5 Healthy Smoothie Recipes Your Kids Will Love

5 Healthy Smoothie Recipes Your Kids Will Love

Healthy smoothie recipes are a great option for busy mornings and mid-afternoon snacks. Kids tend to love these chilly creations, which they can sip through a straw or from a fun mug. You, too, can benefit from drinking more fruit and veggie-rich smoothies. But not every smoothie recipe is healthy. Some are packed with sugary syrups, too much fruit juice, and ingredients that really belong in a dessert. Here are some healthy smoothie recipes to add to your repertoire.

1. Banana Oat Smoothie

This smoothie gets its natural sweetness from banana, and its creaminess from heart-healthy oats. It’s a great choice for morning since the low-fat yogurt and fiber-rich oats will keep your child full for hours. The recipe calls for ground cinnamon, but if your child does not like too strong of a cinnamon flavor, you could always leave this ingredient out.

2. Avocado and Banana Green Smoothie

If your kids are averse to eating anything green, it may take you a minute to convince them to try this one. But once they take that first sip, they’ll be sold. This is a delicious way to ensure they eat their greens. The recipe calls for greens such as spinach, chard, or kale. For kids, you definitely want to use spinach, which has a mild flavor and is rich in vitamins A and K. The other key ingredient is avocado, which contains lots of beneficial fats. Thankfully, the sweetness from the banana hides any vegetable flavor and gives this smoothie a taste that’s more appealing than its appearance.

3. Toddler “Hidden Veggies” Smoothie

This recipe is really versatile. You can use it to mask most any vegetable you are struggling to convince your child to eat, from frozen peas to cauliflower. And although it is named the Toddler “Hidden Veggie” Smoothie, children (and adults) of all ages will love it. The recipe does call for 1 tablespoon or sugar or an artificial sweetener. Using stevia, which is an herbal, sugar-free sweetener, is a good choice.

4. Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Blueberries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet, making them a great addition to your child’s diet. The vitamins they contain are essential for healthy gums. This recipe also calls for almond or peanut butter, both of which are good sources of healthy fats. Make sure you use a “natural” nut butter with no added sugars.

5. Pineapple Smoothie

This one has a lovely tropical flavor and a bright yellow color that will surely appeal to the pickiest of kids. Pineapple is high in fiber, and Greek yogurt is a good source of protein to keep them full for hours.

Experiment with a couple of these healthy smoothie recipes this week, and rest assured that your children are “eating their fruits and vegetables.” Remember that diversity is key; they should be consuming a wide range of fruits and veggies to ensure all their nutritional needs are met. Happy sipping!


What Is a True Dental Emergency While Under a Stay-at-Home Order?

What Is a True Dental Emergency While Under a Stay-at-Home Order?

At this time, following Michigan’s stay-at-home order and isolating yourself from others is the best way to protect your family and your community from COVID-19. In order to reduce the spread of the virus and protect our patients’ and employees’ health, we are rescheduling all routine dental appointments. If your child is due for a checkup or requires a minor dental procedure like a filling, it can likely wait — but we are aware that some dental emergencies may occur during the stay-at-home order.

In the case of a dental emergency, you should call your (or your child’s) dental office and follow the prompts. But what constitutes a dental emergency? Take a look.

1. Severe Toothaches

If you or your child have a severe toothache, this may indicate an infection of the tooth pulp, which can be quite serious since the infection could spread to surrounding tissues, including the blood. Definitely call the dentist; antibiotics and an emergency root canal may be performed.

2. Post-Surgical Pain

If you or your child had a dental surgery performed recently, such as an extraction or wisdom tooth extraction, severe pain at the operation site is considered a dental emergency. You may have dry socket, a condition in which the blood clot falls out of the empty tooth socket, exposing the nerve. The dentist may need to pack the surgical site and prescribe pain relievers.

3. Fractured Tooth

If you or your child crack a tooth to the degree that it is causing pain, this is probably due to exposed tooth pulp. Prompt treatment is needed to save a tooth in this case, so you definitely want to call about emergency dental care. The same is true if you or your child chip a tooth badly. Tiny chips that don’t extend through the enamel are not a major concern, but a large chip that causes pain or bleeding is a dental emergency.

4. Lost Bridge or Crown

If you have a bridge, crown, or other dental restoration and it falls off or out, this is considered a dental emergency during the stay-at-home order. Exposure of the tooth beneath the restoration could lead to lasting damage, so you need to call a dentist promptly to have the restoration replaced, even if a temporary restoration is used for the time being.

5. Abscess or Infection

If you or your child notice a pocket of pus or an abscess inside the mouth, this is a dental emergency that may require treatment with antibiotics or a root canal procedure.

