13 Ideas for Have a Great First Easter For Baby!

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Wen it comes to celebrating firsts, there’s something special about celebrating that first Easter together.  While your baby is a bit too small to help you with a lot of things, she’ll enjoy watching you decorate the house, color Easter eggs and prepare yummy foods. During your celebration don’t forget to take lots of photos. You’ll want to be sure to include them with her other “firsts” in her scrapbook.

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Coloring eggs

This time honored tradition of coloring Easter eggs started because eggs are a symbol of rebirth.  More than 500 years ago the first book was written mentioning Easter eggs.  Some Christians would not eat meat during Lent and so Easter was the first time they could eat eggs and meat again.  One common game that was played was an egg rolling contest which symbolized the rolling away of the stone on Christ’s tomb.  Your baby will love the look of colored eggs.  Beware, though. It may be a good idea to wait until your child is older to let her eat them.  If you’re looking for egg-coloring inspiration, check out these five blogs.

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Egg Hunt

Many churches and cities hold large Easter egg hunts every year.  The nice thing about these places is that they let the groups go according to age.  You and your little one can run out looking for eggs.  Many times the eggs are just lying on the grass and easy to find.  Invite some other kids over and throw your own Easter egg hunt.  Of the many kinds of events you can host this is probably one of the easiest ones you can do.  If money is tight you can always ask each guest to bring a dozen filled eggs with them so that you don’t have to provide all of the filled eggs and the food for the event.  Have a good time and take a look at these five blog entries to get some tips on egg hunts.

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Desserts

Everyone needs a dessert for Easter dinner.  For baby’s first Easter he may or may not be eating a lot of solid foods, but these desserts are kid-friendly desserts that are perfect for the whole family.  Traditional Easter desserts might be carrot cake or pineapple cake.  Bakers have branched out over the years to include all sorts of edible delights for Easter dinner.  These five blog posts will show traditional, light and decadent Easter desserts.

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Easter Baskets

Typically the Easter bunny leaves a basket for little boys and girls.  You can buy a pre-made Easter basket at the discount store if you are pressed for time, but why would you when it’s so simple to put one together yourself.  There are different levels of Easter baskets, from simple to over-the-top.  These basket ideas have so many cute things that no one will even miss the candy.  So no matter what kind of basket you want to give your little one on her first Easter you should be able to find some ideas within these five blog posts.

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9 Ways You Can Have a Happier Home Today

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I just discovered Live Happy Magazine when someone from the outlet that promotes the science of positive psychology by publishing and promoting inspiring features, relatable stories, and sage advice.  In celebration of March 20 International Day of Happiness, the magazine has launched its its fourth annual #HappyActs campaign, encouraging small actions with a BIG impact that can make someone’s day a little brighter.

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While checking out the mag’s website, I came across an article with 33 ways of creating a happy home. It was refreshing and right on time for me because I need these tips. Here are the top 8 from that list I’ve plucked out, curated to share with you all. Also, I think these are relatively simple and easy to do and some of them are Feng Shui:

  1. Open your home to a new furry friend.

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2. Make sure your home represents your personality.

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3. Open the windows and doors on a warm, sunny day to let in the fresh air.

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4. Nurture a bonsai tree or orchid in a peaceful corner.

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5. Plant a garden.

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6. Make your bed every morning. (It gets your whole day off to a better start.)

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7. Have a garage sale!

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8. Switch out colorful carpet for natural-looking rugs or wood floors. (It reminds us of our savannah roots.)

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9. Create a reading nook.

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Also, here are the ways Live Happy is promoting its  #HappyActs campaing encouraging everyone to  “Make the World a Happier Place by 

  • Performing and sharing as many Happy Acts as possible during the month of March by taking a picture or video and using #HappyActs in your posts and tweets.
  • Texting 82257 the word HappyActs to get a daily reminder in the month of March. Or Signing up for our daily email notices at happyacts.org.
  • Visiting a Live Happy Happiness Wall (for a complete list of cities, go to happyacts.org).
  • In the month of March, download our current digital edition of Live Happy magazine on iTunes or Google Play for free.

Live Happy will donate $1 to Big Brothers Big Sisters* for each #HappyActs shared at a Happiness Wall and has a variety of other resources for participants to continue their celebration of happiness, including the new May issue of Live Happy magazine and the publication’s first book, Live Happy: Ten Practices for Choosing Joy.

