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Cooking with Your Kids

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in For Kids


Cooking with 2-3 year olds

Very young children like to explore with their senses of sight, touch, smell, hearing and tasting. They also like to do things on their own. Try letting your kids:

  • Wash fruits and vegetables in the sink
  • Add items to dishes (like chopped tofu to a casserole)
  • Smell food, herbs and spices you are using
  • Help find ingredients in the fridge or cupboard
  • Put paper cups into muffin tins

Keep in mind, some kids may be happy to watch you cook and talk about what you are doing. An empty pot on the floor with a spoon keeps their hands busy. Be sure to ask lots of questions about what they are making that smells so good!

Cooking with 3-4 year olds

At this age, children may be more interested in talking than eating! Either way, cooking keeps them interested in food. Try letting your kids:

  • Remove eggshells from hard-boiled eggs
  • Pour from a small pitcher or measuring cup
  • Make a simple sandwich or pizza with pre-assembled ingredients
  • Describe the colour, taste and shape of food
  • Mash sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots or bananas

Cooking with 4-6 year olds

At this age, some kids may show signs of being a picky eater. While the food they prepare might not make it to their fork, try to be patient knowing that cooking is helping them warm up to the idea of trying new foods. Try letting your kids:

  • Assemble foods: make trail mix or their own yogurt smoothie with toppings you’ve prepared
  • Stir ingredients together (like muffins, pancakes, sauces)
  • Slice soft-cooked vegetables, soft fruit, cheese or tofu with a plastic knife
  • Crack and beat an egg
  • Cook with a friend for a fun play date

Cooking with 6-8 year olds

At this age, kids can follow simple steps for recipes and are able to share and take turns. Try letting your kids:

  • Use simple kitchen equipment such as a grater, toaster, blender or can opener after you show them how to do so safely
  • Make simple cold spring rolls or tortilla wraps
  • Toss salad ingredients together with salad dressing
  • Invent a fruit salad or smoothie recipe
  • Write a list of healthy snacks they like to eat
  • Write out a grocery list
  • Make a simple breakfast: whole grain cereal with milk or canned fruit over yogurt

Cooking with 8-11 year olds

Kids at this age are more coordinated and able to understand how to use appliances safely. Try letting your kids:

  • Use a knife with easy-to-cut foods (cooked meats, cheese, tofu, breads)
  • Use the microwave with your help
  • Make their own school lunch
  • Make a fresh fruit platter to go with dinner
  • Use the stove, with supervision, to make basic recipes: omelets, pancakes, quesadillas, soups or grilled cheese
  • Decide what is needed to balance out a meal so it has food from each food group

4 “Simply delish” ideas

1. ABC123 pancakes

Fruit Sauce

Mix 3/4 cup frozen berries (raspberries and/or blueberries) with 1/3 cup maple syrup. By the time the pancakes are on the table, the fruit should be defrosted. You can also warm it up in the microwave.


Try mixing half multi-grain pancake mix (sold at bulk food stores) with your regular mix. You could also add 3-4 tablespoons (45-60 mL) of quick cooking oats per cup of pancake mix. You may need to add a little more milk to maintain the right consistency. Make pancake letters, numbers and even shapes. Make and freeze extra for a quick breakfast or snack.

For younger children: Talk about where the berries and maple syrup in the fruit sauce come from.

For older children: Talk about how maple syrup is made. You may be able to get a book about this at your library. Ask your children to tell you the food groups for each ingredient in the recipe.

2. Invent a smoothie

Kids can get creative inventing a smoothie! Remember, frozen fruits are just as nutritious as fresh, without the washing, peeling or cutting. Canned fruits packed in their own juices or with the light syrup drained off are good choices as well.


  • 2 cups (500 mL) milk or fortified soy milk
  • 2 cups (500 mL) fruit (any of: sliced banana, mango, nectarine, frozen raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, canned pineapple or peaches)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) ice cubes
  • 3/4 cup (175 mL) plain lower fat (2% M.F. or less) yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) frozen orange juice concentrate

Makes 4 servings. Freeze any extra in Popsicle moulds.

For younger children: Let them peel bananas, wash fruit, add ingredients to the blender and create a wacky name for their smoothie.

For older children: Suggest they write out their recipes on cards, giving each a star rating based on a family taste test.

3. Cinnamon tortilla chips with fruity salsa

Cut whole wheat tortillas into wedges. Brush with very little water. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and cinnamon. Place on a microwave safe plate lined with paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute and 30 seconds or until crisp. A pizza cutter works great for cutting the tortilla (pitas too) into wedges.

