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Quick Recipes For Kids

It is important that children learn how to be self-sufficient. Independence is a skill and it is vital that kids learn how to take care of themselves as they get older. At a certain age, this can come to mean brushing their teeth on their own or even feeding themselves, too. It is up to a parent to decide whether their child can use tools like the stove or oven, but with supervision kids can easily learn to handle these appliances safely and responsibly. Plus, recipes with healthy ingredients can have other benefits, too. Kids are more likely to try something new or eat something healthy if they have a part in preparing it.

Before your child has any ambitions of joining the kid’s version of Chopped, here are some quick and easy recipes for snacks, small meals, and appetizers that they can get started with.

Mini Pepper Pizzas

TOTAL TIME: 0:30

LEVEL: EASY

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 bell peppers, halved and cored
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. pizza sauce
  • 2 c. shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 c. mini pepperoni
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350°. On a sheet tray, drizzle peppers with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spoon sauce onto each pepper half. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan and top with pepperoni. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the peppers are crisp-tender and the cheese is melted. Garnish with parsley.

Chicken Avocado Roll-Ups

TOTAL TIME: 0:20

PREP: 0:20

LEVEL: EASY

SERVES: 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 avocados, cubed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 c. Shredded chicken
  • 1 bell peppers, seeds and cores removed, chopped
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Shredded Monterey Jack
  • 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped chives
  • 4 large flour tortillas

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl, combine avocado and lime juice and mash until only small chunks of avocado remain. Add chicken, bell pepper, red onion, Monterey Jack, cheddar, sour cream and chives and stir until evenly combined. Spread a thin layer of the chicken avocado mixture onto a large tortilla, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the tortilla up tightly, then cut off the edges and slice into 1” rolls. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Earth Cookies

TOTAL TIME: 0:20

PREP: 0:10

LEVEL: EASY

YIELD: 20 COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag sugar cookie mix, plus ingredients called for on package
  • 6 drops each blue and green food coloring

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375º and line two baking sheets with parchment. Prepare sugar cookie mix per package directions. Divide cookie dough into bowls and color one bowl with blue food coloring and the other with green food coloring. Pull out pieces from each color and start shaping into a ball, patching if necessary to create an Earth effect. Place cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets and bake 8 to 9 minutes (try to prevent browning).

Donut Apples

TOTAL TIME: 0:15

PREP: 0:15

LEVEL: EASY

YIELD: 15

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened, cut into thirds
  • 2 tsp. honey, divided
  • 1/2 c. melted chocolate
  • 1-2 drops pink food coloring
  • 3 apples
  • Assorted sprinkles, for decorating

DIRECTIONS

Divide cream cheese among three small bowls. In one bowl, add 1 teaspoon honey. In another bowl, add melted chocolate. In the last bowl, add remaining teaspoon honey and pink food coloring. Stir each bowl together until combined. Slice apples and use a biscuit or cookie cutter to hollow out centers. Spread mixtures on apple slices and top with sprinkles.

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

YIELD: 4

SERVINGS PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES

COOK TIME: 20 MINUTES

TOTAL TIME: 30 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Salad in a Jar

INGREDIENTS

  • Your choice of veggies, meats, fruits and cheeses
  • Your choice of dressing
  • Optional: crackers, crisps, etc.
  • Mason Jar

DIRECTIONS

For softer foods like the avocados and ham, you can show your child how to cut them up. The avocado was cut using a butter knife and ham with scissors. Tip: scissors work great for helping little hands “chop” up foods vs. using knives. Lay out all your ingredients on one large platter so they’ll be easier to layer. Ask your child to start layering (see steps above). You want to start with the dressing first so it doesn’t get the other foods too soggy. Add 2-3 tablespoons of dressing. Then start layering from the heaviest to lightest foods ending with the salad greens. Example layer from bottom to top: dressing, carrots, ham, peas, corn, avocados, strawberries, greens.

Salads can be refrigerated and kept till later, packed away in a bag for lunch or a snack, or eaten right away. Just shake to mix when you’re ready to eat!

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Whether to Homeschool or Not?

Homeschooling has become more mainstream in recent years, but it is still a rare thing in today’s world. As education becomes more widely available to people from all walks of life, homeschooling is still a thought on many parents’ minds. There are many reasons why parents and caregivers may choose to go the homeschooling route, but there are certain things that you need to keep in mind if you are thinking of doing the same for your children.

Define Your Priorities

For many parents, it is their ideology that drives them to consider homeschooling. If there is a particular set of ideas and values that you would like to impart to your child that they may not receive in another setting, then this is the first thing you have to do. Not only will it help you ultimately make a decision but it can also help shape the way you approach homeschooling if you go down that route.

