Apple to the Core


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Kids in the Kitchen!

The hub of most family activity is often in or around the kitchen. Get your kids involved early on! Create loving memories while you teach them to respect, maintain and love the role of the family kitchen.

  • Have a blackboard for kids to write the menu on.

  • Let kids choose weekend menus and weekday veggies and desserts

  • Let them sprinkle, pound, knead, stir and drizzle ingredients

  • Proud Presentation: (for kids 12 and under) Take Polaroids: 1. Ingredients all set out  2. The prepared dish before cooking  3. The finished cooked dish. 4. A shot of the little one hard at work for bragging rights!  Tape the pics to a piece of cardboard and let the little host/hostess hog the limelight, explain the process with the family gathered around the table.

  • Have a low counter or table for them to work with their own "little people" sized utensils, spoon rest, dishcloth and small, lined trash can for messes.

  • If you don't have an apron - make a hand towel "apron" by folding a  dish towel over a ribbon tied around the child's waist (for wiping little messy hands). Teach the importance of cleaning as you go.

  • Kids love to sort! Let kids sort your plastic ware containers and match them up with the right lids.

  • Let them help plant and tend a kitchen herb garden; have a list of favorite recipes to choose from that use each different herb in kitchen. Show them that food doesn't grow in stores.

  • Washings dishes: Fill a sink with soapy warm water, express how you just can't seem to get the gunk off those baked-on dishes and you really need your kids' help. Watch the combination of 20 minutes of exuberant play mixed with scrubbing determination make your job mush easier. Little kids really want to please and impress their parents in this fun way to boost self esteem. (Place a towel on the floor and be prepared to wipe the soapy water below the sink so no one slips)

Encourage creativity and exploration in a controlled kid's kitchen environment and the lessons of cleaning as you go and safety will add to the respect and love of the kitchen, not steer them away from it!



How to Avoid Kids’ Blood Sugar “Spike and Crash”
By Missy Chase Lapine
Author of The Sneaky Chef

Kids love roller coasters. Moms don’t -- well, at least not the ones that take place inside our homes! I’m talking about the “spike and crash” syndrome that describes the rapid ups and downs of children’s blood sugar levels when they eat too much sugar and overly processed carbs, especially on an empty stomach.

Foods that are especially high in sugar -- even natural sugar and honey -- are known to cause a very quick rise in blood-sugar levels. They are rated high on the “glycemic index” (GI) -- a measurement of the effect a food has on one’s blood sugar level. The higher the rating on the index, the more rapid the increase in blood sugar level. The spike doesn’t last very long and is followed by a corresponding fast drop in blood-sugar level. (often it drops even lower than it was before we ate). This is commonly referred to as the “spike and crash syndrome.”

Children seem especially susceptible to this phenomenon. After they eat the kid-favorite jelly beans (the ultimate sugar spike), particularly when it’s on an empty stomach, parents notice them acting as if they’ve had four cups of coffee. They’re bouncing off the walls and then, in a predictable amount of time, they crash -- growing sleepy, lethargic, and cranky. The reason is that refined sugars (or carbs) raise blood-glucose levels too quickly, causing a surge of insulin, which soon removes even more sugar than when the person started; the loss of sugar is what makes him feel lethargic. For people who are particularly sensitive, the crash may be accompanied by shakiness, irritability, fogginess, and a feeling of intense hunger even though they just ate an hour ago. Almost all packaged snack foods and cereals that are marketed to kids today have this effect on them.

Examples of slower-burning carbs (those with a low GI) are high-fiber foods such as whole grain breads and crackers, vegetables, beans, legumes, brown rice, oats, and whole grain pasta. These high-fiber foods not only add nutrients, but they also contribute to the feeling of being full, which prevents children from overeating. Including low-GI foods in recipes keeps the blood sugar levels balanced, reduces subsequent cravings for more sugar and the snacks that contain it, helps manage weight, and has a positive influence on moods and concentration, among other things.

We need to get kids to eat these low GI, slow-burning foods more often, and at the right times (along with the high GI snacks, for example). That’s just what the recipes below do, yet none of these sneaky additions are obvious. When your kids eat a Sneaky Chef Corn Muffin (below), all they know is that it’s delicious. They stay satisfied longer than if they’d eaten a donut or candy bar, have more sustained energy, feel happier overall, and don’t crave as much junk food. Your little muffins won’t realize that the muffins they ate had enough fiber from the hidden vegetables, wheat germ and stone ground flour to stabilize their blood-sugar levels. They have no idea why the Sneaky Chef Chocolate Chip Cookie was so gratifying to eat. After all, it tasted just like any other chocolate chip cookie, so they couldn’t possibly guess that it contained pureed white beans, whole grains, and half the sugar. The only one who knows these little secrets is you (and their healthier bodies).

As “The Sneaky Chef,” I’m known for coming up with simple solutions that we can use right now, without radically changing our lives, but that make families healthier without a struggle. I live in the real world where kids eat sugar, junk food, and pizza, but I’ve found ways to boost all their foods with extra nutrition and help offset any ill effects of a less-than-ideal diet.

So here are 7 simple ways to prevent the sugar “spike and crash” syndrome and give your child lasting energy:

1. Sneak vegetables into high-carb foods -- these low-GI veggies add not only important nutrients, but lots of fiber that helps slow down the sugar rush. For example, hide pureed cauliflower and zucchini in corn muffins (see muffin recipe below).

2. Sneak whole grains into high-carb foods -- the high fiber grains not only slow the sugar rush, but help make kids feel satisfied so they won’t be as likely to overeat. For example, mix wheat germ and whole wheat flour with white flour for homemade baked goods (see cookie recipes below).

3. Sneak beans into high-carb foods -- low GI beans add not only important nutrients, but lots of fiber that helps slow down the sugar rush. For example, hide pureed white beans in homemade chocolate chip cookies (see recipe below).

4. Make snacks into “mini-meals” -- instead of giving kids a “snack” of high-GI carbs alone (like potato chips, most cereal bars, even most fruits), make it a “mini-meal” and pair that fast-burning carb with some good fat and protein like a cheese stick, slice of turkey breast, or a handful of almonds to help slow the sugar rush.

