Month: October 2016

Five Sexy Halloween Costumes No Woman Should Ever Wear Be Without

 

It is commonly known that October 31st, for many women, is officially a day to dress like the stripper their parents dreaded they’d become. We’ve all gone to bars and Halloween parties, ready to drink and have fun, only to find ourselves staring into the unleashed taints of normally conservative female acquaintances gone wild.

“What are you supposed to be?” I remember asking one barely-clad-in-lingerie girlfriend.

“I’m a Victoria’s Secret model!” she replied in a chipper drunken slur.

True story.

I’m not even a prude. What bothers me about women who use Halloween as an excuse to walk around in their undies is that it feels contrived. If you want to dress provocatively and show off your body, do that. Work it, girl. But do it more than one day of the year. Own it. Stop turning my happy candy-gettin’ holiday into a spontaneously skanky somebody-needs-attention parade.

In short: If I’ve never seen your cleavage before, yet I’m suddenly being eye-raped by the camel toe portion of your ‘sexy Pikachu’ costume, you might be trying too hard.

 

sexy-pikachu

Some things truly can’t be unseen.

 Photo Credit

 

In honor of this increasingly titillating trend, or perhaps just to make your shopping easier, I’ve conveniently compiled five classic sexy Halloween costumes for you here.    

 

The Sexy Nurse – 

Does the idea of a sponge bath administered by a medical professional send you into paroxysms of pleasure? Well never fear, because the Sexy Nurse will take good care of you – and all of your friends. She works hard for the money, spending her long shifts tending to the sexual needs of her patients. And forget the comfortable shoes, because the Sexy Nurse wears heels and only heels, as she is a mythical creature with magic feet that defy torturous pain.

 

have-mercy-nurse-costumeIs that a Foley catheter in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Photo Credit

 

 

The Sexy Pirate –   

Watch as the Sexy Pirate heartily puts the “Arrrrrrrr!” into artificial. Because seriously, there is nothing realistic about this costume. Nobody could dress like this and work on a ship. Nobody could dress like this and work anywhere except a strip club. And have you ever heard of a female pirate? I haven’t. And that pretty Pirates of the Caribbean girl Johnny Depp doesn’t count, because she’s in a movie and movies aren’t real life. Plus, no real girl would ever choose to wear that much eyeliner.

 

sexy-plus-spanish-pirate-costumeUmm… keep that sword away from my poop deck, please. 

Photo Credit

 

 

The Sexy Schoolgirl – 

Bring me your daddy issues, your insecurities, your huddled assholes yearning to breathe free, because the Sexy Schoolgirl has it all. Got pedophiles? Then this costume is the one for you. If you’ve ever wanted to dress up as a hyper-sexualized child, then the Sexy Schoolgirl will put the barely legal trick in your trick-or-treat. You can even pull this costume out of the closet and wear it for viewings of recorded Toddlers & Tiaras or Here Comes Honey Boo Boo episodes. Play along! Bonus drinking game: Take a drink every time you see a child losing her innocence and self-esteem.

 

sexy-school-girl-costumeSurprise! The apple tastes like sadness and years of therapy. “All dead inside” stare not included.

Photo Credit

 

 

The Sexy Butterfly –

Hey, party pupas! It’s a slutterfly! For one night only, this costume wearer has shed the stifling cocoon of business casual, and we can’t stop staring at her metamorphosis into a really attractive flying bug with garters. Because what is sexier than an insect in black stockings? Amirite? Bugs are sooooooo hot. Wait. Where are you going? Aren’t these delicate wings a turn-on? Look! I’M A BEAUTIFUL FAIRY. You guys want to have sex with fairies, right? Guys? Come back!

 

sexy-butterfly-costumeJust like in nature documentaries, the corset means she’s’s ready to pollinate your flower.

