Mommypotamus 2015-08-01T01:56:04Z http://www.mommypotamus.com/feed/atom/WordPress Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Easy Breakfast Sausage Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35524 2015-07-30T17:21:36Z 2015-07-30T16:52:23Z Touted in the comments as “Holy, delicious Batman!” . . . and “Worth making again and again and again,” my friend Loriel’s recipes have been a staple around here for awhile. You may know her from this simple coconut custard, frozen mocha cappuccino, or smoked salmon dip – all delicious! But in her hometown, Loriel is most famous for [&hellip

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breakfast-sausage-recipe

Touted in the comments as “Holy, delicious Batman!”

. . . and “Worth making again and again and again,” my friend Loriel’s recipes have been a staple around here for awhile. You may know her from this simple coconut custard, frozen mocha cappuccino, or smoked salmon dip – all delicious!

But in her hometown, Loriel is most famous for one thing: her spice blends. From her French Onion Dip to her Taco Seasoning, Loriel’s blends put just the right zip into many scrumptious dishes. After many requests from friends to offer her spices for sale, Loriel finally opened up shop this week.

Today I’m thrilled to share her recipe for sweet and savory maple breakfast sausage with you. It’s made with her Italian seasoning blend, which you can make yourself with this recipe or pick up from her shop here. As you can see, it was a hit with the littlest potami, and the rest of the family loved it too!

homemade-breakfast-sausage-recipe

Want To Try Loriel’s Blends?

Her new line – Naturally Free – is made with certified organic, fair trade, ethically wild harvested, & Kosher certified spices. In other words, all the stuff you want and none of the junk. (Maltodextrin and other fillers I’m looking at you – even in organic brands!) 

naturally-free-blends

You can get your hands on them by clicking here and entering coupon code MOMMYPOTAMUS10 to save 10%.

And now, how about that recipe?

maple-breakfast-sausage-recipe

Maple Breakfast Sausage Recipe

Ingredients

* If using whole pork, you’ll need a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec

Instructions Using A High-Powered Blender

In a high-powered blender, put half the meat followed by all the spices/ingredients and top with the other half of the meat. Pulse about 6-8 times (you want it lightly mixed but not pulverized. Form into patties and fry in a lightly oiled skillet until golden brown on each side.

Instructions Using Ground Pork

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix thoroughly. Form into patties and fry in a lightly oiled skillet until golden brown on each side.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[5 Benefits Of Delayed Cord Clamping]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35492 2015-07-30T18:36:21Z 2015-07-28T15:38:47Z Cut The Cord Before it was a catch phrase used to describe ditching cable companies and cutting off allowances, it was a moment. A touch point in every single one of our lives. After baby is born we usually think of the umbilical cord as a relic – part a life support system that is no [&hellip

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5 Benefits Of Delayed Cord Clamping - "“It’s incredible to see what a difference an extra three minutes and one-half cup of blood can have on the overall health of a child, especially four years later,” Dr. Ola Andersson told CNN.

Cut The Cord

Before it was a catch phrase used to describe ditching cable companies and cutting off allowances, it was a moment. A touch point in every single one of our lives.

After baby is born we usually think of the umbilical cord as a relic – part a life support system that is no longer needed. But the reality is that the cord has one last job to do, and it’s a big one.

You see, the cord and placenta are a sort of external circulation system: one vein carries oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the placenta to the baby, and two arteries carry carbon dioxide rich blood and waste away from baby to the placenta for purification. (source 1source 2) When baby is born, about 1/3 of its blood is in the external part of the circulation system, but quickly makes it’s way to the baby via the umbilical cord. Unless of course, the cord is cut before the transfer is complete.

Why cut the cord early?

Great question. Early cord clamping became standard practice in the 1960’s because it was believed to reduce the likelihood of postpartum maternal hemorrhage. Later research revealed that it does not reduce hemorrhaging or offer any other clear benefit, but the practice continued anyway. (source)

The reluctance to change, which doctors said in this poll is due to “Difficulty with implementation in clinical practice,”  – yes, really – has been frustrating for many birth advocates, especially in light of a growing number of studies suggest that delayed cord clamping has compelling benefits. We’ll cover the top five today, but first . . .

What is delayed cord clamping?

It depends on who you ask. According to the World Health Organization, delayed clamping is when the cord is cut 1-3 minutes after birth – a practice they recommend for all births. (source)

However, some practitioners think the one minute mark is too early, and recommend extending the time to approximately three minutes. In this statement, the Royal College of Midwives says that “delaying for even one minute is a welcome change . . providing all babies with one minute of transition from inter-uterine to extra-uterine life. However as transfusion is known to continue during the first 3-5 minutes of life, it is suggested that this process is allowed to complete without being interrupted.”

And then there’s the perspective expressed by the International Childbirth Education Association, which is that “Delayed cord clamping (DCC) is a practice by which the umbilical cord is not clamped or cut until after it stops pulsating. It may also include not clamping or cutting the umbilical cord until after the placenta is delivered.” (source)

So what do they agree on? Why, that delaying is worthwhile, of course!

5 Benefits Of Delayed Cord Clamping - “It’s incredible to see what a difference an extra three minutes and one-half cup of blood can have on the overall health of a child, especially four years later,” Dr. Ola Andersson told CNN.

5 Benefits Of Delayed Cord Clamping

#1: Neurodevelopmental Benefits

“It’s incredible to see what a difference an extra three minutes and one-half cup of blood can have on the overall health of a child, especially four years later,” the lead author of this study, Dr. Ola Andersson, told CNN. (source)

In the study, researchers found that “A couple of extra minutes attached to the umbilical cord at birth may translate into a small boost in neurodevelopment several years later . . . Children whose cords were cut more than three minutes after birth had slightly higher social skills and fine motor skills than those whose cords were cut within 10 seconds. The results showed no differences in IQ.” (source)

There is one caveat to these findings: The benefits only applied to boys. “We don’t know exactly why, but speculate that girls receive extra protection through higher estrogen levels whilst being in the womb,” Dr. Heike Rabe, a neonatologist at Brighton & Sussex Medical School in the United Kingdom, told NPR. (source)

#2: Decreased Risk Of Anemia

Breast milk is naturally low in iron, which has led some to suggest that breast fed children need to be supplemented with iron to prevent anemia. “At first glance, this seems like an error, given that all living things need iron,” writes Nina Planck in Real Food For Mother And Baby.

