While the news continues change every few minutes, we as parents need to continue to keep up with creating our own new normal.  It is important keep the kids and ourselves calm and centered as best as we can. Remember, though, we are only human after all, so, if you are having a bad day, just breathe, center yourself, and try again.

Our recent blog had a number of suggestions for your new normal. Check it out at  https://theartsbot.com/making-great-memories-in-challenging-times/

Below are some additional suggestions and even a few recipes to help you create great memories during these challenging times.

Creative Kits From The ArtsBot Family

The family that creates together, stays together! The ArtsBot has four fun, mess-free and fun kits to help families create something pretty and usable.  Check out our 2020 collection today at our website https://theartsbot.com/shop/ .

Like parents who are wearing many hats, The ArtsBot kits wear many hats too.

Open a kit and it will give you a screen free alternative for the kids to help them be creative.

Or open a kit, share the markers and stickers, create together and make some great memories.

Don’t forget, each kit has a cute journal inside so you can encourage the kids to draw or write about their feelings during this time. Maybe you can even journal together.

The great thing about these kits are when you are done, the kids will have something fun and useful to show for their time.

The four current kits are: the ArtsBot Make Your OWN Robot Pillow , ArtsBot Make Your OWN Cupcake SQUISHIES , ArtsBot Make Your OWN Donut Tote, and Artsbot LET’S MAKE A NARWHAL WRISTLET

It is super easy to find them too. while you are doing your grocery shopping on Amazon restocking all of your other must-have-during-a-crisis-items, click over and add a few kits to your cart https://www.amazon.com/s?k=artsbot&ref=nb_sb_noss_1.

Make Great Memories and Embrace Structure

Making great memories and embracing structure are not mutually exclusive.

The Today Show recently had an amazing episode with free resources for maintaining structure with home schooling. Here is the link: https://www.today.com/parents/how-homeschool-during-coronavirus-crisis-t176020

There are some good hints and tips in there and printable schedules so you don’t have to come up with them on your own.

Cook Up Some Schooling And Eat Great Memories

Create memories, and keep them learning after the school part of the day is done, by cooking together.

Cooking is math and science with a lot of yummy when you are done.

Now is the time dig into your pantry and the back of the fridge and put together an easy, kid-friendly, budget-conscious, and hearty meal that will be memorable!

This recipe comes to you from an old friend of mine in Pittsburgh, Joel Bloom, who takes great pride in his hearty, filling, and budget-friendly meals:

Pantry Mac and Cheese

One 1 pound box of either shell or elbow macaroni

1/4th stick butter

2 soup spoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk (any %) or half and half

Dash salt

1/2 dash black pepper

1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

2 tablespoons honey (optional)

1/3rd block White Queso or Regular Velveeta (or your favorite processed cheese food) (approx. 11 ounces if you buy the 32-ounce size)

One 8-ounce block of cream cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using the directions on the box, boil up the shells or elbow macaroni in a large pot of water. Cook it for 3/4ths of the time stated on the box, and then drain.

Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and after the water is drained off, pour the cooked noodles into the pan and set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, in a large metal sauce pan–over a low heat–melt the butter.

As soon as the butter is melted, stir in the flour. This mix will need to be stirred constantly until it turns to the color of peanut butter (approximately 1-2 minutes).

NOTE: If you want to teach the kids the correct term for this—it is called “making a roux”.

As soon as the roux is the right color, slowly stir in milk, spices, honey until it is blended.

Turn the heat up very slightly, then while stirring constantly, add in ¼ of each of the three cheeses (Velveeta, cream cheese and mozzarella).

As soon as the first batch of cheese melts, add the next 1/4th, then the next 1/4th and then the final 1/4th.

When all of the cheese is melted, you will have a thick, creamy sauce.

Pour the sauce over the noodles, mixing it in until all of the noodles are coated.

Bake in the oven (uncovered) for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.

If you like burned cheese (YUM), pop the pan in the broiler for 1-3 minutes to crisp it up.

Let the pan sit for 5 minutes on a hot pad to firm up, and then eat up while it is still hot!If you have leftover beef, chicken, pork, tofu, broccoli, etc. you can add additional these items BEFORE baking to use up those drips and drabs of things at the back of the refrigerator.

Joel likes to add a smoked meat to the mix for that extra wow!

Let Them Eat Cake—Peanut Butter Style

If you take comfort in cake, then Joel’s blogger and frugalista wife, Jody Shapiro, shared her memorable Peanut Butter Cake. It bakes up quickly and costs just a few pennies to make:

3/4th cup butter or margarine

3/4th cup your favorite peanut butter

3 eggs or eggbeaters

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

2 cups brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch glass or metal baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and eggs together until blended.

Add to the mix, the vanilla and the brown sugar, and stir them in until blended.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Then pour that mixture into the peanut butter mixture until it is all blended.

Turn the thick batter into the baking pan.

Spread it out evenly and bake for 35-50 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean—stick the knife in the deepest part of the pan and when it comes out with no batter on it, it is done).

If you like iced cakes, ice with your favorite store-bought icing. If you are like me there is usually one tucked away in the back of the pantry for a rainy day, or if you like a home-made version, whip up a small batch of your fav.

Jody likes the cake plain, but did tell me that it goes great with vanilla ice cream!

Great Math and Science Memories

You can sneak in some math lessons here by having the kids measure out everything for you.

If you want to turn this into a quick and painless science lesson, here is a link with some easy to understand info on why the eggs and baking powder are so important:  https://youngzine.org/u-write/u-report/science-baking

Be sure to take lots of photos for your Instagram or Facebook, so you can share your memories and your yummy creations with your friends!

We Want to Hear From YOU!

We always love to hear from parents about what is working for you in these stressful times!

Feel free to send us comments through our website, or follow us and comment on Facebook or Instagram.

From The ArtsBot family to yours, we are sending all wishes for good health. Don’t forget to breathe and practice kindness and compassion with YOURSELF and others.

Here’s to making some GREAT memories that you and your kids can talk about for years to come.

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