June 2015 - Julie Green and Keen

It is finally summer break for my kids and they couldn’t be more excited.  Hannah is going to a horseback riding camp for a week and Liam is playing soccer this summer.  Needless to say it is going to be a fun filled and busy summer.  Although the kids have arranged activities already, I want to make sure we spend lots of time together and make summer memories.



Ever since Liam and Hannah were little I loved planning fun activities, this summer won’t be an exception.  I have mastered how to keep them entertained so they are not complaining they are bored every 5 minutes.  Plan, plan, plan, is the key to success; it is the only way to make sure they are having fun, staying active and not sitting on the couch watching cartoons.

The last week of school was exciting for them because they were looking forward to summer break.  I saw this great idea on Pinterest to have them make a list of all the things they want to do over the summer.  It is a good way to “accomplish” fun new things and keep them looking forward to something.

Here is our list of fun activities Liam and Hannah came up with so far, I am sure they will want to add to it as the summer goes on.

1. Bake cookies and make ice cream sandwiches out of them
2. Have a water party in the backyard with the sprinklers
3. Visit the beach
4. Make a cardboard box fort
5. Go berry picking
6. Have a picnic

7. Go canoeing
8. Go camping
9. Have a campfire and make s’mores
10. Make homemade pizza
11. Set up a lemonade stand
12. Have a water balloon fight
13. Go on a bike ride

14. Help mom plant the garden
15. Visit a museum
16. Go stargazing
17. Play mini-golf, Guys vs. Girls
18. Go to an amusement park or water park
19. Paint rocks to make paperweights
20. Go roller blading
21. Visit the zoo
22. Catch fireflies
23. Have a movie night outside
24. Watch fireworks on the 4th of July
25. Make a giant slip and slide
26. My tie dye shirts and socks
Having the kids make a list of fun things they want to do makes it easier on when planning activities; they are already “kid approved.”  It is going to be a great summer.  :)



What do you like to do with your kids over the summer? How do you keep them from the inevitable “I’m bored” stage?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Kids home for summer

by on 6/17/2015
It is finally summer break for my kids and they couldn’t be more excited.  Hannah is going to a horseback riding camp for a week and Liam...
Ever since I was young my parents taught me how important it is to recycle and take care of our planet.  I believe that all parents want to leave the world a better place for their children after they are gone.  As my children grew up and learned about trash and where it goes, they also knew about recycling.



My husband and I made leaning about recycling fun for our kids.  We made it more of a game and made it easy for them to understand and put to use.  The earlier good habits are ingrained, the easier it is to make an impact.

When we were teaching our children about recycling we used some of these steps.

1. We talked about what recycling means and respecting and helping the earth.

2. There are many books about the basics of reducing, reusing, and recycling.  It is a great way to start of teaching your kids.  It excited my children to start recycling after reading.

3. To help them understand what was recyclable and what was not, we decorated bins to correlate what goes in them.

4. We had a “recycled item of the week” that we focused on to make it a fun event.  Each week we kept adding to the list until we had a full list.

5. We made a fun facts list to post on the fridge about facts about recycling. For example; the average person throws away about 170 lbs. of food waste every year that is the same as 1,077 banana peels.

6. We visited our local recycling center to see how the process actually works.  Our kids loved it when they were young.  Usually recycling centers will help organize a visit with a group.  It is a great way for them to understand the process.

7. To reuse our own “nice trash” we made little craft projects.  Kids love crafts and what a great way to learn about recycling too.  I found some good recycling craft ideas here.

8. To teach them about conserving water, we set a “shower song.” It was a song that they got to shower to that gave them a time limit so they did not waste water.  We always made it one of their favorite songs so they knew when it was going to be done.  It was fairly easy for them to grasp the concept of conserving water, they understand that if they used too much water, the fish wouldn’t have any place to live.

9. To teach our children about reusing we also had them go through their closets and toys to find five items to donate to local panties and organizations.  It was a great way to help the community and teach them about reusing and making a difference.

10. There are countless games online that revolve on the subject of recycling and conservation.  Our favorite websites were Kids Recycling Zone and Kids Recycle.


My husband and I strive to inspire our children to love the earth and take care of it.  It is easy to feel like we don’t have much control about what happens to our earth in years to come; but it is beneficial to teach our little ones now to ensure there will be a healthy planet for future generations.  I believe the earlier good habits are created, the easier it is to incorporate them into daily life.

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals.




We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first post.  My mind just goes to other topics when I sit down to write.  I have had way too many other good topics to share with you guys :)

Good news is I remembered tonight! My kids and husband helped cook dinner tonight! It was so wonderful.

We made Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers and Chilled Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies for desert.

We had so much fun cooking and our meal tasted delicious.  I think we spent the entire time cooking, laughing at Liam, he had a comment for everything; silly kid!

Here are the recipes that we used!

We actually found the Confetti Stuffed Bell Pepper recipe at the Kids Cook Monday website.

Confetti Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients-

4 large bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 bag (12 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables, cooked according to the package directions
1 bag (10 oz.) whole grain brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 can tomato sauce
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Instructions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray
Combine mixed vegetables, brown rice, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, tomato sauce and black pepper in a large bowl.
Arrange peppers in prepared pan and spoon mixture into peppers.
Pour ¼ cup water into pan around the peppers. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, until peppers are tender.
Remove foil and evenly sprinkle peppers with remaining cheeses.  Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Enjoy!



For dessert we made no-bake, Chilled Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies


Ingredients-

2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
¼ cup honey
¼ cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup chocolate chips
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed

Instructions-

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a small skillet add cocoanut and toast for about 3 minutes then let cool.
In a medium sauce pan combine honey, corn syrup, and peanut butter on medium heat.  Keep stirring until mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and cocoa.  Stir the mixture until the chocolate chips have melted and then add the cereal and toasted coconut and stir until coated.
Spoon balls of mixture on to parchment paper and refrigerate until hardened, about 15 minutes.
Enjoy!



It ended up being a fantastic kid’s cook Monday!  We were so full after our meal we went on a walk around the neighborhood to digest it all.  The meal and the walk put the kids right to bed.  When we got back they sat on the couch for 15 minutes and went straight to bed.  Great end to a great evening.
Go Green and Staying Keen,

Julie

Kids Cook Monday

by on 6/01/2015
I have been slacking about posting my Kids Cook Monday Meals . We have been keeping up with it and participating since my first po...