Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Teaching Kids to Be Thankful

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

Teaching Kids to Be ThankfulYou just can’t convince me that a good fall breeze, beautiful leaves, or a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks can’t make everything better. I love hoodies and all things outdoors. This is my family’s first fall in Arkansas, so I am learning to love the heat (still) and the joys of Saturday morning soccer in the fall. With this season comes a time of reflection and thankfulness.

But how do we teach small children to be thankful? In a world where kids seek satisfaction first and think toys and material goods are the key to happiness, I am perplexed. I am only 32, but I feel like the world I grew up in was different from this one. Here are some ideas on how to teach your little ones to be thankful this fall season.

Serve Others
Thanksgiving is a time when many go without food and fancy meals. You can volunteer with your local church or other civic organization. Food pantries are a great way to show kids that not everyone has a pantry stocked week-to-week. If you have toddlers, seek an organization that will allow you to bring your little ones. If you’re still a mom to a baby, consider baby wearing. (Like we need another excuse to wear our Tula!) Many communities have Thanksgiving dinners that need volunteers. Have your kids help you make small bags to donate to local organizations. October 15 was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. My local MOPS group made small bags to donate to hospitals for moms who have experienced loss. Kids can help stuff bags, make cards, or even help deliver.

Get Crafty
Pinterest is full of fun ideas for fall crafts. Break out the finger paints, markers, and crayons and have your toddlers make small crafts for those they are thankful for this year. We recently purchased a pack of cardstock and made pumpkins for each door in our house. Everyone has a pumpkin bedroom door now. My daughter loves to make crafts for her Mimi and Grammy. If you have a baby, you can still do a fun fingerprint craft.

Get into the Conversation
One fun way to teach our kids to be thankful is to get talking. My daughter just turned 4, and it has been fun talking about who we are thankful for this fall. We were given a small wooden board from Target with clothespins, and each Sunday, we change it up. I sit with her and ask her what she is thankful for this week. I then take small post-it notes and write down her responses. This board hangs by the garage door where we see it daily and we talk about those things for the week. Her first response was Jesus, and this week it was Levi’s naps. (Her 2-year-old brother has recently given up napping.) I added a healthy baby and she even wanted me to write down Paw Patrol and Daddy’s job. It will amaze you what your kids are thankful for and how much they really do notice.

While I don’t have the answer on how to teach our little ones to be thankful toddlers, I do know it’s important that they are aware of the gifts they have. I know I could learn from Johanna and take some tips on how to be thankful for today and what I have. I want my children to grow up to be thankful, appreciative adults. I don’t want to fail them as a mom who is always wishing for more or dissatisfied with the present.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two, almost three, in Arkansas where she is thankful for Shopkins and naptime so she can blog.

Fun Halloween Snacks for Toddlers

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Fun halloween snacks for toddlersThe weather is getting cooler and fall will soon be here! If you are like me, I love fall. I love everything pumpkin from a latte to a candle. If your kids are like mine, they love snacks. I have a 3-year-old who is constantly wanting a snack and a 1-year-old who has recently discovered the art of snacking. Here are some fun fall snacks for your little ones to try.

Get Fruity!

My son Levi loves bananas. If you are a fan of Halloween, try making these fun ghost bananas with chocolate chips and fruit. For older kids, try pumpkin oranges. Boo-rific!

My kids both love apples and applesauce. Fall is the perfect time to make tasty treats with yummy apples. Try making apple chips or simply add a little cinnamon to some applesauce to give it some fall flavor. These apple cars would be a fun treat to make with mom. All you need are apples and sliced grapes. Fun and healthy–just keep an eye on the toothpicks.

Fun halloween snacks for toddlersGo for a Mix!

If you are like my kids, you like a little bit of everything in your snack. There are lots of fun, creative snack mixes on websites like and Pinterest where you can find super cute and fun mixes. This one was my favorite I found on

Marshmallows, cereal, candy corn, and raisins are in this mix, so you would want to be sure and keep it appropriate for the age of children you are serving. My kids would gobble this one up.

 Stay Simple!

When it comes to fall, sometimes it just takes making things a little more spicy and warm to really create a fun snack. Try making apple cider with an older child. Decorating cupcakes and creating pumpkin toppings is an easy treat for any toddler. (Go ahead and let your little one lick the spoon.) If you have a little guy like mine, opt for easy snacks like dried apples or other dried fruits. It doesn’t have to be complicated and fancy for kids, just let them know you care by spending time with them in the kitchen.

