Now that the torrential Spring rains have eased up, it’s a great time to get the family outside to enjoy the weather and soak up some much needed sunshine. (Us Midwestern folks get a little pasty after a long winter.) For some fun in the sun, every year my daughter and I plant flowers together. We look forward to our Spring Gardening adventures.
However, this year we’re going to fuel up at breakfast before we head out this year because our gardening activities turned into quite the adventure last year. We started by planting flowers but ended up creating Fairy Village in the neighborhood.
As part of Quaker Oats’ Epic Adventures blogger outreach program, they sent us a sample of their Quaker® Perfect Portions oatmeal to try. My daughter loved it. She’s quite the oatmeal connoisseur and she liked the new Perfect Portions oatmeal because she could choose how much she wanted to eat for the day and control the amount of sweetness. There’s no sugar addeds and as a Type 1 Diabetic, that’s so important for her (and her Mom!)
But, back to our adventure! After we were done planting flowers, my daughter decided to create a Fairy House in the little island in the cul-de-sac at the end of our street to use up some leftover flowers from our garden. She loves to use her imagination and felt that if she built a pretty enough fairy house it would attract a fairy and bring good luck. Soon she had all of the neighbor girls helping to make a whole Fairy Village. I have to say it was beautiful! Any fairy would have been proud to move in.
The best part was the fun that ensued over the next few days. We started seeing “notes” from the Fairies. Some of the neighbor Moms and older girls would write notes thanking the kids for their houses. The kids loved it! Candy appeared one night and some of the younger kids were so thrilled that the fairies were leaving them gifts. Needless to say everyone seemed to add a little touch of magic that kept everyone wondering if it was real or not. FUN!
If you have boys who might not be that interested in fairy houses, no problem. My son would build a cave to attract trolls or create a secret space for his action figures, as a fun way to spend time outside. No matter what you and your kids decide to build, here’s everything you need to know on how to build a fairy house.
If you need some tips on how to garden with your kids or grand kids, check this post. For you experts, you might like 4 Fun Kids Summer Gardening Projects.
Spring is the perfect time to get outside and dig in the dirt with your kids or grand kids. However, you better fuel up at breakfast because a simple plan to plant some flowers could turn into an adventure creating a neighborhood fairy village. Read how!
Every day is an adventure and with Quaker® Perfect Portions I know I am providing my family with the fuel they need for their epic adventures.
Share how you make everyday an adventure and see other storieson Everyday Health.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker®. The opinions and text are all mine.
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It’s Spring, finally! Since we live in the Midwest, my family is so excited to get outside again and start having some outdoor adventures. Some of our favorite things to do are Nature Scavenger Hunts, hiking, gardening, and walks in the park to feed the baby ducks. But I have to say our favorite way to spend time together is on a family bike ride.
We don’t just toodle around the neighborhood, though. We ride 10 – 25 miles when we head out and biking for that long and burning that many calories means we need to fuel up with some snacks. When I was offered the opportunity to test and review Quaker’s Big Chewy Granola Bars as part of their Quaker Epic Adventures program I jumped all over it. These bars are the perfect size to fit in our bike bags. Plus, the kids love the way they taste.
(As a side note, I was going to take some photos for this post of my kids eating the new Quaker Big Chewy Granola Bars because that is what a good blog reviewer does, right? However, within a day, the bars were gone and I never even got to taste one. My kids tell me they’re great!)
Another important reason our family needs to think about fueling up while being is active is because my daughter has Type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed 3 years ago and it has been a challenge to figure out how to stay active and keep her blood sugar levels in a healthy range, especially on these long bike rides. Non-perishable snacks with carbs are essential for when she gets low on blood sugar during a ride. We have become pros at keeping our bike bags stuffed with juice boxes, snacks like Quaker granola bars, and her diabetic supplies. Since my daughter likes the chocolate flavor of these, I have a feeling that will be her main biking snack this Spring and Summer.
Interested in planning the perfect family bike ride? To take your first bike ride of the season, air up the tires, get your bikes tuned up, and make sure the kids bike helmets still fit before you head out.
Then, make sure to pack smart. If you are planning a long bike ride with the kids, remember to bring:
- a small bag for trash
- a small first-aid kit with bandages and antibiotic ointment
- snacks (tired kids can quickly bounce back with fruit, peanuts, and granola bars)
- a bike pump
- your camera
- a cell phone.