Prepare a fruity salsa for dipping by dicing whatever fruits you have on hand, or use applesauce.

For younger children: They can select and wash the fruit and later add the diced fruit into a small bowl and mix.

For older children: With your supervision, they can cut the tortilla bread into wedges, as well as make the salsa.

4. Hot diggity egg dog

Make a rolled up omelet (or scramble eggs by microwaving in a cup) and place in a whole wheat hot dog bun. Grate some low fat cheese over the top. Offer mild salsa as an optional topping.

For younger children: Ask your child where eggs come from.

For older children: With your supervision they can follow this recipe themselves.


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Prepping for Mom’s Night Out

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Posted by Ryan Sanders

I recently screened the new parenting movie, Moms’ Night Out. While laughing my way through the movie, I found myself connecting with one dad trying to get his wife to take a break.

As this post’s title implies, there should be a mom’s night out on the horizon for your family, too. But, from the intelligence I’ve gathered, moms feel guilty about leaving and taking a break. So, dad, it’s on you to help make the mom in your life happy.

Whichever parent stays home every day with the kids needs breaks, and often. Emphasis on often. In this movie’s case and in my life, mom is home everyday to take care of our kids. This post is meant to prep you, dad, for taking the lead in getting mom away for her much-needed rest. My next post in this series will be all about what to do with your kids once mom actually leaves the house.

I have experienced bliss in my married and parenting life. I’ve seen it, felt it, I know what it looks like. I’ve been married to my college sweetheart for ten years (11 years this October). If I was an NFL player, I’d be a veteran. You’d have to listen to me in the locker room. I want you to experience marital and parenting bliss, too. Bliss only shows up for the relaxed. It’s funny how bliss works.

I’m suggesting two things for Operation: Keep Your Wife Sane. You must take the lead on giving the mom in your life these two things:

1) The Daily Break

2) The Weekly Break

I implied earlier that I “gathered intelligence”; i.e., I talked to my wife, Tonia. She says, and I’m pretty sure she speaks for all moms ever, one of biggest challenges a mom can face, especially a new mom, is the feeling of guilt about leaving your children. There’s always “something else” to be done which often becomes an excuse for not taking a much-needed break.

In the Moms’ Night Out movie, we gather from Sean Astin’s character that he’s “all in” on his wife taking a break, and he rejoices that she actually has a night out planned at the start of the film.

He has things “under control”, so to speak, in that he’s encouraging her to go out with friends and relax. Imagine the stressed-out mom with the husband who acts weird if his wife mentions needing a break. We don’t want to be that dad, right?

Here’s some things that, when I’m operating this life correctly, I know work. When I do these things, life is better for everyone in my home and around my home. I promise. Trust me and do these things.

1) The Daily Break: The point of the daily break is that you can’t realistically give your wife five hours or more of rest per day. She, like you, has a job to do, and it must be done daily. However, without little nuggets of bliss on a daily basis, your other half may forget what freedom feels like.

What’s my point here? Maybe you’re thinking one hour per day is tough depending on the age of your child. But the point here is to give your wife solace daily for at least 30 minutes or more. When she wakes in the morning, she should know that she has this certain time of the day that’s hers. She owns it. She can nap. She can fish. She can write a novel. Play Uno. Shower a long time. I don’t know what your woman likes to do, but the point is to take small breaks. It’s the small breaks that will keep everyone sane in this life.

Try this pro tip: Text your wife this message right now (the earlier in the day the better):

“My Dearest Sexy Pants (or insert your wife’s pet name here), I know it’s hard out there for a mom. But, I’ll be home this evening to make your life easier. Be ready with car keys in hand waiting at the door for me. Once I arrive, kiss me on the face and go directly to Starbucks for at least one hour. Do not try and return to this house before at least one hour is up. whois . My Gold Card is loaded for all that your heart so desires. Go crazy, get a cake pop. I mean, we can handle it, the Gold Card has like $11.13 on it. You’re good. I love you. You’re welcome. PS: Please, do come back home later.”

Yes, it’s a long text message. But, trust me and reap the rewards. . Tips can be left as donations to NFI.

2) The Weekly Break: This break may or may not be realistic depending on the ages of your children. But, with a 7 and 4 year at my house, I find my wife needs more of a rest/disengagement than just the daily, short break given that she’s running one child all over the world and at home with one all day. If weekly doesn’t work, you should definitely shoot for monthly.

