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Family Matters: Back-To-School Time Savers


Busy Day Italian-Style Rump RoastIt’s back-to-school time, and we all know how busy school nights can be! With so much to do during the day, from getting kids up in the mornings and making the PTO meeting, to running them to soccer and dance after school, it’s easy to forget about making healthy meals—at least until it’s dinnertime!

For a lot of parents this can be an overwhelming time of the year. We send our kids off to school expecting them to keep up with all their classes and not lose any of their school supplies. Yet as we head to the kitchen to figure out what’s for dinner tonight, we begin to feel inadequate, unorganized and so wish we had a meal-planner genie!

As an out-of-the-home working Mom, I have found a few tricks that help me maintain sanity while putting a delicious meal on the table most nights of the week. For our family, mealtime is a wonderful time to sit down together, relax and talk about the day’s events.

FREEZE
Make a big pot of homemade soup, double the recipe of a casserole or lasagna and freeze half of it for a later evening when you have no time.

PREPARE THE NIGHT BEFORE
Prepare entrees you can mix together the night before, store in the refrigerator and then transfer to the oven right before dinnertime.

USE A SLOW COOKER
This has got to be the easiest way to have dinner ready the minute you walk in the door! There are hundreds of slow cooker recipes online to suit your family from chicken and beef recipes to appetizers and soups. Did you know you could even bake breads and desserts using a slow cooker?

One of my family’s favorite meals is a roast cooked in the slow cooker. With a boneless rump roast and your slow cooker handy, this meal is almost a no-brainer.

Busy Day Italian-Style Rump Roast
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours

Ingredients
3 lbs boneless beef rump roast, well-trimmed
5 cups cut-up fresh vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onions and potatoes
1 package McCormick Slow Cookers Savory Pot Roast Seasoning
1 cup red wine or water

Directions
Place beef and vegetables in slow cooker. Mix seasoning mix and water until blended. Pour over beef and vegetables. Cover. Cook 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Remove roast and vegetables to serving platter. Stir sauce before serving.

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Family Matters: Gerber Bitty Bites


Gerber Bitty BitesToddlers love to snack, and it’s good for them, too! The average toddler should eat about two snacks a day, and Gerber Bitty Bites provide good nutrition that can easily be enjoyed at home or on the go.

Gerber Bitty Bites come in great flavors like blueberry and strawberry. They are made with a whole-grain blend of corn, sorghum, millet, brown rice, teff, amaranth, quinoa and wheat bran, providing five grams of whole-grains per serving. They are also a good source of vitamin E, iron and zinc.

Bitty Bites are easy to pick up and great for toddlers to feed themselves. There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners and best of all, no mess!

Perfect for toddlers 15 months and older, these snacks are kid-tested and mom-approved.

 

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Posted in: Baby, Kids, Nutrition


Family Matters: Making Bath Time Fun


Making Bath Time FunSplish, splash, baby is taking a bath!

Toddlers can bathe every day unless you have a little one with extremely sensitive skin, and it’s always more fun if parent and baby are both having a blast.

  1. Help teach your toddler colors by making each bath time a themed color. Add a few drops of food coloring to the bath and place objects of that color into the bath with your toddler. We promise a few drops of food coloring won’t stain your child or the tub.
  2. Ice, ice baby – Put a few ice cubes into the warm bath water and let baby chase them.
  3. Bath paints are easily made by adding a few drops of food coloring to shaving cream. Let baby go to town all over the tiles.
  4. Give baby a strainer or colander to play with. They’ll love seeing the water flow through the bottom.
  5. Foam shapes are fun. Cut them out of sponges you can buy at Brookshire’s.
  6. Blow up balloons and add them to the bath.
  7. Play music in the bathroom.
  8. Read baby a book while he’s relaxing in the bath.
  9. Set up a glow-in-the-dark bath! Use washable glow paints, dim the lighting in the bathroom and have glow-in-the dark stars for baby to play with.
  10. Have baby dive for treasure. For an older toddler, let them put on goggles and throw marbles or coins into the bath water. They don’t actually even have to put their face in the water, but it might help baby be comfortable getting their head wet.

Of course, closely supervise all these activities.



Family Matters: “Me Time” for Mommy


“Me Time” for MommyWhoooo weeeeee, those first six months of baby’s life are quite the ride.

