Tasty Tuesday: Kids’ Snack Ideas

Never fear! Here are some practical and creative solutions for you to try to make you parent of the year in the eyes of your kids – or at the very least, parent of the week in the eyes of the team.

Healthy snack ideas

It may be tempting to bring treats the kids will love like cookies, chips and soda, BUT you might not get high marks on the nutrition front from the coach or the other kids’ parents. Don’t be known as the “junk food” mom or dad when there are plenty of healthy, delicious snacks the team can enjoy. The idea is to keep them energized during the day, not give them sugary treats that will cause them to crash later on. These healthy options will keep little athletes going strong!

  • orange slices
  • bananas
  • apple slices
  • disposable cups filled with berries
  • mini boxes of raisins
  • grapes
  • small bags of carrot sticks
  • fruit kebabs on wooden skewers
  • watermelon slices
  • cucumber slices
  • sunflower seeds
  • celery sticks with cream cheese
  • squeeze-pouch applesauce
  • pumpkin seeds
  • string cheese
  • pretzels

If you want a little variety to your treats, consider creating little sandwich baggy packs or plastic containers with a little bit of everything. Mix berries, grapes, apple slices, cucumber slices and carrot sticks in individual baggies or containers – one for each child. With individual servings, the kids can eat as much as they want and then come back for more later. (Just make sure to bring along a permanent marker to write their names.)

Of course, if you bring fresh fruit or veggie snacks, you’ll want to keep them cool for the long haul, so we recommend packing them up in a roomy insulated cooler that can hold ice. The Fresh Market® Thermaland our Tote-ally Thermal are perfect options due to their larger size and Leak-Lock® water-resistant thermal lining that allows for loose ice.

  • water-resistant Leak-Lock® lining allows for ice
  • sides unsnap for additional space
  • exterior flat pocket holds utensils and more
  • zip closure

Tote-ally Thermal

 

  • water-resistant Leak-Lock® lining allows for ice
  • exterior flat pocket holds utensils, etc.
  • extended straps for easy transport
  • zip closure

Team tip: Personalize your favorite family thermal with your child’s sport in his or her team colors. Choose from icons for sports teams, band, hobbies and more in our Personalization Studio. Don’t forget to add your team’s or school’s name for extra spirit!

Creative snack ideas

Now, if you really want to go for the parent-of-the-year award, these fun ideas just might get you there. Your kids and their teammates will love these creative treats that are not only fun to make and look at, but nutritious to eat as well. Click on each treat for directions on how to make them.

Healthy drink ideas

Aside from the snacks, make sure your kids teammates have plenty to drink to stay hydrated. Be sure to avoid sugary beverages like soft drinks, fruit punches and sports drinks that are often loaded with sugar and sodium. Here are a few healthy options to consider.

  • Bottled water (minis are particularly nice)
  • Fruit juice boxes or pouches
  • Coconut water or sweet chia water
  • Homemade iced tea with lemon
  • Homemade lemonade with agave juice instead of sugar

Things to remember

Be conscious of food allergies. Things like nuts, gluten and dairy can keep a kid on the team from getting his or her snack. Check with the coach or other parents to make sure there aren’t any allergies to what you decide to bring.

Consider making extras. Oftentimes, your kids’ teammates will have younger brothers or sisters in attendance who also want to have a snack. Although it’s not your responsibility, it is a nice gesture to make a few extra snacks in case the need arises.

Don’t overdo it. You don’t need to provide the team with a meal. Keep it simple and nutritious without filling them up too much. You don’t want to ruin their lunch or dinner!

There’s nothing wrong with pre-packaged. Some parents may feel a bit uneasy about homemade food and any allergens or germs their kids may encounter. Pre-packaged items like apple slices, carrots, applesauce and nut butters may be the best route. It all depends on how well you know the other parents and your own comfort level. Find out what other parents provide. Pre-packaged doesn’t have to mean unhealthy.

Don’t forget the extras. Be sure to provide napkins, plastic wear, garbage bags and plates as necessary. Sanitary wipes are also a good idea if bathroom facilities are sub-par or far away from the playing field.

What is YOUR kids’ favorite snack?  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Happy Valentine’s Day

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you? Flowers? Chocolate? A special dinner out?

This year it takes on a whole new meaning.  Why? As a result of my relapse and changing healthy issues, I am learning to love again.  So it is a day to celebrate the gift of love in my life which I sometimes take for granted

Parents – I know you are thinking of course, they love us they are our parents, right?  I have learned over the years many do not have this gift.  Missing my dad BUT I am blessed to be able to spend time with my momma.  Through good times and bad, she loved me even when I didn’t love myself.  I’m grateful for her love and support.

