Tag: family meals

30+ fantastic open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t get a yes or no answer.

If you’re not getting much more than a “yeah,” “nope,” or “fine” when you ask about your kid’s day at school, it might be time for some new conversations starters. (Trust us, we’re right there with you.) So we set out to collect dozens of smart, easy, open-ended questions to ask your kids, so you don’t just get a yes or no answer. We’ve thrown these out around our own dinner tables, and have been surprised by how much these 30+ questions really got our kids talking. So, here’s to engaging dinner conversations…with the whole family. Top photo by Jon Flobrant via Unsplash   Open-ended questions about feelings We...

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Kitchen lifesavers! 21 favorite easy holiday recipes made easier with kitchen shortcuts

Those of you who are also fans of Cool Mom Eats (and hey, thank you!) know that I’m all about coming up with smart solutions to help busy parents with home cooked meals that still feed our families quickly and easily. Especially this time of year, when presumably most of us would rather spend our time hanging with the family, not stuck in the kitchen. Well, depending on the family of course. (Heh.) So we’re here to help with some smart kitchen shortcuts and easy holiday recipes that keep meals simple, speedy, healthy, and above all, totally delicious — thanks in part to our...

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Beyond thank you and please: 7 manners all kids should learn for holiday entertaining (and that we’re not all teaching)

Please and thank you — important stuff, right? I’ve always believe that courteous kids grow into nice adults and we all need more nice in the world these day. But that’s not where etiquette begins and ends. So with the holidays here, and lots of entertaining and mingling coming up on our calendars, we’ve started talking in our home about some of the manners that we want our kids to know, so they can be fantastic guests and hosts. I’m sharing them here with the hope that maybe our ideas will help some of you too. Top: Please and Thank You poster at TanyaGDesign on Etsy I know...

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The world’s cutest tableware for kids: We have a contender!

When my kids first started eating solids, they often reminded me of wild baby animals — flinging food all over the place, trying to eat without using their hands, and getting all the gooiest stuff mashed into their hair. So I’m pretty impressed with the new kids’ tableware line from Marcus & Marcus  which offers cute, animal-inspired designs help our littlest ones learn to eat like, well, like little humans. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 14 of the coolest baby gifts and gear we wish we had when we were new moms. The easy-to-clean, brightly colored collection was developed by two parents who know a thing or...

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The new Cocoon multi-stage high chair keeps up with your growing child.

I had three kids in four years and learned very quickly how fast kids outgrow their gear. That’s why I love companies like Oribel, smart engineers who are creating modern, multi-stage products that are meant to last throughout several developmental stages. We’ve praised their designs before, like when they came out with their PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center that goes from an activity center to a play table so our kids can get many years use out of it. Still a favorite. And now, Oribel is introducing the Cocoon Complete High Chair, designed for kids as young as 6 months of age all the way up to 3 years. As they grow, the Cocoon grows...

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120+ easy Valentine’s Day recipes, drinks and last-minute DIY treats you’re going to love

Need some last-minute help planning a deliciously sweet Valentine’s Day menu? We’ve put together all our favorite easy Valentine’s Day recipes that we’ve been sharing on Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Eats — from breakfast to dessert — in one place. This way, you can scan them quickly to save more time for, well, whatever you want. Plus you’ll find some terrific DIY tricks here that turn store-bought treats into something special for the big day. Because, hey, we’re all about easy on Valentine’s Day. And that’s not a double entendre. Okay, it is. Top photos: Heart-Shaped Pretzels by My Name is Snickerdoodle; Valentine’s Day Brownies by Pink...

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7 Thanksgiving books for kids written from the Native perspective

Looking for the best Thanksgiving books for kids to share this week is a no-brainer for us; Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s low pressure (unless you’re doing all the cooking), no fancy outfits to shop for, no gifts. Just a weekend with the people I love most in the world. But while the spirit of the holiday for my family is really about togetherness, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the true history of Thanksgiving, and how we’ve become more enlightened in recent years about the longtime misrepresentation of the Native people whose land was decidedly...

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The end-of-summer bucket list: 9 fun, easy ways to get in some last-minute fun in August

Hey, wait a minute. Is that you, August? How did you get here so fast? I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. Wasn’t it April just yesterday? Instead of trying to wrap our collective heads around the theory of relativity, let’s focus on how we can drain every last drop of fun out of this summer with our kids. Because in a blink, they’ll be back to school and we’ll be back to packing lunches (oh. yay.) again. Unless you’re one of those families who already has kids back in school, take a look at what I think...

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6 ways to entertain kids in restaurants without (gasp) pulling out a screen.

The very first thing my son does when we sit down to eat at a restaurant (well, after ordering both ice water and milk) is ask for my iPhone. I’ll admit that I’m often tempted to hand it over because it’s such an easy way to keep him entertained while we’re waiting for our food in restaurants. I mean, I always have it on me, and he can play any number of kids’ apps, watch a movie, or find kid-friendly clips on YouTube. But, he’s four. I know doesn’t need all that extra screen time. (Do any of us, really?) Plus,...

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9 spectacular one-pot recipes for dinner that everyone will love. Especially those on dish duty.

Great one-pot recipes are a family dinner lifesaver — so long as they are truly a one-pot meal. As in, no cheats. These recipes are, and they are amazingly delicious, too. If you ask me, every parent should keep a list of recipes like these on hand at all times. You should know that I’m picky about what counts as a one-pot meal. For me, the word meal implies that the recipe comes complete with protein, veggies, and some kind of carb or carb-y vegetable. If I have to pull out another pot to make rice separately or cook side veggies, well then it’s...

