Healthy Summer Kid Snacks + DIY Sun Catcher

Healthy Summer Kid Snacks + DIY Sun Catcher

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackStories #SnackSnapShare #CollectiveBias

Summer is here and with it comes summertime crafting! After picking the boys up from camp they always ask what we are up to today. During the school year schedules are tight and there isn’t always time for as much fun as we’d like. During the summer while the days last longer, we try to take advantage of all the extra outdoor time by eating al fresco as much as possible.

One of the ways I keep the kids engaged, is by providing delicious snacks for them to munch on while were outside. With two hungry boys this can be a tough feat, some days it feels like they are never full! I struggle with making sure they get the right nutrition while fueling their busy little boy tanks. I like to create an “invitation to eat” by making snacks individualized, kid-sized, and most of all, fun-looking. Bright foods with different textures are most inviting to kids. Right now the boys are digging anything crunchy, so my options are pretty wide open on the veggie side.

 

Summer Snacks

Late July® Organic Tortilla Chips are the perfect go-to for snacks. They are crunchy, made with high-quality ingredients, and ready for dipping. The new Jalapeno Lime flavor is the perfect kick for some summertime snacking. My oldest likes a little spice, but my youngest son prefers the original tortilla chips, and I love the new recyclable packaging!

Summer Snacks

I make sure to provide a few different options so they don’t get tired of the same flavor. I cut open a few peppers and added Avocado Hummus (our newest favorite), Black Bean Salsa, and traditional salsa. They each pair perfectly with the Late July®Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips. Avocado Hummus is a new twist on hummus, the boys really love the texture and I love how simple it is.

Easy Avocado Hummus

Easy Avocado Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz Can of Chick Peas
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp of EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tsp of Cumin
  • 1/4 Tsp Himalayan Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Parsley for Garnish

Instructions

  1. Add the Avocado, Chick Peas, Garlic, Salt, and Lime Juice to a food processor. Pulse 3-5 times, then slowly add the EVOO on a full blend until creamy. Sprinkle with Cumin and garnish with Parsley to enjoy!
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Just throw a few ingredients into the food processor and voila! You’ve got a fun summertime snack for the kids and yourself. This was an easy recipe perfect for chomping on while making our fun Summertime Sun Catchers. This craft was perfect for outdoor use since it involved melting plastic and I didn’t want those fumes in the house.

Sun Catchers

You start with clear plastic beads you can find in your local craft store. Add a handful to an aluminum muffin pan so the bottom of the pan is covered. You can create patterns if you like or even all one color. The boys thought it would look best if they put in a bunch of multicolored beads to see how they would all melt together.

We put the muffin pan directly on the hot grill and put the top on for 15 minutes. When I took the lid off they were completely melted down (don’t worry these won’t stick onto the muffin pan). I set them aside and let them cool overnight.

Sun Catchers

Once they were cooled, they were ready to be strung. I used my trusty hot glue gun to attach the bakers twine to the back of the sun catcher.

Once the glue dries, they are ready to be hung outside or in front of your favorite sunny window!

DIY Sun Catchers

The boys loved decorating the tree outside, they were impressed with their new creation as we all sat and snacked on our healthy summertime snacks. Bonus!

Enter the #SnackSnapShare Sweepstakes before 7/11/17 or your chance to win a grand prize of $10,000! There will be eight weekly winners eligible to win a year’s worth of snacks so they can continue to share the love all year-long. OR you could be one of 57 daily winners set to receive a $50 prepaid Visa gift card to stock up on snacks at your favorite retailer.Good Luck!

#SnackSnapShare #Sweepstakes (5/30 to 7/25)

Summer Snacks
If I were to enter, I would use this photo!

Essentially yours,

Erika


Summer Snacks

5 Signs Your Kid Has a Screen Addiction – How To Help

5 Signs Your Kid Has a Screen Addiction – How To Help

They are calling my generation (Generation X) the “last generation in the woods. ” We are the last group of kids that know what it’s like to play outdoors all day long until the street lamp came on. Childhood obesity is at a all time high, and the number of school-related hate crimes is astounding. The results are clear, technology is up, and compassion is at a severe low.

