Category: Family Fun

Fun Gardening Ideas for Kids
Fun Gardening Ideas for Kids

Spring has sprung! With the long winter behind and warm weather ahead, now is the time kids will start playing outside more and more. Why not show them an outdoor hobby that could be a valuable skill for the rest of their life?

Gardening and landscaping are a great skill set to have because both are great for recreational and commercial purposes. Whether you already grow your own vegetables, herbs, or maybe have only a few plants around the house, having greenery near or inside the home has proven benefits. Cultivate the interest with your children now – they may just have a green thumb!






Here are some fun and easy gardening ideas for kids:



 

Egg Carton Greenhouse Via Hazel and Company eggcartontute4

Egg cartons make excellent containers for soil. They are just absorbent enough to prevent the dirt becoming waterlogged. Simply pour soil in the carton so that it is about half-full (enough to still see the dividers that go between the eggs). Place the seeds on the top soil, and gently press them in (depending on the seeds you buy, it may say on the packaging to plant slightly deeper). Then water the soil thoroughly.

When the carton appears to have mostly dried, wrap plastic wrap around the carton. This creates a  “greenhouse” effect because moisture stays in the soil longer. This means the seeds will not have to be watered again until after they have sprouted.

The greatest part is that egg cartons fit most standard window sills, so they can get as much sun as possible. What is more, if it gets knocked over there is no mess!

 

KitchenScrap-300x300Avocado Pit Planting  via KidsGardening.Org

Take an avocado pit and let it dry out for a few days. Then, take three toothpicks and poke them on all sides of the pit to suspend it over a cup of water. This is particularly neat for kids to watch because it does not take long to see sprouting out the top! Make sure it is not submerged but that the water comes up at only about half.


Once the pit has sprouted, pot the plant in fresh soil and watch it grow!


Herb Terranium via Feels Like Home Blog

Terraniums are fun, beautiful, and you do not have to wait for them to grow – this might be a good idea for kids who are easily bored or impatient! This particular terranium can be completed for under 15 dollars in less than an hour! how-to-make-a-terrarium-add-moss

Start off with a large jar or fishbowl – any glass container that has an easily accessible top. From there, buy two or more small plants or herbs you’d like to put in the terranium. Either find some gravel from around your yard or go out and buy some, and place it at the bottom of the jar.

Next, you’re going to want to separate the soil from the gravel. This can be done by using the mesh bags similar to the ones gravel or fish rocks come in. If you did not have to purchase either of these items, other mesh materials like pantyhose will work. From there, pour the soil on top so that water can go through but soil does not get trapped in the rocks. This is because a glass bowl is impermeable, and the plants will drown if there is no draining system.

If you would like to add moss, it can be found in sidewalk cracks, trees, or perhaps other areas of your backyard. While it is not mandatory, it really brings the whole look together. Before placing the moss into the terrarium, be sure to soak the dirt side in water so that the soil can bond together. 

Before planting, try a few arrangements to see what would look best. Once you have planted them, be sure to water them right away and then add decorations if desired (rocks, shells, etc).

 

Sugar and ADHD
Sugar and ADHD

Does your child have ADHD? Or does he or she have hyperactive tendencies when sugar is ingested?

We’ve all heard, “Kids going crazy after eating candy is a psychological reaction. There’s no proof it actually does anything.” But if you’re a parent and you’ve seen and dealt with enough sugar meltdowns, have no fear. There is actually an explanation.

The truth is, the above statement may have some truth – there is no clinical research that suggests that sugar intake is the direct result of ADHD (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) or that it increases the symptoms of learning disorders, such as ADD or ADHD in young children.

Yet despite the lack of medical evidence, there is an overwhelming amount of claims that parents with children of ADHD and even adults with the disorder notice a change in behavior when copious amounts of sugar and carbohydrates are ingested.

However, there is a direct link between children’s abilities to focus and their protein intake. Neurotransmitters in the brain are responsible for regulating alertness, as well as allowing your body to sleep.

Protein helps regulate these chemical messengers, whereas ingesting sugars and carbohydrates (which eventually break down into simple sugars) trigger drowsiness, slowing down the process of gaining control of focus. So while sugar doesn’t make kids “hyper”, it counteracts a competent attention span. 

Whether your child really does have Attention Deficit Hyperactive disorder, or they really just have a ton of energy and are prone to misbehave, is difficult to tell without being examined by a pediatrician. While medication may be necessary for extreme cases, try changing a child’s diet first. It may not be easy, but it will help them for the rest of their life, despite you, loved ones, and teachers wanting immediate results – a quick-fix is never a lasting solution.

While there’s nothing wrong with sugar in smaller doses, excess sugar can hinder the work of the neurotransmitters and can be combatted with a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. This means skipping out on sugary cereals, donuts, and chocolate milk and replacing them with eggs, meat, and whole grains. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot, either. Balanced and portioned breakfasts can kick-start the day off right, which is a nod to the common mantra “the most important meal of the day.”

