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The kitchen can be a busy place and it's tempting to send kids outside or to another room. But I think the kitchen is the perfect place to get kids involved, especially when there's so much prep to do! To help navigate the process, find small, meaningful ways to involve them in prepping and cooking for the holiday. Kids will love using a wooden spoon to smash potatoes, or they can trim green beans and mince garlic for a garlicky skillet green beans dish. You can also encourage creativity with flavored butters the whole family will enjoy spreading on tender biscuits. Plus, we find that kids are more inclined to eat a dish they've had a hand in making themselves!

Here are five kid-friendly meals from America's Test Kitchen Kids that help make cooking a family affair:

Roasted broccoli

Serves: 4 Servings

Time to cook: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-­virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 6 cups broccoli florets, large florets cut in half
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
Instructions:
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk together oil, salt, and pepper. Add broccoli to bowl and use your hands to toss until broccoli is evenly coated with oil mixture.
  3. Transfer broccoli to baking sheet. Arrange broccoli in single layer, placing flat sides down when possible.
  4. Place baking sheet in oven and roast broccoli until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  5. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven and place on cooling rack. Use a spatula to transfer broccoli to serving dish. Serve broccoli with lemon wedges.

Buttermilk drop biscuits

Serves: Makes 10 to 12 biscuits

Time to cook: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-­purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil spray


Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until combined. In liquid measuring cup, use fork to stir buttermilk and melted butter until butter forms small clumps.
  3. Add buttermilk mixture to bowl with flour mixture. Use rubber spatula to stir until just combined.
  4. Spray inside of 1/4 ­cup dry measuring cup with vegetable oil spray. Use greased measuring cup to scoop batter and use butter knife to scrape off extra batter. Drop scoops onto baking sheet to make 10 to 12 biscuits (leave space between biscuits and respray measuring cup as needed).
  5. Place baking sheet in oven and bake biscuits until tops are golden brown 12 to 14 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack. Let biscuits cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Smashed potatoes

Smashed potatoes

Serves: 4-6 Servings

Time to cook: 1 hour and 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 2 pounds small red potatoes, unpeeled
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon salt, measured separately
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions:
  1. Place cream cheese in medium bowl and let soften on counter.
  2. Meanwhile, place potatoes in large saucepan and cover completely with cold water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bay leaf.
  3. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-­low and simmer gently until potatoes are soft and paring knife can be inserted very easily into potatoes, 35 to 45 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat. Use ladle to carefully measure 1/4 cup cooking water from saucepan into liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  5. Carefully drain potatoes in colander set in sink (ask an adult for help). Discard bay leaf. Return potatoes to empty warm saucepan and let sit, uncovered, until potatoes look dry, about 5 minutes.
  6. While potatoes dry, add melted butter, chives, reserved cooking water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to softened cream cheese and whisk until smooth.
  7. Use back of wooden spoon to smash potatoes in saucepan just enough to break skins. Don't work potatoes too much (finished dish should be chunky).
  8. Stir cream cheese mixture into potatoes until liquid has been absorbed and chunks of potatoes remain. Serve.

Garlicky skillet green beans

Serves: 4 Servings

Time to cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Instructions:
  1. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 1 minute (oil should be hot but not smoking).
  2. Add green beans, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula, until spotty brown, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Carefully add water to skillet. Cover and cook until green beans are bright green, about 2 minutes. Use oven mitten to remove lid (be careful—steam will be hot!).
  4. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until water evaporates, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in butter and garlic and cook, stirring often, until green beans are lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat. Use spatula to transfer green beans to serving platter. Serve.