Photo Credit

 

The Sexy Cop – 

You have the right to remain horny. Anything you do may be photographed, placed on the Internet, and held against you by future employers. You have the right to a condom. If you cannot afford a condom, one will be provided for you.* This uniformed girl wants you to know she’ll use those handcuffs on you in a really naughty way. Nope, don’t mess with the Sexy Cop, boys, or you’re gonna get the business end of the baton, and a ticket to appear in sexy court!**

 

plus-mrs-law-cop-costumeDoes that billy club require batteries?

Photo Credit

 

Happy Halloween, everybody, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.

 

*If I ever become a stripper, I will not be using my real name (Tawni… thanks, Mom) as originally planned, and will instead go by the moniker ‘Miranda Rights.’ I will only wear a police officer outfit onstage. My pepper spray and tits will be real.

**There is no such thing as sexy court, but if there was, it would be presided over by the honorable Judge Miranda Rights, and she would have clever catchphrases like: “Don’t jizz on my leg in the Champagne Room and tell me it’s rain!”

 

 

Advertisements

7 Ways Playing Video Games Can Help Your Kids

 

video-games-1275890_960_720

Violent video games have been shown to increase aggression in children, and excessive screen time is definitely not recommended for anyone. But did you know that in when played in moderation, the right video games can actually help kids develop and strengthen certain skills?

Read below about 7 different ways modest amounts of video game time might offer positive learning benefits:

 

  1. Video Games Increase Brain Function—

By forcing kids to memorize different characters, game rules and other aspects they need to move to the next level of a game, video games prep young minds for the memorization of phonics, multiplication tables and other such educational information.

Kids who play video games often do well at math, for example, because they are already well-practiced at memorizing formulas and numbers in games.

 

  1. Video Games Help with Dexterity—

Have you ever tried to play against a youngster at a video game and been amazed by their speed and hand agility? Those of us who grew up without video games lack the hand-eye coordination it takes to excel at the rapid succession of buttons that must be pushed during game play, but not our kids.

These skills will also carry over into the world of sports, art, music, keyboarding, or anything they try that involves fast, precise hand movement.

 

  1. Video Games Improve Vision—

As long as they’re not staring at screens all day long, which can tire eyes and cause headaches, moderate video gaming can improve vision by exercising the eyes and training them to follow movement. This can strengthen peripheral vision and increase reflexive quickness.

 

  1. Video Games Encourage Logical Thinking—

With many games, kids have to figure out ways to accomplish a goal or achieve a desired outcome and test their proposed solutions, much like using the scientific method.

For example, in the popular game Scribblenauts, kids must solve spatially-oriented situations for the main character using anything they can type into the scene (which also builds typing, spelling and vocabulary skills). When kids are forced to think this way, it teaches them to use and test logic.

 

  1. Video Games Allow Kids to Solve Problems—

In addition to boosting their strategic thinking skills by forcing kids to anticipate future moves (much like playing chess), certain video games teach children the valuable skill of problem or puzzle solving.

By giving them a series of challenges to conquer, video games force children to learn how to think for themselves to find answers, boosting self-esteem and teaching them how to calmly react in high-pressure situations.

 

  1. Video Games Facilitate Social Skills—

In the same way that playing board games with other children can teach kids about good sportsmanship and being a part of a team, group or online video games can create the same social outlet for kids.

Having a favorite game in common can also help kids bond by giving them an easy conversational opening. In the same way that wearing something featuring a favorite sports team logo can open communication, a T-shirt bearing the image of a game character can have the same effect.

 

7. Video Games Can Be Educational—

Many games actually teach historical facts, architecture, spelling, typing, and math. Some video games allow kids to use their imaginations as they build cities and imaginary worlds. Even games not designed specifically to be educational are still encouraging children to think creatively, which will help them in many ways.

 

Of course it’s still important for kids to get outside to exercise and play in the fresh air, but we need to remember that our children are growing up in a much more computer-oriented world than the one in which we grew up.

