Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Play Dough - 4 Delicious 'Flavors'

I love the holidays but part of what makes them so amazing is all the aromas that elicit memories of childhood, innocence and fun.  And what defines childhood more than play dough?  So, I say, let's combine the two and have ourselves a Merry little Christmas!

A basic play dough recipe goes like this. But why keep things basic when you can make them extraordinary? Below are four ideas for play dough that will put the spirit (or at least the smell) of the holidays into your home or classroom and delight children young and old alike.

Play Dough Recipe:

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tbsp. oil
1 cup water
food coloring

  1. Mix first 3 ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Add the water and oil, mix well.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 3 – 5 minutes.
  4. Dough is done when it starts to clump and becomes difficult to stir.
  5. Turn out the dough onto parchment paper and knead for 5 minutes adding the food coloring during the kneading process.
*Play dough will keep for a long time if stored in a covered plastic container or plastic sandwich bag.

Peppermint Play Dough:

Amy at The Idea Room shares her recipe for Peppermint Play Dough. She even has free printable labels that you can make at home to decorate your own jars. Can you imagine the kids' surprise when they get that first smell of peppermint?


Peppermint Playdough Recipe
Image & Idea: The Idea Room


Candy Cane Play Dough:

Jean from The Artful Parent took it one step further and created both red and white versions of her peppermint play dough and layered them to create Candy Cane Play dough. So adorable!


Candy Cane Playdough recipe
Image & Idea: The Artful Parent


Sparkly Snow White Play Dough:

What is more wintry than snow? By adding glitter to your basic play dough recipe you can turn it into a snowy masterpiece. It's as simple as that!

Sparkly White Snow Playdough recipe
Image & Idea: Bird & Little Bird



Gingerbread Play Dough:

This is the pinnacle of holiday play dough for me because I can already imagine the delicious aroma filling the room when it is being kneaded and turned into play dough wonderful play dough creations. Really, does it get any more Christmas-ey than gingerbread?

Sweet Sugarbelle's recipe starts out the same as the others but has a few spicy add-ins to give your play dough that gingerbread-y look and smell.

Gingerbread Playdough Recipe
Image & Idea: The Sweet Adventures of Sugarbelle

All of these play dough recipes are perfect to give as gifts.  Mix up some batches for friends, teachers and to take as hostess gifts when you visit friends with young kids.  Enjoy!


What other holiday Play dough recipe would you like to see?

Monday, November 26, 2012

A "Handy" Keepsake Ornament

This little hand print ornament would be a great gift to give anyone in your family.  Wrap it up or use it as a gift tag to dress up a present under the tree.  It is the perfect keepsake.

Image and Idea:  Clayful Impressions


My kids and I used the following clay recipe for ornaments that we cut out and decorated for a fundraiser.  The clay is white which is a great starting point for projects such as this. 

Clay Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3/4 cup water

Directions for making the clay:

  1.  In a medium sized pot combine the cornstarch, baking soda, and water.
  2. Stir over medium-low heat.
  3. The mixture will begin to thicken.
  4. When it begins to take shape, remove the pot from the heat.
  5. Place the ball of dough into a bowl and cover it with a damp cloth until it's cool.
  6. Once cooled, knead it on a smooth surface, adding a little more cornstarch if it feels sticky.

 Direction for making ornaments:

  1.  Preheat oven to 175 degrees.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Roll out clay to 1/4 inch thick on a surface lightly dusted with cornstarch.
  4. Have your child press their hand firmly in the clay to get a good imprint.
  5. Using a knife, cut around the shape of their hand leaving about a 1/2" border.  Smooth the edges if necessary.
  6. Transfer the hand print to the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Use a straw to poke a hole in the center top of each decoration.
  8. Place the tray in the oven at 175 degrees for about an hour, turning the ornaments over halfway through cooking.
  9. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool.
  10. Once cool, paint the heel of their hand and thumb red for Santa's hat and use white paint for his fur trim, and beard. 
  11. A fine tip permanent marker works best for the details.
  12. Thread a piece of ribbon or twine through the hole.
 * I bought a can of glossy clear spray paint at the local hardware store.  I sprayed our ornaments when they had dried which gave them a really nice professional look.  You might want to do this too!

Do you have any ornaments that you made as a kid still hanging on your tree each year?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Your daughter is more than a princess!

