Saturday, March 26, 2011

8 Secrets to Raising Vegetable Eaters

I found this little article on and just had to share it!

Kid-Friendly Vegetables

Parents go to great lengths to get their kids to eat vegetables. You bribe, negotiate, and do everything in your power to persuade little mouths to take that first bite. But the secret to raising veggie eaters is surprisingly simple and has nothing to do with coercion. What is the secret? Offering vegetables again and again, keeping mealtime positive, and preparing the healthy foods in ways that are pleasing to young palates. 

1. Boil and Steam

Researchers from Wageningen University found that kids (ages 4 to 12) prefer vegetables that are boiled and steamed over mashed, grilled, stir-fried and deep-fried. Why? Kids prefer the crunchier versions over more granular textures. These green beans are a good example: steamed first, and then topped with olive oil and a splash of lemon (crunchy and tasty). 

2. Do the Dipping

Kids love dipping; and raw veggies paired with tasty dips make the perfect lunchbox treat, after-school snack, or first course at dinnertime. According to a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, young children served vegetables before anything else ate 47% more (of the vegetable that is). Try a healthy dip, such as hummus. Bonus: It's made with garbanzo beans, which happen to be a vegetable! 

3. Prepare Crispy Veggies

Crispy finger foods are very pleasing to kids. It is possible to prepare vegetables so they have the texture of fried food without the unhealthy ingredients. On your next sandwich night, bake these Zucchini Oven Chips instead of serving greasy chips. They taste like they’re fried, yet they are baked and amazingly crispy. 

4. Taste the Sweetness

Some health experts believe the pickiest eaters may be "super tasters" and more sensitive to the bitterness of certain vegetables. However, most kids love and prefer sweet tastes. Roasting vegetables, such as cauliflower, brings out the natural sweetness, which is especially pleasing to children. And don't be fooled by the vegetable's white color; cauliflower is chock full of nutrients (including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folic acid). 

5. Offer Options

According to a report by Brian Wansink and David R. Just (conductors of research at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs), junior-high-school students are 20% more likely to eat vegetables when they can choose between two items. So instead of plopping down the veggie and insisting your tween finish it, give them healthy choices. But the decision might not be so hard if one of the options is Honey-Roasted Root Vegetables, another great example of maximizing the sweetness in vegetables.

6. Sweeten Up Salads

Get kids hooked on salads by adding naturally sweet ingredients, such as fruits, to the side dish. This salad is super colorful and includes grapes, oranges, and pineapple. The first few times you serve it, your children may just pick at the fruit, but eventually they'll make their ways to the greens. Mission accomplished! 

7. Create Cool Names

Ever decide on a dish just because the menu description sounds so good? You can entice kids the same way, but you have to make it fun. According to research by Brian Wansink, adopting cool names for vegetables like "Broccoli Trees" or "Princess Peas" increases the likelihood that kids will try them (by 60%!). And while Steamed Carrots with Garlic Ginger Butter is appealing to adults, "X-Ray Carrots" works better for kids. Then you can explain how the veggie has vitamin A, which helps their eyesight. 

8. Expand Their Vision 

Kids often think of vegetables as unappealing side dishes. But working them (think pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini) into muffins, pancakes, and breads is a whole different taste experience. If they do ask, “What's in it?” don't try to hide the fact that they are eating something healthy. Instead, use it as an opportunity to open their minds to other fun ways they can add vegetables to their meals.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dividing Your Husband’s Thrift Savings Plan After a Military Divorce

The Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, is the military's version of a 401 (k) program, which Congress extended to military members in 2001. If you're going through a military divorce, you might be eligible to receive a portion of your husband's TSP balance.
The TSP is a retirement savings and investment plan that many military members use to supplement military retirement pay. To receive a transfer of funds from your husband's TSP account after your Virginia divorce, you'll need a court order that clearly awards you a portion of the TSP account.

In order to help develop a valid court order during your military divorce, the TSP Legal Processing Unit will provide you and your attorney pertinent information, such as:
  • the member's TSP balance;
  • any existing loan balances; and
  • annual or quarterly TSP statements. 

Starting over after the life-altering event of a military divorce can seem scary at times, especially when you're unsure of your financial future. It helps to know that you might be eligible to receive a portion of your husband's TSP balance, which will provide you with a welcomed financial buffer.