Get Crafty!

Owls have become really popular over the past couple years in the fall season. These owl crackers are sure to be a hoot with your little ones! All you need is cream cheese, crackers, and raisins. Be careful not to use almonds for little ones. The nose could be made with a Cheerio, too. These look so fun and tasty! Pumpkin patch dippers would be a healthy option for a fall snack, as well. All you need for these are sliced carrots and hummus.

So whatever you choose to do this fall, spend some time with your little ones in the kitchen. They are never too young to bang on a pot or pan, stir a bowl of mix, or simply lick the spoon. I plan on trying some of these with my kids this fall season. Happy snacking!

Karyn Meyerhoff lives, writes, and eats lots of yummy treats in Northeast Indiana. 

Fall Activities for Toddlers

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Fall Toddler ActivitiesAs the weather cools down for fall, it can take a bit more planning to keep our toddlers busy. There are still a lot of great outdoor activities in the fall though and some great indoor ones as well. I’ve compiled a round-up of some of the fall activities we have been enjoying this year.

A Nature Walk (and scavenger hunt)

Fall is the perfect time to check out local nature trails or wildlife preserves. The cooler weather makes a walk more pleasant and all the falling leaves, acorns, walnuts and other fall “treasures” can help keep your toddler interested. To make it even more fun, print off a picture list of fall treasures that your toddler can help find on your nature adventure.

If you haven’t been hiking in your area before, use EveryTrail to find a trail near you. It’s best to go the trail alone before you take a toddler along, but if you can’t, handicap-accessible trails are usually very kid-friendly.

Fruit Picking

This might vary depending on what area of the country you live in, but where we live this is the perfect time of year to go apple picking. I love that I can just let my toddler munch on an apple while we pick. All that delicious fruit keeps moods cheerful long enough to get a big basket of apples loaded up. Usually the apple trees are kept trimmed well and it is easy for a toddler to find an apple to pick on their own. has a list of Pick-Your-Own farms by state.

Apple Print Painting

Once you are home with your apples, use one or two to make some toddler friendly art. Cut the apple in half to make an apple shape print, or get really creative and cut some shapes into your apple half before you use it as a stamp.

Bake Together

It’s never too early to get your kids involved in the kitchen, and fall is the perfect time to bake. Bake something with apples and let your toddler fill the measuring cup with fruit. Bake cookies and let your toddler help roll balls of cookie dough. Bake bread and let your toddler learn how to knead a piece of dough.

Petting Zoo or Nature Center

Fall is such a great time to go to your local zoo or nature center. Many of these have discounted entrance costs in the fall and the cooler weather makes it much more enjoyable to walk the grounds and see the animals.

Hopefully these give you some great ideas to make some awesome memories with your toddler this fall!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!

Fun Fall Dinner

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Jack-O'Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Looking for a fun, fall dinner that your kids are sure to get excited about? Try this Halloween twist on a classic dish! Any stuffed peppers recipe will work, so you can use a family favorite if you have one. Or if you are looking for a new stuffed peppers recipe here’s one I made up that was super yummy! It’s very similar to the Mexican Lasagna recipe I recently shared so if you liked that one, you’ll enjoy this one too!

6 orange peppers
1 cup of quinoa
2 cups water
Olive oil
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoons cumin
1 16 oz can of black beans
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
Salt to taste
A jar of your favorite salsa

1. Cut tops off peppers and remove seeds. Save the tops.
2. Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add one cup of quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil
4. Add zucchini and sauté until tender
5. Add chili powder, coriander, and cumin. Saute for a minute.
6. Add black beans, tomatoes, and corn. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add salt to taste
7. While bean mixture is simmering, you can carefully carve faces into your peppers.
8. Add cooked quinoa to bean mixture.
9. Fill peppers with bean and quinoa mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
10. Top with your favorite salsa and enjoy!

Note: Bake peppers with the tops on for decorative purposes only. You don’t actually eat the tops rather use them to create the Jack-O’Lantern look.

These Jack-O’ Lantern Peppers were a huge hit with my kids. If you try them out, let me know what your family thinks!