Learning computer skills needs to be a priority for children today to thrive as adults. As long as video gaming is done with supervision, in moderation and with the appropriate games for learning, it can be a great way to acclimate kids with the technology of their future while teaching them useful and healthy life skills.

7 Super Supplements for Bodybuilding

 

man-641691_960_720

Athletes such as bodybuilders are always trying to find the most efficient ways to achieve their physical fitness goals, including supplementation. There are many helpful and completely natural supplements available today to help weightlifters more quickly build the lean muscle they desire.

Below is a list of 7 extremely beneficial bodybuilding supplements, and what they may be able to do for you:

1. Creatine—

Found naturally in beef and fish, creatine works by providing the muscles with extra energy during a workout, causing better results. It also helps replenish energy faster during a workout, and some reports have shown it may decrease the risk of heart disease in those who use it.

2. Caffeine—

Seems so simple to think that your morning coffee could increase the productivity of your workout, but it goes beyond merely giving you extra energy. One study found that ingesting caffeine before weight training increased strength by 10% (source: European Journal of Applied Physiology). Caffeine also increases tolerance to pain to help push through a rough set.

3. Deer Antler Spray—

Completely natural and loaded with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-inflammatory agents and an insulin-like natural growth hormone, deer antler spray is becoming popular because of its ability to help strengthen muscles while helping muscles recover faster. Derived from the pre-calcified antlers of male deer, this supplement has also been reported to increase blood circulation, giving the user a better workout and quicker results.

4. Protein—

If you want to build muscles up, you have to give them the fuel they need to grow and heal, and one of the most basic supplements for this is protein. Many bodybuilders prefer why protein because it is absorbed quickly into the body, helping to increase lean muscle mass. Others prefer casein protein taken at night to achieve their protein needs. Soy protein is not generally recommended, as it can mimic estrogen in the body when consumed in large amounts.

5. ZMA—

ZMA is a patented mineral formula that has been getting attention lately because of its ability to speed muscle recovery. With zinc, magnesium and amino acids to strengthen the immune system and increase testosterone, ZMA also includes antioxidants to decrease toxicity in the liver.

6. L-Glutamine—

L-Glutamine is an amino acid that aids protein in building muscle, making it an important addition to any supplementation schedule. Increasing growth hormone production, L-Glutamine speeds up muscle recovery and is recommended before and after a workout. If you want to prevent muscle breakdown, this is the supplement to use. It is naturally found in many foods, such as meat, eggs, dairy and spinach, so if you eat a lot of animal products, you’re already consuming a decent amount of this substance.

7. CLA—

Naturally occurring in animal products such as meat and dairy, CLA (a.k.a. Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a fatty acid that helps build lean muscle mass. CLA can also boost the immune system and fight free radicals with the antioxidants it offers, potentially lessening the risk of certain cancers.

If you have reached a bodybuilding plateau and would like to give your muscles a way to build the strength and mass you’ve been striving for, you might try adding some of the supplements listed above to your nutritional regime. You’ve got nothing to lose, and muscle to gain, right?

People Ruin Everything #1

13876189_10207486883144993_5603646355205547364_n

The above image of a baby platypus has been floating around Facebook lately.
The platypus has been my favorite animal for as long as I can remember. This is obviously a fake baby platypus, but that doesn’t make it any less adorable. The stuffed bunny I sleep hugging in an unnerving display of arrested development is also a fake, but that doesn’t make Super Bun-Bun magically not cute.

(Don’t you come for Super Bun-Bun. You don’t want this.)

When I shared it on Facebook so that those who like to squee might squee along with me, I commented: “Also, please don’t tell me if it’s not real. I need this, you guys. I need to live in a world where this exists.”

Almost immediately, a white male mansplained facts about platypuses to me that I’ve known since I was an animal-obsessed kid.
Then, a bunch of people who rarely comment on my posts crawled out of the woodwork to crap on my dreams and tell me it isn’t a real baby platypus.
A conspiracy theorist who is convinced that turmeric cures cancer and posts memes about how “enlightened” she is because people think she’s crazy, all while using the grammar of a left-behind 3rd grader actually went to the trouble of finding a baby platypus image to “prove me wrong.”
Someone else shared a photo gallery of baby platypuses, just to make sure I couldn’t for one second longer feel happy about this picture.

