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Where to Donate Halloween Candy

Your Candy Will Bring Smiles

Donating Halloween candy

No matter how fun trick or treating is, the aftermath can lead to late nights, sour tummies, and fights over who gets the last mini kit-kat. So what’s a Mom or Dad to do when the candy long outlasts your little slugger’s costume? Are you wondering where to donate Halloween candy?

It might be hard to believe but donating your kids candy can help soldiers far from home feel warm and fuzzy, put a smile on a sick kid’s face who didn’t get to go house-to-house wearing their favorite superhero getup, and help families feel a little closer together when they don’t have a place to call home. Also, you can “donate” candy to science – there are some super cool experiments you can do with skittles, starbursts and lifesavers!

Operation Gratitude – Send candy to the troops around the world. No matter where a soldier is stationed, it’s probably far from home. What better way to celebrate a night of fun and frivolity than to send a sweet treat to those keeping us safe?! Operation Gratitude will gladly take your leftover candy (if you’re so inclined send some toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss too to keep their smiles sparkling and a handwritten note {reminding them to floss is optional}) and include it in the care packages they send to soldiers throughout the year.

Ronald MacDonald House – Families with sick kiddos can stay here for little to no cost during hospital stays to ensure that all kids have a “home-away-from-home.” Donating your candy to a local chapter of the RMHC can help put a smile on a face who might have had a tough day, long test schedule or just need a pick me up.

Local Homeless Shelters –If you want to donate your kids candy, and teach them a lesson in humility, try checking if the local homeless shelters accept donations of prewrapped candy. Little ones can make up goody bags with their leftover candy, and help out people in need. Many shelters have volunteer hours for high schoolers, families or just those who want to lend a helping hand. It never hurts to teach kids about life and how to make the world a better place.  

Science experiments with Halloween candy

Science Experiments – Bring back the good ‘ole days by dropping Mentos into a bottle of coke (make sure you stand back!), drop Skittles in water and watch the S’s float to the top, and see if Lifesavers really do spark in the dark! 

Sous Chef Junior

Do your kids love watching “Top Chef Junior”? Put them to work in the kitchen. Here’s Mom Made’s list of recommended kitchen tasks by age.

If you love quality food as much as we do here at Mom Made, it only makes sense to get the kiddos involved in the kitchen! We believe in starting kids while they're young. It's genuine quality time while being productive in the kitchen. 

We encourage you to challenge your children to help with more than dessert. The more involved they are from a young age, the more they will learn to appreciate the joy of cooking and the link to healthy eating. 

Keep in mind - you know your kids way better than we do! Feel free to follow these age guidelines as you feel necessary. 

3-4 Years Old

  • Use cookie cutters

  • Rinse produce

  • Juice citrus fruit

  • Tear lettuce

  • Chop herbs (with much supervision if ready)

  • Cup soft fruits and vegetables (with much supervision if ready)

5-7 Years Old

  • Crack eggs

  • Form patties and meatballs

  • De-seed peppers (be sure to use gloves for hot peppers!)

  • Chop vegetables

  • Grease pans

  • Garnish dishes

  • Pour sauce

  • Use measuring spoons and cups

  • Shuck corn

  • Use microwave

  • Peel vegetables

8-10 Years Old

  • Use stove (to prepare eggs and other simple meals)

  • Use pizza cutter

  • Open can with can opener

  • Beat eggs

  • Pound chicken

  • Skewer food

  • Slice bread

10-12 Years Old

  • Boil pasta

  • Search for and follow simple recipes

  • Use oven

  • Use chef's knife

  • Simmer ingredients on stove-top

  • Make dressings

  • Cook a full meal!

If you're super confident in your new sous chef, give them the responsibility to plan and cook a full meal! You can relax in the living room, and enjoy having dinner made for you for a change. Regardless how involved your child was in their cooking responsibilities, they will come to the table proud of their participation and ready to try their creation.

Bon appetit!

 

Throw a Howlin’ Ghoulish Halloween Party

Hosting a Halloween party doesn’t have to stress out the head Mummy. 