The American Dental Association has offered guidance for dental professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak and associated stay-at-home orders. We use that guidance to inform our policies. When it is safe to do so, we will continue offering routine dental care for new and existing patients, but for the time being, we encourage you to stay at home, stay safe, and only contact us in case of a true emergency.


5 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Spring

5 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Spring

March 19, 2020, is officially the first day of spring! After a long, cold winter, this is certainly something to celebrate, and it’s also a good chance to teach your children about the seasons. Here are some fun and exciting ways to celebrate the first day of spring with your children.

Hike at Holland State Park

Holland State Park, which is situated on the edge of Lake Michigan, is a lovely place to take a spring hike. The temperatures will still be a little chilly and the ground might be a little soft on the first day of spring, but it’s still fun to see the trees and plants when everything is starting to wake up for the season.

The trails at Holland State Park are kid-friendly, and there’s a playground you can visit, too. Make sure you take a moment to look across the channel at the Big Red Lighthouse.

Run the Snowmelt Shuffle 5K

If you don’t mind waiting a few days to celebrate, consider running the Snowmelt Shuffle 5K on March 29th. It’s the perfect way to get outside and stretch your legs in the nice, spring weather. The race starts at 3:00 pm, and the entry fee is $25 per person. Proceeds go to benefit the Holland Rotary Charities. There are age group awards as well as overall awards, and runners/walkers of all abilities are welcome.

Fly a Kite

Flying a kite is a fun tradition that people frequently take part in during the spring. Your kids will love watching a kite fly high in the sky above them. If you have a big back yard, you can fly your kite at home. If you have a smaller yard, just head to the nearest park. You may have to help smaller children fly their kite, but kids ages 10 and up should be able to fly their own kites with little assistance.

Make Spring Rolls

Spring rolls are a healthy snack, and thanks to their name, they are the perfect food to enjoy on the first day of spring. Your kids will love helping you make spring rolls at home. You can put any fresh veggies you like inside of them. Shredded carrots and spinach are a good combination for kids since the flavors are nice and mild. Prepare a tasty peanut dipping sauce, and enjoy your snack on the patio.

Visit the Holland Farmers Market

The Holland Farmers Market is a great place to buy local produce, flowers, and more. Visiting with your kids on March 21st is a great way to celebrate the first day of spring. Your children can sample the many available products and learn more about where their food comes from. The market lasts from 9 am – 1 pm in downtown Holland.

Spring will soon be sprung! Celebrate the change in seasons with your kids by participating in one or more of the activities above. Warm weather and pleasant days are ahead.


March Is Youth Art Month

March Is Youth Art Month

March is Youth Art Month! This is the perfect time to encourage your children to think and create artistically and explore their diverse interests in the arts. Art is a beautiful path towards self-discovery and stress relief, so encouraging your children to engage with art early in life will benefit them as they continue to grow and mature.

What Is Youth Art Month?

Youth Art Month is an annual celebration overseen by the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. and the National Art Education Association. Previously known as Children’s Art Month, it has been celebrated each year since 1961.

The ACMI outlines eight goals for Youth Art Month. A couple of those goals are to encourage commitment to the arts by students and community organizations, and to recognize that art is necessary for development and quality of life.

Schools, public organizations, and art museums participate in Youth Art Month by offering festivals, programs, educational events, and contests for children and their parents. You can participate by attending these events, but also by encouraging your children to engage in art-related activities at home.

What Is the 2020 Theme?

If you’ve participated in this celebration in the past, you might remember that each year has a theme. This year’s theme is “Take a Journey Through Art.” You can interpret this in several different ways. Looking at certain pieces of art can take you on a journey to places you have never visited yourself. You can also use art as a way to show others your personal journey.

Share this theme with your children, and ask what it means to them. You can also have them create a painting or other work of art that shows and shares their journey.

What Are Some Fun Ways to Celebrate?

There are so many ways to celebrate Youth Art Week in Holland with your kids!

Take a Class at the Holland Area Arts Council

This organization offers several art workshops for kids, including classes on creating graphic novels, making sculptures, and working with clay. Each class caters to a different age bracket. You can see a complete list of classes on their website.

Visit the Kruizenga Art Museum

Located on the campus of Hope College, this art museum is open to the public and offers free admission. Until May 16th, they are featuring an exhibit called Resilience, Resistance, and Revival in the 20th Century Yoruba. Visiting with your children is a great way to start some discussions about art.

Create Family Portraits

If you don’t have time to venture outside the home during Youth Art Week, spend an evening creating family portraits at home! Have each of your children draw, paint, or sculpt your family, using their own creativity. Discuss the differences between your creations and how they demonstrate how everyone sees the world in different ways.

Art not only makes the world more beautiful but also influences the way we all perceive each other and the spaces around us. Youth Art Week is the perfect opportunity to help your children embrace this beauty, so take time to celebrate, whether that means visiting a museum or creating at home.


