As we look ahead to the final weeks of preparing school lunches, let’s try to keep things fresh and fun. Here’s a little roundup of easy surprises you can add to your child’s lunchbox or after school snack time routine. Who knows, maybe your kid will try a new piece of fruit if presented with a little humor?
6. Skip the work and just stick with a fun bento box for the kid’s lunch. The Yumbox is still a favorite since it’s lightweight, easy to clean and spill-proof. Pack them for a summer picnic or a car trip. These will make the cut for us on our Toronto road trip in August!
The hot weather has finally arrived in our little neck of the woods. Snow pants and wool hats were quickly replaced with sunscreen and sun hats. Getting the kids off to school layered up in sunscreen is a new part of our routine, one they need to get used to for the summer ahead. But what about other ways to protection our skin from the sun’s harsh rays? May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and it has certainly touched many people’s lives. Today I want to share some ways to protect your skin beyond reaching for the bottle of sunscreen.
Find yourself a fabulous umbrella for the beach. Make sure it has an UPF rating of 50+. (UPF stands for ultraviolet protection factor)
The Coolibar Umbrella here is our family favorite. You can see at least 4 of them lined up at our beach spot all summer long with multiple families sharing the cool shade. It’s worth the price.
There is now a wide variety of choices in clothing with built-inUPF ratings of 50+.
Athleta and Title Nine also have options now for working out and some beach cover-ups.
Mott50 has fashion forward choices, including this awesome infinity scarf accessory.
There are so many choices in fabrics…straw, canvas, and so on.
The key is to find one that will cover your ears, one of the top spots for skin cancer to form.
Find one with a brim large enough to give you lots of coverage, but not so much that it’s droopy and impedes your peripheral vision. (I had that issue once and it was so annoying while watching the kids at the beach.)
Kids Surf Suits
The adorable surf suits make playing outside all day so much easier for both kids and parents. Less sunscreen is needed and some cover from the neck all the way to the ankles. (both suits at Coolibar.com)
These suits are generally good for one season and not great as hand-me-downs. The fabric often gets stretched out from sand, salt and the sun and you can’t rely on the same level of sun protection.
A friendly reminder to stay hydrated while hanging out in the sun. Treat yourself and the kids to new water bottles this summer to encourage lots of water intake. Flavor the water with fresh fruit or cucumbers and keep it chilled.
Stay safe as you enjoy the warm summer months! Sunscreen will always be helpful but I love that there are all these other options now to help us protect our skin from the sun.
Disclosure: Coolibar provided our family product in exchange for this post. We have been loyal shoppers of Coolibar for years and all opinions shared here are my own. Throughout May, which is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, Coolibar is giving the American Cancer Society $1 for every order placed. As an added incentive, they are also offering 15% off the entire order using the code ACS15.
Spring has finally sprung! After leaving town for a couple of days, I was amazed to come home and see flowers everywhere. The trees are pink and the tulips are all standing at attention. It’s days like this that I love being a stay at home mom and get to relax and watch the kids play in the backyard for hours.
My other favorite thing that happens in spring is snack time takes place outside. Two less rounds of crumbs to clean up in the house! It’s the little things that make me happy in the spring.
The kids were excited when we tested out a new smoothie recipe shared with us from DOLE Pineapple Juice. I usually don’t add juice to our smoothies, but I was happy to learn that Dole’s juice is 100% juice and GMO-free. Two great things in my nutrition playbook. Plus with the “pollen tsunami” taking place, increasing our Vitamin C intake can be a helpful remedy for allergy symptoms.
The Go Green smoothie won over our neighbor’s daughter who isn’t always a green smoothie fan. The silly green mustaches everyone was wearing at the end of snack time was a sign of success!
One note, since we try to avoid GMO’s I swapped out the soy milk for almond milk. It can be tricky to find organic GMO-free soy milk so almond or coconut milk are alternate suggestions.
You can make your own Go Green smoothie and get coupon here for your next sunny day smoothie snack break!
$1.00 off #coupon for any 46oz or 6oz 6-pack of DOLE Canned Pineapple Juice.
Learn more about what you can make with healthy pineapple juice on DOLE’s Pinterest boards, Twitter channel or facebook page. I’ll be checking out some fun summer cocktail recipes here so I can use up my leftover pineapple juice. You can also buy the small cans and have them in the pantry for when inspiration strikes.
What’s your favorite activity to do in the sunshine?
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Healthy-Green-Smoothie-Recipe.jpg800583eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-05-09 11:36:382019-01-03 22:06:22Enjoy the sunshine
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturalGoodness #CollectiveBias
Toothbrushing with the kids has been an adventure. The guidelines have changed over the past six years and it’s hard to keep up with the latest and greatest. The one thing that has remained the same is using Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry toothpaste. I choose them because they don’t use any food dyes, compared to most of the other kid’s brands that use a Blue dye. The kid’s now ask for Silly Strawberry by name.