All of these Facebook folks obviously missed the point when I jokingly acknowledged I was aware it’s not a real baby platypus with my comment.

debbiedowner
Hey! Because you asked us NOT to do this, we’re going to make sure we DO it.
Why? Because we’re negative assholes! Duh!


So rather than just “letting me have it,” as I begged, all these jerks decided to make it their mission to waste minutes of their day “taking it away” and condescendingly explaining facts about my favorite animal to me–as if I am not allowed to Google things, too.

I’m writing to let all these miserable Facebookers know that no matter what anyone says, I STILL BELIEVE IN THIS BABY PLATYPUS. And I, too, can see it was made by someone on Deviant Art if I search “baby platypus” just like all you dipshits did, but I STILL BELIEVE.

See how that works?
 
Also, I think I’d like to exchange my Facebook friends for better friends who don’t gleefully crap all over my dreams and mansplain animal facts at me, please.
 
Thank you for listening. I hope you have a day full of living, breathing, and real platypuses that look exactly like this one.
 
P.S. I ALREADY KNEW THE MALES HAVE POISONOUS BARBS IN THEIR HIND LEGS, DOUGLAS. PISS OFF.

youruingoodthings

Be Still My Bleeding Heart

 

thumbnail_pic-1-tg_bleeding-heart

Upon moving into my new home five years ago, I was dismayed to realize that my barren front yard received absolutely no sunshine whatsoever. None. Nada. Zip. Dark as the Grinch’s pre-Cindy Lou Who heart, this yard of mine. I had no idea how to garden in the shade.

I’d lived in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, California, and now Oklahoma, and never before had I encountered a completely sun-free yard. Knowing that fertile soil, water, and sunshine are what plants need in order to grow, I wondered how I could create my happy, flowery world without the life-giving sun.

Desperately craving color, I soon found myself in the wretched, time-sucking embrace of Google, trying to learn about shade-loving plants. I was pleased to discover a whole new world (Cue: Jasmine and Aladdin) of pretty flowers and gorgeous plants that don’t need direct sunlight to thrive. In fact, many of these babies say, “Pooh to YOU, sunlight! We’ll stick with the shade, thankyouverymuch.” I have been planting a garden and growing things since I was a hippie child running naked and free on a remote Kansas farm, and it had not once occurred to me that plants could grow in total shade. Moss, I thought, maybe, but that’s about it.

In short: the discovery of shade-tolerant plants rocked my world view.

For the first few years, I planted shade annuals in my front landscaping, the trustworthy and dependable flowers known as impatiens. With occasional Miracle-Gro fertilization, my impatiens grew tall and strong without a fleck of sun. But every late fall, that sneaky bastard Old Man Winter would come along overnight and silently kill them all, forcing me to crawl around in my front yard in the cold air, removing the corpses and tidying up the scene of the crime with so much mulch. I grew tired of winter yard work. Yard work is for nice weather. In the winter, I only want to huddle under an electric blanket reading books and drinking red wine until I see the sun again. I needed a new plan.

Enter: shade perennials. Oh, perennials, you give me so much joy. I plant you once, and year after year, with only minor maintenance work from me, you come back. I can’t believe you keep coming back! You like me! You really like me!

I started searching the Internet, and eventually the local nurseries for shade-tolerant perennials. And I found some. Hostas, astilbe, ferns, hydrangea, pulmonaria, brunnera, helleborus, etc. But none have captured my love, all puns intended, like the bleeding heart plant, a.k.a. Dicentra.

