Every parent knows that life with kids is always busy. Be it a birthday party or a dance class or a baseball game, there is an unending supply of activities that need to be attended. Parents also know that kids grow up fast… the time really does fly. That’s the reason why squeezing in extra time to spend together while cooking a family meal is time to cherish.

Incorporating family time into the cooking process without adding stress can be easier than you might think. There are three simple tips to follow when in the kitchen with kids:

1) Choose a day and a menu together

Pick out a day of the week that works best for everyone. Every family’s schedule varies and there are days that are better than others. Days with no after-school activities when the kids and the whole family are home a bit earlier are ideal. Really, whatever day will allow the most relaxing, non-rushed experience is the best to pick.

Choosing the menu should also be a group decision. If everyone in the family actually likes the menu, or at least parts of it, the whole experience will be much more enjoyable.

2) Go over the game plan before starting

Just like with any group event, when everyone on the team knows what the goal is, the whole process goes much more smoothly. Every time you’re going to make a recipe with kids, run through what you’re going to be doing first. Then, once you’ve all got the same picture in your heads, divide tasks and work your way through each step. By choosing tasks in advance, you also prevent arguments over who will do what while you’re in the middle of making the meal–and we all know that’s a good thing.

3) Plan for fun, not perfection

If you’re looking for everything to go perfectly smoothly…well it won’t. My kids and I spend a lot of time together in the kitchen and we still end up with extra salt in the marinade, or half an egg in the bowl, or a tipped-over bottle of lemon juice, or-I think you get the picture. The thing is, it’s these little imperfections that make family cooking time fun. Plus, the memories you make will be priceless.

Yes, life is busy and kids grow up fast. Family time is precious and cooking together is one way to get some of that time back.

Now go, get those kids and cook something together!

Family Cooking: 3 Ways to Help Make Cooking Time, Family Time – “Mom Cooking”

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Have you heard of the Freshman 15? Yes, as it turns out, it is very common for College freshman weight gain to happen to students. It is really very unsettling, because you are away from home for the first time in your life around tons of your peers (many of whom are very attractive and available), yet you have never looked worse because you are putting on weight fast. Well what can you do about it?

First of all, before you have a solution, you need to understand why College freshman weight gain happens!

There are many possible reasons, but here are some that I can come up with that might apply to you:

You’re getting older and your metabolism may be slowing down because of this. You aren’t a teenager anymore, and you may have to work a little bit harder to prevent weight gain!

The diet options on College campuses can be very dubious. This isn’t like living at home with mom cooking your meals anymore is it? If you live in the dorms, you have to rely heavily on the cafeteria food, and on fast food and such when the caf is closed. If you live off campus, you have to cook for yourself, which you may have never done before. Under these circumstances, it is very easy for your diet to become unhealthy. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one going through this!

In addition to the above, in my experience, it is very easy to compound your diet woes through snacking. Think about it. There are vending machines in all the buildings and in your dorm, and the “snack counters” around campus don’t offer a whole lot of healthy options. Since you are busy and always bouncing from place to place, you may be relying heavily on eating these snacks and that is not good.

You may be gaining weight because you aren’t active enough. If you are walking or biking to class, then that’s a start, but you may need some real exercise to up your metabolism. The key here is to make exercising a social activity so that it is more fun to do.

The good news is that you can combat College freshman weight gain with a little effort, and have your best body ever!

College Freshman Weight Gain – Why it Happens and What to Do About It

Some people might think that the work of freezer cooking outweighs the benefits, but the truth is that there are some very good reasons to use freezer cooking. If you use the time you are already in the kitchen to prepare your freezer meals, you will wonder why you haven’t done more freezer cooking.

Here are some benefits of freezer cooking:

1. Less dishes – the day that you make the frozen meal you just have bigger pots to wash, not any more dishes in number. Then the day that you eat the freezer meal, the only dishes you have are the serving dish, plates and silverware. How easy is that?

2. Less stress – Being able to come home and know that a meal is almost prepared for you can really reduce mealtime stress. If you are having guests, you are able to enjoy your guests more because you are not spending a bunch of time and stress in the kitchen preparing the meal.