She add that “we must suspect a deliberate strategy on nature’s part. Sure enough, there is logic to the missing iron. E. coli, the most common source of infant diarrhea in all species, depends on iron, as do other pathogens.”

Now here’s where things get really interesting. Though excess iron in the digestive tract may not be a good thing, iron stored elsewhere in the body is critical for healthy brain development. (source) The natural transfusion of blood via delayed cord clamping delivers a substantial amount of iron – one study found that waiting two minutes increased iron stores by  27-47 mg! (source)

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, waiting  three minutes may prevent iron deficiency during the first year of life:

“Physiologic studies in term infants have shown that a transfer from the placenta of approximately 80 mL of blood occurs by 1 minute after birth, reaching approximately 100 mL at 3 minutes after birth (16, 31, 32). This additional blood can supply extra iron, amounting to 40–50 mg/kg of body weight. This extra iron, combined with body iron (approximately 75 mg/kg of body weight) present at birth in a full-term newborn, may help prevent iron deficiency during the first year of life (33).” (source)

Can I just say that I am blown away by the intrinsic wisdom of our bodies? For the past few decades, we’ve assumed that nature made a mistake and therefore started children on iron fortified foods early. Meanwhile, we left polysaccharides out of infant formula because they’re indigestible to baby and therefore useless. Only it turns out they’re not, they feed the beneficial bacteria in our digestive tracts, while excess iron may feed unwanted E. coli. So interesting!

#3: Increased Blood Volume / Smoother Cardiopulmonary Transition

According to Mark Sloan, M.D., whether a baby “is premature or full term, approximately one-third of its total blood volume resides in the placenta. This is equal to the volume of blood that will be needed to fully perfuse the fetal lungs, liver, and kidneys at birth.

In addition to the benefits that come with adequate iron stores . . . babies whose cords are clamped at 2 to 3 minutes—and thus, who have an increased total blood volume compared with their immediately-clamped peers—have a smoother cardiopulmonary transition at birth.” (source)

According to this article, “Another potential benefit of delayed cord clamping is to ensure that the baby can receive the complete retinue of clotting factors.” In other words, the increased volume of blood will naturally increase blood platelet levels, which are needed for normal blood clotting.

#4: Increased Levels Of Stem Cells

Delayed clamping also results in an infusion of “stem cells, which play an essential role in the development of the immune, respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, among many other functions. The concentration of stem cells in fetal blood is higher than at any other time of life. ICC [immediate cord clamping] leaves nearly one-third of these critical cells in the placenta.” (source)

Stem cells may also “help to repair any brain damage the baby might have suffered during a difficult birth,” Dr. Rabe (mentioned above) told NPR. (source)

#5: Better Outcomes For Pre-Term Infants

“Preemies who have delayed cord clamping tend to have better blood pressure in the days immediately after birth, need fewer drugs to support blood pressure, need fewer blood transfusions, have less bleeding into the brain and have a lower risk of necrotizing enterocolitis, a life-threatening bowel injury,” continued Dr. Rabe. (source)

Is Delayed Cord Clamping Possible For Cesarean Births?

In some cases, yes. According to The American College of Nurse-Midwives,

“The usual practice at cesarean delivery is immediate cord clamping; however, infants born by cesarean can benefit from placental transfusion resulting from delayed cord clamping or umbilical cord milking. Researchers initially reported that placental transfusion did not occur at the time of cesarean delivery, but this was most likely associated with uterine atony and the use of general anesthesia.(21) In a small observational study, Farrar and colleagues recently demonstrated that a full placental transfusion does occur at cesarean delivery, but the optimal timing of delayed cord clamping remains unclear.(22) Ogata et al. reported that a 40-second delay in clamping provided the infant with a partial placental transfusion.23 Concerns were raised that blood would flow back to the placenta if the cord was clamped after 40 seconds, but this reverse flow has not been demonstrated.(23)

Another approach at the time of cesarean delivery is to milk the umbilical cord. This approach is ideal for cesarean birth when time and speed are important factors. In a small, randomized controlled trial, Erickson-Owens et al. compared immediate cord clamping with umbilical cord milking. They found less placental residual blood volume and higher newborn hematocrit levels at 48 hours of age in infants who received umbilical cord milking. (9) Delayed cord clamping and umbilical cord milking are approaches the clinician may consider at the time of cesarean delivery to facilitate placental blood transfer to the newborn.” (source)

What About Babies Who Need Intervention?

According to several sources (like this one and this one), resuscitation is less likely to be needed if cords are left intact. Many practitioners, such as neonatologist Anup Katheria, are actively looking for ways to resuscitate when needed without prematurely cutting the cord in order to move the baby. (source)

“The practice of helping babies breathe while waiting to clamp the umbilical cord has been around for a long time; it makes sense for the sickest infants,” she told CNN. “We’re focused on producing evidence that shows the benefits. We think this could become the foundation for practice changing resuscitation techniques, transforming outcomes for the most critical of newborns nationwide.” (source)

Regarding this trend toward keeping the cord intact when resuscitation is needed, Midwifery Today writes:

“The requirements of medicalized neonatal resuscitation are warmth, a firm surface, suction and access to the umbilicus. Other priorities include comfortable position for staff and the ability to draw umbilical blood for cord gas analysis. A warm firm surface can be the bed or surface where baby is born. In this author’s 2011 poll of 34 midwives from around the world, most reported that they perform resuscitation with the cord intact using the bed, side of a pool designed for waterbirth, part of an adult human body (mother or midwife) or a portable board with a warm pack.

Suction can be from a main hospital line, resuscitation machine or a portable unit such as those used at homebirths. The umbilicus is accessed to provide drugs and fluids. If the cord is left intact, then fluids are already being provided. Drugs are rarely required for resuscitation, and it’s likely they would be required far less often if cords were intact. Since extensive resuscitation is rarely required, can we not be uncomfortable once in a while, bending over the baby rather than performing resuscitation at our standing height? Even if one requires cord gases for medical reasons rather than protection from litigation, they can wait. Cord gas results don’t change significantly if taken immediately after birth or after two minutes of delayed clamping (De Paco et al. 2011; Asfour and Bewley 2011).” (source)

Are there times when providers need to cut the cord to initiate lifesaving interventions? Yes, says one of the most respected researchers on delayed cord clamping. (source)

However, some care providers believe that the cord and placenta have innate “resuscitation equipment” qualities worth considering as well. You can read about some of them here.

Are There Any Risks Of Delayed Cord Clamping?