Roasted fingerling potatoes

Roasted fingerling potatoes

Serves: 4-6 Servings

Time to cook: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fingerling or small red potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-­virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions:
  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Use chef's knife to cut potatoes in half lengthwise.
  3. In large bowl, combine potatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss potatoes and coat evenly with oil and seasonings.
  4. Transfer potatoes to baking sheet. Turn each potato cut side down and spread potatoes into single layer.
  5. Place baking sheet in oven and bake until skins are wrinkled and spotty brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
  6. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Use spatula to carefully transfer potatoes to serving platter (baking sheet will be hot). Serve.
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Things We're Loving

It was a historical moment for the world and a scary moment for a woman who had just become a mother for the first time. When the Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital on July 22, 2013, with her new baby in her arms she was happy—but understandably scared, too.

Kate Middleton recently appeared on Giovanna Fletcher's Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast and when Fletcher asked her about her postpartum debut Kate said she felt a little freaked out when she stepped out with her newborn.

"Yeah, slightly terrifying, slightly terrifying, I'm not going to lie," Kate said.

During the podcast the Duchess opened up about her pregnancy and birth experiences, explaining how much hypnobirthing helped her and that she didn't know whether she was delivering a prince or princess until Prince George was born as she'd opted to be surprised.

She was surprised and thrilled when she met her son, and looked forward to post-pregnancy life after spending her pregnancy quite ill with hyperemesis gravidarum (a seriously debilitating form of extreme morning sickness). She was happy, but was also (very understandably) overwhelmed. In addition to all the pressure new moms feel, Kate had an army of photographers waiting outside the hospital for her.

"Everything goes in a bit of a blur. I think, yeah I did stay in hospital overnight, I remember it was one of the hottest days and night with huge thunderstorms so I didn't get a huge amount of sleep, but George did, which was really great," she explained. "I was keen to get home because, for me, being in hospital, I had all the memories of being in hospital because of being sick [with acute morning sickness] so it wasn't a place I wanted to hang around in. So, I was really desperate to get home and get back to normality."

Kate wanted to get home, but she also did want to share her baby boy with the public who had been so supportive of her young family, she explains.

"Everyone had been so supportive and both William and I were really conscious that this was something that everyone was excited about and you know we're hugely grateful for the support that the public had shown us, and actually for us to be able to share that joy and appreciation with the public, I felt was really important," she shared, adding that "Equally it was coupled with a newborn baby, and inexperienced parents, and the uncertainty of what that held, so there were all sorts of mixed emotions."

"All sorts of mixed emotions."

The now-iconic images of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge exiting the hospital with their firstborn have gone down in history, but so has Kate's bravery that day.

There's been a lot written about whether those pictures put pressure on other moms who might not feel ready for heels and blowouts right after giving birth, but one thing critics of the photos often miss is the positive impact it had on other young women.

Yes, Kate looked beautiful, but she also looked like a woman whose body had just given birth—and the iconic images of her in that polka-dot dress taught a generation of women that the female body isn't an elastic band and that recovering from birth takes time.

"I, myself remember being really surprised when Kate Middleton came out of the hospital holding Prince George," Tina, now a mom herself and a model of postpartum realness in Mothercare's "Body Proud Mums campaign" explained last year.

Tina recalls how Kate's postpartum appearance showed her a reality society hadn't: "She had the baby bump, and I remember being surprised that your belly doesn't just go down after giving birth. I also thought how stupid I was to have ever thought it would. I guess pre-children you just have unrealistic expectations."

Tina wasn't stupid, she just hadn't been shown the truth.

So thank you, Kate, for stepping out of that hospital in 2013, despite being terrified, and showing the world your beautiful baby and your bump.


News

Despite the encouraging growth of free or subsidized preschools in some American cities, the fact remains that preschool and daycare cost about as much as rent in many areas.

But there's some good news, which is that parents who pay for preschool or daycare while they're at work may qualify for a credit that can help you save money on taxes this year. Here's what all parents should know before filing their returns.

Is preschool tuition tax-deductible?

The sum of your child's entire preschool tuition is not tax deductible, but you may be able to get something better than a deduction: a credit called the Child and Dependent Care Credit, worth up to $1,050 for one child and up to $2,100 for two or more kids.