One of the things I find so interesting about kids, toys and expectations is that even in the year 2012, most toys seem to be really gender stereotypical.  While I fully understand that boys and girls tend to play and think differently, I do get disappointed that that main career options demonstrated to girls are mother, teacher, pop star, and princess.  Let's be honest here, how many of our daughters are really going to end up as pop stars or princesses?  That really leaves them with two career options to consider.



Although some companies are doing their best to try and engage girls in toys that some may consider more typically "boy" toys, does Lego have to be pink to appeal to girls?  Does Barbie have to wear a mini-skirt to be a doctor? 

This is why I got so excited when I stumbled upon this video from Debbie, a female engineer from Stanford University.  She had been disappointed by the small number of women in her engineering program and wondered how we could encourage more girls to give consideration to a career in engineering.  Debbie came up with a solution.  She created this fabulous toy called GoldieBlox.

GoldieBlox stars Goldie, the girl inventor, who goes on adventures with her friends.  They solve problems by building simple machines. Your little girl gets to join in on the adventures by building their inventions with her own toolkit.

The video below really sums it up nicely. 

 
 
I have no interests in the success or failure of this product but I just loved the innovation behind it.  I love that it is encouraging our girls to think beyond the pink, to expand their ideas of what they are capable of and to open their eyes to other career paths.
 
I am by no means suggesting that every girl who plays with this will end up an engineer but I remember being in high school and having to choose my focus, which universities to apply to, and what I wanted to be when I graduated.  I thought I knew but in hindsight I realise that I didn't have a lot of information about all the careers possibilities that were out there for me.  Maybe with toys like this we can open a few more doors for our daughters. 
 
Now, I don't want to play further into gender stereotypes and dismiss this as only a "girl" toy.  The benefits of boys playing with GoldieBlox are great too.  As it states in the video, boys are more prone to building than reading.  Following written instructions is a great learning tool that our boys could benefit from too.  As well it can't hurt for them to see a female protagonist solving engineering problems. 
 
I hope Debbie is hugely successful in her venture!
 
 
What toys do your kids play with that allow them to expand their imaginations?
 
 
 

Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Ways for Children to Give rather than Receive

Christmas is a time of giving but I have to admit that at times this thought is lost on my kids.  They can get very wrapped up in the idea of Christmas lists, holiday toy catalogues and letters to Santa.  It is hard to blame them with the amount of advertising we're inundated with and the fact that Christmas carols have been pumped through the stores since November 1st.



It is difficult for kids to feel the inclination to 'give' rather than 'receive' when they don't have money of their own.  Usually the small amount of money they do have has been hard earned through a weekly allowance or birthday money and more times than not it is already earmarked for a special item they want for themselves.  This time of year is also expensive for parents so teaching your kids to 'give' with money that you provide them isn't always in the cards or really reinforcing the lesson you hope to pass on.  If it isn't really theirs to give in the first place, they don't feel the tie or value.

There are many ways though that we can instill that 'giving' mentality without relying on dollars and cents and it is here that we can get creative in our lessons to our children. 

Here are 10 ideas of 'giving' that kids can easily do and they don't incorporate a trip to the mall.  Many of them are small tokens of giving and kindness but the message of giving rather than receiving is still strong.  

  1. Hold the door open for a stranger every day.
  2. Let someone ahead of you in line.
  3. Seek out an elderly neighbour or friend, take them a plate of goodies (or maybe these). 
  4. Organize a school supply drive with friends or classmates for those in need.
  5. Volunteer for a charity such as a food bank.
  6. Help shovel snow or rake leaves for a neighbour.
  7. Practice your knitting and make scarves for the homeless.
  8. Clean out your closet and donate toys and clothes to a charity.
  9. Create some homemade holiday cards and hand deliver them to older neighbours.  You can give them blank cards that they can send or a personal card from the kids.
  10. Write out 'love tokens' and give them to family members.  These are like 'coupons' for ways that you can help out or spend quality time together.  Some ideas might be; share a favourite toy, play a board game, help wash dishes, read a story.

Bonus:

These two require a little shopping but it is money you would have spent on your own family.
  1. Shop as a family for groceries and have the children pick out items to donate to a food bank. Have the kids choose items they would like for themselves but instead put those items in the 'give' basket. Don't buy the items for your kids too, let them do without that week so they can really see the 'giving' lesson.
  2. Ask your children to choose one item from their Christmas list and go to the store together to buy them.  Instead of wrapping them and putting them under the tree, drop them off at a local hospital or toy drive.