Bleeding Heart Plant in My Front Landscaping, you complete me. Because you are me. I, too, am a bleeding heart. Because I cry every time I watch the news. Or one of those inspirational human interest stories on Sportscenter. Or if I visit an animal shelter. Or a pet store. Or when I see something that is just so niiiiiice it’s emotionally overwhelming. Because everything is overwhelming when you’re a freakishly empathetic emotional sponge like me. If you look in the dictionary next to “bleeding heart,” there is a picture of me holding this particular flower while rescuing a shelter kitten and sobbing over a copy of Where the Red Fern Grows. (I know. It’s okay if you want to laugh at me a little right now.)

So despite the fact that when I told my 6-year-old son the name of this flower, he immediately said, “Eeeew, Mom. It’s called a bleeding heart? That’s gross,” I still love it. That’s right! I’ll say it: I love my bleeding heart.

thumbnail_pic-2-tg_bleeding-heart

Look at the ferny, emerald leaves and the gracefully arched branch of tantalizingly bloody flowers. It could be the official plant of Edward Gorey. But despite its grisly name, the bleeding heart plant has the elegance of a thousand orchids. Maybe because the dripping blossoms never actually fall, forever remaining a frozen snapshot of a liquid moment, it seems to epitomize the stillness of nature for me. I always notice this peaceful slowing down of life while gardening, and it is the main reason I love to plant things. Nature can’t be rushed, and it halts my racing mind, reminding me that I am connected to everything as I commune with the elements, digging in the earth and pouring the water, but not feeling the sun. Not this time. My bleeding heart doesn’t need the sun in order to shine.

I bought my bleeding heart in the form of a rhizome, which is a withered, ugly little root-looking thing that resembles a deformed bulb. These are sold in the gardening section of local discount stores for less than $10. It came in a bag, loosely covered with dirt. I dug a small hole in the gigantic clay pot that is my Oklahoma front yard, added some good potting soil, and lightly covered it with mulch. I kept it moist and within weeks was rewarded with a small plant that has grown continuously, hibernating in the winter, but returning bigger and stronger every spring. (I apologize for my use of the word “moist” at the beginning of that last sentence. “Damp” bothers me almost as much, however, and now I’ve gone and used both of those awful words. I’m going to stop talking about it now, before “ointment” and “panty” make it into the discussion.)

If you have a mostly shady spot in your yard where nothing seems to grow, and you want to dress it up with a delicate beauty of a flower, try planting a pretty little bleeding heart. There are many different varieties and sizes, but all of them are deer resistant and easy to grow. You won’t be sorry.

Clematis Is Not a Sexually Transmitted Disease

thumbnail_tawnisgardenphoto3

 

At some point during college, I walked into a Planned Parenthood, signed in, sat down, and looked around. My eyes came to rest on a booklet that said in ominous all-caps: CHLAMYDIA IS NOT A FLOWER.

I began to giggle inside. That’s a great title for a pamphlet about venereal disease, because I never forgot it. Whoever thought of that, I owe you a lifetime of high-fives. To this day, if STDs are mentioned in a conversation, I am forced by the power of that Planned Parenthood pamphlet to say, “Hey! Did you know that chlamydia is not a flower?”

I have to say it, you see. Even when it’s insensitive and tacky of me. I can’t help it. Because over the course of my life, “chlamydia is not a flower” has become a verbal tic of sorts, one of those odd personal jokes between me, myself, and I. So be forewarned: if you mention chlamydia in my presence, I’m gonna have to remind you that chlamydia isn’t a flower, and there’s not a damned thing you can do about it except roll your eyes and wait for me to stop snickering like a thirteen-year-old boy.

Cut to: ten years later (*cough*Fifteen! Liar!*cough*), and I’m no longer a young college girl on the go. I’m a wife and mother. Now, rather than getting drunk at keggers and puking into my own shoes for a good time, I like to plant flowers and garden. My life is different now. (Well, okay, except for the getting drunk part. I still do that occasionally. But my shoes are totally puke-free, I swear.)

