Help Your Kids Stay Healthy While Watching Television

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For years my daughter begged us to get a trampoline for outside but, my husband would never agree to it. Then last year for her birthday she asked “Nana” to get her a mini-trampoline for her birthday. Of course when you ask Nana for something you get it. We decided to put the mini-trampoline in our family room because it was the only place we could find room. It turns out it was the best gift she ever could have received. Now instead of sitting on the sofa watching television, both my kids jump on the trampoline while watching television. So when I realized that my kids could watch their favorite shows while staying healthy I started thinking about what other activities they could do. Here are some other ideas I came up with to keep my kids active while watching television:

Keep a stability ball near the television or in place of a chair at a computer desk. By balancing on the stability ball your children can work out muscles in their legs and core.

If you have enough space, have a rule that kids need to do jumping jacks or jump rope during commercials. Those two activities get the heart rate up fast and burn calories quickly. If you don’t have the space to jump rope, put the jump rope flat on the floor and jump back and forth over it that way.

Many video game systems now have games that make you get up and move. Limit the time your children are allowed to sit and encourage them to play games that make them move.

Resistance bands and one pound weights are also great to keep by the sofa. Children can use resistance bands to exercise various leg and arm muscles while still sitting. 1 pound weights can help build arm strength and to make it even more fun your children can have a competition to see who can do the most.

Remember, even if your children are active while watching television, screen time should be limited to 1-2 hours a day maximum. Also, never let your children eat while watching television. Make children leave the television to have snacks and drinks. These restrictions along with movement while watching television will help your child lead a healthier lifestyle.

Published by Chrissie Klinger

I am married to a wonderful husband and we have two beautiful children. I enjoying being a parent, volunteering, cooking, hiking, kayaking, traveling, and watching ice hockey games.

How to Choose the Right Kind of Tofu for Your Meals

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Tofu can be confusing, especially if you don’t have much or any experience cooking it. When you’re planning to make a meal using tofu, it is very important that you choose the right kind of tofu for your meal. If you’ve ever glanced at the tofu section in your grocery store (typically in the produce area), then you’ve probably noticed several types, ranging from silken to extra firm. I’m going to explain to you why firmness matters and how to select the right firmness. I’ll be covering the three most popular types of tofu you’ll find at most grocery stores.

Why Tofu Firmness Matters

The firmness of tofu matters because the firmness is the texture and it dictates how you can use it. The texture of a food is just as important as the flavor. You wouldn’t want to eat a steak that has the texture of a milk shake; nor would you want to eat yogurt that has the texture of hard-boiled eggs. Tofu is no different.

Silken Tofu

Silken is the softest kind of tofu. It has the texture of thick pudding. If you try to handle it, it will start to fall apart, and cooking it will not make it firmer.

Here’s what you don’t want to do with silken tofu:

  • You don’t want to grill it, bake it, roast it, or fry it (in most cases). If you put silken tofu on a grill, it’s just going to fall apart and make a mess. If you put it in the oven I promise you won’t be happy with the results. You can fry it, but again, you probably won’t get the results you wanted.
  • You don’t want to try to pass it off as a meat substitute. It’s just not going to work. It is far to soft and no matter how long you cook it, it won’t get firm.

Here’s what you should do with silken tofu:

  • Use it to make desserts. Silken tofu makes an excellent milk substitute for creating dairy-free desserts.
  • Use it to thicken soups. You can puree silken tofu and use it to add thickness and creaminess to a soup.
  • Use it as an egg substitute. This is the one instance in which you would want to fry silken tofu, because it’s good for making vegan scrambled eggs.

Firm Tofu

Firm tofu is the most common type of tofu you’ll find at just about any grocery store. It usually comes in a cardboard package. Firm tofu should really be called “medium” because that’s what it is. It’s not really soft or hard it’s spongy. Sometimes you will actually see “medium firm” which is in between silken and firm. Firm tofu soaks up marinades well and you can do just about anything you want with it, although, I still would not recommend grilling it. Firm tofu is the best type of tofu for deep-frying because it gets crispy on the outside and stays soft on the inside. It’s also good for pan-frying.

Extra Firm/Super Firm Tofu

Extra firm tofu is obviously the firmest. Sometimes you’ll find both extra firm and super firm, super firm being the firmest. This tofu is hard and tough. It has the texture of meat, so, naturally, it makes the best meat substitute. If you want to do some grilling or searing, this is the kind of tofu you want to use.

Well, I hope that clears some things up for you. Now, go make something delicious with tofu!

3 Green Programs to Start in Your Child’s School

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California schools can now apply for the firstGreen Ribbon Award, a Department of Education program that was announced to the public back in April 2011 that will honor the nation’s most eco-friendly schools. The schools will be judged on their net-impact on the environment, the students’ knowledge about environmental issues, and how these green practices affect the overall health and performance of the children, teachers, and staff.

While this is a great initiative that will both educate our younger generation and save the schools some money (through energy efficiency, recycling, etc.), if you’re living in an area in which many are not green-focused, it’s tempting to label your child’s school a loss cause. However, by showing an interest in eco-awareness programs, you can lead the way to making your local school and community a little greener. Here are three good suggestions for the next PTA meeting.

A Recycling Program

Suggest recycling as a way to teach children that items can be put to a good use after they’re finished with them. Even the parents who find environmentalism irrelevant will likely agree with the importance of teaching children not to waste unnecessarily. If something can be used again, it should be. It saves everyone money, and saves the planet.

An Organic Garden Club

This would give children a chance to learn science and health while getting a real workout in the process! By using organic growing methods, the children will not be subjected to harsh chemicals and will understand that they are not necessary for maintaining a garden. Plus, they’ll see firsthand how hard work can lead to real benefits. This is, again, a lesson with which most parents can agree.

A Carpooling Program

Why should everyone waste gas when they’re all going to the same place? This is unnecessarily devastating to both the environment and the pocket book. A carpooling program saves money and allows volunteering parents, teachers, staff members, and students to get to know each other a little better, instilling a sense of community in your neighborhood.

Once the benefits of these three programs really start to take effect, you may find that the other parents and teachers have a greater interest in saving money and teaching through the implementation green programs. Maybe they’ll even discover that eco-friendly living is not as difficult as it seems and will join you in the cause. With a bit of work, you can bring your local school one step closer to that green ribbon.