My Daughter – Belinda.  The day she was born, I finally GOT it!  The 6 months on bed rest, the struggles with her biological dad, the days of being a struggling single mom – I got it!  I understood about the sacrifices a parent makes for their child no matter how it hurts.  I LOVE she has grown up to be an independent, strong married woman.  I admire her strength.

My hubby, Rob – a love story for the ages.  When we met back in high school, he was a blond haired, guitar playing guy whose smile gave me chills. He was from Neptune and I was Ocean Township. Our schools were rivals and it didn’t take long for me to succumb to peer pressure. I was and still am a people pleaser ( a HUGE character defect)! We went our separate ways.

The summer of 2002, he reentered my life. I long for the memories which flashed before me back then. Belinda was (and still is) a little protective of her mom. A roadside memorial with the name “HOPE” on it sent him on a hunt to be sure it wasn’t me. We emailed for months and then one Saturday, he showed up at a craft show to see me. To say the least, the rest is history.

We have had our ups and downs over the years. There are some days, I think he got the raw end of the deal. An overly independent woman, with a ton of baggage. Through it all, he has stuck around.  There are days he is my caregiver when the MS flares.  There are days when my lack of memories have him sharing tales of things he have done since 2002.

My recovery has taught me so much in just a few short months.  I am no longer the self-centered woman who doesn’t need anyone.  I have learned to trust again.  I am enjoying him being my best friend. He is my Ying to my Yang. He keeps me grounded when I am ready to fly in the wind.

Today is the day I honor LOVE. Remember LOVE is an intense feeling with deep affection and we are meant to share it with others – family, friends and random acts of kindness to a stranger.  I challenge you to put a smile on someone’s face to day.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

4th Annual Chemo Care Tote Campaign

As part of “Giving Tuesday” I am kicking off  my “4th Annual CHEMO CARE TOTES” Campaign.

When I began my journey with Thirty One in 2011, I wanted to make a difference.  Actually, I have been making  difference all of my life – from collecting funds for MD as a child to working in soup kitchens and food pantries to bringing a smile to those who are struggling.  I want to share my spiritual gifts of “helps and encouragement” so others know someone cares when they are struggling.

Here is the message I received from past recipients:

Wanted to let you know I have handed out all of the beautiful bags you had donated for women battling breast cancer. Each person loved the bag and it put a smile on their face to know someone was kind and providing a sense of support as they started their chemotherapy treatments. Thank you again for supporting our patients.

Yes, I cried the first time!… Now, I get goosebumps every time I read it.  Cancer has touched each of us in some way – a friend, a family member, a sister, a mother, a father, a child, and the list goes on.

This project is near and dear to my heart.  It is a tribute to my family who fought a good fight against this dreaded disease and lost: Edythe (kidney cancer), Elsie (breast cancer), Pop-pop (lung cancer) and my dad (prostrate cancer). I spent many hours in the Oncology Units with Elsie and Edythe as they underwent chemo treatments.  I held their hand when they struggled with the insertion of the needles.  I was there when they were sick from the chemo and sat by their bedside when they were too weak to go out.  As a friend said #cancersucks.  It takes many from us long before their time.  It ravages families.  It leaves children parentless.  It has parents burying children.

With my own health struggles, I have spent many hours in the infusion units of local hospitals.  I am blessed to only have to be there a short time – time for blood work and special testing.  The many women I have seen are not there for a one time visit, they are there for weeks of painful treatments.  They smile and carry on conversations  while encouraging each other.  My heart breaks and the tears come each time I leave the unit for I know what their struggles are like.

Your gift/ sponsorship of $25 will pay for the bag.   I will use 100% of my commission to fill them with a variety of things like a blanket/scarf, notepad, pen, bottle of water, lotion, warm socks, chap stick and crossword puzzle book. Donations will again be delivered to the local Cancer Care Center at Southern Ocean Medical Center to bring a smile to the face of those who are fighting this dreadful disease.

chemo bagsLast year, we delivered 31 bags BUT this year, my goal is 50.  I know it is a HUGE jump but I am confident we are up for the challenge. Yes, I know it is the holiday season.  Yes, I know money is tight.  STOP for a moment and think how you would feel if someone handed you an unexpected gift – no strings attached – when you were feeling your lowest.  Let the love of this holiday season shine through with your help.

For $25 you can bring a smile to someone who is fighting the cancer battle.

You can sponsor a bag in memory of someone, in honor of someone or just anonymously. Payments can be made via check, credit card or through Paypal at hopesgiftcloset@comcast.net as a friend/family.   If you see me at a vendor event, I will be happy to accept your donation.