Screen Addiction

Screen Addiction

 

It seems everywhere you look there are devices for kids to “plug in” to keep them occupied. It starts at a very young age with the light up toys and flashing, colorful jungle gyms. We have one for the car, one for the house, one for just in case the others die out. It’s all very overstimulating, and the effects on the brain (research is finding) are far-reaching. Even the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) is recommending that children don’t watch ANY television before the age of two. Many suggest much longer than that with the alarming information found in the effects of wi-fi on a developing brain before the age of nine years old.

Yet everywhere you look, children are plugged in. Plugged into iPhones, iPads, tablets, portable dvd players, you name it they’ve got it in their tiny grasp. Even billionaire entrepreneur and CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs, didn’t allow his children to have iPhones until well into their teens. Studies have found that social media can play a large part in screen addiction, but the building blocks for this issue are there long before social media is invited into the equation. Researchers have found that dopamine (the same effect drugs or alcohol have on the human brain) is released while using apps, or interacting on social media. That is why it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole once you’ve started using it. Ever log in to Facebook for “just a moment” only to find you’ve wasted two hours browsing? Luckily, there are many ways to help you decipher if your child is getting too much screen time.

 

A still moment to reflect on the day’s events, or perhaps plan tomorrow’s adventures.

Location, Location, Location

 

At the grocery store, in the car, sitting at the table in the restaurant. If you notice that all of life’s everyday mundane activities seem to draw a device into the hand of your child, then they may have a screen addiction. All of these day to day activities, although not necessarily all exciting, play a part in your child’s social-emotional development. These are necessary interactions in which your child needs to learn how to navigate. You can alleviate this by purposely removing the option of devices from these activities. Important conversations are had in these still moments, missing out on these opportunities can have damaging effects. You can begin by setting boundaries for older children, or removing the opportunity to plug in altogether from younger kids during these moments. We recently bought a new SUV, and traded our minivan that had a dvd player in it. I thought it might be tough during road trips, but it turns out we enjoy car rides together much more, and the kids have found artistic ways to express themselves instead. The amount of drawing supplies that have made it’s way into our car rides, and we love it (except for the occasional melted crayon). It can be tough when parents need a break, but the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. Look for all of the fun and silly moments to be had, and the lessons learned. It will serves them much longer than the thirty minutes of quiet time at dinner.

 

Mean Girls & Boys

 

If you notice that when you do remove the devices, or turn them off that your children look as though they’ve been posessed, they may have a screen addiction. The reason for this mean or intense behavior is because their brain is being overstimulated. Once that stimulation is removed, it can feel like an intense withdrawal. There’s no doubt about it, it feels as though the mean epidemic is larger than ever. Bullying is at an all time high (including cyber bullying), and kids are having trouble connecting with each other. The reason the popular Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” is such a hot topic is because it touches on many real struggles our youth are facing today. These issues are topics we have all faced growing up, only it seems it’s amplified because of the lack of social interaction and the introduction of social media. When I was growing up, if we made a silly mistake it wasn’t plastered all over and online resource for every school in the tri-state area to scoff at. Bullies were required to see the effects of their harsh words or actions immediately. They couldn’t hide behind a chat room, if they hurt someone, they had to see the effects of that hurt immediately, and suffer the intrinsic consequences by feeling terrible. Remove the person-to-person contact, and this becomes a dangerous scenario. There isn’t any compassion for a blank computer screen, and the person on the other end is up for grabs. The compassion and problem solving skills learned on the playground face to face, and the conflict resolution are what made other generations sturdy enough to handle pressure from the outside world, and grasp that today was a hard day; but there would be other days. Allowing kids the unstructured play time to work together to figure out their problems, and feel compassion for others, is crucial to healthy human development. They become the building blocks of our lives, and we draw on them in each situation of our lives moving forward. This can’t happen if kids never got to play and were constantly plugged in. You can start by reading books that encourage compassion  to our children, we’re laying the groundwork. By allowing them to figure out some of their own issues on the playground (instead of running to the rescue), we encourage autonomy. When we learn to use the right language to help describe the issues instead of placing blame or judgement, we are teaching them conflict resolution, instead of how to play defense all the time and ostracize themselves.