These findings support the popular belief that people with ADHD do better on a protein-rich breakfast and lunch. Yet child psychologist Vincent J. Monastra, Ph.D., head of an ADHD clinic in Endicott, New York, says that, of the 500 children a year he evaluates for ADHD, less than 5 percent are eating the government-recommended amounts of protein at breakfast and lunch. In addition to boosting alertness, says Monastra, a protein-rich breakfast seems to reduce the likelihood that ADHD medication will cause irritability or restlessness. – Attitude Magazine


Don’t forget fruit! Fruit has natural sugars and vitamins that are equally as important to a balanced diet. But be aware, anything packaged or processed – canned fruit, juiKids learning how to cook in a cooking class.ces from concentrate, fruit snacks, popsicles, etc – most definitely have high-fructose corn syrup and other preservatives found in candy; making there to be very little difference between the two. When in doubt, stick to fresh, raw, and organic! 

The hardest part about helping kids eat right is if they are already accustomed to a sugary diet. Ask your pediatrician for help transitioning into healthier foods, especially if you believe it could help your child’s focus levels.

Easing a child into healthy eating may take some time, but experts recommend more children involvement in the kitchen. While this may seem counter-productive, you’re actually teaching them life skills and healthy choices that can last a lifetime.

 

10 New Years Resolutions for Children that Will Inspire You Too
10 New Years Resolutions for Children that Will Inspire You Too

The phrase “New Year’s Resolutions” around this time of year can be downright cringe-worthy to hear for some of us.

Every January 1st comes and goes, and according to the polls the most commonly set resolutions are to eat healthier, lose weight, and spend more time with family. While innately these are great things, and should be desired anyway, there are some that just go gung-ho with their goals and are not realistic with themselves.

You can picture it now: hundreds of people signing contracts to gym memberships they will hardly ever use, nicotine patches going on sale for those who are determined to quit smoking by February, and local markets experiencing higher inventory demand due to the compulsion of individuals who have suddenly decided to “only buy organic from now on.”

It’s tradition. It’s cultural. You might be concerned about the idea of your child falling into the world’s dangerous mindset that they need to look or behave a certain way now that there is a different number on the calendar. It is for this reason we’ve compiled some noteworthy New Year’s resolutions children have set for themselves – and we hope they will encourage you to help your children set their own!

father and daughter looking fireworks in the evening sky

Do not confuse a resolution with a rule, like “go to bed on time” or “finish your homework every night” –  this is a given. A resolution is something out of the ordinary, going beyond every day expectation, yet still leading to stretching and self-improvement.  However, ensure that these are attainable, or at least reasonable goals. If there are too many, or something that the child is not interested in at all, certainly encourage it, but do not press it. Make sure these are things you BOTH want! The best part about this will be engaging your child to discuss where they are at, what they want to accomplish, and to not just help them be what they want to be “when they grow up”, but to stand by and help them grow here and now. 

No more than 2 or 3 resolutions are really necessary. They could be centered around your child’s health, character, or physical challenges.

Once they have been made, print them in bold letters on a sheet of paper and tape it to your child’s wall. This will be a constant reminder for them to continue and pursue their goals.

Here are some ideas:

    1. Pledge to set aside at least 15 minutes every day to read (either alone or with a parent) outside of school. Before bed is usually a good time.
    2. Set a goal to make a new friend (or two!) at school or a regular activity.
    3. Pick one day out of the week (Saturday is probably best) and let that be your “candy day”. From now on, you cannot have candy any other day of the week!
    4. Practice complimenting at least one person per day.
    5. Try a new sport, after school activity, or hobby and practice it consistently for at least 3 months.
    6. (For girls) Grow out hair long enough to donate to Locks of Love.
    7. Practice limiting video games to only 30 minutes on weekdays and NO phones whatsoever at the dinner table.
    8. Learn how to do a new chore (mowing the lawn, sorting laundry) and alternate doing them alongside siblings or parents.
    9. Find foreign language flashcards and memorize the basic site words.
    10. Donate a bag full of toys you no longer want or play with to a local shelter or children’s hospital.

 

Any of these can be adjusted to fit both the goals your child wants to set and the amount of effort you want to spend in holding them accountable. Having these goals in visible view is key, whether they be on the refrigerator, in their locker, or hanging up in their bedroom. If one of their resolutions is not recurring and has been completed, check it or cross it off the list. This will give your child a feeling of accomplishment, and will hopefully inspire them to set another!

Happy New Year!

 

Holiday Snacks for Healthy Smiles

Apple cobbler, pumpkin pie, fudge brownies – oh my!

‘Tis the season for incredible sweets and frosted delights. Statistically, the average person gains anywhere from 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and no wonder! Sugary treats are an integral part of holiday tradition, and not just in the United States either.

Sugar and even excess carbohydrates can cause harm to little teeth! Even if you do a good job of monitoring your child’s treat intake intake this time of year, there will be so many times exceptions are to be made. Family parties, cookie decorating with friends, and the constant aroma baked goods coming from the kitchen at grandma or auntie’s house. These various occasions take place virtually only once a year and with family members rarely visited.

