13 Independence Day Treats Your Baby (and Entire Family) Will Love

Looking for a festive Fourth of July dish that even your even the littlest patriots can enjoy? While there’s plenty of red, white and blue desserts out there, we’ve curated a list of treats that are kid-friendly (i.e. no booze or caffeine) and simple enough you can almost make them with one baby on your hip. Click through the gallery to choose a treat that even your baby can smash into his mouth.

Very Berry Cheesecake-Squares

A spicy gingersnap crust pairs with raspberry-sweetened cream cheese in these decadent dessert squares. They’re served chilled so they’ll help your child keep cool even at a hot outdoor BBQ. Head to Put on Your Cake Pants for the recipe.

Photo: Put on Your Cake Pants


What’s your littles’ favorite festive treat? Tell us in a comment below.

— Eva Ingvarson Cerise

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Easy to Make Patriotic 4th of July Food Ideas

Ready to make your July 4th menu extra fun and festive? We’ve searched from sea to shining sea for the best red, white and blue recipes—from a wowza watermelon cake to refreshing salads and playful popsicles. Flip through the photo gallery below for Independence Day dishes that are sure to impress.

4th of July Cake

We’re gaga for this uber-creative cake! It’s colorful, fruit-ful, and doesn’t require any fancy cake pans—really! Now that’s what we call a show-stopping July 4th dessert! Find out how to carve your own country over at Jacks & Kate.

photo: Jacks & Kate

Which one of these colorful dishes will you make this year? Share feedback in the Comments below!

— Abigail Matsumoto

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Vegetable Recipes that Kids Love

Good news: dinnertime battles over broccoli and beets are about to become a thing of the past. Below are our favorite veggie-ful recipes that we (and yes, we promise, our kids) love. From artichoke pie to quinoa-stuffed zucchini, these easy veggie-centric recipes will have you breathing a sigh of relief that your kids are now getting the vitamins and nutrients they need. Click through the slideshow to get meal planning!

Black Bean Falafel Sandwich

If your kiddos haven’t discovered the awesomeness that is a pita pocket, then it’s high time they tried this new spin on the traditional falafel sandwich. Using black beans instead of chickpeas and topped with smooth avocado and stuffed into a whole wheat pita, this is one sandwich your kids will gobble up in no time. Click here to get the recipe.

photo: Daniel Means via Flickr

Leave us some ideas in the comment section below telling us your favorite veggie-ful recipes.

—Erin Lem and Susie Foresman

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5 Quick Side Dishes to Make on the Fly

Summertime is party time—so let the (meal) planning begin! If you’re anything like us, you’ve got enough steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers to feed a small army, but it’s easy to overlook the side dishes. Balance it all out with these delicious veggie-filled sides that are guaranteed crowd pleasers. (Psst…they’re so simple, we promise no one will notice if you make them an hour before the party.) Click through the slideshow to get the details.

BLT Salad

If getting the kids to eat salad is a hard sell, this BLT-inspired recipe just might get them to eat their greens. Either way, with thick bacon, crusty bread and a yummy dressing, it’s bound to be an instant crowd favorite. Grab the recipe by clicking here.

photo: Southern Boy Dishes

What’s your favorite summery side dish to make for parties?

—Susie Foresman

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9 Last Minute Father’s Day Ideas to Make It Count

Father’s Day is coming soon but there’s no reason to worry: just add a homemade card to any of the following scenarios and you’ll soon have Dad feeling like King. From bacon all day to an impromptu lawn game tournament, we’ve found plenty of ways to spoil pops and have a blast with the kiddos at the same time. Scroll down for the scoop.

photo: PublicDomainImages via pixabay

1. The Dad Jar

Fill a jar with slips of paper on which you have written fun and sweet things you can do for and say to Dad. Have Dad pull one note from the jar once an hour until they are all gone, all Father’s Day long. The notes should be a combination of actions, affection and edibles. For example: Bring Dad a snack; Give Dad a hug; Tell Dad something you love about him; Give Dad a present (if you’ve made or bought him something); Draw Dad a picture; rub Dad’s feet; tickle Dad; bring Dad his favorite book and leave him alone for 30 minutes; Scratch Dad’s back, etc.