Saint Patrick’s Day: How to Make your DIY Shamrock Shake

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The Shamrock Shake is a favorite seasonal dessert served at McDonald‘s in early winter thru Saint Patrick’s Day (and a few weeks after)

All you need is four ingredients: Vanilla Ice Cream, Peppermint Extract, Half & Half and green food coloring. It would only take 5 minutes top!


Add two heaping scoops of ice cream to a blender, pour in one quarter of a cup of half & half,  add 5 drops of peppermint extract and 5-6 drops of green food coloring for the green tint. If you want, you can add one more ingredient: a cherry to garnish on top. Oh yeah, and whipped cream to top.

Voila! PopSugar did a simple video to show you how:

Boss Tips for Your Carnival-Circus Themed Birthday Party

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Looking for a way to keep your kids and their friends busy, but not inside the house making a mess for you? Here’s the solution, make a backyard carnival! You will use things that you already have around the house so it won’t cost you a lot of money either. Here’s how to do it

Create a plan. Start by drawing out a sketch of your backyard and determine how many different games and activities you will need to fill your backyard. Brainstorm games of your own or take some of these.


Can knock down. Take 6 cans and stack them up in a pyramid shape. The cans can be empty or full depending on what you have available. To give the pyramid some stability you may want to stack them up on a board instead of the grass. If you have little kids then you are probably safe letting them use a baseball to knock the cans over, but if you have kids that are strong enough to break out the neighbor’s window with a baseball throw gone awry you may want to use a tennis ball and empty cans.

Make your own coin throw. Create different levels using boxes and paint cans. Put glasses and plates on the levels and let the kids throw real or plastic coins and see if they can get them to land in the glasses or on the plates. Bean bags can be recycled from old games. Keep an eye out at garage sales or flea markets for bean bags. Take some sidewalk chalk on the driveway and draw a tic-tac-toe board with a square around it. Depending on the ages of your kids you will create an appropriate throw line. Kids will take turns with their opponent throwing bean bags to try to get 3 across before their opponent does.

Kissing booth that uses no lips. Fill a jar with Hershey’s kisses and put out some paper and pencils for the kids to guess how many kisses are in the jar. At the end of the day the person who comes closest wins the jar.

Water gun firing range. If you’d like to set up two of these you can have two kids go against each other in a timed match, otherwise one will still be a lot of fun. Gather up some recycled Styrofoam from some old packaging and cut it into chunks. Stack up the chunks and put some golf tees into the Styrofoam. Now balance ping pong balls on the golf tees. Create a shooting line using a yard stick or other straight stick. Then supply some inexpensive water guns. The idea is to shoot the ping pong balls off the tees.

Pin drop is a game of luck and dexterity. Take various sizes of recycled jars and determine point values for each jar. Write the point value on a piece of paper and place it on the jar or under the jar. Give each child 3 clothes pins and have them try to drop them into the jars from about 2 feet above the jars. This distance can be adjusted based on the age of the child to make it harder or easier. If a pin goes into a jar the player gets the point total.

Lucky Duck game is fun for little ones. This game is simple enough that almost any age child can play. Gather a bunch of rubber ducks and before you set up the game paint the bottom of one duck red. Put all the ducks into a bucket of water. Kids can take turns trying to find the winning duck.

Bowling for bottles is fun and simple to do. To set up this game you will need to have 10 empty 2 liter bottles. Fill the bottles with a few inches of water so that they will stand up better. Line them up on the driveway or sidewalk just like at the bowling alley. Now you can roll a small basketball at the bottles or use a play bowling ball if you have one. You can even let the kids throw tennis balls at the bottles to knock them over.

Bottle ring toss for prizes. Cut out the centers of some plastic lids to create rings. You can now put a bunch of bottles of Sunny D, Gatorade, Vitamin water, Seltzer water and flavored water close together. Mark a line 5 feet away and let the kids try to toss a ring onto a bottle. If they are able to ring a bottle then they get to keep that bottle. Another way to play this game is to use the cardboard tubes from paper towels or wrapping paper and bury them a couple inches into the ground and let the kids try to get the rings around the tubes. If they get a ringer then they win a ticket.

Buy a package of tickets or make some on your printer to have as prizes. When all the games are done the kids can use their tickets to buy prizes. The prizes can be homemade cookies or brownies to trinkets bought at the dollar store. The kids will have a blast playing all of the games and of course, winning prizes.

Pi Day: 21 Pie Recipes to Make this Week

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Pi Day is coming up this week: March 14.


The date 3.14 represents the numerical value of pi, which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and is approximately equal to 3.14159……  The numbers after the decimal never repeat and go on forever!

