Blog Posts by Charlene Prince Birkeland, Senior Editor

  • 4 healthy, delicious ways to spice up oatmeal for kids

    You already know breakfast is the meal that's going to fuel your kids through a morning flurry of activity at school. We love dishing up oatmeal; it's hearty, healthy, easy to make and yummy.

    But kids? They get bored with oatmeal. They complain that it's too mushy, too hot, gooey, bland, or just plain yucky.

    You might not be able to change their minds, but you can try by adding some flare to a morning oatmeal breakfast:

    • Make it fancy. Serve oatmeal with sides of maple syrup, honey or brown sugar and a little pitcher of milk. Stores like Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond sell tiny bowls and inexpensive creamers that are perfect for these add ons. You can include fresh fruit (slices of banana, strawberries, blueberries) and dried fruit (cranberries, pineapple) and nuts (almonds, pecans), too! For an extra special treat, include chocolate chip morsels.
    • Vary the oatmeal flavor. When you're cooking the oatmeal, try using coconut milk or vanilla-flavored milk in place of water
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  • 5 ways to savor summer memories

    Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer for many of us. I'm still not ready to call it quits with this summer, so I'm doing everything I can to maintain that carefree summer spirit for as long as I can!

    I know if I'm having a tough time with the end of summer vacation, chances are high that my kids miss the fun experiences, adventures and chill time they had over their break, too.

    I came up with a few simple ways that we can all savor summer memories:

    • Include a summer memory in your child's lunch. Write down a favorite summer moment -- riding a new roller coaster with your daughter, splashing around at the beach with your son -- on a note and tuck it in his or her school lunch.
    • Frame photos. Pick up a few basic frames and show off some of your best shots from summer. Swap them out every week until you're ready to bring on autumn decorations (sigh...when you really do have to give up on summer).
    • Create a summer vacation notebook. If your child is in third
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  • 6 DIY crafts using school supplies

    The first day of school is checked off your list. Even though the kids are back at school, it doesn't mean "I'm bored" moments will cease to exist until the next holiday or school break. Think of days without homework, after school sports or activities. Or those moments when you're just trying to sneak in some quiet time.

    You know all of those school supplies you bought for your kids? Break out your extras because they'll save the day.

    Share your child's back to school photos and any other fun, embarrassing or incredible moments that you have captured on the Moments of Motherhood Flickr Group. While you are here take part in discussions with other moms.

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  • 5 sales to shop for next year’s summer clothes

    Yes, I'm serious!

    Even though I've been telling you how to gear up for the new school year, I'm already thinking about next summer! As in, how can I take advantage of summer clearance sales now so that I don't have to buy clothes for my kids next summer?

    When I was back-to-school shopping with my boys, I was floored at how many deals I found on summer clothes. Where I live, our weather is just starting to heat up! So it seems odd to find swim trunks on sale for $5. Or good quality swim shirts selling for $10.

    The big question: What size will the kids be in 9 months? I usually buy one size larger than what my kid is now.

    If you're like me, you'll want to know where you can find sales for next year's summer clothes. Check these out:

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  • Support Yahoo! Homepages for Homerooms!

    It's amazing to see how classrooms have been transformed over that past few weeks as teachers prepare for the first day of school. It's impossible to not feel like everyone has a new start, with clean desks, fresh classroom walls, and a general fresh slate.

    But even with a fresh start, some teachers and classrooms still need more support to help provide students with a successful, memorable -- and fun -- learning experience.

    You can help. And it's as simple as making Yahoo! your home page.

    Yahoo! has partnered with for a program called Homepages for Homerooms. Now through October 16 th , public school teachers who place a project on will be eligible to receive funding for their projects from Yahoo!.

    Yahoo! will donate $200,000 across the projects that generate the most support.

    Here's where you can help: Anyone can support a project by making Yahoo! their homepage, and additionally, by participating in bi-weekly extra credit challenges.

    I encourage

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  • Practical school backpacks we love

    With the new school year upon us, you'll see lots of talk about what's cool and new for kids, especially as this relates to backpacks. I'm all for cute or neat-looking bags, but really? I support practical backpacks.I love backpacks that will last kids years, not months. Most important, the backpack

  • 5 ways for families to enjoy the last week of summer vacation

    photo credit: thinkstock.comphoto credit: thinkstock.comOver the next few weeks, schools will begin the new academic year. And while parents may be thrilled to have their kids back at school, I'm sure many will also admit they feel that tinge of sadness that summer vacation is over. Lazy mornings, breezy afternoons, relaxed bedtime routines...yes, it's definitely a welcomed change of pace from an often-frenetic school year.

    So how should you spend that last week before school starts back up? Sure, wake the kids up a little earlier to get them ready for their new start times. Get their bedtime routines back on track.

    But try to savor that last week of summer break as a family:

    • Have a picnic dinner. Working parents might not be able to leave their job in the middle of the day, so plan a picnic for dinner. Let the kids help make the meal, or hit your local market and pick up pre-made dishes from the deli counter for extra ease. Grab a blanket, some drinks, and find a pretty park to share some family time over a meal.
    • Camp out
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  • 8 lunch boxes kids (and parents) will love

    Okay, so your kids may not ever be truly excited about lunch. That doesn't mean you should stop trying! One way to help further your cause is to pack that important midday meal in something that will appeal to your child. Yes, I'm talking about the ever-important lunch box.

    Whether it's a cool metal lunch box, a fun bento box, an insulated lunch bag with cute food storage containers, or an eco-friendly lunch bag, presentation is everything. If your kid loves the lunch box or bag, you've won half of the lunchtime battle.

    Check out some of our favorite lunch boxes and containers that we think your kids will dig. (And they just might make lunch prep a little easier, too!) And remember, the ones we chose come in a variety of colors and designs!

    Share your child's back to school photos and any other fun, embarrassing or incredible moments that you have captured on the Moments of Motherhood Flickr Group. While you are here take part in discussions with other moms.

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  • 4 indoor uses for outdoor kiddie pools

    Kiddie wading pools are almost a summer essential when you have young children and you're trying to beat the heat while at home.

    If you have a small home, apartment or lack storage space, you might also be left with a challenge when that pool is not in use outside.

    What else can you do with it? Bring it indoors! (Empty, of course.)

    We have four ways your little ones can use their kiddie pools for big-time fun.

    • Make a ball pit. Empty a bag (or two) into your small pool and let the kids dive in! And if you are worried about your kids being exposed to plastic filled, you can even find non-PVC and phthalate free packs.
    • Have a stuffed animal pool party! Let your little ones fill the empty wading pool with all of their stuffed animals, or they pick just a few for a special party inside the pool.
    • Create an "art zone." Tired of cleaning up crafty stuff --- paints, Play-doh, Moon Sand -- from your tables and floors? The kiddie pool can become a contained arts and
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  • 5 important historical figures that kids should know about

    Since we're starting to get into back-to-school mode (really, we are), how about giving your kids a quick history lesson!The sheer volume of important people in history is endless. But we think your kids will love learning about these five women and men. All are curious, adventurous and tenacious, u


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