Ahhh… there is nothing like a tailgate party. It’s what always made the college football game or [insert other sporting event here] more bearable…at least for this MBMom!
Drinking, good food, more drinking, and friends… it couldn’t get any better. Early mornings back at school, we would set up our gear with friends and tailgate all day. We’d walk past other tailgaters admiring their adorably dressed babies and toddlers in their UCF gear and agree that our children would start their tailgating at a young age, looking impeccable in their college onesies and tees.
And then we had kids….
Those families with their adorable children made it look so easy…too easy. As football season commences, along with its companion the tailgate party, my husband and I sat down to evaluate the components of a successful tailgate with three small children as we embark on our third year with kids, and our FIRST year with twins.
Do these two look ready?
MBMom’s Essential Family Tailgating Tips
Timing. Gone are the 6-8 hour tailgates, so bring on the 2-4 hour event. Our group of friends also has kids, so the men go a little earlier to pick a spot and set up a tent, while the women and children come after setup.
Location. Close enough to the game, far enough from the college kids, preferably near shade, other families, and most importantly, a reliable/bearable bathroom station. There is nothing worse than potty-training a toddler who only gives you 30 seconds to get them to a bathroom, especially when you have to negotiate the port-o-potties with the 18-22 year-olds. To ensure the ideal location, send a mother from the group with the guys to pick a spot or require a photo/FaceTime before the men set up. All it takes is one bad location decision and the guys will agree to this… I promise.
Setup. Camping chairs, grill, food, TENTS, perhaps a large, caged area for the kiddies and no ant piles.
Activities. Every family should bring something. Balls, buckets, books, even the forbidden iPad. After 3 hours of chasing your kid around, that iPad now looks like a godsend vs. that negative look you gave your husband when he packed it.
Food. Everyone should bring a dish and coordinate via group email the week of the game. This way you have diversity and you have snacks and food to keep the kids happy when that grilled bratwurst just isn’t on their menu for the day.
Drinks. Yours, your kids, and your husband’s. Why wouldn’t you have a different drink than your husband? Try to enjoy that beer/wine/cocktail while trying to keep the minions out of the street and harm’s way.
An Escape Plan. Very few kids can make it through a tailgate party AND a game, so have an evacuation plan. Set your expectations low. This season, I don’t plan on making it through any game with 3 kids, all 2 and under.
Cute outfits. No explanation needed.
Tailgating CAN be fun with your kids, with the proper preparation of course. And guess what? Now you’re the cute family that the undergrads can only hope to be someday. #winning
What does your family do to maximize your tailgating fun? Share below!!
With the anxiety of the first few weeks of school over with (OK, mostly anxiety on my part, my daughter did just fine!), a new stress has taken over.
It’s called: The School Lunch Box.
I can really get myself worked up into panic mode just thinking about what to pack for my daughter’s lunch for the week! It has to be healthy and it has to be something she will eat and it has to be enough to fill her up! The lunch also has to be the right temperature (we wouldn’t want that mayo to get hot, would we?).
Ilyse told MBMom, “Ideally a healthy packed lunch should include: Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables, Lean protein and Water.”
Whole grains –Always aim for whole grain or whole wheat breads, brown rice and whole wheat pasta, couscous or quinoa. Whole grains have more fiber and less sugar than their white counterparts, and will help keep your kids fuller for longer periods of time.
Fresh fruit and vegetables – This goes without saying. Fruits and veggies have a multitude of health benefits, including vitamins, minerals and fiber! Plus for most, they taste great. Having fruits and veggies in your child’s lunch also contributes to variety and color which keeps lunches appealing.
Lean protein – Helps to keep kids satisfied. Aim for lean sources such as chicken, turkey, tuna and wild salmon. If your child doesn’t eat meat, they can get it from low-fat cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, tofu and beans – all which are packed with calcium too!
Water – Nothing beats water to help keep your child hydrated at lunch and throughout the day. Also, filling up on water will help to prevent overeating later on and a necessity for everyone. If water doesn’t cut it, aim for low-fat milk over juice.