One analysis found a very slight (2%) increase in jaundice among babies who received delayed cord clamping. However, according to the Thinking Midwife, “The only studies available involve the administration of an artificial oxytocic (syntocinon or syntometrine) in the ‘delayed clamping’ group. IV syntocinon is associated with jaundice. Therefore, it could be the oxytocic making a difference here – not the clamping.” (source)

Other studies, such as this Cochrane analysis, found “that the difference between early and late cord clamping for clinical jaundice did not reach statistical significance.” (source)

Another concern sometimes mentioned is polycythemia, or blood that is too thick to properly oxygenate tissues. Researchers also looked at this issue in the Cochrane analysis just mentioned and did not find anything statistically significant.

What About Cord Blood Banking?

“Delayed cord clamping is not often compatible with cord blood donation or storage. The reason being is that in order for them to collect the amount of blood they want to store, some collectors will say that they need the cord cut immediately, and some (as confirmed by one of the biggest Australian cord blood collection companies, as recently as September 2013) will only allow up to 60 seconds before they want the cord clamped. This is not long enough for most of the benefits to reach your baby. If you would like your baby to have it’s full supply of cord blood, you may need to reconsider you plans to donate or store cord blood.

From the above recent study (2010) the following comments were made on cord collection:

‘There remains no consensus among scientists and clinicians on cord clamping and proper cord blood collection,’ concluded co-author and obstetrician Dr. Stephen Klasko, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the USF College of Medicine. “The most important thing is to avoid losing valuable stems cells during and just after delivery.” So prevention is clearly better than cure – your baby will be better off keeping what is rightfully theirs.” (source)

Adding Delayed Cord Clamping To Your Birth Plan

As birth advocate Diana Korte once wrote, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.”

Here is a birth plan template that you can customize to fit your desires. Because cord clamping is often done automatically, care providers sometimes forget and cut the cord as a reflex despite previous conversations. It’s often a good idea to have an advocate such as a spouse or doula present to keep an eye on the cord just after the baby is born and remind the doctor if necessary.

HHC Fan Final

Looking For More Info On Birth Choices?

Happy Healthy Child: A Holistic Approach is a DVD childbirth education course that shares insights from over 30 world-renowned OB/GYNs, midwives, pediatricians, scientists, psychologists, childbirth educators, sleep experts and lactation specialists that can help improve the birth experience and overall outcome mama’s and their babies.

If you read through this site much you’l find many of the same names mentioned – these are the people I turned to when I was researching things like routine ultrasounds, co-sleeping, natural birth and more. People like:

  • Dr. Bob Sears, who received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School’s Children’s Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto — the largest children’s hospital in the world. Dr. Sears is the author of over 30 books on childcare and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Royal College of Pediatricians.
  • Ina May Gaskin, who has been called “the mother of authentic midwifery
  • Dr. James McKenna, head of the University of Notre Dame’s Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep LaboratoryThis post and this post are based on his work.
  • and Dr. Sarah Buckley, who was the first to make me dig deeper into routine ultrasounds

Topics covered include:

  • Optimal nutrition for you and your developing fetus (I did not agree with all the recommendations in this section. Beautiful Babies is a better resource for dietary recommendations in my opinion.)
  • The best ways to prepare for your labor and birth
  •  Building your birth team
  •  Overcoming the intensity of labor
  •  Common interventions and how to avoid the unnecessary ones
  •  Taking care of your new baby (bonding, breastfeeding, infant sleep, etc.)

(Read my full review here)

Did you/would you delay cord clamping? Why or why not?

Gorgeous cord photos published with permission from Monet Nicole Photography (based in Colorado if you’re looking for an amazing birth photographer) and the mama photographed. ♥

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Resistant Starch: Why We Need It (And How To Get It)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35453 2015-08-01T01:56:04Z 2015-07-25T15:12:05Z Table for one trillion, please It may seem like a funny way to request a spot at your favorite healthy restaurant, but it’s actually pretty accurate.In this New York Times article, Michael Pollan describes the one trillion, er, one-hundred trillion, microbes that sit down to dine with us at each meal. More than just creepy freeloaders, these guys have [&hellip

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Table for one trillion, please

It may seem like a funny way to request a spot at your favorite healthy restaurant, but it’s actually pretty accurate.In this New York Times article, Michael Pollan describes the one trillion, er, one-hundred trillion, microbes that sit down to dine with us at each meal. More than just creepy freeloaders, these guys have a profound impact on our health – maybe even more than genetics. Here’s how Pollan explains it:

“for every human cell that is intrinsic to our body, there are about 10 resident microbes — including commensals (generally harmless freeloaders) and mutualists (favor traders) and, in only a tiny number of cases, pathogens.

To the extent that we are bearers of genetic information, more than 99 percent of it is microbial. And it appears increasingly likely that this ‘second genome,’ as it is sometimes called, exerts an influence on our health as great and possibly even greater than the genes we inherit from our parents. But while your inherited genes are more or less fixed, it may be possible to reshape, even cultivate, your second genome.”

That’s good news, because modern life has not been kind to this second genome – often called our microbiome. Factors like processed foods, the overuse of antibiotics, environmental toxins and less time spent outdoors have drastically reduced the diversity of microbes we carry.

That’s a big deal, because as Pollan explains “Disorders in our internal ecosystem — a loss of diversity, say, or a proliferation of the ‘wrong’ kind of microbes — may predispose us to obesity and a whole range of chronic diseases, as well as some infections.”

mice-gut-flora

Now it’s easy to gloss over this . . .

And think “yeah, yeah, lots of factors go into metabolism.” That’s true, but get this: In this study, researchers “took two groups of mice whose digestive tracts had been sterilized. In the first group, they colonized the mice’s intestines with flora from an obese cage mate. In the second group, they colonized the intestines with flora from a lean mouse. They then fed these two groups of mice the same diet for 2 weeks.” (source) The mice who received the microbes from the obese mouse gained more weight, despite comparable food intake and intake levels.

Other studies have demonstrated that microbes implanted from lean mice into overweight mice caused the mice to lose weight. To me, this research is not really about weight loss or gain, but rather a reminder that our lifestyle choices are impacted by the health of our internal microbiome.

So how do we encourage a diverse microbiome?

By serving up hearty meals for our one-hundred trillion, of course! According to Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, “The safest way to increase your microbial biodiversity is to eat a variety of polysaccharides.” (source)

In case you are wondering, that’s smart guy speak for the things that nourish our gut bacteria – fiber and resistant starch for example. Now, you already know what fiber is, but chances are you are asking yourself . . .