March 14 is generally recognized as a day worldwide when we geeks recognize and celebrate the mathematical phenomenon that is the  unique irrational number: Pi!
Pi has been represented by the Greek letter “π” since the mid-18th century,
Pi day is  also a great day to celebrate, make, eat and be all about PIES!

A lot of schools celebrate by encouraging families to bake pies. If yours is or if you are just interested in baking a pie to celebrate, the Kitchn.com has a great list of 20 with recipes to check out HERE! 

And if you are on a health kit, below that is a recipe from pie recipe from the kitchen of Viki Sater, founder of Viki’s Granola.

Viki’s Granola Mixed Berry Crisp

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Topping Ingredients:
• ¾ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
• 1 cup Viki’s blueberry almond granola
• 1 stick unsalted butter
Filling Ingredients:
• 4 cups frozen mixed berries (don’t thaw)
• 1/3 cup of sugar
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Directions:
• Preheat oven to 375oF.
• Lightly butter oven safe ceramic bowl.
• Place topping ingredients into a bowl, working the butter into the granola mixture. Once complete, set aside.
• Place filling ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
• Pour the berry mixture into the buttered ceramic bowl.
• Pour granola mixture evenly on top of the berries.
• Bake for 40 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.
• Let it rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Eco-Friday: 10 Ways To Kick Processed Foods Out Your Kids’ Diet

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A friend of mine posted a photo of a very disgusting green sandwich that came with the brand new packaged branded portable lunch kit she got for her kid (I won’t say the name of the very popular brand). Ick!

It reminded me of my long-standing opposition to processed foods. Not only are pre-packaged foods loaded with extra sugar, salt, additives and preservatives, but they usually have extra calories, cholesterol and saturated fats that fresh whole foods.


But we must admit, in this very busy days that we live in, it’s easier and way more convenient and less time-consuming than putting together all natural meals for breakfast and lunch.

To help out myself and other moms, I reassembled a past blog post with a list of healthy alternatives to processed foods for us to consider serving up for our children. It may take a few extra steps and time out of the day, but if it will save the nausea of looking at a green pre-packaged meal kit sandwich then let’s do it!

  1. Opt for Homemade Granola Over Pre-Packaged Cereals – It doesn’t take much to mix together old fashioned oats, sunflower seeds, coconut, nuts, spices, honey and no-sugar-added applesauce to create delicious batch of granola for the kids. One of the perks of homemade granola is that you get to add the flavors your kids enjoy while avoiding preservatives and additives. Milk turns your homemade granola into a breakfast cereal, while mixing it with yogurt makes it a healthy and substantial snack.
  2. Skip Breakfast Bars and Toaster Treats – Both are good for quick fixes in the morning, but are they good for you? Substitute whole wheat toast with a nut butter or an all fruit, no-sugar added spread. It’s fast, nutritious and just as tasty.
  3. Freezing Homemade Pancakes – Commercially-frozen pancakes don’t taste nearly as good as the whole grain pancakes you can make yourself. You can whip up a large batch of the tasty cakes and put them in freezer bags to pull out when you need them. Since you are the one making them, you know exactly what they contain, and you can be sure your kids are getting healthy food without chemical additives
  4. Choose Fruit Over Syrup – Pancake syrup might be tasty, but anything other than pure maple syrup is filled with chemicals, flavoring additives and preservatives. Try substituting pureed fruit or one of the many all-fruit spreads available without the added sugar. Another tasty topper is natural applesauce.
  5. Make Your Own Pasta Sauce – Have you ever noticed how spaghetti usually tastes better the second day? Make your own pasta sauce from scratch and you will eliminate all the preservatives and excess sugar. Make enough to freeze dinner-sized portions and you will have instant meals for busy days.
  6. Cut Out Canned Pasta – Opening a can of pasta is quick and easy, and kids love those little “o’s” and alphabet letters. You can make those quick and easy meals healthy by purchasing fun pasta shapes and combining them with your homemade pasta sauce. Freeze child size portions and you have plenty of meals ready to just heat and serve.
  7. Make Your Own Lunch Kits –Kids love tearing into those lunches with crackers, deli meat, cheese and some kind of sugary treat. You can create the same effect using healthy ingredients and adding fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole grain crackers, organic cheese and your kids’ favorite treats still allow them to stack and assemble lunch, just without the added chemicals. Try carrot chips as a substitute for greasy potato chips.
  8. Choose Fruit and Vegetable Bread Over Cakes – Every now and then, cake and other sweets are a nice treat. Still, a steady diet of such fare is not good for you. Substituting quick breads like banana bread or zucchini bread can be a healthy alternative, especially when they’re made with a health-conscious recipe. A little softened cream cheese with fruit makes a nice topping.
  9. Make Mini Pizzas – Instead of the fat-laden, commercially-frozen pizza, offer your kids the opportunity to make their own mini pizzas. All you need are some whole wheat English muffins, a little marinara sauce, low fat cheese and any other toppings they’d like to add. Pile on the good stuff and bake in the oven until the cheese is a nice golden-brown. These little pizzas are easy and fun to make, the kids will love them and you’ll have the pleasure of knowing that your kids are eating healthily. For variety, you can make morning pizzas by adding scrambled eggs as a topping. Give it even more flair by using salsa and crumbled turkey or chicken sausage.
  10. Pass on the Cookies – Cookies are an easy snack to reach for when little tummies rumble, but they’re also full of empty calories. A healthy alternative that kids will enjoy includes mini rice cakes with banana slices and peanut butter in between. When you use natural, no-sugar-added peanut butter, you have a healthy, protein rich snack.