I hope your family finds some inspiration in these ideas and shares the spirit of the holiday with those around you.  I would love to hear more ideas from you.

What does your family do to instill the idea of giving rather than receiving?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas cards made by your kids!

How much fun would it be to make a huge pile of Christmas cards with your kids and send those out this year?

We all know that it can be like pulling teeth to get them to write multiple cards (I'm thinking 'thank you cards' at this moment) but let's go back and pull out the technique of styrofoam printing again to make the job is fun and easy.  This technique lets them produce one fine piece of art and print as many cards as you want with them.  You'll probably find that they will want to make multiple styrofoam etchings because it is so much fun to do.


Materials Needed:

  • styrofoam containers, plates, or trays from meat (washed and dried)
  • pencils - not too sharp
  • craft paint in a holiday colours
  • plates for the paint
  • foam rollers
  • blank notecards
  • Scrap paper for testing the designs
  • paper towels

 

Instructions:

  1. Provide each child with a flat piece of styrofoam.
  2. Have the children use a pencil to etch a design into the styrofoam. Remind them not to press the pencil all the way through the styrofoam. Alternatively, the children can also cut their styrofoam into a shape then etch a design.
  3. Pour each colour of paint into its own plate.
  4. Use the foam roller to apply a light layer of paint to the styrofoam template.
  5. Turn the styrofoam template over and press onto the notecard. Rub the template all over being careful to keep it in place.
  6. Gently lift the template from the notecard making sure not to drop it or smudge it.
  7. Clean the template with a paper towel and continue printing using different colour paints.
  8. Let the prints dry.

Tips:

  • A roller produces smoothest results.
  • Before printing on the final paper/canvas, do a few test prints on your scrap paper to determine how much paint you need. If necessary, at this time have an adult go over some of the lines with a sharper pencil to add more definition.
  • Remember, the final picture will be a mirror image of your design so have the kids stay away from words and stick to images.
We had a great time making styrofoam prints in the summer to decorate the kids rooms.  Now I hope you and your family have a great time making handmade holiday cards this year using this same easy technique!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Counting Down till Christmas

The other day I showed you some homemade advent calendars you could make with your family.  Counting down to Christmas doesn't have to be done with a traditional calendar, there are so many ways to mark off the days until Christmas.

 

The Book Countdown:

This is one of my favourite ideas, probably because reading with my kids is one of my favourite things to do.  Instead of buying little presents or candies for advent, wrap up a book for each day and number them from 1-24.  Each day the kids unwrap a new book that you enjoy as a family.  By no means do they all have to be Christmas books but you can definitely intersperse some Christmas books in there.  Alison at Oopsey Daisy includes a list of Christmas themed books with her post.

Image & Idea: Oopsey Daisy
You don't need to buy all the books at one time either.  Spread out the purchase throughout the year and it won't be overwhelming.

Activities Advent:

I love this idea.  Instead of the kids getting a treat every day leading up to Christmas, create an experience/activity card for each day.  This provides the family an activity to do together, especially at a time of year when everyone is running in different directions and life is so busy.


Image & Idea: All Things Simple
Worried you won't have time to come up with your own ideas, download and print off these from Plum Adorable.

Free Printables: Plum Adorable



Santa's Belt Countdown:

I love this cushion from the UK company, Lakeland.  While you may not want to order one for yourself and ship it across the Atlantic, you could easily take inspiration from this cushion and create something spectacular of your own.


Image: Lakeland

Wreath Pillow Countdown:

This homemade pillow comes with all the instructions you need to make one of your own.  Simple in form it allows you to move the Christmas wreath each day to mark the days until Christmas.

Image & Tutorial: Less than Perfect Life of Bliss
 
Does your family have any traditions to count down the days until Christmas?
 
 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make your own Advent Calendars

I love Christmas and I love the ritual of opening a door on an advent calendar every day leading up to Christmas Eve.  When I was little we never had the advent calendars with chocolate in them and I am still not a fan.  I really hate the idea of my kids choosing their advent calendar because it has a TV character on the front. 