Whatever the traditions in your home, and the homes of your loved ones, these are often recipes that have brought family together for generations.

Instead of bagging these traditions, you can always create new ones in the midst of them. Here are some amazing, healthy, and fun foods to make – that are no less Christmasy! These can be excellent alternatives when you are unhappy with your number on the scale or concerned about your children’s constant “sugar highs” that they can be more prone to this time of year.

(***Please note that not every option is 100% free of processed sugar. All recipes have been credited to their various authors.)Grinch-Party-1r

  1. Grinch Food Kabobs (via Clean and Scensible)

Tiny marshmallows, green grapes, thin banana slices, and strawberries, arranged on a toothpick. Be sure to cut off the top and bottom in the strawberry, and use the scraps for a fruit salad to avoid waste! Makes for a great afternoon snack, and easy to eat on the go. Can be refrigerated for later.

  1. Pita Tree Appetizers (via Betty Crocker)

Ingredients: 4 pita folds or pita bread roughly 6” across, pretzel sticks (halved), ½ cup of fat-free sour cream, ½ cup guacamole, 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, ¼ teaspoon garlic-pepper blend, ¼ cup diced red bell pepper.

pita-trees
First, be sure to toast each piece of pita bread, and then slice it into eighths. Insert pretzel sticks halfway through the bottom of each pita triangle. Mix sour cream, guacamole, parsley, garlic-pepper blend, and spread onto squares. Sprinkle the diced red peppers on top and refrigerate to store.  Pita Tree Appetizers – perfect for any Christmas party!

3. Fruit Candy Canes
 (via Nourishing Minimalism)

Very simple, with so many variations! For a traditional looking candy cane, thinly slice strawberries and bananas at a slight angle. Keep rounded ends of each fruit and put them off to the side. Create a curved cane by alternating fruit and top each end off. Serve on a plate and enjoy!

fruit candy cane 1

4. Rudolph Pancakes (via Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons)

Totally straightforward! You will need pancake mix (whichever recipe you prefer), creamed whip in a can, strawberries, preferred bacon, and chocolate chips. Maple syrup optional. Create two round pancakes of different sizes and stack them as pictured. Then pour 2 ear-shaped tiny pancakes and set them to the sides of the bigger pancake. Take two full strips of bacon for the antlers, then cut a third bacon strip in half to “branch” off of the original antler. Add more if desired.  For the face, spray 2 dollops of whipped cream and top it off with 2 chocolate chips to create the eyes. For the red nose, add a strawberry or raspberry at the center of the smaller pancake. Perfect for a Christmas breakfast!

Rudolph-Pancakes-Breakfast_PM

5. Dipped Apple Slices (via PartyCity)

Cut green and red apples into thin slices. To prevent slices from browning, first add lemon juice. Take melted chocolate (or white chocolate) and dip each slice halfway, then set it on wax paper to cool. While chocolate is still liquid, add festive sprinkles to stick and harden. Arrange in a row or in a circle and serve!

PI002231

For more ideas, visit Pinterest and be sure to swap recipes with other moms! They will definitely appreciate the ideas to go easier on the sugar this year!

Wisdom for Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom for Wisdom Teeth

So named due to the time known for starting to gain “wisdom” (late teens, early 20s), wisdom teeth are a third set of usually 4 molars that appear behind the six and twelve-year old molars. Many children begin experiencing the signs of early wisdom teeth forming, which is why at times this can be a topic of discussion and concern even at a pediatric dentist level. Thirty percent of people are born without them, and not everybody has exactly four –  in rare cases, some only receive two, or three, and some even get five or six.

Most children do not have to be bothered with wisdom teeth until adulthood, but those who are ahead of the “growth curve”, (perhaps lost most of their baby teeth very early) have been known see signs of complete development as young as 14. Wisdom teeth extraction is usually performed when there is impaction, or the x-rays show the teeth coming in will be problematic.  Usually the x-rays from your routine dental exam act as a good indicator of if and when an oral surgeon should be seen.

Symptoms may include but are not limited to: tightness of teeth, gum tenderness behind molars, slight jaw pain or pressure in other teeth, and of course, teeth breaking through the surface. Partial eruption is when the wisdom tooth begins to break through the gums. Thankfully, if the teeth appear to be growing in straight, then they can be extracted the same way a normal tooth would be. However if they are impacted (growing in crooked), they will begin to affect their surrounding teeth. If this remains untreated for an extended period of time it can lead to sores, then infection, and sometimes decay. That is why early wisdom teeth extraction often for preventative reasons.

