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Stay at Home Mom Burnout Signs and 10 Ways to Recover

Stay at Home Mom Burnout Signs and 10 Ways to Recover

Stay at Home Mom Burnout Signs 10 Ways to Recover from Burnout If you are dealing with stay-at-home mom burnout, you are not alone. Raising children full time is hard work and can get the best of anyone.  While all mamas have the occasional hard 

Understanding Children’s Development Through Drawing Stages

Understanding Children’s Development Through Drawing Stages

Before we can read, write, or talk, we are able to make our first rudimentary marks on paper; we scribble. And while an erratic scribble does not appear to be anything extraordinary, it is the first step on the amazing journey of human graphic development. 

How an Assertive Parenting Style Helps Mom Keep her Calm

How an Assertive Parenting Style Helps Mom Keep her Calm

As a mom of a rambunctious baby and a high energy preschooler, I can get pretty overstimulated and overwhelmed. Sometimes my nerves are completely fried by the end of the day. This is when I start to feel angry, resentful and burnt out. The constant motion, noise, and general chaos of raising two young children is just a lot for this mama to handle.

So I have been trying to figure out how to prevent reaching this point of exhaustion, while simultaneously keeping my kids happy and healthy.

One solution that has been incredibly helpful has been adopting an assertive parenting style. This parenting style is all about setting clear boundaries with children AND building a warm and loving parent-child relationship.

The term boundaries with children is often associated with an authoritarian parenting style; however assertive parenting teaches us that strong boundaries and mutual respect and warmth are not exclusive of one another. Parents can be authority figures who lead by example and a fair and assertive approach; not through fear of punishment and intimidation.

Key Benefits of Assertive Parenting

As a mom, I am attracted to two underlying themes of an assertive approach to parenting;

  • Both child’s and parent’s needs are met through cooperation, compromise and assertive communication, resulting in happy family members and a harmonious family unit.
  • Warmth, trust and respect form the foundation of the parent-child relationship, also resulting in a peaceful happy home.

1. Assertive Parenting Meets Child’s Needs AND Parent’s Needs

One of the primary benefits of an assertive parenting style is that both my needs and my child’s needs get met. I am able to maintain my sanity, while my children still get the love and attention they need from me. 

But how can this be? As moms, we often receive the message that we are supposed to sacrifice ourselves for the sake of our children’s wellbeing. I do not buy into this message.

I know that I can be a better, happier, healthier mama when I am considering my children’s needs AND my needs. And there is almost always a way for everyone to get their needs met one way or another. Maybe not immediately or perfectly, but sufficiently. 

For example, my 4 year old wants me to play with him all of the time. If I want to get anything done around the house or simply eat some food though, I am learning to clearly and calmly tell him that I need to do x, y and z, and then I can play. 

By meeting our needs as mothers and individuals, we do not let resentment build up inside of us or let exhaustion drain us. When we have honored our needs, we can be our best selves and be fully present parents.  

Making sure our needs are met also models healthy self-care practices to our children as well as important assertiveness skills. This will help them become confident and assertive adults who know how to take care of themselves. As a mother, this is one of my greatest hopes for my children; that when I am no longer around, they know how to take care of themselves and are leading happy and healthy lives. 

2. Assertive Parenting Establishes a Healthy Parent-Child Relationship

The type of relationship a child has with a parent has an enormous impact on both a child’s and a parent’s emotional health. A warm and loving emotional bond where there is mutual respect between parent and child creates the foundation for a cooperative and confident child, and a confident parent.

Conversely, cold and uninvolved parenting styles can lead to children feeling insecure and anxious about where they stand and what they can expect in their relationship. 

An authoritarian parenting style for example, relies on punitive measures to try and control children. In contrast, assertive parenting elicits positive behaviors through kids’ genuine desire to cooperate rather than through fear of punishment.