Ask friends to bring their favorite dishes, whip up some spooky Witches Brew, throw together some meatball mummies, wrangled up your ghosts and goblins and you’ve got yourself a scary fun party. You can even help your fellow mom-sters by suggesting some creepy dishes to bring – such as severed fingers, spooky snakes, stuffed jack’o lanterns and even some brains! Your mini-brides, knights, Elvis’ and ponies won’t be able to stop talking about all the “gross” stuff they got to eat! Disclaimer: we take no responsibility for Junior telling strangers you made him eat “brains” for dinner.

Party Prep

No one wants to clean up after a party (major buzzkill), so order some scary easy paper plates and silverware that you can just bag up and recycle when the ghosts float home. Amazon has some great patterned party kits that can add a little spark to a super spooky night. We also found these awesome invitations on Paperless Post that will be easier to send out to potential partygoers than gathering howling wolves during a full moon.

 

Decorations!

Tick tock, tick tock – throw on either Hocus Pocus, or Casper to get the family in the Halloween mood. Then….put the kids to work…err….let them help….decorate the house by creating some handmade ghosts with tissues, black markers and string. Make spiders with construction paper, tape and red markers. String black and orange streamers from wall to ceiling to create a festive Halloween hall. Place “spider webs” around the house and complete the look with spider rings and fake flies. Et voila! You’re very own haunted house and party central!

 

The Witching Hour!

Mix up a cauldron of Witches Brew a few hours before your goblins arrive, dress in your favorite costume (we are in love with this one, and this one, and this one!) and fire up @pandora or @iheartradio’s Halloween stations to get some spooky good tunes pumping out of the house as your partygoers and trick or treaters start ringing the doorbell. Bonus points for pulling out your old Rocky Horror Picture Show album and spinning those retro vibes. 

Does your child move like a slug in the morning?

If your house is at all like ours, you have some kids who have no problem getting out of bed in the morning and getting themselves ready. They pop out of bed then get that morning routine done - no questions asked. While there are other kids who make this slug meme a reality and they make all of us parents miserable in the morning.

I have one of each and recently I'd reached the end of my patience with my "slug child." We've tried everything from earlier bedtimes to nagging, to offering to help, to offering rewards. Nothing worked. I researched on the internet and came across an app called The Happy Kids Timer for Morning Routines. Done. Anything was worth a try to improve our mornings.

The first morning we tried it, immediate success! Not only did it add time to my morning routine that I used to be spending checking in on my "slug" but it add happiness and smiles to all of our faces. This app has literally worked a miracle! My "slug" child went from taking over 40 minutes to get ready in the morning with constant reminders to now she's ready in 17 minutes and has time to play before school. There's no yelling, no reminders, no whining. Instead, there's pride, happiness, confidence and PEACE.

Best $0.99 ever spent! I've since referred this app to several friends who have slugs in their house. They too found that it works! 

What's your trick to peaceful, happy mornings?

Happy Kids Tmer

Small Resolutions Can Change Lives

Motivation for your New Years Resolutions

Here it is January 6 and I am already questioning myself on where I am with my resolutions for this year. I am reminded of a true story and how one resolution can change lives forever…

Eighteen years ago, there was a great-looking, smart, single 20-something young man who made a New Years resolution that he needed to be more outgoing. On January 4, four days after he made the resolution, it was Saturday night and he went out with his buddies. He challenged himself to go introduce himself to some cute gals at the bar where they were. So he approached a group of three gorgeous women who were chatting away in the middle of a packed dance floor. His initial words to them were, “You gals need to stop talking and start dancing. What are you doing out here if you’re not going to dance?” The end. Well, not really…

That group of women was me and two of my best friends from college and that young man turned out to be the man I married. What’s so ironic in all of this is that I was always one who never liked meeting anyone in bars and that he is not the type for “hitting on girls” in bars.  But, bottom line, we’ve been happily married for 17+ years (and hopefully a lifetime to come!) and we have two beautiful children, all thanks to the New Years resolution he made in 1998.