Ask your child’s dentist if there is an oral surgeon he or she would recommend. They can vary in uniqueness and different methodologies. Most patients require nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and local anesthesia, but some surgeons have the qualifications and authorization to sedate patients if the procedure is deemed more severe. For those with already intense anxiety at the dentist, an oral sedative (usually Valium) may be prescribed to the patient for added comfort.
Cheerful dentist is standing and looking at the camera with joy. He is wearing medical eyewear and a mask. Copy space in left side
Every mouth is different and will entail maneuverings specific to the situation. The surgeon will typically meet with the patient (and in the case of a minor, their parents as well) prior to the operation to go over exactly what the plan of action is, using x-rays as a form of reference if necessary. This will allow the patient to be well-informed about pre-extraction protocol, and will also give the surgeon the benefit to know about any accommodations that they might need. Oftentimes the doctor will require a parent, loved one, or good friend to be present at the appointment to understand the methods which to look after the patient post-extraction.  

After the wisdom teeth have been removed, there are certain things to expect the 24 hours following. Replace moist, clean gauze every 45 minutes over the empty tooth sockets until bleeding stops. Moist tea bags may also be effective as the natural tannic acids in tea can help the blood clot. If necessary, alternate ice packs on either side of the face in 10 minute increments to reduce swelling.

For pain, it is recommended to use Tylenol, or Ibuprofen (which is also an anti-inflammatory). It is not uncommon that heavier pain killers are prescribed by the surgeon in advance. Oftentimes antibiotics are also given to the patient if there is any pre-existing infection in the gums. Make sure solid food is not consumed the first few days. As for teeth brushing, avoid the teeth around the sutures for 24 hours and then resume brushing, but very gently.

Ask anyone who has had it, dry socket is the worst. This occurs when the scab formed over the extraction becomes dislodged; exposing the jaw and sensitive nerves. This can cause intense pain for 5 to 6 days. It can be prevented by not drinking through a straw and not swishing liquid around in the mouth. If this occurs, contact your oral health care provider.

Most individuals in their life will have to deal with their wisdom teeth at some point. With any luck, these extra molars will grow in straight and not require extraction. Some oral healthcare professionals believe in acting sooner rather than later if the need arises. The x-rays taken at your child’s regular oral check-ups will be a good indication to your dentist as to when would be a good time to see an oral surgeon – even if your child is only in their teens! Keep an eye out for those emerging little friends… and in the meantime, do not forget to floss between your back molars!

PC: Coronation Dental Specialty Group

 

 

Christmas Shop Smarter, Not Harder
Christmas Shop Smarter, Not Harder

It’s getting to be that season again!

Forget any other time of year; it is safe to say that society can be the least frugal during the holidays. Yet no matter how much love you have towards your family, nobody wants to be in over their eyeballs in credit card debt come the New Year, and yet that’s the place many Americans find themselves in long after St. Nick comes to call. A recent statistic shows that the average citizen spends an upwards of $800 on Christmas presents, and this number only continues to grow from year to year.

Whether you have 1 child or 5, and whether your income is substantial or lacking, everybody likes to save money.

But where do we draw the line? Ever tried doing a total DIY Christmas? Sure, you may save some money, but after the initial cost of supplies and the intense amount of time it takes, one can begin to question if it is even worth it or not.

Let’s talk about re-gifting. This might be okay every once and awhile (mainly if the gift in question was never used) but too much re-gifting is downright tacky – especially when this tactic stoops to levels of taking objects from the basement and trying to pass them off as presents.  Let’s face it, we all know someone who does this (or, alright, maybe you’ve done it too!)

Here are some of the most frequently suggested tips from experts on how to shop this holiday season.

#1: Set a budget. It may sound like an obvious statement, but keep reading. The most important thing about setting a budget is sticking to it! First, decide on a number you are comfortable spending. Always try to set it a little higher than you normally would – you may not want to, until the moment comes when you’re inches from a display window and regretting the original number set. Setting an unrealistically low number can cause a splurge later.

One way to deter from overspending is by taking out your entire budget in cash. Cash is tangible, visible. If you plan to primarily shop online (see #2), cash can still be counted. The solution is to record the exact amount of money that was charged (luckily most online shopping sites have a transaction history feature in case you lose track). From there, subtract the amount spent online from the cash.

#2: Shop online when you can. Unfortunately, there are just some things you can’t always find online. What is more, items like clothes are very difficult to distinguish online in terms of determining their true size. More often than not, online shopping is cheaper, however. According to consumer-retail experts, there are certain days of this season that can prove cheaper than others. You can find a lot of kids toys on Amazon for significantly less than the big-names.Holiday shopping using laptop computer, photographed against christmas tree lights

November 1st-11th oftentimes holds sales for what is called Early Black Friday. Items are known to be marked down 20%-30%. Check big-name retail store websites over the weekend, BUT wait until Monday to buy – by then, they will have matched their competitors.

December 1st is cyber Monday. This is the day you are more likely to find deals 30%-40% off, especially on specific websites like DealNews.com, UrbanOutfitters.com, OldNavy.Gap.com, and Shop.Nordstrom.com.

#3. Make a list. And check it twice! And prioritize. Sometimes the people closest to us can be tricky to shop for. If you go into a store with the mentality of “I’m only going to spend $30 on this person”, but you have no concept of what to get them, then you aren’t going to spend what you set out to.