One of my favorite flowers to plant, in this brave new world called adulthood, is clematis. Clematis is an easy to grow, beautiful flowering vine. But best part of all: “clematis” kind of sounds like “chlamydia.” And clematis IS a flower.

So if, like me, you decide to share your personal inside joke with your dear husband… you remember the joke, right? The one in which you ask, “Did you know that chlamydia is not a flower?” That joke? Well, the good man you married will quite possibly run with your not-really-that-funny chlamydia/clematis joke. Pretty soon he might call the clematis you’ve planted all over your yard “chlamydia,” and you will gleefully join him.

This sounds entertaining, yes? But be forewarned, it may get so bad that you will actually find yourself calling it only chlamydia because you’ve forgotten the actual name of the plant. You may even accidentally call it “chlamydia” when discussing it with employees in your local nursery or gardening center, and you will blush hot in the face with shame and embarrassment. So if, in your mushy mommy brain, you have started to lose your words and are now resorting to describing things with adjective-riddled paragraphs like I often do, you may want to skip the funny nickname for this plant, because soon, chlamydia is all you will have.

Yes, you, too, will have chlamydia.

I have chlamydia-clematis plants all over my yard. I love them because they are hardy, which in my part of the world (Tulsa, Oklahoma) means they can tolerate soil that contains so much clay I get to recreate that cheesy scene from the movie Ghost every time I plant something. (Except there’s no hunky Patrick Swayze-type hugging me from behind while I work the clay, and instead of throwing a sexy new pot on that cool spinny thing, I’m throwing out my tired old back.) Clematis is also a perennial vine, which means that once you plant it, it will grow back every year, even after a cold winter, saving you money (and future back strain).

I have clematis in five different areas of my yard, both front and back. This is because the Lowe’s home and garden store down the road from my house had them on clearance a few years ago. It was early summer and the planting season for these lovelies was over, so they were selling them at $2 a pop. I bought 12 clematis vines and hurried home to get them into the ground before the storm presently brewing in the skies above opened up full throttle.

With thunder rumbling over me, I hurried to get these babies planted:

thumbnail_tawnisgardenphoto2

 

The raindrops had just started to speckle my face while I frantically got them into the earth, and within minutes of finishing, I watched from inside as the summer thunderstorm gave my new clematis a free post-planting soaking. Perfect.

I have done nothing for the clematis since planting them, and they have continued to thrive. Every spring, they come back bigger and stronger, with more blooms than the year before. It took me thirty hurried-by-threat-of-lightning minutes to slam them into the ground, and these selfless little flowers reward me every year for my haphazard gardening approach with so much purple goodness. I can even call them a name reserved for a ghastly disease, and they still come back pretty for me.

Contrary to some of the things you’ll read about clematis, they do not need full sun. I have clematis planted in partial, and even full shade (I have a north-facing front yard), and they do fine. The only thing I’ve noticed about my shady clematis is that they bloom later than the sunnier placements, but I like the staggering of the flowers. It gives me the bright colors I love for a longer time, rather than all at once.

Another thing I’ve noticed about my clematis plants is that they are not an aggressively clingy, vining plant, in that they don’t necessarily stick to everything I plant them under. I’ve had to use jute/garden rope, and even twisty-ties to hold the plants onto the trellises and drain spouts to encourage clinging. Once they’re growing where you want them, you’re golden, but they may need a little help getting there. (You can do it. You’re supportive, nurturing, and helpful, I can just feel it.)

Different types of clematis bloom at different times, so if you buy and plant them appropriately, you can have constant blooms in your yard. Or you can be like me and buy a bunch of clearance plants that are $2 each because they don’t have labels, put them in the ground, and enjoy the surprise of seeing what pops up. It’s your decision. I would recommend with all new plantings that you amend the dirt in your planting holes by mixing a bit of good store-bought potting soil in with the present soil as you plant. This will raise the nutrient content of your soil, and increase the drainage for the roots of the plant, which are both good things.