What is resistant starch?

Unlike probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that we take internally through supplementation or fermented foods, resistant starch is a prebiotic – aka food for our bacteria.

Dr. Amy Nett explains it this way:

“Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates, or at least indigestible to us, that reach the colon intact and selectively feed many strains of beneficial  bacteria. Prebiotics are generally classified into three different types: non-starch polysaccharides (such as inulin and fructooligosaccharide), soluble fiber (including psyllium husk and acacia fibers), and resistant starch (RS). Each of these types of prebiotics feeds different species of gut bacteria, but among these, RS is emerging as uniquely beneficial.” (source)

When beneficial bacteria feed on resistant starch, they produce short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate, which help to increase metabolism, decrease inflammation and improve stress resistance. (source)

what-is-resistant-starch-1

How I incorporate resistant starch into meals

Bacteria have favorite foods just like we do, so I incorporate a variety of resistant starches to nourish different populations. There are three basic types of naturally occurring types:

Type 1 RS is “physically inaccessible, bound within the fibrous cell walls of plants. This is found in grains, seeds, and legumes.” (source)

Type 2 RS is “Starch with a high amylose content, which is indigestible in the raw state.  This is found in potatoes, green (unripe) bananas, and plantains.  Cooking these foods causes changes in the starch making it digestible to us, and removing the resistant starch.” (source) Tigernuts also belong to this category. They’re very sweet and can be eaten as a snack whole, or ground into a flour to bake with. (For info on the brand I use, check out the Pantry Staples section on this page.)

Note: We don’t eat raw potatoes, but raw potato starch (not flour) can be consumed in smoothies. However, even after cooking potatoes there’s still a way to benefit from the resistant starch they contain. More info in the next paragraph.

Type 3 RS is “Also called retrograde RS since this type of RS forms after Type 1 or Type 2 RS is cooked and then cooled.  These cooked and cooled foods can be reheated at low temperatures, less than 130 degrees and maintain the benefits of RS (6).  Heating at higher temperatures will again convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than ‘feeding’ our gut bacteria.  Examples include cooked and cooled parboiled rice, cooked and cooled potatoes, and cooked and cooled properly prepared (soaked or sprouted) legumes.” (source)

In my kitchen, the preferred sources of resistant starch are cold potato salad with homemade mayo, tigernut milk (recipe coming soon), tigernut flour cookies (recipe coming soon), rice and bean salad, dehydrated green banana chips, and smoothies made with green bananas or plantains – sometimes with an additional resistant starch flour added in. (Options are tigernut flour, green banana flour, plantain flour, and organic potato starch.)

We take care to vary the sources so that we don’t overfeed any particular population, and we include both soluble and insoluble fiber from lightly cooked, raw or fermented vegetables. Research suggests it works synergistically with resistant starch to encourage a diverse microbiome, and is especially important to include with RS2 starch found in green bananas, plantains and raw potatoes.

Of course, I also include high quality probiotics (you can find info on the two I take here) and fermented foods to increase the number good guys in my gut.

what-is-resistant-starch

Is resistant starch for everyone?

Not necessarily. According to Dr. Nett, “If you experience marked GI distress with even small amounts of RS, this may be an indication of SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or microbial dysbiosis, and you may need to consider working with a healthcare practitioner to establish a more balanced gut microbiome through the use of herbal antimicrobials and probiotics before adding RS or other prebiotics.” (source)

Her advice: “If you choose to try supplementing with RS, start with small doses of about ¼ teaspoon once daily, and very gradually increase the amount as tolerated.  Some increased gas and bloating is expected as your gut flora changes and adapts, but you do not want to feel uncomfortable.  If you experience marked discomfort, then decrease the amount you’re taking for a few days until your symptoms resolve, and then try increasing again gradually.

Studies indicate that the benefits of resistant starch may be seen when consuming around 15 to 30 grams daily (equivalent to two to four tablespoons of potato starch).  This may be too much for some people to tolerate, particularly in the setting of gut dysbiosis, and going above this amount is not necessarily beneficial.” (source)

My personal approach is a little less methodical. Though we did start slow to minimize the chance of discomfort/bloating, we now simply incorporate resistant starch into recipes when it makes sense. When I make tigernut flour cookies I don’t measure how much each one contains to ensure that everyone is getting the “ideal” amount. We just enjoy the cookies! And the potato salad, and the other goodies we include to feed our 100 trillion. So far it has worked well for us!

Have you tried adding resistant starch to your diet? Why or why not?

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Loriel Adams http://www.naturallyloriel.com/ <![CDATA[Fried Rice Recipe (With Cauliflower Rice Option)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35442 2015-07-22T16:38:26Z 2015-07-22T16:32:21Z Note from Mommypotamus: I think Loriel was peeking in my kitchen window when she decided to send over this recipe, because I forget to thaw meat more often than I’d like to admit. That usually means breakfast for dinner, or egg drop soup if I have homemade chicken stock on hand. Today Loriel is sharing one of [&hellip

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Fried-cauliflower-rice

Note from Mommypotamus: I think Loriel was peeking in my kitchen window when she decided to send over this recipe, because I forget to thaw meat more often than I’d like to admit. That usually means breakfast for dinner, or egg drop soup if I have homemade chicken stock on hand. Today Loriel is sharing one of her “backup recipes” for days when things don’t go as planned – you can check out more of her delicious ideas over at Naturally Loriel

What do all pregnant women with children have in common?

Ok, that’s a trick question because there could be a lot of different answers — but one thing I can be sure of is that we all want the last meal of the day to be quick, easy, and kid-friendly.

And honestly, you don’t even need to be pregnant with children to want a dinner with all those qualities because let’s face it, at the end of the day you’re tired and that’s when you’re most tempted to order takeout if you don’t have anything planned (or don’t have any meat defrosted).

I’ve been there a time or two — or possibly even more times than I can count on my hands — and the dish that I always pull out is fried rice. We tend to always have eggs on handy, thanks to our flock of 13 ladies, and more than likely we have rice in the fridge. Rice cooked in homemade bone broth is a staple in our house because it seems like if I mix just about anything with it Andrew will eat it. That’s always a win for Mom — especially tired, pregnant mom who just wants everyone to eat and then put everyone to bed — including herself.

If you’re trying to stay away from rice or don’t have any day-old rice in the fridge, you can easily substitute the rice for a couple cups of cauliflower. This is also a great way to get even more veggies into everyone.