And one thing that we both agree on? You need to pack foods that your child actually LIKES.
“The last thing you want is for your hard work in packing the lunch to get thrown away. Kids end up trading for things they do like or come home ravenous,” said Ilyse.
Luckily, just browsing through Target and Publix gave me some great ideas. I also found plenty of websites and PinterestPins to help me out. Some of my favorite ideas are snacks with hidden veggies or vitamins inside them.
PlumOrganics makes organic fruit bars called Mighty 4 that have 11 essential vitamins and minerals and chia. Plum also has a line of smoothies,Fruit & Veggie Mashups, that are made from 100% real organic fruits and veggies “mixed and mashed into purees kids can squeeze and eat!”
“alternaVites KIDS are so versatile that they can fit into your child’s lunch a different way each day. At school, they can mix alternaVites KIDS in with their yogurt, stir it into a healthy fruit smoothie, even add it to their pudding or apple sauce. As a dietitian and a mother, I also like that you don’t have to worry about them adding too much since it comes in a single serve packet so it’s easy to trust your children with it if they buy lunch or want to take it as is by pouring it on their tongue,” said Ilyse.
Moving onto the beverage, I found Vita Coco Kids juice boxes at Publix. These juice boxes claim to have half the sugar and half the calories as “leading kids’ juices”. Capri Sun has also gotten in the game with Capri Sun Super V. This juice contains vitamins A, C and E and has one combined serving of fruits and vegetables. If they can’t see it, they won’t know what is or isn’t in there!
Other great sides are apple slices, grapes, graham crackers, hummus and pita chips.
“Children need an ample supply of vitamins and minerals to help support their growth and development. While it’s always important to get as many nutrients as you can through diet, sometimes it is not always possible. Especially during the back to school period, things can get hectic: between the new schedule of homework, after school activities, play dates and even birthday parties & sports, it’s often hard to stick to any routine – let alone one where our children eat the way we wish they would or could,” reminded Ilyse.
The main course is where I start to have issues. The ‘tried and true’ sandwich is great, but I want my daughter to have some variety. So, one quick search for school lunch ideas on Pinterest did not disappoint!
Check out this Pinterest Page for all the awesomeness including Halloween lunch ideas!
I also found some pretty cool ideas for packing these nutritious meals such as using cupcake liners to separate food, BPA free plastic containers with dividers and sandwich boxes with built in freezer packs (available at Target) to keep things cool.
This cornucopia of info was making me feel pretty confident about what to pack…and then I saw FOOD ART!
Are other moms really doing this? I am having a hard enough time making a sandwich without crust and now I have to sculpt it?!
So I tried…
My daughter thought it was some type of unicorn. To my credit though, I had to alter the ingredients because I knew my daughter was not going to eat seaweed. So the eyes and the ear were made with Nutella.
She was not impressed.
So, I will just stick to focusing on packing a healthy and satisfying lunch and not so much on the presentation. Another gold star towards my “MBMom of the Year” award! 🙂
Now, let’s hear from you! What are your favorite school lunch ideas? Have you ever tried food art or alternaVites KIDS?
Sponsored: This post was sponsored by alternaVites KIDS.All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist who holds a Master’s of Science in clinical nutrition and dietetics from New York University. Her professional experience includes clinical and private settings and counseling clients on a host of nutrition-related issues.
Before launching her own practice, she was a dietitian at Joy Bauer Nutrition, and served as a clinical dietitian at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Prior to pursuing her graduate degree in nutrition, Ilyse served on the publishing team at Men’s Health magazine for several years. Working at the award-winning publication inspired her to pursue her life-long goal of working in health and wellness.
Ilyse has also been a contributor to Joy Bauer’s Food Cures and a guest lecturer on diet and nutrition at PepsiCo, The Marilyn Modeling agency in NYC, The American Ballet Theater, Equinox Fitness Clubs and the Hospital for Special Surgery, as well as local schools and doctors’ offices. She is also an active member of the American Dietetic Association. www.ilyseschapironutrition.com.
