27
Feb

Disney on Ice!

by Tiffany in Tidbits

disney-on-ice

Last night my husband and I took our daughter to see Disney on Ice. It was her 5th birthday present and the second year we have done this for her so I guess it is kind of tradition now.

I have incredible memories of Disneyland and Disney World. When I was a kid we used to go every Christmas to one or the other. I have been on the Haunted Mansion ride more than anyone probably should, LOL. “Hurry Baaaaack.” So of course when I had kids we also started going. Although to be honest as I get older I have less tolerance for the crowds. It just didn’t used to be that way. Now you can wait 2 hours in line to go on ONE ride.

Disney on Ice is a nice way to get that Disney feeling close to home. Last night we saw Disneyland Adventure on Ice…although my daughter kept calling it Princesses on Ice, which was the theme from last year. In the show, The Incredibles family decide to take a Disneyland vacation. Mr. Incredible keeps thinking the rides are real and breaks a few them. But then Syndrome shows up and kidnaps Mickey and Minnie. The Incredibles have to leave their disguises behind and suit up to save the day.

Voilet Incredible

The show took us through many of the best rides… the Jungle Cruise, It’s a Small World, Buzz Lightyear, Alice in Wonderland, Pirates of the Carribean, and my fave, The Haunted Mansion. I adored the ghostly ballroom dancers, dancing around the ice…sigh. We were very close to the action this time, 3rd row from the ice. It was an incredible show!

Paige fell asleep on the ride there so she was a bit dazed at first:

Paige at the Show

It did not take long for her to get excited though.

Paige at Disney On Ice

Soon even Daddy had the Disney spirit!

Jarod

And no we did not deliberately buy that, LOL. It came with Daddy’s popcorn. At $10 a bag it is the least they can do right? ;) Good times…

Minnie Mouse

Here is a special promo code for families in select cities if you to want to see the show!

Offer #1: Get 4 tickets for just $44 by entering the code “MOM” at select ticketing channels. Offer good on all performances, minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each. Offer not valid on Gold Circle Seating, Front Row and VIP seating or combinable with other offers. Other restrictions may apply.

Offer #2: A select amount of Front Row and VIP seats have been reserved for you to buy before they go on sale to the public – just enter the code “MOM” when purchasing those seats.

Dates and cities where families can use the national MOM code are as follows:

Kansas City – Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey – April 1-April 5

Denver – Disney On Ice presents a Disneyland=AE Adventure – March 12-March 15

Phoenix – Disney On Ice presents a Disneyland=AE Adventure – April 9-April 12

Chicago/Rosemont – Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic – Sept 8-Sept 13

Enjoy!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

7 Comments on Disney on Ice!

27
Feb

Butter Ball Cookies Recipe

by Tiffany in Recipes

Making refrigerator cookies

A couple years ago I used to make rolled oat peanut butter balls for my kids. I decided to try to make them with almond butter and see how they turned out. They are a nice, not to sweet treat. They taste like granola and I think they would be even better with a few dates or raisins and cacao nibs in the mix too. Yum!

These are not raw since rolled oats are not raw. They have been heated to high temps to flatten and then cut them. That is why I am not an oatmeal fan…it has been cooked not once, but twice. I have my doubts that there is even any nutrition left at that point. If you want to make these completely raw you need oat groats, plain or steel cut. I thought the texture would be kind of bizarre with oat groats so I went with rolled oats.

Mixing cookie dough

Recipe: 2 1/2  C Oats, 1 C nut butter, 1/2 C ground flax seeds, 1/2 cup coconut sugar or honey, 1/2 cup dried coconut, 2 T carob powder. Optional: 1/8 C dates or raisins, chopped. 1/8 C Cacao nibs or carob chips.

Mix together and roll into balls with your hands. You may need to wash your hands 2-3 times before you get them all rolled, as sticky hands make it very hard to roll them. Refrigerate these and they are good to go. One butter ball makes a quick on-the-go snack!

Cookies on Plate

Cookies

 

Friday, February 27th, 2009

13 Comments on Butter Ball Cookies Recipe

26
Feb

Healthy Eating for Kids Made Easy

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

picky kid tips

Getting children to eat more nutritious and healthy foods is usually a BIG concern for moms nowadays. There are just too many unhealthy options bombarding them at the grocery store, at restaurants and eateries, and in the school cafeterias. Moms have to work double time it seems to make sure healthy foods don’t completely disappear from the menu. This becomes especially important when we take a look at some of the health problems facing young kids today that are increasingly being associated with poor nutrition such as juvenile diabetes, obesity, and attention deficit disorders. Kids as young as two years old have been found that already have plaque build-up in their arteries.

What can you do though when your kids just don’t prefer the healthier foods and vegetables in particular? If they want a candy bar instead of fresh fruit what do you do? Giving up and letting them eat whatever they want is not an option. It is time to get creative and here are some ideas.

