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Archive for the ‘Kim Ross’ tag

July 7th, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Texas Caviar Recipe

texas caviar

During the summer I love to use fresh ingredients to make our food. One of my family’ go-to summer favorites is Texas Caviar.  We use this with our favorite tortilla chips or eat it as a side dish. This also keeps in the fridge for several days!

Ingredients
  • 2 small jalapeños
  • 1 cup chopped peppers (any mix of colors)
  • ¼ cup red onion
  • 1 can of black beans and 1 can of another type of bean (or 2 cans of black)
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ¼ cup of chopped celery
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • ¼ jar of italian dressing (your favorite)

ingredients 2

ingredients

 

Instructions
  1. Chop up everything and put in a bowl. Mix in Italian dressing and let sit a minimum of 2 hours in fridge. Add cilantro at end and mix in.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips or as a salad.
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July 3rd, 2014 at 9:00 am

Why I Love the 4th of July

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The 4th of July has always been my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, I woke up early and sang songs like the Star Spangled Banner and This Land Is Your Land at the top of my lungs.  I would unroll the family flag and my sister and I would have a flag ceremony where we would march from the back door to the front flag stand. We would hang the flag and then say the pledge of allegiance.

Here are some of the reasons I love the 4th of July…..

  • the colors – red, white and blue
  • parades
  • patriotic music played by bands
  • kids waving flags
  • decorated bikes and strollers
  • pinnacle of summer
  • barbecuing
  • s’more brownies
  • fireworks
  • lawn games
  • special outfits  to show patriotism
  • my mom wears her flag pin
  • snow cones
  • family gathered together
  • water games
  • God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood

What are your favorite things about the 4th of July?

 

 

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June 30th, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Teaching Kids About Recycling

stuff

We all think about the future and what will be left for our children or grandchildren to deal with. According to the EPA, Americans produce about 4.3 pounds of waste per person, per day. For a family of four, that is over 6,000 pounds of waste each year! About one third of this can be recycled or composted. Are you throwing paper, glass, plastic and metal into the trash? Think about and teach your kids to recycle these items!

An easy way to teach kids to recycle is to create an area in your home with different colored bins. Place tags or identifying pictures on the containers so your children can recognize them and what materials should go in each one. Encourage them to recycle cans and make a plan for how to use the money you’ll get when turning these items in! Consider creating a recycling savings jar to save up for a special family treat.

Take a field trip to your local recycling center. Show your child how the different materials are collected and recycled. Take about how not recycling items can impact the environment, and what items need to be recycled separately, like computers, batteries, lightbulbs, and old medicines.

The more your children understand about recycling, the more likely they are to make it a habit.  Check out some of the online recycling games below:

Ollie’s World

Meet the Greens

My Garbology

 

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June 23rd, 2014 at 10:50 am

Bike Safety for Kids

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Just this weekend while my son was riding his bike, he wiped out and got some bad scrapes on his elbow. Of course, I found this out after I cleaned off the mud from the huge puddle he fell into. My first tip is for parents (one I need to follow myself) – ALWAYS make sure your first aid supplies are stocked and on hand. You can never have enough bandaids (in every size), antibiotic cream or antibacterial/alcohol wipes. It’s summer and kids (especially boys) are prone to injuries, so be ready!

Accidents happen, but there are safety measures that can be taken to help prevent or lessen the degree of injuries. One of the most important areas to protect is your child’s head. Helmets provide protection for your face, head, and brain…I don’t think I need to mention why this is crucial!

Make sure your child’s bike is the right size for them. All too often, children ride bikes that are too big or too small for them, which increases the likelihood of accidents. If your child stands straddling the bike, there should be 1-3 inches of space between them and the top bar. If not, its time to move up to the next bike size.

Make sure wheels, handlebars and seats are tightly fastened to the bike. Add air to the tires if they need more. Check the chain and oil it regularly. Also check that the brakes are working correctly.

If your child is riding with you on the street or sidewalk, make sure they have bright clothing on, even in daylight. Also make sure shoes are tied and clothing isn’t too loose that it would get caught on anything. Sneakers are the best to wear when bike riding because the treads grip the pedals.

Define what area around your neighborhood is appropriate for your child to ride. This can change as your child gets older. Go over safety rules and make sure your child checks for cars backing out of driveways, and is mindful of road signs. Also teach them about obstacles like sticks, puddles, rocks, and other children! Discourage them from doing “tricks” with their bikes like jumping obstacles, bumping friends’ tires with their own, or racing down steep hills.

With these guidelines, children can be a little safer on their bicycles!