My resolutions for 2017, and ways I hope make them happen, include:

1. Spending more time playing with my kids during the week and make sure to have one-on-one time. This means I need to somehow make more out of my already limited home time. When I cook, it eats into my playtime with the kids. So I aim to make larger portions and freeze meals, which will take me out of the kitchen and enable me to make more forts and build more towers. 

2. Trimming those few final pounds. For me, this means cutting back in a few areas, such as less lunches out during the work week, higher portion of veggies in every meal, less carbs, having healthy snacks always on hand at the office, etc. I have some exercise goals to go along with this - spin classes 1-2x/week and yoga 1-2x/week.

3. Having a night out with my girlfriends at least once a month. No more excuses. 

4. Planning ahead for date nights this year whether at home or going out with that handsome husband of mine.

What are your 2017 resolutions, and how do you plan to make them stick?  All of us need the support, regardless of where we are on the ‘healthy scale.’  Small choices and slight changes can have huge impacts! One day at a time. 

10 years, 10 things we’re thankful for at Mom Made Foods

Ten years of gratitude

We’ve been reflecting a lot this year over how far we’ve come the last decade and the special something about this journey…

1.     Active and adventurous kids

It all started with the kiddos and our desire to bring them up eating the freshest and healthiest meals possible. They bring vibrancy into our lives every day, and every meal is a chance for them to grow and be nourished and strengthened for the big world in front of them.

2.     Motivated and inspired parents

Getting those smiling and happy kids on the right path doesn’t happen by itself.  We’re grateful for the moms and dads out there that share in our vision for helping kids of all sizes to eat better and healthier.

3.     Freezing

The good ol’ freezing process has been Mom Made Foods’ close ally since the beginning. Freezing is the preservative that makes it possible to deliver healthy snacks and meals to kids without sacrificing time or quality ingredients.

4.     The Healthy Eating Movement

The desire to have our kids eat better is shared by far more than just Mom Made Foods. We’re grateful for the community of businesses and enterprises who share in the belief that healthy eating and healthy kids is a cause that we all should support.

5.     Healthy ingredients

From the early morning aromas that encircle you during a stroll through a weekend farmer’s market to the smells that emanate from the stovetop and oven on a cool fall evening, we’re grateful for fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and the suppliers who bring them our way.

6.     Recipes that inspire

We’re inspired by the recipes we grew up loving, and we hope to impart similar lasting memories with our kiddos.

7.     The Mom Made team

Just like healthy eating is a movement on a grand scale, Mom Made Foods is the product of endless effort by amazing individuals with a spectrum of talents that have helped propel us forward.

8.     Our retail partners

We’re proud of the grocery chains and stores that are committed to providing healthy and convenient options for kids in the frozen aisle. Albertsons, Central Market, Fry’s, HEB, Hy-Vee, King Soopers, Kroger, Safeway, Smith’s, Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and more are helping change the way our children eat for the better. 

9.     Dedicated partners

We are indebted to more than just those who wear the Mom Made emblem on their shirts for getting our products on the shelves. We are thankful for the expertise our sales brokers, suppliers and other partners who are helping spread the word and making it possible to reach a wider audience every day.

10.  Growth

From a cooler at a farmer’s market to thousands of stores across the country, we are grateful for how Mom Made Foods has grown. The more kids eat healthy and the more parents that have nutritious and convenient options at their fingertips, the better. Let’s keep it going!

I Plea, You Plea, We All Plea for Gluten Free!

Mom Made Gluten-Free Cheesy Mac Highlighted by Celiac Disease Foundation

After many months of developing a great-tasting gluten-free noodle, we are pleased to announce that our first gluten-free product is featured in the Celiac Disease Foundation's marketplace.  Our Gluten-Free Cheesy Mac is available for purchase directly from Amazon or click here to find a Kroger, Dillon, King Soopers, Fry's, Ralphs, or Smith's carrying this item in the freezer aisle near you.

Enjoy!