This year I thought that maybe we could make our own advent calendars.  It would be a fun activity for us to do together and having the kids involved in creating the calendar will give them more time to reflect.  There are so many great ideas out there that I have compiled a few for you. 

 

Felt Advent Garland:

I love this advent garland made out of little felt pockets.  Felt is so easy to work with, it is inexpensive and holds up really well.  Best of all, felt doesn't require you to finish your edges so it is perfect for quick and simple projects.

Image & Idea: Everything Etsy via Skip to my Lou
Kim from Everything Etsy shares a simple tutorial to help you make your own felt advent garland.  I have so much felt I must try making one myself.

Muffin Tin Advent Calendar:

This idea uses a mini muffin tin and some card stock to create a perfect 24 chamber advent calendar.  You can hide little messages or treats inside and re-use it every year.

Image & Idea: Family Fun Magazine


Santa's Beard Trim:

This advent calendar is simple to make and the kids will have so much fun trimming Santa's beard daily, not to mention it is great for kids practicing their scissor skills

Image & Idea: La classe della Maestra Valentina


Building Santa's Beard:

This advent calendar is the exact opposite of the one above.  Instead of trimming Santa's beard, the kids get to add a cotton ball daily until Santa has a big busy beard.

FREE printable and idea: Inviting Printables

You can download a copy of this FREE printable and print it at home or at your local copy shop.

Reduce/Re-use/Recycle Rejoice:

I love this idea using old cans (or even toilet rolls) to make an advent calendar.

Image: Room Envy Co.

Instructions:

  1. Wash and dry 24 cans or clean off 24 toilet rolls.
  2. Spray paint all 24 a similar colour.
  3. Numbers each one, from 1 to 24.
  4. Fill them with a note or a surprise. 
  5. Top them off with some coloured tissue paper tied on with ribbon.  If using toilet rolls you will need to secure the bottom too.
Voila!  You have a unique, inexpensive advent calendar that can be used from year to year.   

I hope you've got some new and fun ideas for creating your own personal advent calendars this year.  I can't wait to get started on ours!

Do you use store bought advent calendars or an advent calendar that you made?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My secret addiction

I have a secret I need to share. I have an addiction. I’m just going to come out and say it, I love Pinterest.





If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest it can be a bit confusing and you might wonder what exactly you are supposed to do when you join. I actually had a friend ask me this exact question this week. BUT, if you are a bit of an organizational freak like me and you also see about a million things a day in blogs, emails, magazines, etc. that make you think, “...one day I could do/use/make/buy/need that” then you too might find the merits of Pinterest.


Think of it as your own group of virtual cork boards (I think they prefer the term ‘inspiration boards'). Instead of physically printing out ideas, ripping out pages from magazines, holding onto emails in the hopes that you’ll remember to look back at them in the future, you ‘pin’ items from websites, blogs and emails. You can create any number of boards to sort out your pins. You can go back and re-sort pins later on. Once you have ‘pinned’ an item on your board it is there waiting for you to click on the link any time you want to access the website that it came from.





Just like on other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter you can follow other pinners. This gives you access to their inspiration boards and further allows you to discover new sites, interesting information, and exciting ideas. You don’t even need to know the people you follow because there is no real personal information shared, unless of course you consider their taste to be ‘personal information’. I have found that it has really opened my mind to new sites and ideas that I might never have found on my own.


Follow Me on Pinterest
 

I am at the point where I actually want to go back and organize my boards a bit more to make it even easier for me to access my ideas. If you do get into ‘pinning’ let me forewarn you, it can be a little addictive and can definitely eat up time without you really knowing it. My Pinterest time is when I’m waiting for the kids to come home on the bus. It is a limited amount of time and is keeping my pinning addiction in check. Happily though, I’ve got lots of inspiration and project ideas galore!

I hope you'll follow me and find the joy in pinning that I have found this last year.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Tricks to help them Sleep Through the Night

We all know that having kids who sleep through the night is a blessing for everyone involved. If your kids start doing this early on you may want to keep it on the down-low to avoid the snarls from overtired parents who have not yet found that bliss.

But what happens when that child who has finally slept through the night starts waking up again in the pre-dawn hours claiming that it is morning?  How do you get them back to sleep without giving up any of that precious shut eye you've grown accustomed to? This happened with both my kids and the solution I adopted for each was different but both worked like a charm.