Part of making the change to healthy substitutes is not saying anything about what’s being substituted. Just offer the alternative as you would any other food, and soon you will find your kids eating healthy foods without complaining. Ideally, starting your kids off early in life with less sugar and bad fats means a much healthier childhood, but it’s never too late to change. It may take a little time to get older kids on board, but modeling good eating habits yourself and getting them involved in helping make the meals will go a long way towards advancing your cause.

Here! Here!

We’re On This List of Top 16 Blogs to Read Before Baby Arrives

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Every now and then we are featured on a round up or grouping of the best pregnancy, mom and/or parenting websites and blogs for parents and parents-to-be to read.

In appreciation and acknowledgement of the inclusion, we like to say thank you and this time, we are shouting out Babyprepping.com for including us among its listing of the “Top 16 Must-Read Pregnancy Blogs to Visit Before Baby Arrives”.

About Bellyitch, the post reads:


BellyItchBlog is an informative blog not only on the issue of just your experience but also celebrity pregnancies and upkeep. It is fully-staffed with proud parents like yourself and is updated 5 times daily. This is a great blog if you are looking into the latest gossip on the Beyonce pregnancy, or just looking for information on your own.

Nice!

We are in good company with some other top sites that we follow and equally enjoy.

Take a gander when you get a chance at the list and a brief description of each blog, which you can find Here!

 

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Saint Patrick’s Day: Bar Tricks to Hide You’re Preggers From Friends

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If you are newly preggers but haven’t leaked the news to colleagues, acquaintances and friends yet because it’s still quite early, hiding it from pals at a Saint Patrick’s Day outing may be tough.

If you can’t come up with an excuse to skip it because up until now you’ve been known in your circles as the group lush, you’re going to have to be creative to hide from those sleuths in your social circle

Over the years, we’ve curated some ideas and suggestions from various women who’ve had to play off their lack of drinking during the critical early months of their pregnancy when they were not yet ready to start telling others.


Here are some things you can do to maybe head off curious looks and questions:

DRESS:  Stick with A-line tops or dresses or empire waist tops to conceal any bump that may have emerged. Whatever you do, just say no to the new crop top trend this round! mmmkay?

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DRINKS: Order a coke or other dark drink at the bar away from everyone so no one knows you’re not consuming alcohol.

Your friends may assume there is liquor or alcohol in that glass. Then, the trick is to nurse that ONE drink all night so you get to pass when someone orders another round for the group. You won’t have to do the okie doke twice.

You may not  want to waste good liquor but another option is to  discreetly place  your full glass on the bar away from the group, then find a random a nearby empty glass to pick up.  It may sound a bit deceitful and grimy, but hey, you do what you have to do.

If everyone’s going out for beer, you cannot go wrong with carrying your own bottle of O’Doul’s or some other non-alcoholic beer in an oversized handbag and pouring that in an emptied glass when no one’s looking. It has the same look and consistency of real bear. You would be seen actually drinking a frothy drink.

Kombucha is a fermented black tea drink that can also look like alcoholic ale. You could also use that as a subsitute.

NAUSEA AND VOMITTING: 

Fortunately, if you have to hurl in the bathroom, and you’re at a pub, you may have plenty of company among other too inebriated light weights in there doing the same. ha!

No one will suspect it’s you in the toilet hurling or they may think you had one too many! For once, being considered to be the too drunk girl in the room has its benefits.

