Monday, October 26, 2009

Nutritious Halloween Treats

With Halloween approaching it’s hard to avoid candy. It feels like it’s everywhere. For parents, it can be worrisome with fears like cavities and childhood obesity. But there are spooky treats out there that you can make with your kids and don’t have to be full of sugar and candy.

This morning on WUSA9, Peggy Fox and FAMILY Magazine’s Liz McConville made great treats for kids that are easy to make and delicious to eat. These are simple enough for your child to make them and nutritious enough that you don’t have to worry about all that sugar.

Cup of Worms

What you will need:

Chocolate pudding
Gummy worms
Cocoa power or hot chocolate mix
Chocolate sprinkles
Clear plastic cups

How to make:

1. Make the chocolate pudding (already made- full recipe on and let it cool in the refrigerator for a few hours.
2. Next put individual portions into the clear plastic cups. Don’t worry about smoothing out the top, it should look rough.
3. Sprinkle cocoa powder and sprinkles on top of each cup.
4. Put a few gummy worms in the cup.
5. Lastly place in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Vampire Fangs in Blood

What you need:

8 large Red Delicious Apples,
1/4 cup of lemon juice,
1 tbsp. Of sugar,
1 10 oz. Of strawberry or cherry sauce.

How to make:

1. Wash, peel and core the apples.
2. Cut each apple into 8 pieces.
3. Dip the cut apples in lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.
4. Cut the apples into long narrow triangles and redip them in the lemon juice and lightly sprinkle them with sugar.
5. Arrange the fangs in a bowl with the sauce in the middle.
6. Make sure to sprinkle some of the “blood” on them.

Spider Pretzels

What you need:

2 round crackers
2 teaspoons of smooth peanut butter
8 small pretzel sticks
2 raisins

How to make:

1. Place the peanut butter between the two crackers and insert the pretzel sticks into the filling so they look like legs.
2. Take a little bit of peanut butter and place two eyes on the top of the cracker.

For more crafts and recipes, make sure to check out for other great ideas.

Do you have any other ideas or recipes you would like to share? Please send them along. Liz might even use one of your recipes in the FAMILY Magazine weekly eNewsletter!

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, October 19, 2009

Artist Trading Cards

If you are a mom, dad, or grandparent, you probably have kid art work all over your refrigerator, on your walls and tucked in boxes in your closet. But what else can you do to celebrate the art your kids create?

Today is on the Mom Like Me segment on WUSA9 Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor of Washington FAMILY Magazine, shared information about Artist Trading Cards, a space-saving way to enjoy kid art.

So what are Artist Trading Cards?

According to Amy, Artist Trading Cards are pocket-sized works of art intended to be traded or swapped like baseball or Pokémon cards. Cheryl Miehl, art teacher at the Congressional Schools of Virginia has a wonderful article about them in this month’s FAMILY Magazine. Pick one up or check it out online at

What makes Artist Trading Cards so unique?

Amy points out that the only “rules” to Artist Trading Cards are the size (2.5 x 3.5 inches) and that they are only traded, never bought or sold. Typically most have a label on the back with the artist’s name and the name of the artwork.

They can be made out of anything. Truly, this is a project where imagination is the only limitation. It is a good idea to use a heavy paper like cardstock to make the cards more durable. Then kids can use paint, crayons, markers, glitter, string, tidbits and scraps. Whatever they want.

Once you’ve made them, then what?

Then it is time to trade them. They can be traded with friends, other artists, pen pals, grandparents. Setting up a swap meet is a great scout troop or neighborhood project. Cheryl also mentions several online sites that can help you find other kids to trade with around the globe. It’s a great idea to connect kids around the world with art. Or maybe connect kids with cousins or grandparents that live far away. There are so many options for how to swap these cards. And because they are so small, they can be kept in a binder like baseball cards or even in a changing collage photo frame so that kids can showcase new ones as they get or create them.

You can find Chrely Miehl’s article and more great craft ideas on the FAMILY Magazine web site,

What other great ideas to you have for showcasing your children’s art?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Your child’s artwork

How do you display your child’s art? Do you put it on the refrigerator or on the walls? I have a neighbor that hangs it all over the walls of her garage. It looks so neat when you pull into the garage. I have several of my favorite art pieces that hand on the wall in my office.

We are going to be talking about a really cute new idea on how to take advantage of your child’s artwork on the WUSA 9 News Now on Monday morning. Please tune in and then join in the conversation inside the Washington FAMILY Magazine group on on Monday morning.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Boost Your Family’s Immunity

Flu season is fast approaching. This year parents are more concerned than usual due to the swine flu’s epidemic and its possible hard-hitting effect on young children. We all want to protect ourselves and our children. So how can we boost our family’s immunity and our body’s ability to resist disease?
Today, Judy Caplan, Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Editor for FAMILY Magazine and author of the children’s book Gobey Gets Full – Good Nutrition in a Nutshell (, shared tips on how to Boost Your Family’s Immunity during the Moms Like Me segment on WUSA9.
Judy suggests:
While there is no magic bullet to prevent coming down with a virus, you can reduce your chances of getting sick by improving the overall health of your body. Take a three pronged approach to building resistance:
· Get plenty of rest
· Exercise regularly
· And on the nutrition side, eat plenty of vegetables and foods high in vitamin A

Foods high in vitamin A help fight infections:

Studies show that Vitamin A and its metabolites play a role in immunity to infectious disease by keeping mucosal tissue healthy. Viruses often enter the body through mucus membranes. However this does not mean you should go out and start taking vitamin A supplements. Vitamin A supplements in large doses can cause liver toxicity. So instead of supplements, increase foods that are high in vitamin A.