 

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June 20th, 2014 at 9:25 am

Outside Water Fun

waterfun

For my boys, one of the best parts of summer is WATER!! The only problem is the boys get bored with the same old fun in the pool. I wanted to share some other ideas for having fun with water!

I think this sprinkler might be a fun way to celebrate summer. A simple 2-liter bottle in the premix behind it. Or create a fun Water Blob to play on. That just requires some strong tape and plastic sheeting.

One of the projects we plan on tackling this summer are sponge bombs. With some sponges and zip ties you can make hours of water fun! Think of the possibilities – dodgeball, relay races to empty the water out of the sponges the fastest, or even a simple game of catch!

We love going to the local splash pad and running through the sprinklers, but why not bring the splash pad to you with some simple pvc pipe! Check out this way to make your own PVC sprinkler at home.

We host several gatherings with friends throughout the summer. Party games are so much fun for the kids and there are some great water games here. I especially can’t wait to have the kids play Catch the Water Bombs or Dip, Drip, Dunk! I think I may even pull these out during playdates when I start to hear, “I’m bored.”

Whether it be a store bought water toy, super soakers, a homemade water sponge or even just the hose itself – make sure to turn the water on when the temperature goes up to help the summer fun begin!

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May 19th, 2014 at 8:36 am

Creating On-The-Go Meals

sandwich

If your life is anything like mine, in late spring and summer you are always on the go! My biggest struggle with this is trying to create healthy meals  instead of running through the drive-thru of the nearest fast food restaurant. Here are some of my favorite  ways to make dinner fast or even carry it along while on the run.

Sandwiches
Sandwiches are a great go-to for dinner or lunch! I make up a batch of chicken or tuna salad and fill pocket bread or pitas to eat on the run. You don’t even have to make a sandwich necessarily…skip the bread and eat it alone with a fork, or just put the salads in a container and carry along some pretzels or crackers to scoop it up. Sandwiches can be paired with fruits, veggies, crackers or baked chips. Think of different options that your kids may like. Even some cheese on bread makes a good option for picky eaters.

Sometimes for lunch in between activities, a good option is cheese, crackers, and a simple meat (turkey slices, pepperoni, even sausage pieces). Cut up a bunch at the beginning of the week and this makes a fun snack to have in the car.

My kids also love the lunch packs that can be bought at the store. Recreate them for less expensive on-the-go alternatives.

Crock Pot Meals
When I am busy, making a meal in the crock pot is the best way to make a good meal for the evening. Plus, the crockpot won’t warm up the house as much as regular stovetop or oven cooking! Even something as simple as throwing chicken breasts in the crock pot with some cream of celery soup makes some good filling  on a bun. Try this with beef or pork also. Once it has cooked, pull it apart with a fork and make it into sandwiches or with a pre-made side dish.

Freezer Meals
Grab a meal out of the freezer you can cook without preparation, making dinner a little easier. Sometimes a frozen pizza or other frozen meal from the grocery store is okay. Time can slip away when you have a home, family, a job, etc., so don’t beat yourself up if you can’t make a healthy dinner every single night! Consider it a “treat” night for the family.

 

Check out these great ideas to organize eating in the car! I will definitely be trying these out…

Cereal Box Meal Tray

Sectioned Muffin Tin

Basket Meal

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May 12th, 2014 at 9:32 am

Easy Freezer Meals

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With a busy schedule it’s always nice to have prepared meals in your freezer that are ready to go! The best kinds are ones you’ve made yourself using ingredients of your choosing and according to your families likes and needs.

I like to freeze everything, from fruits and vegetables, to meat, to full meals. One of my favorite things to freeze are waffles with strawberries in whole and sauce form that I use to top them. I pick the strawberries fresh and they keep the whole year until it is strawberry picking season again.

Leftovers are also a great thing to freeze. I make extra when I first cook the meal, and then freeze the leftovers in individual portions so I have lunches available. I also love to freeze things to prevent them from going bad. Is there a good sale on veggies at the supermarket? Buy more than you need and freeze the rest. I freeze summer corn or rhubarb from the garden as well. Freezing is as good as you get to fresh in the middle of winter!

One great money saving idea is to have a freezer party! Gather some friends and make meals together to freeze. This way you can buy ingredients in bulk. Another idea is to prepare enough meals for the whole group, and each bring a different recipe. Swap around so everyone gets a freezer meal from each person. If there are 8 people, you would go in with 8 meals (same recipe) and come home with 8 different meals!