We also carry some money with us. You never know when you’ll find an ice cream truck or ice cream shop to stop and get a treat.
Beyond that, here are some tips and ideas to prepare for and enjoy the perfect Family Bike Ride.
Our family loves being outside and enjoying time together on adventures. For days full of fun, we need some snacks that will keep us energized so we don’t miss a moment.
I never know what my days will have in store for me and my family, so keeping Quaker® Big Chewy Granola Bars on hand help make sure we have the fuel necessary to get the day. Now the Quaker® Big Chewy Granola Bars have chocolate drizzled on top and are 60% bigger – perfect for my hungry family!
Share what activities you need fuel for everyday and see other stories on Everyday Health.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker®. The opinions and text are all mine.
For more family fun, check out my post on 10 Fun Activities for your Family to Get Outside and Celebrate Spring.
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If the weather turns nicer in the next few weeks, here’s a fun Spring Break Staycation idea to have some family fun – Host an Outdoor Movie Night. Last summer our neighborhood organized it’s first outdoor movie night. It was a blast! More importantly, it was easy to pull off. Here’s how it all came about.
One day I was talking to my neighbor and mentioned how fun it would be to host an outdoor movie night for the kids. He mentioned that he had a projector from work that we could use. Score!
From there, the idea took off with different families bringing different things to the party to make it all happen. So, sharing what I learned from our event, here are 5 tips for you to plan a spectacular outdoor movie night for your neighbors, friends or family. (This would also be an awesome kids birthday party idea.)
1. Stay close to home. When choosing a location for your movie event, keep a few things in mind – electricity, light control, bathroom access, and rain. We have an open field near our houses where I was thinking of hosting movie night because we would have a lot of room. However, we would have had to run so many extension cords that the idea was not feasible. So, pick a spot where you have easy access to electricity like your backyard, patio, or even garage. Make sure there aren’t any really bright street lights nearby to ruin your viewing. If you stay close to home the kids can easily run home to use the restroom. If it rains, you’ll want a back-up plan like someone’s garage to move the fun under cover and quickly.
2. It’s all in the equipment. To project the movie you’re going to need a movie player (DVD player or computer); screen, white bed sheet, or side of a house; a projector; and a sound system. For the screen, we just hung a white sheet over the garage door to even out the surfaces. Remarkably, the picture looked amazing. Here’s a link with easy instructions on how to set up the equipment. You can rent equipment but ask around and see if your friends or neighbors have what you need. Keep it inexpensive! Finally, if you have a giant TV, just move it outside for viewing under the stars.
3. Snacks make the party. You can have so much fun with snacks for an outdoor movie party. A gourmet popcorn bar with different flavors or seasonings would be fun. Movie theater-style candy like Junior Mints, Milk Duds, Raisinettes, and Dots will get everyone in the mood. Here’s a post I wrote on Snacks to Spice Up Family Game Night that would work perfect for an outdoor movie night as well.
4. Pick the right movie. Consider the ages of the kids that will be coming and choose a movie accordingly. It could be a classic, a family-friendly movie or a great comedy. Keep in mind that really young kids might not attend because movie night will start after their bedtime. Stick with PG or PG-13 movies to make sure no one is offended or uncomfortable. We watched Despicable Me, one of my favorites. Ask the kids in your neighborhood for suggestions or check out this list of 20 Best Movies for Families from Parenting.com.
5. Delegate. Even if you are hosting or organizing the event, put your neighbors and friends to work. Put one in charge of making the flyer that goes in everyone’s mailbox. Ask everyone to bring extra chairs, drinks, or snacks. Ask houses with an even number address to bring a dessert while odd number houses bring an appetizer.
For more planning, decorating, and snack ideas, check out my post 5 Ideas to Make Family Movie Night More Fun or Family Movie Night Board on Pinterest.
Have you ever hosted an outdoor movie night? Any other tips you can add? What movie did you watch?
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Earth Day is this Sunday and there are so many fun ways to celebrate with the family. From simple tips to help your family go green, to baking Earth Day treats, to starting your own garden, to recycling crafts, here are the best ideas and activities I’ve seen to celebrate Earth Day this year.