Additional Benefits of Adopting an Assertive Parenting Style

Positive Behavior Changes

When the parent-child relationship is built on a foundation of mutual respect and trust, children experience the benefits of a positive relationship. This feels good for them and so they start acting in ways that maintain that positive feel good relationship. 

Power Struggles Become Less Frequent

Power struggles between parents and children are normal to some degree, but they do not have to be a way of life. Assertive parenting aims to transform combativeness during power struggles into opportunities for cooperation and compromise. 

Open Communication Between Parent and Child 

When parents model clear, respectful and open communication, children also learn this style of communication. They trust that they have a safe space with their parent to ask for what they need, and work out a positive way to meet that need. 

Healthy Relationships Become the Norm

Children grow up knowing what healthy relationships looks like and how to maintain them through assertive communication. This serves as a model that they can use as they develop other relationships as they get older.

If parents did not have a model of healthy relationships themselves growing up, this is their opportunity to break harmful intergenerational parenting patterns and offer their children a new approach. 

Assertive Parents Raise Assertive Kids

There is a wonderful kind of confidence that comes with being assertive. And when we model assertiveness to our children and teach them assertiveness skills, they learn how to be assertive themselves. They learn how to ask for what they need as well as respect other’s boundaries. 

I was well into adulthood before I understood the concept of assertiveness. This led to many uncomfortable situations where I remained silent while letting others cross my personal boundaries. This contributed to low self-esteem and conflict in my life. By embracing assertiveness now, I am hoping that my kids are better able than I was to confidently ask for what they need and uphold their personal boundaries. 

Assertive Parenting Skills to Develop

It’s all well and good to talk about the benefits of assertive parenting, but how does a frazzled mama or papa BE an assertive parent? Here are some essential assertiveness skills to practice. I am in the process of developing these skills myself, and while a slow process, I am seeing the benefits everyday, slowly but surely.

Clear and respectful communication

Speaking assertively means being clear on what you want to communicate and using respectful words and a calm voice to convey your message. Accusatory and unkind words are not productive and not a part of assertive communication. 

Use “I” statements and set clear limits. “I” statements help children know exactly where you stand, what you are feeling and what you expect.  

Active Listening

While assertive communication is important, knowing how to genuinely listen to children is also an essential skill. Listen to their words as well as taking notice of their body language and behaviors. Younger children often do not know how to verbally tell us what is going on, but they show us through their bodies and behaviors.

When we truly listen, we can often identify what’s behind frustration and bad behavior. And we realize that it is usually an unmet need or an uncomfortable feeling that kids are trying to deal with, but do not have the right coping skills to deal with in a productive way. So it is our job to help teach them more effective coping strategies and communication methods. 

Children also feel seen and heard when we let them know that we are listening through our body language and words. To let them know we are listening, we can maintain eye contact, put a hand on their shoulder, or get down on their level. We can also summarize back to them what they have said, or use words or sounds of acknowledgment (eg “uh-huh”) as they are talking to us.  

mom sitting at child's level listening to him

We have to remember that children are so new to this world and that their brains are still developing. If we can remember to see from a child’s perspective from time to time, we realize that they are usually not trying to terrorize us as parents. Usually they are just trying to connect and feel seen and heard. 

Emotional Regulation

We expect our kids to manage their emotions and resulting behaviors, but we often neglect to acknowledge that we are not managing our own very well. We also forget that children are still developing neurologically and need our help developing emotional regulation skills.

It’s perfectly okay and normal to feel exasperated and frazzled as a parent (it would be weird if we didn’t from time to time), but it is important to be mindful of how we are expressing those feelings. Do our children see us acting out aggressively when we are upset or frustrated with them? We don’t have to hide our feelings, but we do have to know how to express them appropriately and in a healthy way.

