After School Fuel Snack Ideas

“I’m hungry!” This is the refrain I hear every day when I pick up my three kids from school.  Sound familiar? It doesn’t matter if I’ve packed a 12-course meal in their Planetbox or sent them to school with peanuts, they are “starving” every afternoon at 3. The solution? The perfect snack equation.

After School Fuel - Best Snacks for Kids

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the ideal after school snack should meet the following requirements:

  • Make them small. Snacks are meant to fill the gap between meals, not become a whole meal in itself.
  • Protein + carb. Pair a protein-rich food with a carb-rich food. Including a healthy fat will quiet hunger pangs even more.
  • One or two a day. Depending on the child’s age and activity level, they may need one or two snacks a day.

after school snacks for kids

Here are 10 examples of health after school fuel snacks:

  1. Whole wheat toast + avocado + cucumber slices
  2. Apple slices + nut/seed butter
  3. Homemade trail mix – ¼ cup sunflower seeds or nuts, ¼ cup dried apricots, cherries, or raisins (with no added sugar)
  4. String cheese + grapes
  5. Greek yogurt + granola + frozen berries thawed
  6. Nut/seed butter spread on a small whole-wheat pita
  7. Carrot sticks or sliced veggies + hummus
  8. Rice cakes + nut butter + berries
  9. Smoothie with kale, banana, Greek yogurt, + blueberries
  10. Whole-wheat pita + guacamole + cucumber slices

And don’t forget water! Keeping kids hydrated is vital for keeping them ready for physical activities, helping them stay focused on homework, and balancing their moods. While the amount of water will vary based on your child’s age, gender, size and activity level, the National Academy of Sciences recommends between 7-14 cups of water per day, with the lower end for toddlers and the higher end for teenage boys. Make water more “fun” by using unflavored seltzer water or adding in frozen berries, limes or cucumber slices to infuse it with flavor.


Want more information on healthy eating? Check out the Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate with tips and advice about fueling your kid with the right foods.

What are you favorite after school snacks to keep your kids fueled for the afternoon?

Momtrends was not paid for this post. Affiliate links included. Photo credit: Copyright © 2015 Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For more information about The Kid’s Healthy Eating Plate, please see The Nutrition Source, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health,


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5 Lunch Box Accessories For More Food Fun

Kids already complaining about their lunch food? Bored by what you’re making Monday-Friday? Make food more fun with these lunch box accessories that can help your kids get excited about eating and help sell fruits and veggies to picky eaters. Who wouldn’t want to eat a cucumber with googly eyes or a sandwich shaped like a seahorse?

Lunch box accessories

1. Add eyeballs.

lunch box accessories eyeballs

I just love these. I know that sticking a pair of these eyeballs into my kids’ lunches would give them a giggle. Suddenly that celery seems a little sillier, that lettuce wrap more likely to get a laugh. And a hopefully bite! As a non-crafter, I also love that these take pretty much zero creative effort on my part. BUY: Amazon

2. Silly sandwich shapes.

sandwich cutter

Another sandwich? Add some fun to that PB&J with a cute sandwich cutter. I love this variety pack that has five different shapes to let you create a different shape sandwich every day of the week or this puzzle piece cutter that encourages kids to play with their food. BUY: Amazon

3. Make a scene.


Here’s another one for those of you who like the idea of adding fun to your kid’s lunch box, but really don’t have the time or creativity to deliver a Pinterest-worthy preschool lunch creation. Food picks. Stick these cute little food picks into sandwiches, strawberries and sushi rolls to instantly add some fun to the food. I like this cute animal variety pack, cats & dogs, or this adorable sea life collection. BUY: Amazon

4. Creative cutting.


Perfect for cutting out cheese, meat, melon or some veggies, these cutters let you get creative with your lunchbox additions. Choose from animal, flowers, or this three-pack of fun shapes to cut foods into silly shapes for more fun at lunch. BUY: Amazon

5. Make it talk.


These thought and dialogue bubbles are another great way to add some fun to your kids’ lunch food. From important reminders (“Don’t forget to eat me!”) to punny jokes (“Lettuce be friends!”), these reusable, erasable labels can be a silly addition to the lunch box. Plus, they can be handy for labeling cheeses, dips or sauces on the weekends! BUY: Amazon

What are your favorite lunch box accessories?