Be a Sneaky Chef – The easiest way to overcome an aversion to healthy foods is to hide them inside other foods so that your kids either do not know they are there or they don’t care. This subject was debated a lot last year with the release of The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious, two books that provide information about creating vegetable purees and then inserting them within other foods. The idea behind this is that kids will still get the nutritional benefit of their vegetables while still enjoying the “taste” of their favorite foods. The purees can be used in making macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, pizza, and even brownies.

There are some parents though that feel sneaking the veggies into the meal does not effectively teach kids the importance of eating healthfully. Other parents have decided the benefits circumvent this reasoning. Personally I do not see why healthy eating education cannot include teaching children to disguise the healthy foods they find unappealing inside the foods they do like, perhaps creating a life long habit. Be up from and honest about what you are doing and problem solved. I use this approach all the time when I add greens or seaweed to their fruit smoothies and Popsicles, sprinkle ground flax on their food, or otherwise disguise the stuff they don’t particularly care to eat on its own.

Get Kids Involved – One of the best ways to make certain that kids are enthusiastic about their meal is to have them participate in making it. When they help out with meal preparation and cooking they feel a great sense of accomplishment and that in itself makes the meal more appealing. Even younger kids can help out by measuring or mixing ingredients, finding recipes inside magazines or cookbooks, and setting the table. Even toddlers can help when you use a Learning Tower. The excitement of making the food can only be surpassed by the excitement of actually trying it.

Growing the food makes it all the more appealing as well. It allows them to see first hand how food grows and makes its way to our dinner plate. Even if you have to use containers on a small apartment patio your kids can still grow their own food, perhaps grape tomatoes or strawberries. Kids are much more likely to try and enjoy foods that they grow themselves. If you don’t have a garden or even if you do…you can’t possibly grow everything. Look for Pick Your Own farms in your area where you can wander the farm and pick your own fruits and veggies. My kids absolutely love visiting nearby farms and coming home with baskets of goodies.

Presentation is Everything – My number one tip for parents to get their kids to eat healthier is to make it fun and exciting. This is why I love bento boxes, lunch trays, and other inventive ways to make the meal more fun. If you want them to enjoy nutritious foods then market them just as hard as the junk food companies do! Present the food in fun ways, dress up the table like you are having a party, and flex your creative muscles. Doing this does require a lot of effort but the payoff is worth it.

My oldest son’s classmates have often expressed jealousy when they see his lunches…the beautiful boxes, the cloth napkins, the food arranged in cute ways like the fruity rainbow lunch a made last year (below) or hard boiled eggs shaped like fish. Even veggies wrapped in nori (seaweed) become an object of desire because they are unique and special. One of his teachers even sent home a note asking how much I would charge to make her lunches. ;)

rainbow bento

Another thing we do at home is eat by candlelight at least once a week. We turn off the lights, light a few candles and have a “romantic” dinner together. The kids love it and what’s on the menu is not much of an issue. Another idea would be to take the meal outside. Eat at a patio or picnic table or even a blanket on the front lawn. It is way less messy (no crumbs to clean up) and kids have a blast. You might also decide to load up a nice picnic basket and take your meal to a local park.

Don’t Buy the Bad Stuff – Are you being your kids dealer? Are you bringing the bad stuff into the house? I am amazed when I hear moms complain about how their kids eat nothing but macaroni and cheese, potato chips, and soda and then find it is mom buying the stuff for them. Seriously, it is like buying drugs for them and complaining when they use them. You don’t HAVE to buy unhealthy foods if you don’t want to. Just stop already.

Give Them Time – It can take many repeated exposures to certain foods before kids feel comfortable trying them. The key is not to pressure them and make the dinner hour one of tension. Pressuring kids to eat things they don’t want to can work against our ultimate goal. Just keep serving up the healthy foods with each meal and let children get used to seeing them on their plates and their parents plates and they may come to accept them in time. Also, remember that children mimic the actions of their parents so the next time the salad is passed to you realize that a big “I LOVE salad” can go along way. Next time you need a snack, explain how these nuts or these goji berries will make you feel much more energized and happy than a handful of potato chips. Set the example and the kids will follow.

What about you? Any healthy eating and picky eater tips to share?

25
Feb

Happy Birthday Paige!

by Tiffany in Tidbits

birthday

Happy 5th Birthday to Paige Mackenzie!! She came into my life 5 years ago at 9:14 PM after only 30 minutes of active labor. She was born in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona at the uber luxurious birthing center at Shea Scottsdale. In many ways I feel like I finally started to “get” this parenting stuff when she was born. In the years before she was born I had many health struggles with my oldest child. I knew that this go round had to be VERY different. I needed to be different.

The first thing I did was make plans to quit working after she was born. I worked right up until I gave birth and then I left my career in marketing and advertising to spend every day with her and her older brother. I started researching natural childbirth as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I ended up going with hypnobirthing and was really happy I did. Here is a blurb from my first hypnobirthing story.