Your divorce attorney can help you navigate the military retirement pay system during your divorce to fight for a settlement that addresses your husband's TSP account, among other possible assets.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Can ya'll do me a favor and vote for my childhood friend in Crate & Barrel's "Ultimate Wedding Contest"? Her and her fiance are trying to win $100,000 dream wedding and they entered a little late so they could use the help. Registration's not necessary, they let you log-in with your Facebook account so it makes that whole thing easy. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My new motto

I really want to learn how to crostitch JUST so I can crostitch this.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Army Wives

Anyone watch the show Army Wives? I think probably 75% of the military wives do regardless of their branch... Either way, I just wanted to send out a reminder (because a friend just reminded me) that Army Wives season 5 airs TOMORROW, March 13 at 9pm eastern / 8pm central.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fat Tuesday

History of Mardi Gras
When most people think of Mardi Gras, they think of costumes, beads and the numerous parades and celebrations held in New Orleans.  While you might know that Mardi Gras is celebrated on the day before the beginning of Lent, you might not know that the term “Mardi Gras” literally means “Fat Tuesday,” and is a legal holiday in the state of Louisiana.  

Mardi Gras’ roots date back thousands of years ago, when pagans celebrated spring and fertility. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these traditions into the new faith, to subtly convert the local pagans to Christianity.  In the days leading up to Lent, they would eat all the meat, cheese, milk and other delicacies that they could consume, in preparation for several weeks of fasting.
Many historians believe that the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when the French explorers Iberville and Bienville landed just south of what’s known today as New Orleans. French settlements began marking the holiday with street parties and masquerade balls. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans (after the French-Indian War which ended in 1763), they abolished the festivities, and the ban on publicly celebrating Mardi Gras remained until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.

In 1857, a secret society (Mistick Krewe of Comus), organized a Mardi Gras parade with marching bands and floats, laying the foundation for festivities that continue to thrive today.

Mardi Gras at Home
If you can’t make it to New Orleans, you can make a mini Mardi Gras celebration of your own.  It may not be a parade down St. Charles Avenue, but a party with appropriate decorations and food are sure to make your Mardi Gras festive.Here are a few recipes I'll be using tonight:

{Tutorial Tuesday} St. Patrick's Day Printables!

These printable are becoming more and more popular... I can see why, it's such an easy way to decorate... Chick, Print, Put in frame, and Display! (Photo right from Eighteen25) Oh and best of all, these are all free! Click HERE to view/print the printable shown on right

Now mind you, these are not mine, these are linked to the creators website, so full credit goes to them.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Déjà vu

I watched Emma for the first time last night (on Netflix), got three quarters of the way through the movie before I was like "Hmm, where have I seen this story line before..."

(( * * * Spoiler Alert * * * ))

A rich, young (motherless) girl unsuccessfully plays match maker. After taking her new best friend, Harriet, out of marrying a farmer by claiming Harriet is too good for him, she tries to set her up with Elton... Unfortunately Elton likes Emma, not Harriet. When Emma turns him down, he immediately marries a snobby rich girl, only concerned with status and clothes. Emma ends up following for the uber-cute new kid Churchill, but after her and Harriet get mugged by gypsies and ultimately saved by Churchill, she sees Harriet's falling for him, and she decides she'll set her up with him. Unfortunately they find out Churchill had been unavailable all along because he had been secretly engaged to another. Harriet wound up revealing she was into Emma's  ex-step-brother Knightley, which made Emma jealious because she realized she had been into him all along... In the end Emma married Knightley and Harriet wound up accepting the poor farmer's proposal and they all lived happily ever after.

Did you figure it out? Does it sound familiar yet? No? Well maybe this will help...

A rich, young (motherless) girl unsuccessfully plays match maker. After taking her new best friend, Tai, out of getting with a stoner by claiming Tai is too good for him, she tries to set her up with Elton... Unfortunately Elton likes Cher, not Tai. When Cher turns him down, he immediately starts dating a snobby rich girl, only concerned with status and clothes (Amber). Cher ends up following for the uber-cute new kid Christian, but after  Tai get bullied at the mall and ultimately saved by Christian, she sees Tai's falling for him, and she decides she'll set her up with him. Unfortunately they find out Christian had been unavailable all along because he is gay. Tai  wound up revealing she was into Cher's ex-step-brother Josh, which made Cher jealious because she realized she had been into him all along... In the end Cher kisses Josh and Tai wound up accepting the stone's proposal to go out and they all lived happily ever after.

Got it now? HaHa.