One of my very favorite things about fried “rice” is that it is so versatile. Don’t have any onion or carrots? That’s okay! You can basically make it out of whatever you have in the refrigerator (and whatever you know your little one will like). I’ve put zucchini, squash, mushrooms, leeks, sweet corn, and I’ve even put bok choy in it. Seriously, whatever you have, throw it in that pan and you’ve got yourself an easy, delicious, healthy, and kid-friendly meal.

fried-cauliflower-rice-recipe

Fried Rice with Cauliflower “Rice” option

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cauliflower or 2-3 cups cooked, day old rice
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 cup broccoli florets (in small pieces)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1-2 tablespoons naturally fermented soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Cut cauliflower into chunks and then pulse a few times in your food processor. You want the pieces to resemble little peas (or little grains of rice). :)

cauliflower-rice

In a large pan on medium heat, add butter or olive oil, minced garlic, and diced onions; cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add in carrot, broccoli, and peas; cook for 5-7 minutes (placing a lid on the pan will help cook the veggies quicker if you have a little one that likes softer veggies versus al dente). You may want to add more butter or olive oil at this point.

Meanwhile in a bowl, scramble 6 eggs and season them with salt and pepper. Once the veggies are done cooking, make a little hole in the middle of them and pour your eggs. Scramble the eggs like your normally would. Next, add in the cauliflower and soy sauce; stir until well combined. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally and remove from the stove.

Add more soy sauce/coconut aminos if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35426 2015-07-20T20:27:47Z 2015-07-20T17:08:23Z I’m a big believer in . . . Letting kids help in the kitchen. I’m also a big believer in sanity, and sometimes these values collide. “Let’s make breakfast together!” can – and has – quickly devolved into the following phrases. Ummm, why are the eggs in the cast iron grill pan? How are you going [&hellip

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strawberry-ice-cream-recipe

I’m a big believer in . . .

Letting kids help in the kitchen. I’m also a big believer in sanity, and sometimes these values collide. “Let’s make breakfast together!” can – and has – quickly devolved into the following phrases.

Ummm, why are the eggs in the cast iron grill pan? How are you going to scramble them?

Top left . . . no, your other left.

Yes, cinnamon and cumin do look the same – but they taste VERY DIFFERENT. (Blech!)

Still, as someone who began married life not knowing how to make much more than hamburgers and spaghetti, I know the value of these practice sessions. Whether it’s something simple like grating cheese for grain-free mini-pizzas, measuring herbs for sweet dreams tea, shredding chicken for tortilla soup, or something more advanced, I know they’re developing skills that will last for a lifetime.

Though obviously not the focus in my kitchen, desserts are one of the potami’s favorite things to make. This no-cook strawberry ice cream recipe is perfect for those who are just learning. Little hands can cut strawberries with a butter knife, measure/pour ingredients into a bowl, and mash the strawberries with a potato masher – or their fingers! Then all that’s really left to do is toss it in the blender and pour the chilled mixture ice cream maker.

When all is said and done you’ve got fresh, creamy ice cream that is bursting with flavor, barely any mess to clean up, and kiddos who are building confidence in the kitchen. Pretty sweet, huh? Don’t be surprised if they ask you for a copy of The Nourishing Traditions Cookbook For Kids so they can learn more!

No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe - Super easy and bursting with flavor. Great to make with kids!

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries (about 4 cups – previously frozen strawberries can be used if thawed)
  • 2/3 cup sucanat/rapadura (where to buy sucanat/rapadura)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (where to buy sea salt)
  • 2 cups cream
  • Natural red food dye – Optional. I didn’t use any in the ice cream pictured. (where to buy natural food dye)
  • Optional – 2 tablespoons rum or vanilla extract made with vodka or rum. This keeps the ice cream from becoming as hard as a rock.  As I mention in my post on making homemade eggnog, Appleton Estates rum is non-GMO. I prefer not to add rum in this recipe, so I let the ice cream soften at room temperature for a little while prior to serving.

Instructions

1. Trim tops off the strawberries and cut them in half. Place them in a bowl along with lemon juice, salt and sucanat, then mash with a potato masher.

2. Pour strawberry mixture into a blender with the cream and rum if using. Puree until smooth. (If you have an immersion blender, you can puree in the bowl.)

3. Cover and chill for at least four hours. I usually make mine a day in advance and chill overnight.

4. Pour mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions. Enjoy right away as a soft-serve, or transfer to a container and place in the freezer until firm.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Grain-Free Mini Pizzas]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=10881 2015-07-18T16:15:42Z 2015-07-17T12:35:46Z To The Holdout The last (wo)man standing. The fierce individualist who leaves the jury hung. I know you’re out there, perplexing your mama as she tries to upgrade your menu to healthier options, chanting “donuts!” all the way to Whole Foods. Let’s make a deal: If it looks and tastes (mostly) like your favorite food [&hellip

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butternut-squash-pizza

To The Holdout

The last (wo)man standing. The fierce individualist who leaves the jury hung. I know you’re out there, perplexing your mama as she tries to upgrade your menu to healthier options, chanting “donuts!” all the way to Whole Foods. Let’s make a deal: If it looks and tastes (mostly) like your favorite food we don’t have to talk about what’s IN it, okay??

Okay! Now then, cover your ears while your mama and I have a little chat.

Pssst! Can you hear me? Okay, good. If you’re trying to find a way to get more veggies into your kids tummy give this a try. I’ve been making these mini-pizzas for the potami for years and they LOVE them. (Actually, as you can see in the comments below, this recipe was originally published in 2011. However, I recently tweaked the recipe and thought it was worth republishing. Enjoy!)

Mini-pizzas made with butternut squash rounds as a crust. So easy and kids love them!

Grain-Free Mini Pizzas

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (preferably one with a long neck)
  • homemade pizza sauce (recipe below) or pre-made marinara sauce
  • mozzarella or cheddar cheese (mozzarella is what creates the golden brown flecks we’re used to)
  • toppings such as pepperoni, pineapple, mushrooms, basil, etc. (optional)

Homemade Pizza Sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Using a carrot peeler or paring knife, peel the squash
  3. Starting at the top near the crook, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  4. Grate cheese and prepare any other toppings you plan to use.
  5. Place squash rounds on two baking sheets and place in the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, then flip and bake for 10 more. Exactly how long they take to cook will depend on how thin/thick they are, but you’ll know they’re ready when you stick a fork in the center and it is tender. 
  6. Remove rounds from oven and spoon a little marinara and cheese over each, plus any toppings you want to add.
  7. Set oven on broil and place mini-pizzas inside. Heat until cheese is just turning brown – about 5-7 minutes.

