10 Surprising Uses For Banana Peels

10 Surprising Uses For Banana Peels

Over 100 billion bananas are consumed across the world each year and in the United States the average person consumes 27 pounds of bananas a year. That’s a lot of banana peels being thrown in the trash, and ultimately dumped into landfills. The next time you eat a banana, consider using the peels in one of these surprising ways before tossing them in the trash.

1. Wart remover – banana’s are stocked with potassium, and so are the peels. If you rub the inside of a banana peel on a wart continuously each evening for one to two weeks, the potassium will eventually make the wart disappear.

2. Teeth whitener – the potassium and magnesium found in banana peels serve as a natural tooth whitener. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth for around two minutes then gargle with salt water each night and you will see results in a couple of weeks.

3. Headache cure – the next time you get a headache, try rubbing the inside of a banana peel on your forehead and the pain should begin to subside.

4. Rash reliever – rub the inside of a banana peel over a rash or bug bite to soothe the itch and help it heal faster. This also works well for relieve from psoriasis.

5. Meat tenderizer – no one likes tough and dry meat, so to make sure your meat stays moist and juicy toss a banana peel into the roasting pan the next time you cook.

6. Silver polish – put a banana peel and some water in a blender and mix together to create a paste. Use the paste to polish tarnished silver and make it shiny again.

7. Plant food – soak a banana peel in water, then add more water to the banana water and use to fertilize plants.

8. Bruise healer – Rub the inside of a banana peel over a bruise to help it heal faster. For even faster healing, tape the peel against the bruise over night.

9. Wrinkle reducer – rub the inside of a banana peel against wrinkles to help reduce their appearance and help prevent future ones from forming.

10. Acne treatment – to help treat acne, rub the inside of a banana peel against the blemishes for around 10 minutes. Don’t wash your face afterwards as the healing powers found in the banana will continue to work overnight.

 

7 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

7 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier

In honor of the release of mine and Cassie’s new book, 103 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier, I am going to share 7 hacks from the book with you here. All of the hacks in the book are provided with one goal in mind – to make your life easier in the kitchen so that you can spend less time working and more time enjoying the fruits of your labor with your family and friends.

Here are 7 of my favorite hacks from the book:

If a recipe calls for self rising flour and all you have is all purpose, just make your own. If you’ve started whipping together ingredients for a tasty treat only to realize that you all you have is all purpose flour when you need self-rising flour, don’t panic. All you need is all purpose flour, salt, and baking powder to make your own self-rising flour. Simply combine 4 cups of all purpose flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder to make your own self-rising flour. It will work like a charm.

Add 2 eggs and half a cup of oil to any cake mix to turn it into cookie dough. Sometimes you want cookies, you don’t want to make them from scratch, but all you have is cake mix. You can easily turn any cake mix into cookie dough by adding 2 eggs and half a cup of oil to the mix. You can even add nuts or chocolate chips if you want. Then just bake them until they are done.

Save butter wrappers to butter pans with. Personally I hate when I need a little bit of butter to butter a pan, but I don’t have a stick of butter already open. Plus, I don’t want to cut a little off, then I don’t have accurate measurements if I want to use the butter for baking, so I have to open another stick. The wrappers almost always have a little butter left on them when you are finished, so save them in a small container. When you need to butter a pan you can take out a wrapper and rub it over the pan. Added bonus, your hands don’t get greasy because you have the wrapper to protect them.

Wrap banana stems with plastic wrap to keep them fresh longer. This prevents ethylene gas, which is naturally produced as the banana ripens, from reaching other parts of the banana and causing it to ripen faster.

Soak a sponge in water and microwave it for a minute to easily clean your microwave. Be careful because the sponge may be hot, but the water in the sponge will help to moisten the stuck on food in your microwave, making it easier to wipe it clean.

Store cookies in Tupperware with an apple wedge to keep them moist. To keep cookies from becoming stale in a container, place an apple wedge in the container with them and they will stay moist longer.

Use a curtain rod to store pot lids. Sounds crazy, but if you stagger curtain rods they make a perfect place to hold your pot lids so you can easily find the one you need. You can place the curtain rods in an area that isn’t used for anything else and again save yourself some storage space.