Have Fun and Good Luck keeping your baby-baking secret concealed!!!

ShopStyle

20+ Blogs with Family Friendly Saint Patrick’s Day Crafts & Ideas

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While everyone knows that St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday, it’s unlikely that many know the story behind St. Patrick’s Day.

In a nutshell, a man named Patrick converted a large group of Irish people from Paganism to Christianity and was made a Saint.  Now considered the patron saint of Ireland, St. Patrick used the shamrock as the symbol of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The color green is used because of the rich green hills that are found all over Ireland.  You may be wondering how St. Patrick’s Day turned into a day for drinking, and there is a reason for that too.  St. Patrick told a bar owner who was cheating his customers by pouring short glasses of liquor that there was a demon in his basement and that the only way to be rid of it was to be generous.  After that, St. Patrick said that everyone should celebrate with some of the hard stuff on St. Patrick’s Day. However, the holiday isn’t solely reserved for those of legal drinking age; there are plenty of family-friendly things to do to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day too.


Check out these 20+ blog entries to find craft projects to make with the kids, decorations for your home, recipes to make for your family and other activities to do as well.

Crafts

Make these simple crafts with your kids as part of your celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  This often overlooked holiday can be really entertaining if you make a point to celebrate it just like you would other holidays with special crafts, decorations and food.  These five blog posts will share some craft projects you can enjoy with your kids.

Decorations

Up your house’s festivity factor this St. Patrick’s Day by decorating in plenty of green and gold. Some of these decorating ideas are appropriate for younger children, while others are better suited for the older kids.  Get together as a family and enjoy some creative time together decorating your home.

Meals

All things green are up for grabs on St. Patrick’s Day.  What, you don’t think your kids will be excited about spinach and kale and other green leafy food?  No problem! Just make regular food green instead and see what the kids think of it.  It doesn’t have to be just for dinner, enjoy these five blogs that have breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas.

Desserts

While green is definitely the star color for St. Patrick’s Day, it isn’t all confined to just that color. After all, you can’t forget about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Make some rainbow inspired desserts instead of just green ones this year.  For some inspiration check out these five blog posts.

Activities

What kind of things can you do as a family or with the kids for St. Patrick’s Day?  Some cities have St. Patty’s Day parades, so you might see if your city is having one.  Or you might decide to have a party for the kids in the neighborhood.  Take a look at these five blog articles for some ideas on activities that your kids or your family might enjoy.

4 Ways to Keep Your Teen Busy This Spring Break

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Although this site focuses mainly on trying to conceive couples, pregnant women and first time parents, we do know some of you have teens and step teens to mind.

Spring Break is quickly approaching, but what do you do when you don’t have the time to go anywhere or if you have other commitments that make taking a trip with the family impossible at this time?


The last thing you want is to find your hands full with teenagers who are losing their minds from boredom! Worse yet, how do you make sure they stay out of trouble while you are at work? If these questions are plaguing you, then it may be a good idea to take a look at these 28 blogs that can give you some inspiration for surviving this Spring Break.

Games
Playing games might seem like an activity reserved for younger kids, but what if you have both older and younger kids? There are a wide range of apps available that are perfect for keeping your tweens and teens busy, as well as a variety of board games that teens will love playing. These seven blog posts are full of answers for curing boredom.

Crafts
If your teen or tween likes to get creative, then encouraging her to start a new project over Spring Break might keep her busy for the whole week. You may need to buy some supplies, but that will be money well spent if she can stay creative and busy all Spring break. Find out what types of crafts she likes or show her something that you like. Teach her to sew and challenge her to make her own quilt. The project can be put together with things that remind her of years past, and by the time she graduates it will be a memory quilt she can take to college. If she doesn’t think she’s the crafty type, you could always try something different, like getting her started on Zentangles.

Activities
Finding activities for your teens and tweens to do during Spring Break can be tricky. Many times area businesses will have activities for teens during their week off of school. There might be a public service project that your teen could do to earn extra credit for school or free movies available to watch at the library. Your teenager can probably walk or ride his bike to the local library or YMCA if there are activities there. This could give your teen a chance to get out of the house for a while and do something with friends in a supervised setting.

Short Outings
If you don’t have to work over Spring Break either, then maybe you could get away on a few local outings that are close to home. You can become a tourist in your own city or surrounding area. Many times, you can live in an area for years and never see the sites that make that area famous. Take this time with your family to explore a little. Some of these outings can even be done after work or on the weekends.

Good luck, parents!!