Fruits and veggies are great after-school snacks, but sometimes kids want a bit more variety. Finding an after-school snack that won’t ruin their appetite for dinner can be a challenge.
The first reader tip shares a couple of ideas:
After-school snack: My kids often want a sweet or salty snack after school, but I don’t want them to eat chips or total junk food every day. So I spread peanut butter on graham crackers and add sliced bananas to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich. I freeze them and my kids eat them as a sweet frozen treat. You can substitute a scoop of yogurt for the peanut butter. My youngest son also loves sliced cucumbers with cream cheese spread and a goldfish cracker on top. — Barb C., Illinois
For more ideas, visit frugalvillage.com/2010/03/17/unique-and-easy-homemade-snacks.
Attracting monarch butterflies: I planted milkweed this year to attract monarch butterflies, and we had our first monarch caterpillar sightings this week. They are very cool, but they eat a lot! I had to go to a local organic nursery and buy milkweed for them, because they ate it all. I noticed in the car that the milkweed plants had more monarch caterpillars on them, so now we have a ton! We even have a chrysalis! It’s so fun and interesting! — N Carr, Florida
Slice it: Rather than scoop ice cream from a rectangular carton, open it up and slice it with a large, sharp knife. — Bella, Pennsylvania
Pumpkin decoration: Every year before Halloween, we buy pumpkins to decorate. Instead of carving them all, we sometimes paint them. Last year, we used puffy paint on faux pumpkins from Michaels craft store, and we still have them for indoor decorations to reuse every year. This year, I am going to use white and yellow paint to make some look like candy corn for outside. — Lisa, Ohio
Yogurt drops: I buy the large containers of yogurt to make smoothies. When I have leftover yogurt, I line a cookie sheet with wax paper and drop small dollops of yogurt onto it. I freeze the dollops and let my kids eat them in a bowl or on top of their cereal. If your kids are notorious for leaving a bit of leftover yogurt, this is a great way to waste less, too. I’m also going to try putting the leftover yogurt into mini ice-cube tray molds. They work well for pudding, so they should work well for yogurt, too. — Diane J., Texas
Easy fudge: Here’s a recipe that could come in handy for the holidays:
1 12-ounce bag chocolate chips or other flavored baking chips
1 tub of frosting
Spread the chips in the bottom of a microwaveable dish and cook for 90 seconds. Pour the whole tub of frosting on top of the chips in the dish and microwave for 90 seconds. Stir very well to mix and pour into a buttered 8-by-8-inch pan. (I put foil in the pan and buttered that to make it easier to take out after it set.) Allow to set, then cut into pieces.
• German Chocolate: Chocolate chips, German chocolate frosting
• Confetti fudge: Vanilla chips, Funfetti frosting, 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
• Strawberry fudge: White chocolate chips, strawberry frosting
• Chocolate peanut butter: Peanut butter chips, milk chocolate frosting
• Chocolate mint: Mint chocolate chips, chocolate frosting
• Christmas: White chocolate chips, vanilla frosting, dash of peppermint extract, crushed candy canes
• Cookies and cream: White chocolate chips, vanilla frosting, crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
• Peanut butter: Peanut butter chips, vanilla frosting
Try the above variations, or invent some of your own! — G.K., forums
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a website that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO, 64106, or email email@example.com.