kids

How to Make Marshmallows

A Homemade Holiday Treat

We eat nearly all organic foods in our house but somehow marshmallows find their way into our house regularly. My kids LOVE marshmallows. LOVE.

This year I decided to try something different for our holiday cooking fest.  Thanks to an idea that inspired me on Pinterest from Martha Stewart, we made vanilla and candycane marshmallows in the shapes of snowflakes.

Thanks to our awesome neighbors, we borrowed a candy thermometer and snowflake cookie cutters. It's not often (if at all!) that you find me cooking with corn syrup, but we went for it, heating it and sugar (yes, so healthy!) to 238 degrees then adding it slowly to gelatin and whipping it for 12 minutes. It was pretty simple but the key was to put vegetable oil on the spatula before pressing it into the greased pan.

This was a first for us in making marshmallows and we all agreed, they taste so much better than the store bought marshmallows.

Such a treat!

How to make homemade marshmallows? So much fun to make homemade marshmallows with the kids then enjoy them together in a cup of hot chocolate.

Do you have a recipe that you made with your kids for the holidays?  Please share!  Happy holidays from our family to yours!

4 Ways to Involve Kids with Thanksgiving Preparation

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to get the kids involved with sharing some of the responsibilities in the kitchen. There are plenty of tasks your children can help with no matter what age.

  • Let each family member select one dish they’d like on the menu. Discuss what new foods they would be willing to try. Use this time to explain the importance of having a balanced meal that includes protein, vegetables and a variety of other dishes.

  • Let children help with table decorations. Ask them to craft some simple table decorations like placing colorful fall leaves in a bottle and create name cards for all your guests. Or they can get creative and crafty with glue making pilgrim name cards.

  • For kids who want to be more hands on with the prep work, give them a specific job in the meal preparation, i.e. mashing potatoes, chopping vegetables or stirring the gravy. (Of course, make sure they are being supervised when they are using sharp knives.)

  • On Thanksgiving, ask your kiddos to help set the dinner table. They can help fold napkins, set out the plates, put ice in the water glasses. Depending on the age, they can also help cook and serve plated dishes.

Your kids will become more invested in the celebration and come to the table with pride in their contribution. Happy Thanksgiving from the Mom Made family to yours!

thanksgiving_leafdecor.jpg
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Thanksgiving placecards made by kids

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!

 

Festive Stars on Your Lawn

Easy and fun way to make your house festive for the 4th of July and a fun project for the kids!

What you will need:

  • A large piece of cardboard -The top of a pizza box works well!
  • Scissors
  • Spray bottle with water
  • Flour
  • Sifter

Step 1: Find a piece of cardboard and cut a big star to make your stencil.

Step 2: Fill your spray bottle with water. Then squirt the grass star with water thru your stencil.

Step 3: Once the grass is wet (with some extra help from the older kids :)), use a flour sifter and sift flour thru the stencil onto the grass. And carefully lift the stencil from the grass once you have covered it in flour.

And, there you go! Your lawn covered with festive stars will stop traffic. Don't forget to fly your flag too.

Happy 4th of July from our family to yours!

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. 

Pack Up and Snack Up!

Whether you’re heading to the Grand Canyon or the beach this summer, road trips never seem to be as fun as the destination. There’s the hassle of packing everything up and making sure the kids are entertained. But it doesn't have to be that way! We’ve put together our top five tips to make your family road trip more enjoyable.

Tip 1: Backpacks Aren’t Just For School

Have each child help you fill their backpack with some of their favorite activities like coloring books, colored pencils, electronics, a journal and their favorite toys. Getting the kids involved with the packing will get everyone excited for the upcoming trip.

Tip 2: Snack On

According to a survey from “Choice Hotels” and “FamilyFun” magazine, 73% of families consider snacks to be the #1 way to keep kids happy on road trips. Be sure to pack an abundance of healthy snacks so you’re not stopping every 30 minutes for junk food.  With Mom Made’s Cheese Pizza Munchies, road trip snacks are easy and fun. Before hitting the road, wrap up the Munchies in a paper towel and heat for 60 seconds in the microwave. Then wrap it in tin foil for easy travel. Pack a cooler or bag of snacks like washed fruit and fill up the water bottles with H2O!

