12 Ideas to Have Fun Watching the Winter Olympic Games






The Sochi Winter Olympics start this weekend and it’s the perfect opportunity for some family fun. Invite some friends and family over to watch the Opening Ceremony this Friday Night or spend some quality time with the kids on Saturday and Sunday watching your favorite events.

My family enjoys watching the Winter Olympics together. We love, love, love the skiing, snowboarding and sledding competitions. During the Vancouver Winter Olympics we started having our own fun during the Winter Games with some Olympic treats and family competition. Here are some Olympic-themed ideas to get you in the mood. Some may appeal to younger kids and some to older but you should be able to find an idea or two to make watching the Olympic Games together more memorable. Let the Games begin!

FYI - The Opening Ceremonies are on NBC starting at 7:30 p.m. EST on Friday, February 7th.



Winter Olympic Game Activities

1. Host your own Opening Ceremony parade. Have everyone choose a different country and march into the room carrying a flag of that country. You can find world flags to print out here. (You can print a bunch of these out and create a banner to decorate your living room.) You’ll also need to whip up some of these Glowing Tea Light Olympic Torches for the kids. Head over to OhMy-Creative.com for the easy instructions. If you really want to get educational, have each family member do a little online research and share some fun facts about the country when it’s their turn to walk into the stadium.

2. Opening Ceremony Bingo Game - Mique over at ThirtyHandmadeDays.com created these super cute Olympic Opening Ceremony Bingo Cards that you can download for free.

3. Olympic Games Mad Libs. More fun from ThirtyHandmadeDays.com. Print out her Winter Olympic Games Mad Libs for some silliness.

4. Snowball Olympic Rings Toss. MakeandTakes.com came up with a cute game to play while watching the Olympics. It’s super easy to make and yet not so easy to play.

5. Driveway Sled Race. Time to take the fun outside and have a sledding race. If you have a sloped driveway you can host your race there. If not, find a nearby hill. We’ve had races on our driveway with the kids racing and others with my daughter’s stuffed animals or my son’s action figures as the drivers. It’s pretty funny to see which toys stay on the sled longest. My son likes to cheat by spraying Pam Cooking Spray to the underside of his sled. Here are more tips and ideas on how to have fun sledding.

6. Indoor Snowball Fight. During the commercial breaks, why not get up and get active by having an indoor snowball fight. Here are the instructions to prepare and make your family room friendly ammunition.



Treats for the Olympic Games

Here are some super fun and easy Olympic-themed TREATS to make to enhance your viewing pleasure.

7. Olympic Ring Cookie Treats. We made these super easy Olympic Ring Cookie Treats out of Oreos during the last Summer Olympic Games. They will taste just as good in the winter.

8. Winter Olympic Cupcakes. Over at UncommonDesignsOnline.com, they made the cutest cupcakes with the Olympic rings. Check out their easy instructions. If you didn’t want to make their edible snow you could use white frosting and coconut flakes for the snow effect.

9. Cupcake World Flag Toppers. If you want to make it even easier to have Olympic themed cupcakes, just make your favorite recipe or pick up some pre-made cupcakes and top them with these adorable World Flag cupcake toppers from HoosierHomemade.com. Just download the file and print them, for free. Make sure you thank her in the comments!

10. Gold Medal Cereal Necklace. Your little ones will love making and wearing their very own Gold Medal. Why? Because they can eat it while watching the games. Click over to My Sisters Suitcase Blog to see how easy it is to make.

11. Fruit Salad Olympic Rings For a healthier snack alternative, create a beautiful spread by making the Olympic Rings out of different fruits. Colorful, tasty and healthy! It’s a snack for champions. SavvyMom.ca shows you how.

12. Patriotic Fruit Flag. U.S.A! U.S.A! Support your favorite team with these healthy fruit skewers arranged to look like the American flag.

Have Fun!

Does your family watch the Olympics? Which sport do you like best? Do you plan anything special to do while watching?

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas

A Valentine’s Day Twist on a Classic Cookie


My husband and kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. I make them for birthdays, Christmas and other special occasions to show my family that I love them. And these cookies truly are an act of love because I hate peanut butter! So, I don’t even get to engage in my favorite cookie baking activity – licking the batter. What’s the point of baking cookies if you don’t get to lick the spoon, right? But that’s OK. It’s their favorite cookie and it’s an easy way to make them lip-smacking happy.