Ilyse currently has a private practice in New York and Greenwich, CT.
I’ve experienced her work in action countless times and I never hesitate before recommending her to friends or business contacts.
We originally featured Erin’s story in 2014. Check out the A2 Events South Florida updated feature in today’s MOMpreneur Monday post…
We love a good party here at MBMom! But before we get to that, can you give us a little bit of your background…
That’s a long story that started with a career in real estate. I hated it. My husband sells residential real estate and rocks at it, but I was honestly awful!
I quickly left the real estate brokerage side and worked as an assistant to a broker for a couple of years, and then was just considering a career move when my husband and I found out we were expecting. SURPRISE!
I honestly had no idea how I would balance it all. So, I decided to take a little volunteer job at my church after maternity leave as the event coordinator.
My “little” position grew, and I was really privileged to work on some MASSIVE projects. I ran the lead on an annual three day conference for over 1,500 attendees, as well as many retreats and large festivals.
Five years, around a hundred events and a second baby girl later, I was happy and comfortable. But then I decided to make a big change…
As a busy mom of two, what gave you “oomph” and courage to take your passion and actually start your own business?
I was working on a side project for Ballet Palm Beach. My mother is the artistic director and owner (another entrepreneur!) of the company, and she asked me to help her plan a series of Flash Ballet Mobs.
I was feeling the need to move on from my current position and once I started working on Flash Ballet, I knew the timing was right for new challenges and opportunities.
I decided (nervously) to start my own company. I was too afraid to even consider it until I realized who my ideal client could and should be. I knew that corporations and even small businesses were finally starting to add events back into their marketing mix after the recession.
After confirming that my niche would not include weddings or personal events, I knew I could rise to the occasion and that my timing would be good! ThusApartment Two Events(now A2 Events South Florida)was born.
My husband really encouraged me to do it. He is such a good businessman, and he told me (and tells me regularly still) that I can do it.
Flash Ballet Mobs – that’s awesome! Such a unique marketing idea! Tell us what else sets A2 Events apart from the rest…
First, we work to create what I like to call “Brand-Crafted Events.” Our clients brands inform every decision we make, and we work really hard to be creative with their events they give us. We love new technology, new trends, and especially new venues!
Second, We’ve expanded a ton in the last two years. We still offer full scale event planning for corporations and non-profits, and we now offer DMC (Destination Management Company) work in South Florida and Cuba. I’m so excited to be offering these type of services. We had to grow into this, because it’s all really dependent on our vendor relationships in the local areas.
Finally, Our clients love us, because I make sure that we’re over prepared and always cool, calm and collected. Knowledge and preparation are key to that! We’ve earned their trust because we’ve consistently delivered great work. I’m committed to keeping a boutique feeling to our company so that our clients receive the attention they expect.
Can you tell us what you have planned (pun intended) for A2 Events South Florida over the next few months?
We’re working on some exciting events with our regular clients ,and they’re asking us to travel with them more and more. I’m really excited to take a group to NYC for a three day conference in the Fall.
I’m also excited that we’ve added an intern, so our team has expanded. She is awesome, and has been throwing in some fresh ideas!
We’re gearing up to do so many events that have a strong theme. From a nautical-themed Board of Directors dinner to a Havana Nights corporate celebration, it’s been really fun planning for them.
And we’re doing more and more retreats for local South FL companies during the summer. We love helping these groups take advantage of our incredible location during the off season.
As a South Florida girl myself I get it, but tell us why you just LOVE it here?
I’m a Tri-county South FL girl. I was raised in Palm Beach County, I went to school at the University of Miami and we live in Fort Lauderdale now. My husband and I are never planning to leave!
We love the weather, the beach (you can find us at the beach on any given Saturday during the summer), the much improved downtown areas in each county (shoutout to the downtown development boards), the fashion and style, and the growing population of young professionals and entrepreneurs.