Tip 3: Power Up

The last thing you want is to hit the highway and realize that the electronics are low on battery. Also stock up at the library with books on tape and books for the car. Nothing like a “new” book for a child. Make sure to have all the electronics at full power and loaded with fun games, audio books, and movies for the drive. There are tons of apps out there that are great to keep the kids entertained while on the road. Check out “RoadTripBingo” and “A Family Matters” applications. “RoadTripBingo” allows kids to look for hundreds of things while you drive. See who can fill up their card first! “A Family Matters” is a great way to communicate with your children not just in the car, but around the dinner table and while waiting in line.

Tip 4: Play the “Old Fashioned” Games

Play the license plate game. Have a sing-a-long. Create a scavenger hunt - give each child a list of items to watch for while driving and have a prize for the child who completes it first. Count. Count red cars, black cars, police cars, animals, etc. Play the alphabet game with famous people, ie A = Amelia Earhart, B = Big Bird, etc, and talk about who these folks are as you name them. Play with aluminum foil – give each child a sheet of aluminum foil and have them make an animal, a mask, etc. Practice a foreign language. For more fun game ideas, click here http://www.momsminivan.com/bigkids.html

Tip 5: Give Them a Job

Keep the kiddos engaged by giving them a job to do every time you stop. Kids will love the responsibility of being the “Squeegee Master” or the “Cleaning Captain.” At every rest stop and gas station, have one person be in charge of cleaning the windows and the other clear out the car of any trash. Have kids switch roles every two or three stops to keep things fun.

How do you keep your kids entertained? What are your go-to snacks when you travel? Happy trails!

Munchie on a plate
Munchie on a plate

Easy Mini Meatball Pizzas with Cucina Antica

Mom Made's dishing out our favorite recipes to put on your dinner table! Here is a fun recipe to involve your kiddos.  Serves: 4

Time: 15 minutesmini pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz) box of Mom Made Food’s Italian Style Beef Meatball Bites
  • 1 six-pack of English muffins
  • 1 jar 16 oz Cucina Antica® La Pizza Sauce
  • 1 package 8 oz shredded part skim mozzarella
  • Your favorite toppings

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Separate the 6 English muffins so that there are 12 halves.
  • Generously spoon Cucina Antica® La Pizza Sauce over the top of each half.
  • Add mozzarella cheese and any other toppings you desire on top.
  • Put in oven for 8-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and English muffins are toasted.

Mom Made Turkey Meatball Tacos

If you love turkey just as much as we do here at Mom Made Foods, try our delicious recipe I like to make for my family. I made this recently for CBS6 Richmond. To watch the video, click here.

Prep Time: approx. 10 Minutes

Cook Time: approx. 2 minutes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

8 taco shells, warmed per package instructions

8 ounce package of Mom Made Turkey Meatball Bites

1 cup chicken broth, low sodium

Toppings

¼ cup red onion, diced

1 ripe avocado, sliced

2 cups fresh spinach, washed & rinsed, remove stems and chop

1 - 7oz can corn, drained

1 cup cheddar, shredded

1 jar of your favorite salsa

2 limes, quartered (optional)

½ cup sour cream (optional)

Fresh cilantro, washed & rinsed, chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven and heat taco shells, according to directions on box.
  2. In a large microwavable bowl, heat Mom Made Turkey Meatballs in low sodium chicken broth for 2 min on high. If preferred, cut meatball bites in half before serving.
  3. Place all prepared toppings in separate small serving bowls, to serve family-style.
  4. Let each guest make their own taco with their desired toppings.

 Fun Tips

  1. Encourage your child to make their own turkey meatball taco.
  2. Challenge them to put as many toppings on their taco as they are years old. For example, a five year old would choose 5 toppings.
  3. Challenge them to see who can make the most colorful turkey meatball taco.
  4. Let them have fun digging in!