For Valentine’s Day this year though, I tried to shake it up a little. I wanted the cookies to fit in with the theme of the Holiday. So I made them pink and used Dove chocolate hearts instead of Hershey kisses.

I love baking these cookies with the kids because they can help out at almost any age. When they are little they can unwrap the chocolates and roll the dough balls in sugar. As they get a little older than can roll the balls themselves. Finally, now that my kids are tweens and teens, they know how to make them all by themselves and don’t need my help at all. How awesome is that!

Here’s the recipe:

Valentine’s Day Pink Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

1/2 c. butter (or we use Smart Balance spread and it works fine)
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Pink food coloring paste
Dove Chocolate Hearts (milk or dark)


1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, peanut butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed butter mixture. Add pink food coloring paste. I start with about a 1/4 tsp. of the paste and keep adding until I get the color I want.

3. Shape dough into balls the size of a quarter or walnut. (My husband likes a less cookie, more chocolate ratio so we make our cookies small.)

4. Roll balls in sugar.

5. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. While they are cooking, unwrap the chocolate hearts.

6. Top each cookie with one chocolate heart, pressing firmly into the center of the cookie. The cookies will crack and that is fine.

7. Bake for 2 to 5 minutes longer to soften the chocolate.

Makes about 36 cookies.

For more easy Valentine’s Day Treats that you and the kids can make for Dad, check out:

Cooking with the Kids: Valentine’s Day Chocolate Mousse

Valentine’s Day Heart Shaped Brownies

Chocolate Strawberry Pound Cake Hearts

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Valentine's Day Family Fun Ideas

10 Fun Ways to Celebrate Groundhog Day with the Kids

Groundhog Day is coming soon and with the extreme cold and snow we’ve been having so far this year, I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to hear if we have 6 more weeks of winter. Well, even if you’re not, it’s still fun to watch Punxatawney Phil and dream about Spring. To help celebrate the Groundhog’s big day and have some fun with your family or the kids in your classroom, I’ve rounded-up 10 easy, cute craft ideas, recipes, and activities.


Cook Up Some Fun

    1. While you watch Punxatawney Phil on TV Groundhog Day morning, thrill the kids with these fun and easy Groundhog and His Shadow Pancakes. My kids and I made them and had a blast.

    2. Check out these incredibly creative Groundhog Day inspired recipes from the Gourmet Mom on the Go blog. I love the Groundhog sticking up out of the hot chocolate!

    3. Here’s a Groundhog Day fruit snack idea to treat the kids after school from Jill at the Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons blog.

    4. These Groundhog Pudding Cups look so cute and tasty from the Simple Girl blog.

    5. If you really want to go all out, these Groundhog Day Cupcake Push-Pops are so cool!



Pure Fun

    6. Since the day is all about seeing a shadow, why not play shadow puppets? Set up a white sheet a few feet away from a wall. Place a lamp behind the sheet near the wall. Have your kids take turns going behind the sheet and casting shadow puppets. Here’s a post I found on making a Shadow Puppet Theater that looks easy enough.

    7. Here’s an idea for a Felt Groundhog Day Finger Puppet from Skip to My Lou.

    8. For toddlers, you’ll love this template for cutting out and coloring a Groundhog and his shadow.

    9. The official Punxatawney Phil website has plenty of Groundhog Day Activities to do with the kids. I’m all over the Groundhog ornaments to print out and hang from a chandelier or indoor tree but the Word Searches and coloring pages are cute, too.

    10. Finally, if your kids are a little older, watch the Groundhog Day movie. We saw it again last weekend and my kids think it is hilarious. “Don’t drive angry!”


Do you do anything fun with your kids at home or in your classroom for Groundhog Day?


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Fun Valentine’s Day Decorations to Make with the Kids

Valentine’s Day Brownies

15 Fun Little Ways to Tell Your Family You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Family Fun Ideas · Holiday Celebrations

DIY Painted Vase for Fourth of July Party




I was in a crafty mood this weekend and wanted to make something for a Fourth of July party. A simple decoration for the table. So I knew this was a great opportunity to build on an idea I saw on Pinterest to make a painted vase.

It ended up being so easy that we used this as the craft idea at my daughter’s birthday party. The girls all made a painted vase to take home.

