Our Favorite Non-GMO After-School Snacks

What does “back to school” mean to you? For me, it means less time with my precious kiddies, hectic mornings, and homework. It also means lots and lots of playdates.  Some days I come home from pickup with two kids, and other days I come home with as many as five.

I’ll give you one guess what they all want as soon as we walk through the front door.  If you said food, you guessed correctly.  They eat lunch pretty early in the day, so you can’t really blame them.  When it’s just my own kids, I offer them fruit and/or nuts, but other people’s kids aren’t always satisfied with those options.  So for playdate days, I try to have something that better resembles the snacks they’re used to having at home without serving them anything I wouldn’t want my own kids to eat.

Non-GMO After-School Snacks

Here are some of my top gmo-free picks for this back-to-school season.  Reach for these when you’re in the mood for something that’s both yummy and nutritious.  Each one has proven to be a hit with my kids and their friends!

The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn

The Little Kernel Mini Popcorn

Popcorn is my go-to snack when I’m not in the mood for fruit or nuts.  It’s a satisfying, whole grain treat that I feel good about eating.  Choose the wrong brand, however, and instead of a healthy snack, you end up with something that’s chemical-filled and not so good for you.  The Little Kernel is one of the brands you can depend on to give you the delicious popcorn you’re looking for but without any of the artificial ingredients.  It’s popped in 100% pure olive oil, and in addition to being non-gmo, it’s also dairy-free, gluten-free, and kosher.  The Little Kernel is described as featuring a hulless, miniature kernel, but I’d say it’s more like mostly hulless.  A little hull is okay with me, as that’s where most of the polyphenols are, but these are softer and easier on the gums while still retaining that popcorn crunch we all love.  My favorite Little Kernel variety is Naked–just popcorn and olive oil.  I like the taste of popcorn and don’t feel the need to mask it, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, it’s available in other great flavors too, like Butter, White Cheddar, Sweet and Salty, Truffle Sea Salt, and Pink Himalayan Salt.

KIND Fruit Bites

KIND Fruit Bites

I can’t say enough good things about KIND.  I’ve talked about how much I love their various bars, but they’ve really hit a home run with their new Fruit Bites.  The ingredients are super simple and written in large letters on the front of the package:  fruit.  Just fruit.  Seriously.  No juices, no purees, and definitely no extra sugar.  They’re deliciously chewy and naturally sweet, and I can’t stop eating them.  KIND Fruit bites are currently available in Mango Pineapple Apple, Strawberry Cherry Apple, and Cherry Apple flavors.

gimME Organic Seaweed Chips

gimME Organic Seaweed Chips

Did you know that seaweed is a vegetable?  It was news to me.  Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and when you combine it with organic brown rice, organic lentils, organic sesame seeds, and organic millet, and you have what I call a “powerhouse snack”.  In this case, it’s a rather addictive one.  We’ve tried other seaweed-based snacks, but the gimME brand is our favorite, hands down.  Unlike others, these snacks aren’t fishy or too salty–two things I find very unappealing.  My son and I are especially fond of the sriracha flavor, and it’s also available in sea salt, teriyaki, and wasabi tamari.  gimME also offers Roasted Seaweed Snacks and Seaweed Thins.

Slammers Snacks

Slammers Superfood Snacks

This might look like just another pouch to you, but I assure you, there’s more to Slammers than that.  Slammers are superfood snacks made with organic fruits and vegetables, and some flavors have more protein than a tablespoon of peanut butter.  While my kids eat plenty of fruit, they’re diet lacks certain “superfood” fruits like acai and pomegranate.  One of these pouches fills in the deficit, and they’re a lot faster and less messy than trying to seed a pomegranate.  You already know we love fruit pouches for when were on-the-go, which is always, but I couldn’t be more excited to have an option that also has protein.  With flavors like Epic, Awesome, Chill’n, and Amped, my kids think these are as fun as they are delicious.

Good Health Eat Your Vegetables

Good Health Snacks

Take a look at my snack cabinet, and you’ll almost always find a giant bag of Good Health Avocado Oil Kettle Chips and another of their Veggie Straws.  They’re what I bring when we visit friends, because they’re delicious and made of simple, non-gmo ingredients.  I recently discovered that Good Health has lots of other options, and believe it or not, they’re even better.  Their Eat Your Vegetables Chips come in 5 different flavors, and each contains a blend of 8 amazing veggies, including carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, beets, and shiitake mushrooms.  And there’s more:  they’ve got pretzels and tortilla chips that are also full of vegetables!  Which ever option you pick, you’ll be amazed by how delicious healthy can be–and they’re all great for dipping too.  Unfortunately, my regular grocery store doesn’t carry these new options, but I’ve been able to get them from Vitacost.

With options like these around, you’ll never need to resort to giving the kids empty calories.  Our better-for-you snacks will keep their bellies full and give them that little boost of energy they need to get through an afternoon of playing and homework.

The Ultimate in Halloween Fun & a New VR Arena at iPlay America!

It’s Halloween all month long at iPlay America in Freehold, NJ!

iPlay America - Halloween

My kids always look forward to a trip to iPlay, but a visit in October is an extra treat.   All the normal rides and games are available for them to enjoy, but the whole park is trimmed in the most spooktacular Halloween decor, and a number of Halloween-themed activities await them.  You won’t be surprised when I tell you which activity they wanted to do first.

iPlay America - Trick or Treat Trail

Did someone say candy?  My kids remembered the Trick or Treat Trail from last year, so upon entering the building, they made a mad dash for the first candy-filled cauldron they could find.  There are six stations located throughout the park, and each one has a cauldron loaded with Halloween candy–and it’s the good stuff.  Complete the whole trail, and you can enter to win and iPlay America Birthday Party!  The Trick or Treat Trail is open on Sundays from 12-4.  Five dollars gets you a trick or treat bag, a map, plenty of candy, and whole lot of fun.