From moms for moms; Laurie Hyman from Green Toys shares her story

Tell us about your family I am so lucky. I have three fantastic kids, two dogs and an amazing husband.  GreenToysFamily

I co-founded Green Toys at my dining room table when my girls were 5 and 4, and became pregnant with my son three months after that. Needless to say, my family has always been very involved in all things Green Toys.  My kids love being part of what Green Toys is about. They explain to their friends the benefits of recycling, have given us wonderful product ideas, and are the best toy testers on earth. Now ages 12, 11 and 6, my kids inspire me in every way.  As a parent, I dream about who they’ll become and what I need to do to help them get there.  It makes me consider the actions I take, the words I choose, how I approach things, and what I want to contribute to the world to make it the best place possible for my kiddies. They inspire me to be creative, think on my toes, question the obvious, find simplicity, stay strong, live healthy, be patient, be empathetic, respect others, make a difference, and so much more.  However, I could not do what I do with my fantastic husband. To say that he is supportive would be an understatement.  While having his own career, he’s the most hands-on dad I know.

Tell us about your company.

Everything we do at Green Toys – from our eco-friendly raw materials to our California-greentoysproduct  webbased manufacturing processes – is geared toward one purpose: making products that are good for the earth and safe for kids.  Green Toys Inc. lives and breathes sustainability in many ways, but is most evident in its authentically “green” materials and supply chain.  Green Toys’ products are made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs -- a super-safe, FDA-food safe material. In material choice alone, this recycled material saves significant energy and greenhouse gas emissions. For instance, just one pound of recycled milk jugs saves enough energy to power 3,000 AAA batteries.    Additionally, a key focus for Green Toys operations is energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions. The company locates all of its manufacturing, packaging, assembly and distribution in a very tight local supply chain. Green Toys has invested heavily in developing its supply chain in an effort to deliver the highest quality products that are the safest for children and our planet.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

We are all about games at our house.  When I get home from work, I try and find a fun game to play with one or all of my kids. From board games to more active games, we always have a healthy competition going on at the Hyman house. We try to find games that everyone can play.  Our current family favorite is Telestrations.  Tetherball is another fantastic blast from the past.  Who knew you could break a sweat playing tether ball with a 6 year old?  My kids and I also love sports and outdoor activities. Some of our favorites include hiking, going to the beach, playing tennis, tag, swimming, baseball, and so much more.  We are a family of adventure and travel and love to try new things, see new places, and experience different cultures. But, above all, the best activities are the simple ones where we sit down for dinner and talk about our day, read a story, cuddle, and doze off to sleep. Then, I can truly unwind.

What’s your favorite vegetable and your favorite way to cook it?

I love my vegetables, but I’m not the true chef in our family. My husband gets all the credit.  Roasted root vegetables are my current favorite.

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

A massage for sure!

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

Hey, mom...guess if I am wearing any underwear?

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

Don’t do everything, otherwise you will!

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

I would love to get up and go for a long run and then come home and spend the day with my cute family.  Maybe a hike, some tennis or just a picnic at the park.

To learn more about the company please visit:

Website: www.greentoys.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GreenToys

Twitter: https://twitter.com/greentoysinc

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/greentoys/

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms for moms; Jeannette Levenstein from MD MOMS shares her story

Tell us about your family: I married my husband Bruce almost 26 years ago.  He saw me through medical MDMoms-JJapplications and I made the choice to stay in LA to go to school and be with him.  Our son Max was born my senior year at USC Medical School and was 9 months old when I graduated.  Bruce stayed home to raise Max, and I started my career.  After Max graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012, Bruce and I both retired to enjoy our empty nest.  We are lucky to have his family here in southern California, and the majority of my friends from San Francisco have relocated here- forming the perfect support network for us.

Tell us about your company:

MD MOMS was started by my business partner, colleague and friend Diane Truong, and I,MD_Moms_logo 8 years ago after we couldn’t find appropriate solutions for skin care issues in the baby section.  We set about to create a brand that was supported by our clinical knowledge, our respect for science, and our experience as mothers.  MD MOMS Baby Silk was born, and alive and well.  We have received several parent and press awards, but most importantly, have received the seal of acceptance from the National Eczema Association for our core products.  A big part of our mission is to raise awareness and dollars for Children’s Charities - and currently we are doing that for United Cerebral Palsy Los Angeles - helping fund the UCPlay program that brings art services and floor time to children with autism, developmental and psychological disabilities in our local school systems.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Give your child real food as soon as possible, and don’t be afraid to add herbs and seasonings to make it tasty.  Stay flexible when your child turns 2-3, and rejects a previously wonderful diet - they will eventually circle back.  Eat at the table, not on the go, and if you can grow a little of your food, with your children’s help, you’ll be surprised how invested they are in what they water!

