Make Gardening with your Kids Extraordinary with #QuakerEpicAdventures

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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Tags: Spring Family Fun Activities

Fueling up for a Spring Family Bike Ride with #QuakerEpicAdventures

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:

  • water
  • 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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Tags: Spring Family Fun Activities

Spring Break Staycation Idea: A Spectacular Outdoor Movie Night

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

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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Tags: Family Fun Ideas · Spring Family Fun Activities

Fun Earth Day Activities for the Family

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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Tags: Spring Family Fun Activities

Weekend Fun: Camping in the Great Indoors

Kids Camping Indoors

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.

  • Picnic Dinner. Set out a picnic blanket and have dinner on the floor. Make your whole meal on the grill to mimic a typical camping dinner. Burgers, hot dogs, corn on the cob and fruit salad work nicely. Eat on recycled paper plates to make clean up a breeze.

  • Roast marshmallows and make s’mores. If you have a really long stick, you can use the fireplace for the roasting. If not, try the gas burner on the stove or even a candle to toast up those marshmallows. We’ve even used the toaster oven to make the s’mores. Put your graham cracker, chocolate square and marshmallow tower in the toaster oven and turn on broil. The top of the marshmallow will get nice and crusty.

  • Hot Chocolate Station. If the weather outside is still a little chilly, celebrate with hot chocolate. Set up a station in the kitchen with all of the fixings like whipped cream, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and mini marshmallows.

  • Ghost Stories. Have Mom and Dad or the older kids tell ghost stories in the tent, if your kids can handle a little scare. American Folklore has some great inspiration!

  • Hide ‘n Seek. Play hide ‘n seek in the house using flash lights. (This might freak out the cat, but it’s a lot of fun.)

  • Flashlight Reading. Even those kids who say they hate to read seem to love the mystique of reading comic books or favorite bedtime stories by flashlight or candlelight in the tent.

  • Flashlight Limbo. If you haven’t already, turn off all of the lights. Have one person hold the flashlight straight to make a “beam” across. Each person then has to limbo under the beam of light.

  • Disco Dance. Since you have the lights off, use your flashlights to create a disco dance floor effect. Use your portable boom box to play some dance music. Have the kids dance and turn their flashlights on and off like a strobe light, for some silliness. Or crack open some glow sticks and wear glow stick jewelry while you dance.

  • Flashlight Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of things you find in the house that have to do with camping or nature. Give the list to your kids and send them off with their flashlights to find the items. (To avoid fighting over the objects, you might want to give each kid a different list.)

  • Shadow Puppets. This is the perfect time to teach the kids how to make shadow puppets on the wall of the tent with your hands and a flashlight. Check out this video tutorial to get you started.

  • Movies. While this isn’t a traditional camping activity, watching movies from inside the tent will be a thrill for the kids. Open the tent flap, let the kids lie in their sleeping bags, keep the lights off, and dish up some popcorn for the movie viewing. Here are some movies to watch with a camping or nature theme.

      a. Open Season
      b. Honey I Shrunk the Kids
      c. The Great Outdoors
      d. Over the Hedge
      e. Meatballs –for older kids
      f. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
      g. The Parent Trap – (the original version)
      h. Pocahontas
      i. Brother Bear
      j. Homeward Bound

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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Tags: Spring Family Fun Activities

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