Although our toothpaste choice has been consistent, getting the kids to actually take the time to brush their teeth well has been a struggle. Bedtime takes forever with three kids and usually all three kids want to brush at the same time which leads to pushing and tears. We finally found a solution.
Teeth brushing dance party to the rescue! In order to get the kids to brush for the recommended two minutes, we find some favorite tunes and turn them up while each child gets their two minutes. Each kid gets to pick their favorite song and it motivates them to get into their PJs faster so they can be first. (Competition really works in my house.)
The second winning solution has been a fun timer app on my phone. This is a special treat they have to earn. If they don’t have good behavior leading up to bedtime, there is no toothbrushing app. I love how it tracks their brushing on a calendar and motivates them to get it down. It truly is amazing how well they are brushing during the two minute countdown and there is no nagging involved.
If you want to avoid screen time before bedtime (which I totally strive for generally), you can print out some fun toothbrushing printables if you search Pinterest. I pinned a couple on my fun printables board for reference. Print out your favorite, laminate it (I use this one) and then reuse it week after week.
Tom’s of Maine has been the natural choice for our family since we had kids. I was excited to see an even broader product line when I picked up another tube at Walmart. (Click here to get $1.00 off any Tom’s of Maine product purchase at Walmart.) There was a toddler-friendly flouride-free option, which is great for the littles ones to practice with and then the parent can brush with the flouridated toothpaste. This was the direction I got from the pediatric dentist we visited today for JJ’s check-up.
The dentist gave JJ a clean bill of health! Teeth look good and even with his “groovy” teeth he is able to keep them cavity-free. Sometimes the natural choice doesn’t always clean as well as the conventional choice. When it comes to Tom’s of Maine, we consistently see healthy teeth in both kids and the grown-ups. As a general rule, we try to avoid synthetic food-dyes whenever possible. There is just too many strange health concerns related to them and no long-term studies available. Since there is a safe and healthy choice it’s makes the decision as a parent.
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/kids-teeth-brushing.jpg640430eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-04-27 17:02:532015-04-27 17:02:53Get Their Sillies Out Brushing Dance Party
There are so many lessons nature can help us teach our children. The beauty in the world around us is vast, both in large spaces and small. The ocean and all its secrets, the sky in all its glory; there is much to appreciate down to the grass below our feet. As Earth Month continues, now is a great time to encourage your children to explore the outdoors. What lessons will they learn?
This week PBS Kids is celebrating Earth Month with a fun-filled Twitter party, Explore the Outdoors! Join other parents as we share ideas for how to get outside and explore. Some kids need more encouragement than just getting out their backdoor. There are ways to make it an adventure! What will you learn at the party?
how to incorporate learning into outdoor activities
how can we intertwine technology with our environment
crafts and activities to enjoy outdoors
lessons other families have learned from nature
Join me and other parents this Wednesday, April 15th, online from 2-3 pm EST as we chat about the great outdoors! Your family will be ready for Earth Day and outdoor fun in the days ahead.
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/emerson-nature-quote.jpg21001500eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-04-14 04:00:572019-02-22 03:36:14Exploring the Great Outdoors
It’s never too early to inspire children to love gardening.
As the seasons shift into spring, now is a great time to start planning your summer garden. There is no better way to teach children the connection between us and nature than gardening. Plant it, grow it, eat it. It’s so simple and easy to understand in a child’s eye. So how do we inspire a love of gardening in them at an early age?
1. Include Children in Choosing the Plants to Grow
The first step is to give the kids some control. All kids love to “own” things and you can start by letting them choose seed packets, or a special container to plant in. At our home, we have always limited our gardens to vegetables and herbs. This year I am choosing to follow this guideline and let our daughter plant flowers. I was impressed that she knew exactly what she wanted when we went to pick out some seeds. “White daisies.” So simple and so sweet.
Kids can choose their own seeds and plant them in “cow pots!” Have fun explaining to them what they are made of. (wink, wink) Just know you are being a little greener by skipping the plastic starting pots.
She is tending her strawberry garden.
2. Choose Fast Growing Plants
Radishes may not be every child’s favorite vegetable, but they will love to grow them. They have a seed to table time of about 22 days which is amazing. Cherry Bomb is a common spring variety and the key is to grow them before it gets too hot outside. The fresher they are, the less spicy they taste! Serve them with some ranch dressing to cool down any heat and you may have a new veggie to stash in the kids lunch box.