What’s your favorite vegetable and your favorite way to cook it?

Broccolini - steamed until bright green, add a little lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt and pepper - delicious!

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

Doritos

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

Always believe you can do ANYTHING, and then do it.

For more information about MD Moms please visit:

Website: https://www.mdmoms.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheMDMoms

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mdmoms

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms for moms; Dr. Lucy Gibney from Lucy's shares her story

Tell us about your family: I live in a two story tan shingled house with three wonderful beings!  My husband,lucyheadshot my 10 year old son, and our very sweet dog.  Each of us, including the dog, likes being together as a family.  Of course, we also spend lots of time apart -- at school, work, travel, and doggie daycare!  We like being out in the world, learning and doing things.  We love our friends and extended family.  And then, we love being home again -- together.

Tell us about your company:

My company is "Lucy's".  I make delicious, high quality, gluten free, non-GMO, food allergy friendly cookies.  You'll find them in stores throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Also, look for them in the U.K. and Mexico!

My husband and I started the company because our son has food allergies and we wanted to make delicious, safe treats that he could eat.  Turns out, Lucy's are favorites among the whole world of cookie eaters.  We use the very best ingredients, and make healthier versions of cookie classics.  I hope you'll try them.   They taste great!  Here’s a link to new_lucy logo_Patchworkmore about Lucy’s http://drlucys.com/

Heather, the fabulous founder of Mom Made, is a true comrade.  We’ve been friends since around the time that we both founded our companies. I'm so thankful to have her as a friend, to share ideas and advice, to laugh (or not laugh) about the crazy things that have happened along the way.  We understand the challenges of balancing our passion and commitment for work, with our greatest love -- our family.  It's nice to have a friend whose situation is so similar -- same industry, same timeline, same passions. Happy Mother’s Day, friend!

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Eat well yourself!!

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

I share a wholesome meal with my family!  We talk about the events of our day, and wind down for a good night’s sleep.

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

I already have it!  I’m a Mother!

 For more information visit:

Website: http://www.drlucys.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrLucys

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lucys_tweets

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/drlucys/

Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

From moms for moms; Heather Stouffer from Mom Made Foods shares her story

Tell us about your family:

I married Craig in 1999 – we’re coming up on our 15th anniversary this month! He’s a fabulous friend, father and life partner. Everyone always asks me if Craig works for Mom Made. He doesn’t – he’s in the sports industry, but, I like to say he’s Mom Made's Chief of Moral Support, an extremely important role.

Audrey and EmoryWe have two amazing kids, Emory and Audrey. Audrey is in preschool. She loves playing with dolls, helping in the kitchen, playing with friends, dancing and keeping the whole family entertained. Emory is your typical third grade boy except when it comes to food. He loves sports, Legos, reading, and playing with his friends. When he requested Pakistani food for his 7th birthday dinner, we thought, our work is done here!

Tell us about your company: 

mom_made_logoThe company was launched in 2006, when as a new mother, I saw a huge need for healthy, convenient, organic and all natural options for kids. There were no existing options in the grocery for feeding kids in a pinch that were healthy. Mom Made Foods was created from my belief that convenient meals do not need to sacrifice quality or nutrition, and that kids should be able to eat delicious foods without added junk.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters?

Here are few tricks that I have found to work well...Focus on colors and flavors. Rather than saying, “Do you like your broccoli?” ask if it was crunchy, sweet, bitter or sour. Ask what other foods are the same color. This often helps children focus beyond yummy or yucky. Also, bring the your "helpers" to the grocery store and let them pick the ingredients for the meals to be made that week. Parents can also introduce veggies in a new way. For example, many children like veggies better as part of a soup. Sprout a seed or even grow a tomato plant to help your child get interested in fruits and vegetables.