5. Avoid high sugar foods before going to bed -- this can cause the child to wake-up already in a sugar low and on the way to a downward spiral. If you’re going to have the classic bedtime cookies and milk, make it the Sneaky Chef’s high-fiber, low-sugar cookies below.

6. Start the day with fiber and protein -- this is far more important than a glass of juice which has too high a sugar count. A whole grain breakfast of old-fashioned oatmeal with almonds (grind them up to hide them, if necessary) will hold a kid way longer than orange juice and a bagel. So will a slice of cheese melted on a whole grain English muffin. For a fast, “grab and go” breakfast loaded with whole grains and protein, try the recipe for Breakfast Cookies and Milk below.

7. Sprinkle cinnamon on cereal, desserts, and juice -- One of the easiest ways to balance your blood sugar for the day is to add a sprinkling of cinnamon in oatmeal, hot cocoa, chocolate milk, apple juice, or cereal. Cinnamon has been found to be one of the most effective ways to balance blood sugar levels and prevent the “spike and crash.”


Breakfast Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Corn Muffins

Sneaky Chef's Breakfast Cookies:
Makes 16 to 18 large cookies

2 cups whole grain cereal flakes (such as Wheaties or Total)
¾ cup Flour Blend (¼ cup white flour, ¼ cup whole wheat flour, and ¼ cup wheat germ)
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾  cup low-fat ricotta cheese
Cinnamon sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or spray with oil).

Using a rolling pin, gently crush the cereal (in a sealed plastic bag) into coarsely crushed flakes. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the cereal in a food processor.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, crushed cereal, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and ricotta cheese. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Drop single tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about an inch between cookies. Flatten cookies with the back of a fork and then sprinkle tops generously with cinnamon sugar (or just sugar if your kids don’t like the cinnamon flavor). Bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy around the edges.

Sneaky Chef's Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Makes about 50 two-bite cookies

1 cup Flour Blend ( cup white flour, cup whole wheat flour, and  cup wheat germ) 
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup rolled oats, finely ground in a food processor 
2 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor (omit if allergic)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter 
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup White Bean Puree* (see Make-Ahead Recipe below)
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove butter from refrigerator to let soften.

In a large bowl, whisk together Flour Blend, baking soda, salt, ground oats, and ground almonds (optional). Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars until creamy. Beat in egg, vanilla, and White Bean Puree. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed. Stir in chocolate chips. Make two-bite cookies by dropping rounded half-teaspoonfuls, spaced 2 inches apart, onto nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a metal rack.

Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature.

*Sneaky Chef’s Make Ahead Recipe -- White Bean Puree:

1 15-ounce can white beans (great northern, navy, butter or cannellini)
1 to 2 tablespoons water

Rinse and drain the beans and put in the bowl of your food processor. Pulsing in on/off turns, puree the drained beans with just 1 tablespoon of water in processor until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. The goal is a smooth, but not wet, puree. (You are aiming for the consistency of peanut butter.) If necessary, thin with a little more water by one teaspoonful at a time until there are no flecks of whole beans visible.

Store in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or freeze ¼ cup portions in sealed plastic bags or small plastic containers. Makes about 1 cup of puree.

Double this recipe if you want to store another cup of puree.

Sneaky Chef's Corn Muffins:
Makes 6 large muffins (or 12 mini-muffins)

½ cup Flour Blend (3 tablespoons white flour, 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour, and 2 tablespoons wheat germ) 
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup White Puree* (See Make-Ahead Recipe below)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, pureed
Optional toppings: ¼ cup chocolate chips or ¼ cup shredded low-fat cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the Flour Blend, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined, then whisk in the oil, White Puree, and pureed corn. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until flour is just moistened (don’t over-mix or the muffins will be dense).

Scoop the batter into muffin tins, filling just over the top. If you’re using mini muffin cups, scale back quantities to fit into the smaller sized cups. Top with a few chocolate chips, or sprinkle with shredded cheese, and bake for 22 to 24 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*Sneaky Chef’s Make-Ahead Recipe -- White Puree:

2 cups cauliflower, cut into florets
2 small to medium zucchini, peeled and rough chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons water, if necessary

Steam cauliflower in a vegetable steamer over 2 inches of water, using a tightly-covered pot, for about 10 to 12 minutes until very tender. Alternatively, place cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with water, and microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes until very tender.

While waiting for the cauliflower to finish steaming, start to pulse the raw peeled zucchini with the lemon juice only (no water at this point). Drain the cooked cauliflower. Working in batches if necessary, add it to the pulsed zucchini in the bowl of the food processor with one tablespoon of water. Puree on high until smooth. Stop occasionally and push contents from the top to the bottom. If necessary, use the second tablespoon of water to make a smooth (but not wet) puree.

Makes about 2 cups of puree. Double recipe if you want to store even more, which can be done in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze ¼ cup portions in sealed plastic bags or the small plastic containers.

© Missy Chase Lapine, all rights reserved.

Missy Chase Lapine is the author of The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals (Running Press, March 2007). She is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and the founder of a natural baby product line Baby Spa®. Missy is currently on the Culinary Arts faculty of The New School, in New York City, and operates The Sneaky Chef workshops, which is a program of cooking classes and demonstrations that teach families how to eat healthier. She is a contributor to Parenting Magazine,, and, and available to individuals, groups and businesses for private cooking instruction, workshops and personal coaching in The Sneaky Chef methods and recipes. Missy lives with her family in Westchester, New York. For more information visit

Ooey Gooey Karo Krispers

  • 1 cup light or dark Karo corn syrup

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup crunchy or creamy peanut butter

  • 1 cup oatmeal

  • 2 cup corn flakes or other favorite cereal

  • 1 cup (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1/2 cup (3 oz) peanut butter chips (optional)

Pour corn syrup, sugar and salt into a large saucepan. Stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil. Stir in peanut butter. REMOVE from heat and stir in oatmeal, corn flakes and crisp rice cereal. Pour into greased 8" square pan and set aside. Melt chocolate chips in small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Spread over bars. Cut into 32 squares or triangles. 

