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Five Ways to Design an Outdoor Space for Your Kids

Five Ways to Design an Outdoor Space for Your Kids

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the kids are…playing video games. Trying to usher your kids outside to play in the summer heat can be daunting, especially when competing against computer games and TV shows. One of our go-to ways to create an irresistible cove is by designing an outdoor space for kids using their favorite activities married with fun design elements. Here are our top five ways to get your kids off the couch and into the backyard:

Classic swing set

swingset

    Very few outdoor activities prove to be more fun and worth the expense than a good old-fashioned swing set. Whether your kids are learning to walk or approaching their tween years, they all can appreciate a swing set that incorporates sky-high swinging capabilities and cool design details. If you have kids of all ages, we suggest opting for a playset that combines several swings, a slide, and other activities like rock climbing or a lookout post for your little explorers.

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    Modern tree house

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      A cool tree house is a great incentive for your kids to spend more time outdoors, and it can be super adult-friendly, too! Perch your treehouse between the largest trees in your yard and make it spacious enough to hold a few lawn chairs or even a bistro set. Add elements like a tire swing, rope course and ladder for kids to play on while you enjoy a glass of wine with a view.

      Conversation pit

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      Image 3

        If you have older kids, chances are a swing set won’t entice them to get out from in front of the computer. Instead, create a conversation pit using lawn chairs, outdoor furniture, a fire pit, plants and ambient lighting for your kids and their friends to enjoy snacks, games and good times outside. After the kids have gone to bed, gather your friends for a bite and a glass of bubbles to toast to the summer evening.

        Splash zone

        Image 4

          While a pool is always a great fix for summertime blues, it may not be in the budget this year, or you might lack the square footage to install a full-sized lagoon. However, on a hot summer day, there is nothing quite like splashing around in cool water. Installing a fountain on a timer is a great way to get younger kids to beg you to take them outdoors to play. To make it eco-friendly, configure your fountain system to recycle the water.

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          Stay-at-home movie theater

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            The only thing better than going to the movies on a warm summer night is to stay at home and watch one in your own backyard! Encourage the kids to invite their friends; set up a screening area with lawn chairs, tables, lighting, and cushions; and play your favorite film using a digital projector and blank wall. Serve up dinner in your outdoor kitchen and set out snacks during the film for movie night alfresco.

            While these five outdoor home improvement ideas are awesome ways to keep your kids entertained outside this summer, there are many more that can help kids take more ownership of their home (and get a few chores done at the same time)! We love the idea of planting a garden or a few fruit trees and teaching the kids to take care of the plants by watering them, turning the soil, and then harvesting their work. If you have a pet, creating an obstacle course with trees and plants in your backyard is a fun way to give your pets and kids exercise all at once.

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            What are some of your favorite ways to encourage kids to play outside this summer? Have you tried any of our suggestions above? We’d love to know!

            Featured photo credit: Alwayswin via shutterstock.com

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            Kerrie Kelly

            Interior designer

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            Published on July 22, 2021

            20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

            20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

            It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

            Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

            Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

            1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

              These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

              Get the recipe here.

              2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

                This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

                To try this recipe, go here.

                3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

                  Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

                  Check out the recipe here.

                  4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

                    Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                      This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                      Find the recipe here.

                      6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                        The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                        Get the recipe for this dish here.

                        7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                          Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                          You can find the recipe here.

                          8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                            Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                              This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                              10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                                Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                                The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                                11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                                  Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                                    This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                                    Find the recipe here.

                                    13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                      Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                      This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                      14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                        Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                        Find out how to make it here.

                                        15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                          This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                          The recipe can be found here.

                                          16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                            This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                            Find the recipe here.

                                            17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                              Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                              Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                              18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                                Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                                Find the recipe here.

                                                19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                                  Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                                  Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                                  20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                                    Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                                    Get the recipe here.

                                                    Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                                    Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                                    Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                                    1. Lose the Sugar

                                                    Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                                    2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                                    Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                                    3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                                    Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                                    When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                                    Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                                    Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                                    More Healthy Eating Tips

                                                    Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

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