For example, sometimes we just need to take a step back from a stressful situation (as long as everyone is safe) and gather some self awareness. Then we can put a hand on our chest or belly and take some deep breaths. This is one way to regulate overwhelming stressful emotions.

mom practicing deep diaphragmatic breathing with hand on belly

When you expand your belly as you inhale, and deflate it as you exhale, this is called deep diaphragmatic breathing. It activates the vagus nerve and your body’s rest and relaxation response. This is the state we want to be in when we are dealing with troublesome and frustrating behaviors from our children.

Once our bodies and minds have calmed, we can speak to our children about what has happened and what needs to change. This is very different than screaming and yelling in frustration, which can be scary to children and exacerbate bad behavior.

Decision-Making Skills

Clear communication and decision-making go hand-in-hand. In order to clearly communicate with our children, we have to make clear decisions about what we want to communicate.

Rather than brushing off undesirable behavior because we don’t know how we want to deal with it, we have to stop and consider the best course of action. We may not always know if we are making the best decision, but we almost always have the opportunity to repair any damage we have done if we realize we have made the wrong decision. 

Setting Appropriate Boundaries

Setting and honoring appropriate boundaries is a essential part of assertive parenting. Boundaries let children know what is and is not okay. They also exist to help parents maintain their sanity!

Appropriate boundaries need to make sense and have a good reason for existing. Sometimes after asking myself why I have created a certain boundary with my child, I realize that there’s actually not a very good reason for it.

Good reasons for boundaries include boundaries that are made in order to keep kid’s and parents safe and healthy (emotionally and physically). 

Even when parents practice respectful communication with their kids and are calm and loving, there are bound to be situations where kids ignore set boundaries or parental requests. And oftentimes, they don’t even care about consequences. Even with natural consequences and logical consequences (vs threatening and punitive consequences), a child still may not give a hoot. In these cases, we need to consider if our child is feeling a lack of emotional connection with us. 

Reconnecting with a child can often give them the intrinsic motivation they need to jump on board with our requests (verses using bribes, threats and punishment to try and elicit cooperation).

For example, it’s common for young children to act out when a new baby enters the family. From their perspective, they feel like they are losing attention and therefore connection with their parents. My 3 year old started acting out after his baby sister came into the picture and started taking a lot of the time and attention that he was used to having from us. Slowly but surely and with lots of hug and acknowledgment of big feelings, those initial behaviors subsided. 

A more common example many parents can relate to is the power struggle that brushing teeth can be with young children. Historically, I have used threats and bribery to try and get my son to brush his teeth. Those tactics have rarely worked. He couldn’t care less. What I do know though, is that when I ask if he wants me to tell him a story while he’s brushing, he agrees 9 out of 10 times. And while this may be considered bribery, it is actually about taking the time to connect and be present with him.

Assertive Parenting Makes Us Stronger

I am so thankful for my children. They teach me everyday how to be more assertive, strong and flexible as a parent and a person. And as I learn about healthy boundaries, respectful communication, emotional regulation and self awareness, I hope to teach my children these skills as well so they feel confident and capable.

Parenting is certainly exhausting, but also the best thing that I know I will ever do in this life. If I can form a foundation of love, safety and happiness with them in our home, I know they will be better prepared for this world. 

Related parenting posts: 
Intergenerational Family Patterns and How We Parent
Preventing 3 Year Old Behavior Problems After New Baby
When Should Family Visit Newborn Baby
Helping Toddlers Deal with Big Feelings

Birthday Party Alternatives for Preschoolers

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There are a lot of big developments for kids in the preschool years, but not all kids at this age are necessarily ready for a big birthday bash. Or, parents may be on a tight budget or simply not have the bandwidth to throw a 

My Favorite Art Activity For 3 Year Olds to Encourage Creativity and Confidence

My Favorite Art Activity For 3 Year Olds to Encourage Creativity and Confidence

Setting my son up to paint on inexpensive wooden shapes from the dollar store or the craft store is perhaps my favorite art activity for 3 year olds. I love joining in on this activity too! This little art project somehow holds my 3 year 

My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

Breastfeeding is a big job and as such, snacks for nursing moms are essential! Not only is making breastmilk physically demanding, but it can be mentally and emotionally demanding as well. Many mamas are feeding their babies around the clock and may additionally be dealing with issues like; nipple pain, clogged ducts, milk blebs, undersupply, oversupply, latch problems, the list goes on. The point being, breastfeeding takes a lot of energy; physically, mentally and emotionally. 