Momtrends was not paid for this post.


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4 Burger Riffs for Your Family to Try

Summer may be over, but the weather is still warm enough to fire up the grill for burgers. If your kids already like traditional burgers, you can use them as a gateway food to introduce your kids to new flavors and ingredients. Here are four burger riffs to help your kids try some new foods and eat a bit more adventurously.

4 New Burger Riffs for your Family to Try

Before you try these burger riffs, three tips to keep in mind.

Start with sliders. Trying a new recipe is always a risk. If you serve sliders (small burgers) instead of full size burgers, you can try out these burger riffs without wasting food.

Get the kids involved. Kids are always more likely to eat things they’ve helped make. Burgers can be especially fun because you can use your hands to mix ingredients together and make patties.

Allow for constructive feedback (and the possibility of failure). I’m not above sneaking in healthy food to my kids’ meals without telling them (hello kale smoothies!), but more often than not, I’m upfront about a new recipe. I tell the kids that we’re trying out a new recipe for dinner and everyone has to try at least 2-3 bites and wait 10 minutes into dinner before giving feedback. Then we go around the table and talk about what we like, don’t like, and how we could improve it. I give my feedback too and it’s good for the kids to see that sometimes I don’t like the new recipe either! When I introduce new recipes this way, I’m always impressed with the feedback I get from my kids. Instead of just “Eww!” or “This is gross!”, I get comments like “I like the flavor, but the texture is a little weird” or “I think it tastes better without the sauce.”

Here are four ways to build off your family’s love of burgers.

1. Make a change to your meat.


If your basic burger is always made with ground beef, switch it up by making your patty out of a new ingredient. Try out this recipe for a super moist turkey burger (the secret ingredient is ricotta cheese!) or go decadent with a 50/50 bacon and ground beef blend (ask your butcher for a blend). Try this Trader Joe’s frozen Salmon Patty or skip the meat completely and try out this Quinoa Back Bean Burger. See if the kids can guess what the burger is made out by tasting it.

2. Switch out your sauce.


If your kids always slather their burgers in ketchup, mix it up by letting them help make and choose from three new burger sauces. (Hint: You’ll be able to sell these new sauces if you pair them with a complimentary topping.) Try a strip of bacon and this easy aioli sauce. Or pesto sauce with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Or a homemade BBQ sauce with sautéed or grilled onions. Consider serving it without the bun to help your kids see beyond the traditional burger.

3. Add in a new condiment.

burger condiments

Often times kids get in food ruts because we keep making them the same foods the same ways. Mix up your topping options and tell kids they need to choose at least one new burger topping – parents too! Branch out from cheddar cheese and offer pepper jack, smoked gouda or swiss. Try grilled onions or pineapple on your burger. Slice up an avocado or cucumber. Top with coleslaw or mango salsa. Give an award for the most creative, best looking and best combo. Again, making mini burgers like sliders allows kids to try multiple options.

4. Branch out from a traditional bun.


This Spiced Lamb Patties with Nutty Garlic Sauce puts many of these steps together into one delicious dinner option. It’s quickly become one of my family’s favorites. It may seem like a big jump from a traditional burger, but all the basic elements are there – a “bun” (the flatbread), a “patty” (an oblong-shaped lamb patty), and toppings (peanut sauce and herb salad). While my 6-year-old eats this as is (herb salad on top and all!), my 8-year-old prefers to eat the parts separately – a kind of deconstructed burger. Another family favorite are these DIY P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps which include a crunchy lettuce “bun” and a chopped up ground chicken “patty”. Of if you’re really feeling adventurous – try out this tomato bun!

Momtrends was not compensated for this post.

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3 Easy Meals for Back To School

Sometimes kids are picky eaters. It can make you absolutely bonkers. During the busy school year, you don’t have as much time to cater to those individual needs. That’s why I love food from Three Bridges. Their pastas and sauces are made with simple, honest, and better-for-you ingredients so there is zero guilt when you’re cooking for your family. Three Bridges equips you to cook a gourmet, nutritious and delicious meals in minutes that the entire family will enjoy. I used Three Bridges to create three entrees; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, to show you how easy it is to craft up incredible food with little ingredients and little time. You can also check out their website for dozens of other yummy recipes.

