11 Kid- Friendly Fruits and Veggies From Every Color Of the Rainbow

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Image “Vegetable Dog,” By Piotr Siedlecki, http://whoami911.deviantart.com/

This week, we are celebrating Color Week on Merissa Writes, one whole week once a year all about having fun with color. On Monday, I learned about some easy crafts for kids and fun ways to celebrate color week with kids and I shared them with you. Tomorrow may be the beginning of the weekend, but the week is not over yet. What would any great color celebration be without some fun recipes kids can make? So here is a list of some of the most colorful healthy party snacks of all- time. Color week is a great time to teach your kids that fruits and veggies can be just as fun to eat as rainbow cake and french fries!

Most Colorful Vegetables

I know how hard it is to get most kids to eat their veggies, but as I said in my article “4 Reasons To Make Dinner Together,” involving your kids in creating your snacks and dinner will encourage your kids to try them.

  • Cherry tomatoes- RED
  • Baby carrots- ORANGE
  • Yellow bell peppers- YELLOW
  • Broccoli- GREEN
  • Beets- PURPLE

Most Colorful Fruit

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Image “Fruit Parfait,” By Cristie Guevara, https://www.etsy.com/shop/DapperBob?ref=hdr_shop_menu

We can’t forget our fruit can we? Every great party needs something sweet. You can use these colorful fruity favorites with your Color Week creative snacks as well:

  • Strawberries- RED
  • Oranges- ORANGE
  • Lemons- YELLOW
  • Kiwi- GREEN
  • Blue berries- BLUE
  • Grapes- PURPLE

3 Fun Recipes Kids Can Make

Now gather all of the most colorful fruits and vegetables you can find and sit down at the table or stand in front of the counter to try some of these easy recipes kids can make:

  1. Rainbow Kabob- Slide as many fruits or vegetables as you want onto some skewers. Make them now and eat them anywhere or anytime.
  2. Food Collage- With all your fruits and veggies, arrange them on a plate to look like a picture. You can make a rainbow, animals or even read a story together and illustrate a scene from the story. Not only will your child enjoy letting their creativity flow free, but they will also learn how much fun it can be to eat their vegetables.

You know how your mom and dad told you not to play with your food? Well throw that thought out! Play is a major part of growing up, and it’s the best way young minds learn, so throw out that old saying and have fun with your veggies right next to your kids. Even you won’t be able to resist! Be creative and don’t forget to get your hands dirty. Are there any colorful fruits and veggies that I have missed? If so, comment below with a list of your favorites and stay tuned for more posts next week!

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4 Reasons To Make Dinner Together

It has been said that eating dinner at the table with your kids is a great way to stay connected, but why not take it one step further? Not only is it important to eat dinner with your kids every night, it can be even more beneficial to make dinner with the kids once in a while. Here are some of the best reasons to make dinner together:
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1. It’s a good way to bond- While you are preparing the oven, your child could be shaping the rolls. Cooking and baking together can help you get to know how your child works in a group setting. You can also learn his favorite foods. Talk to your child while you work together. This will make your child feel more comfortable talking and will be a memory he will never forget.

2. The recipes teach math and reading fluency- Is your child struggling with addition or understanding fractions? Making dinner together not only gives you the opportunity to teach your child about math and reading in a fun way, but it can also help you know how much about those subjects you child already knows and what to work on.

3. Teaches responsibility and life skills- No matter who your child becomes when he grows up, he will need to know at least the basics about cooking and baking healthy meals. Cooking together gives you a chance to teach your child about healthy cooking and eating habits. It also teaches responsibility, because you need to double check that you have all the necessary ingredients and that you have measured the right amounts.
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4. Cooking together encourages kids to try new things if they help prepare it- Have you ever had a really picky child? I’m pretty sure all parents have at least for a little while. If your child helps to prepare a food, he is more likely to eat it. By involving him in the creation process, you encourage him to try new foods and to give the foods they dislike another chance. When you make something yourslef, you are a lot more likely to taste it, right?

Involve your child in the dinner making process. You don’t have to do that every night, but involve him as much as you can. Especially if you are making a food he has never tried before, or if you are making one of his favorites.

10 Winter Break Essentials For Kids

It is officially winter, which means that winter break is just around the corner. That means more time to spend together as a family, and more time to keep the kids occupied. But don’t worry, if you have these winter break ‘must- haves’ at home, keeping them busy will be a breeze (well, as breezey as possible).

1. Christmas themed travel kits- If you plan to travel, this is a must. Travel kits with toys, crayons and coloring books will keep the little ones busy while you are driving.

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Taken at The General Store in Goldendale, WA

2. Card stock- Try to keep several colors of card stock around for making cards, which is a great way to teach your kids about giving.

3. Lots of colored construction paper- It’s important to have plenty of construction paper of all different colors, especially red and green. There is so much you can make: a Christmas card, perhaps, or maybe a colorful Christmas chain.

4. Board games for the whole family- Be sure you have games the whole family can enjoy. If you have a little one, don’t leave him out. What about a matching game? Matching games are easy to find for any occasion, and are a big hit with preschool and kindergarteners. You could also easily make your own.
5. Christmas cookie recipe book-

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Taken by John Sullivan http://www.public-domain-photos.com/food/cookies-free-stock-photo-4.htm

You can use the internet to find awesome recipe ideas, too. There are a lot less advertisements, if any, in a recipe book than online. Advertisements can be very distracting to some kids. But online, you can find many more ideas.