Here are some of my favorite freezer meal websites:

Freezer Friendz

50 Easy Freezer Meals

Freezer Cooking 101 & planners

Pioneer Woman Freezer Cooking

Freezing Guidelines 

How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

 

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April 21st, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Simple Ways to Freshen Your Home for Spring

FreshenUpYourHome

Now that you’ve started tackling your spring cleaning, it’s a great time to add some new touches to your home to freshen up the look!

Paint

Painting isn’t generally on top of peoples’ to-do lists, but a coat of fresh paint or even a change of paint color can make a huge difference in the feel of a room. Even just painting the same color over all the dirty handprints, scuffs and marks makes a room feel entirely new!

Pillows

I love the look of pillows on a couch, but felt like they always got in the way. Recently I have embraced the use of pillows in my living room and have noticed what a nice touch they bring to the room. They accent the room with pops of color, texture, and print.

Window Coverings

Changing the color or look of your window coverings can completely change the look of a room.  Sometimes just cleaning them can do a lot also. To revive drab curtains, take them down, remove hooks, and run them through an air-fluff cycle in the dryer with a damp towel (to attract the dust) for 15 minutes, and re-hang immediately.

Re-Invent Your Wall Decor

Have you had the same things hanging on your wall? Rearrange them. Take everything down and move them around the room or even to a different room. Add a couple new things to change out colors.

New Furniture

This is an expensive change, but makes a drastic difference. You don’t need to change everything, just change out one key piece and see how new everything looks!

Change Lighting

Buy a new lamp or lamp shade. Transform your old lamp by painting it to bring that key color into the room.

Change Throw Rugs and Hand Towels

Tired of seeing the same throw rugs in the bathroom or by the front door? Use rugs to bring some color to a room.

Change Out Your Bedding

Liven up your bedroom by changing your bedding. You can buy a completely new set, or just add some throw pillows. Make the bedroom a relaxing place that you enjoy spending time in!

Your home should be filled with things you love that relax and energize you. Take some time this spring to make your home somewhere you LOVE to be!

 

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April 18th, 2014 at 10:20 am

Making Hard Boiled Eggs for Easter Egg Decorating

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My boys’ favorite part of Easter, next to looking for their Easter baskets, is dyeing eggs. Every year we make five dozen hard boiled eggs to paint, dye, color, and shrink-wrap. The hardest part of this is learning how to effectively hard boil eggs. Here is my method:

Tip: Eggs that are several days old are easier to peel.

1. Lay the eggs in a single layer in a pan covered by at least and inch or two of cold water, which will help with cracking. Turn the heat up to high to bring the eggs to a boil.

2. Once the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat. Reduce the heat to low and return pan to burner. Let simmer for one minute. If you miss the eggs starting to boil then you can skip this step because they have most likely already boiled for a short while.

3. When a minute has passed, remove the pan from the heat, place a cover on top and let sit for 12 minutes. Remove the eggs and place in a bowl of ice water until the eggs are cooled. Strain the water and store the eggs in a covered container. Hard boiled eggs last about 5 days in the refrigerator.

Once the eggs are made you can use various methods to dye them. There are many different egg decorating kits available at stores that are easy to use. Last year, I covered a slew of ways to decorate your eggs. I made the egg in the picture simply by dyeing it yellow and using sharpies to make it into a chick. See what fun you can have with your eggs?

How do you like to decorate your Easter Eggs?

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March 24th, 2014 at 9:19 am

5 Steps to Creating a Family Mission Statement

photoA family mission statement lays out a vision of where you want your family to go together and how you will get there. It helps parents to have a guide for life and aid in parenting decisions. It sets standards that you expect of your children and they can also expect of you.

Step 1 – Decide you want to set up a mission statement.

Step 2 – Gather as a family to discuss what your family is all about. This process needs to involve both leaders of the household, but depending on the age of the child(ren), you may want them to be involved.

Some questions to ask of everyone during this process:

  • What do we want to be remembered by?
  • What things are important to us?
  • We are at our best when…
  • What kind of relationships do we want to have with one another?
  • How do we like to spend our free time?
  • What three words would describe our home?
  • How are we unique?
  • How do we want to operate financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically and intellectually?
  • How would we like to treat each other?
  • What is the main purpose of our home?

Step 3 – Think of words or phrases that speak to what your family is all about. Make a list of things like honesty, kindness, honesty, and service.

Step 4 – Pick 5-10 ideas from the list that everyone agrees are the most important.

Step 5 – Write out your Family Mission Statement and display it in a special spot in your home. There are many different ways to display this. You can make a list on the computer, print and frame, put onto a canvas or paint onto a piece of wood.

Throughout life you will want to review what you have chosen and may need to make some changes. Most of all – HAVE FUN! This is about you and your family!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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