I am not a "yes" Mom. I wish I was, but more often than not I'm a "No, stop it, right now, immediately, no way!" Mom. So having popsicles on-hand that the kids can eat whenever they please makes me feel a little better about my parenting!
Every few weeks when we get low, the kids and I make up a huge batch of homemade popsicles and keep them in the freezer so they and their friends can help themselves. We make them all at one time so I don't have to be bothered too frequently (remember, I'm inherently very lazy). We make about 30 at a time, and it takes about 30 minutes to get them all into the freezer.
After they're done, I take them out of the holders and leave them in a bin in the freezer so the kids and their friends can grab whenever they like. I have been so pleased to see how much their friends like them; they're pretty healthy so I didn't know how they'd go over with kids who aren't used to our way of eating. Not only do they like them, two Dads have mentioned how their kids talk about them all the time and came over to get their own tastes!
To make them I just use frozen fruit, almond milk and water (fill to just below the top of the fruit), and a squeeze or two of agave nectar in each blender. When I was in DC, I used the frozen organic fruit from Trader Joes. Here in Panama a 6-inch bag of frozen organic raspberries is over $6!! So when I found non-organic big bags of frozen fruit at PriceSmart, I counted my blessings and bought them thankfully. Our choices here are blueberries, strawberries, and a combo bag of pinapple-mango-peach-strawberry. I let the kids choose how to mix and match. Our neighbor Neely (10) loves strawberry-banana so we always make a batch of those for her.
We also use the same mix to make "scrapies" - the kids eat these with a spoon while they're still frozen.
To make about 30 popsicles, I'm estimating it costs about $11.50 (or about 40 cents each):
* Almond milk: $3
* Agave: $.50
* Frozen fruit: $8
Here are our favorite popsicle molds from Amazon:
* Cutie-pie ice cream cones. These are on the smaller side and easy for little kids to hold onto. We have two sets of these!
* Bug molds - the boys love these. They are HUGE!
* Rocket pops! These are medium-sized.
* Straight-up popsicles. Pretty good-sized.
* Star molds, big favorites with everyone. Medium-sized.
* I bought these for one of Jack's Chanukah presents; we haven't tried them yet. Small ones.
These are the containers I use for the "scrapies":
Remember: anything you can do ahead of time will make your life better. Give it a try!