My labor painwas so non-existent that I asked my mom to take me to Barnes and Noble to go book shopping. I only ended up at the hospital because the maternity entrance was about to close and I didn’t want to have to walk through the ER if I waited any longer. SO I reluctantly decided to have them check my progress…that was about 8:00 PM and I was SURE I had hours to go yet. I truly thought that perhaps I wasn’t even in labor yet. It took about 30 minutes before they even checked me and then my daughter was born just after 9:00 PM and they made me wait to push until the doc got there….which was kind of agonizing because they gave me Pitocin without asking me. They just snuck it in there on me about 5 minutes before I started pushing. I am now fully convinced that Pitocinis EVIL. But my daughter was born after only 2 pushes and I did rip just a little. The sewing part hurt because I was not anesthetized like last time. Strange that the most painful part of the whole birth was getting stitches afterwards. It was the perfect birth IMO….easy, painless. She was almost 9 pounds.

newborn

This was my one and only pregnancy where I did not know the sex. I decided to leave it as a surprise and the waterworks flowed when they told me I had a little girl. After she was cleaned up a bit they gave her to me and she went to the breast immediately. She camped there for the next two years.

She never received any vaccines and she breastfed exclusively until 8 months. When she started eating solids they were organic and homemade. Unlike her older brother she was sick only once in her first 2 years and she has never had an ear infection ever. She slept in a bassinet next to my bed until she was one month old and then she moved in my bed until she was 4 years old. For daytime naps she slept in a pink beanbag covered with a blanket.

She wore cloth diapers right from the start and since I also started a cloth diaper company that year she was also my top model. Here she is wearing one my creations:

paige

She is growing into such a strong, determined, opinionated young girl now. She amazes me every day how smart, talented, and kind she is. She is also VERY dramatic which I am sure will be far less cute when she is a teenager. Her current aspirations include running a day spa that serves delectable chocolate while pampering the guests. She also hopes to marry her chocolate supplier.

She loves fairies, princesses, swimming, dancing, singing, and speaking different languages. She loves being the life of the party and she will strike up conversations everywhere we go with adults and children.

She has brought unbelievable amounts of sunshine and joy to our home. Happy birthday baby!

paige ears

paige at schoolhouse

princess

 

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

5 Comments on Happy Birthday Paige!

23
Feb

Arthur Saves the Planet & Worm Up

by Tiffany in Natural Toys

Arthur Saves the Planet Board Game

This weekend the kids and I broke out some board games. I needed to keep them occupied and quiet so that daddy could try and recoup after a small bit of elective surgery a couple days ago. Games are a favorite in this house. We played Arthur Saves the Planet and Worm Up. They are both FRED distribution games.

Well, I am just going to come right out and say that I didn’t care much for either game. They didn’t impress me in the least.

Arthur Saves the Planet has a nice design with a beautiful board and a great concept but i found it VERY confusing. There are two different sets of rules, one for younger kids and one for older kids. Of course you really can’t understand the rules and setup for the younger kids game (the one we wanted to play) unless you read both sets of rules. Even then I was hopelessly lost. This is the official description:

Arthur and his friends & family work together to solve environmental issues threatening his hometown of Elwood City. From littered beaches to endangered tree frogs, from deforested parks to wasted water, the team has its work cut out for it. And ANYONE can help! Pick an Arthur character and collect colored resource cards representing time, expertise, friends, effort and advice. Use these wisely to solve the many challenge cards and, in return, receive tree seeds to help restore Elwood City back to its natural beauty!

I didn’t quite understand how to move about on the board or solve challenges, despite reading the instructions multiple times. I feel fairly comfortable saying that I am a pretty smart gal so I think this game needs a serious redesign. We muddled through it as best we could but some of the solutions to the “problems” were kind of silly in my opinion. The solution to animal extinction for example was to adopt an animal. Uhm…okay. I would have never thought of that…most times I think those animal adoption things sound kind of scammy. We ended up reading through all of the challenges and discussing the solutions but the game in general was a bust.

If you play with older kids and actually understand the instructions you may have a better time of it than we did. One thing I did like was the non-cheesy language. It really did address important issues instead of acting like all environmental woes can be fixed by turning off lights.

Worm Up was the second game played. It has wood pieces so that is a plus but overall I didn’t really care for it.

You play by choosing a color and assembling your worm using 7 colored discs. You have a start line and a finish line and you race another worm to the end. You race by choosing a number tile that has the amount of spaces you want to move…oddly enough the only choices are 4, 6, 7, and an X wild card. You choose a number and bid against the other player. If both players did not bid the exact same number you can move by taking discs from the back of the worm and adding it to the front, thus moving it forward. You can also curve your worm to block an opponent. The bidding format is what bothered me. It seemed easier to me to just use ALL the tiles regardless of color and lay them face down and then have the kids choose one at random, leaving it to chance instead of bidding.

As it was my 4 year played my 8 year old and the 8 year old always chose the number 7 tile and my daughter mixed it up so it is easy to see who won. He only understood that he wanted high numbers and she didn’t really get it. This game would be better for kids age 10-14ish IMO but by that point it may be to babyish for them.

We also played the Learning to Share Fun Park Game.  

Worm-Up