“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: May 30 – June 5

May 30-June 5, 2016: A FREE healthy, easy meal plan that the whole family will love every Wednesday at Thriving Home (thrivinghomeblog.com).

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia)

Hip-hip hooray! It’s summer vacay! I’m ready for some pool time and relaxing with my kiddos. So this week I’m utilizing the grill a few different times and the slow cooker, of course. I’m most looking forward to the Asian Lettuce Wraps, which are a.maz.ing!

P.S. Did you know you can have these menu plans emailed to you to weekly? All you have to do is sign up here.

I Lost All My Hair…and Gained Something Greater

Laura started losing her hair in high school and has lived most of her college and 20 somethings years as a bald woman in a culture that worships beauty. Her story is incredibly encouraging! Read on and share with others!

I first saw Laura Hockett at a week-long church event that I help run called Kids Club. She had a huge smile on her face, was leading a group of elementary kids in some cheers, and, most notably, was completely bald. I thought, “Wow, this girl is going through chemo, but she’s serving at church!?” But, come to find out, she didn’t have cancer at all. She’s a young woman suffering from alopecia and had lost most of her hair. The more I heard about her story, the more humbled I was. It’s not an easy one. But, it is a good one that I think every woman needs to hear. 

A little background on Laura: She was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated with her Masters in Accountancy from the University of Missouri in May 2014. She is married and works at Williams Keepers (a public accounting firm) in Columbia, Missouri as an auditor. This interview isn’t short, but I didn’t have the heart to cut any of it. Her story is SO rich with meaning, insight, and encouragement. I hope it touches your soul like it did mine. 

Favorite Summer Things Giveaway ($600+ Value)

our favorites

It’s here! It’s here! Our annual Favorite Summer Things Giveaway is finally here!

We’ve worked months and months to line up some fabulous goodies for you to win. I can’t wait to tell you about everything. But first, what makes this giveaway even better is that 12 other bloggers are doing the same thing on their sites. So, after you enter to win ours, you can hop around to these other fabulous blogger friends of ours and enter in their giveaways. So fun right?!

Take a peek at all of our amazing prizes…

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: May 23-29

May 23-29, 2016: A FREE healthy, easy meal plan that the whole family will love every Wednesday at Thriving Home (thrivinghomeblog.com).

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia)

Since the weather has been so nice, I’m trying to grill at least once a weekend. This week I’m grilling up an oldie but goodie–Firecracker Salmon. It’s got great zip to it, but the kids still like it.

P.S. Did you know you can have these menu plans emailed to you to weekly? All you have to do is sign up here.

5 Creative Ways to Get Your Kids in the Kitchen This Summer (and Why It’s So Beneficial for You and Them!)

Cooking with your kids doesn’t have to be complicated, but it should be fun! Here are 5 creative ideas to try this summer. You will be amazed at the benefits to your family and relationship with your kids!

Sponsored by Frigidaire Gallery®

I’ve always looked forward to summer break as a way to spend time with my children. Those 10 weeks provide extra unscheduled hours to instill in my kids our family’s values, life skills they will need as they grow, and to expand upon what they are learning during the school year.

One of the best ways I’ve found to accomplish these goals and have fun together is simply cooking in the kitchen with my kids. Think of all the benefits when we take a little extra time to include them in the kitchen. We can teach them:

  • math skills (measuring, doubling or cutting recipes in half, etc)
  • reading and comprehension skills as we follow the steps in recipes
  • team work with other family members
  • science by watching reactions occur in baking, talking about germs, etc.
  • health and nutrition
  • creativity as we invent recipes or decorate desserts
  • life skills necessary for independence as an adult
  • how to contribute to our family in a meaningful way
  • to think of others by giving away food to a person in need
  • to experience new ingredients and recipes

Not only that, but teaching our children to cook can pay off for parents as well! Let’s face it. It’s work to have kids in the kitchen at first. The floors and counters will likely look like a small bomb went off after making a cake. You may find yourself cleaning up peanut butter smears off the walls or walking through sticky patches on the floor.

Frig_2SELECT_Kids in the Kitchen-11_616

Over time, however, we can teach our children how to prepare their own meals and clean up after themselves, giving us more time to take care of other responsibilities. My oldest son Jack (age 9) now makes his own fried eggs and prepares his Frozen Whole Wheat Waffles or Homemade Instant Oatmeal Pack many mornings a week for himself and his siblings. It’s so helpful!

Our children can also help us with meal prep if we designate easy tasks to them like snapping green beans, tearing lettuce, washing fruit, or chopping herbs. I often put my kiddos to work at the counter chopping ingredients I’ll need for soup or salad. Most importantly, time spent in the kitchen together is quality relational time. We chat about life, laugh together over mistakes, and celebrate victories!

5 Creative Ways to Get Kids in the Kitchen

If we are patient and invest in our kids while they are young, we will reap the benefits of cooking together more and more as they mature. To help you get started or continue a tradition you may already have, here are 5 creative ways to get your kids in the kitchen this summer: