Easy Healthy Smoothie Recipe for Kids

Leafy green vegetables! It’s not a secret that they are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Packed with vitamins, minerals and micronutrients, leafy green veggies are a food I want to eat every day and I want my kids to eat every day. Growing up on processed food and canned vegetables, eating spinach and kale did not come easy or natural. Each of my kids now eat spinach every day  – usually happily – in the form of a green smoothie. I am delighted to share my easy healthy smoothie recipe for kids.

Motivation

The first time I saw them, green smoothies made me cringe. My kids gave me a look like I was crazy. Our brains have incredible influence on our taste preferences. “Hulk Smoothies” is what I called these when we first started making them. Stay positive, start with less spinach then gradually add more, and enjoy! When my children have friends over, we always offer to share some smoothies with them. More than half of the kids I’ve offered these smoothies to enjoy them with full spinach at first taste.

Personally, I like to save time and make things in bulk. Making an entire blender full of smoothie, I divide it into serving and saving cups. Extra can be stored in the fridge or frozen and thawed later.

Gather ingredients

 

Green Smoothie
Add avocado and bananas to blender
Add spinach
Top with frozen strawberries
Fill halfway with orange juice
Fill with milk alternative or water
Optional add scoop of Superfoods Protein Powder
Cover securely.
Blend and Serve
ENJOY!

 

Ingredients

Add to large blender in this order

  • 1 avocado
  • 6 bananas
  • Handful of spinach (start with less and add more with time)
  • Handful of frozen strawberries (on top of the spinach helps push it down to blend better)
  • Orange Juice, fill blender halfway
  • Milk alternative or water – fill blender to max liquid level (milk will froth in a blender so use almond, coconut or soy milk)
  • Optional scoop of Superfoods Protein Powder

Blend, Serve and Enjoy!

Leave me a comment below and let me know  your favorite way to get kids to eat spinach. Please let me know if you try this and enjoy it or have any ideas!

 

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Sonlight Curriculum Reviews – Raising Compassionate Kids

Sonlight was not our first choice of curriculum for two reasons. First, it’s not cheap. Second, it’s literature based and I have three boys who are NOT avid readers. As you decide what is best for you, I pray my Sonlight curriculum reviews can be helpful. Read more about other curricula we use.

After frustration with other curricula and discussing Sonlight with a veteran homeschool mom, I decided to try it for a year. That was five years ago. I can tell you will absolute certainty that the decision was one of the pivotal and best decisions I have made in our journey of home education. We enjoy reflecting on past family experiences and many of our favorite homeschool memories are related to the books we have read through the Sonlight programs and the discussions we have had as we learn together. I will honestly tell you that Sonlight is not perfect because nothing is, but we are so thankful we have this resource.

There are many reasons people choose to educate in the home, many theories on home education and many approaches to it. The core of our purpose is to raise our children with a love of learning, compassion for others, and provide a solid education that encourages critical thinking while honoring Christ as we discover God’s love for all people. Whew!! That’s a tall order! Does Sonlight really do all that?

What Is Sonlight? 

Sonlight is a curriculum provider for homeschool with resources for all ages starting with preschool continuing through high school including all subjects, even valuable electives. It truly provides everything needed. Sonlight has been trusted for 30 years while continually updating and improving what they offer in response to technology, new books and feedback.

Sonlight provides well-planned, thorough schedules for Bible/History/Literature in addition to the books and other resources to go along with it. Science and Language Arts are separate subjects with separate schedules along with the required resources. Sonlight has suggestions and options for all other subjects through their catalog or website. I have never been disappointed with any of the electives purchased through them. They don’t have an enormous selection but what they offer is high quality.

What Does Literature Based Actually Mean? 

My reflection on what literature-based means simplified is that we learn through stories. I have always had an interest in history but never really loved it. I dislike having to memorize list of names and dates. In my experience, when I remember history class, I remember taking tests and having to memorize facts that didn’t carry much meaning in order to pass the test. In a literature based setting, we learn the historical facts, we do memory work enjoyably but we really learn through connection with characters. We don’t always remember facts but we do remember feelings much easier.

We started with Core B and the story we remember most intensely that first year was the biography of George Mueller. He has a redemptive story with a wild childhood and then a deep passion for the Lord. Even now, as we are surviving this worldwide COVID crisis, we have reflected back to how George cared for his neighbors and so many orphans, often risking his own life, through the cholera epidemic in Europe in the 1800s. We don’t remember the date or city, but we remember feeling the anguish with him as he lovingly took in children orphaned from the epidemic and committed to caring for them even when he didn’t know how he could ever afford it. He trusted the Lord, prayed every day and every day, God provided exactly what was needed. We walked through the pandemic with him, felt what he felt, and witnessed the power of his faith. This type of learning is so much more meaningful to me than simply memorizing that there was a second cholera pandemic from 1826-1837.

We have really enjoyed almost all the books Sonlight schedules. Some have started slowly but, keeping with the program, have finished strong. Sonlight chooses historical fiction with characters about the same age or slightly older than the recommended ages for the core. In the younger cores, the characters and stories have an element of silliness which makes them fun and easy to read. Almost all the characters undergo some trial or challenge through which they gain tremendous character growth. These are the foundations for many treasured conversations. Because we’ve read the stories together, we also have shared memories and experiences surrounding these experiences.

What if My Kids Don’t Love to Read? 

My boys don’t love to read. In fact, given a list of ten things to do, reading is almost never something they choose to do with their free time. Building forts, playing sports, bouncing off the walls, listening to music…. are all things they prefer over sitting and reading quietly. It’s the sitting quietly part that they struggle with. They do enjoy listening to me read because I support their needs to move by encouraging them to color, draw, work on puzzles or play with fidget toys or allowing them to lay down, even if its upside down!

Last year, I had the brilliant idea to free up some time by listening to the audiobook version of a book rather than read it out loud. My oldest son protested by saying, “but mom, you have the voice of an angel and I don’t want to listen to an audiobook.” After years of forced reading out loud where I sometimes doubted whether they were even listening or if they even cared, my momma heart overflowed with joy at that simple comment that meant the world to me!

*Love of Learning

Learning history through stories is meaningful and my children do not dread history- they look forward to it. Bonus that we read cuddled up on the couch, outside when its warm or sprawled out on the floor. One of the biggest challenges is that my lap is not big enough to support three children while holding the book and trying to read. Sometimes this leads to arguments over who gets to sit closest to mom. Sibling rivalry is a different topic I’d like to talk about another time… but I love that my kids want to listen to stories and want to cuddle up while we read!

 

*Compassion for Others 

God created all people in His image. Every. Single. Person. His creativity is evident  looking at the diversity of His creation. We are stronger together so our differences should be celebrated and appreciated. By surrounding ourselves with people different from ourselves, we learn from them and grow in compassion and empathy. How in the world can I do that on a budget?! I would love to travel the world with my family to experience different cultures but that’s not a possibility for us. Even if it were, that only leads to an appreciation of current cultures.

What about developing compassion for people throughout history. It’s incredibly easy to read history and point out mistakes and claim what they should have done differently. More meaningful, however, is to walk a mile in their shoes. The characters in historical fiction provide incredible insight to lead to an understanding of why certain decisions were made. What was it like when and where they lived. What were they thinking and feeling? What were the choices? What could have happened with either decision? I believe that people make the decisions they believe are best at the time with the information that they have.

By learning to look at the world through the eyes of other people, we can learn compassion and empathy.

*Solid Education that Encourages Critical Thinking

Solight provides a very thorough and solid education through their programs. Simply looking at a stack of books will remove all doubt otherwise. The books are carefully chosen and all quality. There have been less than a handful of the hundred+ books we’ve read that I’d say aren’t my favorite. The IGs (Instructor Guide) provide discussion questions to encourage conversation with your kids if that doesn’t come natural to youl

*Honoring Christ and Loving ALL of God’s Creation 

This is a nondenominational Christian homeschool curriculum. Controversial topics are brought up to encourage discussion. For example, the topic of old earth vs new earth is discussed with both sides of the argument provided. Families are encouraged to read the scripture, look at scientific evidence and decide for themselves.

Love for God first and all people is a theme throughout the entire curriculum. Controversial and negative parts of history are definitely learned with an emphasis on praying for everyone. What an amazing way to connect with people through history and geography.

Are There Any Downsides? 

Nothing is perfect, so yes, there are downsides.

  • Cost: Sonlight is not cheap. I’ve done a few things to try to save money. Buying a full course provides a discount. I have also bought used. You can search “used Sonlight curriculum” to try to find older cores. I personally prefer to buy the IG and student sheets new and then try to find used books when possible. This is tedious and time-consuming. I often wonder if it’s even worth all the time but continue to do it every year.
  • Overwhelming: Sometimes the book lists can seem overwhelming. I prefer to think of Sonlight as a buffet sometimes. Many valuable resources are scheduled but you don’t have to use every single thing all the time. Honestly, we have fallen behind in reading and occasionally skipped a book.
  • Travel: An intense desire to travel has been a side effect of learning to love the world around us!

 

**Blessings to you in whatever you choose. I hope this has been helpful. Please leave me a comment and let me know your experience. Here is a more extensive list of other curricula we use in educating in our home.

Learn as much as you can, Love God and others and Live fully!

 

Affiliate disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a commission. You will pay no more so please go ahead and feel free to make a purchase. Thank you!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Apple iPhone SE 2020 cases

I have been waiting for a while for an affordable iPhone with a great camera. I am so excited to have my new apple iPhone SE 2020! My problem is that I frequently drop my phone and I do NOT want it to crack or break. There are many cases available but not all of them will protect my precious phone from my slippery grip. I spent hours researching all the cases available before deciding which cover to protect my investment with. This case was built for adventurers and as you read the rest of my blog- I certainly seek adventure!

Urban Armor Gear Rugged Shockproof Military Drop Tested Protective Cover

Overall Rating: At the time of this publishing, this phone case has received only 5 and 4 star reviews!

Product Description: Lightweight with five layers of protection including layers of leather and metal.

Wireless charging compatible.

Honey-comb traction grip makes this easier to hold than other slick cases.

Buttons that are ultra-responsive for great function and crisp click feel.

Meets 2 times military drop test standards.

Comes with 10 year limited warranty.

PROs

Rugged: Not surprisingly, I have dropped my phone several times and this case has protected my phone perfectly. I can only say that I am always multitasking and trying to do and carry too much at once. The phone has been dropped on concrete, a marble floor, carpeting and while riding a bike (I know I shouldn’t be riding and texting).There is not even the slightest scuff on the case.

Military-Grade MIL STD 810G 516.6: Exceeds military standards for drop and shock, enduring 26 drops, from 4′ high, with 0 damage. UAG’s signature armor frame and shock-resistant core is layered with top-grain leather, a polycarbonate shear plate, and alloy metal hardware—all wrapped in impact-resistant rubber.

Easy Installation: Installation is a breeze! The case snaps on and off easily yet stays in place while in use. Much easier than other multi-layer cases used in the past.

Excellent grip: This case has a honey-comb grip along the edges and indentations for finger rests along the back for improved grip. I drop my phone all the time because I tend to be a klutz not because of a design flaw in the case.

Crisp Buttons: The buttons are oversize and tactile. Easy to press, they are crisp and smooth.

Slim Design: This case has a thin, lint resistant, friction free cover which slips in-and-out of pockets easily.

Bold Color: Available in either red or black.

Sales: This phone case is comparable in price to many other cases but still is not cheap. I purchased this case when it was on sale. I noticed that the cases tend to fluctuate in price on Amazon throughout the day and from day to day. I watched for a sale and purchased then.

CONS

This case does NOT come with a screen protector so one will need to be purchased separately.

I bought this one. It’s not perfect because the protector lifts at the sides but that is because the screen is curved at the edge so there is no great solution to this at the moment.

Cannot use a pop socket with this case because the back has its own grip.

The Monarch design case only comes in two colors.

Similar Case with more Designs: Limited Edition- Customized Designs by Ego Tactical Over a UAG Urban Armor Gear Case for Apple iPhone SE

I chose to purchase the Monarch UAG case because of the reasons previously listed- I wanted the best durability at the best price. My husband purchased one of these cases because of the many designs in a high quality case. I agonized over this decision for far too long!

Personal side note unrelated to cell phone covers: I particularly appreciate the designs with the American Flags on the cover. During times like these, I believe it’s very important to remember the basics. We are all created equal and have inherent value. I am proud to be an American even though I am not proud of many aspects of American history.  Be kind to everyone always.

Overall Rating: At the time of this publishing, this phone case has received only 5 and 4 star reviews!

PROS:

Rugged: This UAG EGO Tactical also has an impact resistant hard case with a soft care. Military drop testing standards are also exceeded.

Easy Installation: Installation is a breeze! The case snaps on and off easily yet stays in place while in use.

Excellent grip: Finger grips along the back and an easy-grip material are used to construct this case.

Crisp Buttons: The buttons are oversize and tactile. Easy to press, they are crisp and smooth.

Design is slim, color options are extensive and the case is sleek.

CONS:

The case also does not come with a screen protector.

Popsockets won’t stick because the back is not flat.

I have never seen these cases marked down.

Comparison:

This UAG Ego Tactical is slightly smoother and smaller than the Monarch. No honeycomb grip along the edges like the Monarch.

Conclusion

An iPhone is an investment because of all the value it can add to your life. I use mine extensively for the photo and video capabilities. My iPhone is my primary way of communicating with most people. Reminders, calendars and alarms have simplified and organized my life. The tools and apps available to do any and everything are absolutely incredible. However, I don’t like to spend a lot of money on electronics and I certainly don’t want to spend an equal amount on protecting and replacing them if they break. A solid and affordable way to protect my iPhone is extremely important to me leading me to do as much research as I did which I am now happy to share with you as you decide how to protect your investment as well.

Please leave me a comment and let me know if this was helpful.

Learn as much as you can every day, love intentionally and live fully.

Affiliate disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a commission. You will pay no more so please go ahead and feel free to make a purchase. Thank you!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

The Best Spray Sunscreen for Kids

Sunscreen use provides important protection from the harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun which can cause cancer such as melanoma. Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen daily when in the sun. In our home, sunscreen application has been a challenge as nobody I’ve ever met really likes the feel of it. Spray sunscreen is the easiest to apply and has the best feel. So which is the best spray sunscreen for kids?

Alba Botanica Kids Sunscreen SPF 50

Hands down, this is our favorite. This is reef safe and water resistant. The spray smells good and dries clear.

 

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

The clear mist from this sunscreen creates a barrier on the skin and physically blocks out the sun’s harmful rays. This is also reef safe and water resistant. The spray takes longer to dry and rubbing it in helps speed up the drying process.

?REEF Safe?

Reef safe simply means that the sunscreen does not contain 2 specific UV blocking chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, that are known to cause coral bleaching.  The coral in reefs absorb these chemicals and can have unfortunate effects. Also, these chemicals in the water also supports certain viruses in the water which can make coral sick and lead to death.

Sun Bum Original Spray SPF 30 
This sunscreen smells great with added vitamin E to nourish the skin,. It is ultra waterproof and sweatproof. This sunscreen dries very quickly and smells great.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist
The claim to fame for this sunscreen is its “weightless and clean feel.” The sunscreen applies in a fine dry mist which feels a bit cold. This also dries fast and leaves little residue but smells like sunscreen.

Banana Boat Simply Protect Kids Sunscreen
With a bottle that is the easiest to hold, Banana Boat is light weight, easy to rub in and water resistant. Note that this sunscreen also reports to be tear free. All sunscreens are irritating to the eys but this sunscreen is the least.

How to Use Sunscreen Spray

The sprayable sunscreen is our choice  but its important to also apply correctly. Hold near the skin and contiue to spray generously. Rub the sunscreen in to ensure complete coverage. Pay attention to the border area of clothes because they often move and uncovered spots are unprotected.

Sunscreen is not 100% effective in blocking the sun’s harmful rays so use in combination with other protective techniques including wearing protective clothing, wearing a wide brimmed hat, wearing protective sunglasses,  seeking shade when possible and reapplying sunscreen every two hours or after swimming / sweating.

Cautions with spray sunscreen

  • do not inhale (we hold our breath while spraying)
  • never spray directly on face, instead spray on hands and then apply to face
  • do not spray when its windy becuase it blows away and is easy to inhale, insteasd seek shelter from the wind
  • never spray near an open flame

Be Safe and Have Fun in the Sun

I’d love to hear your experience. Leave your comments below 🙂

Learn as much as you can, love intentionally and live fully! God bless you and your family.

 

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a commission. You will pay no more so please go ahead and feel free to make a purchase. Thank you!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Summer Schedule Kids

Today you are making the memories of tomorrow! People thrive on routine and hard work is immensely satisfying. Having a summer schedule for kids helps them feel more satisfied and less restless. There are endless fun things to do with kids in summer.

Why Do Schools Have a Summer Break?

Three months is a long time for kids to not have the structure of school or the benefits of education. So why is there such a long break? There are a couple theories circulating. The most common explanation is that schools took a break so that children could help their parents with farming and homestead tasks. Another explanation is the lack of air conditioning in urban areas caused so many students to skip school that officials eventually created a summer break for all. Whatever the reason, all parents know that summer breaks can be great fun and a great source of stress.

The Transition is the Hardest

Any change, positive or negative, is stressful because of fear of the unknown and lack of certainty. Simple solution. Let the kids know what to expect! Always keep a positive attitude because it’s catchy.

Celebrate the end of the year first! It does not have to be anything big. We always visit our local coffee shop and take a picture in the same spot. We talk about our favorite memories from the school year, look through pictures and make goals for the summer and the next school year.

Decide What is Important 

Every family is different so it’s important to decide what are the most important things for you at this point in your life. Know that this will change every year based on age of kids. Developing good habits is much easier than trying to change bad habits. It’s never too late to start! It only takes 30 days to form a new routine. Self control is needed for success so start today!

Suggestions:

  • make bed
  • quiet time
  • chores that are age appropriate
  • brush teeth
  • brush hair
  • put on deodorant (tween and older)
  • personal reading
  • act of kindness
  • tidy up
  • make and clean up lunch (age appropriate)
  • draw / color picture
  • 100 piece puzzle 
  • 300 piece puzzle
  • exercise
  • read short or longer stories out loud
  • typing practice
  • journaling
  • math practice
  • science experiments
  • art projects
  • board game
  • make music or dance around to silly songs

We have certain things that we do every day no matter what. Then we have loose scheduling that we fill in with other activities as time allows. Be spontaneous to laugh, play and be silly with your kids. Those make the best memories!

Let Kids Know What to Expect

Make it visible in your home. Talk about it every day. Encourage but don’t nag, whine or pout. Inspire as you require.

Model self-discipline, cheerfulness and routine in your own life.

Printed sheets, magnet boards, picture charts, white boards, chalk boards or apps are all ways to make routines visible to children. Making a song out of a routine also helps them memorize.

Today You are Making the Memories of Tomorrow

Looking for some fun activities? Read  Summer Fun Activities.

Have fun making meaningful summer memories! Routines help at home but don’t let sticking to the schedule stress you out. The goal is to develop life skills to help children become adults. Be flexible when other experiences opportunities arise. But never skip the deodorant!

Learn as much as you can. Love your children intentionally. Live fully.

I’d love to hear your experience. Leave your comments below 🙂

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and buy something, I may receive a commission. You will pay no more so please go ahead and feel free to make a purchase. Thank you!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.