6. Crayons and holiday coloring pages- Always have a variety of fun Christmas coloring pages handy, especially if you have kids who love to color. You can buy a coloring book, or you can just print them off as you need them.

7. Holiday puzzles- These are a great way to help keep their minds active while they are out of school.

8. Miscellaneous holiday toys- What kid doesn’t like to get in the holiday spirit through play? Get out your Santa toys or holiday playdoh. You can even use your nativity set to help your kids act out the story of Jesus.

9. Lots of books- Books are a great way to spend quality time together during winter break. They are also a good way to keep the kids busy while you bake, or on long trips. Make sure they have lots of colorful pictures.

10. Several christmas movie favorites- “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is a great movie to have out during the holidays. You can even read the book, and then watch the movie. In fact, all those classic Christmas cartoons you watched as a child are a great way to bond. Let your kids know which movies you used to watch.

*EXTRA TIP: Get these supplies before winter break starts so you won’t have to go even one day without them.*

Make Frozen Banana Pops

Summer may have ended, but I banana pops are a great treat all year round. These tasty looking, sweet- smelling pops will have your kids begging you to give them their fruit. Frozen bananas are a great way to teach your kids that the healthy foods do not have to taste nastily. You can even get your kids involved for a better learning experience. Snack time doesn’t have to mean junk time.

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What You Will Need:

  • Bananas
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Butter Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • A Large Plate

Awesome Optionals:

  • Chocolate pudding
  • Sprinkles
  • Yogurt
  • Peanut or Almond Butter
  • Dried Fruit Pieces (eg. raisins, mango, strawberries)
  • Cinamon
  • Cocoa Powder

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  1. Peel all of your bananas and cut them in half with a butter knife. Place your cut and peeled bananas on a plate, or just leave it on the cutting board. wpid-20141114_125829.jpg
  2. Stick one Popsicle stick in the middle, through the biggest end of each banana. Dip the banana in some yogurt or pudding, and sprinkle some dried fruit, nuts or sprinkles on top. Put the completed bananas on one large plate, or several smaller ones. wpid-20141114_130318.jpg
  3. Place the decorated bananas in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
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Enjoy your Easy Banana Pops!

Eat these tasty pops all year. You can dip the bananas in almost anything that sounds good. Let your imagination run wild. Encourage your kids to help you invent a new kind of pop, a s’mores pop, perhaps, with rolled oats instead of graham cracker crumbs. Try replacing the bananas with other fruits, apples and strawberries, maybe? By using healthy ingredients to make fun snacks, your kids will learn to value healthy eating habits, and will be more likely to choose the healthier options in the future.

 

How To Have A Mommy and Me Princess Party

It is so much fun to pretend to be a princess for a day. So how can you use your daughter’s natural desire to look pretty and act dainty to bond and get to know each other? Have a “princess party,” of course! “But, Merissa,” you ask ” how, exactly does one go about having a “princess party?” Well, you have to look the part- like a princess. You can’t be hungry. And you have to be invited to a ball. Don’t worry if you were not invited to a ball, though, because you are going to throw one. So slip on your glass slippers and get out your fairy godmother, because here is the most comprehensive checklist for the perfect princess ball.

STEP 1: Dress up in a pretty dress.

What kind of princess does not have a frilly gown? Get out the pretty princess dresses and model them for each other. It is important to have the perfect gown for the perfect night of ballroom dancing. If you do not have a princess dress or costume laying around, grab one of your pretty blouses and a scarf. Have your daughter put on the “dress”and the wrap the scarf around her waist. Another great way to make a pretty dress is to wrap a shimmery piece of fabric around her and use safety pins to make it stay.

STEP 2. Do each others hair and make- up.

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What is a beautiful dress without a fancy hair- do and some make- up to accentuate your look? Put your little princess’s hair in a dainty braid and wrap it into a bun. Or, if you have time, you could curl her hair and put it in half pony tail. Paint some glitter on her eyelids and a little bit of blush. Then add some pink sparkly lip gloss to complete her look.

Now that she is almost ready for the ball, it is your turn to get all gussied up. Let your daughter do your hair and make- up. Make sure you tell her thank you! Give her just the right make up, and help her put it on your face. Be sure to let her do most of the work. With opportunity comes practice, and with practice comes ability. (She will get better with practice). But for now, you have a ball to get ready for and you mustn’t be late!

STEP 3. Paint nails.

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It is always fun to paint your nails. Sometimes there is not enough time, but if you have time before the ball, you should. Painted nails is a great way to complete your look. Hey, how many balls will you be attending, anyway? Probably not many, so don’t miss out.

STEP 4. Have the “pre- ball” meal.

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What is a ball without a meal? Whip out the peanut butter, the bread and the jelly and work together to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then cut the sandwiches into the shape of a crown. Take out a whole carrot and use a paring knife to “whittle” it into a carrot flavored scepter. Enjoy!

STEP 5. Dance until the clock strikes twelve.

Now for the moment both you princesses have been waiting for. It is time for the ball. Get out some dolls and stuffed animals for your “dates.” Put on some pretty princess party music, and dance the night away. Use your favorite mix of songs, but make sure that everybody has a turn to choose a song.

Okay, okay, so it might be hard sometimes to do all of these things in one day, but it is important to pretend with your daughter and the kids you take care of. Pretend is the way they learn to deal with real world issues. And what little girl wouldn’t love to be a princess for a day? The little girl I babysit is four years old. She is an all out girly girl. She loves pink and dresses and make up. When she did a really good job of helping out and obeying last week, we had a princess party. It is a great way to reward your little princess, too. It is well worth the effort, and we had a blast!