 

Physicality

 

In classrooms across America, children are faced with the physical effects of too much screen time. There is a reason the AAP has recommended little to no screen-time for children, the effects on the brain while staring at a glowing screen can be tough on the brain. The state your brain is in while engaged in pixelated content is the same as though you were sitting in a movie theater. Ever notice how after a few moments, you are wrapped into the screen as though no one else is in the theater? It’s because of the intense concentration that happens, we almost transcend our environment and notice nothing else. Screen time has this effect on the brain, and while the brain is in this state, it’s dormant. There is an entire part of the brain left being unused. This portion of the brain helps to control motor skills, coordination, and scanning (left to right scanning is what is the part of the brain that helps us to read, crawl, etc.). Think of a child’s brain as having dark areas (areas not yet in use), once a scent, or a feeling from touch is introduced, the brain creates a synapses, a bridge if you will to this sensation. A portion of the brain literally comes alive with a new experience tied to it, creating a bridge to another brand new experience. This is why sensorial play, and process art are so amazing for our children’s brains, it literally awakens parts of the brain that would otherwise go unused while plugged in. Movement is key to childhood development because the left to right transfer lends to the ability to learn to read later on. Movement can help develop the prefrontal cortex, which helps with problem solving and emotional self control. Without this, the brain relies on the primal part of the brain that sends “fight or flight” signals to the body, causing wild tantrums, and the inability to work through experiences.

 

Solutions

 

While these signs may seem daunting, the beauty in childhood is that it is never too late to implement healthy habits. Children are resilient and can bounce back from physical and behavioral issues with the right guidance, and more importantly the right examples. That’s the key to any lessons in childhood, an example needs to be set. One of the biggest reasons children can suffer from screen addiction is that their parents may be facing the same issue without even realizing it. How can we expect our kids to practice responsible device use if we haven’t quite learned how to put down our own smartphone? Ask yourself these questions: Am I always on my phone in front of our kids? Do I have my phone or any devices present at the dinner table, or during family time? When they see me, what do they see. One of the quickest ways to try and understand our children and their habits is by getting down to their level, and watching what their experience with us is like.

Screen Addiction
A missed opportunity to describe what you see, instead of recording it.

Screen Addiction

There are tons of great books dedicated to this issue, and resolving it.

Taking Back Childhood

Between Parent & Child

The Last Child in the Woods

Liberated Parents, Liberated Children

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

The Hands Free Mama

Glow Kids

“The children and nature movement is fueled by this fundamental idea; the child in nature is an endangered species, and the health of children and the health of the Earth are inseparable.” -Richard Louv

Essentially yours,

Erika

Over the Bridge We Go..

Over the Bridge We Go..

So many emotions run through my heart and my mind on our final Bridging Day at Sunflower Creative Arts, but this is the first of many bridges we will cross I’m sure. Sunflower has meant so many things to us since we first discovered this community.. this family.

For some, Sunflower is a safe haven. A space to go where no matter what else is wrong in the world, it can be made right, right here. On this safe playground ALL feelings are allowed, ALL opinions are respected, ALL people are welcome. When the world’s playground doesn’t seem fair, the lessons we all participate in daily at Seedlings have a way of making it much clearer and easier to understand. There aren’t any distractions, there won’t be any sugar-coating. All feelings are met with loving arms, listening ears, compassion and grace. My the things we can achieve with hope, kindness, and an open heart.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For others, Sunflower means a second chance. A chance at a childhood lost too soon, the remembrance of play for those who’ve forgotten. A safe place to land after the world has chewed you up, and spit you out. When dancing to someone else’s tune hasn’t yet worked for you, and you need to remember your own song. Here is where you go to realize what you’ve been missing, or rather, remember who you are.. Maybe you never knew yourself, but on this playground, it’s impossible to ignore.

Sunflower Creative Arts

For a select few, Sunflower is simple. It’s all you’ve ever known in your home life growing up, and you couldn’t see living any other way. You’ve seen what the world looks like, yet it doesn’t quite make sense since you already know how compassion and community truly work. It’s a way of life that is familiar, and necessary.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Sunflower has meant all of this and much more to me. The lessons we’ve learned here have shaped us as a family, and we will forever be indebted to the kindness that was shown to us. It reminded us how to live, and how to love. Now that we have these roots, it’s time to use our wings. We have the opportunity to spread this message of community, and bring it with us wherever we go. Using the skills we learned on this playground to change the world, one seed at a time.Sunflower Creative Arts

Well done Sunflower, you haven’t just prepared our family for Kindergarten, but prepared us for life. You prepared us to change the way people see the world.

Sunflower Creative Arts

Thank you.

Essentially yours,

Erika


Sunflower Creative Arts is located at 227 N Dixie Blvd in Delray Beach, FL. You can visit their website, or call them at (561) 501-6615.

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