Old Fashioned Fun… A Summer Lemonade Stand

Girls lemonade stand
Nothing says summer like cool, refreshing lemonade. OK, maybe watermelon does, but I want to talk about lemonade. My daugher was bored the other day so she asked if she and her friend could make a lemonade stand. Why not? It reminded me of my childhood and seemed like some nice, old-fashioned fun.

We got our plastic pitcher, our lemonade mix, and some cups. I set up a card table on the front sidewalk and my daughter the artist made a sign. Before they could even finish setting up our neighbors were over. The girls were so thrilled that the neighbors would stop by and give them some money that they were out there for hours. Other than coming in for more lemonade or sugar every now and then, they were completely occupied. They set up their shade umbrellas, had the boom box playing Kids Bop, and they were happy as could be.

Here’s the cool part. When they were done and I asked them what they were going to do with all of their money, they said they were giving it to charity. Unprompted! So we took the change and I mailed the equivalent amount in a check to a charity that my daughter chose.

We also had a nice discussion about business and how it works. Now, whether a 7-year-old really understood the idea of profit margin or not, she did get how you have to pay a certain amount for your ingredients and then you subtract that from the coins collected to see if you can buy more lemonade ingredients or have money left over to spend or give. As an entrepreneur, it was inspiring to talk the girls about how you make money as a business and how you can use your money to help others. Go future women entrepreneurs!

Need a little help putting your lemonade stand together? Check out these Mini Lemonade Stand Kits which include a paper hat, wooden spoon, lemonade mix, lemonade stand banner, cookie cutter, lemon cookie mix, and a price sheet.

So, if you are looking for a fun way to amuse the kids this summer, don’t forget the old-fashioned Lemonade Stand. It’s hours of low-cost fun. If you are interested in getting your kids more involved with charity projects, read our post on Teach Your Kids the Importance of Giving Back.

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Tags: Cooking with the Kids · Ideas for family projects

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Giving Back

We recently found a great site Mom it Forward where they believe that Moms can make a difference and change the world for the better. They have kicked off a pretty cool contest this summer called the Summer of Service (SOS) Challenge. Each week they will post tips on how to make a meaningful difference. Do one of their suggested tips, tell them, and you could win some great prizes. Check out the Challenge here and show your kids how you walk the talk and give back. Even if you don’t participate in the Challenge, we think this is an awesome way to pick up some tips on how to get your kids and your family thinking about giving.

Mom It Forward Summer of Service Challenge

My husband and I talk to the kids about giving back but we always need to do more. We do some things as a family like every year we buy a Christmas gift for a needy child from our YMCA Giving Tree. We also donate money to the World Wildlife Fund every Christmas so the kids can get a cool, endangered stuffed animal. We donate our used toys and clothes to charity. By doing these things consistently, they have become a giving tradition in our family. The kids actually ask about when they are coming up.

Our kids also love one of our Church fundraisers for a local Women’s Shelter. They hand out plastic baby bottles and ask people to fill them with all loose change around the house. Our kids love searching the house for coins to put in the bottle.

Some of the activities that we are involved in offer some great opportunities to give back to the community. With our son’s Cub Scouts troop we have packed care packages for our troops with Operation Yellow Ribbon. Both of our kids take piano lessons and every year their teacher has the kids perform a Halloween concert at a local nursing home. The residents love to see the kids in their costumes playing music. We have helped to clean up the local forest preserve with my daughter’s Adventure Guides group.

If you have a hard time thinking of ways to give back, definitely look to see what your Church or kids groups have planned for the summer. Definitely check out the Mom It Forward challenge. What we love about the Mom It Forward suggestions is that they remind us that we should all be practicing more random acts of kindness at home. It’s important to help strangers, but it is also important and really easy to help those we love.

What do you and your family do to give back to the community. Please share your ideas with us since we are always looking for more.

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Tags: Contests · Cool Finds · Holiday Traditions · Ideas for family projects

Gardening with Your Kids

Kids can have green thumbs, too!

Gardening for me is a great way to relax, de-clutter my busy mind, and reconnect with nature. I get a good workout, plenty of sunshine, a pretty yard, and plenty of basil for my summer bruchetta. But mostly I do it because we entertain a lot in the summer – neighborhood fire pit parties or BBQs – and we want the house to look smashing.

When my kids expressed an interest in gardening – or rather, when I discovered my daughter attempting to transfer a pretty yellow flower (aka dandelion) into my bed of begonias – I decided to create a designated “Kids Only” garden where they could cultivate their budding green thumbs safely away from my begonias and rose bushes. They get to pick what they want to plant, which makes it exciting for them. (Although when we went to the local nursery to get flowers, my son only seemed to want to buy the container of preying mantises. Hmm!)

If you want to share your love of gardening with your kids, teach them about how plants grow. You can find some great advice on Kids Gardening here. Or, if you simply want to get them out of the house for a few hours, here are some great gardening tools for kids – so you won’t have to hand over your own trowel and spade.

Kids Gardening Kit by Sassafras Enterprises includes a nylon gardening bag, three garden tools, two brightly-colored, plastic flower pots, a sprayer, and their very own apron and gardening gloves. This kit has everything you need to get started this summer. It was the winner of MomCentral.com’s Best Gardening Toys for Kids.

Ladybug Garden Apron Set
The Ladybug Garden Apron Set is super cute! Your little girl will love digging alongside you in the garden with her out gardening “outfit” and tools. It includes an embroidered ladybug apron, a pair of embroidered garden gloves, and two wooden handled, painted garden tools. See the review of this set on Droolicious!