Radish seeds can be tucked in among other early spring plants like broccoli and spinach. The radishes will already be ready to harvest when the other plants need a little more growing space. Staggering the harvest time is more exciting for kids as there will always be something new to look forward to.
Alternatively, skip the seeds and go straight for the seedlings. It’s almost foolproof to just plop a seedling in the ground, water it, then watch it grow. There are often too many of one kind of plant in the seedling trays so partner up with some neighbors and make a trade or two.
3. Create a Growing Chart
Kids love to track things on a chart. Let’s move beyond potty training stickers and get out a ruler and measure some of the fun plants you choose to grow. You can also print out a calendar page and have kids draw out when each new action occurs. One day will be planting seeds, another the first seedlings, then the flowers and so on. Create a competition among siblings or neighbors and see which plants are growing the fastest!
4. Start Seeds Inside to Extend the Growing Season
With winter lingering here around Boston, and our raised beds covered in snow, we are starting seeds inside this year. Either go with the cow pots or a seed starting kit. This Indoor Garden kit is kid-friendly and includes 3 different seeds to grow: teddy bear sunflower, basil and zinnia. We already started seeds inside and the kids love to see how much higher they are every morning!
5. Give Kids Their Own Garden (or Container)
Our little girl has already placed a claim on her own raised bed this year to be used for flowers only. I think it’s adorable and love how excited she is to plan it. When the weather is warmer and we get the seeds in the ground, we can use the time to make our own labels for the flowers, and reread Miss Rumphius (or The Lupine Lady), one of our family favorites. If space doesn’t allow for a garden, see if there is a home for the kids to put their own large pot on a front step. Let them decorate it and make it their own.
There is also a fun trend of creating a themed pot. I love how entertaining the Fairy Gardens can be as it’s open-ended with what you can include. I also came across this idea for a Dino Pot and thought it was awesome! I’m so curious to try out this “Garden Pirate” idea from Climate Store as well. You get to create seed bombs and then then tuck them into fun spots around the yard.
As your child gets more connected with nature, it becomes even easier to teach concepts like Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. With Earth Day this month, now is a great time to kick off these discussions if they haven’t been happening in your home. While you are outside, talk about other ways to preserve natural resources. You can set up a rain barrel near a garden to help water the growing plants. Got a place for a compost bin? They are so sophisticated these days, and discreet, that most people can find a tidy home for a compost bin to create their own rich soil.
How else can you encourage your kids to enjoy gardening this season? Happy planting.
Disclosure: I am a partner with ClimateStore.com and compensated for my time. I only suggest products I believe in. All opinions are my own. If you want to learn more about climate change and what it means to your family, I suggest you start here and learn about the first steps you can take. As we celebrate Earth Month, now is a great time to have conversations about climate change with your family. Please share in the comments any questions you have about taking first steps to reduce your carbon footprint.
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/kids-garden-ideas.jpg31282346eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-04-07 15:10:112019-04-02 08:41:595 Tips to Inspire Children to Love Gardening
Who has some extra egg cartons in their house this week? As Easter approaches, everyone is busy dying eggs or crafting eggs with the latest designs. Now what do you do with all those extra egg cartons in the house?
Here’s a round up of fun projects to reuse egg crates. Keep the kids busy as you prep Easter dinner!
Egg carton mask in happy spring colors! Kids can wear them and run around while still on their sugar high. (source)
Help kids learn their letters with this cute Alphabet Egg Carton Game. (source)
Craft a DIY Birdfeeder with the egg crates. I love how easy this project it and when the rain wrecks it, it can compost into the ground.
An easy and fun project to celebrate A Very Hungry Caterpillar. Use the time to talk to the kids about nature and the transition of a life of a caterpillar to a butterfly. (source)
Cut out each egg holder and thread into a unique mobile. Hang them outside as the weather warms up.
What other crafty ways have you reused an egg carton?
After pouring through way too many Easter craft ideas on Pinterest, I finally landed on Tissue Paper Eggs. When you have little kids, it needs to be fun, easy and hopefully not crazy messy. There are loads of dye kits that create those sweet pastel eggs, or you can use natural kitchen ingredients, but I knew it would lead to spilled bowls of dye in my house. Tissue paper eggs are even easier because all I have to buy are white eggs.
Gather scraps of tissue paper in various colors and patterns. The pattern ones were really fun for the kids to play with on the eggs and see how they changed once they were cut into small pieces. The kids spent time cutting the paper in small pieces (less than 1″) and gathered them all together.
The eggs were hard boiled so it’s easier for the kids to work with. JJ remembers a delightful project we did last year where we gently cracked the eggs and then dyed them to create a crackle effect. All he wanted to do this time was crack the eggs. Connor took the same approach and every egg we gave him he tapped on the table. Oh well. Just eggs.
