Tag Archive | "Improving Family Life"

Family 2012 Book List

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Family 2012 Book List

Posted on 18 March 2012 by noelskitchen

For those of you who enjoy reading books as a family, here is the start of my 2012 book list containing my top family books for the year to read! Hoping we can read more than this…but thought it would be wise this year to keep it a little smaller than I have attempted previously!  I enjoy reading the same books as my children read as it’s a great way to get involved in a family time conversation and we have a lot of fun discussing the books we read.

Currently reading: The Hunger Games (trying to get it finished before the movie comes out on Friday the 23rd.)

The Help by Kathryn Sockett

Big Nate Series by Lincoln Peirce (our son’s read 3 out of ? in the series)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond (Ree is a a great inspiration when it comes to cooking and managing life on the farm.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon, Brian Williams

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Chrystallia by P.M. Glaser (we met P.M. Glaser at the Sacramento Autorama this past February. He was signing autographs in front of the car that was used in the Starkey and Hutch television show. Boy, I guess that dates me. :) )

Freckles by Gene Statton Porter

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini (the kids got to meet the author when we lived in the Bay Area and we all received autograph copies of Eragon.)

The Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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Ring In The New Year With New Family Memories

Posted on 26 December 2011 by noelskitchen

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ~Burton Hillis

Some of my most treasured memories center around a happy holiday table-the people who were there, the family jokes and news bulletins on the most important events, and the good food that helped conversations flow and the time fly; and here we we find ourselves about to ring in a New Year. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas weekend!

Christmas was quite and peaceful this year. Since I’ve lacked writing lately to relax and enjoy the time off with my family, I couldn’t resist writing to all of you today as we are doing absolutely nothing. The stores are beyond insane with the after Christmas sales and I personally don’t have the patience for the undecidable crowds.

These days we all live with busy hurried lives. But it’s still possible to provide the necessary islands of peaceful, enjoyable family living that are traditionally associated with the dinner table. We can still make the most important meals, the family meals, memorable – not just once in a while, but most of the while.

Ringing In The New Year!

The days of those classy New Years Eve parties where we dressed up and rang in the New Year with champagne toasts are a total thing of the past.  We are parents now and our carefree party days are few and far between. While most would say we could probably leave our child(ren) with a family member for New Years Eve, it doesn’t seem to feel right. When they were younger, it was much easier but now as they get older, they want to be included in the entertainment and festivities of the special occasion. We’re not ones to travel much on the holidays. We prefer to stay home, where it’s cozy, and avoid the messy traffic. Over the years, we’ve developed some simple, yet fun traditions for celebrating the new year with our kids. It can be a lot of fun to invent your own New Years Eve traditions to do each year as a family. From homemade noise makers to tasty party food, you will be creating wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.

This year, we’re trying something new. After one last visit from family and friends, we’re creating a Happy New Year tree! We’re taking down all the Christmas ornaments, but leaving the lights on to twinkle through the night; adding some curly ribbon of various colors and topping it off with a beautiful, sparkly star.  With all that said, 2011 has been a pretty great year for our family. We’ve seen goals accomplished and new dreams hatched. Our children have grown in size and in spirit. We have fulfilling jobs and health and food on our table. 2011 has been great to us.

Here’s to a new year full of creating new family memories!

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Clever and Quick Ideas For Family Fun Nights

Posted on 21 October 2011 by noelskitchen

Family life in today’s lifestyle is just crazy. We all seem to be running around, over-stressed, over-scheduled, over-worked, and under-paid! We all want and need to make our family and home life as sane and peaceful as possible. Learning how to organize your life will provide you with an immeasurable amount of sanity and peace. And of course more time for Family Fun Nights!

photo courtesy of imom

Recently, I discovered the fun of Pinterest. I just signed up at the beginning of the month-and it’s been fun to see all the fun and creative ideas. It can be quite addictive, as you can see from mine, it’s a slow work in process. I try and take a day or two a week to browse. I’ve found some fun ideas and have been able to start creating some fun boards for reference in the future.

If you’ve had the chance to sign up and explore Pinterest, you can follow me here. But if you haven’t, I thought I would share some of my Family Fun Night Discoveries.

:: 20 Ideas For A Family Fun Night for lots of different ideas for Family Fun Nights from IMOM.

:: Family Fun Cupcakes for lots of different fun ways to make cupcakes for all occassions from All Things Cupcakes.

These are just a couple Family Fun Night ideas I’ve come across.

Have you found some clever and quick ideas for Family Fun Nights?

Tell us in the comments!

