Everyday: I Am So Very Thankful for the Four Amazing Kids Who Make Our Powell Pack Complete
POSTED ON December 4, 2013
The Month of Thanks if officially over, by my expressions of gratitude aren’t quite finished yet. I apologize in advance if these are getting old, but I can’t not show appreciation for these amazing blessings I have in my life…especially in the midst of so much sadness, tragedy, and heartache this world is experiencing.
On my mind today…
The four awesome kids I have . They are each unique in their own way—even Baby Ruby—and they each bless our lives in ways too numerous to count. They have disagreements just like other kids, but I know they always have each other’s backs, no matter what. They love and serve each other, have amazing senses of humor, are so very talented, love to have fun together, make us laugh, try to make good choices, keep us grounded, put up with the crazy life we lead, and remind us daily of what is really important in life.
Matix, Marley, Cash, and Ruby—today (and every day) I am so very thankful for you!
Lunchpails & Lipstick’s Kids Holiday Gift Guide + $100 Giveaway
POSTED ON December 3, 2013
Once again, my friends over at Lunchpails and Lipstick save the day! I’m loving everything about this Kids Holiday Gift Guide they put together and hope it helps you out with your holiday shopping as much as it is helping me! The best part about this post? L&L Ladies are giving away $100 gift card to Nordstrom for one of my lucky readers! See the bottom for details!
1. Disco Karaoke Machine - There is only one thing cooler than karaoke – disco karaoke. This is such a cool surprise to get Christmas morning. This is the best disco karaoke machine! Your kids will be entertained for hours, and so will you.
2. Electric Guitar Kit - Your little rock-star will be in heaven with this electric guitar and kit. It was made just for her size and her music dreams will definitely be coming true.
3. “Believe” Tee - Peek Kids is one of our favorite clothing lines. They make signature tees with quotes and inspiring words. This year our favorite is the “believe” tee for girls and the “hero” tee for boys.
4. Dress Up Crown - We love the line Ever Bloom! They have such cute things for kids and we especially think this little crown is the perfect gift for any little girl in their world of dress up. Make sure you check out all their fun necklaces and purses! You will love this company.
5. Velvet Blazer - The perfect holiday blazer for little girls. We love the cute clothing from Busy Bees! You’ve got to check out their new collaboration line with Gwenyth Paltrow. It’s to die for!
6. Kid’s Vitamins - Forget sugar filled gummy vitamins. Vemma NEXT liquid vitamins for kids from 2-12 are perfect stocking stuffers! You can help the kids enjoy a mini, single-serving bottle each day! I know they are the best vitamins out there.
7. Moccasins - Every child needs a pair of moccasins! They are so easy for mom to slip on and off. The gold metallic is amazing!
8. “Hero” Tee – By the same makers as the “Believe” tee, we love these inspiring words. They make signature tees with quotes and inspiring words.
9. Science Center – Science experiments are always going on in our homes. This is a really cool science lab for kids. This is a best seller!
10. Kids Sewing Machine – This is “sew fun”! Your little sewers will be so excited with this gift. It will keep them busy for hours. And think of all the cool projects you can do together.
11. Inspiring Prints – We love hanging artwork in our kids rooms! Especially as they get older and learn to read. It’s nice for them to have cute positive sayings to look at. This 11×14 matte print is one of our very favorites!
12. Ballet Flats – These are the best ballet flats for your girls. They come in all sizes and Yosi Samra offers so many different color options.
13. Seeing Stars – NuNuNu makes the softest and most amazing clothes for babies! We are dying over this star dress and think that your little one will too. It’s perfect and so stylish!
14. Oversized Key Rings – These key rings come in 6 color options. Hook them on backpacks. Fun stocking stuffer!
Visit Norstrom.com and pick one item you’re interested in and share a link in the comments below and why you’d love to win the gift card to buy it. Random winner will be announced on Friday, December 6, 2013.
In case you didn’t know, today is National Young Reader’s Day! I so appreciate a day that celebrates something that really does give our kids such incredible building blocks for long-term success. I am fortunate enough to be one of those lucky mommas whose kids love to read. I love it!
Wanting to get your kids reading more? Check out some of the Powell Pack’s top book picks. These keep them reading longer than they are allowed sometimes!
Here is a list of a few more good reads for each age group:
Birth – 3 Years:
3 – 5 Years:
5 – 8 Years:
Since we have all heard time and time again that one of the best things you can do for your child and for your parent-child relationship is to read together, it’s time to grab a book, snuggle up and get reading!
Each year, Matix, Marley, and Cash come home from trick-or-treating with loads of candy…enough to feed an army! Or to make an army sick, I should say. I must admit, I totally overindulged (compared to my normal sugar intake) this Halloween, and woke up the next morning with a severe blood-sugar crash. Even after breakfast, I was seeing spots, had a stomach ache, and was wishing I hadn’t consumed so much sugar the night before. Don’t worry – I remedied the situation by bypassing the oats I had eaten with a quick shot of OJ to bring my blood-sugar levels up to where my body thought they needed to be. Ugh…
The worst part of all of it is that I still have candy galore laying around our house now, and Cash is constantly walking up to me with his puppy eyes, saying, “Mama, trick-or-treat?” This means he wants to trick or treat in our pantry ☺.