You’re exhausted beyond all possible endurance, your body is doing all kinds of amazing – and weird – things that you weren’t expecting and another human is attached to you at almost all times.

You wouldn’t trade it for the world, but you still need a break.

“Me time” is good for new mothers. It makes you a better parent, gives you some respite from your rapidly changing world, and refreshes and rejuvenates you.

Getting “me time” in can be as simple as taking a long bath. Don’t just let it be a bath; make it a spa experience with scented body washes from the personal hygiene aisle at Brookshire’s. Treat yourself to your favorite scent and soak away. Or, add about 1/4 cup Epsom salts to your bath, sprinkle in your favorite essential oil and relax. Give yourself a facial at the same time by mixing oats with raw honey and placing slices of cucumbers over your eyes to help the bags (yes, you probably have them, we all did).

“Me time” can also come in the form of finding a quiet corner (let Dad be in charge of baby!) and reading your favorite book or magazine with a cup of Brookshire’s Best Coffee.

Make time for your favorite hobby. Mine, at the time my boys were little, was scrapbooking with actual paper, scissors and glue! I would spend any free time I had at my work table, happily creating new designs. Is your hobby sewing? Make time for 30 minutes a day for that. Do you love crossword puzzles or yoga? Make sure to schedule time for yourself.

Whatever it is, from a monthly Girls’ Night Out or Bunco game to quiet time to rest and recharge, make “Me Time” a priority!



Family Matters: Savvy Snacking on the Go


Savvy Snacking on the GoThere are lots of great ways to keep your toddler healthy and happy, and his belly full when you’re on the go. Savvy snacking doesn’t have to be complicated. Just pack a few of these essentials.

Dried fruit – Raisins, dried mangos, banana chips, prunes, dried apricots and dried cherries all make great snack choices.

Kale chips – What a great way to get your toddler to eat greens! Easy to make at home, these are a fabulous alternative to processed foods.

Granola bars – There are plenty of great recipes out there for homemade varieties, or buy something like KIND for your toddler’s nutritional needs.

Roasted chickpeas – My boys used to love these, and I couldn’t help but sneak a few from their baggie, too. Again, these are also easy to make at home, adding the seasonings your little one likes.

Sweet potato chips – Another great idea for a snacking powerhouse and super simple to make.

Homemade fruit leathers – Yummy, fun and highly portable (just stock a few wipes for sticky hands).

Homemade beef jerky – You control what goes in, so you know your little one is getting maximum nutrition and a ton of protein.

Cold grilled cheese – Why not?

Cereals – Look for a whole-grain variety that’s easy for your toddler to pick up.

Applesauce or fruit sauces – Homemade or from the store without added sugars.

Fruit – Sturdy fruits like bananas, apples and pears are easy to toss into the diaper bag.

String cheese – A great snack and a good way to get more dairy into your child’s diet.



Family Matters: Lucky Ice Cream Floats


Lucky Ice Cream Floats St. Patrick’s Day may be over, but you can still have some “green” fun in the kitchen this weekend. Your kiddos can still feel lucky with delicious – and decidedly green – ice cream floats that are simple for kids of all ages to make.

Start out by chilling the glass you will be using in advance, so the ingredients stay nice and cold. With an ice cream scoop, dip 2 to 3 scoops of Goldenbrook Farms Lime Sherbet into the glass. With a steady hand, carefully and slowly pour in the Brookshire’s BLAST! Lemon Lime. The combination will begin to foam. Stop pouring before the foam reaches the top of the glass. Add a fun straw to the drink and enjoy every sip!

For more kid-friendly recipes, pick up a free copy of Celebrate Cooking Magazine available online or at your local Brookshire’s.



Dine In: Hot Chocolate Shots


‘Twas the night before Valentine’s Day…and all through the house, I was prepping for a romantic Saturday night meal.

It doesn’t matter if you have a special someone or not, Valentine’s Day is all about the people you love. All of them.

This year, I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day with my sweetie and my first loves – my two boys. We’ll have a special meal, and it will celebrate our love for each other. It will also be kid-friendly.

I did a trial run on these hot chocolate shots (no alcohol involved!) around Christmastime, and they were so popular that I decided to bring them back for Valentine’s Day.