So nursing mamas need snacks! Lots and lots of nourishing snacks. 

I want to share my 12 favorite snacks for nursing moms here;

  1. Pretzels or veggies with hummus
  2. Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  3. Cottage cheese with crackers or chips
  4. Brie and crackers
  5. Homemade granola bars with Zoi Plain Greek Yogurt
  6. Yogurt peanut butter banana bites
  7. Protein shake
  8. Simple salad
  9. Edamame
  10. Custom trail mix
  11. Banana Veggie Pancakes
  12. Fruit salad

How Much Should Breastfeeding Moms Eat?

As I think about what I need to eat in a day while breastfeeding, I find the USDA’s Dietary Reference Intake calculator quite helpful. You can enter your stage of lactation, age, weight, height and activity level and the calculator will give you a nutrient profile and how many calories you need in a day.

I was surprised to see how much fiber, fat, protein and water it calculated I need as a lactating mama. According to the DRI calculator, I should be consuming about 400 extra calories per day as I’m breastfeeding my 9 month old baby. This is more or less how many extra calories many nursing mamas need, but it depends on different variables that the DRI calculator accounts for.

It’s hard to know exactly how much 400 extra calories is in terms of food. I’ve never been a calorie counter, so I googled how 400 calories translates to different foods. Heath Mangieri Nutrition shares what 400 calories looks like and compares nutrient rich foods with less nourishing foods.

Getting a visual of how different foods add up to 400 or so calories made me realize that in order to get all my recommended nutrients in and stay within a 400 cal range, I need to have relatively healthy and easy to prepare snacks on hand. And obviously eat well balanced meals too.

So the snacks I share here are meant to easily fit into a busy and hectic day, while simultaneously providing necessary calories and decent nutrients for breastfeeding mamas.

My 12 Favorite Snacks for Nursing Moms

As a hungry and busy nursing mom, I graze on these snacks throughout the day in between meals. Or let’s be honest, sometimes they are my meals. So I do not eat perfectly everyday, but I’m always trying to do better!

Please note that I am not a dietician or medical professional. What I share below is what works for me, but may not work for everyone. Listen to your body and your own qualified physician for customized snacking ♡.

1. Pretzels or Veggies with Hummus

I love pretzels (GF or regular) with a good balsamic hummus. It’s a quick tasty snack that creates zero dirty dishes! You can simply stick a bunch of pretzels in a hummus container and you’re good to go. 

pretzels dipped in hummus
And nutritionally, hummus offers nursing moms a boost of protein and fiber. It does have a lot of sodium however, so all things in moderation. While I primarily eat my hummus with pretzels, I try to throw in a carrot and celery stick every so often too for added fiber and vitamins and minerals.

2. Celery with Peanut Butter and Raisins

Some peanut butter spread on celery with raisins on top is your classic ants on a log. Crunchy, refreshing and nutritious.

When I’m in a hurry though, I just put a big spoonful of peanut butter in a bowl, throw in some raisins and dig in with a celery stick. Because when it’s go time, who has the energy to finely spread pb and line up raisins? 

healthy snack for nursing mom
WebMD notes that celery is rich with fiber, antioxidants and vitamins (A, C, K, folate, potassium, calcium). Additionally, Milkology explains that nursing moms who don’t have a peanut allergy or family history of one can eat peanut butter and possibly help reduce their baby’s risk of developing a peanut allergy.