3. Save money – Buying food in bulk has always been cheaper than buying it in individual quantities. You can even bargain with your meat manager if they know you will be buying in larger quantities. Freezer cooking also causes you to be less tempted to eat fast food because you are more likely to have a meal prepared at home and don’t need to stop and get something quick to eat.

4. Eat better – Not only will you be eating better home cooked meals, but you will have more time to make a salad or prepare a vegetable while you are waiting for your meal to cook on the stove or bake in the oven. Many times we spend so much time getting the main course done, we don’t have time to focus on vegetables that can make our meal more interesting and healthy.

Freezer Cooking Benefits For Homeschoolers – “Mom Cooking”

In this busy day and age, moms with busy lives and kids who are involved after school activities need to be able to balance life in all areas. Let’s face life today is nothing like it was in the 70’s and 80’s when some or most of us at least had a mom who was able to stay home and focus on the kids, home and activities. Mom’s back in the day were able to keep things balanced (not sure how they managed, but they did) and they in my eyes seemed to have that whole supermom thing down. As a wife and mother of four kids, I know firsthand how tough it can be to balance work, kids, homework, after school events and still be able to cook balanced meals in a timely manner. As a working mom I realized long ago that I needed to establish some type of balance in order to keep my sanity.

I have a few tips that I’d like to share with the busy moms and dads on the go that you may find helpful when it comes to preparing dinner for the week ahead. As times are indeed tougher and due to that fact most households require that both parents work full time jobs. Something that proved very helpful for me was to prepare my meals for the week. I usually spend my Sunday preparing meals for the rest of the week. Now for those who are like “I don’t want to spend my whole day cooking”, believe me I understand how you feel. Meals don’t have to take hours and hours to prepare. It’s up to you but there are lots of meal ideas that you can cook for your family that are quick, healthy and tasty. Depending on your schedule you can also break up your cooking into a couple of days. Once you have your meals prepared put them in a freezer bag and freeze them.

Every morning you can just take a meal out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for later. Trust me this is going to save you a tremendous amount of time and allow you the extra time to spend doing other things whether it is family time, reading a book, catching up on some tasks that you’ve been neglecting to do take care of or whatever it may be. This has been a lifesaver for me because at the end of a busy day of work, karate class, basketball practice and other events, the last thing I want to do is think about is cooking dinner. When you have your meals prepared in advance, all you need to do is warm up your food and dinner is served!

Meal Tips for the Busy Mom on the Go

Kids love to play make-believe games. They hold tea parties, play war games, cowboys and Indians, dress up and the likes. This is the reason why there are pretend play toys. If you’re going to base it on their reactions, it does look like they’re having fun. This is the reason why parents should allow and even encourage it. Kids should be encouraged to have fun and playing pretend and make-believe games can help them do that.

For girls, the most popular pretend play toy is the doll house. It’s a dream for most kids to have doll houses. Little girls would spend hours at a time just playing pretend games with their doll houses and their occupants. There are also the popular play sets like kitchen play sets and accessories. Kids love to imitate and with a kitchen play set, they can imitate their mom cooking.

Kids of all ages love to play dress up. In fact, they’ll find a way to make costumes if they don’t have dress up costumes. This is the reason why you’ll often see kids with a white sheet over them pretending to be a ghost or you’ll see kids waving around a stick pretending they’re Harry Potter. So why not provide them with pretend play toys in the form of costumes and props? This way, they’ll have more fun playing.

Playing make-believe is not just for fun. Sure, it is for them. But there are added benefits that they can take advantage of later on in life. Playing pretend games help them to be creative. It can encourage them to be creative enough to come up with a scenario for their pretend play. It can also spark their artistic side. Just check the “food” that your toddler has prepared using her kitchen set and you’ll see how creative they can be.

You’ll also be surprised at the monologue and dialogue that your toddler can come up with. This is the reason why pretend play toys are perfect for your kids’ development as well. The toys can help with the speech development and that will be very useful later on in life. It’s also a good way for you to encourage them to use their imagination. How many times have you told kids to use their imagination? With these toys, you don’t have to say it anymore.

These toys can also help your children dream. A lot of people have become doctors just because they have very good memories playing make-believe doctor while they’re growing up. A lot of kids also grew up to become very handy in the kitchen and some even entered culinary schools just because they had fun growing up with their kitchen sets. With pretend play toys, you can enhance their experience and help them be creative. Who knows? You could be paving the way for their future.

