Healthier Snack Ideas for Kids

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There are decent granola bar options for kids to snack on.I decided to sit my kids down the other day to see if I could figure out some healthier snacking options for them.  I started off by asking them what their favorite junk foods are.  My oldest said, “the middle of those chocolate sandwich cookies, chocolate caramel pretzel granola bars, lattes (He’s joking, he’s never had a latte.  That I am aware of.) and ice cream.  My youngest said, “ice cream, any kind of chocolate, pretty much all candy and gummy fruit snacks.”  I wasn’t surprised by their answers.  And that was a good starting point for trying to give them better options while still getting a little bit of what they want.  What do you think your kids would say?

Both of my kids love chocolate so I try to cut down the amount they get by pairing it with fruit or pretzels. Studies show that dark chocolate has good properties, right?  And moderation is the key.  So I am fine including chocolate in their snacking.  But I make sure that it isn’t the entire snack and that I pair it with fruit or pretzels, both of which go AMAZING with dark chocolate.  This way, they aren’t eating an entire chocolate bar, or a bunch of chocolate candy, but getting a little to satisfy their cravings.

Dried fruit can take the place of high sugar gummy snacks.My youngest would happily survive on gummy snacks if I let him.  So I decided to try swapping them with straight up dried fruit.  While there is still a lot of sugar in dried fruit, there isn’t all the other funky chemicals like in those crazy-colored, super chewy fruit gummies.  At least I am pretty sure there isn’t all that other stuff in there…

sunflower seeds make a healthier snack for kids but is still crunchy with some salt.Sometimes they ask for chips or sugar cereals for a snack.  Due to food allergies, we can’t give them nuts, but salted sunflower seeds are a great substitute.  They are crunchy and salty with good fats which their little bodies need.  I, on the other hand, need to be careful with these in the house because I want to eat them by the spoonful.  So yummy.

sunbutter and banana "quesadilla" is a great after school snack idea.When they get home from school I like to give them a snack that is a little bit more hearty.  If I don’t, I find they ask for more food several times leading up to dinner.  For this snack I make Sunbutter and banana “quesadillas”.  There is no cheese in these, they just look like a quesadilla.  The Sunbutter is a great substitute for peanut butter (dumb allergies) and the banana is a nice sweet touch.  You can make it even a little bit more decadent by spraying a non-stick pan with a little bit of spray oil and then grilling it up.  Oh man.  Try this.   [Read more…]

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Buccaneer Cove opens at Boomers in Irvine

*My family was treated to an afternoon of water-ific fun at the new Buccaneer Cove at Boomers in Irvine.  All opinions are mine.

Welcome-to-Buccaneer-Cove-at-Boomers-IrvineTo say the boys were excited about getting to try out the new Buccaneer Cove area at Boomers in Irvine was an understatement.  They couldn’t wait to get there.  We first heard about the new water slide area when we were playing miniature golf at Boomers right after school ended for summer.  And, of course, you can see the brightly colored slides right from the 405 freeway.  They couldn’t wait to see what it was all about.

shark-statue-at-buccaneer-coveBut first we made a new friend.

water-play-area-at-Buccaneer-CoveBuccaneer Cove has a huge water play area in the center of the enclosed park which is surrounded on one side by cabanas and chairs and on the other side by the water slide tower.  The cabanas need to be reserved ahead of time but are a really great idea for those of you who want or need to be in a bit of shade.  It was easy to watch little kids play in this area, but be warned it is very easy to get wet here and if you need to chase after your kids for any reason, you most certainly will have to go directly through this area. So wear a suit!  Even if you aren’t planning to get wet.  You will.

yellow-water-slide-at-Buccaneer-Cove-IrvineThere are 5 water slides, one of which is perfect for toddlers and smaller kids.  You must be 36″ tall to ride the other four slides.  3 are covered and 1 is open air.  There are no “pool” at the bottom of the slides so being a strong swimmer is not necessary.  There are also several workers operating the slides and they are really great about safety and getting kids out of the way of the next rider.  I was pretty impressed with them.  [Read more…]

New Flor Rug Brightens my Dining Room

*I was a sent a rug from Flor. A freaking rug. It is so awesome. I want you all to be aware that they sent it to me (as the FTC requires) but I also want you to know my unbiased opinion of the Flor rug…I heart the heck out of it.
plain dining spaceWe have been VERY slow to decorate our new house.  I want to decorate every single room.  With new pieces.  So it has become too expensive, overwhelming and well, I’ve just stopped.  So this had been our dining area.  This old blue rug was so plain and with the bare walls, the space was just so boring!  So Flor offered me a rug to brighten up the space.  DONE.  Send that bad boy over.

FLor-tiles-to-installSo I just went for it.  I don’t think I looked at their site for more than a few moments before I found the look I wanted.  Oops, I forgot to ask my husband for his opinion.  I had been looking at rugs online for a month and couldn’t decide on one.  But when I saw this, I just knew!  I had to have it.   And spoiler alert, my husband ended it up liking it too.

laying-out-the-pattern-for-our-flor-rugI put the rug together in about 20 minutes, one evening, while the kids were out playing in the front yard.  It was super easy to lay out the tiles and figure out my pattern (this rug used 4 different  patterns but you could also find one that just uses one pattern and wouldn’t require any preplanning of the design).

installing-our-flor-rug

It was SO easy to put together.  Their little stickers are marked to make lining the tiles up super easy.  And the adhesive is designed to get stickier, later.  So you literally can’t screw it up.  I love things like that!