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How do I know if I'm eligible for the Child Dependent Care Tax Credit?

There are a few criteria to be eligible for the Child and Dependent Care Credit:

  • If you have someone take care of your child so you can work or look for work
  • Your child is under the age of 13 at the end of the tax year (no age limit if they are disabled)
  • You must be able to claim your child as a dependent
  • Your filing status must be single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a qualifying child, or married filing jointly.

Does preschool tuition count as dependent care?

Yes, it does count if you are paying someone to take care of your child so you can work or look for work. Day camps, such as summer camps and sports camps, count as well, but overnight camps don't.

How much could I potentially get back on taxes for preschool tuition?

If you are able to claim the Child and Dependent Care Credit, you may be able to claim up to $1,050 for one child and up to $2,100 for two or more children.

The great thing about credits is they are a dollar for dollar reduction of your taxes. So if you owe taxes of $1,050 and have one child, you may qualify for a credit of up to $1,050 and wipe out the taxes you owe.

The credit is based on a sliding scale: Depending on your income, your credit is 20%-35% of your childcare expenses up to $3,000 (or $1,050), and 20%-35% of childcare expenses up to $6,000 (or $2,100) for two or more kids.

The bottom line: While this tax credit is unlikely to completely cover your child's preschool tuition for the year, don't miss out on this tax credit if you're paying for preschool or daycare for your child so that you can work. And remember to check your eligibility for other tax credits and deductions for families, including the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Credit.
Work + Money

Celestial baby names are flying high right now, and the brightest star of them all? Well, it's actually Luna, the name of the Roman goddess of the moon, and the Latin word for "moon."

At #23 in the US in 2019, Luna's rise has been, well, astronomical ever since it re-entered the Top 1000 in 2003, for the first time in almost a century. That was the year that Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was first published, featuring the kooky but courageous Luna Lovegood.

The once-unique baby name has since been picked up by stylish celebrity parents such as Penelope Cruz, Uma Thurman and John Legend, and now ranks in the Top 100 in at least 18 other countries, including Australia, Chile, Denmark, France, Italy, Norway and Slovenia.

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But if Luna's meteoric rise to the top of the baby name popularity charts puts you off, here are 100 more magical, moon-inspired baby names to consider.

Baby names that mean moon

Girls' names that mean "moon" include a multitude of attractive Turkish names containing the element ay, meaning (you guessed it!) "moon." These range from rising international star Ayla to popular picks like Miray, Belinay and Aysima, which are all in the current Turkish Top 50 for girls.

Boy names that mean "moon" include dozens of dynamic Japanese names like Michika, Reito and Tsukio, which can all be formed from different kanji combinations to give various moon-related meanings.

Moon-inspired girl names

  1. Aruna: This pretty Japanese name, which can mean "moon love" (depending on the kanji characters used), is a perfect underused alternative to popular A-sandwich choices like Aria and Aurora.
  2. Esmeray: A beautiful Turkish name with the evocative meaning of "dark moon", which might appeal to lovers of rapid riser Esme.
  3. Lusine: Also spelled Lucine or Lusineh, this sophisticated Armenian choice could make for an unexpected route to Lucy or Lou.
  4. Mahina: A moon goddess in Hawaiian mythology, whose attractive name literally means "moon" in the Hawaiian language.
  5. Sasithorn: This poetic word for the moon is also used as a name in its native Thailand, pronounced "sah-see-TAWN". Sweet short form Sasi also means "moon".

