Monthly Archives: September 2015

5 Low Cost Fall Family Night Activities

5 Low Cost Fall Family Night Activities

by Joy

Fall. Is. Here.

Finally! Cooler mornings and beautiful crisp nights set the stage for perfectly memorable  “Friday Family Nights.” Friday is our chosen day to always come together and celebrate!

Having a fun family night no matter the age of the family members, can be a great way to come closer and strengthen the family bond. And, for a family that has military members in transition, has moved many times, or is going through a recent change, having a consistent night for everyone to look forward to can make any transition much easier!  

In the Fall, we do the traditional chili nights, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches….but then what? This year we had to get a little more creative as we planned ideas for our family night calendar.

Here are 5 Low Cost Fall Family Night Activities! 

new.ibelieveinjoy.com5 Low Cost Fall Family Night Activities

1) Make Caramel Apples Together ($6.00 for 12) ~ No matter how old or young, this is always a favorite activity!

Friday Family Night Apples

2) BBQ in the Backyard together ($8.00 for 5) ~ Fire up that BBQ and spend time together!

Friday Family Night BBQ

3) Stargaze! (free) ~ Grab a pillow and blanket and look at all those gorgeous stars! Check out a book from the library first to help you identify some of the constellations.

4) Sunrise Hike (free) ~ This is one of my Favorite activities to do with the kids. Leave before sunrise and hike as the sun comes up – you will never forget watching their faces as they watch the sunrise!


5) Go to a Rodeo Together! (free and upwards) ~ Free tip: many rodeos allow you to watch all events in the practice arena for FREE! When our kids are young, this is more than enough for us! They can watch barrel racing, team roping, dressage, and more on a cool night for a low cost!


 Whatever activity you choose to enjoy this Fall, make it memorable! I hope these low cost Fall Family night Activities will be the perfect compliment to the beautiful crisp weather! 

Enjoy your family today! Love ~ Joy

Need a family planner book? Here you go! (affiliate link) 

You might also like:

Pulled Pork Sandich Recipe




Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family

Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family

by Joy

Hi ! 

After my serious allergic reaction, my children’s nut allergies, and immune system conditions in our genetics, I began taking a serious look at how food impacts the body. This completely transformed our perspective from seeing food as something we eat because it “meets a craving” into seeing food as a source of fuel, health, and preventative medicine in our lives. As our budget allows, we make organic options a priority for produce and meats. We began seeing how much better our bodies felt when water was our main liquid every day.  We became a “no soda house”. As we made this complete transformation, we had to include our entire family of 5 on the journey – and we found some helpful tips along the way. Here are 10 Tips to help other families make the transformation from bagged snacks to real food life as well. 

Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family

Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family:

1) Try our list of 50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks and regularly add more ideas to the list by trying out local farms, farmers markets, and reading books together. 

2) Make the switch! Stop buying bagged processed junk snacks for lunches and start using a Bento Box – this review compares many options and compiles the results for you.

3) Use a Salad Spinner! My Kids will now try anything they get to spin in the salad spinner πŸ™‚ It is a fast, fun, and easy way to rinse lettuce fresh fruits, and all sorts of produce. My kids love helping and they are much more willing to try new foods I place in the salad spinner. Here is the lowest cost salad spinner I could find that actually held up (I have used this one in my home. Affiliate Link)

If you want to invest in a higher quality salad spinner, I love the spinner below! My kids can easily use the spin button and help do this dinner prep task!  (affiliate link):

4) Kid Kitchen Cabinets: Placing healthy eating options, plates, bowls, spoons, and child friendly food prep items safely within our children’s reach has had a huge impact on our healthy eating routines as a family. This post explains how to set up age appropriate “Kid Kitchen Cabinets.” 

5) Make simple changes: Like using a CUPCAKE tray to serve fresh fruits and vegetables to the kids at a home “tea party.” It’s an effective way to introduce kids to new foods. Or using the mandolin to slice cantaloupe into “shoe string fries”.  Or serving the stalks of steamed broccoli instead of the bushy crowns. Sometimes a simple change will allow a new connection! Here’s a mandolin I love and use almost daily in my kitchen (affiliate link):

6) Elimination Rounds: This phrase helped us in our complete transformation. We would say, “OK! -This (packaged food name here) is up for elimination rounds πŸ™‚ That means when we run out, we will not buy them again but will replace them with a healthier option. Let’s read, look at the farmers market, try recipes, and decide a delicious healthier replacement of this one.” It is a clear way to communicate and be on the same creative page together.

7)  “Helper apron!” Both boys and girl kids should help in the kitchen! Research has definitely shown that kids who help prepare meals are much more likely to eat those meals! We rotate through one dinner helper per night. They get to wear the special apron, use the special spatula, and assist Mom or Dad as they cook that night! It has increased the amount of new healthy foods they try immensely! Here’s an apron for less than $5.00 that you can decorate with your kids for the special “kitchen helper”:

8) Books! The library has TONS of recipe books geared for families! We make a trip to the local library every week and check out any random book they want that has food ideas in it. Sometimes it means making a pan of lemon cupcakes with blueberry topping just to get them to be excited about lemons and blueberries and try them (for a kid who doesn’t like blueberries, this is a big accomplishment!) But honestly, the time we spend together making new foods means just as much to me as the new real foods they now love!

