Donna Erickson’s Casual Summer of Food, Fun, and Family

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Make this casual summer season easy on yourself and your family with these eight helpful tips and tricks:

Time Savers

1. Use a pizza cutter to quickly cut pancakes, waffles, toast and other soft foods for your preschooler.

2. Cut corn off the cob in seconds by securing one end of the ear of corn in the hole of an angel food cake pan. Slice down with a sharp knife to remove the kernels – they will fall directly in the pan. This works great for kids who have loose or missing front teeth and can’t eat the corn off the cob.

3. When company comes, save clean-up time and protect upholstered dining room chairs from sticky fingers with an attractive slipcover. Sew or pin a 10-inch long piece of ribbon to each corner of a large cloth napkin. Place the napkin on the seat of the chair and tie the ribbons around the chair legs. When the meal is over, remove the napkin, launder and save for the next occasion. To protect the backs of chairs, slip a plain pillowcase over the top.

Fun and Games

4. Make picking up small toys easier and faster by scooping up building blocks and small figures with a clean dustpan.

5. To help kids hold playing cards without dropping them, make a cardholder from two plastic deli or margarine tub lids and a brass paper fastener. Put the lids together, smooth sides facing each other, poke a hole through the center and connect in the middle with the paper fastener. Or staple the lids together at the center, but cover the staple with stickers or tape so it won’t catch on fingers. Insert the playing cards between the two lids.

6. Use empty, plastic two-liter beverage bottles and sponge balls for an impromptu bag and ball for preschoolers.

7. Affix bathtub non-skid decals on the bottom of your child’s plastic wading pool to help prevent slipping when your child stands up in the water.

8. For the next minor injury that requires an ice pack, keep plastic bags of frozen peas or corn in your freezer. They are dripless and mold nicely to the surface of the “owie.”

Donna Erickson’s award-winning series “Donna’s Day” is airing on public television nationwide. To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit www.donnasday.com and link to the NEW Donna’s Day Facebook fan page. Her latest book is “Donna Erickson’s Fabulous Funstuff for Families.”

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