Option: Melt peanut butter chips in small saucepan over low heat. Using small spoon, dot onto bars in any design you prefer. 

Bird's Nest Cookies

  • 1-1/3 cups flaked coconut

  • 2 sticks butter or margarine, softened

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 1¾ cups M&M's speckled eggs for Easter (or any peanut M&M's will work)

Preheat oven to 300º. Spread coconut of non-greased cookie sheet. Toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until it turned light golden, about 25 minutes. Remove coconut from cookie sheet and set aside. Increase oven temperature to 350º. In large bowl, add butter and sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Blend into creamed mixture. Form dough into 1¼ inch balls. Roll heavily into toasted coconut. Place coconut cookies 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Make indentation with thumb in center of cookies. Bake 12-14 minutes of until golden brown. Remove cookies and cool completely. Fill indentations with peanut M&M's.

Jell-O Magic Milkshakes

  • 1 pkg (4-serving size) Jell-O gelatin

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 pint softened vanilla ice cream

Pour 1 cup of milk into blender, add Jell-O. Cover and blend 30 seconds. Add softened ice cream and blend 1 minute longer. 

Butter Lollipop Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

  • 1½ cups firmly packed brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 2½ quick cooking oats (not instant), uncooked

  • wooden Popsicle sticks

  • Cookie Decorations

Cream butter and sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, baking powder, spices, salt and baking soda. Add milk to butter mixture; mix well. Stir in oats. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until firm for ease in handling. Preheat oven to 375º. Shape dough into 1½ inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Insert wooden stick halfway into each ball of dough. Flatten ball using a flat bottom glass dipped in granulated sugar. Bake 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheets 2-3 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool complete. Decorate as desired. Store at room temperature in airtight metal container up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 dozen cookies. 

Popcorn Candy Cake

  • 1 pkg (16 oz) miniature marshmallows

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup butter and margarine

  • 5 quarts popped popcorn

  • 1 pkg (24 oz) spiced gumdrops

  • 1 cup salted peanuts

In a large saucepan, melt marshmallows, oil and butter until smooth. In a large bowl, combine popcorn, gumdrops and peanuts. Add marshmallow mixture and mix well. Press into a greased 10" tube pan (a one piece tube pan is recommended). Cover and refrigerate for 5 hours or overnight. Dip pan in hot water for 5-10 seconds to unmold. Slice cake with an electric or serrated knife. Makes 16-18 servings.

Before a child's party, scoop ice cream into paper cupcake holders and store the treats in the freezer.

Protect a child from discomfort or skin burns by placing a towel over the car's seat on hot, sunny days.

Smear a tiny bit of petroleum jelly above your baby's eyebrows to easily channel soapy water or shampoos away from their eyes.

When first lacing up new shoes, tie knots in the laces after the first two hold have been threaded so your child can't pull them out accidentally.

Toss a small hand towel over the top of a bathroom door so it won't close completely. This way, little ones are less likely to lock themselves in.


Jell-O Rainbow Popcorn

  • No stick cooking spray

  • 8 cups popped popcorn

  • 1 cup salted peanuts or cashews

  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine

  • 3 tbl light corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or granulated sugar

  • 1 pkg (4 serving size) Jell-O brand gelatin, any flavor

Heat oven to 300º. Line a 15x10x1" baking pan with foil or wax paper. Spray with no stick cooking spray. Place popcorn and nuts in a large bowl. Hat butter and syrup in small saucepan on low heat. Stir in sugar and gelatin. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; gently simmer 5 minutes. Immediate pour syrup over popcorn, tossing to coat well. Spread popcorn in prepared pan using 2 forks to spread evenly. Bake 10 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan; break into small pieces. Makes about 9 cups.

*Special Hint - For a big crowd, make 3 batches of Rainbow Popcorn in different Jell-O flavors and layer in large glass bowl.

No Bake Marshmallow Cookies

Fun for kids to make and eat!

  • 1 pkg Kraft caramels

  • 1 stick butter or margarine

  • 1 cans sweetened condensed milk

  • 1 pkg marshmallows

  • 1 large box Rice Krispies

Melt caramels, butter and condensed milk in double boiler. Dip marshmallows into melted caramel mixture then roll in Rice Krispies. 


How Colors Affects Kids

  • Red - Makes the room happy and lively. When children see red, it releases epinephrine, a hormone that causes the heart to beat faster and the body temperature to rise. The result is kids feel excited and energetic whenever they're in the room. 

  • Pink - Produces a calm, soothing environment. In the presence of pink, research shows that kids quiet down. This color has a soothing effect that, one study says, even lasts up to 1/2 hour after exposure to it.

  • Blue - Creates a serene scene. Blue has been proven to actually lower blood pressure, relaxing children and allowing them to think clearly and reason more logically.

  • Green - Gives children a feeling of well-being. When exposed to green, the brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that has a feel-good effect. In fact, green has been proven to calm and lower stress. Therefore, children feel nurtured around green.

  • Yellow - Boosts creativity when used cautiously. The hypothalamus (the motivational center of the brain) is stimulated when in the presence of the color yellow. However, try to use yellow sparingly because too much can make kids edgy and irritable.

Use Crystals to Inspire Kids

There are ancient beliefs that crystals and minerals can affect the atmosphere of a room-and the mood of all who enter it.  Here's how to use them to calm and inspire your kids as they play. Different stone have different effects:

  • Amethyst - Creates calmness. Amethyst prevents over stimulation and helps kids focus on puzzles, art projects, etc.

  • Amblygonite - Soothes anxiety. This mineral is great for controlling chaos in the play room. It's powers to subdue stress are so great that this crystal is used in the treatment of hyperactive children.

  • Fluorite - boosts concentration. This crystal can heighten kids' attention spans, allowing them to successfully complete challenging tasks. If older children use the space for studying, fluorite is a must.

  • Citrine - Promotes family harmony. This stone is ideal for a playroom shared by one or more siblings since it promotes togetherness and fosters a cooperative spirit.

