As you may have guessed, I use my air fryer often. A few times a week. Sometimes daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. Then we got a range with an air fryer component and that was so awesome. I love to cook meals for the whole family in it! Then, for Christmas, our 9 year old wanted to spend his money to purchase a new, larger air fryer for the counter because he knew my old countertop air fryer had seen better days. He is a super saver and I was so touched that he wanted to buy me an air fryer…and a really good one, at that!!
Thank you Essilor Vision Foundation for sponsoring this post. EVF provides over 500,000 pairs of glasses per year to people in need and works with schools, eye doctors, charities, and corporations to help build vision ambassadors focused on serving their community. Vision Problems in Children – How the Gift of Sight Changed our Son’s Life
Yearly eye exams have been something that my husband and I have believed in, but admittedly only because they were included in our health insurance package. After our oldest started going to school, we made yearly eye exams a priority because we knew that vision problems in children could be fixed before major problems arose. It was something exciting for them, but important for us to know that they could see clearly.
When it came time for the boys’ eye appointment in 2018, I inquired about getting our then 4-year-old checked, too. The receptionist told me that it was recommended for kids to have their first eye exam at age 3, so we scheduled three exams on the same day.
We had no clue that our 4 year old had a vision problem!
Our youngest was never really “into” reading and learning his letters like the older two had been. They had gone to kindergarten knowing how to read, and at 4 1/2, the youngest brother simply did not care. He was into numbers, counting to 100, art, and sports, so we figured he was just a different kid with different interests. What we learned at the eye exam, however, was that the letters on the paper and in books were blurry. Hello! No wonder he didn’t have much interest in learning about blurry shapes on a page! This caught us off guard, and while our other two, at the time, had great vision, the youngest brother was told that he needed glasses. We knew that vision problems in children were common, but we had no idea because looking back, there weren’t any “red flags” besides the delay in reading, but we figured that was normal. Had we not decided to get him an eye exam, we may have not known for a while!
At first, he really did not want to wear them. They gave him a headache (which is normal, they assured us), but after a few days of being gently encouraged to wear them, he realized that he could see so much more clearly and the pictures and letters on the page became clear. He hasn’t missed a beat with sports, either! Sometimes a glasses strap helps, but otherwise his glasses have been easy to play in!
Glasses changed his life
Fast forward a year and he is proud of his glasses. He takes extremely good care of them, is responsible, and I am proud to say that he is becoming a very good reader! He loves school and is excited to learn. I often think “what if we never knew he had poor vision?” Would he be struggling in school? The reality is that 1 in 4 children in the U.S. has a vision problem that affects their ability to learn, and no one knows about it.
Last year, we went to the yearly eye exam and found that our middle son also needed glasses, for desk work and reading only, but he has taken a liking to them as well because they help him see. He loves to read and his glasses have helped him focus on what he is reading, thus making him a better reader. Having a younger sibling in glasses helped ease his anxiety, I think. They are oftentimes mistaken for twins, which he tends to brush off, but it is funny considering they are almost 3 years apart. But, they do love each other, so sometimes they do want to match! That is something special that those two brothers share that their older brother does not have. Glasses create a special bond between brothers!
Millions of kids do not have access to vision care.
What if we did not have insurance that included an eye exam for the kids? Millions of kids have blurry vision and do not have access to care. Nearly a fourth of parents cannot afford a full vision exam for their kids. What happens then? That’s when everyday heroes, people who are not these kids’ parents, step in and donate to Essilor Vision Foundation. People with a heart for children have helped, along with Essilor Vision Foundation, to give more than 1 million people clear sight with an vision and a pair of glasses.
Success in school and life is impacted by a child’s vision. Imagine what would happen if every child was given a yearly eye exam and the ability to get a pair of glasses if they needed one? We could make SUCH an impact on a child’s life, just by giving them the gift of clearly seeing! Vision problems in children can impact learning, confidence, social interactions, and even activities such as sports, art, and music. It can all be improved with a pair of glasses if they are suffering from blurry vision!