There’s plenty more where that came from! Enjoy 95 more amazing kitchen hacks in 103 Kitchen Hacks to Make Your Life Easier, now available on Kindle, Nook, and Kobo.

Want even more amazing hacks? Get 103 Parenting Hacks to Make Your Life Easier, available for just .99 for a limited time!

5 Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

5 Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

Smoothies have recently become a popular item in my household, one that I’m glad to accommodate. They are easy and quick to make, nutritious, and make a great healthy alternative to high calorie desserts like ice cream or cookies. My kids are big on getting a dessert after dinner and serving them up a fruit smoothie makes both them and me happy.

Fruit smoothies are their favorite, but I am able to sneak some spinach in when they aren’t looking. What they don’t know won’t hurt them! After much trial and error I have come to realize that the secret to making a really good, creamy smoothie is using frozen fruit. With frozen fruit you can skip the ice, which can water down the flavor a bit, and you can buy packages of prefrozen fruit at the grocery store that can last you much longer than fresh fruit. If you have fresh fruit that is getting close to going bad chop it up, place it in Ziploc bags, and stick it in the freezer to be used in smoothies later. You can even put all the ingredients of a particular smoothie recipe in one bag so that when you are ready to make your next smoothie all you have to do is toss what’s in the bag in the blender, add milk or yogurt, and viola you’ll have your smoothie.

If you are ready to give smoothies a try, or if you want to spice up your routine with new recipes, here are five simple recipes that are kid approved.

Note: I have assumed frozen fruit for these recipes, if using fresh fruit add a cup of ice to the ingredients as well. For all smoothies place ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If the taste is too tart for your liking, add some honey or low calorie sweetener to taste. Recipes should yield 3 -4 eight ounce smoothies.

Banana Split Smoothie

Easy Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup chocolate milk

Berry Mania Smoothie

Easy Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

This is the perfect smoothie to sneak in some vitamin enriched spinach, just don’t let the kids catch you! The strong flavor of the berries will hide any trace of spinach.

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries (you can buy prepackaged with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup milk
  • honey to taste

Breakfast Sunrise Smoothie

Easy Smoothie Recipes Kids Will LoveThis delectable smoothie makes the perfect breakfast on the go, or can be enjoyed as an evening snack.

  • 1 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • honey to taste

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Easy Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • honey or sweetener to taste

Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie

Easy Smoothie Recipes Kids Will Love

  • 2 cups chopped watermelon
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • honey to taste

The great thing about smoothies is that you can mix and match all sorts of ingredients to find a taste that you love. Keep experimenting with your favorite fruits and veggies, the sky’s the limit!

 

 

 

3 Reasons To Plant a Family Garden This Spring

3 Reasons to Plant a Family Garden This Spring

Spring is finally here and that means sunshine, fresh air, and gardening. Starting a family garden is a great family project that not only encourages spending time outside, but the act of planting and tending to a garden actually has many advantages for children.

Gardening is Educational

Actively participating in the planting and nourishment of a garden teaches kids important life skills. Taking care of a garden is a great way to learn responsibility and can boost their self-confidence as the garden begins to grow and flourish, leaving them beaming with pride at what they have accomplished. Planting a vegetable garden is also a good way to teach children about good nutrition and what an important role it plays in our health and overall well being. Gardening also provides an interactive way to help young children begin to understand the roles of cause and effect, such as without water the plants will die, etc. Gardening also helps kids learn about the environment, how nature works, how weather affects us, and the science of plants.

Gardening From a Young Age Can Encourage a Love of Nature

It today’s technology based world, the amount of time that children spend outdoors is diminishing. Gardening is a fun way to counteract that by getting them interested in a hobby that requires time spent outdoors. A love of gardening can easily flourish into a love of nature that children carry through to adulthood.

Gardening Helps Siblings Learn to Work Together

Siblings don’t always get along and sometimes the constant bickering and squabbling can make it feel like they are always working against each other. Planting a family garden together can get siblings on the same page as they all work together toward one common goal, helping them to better understand teamwork and how good it can feel to accomplish something together.