Tips to Help the Family Go Green
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Isn’t it funny how the minute the weather gets a little warmer, we start itching to be outside and think we can do some of those summer activities? Here in the Midwest, we’ll weather the chill, just to get out of the house. I remember in college when it turned 60 degrees I would go lay out and try to get a tan. Yes, I had goosebumps but hey, I needed some color. It was not one of my smartest choices and would hardly be a good example for my children now.
But once Spring has sprung, my family is dying to get outside and get a head start on some of our favorite summer activities. However, rain and drastic temperature swings can put a damper on our outdoor family fun plans. Have no fear! Even if it’s one of those chilly or rainy spring days, you can enjoy at least one of your favorite summer activities – Camping … by taking it inside.
Grab your tent and sleeping bags and camp in the house this weekend. Just think, you’ll avoid the bugs, cold weather and rain. You’ll also get to use your own bathroom. Now, that’s the kind of camping I can get into. Pitch your tent in the family room, dining room or basement and get ready to play all of those fun camping games. If you don’t have a tent, no need to invest in buying one. Just put a large sheet or blankets over the dining room table to create the same effect. Or, ask your neighbors if they have a tent that you can borrow. You can always go without and just use the sleeping bags on the family room floor.
To get started, set up your tent space and have the kids roll out their sleeping bags. They will be thrilled to sleep in the house in their sleeping bags instead of their beds. Provide them with plenty of flashlights, lanterns, or even glow sticks to shed some light on the evening fun.
Here are some activities to keep the fun going all night long. For maximum camping effect, don’t forget to turn off all of the lights in the house.
Have fun camping indoors!
Have you ever camped in your family room? What fun activities did you do?
You Might Also Like:
10 Fun Things to Do to Celebrate Spring
5 Ways to Make Family Game Night More Fun
Tips for a Perfect Backyard Campout
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Ah, Spring! The smell of trees blooming, the cool breezes, the sun and fluffy clouds in the sky, and the sound of birds singing. No hat. No mittens. No scarf. Glorious! Finally, a chance for us to get outside again.
This season truly does bring a smile to your day and anything seems possible. It’s a great time to get the family outside to enjoy the weather and soak up some much needed Vitamin D (especially if you live in the Midwest, like I do.) I really love Spring because the bugs usually aren’t out to ruin all of your fun yet. (I hate mosquitos!!!!!)
No matter how old your kids are, here’s some inspiration on how to unplug, get outside with your family, and have fun.
1. Photo Scavenger Hunt.
Spring scavenger hunts are always a fun way to reconnect with nature. Helping your kids search for the beauty and signs of Spring around you, they will come to appreciate the season more. And, you can teach them to use the camera. Always a helpful skill. This post gives you some ideas and themes for a Photo Scavenger Hunt and GoExploreNature.com gives you a great download of Spring-related items to hunt for. Here’s a great post on how to lure your child into the fun world of photography.
2. Stop and smell the tulips.
The flowers are blooming and your neighborhood looks pretty but why not head out to your local Nature Conservatories, botanical gardens, or National Parks to see an explosion of Spring flowers. We just recently took a trip to the Garfield Conservatory in Chicago to see the flowers. If you live in the Chicagoland area, take a trip to the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago Botanic Garden, Peggy Notebart Nature Museum, or Morton Arboretum to see Spring in all of its splendor. My son took his Lego guys and we created fun scenes in the flower displays for him to make an action adventure book. If you are heading to a National Park, here’s a GREAT post on 5 Must-Have iPhone Apps for National Park Week to make the most of your trip.
3. Plant Your Own Garden.
Digging in the dirt is one of the best ways to celebrate Spring. Here’s all you need to know about gardening with your kids or grand kids. SmartGardener.com makes it super easy to plan your own garden. They even send you weekly emails to care for your plants. You can sign up for free.
4. Bike Ride.
It’s always fun to grab the kids and take your first bike ride of the season. Make sure you air up the tires, get your bikes tuned up, and make sure the kids bike helmets still fit before you head out. Here’s how to prepare for a Fun Family Bike Ride.
5. Feed the Ducks.
Even as my kids have grown older, they still love to head to the local park and feed the ducks – especially when the baby ducks and geese are born. Take some old bread and head down to the water to enjoy the sun and a perfect sign of spring. Want to learn more about baby animals in Spring? Check out this great book Lost in the Woods.