Bottom line is for us parents to offer a variety of healthy foods, then take a chill pill. Ellyn Satter, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Family Therapist and internationally recognized authority on eating and feeding, is one of my heroes. I've learned so much from her philosophy about the division of responsibility when it comes to feeding kids. If feeding your kids is stressful for you or your children, I highly recommend her books.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

I have only about a 10-15 minute commute home. Usually my husband picks up the kids from their schools so they're already home by the time I arrive. I walk through our door, drop my bags and the kids come running up with arms wide open ready for a big hug. I instantaneously unwind. Cooking, sitting down together for dinner and talking about our days are all therapeutic for me. After dinner, we will go for a family walk, turn on some music and dance or just play together. Our couple hours together before the kids go to bed are my favorite part of the day (before I typically plug in and do a few more hours of work...).

What’s the best advice your mom ever gave you?

I can hear it as though she's standing right next to me, "Heather, dear, you have to remember to take care of yourself."

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

The other day my son who's 8 was playing on the iPad, sitting on the couch right next to me as I was reading a book. I asked him for the iPad for a minute so I could look something up quickly. I opened google and saw that he had just looked up "prettiest lady alive" in google and he'd clicked on images. Yes, just google that quickly, folks. It was one of those moments when I not only found myself laughing but also taking a big gulp because it was time for us to realize he's growing up much too fast and we need to get a handle on internet security, among other things. Oh the joys of parenting...just when you think you've got it figured out.

For more information about Mom Made Foods please visit:

Website:  www.MomMadeFoods.com

Facebook:  www.Facebook.com/MomMadeFoods

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/MomMadeFoods

Pinterst:  www.Pinterest.com/mommadefoods/

 Advice and insights from moms for moms. Please keep an eye out on our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

From moms for moms; Mary Schulman from Snikiddy shares her story

Tell us about your family: We are a family that is very busy and we also have a lot of fun.  For sure the “boss” of the MarySchulmanFamilypicfamily our 9 year old daughter, Sunny. She is a fantastic big sister to her sister, Sadie (7), and brother, Luke (2).  There’s no shortage of fun activities in the family. Most recently, Sunny and I started to take tennis lessons together, which is a lot of fun mainly because she is much better than I am. While I work hard to grow the Snikiddy business, my husband Brett spends his work days as the CEO of Cava Grill.  We all enjoy cooking, baking and of course eating!

Tell us about your company:sn_brandmark_hires

Snikiddy® is a line of delicious snacks made from simple, wholesome, real-food ingredients.  The line includes Cheese Puffs, Baked Fries, and Eat Your Vegetables®, a first-of-its kind veggie chip snack that provides a full serving of vegetables in every ounce.  All Snikiddy snacks are made with non-GMO ingredients, are certified gluten and wheat free, and do not contain any artificial colors, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, hydrogenated oils or MSG.  Snikiddy pairs nutrition with great taste to deliver real, delicious foods the whole family can enjoy and feel good about.

How do you unwind after a busy day at the office?

Exercise! And, I love to take walks outside with the family. Sometimes we don’t get far when we run into a gorgeous flower or a pile of stones in the road that clearly should be moved, but it’s so fun to be outside getting fresh air with the whole family.

What’s the funniest thing your child said to you recently?

I recently asked my 2 year old as we approached the grocery store, “Do you want to walk or ride in the cart?”  His response, “Run!”  I’ve been chasing him ever since.

What do you want for Mother’s Day?

A new toilet… No seriously we are renovating our master bath and have been sharing a bathroom with the kids for almost 9 months!

For more information please visit:

Website: http://www.snikiddy.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Snikiddy?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/snikiddy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/snikiddy/

Advice and insights from moms for moms and fabulous prizes from mom-founded companies. Check our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST. 

From moms to moms; Amie Garcia from Livie and Luca shares her story

Tell us about your family For me, family is top of my list. When I’m not pouring my energy and heart into my businessLivie&LucaFamilyPic, I am with my three young children and husband.  Co-owner of Livie & Luca, Mitzi Rivas, also has young children and we’ve established a family- friendly and flexible company ethic. When I’m not in the office, I’m with my kids - cooking, hiking, playing on the beach and spending time with friends and family. That to me is the solid foundation from which I work.

Tell us about your companyLivie&LucaLogo

Livie & Luca is a children’s shoe company and our primary purpose is to spread joy!