Next up was a visit to the iPlay Pumpkin Patch. [Read more…]

Field Station: Dinosaurs – Dinosaurs After Dark

If you thought dinosaurs were intimidating by daylight, just wait until you see them at night!  On Friday and Saturday nights in October, Field Station: Dinosaurs in Leonia, NJ is hosting Dinosaurs After Dark, where you are invited to see their 32 life-sized dinosaurs after hours–when things are at their spookiest.  Armed with a mini flashlight and a dauntless attitude, visitors explore the darkened trails in search of a missing T-Rex.

Field Station: Dinosaurs

You’ll hunt in a small group led by a knowledgeable and entertaining guide, and you’ll soon find that there’s more out there than just a Tyrannosaurs Rex.

Field Station: Dinosaurs - Dinosaurs After Dark - Dilophosaurus

Surprises lurk around every corner, but don’t worry–your guide will not only protect you from these ferocious beasts, he’ll tell you everything you might want to know about them.

Field Station: Dinosaurs - Raptor Maze

It wasn’t long before my kids were brave enough to do a little hunting on their own.  They were excited to go through the raptor maze and race against each other to be the first to find all three hidden raptors.  My daughter won!

There were a few other stops on the trail designed to help us prepare for an encounter with the rogue T-Rex.  We began with a lesson on how T-Rex’s senses of sight, smell, and hearing affected his nighttime hunting.  Then, the Director of Security and Safety showed us how to defend ourselves the same way dinosaurs like the Ankylosaurus did all those years ago.  The kids had their own senses put to some tests, used their tails to defeat inflatable dinosaurs, and there were even dinosaur-shaped water guns involved.  This opportunity to be actively involved in the instruction made it so much fun for them, and now they feel like dinosaur experts.  It was a good thing too, because before we knew it, our new skills came in handy.

Field Station: Dinsoaurs - T-Rex

We found the T-Rex!  No worries though.  Thanks to the Field Station: Dinosaurs experts, we were more than ready to handle a confrontation with the mighty dinosaur.

You might think that’s where the fun would end, but you’d be wrong. [Read more…]

Who’s Faster than a Speeding Waistband? Captain Underpants in His First Epic Movie!

Maybe you’ve heard:  Captain Underpants has a movie. Tra-la-laaa!

Captain Underpants Tra-la-laaa!

Ordinarily, I’m not one for potty humor, but if you’ve ready any of the Captain Underpants books, you’ll understand why I make an exception.  The character is charming and hilarious, and if there were ever a time we could use some laughs, it’s now.

Professor Poopypants

In Captain Underpants:  The First Epic Movie, you’ll watch as two prankster elementary school students, Harold and George, transform their grumpy principal into a dim-witted but loveable superhero.  The boys and Captain Underpants must band together to fight a new teacher, Professor Poopypants, who intends to rid the world of laughter.  It’s a fun, toilet-filled adventure that will crack up the whole family.

Captain Underpants

Faithful Captain Underpants readers will be delighted to know that this movie stays true to the books in both its animation and story.  The content covers parts of multiple books, and it’s every bit as wacky as you’d expect.  New to the world of Captain Underpants? Trust me when I tell you that the humor will have you rolling and the characters will draw you in–even if you’ve never cracked open one of the books.

I bet you can’t wait to watch it yourself now, right?  Well, I’ve got good news for you.  Captain Underpants:  The First Epic Movie is currently available on Digital HD, DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K.

Captain Underpants Hero Edition

When you become a proud owner of the Captain Underpants Hero Edition, not only will you have access to your favorite tighty-whitey-clad superhero whenever you want, but you’ll get more than 30 minutes of action-packed special features: [Read more…]

After-School Relaxation with Snoopy & the Peanuts Gang Giveaway

School should be in full swing for everyone by now, and that means we’ve all been hard at work.  (My kids have their noses buried in books at this very moment.)

It’s easy to let our long, daily to-do lists rule our lives, but let’s remember that it’s important to take a break from the grueling homework and serious textbooks every once in a while.  We’re going to help you do that with these two new and entertaining Peanuts-themed books!

Hugs for Snoopy Book

The first, called “Hugs for Snoopy”, is a Simon Spotlight kids’ novelty board book about hugs that features a touchable, lovable plush Snoopy face on the cover!

Hugs for Snoopy

Whether you’re happy, sad, lost, or found, nothing warms the heart like a hug—just take it from Snoopy! In this adorable board book, Snoopy earns a hug from Linus, snuggles away the sniffles for Woodstock, and gets caught in a cuddle with Charlie Brown. Now Peanuts fans, young and old, can feel the love too!

Peanuts Adult Coloring Book

In the second book, entitled “Peanuts for Inspiration and Relaxation”, from Posh, adult fans can color along with the Peanuts gang and relive their childhood!

Peanuts Coloring Book

The beloved Peanuts characters are reimagined here in 124 fanciful coloring book images, interweaving many classic Peanuts themes, such as Schroeder and musical items, Charlie Brown and the kite-eating tree, and the Snoopy dance.

For a chance to win a copy of each book, enter to win via the Giveaway Tools for below by Friday, October 13, 2017!  Giveaway is open to US residents who are 18 or older.  Ends 10/13/17 at 11:59 PM.  Good luck!

Peanuts Books Giveaway

[Read more…]