3. Cottage Cheese with Crackers

Cottage cheese is a good fueling protein snack. A quarter cup of Trader Joes cottage cheese for example, has 13 grams of protein. And when you’re breastfeeding, some extra protein is important!

In fact, Choice explains that breastfeeding moms need 54-67 grams of protein a day.  And this snack is super easy to gobble up. Cottage cheese on its own? Bleh, no thank you. But used as a dip with some wheat thins or Sun Chips? Yes please! 

easy protein snack for nursing moms

Or if you’re going gluten free or wanting a healthier cracker option, there are tons to choose from. 

And the best thing is no dishes to wash later! Again, snacks for nursing moms need to be simple. Just grab a box of crackers from the pantry and a container of cottage cheese from the fridge and snack away. Or, if you’re on the go, just substitute a string cheese for the cottage cheese and head out the door. 

4.  Brie with Crackers

Plain old saltines with a nice brie cheese seems like an unlikely pairing, but it’s so perfect! I also love brie with Trader Joe’s gluten free Crispbread, which is filled with seeds and oats. 

brie with cracker snack for nursing mom

And who doesn’t want to eat a delicious soft cheese like brie after being told they could not have it while pregnant.

Plus, Healthline labels brie as a nutrient dense food with vitamin b12, riboflavin, calcium, protein and fat. Salumi Pasini Nutrition warns though, that the flavor of brie can transfer to breast milk so a nursing baby may show signs of dislike. Additionally, brie could aggravate skin conditions like baby eczema and it also has a lot of sodium. I have not found either to be true for my baby, but it’s good to be aware of anyways. 

One can certainly have too much of a good thing when it comes to brie, but I love to keep this snack on my list to enjoy in moderation. And again, there are lots of healthy cracker options out there to get some yummy grains and seed in. 

And surprisingly, my 3 year old is a fan of brie as well! So when the brie and crackers come out we can enjoy a snack together.

5. Homemade Apple Oat Granola Bars with Zois Greek Yogurt

It may sound ambitious to make homemade granola bars, but it’s actually very simple! I share these Simple Homemade Granola Bars for Toddlers here, but they are for adults too! While obviously these require a little prep, once they are baked, they are a great grab and go snack (they’re gluten free too). And it actually requires very little time to make them, so there’s really no good excuse not to.

And homemade granola bars just taste so much better than sugary store bought ones. Plus, these ones have a healthy helping of oats. Very Well Family explains that oats are beneficial for breastfeeding mom because the beta-glucan fiber in them helps boost milk supply by increasing a mama’s prolactin hormone levels.

And for a protein boost, I like to dip these homemade granola bars in Zoi Greek yogurt. Zoi plain Greek yogurt is thick and creamy and fluffy and when paired with fresh strawberries or these granola bars, almost tastes like a decadent whipped cream! I don’t usually like yogurt, but I like this plain Zoi stuff. 

homemade granola bar snack

6. Protein Shake

Mixing some protein powder in with a plant based milk and a banana is an easy way to get an extra dose of protein. 

protein powder container

I like simple vanilla flavored protein powders mixed with soy milk and a banana. I’ve tried protein powders that have added greens and prebiotics as well, but I find it hard to get those down.

7. Simple Salad

When the days are busy and filled with jumping from task to task with children, it can feel hard to get your greens in. Who has time to put together a decadent salad and sit down and eat it? If your salad is simple enough though, it is actually very easy to get those greens in!

Throw some lettuce into a bowl, sprinkle on some sliced almonds and feta cheese, and then drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar all over. That takes about 2 minutes. Maybe less. And if you’re feeling like putting in another minute or two, this simple salad is delicious with some chopped up apple pieces. 

simple salad for busy nursing moms
And I have found that a light salad provides some refreshing fuel that doesn’t put me into a food coma, especially when I’m getting the afternoon sleepies and I’m trying to keep up with my toddler and baby.

