April Fool’s Day Pranks for the Kids

Do you play April Fool’s Day pranks on anyone in your family? We don’t usually but I wanted to check in with you to see what you thought. Do your kids think it’s fun or do the pranks upset them?

Grandpa used to do some fun pranks for his kids and the grandkids but on all of the other Holidays – not necessarily April Fool’s Day. He would put rocks in some of the hidden Easter Eggs. He put grass or vegetables in the Easter Eggs. (Boy, the kids faces are priceless with that one.) He would wrap a can of corn for a kid’s Christmas gift. He put shaving cream on the phone receiver and handed someone the phone and said it was for them. Yuck! He woke his kids up on Saturday morning to hurry and get ready for school. While these pranks are annoying at the time, each of the kids and grandkids talk about these pranks fondly. Grandpa passed away before my kids were born but they love listening to the “Grandpa prank stories”.

So, are the pranks themselves fun or is it the person doing the pranks that makes it good fun? What do you think? I’d love to hear about some pranks in your family.

Bakerella's Meatloaf Cupcakes
Here’s an awesome April Fool’s Day food prank from Bakerella – meatloaf “cupcakes” with mashed potato frosting.

If you need some inspiration to pull some pranks on your kids or friends, TipJunkie.com has some awesome April Fool’s Day pranks and food prank ideas. Martha Stewart has some great ideas for practical jokes and pranks. Parenting.com has some Family-Friendly April Fool’s Day pranks as well.

Happy Pranking!

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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa

How to Choose the Perfect Kids Tea Set

tea party princess

There is nothing more fun than a tea party! Dressing up, pouring “tea”, serving cookies, and inviting your favorite friends – real or imaginary – is one of childhood’s greatest pleasures. At least, I think so! Even as an adult one of my favorite things to do is have tea with my BFFs.

If you know a little girl who would love to host her own tea party, then she needs a tea set. There are so many options and sometimes it’s hard to choose the right tea set for a child.

Tea sets come in a variety of materials, sizes and shapes. Porcelain, ceramic, tin, and plastic are the most common. While the first two are breakable, they are also more “dainty” or feminine in design which appeals to a lot of little girls. They are also more like “grown-up” tea sets and little girls definitely want their pretend play to be as realistic as possible. Here are some considerations to hopefully make it easier for you to choose the perfect set.

bunny tea set

Toy vs. Heirloom
Here’s my take on this debate. I think buying a beautiful tea set that your daughter or granddaughter can keep as an heirloom to remind them of you is wonderful. However, if the child is young, don’t give it to them until they are older. Or, have Mom or Grandma keep the tea set and host special tea parties for the child when they are younger and then give them the set when they are older. It will be so much more special if they remember using it with you once they get it as their very own.

Giving a young girl a beautiful, expensive tea set that she can’t touch or play with is cruel. She either won’t be allowed to touch it, which then in their eyes they are denied something fun or they will play with it anyway and feel terrible if it does break. Make a tea set gift fun for them! It is the experience of having tea with you or their friends, that they will remember.

The Age Appropriate Myth

First, of all, how old is your tea party cutie? In general, the younger the child, the more durable the tea set should be. Younger kids may not be as dexterous and need a larger tea cup. Even though they have little fingers, it might be harder for them to grab tiny cups.

Most toys give an age appropriate guideline on the box. Keep in mind this is a guide. The manufacturer is afraid you are going to break it and accuse them of not warning you, so they err on the cautious side. You are going to have to gauge whether your daughter or granddaughter can handle a breakable tea set. My son is almost 11 years old but I cringe any time he goes near glass. After all, he is officially the sworn enemy to all snow globes. If he even looks at one, it breaks. My daughter on the other hand has had a ceramic and a porcelain tea set since she was 3 years old and hasn’t chipped or broken a cup yet. She treats her tea set like gold and is dexterous enough to handle it carefully.

So look at the age guidelines on the tea sets, which are usually set for a worst case scenario and make a judgment call on whether she can handle a more fragile set. What’s the worst case scenario? She breaks a cup and you need to buy a new one. I’d rather see my kids playing and enjoying their tea set than worrying about breaking it. If you find a tea set you love and are worried it might get broken, buy 2 sets. That way you always have a back-up and no one has to worry.

Size Does Matter

Tea sets come in different sizes. There are mini tea sets which really are more collectible items or doll-size so your dolls can pretend to have tea. Your child will not be able to drink out of these. We sell this Mini Crown Tea Set which is perfect for a doll tea party. If you are buying the tea set online, it should say the size in the product description. If not, don’t hesitate to email or call, to get a better sense of the size of the tea set.

Who’s invited to the party? Believe it or not, it’s hard to find kids’ porcelain tea sets that have 4 cups. Most only have 2. We only carry one porcelain set that has 4 cups. Our plastic and tin tea sets do include 4 cups so you might want to look at tea sets in other materials, if you need more than 2 cups.

chili's tea party

You can always buy mismatched porcelain tea cups at estate sales, flea markets, or second hand stores to add more cups to your set. I know I needed to invite ALL of my stuffed animals to the tea party or they would get upset.

Drinkability

Here’s the million dollar question. Is your child going to drink out of the tea set? When your child is younger, they have no problem pretending. They don’t need liquid in the cup to have a good time. When your child hits 5 years old or older, they might want to be a little more “grown-up” and serve the tea at their party, drinking water, ginger ale, root beer, or juice out of the tea cups. It’s as much fun to pour as it is to drink. If that is the case, you need to make sure that the tea set is food safe, FDA-approved, and water resistant. If the set is plastic, make sure it meets all BPA, phthalate, and lead safety standards. Basically, it needs to be non-toxic. While a tin tea set may be non-toxic, once you add liquid to it some tea sets start to leak or rust.