Apply the tissue paper with Mod Podge glue, or white school glue. The kids use a paintbrush so hopefully just a little glue goes on at a time.
Layer them, leave some white, let them get creative. After the first round of tissue paper eggs, the kids moved on to embellishing their eggs with Easter stickers. Still cute.
When Madison was sick this week, the first show she asked to watch was Curious George. She wanted comfort and it was really sweet that she picked her favorite childhood show. As we near the stage when all three kids in our home will be interested in tv, Curious George is the first show I introduce my littlest one too. There is just something about that monkey that has withstood the test of time.
The kids are playing with my Curious George. I got it when I was three years old and it’s one of the few stuffed animals that has made the move to a few different places in its lifetime. At bedtime, I still read some of my original CG books too, but often we read from our favorite Curious George Treasury.
I think my favorite part about watching Curious George (and all the PBS Kids shows) is the lack of commercials. The kids get to focus on the themes of the show, instead of getting distracted by commercials trying to sell them something. It a little aggravating as a parent when kids start bartering for a new pillow pet mid-way through a show.
Join us as we watch the new episodes of Curious George on PBS Kids this week. The fun starts on 3/30 with an hour long special: Curious George Swings Into Spring. Then there will be two more new episodes on 3/31 and 4/1.
Find more Curious George activities over at PBSKids.org. There’s games, printables show clips and more to enjoy with your kids.
p.s. I’m a PBS Kids VIP (Very Important Parent) Ambassador! This means I get a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the season ahead! All opinions shared are my own, or my kids.
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/IMG_8003-e1427555243939.jpg16321224eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-03-28 11:13:482015-03-28 11:13:48For the Love of George
Who is ready to think spring?! We are big Red Sox fans in our house and have lived through the highs and lows of this great team. It’s time to get excited about the new season and I’m excited to share with you some of the family friendly initiatives the Red Sox organization is putting in place at Fenway for the 2015 season.
I’m part of a new team, the Red Sox Moms. We will be sharing with you the special events happening at the ballpark and around the city of Boston during the baseball season. If you have ever taken young kids to a ball game, you know you need more than just the game to hold their attention! This year there will lots of exciting new experiences for families to enjoy, starting from the minute they enter the park.
Gate K: The New Kids Entrance!
Enter Fenway Park through Gate K (by Gate B at Ipswich) and be welcomed with live entertainment, balloon artists, kids activities and more. Kids can get a Passports Reward book at the beginning of the season and collect stamps and prizes throughout the season. As a parent, I’m really happy to know the staff in this area is specially trained to work with kids and keep things fun!
The new Wally’s Clubhouse will be open for nearly every game from the 3rd inning on. Just as your kids start to get a little restless, you now have a safe place to bring them to stretch their less and let out a little energy. Think of toddler-friendly climbing zones, story tellers, animals shows and more. Wally will be there of course since he is often the main attraction for the little ones. Did you know you Wally has his own Facebook page now? Plus, concessions ($5 kids meal and beer for the parents) and large televisions so parents still get to enjoy the game experience. Oh, and don’t forget the air conditioning!
Did you know that you can grab diapers in any size from ALL customer service outlets in the park? No need to trek all the way to the First Aid station when you are in a pinch. They also carry sunscreen and wipes too!
The best news about the Red Sox campaign to renew a love of baseball in kids is their commitment to offering 25,000 free tickets to the newest members of Red Sox nation. Sign up your kids (ages 14 and under) and they each get a free ticket. Make it a family event and head in together to experience America’s favorite pastime.
Plus–there will be $9 high school and college tickets available for every game. These will be for kids ages 15 and up. I love this idea, as a Boston College grad I would have loved to catch a game for that price when I was in school!
In addition to these new initiatives, there will also be special days for kids with Peanut Allergies, Autism and the Red Sox continues its partnership with the Jimmy Fund. When I recently met with the behind-the-scenes team at Fenway Park, I was impressed with the Red Sox Foundation. This is the charitable arm of the organization and they are rebuilding 10 Little League parks throughout Boston, plus sponsoring both baseball and softball teams. They are committed to enriching the community and I’m excited to learn more about how they are giving back to the people of Greater Boston.
Don’t miss out! Join in the fun this summer and claim your kid’s free tickets to a Red Sox game. If you have any suggestions or ideas on how to make Fenway even better for families, let me know and I’ll pass along the info. See you at the game!
https://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/redsoxmoms_circle.jpg896896eroachwellnesshttps://emilyroachwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Emily-Logo-header-1.pngeroachwellness2015-03-27 06:00:052015-03-27 06:00:05Calling All Red Sox Kids!