Paint Your Own Flower Pots Kit
For rainy days, or those without the yard space, there’s the Paint Your Own Flower Pot Kids Craft Kit and Paint Your Own Garden Gnome Kit. (For your kids who are more into art than gardening, this is a great way for them to contribute to the outdoor decorating.) After they’ve created their own flower pot or garden gnome, they can plant a flower or pick out a perfect spot in the garden or the patio for the gnome. I am a firm believer in the fact that every garden needs a gnome.

All of these gardening and garden-inspired craft kits are great for having fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s house as well.

Paint Your Own Garden Gnome

What are your kids planting this year?

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Tags: Adventures · Fun with Grandma & Grandpa · Ideas for family projects

Make Father’s Day a Piece of (Chocolate) Cake – Gift Ideas

Part Two – Gift IdeasWhen it comes to a great Father’s Day gift, keep it simple and from the heart. Sure, you can get him ties, chocolate, golf balls, or we found the coolest Stormtrooper Cuff Links, but these really don’t mean anything special. No matter how macho the guy, every Dad has some sentimental bones in his body. Help your kids put together a Daddy-and-Me scrapbook of their favorite memories or create personalized picture frames. (You can find plain cardboard frames and craft supplies at any craft store). Tell Dad to go out golfing or to the hardware store and while he’s gone for hours, work on the scrapbook with the kids.

Inspired Generations has a really cool product along these lines. Their ABC’s of Life Wooden PhotoBlocks are a cute gift that Dad can put on his desk at work or in the home office. These PhotoBlocks have words on each side so the kids can leave messages for Dad while showcasing photos of the kids. If you are really ambitious, create a slide show on the computer and set it to Dad’s favorite tunes. My daugher and I are creating a show in ProShow Gold that features photos of Daddy and Daughter. We are using Dad’s favorite Ralph’s World song – Bedtime Girl - about a Daddy saying goodnight to his little girl.

A friend told me that her kids made a book of coupons that Dad could redeem for chores, favors, and hugs. It was a huge hit because it allowed her husband to get “gifts” from the kids long after Father’s Day. (Psst: Remind your kids that they need to honor the chore coupons. My kids seem to have a problem with the redemption part.)

For new and expecting Dads, think practical. How about a diaper bag that doesn’t compromise his masculinity. (Dads do have an image to uphold, after all.) The Fleurville DJ Diaper Bag is a manly, yet functional diaper bag designed specifically for Dads. It’s available in ballistic black or khaki camo. How’s that for testosterone marketing?

On the cheekier side, check out “The GoodFather” line of t-shirts, or “The GoodFather” gift CD-Rom by Dr. Moz that features humorous, gangster-inspired interactive lessons that will have new Dad smiling (and learning) in no time. The CD-Rom is funny. Dad can plug it into the computer on those nights when he has the midnight feeding. Feed baby and learn at the same time, what more could a modern multi-tasking Dad ask for these days?

What are you and your kids getting Dad this year? Tell us what gift your Dad appreciated most?

See Also:
Make Father’s Day a Piece of (Chocolate) Cake – Planning Activities

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Tags: Ideas for family projects · Ideas on Gifts for Big Occasions

How to Create Your Own Family Holiday

We were cruising through some Mom blog sites and found this fun posting on Creating Your Own Family Holiday. The ladies over at RookieMoms.com have challenged and inspired us to make up some special days that mean something to our family.

Think about it. Creating your own Holiday! How fun is that!?! And, what a great opportunity to use your imagination and creativity. Here’s our take on the idea – Why not let each person in the family come up with an idea and you can vote on it. Or, put the ideas in a hat each January 1st and draw one idea to be celebrated that year. If you love celebrations and silliness, why not let each person in the family get their own Holiday?

If all of your family birthdays seem to come at the same time of year, this is a perfect opportunity to spread out your family celebrations. Here are some of my ideas for a family Holiday:

1. Enchanted Fairy or Troll Day. On the first really nice day in Spring, declare it Fairy or Troll day. Then the whole family can spend the day outside building a fairy or troll house so that the little creatures have a place to stay at your house all summer. Your kids will love building the houses out of sticks, leaves, and any other creative materials. You can put out Fairy food for them (I heard they love pink sprinkles) or Troll food (black licorice ropes and reeses peanut butter cups.) Don’t ask me why they eat that. I asked my kids and that’s what they said they eat. Everyone in the family can write a letter to the creatures asking for good luck for the season. Then before bed, read your favorite fairy or troll books.

2. Family Movie Festival. In the fall on a yucky Saturday or Sunday, pick a day for a family movie festival. Everyone in the family get to pick their favorite movie to watch. Lounge the day away in your pajamas and watch these classic movies with plenty of snacks. End the day by watching some of your favorite home movies or ask Grandma and Grandpa to come over with movies of you when you were a kid. The kids will love it!

3. Curl Up With a Good Book Day. I love to read and there is nothing greater than finding a good book that you can’t put down. However, I always feel guilty when I sit down and just read during the middle of the day. I always feel like I should be doing something else. So, I would love a day where everyone gets a book, finds a comfy nook, and spends the day reading. We love to encourage our kids to read so this would help them discover the joy of reading. At the end of the day we can each talk about what we read.

4. Eat the Salsa in the Refrigerator Day. OK, this one is hardly worthy of a Holiday but I was going through the fridge last week and found 5 open jars of salsa in the fridge. How does this happen? Wouldn’t it be great if one day we just ate salsa all day and FREED UP SPACE IN THE FRIDGE? Sigh. A Mom can dream can’t she?

What are some of your ideas for a Holiday? I hope they involve Chocolate. We’d love to hear them so please share!

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Tags: Family Celebrations · Holiday Traditions · Ideas for family projects

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