Hershey's Caramel and Fudge Ice Cream Pie

  • 1/2gallon vanilla ice cream

  • 16 oz Hershey's Hot Fudge

  • Chocolate crumb crust

  • Reddi-Wip Topping

Place chocolate crumb crust in a 9x12" baking dish, following crust instructions. Allow ice cream to soften for 5 minutes. Spread ice cream over chocolate crust. Cover with Hershey's hot fudge. Refreeze for 30 minutes and serve. Top with a generous amount of Reddi-Wip. 


Quickie Kid's Craft - Autumn Wreath

Add color to your front door with this fall wreath. To make, cut out the center of a paper plate and glue on an assortment of bright fall leaves, covering the entire rim.  You can use real leaves or colored paper cutouts. Finish with a large raffia bow, some twigs and a bright green chenille stem caterpillar. Kids have a blast making this wreath!


Peanut Butter-Krispie Cake

For Cake:

  • 3/4 stick (6 tbl) margarine

  • 1 bag (10-10½ oz) regular or mini marshmallows

  • 7 cups Rice Krispies

For Peanut Butter Frosting:

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 2 tbl stick margarine, softened

  • 1-1/3 cup  confectioners' sugar

For Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4½ oz semisweet or bittersweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 3 tbl stick margarine

  • 2 tsp light corn syrup

Coat an 8" round cake or springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Melt 3/4 stick margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Stir in cereal until coated and blended. Scrape into prepared pan. Coat a piece of waxed paper with nonstick cooking spray and place on cereal mixture and press evenly into pan. Cool completely.

Meanwhile make frosting: Beat peanut butter and margarine in a large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. (frosting will be crumbly as you beat in the sugar, but it will become a smooth, somewhat stiff mixture as you continue beating).

Glaze: Melt chocolate and margarine in a medium saucepan over low heat; stirring often. Remove from heat and stir in corn syrup until blended. Let cool 8-10 minutes until no longer hot but still spreadable. 

Invert cake onto a serving plate. Using a serrated knife, cut in half horizontally. Remove top half. Spread 3/4 cup frosting on top of bottom layer, then carefully spread 1/4 cup chocolate glaze to about 1 inch from edge. Top with other half of cake. Spread frosting on sides, leaving enough for a thin layer on top. If glaze becomes too cool to spread, reheat gently, then scrape on the of center of cake and spread carefully, letting some drip down sides. Let set at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving. Makes 16 servings and keeps well up to 1 week at room temperature.

Peanutty Pops

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 cup boiling water

  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter

  • 1 cup chocolate milk

In medium bowl, mix gelatin and sugar; add boiling water and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. With wire whip or rotary beater, blend in peanut butter; stir in milk. Pour into 5 0z paper cups and place in freeze until partially frozen. Insert wooden ice cream sticks and freeze until firm. Makes 6 pops.

Variations: Stir in small semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped banana or mini marshmallow just before inserting stick.

Ice Cream Crunchies

  • 1/2 cup Karo Light or Dark Corn Syrup

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky

  • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

  • brick ice cream (in a box), you pick the flavor 

Combine syrup and peanut butter. Add Rice Krispies cereal and stir until well coated. Press mixture into a waxed paper lined 13x9" pan; chill. Remove from pan and cut into 12 (3") squares. Cut 2 pints brick ice cream into slices and place between two crunchie squares. Cut each square into two bars. Serve immediately or wrap and freeze until needed. Makes 12 Ice Cream Crunchies.

Campfire Hash Rounds

  • 1 tbl oil

  • 1 can corned beef hash

  • 2 tsp prepared mustard

  • 4 slices tomato

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt

  • 1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce

  • 4 tbl grated cheese

Heat cooking oil. Remove corned beef hash whole by opening can at both ends. Cut into four rounds. Place in hot oil; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes; turn. Spread thinly with mustard. Top with tomato slice. Sprinkle with seasonings and grated cheese. Cook for 5 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted.  Makes 4 servings.

Grape-Nuts Peanut Butter Bars

  • 1 cup light corn syrup

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup reduced fat peanut butter

  • 4 cups Grape-Nuts Cereal

Mix corn syrup, sugar and peanut butter in a large microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 2 minutes or just until mixture boils, stirring every minute. Add cereal; toss to coat well. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 13x9" baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cool, cut into bars. Makes 30 bars.

Banana Pops

  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt

  • 1/2 cup orange juice

  • 1 medium ripe banana, cut into chunks

In a blender, combine the ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Pour into Popsicle trays, or into small plastic disposable cups and insert Popsicle sticks in center. Freeze until firm, about 5 hours or overnight. Makes 6 servings.

Frosted Brownie Pizza

  • 1/2 cup butter (no substitutes)

  • 2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 eggs, beaten                                                                                    


  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter                                                

  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk


  • 3/4 cup plain M&M's

  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter, chocolate and sugar. Remove from the heat; stir n flour until smooth. Add eggs and beat until smooth. Spread onto greased 12" pizza pan. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely. For frosting, in a mixing bowl, beat sugar, peanut butter, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired spreading consistency. Spread over brownie crust. Top with M&M's, coconut and pecans. Makes 8-10 servings.


Name a star after your child for a gift that they'll remember each time see a star and know that one is named for them.  TheStarRegistry. What a Beautiful Gift!

Upside-Down Pizza

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce

  • 2 cups (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Add spaghetti sauce. Cover and simmer until heated through. Pour into a greased 13x9" baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. In a blender, combine the milk, eggs, oil, flour and salt; cover and process until smooth. Pour over cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 400º for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 servings.

Octopus and Seaweed

  • 1 pkg (3 oz) beef ramen noodles

  • 4 hot dogs

  • 5 drops green food coloring, optional

  • yellow mustard

In a saucepan, bring 1½ cups water to a boil. Add the noodles and contents of the seasoning packet. Boil for 3-4 minutes or until noodles are tender. Meanwhile, add 4 inches of water to a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cut each hot dog lengthwise into 8 strips within 2 inches of one end. Drop into boiling water; cook until heated through. Add food color to noodles if desired. Drain if necessary. Place noodles on serving plates; top with a hot dog laid out as an octopus sitting up, with arms spread out. Add eyes and a smile with dabs of mustard. Makes four servings.

