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5 Easy And Inexpensive Ways to Keep Kids Entertained at Home

5 Easy And Inexpensive Ways to Keep Kids Entertained at Home

Fall is here and close behind is winter. For many of us, that brings the beauty of the changing of colors around us and then winter sports and snowmen. This also means colder weather which often for kids means more time inside. It gets darker earlier and is pretty chilly and their desire to stay outside doesn’t last long. More time inside means more quality time with the kids, but it also means more chances for bickering between them and the incessant, “I’m bored, Mom.”

As a working parent on a budget, keeping them occupied and happy without breaking the bank can be a bit stressful. We also don’t want them sitting in front of the television for hours at a time either. We want our children to explore their imagination and enjoy themselves.

Finding time to be able to spend time with them while they have fun is important. With that in mind, here is a list of creative adventures that my family enjoys in the cold months. I hope yours does too! These can all be adopted for in and outside play.

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1. Camping

The kids are ready for an adventure! Time to travel to Neverland. After awhile, nobody wants to be cooped up inside and never growing up sounds like the perfect solution to everyone in my home. What better way to create the feeling of distance and adventure than camping?

Grab your tent, sleeping bags, flashlights, and if you are really feeling ambitious, any extra blankets and old Christmas lights to create an extended blanket fort. Let’s get creative. Dress up in your favorite costumes and let the giggles and games begin, in your living room or any room you have the extra space. The added bonus of this idea is that the kids can you use this fun space as their quiet reading or coloring camp. You get peace and quiet and they are using their imaginations and are happy too.

2. Bath paints

Mermaids and pirates alike will enjoy this next adventure and moms rest easy, this is easy to make and affordable. Just take some shaving cream and food coloring – you have bath paints!

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This can be used in an outside pool or for bath time. After the treasure hunt or under the sea adventure, when the little ones are wrinkly and ready to get out, simply rinse the tub out and be on your way. Simple cleanup and the little ones go wild. Be aware that this is not edible, though for the toddlers and young children that are still putting everything in their mouth, this not an option.

3. Bowling

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, children travel in packs, like tiny little wolves. Tame the pack with a fun game of glow in the dark bowling! You will need to save 6 water bottles, any size of your choosing and a few colorful glow sticks each.

For smaller children, smaller bottles will work best. The water will keep them fairly sturdy. Grab your basketball, soccer ball or volleyball you already have lying around and you have glow in the dark bowling!

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4. Edible Painting

Picasso lookout, we have greatness in the making with this one. Use instant vanilla pudding, a bit of food coloring and a clean paper plate as a canvas to create beautiful and edible works of art.

This can get a little messy so I suggest putting something down before the kids begin creating the next Mona Lisa.

5. Silly Snack Time

Being able to make our kids get all the necessary micronutrients without them putting up a fight can be a struggle at times.

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Now that you have their imaginations running, bring their lunch and snacks to life as well with lunch made of “bugs” of fruit and veggies and simple PB&J’s cut into any shape their little heart’s desire. Cookie cutters are best for this. It’s a win-win. You get them to have fun and EAT fruits and vegetables which they wouldn’t typically dare touch and they are entertained.

There you have it. From voyages to Neverland to painting the sea, you are bound to make some waves with the kids with some or all of these fun, simple, affordable adventures and the cleanup is minimal. Let their imaginations run wild.

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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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