And here are a few more of our favorite lunar names for girls from around the globe:

  1. Adzumi
  2. Aysel
  3. Channary
  4. Hala
  5. Indu
  6. Livana
  7. Lua
  8. Mahrukh
  9. Miray
  10. Neoma
  11. Orana
  12. Quilla
  13. Runa
  14. Saran
  15. Sihana
  16. Tsuki
  17. Vinterny
  18. Volana
  19. Zira
  20. Zulay

Moon-inspired boy names

  1. Ainar: This strong-sounding Kazakh name is actually unisex, meaning "male moon", "fire moon" or "pomegranate moon" (what a great image!).
  2. Isildur: A literary lunar name from J.R.R. Tolkien's legendarium, in which it belongs to a heroic king.
  3. Jerah: A rare Biblical boys' name with a contemporary sound, which could make for a great underused alternative to the likes of Noah and Jeremiah.
  4. Mani: Properly spelled Máni, this energetic mini name belongs to the personification of the moon in Norse mythology.
  5. Vikesh: A strong and striking Hindu name which is fairly common in India, but virtually unknown elsewhere.

And here's a selection of other great moon names for boys from around the globe:

  1. Asaki
  2. Aydemir
  3. Badar
  4. Chanchai
  5. Dal
  6. Ehaan
  7. Hilal
  8. Iyar
  9. Kamer
  10. Koray
  11. Luan
  12. Mahan
  13. Maziar
  14. Naito
  15. Nantu
  16. Qamar
  17. Rakesh
  18. Rua
  19. Zoro
  20. Zunair

Galactic moon names

We recently reported on the rise of planetary baby names, as well as of mythological names relating to the heavens, like Apollo and Zephyr: Greek gods of the sun and the west wind, respectively.

But how about the names of other moons? There are some stellar options out there, mostly drawn from myth, legend and literature—right on trend, but rarely used.

Galactic moon-inspired girl names

  1. Amalthea: A moon of Jupiter, named for the goat (or goat-keeper) who raised the infant Zeus. It would make a lovely longer form for the fashionable mini-name Thea.
  2. Calypso: A fun-filled name with a lively rhythm and musical links to the West Indies. Callie and Cleo could make for great nicknames.
  3. Leda: The name of the beautiful mother of Helen of Troy in Greek mythology is surprisingly underused, despite its simple, international appeal: it was given to just 17 baby girls in 2018.
  4. Thebe: Far rarer than Phoebe, but with the same light and simple sound, Thebe is another moon of Jupiter.
  5. Skathi: This tiny moon of Saturn is named for Skaði, the Norse goddess of winter and archery.

And here are a few more appealing faraway moon names for girls:

  1. Anthe
  2. Belinda
  3. Bianca
  4. Carme
  5. Cressida
  6. Despina
  7. Elara
  8. Galatea
  9. Helene
  10. Io
  11. Larissa
  12. Mab
  13. Miranda
  14. Ophelia
  15. Pandora
  16. Perdita
  17. Rhea
  18. Rosalind
  19. Thalassa
  20. Titania

Galactic moon-inspired boy names

  1. Ariel: This handsome Hebrew name may have become far more popular for girls in the US, thanks to a certain Little Mermaid, but it's a truly unisex choice in Israel: #4 for boys and #23 for girls in the last year on record (2016).
  2. Fenrir: The name of a monstrous wolf in Norse mythology, and of an evil werewolf in the Harry Potter books—but if Wolf itself can catch on…
  3. Hyperion: One of the Titans in Greek mythology, Hyperion lends his majestic name to another of Saturn's moons.
  4. Narvi: Also spelled Narfi, this quirky Norse mythology name belongs to the father of Nótt, the personification of the night.
  5. Umbriel: A moon of Uranus, named (along with Ariel and Belinda) for a character from Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. The name was probably inspired by Latin umbra "shadow."

And here are more magical moon names for boys from myth and legend:

  1. Aegir
  2. Atlas
  3. Caliban
  4. Ferdinand
  5. Francisco
  6. Janus
  7. Loge
  8. Neso
  9. Nix
  10. Oberon
  11. Pan
  12. Prospero
  13. Proteus
  14. Puck
  15. Sao
  16. Stephano
  17. Surtur
  18. Titan
  19. Trinculo
  20. Ymir

This post by Emma Waterhouse was first published on Nameberry

Learn + Play
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