Vitamin A rich foods:
In the vegetable group broccoli, carrots (either cooked or raw), kale, and spinach are very high in Vitamin A. Baked yams are also a good source. In the fruit department, apricots, cantaloupe, papaya, avocado and tomatoes are the best sources for Vitamin A. Yes avocados and tomatoes are technically fruits!

How to work Vitamin A rich veggies into your diet on a daily basis:
Kids like dipping, so steam some broccoli and have them dip it in ranch dressing. Carrots are great in soups (so is broccoli), grated in salads, and baked in muffins and breads. You can make a delicious and healthy spinach and artichoke dip with low fat cheese, served hot with whole grain crackers. (We can post some recipes on the web site) Baked yams are also a hit with kids.
How to work in Vitamin A rich fruits into your diet on a daily basis:
Apricot jam can be spread on whole grain toast with natural peanut butter or added to plain yogurt. Dried apricots and papaya make a great sweet snack. But just eat a few as they are high in calories. Avocados are great as toppings on sandwiches, salads, and beans. Guacamole makes a great snack with baked whole grain chips.

For more articles and resources about how to “Boost Your Family’s Immunity,” visit the Washington FAMILY Magazine web site –

Monday, October 5, 2009

Building Stronger Bubbles (and learning about them)

Do you ever look for activities to do with your kids that will not only be fun but also educational?

On this Monday’s segment on WUSA9 News Now, I showed Peggy Fox and the viewers a nifty trick with bubbles. We made stronger bubbles that we could bounce and play with.

But before I forget, here is a reminder about the Private School and Enrichment FAIR that will be taking place next Saturday.

Saturday, October 10th 11:00 am- 4 pm
NEWSEUM in Washington DC
555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Enter at the 6th Street Entrance
FREE Admission
Hands-on Science Activities
Door Prizes

If you have been thinking about going to the Newseum but thought it was a bit pricy, this is a terrific opportunity for you. We will be giving out discount tickets to the Newseum at the FAIR. The FAIR is free and you don’t have to go through the Newseum to get to it. You enter on the 6th Street entrance. And when you get there, just ask for your discounted tickets to the Newseum. Be sure to let the kids do some of the hands-on activities we will be doing at the FAIR. There will be door prizes and seminars on topics of interest to moms and dads.

Active, Healthy Lifestyles for Kids (Presented by Richard Romero)
Preparing Kids for Success in School (Presented by Monica Gourovitch, PhD)
Family Wills, Trusts & Selecting a Guardian (Presented by Carrie Tipton, Esq.)
Panel Discussion -- Meet the Directors
School Admissions Questions and How to Choose a School
-----Bekah Atkinson, The Siena School
-----Leigh Ann Cahill, Independent School Options
-----Bobby Edwards, McLean School of Maryland
-----Susan Matilla-Goin, National Cathedral School
-----Theodra Washington, Metropolitan Educational Consulting Group
-----Karen Weinberger, Congressional School of Virginia
Hands-On Science Activities with Your Child & Discussion
and Resources for Science at Home (Presented by the Children's Science Center)
Special Needs Within Private Schools (Presented by Sally Neuberger, LCSW)
The Bully Prevention Parenting Seminar (Presented by Dr. Marc Grande, Psy.D.)

Special Prizes:
· Family Weekend Getaway for four to Massanutten Resort
(includes accommodations and indoor water park tickets)
· $500 School Tuition
(to the private school of your choice)
· Shred Sled Skateboard
· Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker
· DVD’s
· Books
· … and more

Click Here for all the information on the fair.

Now, about those strong bubbles. First, what is a bubble?

According to Wikipedia:
A soap bubble is a very thin film of soapy water that forms a sphere with an iridescent surface. Soap bubbles usually last for only a few moments before bursting, either on their own or on contact with another object. Before they pop on their own, the bubble itself usually starts to thin, then it reaches a point where it can thin out no more and it pops. They are often used for children's enjoyment, but their usage in artistic performances shows that they can also be fascinating for adults. Soap bubbles can help solving complex mathematical problems of space, as they will always find the smallest surface area between points or edges, for example.

Surface tension causes the layer of soap to act as an elastic sheet with the water forming the bubble. Liquids have surface tension and it draws them together. Have you ever seen 2 drops of mercury get close to each other and then suddenly become one drop? That is surface tension. Another example easy for children to see is when rain drops are running down the window. When they get close to another rain drop they join together and become a larger rain drop.

This is all a part of the laws of physics.

If you just let a bubble sit on the table or your hand, it will eventually pop because the water evaporates and the surface tension is too much as the bubble contracts. You can freeze bubbles but you have to have the temperature at -15 degrees Celsius. (5 degrees F).

A Chicago company called Chemtoy began selling bubble solution in the 1940s, and they have captivated children ever since. According to one industry estimate, retailers sell around 200 million bottles annually, perhaps more than any other toy.

What we did this morning was add glycerin to our soap and water mixture. This makes the bubble stronger. Then we tested our bubbles.

(FYI the trick to making the solution produce really strong bubbles is to let it sit at least overnight before you start using it.)

If you try to catch a bubble with your bare hand, you will most likely pop it because of the dirt and oil on your hand breaks the surface tension of the soap and water bubble. If you put on a soft fabric glove, you can catch the “strong” bubbles and bounce them around. Or you can just hold one in your hand until it evaporates and pops. It is great fun. Here is the recipe we used for our strong bubble mixture.

Strong Bubble Ingredients:

Cup of distilled or bottled water

Tablespoon of dish soap

Teaspoon of Glycerin

Bubble wand or straw

Be sure to let it sit for 24 hours. Then you can blow and bounce to your heart’s content.

Do you have any activities that are fun and relate to science? I would love to see them. Send them along and we will share them with other parents.

Happy Parenting,

P.S. Remember – we want to see you next Saturday at the Newseum for the Private School & Enrichment FAIR.