Know Who You Are

In the same vein as above, it helps for parents and guardians to figure out who they are and what their approach to homeschool is. There are a lot of stereotypes out there, but ultimately you are your own person and your approach to homeschooling will be entirely your own. Knowing what your goals are and what your approach will be can help you make a decision, however, it will have a huge impact on how you go about educating your children as well.

Get Acquainted with Curriculum

Even though you will have more control over what your child learns and how they go about doing so, learning more about curriculum styles and requirements can provide you with guidelines when it comes time to creating your own curriculum for your child. Give yourself some homework and read up on the educational philosophies of homeschooling. Certain ideas and approaches may jump out at you and resonate with your thoughts on homeschooling and why you want to consider it in the first place.

Define Your Time

As a homeschooler, you will need to dedicate a lot of your own time to educating your child, but there are other types of time you may need to allocate as well. For many kids, school is more than just about education but it is also about activity and socialization. It is important that parents take these important types of developmental time into consideration before making a tentative schedule of your own. Will you be able to handle scheduling learning time with these other activities? Doing so can help your child become more well-rounded and aid them when it comes to developing key physical and social skills, so it is vital to keep these other types of learning in mind.

How Will You Support It?

This is perhaps a more pertinent question for parents choosing homeschooling over public schooling, but in any case, homeschooling is a full time job. It demands time, supplies, and resources, too. Parents who might otherwise send their child to private school can allocate those designated funds to support homeschooling, but since public school does not require tuition, the time and effort put into it will need to come from somewhere.

There are many things that parents need to consider before homeschooling. For some, it is a personal choice whereas for other parents, kids with special needs (whether they be related to medical requirements and limitations or learning and behavioral disabilities) or with special circumstances may get the most out of homeschooling because of their needs or because of accessibility. There are plenty of resources for parents to check out, and sometimes medical professionals can offer advice if the choice to homeschool is related to a child’s medical or behavioral needs. Reach out to others, gather differing opinions and ideas, and try to make an educated decision before taking the leap.

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Creative Ways To Get Your Kids Reading During the Summer

Summer vacation should be full of fun and excitement, and for some kids, these concepts don’t always align with the idea of reading. For kids who already love to read, getting them to read over the summer can be a no brainer, and for certain children it may take no work at all. But for reluctant readers, it is important that parents make sure that reading remains a mainstay in their child’s lives. Studies have shown that children who do not read over the summer, especially when in elementary school and in early grades, may get knocked down a reading level or two. By reading consistently, kids can stay at the reading level that is appropriate for their grade and age. Here are some tips on getting kids excited about reading.

Focus on Adventure

Summer is often when families go out on vacation or take long trips. Vacations can be exciting and are often filled with new experiences, so take the spirit of vacation and books into the mix. Encourage kids to research the place your family is planning on visiting this summer. Even if you are unable to go on vacation, kids can explore other places, whether it is distant parts of the world, or fictional realms, all through the power of books. With this criteria in mind, scour the shelves of your local library or bookstore to see what you can find.

Motivation is Key

Children don’t just need to be reading books over the summer they need to be reading the right ones. One of the most important factors when it comes to any activity is the willingness to actually do it. Try not to push books on kids or pick out certain titles only because you think they’re interesting. Sure, providing some suggestions can certainly help, but it is important that kids want to read what they like, and making that choice on their own is one foolproof way to ensure that.

When it comes to making your own suggestions, keep your child’s interests in mind. Provide them with books on activities or subjects you already know they like. A love of learning is likely to inspire them to pick up books on other topics, too, but pushing overly educational books or books kids are simply not interested in can have the opposite effect than the one you’re going for.

Look Local

Whether you make a point of regularly visiting the local library with your child or have them tag along to the bookstore at the mall, making books easily accessible and within reach can help to pique their interests. Many libraries offer programs for kids during the summer months or after school that focus on reading but may also include activities like crafts and games that go hand-in-hand with the reading material.

Get Creative

If your child has other interests, whether it’s drawing, performing, or even talking a lot, you can incorporate these interests into the act of reading. Does your child like to doodle? Have them create illustrations for a book without any pictures. Is your child a movie star in the making? Encourage them to put on a play version of the last book they read for the family. Do they like to hear the sound of their own voice? See if they’ll record themselves reading a book aloud as if they are a radio announcer or an audiobook narrator. There are plenty of ways in which reading can be dynamic, especially if other activities are thrown into the mix.

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