs, etc).  Both characters have also been branded by Coca-Cola, Cadbury, and other national corporations. Yet the Tooth Fairy is a very unique legend, as she only comes into conversation around the years children are losing teeth, and baby teeth can fall out at any time during the year. 

A Little History

It is very interesting how widespread this tradition is; the concept is actually centuries old and all over the world. It’s probably because most cultures view the loss of baby teeth as a coming of age or a rite of passage. Not only that, but losing teeth can be such a new and sometimes painful experience for kids. The idea of a Tooth Fairy (or a Tooth Mouse, if you’re in Europe) helps to normalize the new experience and helps it be not as scary. Cute tooth fairy vector

The act of saving children’s teeth can be dated as far back as medieval Europe. In the 17th century, not a fairy, but a mouse, was used as a character in France called Le Petite Souris (The Little Mouse), which would pay a child when its 6th tooth fell out. Some cultures have also used beavers, squirrels, and even cats and dogs for the ritual. Then there’s early Norse tradition, in which there was instead a “tooth fee” that was paid to a parent when their child lost their first tooth.

In Modern America

While the Tooth Mouse or other practices have been common for centuries, the idea of a Tooth Fairy was actually coined during a radio broadcast in the 1970s in Chicago by a DJ. After that, the American Dental Association was hounded by listeners with call after call about the so-called mythological character, and had several inquiries about her backstory.

Now, while the tradition of placing a tooth under your pillow was already a common practice in the United States (as well as even leaving notes for her), it was after this point that the popularity of the Tooth Fairy skyrocketed and became its own entity and gained a cultural following – with the help of an unlikely individual.

Rosemary Wells, a now-famous children’s author, was a college professor at the time this broadcast occurred. She was baffled by the response, so she took on an extensive project that included lots of research and writing magazine articles about the aforementioned history of how saving children’s teeth to be retrieved by a small creature came into existence. She surveyed parents about their rituals and published her findings. Wells became known as the Tooth Fairy Consultant, and ten years later opened up a museum out of her home in Illinois dedicated to the sprite.

Today, the Tooth Fairy is a well-known American tradition, with films, songs, and television shows branding her as a true icon for children going through a normal and inevitable change. Kids can react to this change a number of different ways; with fear of pain or loss, being grossed out, or even self-consciousness of having holes in their smile. Thankfully, the Tooth Fairy is there to add some excitement and incentive to wiggling those loose teeth! Reports say that on average, the Tooth Fairy pays up up to $3.70 a tooth, so teach your kiddos to save up!

Keeping Kids Hydrated this Summer
Keeping Kids Hydrated this Summer

It’s springtime!

As the weather warms up and the weeks pass, your kids might be counting down the days until summer vacation with jittery anticipation.

Like other seasons, summer especially can require extra accommodations when leaving the house – sunscreen, hats to protect faces and heads – but one of the most important is carrying water in order to stay hydrated.

Kids’ bodies have a higher metabolism and do not cool off as efficiently as adults do. Not only that, children are typically caught up in activities or playing to even realize they’re thirsty until they’re already significantly dehydrated. This is why it’s important to get them in the habit of drinking fluids consistently.

Studies show that proper hydration can even begin with a morning meal or the night before if you are anticipating a hectic day ahead. A large glass of water with dinner or breakfast can be effective, but it’s also a commonality that kids prefer sweet and flavoured beverages over water, and drink up to 90 percent more when it is offered to them. If this seems to be the case with your child, stick with Gatorade and other drinks high in electrolytes – juices or soda can actually lead to a faster dehydration.

Infants, children, and pets can be the most susceptible to heat stroke, a condition where the body temperature rises to a dangerous level and can cause death or lasting damage if not treated. Here are the symptoms to keep an eye out for:

– Confusion/disorientation

– Nausea

– Vomiting

If your child exudes one or more of these obvious symptoms, seek shade or an air-conditioned room immediately. Once they are out of the sun and begin to rehydrate, contact a medical professional right away and they will probably require you to take your child to a nearby clinic or urgent care to be examined.

Severe hypothermia (heat-related illness), can be defined as a body temperature at 104 (40 celsius) or higher, which can be lethal. Less critical issues can be similar conditions like heat exhaustion or heat cramps; and while these are not considered a medical emergency, they can spiral into sun stroke if not treated.
Cute boy eating watermelon on beach
Remember, all of this can be avoided if the proper precautions are taken. The AAP suggests 5 ounces of water every twenty minutes (just a couple sips) for an 88 pound child and 9 ounces for kids and teenagers up to 123 pounds. If this seems like a lot of water breaks, try offering a popsicle to your kid instead. Diet can also play a factor – fruits and vegetables are loaded with not only vitamins and minerals, but contain water as well. Eating foods high in water content can reduce the need for frequent (five times an hour) water breaks, although this does not mean drinking water throughout the day should cease being a habit!