For Breakfast: easy back to school breakfast three bridges

I made a pesto scrambled egg with a side of meatball sausage. Put some oil in a pan and crack the egg. Let it cook for a few seconds as if you’re cooking it sunny side up. Then add some of the Three Bridges pesto sauce. Scramble the egg in with the pesto and voila! Lightly cook your sausages until they are warm and you’ve got yourself a powerhouse meal in 5 minutes. You can add pesto to any style of egg you desire.

For Lunch:easy back to school lunch three bridges

Cook Three Bridges Three Cheese Tortellini according to the package. Chop some veggies like carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes to make a tiny salad. Or for your older kids, throw in some baby kale or spinach. Marinate in some oil and vinegar then toss the tortellini in with the vegetables. Add some pesto sauce and shaved parmesan. This makes a great lunch, hot or cold, and even your pickiest eater won’t complain about this tasty meal. The best part about this is that it’s very travel friendly. You can pop it into a container and make any school lunch complete. And aren’t these plates cute? They’re from Slimware, and are designed to help with portion control. Genius!

For Dinner: 

easy back to school dinner three bridgesI loved the idea that Three Bridges has for a “lazy lasagna”. You can make it in about an hour and it makes fabulous leftovers.  I had extra meatballs from my breakfast and decided to make the tortellini with Three Bridges Heirloom Marinara sauce. I emptied the entire package of sauce into a pan to let it warm. Then I added in my meatballs, and after a few minutes, added the cooked tortellini. This is a dinner fit for kings (and queens, and princes, and princesses!)

3 Meals with 3 Ingredients

Three Bridges makes families feel great about their back to school meal routine as their products are made with better ingredients like hormone-free cheeses and cage free eggs. They never use any artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives and never add fillers which makes for healthy, stress free, tasty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

This is a sponsored post.

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4 Must-Haves For Your Next Picnic

School is out, the weather is warm, and the sun doesn’t set until late which means picnic season is here! Whether it’s an alfresco dinner with friends or an impromptu lunch at the park with the family, here are four of our favorite must-have picnic accessories for your next summer picnic.

Must-Haves for your Next

1. The perfect picnic blanket

Picnic blanket

A great picnic blanket is key for setting the stage for your outdoor eating sesh. I want a blanket that is large enough to handle the food and guests, soft enough for lounging, and washable for the inevitable strawberry stains or wine spills. Lately, I’ve been eyeing these gorgeous Turkish towels (shown). First, the print – swoon! And I love that they are lightweight, roll up compactly and are versatile – you can use this towel for a picnic, yoga session, beach towel, even as a sarong! I also like this fold up JJ Cole blanket for picnics or playdate, this pocket-size picnic blanket that you can keep in your purse, or for something a bit different, a cute circular boho-chic blanket.

2. A cute picnic basket

picnic basket

True, you could just pack your food in any old reusable bag you have, but there’s something about a picnic basket that makes the whole thing a bit cuter, a bit more special, and who are we kidding, look better in that Instagram pic you know you’re going to take! You could opt for an all-in-one picnic basket kit like this affordable one from VonShef that comes with your plates, silverware and cups for four, a blanket and plenty of extra space so you’re always picnic-ready. Or an insulated picnic basket (shown) that has plenty of room for a family picnic but folds flat when you don’t need it. There’s also something about this PicnicTime basket with a removable lid that is so smart – a make-shift cutting board or flat surface to keep food upright.

3. Picnic-ready stemware

Picnic glassesSkip the red Solo cups. Picnics are better when your beverages are in picnic-friendly, but still sophisticated stemware. I love these real glass, silicone-protected stemless wine glasses (shown) from Life Factory which we use for picnics and camping though these shatter-proof plastic ones are also an affordable option that is a step up from the Solo cup. If you’re packing your real stemware or using a picnic basket that comes with lightweight ones, check out these wine glass holders that you stick in the grass to keep your cup upright and free from curious ants.