If the saying is true, that it is “the thought that counts” – be thoughtful! Pay attention. Try to find something they might need, or lack, even if it is not something you yourself would consider a gift. Oftentimes making a list prior to setting a budget works for some individuals. It provides a much better understanding of what needs to be spent if you are to follow through. If it seems like it will be too much, try to shorten the list or get a less extravagant gift for an extended family member you normally wouldn’t spend that much money on.

This will also help in getting the best possible deal. For example, if you have decided, resolutely, that you are getting your daughter-in-law a Crockpot, then by golly, you are going to find the very best deal on a Crockpot humanly possible.

All in all, we know that Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but about family. Remember the reason you celebrate and the reason the season is in place. Do not let pressure to get the right gifts overwhelm you. Spending every weekend during the holidays at the mall is no fun. This will set a good example to your children as well – instilling the value of traditions during this season can contribute to some of their fondest, warmest Christmas memories. 

Fun & Creative DIY Halloween Costumes for Kids

* Please note all costumes are from different sources and ideas and their authors were compiled using Pinterest.

Let’s be honest, Halloween costumes can be pricey considering what you get. They are usually made with cheap fabric, purchased in a plastic bag, and never guaranteed to fit perfectly. If you are after something unique and custom, that can get even more expensive! It seems like a lot of trouble to go to for just one day. These costumes are a great way for you and your children to craft together; to create a costume designed to suit them and go easy on your wallet!


Gumball Baby

(via Costume Works)baby_gumball_machine

Purchase a soft cotton knit infant cap (found at a second hand store or online) and use a glue-gun to glue brightly colored pom-poms onto it. Try to find a red one-sy that has a turtleneck, so it gives the illusion of connecting the candy to the dispenser. Then, cutting felt into a square and a sharpie, create a $0.25 sign on the shirt and top off with black pants. There are some variations, like perhaps using a blue turtleneck instead of red or cutting out a felt $0.25 instead of drawing it on. It’s so adorable and can be used for infants and toddlers alike.

 

Cool Robot
(via Paging Fun Mums)

You will need:

a large cardboard box for the body, and a smaller one for the head (a standard shoebox would probably be the ideal size)
flexible ducts for the arms and legs (found at any hardware store)
tin foil
a box cutter
a glue gun
silver spray paint
silver face paint
2 empty 2 liter bottles

robotOptional items:
used computer parts (you can find these at a local recycling center)
printed off pictures of fuel gages
Coat buttons
any other miscellaneous objects that you would like to spray paint silver and stick to the body or helmet of the robot.

Have fun with this! Cut out a large hole at the top of the main cardboard box for the head, two smaller on each side for arms, and the bottom side completely off – this hole will be used to get the child in and out of the costume easily. Spray paint the box silver, assemble it with various buttons – customize it however you like! Then add computer parts, a fuel gage, or buttons. You can also spray paint two (2) liter soda bottles and glue them upside-down to the back to create a jet pack! Measuring your child’s arms, glue-gun two flexible ducts to the arm-holes and adjust them accordingly.

For the helmet, a similar concept applies. Make sure the lid is secured to the shoebox and then cut a hole at the bottom wide enough for it to rest on the top of your child’s head. Add buttons and paint lids to the sides with a glue gun, and then spray paint the whole thing once the glue is dry. For the legs, cut two more flexible ducts according to your child’s leg length and slip them over their pants, which looks best if the pants are black. Cover their feet in tin foil, and viola!

Unicorn
(via Craftaholics Anonymous)

kids-unicorn-costumeDoes your little one love unicorns? This one is fairly simple and yet so cute!

You will need:
A white hoodie (a pullover; no zipper)
White leggings
Glue gun
Purple, light pink, and hot pink yarn
Purple, light pink, white, and hot pink felt
Packing or construction paper
Gold ribbon (optional)

Headpiece:

unicorn horn

“For the ears, cut two ovals with two pointed edges, using white felt to the desired ear size. Do the same with the light pink felt only a half-inch smaller. Glue the pink felt on top of the white felt and then pinch one side and glue them so that the pinched end can be inserted into the head piece.”

As you can see, the ears, mane, and horn are on top of the hood. To make the horn, roll a few pieces of construction paper into a horn shape (however long or wide you would like). From there, wrap a piece of white felt around it and secure it with a glue gun. Cut the bottom off so it is flat and can sit neatly on the head. For an added flair, wrap a gold ribbon around the horn and secure it as well. For the ears, cut two ovals with two pointed edges, using white felt to the desired ear size. Do the same with the light pink felt only a half-inch smaller. Glue the pink felt on top of the white felt and then pinch one side and glue them so that the pinched end can be inserted into the head piece (see image). For the felt flowers pictured, look up felt flowers on Pinterest as there are many different tutorials to choose from.  Glue the ears on each side underneath the horn. Then along with the mane (described below) secure them to the front edge of the hood. Add the felt flowers as desired after this process.