 

(Sources: http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/outdoor/keeping-kids-hydrated/
http://www.medicinenet.com/heat_stroke/article.htm)
Fun Gardening Ideas for Kids
Fun Gardening Ideas for Kids

Spring has sprung! With the long winter behind and warm weather ahead, now is the time kids will start playing outside more and more. Why not show them an outdoor hobby that could be a valuable skill for the rest of their life?

Gardening and landscaping are a great skill set to have because both are great for recreational and commercial purposes. Whether you already grow your own vegetables, herbs, or maybe have only a few plants around the house, having greenery near or inside the home has proven benefits. Cultivate the interest with your children now – they may just have a green thumb!






Here are some fun and easy gardening ideas for kids:



 

Egg Carton Greenhouse Via Hazel and Company eggcartontute4

Egg cartons make excellent containers for soil. They are just absorbent enough to prevent the dirt becoming waterlogged. Simply pour soil in the carton so that it is about half-full (enough to still see the dividers that go between the eggs). Place the seeds on the top soil, and gently press them in (depending on the seeds you buy, it may say on the packaging to plant slightly deeper). Then water the soil thoroughly.

When the carton appears to have mostly dried, wrap plastic wrap around the carton. This creates a  “greenhouse” effect because moisture stays in the soil longer. This means the seeds will not have to be watered again until after they have sprouted.

The greatest part is that egg cartons fit most standard window sills, so they can get as much sun as possible. What is more, if it gets knocked over there is no mess!

 

KitchenScrap-300x300Avocado Pit Planting  via KidsGardening.Org

Take an avocado pit and let it dry out for a few days. Then, take three toothpicks and poke them on all sides of the pit to suspend it over a cup of water. This is particularly neat for kids to watch because it does not take long to see sprouting out the top! Make sure it is not submerged but that the water comes up at only about half.


Once the pit has sprouted, pot the plant in fresh soil and watch it grow!


Herb Terranium via Feels Like Home Blog

Terraniums are fun, beautiful, and you do not have to wait for them to grow – this might be a good idea for kids who are easily bored or impatient! This particular terranium can be completed for under 15 dollars in less than an hour! how-to-make-a-terrarium-add-moss

Start off with a large jar or fishbowl – any glass container that has an easily accessible top. From there, buy two or more small plants or herbs you’d like to put in the terranium. Either find some gravel from around your yard or go out and buy some, and place it at the bottom of the jar.

Next, you’re going to want to separate the soil from the gravel. This can be done by using the mesh bags similar to the ones gravel or fish rocks come in. If you did not have to purchase either of these items, other mesh materials like pantyhose will work. From there, pour the soil on top so that water can go through but soil does not get trapped in the rocks. This is because a glass bowl is impermeable, and the plants will drown if there is no draining system.

If you would like to add moss, it can be found in sidewalk cracks, trees, or perhaps other areas of your backyard. While it is not mandatory, it really brings the whole look together. Before placing the moss into the terrarium, be sure to soak the dirt side in water so that the soil can bond together. 

Before planting, try a few arrangements to see what would look best. Once you have planted them, be sure to water them right away and then add decorations if desired (rocks, shells, etc).

 

10 New Years Resolutions for Children that Will Inspire You Too
10 New Years Resolutions for Children that Will Inspire You Too

The phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” around this time of year can be downright cringe-worthy to hear for some of us.

Every January 1st comes and goes, and according to the polls the most commonly set resolutions are to eat healthier, lose weight, and spend more time with family. While innately these are great things, and should be desired anyway, there are some that just go gung-ho with their goals and are not realistic with themselves.

You can picture it now: hundreds of people signing contracts to gym memberships they will hardly ever use, nicotine patches going on sale for those who are determined to quit smoking by February, and local markets experiencing higher inventory demand due to the compulsion of individuals who have suddenly decided to “only buy organic from now on.”

It’s tradition. It’s cultural. You might be concerned about the idea of your child falling into the world’s dangerous mindset that they need to look or behave a certain way now that there is a different number on the calendar. It is for this reason we’ve compiled some noteworthy New Year’s resolutions children have set for themselves – and we hope they will encourage you to help your children set their own!

father and daughter looking fireworks in the evening sky

Do not confuse a resolution with a rule, like “go to bed on time” or “finish your homework every night” –  this is a given. A resolution is something out of the ordinary, going beyond every day expectation, yet still leading to stretching and self-improvement.  However, ensure that these are attainable, or at least reasonable goals. If there are too many, or something that the child is not interested in at all, certainly encourage it, but do not press it. Make sure these are things you BOTH want! The best part about this will be engaging your child to discuss where they are at, what they want to accomplish, and to not just help them be what they want to be “when they grow up”, but to stand by and help them grow here and now. 

No more than 2 or 3 resolutions are really necessary. They could be centered around your child’s health, character, or physical challenges.

Once they have been made, print them in bold letters on a sheet of paper and tape it to your child’s wall. This will be a constant reminder for them to continue and pursue their goals.