4. Fun & Games

picnic bocce

Yes, the food is key at a picnic, but so is a little entertainment for family and friends. I love this portable bocce set with four different colors so more people can play. Grass, sand, mulch or dirt – bocce is fun for kids and adults alike. Other fun portable picnic games are this fold-up ring toss game or lawn darts. Another simple option – a couple of frisbees. This one from Aerobie is easy to catch and flies ridiculously far – like football field far.


Momtrends was not paid for this review. It may contain affiliate links.

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Rubbermaid FreshWorks #LongLiveProduce

Long Love ProduceIt’s berry season and I’m totally swooning for the fruits that are filling up the markets. Sometimes I go a bit overboard and purchase too many pints. Then I’m left with waste at the end of the week. It’s depressing…good fruit gone bad. Wasted time. Wasted money. Wasted fruit.

Here’s the scoop: Approximately 50% of food around the world is wasted each year. In the US alone, the USDA estimated in 2014 that approximately $24 BILLION worth of food, or about $192 per household, is thrown out each year due to spoiled produce.

That’s why I joined the Long Live Produce Challenge.

fresh fruits for your family

About a month ago, Rubbermaid contacted me about a media tour for a new food storage system. They needed someone to spread the word about a new storage container that keeps produce fresher up to 80% longer. Boom! Perfect gig. They sent me a three-pack of the Fresh Works Produce Storage to test.

long live produce challenge

I put store containers in the fridge next to FreshWorks–and then watched the fuzz grow. The berries lasted much longer in the containers.

How does it work?

The FreshWorks containers have two really cool features: the “FreshVent” lid which regulates the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out of the container and the “CrispTray” which elevates produce off the bottom of the container and helps reduce moisture and spoilage.

Storing Produce

The containers are easy to use–just pop the fruit into the containers when you get home from the farmers market of grocery store (TIP: don’t clean the produce first, you need it to be dry)–and get a MUCH longer life out of the produce. Everything is dishwasher safe and BPA free.


Once it’s stored all you need to do is get your individual servings washed and cleaned each day. The containers work best for leafy greens and berries. Get ready to enjoy all the best fruits of the season without any waste.

Are you ready to take the food storage challenge? Get your 3-pack of FreshWorks containers on Amazon.

how to store berries

This is a sponsored post.


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Best Shopping List Apps To Make Life Easier

Does this sound familiar: You’re out running errands or picking up a child from a playdate or afterschool practice and you drive by it – that store that you need that thing from! Except…you can’t remember exactly what that thing was. Or you remember one of the items, but not the other 12 that were also on your list. Gah!

The Best Shopping List Apps

The solution? Kiss your paper shopping lists goodbye. Use one of these shopping list apps to ensure your list is always with you as you’re out running errands. Most shopping apps allow you to create lists for multiple stores so you know what you need at the grocery store and your favorite beauty store and farmer’s market all the same time. Plus you can even share the list with others so, you know, your husband could grab milk and tampons on his way home from work…..a girl can hope right?

1. OurGroceries

Untitled design(1)

I love that the OurGroceries app has a web-based portal too so that I can enter items whether I am on my computer or my phone. The app also remembers items I’ve entered in the past and makes it easy to up the quantity of items on my list. I haven’t used it before, but the app also has a recipe feature that lets you add your family’s favorite meals. It does take some input time since you have to put in all the ingredients, but then, each week you can look at your list of favorite eats and and then easily add all the needed ingredients to your list at once. Meal planning and shopping list making made easy. (free, iOS, Android)

 2. Buy Me a Pie

Buy Me a Pie

First, they had me at pie. Second, this is another great shopping app! It too has a website for entering list items online or via the app and lets you make separate lists for different stores. Buy Me a Pie is one of the prettier apps, and I love that when you’re adding items, you can type them in or choose from past items you’ve added organized in one of three ways –  by alphabetical order, their color-coded category (dairy, veggies, etc.), or your most frequently used items. Love this! This app is also one of the best for syncing with an Apple Watch since it doesn’t truncate the item name. (free, iOS, Android)