6. Go Fly a Kite.
You do need to wait for the perfect day but there is nothing more fun that heading to the park and flying a kite when it’s cool, sunny and windy. The PBS Kids site has instructions on how to make your own paper kite. Here are some good tips on flying a kite like how to pick the right day, get your kite aloft, and be safe in the park. If kite’s aren’t your thing, you can also launch rockets but if it’s a windy day, you might lose your rocket.
7. Play Ball.
It was Opening Day for Major League Baseball last week so let the ball games begin. To get your baseball fix, organize a softball game with all of the families in your neighborhood. Take the kids to see a baseball game. Even though we love Wrigley Field and the Cubs, MLB games can be kind of pricey so we like to take the kids to see the local minor league teams. They are usually much more family-friendly with extra activities for the kids. Or, watch your local high school teams play for free. If you live in the Midwest, take a weekend trip to Dyersville, IA to see the Field of Dreams. We watched the movie and then took a road trip. It was a lot of fun. If you have a kid who’s a total fan, check out these Baseball Party ideas or grab a Baseball Action Figure Set and Game to play indoors when it’s raining.
8. Build a Fairy House or Troll Cave
Girls love fairy houses and there is no prettier setting for a fairy house than a patch of Spring flowers. Boys may not be as interested in a Fairy House but building a cave for trolls, or a secret space for his action figures is a fun way to spend time outside. Here’s everything you need to know to build a fairy house.
9. Camp in the Backyard.
To get into “Camping Shape” for summer, plan to camp out one night in your backyard. It’s a great way to get outside, make sure your tent is still functioning, and cook up some fun camping treats. Check out these tips for a perfect backyard campout or if it starts to rain here’s how to camp in the great indoors.
10. Take it outside.
Since it is so nice out, just do what you normally would inside but take it outdoors. I love to sit on my front stoop and read a book. Bedtime stories on the front stoop using a flashlight are super fun. We try to eat a meal outside when it’s nice out. Get the grill going and cook outside. I take my laptop outside to check my email. We’ve even taken our little portable DVD player and sat outside to watch a movie on a cool Friday night.
What does your family do to celebrate Spring and enjoy the warmer weather?
You Might Also Like:
How to Get the Family to the Dinner Table More Often
Celebrate Earth Day with the Kids
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Spring has sprung! It’s time to take the kids outside for some sunshine, vitamin D, and fun in the garden. I love to garden with my kids. It’s so rewarding because you can teach them a life skill, give them an appreciation for how food and plants grow, but most importantly have time to talk and connect with each other. Plus, you can get the kids working on those basil and tomato plants so I can eat bruschetta all summer. YUM!
Here’s a round-out of my favorite tips and ideas on how to get outside and garden with your kids or grand kids.
Do you like to garden with your kids or grand kids? What projects do you work on? Please leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
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April Fool’s Day is fast approaching. Are you ready for some fun? We pulled together some fun food ideas to play some good-spirited pranks on your family members.
Norene over at PartyPinching.com created some super cute food fooling recipes. I like the Shepherd Pie, Chicken Pot Pie and Buffalo Wings the best. Head over to her site to see how to make each dish.
The Fried Egg Dinner prank from Jill at MeettheDubiens.com is super easy and funny.
Bakerella.com made some very tasty looking Meatloaf Cupcakes with Mashed Potato Frosting for April Fool’s Day.
This TV Dinner Cupcake Tray from Delectable Edibles is HILARIOUS!
You Might Also Like:
April Fool’s Day Pranks for the Kids
Peeps Easter Cake Idea
Easter Cupcakes to Bake with the Kids
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In general, we haven’t played too many tricks on the kids on April Fool’s Day but I’m getting inspired to do something really fun this year. Grandpa used to be the big trickster in the family. He played some fun pranks on his kids and grand kids throughout the whole year. He would put rocks, grass and vegetables in he hidden Easter Eggs. (Boy, the kids faces are priceless when they open their eggs.) He would wrap a can of corn for a kid’s Christmas gift. He woke his kids up on Saturday morning to hurry and get ready for school.
While these pranks were annoying to the prank victim, each of the kids and grandkids talk about these pranks fondly at every family get together. It was a badge of honor to have a special trick played on you by Grandpa. He passed away before my kids were born but they love listening to the “Grandpa prank stories” from their cousins. So in his memory, I put together some ideas for kid-friendly April Fool’s Day pranks.
