September 2012

As a member of the PTA’s Wellness Committee at my son’s school, I help plan programming and events that encourage kids to eat healthier and move more. This is the second of three posts highlighting the wellness activities at our school. I hope you’ll get ideas and inspiration from these programs. I’m also hoping you’ll share info about your school’s programs in the comments section, so we can all be inspired!

The Family Fun Fit Fest

In the Spring, one of our amazing parent volunteers puts together a health and wellness festival at the school, and the Wellness Committee helps her organize it. It’s a free evening event designed to promote wellness and get students and families excited about eating healthy foods and being active.

Last Spring’s Fit Fest was so big, there were activities on all three floors of the school–plus a climbing wall on the playground.

We had martial arts and yoga for the kids to do, an inflatable obstacle course, a hula hoop challenge, and chair massages for the grown-ups.

Though we had a budget to rent the rock wall from the city rec department and the inflatable obstacle course from a local shop, the rest of the vendors all donated their time and expertise–and in many cases, brought food (like fresh fruit) and giveaways (like toothbrushes and frisbees) for our families.

Some of the other highlights:

We asked families to enter their best vegetable-based dishes in our “Veggie Chop-Off” contest. The two winners (one award for a sweet dish, one for savory) won gift certificates to our neighborhood farmer’s market.

Local farmers were there, and they brought along some furry friends…

and some bees…

and talked to the students about farming and gardening.

We partnered with two local markets, who brought make-your-own trail mix with popcorn and dried fruit, handed out apples and bananas, and brought a food craft for the kids to do: Green Apple Frogs.

Our other partners included a healthcare company that donated jump ropes, a big box discount store that brought bottled water, and dietetics students from the local university who played a nutrition game with the students and handed out small prizes. The school’s Nutrition Club, also run by local dietetics students, had a table with different lettuces to try and compare. We had a parent doing face painting, a dairy giving away cups of local milk, and a skateboard instructor talking to the kids about skating and giving away free lessons.

To raise money for more wellness programming, we also held a raffle at the Fit Fest. Our prizes (which were all donated) ranged from gift cards to local shops and restaurants to wellness-themed prizes like a pool membership, gym membership, bike helmet, and skateboard.

Does your school host a health fair or wellness festival? I’d love to hear all about it, so please leave a comment!



Easy Crockpot Applesauce

by Sally on September 22, 2012

Every fall, we pick apples at a local orchard. We always go with friends and make a day of it, stopping at the country store for kettle corn and cider, sampling the varieties as we pick, and coming home with sticky hands and chins–and $40 worth of apples that won’t fit in the refrigerator.

Luckily, one of my favorite fall projects is making homemade applesauce. Trust me when I tell you that once you’ve had homemade applesauce, you’ll never buy another jar of that yellow stuff in the supermarket again. Homemade applesauce tastes like love and pie filling on a spoon.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Wash your apples. Even if they’re organic. Even though you’re peeling them. If you don’t wash them, any dirt and germs on the skins will be transferred into the flesh when you slice them. And that’s gross.

Step 2: Peel, core, and slice the apples. You can do this by hand and just cut the apples into quarters. But my kids love using this old-fashioned peeler. And I love free child labor.

Step 3: Load your apple slices into the slow cooker.

Step 4: Add your ingredients. I modified this recipe from A Year of Slow Cooking by skipping the sugar and cutting back the lemon juice. For a triple batch (12 apples), I used 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3 tsp vanilla, 3/4 cup water, and the juice of one lemon. I set my slow cooker for 4 hours on High.

Step 5: Smash with a potato masher at the end of the cooking cycle until you get the desired consistency.

Step 6: Spoon into jars or containers and refrigerate. My triple recipe (12 apples) yielded about 2 1/2 jars.

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Easy Crockpot Applesauce
  • 4 apples
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup H20
  1. Peel, core, and slice apples and load into slow cooker.
  2. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, vanilla, and water.
  3. Cook on High for 4-6 hours.
  4. Smash with potato masher until desired consistency.
  5. Spoon into jars or containers and refrigerate.


What If Soccer Snacks Just Went Away?

September 18, 2012

I may be Mom on a Mission. Even Soccer Mom Gone Wild. But I am not Orange Slice Mom. In a hilarious piece on the Huffington Post, mom and senior writer Ann Brenoff says she’s tired of the tryannical Orange Slice Moms and their demands for certified organic fruit and gluten-free snacks bars. She writes: […]

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School Wellness In Action: Programs That Rock (Part 1)

September 17, 2012

As parents, it’s easy to feel powerless when it comes to school food (readers of the great blog The Lunch Tray know that it takes a lot more than spunk and determination to change policies). But in the meantime, there are many ways–big and small–that we can help make our children’s schools healthier places. Right now. […]

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Ode to Aldi

September 5, 2012

I’m pretty frugal. I coupon. I’ve even been known to hoard groceries when I come across a really good deal. So naturally, I love Aldi. I love their no-frills approach. They don’t need fancy lighting and free samples. They’re not going to give your kid a balloon at checkout. They’re not even going to bag […]

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