3. Grocery Pal

Grocery Pal

Are you a couponer? If you love to clip and save while you shop, you’ll love the Grocery Pal app that allows you to build your weekly shopping list while you check sales and compare prices at dozens of local grocery and chain stores. Whether you shop at Target or CVS, Fred Meyers, Vons or Kroger, this app helps you find the best deals in town. (free, iOS, Android)

4. Paprika

Paprika app

Aspiring chefs will love the Paprika app for menu planning, recipe finding and shopping list making. It’s like if your Pinterest recipe board and a shopping list app had a baby. Browse through Paprika’s beautiful collection of recipes on the app or website or add your own from your favorite recipe websites with a single click. Then add the ingredients seamlessly to your shopping list. You can also adjust the number of servings (which will automatically adjust your ingredients), set multiple timers for cooking, and store nutritional info about your meals. There is even a calendar to help you plan out meals for a week or month at a time – you over-achievers, you. ($5, iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook)

 What’s your favorite shopping app?

Looking for more of our favorite apps? Check out my favorite to-do list app, meditation apps, educational app, and more.


Momtrends was not paid for this post.





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Grapefruit Dessert Recipes

grapefruit dessert ricotta recipe

Looking for a tasty dessert that won’t ruin all the resolutions you’ve made? Did you know half a grapefruit is roughly 60 calories and 100% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C!

While I grew up loving the grapefruits my great grandparents sent from Florida once a year, I’ve got to tell you, this is a whole different realm of deliciousness. Red grapefruit is sweeter and more nuanced than what I used to eat as a child. This is a grown-up fruit with a bold taste. And it’s most certainly not just for breakfast.

Wonderful Sweet Scarletts are a new brand of Texas Red Grapefruits that will change the way you think about grapefruits. These grapefruits are so sweet, you won’t even need to add sugar.

eat drink and be merry

This holiday season we were invited to a special lunch hosted by Wonderful Sweet Scarletts. Bloggers gathered at the Andaz Hotel to taste Sweet Scarletts Texas Red Grapefruit recipes from Haylie Duff. The adorable Texan chef wears many hats: actress, author and host of The Cooking Channel’s, The Real Girl’s Kitchen.

Haylie dreamed up a menu that highlighted the versatility of the fruit. Lucky me, I got to taste all of her creations and she really got me thinking out of the breakfast box. From ceviche to salad to BBQ, grapefruit can be the centerpiece of your healthy meal planning in 2016. While the ceviche certainly wowed me, it was the dessert that really changed my mind about how I’m going to work grapefruits into my life.

You can see all Haylie’s Sweet Scarletts recipes here. I’m sharing my favorite: Wonderful Sweet Scarletts Grapefruit Brûlée & Sweet Ricotta.

Ricotta Cream Ingredients:
1 cup ricotta
1 cup mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pinch of lemon zest
pinch of sea salt

Grapefruit Brûlée Ingredients:
5 Wonderful Sweet Scarletts grapefruit segments
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1⁄2 cup Wonderful Pistachios, shelled

1. Combine ricotta cream ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.
2. Using a food processor, pulverize shelled pistachios.
3. Using a culinary torch or oven broiler, melt the brown sugar across the Wonderful Sweet Scarletts grapefruit wedges.
4. Arrange sweet cream, grapefruit wedges and garnish with pistachio dust.
5. Drizzle with honey or agave, if desired.

The dessert is shown in the feature photo and it was out of this world. There was terrific contrast in flavors and a tangy richness. Total crowd pleaser!

Over the holiday I had plenty of Sweet Scarletts on hand, but not the ingredients to make the ricotta, so I reworked the recipe a little. Instead of ricotta, I used Greek yogurt. I then sprinkled honey and pistachios on top for a quick and easy lo-cal dessert. Check out my work:

grapefruit diet dessert

My family was impressed when I served this up after a meal of holiday leftovers. They gobbled it up! Don’t wait to get yours, the season runs Nov through April. Once they’re gone, you’ve got to wait until the next growing season.

This is not a sponsored post. We did get loads of grapefruits!