Take all of your child’s stuffed animals off of the bed while they are sleeping and have them line up outside the bathroom door like they are waiting for their turn to go “potty”.
You can put clear hair gel in ear piece of a telephone. Have your husband call the house to talk to your child and when they put the phone to their ear it will get all goopy.
Unplug their video game consoles. After a few frustrating minutes and yelling “Mom, why won’t my game work?” maybe they’ll check to see if the plug is unplugged. It’s a classic because no one ever checks the power cord to see if it’s unplugged.
This article has some really clever ideas for playing good-spirited pranks on the family. Turing the clock forward to make them think they are late for school is always a classic. Adding Easter Egg dye to the faucet so the water runs in colors is pretty darn funny, too.
Jenn at the Clean & Scentsible blog had some fun ideas like switching the cereal bags in the cereal boxes so they pour an unexpected cereal for breakfast. I like her idea of freezing a bowl of cereal overnight. In the morning add a little more milk to cover the icy mass and see their confused expressions. Click through and check out her other ideas.
The 2Clever Blog had a funny idea of putting a For Sale sign in the yard while the kids are at school. They’ll be stunned when they come home.
Here’s a funny prank for Dad from Parenting.com. Take a screen shot of the desktop on Dad’s computer and leave it up. It might take him a few minutes to figure out why his computer is “frozen”.
To really make sure your kids know they’ve been fooled, print out these free Gotcha Tags to drive the point home.
Here’s a little tip on pranking your kids, if they are a little touchy. My daughter loves a good joke until she thinks her brother is laughing at her. To make sure that no one feels slighted, prank all of your kids the same way or catch each one out in a trick when they are alone. No one likes to be laughed at and sibling rivalry could make your family fun backfire.
What have you done to play pranks on your kids?
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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!
I’m a huge fan of Dr. Seuss. The silliness, the illustrations, the word play. It makes me smile. More importantly, my family has spent countless hours having fun together reading his books. I remember how proud my son was when he could read the whole Fox in Sox book by himself without stumbling over the tongue twisters.
Since I’m such a fan, I’ve been busy amassing quite a collection of Dr. Seuss craft and recipe ideas over on my All Things Dr. Seuss Board on Pinterest. I wanted to share some of my favorite ideas to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. If you’re on Pinterest, check out all of the ideas on my board and please share your favorites with me.
The most obvious way to celebreate Dr. Seuss’ birthday is to read his books with the kids. I think we’ll read The Lorax and Green Eggs and Ham tonight. Or inspire your children by reading these Dr. Seuss quotes and empowering them with the messages of self-esteem and adventure.
This is the most amazing graphic 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Live By from Mamiverse.com. One of my favorites is “Oh, the things you can find if you don’t stay behind.”
How fun are these super cute and creative ideas by other Mom bloggers?
NOW, FEED YOUR CREATIVITY
Whether you want easy, healthy or stunningly creative, these recipes are sure to be a hit at a Dr. Seuss themed party or on your dinner table.
Now you can take Dr. Seuss with you for “Oh, the places you’ll go.” Oceanhouse Media is having a sale on their Dr. Seuss interactive ebooks for your iPad, iPhone or Android phone. You can also download their Lorax Garden and Dr. Seuss Band games for free.My kids (and I) love these games because the Dr. Seuss illustrations just beg to be animated. Hurry, promotion ends March 8, 2012.
For more Dr. Seuss inspired ideas, check out my post from last year on 6 Ways to Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ Birthday.
If you have any craft, activity or recipe ideas that are Dr. Seuss inspired, please let me know. I’d love to add them to my Dr. Seuss Pinterest Board. What is your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
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Looking for something fun to do with your kids this weekend? Grab the camera, head outdoors and try a photo scavenger hunt. (With digital cameras, this is so easy and fun. You can also delete all of the pictures when you are done. No wasted film!) You can go to a specific place to do your hunt or look at your own neighborhood through a new lens. (Get it? A new lens? Oh, forget it.)
You can play individually, in teams or as a group depending on how many cameras you can get your hands on. Then choose a theme. Some examples:
- Alphabet – take a photo of something representing every letter in the alphabet.
- Numbers – Try to find groups of things representing the numbers 1 -10. 1 ball, 2 flowers, 3 weeds in Daddy’s lawn, 4 cars that your son never picked up, etc. (You get the picture.)