Remember to mulch your clematis after planting to hold moisture in, and water them once a week for the first year, or until they seem well-established. Pruning schedules for clematis are different depending on which type you have, but in general, clematis that blooms on this year’s growth should be pruned in the early spring, and clematis that blooms on last year’s growth should be pruned back after blooming.

More than anything, don’t stress out. Just give it a try: flowers are tougher than you think. Remember what we learned from Jurassic Park – nature finds a way – so put it in the ground, water it, and get ready for some pretty.

thumbnail_tawnisgardenphoto4

 

5 Fun Recipes Kids Will Love

mini-pizza-257094_960_720

 

Got a finicky eater? Or maybe your kids are just getting a little bored with the same old sandwiches? Here are some fun twists on snacks to get healthy fruits and vegetables into your children while having some good creative fun in the kitchen.

 

  1. Shish Kabobs

You know how cute food on skewers can be, whether they’re in the shape of those little plastic swords, or simple swizzle sticks, they all suddenly become tiny little shish kabobs when you slide pieces of fruits or vegetables onto them. You can turn snack time into a kiddie cookout with these adorable treats, making them a fun choice for birthday parties and sleepovers.

Some recommended fruits for skewers would be: strawberries cut into bite-sized chunks, pineapple pieces, Clementine orange slices, pitted cherries, grapes, kiwi rounds, banana slices, apple pieces, raspberries and blueberries.

Bonus: Give the kids small dipping bowls full of yogurt. Kids love to dip!

 

  1. Mini-Pizzas

When I was a child, my mom would make the most delicious fruit pizza by using sugar cookie dough as “pizza dough,” baking it into a giant pizza-sized cookie, and then covering it with cream cheese and pieces of fruit. It was an absolutely delicious dessert.

Now you can make a healthier, mini-version of this treat by using whole grain English muffins instead of the sugar cookie. Just toast an the muffin, spread cream cheese on it, and place cut up pieces of fruit into the cream cheese to make it look like a tiny, fruity pizza. Kids will love the novelty of having a mini-pizza for breakfast, and you can feel good about getting some healthy fruit and whole grains into them.

These also double as an afternoon snack or dinner if you use marinara or pizza sauce instead of the cream cheese, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella. If you can get some mushrooms and green peppers on them as well, even better!

 

  1. Pinwheels

Wraps cut into pinwheels are an adorable and easy-to-eat alternative to the daily lunchbox sandwich. Just spread hummus or cream cheese across a tortilla, then layer on fresh baby spinach, thinly-sliced tomato, and ham or turkey deli meat (or cheese if you have a vegetarian). After rolling your tortilla into a tight burrito shape, slice it into circles or pinwheels, and place them into your child’s plastic sandwich box for a fun surprise.

 

  1. Rainbow Pasta Salad

Children love rainbows and bright colors. It’s all about presentation with kids, and if you can serve them something happy and cheerful, you have a much better chance of getting them to eat it. This is where the rainbow pasta salad comes in. You know the spiral-shaped noodles that come in spinach green, carrot orange and beet red? So pretty.

These noodles can be cooked and served warm in a kid-friendly butter sauce, with fresh tomatoes, peas or carrots. It can also be served as a cold pasta salad if you prefer. Rather than mixing in vinaigrette dressing as you might for an adult’s cold pasta salad, mix in a light amount of ranch dressing, or any other dressing your child likes.

 

  1. Toothpick Party

It’s hors d’oeuvres for little people who can’t spell “hors d’oeuvres,” and somehow that just makes it really cute. Cube cheese, fruit, meats and vegetables, stick toothpicks into everything, and voila! Now it’s a party. The novelty of being able to grab a variety of different foods and the instant gratification of “toothpick nibbling” will entice the pickiest eater into trying new foods, and give any occasion a fun, celebratory feel.

 

Sometimes all it takes to get hesitant children to try new foods is a fresh perspective and a little creative fun. Give these funky, fresh ideas a try, and maybe your kids will find a new favorite snack today.