We spread joy by creating beautiful, whimsical, one-of-a-kind shoes that are both lightweight and durable, prioritizing healthy foot development and overall comfort in each design.

Being a sustainable and socially responsible business is a top priority. We source non-toxic and recycled materials and use environmentally-sound methods, we recycle and re-distribute shoes to families in need and we donate 10% of our online sales to charity. And tied to this is that broader definition of sustainability - creating a company that is healthy and well, and focused on long-term maintenance. When I say health I’m talking about all aspects of the company, from the well being of our factory workers, our customer service reps, our office workers and, of course, the children we make shoes for.

What advice would you give moms about raising healthy eaters? 

It's so important to provide kids with opportunities to try a variety of foods, not just once but multiple times. It grows on them! Also, we limit snacks to healthy ones so that they have a big appetite for dinner. It's amazing how good food tastes when you're actually hungry.

When nobody is watching, what is your favorite treat?

Oh, I must confess, my favorite treat is a spoonful of peanut butter sprinkled with chocolate chips. Actually, my Livie & Luca staff knows about this secret treat. Last December, we had a gift exchange and were instructed to bring one of our favorite things under $10.00. When my gift of PB & Chocolate Chips was opened, I discovered I was not the only one who loves this secret snack!

Tell us about your favorite recipe to make for your family?

Since it's hard to get kids to eat their veggies sometimes, my favorite easy meal is spaghetti with homemade sauce. I caramelize onion, brown some ground turkey, add any and all form of veggie from my fridge, either chopped or grated (usually spinach, carrot, zucchini, yellow pepper). And voila! A chock-full-of-veggies all-in-one meal.

For more info about Live & Luca please visit the following:

Website: http://www.livieandluca.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/livieandluca?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/livieandluca

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/livieandluca/

Advice and insights from moms for moms and fabulous prizes from mom-founded companies. Check our facebook page and participate in our Mother’s Day Giveaway! Winners will be announced on May 9th at 4:00 PM EST.

Get Lucky with These 5 Recipes

It's almost time to pull out all your green clothing and celebrate St Patty's Day. Here are some fun, healthy and GREEN cooking ideas to bring some luck to your family this year. 1. Start the day with some flower power eggs.

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2. Pizza with some greens ( via #Makethebestofeverything)

Won't hurt to add some Mom Made meatballs as well to give it more flavor.

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3. Keeping it healthy, some green fruit on a skewer is a great snack and fun to eat ( via #DeltaMorgan)

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4.  Another great low calorie snack are these cute cucumber hats with cheese! ( via #CreativeFood)

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5. Family dinner can include Mom Made's antibiotic-free, low sodium Chicken & Apple Meatballs with white sauce and spinach. It's Monday after all...and who has more than 10 minutes to prepare dinner on a Monday?

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Now it's time to celebrate!

10 Favorite Valentine Ideas from Pinterest

We want to share our top 10 favorite ideas from Pinterest you can make with your family. 1. Who doesn't have 100's of crayons around their house? Our Founder's kids are making these crayon cards. We'll post pictures once they finish...promise! (via bloglovin.com)

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2. Take a different approach. Show you kids you love them with humor and creativity in a Valentine Fortunate Teller! (via Modern Parents Messy Kids)

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3. An adorable way to greet your children in the morning and surprise them with a heart-shaped Egg-In-The-Hole. (via Incredible Edible Egg)

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4. Peak-a-boo! On the front of your card, cut out eye holes. Write "Peek-a-Boo" on the front of the heart, and "i" (or "we") love you on the inside with a photo of you and your kids! (via Spoonful)

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5. Use a cookie cutter to create fruit in a shape of a heart. You can also create a  fruit skewer!  Fun, healthy and festive! (via Amber Perry)

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6. Great classroom idea. These pencils will inspire your children's writing! (via Spoonful)

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7. Use a celery stick to create a bouquet of flowers! Fun kids craft idea to use up the celery in the fridge! (via Parentella)

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8. Wonderful card idea for younger kids. And a good re-use idea for an old sponge. ( via Homemmade Mamas)

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9. Valentine format for creative writing. (via Teachers Pay Teachers)

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10. Make an animal card with hearts. Meeeeeee-ow! (via Sassy Dealz)

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Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours!