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Slow Cooker Subscription Box

low and slow review

Are you crazy about your slow cooker or crock pot but frustrated about being in a recipe rut? Low N’ Slow Box to the rescue.

Low N’ Slow Box is a new subscription-based service for slow cooking meals and it just launched. You know I love to cook, but don’t have oodles of time to pour over complicated recipes. The slow cooker revolution appealed to me–I can use fresh ingredients to create a tasty, nutritious meal. And I do. Trouble is, I ran out of recipes and inspiration.

Low N’ Slow delivers easy-to-make recipes each month. In your box, you’ll get a couple recipe cards, ingredients (minus the meat and perishables) and tips on how to prepare some great slow cooked meals. I’m already sold on subscription boxes and I love my how my slow cooker delivers flavorful meals with minimal effort. Heck yes, I wanted to try this.

My first box arrived. There’s nothing fancy or cute about the packaging (I’m sure they’re working on that. And the recipes were on paper, not cards (the paper got trashed in my kitchen, thicker card stock would be great).

I started with a slow cooker chicken recipe–the Sweet Apple BBQ Chicken. True to the promise, most everything was included except for the chicken, apples carrots and celery–they even tossed onions into the box. I didn’t have to shop for much. And I loved the pre-measured spices in tiny ziploc bags.

The recipe was simple to follow with plenty of flair. I appreciated that they also sourced unique products like the finishing touch Kosmo’s BBQ sauce. The clever chefs also give you ideas for other ways to use up the ingredients. I simply did a bit of chopping and prepping in Sunday morning and popped my bird into the slow cooker. Here’s how it looked.

special spices

The Killer Bee spice was great–we’ll definitely use that again! After the slow cooker did it’s magic. I put the fully cooked chicken into the fridge for a day.

before broiler

Looks like boiled chicken. Fine. But not too exciting. The exciting part was the final step–adding the BBQ sauce and broiling the bird until the skin got crisp.

after broiler

Now that’s better! The chicken came out moist and quite flavorful. All I had to do on Monday night after work was pop it under the broiler. We’re going to try the other recipe (pork loin) this weekend. It’s an easy way to keep things fresh in the kitchen and I’m excited to see what next month brings.

This makes a great last-minute gift for any of your busy friends that want to make more home-cooked meals. Order your subscription here

This is not a sponsored post.

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Holiday Playdate with Foodstirs

foodstirs goody bag

Foodstirs baking kit helped this mom work some Christmas magic. Mom Guilt Alert: All those picture perfect baking moments on instagram and pinterest were starting to get to me. Most years I roll out my family sugar cookie recipe and bake with the girls. This year, I seem to be short on time for EVERYTHING.

helping hands

Rather than release the Scrooge inside, I reached for a Foodstirs playdate to mix up some holiday magic. Thanks to Foodstirs baking kits, my girls got to to roll and cut and decorate and I got to keep my sanity in check.

kids in the kitchen

Foodstirs are baking kits sourced with the best ingredients possible. Imagine if you had all the time in the world to read labels and shop all over town for the best of the best to put into your baked goods. The ladies behind the brand do all that hard work for you AND they deliver to you in a tidy little package. Thankfully, I’d gotten a special delivery of the Foodstirs Sugar Cookie Mix this week at a special Momtrends event.

foodstirs moms

To celebrate the season, and the genius of Foodstirs, we co-hosted a holiday blogger breakfast at the Crosby Hotel in NYC. Foodstirs Founders, Galit Laibow and Sarah Michelle Gellar brought the food, we brought our favorite NYC influencers. We gathered to chat about food, parenting trends and social media trends.

sarah michelle gellar

What we heard is that moms and dads are stretched thin. We want to carve out those special moments and we most certainly don’t want to feed our kids crud. But oh, there’s so much to do. Especially this time of year. We all agreed that baking with kids is awesome–especially when the Foodstirs kits make it so easy.

busy bakers

Some of the big trends we see coming–more cooking kits geared towards boys, more grandparents hosting cooking playdates, and more parents relying upon delivery services to make life simpler. Foodstirs is one trend for moms we think is here to stay.

This is not a sponsored post. To find out more about Foodstirs visit


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