We offer a wide variety of belts for toddlers and are always adding new accessories for kids. See all our complete line of belts for kids, along with girls’ headbands and key fobs at www.cutebeltz.com.
If you’re a parent, and your child is old enough to talk, chances are you’ve heard the phrase “Can we get a pet?Please, please, pretty please?” In general, this request inspires a sense of impending doom. No matter what kind of pet you have, it’s going to be a lot of work. And, no matter how much your kid tries to convince you that they’ll do everything, you’ll have to shoulder a certain amount of responsibility. Pet ownership means adoption fees, vet bills, food, toys, grooming, cleanup — and who knows what else. It’s not something to take lightly.
But the right child paired with the right pet can actually mean great things for everybody. Taking on the care of an animal can teach your child how to be responsible and aware of the needs of others. A pet is a live-in nature lesson. The bond with a pet can provide immeasurable fulfillment for everyone in your family, not just your child.
But how to pick the right pet? Check out our picks for best 5 best first pets for your kids.
An Older Dog or Cat
Though you might be tempted by the overwhelming cuteness of puppies and kittens, young animals usually don’t make great starter pets. They require a lot of patience and training in order to grow into well-adjusted pets, and kids generally don’t have the experience to pull that off. Instead, adopt an adult dog or cat from an animal shelter. On the whole, older animals will be much more tolerant with kids, and pets that are already trained will make it easier for your child to learn what it takes to care for them. But even the gentlest of dogs and cats require a lot of work, so be sure to help your child understand what the animal needs.
A fish is another classic first pet, provided you pick the right one. Goldfish are the archetypal choice, but they’re notoriously fragile and require a fairly elaborate tank-and-filter setup.
Betta fish, however, are happiest in smaller bowls, no filter necessary. Bettas are beautiful fish, often jewel-toned, with long flowing fins. The bowl will need regular cleaning and water changes; consider adding an aquatic snail to your bowl, which will help keep the algae at bay. (They’re fun to watch, too.) Your child can have fun decorating the bowl with gravel, plants and other accessories. A word to the wise: This is one pet that’s best purchased singly, because two bettas in the same bowl will fight to the death. But a healthy, well-tended betta can live for two or three years.
Often overlooked in favor of their smaller cousins, these gentle rodents actually make great pets for kids. They rarely bite, they love to play hide and seek, and they’ll squeak with excitement when their humans put in an appearance.
Since they prefer to live in groups, consider adopting two female guinea pigs. (Two males will be prone to fighting, unless they come from the same litter, and a male/female pair will result in lots of tiny guinea pigs.)
Guinea pigs also provide good practice for responsible pet ownership. If you’re thinking about getting a bigger pet somewhere down the road, for example, longer-haired varieties are good preview for dog or cat ownership, since they need to be groomed daily in order to prevent tangles.
There are a few types of small birds that can make for a good introduction to the world of pet care. Canaries, for example, don’t require a lot of one-on-one time, and a pair of society finches will happily keep one another entertained.
All birds require regular cage cleaning and fresh food and water, along with a cage roomy enough for a bit of flying and some toys for amusement. Small birds don’t like sudden movements or unexpected noises, so they’re best cared for by older, calmer children.
Small lizards can make for very interesting pets. But not every kind of lizard will work well for the novice pet owner. Iguanas and Savannah monitors start out cute and small, but they grow into lizards several feet in length — and they’re also capable of inflicting nasty bites.
Instead, consider a leopard gecko or bearded dragon. These reptiles are good starter pets due to their docile nature, low-maintenance lifestyle and small size. Though delicate in their infancy, once they reach adulthood, they’re resilient and hardy creatures.
Which do you feel would make a great first pet for your kids? – Cute Beltz
Somehow June has flown by and the 4th of July is right around the corner. I’ve been looking for fun and festive 4th of July treats and desserts, and thought I would share some of the fabulous sweets I’ve found around the web.
Here are some 4th of July treat ideas that include just a few simple ingredients. No real cooking is involved- just some very easy assembly is required.
Red, White and Blue Strawberries
Strawberries taste best in the summer but these juicy fruits might be too pretty to eat! Take a strawberry and dip it in melted white chocolate (I used the Baker’s brand) and then sprinkle blue sugar on the bottom tip of the berry. Keep the strawberries in the refrigerator on waxed paper until you’re ready to serve.
Ice Cream Sandwich Pops
These treats are a kid-tested favorite and so easy to make it should be a crime. Cut an ice cream sandwich in half or use the mini sandwiches (I know Meijer has the mini ones.) Insert a wooden craft stick into the sandwich and then allow the ice cream to soften just a bit. Roll the ice cream in red, white and blue sprinkles and re-freeze on wax paper. Take out and serve when you’re ready.
These ice cream cones are just too fun and couldn’t be any simpler to make. Take a sugar cone and roll the top round part in melted white chocolate and then add red, white and blue sprinkles or colored sugar. Line them up on a wax-paper covered platter to harden and then bask in the admiration you will surely receive for your talent and creativity.
Red White and Blue Layered Popsicles
Blue Kool Aid (and sugar) or blue Gatorade
Red Kool Aid (and sugar) or red Gatorade
Plastic cups or popsicle molds
1. Mix the blue kool aid as directed and pour into cups or popsicle molds for bottom layer. Freeze for 1 hour, or until mixture is beginning to freeze, but not yet hard.