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Fall Season Brings Family Fun To Our Home

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Fall Season Brings Family Fun To Our Home

Posted on 22 September 2011 by noelskitchen

Fall officially begins tomorrow. Here in the sierra foothills just at the lower snow level, we are still sweating and having hot flashes as summer weather continues during the mid to late day. In the mornings, it’s starting to feel a bit cooler as the sun decides to take a bit longer to rise.

Fall Season brings a lot of fun family activities to our home. It truly is my favorite time of year. We start planning our yearly trip to the pumpkin farm and the kid’s get excited about planning out their costume for Halloween and the school’s carnival.

This year, I’m hoping to take a family drive to beautiful Apple Hill to visit the local ranches, have a picnic and taste some great local foods made at the different ranches. This is a great time of year because it gives us many opportunities as a family to have the chance to bond and enjoy the time together.

Those are my two girls peeking through the bus windows, up there, last year on our family trip to Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm.It seems as though it was just yesterday when we went. I can’t believe how quickly time passes.

Get ready for some wonderful family memories this Fall

Here are some good reads from the archives that will help you get in the mood for Fall:


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School’s Free Breakfast Program-Should It Be an Option to Our Kids?

Posted on 06 September 2011 by noelskitchen

I read an interesting article online this morning. It was an article about local moms with children in a Chicago Public School responding to School Breakfast in Classrooms.

One mom was completely against the program even though her first grade daughter’s school hasn’t implemented the program yet. Her daughter’s school has a breakfast program in the cafeteria already and she doesn’t see why it has to be implemented in a classroom setting. The mother stated “I feel like I should have the choice to feed my child what I want to feed her for breakfast, she should be in the classroom to learn, not to eat.”

According to this mom, Chicago has one of the lowest school hours in the country.  She continued stating “We need to educate our kids; we don’t need to feed them.”

Last year, our kid’s elementary school introduced the School’s Free Breakfast Program. I find this to be a great program, not just for our kids but the entire school. The breakfast they serve our kids range from pancakes, cereal and milk, with a piece of fruit, to bagels and cream cheese. It’s not a full sit-down meal but it’s something in their stomachs that’s healthy and lets them get a jumpstart on their day. What’s on the menu is the same type of breakfast you would serve in the home.
Why Serve Breakfast At School?

There are many children out there who don’t have the opportunity to eat a nutritious breakfast each morning. There are those families out there that are living on an extremely tight budget and can’t provide the nutritious breakfast at home and can’t afford to buy it at school. Regardless of those families income, with today’s busy families and their busy lives, it’s often difficult for some families to sit down each morning to eat a nutritious breakfast.
How Children Benefit From Breakfast at School

 Even though, I meal plan and will have quick breakfast ready for my kids in the morning, sometimes our kids are not physically capable of eating breakfast when they first wake up. I know that I’m not quite as hungry first thing in the morning until around 9 a.m.  Being a mom who works outside the home, I have to be out that door by 7:45 a.m. each morning.  Needless to say, there are times where we are in a hurry in the morning and don’t always eat a sit-down meal in the morning. On those rare occasions, I’ll pull breakfast burritos out of the freezer or muffins that I’ve made ahead of time along with a piece of fresh fruit.
According to the FRAC (Food Research and Action Center), studies conclude that students who eat school breakfast increase their math and reading scores as well as improve their speed and memory in cognitive tests.  Research also shows that children who eat breakfast at school – closer to class and test-taking time – perform better on standardized tests than those who skip breakfast or eat breakfast at home. Evidence has grown that children who eat school breakfast are less likely to be overweight, and have improved nutrition – they eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods than those who don’t eat breakfast or have breakfast at home. Schools that provide universal breakfast in the classroom report decreases in discipline and psychological problems, visits to school nurses and tardiness; increases in student attentiveness and attendance; and generally improved learning environments. Universal school breakfast refers to any school program that offers breakfast at no charge to all students, regardless of income.
Yes, I agree that it’s vital that students aren’t hungry when they go to school. It’s important that kids go to school with something in their stomachs. When kids don’t have a healthy breakfast, it’s reflected in behavior and learning. I’m sure that most teachers will agree.  I do agree that breakfast should be available to those kids who need it, especially kids that don’t have food options available to them at home in the morning, whether their parents are busy, or working early, or don’t have the income.  One other issue would be allergies or a restriction in your kid’s diet.  I think if any child has any allergy issues of concern; they can be addressed with the school and accommodations should be made.
Do you approve of school breakfasts in the classroom? Post your comments below.


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