Mini-pizzas made with butternut squash rounds as a crust. So easy and kids love them!

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Restoring Gray Hair To Its True Color Without Dye (Hairprint Review)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35354 2015-07-15T21:13:25Z 2015-07-15T17:13:59Z Now, call me a beauty industry heretic . . . But when I noticed my first gray hairs I picked up a box of henna hair dye at my local health food store, calculated the hassle factor, and put it back on the shelf. I am not really the type to want to touch up my [&hellip

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hairprint-review

Now, call me a beauty industry heretic . . .

But when I noticed my first gray hairs I picked up a box of henna hair dye at my local health food store, calculated the hassle factor, and put it back on the shelf. I am not really the type to want to touch up my roots very often, so I was pretty sure I’d end up with two-toned hair before long.

Plus, I was concerned that adding dye to my dark hair would make it even darker, which I totally didn’t want. I wanted to look like ME, with my natural hair color – whatever that turned out to be!

Overall, I was actually pretty happy with things. My dad was completely gray by his mid-twenties, so the genetic component of the process was not in my favor. However, I’d had the benefit of real food, and that seems to have made a huge difference. All that to say, I wasn’t looking for a way to change anything when I came across Hairprint, but I was immediately captivated it.

Hairprint is not a dye – it’s a way of replenishing brown/black hair’s natural pigment while strengthening overall hair structure.

Developed by Dr. John Warner, of the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Massachusetts, Hairprint uses eight easily pronounceable ingredients to activate eumelanin – which is “a variation of the melanin pigment that is responsible for the color of your skin and eyes” – within the hair follicle. (source)

Let’s take a closer look at them . . .

hairprint-review2

About The Ingredients

Unlike coal-tar based dyes, which work by chemically damaging hair in order to make it porous enough to absorb color, Hairprint mimics the way hair naturally acquires color while preserving its overall health.  (source) Here’s a look at their ingredients:

Bicarbonate of soda

Yep, that would be baking soda. Though in my opinion it’s too alkaline for frequent use, it can be helpful for “de-gunking” hair if used appropriately.

Sodium carbonate

Sometimes called soda ash because it can be made from burning kelp, seaweed and other vegetation, sodium carbonate can also be created by processing limestone and salt. Also called washing soda.

Mucuna pruriens

An extract made from velvet beans, which are tropical legumes that have long been used in medicinal preparations.

Ferrous gluconate

Aka iron, an essential mineral.

Manganese gluconate

Also an essential mineral.

Diatomaceous earth

A fine powder made from fossilized phytoplankton. Here are some ways I was already using it in my beauty routine.

Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)

Our hair follicles naturally make hydrogen peroxide – it’s an inherent part of creating eumelanin. Since Hairprint mimics that process it’s no surprise to find it in the ingredient list.

Carbomer

WHOA, what just happened here? We’re talking about all these naturally occurring minerals, extracts, etc., and now we’ve landed on carbomer. If you’re not familiar with it, carbomer is a thickener made from petrochemicals. So obviously, I had to research it. The Environmental Working Group lists it as a 0, which is the best possible rating, and all the info I could find on it concluded that it is inert.

In fact, according to formulator Lisa Lise, “Carbomer is actually one of a very few petro-chemical based ingredients that I am unable to find any dangers, warnings, or even environmentally-worrying facts about – at all. Even the hard-core green sites can’t find anything bad to say about carbomer  . . . Carbomer won’t cause irritation or allergic reactions – even if a product contains up to 100% of the stuff.” (source)

Because I would love for it to be 100% natural, I talked with the folks at Hairprint about using a botanical alternative – konjac glucomannan. It’s something they are discussing, but the carbomer does not require a preservative and the konjac glucomannan might. It’s a tradeoff and they’re considering all options.  Though I would love for the carbomer to be replaced, from a safety standpoint I think this is one of the cleanest products out there. (The other one I like is Morocco Method henna, but as I mentioned before I personally prefer to keep my actual hair color rather than dye it.)

Hairprint-review-1

My Experience

I tried Hairprint for the first time four months ago. The first few days it was a little darker than my normal color, but after a few washes it looked exactly like it had before, only without any grays.

Unlike actual dyes, which are not recommended for use with most homemade shampoos, Hairprint works beautifully with my homemade shampooo bar, vinegar rinse and coconut milk leave-in conditioner, and the pigment hasn’t faded at all in the last four months.

Who can use Hairprint?

Individuals with brown/black hair

Blonds and redheads catalyse another pigment with eumelanin to create their natural color. Hairprint is working on a way to mimic this, but right now the product is only for those with brown/black hair.

Pregnant/nursing women

Dyes are often discouraged for women that are pregnant/nursing. Here’s what Hairprint has to say about safety in those circumstances:

“Many health professionals recommend that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding stop using hair dye because it enters into the bloodstream through the skin. The melanin pigment in Hairprint is already present in millions of your skin cells and due to its relatively large size does not pass into the bloodstream. However, we recommend you consult with your physician by reviewing an ingredients list before using this product.”

Color-treated hair

There’s a very extensive FAQ on their site that covers how to transition if your hair is currently colored with coal tar-based dyes or henna, products to avoid for a couple of days prior to use (coconut oil is one because it may block Hairprint), and other considerations.

How to get free shipping in July

So, funny story. After I placed my order I got an email from someone in the company that recognized my blog name, so I took that opportunity to ask if they would do something special for you if I liked their product and wrote a review. They agreed, so enter JULYSHIP at checkout for free domestic shipping through July 31st.

Click here to check out Hairprint

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Homemade Body Wash Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35328 2015-07-13T20:05:13Z 2015-07-13T17:04:26Z Can I just say I have never . . . Had more fun testing a recipe for you? I mean, I’m a mom, so showers are optional a lot of the time. But when I tested this recipe, I convinced myself that it was my JOB to shower. It was one I took seriously, especially after [&hellip

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homemade-body-wash

Can I just say I have never . . .

Had more fun testing a recipe for you?

I mean, I’m a mom, so showers are optional a lot of the time. But when I tested this recipe, I convinced myself that it was my JOB to shower.