My daughter was our first and she tricked us by being a great sleeper very early on (shhh...it is our little secret). However, when she was about 2 she decided that 5 a.m. was time to get up. We hoped it was just one of those little blips that would fix itself but after a week or so of pre-dawn wake-up times and a very cranky mommy I knew we needed to figure something out.

She had a digital clock in her room and she knew her numbers so I told her it wasn't morning until her clock said "6". (Oh why didn't I say "7"?) The plan was all fine and good.  She understood that she was not to get out of bed or call out for us until her clock said "6".  Problem solved...or so we thought.  It turns out that there are many "6's" throughout the night so it didn't matter if it was 2:26 a.m. or 9:56 a.m., if she saw a "6 " she thought it was morning. Hmmm - FAIL, I thought. But not one to give up and desperate for my full night's sleep I got crafty.


Yes, you caught me. This is a reproduction.
I only have Cars band aids now but the original was Dora


I took a band aid (yes - a Dora one) and covered all the numbers except the first one. Now when she saw a "6" it really was time to get up. It worked from the first night and I still use the rule with her.  I've removed the band aid now as she no longer needs it but she still consults her clock before getting up and knows what is an appropriate vs. non-appropriate hour.  Yes, we MUST have a clock in the room when we travel but that is an easy fix.

My son on the other hand was different.  He didn't really like the whole clock idea partially because he wasn't as interested in learning his numbers early on.  I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a different solution.  What I came up with was a timer. 




I put his bedside light on a timer.  I set it to come on at a time that was reasonable for him to get up, the goal was 7 a.m.  If he woke and found the light off, he knew it was too early and went back to sleep.  If he woke and found the light on, he could get out of bed. 




He was waking up at 5 a.m. on his own so I slowly adjusted the time in half hour increments to get him to a decent time.  I set the timer to go off 2 hours after it came on which meant it didn't use too much electricity and was perfect lighting for him to play in his room, get dressed, etc.

I have recently seen products on the market that do similar things but they are pricey.  This was my creative way of achieving the same result but doing it on a dime. 




Both solutions worked in our house.  I laugh now because I am actually envisioning the teenage years when I may have to employ the timer on the light to get my kids OUT of bed.  Right now I'll enjoy the phase they're in and soak in every moment of sleep that I can.

What did you do to help your child sleep longer in the morning?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sick Kids - You've Got it!

Today I had the fortunate/unfortunate opportunity to be at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children.  Unfortunate because my daughter needed some tests done but fortunate because we have access to such an amazing facility.

This week the Hospital for Sick Children launched a new fundraising campaign.  They put together the following video which I believe really captures the heart and soul of Sick Kids. 


Although it was a bit daunting to be sent to Sick Kids it was an overwhelmingly amazing experience.  From the moment we walked in the door we could feel the love and dedication of every staff member working there.  They are there to help our children, to support their families and to make sure that each child feels special, included and safe while they are there. 

It was poignant for me to be there with my daughter as she took in the faces of the children around her and realised why they were there and that unlike herself, most of them wouldn't be going home after their tests. 

My kids and their friends are putting together a fundraiser at the end of the month.  They had already chosen the Hospital for Sick Children to be the beneficiary but I now think that my daughter especially will understand the impact her effort can make. 

I hope that no one who reads this will ever need the services of the Hospital for Sick Children.  I hope that everyone who reads this will take time to make a donation; big or small.  Knowing that we have such an amazing place waiting for us should we need them is such a peace of mind. 

To all the staff at the Hospital for Sick Children - You've got it!  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

 

Share your stories of how the Hospital for Sick Children has impacted your life!

SAHM/WAHM/Mompreneur

Is there really a balance between being a stay at home mom, a work at home mom and a mompreneur?  If there is, it is elusive but there are definitely perks to trying to have it all.

This post was orginally published on my old blog www.colourstogo.ca.  Since then my son has started full day school which takes away the stay at home portion of my life but with a new blog I am still struggling to find the perfect balance. 
............................................................................
I am a stay at home mom (SAHM) who turns into a work at home mom (WAHM) when my son goes to school in the afternoons. I also run my own small business making me a bonafide "mompreneur".