- Colors – Take a photo of as many colored objects as you can. Or take pictures of things that are red. See who can find the most.
- A common object - For example, dogs, flowers, toys in the yard, red cars, etc. Pick something where you’ll find quite a few examples. See who can find the most.
- Letters – Have the kids look for different letters and see if they can spell out words when you get home and print them out.
This is fun to play in your neighborhood because your kids will come back with photos of things you’ve never noticed. (Really, that’s what’s in the back of the Jones’ yard?)
We went to the Farmers Market last weekend (because they are open again in the Midwest!) and my daughter went on a hunt to take a picture of every dog at the market. She had a blast meeting the dogs and asking people if she could take their picture. We had a great time looking at the photos when we got home. She printed them out and created her own book, which was pretty cool and kept her busy for hours. Here’s what she saw:
Any other photo hunt ideas out there? Let us know and we’ll add them to the list.
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Happy Earth Day! Isn’t the picture my 8-year-old daughter drew for Earth Day cool? We hope you enjoyed all of our ideas for celebrating Earth Day with the kids. Here’s are three more fun ways to celebrate.
First, join Earth Day 2011′s Picnic in the Park initiative. As they say on their site, “celebrate the planet we live on with good food and great people. Choose a favorite outdoor location, round up some friends and take the planet out to lunch!” Check out their website to find picnics already planned to join in or grab some great picnic recipes from famous Chefs like Mario Batali. (The Goat Curd and Fruit Tart looks especially yummy!) Here are my tips on how to plan the perfect family picnic.
Heart Shaped Earth Day Crayons
Recycle your old crayons and turn them into heart shaped earth crayons. They look cool and you can start drawing again. The directions for how to make them come from Martha Stewart here but the TSJ Photography blog had the inspiration to make them look like the earth.
Earth Day Cupcakes
These earth day cupcakes by Stephanie Lynn over at the Under the Table and Dreaming blog are so cool. Definitely bake them with the kids and bring them to your Picnic in the Park. I like that they are gluten free.
We hope you enjoyed all of our Earth Day ideas! Go have fun celebrating.
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There are so many great posts out there about how your family can do some simple things to Go Green for Earth Day … and every day frankly. I like this one from Savvy Sassy Moms. However, I wanted to write a post about how you can have FUN Going Green.
1. Kill the Vampires. Play a game and have the kids go room to room looking for any appliances that are plugged in and running but aren’t being used. That includes unplugging your cell phone when it is fully charged. In my office for example, we had a scanner, three printers, and three computers plugged in. These appliances were still sucking electricity even though they were in sleep mode. Turn them off! Kill the vampires.
2. This Friday Night have a Family No Electricity Night. Light a fire in the fireplace, add some candles, and then play board games by candlelight. The kids will think it is so cool. It’s a great way to spend some quality time together talking and playing games without all of the distractions. In today’s uber, fast-paced world, unplugging seems like a great way to relax and bond while also conserving energy.
3. Bike Ride to Dinner. Plan on going out for dinner this weekend? Why not pick a restaurant that can be part of family bike ride. Save gas and burn off that dessert. Bonus!
4. Walk to your local Farmers Market. If you live in the Midwest, it seems like Farmers Market Season will never come. However, for many other parts of the country take the kids to the Farmers Market and support your local farmers. The benefits? Organic food, no chemical fertilizers to harm the environment or you, less gas used for distribution, and very little packaging to clutter up our landfills. Here are some ideas on Games and Activities to do with the kids at the Farmers Market.
5. Spend an evening at your Local Library. Libraries are the original reuse and recycle centers! Save the trees (truffula or others) – don’t buy new books when you can get them from the library. Everyone in my family loves to read so we enjoy going to the library and spending some time alone and together discovering favorite books or new authors. We can sit on the comfy chairs in the library and read to the kids. Read The Lorax. This way the lights are all off at our house, too.
If you turn your Go Green efforts into FAMILY FUN, they’ll probably get done more often and become a habit for your family. After you have done all of these activities, have your kids write and send a letter to The Lorax and let him know that your family cares and is doing its part. Here are some additional tips on what families can do to protect the environment.
“Unless someone like you CARES a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Any other ideas on how your family can have fun AND protect the environment?