To get started, I bought a glass candle holder to paint it red, white and blue. Once it was done, I thought it would look good with some flowers “exploding” out of the top which reminded me of fireworks.











Want to make one, too? It’s easy. Here’s what you need:



  • A glass vase or candle jar
  • Gloss Acrylic Paint that can be used to paint on glass (Following Chloe’s instructions, I found mine at Michaels.)
  • A paintbrush
  • Either a candle or flowers (I used fake flowers that reminded me of fireworks exploding)



That’s it! Now let’s get started.

    1. If you are messy like I am or your making this with kids, I would recommend putting down newspaper before getting started.

    2. Hold the glass vase or jar on your hand so you can twirl it. It’s really easy to smudge the paint dots if you are holding it on the outside.

    3. Take your brush and start making dots. Play around with the size of the dots that you like. Some can be larger, smaller, thicker, or thinner to vary the color pattern. I started with blue dots, then added red and then white. I waited 5 minutes in between each color to let it dry a little. White was actually the most dominant color so after it was dry I then went back and filled in the holes with more blue and red dots until I liked the amount of color coverage on the glass.

    4. Let it dry and add some flowers or put a candle in for a pretty nighttime table decoration.



What do you think? How did I do? Are you working on any craft ideas for the Fourth of July? If so, please share. I’d love to hear about it.


For more Fourth of July celebration ideas, check out my board on Pinterest.


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7 Fourth of July Party Games & Activities

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities

Avoid Summer Brain Drain with the Museum of Science & Industry’s Summer Brain Games

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. I only share sponsored posts that I totally recommend and know that my readers will love.


Kids really look forward to summer break, and who blames them, but it’s a shame how much academic progress they lose when they are out of the classroom for so long. Studies show that students usually have to relearn four to six weeks of classwork at the beginning of every school year. Your kids may not care, but minimizing this backward slide is definitely a priority for parents and educators.


It’s nice to take a break from the school routine and reconnect with family during summer but that doesn’t have to mean that all learning stops. That’s why I was excited to see that the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is offering up a fun and free online science program this year called Summer Brain Games that will keep kids learning this summer to prevent “summer brain drain.” Summer Brain Games are a great way to keep kids thinking and learning over the summer in a fun and engaging way. (Don’t forget to keep reading for details on how to win 4 free tickets to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry!)





How it works:

  • Sign up online for this fun and free program by visiting msichicago.org/summerbrain and download your FREE Summer Brain Games kit.
  • Each week from June 17 – August 12, 2013 you’ll get an email with an online kit that features an experiment or science challenge that can easily be performed at home with kids of all ages (although a little adult supervision and shopping for some supplies is necessary).
  • It’s even offered in both English and Spanish.
  • Register today and you’ll even get one free pass to visit this Museum this summer for even more fun, educational experiences.
  • Best yet, all of this is FREE!


What We Worked on Together:

My daughter and I really liked the Hydroponic Garden Challenge and the Weather Station ideas, so that’s what we worked on. For the weather station, the kit gives you all of the instructions you need to make a rain gauge, a wind vane, a barometer and more. My daughter is getting her rain gauge ready in this photo. Fortunately we have had a ton of rain here in the Midwest so the rain gauge has gotten a good workout.

The Hydroponic Garden challenge was a lot of fun, too. We used a yogurt cup inside of a plastic drink cup to make our plant container.






CONTEST!

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry has generously allowed me to offer you a chance to win a Family Four Pack ($76 value) to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. You can use these tickets anytime before the end of 2013. It’s a great opportunity to take the kids over the summer to keep learning.

I know my family loves the Science Storms exhibit at the Museum. Learning about why lightning strikes and how tornadoes are formed is exciting and educational!

Here’s how to win and have some fun with your family:

Contest Dates: July 1, 2013 – midnight, July 8th, 2013

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Chicago Museum of Science and Industry is offering a fun and free online science program called Summer Brain Games. The eight-week program lasts from June 17, 2013-August 12, 2013 and features a weekly experiment or science challenge that can easily be performed at home with kids of all ages.

Visit msichicago.org/summerbrain now to register for Summer Brain Games and download your free Summer Brain Games kit. As an added bonus, registering automatically gets you a pass to come to the Museum for free this summer.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Summer Family Activities