It was one I took seriously, especially after one too many recent mishaps with my favorite shampoo bar and my tried-and-true coconut oil body bar. You see, they look identical, which is fine if you mix them up and shave your legs with the shampoo bar. But grabbing the body bar by mistake and washing your hair? Yeah, that doesn’t end well.

The solution? This simple homemade body wash recipe – it creates a rich, bubbly lather, moisturizes while cleansing, and most importantly, can’t be confused with a shampoo bar. Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients, shall we?

Liquid Castile Soap

Made from pure olive, coconut and/or hemp oil, castile soap is incredibly gentle – many with sensitive skin use it exclusively. I prefer this brand.

Honey

Contrary to what you might expect, honey adds moisture and lather without being at all sticky. It’s equally loved by all skin types for its infusion of nutrients: Vitamins B, C, E & K, beta-carotene, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese. In this recipe it also thickens the mixture and promotes lather.

Moisturizing Oil

Soap can be drying, so it’s important to add a natural moisturizer such as olive, avocado, or almond oil to this recipe to replenish skin’s moisture.

The rich, bubbly lather of this homemade body wash recipe cleanses while moisturizing. With only three ingredients, it couldn't be easier to make!

Homemade Body Wash Recipe

Ingredients

To Make

Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Pour into a squeeze-top or pump-top container.

To Use

Shake well before using. Add body wash to a soft natural sponge or loofah sponge and use like you would any body wash.

Storage/Shelf Life

Up to one year.

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[Coffee Ice Cream Recipe]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35269 2015-07-08T15:37:02Z 2015-07-08T14:17:03Z Parenting Rule #386 Always say grownup. Not adult, GROWNUP. This is an essential distinction to make, or else you may find yourself standing in a very public place with a child asking loudly, “Mommy, can I watch the adult movie, too?” (It was What About Bob – the only grownup option available where we were staying [&hellip

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coffee-ice-cream-recipe

Parenting Rule #386

Always say grownup. Not adult, GROWNUP. This is an essential distinction to make, or else you may find yourself standing in a very public place with a child asking loudly, “Mommy, can I watch the adult movie, too?” (It was What About Bob – the only grownup option available where we were staying on vacation. Don’t judge.)

Moving on! Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to introduce you to grownup ice cream. Rich and smooth with a hint of caramel, this simple indulgence is made with wholesome ingredients: real cream, unrefined sugar, egg yolks, grass-fed gelatin, pastured egg yolks, a pinch of salt, and of course the most beloved elixir of just about every parent I know: C-O-F-F-E-E.

Now, this may get me kicked out of the club, but I don’t drink coffee every day. And I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so desserts are an occasional thing for me. But oh, when parenting hits a moment of peak craziness this coffee ice cream recipe is like sanity in a bowl. Homemade “magic shell” is optional, but highly recommended. Enjoy!

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe #realfood

Coffee Ice Cream Recipe

Makes one quart. Can be doubled if needed, but depending on the size of your ice cream maker you may need to churn in two batches.

Ingredients

Instructions

1. Measure out two tablespoons of coffee. Add gelatin to coffee and set aside (It needs time to soften and absorb liquid.)

2. Add cream, sucanat and salt to a small pot. Warm over medium heat until the sucanat is completely dissolved – about five minutes. Remove from heat and measure out 2/3 cup of the mixture. Set aside the rest.

3. Slowly pour 1/3 cup of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling. Now take the egg mixture and slowly whisk it in to the pot with the cream.

4. Return pot to low/medium heat and cook until it reaches 170F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, dip your spoon in the mixture and then lift it above the pot. When it’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon it’s ready.

5. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the coffee/gelatin mixture. When the gelatin is fully combined, add the rest of the coffee and vodka/rum (if using).

6. Cover and chill for at least four hours. I usually make mine a day in advance and chill overnight.

7. Pour mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions. Enjoy right away as a soft-serve, or transfer to a container and place in the freezer until firm.

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream Recipe #realfood

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Heather http://www.mommypotamus.com <![CDATA[50+ Boredom Banishing Activities for Kids (Plus A $275 Giveaway From Mighty Nest)]]> http://www.mommypotamus.com/?p=35258 2015-07-11T17:08:44Z 2015-07-06T17:16:04Z It was rainy, blistering hot . . . And we’d been stranded four, no five, days due to snow. Not all at the same time, of course, but the days in which the potami ask “What is there to do NOW, mom?” kind of blur together, you know? If you’re nodding your head yes, I want to [&hellip

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activities-for-kids

It was rainy, blistering hot . . .

And we’d been stranded four, no five, days due to snow. Not all at the same time, of course, but the days in which the potami ask “What is there to do NOW, mom?” kind of blur together, you know?

If you’re nodding your head yes, I want to pass on something I’ve found amazingly helpful. Last winter I discovered Tinkerlab, a brilliant little book that inspired me to make a “self serve zone” for the potami to create and experiment on their own terms. You guys, it is the best. thing. ever.

I’m not just saying that because it keeps the potami occupied while I catch up on things, although that’s definitely a plus. What won me over about this approach is best summed up by Alvin Rosenfeld, author of The Over-Scheduled Child:

“Parents worry about kids’ boredom, so they schedule their lives to keep them busy . . . But empty hours teach children how to create their own happiness.”

Encouraging children to become completely immersed in projects – a paper doll with a fascinating backstory, handmade presents for visiting grandparents, jewelry, “wobots” (robots), etc. – is about so much more than just keeping them busy. As Fred Rogers, who played Mr. Rogers on PBS, once said. 

“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

Today I’m going to share a peek into my setup for encouraging self-serve creative exploration, an I’m also hosting a giveaway from MightNest to help one of you get yours started – make sure to enter below!

Giveaway details: Open to U.S. residents. Winner will be selected on July 20th and contacted via email.

"Parents worry about kids’ boredom, so they schedule their lives to keep them busy . . . But empty hours teach children how to create their own happiness.” - Alvin Rosenfeld Here's a peek into my setup for encouraging self-serve creative exploration, plus 50 ideas to get kids started. #kidcrafts #kidactivities #indoorkidsactivities

Setting up your tinker lab

If you’ve ever watched a child unwrap a toy and then gleefully play with the paper, you know that entertainment value is relative. Our setup includes an eclectic mix of purchased items and stuff that’s usually thrown away:

Seriously, just gather random stuff you think your kids will be interested in and pair it with art supplies you already have. Then, as you are able, add more items from this list (or your own list) to their self-serve zone.