Ready to start planting? Here’s some tips to get you started:

  • Pick plants that children find interesting such as sunflowers and snapdragons for a flower garden or strawberries and tomatoes for a vegetable garden. This will help get them excited about planting the garden and keep them interested.

 

  • Encourage the kids to get dirty. Kids love playing in the dirt, so let them! Assign them gardening chores that they will find fun such as digging in the dirt. Let them know that getting dirty is not only OK, it’s encouraged!

 

  • Do fun activities involving your garden such as making a scarecrow or putting up a birdbath. The garden should be a place the family enjoys spending time so get involved in activities to make it a fun place for everyone.

 

  • Keep it safe. Be sure to avoid using harmful chemicals and keep all sprays and fertilizers out of reach of children. Select kid friendly tools and don’t let children use any sharp tools. Also be sure to use sunscreen and shade when spending extended time in the sun.

 

Now ready, set, plant!

10 Family Game Night Ideas That Don’t Come From a Box

10 Family Game Night Ideas That Don't Come From a Box

 

Family Game Night should be a weekly staple in every household. Dedicating one night a week to playing together as a family is a great way to stay connected and have some fun. We have always enjoyed this tradition, but lately game night has grown a little stale. We play the same board and card games over and over again and while we still have fun and enjoy being together, it is time to take Family Game Night out of the box. Here are 10 ways to have fun on Family Game Night without a store bought game board or deck of cards.

1. Build an obstacle course. Take the fun outside by creating an obstacle course in your backyard and take turns timing each other as you race through it. The course doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it can be made using things you have around the house such as a jump rope, hula hoop, and cardboard boxes. Get creative and plan out the course together as a family. Not only is this great fun for everyone, it is also a good way to enjoy some fresh air and exercise as a family.

2. Host your own family game show. Make up your own game show and nominate one family member to be the show’s host while the other family members are the contestants. You can model the game after one of your family’s favorite game shows or make up your own. You can use the cards from trivia or word games that you own for game play. Use your imagination here, the sky’s the limit. You can even come up with a “prize” for the winner.

3. Make your own board game. Instead of playing a store bought game, sit down as a family and make up your own board game. You can come up with a back story, write out the game rules, draw up a game board, and even make some game pieces. A game that you create together as a family is sure to be much more fun to play than one that you buy from a store.

4. Set up rotating game stations. Set up a few different stations to be manned by parents and older siblings and let the younger kids rotate through them. The games should be ones that can be played quickly, as you want to rotate every ten minutes or so to keep it interesting, so use games such as Tic-Tac-Toe, Hangman, or Guess Who.

5. Have a family football, baseball, or basketball game. Split into two teams and go outside for some family fun the old fashioned way. Break out the balls, bats, or gloves and show your kids that mom and dad know a thing or two about sports. This is also a great way to teach kids about good sportsmanship and what it means to be part of a team. Plus it’s good exercise and just plain fun.

6. Play a round of Name That Tune. My kids love playing this game, we usually play a Disney version where I play a Disney song on the piano and they try to be the first to guess which Disney movie the song is from. If you don’t play an instrument, no worries, download some kid friendly tunes on your iPod or phone and see who can guess the title first. Kids love this game and it can be great fun.

7. Play hide and go seek. This can be done inside or outside. Children love it when their parents play hide and go seek with them and even the most reluctant parents usually find themselves having fun after a while. This is another great way to get everyone up and moving while having a good time together.

8. Play charades. You really can’t go wrong with this old school go-to party game. Just be sure to keep the scenarios things that will be easy for younger kids to act out and guess.

9. Have karaoke night. This is a good one to invite extended family members over to join in on. If you have a karaoke machine, make a play list and write the songs on slips of paper for people to draw out of a hat or bucket. They then have to perform the song that they pulled. You really can’t go wrong with karaoke and there is sure to be more than a few laughs.

10. Have a scavenger hunt. Gather items from around the house and place them strategically throughout your house and yard, then give your kids a list of the items and let them try to find them all. The person that finds the most items wins. You can then let the kids create their own scavenger hunt for the parents to do.

There are so many creative ways to have fun together each week, so take some time to carve some family fun time out of your schedule. You will all reap the benefits of it!