I’m committed to two causes with my business: First, giving opportunities to women. As an employer with daughters, I feel strongly that it’s important to take my “Boss Girl” role seriously. I love being an encouraging influence in any woman’s life! We offer flexible work settings, and hours and as we grow it’s my intention to continue on that track.
And second, I’m committed to the advancement of South FL and specifically Fort Lauderdale. I love where I live, and plan to keep doing great business, and re-investing in our local economy. We have so much to offer here, and it’s a pleasure to watch within my industry how the CVB, Hello Sunny, continues to advance Fort Lauderdale tourism! It just keeps getting better!
So, MBMoms…..when it’s time to plan your next corporate party or event …or even a flash mob, don’t forget to contact Erin at A2 Events!
The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can also be a very scarything when it comes to the safety of our children. It’s important to have internet safety tips for parents.
I often struggle with how to teach my kids how to have fun with the online world and at the same time, be cautious. My daughter Ella loves to watch YouTube videos on her iPad. Mostly she watches other kids playing games she likes or cartoons.
One day she asked if she could watch My Little Pony videos. I set up the search for her and Voila! She was happily watching Rainbow Dash fly through the sky. The next video that played showed kids playing with My Little Pony dolls. But then the videos began to veer off topic…
One video showed real ponies happily prancing around. No harm there. Then the next video had nothing to do with ponies at all and well…it was totally inappropriate. Luckily, I was right there to intercept the iPad and Ella was clueless.
Gone are the days where we can keep the family computer in the family room and watch over our children as they search online. Now there are portable devices that are portals to the World Wide Web.
My niece just turned 12 and is constantly on her iPod using Pic Collage and Video Star. She isn’t allowed to post anything online, but of course, her friends are all doing it (so she says) and she wants to do it too. Her mother warned her that even when she posts something anonymously, it is possible for someone to find out things about her.
Her response was a sarcastic, “Yeah…right” followed by an eye roll. After witnessing that, I was not so excited for the teen years with my own kids. We as parents definitely have to be ‘not so cool’ sometimes.
So how do we give our children access to the internet AND still keep them safe?
Here are some tips:
With YouTube, it is best if you set up a separate account for your child and set the filter to strict. But beware; it is still very easy for things to seep through those filters. It is always a good idea to monitor your children while they are browsing YouTube.
Follow age restrictions on sites like Facebook. Right now the minimum age to sign up is 13. You might think it isn’t a big deal for your child to have an account, but there are ads that pop up that are not suitable for children. Plus, some private information could be given to advertisers. It is also a violation of Facebook’s terms to provide false information for a Facebook account.
Place time restrictions on your child’s internet use and discuss internet usage rules with them. This will make it easier for them to know what is expected and for you to watch what they are doing. You can set up your computer to block certain websites and block out the internet completely.
Communication is key. When your children are old enough to start using social media, educate them on the correct way to use it. Be sure they know what cyber bulling is and what to do if they feel like it is happening to them or someone they know.
If your child has been begging for their own email, a perfect solution is KidsEmail.org. This site enables you to receive a copy of all incoming and outgoing email that is sent to or from your child. You can also set time restrictions, block specific people and it offers a GPS tracker on their mobile app. Parents love using Kids Email because it allows their children to use technology in a safe environment. Kids Email allows your child to e-mail their Grandparents and friends and you, as the parent, have the peace of mind that they won’t see anything inappropriate.
I dread the day when my daughter asks for an iPhone or wants to setup Facebook and Twitter accounts. My 8-month-old already knows how to turn on my iPhone. Just one swipe with her finger and she is connected and posting as me on Facebook.
Her status update one day was just “PK”. I am not sure what that stands for…maybe it stands for Pure Cuteness, but with a K because she doesn’t know how to really spell that well yet. 🙂
So tell us: How are you monitoring your child’s exposure to the online world? It’s important to have internet safety tips for parents.
KidsEmail.org is the #1 Kids Email Service Provider. Their mission is to protect children from predators and questionable email. Kids Email gives parents the tools to protect their children in a manner that is simple and effective.