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Earth Day is this Friday, April 22nd and we are excited to bring you ideas on how to celebrate and raise awareness with your kids. I think the best way to get the kids to care about the earth and nature is to give them an appreciation for nature. How do you do that? Go play outside! Explore all of nature’s wonders. Here are some fun ideas whether you head on out to the park or explore your backyard.
I mentioned yesterday that one of my new favorite sites is the Go Explore Nature blog. Debi, the blog’s chief explorer, has some great ideas in these posts: How to Raise Kids Who Care About the Planet, 50 Ways to Explore Nature in Your Own Backyard, and Top 10 Spring Nature Adventures.
I also love the book Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy for ideas on exploring nature with kids and grandkids.
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We’re celebrating Earth Day this week so we’ll be sharing ideas on how to get the kids involved in respecting and preserving our planet, as well as simple things we can do as families to protect our environment.
Here are some ideas on how to talk and act upon the meaning of Earth Day.
Play: First and foremost, go outside and just enjoy the day. I just discovered the Go Explore Nature blog, which is a new favorite, and I love their idea and checklist for a Spring Nature Scavenger Hunt.
Another way to play and help is to purchase eco-friendly toys and support the manufacturers who are doing their part to save the environment. Some of our favorite eco-friendly toys, that we we love enough to sell at ChocolateCakeClub.com, are the Green Toys Tea Set, Green Toys Recycling Truck, and the Totem Boys and Girls Recycled Construction Sets.
We sell quite a few organic and eco-friendly toys that kids love and you’ll feel good about giving.
Plant: Head over to your local nursery and buy a perennial flower that you love. Plant it with your kids to help beautify your yard and the neighborhood. Read How to Teach Your Kids a Love of Gardening. Get your kids their very own Gardening Set so they get excited about spending time in the garden with Mom or Grandma. Teach your kids about locally grown produce with the Playful Chef’s Farmers Market Set. Here’s how to have fun with the kids on a Trip to the Farmers Market.
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Give a child the gift of a green thumb!
Gardening for me is a great way to relax, de-clutter my busy mind, and reconnect with nature. I get a good workout, enjoy plenty of sunshine, create a pretty yard, and grow plenty of basil for my summer bruchetta. But mostly I do garden 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!)
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It’s not too late! Still haven’t thought of something fun to do tomorrow with the kids to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Well, the luck of the Irish be with you. Here are some last-minute, but worth-the-wait, ideas.
Funky Green Food
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I’m thrilled to introduce a guest blogger today, Angel Ishmael, the Chief Mom Officer behind the cool site, Kidgrade.com, which is a resource for parent reviewed places to Eat, Play, Shop, and Stay in Chicago. Since our family is staying home for Spring Break this year, I asked her to give us some ideas of what to do during Spring Break in Chicago. Whether you live in the area or are flying in to visit the city, these ideas will help you have fun with your family. Take it away, Angel:
With Spring Break quickly approaching, it’s time to find some fun things to do with the kids. Although many will be traveling for Spring Break, there are a variety of family friendly activities that Chicago has to offer.
Head downtown to the Chicago River and watch them dye it Green. Festivities are at 10:45 a.m. along the Chicago Riverwalk. What child wouldn’t love to see a Green River?
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This Easter we decided not to travel and see family but stay home and relax. We invited some friends over for a non-traditional Easter dinner of Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Breadcrumb Crust and Red Wine Sauce. If you read our post on 5 Easter Family Traditions to Start This Year you’ll know that one of our traditions is to try something new. No ham for us this year.
I asked my daughter, the artist in residence, if she would decorate the table for Easter. She loves to do this and since my mother, who is the master in table decorating, taught her how to do it well, she was thrilled. Did I mention that she is 6 and can decorate a dinner table better than I can? Anyway, she decided that we needed to make birds’ nests to complete her vision for the table. We found an idea in Family Fun Magazine.
Our blue Easter egg nest was very easy to make although neither of ours turned out looking as good as the magazine’s version. The suggested modeling clay wasn’t that great. I would probably use playdoh or some other softer modeling clay to get the shape right. The crayola stuff was not that pliable. We had plenty of sticks in the yards so I just used our gardening clippers to cut them down to size. The craft instructions say to use blue yarn inside the nest but we found a bag of blue feathers that worked better. Here is how our nests and the decorated table turned out. Click on the photos to see them larger.