photo: Skirball Museum 

2. The Picnic Package

Pack a picnic basket full of all of Dad’s favorite food groups and take him on a picnic. You can go to a popular park or just your own backyard. No yard? Try throwing a spread right in your living room. Dad probably won’t mind so much if you happen to have it in front of the TV with his favorite movie on, or the game. Or cue up his favorite songs. Browse these 14 picnic snack recipes to jazz up your basket.

photo: Allen County Public Library via flickr

3. Have a Round of Love Charades

Let the kids write down a list of at least 10 things they love about their dad. Now have the kids “act out” the things they love without telling what they’ve written. It’s like a game of charades where Dad guesses why his kids think he is so awesome. We guarantee there will be laughs galore. Try serving a batch of red velvet brownies during “intermission.”

photo: kiethjj via pixabay

4. Take Him Out to the Ballgame

You might not have been able to score major league seats this Father’s Day but minor league games are usually a lot less crowded and more affordable. Check out the schedule for Minor League Baseball here and see if there’s one in your town, or see if your local highschool or Little League has a game on. You can also throw a game of your own, with your own set of bases, a bat, mitts and balls. Pack ‘em up and tote them to the park or your front lawn and invite some other dads and kids from the ‘hood to join in. If you’ve got time, score some matching ballcaps for Dad and his kiddos to wear. Serve dad some gourmet popcorn on the side.

photo: Intelligent Domestication

5. Grill, Baby. Grill.

When in doubt, fill his tummy with bbq, corn and a side of snuggles. Have the kiddos make a cute homemade card to give him during the day and then spoil him rotten with all of his favorite food groups, like simple BBQ mains and sides. Got a hammock? Now’s the time to hang it up and let dad nap. Feeling extra festive? Try grabbing Dad a “flight” of beer by getting one each of the following: a pilsner (light), a medium amber ale, an IPA and a porter or stout. Serve them in small glasses all in a row.

photo: bsugarmama.com 

6. Bacon, Bacon, Bacon

Make it a bacon day. Start him off with a traditional bacon and eggs breakfast. Segway to lunch with bacon, corn and potato chowder or pasta and peas with bacon. For dinner, put out some bacon appetizers while you finish up the slow cooker, bacon-wrapped apple BBQ chicken. And for dessert? Well, bacon bourbon pecan pie, of course!

photo: stux via pixabay

7. Shave & the Paper

Go old school this year and greet Dad on Father’s Day with the Sunday paper, a steaming mug of coffee and some home-made shaving cream. Let him have a leisurely morning sipping and shaving.

photo: Mike Gifford via flickr

8. Organize a Lawn Game Tournament

Make a cardboard box cornhole, bust out the bocce and kick the soccer ball around an obstacle course you and the kiddos have laid out. If you’ve got fellow Dads in your circle of friends, get them over for an afternoon of fancy lemonade (or mint limeade fizz) and hot dog sliders. Click here for 10 outdoor games the kids will love setting up and participating in! 

photo: Ruth Hartnup via flickr

9. Stage an Outdoor Laboratory

Swing by the hardware store for a few ingredients and a couple extra pairs of protective eye-goggles and set up your backyard for science! Just be sure to get everything you need and have it all prepped so that all Dad has to do, is explode things. For science!

What are your plans for making Dad’s day extra special? Share your ideas with our community in the comments below. 

—Amber Guetebier

featured image: peterjbon via pixabay


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Tea-Infused Mocktail Recipes

This summer, whether you’re lounging by the pool or staying inside with the A/C on full blast, you’ve got to have some cool drinks in your arsenal. That’s where these tea-infused mocktails come in—with freshly brewed iced tea, in-season fruit and splashes of soda, they’re just the thing to keep you going until fall. Click through the slideshow below and let the relaxation begin.