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7 fantastic food blogs to follow for family food inspiration beyond the usual

I recently tried to figure out how many food blogs populate the internet. The answer: A lot. I couldn’t find an exact number—not a recent one, at least—but it’s big enough to demonstrate that yes, there can be too much of a good thing. With so many food blogs to follow out there, it’s hard to know which you can count on for great writing and reliable recipes, especially for families. To help, I’ve combed all my favorious resources, and put together a list of some of my favorite food blogs to follow in 2015, with a particular focus on...

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The Happy Mat that saved mealtimes

My toddler seeks out new ways daily to make mealtimes all stress and all mess. Food on the floor, “non-slip” mat thrown in the air, liquids everywhere–you name it, he’s done it. It’s more than the OCD in me can handle some days–okay, most days–and it raises the question: do happy mealtimes really exist? Well, I have good news, my fellow neat freaks. It’s called the Happy Mat, made by a company called ezpz. (Get it? Easy-Peasy?) Created by Lindsey Laurain, a mom of three young boys who I know understands messy mealtimes, the sturdy, high quality silicone mat truly suctions to...

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Mouthwatering stuffed sweet potato recipes let you stuff your face and keep it healthy

This is that time of the year that I’m still totally dedicated to super healthy eating (seriously!), but also craving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meals because, well, winter is in full swing. Every year, my answer to this conundrum is the same: baked sweet potatoes. Hearty, healthy, and satisfying, sweet potatoes can be topped—no, stuffed—with nearly anything to make a delicious meal. If you don’t believe me, check out these 8 stuffed sweet potato recipes—and just try to resist stuffing your face with them.   What happens when you make a simple black bean taco using a baked sweet potato in place of...

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6 chicken soup recipe variations to warm your bones and excite your palate

’Tis the season for chicken soup, a magical elixir said to be good for the soul and known to boost your immune system. You can never go wrong with a classic chicken soup recipe, especially when you’re feeling under the weather (the chicken noodle soup we spied on Smitten Kitchen is my idea of a perfect cold and flu remedy), but it can get boring over the course of a long winter. When you need a big bowl of soup to warm your bones and excite your palate, go for one of these fresh and flavorful chicken soup recipe...

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10 simple, time and money-saving grocery shopping tips, just in time for the holidays

We’re always looking for ways to save time and money grocery shopping, especially during the holiday season when we’re all feeling stretched thinner than usual in every way. We’re spending more on holiday gifts and family travel, and even on household groceries for all those relatives coming to visit. Some longer than others. (Just kidding, we love you relatives! All of you.) Because every minute and every penny counts for us these days, we’re really happy to be working with our newest sponsor hiku, a very cool new gadget and app combo designed to streamline your grocery shopping list and save you tons of time. Let’s just...

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How to cook a turkey: 5 easy Thanksgiving turkey recipes

We’ve been gearing up for Thanksgiving all week with amazing mashed potato recipes, the easiest cranberry sauce recipes, killer stuffing recipes, tips for how to make homemade pie, and a guide to best mail order pies in the country (a tasty, timesaving approach to Thanksgiving dessert). Now it’s time to talk turkey. Foodies the nation over will be debating the merits of brining, whether to spatchcock (yes, I said that), if frying is worthwhile, and otherwise discussing ad nauseum how to cook a turkey. The rest of us just need a good, easy Thanksgiving turkey recipe, and one of...

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8 seriously amazing mashed potato recipes for Thanksgiving. Or heck, Christmas, Mother’s Day and our birthdays.

I can never eat too many hot, yummy, heaping forkfuls of mashed potatoes. We’re the kind of family that has both homemade stuffing (often more than one kind) and potatoes on the Thanksgiving table. If you’re not running away from me in a carb-phobic panic right now, then we can be friends. Also, I hope you’ll enjoy these awesome mashed potato recipes for Thanksgiving–and way beyond. Oh, and because my totally insane youngest daughter refuses to eat mashed potatoes (I told you–insane) I am forced to take on the hard task of eating her portion myself. So I have double the reason to want...

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Web Coolness: Cheering for Amy Poehler, hilarious Halloween costumes, and kids who eat WHAT for breakfast?

Here are our favorite links from around the Internet this week. Hope you like them too.   Step away from the breakfast cereal and check out this amazing photo essay: What kids around the world eat for breakfast. (At top, Tokyo) Smart reasons to start using FaceTime Audio now. As big ONE supporters, we’re so thrilled to see Amy Poehler is guest curating ONE Girls + Women this month. If you’re a mom who hates cooking dinner, you will print out this article and cover it with kisses. Great tips for making the most of your parent-teacher conferences. Compelling observations from one blogger’s trip to India. What makes women...

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OXO Tot introduces two on-the-go toddler seats with very different purposes

I heart OXO Tot. From their perfectly designed wipes dispenser to their handy freezer storage containers and snack containers, they’ve singlehandedly made diaper changes and storing baby food much breezier for this mama. So it only makes sense that they are launching two new items in those very categories to make life on-the-go with your toddler a little easier, too. First up, the new candy-colored OXO Tot Nest Booster Seats. No matter how you feel about your high chair, a booster seat is a must-have for mealtimes at restaurants or at Grandma’s. I’m just now moving into the booster seat phase myself so...

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Raise your hand if you’d like your kid’s food to stay on the plate, not on the floor.

Meal time with a toddler can feel like a special kind of hell. Aside from picky eating, the real frustrations for me came in when my little eaters managed to throw what seemed like all of their food on the floor. If you’re the type of parent who spends countless hours pureeing your own organic yams, then food waste is especially irritating. Then again…it’s especially irritating for those of us who put a few Cheerios on a plate and call it a snack. Let’s just agree that extra clean-up stinks no matter what. Enter Adi, the brand new Stay Put Plate that I am so...

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