Here are some ideas:

    1. Pledge to set aside at least 15 minutes every day to read (either alone or with a parent) outside of school. Before bed is usually a good time.
    2. Set a goal to make a new friend (or two!) at school or a regular activity.
    3. Pick one day out of the week (Saturday is probably best) and let that be your “candy day”. From now on, you cannot have candy any other day of the week!
    4. Practice complimenting at least one person per day.
    5. Try a new sport, after school activity, or hobby and practice it consistently for at least 3 months.
    6. (For girls) Grow out hair long enough to donate to Locks of Love.
    7. Practice limiting video games to only 30 minutes on weekdays and NO phones whatsoever at the dinner table.
    8. Learn how to do a new chore (mowing the lawn, sorting laundry) and alternate doing them alongside siblings or parents.
    9. Find foreign language flashcards and memorize the basic site words.
    10. Donate a bag full of toys you no longer want or play with to a local shelter or children’s hospital.

 

Any of these can be adjusted to fit both the goals your child wants to set and the amount of effort you want to spend in holding them accountable. Having these goals in visible view is key, whether they be on the refrigerator, in their locker, or hanging up in their bedroom. If one of their resolutions is not recurring and has been completed, check it or cross it off the list. This will give your child a feeling of accomplishment, and will hopefully inspire them to set another!

Happy New Year!

 

Holiday Snacks for Healthy Smiles

Apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, fudge brownies – oh my!

‘Tis the season for incredible sweets and frosted delights. Statistically, the average person gains anywhere from 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and no wonder! Sugary treats are an integral part of holiday tradition, and not just in the United States either.

Sugar and even excess carbohydrates can cause harm to little teeth! Even if you do a good job of monitoring your child’s treat intake intake this time of year, there will be so many times exceptions are to be made. Family parties, cookie decorating with friends, and the constant aroma baked goods coming from the kitchen at grandma or auntie’s house. These various occasions take place virtually only once a year and with family members rarely visited.

Whatever the traditions in your home, and the homes of your loved ones, these are often recipes that have brought family together for generations.

Instead of bagging these traditions, you can always create new ones in the midst of them. Here are some amazing, healthy, and fun foods to make – that are no less Christmasy! These can be excellent alternatives when you are unhappy with your number on the scale or concerned about your children’s constant “sugar highs” that they can be more prone to this time of year.

(***Please note that not every option is 100% free of processed sugar. All recipes have been credited to their various authors.)Grinch-Party-1r

  1. Grinch Food Kabobs (via Clean and Scensible)

Tiny marshmallows, green grapes, thin banana slices, and strawberries, arranged on a toothpick. Be sure to cut off the top and bottom in the strawberry, and use the scraps for a fruit salad to avoid waste! Makes for a great afternoon snack, and easy to eat on the go. Can be refrigerated for later.

  1. Pita Tree Appetizers (via Betty Crocker)

Ingredients: 4 pita folds or pita bread roughly 6” across, pretzel sticks (halved), ½ cup of fat-free sour cream, ½ cup guacamole, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper.

pita-trees
First, be sure to toast each piece of pita bread, and then slice it into eighths. Insert pretzel sticks halfway through the bottom of each pita triangle. Mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley, garlic-pepper blend, and spread onto squares. Sprinkle the diced red peppers on top and refrigerate to store.  Pita Tree Appetizers – perfect for any Christmas party!

3. Fruit Candy Canes
 (via Nourishing Minimalism)

Very simple, with so many variations! For a traditional looking candy cane, thinly slice strawberries and bananas at a slight angle. Keep rounded ends of each fruit and put them off to the side. Create a curved cane by alternating fruit and top each end off. Serve on a plate and enjoy!

fruit candy cane 1

4. Rudolph Pancakes (via Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons)

Totally straightforward! You will need pancake mix (whichever recipe you prefer), creamed whip in a can, strawberries, preferred bacon, and chocolate chips. Maple syrup optional. Create two round pancakes of different sizes and stack them as pictured. Then pour 2 ear-shaped tiny pancakes and set them to the sides of the bigger pancake. Take two full strips of bacon for the antlers, then cut a third bacon strip in half to “branch” off of the original antler. Add more if desired.  For the face, spray 2 dollops of whipped cream and top it off with 2 chocolate chips to create the eyes. For the red nose, add a strawberry or raspberry at the center of the smaller pancake. Perfect for a Christmas breakfast!

Rudolph-Pancakes-Breakfast_PM

5. Dipped Apple Slices (via PartyCity)

Cut green and red apples into thin slices. To prevent slices from browning, first add lemon juice. Take melted chocolate (or white chocolate) and dip each slice halfway, then set it on wax paper to cool. While chocolate is still liquid, add festive sprinkles to stick and harden. Arrange in a row or in a circle and serve!

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For more ideas, visit Pinterest and be sure to swap recipes with other moms! They will definitely appreciate the ideas to go easier on the sugar this year!