Here’s a little peek into our setup. If you’ve been reading for long you know we bought a homestead a few years ago. We’re planning to build in the future, but for now we’re learning to live with about half the square footage of our previous home. It’s snug, but doable! They have built-in desks with supplies on the shelves above, and a roller cart full of additional supplies that we bring out when the toddler naps.

Kids Activities4

Optional Additions

A few books for inspiration – I highly recommend Tinkerlab!

Wooden art caddy for storage

Silicone cups, bowls and plates for mixing paints, separating beads, etc. 

Canning jars for storage (Depending on the age of the child stainless steel or another material may be better. The older potami do very well with these jars, which are very sturdy. My toddler usually naps during tinker time, but if he wakes up and wants to join in we keep them out of reach.) 

Getting Started

When we first moved to our homestead, I was over-the-moon excited to let the potami run free in our great big yard. The potami, however, were not so excited. Our new place was overwhelming to them, and when I sent them outside to play they refused to leave the deck. In fact, I’d most often find them with their faces smooshed against the screen door, asking if it was time to come in yet. Now, I can barely get them to come inside!

Sometimes it takes awhile for kids to embrace something new. If after setting up your self-serve zone your kids seem a bit lost, it might be a good idea to get their creative juices flowing with some of the ideas below. Some can be self-directed by children, while others will need your guidance. If you’re like me, you may find yourself reliving some fun childhood experiences. Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t Forget

Before you scroll through the list, make sure to enter to win $275 in art supplies from MightyNest from your stash! I hand-picked these items based on what we use and love.

50+ Boredom Banishing Activities for Kids

To Make

1. Homemade play-dough sculptures, food, jewelry, etc.

2. Grab some air dry clay and get creative! You can make something useful like a beautiful diffuser necklace (either to wear or give as a gift), a butterfly, or a bowl. I love these stamped bowls. These heart bowls are cute, too, although I can’t find the original source where they were posted. However, they could easily be made using the technique described for the stamped bowls.

3. Nature prints made with air dry clay.

4. It’s squishy yet crumbly. Little hands can mold with it or smash it to smithereens. What is it? MOON SAND! Kids can help make it, then play with it for hours. Only three ingredients are needed – arrowroot starch or cornstarch, oil, and natural food dye. Here’s the recipe.

5. Terrarium – They can be made in under an hour, and they’re incredibly easy to care for. Ideas in the post for using them to learn about geology, botany, ecosystems, etc.

6. No-sew t-shirt tote bag – This project may require supervision because real scissors are needed, but it’s a great opportunity to talk about recycling/upcycling. Plus, you end up with adorable farmers market-style tote bags!

7. Salt-dough ornaments – My six year-old did this entire project by herself (except the baking), and my four year-old only needed help a few times. They make great keepsakes and gifts for the grandparents.

8 .Yarn ball ornaments – These can also be made in the shape of eggs with prizes inside.

9. Edible finger paint (Just two ingredients!) – Make handprints, drive monster trucks over the paper to create different patterns, or eat it. Whatever sounds good.

10. Homemade maracas  – Ours are going to be funny looking because we don’t have water bottles but we do have mustard bottles!

11. Stamps made with regular paper and gelatin as an adhesive.

12.  Coffee can drums

13. A homemade catapult constructed with cardboard tubes, a wooden spoon, and rubber bands.

14. Homemade crayons using 100% food grade ingredients – tutorial coming soon! This project can be paired with a lesson on how spices, fruits and vegetables have been used as pigments throughout history. Because it requires working with hot wax, this project needs to be led by an adult. I did all the melting and allowed my kids to add the pigments, then placed the crayons out of my toddlers reach while they cooled.

15. Cardboard binoculars (These could be made with toilet paper rolls)

16. Coiled basket made from recycled paper bags 

17. Paper plate mask – Wouldn’t a butterfly design would be adorable?

18. A bohemian-style, no sew tutu

19. Homemade sidewalk chalk (Wellness Mama has a great recipe)

20. Pinecone bird feeder

childrens-activities

21. Homemade bubbles – We use about 1/4 cup castille soap mixed with 1 cup sugar water (1 tablespoon sugar mixed in 1 cup water) and 2 tablespoons glycerin. Can be used with a wand or blown with a straw.

22. Toilet paper roll stamps – Heartpumpkin, and apple (These would work well with my homemade edible finger paint)

23. Toilet paper roll tree – These are super cute and would be fun to play with alongside toilet paper roll dolls, but when I share the idea with my kids I’ll suggest paint instead of Fruit Loops. This one made with bubble wrap is also pretty. I don’t buy bubble wrap, but sometimes it comes in packages of supplements, etc. ordered online.

24. Thanksgiving turkey made from a toilet paper roll and paper plate

25. Toilet paper roll superhero cuffs

26. Toilet paper roll race cars

27. Clothespin beaded butterfly

28. Clothespin safari animals

29. Potato stamps – Press cookie cutter shapes into potatoes, then trim away some of the potato and use them as stamps! Adult assistance will be needed for the trimming.

30. Make a ring toss game with paper plates and toilet paper rolls.

31. Build a marble run from toilet paper rolls.

32. Make a kazoo out of a cardboard roll, wax paper and a rubber band

33. Make a guitar out of a shoebox..

34. Create a colorful yarn-wrapped vase.

35. Make a hipster yarn beard. Chances are your help will be needed, but seriously, just imagine the photo opportunities that will result. Here’s another version that would require more parental involvement but looks awesome.

36. Build a cardboard roll space shuttle.

37. Make a toilet roll castle.

38. Experiment with Rorsharch prints/mirror image painting.

39. Paper plate banjo

40. Paper plate purse

41. Paper plate hats

42. Toilet paper dolls. There are a lot of tutorials for fancy ones out there, but I like these.

43. Toilet paper tube bowling pins

44. Matchbox and toilet paper roll camera

45. Slingshot made from toilet paper rolls 

46. Toilet paper owl

47. Cardboard tube pirate

48. Naturally-dyed eggs – No need to restrict the fun to one time a year!

For Little Scientists

49. Make a naked egg

50. Or a vinegar volcano

51. Play “catch an ice cube

52. Learn about the magnetic poles with this homemade compass (for older kids)

For Serious Cases of Wiggles

53. “Laser” indoor obstacle course made with string

54. Indoor maze with boxes

55. Make a fort!

Enter to win a $275 art lab from Mighty Nest!

This giveaway is sponsored by Mighty Nest, a company committed to helping families make simple changes for a healthier life. Thank you for supporting the companies I love, and allowing me to share them with you.

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