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MOV Parent: Preparing your kids for new school year

As the time gets closer and closer for the opening of school, it is our responsibility as parents, grandparents and foster parents to guide our children.

Children also have a lot on their plate now days as we as adults do. It might be hard to comprehend and understand, but after talking to several teachers, sociologists and other people, that children nowadays also have many issues and even more now with the COVID-19 and confinement. Due to the situations taking place things have changed drastically, even since my three children were young. So many changes and uncertainties are taking place in the world and their lives such as will schools open? Will there be sport activities? How long will it be suggested to wear a mask and keep distances etc.? Children need to learn and attend classes at school in preparation for their future. How can you teach a young child how to write or even spell their name through a computer with many aspects of instruction needing hands on instruction.

Preparing your preschool and early grade school child is very important to establish a positive and learning situation which is demanding upon each parent. At this young age, you as a parent are the source of information and they are solely dependent upon your guidance, and therefore you must handle this very carefully.

I just can not imagine little kindergarten and first and second grade children walking into a classroom with a mask and having to keep it on for several hours. Wearing a mask is hard enough for many of us adults, let alone for a young child.

I just love my grandchildren, and every time I see them they have grown taller and I keep telling them that I want to catch them and place them in a little jar to keep them young forever, but they just look at me and grin.

We as grandparents try to capture every precious moment and be part of their lives and events that takes place knowing that soon they will grow up and we will be left with only memories.

Be a good example and a role model to your children and grandchildren. I say that because I hear our children telling their children many of the same things that we used to tell our children.

School years are a very important part of your child’s growing up, so make them enjoyable, exciting and show respect to their teachers and school staff that are trying their best to see that your child gets the best education possible and keep in mind that teachers have a huge responsibility seeing positive results in your child.

Below are children’s recipes for you all to try.

Till next month.

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Mud Cups

1 18-ounce package refrigerated sugar cookie dough

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 4-ounce containers prepared chocolate pudding

1 1/4 cups chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs, about 15 cookies

gummy worms

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 18 muffin pan cups. Remove the dough from the wrapper and place in a large bowl. Let the dough stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Add the cocoa to the dough; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Shape dough into 18 balls; press into the bottom and sides of the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the dough is set. Using hot mitts, remove the muffin pans from the oven and place them on wire racks; carefully, press down the center of each cookie with the back of a spoon to form a cup. Cool the cups for 10 minutes. Remove the cups from the pans to the wire racks; cool completely. Fill each cup with 1-2 tablespoons pudding; sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Add the gummy worms.

Note: To make the cookie crumbs, put the cookies in a large, resealable food storage bag; seal the bag. With a rolling pin or meat mallet, pound the cookies until they form coarse crumbs.

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Funny Face Pizzas

1 10-ounce package refrigerated pizza dough

1 cup pizza sauce

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

assorted toppings such as pepperoni slices, black olive slices, green or red bell pepper slices, mushroom slices

1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 425. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the dough from the package; place it on a cutting board. Do not unroll the dough. Using a table knife, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball by rolling between the palms of your hands. Pat each ball into 4-inch circle on the cutting board. Put the circles on the prepared baking sheet. Spread 1-4 cup sauce on each circle of dough. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Decorate with toppings to create faces. Arrange Cheddar cheese to resemble hair. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is just melted and bottoms of pizzas are light brown. Using hot mitts, carefully remove baking sheet from the oven. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

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Mexican Pita Pile-Ups

4 whole-grain pita bread rounds

1 cup cooked, diced boneless skinless chicken breast

1 tablespoon lime juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper or jalapeno pepper

1/4 cup fresh cilantro sprigs, chopped

1 2 1/4-ounce can sliced ripe olives, drained

1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Place the pita rounds on a cutting board. Top each pita with 1/4 cup chicken; sprinkle chicken with lime juice and cumin. Top with tomatoes, pepper, cilantro, olives and cheese. Place each pile-up in a quart-size resealable food storage bag; seal. Refrigerate until just before serving. Place each pile-up on a microwavable plate. Microwave pile-ups, one at a time, on HIGH for 1 minute or until cheese is melted. Let stand 2-3 minutes or until crust is slightly firm.

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Dessert to Go

1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries

1 4-serving size any flavor instant pudding

1 3/4 cups cold milk

3 cups whipped topping

6 flat-bottom ice cream cones

colored sprinkles and/or maraschino cherries for garnish

Put a colander or strainer in a small bowl. Pour cherries into the strainer, draining the juice into the bowl. You do not need the juice for this recipe, save the juice to add to orange juice or other drinks. Put the drained cherries on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, carefully cut each cherry in half. Have an adult help! Prepare pudding according to package directions using 1 3/4 cup cold milk. Refrigerate pudding 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put the cherry halves in a large mixing bowl. With a rubber spatula, scoop whipped topping into the bowl. Stir gently until cherries are mixed with whipped topping. Fill each cone with 1/4 cup pudding. Top each with 1/2 cup cherry mixture. Decorate with colored sprinkles or a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.

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Cinnamon-Raisin-Chip Muffins

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned or quick oats

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line them with paper or foil bake cups. Combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, oats, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Add the milk and oil; mix with a spoon. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Carefully stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until almost blended. There will be lumps. Add the raisins and chips and stir until blended. Do not overmix. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool muffin pans for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove muffins from the pan to the wire rack. Serve muffings warm or at room temperature.

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Kiki Angelos is a food columnist for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

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