Kellogg's Tony the Tiger Cookies

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 cup margarine, softened

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 3 cups Kellogg's Frosted Flakes cereal, crushed to 1½ cups

  • 1 pkg (6 oz) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add flour mixture, mixing until well combined. Stir in Frosted Flakes cereal. Drizzle melted chocolate over dough. With knife, swirl melted chocolate gently through the dough to achieve a marbled appearance. Drop by rounded measuring tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350º for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove immediately from baking sheets. Cool on wire racks. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Waffle Sandwich

  • 8 Eggo miniature frozen waffles

  • 1/3 banana, sliced

  • 1/2 tbl Jif Peanut butter

  • 1/2 tbl jelly

Toast waffles. Spread waffles, sandwich style, with peanut butter, jelly and banana slices. Top each bottom with another waffle to make a sandwich. These can be wrapped in plastic and easily popped into a lunch bad. Makes 2 servings.


Looking for the perfect baby gift?  Personalized Baby Gift Shop

Wear-n-Wash - Get your kids some inexpensive white T-shirts and some soap crayons-the kind kids play with while in the tub. Let them draw and color the shirts anyway they want. They can wear the shirts all day and you can toss them in the wash at night. They'll be ready to go the next time your kids are feeling a little artistic.

To quell those end-of-summer blues, throw a "Back to School Party".  The kids can play games like "Pin the tail on the donkey", bobbing for apples, etc.  Reward the winners with inexpensive prizes like rulers, crayons, writing paper, pens, pencils and glue.

Once a week, prepackage chips, cookies, nuts, dried fruits, raisins and other goodies in plastic sandwich bags and store them in a large sealed container. When it's time to fix your children's lunch, toss the prepared bags into the lunch box or sack, along with a sandwich and fruit. This really saves time in the morning, especially if you have to fix several lunches each day.


Party Favors

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) margarine

  • 1 bag (10 oz) regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows

  • 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

  • nonstick cooking spray

  • Colored paper, toothpicks, candies

Melt margarine in a large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add cereal and stir until well coated. Spray 16 muffin cups with cooking spray. Press warm cereal mixture over bottom and sides of cups. Cool. Remove from muffin cups.

Make small, triangular shaped flags cut from colored paper. Attach around toothpick and write the names of party guests on the flags. Insert toothpick into cups. Fill cups with candies like gumdrops, M&M's, red hots, candy corn or any small candies. Makes 16 party favors. 


Pretty and Inexpensive Decorating Ideas

  • Use ponytail ties for holding back curtains. They come in all sorts of cute decorations, fat buttons and bows. Be care not to use decorations that a child can detach and swallow.

  • Baskets for holding diapers, underwear, lotions, etc. near at hand. Use for toys as well. A large basket with a handle is absolutely essential for quick pickups at the end of the day.

  • Junior milk crates are small enough to line up on a dressing table or shelf to hold essentials.

  • Wall pegs for holding baby clothes, towels, sweaters, etc., give extra help to get the most-used items out of the way but still keep them within reach.

  • Memo pad above the changing table to jot notes, reminders when baby was last fed and notes for the baby-sitter.

  • Plastic stack bookcases are great for toys as well as clothes.

  • A space organizer sold for over the toilet can be used on a wall over the changing table.

  • Cut a regular mattress pad to the size of a dresser top and cover with a pretty terry towel or receiving blanket to use as a changing pad.

  • Inexpensive scatter rugs with rubber backing come with cute designs such as teddy bear or ducks. Use in front of the crib and dresser or rocking chair.

  • Stackable storage carts with open fronts are usually sold for kitchens but are great for holding baby's clothes.

  • Hang large clock on the wall. It's decorative and practical.

  • For an inexpensive wall decoration, buy colorful plastic picture frames to hold pages from a children's book. Make a grouping on the wall. 

  • If you can't afford a rocking chair right away, buy one of the inexpensive plastic outdoor chairs and buy or make a padded cushion to fit inside the seat and back.

  • Another inexpensive idea for holding essentials over the changing table is a three-tier hanging vegetable basket in a pastel color.

  • Hang a net food umbrella (used to protect food at picnics) from the ceiling over the crib and attach a toy or rattle at each corner for an inexpensive mobile.

  • A waiter's apron with two pockets is perfect to hang on the changing table or side of the crib to hold powder, lotion, etc.

Banana Igloos (recipe is for one igloo)

  • 1 small ripe banana (5 or 6 inches long)

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

  • 1 tbl flaked coconut

  • small paper cup

  • ice cream stick or a small spoon

Peel banana and break into a few pieces. Put in a small mixing bowl. Mash the banana with a potato masher until it is mushy and there are no big lumps. Add the yogurt mix to the banana and stir to mix well. Add the shredded coconut and mix. Spoon the mixture into a small paper cup. Put an ice cream stick into the middle of the cup. Freeze the mixture until firm, at least 60 minutes. To remove igloo from cup, place cup into about 1 inch of hot water, making sure no water gets into the cup, and count to five. 

Variations: Instead of coconut, add chopped nuts, raisins, miniature chocolate chips or crushed cookies or candy bars.

Pretzel Dip

  • 2 tbl peanut butter

  • 3 tbl applesauce

  • 2 large carrot

  • pretzel sticks for dipping

Put peanut butter and applesauce into a small bowl. Grate the carrot, adding 3 tablespoons to the bowl. Stir the ingredients together until the are well mixed. Scoop up the dip with pretzel sticks. Makes enough dip for 2 kids to snack on.