If she wants to drink out of the tea set, look for a cup size that is at least 2” in diameter. You won’t get a lot of liquid in these cups, about 2 ounces, but it’s enough. The porcelain tea sets we sell at Chocolate Cake Club, like our Daisy Tea Set, fit this bill.

Green Toys Eco-Friendly Tea Set

If you really want to put a “drink” in the cups, at least 4 ounces, then our Green Porcelain Tea Set or our Green Toys Eco-Friendly Tea Sets are a better bet.

I hope these considerations have helped you to choose the perfect kids tea set for your little girl’s first or next tea party. We’ll be adding a post on How to Host the Perfect Tea Party next week so come back for tips on how to make your kids’ tea parties even more fun and unique.

You might also like:
Mom’s Night Out – Holiday Tea

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Cool Finds · Family Party Ideas · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa

The Holiday Tradition of Tinsel on the Tree

I have asked some friends and family to tell me about their Holiday Traditions or their favorite memories of the Holidays. This first post is from my mother, Roberta, and her Holiday Tradition of Tinsel on the Tree.

grandpa kuhlman

We had 4 children in our family and always spent Christmas Eve with my maternal grandparents and all our cousins. My grandparents lived in Oak Park, IL. in a big house or so I thought at the time. They had a side driveway and portico. When you entered on Christmas Eve the dining room glass doors were shut with a drape on them. In the living room in front of the fireplace, was a very tall unadorned Christmas tree and a ladder.

My grandfather would call each of his grandchildren to help him decorate the tree. Depending on your age, dexterity and patience, you either placed an ornament on the tree or an icicle one by one. No throwing or bunching of the icicles. This whole project could take quite some time and get very boring but I loved the tinsel. That was my job and I thought I did it the best. When we were finished, the dining room doors were opened for food and drink. My parents, aunts and uncles were starving by this time but my grandfather didn’t care. The tree was important. It reminded him of Germany.

To this day more than 50 years later, we put tinsel or some type of “one by one” shimmer on the tree.

I do remember that we always had tinsel on our tree growing up. Gold, it had to be gold. I tried to continue the tradition in my house but sadly we have cats. You know, they eat the tinsel and you find it later in a very unsavory state.

So, friends, please send me your favorite Holiday traditions and photos. I would love to start a collection of memories.

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions

Thanksgiving Family Fun Ideas

turkeys

Looking for some fun ideas to do with the family around Thanksgiving? Here are a few of my favorites as well as some great ideas from other Mom bloggers.

Get Active! Our town hosts a Turkey Trot 1 Mile and 5K race every Thanksgiving morning. While we usually travel out of town to visit family on Thanksgiving so we have never been in town to participate, several of our neighbors run as a family every year. It’s a great way to burn the calories before you pack in the carbs!

cooking with the kids

Bake Up Memories. We have a family tradition on Thanksgiving Day. After we gorge ourselves and the boys go watch football or take a nap on the couch, the women folk go back in the kitchen and make our favorite Holiday cookies. Each person brings their favorite recipe and we bake, bake, bake. (It keeps us awake and standing so we’re burning the Turkey dinner calories, right?)

When we started this tradition it was fun to see what Grandma’s favorite cookie recipe was when she was a kid. Now that she is gone, we still make those cookies to remember her by. The other benefits of this tradition are that everyone goes home with a plate of assorted cookies. Freeze them and pull them out for your Holiday parties. If that’s not a stress-bustin’ tip, I don’t know what is.

Here’s a post I wish I had written! Check out the great A to Z Thanksgiving Family Fun Ideas from Cindy Bultema at the SheSparkles Blog.

Marie at MakeandTakes.com offers some fun ideas for Turkey Bowling and Turkey Bingo.

TheMotherHuddle.com also had some very cute ideas for Thanksgiving family activities. I love the Ornament Exchange idea!

What fun activities does your family do on or around Thanksgiving?

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Fall Season Family Fun Activities · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa · Holiday Fun · Holiday Traditions · Ideas for family projects

Awesome Kids Cooking Classes!

kids cook cooking session

We were visiting my parents in Austin, TX last week and we stopped in to visit a wonderful kids cooking shop called Batter Up Kids Cooking Shop. I am passionate about how cooking with your kids is not only essential for teaching them a life skill but it is one of the best ways I know to share a “Chocolate Cake Moment” together, bonding as a family.

The owner of the shop is Barbara Beery, successful author of several of our favorite kids cooking books like the Spa Princess Cookbook, Pink Princess Tea Parties cookbook, and Fairies Cookbook.
Spa Princess Kids Cookbook

Barbara and her daughter were so gracious when my daughter, Mom and I cruised into the shop. (Three generations of food lovers, oh boy!) You can certainly buy kids cooking kits in the store and they host kids cooking parties and classes, but more importantly you can just walk in and make something. The recipes change every week. My daughter was thrilled. She got to choose to make either a Flowerpot Ice Cream or Groovy Grasshopper Vegetable Dip. (I loved that Barbara had a healthy alternative, even if my daughter didn’t choose it.)

christy cook apron

Before she got down to business making her ice cream treat, my daughter got to decorate a cooking apron with markers and stickers. Barbara mentioned that several kids save their aprons and bring them back to the store to add new decorations as they continue to take classes.

ice cream flower pot

Check out some of Barbara’s fun recipes at her blog site.

If you are in the Austin area and looking for something fun to do with your kids or grandkids, the Batter Up Kids Cooking Shop is a delightful way to have some fun.

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Cool Finds · Family Fun Ideas · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa

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