Time to break out the Powell Pack Family Tradition. What is it, you ask?
While we do believe that the kiddos should indulge a little, and not be restricted from sweets of their choice every now and then, we also feel it’s a good idea to guide them to choose health. This tactic has been a miracle worker in our home: we buy their Halloween candy! Chris and I offer them the option to save 10 pieces of candy (of their choice) to enjoy, and the remaining pieces are purchased by us at a nickel a piece. For 60 pieces of candy, the kids receive $3.00 to use at the local dollar store.
They love this, and I think they have more fun choosing toys at the dollar store than they could ever have eating candy!
I have never been more ready to buy (and throw away) so much candy…
Daddy, get ready to open up your wallet…for a good cause!
While NO candy is certainly a “healthy” option, we do need to be okay with rewarding ourselves with a treat every now and then, guilt-free. Halloween is a great time to do this. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing what pieces of candy might satisfy your sweet tooth, without pushing you over the edge.
Fun Size pieces are ‘portion perfect’, and a clear winner in our family, over king-sized or regular-sized candy bars. Portion control is key to rewarding yourself, and these mini treats make it easy. Oftentimes, we find it hard to eat only half of a Snickers bar. Thanks to Fun Size, we can eat the entire portion and cut our calories in half, compared to the regular or king-sized versions.
Chocolate Lover? Choose a handful (or Fun Size pack) of peanut or almond M&M’s over Tootsie Rolls. Tootsie Rolls may be lower in fat, but are loaded with sugar, which will spike and crash our blood sugar levels, leaving us craving even more! The fiber and protein in the peanut or almond M&M’s will keep you fuller longer (protein is the most satiating macro-nutrient), and the fat/fiber combo will actually slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream, helping us to avoid the spike-crash-craving cycle.
If you are looking for a fruity candy to satisfy your sweet tooth, choose a hard over chewy candy. Chewy candies not only get stuck in your teeth and lead to tooth decay, but they also disappear much quicker in our mouths, leaving us vying for more. While hard candies are pure sugar and have a higher calorie count, one piece can last quite a while (as long as you don’t crunch it to pieces), satisfying the craving, and leaving us less-likely to reach for more.
Now go enjoy your Halloween with a little less guilt. Regardless, don’t forget to brush your teeth, and leave the candy where it belongs…on Halloween ☺.
As soon as I saw this craft on Pinterest, I knew it would be PERFECT for our little Cashy. Not only does he love to get messy, but he also loves his colors! Any sort of finger painting is AWESOME for a toddler’s development so I was totally on board with this one.
The instructions for this craft are very simple as it is for toddlers who can do most of this on their own, with parental supervision of course.
• Googly Eyes – We used construction paper because it can handle heavier paint better but we also found that regular computer paper held up pretty well
• Washable Fingerpaints – When painting with a toddler, washable is a must!
• Googly Eyes - We made very basic monsters and ghosts but you can definitely be more creative with other supplies
• Foam Brush(not pictured) – We didn’t originally plan on using one but ended up grabbing one later on
In the beginning, I was set on getting nice, neat hand and footprints (hashtag OCD. lol) so I enlisted some help in hopes of trying to maintain cleanliness while getting clear prints but after a few minutes, that was out the window and we let Cash have some real fun and explore his artistic abilities.
For this craft, the process is most accurately explained in pictures than in words… . He did pretty well doing his hand prints all by himself.
Starting with the “Paint cheek” picture is when he pretty much just stuck to painting himself. lol.
Proudly displaying his work…and his adorable smile
Time to let the little masterpieces dry…
Once paint is completely dry, glue on googly eyes (this is where adult help is really needed).
Another “Taa-daa!” moment from Cash.
The finished product – both papers could be considered monsters but the bottom white paper was meant to be two ghosts… We’ll leave that up to your creative imagination.
Cash LOVED painting and he was hilarious to watch during the whole process.The rest of the day he walked around saying “do my craft?”.
Ask Heidi Anything: Can My Kids Carb Cycle With Me?
POSTED ON October 23, 2013
So many of you want to know, “Can my kids Carb Cycle with me?”
While Carb “Cycling” between high and low carb days is not something I would recommend for a growing child (as their bodies need more healthy fats and carbs than ours), you can rest assured that by keeping carb cycle-friendly foods in the house, you are setting a good example. Our Carb Cycle plan recommends real, whole, natural foods…all things that kids need! By eating these foods, eating in moderation, and eating every 3 hours, we are helping to set a healthy foundation for our families through our own example.
If you’re concerned about your child’s weight, be sure to talk to their pediatrician. They can help you devise a plan specific to them.
As a mom, I’m always looking for cute and festive decorations to make our holidays a little extra special at home. I’ve found that if Matix and Marley can take part in making the decorations, the holidays are that much more exciting to them – exactly what us moms want!