The only problem with them is that you want several! I’m going to dip the chocolate rims of the glasses into red sprinkles before serving to add a Valentine’s flair.

Hot Chocolate Shots

Ingredients:
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate ice cream
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp orange extract
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
whipped cream, orange zest and grated chocolate, for garnish

Directions:
In a saucepan, melt together the butter, sugar, ice cream and baking chocolate until smooth. Whisk in the water and orange flavoring. Heat over medium-high heat, just until steaming. Serve with whipped cream, a sprinkling of orange zest and grated chocolate in chocolate-dipped shot glasses.

To chocolate-coat the edges of your shot glasses, microwave 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips in a small, microwave-safe bowl just until melted. (The chocolate should be smooth and melty but not hot. Overheating it will cause the chocolate to mottle as it cools and hardens, so be careful that you only just microwave it until it’s barely melted.) Dip the edges of each shot glass into the melted chocolate. Allow the chocolate to cool and harden before pouring hot cocoa into the glasses.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 194, Calories from Fat: 120, Fat: 13 g (8 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 31 mg, Sodium: 78 mg, Potassium: 146 mg, Carbohydrates: 20 g, Fiber: 1.4 g, Sugar: 17 g, Protein: 2 g

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Walking


Walking

My 12-year-old son had to write his autobiography recently.

He refused any help on the essay, even to verify important facts such as how much he weighed at birth and when he started walking.

He wrote that he started walking at 10 months, which isn’t even remotely true. He was 13 months when he finally tentatively struck out across the kitchen, only to make it two wobbly steps before my shrieks of delight scared him so much that he plopped right down on the floor and began to howl.

While walking at 10 months is on the early side of normal and 13 months is on solidly average, anything in that range is right on target. My mom claims I walked at 9 months, skipping crawling all-together. My pediatrician also told me, at the time, that he doesn’t really worry until a child isn’t walking at 18 months.

So, watch your little one. Don’t panic and enjoy the time before you have to batten down every door and cabinet in your house.



Potty Training


Potty Training

My friend just had twins, which is super awesome, except that she’d hoped to have her two-year-old son potty trained before the babies’ arrival.

It didn’t happen.

Try as she might, Evan would not pee-pee on the potty.

I don’t blame the kid. He wasn’t ready. It’s far easier to play with Thomas the Tank Engine and let ‘er rip in your diaper than it is to stop what you’re doing to have to go to the restroom.

While between two and three years is normal for potty training for a lot of girls, boys often take longer, easily age three, often approaching four.

I’m a firm believer in not pushing it. It will frustrate you more than it’s worth. Make that kid almost beg to go to the potty because he’s so ready to be rid of diapers.

With that said, there are gentle nudges you can provide to nudge him in the right direction. Big boy and girl underpants are huge. My younger son didn’t want to tinkle on Thomas, so that worked for him. Nothing worked for my older son, and he was almost four by the time he potty trained. Nothing I did was effective and I just got upset. I let it go and waited until he asked me. After that, there were no issues.

So, watch your toddler for signs of toilet readiness, but again, don’t force the issue. It’ll happen in due time.



Family Matters: Giant Christmas Tree Cookie


Giant Christmas Tree CookieAre your kiddos crushing on cookies this Christmas? Make a giant treat for your little ones to decorate, a sweet and easy, memory-making activity to share with loved ones during the holidays.

Giant Christmas Tree Cookie

Ingredients:
1 egg
1 pouch Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
1/3 cup Brookshire’s Butter, softened
green gel food coloring
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Fluffy White Frosting
1 (12 oz) Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate Frosting
decorations or candy, as desired for decorating

Directions:
Heat oven to 375º F. In a medium bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms.

Line a 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with foil. With moistened fingers, press dough in bottom of pan. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until light golden-brown; cool completely, about 30 minutes.

With the help of mom or dad, cut tree shape from baked cookie. If you need help, create a tree template. Place the template on the baked cookie and cut around it using a sharp knife.

Stir food coloring into frosting as desired. Decorate cookie tree with frosting and candies.

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The products mentioned in “Share, the Brookshire’s Blog” are sold by Brookshire Grocery Company, DBA Brookshire’s . Some products may be mentioned as part of a relationship between its manufacturer and Brookshire’s.

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