Flor bright rugAnd now my dining room is bright and fun.  I had wanted to put up some art on the walls prior to shooting this so the room would be 100% done.  But the hubs and I couldn’t agree.  So now there is custom framing that needs to happen.  That could take a while.  So just imagine this room with super rad art on it.

rainbow and black and white stripesI kind of love this rug so much.  You might remember I am in a huge black and white phase right now and I don’t think I could have found a rug pattern that let me have my stripes but also brought the color.  And how darling does my new runner from A Sunny Afternoon look?!  I had to have it when I saw it.  I knew it would go perfectly with my rug!

candy-maniacsAnd like moths to a flame my kids found the candy I put out for my little dining room shoot.

mouth-full-of-candyAnd ate a lot of it.

death-by-candyMaybe a little too much.

FLOR-rug-tiles-for-the-dining-roomBut I am pretty much a total dork.  I put the tiles with the most white in two of my most high traffic areas, by the kitchen door and by the back door.  But I am totally not freaked out because I could always just swap them with more colorful tiles just by cutting the sticker and using a new one to secure the tile in its new location.  Same thing with stains, since the rug is under our table and all.  If I had to, I could always order a new tile to replace a really soiled on.  Just one tile.  Not a whole new rug.  GENIUS!

When it comes to sponsored posts, I truly am a consumer first.  I had always be curious about the Flor system and was so grateful to have a chance to try it out first hand.  They gave me a rug but I really got so much more.  They helped me feel more like myself in my own home.  They helped me want to invite people in to my home again and helped make the dining room not feel like the last place on earth I want to be.  So in my opinion, this was a remarkable experience for me and I truly love the rug!

Breyers New Ice Cream Toppings

*Sponsored post.  About the new dessert toppings from Breyers.  I received compensation, ice cream and happy memories.

Breyer-ice-cream-sundae-partyWho doesn’t love an ice cream sundae?  If you answered that question positively I’m going to need you to step away from your computer and go do something else.  First off, you are a liar and second, ice cream is the BEST!  Due to food allergies, my family rarely has ice cream in the house.  But when Breyers asked if I wanted to try out their new ice cream toppings I said, “Duh!”  And instantly knew it would be the perfect excuse to have little ice cream sundae party with our neighbors.

Breyers real fruit dessert toppingsBreyers now has these real fruit toppings in 3 flavors.  Cherry is totally my favorite!  For some reason I have had a hankering for cherry pie but have yet to have it!  This helped me fill that void.  For the moment.

squeezable breyers ice cream toppingsAny good sundae has some sort of sauce.  We got to try out hot fudge, chocolate and caramel.  These cool new containers are microwavable and so easy to use.

breyers rainbow sprinklesAnd let’s not forget the sprinkles!  I adore the colors in these rainbow sprinkles.  But a sundae ain’t a sundae without chocolate sprinkles.  Luckily Breyers sent those too.  The party is saved!

breyers fruit toppingsMinds were blown the evening that I started setting out all the toppings on the front lawn.  I did get a bit of the side eye when I told them I had to take some pictures first…

breyers chocolate sauce ice cream topping I loved that the kids could easily squeeze their sauce on their sundae themselves.  I’m totally mess averse so this made me want to hug Breyers.

neighborhood ice cream sundae partyWe helped the kids get their sundaes together.

breyers ice cream spinklesAnd quietly prayed there would be sprinkles left.  Have you ever handed an open sprinkles container to a kid?

breyers caramel sauceThen it was our turn to make our sundaes.

ice cream sundae partyIt had been SO long since I had an ice cream sundae.  I think we will definitely be making sundaes all summer long.

ice cream sundaes for summer funThe kids (and adults) really enjoyed trying out the new Breyers products.  To clarify, the Breyers toppings were not ok for my son with food allergies to have.  It was very easy to have his own sundae ingredients on hand though so he didn’t miss out.

Have you seen these in your store?  You should totally pick them up.  Your kids and your stomach will thank you.

*This is a sponsored post for Breyers new dessert toppings.  They are delicious and I loved every minute of trying them out.  For more information and a coupon, check out their site.

My kids ARE Creative!

pretend fightingMost of the time my two boys are just that.  Boys.  They are spies.  They are ninjas.  They are soccer stars.  They fart.  But lately my younger son has been saying he wants to be an artist when he grows up.  That made me SO happy!  Turns out he meant archeologist.  But still.  Pretty cool.  But I wondered if they would end up to be creative the way my husband and I are.

creative way to plan outfitsI’m thinking the answer is yes.  The other night I walked in to my youngest son’s bedroom to find this.  The boys had decided to plan their outfits for the next day.  I really liked his addition of accessories with the hat and sunglasses.

outfit planningApparently my older son actually started this outfit planning exercise.  And no.  He didn’t wear those green soccer shorts to school.  At the time, I was folding laundry and those were the only shorts left in his drawers.

jeans and bootsI can’t wait to see their creativity come out in crazy ways, like this, as they grow up.  And I can’t yet pigeon-hole them as the “smart one” or “funny one” or “creative one” because they are all of them and the talent seems to be evenly distributed.  Are your kids creative like you?