9) SLEEP! No matter how healthy we eat, our bodies need sleep to repair, heal, and restore our health. Kids need at LEAST 10-11 hours of sleep a night for school aged, and much more sleep for toddlers and younger. Sleep is an important part of our preventative health. Using TV’s or electronic screens at night can actually make it harder to fall and stay asleep (National Sleep Foundation), so read a book together and use extra sleep to stay healthy!

10) RELAX!!! Being stressed damages our bodies and deters our health efforts! (Healthline, 2015). Eating healthy as a family is an adventure – a journey – a complete transformation. It is not a task list, it is not a perfection destination! Sometimes we have to relax on the turns in order to stay the course. If pairing a new fresh fruit with ice cream gets them to try a new fresh fruit – then stay the course and keep adding new & healthy options for them to choose. No matter what – have a healthy dose of JOY today!!!!!!

I hope these Tips for Healthy Eating as a Family have inspired you. What are your favorite healthy eating tips as a family?  ~ Joy

You may also delight in: Homemade Portable Yogurt Frozen Treats

We LOVE making these easy, portable, healthy "treats"



Healthline, 2015: 8 ways Stress is more dangerous than you think. Retrieved at:

National Sleep Foundation, 2015. Sleep for Kids. Retrieved at:

50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks

50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks50+ Easy & Healthy SNACKS50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks

by Joy

As a nurse and as a Mom so many people ask me for ideas on easy and healthy snacks for the whole family. Everyone needs snacks. Kids after school, parents on the go, and families choosing to eat real foods in real life. Tossing packaged foods aside has never been easier. Reach for nature and snack ideas come more easily! Pair fresh fruits and vegetables with lean proteins, healthy dairy choices, and brown rice or real food grain options.

Here are the most used snacks we use to keep food and life healthy – for real πŸ™‚ By request, it is now a printable for you πŸ™‚

50 + Easy & Healthy Snacks
50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks to keep snacking real!
  1. ** All Snack Ideas are Organic & Non-GMO **
  2. Grapes & Cheese cubes on skewers
  3. Carrots sliced as chips
  4. Raspberries & yogurt
  5. Kiwi (1 Kiwi has a full dose of vitamin C!)
  6. Almonds
  7. Coconut chips (unsweetened)
  8. Hard Cooked Eggs
  9. Celery Sticks & Almond Butter
  10. Orange Slices
  11. Cucumber Salad (sliced with: salt, pepper, olive oil & vinegar)
  12. Natural Popped Corn
  13. Plums
  14. Snap Peas
  15. Pineapple Slices
  16. Sliced Radish
  17. Cherry Tomato
  18. Sliced Red, Yellow, Orange, or Green Bell Peppers
  19. Apricots
  20. Avocado slices
  21. Banana
  22. Sliced Beetroot (smaller are usually sweeter)
  23. Cherries
  24. Dried Dates
  25. Guava (good for vitamin A)
  26. Dried Mango Strips (unsweetened)
  27. Olives (try many kinds!)
  28. Clementines
  29. Nuts
  30. Pear (pair it with white cheeses)
  31. Raisins
  32. Strawberries (the only fruit with seeds on the outside πŸ˜‰
  33. Watermelon (cut small strips and freeze for a summer treat)
  34. Hummus & Veggie Plate
  35. Dolphin safe Tuna (add cubed apple & olive oil mayo or plain yogurt)
  36. Sliced grilled chicken & 1 Tsp Raw Honey for dip (no honey for infants under age 1)
  37. Greek yogurt & fresh fruit
  38. Brown Rice Crackers & Aged Fermented Cheese
  39. Portable Salad: Mozzarella balls, Basil Leaves, & Cherry Tomato on Skewer
  40. Applesauce (make it at home with the kids)
  41. Strawberry Applesauce, aged cheese, & nuts
  42. Monkey Cookies: Sliced bananas on plate, topped with almond butter & a chocolate chip
  43. Pita, hummus, & grilled chicken strips
  44. Island wraps: coconut wraps, grilled chicken, aged provolone, lettuce- wrapped & sliced)
  45. Sweet Snow Peas
  46. Mini Pizzas: Brown Rice Crackers, Spaghetti sauce, Aged Cheese, Black Olive / Pineapple on top
  47. Mango "Ice Cream" Sandwiches: 1 TBS vanilla yogurt topped with 2 TBS fresh mango puree- frozen in ice cube trays (alternate whole fruit flavors to use up ripening fruit)
  48. Homemade Portable Yogurt Treats (ibelieveinjoy/homemade-portable-yogurt)
  49. Kale Chips
  50. Frozen Blueberries
  51. Green Apple Slices, Sunflower Seed Butter, Coconut Crisps (unsweetened)
  52. Brown Rice Crackers, Goat Cheese, Fig
  53. Homemade Caesar Salad
  54. BLT Bites : Kale, Tomato, Sharp White Aged Cheddar, Bacon (or turkey bacon) - on Rice Crackers (a great introduction of kale for kids)
  1. Be creative and try new healthy snacks every week as a family. Try our "color of the day game" - see how many new "red" (alternate colors each week) fruits and vegetables you can find that others in the family have never tried. Prepare and eat the new colors together!
Adapted from
Adapted from
I Believe in Joy!