Grilled Ham & Cheese Cookies

  • 8 slices of sourdough bread

  • 8 slices of ham

  • 4 slices cheese

  • butter

  • mustard

Spread mustard on each slice of bread.  Top one slice of bread with ham and cheese and top with second slice. Use cookie cutters to cut desired shapes from sandwiches. Press down very firmly to cut through the ham. Remove excess trimmings. Spread butter on the outside of sandwiches.  Cook sandwiches in a nonstick skillet on each side until golden brown and the cheese melts. Decorate the cooked sandwiches with mustard. Makes 4 sandwiches.

Pizza Meatloaf

  • 2 lbs ground beef

  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 cup unseasoned dry bread crumbs 

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cups Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 tbl oregano

  • 1 1/3 cups canned fried onions

  • sliced tomato and green bell pepper strips

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine beef, 1/2 cup mozzarella, bread crumbs, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce and oregano in a large bowl. Stir until well blended. Place meat mixture in a pie plate and shape into a 9x1" round. Bake 35 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Drain fat. Top with remaining tomato sauce, sliced tomato and green bell pepper strips, remaining mozzarella cheese and onions. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and French fried onions are golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cowpoke Burritos

  • 1 can (16 oz) pork and beans with brown sugar

  • 8 hot dogs

  • 1/3 cup ketchup

  • 8 (8 inch) flour tortillas, warmed up

Mix beans and ketchup in a medium saucepan. Add hot dogs and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until hot dogs are heated through about 7 minutes. Fill each tortilla with one hot dog and a spoonful of beans. Roll up like a burrito and serve with chips.

Pizza Cookies

  • 1 (10 oz) pkg of refrigerated pizza dough

  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce from a bottle or can

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • pepperoni slices

Preheat oven to 425º. Unroll dough onto a greased baking sheet. Press or roll dough into a 12x8" rectangle. With cookies cutters, cut dough into shape of your choice. Animals or holiday shapes work really well. Reroll any scraps and cut into more shapes. Pre-bake  crust for about 5-6 minutes or until it begins to turn brown. Spread with sauce and top with cheese and 1 or 2 slices of pepperoni depending on the size. Bake 5 or 6 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Makes 4-6 servings.

Crunchy Munchy Bird Nests

  • 3 cups Rice Krispies cereal

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, optional

Combine cereal and coconut in a bowl. Mix corn syrup, brown sugar, peanut butter and vanilla in a large saucepan and bring to boil (if opted, also add chocolate chips). Remove from heat and stir in cereal and coconut mixture. Let it cool and shape in bird's nests of many sizes. Fill with jelly bean (for eggs). Great for Easter!


Crafts for Kids

Handprinted T-Shirt

Get a bunch of fabric paint and however many new white t-shirts you need to have one for each child. Let them dip their hands into the fabric paint and and use their hands to make butterflies and birds on their t-shirts. Dip fingertips to make dots all around the shirt.


Get at least 4 or 5 different colors of construction paper. Use one color for the mat itself. Make cutout forks, knives, spoons and a plate. Dot each cutout with glue so it will stay on the place mat for the following step. Cover front and back with clear adhesive vinyl and trim edges for a finished placemat. 

Sand Jars

Make your own sand jars from salt and small jars.  Tint salt by mixing in colored chalk (rub with sandpaper to make a chalk powder). Then layer into jars. Bend paper to use as a pourer, tamping down to make salt settle as you go. Use at least 4 different colors for the best effects. If the jar has a lid with writing on it, paint the lid with one of the colors of the sand. 

Foil Pictures

On construction paper, using string and glue, draw a picture. When satisfied with the picture, cover with crumpled aluminum foil and press until the string picture is showing up well through the foil. Paint the foil and let dry. These make cute pictures to frame.

Egg Carton Caterpillar

Cut a cardboard egg carton in half, and trim away everything but the egg cups themselves. Be sure to keep the egg cups connected to each other. Then brush on acrylic paint, a different color for each egg cup. Glue on fuzzy pipe cleaners for the legs and the antennae. Glue fuzzy dots on top of each egg cup, a color different from color of the egg cup. Draw a face with pen or cut out using construction paper. 

No Bake Sunbeam Cookies

  • 1 cup nonfat dry milk

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup granola-type cereal, crushed

Mix the dry milk, honey and peanut butter together. Chill. Form into balls the size of marbles. Roll in crushed cereal.

Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

  • 2 (10 oz) cartons frozen strawberries, thawed

  • 1 tbl unflavored gelatin

  • 16 oz plain yogurt

  • 12 (3 oz) paper cups

  • 12 wooden sticks

Drain the strawberries, reserving the liquid in a saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves. In blender container, combine the gelatin mixture, strawberries and yogurt. Cover and blend until smooth. Place paper cups on a tray or baking pan. Fill with strawberry-yogurt mixture. Cover cups with aluminum foil, insert a wooden stick for each popsicle by making a slit in the foil over the center of each cup. Freeze until firm. To serve, run warm water over the outside of cup to loosen popsicle.

Norwegian Potato Cake Cookies

  • Cooked potatoes

  • butter milk

  • sugar/cinnamon mixture

  • nuts, crushed

Mash potatoes with butter and milk. Add flour enough to make a stiff dough that can be rolled out on a floured board. Cut into squares. Butter each square and sprinkle on sugar/cinnamon mixture, then sprinkle with crushed nuts. Roll each square like a jelly roll and serve!

Edible Play Dough

Kids will have a blast with this, they can create a yummy sculpture and then dig in and gobble it up! A fun pick-me-up for the rainy day blues.

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 1 cup corn syrup

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 cup powdered milk

Mix all ingredients to get a good consistency. And away we go!!!

Popcorn Cake     

  • 4 quarts popcorn, popped (about 16 cups)

  • 8 oz peanuts

  • 1/2 cup oil

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 lb spiced gum drops, cut up

  • 1 lb marshmallows

Pop the popcorn. Place in large bowl and add peanuts and gum drops. Place oil, butter and marshmallows in saucepan and heat until marshmallows are melted. Add to popped corn mix. Put in buttered angel food pan, press into pan. When set, turn upside down onto plate and slice into serving pieces.

Really Cool Hot Chocolate: Add a small scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream to a cup of hot chocolate and top with marshmallows, sprinkles or a maraschino cherry. Your children will love this delicious cold-weather treat!