4 Winter Crafts to Make With the Kids

4 Winter Crafts to Make With the Kids

Winter crafts for kids are perfect for this time of year when winter starts to feel like it will never end! While the arrival of spring is definitely something to look forward to, winter does not have to be so drab. Occupy yourself and your little ones by making some of these winter crafts for kids on a chilly day.

Decorated Wreaths

Most craft stores sell plain evergreen or twig wreaths. If you purchase a few of these along with some fun decorations, your kids can spend an afternoon creating their own decorative wreaths. They can tie some colorful ribbons through the wreath, use a hot glue gun to attach flowers, pine cones, or beads, and even add some glitter glue for a glistening appeal. Display one wreath on each door of your home as a way of honoring your kids’ work.

Cinnamon Ornaments

Is there a scent better suited for winter than cinnamon? These ornaments are fun to make, and they also keep your home smelling fresh. Work with your kids to mix together about 5 ounces of ground cinnamon and 3/4 cup jarred applesauce. The mixture should have a dough-like consistency.

Roll the dough out like you would cookie dough, and use cookie cutters to cut it into shapes. Lay the shapes out on a baking sheet, and poke a hole in the top of each one. Let these ornaments dry at room temperature for about two days. Run a ribbon through the hole, and hang your ornaments on doorknobs and dresser pulls.

Paper Plate Foxes: Winter Crafts for Kids Who Love Animals

This is a non-messy craft and one that’s perfect for younger children. Help your child fold over two “sides” of a paper plate so that it forms a shape similar to a slice of pizza. Glue two ears, cut from paper, to the top of the plate. Then, glue on some googly eyes and a black pom pom as the nose. If your child desires, they can color part of the fox’s head orange, or they can glue some pom poms onto the head to make it a fuzzy snow fox.

Confetti Poppers

These confetti poppers serve double duty. They keep the kids busy, and they use up all of your empty toilet paper rolls. Encourage your kids to make the poppers and then store them until the 4th of July. Whenever they have a few spare minutes, they can make another popper or two and watch their collection grow as summer approaches.

There is a detailed tutorial here, but basically, all you need to do is put part of a balloon over one end of a toilet paper tube, pour in some confetti, and wrap the tube in colorful paper.

From wreaths to confetti poppers, these winter crafts for kids are sure to delight the whole family. When you spend time being creative, it’s easy to forget how cold it is outside!


4 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

4 Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show loved ones you care, and celebrating with your kids can be a really nice tradition. But Valentine’s Day also tends to creep up on you! One day it’s February 1st, and seemingly the next, it’s Valentine’s Day — and you have not planned a thing! Don’t worry — we have some super-simple Valentine’s Day ideas that you can rely on when pressed for time. They’re fun for kids, don’t make a big mess, and don’t require a ton of supplies.

1. Make Valentine’s Day Snack Mix

This festive snack mix is fun to give away in little bags or just enjoy at home on the couch while watching a Valentine’s Day movie. It’s also a bit healthier than other Valentine’s Day snacks. Basically, you mix together popcorn, cereal, and mini pretzels, coat them with some melted white chocolate, and toss in some red M&Ms and candy hearts. Let the mixture harden, and enjoy. You can add or subtract ingredients to your liking.

2. Valentine’s Day Idea: A Quiet Movie Night

If you’re exhausted and the mere thought of leaving the house or even baking a treat is overwhelming, watching a Valentine’s Day movie with the kids is a relaxing way to celebrate. Some kid-appropriate Valentine’s Day films to consider include:

  • Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
  • Gnomeo & Juliet
  • The Princess Bride
  • Cinderella

Take a look at what your streaming services have to offer. They often add Valentine’s Day-themed movies a few days before the holiday.

3. Bake Red Chocolate Chip Cookies

You don’t need a fancy cookie recipe to make Valentine’s Day cookies. Simply take your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and add a few drops of red food coloring to the dough to make red chocolate chip cookies. Have the kids help you measure the ingredients and shape the dough into balls. If you want to make the cookies a little healthier, you can use 1/3 less sugar and substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour.

4. Make Homemade Valentines

If you want to teach your child about the tradition of giving Valentines to the ones they love, then why not spend a little time making homemade Valentines? It will then do double-duty as a celebratory project and a nice gesture for others. You can simply cut hearts out of red construction paper and let kids decorate them with markers and stickers. Guide your kids in choosing appropriate messages for the Valentines — like “Be Mine” and “I Love You.” With no glue or paint involved, this is a very tidy crafting project.

These Valentine’s Day ideas make it possible to celebrate with your kids without making a huge mess or setting aside a whole day. Whether you’re in the mood to bake, create, or watch a movie, the day is really about spending time together and sharing your love. Happy Valentine’s Day!