Won’t you help us to make a difference today?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

The All-In Mom

Thank you Arlene Pellicane for today’s message.  I know today’s is Father’s Day but this touched my heart and I wanted to share.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also ~ 2 Timothy 1:5, NIV

When my daughter Noelle was three, she would exclaim “I LOVE blueberries!” or “I LOVE tortellini!” Now at 11, she LOVES penguins. She draws penguins, buys penguins, has penguin themed birthday parties, and dreams of penguins. It’s obvious by looking in her room or backpack that she really is crazy about that flightless black and white bird.

In the same way I can spot Noelle’s zeal for penguins, I wonder if she can tell I love Jesus. Can she see from my life that I’m an all-in mom for Jesus? Does she know I’m not just a casual fan of Jesus; I’m a die-hard follower? I believe these questions matter because a mom has incredible influence over the faith of her children.

Consider Timothy in the Bible. Our verse today reveals that Timothy’s faith first lived in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. What a wonderful gift those ladies gave – a vibrant faith passed down from generation to generation. Those women shaped Timothy’s spiritual life and he became the protégé of the Apostle Paul who called Timothy his “beloved son” (2 Timothy 1:2).

In Acts 16:1, we are told more about Timothy’s family upbringing. His mother was Jewish and a believer but his father was an unbelieving Greek. Even though Eunice didn’t share Christian faith with her husband, she was able to witness to her son about Jesus. Her transformed life must have made quite an impact on young Timothy.

Lois and Eunice were all-in moms. It reminded me of this illustration I saw at children’s church. If you put just a few drops of food coloring into a gallon of water, slowly but surely that dye works its way through all the water. There’s not a pocket of water that can remain unchanged. In the same way, following Jesus should penetrate and impact every area of life.

We are surrounded by little disciples who are watching us. Whether you have a toddler at your heels or a teen hiding out in the bedroom, they are observing you. Your children are checking to see if what you say matches what you do and who you are. By the way, you don’t have to be a mother to influence the lives of children. As an aunt, friend, Sunday school teacher, or coach, you can make a huge difference in the faith of a child.

Are you letting Jesus into every area of your life? Is the Holy Spirit free to move wherever He wants, transforming you daily by the renewing of your mind? There is a warning to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:15-16 (NIV), “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”

It’s time to be all-in for Jesus. Your children and others in your life are watching to see if your faith is genuine. May others know through our lives that indeed, we do LOVE Jesus!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

AD-VO-CATE For Mom and Dad

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A few weeks ago I attended a networking meeting.  It was held at a local rehabilitation facility and was geared specifically for woman.  When I first heard about the meeting, I was interested and then the name of the location haunted my memory.  I “thought” it sounded familiar but tossed the notion aside.  See the memory was one which was bittersweet.

As I arrived with a good friend, I realized I did know this place.  It was where E had spent many days after being in the hospital.  It was the spot where I finally let go of the hurt and pain of not speaking for so long and mended my relationship with her.  It was a place of healing and hope. So I knew I was meant to be here whatever the outcome because it had triggered memories I had forgotten.proverbs-22-62The meeting was geared to those in the healthcare field, and we felt like a fish out of water.     We made the most of it and I was blessed to meet Debra Hallisey of AD-VO-CATE for Mom and Dad.

Here is her story, direct from her website:

Hi, my name is Deb Hallisey, I am a caregiver knowledge expert, and advocate for older adults and their families.

I have over twenty-five years’ experience as a consultant building and enhancing corporate training programs with Ernst & Young and Huron Consulting group along with smaller boutique firms. My client base includes Fortune 500 companies across the US and Canada. Constant travel for my job made it a challenge to be involved in my parent’s health and living situation as they aged.

In 2015 everything changed when I became responsible for my disabled mother after my father’s death. I found myself asking “what do I do?” and “where do I start?” as her caregiver, as her financial adviser, and as her daughter? Figuring out the answers to those burning questions drove home the need we all have to be an effective advocate for our aging parents.

Through this life event my website Advocate for Mom and Dad was born. Advocate for Mom and Dad offers practical advice for “what do I do?” and “where do I start?” You will learn from the experience of others how they handled challenges on topics such as legal, financial, insurance, and caregiving issues. Each story includes links to resources the family found helpful as an effective advocate for their parents. The mission of Advocate for Mom and Dad is to build a community that helps families determine their best answers to the questions of “what do I do?” and “where do I start?”

This is not a topic we like to discuss or we ever think we will need to worry about BUT the truth is being prepared or knowing where the resources are is key!  You may not need this now.  You may think you will ever need it.  Bookmark her website.  Save it for the day when you least it expect it

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Hope you have a ThirtyOne-derful day!