Start 2014 by Making a Healthy Pledge

healthyPLEDGE_2014_logo Happy New Year, friends!

Have you made your resolutions yet?  In the spirit of new beginnings, we are excited to launch the Mom Made Healthy Pledge for 2014! Commit to simple and easy changes that will benefit you and your whole family now and in the future and receive a FREE COUPON from us!

"I pledge to nourish myself and my family with foods that are good for them; read nutrition labels; cut out artificial junk; and help my family learn about the importance of good healthy eating."

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Whether this pledge is a reaffirmation of your commitment, or a radical shift in how you approach food for your family, Mom Made vows to be here to support you and bring you on a healthy path!

Mom Made will send a FREE COUPON to families committing to take the Healthy Pledge while supplies last. Follow these simple steps:

Step 1:  Click here,  select "HEALTHY PLEDGE" and fully complete this form, including your mailing address as we are mailing these coupons. Limited while supplies last. One per family household. Must have a valid US mailing address.

Step 2: It takes a village and we'd love to hear your tips and ideas. Please join in the healthy conversation on FacebookPinterest and Twitter!

Step 3: In a few weeks, check your mailbox for your FREE COUPON good for any Mom Made Munchie. Mom Made is in freezer aisles nationally. Click here find a store near you. 

Mom Made cares deeply about children's health and nutrition, and we pledge to do our part to make positive changes.  It's not a New Year's resolution; it's what motivates us every day at Mom Made!

Wishing you a healthy, delicious and fun 2014!

-Your friends at Mom Made

Cozy Family Winter Meal

Heather's Creamy Pasta with Mom Made Chicken and Apple Meatballs! I love dreaming up new recipes and especially love it when my whole family approves with a "Mommy, this is so good!" I hope your family enjoys this too!

Simple:  Mom Made Chicken and Apple Meatball Bites served with homemade white sauce over pasta (potatoes or rice works well too!).

Family Dinner:  In a pan, warm 3 Tbsp olive oil then saute diced garlic and shallots and sliced mushrooms over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 Tbsp of flour and stir so that flour is soaked up. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk and salt and pepper to taste. Let the milk warm till it is bubbling and thickens slightly. Add a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach and a package of frozen Chicken & Apple Meatball Bites. Warm the sauce over medium heat until the meatballs are hot. Voila! Serve over your favorite pasta. You can also bring your own twist to the table by adding other veggies.

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Cook Some Soup for Your Group

Soup is on our minds. It's cold outside, and we've reached the time of the year when colds spread through our families like dominoes. Here are three easy soup recipes to keep your immune system on track. All three recipes include Mom Made's bite-size, antibiotic-free meatballs to keep the cooking simple and the eating fun.

Mini Meatball-Tomato Soup

TomatoSoupA bowl of tomato soup is delicious any time of year, for lunch or for dinner, for kids and adults. Chock-full of vitamin C, tomato soup is also a winter warmer-upper. This homemade tomato soup has a rich, pure tomato flavor and creamy texture.

  • ·        1 ½ quarts vegetable broth or water
  • ·        1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • ·        1 large Yukon potato, sliced thin and chopped
  • ·        1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ·        1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • ·        1 12 oz. can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • ·        1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • ·        1 cup plain soy yogurt
  • ·        1 box of Mom Made Beef and Cheese Meatballs

If you want to spice things up, drop a handful of spicy, mini-meatballs into the bowl, too. These delicious, full of flavor Mom Made Beef and Cheese Meatballs Bites are small enough to eat with a spoon (or by the handful). Image via Marks Daily Apple ( http://www.marksdailyapple.com/tomato-soup-with-spicy-mini-meatballs/#ixzz2nfPqpRQy)

Meatball Mini-Melts & Meatball Orzo Soup

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  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 carrots,finely diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp.minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 32 oz. reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 15 oz. no-salt added petite-diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 1/2 cup ditalini noodles or orzo
  • 2 boxes of Mom Made Turkey Meatball Bites
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. When it is hot add the onions, carrots and garlic, and sauté them until they onions and carrots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, water, and tomatoes, cover it and bring it to a boil. Add the Mom Made Turkey meatballs and orzo, and stir frequently. Simmer the soup for 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in the spinach and let it wilt for one minute. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste, and serve it immediately. Recipe and image from our friends at Six o’clock Scramble

Easy Chicken Meatball Soup

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Chicken noodle soup has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as acting as an immune booster. If you want to give it a twist, add some Mom Made Turkey Meatballs to the soup. More fun to eat and healthy!