Sunday Morning Sweet Rolls

  • 1 pkg refrigerator crescent rolls

  • 1/4 cup melted butter

  • 8 large marshmallows

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 2 tbl cinnamon

Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Dip marshmallow in butter, then sugar mixture. Wrap crescent roll around marshmallow, sealing all edges. Dip entire roll in butter and then sugar mixture. Place in muffin tins and bake at 375º for 10-13 minutes. 

This is a very easy recipe that kids enjoy making.

Beans-n-Weenies Cups

  • 1 pkg of 10 buttermilk biscuits

  • 1 lb can pork and beans

  • 2 hot dogs, sliced 

  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce

  • 1 tbl brown sugar

  • 1 tsp minced onion

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese

Mix together pork & beans, hot dogs, barbecue sauce, brown sugar and minced onion. To form cups, press each biscuit in a greased muffin cup. Fill each cup with beans-n-weenies mixture. Bake 10-12 minutes at 425º. Sprinkle with each cup with cheese. Serves 5.

Looking for the best baby gift, try the BabyBazaar!

Baking with Ice Cream Cones. These are perfect for birthday parties!

Strawberry Muffin Cones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 carton (6 oz) strawberry yogurt

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

  • 15 cake ice cream cones (about 3 inches tall)

  • 1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

  • 1 tbl shortening

  • Colored sprinkles

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, beat eggs, yogurt, oil and strawberries; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Place the ice cream cones in muffin cups; spoon about 3 tablespoon batter into each cone. Bake at 375º for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely. In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Dip muffin tops in chocolate; decorate with sprinkles. Makes 15 servings. 

Brownie Ice Cream Cones

  • 1 pkg (4 oz) German sweet chocolate

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 24 cake ice cream cones (about 3 inches tall)

  • 24 scoops ice cream

  • Colored or chocolate sprinkles

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring frequently. Cool slightly; pour into a bowl. Add sugar and eggs; mix well. Stir in flour, walnuts and vanilla. Place the ice cream cones in muffin cups; fill half full with batter. Bake at 350º for 20-22 minutes or until brownies are set on top and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs (do not overbake). Cool completely. Just before serving, top each with a scoop of ice cream and garnish with sprinkles. Makes 2 dozen.

Cupcake Cones

  • 1 pkg Super Moist Cake mix

  • 24-36 ice cream cones

  • Frosting

  • Sprinkles

Heat oven to 350º.  Make cake batter according to directions on box. Put cones in a muffin pan. Fill each cone about 1/2 full. Bake 20 - 25 minutes. Cool and frost. Makes 24-36 cones.

Hot Dog! Some great ideas from Oscar Meyer

  • Cheese Dog Wraps - Spread flour tortillas lightly with  ketchup. Top with Oscar Mayer Cheese dogs; roll up. Wrap in heavy-duty foil. Grill 5 to 8 minutes or until hot, turning occasionally.

  • BLT Ranch Dogs - Grill hot dogs 5 to 8  minutes or until hot., turning occasionally. Place in hot dog buns; top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, bacon pieces and drizzle with Ranch dressing.

  • Grilled Pizza Dogs -  Stir a little garlic powder into melted butter; brush onto split hot dog buns. Grill, split sides down, until lightly toasted. Grill hot dogs 5 to 8 minutes or until hot, turning occasionally. Spread buns with warmed spaghetti sauce. Place hot dogs in buns. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

  • Farmer's Market Cheese Dogs - Wrap 5 hot dogs, 2 cups thinly sliced bell peppers, 1 thinly sliced onion and 1/2 cup Italian dressing in heavy-duty foil. Grill 10 minutes or until hot. Place hot dogs on 5 flour tortillas and top with pepper mixture; fold.

These recipes taste great with either the traditional hot dogs or Cheese dogs. Kids love these!

A Surprise in the Birthday Cake - Like the Mardi Gras King Cake, bake a little edible something like a gummy bear or worm in your child's birthday cake. Get a special prize for the lucky child to get the special piece of cake. Kids love this!

If your kids love to finger paint, pour some of their favorite colors into a Styrofoam egg carton so they have a nice little palette to work with.

Tips for the Busy Mother

Kids who are learning to use scissors and are practicing to cut on the lines will enjoy cutting out savings coupons for you.

Keep a toy telephone next to your real phone. When you get a call have your child answer their phone and talk while you do.

While you work in the kitchen, give your child a cookie sheet to use as a lap tray. The sides keep toys and crayons from rolling off. 

Your toddler's room becomes one big playpen with the addition of Dutch doors. Lock the bottom of the door and leave the top open so you can see what the little one is doing.

To avoid constant clock waiting during the hectic morning rush, set the kitchen timer to go off a few minutes before the kids have to leave the house.

Instead of listing your children's friends in your phone book under their names, provide a page for each of your children and write their names there. Saves time in an emergency when last names escape you.

If you want your child to clean their own nails, an old toothbrush is the perfect size for little fingers.

Wrap a strip of masking tape around the container of baby powder so it's handy if you accidentally tear off a disposable diaper tab.

When bathing your baby, pin a bath towel around you neck like a bib. You'll stay dry and have an instant warm wrap for the baby.

No time to read the newspapers or mail. While rocking baby to sleep, read them aloud. They will think you are talking to them and will enjoy the sound of your voice as much as a lullaby and you'll get to read.

Do you feel like you are forever waiting on your kids while sitting in your car? Always have a crossword puzzle book or magazine in the glove compartment to work on while you are waiting. An audio book works wonders! 

Fill a plastic swimming pool with sand to make a small sand box for your child to build sand castles in. 

Always spread newspapers under the high chair when feeding your child. This makes cleanup a snap.

Use a 3 minute egg timer when your child brushes his/her teeth. Make a game of it and your child will brush longer.

When you take the baby out for a walk in the stroller, fasten a rattle or favorite toy to the handle of the stroller with a plastic shower curtain ring that clips shut. No more dropping the toys again and again. 