I’m no Martha Stewart (sorry to disappoint), so holiday crafts have to be easy enough for even ME to do. I found a winner this Halloween with these little gems. The best part about this craft is that you can make the plates whatever you want them to be! We bought the supplies thinking we would be making wall art, but when it was all said and done, the kids had more fun using them as Halloween masks!
Supplies – while you can really buy whatever you want, here is what we bought:
Cute shaped plates – I found in the clearance section (really cheap) and it didn’t matter what they had on them because we ended up painting them anyway. I wanted some circle and some square for some variety.
Different colors of paint (to allow for some creativity)
Foam brushes to paint the plates
Garbage bag – I cut it open to cover the table
Don’t let my list limit you – use your imaginations!
Once you have the supplies, time to turn on the tunes. Our music of choice? “Thriller”, of course .
After dancing it out for a bit, it was time to let their little minds run wild.
You’ll have a blast seeing their little personalities come through ☺.
Of course, Cash couldn’t be left out, so we made one for him. The Cash Powell-inspired Frankenstein!
Kid Craft Time, Matix and Marley style . Our craft of the week – customized apple-stamped lunch bags. They are so simple to make, and relatively mess-free (as long as Cash doesn’t participate). The best part is that in the end, the kiddos have a creative piece of their own artwork to proudly display as their lunch bags!
Literally, this took us about 10 minutes total, from start to finish. So if you have 10 minutes (an hour to dry), the supplies below, and a desire to connect with your kids in the very-little time we now get with them after the school bell rings, start apple stamping!
What you need:
Paper lunch sacks – either brown or white work.
Apples – one apple for every two colors you choose to use.
Paper plates – as many as colors you choose to use.
Washable paints – I emphasize washable…this is my kinda mess-free!
5 Easy Steps:
Cut each of your apples in half, from the top down.
Pour one color paint on each paper plate. I made about a 2” diameter circle/dollop.
Lay out as many paper lunch bags as you wish to decorate.
Dip the flat side of apples in paint. Wipe excess paint from the bottom of the apple using the edge of the plate, and start stamping bags!
After stamping away, set bags aside and allow to dry for at least an hour.
The result: Some adorable lunch bags that your kids will be excited to tote to school with them in the morning .
It’s that time of year again. Orange busses meander through the neighborhood. The kids are excited to show-off their brand spankin’ new wardrobes. You converge with thousands of other parents at the school supply aisles of your favorite store, hoping (and possibly praying) you’ll get everything on that very long list before the shelves are empty. And you wonder, “What will I pack in those lunches every single day?” because if you’re like me, thoughts of school lunches have taken a very long vacation over the summer.
Fear not. Help is on the way!
Here are some ideas that will help make lunchtime the bright point in your kids’ day and give them the energy and nutrients they need for all that learning that will be happening all day long.
The main course:
• New and improved PB&J: Instead of the usual peanut butter, try almond butter, and replace sugar-laden jams and jellies with 100% whole fruit spread or slices of strawberries, apples, pears, peaches, or your kid’s favorite fruit. For some added variety, use whole wheat or gluten free tortillas or pita pockets to sandwich in all that nutty and fruity goodness!
Try these out:
PB&J and Banana Roll-Up: Spread peanut butter (or almond butter) and 100% fruit spread on a whole wheat or gluten free tortilla. Place a peeled banana on one end and roll it up. Sounds yummy, right?!
PB&J and Granola Wrap: Follow the steps for the roll-up, except replace the fruit spread and banana with sliced fruit and granola. Your kids will love this!
• Make-at-home Lunchables: Pair reduced sodium deli meat and reduced fat cheese with whole grain or gluten free crackers, tortillas, or pita pockets, cut them all to fit together, and you’ve got the makings for some lunchtime fun!
• Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
• Cottage cheese with fruit chunks
• Soup or dinner leftovers
• Quesadillas made with whole wheat or gluten free tortillas and reduced fat cheese
• All kinds of fruit (sliced, dried, sectioned, or whole) either alone or in a mini fruit salad: berries, raisins, pears, peaches, grapes, apples, bananas, kiwi, Craisins, oranges, melons, and so on (to keep fruit like apples from browning, because no kid is going to eat “brown” apples, soak fruit for 3-5 minutes in 1 tablespoon lemon juice per 1 cup water)
• All kinds of veggies: baby carrots, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cucumbers, celery, grape tomatoes, or whatever are your kids’ favorites
• Hummus and veggies
• Whole grain or gluten free pretzels and crackers
• String, stick and cubed cheeses
The dessert (because hard working kids need a healthy treat!):
And lastly, some final tips to help ensure what you put into those lunch boxes actually makes it into their hungry tummies:
• Our kids get to pick a new lunch box every school year so they’re excited to eat what’s in it!
• Give the kids several healthy options, let them choose their own main course, sides, and dessert, and have them help you pack their lunches. They’re more likely to actually eat food they’ve chosen themselves.
Happy back-to-school! Now, what will you do with all your spare time?