  • 1 Tbsp chicken soup base (low sodium)
  • 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 6 cups of water
  • Dash of pepper
  • 1 cup of your favorite noodles
  • 1 box of Mom Made Turkey Meatball Bites

Combine all ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes or until hot.

Enjoy and stay warm!

Is Family Mealtime Possible when Both Parents Work Out of the House?

Guest post written by Mom Made's Founder, Heather, for onehungrymama.com: Before I had kids, my husband and I lived and worked in London. We enjoyed cooking at home most weekdays and eating out on weekends. We’d roll in from work around 7:30 or 8 p.m. and sit down to dinner around 9 p.m. Name the ethnic food, and we made it. Going out to eat was also relaxing and fun; we had our favorite places and got to know the wait staff and bartenders in those restaurants. But making dinner at home was my favorite, cherished time together, even though it required our “cooking dance”: avoiding bumping into each other in the tiny hallway that served as the kitchen in our London flat. We promised each other when we had kids, we wouldn’t change a thing.

Well, that’s not quite what happened…After having two kids and launching a nation-wide, organic food company of frozen meals, munchies and bites, Mom Made Foods, mealtimes have shifted things slightly. Here are my top 5 secrets to upholding your adventures with food, even after having kids:

1) Meal O’Clock. Mealtimes at our house are 5:30/6:00pm. Yes, early. The second that the first parent arrives home, the kids are clamoring for our love and hungry for dinner. Pushing dinner time later (which we’ve tried from time to time) means cranky kids who are too tired to eat.  So we work on their clock in order to have a happy dinner time together—it’s still our favorite time of day.

2) Planning Meals. The dinner menu is still diverse but recipes have become much simpler. Prep time is minimal as we rush in the door after busy work days. We also have become much more organized about planning meals, especially dinners. We subscribe to a weekly meal plan company, The Six O’Clock Scramble, and one of us shops on Sundays for the week of planned dinners. Our workdays are packed and there’s hardly ever a minute to spare to pick up an extra ingredient on the way home.

3) Eating out. We’ve never stopped going to the restaurants we liked before having kids. We’ve kept a few special ones for date nights, but we’re not afraid to take the family to a restaurant without a kids menu AND white table cloths. Yes, you might have to walk out of one or two to teach a lesson to an misbehaved child, but that’s how they learn! Kids need to be taught manners. They’re not born with table manners.

4) Kids Palates. Research says it takes a child 10-20 times to be exposed to a food before they decide whether they like it. An exposure can mean the food is on the table and not on their plate, then they might put it in their mouth the next time then take it out of their mouth. After a few more exposures, they will be eating it with you. These things take time and a lot of patience! We high-fived recently when our son requested Pakistani food for his 7th birthday dinner. And it’s music to my ears when he asks for salad with dinner. He proudly told his 1st grade class about how and why his favorite vegetable is red peppers.

5) Running a Diner. If you’re not careful as a parent, you can find yourself running a diner, making food to order for each child for every meal. The rule in our house is that the kids can make requests at breakfast and lunch. But when it comes to dinner, their choice is whatever we’re making that night. We eat family-style, so they can help themselves to the foods as they wish, but we’re not hopping up from the table to make a p-b-j the night we make Thai Green Curry. Rather, they can choose to eat the curry or one of the sides as they’d like. We typically have some familiar food in each meal that they’ll turn to if they’re not in the mood to be adventurous. Our daughter is picky and right now if it were up to her, we’d have mac ’n’ cheese for dinner every night. But she’s two years old, and we’re not running a diner.

We have to remind ourselves of these rules regularly, and it takes constant work to hold the boundaries, especially on that really busy week when a parent is traveling for work or life just gets crazy. But those are the times when it’s most important to stick to it. The hard work does pay off.