8. Edamame

This is such an easy and nutritious snack to prepare and is one of my favorite simple snacks for nursing moms. And it only takes as long as it takes you to pull a bag out of the freezer, jiggle out some frozen edamame onto a plate and pop it into the microwave for a minute or two. 

plate of edamame
Eating Well explains that edamame is a great source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Edamame also has a low glycemic index (good for keeping blood sugar levels in check) and may help prevent osteoporosis and manage high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

9. Customized Trail Mix

Taking a little time to make a container of your favorite trail mix fixing can really pay off when you just need to grab a quick handful of something to snack on. I like to put dark chocolate chips, chopped up dried fig pieces, almond slices, toasted coconut flakes, toasted coconut flakes, gf mini pretzels and Chex cereal squares in mine.

homemade trail mix

Interestingly, I developed a strong craving for dark chocolate after I started breastfeeding. I never liked dark chocolate before becoming a mom, but now it tastes so delicious to me. I have heard this from other nursing mothers as well, so want to sure a little side note on dark chocolate since it must be included in my trail mix!

So in bad news, apparently some dark chocolate has high levels of cadmium and lead. Major bummer. Consumer Reports shares which chocolate bars have these higher levels. Since I eat a lot of dark chocolate, I’ll definitely only be buying chocolate bar brands on Consumer Reports “safer choices” list now. Ghiradelli’s 86% cacao bar is on the safer choice list, so I’ll be switching to that! I guess it’s too late for me when it comes to all those Trader Joe’s dark chocolate bars I have eaten.

I also want to share a quick note on dried figs since they are also particular to my postpartum life. For any mommas who experienced the same unfortunate bum problems as me (postpartum anal fissures and hemmorhoids, insert ugh and eye roll), figs can help keep stools regular and soft. So, if you’re juggling the unpleasant rear end issues of motherhood and breastfeeding, figs in your trail mix can’t be overlooked!

10. Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Banana Bites

Mix up a dollop of peanut butter in some plain Greek yogurt, dip some banana slices in the mixture, and sprinkle them all with crushed chocolate chips. Then just line these up on a small tray or plate and let them freeze for a couple of hours before they’re ready to eat. 

peanut butter greek yogurt banana bites
These are a refreshing little treat, and your toddler will probably love them too!

11. Banana Zucchini Pancakes

These banana pancakes take some initial prep work, but if you make a big batch you can pop some in the freezer for a grab, toast and go snack later. The simple ingredients (eggs, a little gf or regular flour, shredded zucchini and banana) make these little pancakes taste so wholesome. And the banana makes them sweet enough that you don’t need to add any syrup and can just eat them as is.

Also, my toddler is obsessed with these so I can make a big batch all at once for the both of us! Sometimes we leave the zucchini out if we don’t have one in the fridge, or add blueberries, so these are versatile depending on what add in you have or don’t have in your fridge. 

banana pancakes

12. Plain Old Fresh Fruit

I love having lots of delicious fresh fruit readily available. Apples, grapes, mandarins, berries, bananas and pears are all easy fruits to keep on hand. Luckily my toddler is obsessed with fruit, so I often have it out anyway at meal and snack times so it’s easy to get some bites of it in myself.

I have also started becoming more intentional about eating fresh fruit though and making colorful fruit salads that are a tasty treat. And on a side note, if you haven’t invested in a grape slicer, do it! It’s oddly satisfying slicing those grapes so perfectly and quickly, and most importantly I don’t worry about grapes being a choking hazard for my littles when sliced up. 

grape slicer to prevent toddler choking

Lots of Water

While not a snack obviously, I want to highlight the importance of drinking water throughout the day in-between meals and snacks. I always make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day. If you are a mama suffering from Postpartum Fissures or hemorrhoids, you know that keeping things moving smoothly is very important. Water helps.

brie with cracker snack for nursing mom
Bought myself the trendy Stanley tumbler and love it!