I love that the cactus trend is still on the rise! I see cute cactus prints on pillows, backpacks, shirts, coffee mugs, and they are all so beautiful! Cacti come in many different sizes, shapes, colors even, and I am tempted each and every time I see a baby cactus at Lowe’s to pick it up and take it home with me! Simply put, cacti rock, but sometimes it’s easier to care for a cute cactus craft rather than a real cactus. Take a look at this fun quilled cactus craft that you can make. It is also a great craft for older elementary kids or preteens.
Hubby and I are on our second round of Whole30 (day 16 to be exact!) and I have been craving meatballs and rice! Luckily, meatballs are Whole30 approved and rice, well, some genius someone invited cauliflower rice and other riced veggies and it is the perfect, healthy go to when you are craving rice!! So, today I made this yummy recipe for Whole30 Meatballs and Gravy over Riced Veggies!
I love cauliflower rice, but I recently found a bag of frozen sweet potato rice and cauliflower rice mix and it has been so delicious! I love sweet potato and the blend has a different flavor that I love!
I will say that the gravy in this recipe is a clear, brown gravy, but if you want a thicker, white gravy and don’t mind the coconut flavor, feel free to add some Whole30 approved coconut milk!
Oh and the gravy…feel free to pour as much of the gravy onto the meatballs and riced veggies as you want! It is so, SO good!!
Whole30 Meatballs and Gravy over Riced Veggies
Add this recipe to your Whole30 meal plan and you will not be disappointed! My kids love meatballs, so I know that they will love it, too! And making traditional white rice for them is totally acceptable, too!) My kids always like their meatballs and gravy on toast!
Do you remember how fun it was to make and play with paper crafts as a kid? I do! My friends and I would make cootie catchers, or fortune tellers, as they are often called, and probably get on our teacher’s nerves with how much we used them! They were definitely the “fidget toy” of the 90’s for me! If you cannot remember how to make a cootie catcher, here’s a simple how to, along with a video and all that you will need to complete this craft! It really is super easy, and your kids can do it, too!
These cootie catchers are great for boredom and also great for anxiety. I have heard of counselors using them with their clients for this very reason. When you are feeling scared or anxious, having something physical in your hand that you can play with helps take your mind off of things and can help you calm down. Kids can even write whatever they want inside, such as decisions they are having trouble making or problems they are having. Allowing kids to explore their feelings about each decision is extremely beneficial.
Kids can ask questions like “what color shirt should I wear today” and put all color names inside. Or they can ask questions like “will it rain today?” to see what fun answer the cootie catcher comes up with. (I personally think it should be noted that we need to tell the kids that these things aren’t really fortune tellers, and we don’t need to put much stock in what answer it gives us, for the record.)
Another fun idea would be to put different ideas for dinner or breakfast inside if your child is really are having trouble picking what they want to eat. Just let the cootie catcher decide for you!
What about a Random Acts of Kindness cootie catcher? Write down different ways that you and your family could be kind to someone, such as pay for someone’s meal, write an encouraging letter, etc. There are so many ways that these can be a positive thing for you and your kids!
Here’s another fun idea! How to make a cootie catcher shark! Give your child a few hours and they may have a whole collection of cootie catcher animals!
Here’s the super simple cootie catcher tutorial!
My boys always think they love Pop Tarts, but unless they are the frosted strawberry, full of sugar and whatever else, they don’t eat them. And they even leave the “crusts” off of the original Pop Tarts, so that left me wondering “what’s the point?” I refuse to buy them! However, they have recently discovered that they love Nutella (I’m a peanut butter lover, personally, so I don’t really care for Nutella.) I made these “homemade” air fryer nutella pop tarts and they all agreed that they were delicious! Now, they are more of an air fryer nutella hand pie or nutella pastry, but still, we will call them pop tarts for the purpose of this post!
I knew that they would love these because they really love my homemade air fryer pop tarts that I made with strawberry jam!
What can you cook in an air fryer?
The Air Fryer is such an awesome because you can take just about any recipe and make it in the air fryer. I like reheating leftovers in it, as the microwave does a bad job and I don’t like heating up the house by using the oven. However, using the air fryer function on my oven has been proven very useful at times!
I really love making sausage balls and desserts in my air fryer, but there are many recipes out there for whatever your heart desires! Oh, and roasting potatoes in the air fryer has got to be the easiest thing EVER!