Jasmine Ginger Iced Green Tea

Floral jasmine green tea pairs perfectly with spicy ginger beer in this fantastic recipe from Kingfield Kitchen. Topped off with lime and strawberries, it’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. To see the recipe, click here.

photo: Kingfield Kitchen

Do you have a favorite tricked-out iced tea recipe? Share with our community in the comments below. 

—Susie Foresman

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Easy Prep Picnic Foods

It’s prime picnic season, so make sure you’re prepared with an arsenal of crowd-pleasing snacks. From no-cook s’mores to apple sandwiches, we’ve got you covered with tasty bites that are easy to tote to the park, beach or wherever else your summertime adventures will take you.

Avocado and Strawberry Macaroni Pasta Salad

Getting the kids on board with salad can be hard, but they just might make an exception for this genius pasta salad from My Fussy Eater. The creamy avocado and sweet strawberries make for an unexpectedly delicious combination, and it’s all pulled together with a squeeze of lime juice. Get all the details by clicking here.

photo: My Fussy Eater

What snacks do you bring on your family picnics? Share all the yummy details with us in the comments below.

— Susie Foreman & Lauren Hill

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5 Easy Recipes Your Kids Can Help Make

Even the best chefs get a little assistance in the kitchen sometimes! Involving kids in the cooking process is a great way to get them interested in exploring new foods, flavors and textures (Plus, it’s fun bonding time!). We’ve got five super delish, totally simple recipes that are perfect for you to whip up with your little helper. Grab your aprons, grab your mini sous chef and get cooking!

photo: Apron Strings

1. One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
If you’re looking for a quick no-fuss meal, this one-pot pasta recipe is the definition of easy! Best of all, since you just need to dump everything into one pot and let it cook, there’s time for a quick story or snuggle while you wait for dinner. Check out the recipe right here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little kitchen helpers can pick basil from the stem and tear the leaves, pour all of the ingredients into the pot and garnish the dish with parmesan when it’s done.

photo: GI 365

2. Honey Garlic Chicken & Broccoli Stir-Fry
This simple stir-fry from Kari of GI 365 is big on flavor and comes together in less than 30 minutes. You can substitute any protein that you like in place of the chicken, or switch it up with any veggies that need to be used up in the fridge. This one is sure to be a hit with everyone in the family! You can find everything you need here.

What the Kids Can Do: They can whisk the sauce, peel the broccoli or crush the garlic in a garlic press.

photo: Amazing Almonds

3. Crispy Parmesan-Crusted Fish
You’ll never reach for a box of frozen fish sticks again once you see how fast you can make these yummy fish fillets with a crunchy parmesan and panko crust, courtesy of !Hola! Jalapeno.

What the Kids Can Do: Mini chefs can jump right in by squeezing the lemon, seasoning the fish by sprinkling it with salt, mixing the panko and parmesan and helping to coat the fish. Get started with the recipe by clicking here.

photo: Gabriel Bergin via Flickr

4. Grilled Flank Steak with Rosemary
Grilled flank steak in three easy steps sounds like a dinner dream come true! With the addition of this sweet and savory marinade, you’ll have a fast summer meal that everyone will cheer for. Click here for the recipe.

What the Kids Can Do: Your sous chef can help with dinner prep by picking the rosemary from the stem, stirring up the ingredients for the honey-spiked marinade or mixing the steak and marinade in a Ziploc bag.

photo by Dairy Made Easy

5. Baked Roasted Veggie Pasta
Packed with colorful veggies and topped with tangy feta cheese, this delicious pasta dish from the cookbook Dairy Made Easy is a treat for the eyes as well as hungry tummies! Check out the full recipe here.

What the Kids Can Do: Little fingers can help out by washing the tomatoes in a colander, tossing the veggies with olive oil, tearing basil leaves or crumbling the cheese on top.

Do you plan to try any of these recipes? What are your best tips for having kids help in the kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!

—Anna Doogan

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