When your feed your baby solids, put the food in a coffee mug instead of a bowl. The handle makes is easier to hold. 

An old twin mattress is perfect for an extra bed for a child's sleep-overs. Cover it with a plastic mattress cover and slide it under the bed to storage. Keep it hidden from view with a dust ruffle, and when pulled out for use, it is easily made up.  It also provides a great place for children to bounce and tumble. 

To preserve your child's artwork and prevent the colors from fading over time, spray with a light coating of hair spray. This works especially well on chalk drawings.

When your child cuts a lip or tongue, offer them an ice pop. The cold helps stop the bleeding and tears and you'll have a better chance to look at the wound under less than hysterical circumstances.

When your baby is old enough to sit in the bathtub, here's a good hint. Place a rectangular plastic laundry basket in the big tub and pop baby into the basket. Water flows in and out, tub toys stay within reach and baby feels secure being able to hold on to the sides of the basket.

If your children are reluctant to give up unused possessions, offer to help arrange a garage sale for them, and let them keep the proceeds.

When your children are small and are forever slipping and slouching in their high chairs, apply some textured bathtub appliqués to the seat and back of the high chair. No more slide-away baby!

To teach preschoolers their phone numbers or addresses, sing the numbers to a nursery rhyme. (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star works well with a phone number) Children learn the numbers quickly if the parents sing along with them.

When discarding plastic bags, especially large ones from the cleaners, always tie several knots in them, ensuring that no child or animal can get into them.

A teaspoon of peanut butter will get rid of hiccups and children love it!

To remove crayon marks on walls: Apply plain white toothpaste to the marks and leave on for 1/2 hour. Wipe off with dry cloth.

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of a sugar cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Use a meat baster to squeeze unusual pancake shapes for your kids. They love to eat an "S" or a flower. This is great for sleepovers. 



5 Star Travel Tip

License Plate Bingo - Make your own bingo cards before you leave. (A good hint is to make quite a few and then photocopy them for future use)  Instead of numbers use the States, with your own state being the "Free" spot.  As you spot the license plates, mark them off. Make each game different, one a regular bingo, one a diagonal win only or one a blackout. Make a bunch of different cards, this is really fun.  Have little gifts or promises for the winner of each game. This makes traveling with your brood a blast for them and you.


Make Your Own Play-Dough

To make a non-toxic dough for children to play with. Mix 1 coup flour, 1/2 cup salt, 2 tablespoons cream of tartar, 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Mix and cook over medium heat until it becomes the consistency of dough. Let it cool and add a few drops of food coloring. 


Beefy Biscuit Cups

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • 1 jar (14 oz) spaghetti sauce

  • 2 tubes (8 oz each) large refrigerated biscuits

  • 1 cup (4 oz) cheddar cheese

In a skillet, brown beef; drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Press biscuits onto the bottom and up the sides of  greased muffin cups. Spoon 2 tablespoons meat mixture into the center of each cup. Bake of 375º for 15-17 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 3 minutes longer or until the cheese is melted. Makes 8 servings.

Sunrise Mini Pizzas

  • 8 - 10 eggs

  • 3 tbl milk

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 tbl butter or margarine

  • 10 frozen white dinner rolls, thawed

  • 10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add milk, salt and pepper. Melt butter in a skillet; add the egg mixture. Cook and stir over medium heat until the eggs are set. Remove from the heat and set aside. Roll each dinner roll  into a 5 inch circle. Place on greased baking sheets. Spoon egg mixture evenly over crusts. Sprinkle with bacon and cheese. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Note: For an even faster meal, use 10 English Muffin halves and reduce baking to 10 minutes.

Taco Rounds

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 pkg taco seasoning mix

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • round tortilla chips, bite sized

  • lettuce, tomatoes - finely chopped

  • sour cream, optional

Cook ground beef in skillet until browned; drain. stir in taco seasoning mix and the amount of water indicated on the seasoning package. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tortilla chips on a baking sheet, lined with foil. Top with beef mixture and cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with lettuce and tomatoes. 

Cake Mix Cookies

  • 1 box cake mix

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 eggs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients well. Drop tsps of dough on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

    • variations: Add walnuts to Chocolate Devils Food cake mix,  use strawberry cream cheese frosting on yellow cake mix. 

    Hobo Dinners

    • 1 pound ground beef

    • 4 tomatoes

    • 1 can (17 oz) whole kernel corn, drained

    • salt and pepper

    • butter or margarine

    • 1 cup Bisquick baking mix

    • 1/3 cup Milk

    Shape meat into 4 patties; place one patty in each of 4 lightly buttered pieces of foil. Top each patty with 3 tomato slices and 1/4 of the corn. Season with salt and pepper; dot with butter. Cover each with another piece of foil and crimp together to seal.  (Leave room to add a biscuit) Cook 20 to 30 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Stir baking mix and milk to a soft dough; drop by spoonfuls on top of each dinner. Cover and cook another 10 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

    Breakfast Bars

    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine

    • 32 large marshmallows or 3 cups miniature marshmallows

    • 1/2 cup peanut butter

    • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk

    • 1/4 cup orange-flavored instant breakfast drink

    • 1 cup raisins

    • 4 cups Cheerios cereal

    Butter baking pan, 9x9x2 inches. In large saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in peanut butter until melted. Stir in milk and breakfast drink. Remove from heat: fold in raisins and cereal, stirring until evenly coated. Turn into pan. With buttered hands, pat evenly in pan. Cool thoroughly. Cut into bars. Makes 1 dozen bars.

    Honey Crispies

    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

    • 1/2 cup honey

    • 1/2 cup peanut butter

    • 1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal

    • 1/2 cup raisins

    • 1/2 cup multi-flavored or chocolate sprinkles

    Place a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet so crispies won't stick. Combine powdered sugar, honey and peanut butter in a medium bowl. Stir until mixed well. Stir in cereal and raisins. Using hands, shape mixture into one inch balls. Roll ball in sprinkles and place on cookie sheet. Refrigerate for one hour. Store any leftovers in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Makes about 30 crispies. 

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