2. In separate bowl mix 2 cups vanilla yogurt with 2 cups Cool whip. Spoon white mixture into popsicle molds. Insert craft sticks in an upright position into popsicle molds. Stick back in the freezer until solid (white mixture won’t get completely hard, but pretty firm).
3. Mix the red Kool Aid as directed and pour into cups for final layer. Freeze overnight or for at least 5 hours
If you feel like channeling your inner Martha Stewart, give any of these recipes a try and let us know how they turned out! Happy 4th of July everyone! – Cute Beltz
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to celebrate all the wonderful things moms do. A perfect gift is to give mom a break from cooking. Treat Mom to a delicious brunch this Mother’s Day with some of our favorite recipes.
Whole-Grain Waffles with Cherry Sauce
There’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by making your mom a delicious, healthy brunch. Take advantage of spring fruits and vegetables for a delicious Mother’s Day menu. Enjoy our Whole-Grain Waffles with Cherry Sauce for a sweet breakfast or our Chard & Feta Tart, a satisfying savory dish your mom will love.
1. To prepare cherry sauce: Combine cherries, water, honey, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla extract in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Set aside.
2. To prepare waffles: Preheat oven to 200°F; place a large baking sheet on the center rack.
3. Whisk whole-wheat flour (see Measuring Tip), cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla; whisk until well blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
4. Preheat a Belgian-style waffle iron. Lightly coat it with cooking spray. Add enough batter to cover about two-thirds of the surface (about 2/3 cup); distribute evenly with a spatula. Close and cook until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the waffles to the baking sheet to keep warm until ready to serve; do not stack. Repeat with the remaining batter, using more cooking spray as needed. Warm the cherry sauce over medium heat until hot and bubbling; serve with the waffles.
Mediterranean Tuna Antipasto Salad
Packed with protein and fiber, this tuna and bean salad is ready in a flash. For an extra kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne.
1 15- to 19-ounce can beans, such as chickpeas, black-eyed peas or kidney beans, rinsed
2 5- to 6-ounce cans water-packed chunk light tuna, drained and flaked (see Note)
1 large red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
4 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 cups mixed salad greens
1. Combine beans, tuna, bell pepper, onion, parsley, capers, rosemary, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Season with pepper and combine the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt in a large bowl. Add salad greens; toss to coat. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Top each with the tuna salad.
Savory Ricotta Pancakes with Tomato-Chard Sauce
Pancakes transcend breakfast when they’re made with savory ricotta cheese and topped with an Italian tomato and Swiss chard sauce.
1 bunch of (8-ounce) Swiss chard, tough ends trimmed
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed with press
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 can of (28-ounce) whole tomatoes in puree, chopped
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup of part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 cup of reduced-fat (2%) milk
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of margarine or butter, cut into three pieces
1/4 cup of freshly shredded Pecorino Romano cheese
1. Cut ribs and stems from Swiss chard leaves. Cut ribs and stems into 1-inch pieces; cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Rinse Swiss chard thoroughly in large bowl of cold water; swish to remove any dirt. With hands, transfer chard to colander, leaving dirt in bottom of bowl. Repeat process, changing water, until all the dirt is removed.
2. Prepare Tomato-Chard Sauce: In 4-quart saucepan, heat olive oil on medium until hot. Add onion and garlic, and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomatoes with their puree and 1/4 teaspoon salt; heat to boiling on medium-high. Stir in Swiss chard; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Remove cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes longer or until chard is tender and sauce is thickened slightly, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; cover to keep sauce warm.
3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Prepare Savory Ricotta Pancakes: In blender or food processor with knife blade attached, blend egg yolks, ricotta, and milk until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and blend until smooth; transfer batter to 8-cup glass measure or medium bowl.
4. In small bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat egg whites just until stiff peaks form when beaters are lifted. With rubber spatula, fold beaten whites into batter.
5. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt 1 piece of margarine on medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cups into skillet, making 4 to 5 pancakes at a time. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until the edges are dry and bottoms are browned. Turn pancakes over and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bottoms are browned. Transfer pancakes to platter; keep warm in oven.
6. Repeat with remaining margarine and batter to make about 16 pancakes in all. Serve pancakes with warm Tomato-Chard Sauce; sprinkle with shredded Romano.
This slightly tart fruity Bellini recipe will zing you awake. It’s the prettiest color imaginable and it makes a brunch instantly fun! You can serve the Bellinis in champagne flutes or in simple Mason jars—be creative!
1 ripe papaya, peeled, halved and seeded
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
12 fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
2 thin slices peeled fresh ginger (1/4 inch)
2 cups fresh tangerine juice (from 6-7 tangerines) or orange-tangerine juice
6 ice cubes
Honey to taste (optional)
2 bottles (750-mL) Champagne or sparkling wine
1. Puree papaya, pineapple, raspberries, lime zest, mint and ginger in a blender until completely smooth. Add juice and ice and blend until the ice is crushed. If the mixture is too tart for your taste, add 1 tablespoon honey at a time, blending after each addition, until it’s as sweet as you like. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
2. To serve, stir the Bellini mixture and divide among 8 glasses. Very slowly top each drink with wine. Gently stir, if necessary. (You’ll have about two-thirds of a bottle remaining; top off drinks as desired.)