Jan Scott

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog www.familybites.ca. She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
18 Clever Ideas for Filling Your Kid’s Loot Bags
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I’m not a huge fan of loot bags, but I understand that they are part of the package when you plan and host a birthday party. Having said that, if the contents of the goody bag are simple, practical and useful, I can get over my dislike of them, and even have a little fun putting them together.

Regardless of how I feel about these take home treats, the kids absolutely love them! Here are 18 ideas for loot bag fillers you won’t mind handing out at your next party. Some of the ideas are based on a specific them, and others are suitable for almost any type of party you might be planning.

Loot Bag Ideas for Specific Party Themes:

  • Art Party: Canvases, paints, paintbrushes, black beret
  • Baking Party: Chef’s hat, cookie cutters, rolling pin, stainless-steel mixing bowl
  • Circus/Carnival Party: Face paint, clown noses, balloons, candy floss
  • Movie Star Party: Movie passes, popcorn bucket full of concession stand candy, inexpensive DVDs.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Pool Party: Beach towels, pool noodles, goggles, water balls
  • LEGO Party: LEGO minifigures, building block candy (can usually be found at the Bulk Barn or craft supply store)

Loot Bag Ideas for Any Party Theme:

  • Iced sugar cookies in the number of the new age of the birthday boy/girl. Package in cellophane and tie with ribbon.
  • Outdoor toys like a ball, magic carpet sled, skipping rope, etc.
  • A favourite book and a homemade (made by birthday boy/girl) bookmark.
  • Personalized name labels
  • T-shirts. These can be purchased from a store or made at home. Bonus points if they match the theme of the party (i.e. Superhero-themed shirts for a superhero party)
  • Notebooks and pens/pencils.
  • A small bag of the birthday child’s “favourite things” like a candy, magazine, small toy, etc.
  • Homemade or store-bought Playdough and cookies cutters.
  • A personalized CD of the birthday child’s favourite songs, or the songs that were played at the party.
  • Gift cards in small denominations for treats, books, movies, or music.
  • Sticker, activity, and colouring books.
  • Puzzles

 

Image of birthday party from Shutterstock.

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog www.familybites.ca. She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
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Slow Cooker Sausage Bolognese
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Sometime last week, as I was making a list of what to make my kids for their school lunches, I realized it’s not the mid-day meal that leaves me in a lurch each day, but rather it’s the healthy, relatively homemade dinner I need to get on the table every night in between working, carpooling, extra-curricular activities, and math homework. That, without a doubt, will become my undoing, unless I have a minimum of four quick dinners planned for the week before Monday morning rolls around.

The first one I tested was definitely a dinner homerun that doubles as the next day’s lunch, awarding it extra bonus points because it feeds my family twice while requiring very little work on my part. It also happens to be flavourful, healthy, and cooks all day while I work, making it a twenty-minute, less-than-ten-ingredient dinner the whole family will devour.

The brilliance of using sausages (turkey or pork) in this recipe instead of traditional ground beef is that they are already flavoured with seasonings, cutting your ingredient list in half from the get go. A little onion, a can of tomatoes, splash of wine and Worcestershire round out the required items and within a few short hours your dinner is nearly ready.

For those who don’t want to fuss with prepping the food while simultaneously making breakfast, you can always combine the ingredients in your slow cooker the night before, then pull it from the fridge in the morning and turn it on to cook.

Do you have a favourite weeknight dinner? Share in the comments and let us know what works for you on a busy weeknight.

Get the full printable recipe for Slow Cooker Sausage Bolognese here.

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog www.familybites.ca. She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
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