Additionally, WebMd states that breastfeeding mothers need 128 oz of water per day. Whoa, that seems like a lot. Not sure if I’m there yet, but I get to almost 90 oz from my trusty Stanley tumbler everyday, and probably get another good amount just through foods with a higher water content and other drinks.

Stocking up on Snacks

Sometimes I rifle through our cupboards and fridge and feel like there’s nothing to eat. Making this list though, and keeping a grocery list on my phone of everything needed for the above snacks helps ensure I always have something decent to snack on.
 Toddler play grocery shopping

Feel free to copy and paste my grocery snack list into your own! This list has everything you need to make all the snacks shared above. In review, we have;

  1. Pretzels or veggies with hummus
  2. Celery with peanut butter and raisins
  3. Cottage cheese with crackers or chips
  4. Brie and crackers
  5. Homemade granola bars with Zoi Plain Greek Yogurt
  6. Yogurt peanut butter banana bites
  7. Protein shake
  8. Simple salad
  9. Edamame
  10. Custom trail mix
  11. Banana Veggie Pancakes
  12. Fruit salad

Grocery List: Snacks for Nursing Moms

  • Hummus
  • Pretzels
  • Celery
  • Peanut butter
  • Raisins
  • Cottage cheese
  • Crackers or chips (eg Wheat Thins, Saltines, Sun Chips, rice crackers)
  • Brie
  • Zois Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Homemade Granola Bar ingredients (unsweetened applesauce, oats, cinnamon, raisins)
  • Bananas
  • Vanilla protein powder
  • Soy milk
  • Lettuce
  • Oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Toasted sliced almonds
  • Feta cheese
  • Frozen edamame
  • Honey Chex cereal
  • Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
  • Dried figs
  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Eggs
  • Zucchini
  • Flour (GF or regular)
  • Seasonal fresh fruit

I hope this list of snacks for nursing moms is helpful! Please share any other delicious snack ideas in the comments below. Happy snacking!

A DIY Christmas Tree for a Festive Eco Friendly Holiday

A DIY Christmas Tree for a Festive Eco Friendly Holiday

I’m so excited about our DIY christmas tree this year! It was a lot of fun to put together as a family and it feels perfectly festive and magical. My 3 year old has also been having a blast playing in and around it. And 

How Much Coffee Can I Drink While Nursing?

How Much Coffee Can I Drink While Nursing?

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Fun Family Dinner Night with Easy Homemade Pizza!

Fun Family Dinner Night with Easy Homemade Pizza!

Looking for a simple recipe for a fun family dinner night? A meal that’s delicious for kids and adults alike? And that even young children can help make? Look no further! Here I share a simple and tasty homemade pizza recipe.

Historically, the thought of making homemade pizza dough sounded super intimidating to me. After trying out this easy recipe though, I feel like a total pizza pro.

The final result is so delicious and better than most pizza dough I have had at restaurants. And you really can’t beat the 10 minutes it takes to make the dough, 5 minutes to roll it out/add toppings, and the 20 minutes of bake time. Of course if you have a tiny helper in the kitchen, plan for some additional prep time.  

easy homemade pizza dough for a fun family dinner night

I have also never seen my 3 year old eat so much pizza at once. He usually takes little nibbles here and there of take out or frozen pizzas, but he devours this homemade pizza. Plus, it’s a fun activity for him to help mix ingredients, roll out dough and add his own toppings.

fun family dinner night with easy homemade pizza with young kids
My 3 year old always looks forward to homemade pizza night!

The recipe I share here is based off of allrecipe’s pizza crust recipe, with just a couple additions and suggestions. After looking high and low for a good pizza dough recipe, I think the allrecipe one is truly the best in terms of ease and taste! 

Gathering the Ingredients

The dough is made up of just a few ingredients, most of which are already in most people’s cupboards. The only ingredients I had to go out and buy for the dough were 2 simple things; bread flour (but you can also use regular flour) and active dry yeast. 