Now, back to the air fryer pop tarts…
These are super yummy right out of the air fryer, but I wanted to make it extra and drizzle some Nutella on the top. This recipe would work for any nutty chocolate spread, if you aren’t a fan of Nutella.
Let’s face it, this is basically a Nutella dessert. But, since Pop Tarts are thought of as a breakfast, I guess it would work for that, too. Nutella has protein, right? I wrote a post years ago called “who made the breakfast rules anyway?” and well, this is something that falls right in line with that. Anyway, moving on…I eat leftovers for breakfast so who am I to judge?
All you need for this recipe is 2 ingredients. This recipe is so easy, kids can make it! Top with sprinkles for an extra fun Valentine’s Day treat, or customize with your own variation of cookie cutters! I always stick with the traditional heart shape!
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #VansFoodsWaffles #vansfoods #CollectiveBias Breakfast Waffle Sandwich – A Great Way to Start Your Day!
For as long as I can remember, breakfast has always been the most important meal of the day for me. I love to start my day with a hot cup of coffee and get the kids to school, then come home and enjoy a hot breakfast that is nutritious and delicious. I love incorporating convenience foods with home cooked foods to make a quick and easy meal like this breakfast waffle sandwich. I have found that my body does better without having much gluten, so I prepare my breakfast waffle sandwich with Van’s® Gluten Free Waffles. They are also Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic, which of course I love, but they also contain no artificial flavors, are dairy, egg, corn, and nut free, and are kosher, too.
This cereal post is sponsored by General Mills. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
There is something about going back to school after a long holiday break. When I was a teacher, I was excited at the new beginnings and a clean slate and all the wonderful new things I would teach my class. As a kid, I was excited about going back to see my friends and talk about all the cool things I got for Christmas. My kids, however, seem to need something more to get them excited about going back to school. Their school anxiety is real, and I honestly do all that I can to get their minds at ease and provide new things to get them pumped about a new semester of school.
We have been honored to visit Medieval Times in Dallas, Texas a few times for Ginger Casa. We went again earlier this week, as a celebration and last hurrah before the busy back to school and work life began after the holidays. It has become a great way to celebrate victories we share at home.
This 2 hour experience is a unique, family-friendly experience, for all ages and genders. They have great food, music, drama, and sportsmanship. Medieval Times is a dinner theater, if you will, so it does cost more than just a dinner or just a show. However, I do recommend that you go on special occasions and take advantage of their specials. It can be affordable for families. They are always running specials that are promoted on their website. One of my husband’s favorite perks of this outing is that it includes free parking in a lighted parking lot. That is rare in downtown Dallas.
Our kids love to dress up as knights, so we bought them costumes years ago. This is a great place to let your kids wear their knight costumes because the atmosphere is very imaginary. Get there early to take all the photos. This was from a few years ago, but look at how precious our little knight was:
When the showtime approaches, you are seated in a designated area that matches your crown’s color. This color/seat also coordinates with the matching knight that will be performing in the tournament during your dinner. Our knight was the blue knight when we attended!
The performance by the knights, the queen, the horses and their trainers, and everyone else that has a part in this show are very entertaining. Our boys have always been highly engaged. And if you think that it is just for kids…that is so far from the truth. My husband gets into the show every single time, as do the boys, at all ages! It really helps that they start bringing dishes out pretty quick after the show starts. The food and drinks are all delicious, too! This is a great way to keep both children and adults happy.View Post
It wasn’t until I had kids in elementary school that I learned bout the Valentine Box. When I was growing up, we would make these huge paper pouches and decorate them with markers and tape them to our desks for our friends to drop their valentines in for our Valentine’s Day parties. But now, many teachers are making a big home project for this. I have even heard of teachers giving grades for these homemade boxes! Not that any parent needs another project to do, but they can be fun. I am one for letting the kids do it by themselves, and the parents stepping in to use glue guns or whatnot, but it really should be a kid made project! It should be fun! No matter how you look at it though, it is easier to start after you get some inspiration. So, here are 20+ Valentine Box Ideas for your kid’s valentines!