Girls night out is a real thing, dad. It matters. They usually happen weekly and you should make sure they happen. This can be anywhere from two to three hours. Be prepared. It doesn’t have to be any longer if it’s happening as often as it should. But this break is less introverted in nature compared to the daily break. I’m assuming that the small, daily breaks are “alone time” for your wife. The weekly break is her time to have fun and look forward to being out with other adult friends every so often.

Movie Trailer:

Dear Religion, I Quit You!

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight

I’ve discovered grace and I’m sticking with it.

By Bart Millard

bart_millardWhen I was a kid, my dad would let me stay up and watch “Cheers” each week. Granted it’s not the most “kid friendly” show, but I could’ve cared less. I was getting to stay up past my bedtime!

My parents divorced when I was 3, and from about 3rd grade on, my big brother and I, grew up with our dad. That’s right…3 bachelors. And what better way to establish top notch parenting skills than to immediately let this 3rd grader start staying up past 9pm central time to watch “Cheers!” You must remember, the Disney channel didn’t really exist yet, so it was up to Sam Malone, Cliff Clavin and Norm to give this kid a few life lessons.

Ahhh Norm. I LOVED Norm. Forget ever understanding any of the jokes. All I knew was, every week, Norm would walk through that door and the whole place would yell “NORM.” Heck I was yelling it too!

For a kid feeling like I was being tossed around between parents, the idea of a place where you were accepted day in and day out resonated deeply within me! Even the theme song to “Cheers” was practically a church hymn because it stirred me so much. “Sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came!” Man I would belt that at the top of my lungs the same way I am right now as I write this. Dang that’s a great song!

I’m 41 now. I’m married to the most amazing woman and have 5 kids. And I’m just now understanding my connection to that show. I’ve spent my whole life looking for grace. REAL grace. Not religion, but grace. There’s a difference ya know. I found “religion” at 13. I bought in hook, line and sinker. Grace? I discovered grace about 2 years ago. It has changed me to the core, and I ain’t going back.

Religion says “Give 110%.”

Grace says “Rest in the finished work of the Cross.”

Religion says “Don’t disappoint God.”

Grace says “God has been pleased with you since the day you called His name!”

Religion says “Being good is a start.”

Grace says “Christ on the cross is enough.”

Religion says “Get it right!”

Grace says “I’ll be there when you get it wrong!”

Religion says “We’re bad people trying to be good…you sin, you’re out”

Grace says “We’re Holy, righteous and redeemed. So when you do sin, it’s ok.”

Religion says “Your heart cannot be trusted.”

Grace says “You have the heart and mind of Christ

Religion says “Try harder.”

Grace says “Rest.”

Religion says “Please God.”

Grace says “Trust God.”

Religion says “Give more.”

Grace says “Give up.”

I did everything religion told me to do for a long time only to end up frustrated, beat down and jaded. I couldn’t keep up. No matter how hard I tried, it was never enough. So I decided to quit. And I did.

Then the craziest thing happened. Grace appeared. No, I take that back…I stopped long enough to see grace. I believe my life has been covered by grace since I trusted in Christ at age 13. I just had to turn 40 to notice.

Let me put it this way, if you were drowning, you wouldn’t really be in a place to lend a hand as far as being rescued. You’d be at the mercy of the lifeguard. Once pulled out, you may be a little out of it, not sure where you are, but safe nonetheless.

Then it sinks in. You start to realize someone just saved your life! How could you ever repay this person for saving you? You don’t have to be reminded to be grateful…you are freaking ALIVE! You have a new lease on life! From that point on, nothing will ever be the same.

I was rescued at 13. I realized it at 40. For me, life has just begun! I no longer have to be reminded to be grateful because I am freaking ALIVE! When I walked out on religion, I walked into a place where, as if I were Norm himself, grace screamed,”BARRRRRRRT!!! IT’S ABOUT STINKING TIME!”

Bart Millard is the lead singer of the Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling band MercyMe, who just released their eighth studio project, “Welcome to the New,” which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Listen to “Greater,” which appears on MercyMe’s latest album, below.


Plumb Talks Overcoming Anxiety Attacks Through Faith; Using Music to Clear Up Misconceptions About God

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight
By Benge Nsenduluka  Source: singer-songwriter Plumb recently opened up about how her past struggles with anxiety attacks inspired her to write new music The Christian singer, whose “Need You Now” album earned her four Dove Award nominations this year, was just a teenager when she began suffering from anxiety attacks. She was able to use her faith to overcome her struggles and she spoke exclusively with The Christian Post about how these challenges would later inspire her “Need You Now (How Many Times)” single, which is described as being a “message of hope.””I struggled with anxiety attacks since I was 13 and they would manifest through really paralyzing, lower abdominal cramping [and] stomach aches. I would be hiding in [my high school] bathroom just literally praying to God for help and that was really my only source of hope or peace or strength,” she told CP. “Just knowing that I wasn’t alone and that He was with me and that He loved me.”