Bread flour is usually sold right alongside the regular flour at the grocery store. And active dry yeast is usually in the same section as well. I like the Red Star active dry yeast packets. You only need a single .25 ounce packet for this recipe. 

yeast and bread flour for easy pizza dough recipe

Other than the bread flour and yeast, the only other things you need for the dough are salt, olive oil and some optional dried spices like rosemary, sage, garlic powder and onion powder. 

As far as toppings go, they can really be anything! Our favorites are pepperoni, black olives, pineapple, bell peppers, mushrooms and onions. 

easy homemade pizza recipe toppings

Making the Dough

The first couple of times I made the dough, I thought the allrecipe instructions were mistaken. It took soo long for the yeast to activate and get all frothy. 

After making this recipe a few times though, I realized that I either had not been using warm enough water or had not fully mixed the sugar in with the water prior to adding the yeast. Once I got the yeast prep down though, it frothed up within a couple of minutes rather than taking 20 plus minutes. 

activating dry yeast for easy homemade pizza dough
Unsuccessful yeast activation in the bowl on the left vs nice and frothy activated yeast in the bowl on the right.

While waiting for the yeast to activate and get frothy, I mix the other dough ingredients in a separate bowl; bread flour, salt, dried spices, and olive oil. 

Once the yeast is ready, I add the yeast to the flour mixture and stir it all up and roll it into a ball! Then I let it sit for 5 minutes.

quick rise time for easy homemade pizza dough recipe

I break off a handful of dough for my toddler to make his own personal pizza. He enjoys rolling it out into odd shapes and choosing his own toppings. This really gives him a sense of independence and pride in making his very own pizza! 

toddler putting on his own toppings on easy homemade pizza dough

With the rest of the dough, I roll out a big circle for a pizza for me and my husband and bake it on a round pizza tray. We use a regular baking sheet for my toddlers pizza. It’s helpful to rub some olive oil onto the pizza pans so the dough won’t stick.

rolled out pizza dough for a fun family dinner night with kids easy homemade pizza dough for fun family dinner night rolled out with toppings

And then it is just a matter of popping the pizzas into the oven and waiting for them to bake for 20 minutes. Yum!

  

easy homemade pizza dough for a fun family dinner night
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Easy Homemade Pizza Dough

Fluffy, soft, delicious and quick to put together
Course Main Course
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 3

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F to add to yeast)
  • 1 tsp white sugar (to add to yeast)
  • .25 oz active dry yeast (.25 oz is often sold as 1 packet)
  • 2.5 cups bread flour you can also use regular flour, but bread flour helps make the dough fluffy!
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp rosemary optional add in for flavor
  • 1/4 tsp rubbed sage optional add in for flavor
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder optional add in for flavor
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder optional add in for flavor
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz tomato pizza sauce
  • 8 oz shredded mozarella cheese
  • toppings of choice! (eg pineapple, pepperoni, olives, mushrooms)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, mix warm water (110 degrees F) with sugar. Next add the packet of yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes, until it forms a frothy top layer.
  • While waiting for the yeast, combine and mix flour, salt, olive oil, rosemary, sage, garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Combine the flour mixture with the yeast.
  • Mix all ingredients until well blended and let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
  • Break the dough into several balls for small individual pizzas or keep in one big ball to roll out for a single large pizza. (I break off a handful of dough for my toddler to make a personal pizza, and use the rest to roll out a big pizza.)
    Sprinkle a tiny bit of flour onto a flat surface to roll the dough out on.
  • Oil a baking sheet or a pizza pan.
  • Place the rolled out crust/s on the pan/s.
  • Add your pizza sauce, cheese and whatever toppings you like!
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

Including kiddos in meal prep is a great way to teach them new skills and hopefully prepare them to make their own food when they venture out from the nest! 

And, there’s nothing like a good pizza to make a fun family dinner night feel festive and special. 

Let me know how this recipe worked out for you in the comments!

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