The WAHM portion of my life just got easier due to a new phone system installed at my office. Instead of calling in for messages, the system is forwarding them to my cell phone. This is great except that now I am available at all times of day (unless I turn my cell phone off). So, when a friend tagged me in this cartoon on Facebook today and it made me laugh. This was me last week!



Cartoon: Cathy Thorne


I am doing my best to remain a SAHM in the mornings and a WAHM in the afternoons but I must admit that there are times when I do cross that line. As many of you WAHMs can relate to; sometimes sounding professional is difficult. Hey, at least we don't have video-cameras - that would put a quick end to any semblence of professionalism we might just manage to impart. This my friend is the glamorous life of a WAHM and I wouldn't change it for anything!

What are your funny WAHM moments?
 
 
 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Picky Eaters - Winning the Battle

I have a love/hate relationship with dinner time.  I absolutely love it because 9 times out of 10 we sit down together to share a meal and it is during this half hour that we learn the ins and outs of our kids' lives.  I secretly (or not so secretly) loathe (yes, I said 'loathe') it too because outside of about 5 go to meals, it can be a stressful event introducing our kids to new recipes and foods.  The battle lines are instantly drawn and it is almost like they have turned off the food before they've even tried it. (Don't look back at my comment about trying new foods myself)

We recently visited the Mandarin Buffet Restaurant for dinner.  This was a test in itself.  Honestly, if I had told my kids we were having Chinese food for dinner at home there might have been a revolt but putting it in the setting of a dinner out at a restaurant somehow made it an exciting adventure. 

 


The atmosphere lured them in from the moment we set foot in the door. We were warmly greeted by our host, however, it was the Koi swimming underneath our feet that made the biggest impact on the kids.  Seriously, what kid doesn't like fish ponds?   Their awe didn't stop there though. 



As our host led us to our table, the kids eyes were almost popping out of their heads as they took in the rows and rows of delicious food steaming away, an ample salad bar, a sushi bar and of course the multiple dessert tables.  Have I mentioned that my kids have never been to a buffet before?

 
 
The drink menu was the next big hit with the kids.  There were a variety of mocktails to choose from for the kids and a wide range of drinks for the adults.  It was now time to hit the buffet.  We decided to divide and conquer so my husband took my daughter and the set off in one direction while my son and I went in another.



I was shocked at my son.  He was piling up his plate with foods he would never touch at home; crab cakes, fish, cooked vegetables, spring rolls, sushi, etc.  After filling our plates we headed back to the table.  My daughter was already tucking into a plate of Shanghai noodles and making a valiant attempt with chopsticks.  My husband's plate was brimming with seafood (something we never cook at home) and sushi (another novelty at our house).  I went old school and tried some wonton soup, low mien, spareribs, sushi, chicken curry, fried rice and some of the delicious vegetable dishes they had.




Throughout the meal my son kept saying "mmmm....I love this" and "mmmm...this is good, I like Chinese food".  My daughter asked if we could come back again.  That in itself is high praise!



Our waiter, Gary, has been with the Mandarin for over 20 years and his experience showed.  He was great with the kids and came to my husband's rescue as he battled the enormous crab legs showing him just where to crack them. 



 
As we went up for dessert I wished I had worn pants with an elastic waistband.  There was a wide array of cakes, squares, tarts, cookies, ice cream, fruit, etc. Because I was already so full I stuck to fruit and a mini-fruit tart but then that macaroon caught my eye.  The kids loved the ice cream bar complete with toppings and of course the strawberries dipped in chocolate.    The dessert bar didn't disappoint. 



The best thing about our dinner at the Mandarin Buffet was that there was something for everyone.  The food was constantly being replenished and was always hot and fresh.  While I really encouraged the kids to branch out and try Chinese food, there were some delicious non-Chinese foods available such as roast beef (carved to order), Caesar salad and even pizza.  It is really a restaurant you can go to with a group and know that everyone will leave full and satisfied. 



At the end of the meal I surveyed the kids and asked them what their favourite dish was.  My son's was crab cakes and my daughter's was noodles.  What hit me the most was that they tried new foods without being forced, prompted or bribed.  By taking them out of their normal setting, it opened their minds to trying new things.  Something to remember for the future.  Our dinner at the Mandarin Buffet was a huge success and something we'll definitely do again!

How do you get your kids to try new foods?


 
 
Although this post has generously been sponsored by Mandarin,
the opinions and language are all my own.

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