Plumb, otherwise known as Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, received rave reviews following the release of her sixth studio album earlier this year. “Need You Now,” the album’s lead single, debuted at #1 on various Billboard music charts.

The song sold over 250,000 copies and was nominated for Song Of The Year at the 44th Dove Awards – held on October 15. Plumb explained why “Need You Now” is such a powerful song.

“Each time as I made it through [one anxiety attack], the next one would occur [and] I just remember thinking you know what… we all need God but sometimes we feel like we need him right now more than ever,” she explained.

“In those moments I didn’t feel like going in secret to pray quietly, I felt like screaming at the top of my lungs ‘help, help me!’ I feel like this song is prayer that gives you permission to scream at the top of your lungs,” she said, adding that the song can relate to anyone “whether they relate to anxiety attacks or just that desperate need for God in that moment.”

plumb2Today Plumb, a 38-year-old married mother-of-three, is enjoying the success of her latest album and in coming weeks she will wrap up her first ever headline tour in Fort Worth, TX. The fall 2013 tour is supported by Josh Wilson and Mikeschair.

“I Love it!” Plumb said. “I’ve never headlined a tour before so to feel anticipated as opposed to [unknown]… that’s humbling and exciting. When you headline you have that confidence that the crowd has come to hear you, it’s been great!”

Plumb’s “Need You Now” album, originally titled “Faster Than A Bullet,” was renamed in 2012 ahead of it’s 2013 release out of respect for victims of the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

The singer, who is widely praised for her pensive lyrics and angelic voice, revealed why she remains dedicated to spreading the word of God through music.

“I think music, hope and love are pretty universal. It doesn’t matter what your culture, ethnicity, background or religious beliefs are… everyone needs hope and love. No one is immune from needing that,” she said. “I just think [when] songs are relevant [they] can [help] people to feel both of those things [hope and love].”

Plumb also touched on her hopes of clearing up misconceptions about faith and God through her songs. She expressed gratitude in being able to use her talents to spread love and hope.

“It’s not about me. It’s about me being faithful to the gift I’ve been given to share hope and love [for] a God I believe loves unconditionally,” she explained.

plumb3“A lot of people feel judged by him and feel condemned by him because a lot of people have misrepresented really beautiful things,” she continued. “I’d rather be one of the ones that are hopefully giving a better message and picture of who [God] really is.”

In addition to performing, writing new music and motherhood, Plumb is currently involved with Metro World Child, a Christian non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping under-privileged young people from around the world.

Metro World Child (MWC) creates initiatives that are “designed to break destructive cycles and give children the hope they need to create a new path for their lives,” the website states. Through initiatives such as Sunday School services and child sponsorships, MWC reaches an estimated 100,000 inner-city children and their families weekly in New York and around the world.

“I believe wholeheartedly in [Metro World Child]… it’s about giving kids hope,” Plumb said.

For more information on Plumb, including upcoming tour dates, CLICK HERE

For more information on Metro World Child CLICK HERE

“Need You Now (How Many Times” lyrics:

Well, everybody’s got a story to tell
And everybody’s got a wound to be healed
I want to believe there’s beauty here
‘Cause oh, I get so tired of holding on
I can’t let go, I can’t move on
I want to believe there’s meaning here

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Standing on a road I didn’t plan
Wondering how I got to where I am
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

Though I walk,
Though I walk through the shadows
And I, I am so afraid
Please stay, please stay right beside me
With every single step I take

How many times have you heard me cry out?
And how many times have you given me strength?

How many times have you heard me cry out
“God please take this”?
How many times have you given me strength to
Just keep breathing?
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.

I need you now
Oh I need you
God, I need you now.
I need you now
I need you now


May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Encouragement

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Homeless Man’s Dream Comes True

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Encouragement
“The worse the situation is, never ever should a man consider it lost.”


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5 Simple & Thoughtful Mother’s Day Ideas

May 1st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
DIY Tea Poms

French Toast with Fresh Berry Sauce. CLICK HERE FOR TUTORIAL.
French Toast with Fresh Berry Sauce

20 Free Mother’s Day Printables. CLICK HERE.
20 Free Mother’s Day Printables

Ombre Painted Wooden Spoon. CLICK HERE FOR TUTORIAL
Ombre Painted Wooden Spoon

Strawberry Meringue Roses. CLICK HERE FOR TUTORIAL.
Strawberry Meringue Roses

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