My daughter and I had a lot of fun working together to make our nests. It had all the right ingredients for success – simple project, didn’t take a lot of time, only had to buy two materials, and we had a goal – decorate the Easter dinner table. Our colored eggs were displayed fabulously in our blue birds nests.
Tip: If you have cats, don’t put the nests out until right before dinner. Our indoor-only cats were extremely interested in the “live” twigs and proceeded to lay their fat down on top of our nests to be closer to nature, I guess. They also started chewing the twigs and pulling them out of the clay. Bad kitties!
Did you do any craft projects with your kids this Easter? If so, leave us a comment and please share!
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Not going anywhere for Spring Break this year? Don’t fret. Here are some fun kids crafts kits and games to keep the kids occupied while they are at home … and give Mom a chance to hang on to her sanity.
Get the kids started on some art projects. It gets their creative juices flowing and keeps them away from the TV for awhile. At the Chocolate Cake Club, we carry a few art kits that have a lot of craft materials and project ideas to keep kids busy for days, or at least hours. It will give you some kind of break, trust us.
The Giant Art Supply Jar is wonderful because it gives your kids so many different kinds of supplies in one compact, easy-to-put-away plastic jar. My daughter says she hates to do projects at home because all we have is paper and crayons. Well with the art jar, I astounded her with unique art supplies like multi-colored pom poms, glitter pom poms, pipe cleaners, fringed crepe paper, feathers and popsicle sticks. Let the imagination run wild. (Tell your kids to build a diarama and see the glazed look that comes across their face.)
If your kids can’t think of anything to make, then the Little Hands My Giant Busy Box is ideal. Included are 16 exciting arts & crafts projects for kids in one big box. You’ll have all the supplies needed to make dough animals, sticker art, a collage farm, paper bag puppets, and tissue art projects. This way they won’t be asking you to make one more trip to the craft store to get different supplies. The Busy Box Kit also includes 2 plastic frames, 4 animal punch outs, 10 colors of dough, 2 peel and stick tissue art pictures, tons of tissue paper, glue, and instructions. Whoo Hoo!
When your kids’ eyes start to glaze over from playing too much Wii, tell them to play a low-tech game. Here are some that kids like a lot, therefore, they will play them and amuse themselves.
The Monkey Hide ‘n Seek Safari Game is a lot of fun. You can hide the monkey somewhere inside or outside and then your child will use a “magic” wand to find it The wand lights up as your child gets “hotter” or “colder” to finding the monkey. If you have more than one child, have them take turns hiding and finding – letting you get some things done around the house. Older kids get a kick out of seeing who can find the most clever hiding place. It’s also available in a T-Rex Hide ‘n Seek Safari Game.
The Build a Robot Spinner Game is fun for those rowdy boys who need to slow down for a minute. They’ll have fun with this old-fashioned spinner game trying to get enough pieces to build a funky robot. If your child doesn’t have anyone to play with, he or she can use this game as a puzzle and just build cool looking robots on the floor. How’s that for cool – a game they can still play even if they are alone.
Kids Cooking Kits
We think cooking with your kids is one of the best ways to create Chocolate Cake Moments. Not only are you teaching your kids a life skill, but bonding while cooking up some delicious treats is a special time to be close to your kids. Whether you cook with your kids or have them cook with Grandma and Grandpa, they are going to have fun. Here are some kids cooking kits that we just love to heat up some family fun in the kitchen.
Take a tour of France in your kitchen with the Playful Chef Kids French Cooking Set. All of the tools and recipes you need to make some popular French-inspired dishes are included, as well as fun information about French history, vocabulary and geography. (So your kids minds’ won’t completely atrophy while on Spring Break.) Have fun making Quiche Lorraine for breakfast or Chocolate Mousse for dessert.
Have all of the kids cooking tools but short on inspiration? Check out the Playful Chef Kids Cookbook for some new recipes that are kid-friendly.
Baseball’s Spring Training has started so why not celebrate with your baseball-loving kids with the Play Ball Baseball Cookie Kit. Celebrate the beginning of a new Spring Season with some baseball cookies. You can even bake the cookies, while watching a game on TV. This Kids Cooking Kit includes: sugar cookie mix, decorating gel, icing, cutter, and a recipe with instructions.
So, whether you create fun works of art, play games, or cook up some fun, your kids are sure to be amused this Spring Break … giving us Moms a break as well.
Do you have any other ideas for Spring Break Boredom Busters? Please share.
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