Posted in Healthy, Home Economics, Kid Friendly, Ontario

Couponing: Kids Can!

So as the fire finally burns bright at the year end, literally…

  
… And a new fresh start is about to begin….

My mind went to coupons tonight. 

After the holiday season, one sees the shopping deals but sometimes also the overdraft in your bank account. 

I love this time of year … And those coupons are great fire starters. The expired ones I mean (and yes I recycle too). 

  
So as my “babies” sleep, I think: “Here’s one of the ways to keep them busy AND saving us money while getting the home stuff reorganized”: The Coupon Sort & Toss. 

Here’s how you can do what we do:

  1. Grab all the coupons you have and put them in a big pile on the floor or in the centre of a table. 
  2. Label 3 large Ziploc bags: Food, Household Supplies, Restaurants & Shopping, Use ASAP. 
  3. Label 1 extra envelope or cardboard box “Expired…. Recycle”. 
  4. Have each kid scavenge and sort each coupon by this list:
  • Is it expired? Yes –> Expired Box;  No –> Continue 
  • Is it going to expire in 30 days? Yes –> “Use ASAP” baggie/ envelope. ; No –> Continue
  • Which category does it belong to? Food?   Household Supplies?   Restaurants & Shopping?

DONE!!!

This can be made into many “games”: 

  • Several kids can do it together as a sorting race
  • Find the highest worth coupon
  • Find the healthiest coupon and compare/debate
  • Make a healthy meal using only coupon items (and they have to be willing to eat it …. Because you can have it for dinner that week!)
  • (Do you have an idea? List it in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!)

They can do it while I might be busy with something but we can still be together in the same room and chat. 
The “Use ASAP” coupons are a great way to pair with sales and flyers ( Don’t forget to use the Flipp app!). 

They are also a way to get stocked up on a few items, or help you to buy items to donate to a food bank or food cupboard in your area. 

Here in London, CANada we even have some lovely ladies that started Coupons for Hunger that you can donate the coupons to instead. 

Plan parts of your meals with coupons to save money. 

I’ve also written another article on couponing, published by the Ontario Home Economics Association. Read it for more tips on couponing. 

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Posted in Healthy

Kids “playing” with knives…

Here’s a huge issue I see with parents allowing (or lack there of) their kids to cook.

One complaint/worry is its “too dangerous”. “What responsible parent would give their child a knife to wield?”

Well, every parent should, I say.

When? From the time they can use a plastic one.

Teaching kids to cook tip:

Confidence in the kitchen can start as a very young child.  Supervising your child as s/he upgrades from butter knives to steak knives to larger santoku knives makes even an 8 year old a huge help with dinner prep.


Put in the time to be patient. Teach them their basic ABCs and they can learn to read. Give them food literacy skills including how to use utensils of various types and they will be able to cook a full meal by the time they are usually 10 or 12 years old.

Yes, this is absolutely possible.

But you don’t start teaching ABCs when they are 8 or 10 (and them being able to cook like Master Chef Junior). And you wouldn’t put your kids in charge of the hot oven or burners if they have never even had a chance to turn it on, or make a fresh salad.

So start small and work your way up to bigger and better. Think cooking not danger. This isn’t the day and age of getting skirts caught in an open fire. Things are way less dangerous especially with adult supervision.

That being said, cuts and burns can happen to the best chefs in the world (I remember seeing Chef Gordon Ramsey cutting himself on the Ellen show a few years back). (First aid kit is essential in every home. And what parent doesn’t have band aids in the house? Accidents happen. )

So be prepared to help your child gain confidence in the kitchen with your help or someone who can help teach … or learn together!

Dianne O’Shea at an OHEA conference gave a great thought along with the Six by Sixteen Challenge promoted by the Ontario Farmers Association (and I’m paraphrasing here):

We think it’s ok in our society to willingly give a child keys to a (potentially dangerous) car at the age of 16, so we should be able to expect them to cook on a hot stove in their own kitchen 6 basic meals from scratch.

I think it’s one of the most valid points raised.

Responsibility is earned by our growing children in order to have other privileges in life.

Maybe, we should hold our car keys back until they can cook a meal for us (or the family)?

Either way, I think making a salad then progressing to cooking on a stove is a good precursor to the huge detailed task of driving on public roads with so many things (and people) coming at them.  I’d rather my kids make mistakes with me first in the kitchen before they take on the larger responsibility of a car that could affect everyone else on the road.

So start small and give them all those life skills that aren’t just common sense. One day they will cook for you as well as chauffeur you around. Both hopefully without you cringing at the thought.

Disclosure: My older child is still 4 years away from her beginners drivers licence. I will keep reporting updates. Let’s test out the theory using my guinea piggies. Real life test subjects.

 

Posted in Kid Friendly, Opinions & Commentaries

After Eights … Or “Eight After”

So while chatting with my younger daughter tonight on the phone, I discovered the “kid in a candy store” mentality. 

She recently discovered After Eight chocolate mints. (“Try it again” is applied to everything!).  And tonight under the watchful eye of her other family, she binged on “a lot” plus Pot of Gold ones too. Oh my! 

 [ Picture to come… Guess a purchase is in order to avoid copyright issues. Or perhaps a gift delivered soon? 😉 ]

She kept saying “Eight After’s” but complaining about her stomach ache. 

I giggled to myself: I love her kid mix ups.

She says, “Why did I just get a stomach ache now and not right away?”  I told her it takes your body slower to signal “stop” than just instantly. And it was her eating so fast that she didn’t give her body time to catch up. 

 But then thought “So true. Eight After you feel sick.”  But here’s the take home message for the possible adult reading this:

We all enjoy the delish things (especially the new loves in our life). But it’s more about savouring them. Quality over quantity. And you can have too much of a good (tasting) thing. 

So when the kid in you sees the candy store…. Pick a favourite and try a new one. But when seeing a treat, use your feet ;). Your stomach will thank you. Trust my daughter Mary during this now, unmerry moment. 

“It’s as big as my head!” she said. “Is that really necessary?” I replied.
Posted in Home Economics, Kid Friendly, Opinions & Commentaries

Sometimes being a real mom means dry chicken nuggets

So I’m all about the honest to goodness truth. 

Want to see the inside of my phone texts?

Want to see I’m not perfect, nor claim to be?

And be honest with yourself, ever have this kind of night?

  
Between my almost 12 year old (birthday 2 days before Christmas) and my almost 9 year old (3 weeks later 8 days after New Years’ Eve), I’m exhausted. Being sick, saying “yes” to doing too many things and the girls having rough days (in their own ways) left my night to dry chicken nuggets on plastic kid plates. 

  
You can have the leftovers. 

As you can tell, sometimes dinner (in every home) can be, well, lacking. 

Sometimes the kids need more of an ear, shoulder, or guidance to fill up their hearts and souls. And sometimes that means all you can do is throw in some gross chicken nuggets (which Mr Ginger bought…. And I’m now thankful!) and know which hunger to feed with the gourmet good stuff. 

That meant I’m Super Mom tonight yet MIA in the menu department. 

I pledge to each mom that if you haven’t had this night, you one day will. And if you never get that day, you are truly living in Disney World or you haven’t stopped to fill a much needed hunger. 

Take time to feed your child the “good stuff”:  One night in a blue moon of subpar / unhealthy food won’t be remembered, but the well-followed recipe for making a secure, confident and loved child will fill your family and home with an endless serving of joy, pride and warmth. 

The thanks will come much later. Or so I hear.

To all the moms who have the courage to say, “been there”, thank you in advance. 

Sincerely yours in less than perfection but in perfect honesty,

Sandra aka Nutrition Bites aka Mom