Mane & Tail:

For the mane, take all three skeins of yarn and wrap them around the palm of your hand about 10 times. Then tie a single string around the middle to secure it tightly, and cut both ends – similar to how a yarn pom-pom is made. Continue making these over and over and tie them together until you reach desired mane length. The tail is made similarly, except the strands are much longer. Wrap these from the inside of your thumb to your elbow several times; however thick you want it to be. Then, similarly to the mane, take a single strand of yarn and tie it around the continuous loop, and then cut the opposite end of the loop so the strands dangle like a horse’s tail.

Torso:

Lastly,  cut a large oval in the light pink felt to cover the torso on the front of the sweatshirt. Glue gun it to the front, but try not to cover the openings of either sides of the front pocket.


Scarecrow
(via Costume Works)scarecrow31

This one is a great gender-neutral option for a costume and one that also does not take a copious amount of time. You will need:

Brown shoes
A plaid shirt
Overalls
Raffia
Burlap
Patches to sew on if desired

Most of these items, if not all, can be located at a Goodwill or thrift store near you.
The hat may be the trickiest part; and because it is more complex and step-by-step, we have linked a separate tutorial here. Patches can be cut into squares from scraps, or unwanted plaid shirts and sewed on as desired. The raffia should be coming out of the pant legs and the tops of the overalls to give the illusion of the scarecrow being stuffed with hay. This can be created by simply cutting the raffia into 6-inch strips and sewing them to the inside hem of the pockets and pant legs of the overalls. Once your overalls are decorated as desired, take some brown lipstick, lip-liner or eyebrow pencil and draw in a cute little nose!

 

Peacock
(via Andrea’s Notebook)

Royal Blue Tulle Spool
Teal Tulle Spool
Lime Green Tulle Spool
Brown Tulle Spool
Brown, green, blue and navy felt. Or buy an assorted pack of felt.
3/4″ non-roll elastic for the waistband
Ribbon of any color coordinating with tutu. 1/2″ is best.

The eyes of the peacock feathers are probably the most complex part of this costume, but after this it is fairly simple. First use the felt you have in various colors and cut them to match this idea: One large brown oval, one lime green and teal chestnut-shaped piece (one being slightly smaller than the other), and a Pac-Man shaped navy piece.



Using light brown thread, sew lines protruding outward from the center. Sew only the green piece to the brown piece to do this. Then proceed to stack the others from biggest to smallest on top of each other with fabric glue. Create 4-6 more or as many as desired. Attach each peacock “eye” to the ribbons cut to different lengths. (This will provide variety and depth to the tutu.)
peacock123
Before you attach them to the elastic, create the tutu next. Take your colorful strips of tulle and cut them into thick, long strips. Fold in half, and loop them around one side of the elastic (to go around the waist) and pull through – similar to a reef knot. You may do this, all around the elastic, or you may seclude it to the back to give that added peacock flared-out look. Andrea’s notebook used her darker tulle (the browns and dark blues and greens) on the outside edge of each side of the tutu, and reserved the brighter colors for the middle – probably to emphasize the feathers. When all the desired tulle has been attached to the elastic, then attach the felt peacock feathers by simply tying the ends of the ribbons to the elastic.

The tutu looks best with a royal blue shirt and black leggings. It’s so darling!peacock

Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping
Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

Let’s be honest, back-to-school shopping may easily be the best part about going back to school! But with multiple kiddos to buy for, it can get very expensive. There’s a statistic that states an average American family can spend over $600 during this season! If you have children in college who need textbooks and dorm accessories, that could easily double. Here are some creative and cost-effective ways to make that end of summer shopping just as enjoyable.

Utilize What You Already Have

You may not realize it, but there’s a chance you already have school supplies in the house! An in-home office is a great place for kids to find old binders and folders that are never going to get used again and re-decorate or repurpose them. It can make a way to teach children how to make something their own and can even free up much-needed space in the office as well.

Trends are Fluid

If last year’s pencil box is just as functional as it was when it was first purchased, do not opt for a stylish brand new one that they are bound to get sick of in another 3 months. It’s a vicious cycle not worth getting caught up in. If it works, keep what you have. Kids can be very competitive in nature and change their minds quickly – seeing their friends have something trendier than them, trying to keep up, will just be throwing cash down the drain.

Lunchbox

Davidmerkoski – Own work

The good news is that trends tend to recycle. An example of this would be a metal lunch box. A very old design that was not really seen during the childhood of most Millennials; these have made a strong comeback in the last five years or so as a popular collector’s item.

End of Summer Sales

Before you rush to the advertised back-to-school clothing section – usually long-sleeved and autumnal in style – check out the summer clearance section first. These are going to be the cheapest because of the closing season. Kids typically wear t-shirts well into fall and even early winter, depending how they layer their clothes. The difference in style is not going to be that drastic and can be accommodated for colder temperatures. For example, if a girls’ brightly colored summer dress is on clearance, find a neutral pair of leggings that can match. Throughout the year, solid-colored layering pieces can be anybody’s best friend.

