Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What We're Reading At Our House - Best Beginner Chapter Books for Elementary Aged Boys


Reading finally clicked for my son. Its was a struggle for a long time. His reading skills were fine, he just didn't have the interest or confidence. Now I find him sneaking a book under the covers, he loves going to the library and he reads books in the car instead of playing video games on his iPod. Happy Mom!

Since my son was an infant, we have read to him every night. We started reading chapter books to him when he was in 1st grade. We transitioned to where we would read a few pages and then he would read a few pages. Any even though he could read fine he just didn't have the interest, and definitely no interest to just pick up a book and read it on his own. His school required 20 minutes of reading every day with a reading log and he would do the 20 minutes, but never anything beyond that.

Choosing books that really peaked his interested helped us to reach each milestone. The first time we read Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt he loved it so much that we read it 4 more times in a row as part of our nighttime reading. Last year (2nd grade) we were reading Ballpark Mysteries: The L.A. Dodger , I finished my reading for the evening but he really wanted to know "who did it" so he grabbed the book and read to the end.

Chapter books for boys
  1. Stink Moody Series  by Megan McDonald
  2. The Magic School Bus Chapter Books by Eva Moore
  3. Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osborne
  4. Ballpark Mysteries Series by David A. Kelly and Mark Meyers
  5. Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
  6. Hank Zipzer series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
  7. Ghost Buddy series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
  8. The BFG and other books  by Roald Dahl
  9. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series by Beth MacDonald

Every kid reads at a different level. These are great first chapter books. My son is ready for a higher level right now but he really enjoys the accomplishment of being able to finish an entire chapter book in a day or two. Series like Flat Stanley and Magic School Bus are definitely more of a beginner chapter book.

And these books would all be great for girls too! 

Any books I should add to the list?

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Monday Which Means Its My Son's Turn to Cook {Cooking with Kids}

Cooking healthy and delicious meals for my family is very important to me. I'm also a foodie and its makes me so happy that I'm raising my son to be a foodie. He's 8 and loves to taste test different kinds of vinegars, requests Marcona almonds (not just almonds) and can use a piping bag.

He asked if he could cook dinner one night a week so we decided he would be in charge on Monday's dinner. He picks the menu, writes the grocery lists, preps and cooks the food. We started this at the beginning of September and its been a great experience for both of us.

Why have your kids learn to cook?
  • Important life skill
  • Teaches nutrition
  • Teaches math skillls
  • Great reading (the recipe) and writing (the grocery list) practice
  • Encourages them to explore new foods
  • Teaches food and kitchen safety skills

Bs night to make dinner! Chef salad on the menu. My son has asked to make dinner once a week. He started with chef salad because no cooking was involved. He made the shopping list, chop and prepared the presentation. He was so proud #cookingkids #lovemybo 

Week 1 - Chef Salad
My son was quite smart and chose Chef Salad as his first meal because no cooking was involved - he said he wanted to out simple. The salad was a great knife skills learning experience.

Because of food allergies and food preferences the salad was served as a build your own salad and he had fun with the presentation.

Chef Salad (clean, chop and plate all ingredients)

From A Beautiful Mess App 

Week 2 - Pork, Cashew, and Green Bean Stir-fry

This is one of my son's favorite meals that I cook - he loves the flavors and that the pork is so tender. Because of a possible nut allergy he's always had it with peanuts instead of the cashews. We usually leave the nuts out when we cook it and sprinkle on top when served - this way each of us can choose peanuts or cashews.

Recipe is from Cooking Light Magazine

Bacon Burgers 
Week 3 - Bacon Burgers

I have a few cookbooks for kids and my son picked out Bacon Burgers from Eat Like a Dinosaur (its a Paleo cookbook). For a side he wanted to make onion rings - we love Alexia Multigrain Onion Rings.
It's a Paleo dish but for tonight we're using buns and having fries. Slowly transitioning to Paleo #eatlikeadinosaur

Review - this was a brand new recipe for our family and YUM! These were so good - lots of flavor and juicy.

*we don't eat Paleo (obviously) but I cook a lot from Paleo cookbooks because of my dairy allergy and I'm working towards more of a Paleo based diet. Often my meal will be Paleo and my family will have a side such as paste, rice or bread.

Paleo Chicken Nuggets- Kids Cooking
Week 4 - Paleo Chicken Nuggets

There are a lot of different Paleo chicken nugget recipes - most use almond flour or coconut flour for the breading and then fry in coconut oil or ghee. We went with coconut flour and cooked in coconut oil. We did use an egg substitute instead of egg for the batter (I have an egg allergy). These were good but still need some tweaking to make them great. Also we should have cooked them at a higher heat but I was a bit nervous with my son frying them so I turned down the heat a bit.

We're going to try again tweaking the recipe a bit - we'll share when we have it perfected.

What's on the menu for October? stay tuned... To see weekly updates our cooking with kids experience follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rumbi Island Grill Kids Eat Free { + Give away}

Rumbi Island Grill

Have you ever been to Rumbi Island Grill? Earlier this week my son and I decided to check them out and take advantage of their September Back To School Special where kids eat free every day.  I ordered a rice bowl with pork and chicken and my son ordered the kid's Tiki burger (and his meal was free!). We also ordered a side of chips with island salsa. My son was eyeing the dessert menu so I let him pick and he went for the molten lava cake.

He liked the molten lava cake #rumbiislandgrill #sponsored

Rumbi Island Grill has great kids specials. Kids eat free every Monday and Tuesday after 4 pm with purchase of an adult entree. And during the month of September they're having a back to school special where kids eat free everyday. How awesome is that!

I'm always nervous eating someplace new because of my food allergies but they had a food allergy chart available at the register so I could easily figure out which entrees were safe for me.

Rumbi Island Grill has locations in several states including Arizona:

  • Arizona (Avondale, Chandler, Mesa)
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Utah

And now the exciting part! We are giving away two $25 gift cards to Rumbi Island Grill so that your family has the chance to experience their island inspired menu.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with a Rumbi Island gift card in exchange for this give away. All opinions are mine.