Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Perk Up Popcorn With Easy Add-Ins

Popcorn is a classic snack that nearly everyone loves. It packs well in school lunches, makes a great afternoon treat, and of course, is a movie night staple.

You can add variety, and sometimes an extra boost of nutrients, by mixing some other fun ingredients amidst those yummy puffs.

Try these add-ins, in any combination you like, to perk up your popcorn:

1.       Dry roasted edamame (soy beans)

2.       Sunflower or pumpkin seeds

3.       Mini pretzels

4.       A sprinkle of cinnamon sugar

5.       Parmesan cheese

6.       Craisins, dried pineapple pieces, or other dried fruit

7.       Chocolate chips, yogurt chips, or M&Ms

8.       Dry cereal, such as Cheerios, Kix, or Chex

9.       Peanuts or other nuts

10.   Candied or coated nuts

Happy snacking!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winning Lessons for Little Athletes

Thanks to their large supply of energy and low dose of discernment where balls, mats, or running is concerned, most kids enjoy some kind of athletic activity. This is a great thing because, not only do they get needed exercise, but kids also learn valuable life lessons on the sporting field.

Sports Can Help Develop Godly Character

When you praise your child, avoid talking up the score or the trophy. Winning kids already know you are proud of the accomplishment. Instead, point out examples of good sportsmanship, team leadership, dedication, perseverance, etc. Make sure your child knows you are proud not only when he wins, but when he puts forth a good effort and excels in all areas of the game, not just scoring.

Use Sports To Teach Kids About Priorities

Since kids typically don’t want to miss practices or games, use these occasions to help them learn how and where to focus their efforts. I like to prioritize commitments in the following order: God, family, work/school, other commitments, social time with friends. This means that we don’t join sporting leagues with games every Sunday morning (I am okay with occasionally missing church for a sporting event, but not more that once a quarter). It also means that homework needs to be done before going to practice. Family includes both family events and family obligations, meaning chores need to be done consistently if the child wishes to keep playing.

Handle Winning And Losing The Same Way

Obviously it is exciting to win and disappointing to lose. However, too many kids don’t know how to win or lose well. We can help this by basically treating both the same. After the game, let your child share her feelings and experience them with her, as long as she keeps them healthy. If she is excited about a win, be happy with her. If she is depressed over a loss, let her know you sympathize. Make sure, however, that she keeps her emotions within the realm of good sportsmanship. Bragging, weeping, or angrily criticizing other players, coaches, or refs is not acceptable.

Analyze the game and talk about what went well and where there is room for improvement. Keep it light and short to avoid launching into a lecture.

As we discussed before, praise the skills she used on the field that don’t clearly contribute to the score, such as leadership, encouragement, and good sportsmanship.


With these tips, your kids will have a great time both on the field and off.