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How To Avoid Catastrophe When Grocery Shopping with Kids

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Have you ever come across a mom gliding happily across the supermarket aisles with her brilliantly behaved kids?

This supermom might have a baby in a kangaroo wrap, another in the front seat of the shopping cart, and possibly a third (and very quiet) toddler sitting in the cart itself, surrounded by piles of canned goods.

I have seen moms like that. And if you’re one of them you can stop reading this. Like right now. You will learn nothing here.

But if you are not like that supermom, and you experience a mild panic attack at the thought of towing your kids along with you to the grocery store, check out the ideas below. Some of them might just make shopping with your kids a less hazardous activity than you expect.

  1. Make a list
    Or better yet, make two.To avoid thoughtless purchases and impulse buys (much more likely when you’re busy making sure your toddler doesn’t bolt), make a thorough list of what you need before you leave.
    And for your child, check out these cutesy tootsy grocery list printables that feature photos of common food items you might need. Hand your kid a pencil and one of these printables. Best case: he’ll be so busy on this supermarket scavenger hunt, he’ll forget how badly he needs that “breakfast cereal” — I mean, those tiny cookies that are disguised as breakfast cereal.
  2. Feed your kids. And yourself.
    Eating before shopping is a must.
    It will head off crankiness (for kids and adults), impede the over-purchasing of food you actually don’t need, and prevent impulse purchases of stuff that isn’t even food!
    Yup. One study found that hungry shoppers actually bought more binder clips than non-hungry shoppers (binder clips! really!). Apparently, our mind translates those dratted “I am hungry” signals into “gimme gimme gimme!”. And yes, this also goes for kids and adults.
  3. Plan for snack attacks
    Bring along baggies of snacks that can keep hunger at bay, and keep little fingers occupied.
    Worst snacks: Anything especially greasy, sticky, or that has a very likely possibility of spillage.
    Best snacks: Finger foods that take time and/or fine motor skills to eat. The busier you can keep those pudgy hands, the easier the shopping trip will be.
  4. Avoid the crowds
    The last thing you want when shopping with kids is to be met with disapproving looks from strangers after your kid steers the shopping cart straight into that teetering stack of yogurts. And waiting in a long line after an exhausting shopping trip is not going to be pleasant.
    For kosher grocery shopping, the worst times are Thursday, Friday, and before any yom tov.
    For the large supermarkets, you’ll want to bypass the weekends altogether, as well as those after-work rush hours (usually from 4-6 pm).
    As a general rule, any early weekday hours will have the least crowds. Plus, if you have little kids, shopping in the morning hours that precede naptime will be your best chance of having a smooth trip.
  5. Make it a learning experience
    Get in touch with your inner teacher!
    The grocery store is packed with potential educational experiences that can actually be fun.
    Give these games a try: Supermarket I Spy, ABC or Color Hunts, guessing produce weights and learning to use the scale, reading food labels and store signs.
  6. Don’t forget the fun!
    Food shopping may be a chore, but you can still find ways to make exciting. Especially when you have a kid tagging along.Ways to amp up the entertainment:
  • Download a new game on your phone to be used exclusively while you’re shopping. (Search “kids shopping games” for a bunch of cute and educational shopping/cash register games.)
  • Let each child pick one treat of her own choosing. (Don’t panic! You can guide them with rules on nutrition and price, but try as much as possible to have them feel freedom of choice.)
  • What could be more fun than shopping with a doppelgänger! Invest in a kid-size shopping cart, like this one from Melissa & Doug, and enjoy shopping with your mini-me. (Tread carefully with this one, though. You’ll have to be sure your child has enough patience to stick with the game and follow you around for the duration of the shopping trip, otherwise you might be stuck lugging around a toy cart and a screaming kid.)

And if all else fails, get a babysitter.

Written by Lubicom for Kosher.com

Help! My house smells like a deep fryer.

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It’s the season of frying and chances are the smell of all those deep-fried foods will linger well after you’re done cooking.

Here are a couple of life-changing ‘kitchen smell’ hacks.

Comes Chanukah and you’ll be so ready to roll up your sleeves and deep fry just about anything.

Close all doors- First up is making sure that all doors are closed whilst you’re cooking. By all doors, I mean literally down to the doors on your wardrobe. This will make sure that even if some smell does escape the kitchen; it will be heavily reduced and blocked from spreading or absorbing on fabrics. No need to fall asleep in a room smelling of fried food.

Windows- All windows, especially in your kitchen, should be opened before you even start cooking. Yes, it may be a little chilly out at this time of the year, but trust me (tried and traumatized); you’ll prefer that slight breeze over a smell that just won’t go away.

Homemade Potpourri- This one’s my all-time favorite even for days when my kitchen doesn’t smell. I love to boil up some cinnamon sticks with citrus peels and leave it on the stove for an all- natural air freshener. Not only does it get rid of the smell of oil, but it gives your house such a fresh and heavenly scent. Play around with flavors you like and you’re guaranteed to fall in love with your own homemade aroma. I’ve now given you THE reason to buy that fresh lavender bouquet.

Bake Last! – We all know that when a Jewish woman goes into the kitchen, she isn’t coming out with less than 3 sides, 2 mains, a couple of salads and definitely more than one dessert. It’s just the nature of our culture (No complaints.) All you have to do is make sure you cook the heavy smells first and leave the baking till last. What’s better than a house smelling of fresh hot cinnamon buns? (I hope they’re on your Chanukah menu!)

Clean up as you go- I left this for last because … who wants to be told to clean up right away when they just spent the last five hours in the kitchen on their feet? The truth is, it will save you in the long run. Turn up the music and just do it. Clean up all those oily, greasy frying pans as soon as you are done using them. Not only will you have a clean kitchen when the cinnamon buns come out of the oven, but the smell is guaranteed to linger less the quicker the conflicting odors are gone.

Happy fried food eating!

Written by Lubicom for Kosher.com