Stick to the List

Your child may want to buy extra supplies, but if they are not on the list chances are an opportunity to use them in school may never present itself. Tip: a lot of notebooks, pencils, erasers, crayons, etc, can be located at the local grocery store for much cheaper than well-known department stores. When it comes to simple school supplies, try to find as many as you can the next time you go grocery shopping. It could potentially save not just money, but time as well! If the local grocery store does not have everything you need, also check out your local dollar store. Not only do they have a wider selection, but a lot of them have fun and colorful themes.

Don’t Just Buy, Sell!

If your child does not have younger siblings or cousins of the same gender to give their outgrown clothes to, sell them online for cheap. The little extra work it takes is a win-win: you get the items out of the house to make more room and you make a few bucks. Gently used clothing, especially name-brand, can be in high demand when other parents like yourselves are trying to find cheaper clothes online. 

If you aren’t that internet-savvy, garage sales can be used to sell unwanted items and also buy used clothing. End of summer is the perfect time to hold a garage sale and to go shopping in them. If you have lots of children in your neighborhood, you might be surprised on how much you can find and sell!

Go back to school in style and save money. Regardless of house size and ages of kids, end of summer shopping can be a breeze!

Summer Fun For Kidds in Spokane & Coeur d’ Alene
Summer Fun For Kidds in Spokane & Coeur d’ Alene

Is running through the sprinklers just not cutting it? Summer opens up a whole new avenue of fun activities for children. But if your little ones are aching to see more outside their backyard, here are some awesome family fun activities happening in the area.


 

 


 

Upcoming events in Spokane, WA:

August 1st | Tennis Summer Camp

Recurring every weekday 8/1/16 – 8/26/16 8am-12pm
tennis summer campMission Park

1208 E Mission Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
509-991-0696

$35-$149

Kids 6-17 years old are invited to have fun, be active, and learn to play tennis. USTA-trained instructors use age-appropriate equipment and games to get kids moving, having fun, and learning tennis. Summer Camps provide a rotation of activities focused on tennis, movement, and off-court games. Additional activities include frisbee, multi-sports, reading, and more. All equipment is provided and sneakers are required

 

August 4th | Animals In Art
Recurring every day of the week except Monday. Through September 4th, 2016
10 am-5 pmanimalsinart_1889

$10/adults, $7.50/seniors, $5/students with ID, Free for children under 5. Half price admission on Tuesdays

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture
2316 W 1st Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
509-456-3631

In this engaging exhibition, birds, horses, sheep, cows, bears, and more serve as the subjects of works of art from the 17th century through the late 20th century. Perennially popular as an artistic theme, animals have been depicted in works of art since pre-historic times. This exhibition examines etchings, engravings, lithographs, sculpture, oils and watercolors that depict the tremendous variety of the animal kingdom.

 

Go to Sky High!

sky-high-sports-spokane-51cdaa547f3d777fb700a8771322 E Front Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
509-321-5867
Open year round

Friday 11AM–12AM
Saturday 11AM–12AM
Sunday 11AM–8PM
Monday 11AM–10PM
Tuesday 2–10PM
Wednesday 2–10PM
Thursday 2–10PM

Kids of all ages love going to Sky High to jump around, practice tumbling, or diving into a giant foam pit. It’s great for parties or on a rainy day!


 

Upcoming Events in and near Coeur d’ Alene:

August 5th | Art on the Green
Through August 7th – All day
Free

Downtown Coeur d’ Alene & North Idaho College Campus

A marketplace, performance space and a gathering place for friends and families, this yearly event is the highlight of the summer in Coeur d’Alene. Art on the Green is held at the old Fort Sherman Grounds on the North Idaho College Campus, just a short walk from Downtown and City Park. Shuttle bus service to the west side of the NIC campus from downtown is also available during the festival. No dogs are allowed at Art on the Green.



Event_ColorRun_360x360_32516August 7th | Huckleberry Color Fun Run & Walk
11am-5pm – One day

Schweitzer Mountain Resort
10000 Schweitzer Mountain Rd
Sandpoint, ID 83864
208-263-9555

You can run or walk on this super fun and family friendly course.

 

August 11th | The Little MermaidMermaid
Recurring August 11, 2016 – August 28, 2016
Thur-Sat: 7:30 pm, Sun: 2 pm

$49/adults, $42/seniors, $27/child – GET TICKETS NOW

The Kroc Center
1765 W. Golf Course Road
Coeur d’Alene, ID 83815
208-660-2958 (CdA Summer Theater)

In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by Academy Award winner Alan Menken, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs. Ariel, the daughter of King Triton, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends to restore order in the ocean’s depths. This dangerous mission leads to a showdown between good and evil, which only love can remedy.

Triple Play

triple playPrices vary
175 W Orchard Ave, Hayden Lake, ID 83835
(208) 762-7529
Hours:
Friday 10AM–11PM
Saturday 10AM–11PM
Sunday 10AM–9PM
Monday 10AM–9PM
Tuesday 10AM–9PM
Wednesday 10AM–9PM
Thursday 10AM–9PM

Indoor water park, bowling, arcade, race go-karts, and even stay the night!