Pretend Play Toys – Sparking Creativity and Imagination – “Mom Cooking”

It’s safe to say we all lead busy lives these days, and meal planning may seem unnecessary or too time-consuming. But whether you’re a busy single cooking for one or a working mom cooking for a whole family, putting in just a little extra time each week to plan meals can pay off in several ways.

 

 

“Mom Cooking”

Time

Meal Planning Saves Time, Dollars and Calories

The little bit of time it takes to plan out meals can save more time during the week, when you need it most. When meals are not planned in advance, time is often wasted deciding each day or each evening what to serve that day. By not planning, you must start from scratch each day with the planning process – seeing what you have on hand, determining what you can make and how long it will take, etc. If you don’t start thinking about what to make until it’s time to eat, you or your family may already be hungry, meaning you either have to abandon meals that will take too long to cook, especially if certain ingredients must be pre-prepared or are frozen, or you must wait until later to eat, which can be frustrating or lead to an all-out mutiny.

By planning your meals in advance, you can make sure your ingredients are ready to cook when you are, making the cooking – and eating – faster!

Money

If unplanned meals will take too long to cook or serve, you may give up completely and eat out, which will inevitably be more more expensive than home-cooked food. You can save that money, as well as the time it takes to go out and get that restaurant food, by planning ahead.

In addition, pre-planning helps save money by helping you make sure that you have all the ingredients you need on hand. If you are cooking a dish spontaneously, you may find when you are already in the middle of the cooking process that you don’t have something you need. Either the food already cooked gets wasted because you can’t finish the dish, or you must make an emergency trip the closest food store, which may not be the store with the best prices.

Diet

Lastly, meal planning is a great way to stay in control of your diet. By pre-planning meals, you can avoid impulse eating and make sure that you’re preparing healthy meals. Often the quickest things to eat are not the most nutritious or calorie smart. If you’re hungry, and you don’t have a meal already planned and ready to cook, it can be tempting to go through a fast-food drive through or grab pre-packaged food. It may be easy, but it’s unlikely to be healthy.

If you need a little help getting started, a number of downloadable menu planner templates are available covering a variety of timeframes, from weekly to monthly. In addition, many websites offer menu planners to help you not just plan when but also what should be on your schedule. The extra help can make the task go quickly, and once you get used to doing it, it won’t take long at all. And the payoff is invaluable!

Do you have the right ingredients for cooking the family meal tonight? Or have you just walked into the kitchen wondering what you are going to cook and feeling like it is just another chore to tackle? This is how so many people feel because their lives are so full and busy. The last meal of the day is the one last thought on their mind, until it is time to prepare.

Now comes the biggest challenge. Will you serve up a scrumptious healthy meal that may take another hour of your precious time, or will you opt for the quick and easy packet meal, or perhaps reach for the phone and ring for delivery!

There is a solution. It is not one you can do for tonight’s meal but it is a solution to the next months worth of meals. A lady by the name of Candace Anderson is the author of ‘Frugal Mom’s Guide to Once a Month Cooking.’ She lays out a plan where you spend one day a month cooking and preparing for the next 30 days.

If that sounds daunting, it’s not, because she explains everything so easily and step by simple step. Not only does she provide you with over 70 recipes to cook, but she guides you from the shopping list to the freezer labeling. This way you are shown how to save time and money. If you have children old enough to help in the kitchen, you can spend one day a month teaching them how to be frugal and productive too.

Imagine every month not having to think about what you are going to do for dinner. Look at the list on your freezer for the day’s ‘take-out’ and you’re done.

There is one more thing that is different to so many menu plans. How many times have you bought a beautiful cookbook only to find that half the ingredients you have never heard of, let alone know where to buy them? These recipes come with ingredients for you and me. Ones you can find in your local store and ones for ‘frugal moms’, so they don’t cost a small fortune. What a bonus that is. You won’t be spending your shopping day looking for an ingredient that doesn’t seem to exist.

This is the best plan I have followed and having ready-cooked meals ready in the freezer is a very comforting feeling. The every night challenge of choosing a healthy recipe can be a simple solution now.

Frugal Mom’s Guide to Once a Month Cooking Review