Silverwood Theme Park & Boulder Beach Water Parksilverwood
Kids (3-7): $25.00 (ages 2 and under free)
General Admission (ages 8 +): $48.00

27843 North Highway 95, Athol, ID 83801
(208) 683-3400

Hours:
Friday 11AM–8PM
Saturday 11AM–8PM
Sunday 11AM–7PM
Monday 11AM–7PM
Tuesday 11AM–7PM
Wednesday 11AM–7PM
Thursday 11AM–6PM

Over 60 rides and attractions, with 6 awesome roller coasters, 2 wave pools, loopy water slides, an amazing magic show, and endless fun!

4 Fun & Unique Ways to Eat Fruit This Summer
4 Fun & Unique Ways to Eat Fruit This Summer

School is almost out! That means that kids will be spending a lot more time eating at home or out on vacation with family. A lot of times this season can get us off our regular schedules and sometimes even our crucial daily habits! It can also bring about more opportunities to indulge in tasty summertime favorites that can cool us off, but contain a LOT of sugar- ice cream, slushies, popsicles, etc!

Luckily, there are ways to satisfy your little one’s sweet tooth without taking a chance of cavities and without the “sugar crash” later. The best way to eat sweets AND take care of your teeth and body is to eat fruit!

The best time of year to eat fruit? Summer! Warmer weather makes seasonal fruit (pineapple, watermelon, mango, etc) more readily available and ripe to consumers, allowing you and your family to expand your options.

***Please take note that the saying “too much of a good thing” still applies here! While fruits are most likely the least harmful sweet treat they can still be overdone!

1. Smoothies

Happy children with fruits, healthy eating kids concept.  Isolated on white background.

A classic favorite, with endless variations. Set aside fruit you want to use for smoothies and store them in the freezer. For whole fruits, such as mangoes, pineapples, bananas, etc, make sure you peel the skin and chop them up before freezing! As for berries, make sure they have been cleared of stems and leaves.

First, choose fruits that are complimentary. Strawberries and blueberries go well with almost anything, as do bananas. Try to avoid mixing all citrus fruits (too acidic), or all tart fruits (too sour).

Next, pick your base. The juice inside the fruit is not enough, otherwise your smoothie will be too thick! For a creamy flavor, use coconut, almond, or regular milk. For an added citrus flavor, use orange juice. Add water for the purest taste. If it is still too tart, add a tablespoon of honey to your mix.

Finally, make sure that the base you have picked fills up the blender enough to just barely cover the top of the fruit before blending. This will ensure the smoothie will not be too thick or watery. Blend and enjoy!

2. Fruit Sushi, or “Fruishi”

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Source: Tasty on Buzzfeed

 

A new trend – fun and very pretty! Boil sticky or sushi rice (1 cup rice to 1 ¼ cups water). Then, mix 1 ¼ cup coconut milk, and add ¼ cup sugar (this is the only added sugar in the recipe, and you may use less if desired).

On a sushi mat, spread out the rice flat into a square, covering the mat. Cut desired fruit into thin, lengthy strips. Roll tightly, chop into pieces, and viola!

If a sushi mat is not something you have at have at home, you can try a variation of Fruishi that looks like sashimi. Roll balls of sticky or sushi rice into ovals, and thinly slice fruit to lay on top. It looks so fancy and the kids will love the taste.

 

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Source: princessandthefrogblog.blogspot.com

3. Fruit Kabobs

Easy, simple, and relatively self-explanatory. Use berries and chop fruit into bite-sized pieces and stick onto a wooden or plastic kabob. This can be fun for kids because they can create patterns of fruit and add however much they want of each fruit onto the skewer.

For more visual appeal check out this caterpillar grape kabob. They’re cute, and its something kids can create as well! 

Using red and/or green grapes, spear each grape on its short side. For eyes, use miniature chocolate chips and attach with very small amounts of vanilla frosting. For easy placement, simply dip the flat edge of the chocolate chip into the frosting before sticking it to the end grape.

 

4. Rainbow Whole Fruit Popsicles

You will need: a popsicle mold, popsicle sticks (optional), 2 kiwis, 1 cup of chopped watermelon, 1 cup of chopped mango, 1 cup of blueberries, 1 cup of chopped strawberries, and 1 cup raspberries.

IMG_1135

Source: The View from Great Island

In small food processor, use the “puree” setting for each portion of fruit. Be sure to rinse between uses.

Next, take only 1 cup of pureed fruit and fill the bottoms of a popsicle mold in equal portions. Freeze overnight or until solid. Then, repeat using different fruits. For the second layer, remember to add a wooden popsicle stick (some molds come with reusable ones too so this step may not be necessary.)
Keep adding layers and freezing until full. Once the last layer is added and solid, remove from the freezer and dip the bottom of the mold in warm water for an easier release of the popsicle. Remove and enjoy!