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5 Fun Non Political Ways to Teach Your Child About Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving as we know it was celebrated in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was a celebration that was born from the pilgrims desire to give prayers of thanksgiving to God for giving them a good harvest.  Thanksgiving was tied to religious celebrations for hundreds of years, but today there are many secular celebrations as well.  Many times, Thanksgiving is over shadowed by Halloween and Christmas because it’s not as flashy or filled with gifts and treats.

Here are some ways to teach your kids to be thankful and to enjoy Thanksgiving.

  1. Create a thankful jar.  

    For this, you will need a jar of some sort.  This is a great time to recycle a jar that you have recently emptied.  Wash and dry the jar thoroughly and remove any labels that might be on it.  Cut a strip of printer paper that is the right size to wrap around the jar.  Encourage the kids to decorate the strip with a Thanksgiving theme, making sure to write “Thank you” or “Thanks” some place on the strip with crayons or markers.  When the kids are finished, glue the strip of paper around the jar. If you like you can tie a pretty ribbon around the mouth of the jar.  Have the kids cut up slips of paper that can be used for everyone to write what they are thankful for during the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  During dinner everyone should pass around the jar and take a slip of paper out and read it.

  2. Read a book.  

    There are many books in the library or at the bookstore that explain the story of the first Thanksgiving.  Pick out a book that is age appropriate for the children you are reading to so that they can better understand the story.  Use the story to teach the kids how you feel about Thanksgiving and why you think it’s important.

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  3. Play a game.  

    Create your own Thanksgiving trivia game.  Go online and find a bunch of facts about Thanksgiving and put them on cards.  Each question should be on its own card. The person who gets the question right can keep the card, that way you can see who wins the most cards at the end.  The beauty of this game is that you can gear the questions to the age of the players.  You may need to have true and false questions or multiple choice questions for little ones.  This game can even be played at the table during Thanksgiving.  You can reserve a special set of adult questions to be added to the game.  You might want to print out the adult questions on a different color paper or using a different color of ink so that you will know which questions are meant for adults.  The game can be fun and challenging, and it will also teach your children a lot about Thanksgiving.

  4. Cook an authentic dish.  

    There are some misconceptions about what kind of food was served at the first Thanksgiving dinner.  Research with your child what foods would have been there and then prepare some of those dishes on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.  A few suggestions would be: succotash, corn soup, squash, beans, maple sugar candy and berries (even cranberries).  While you are cooking you can talk about how you think the pilgrims and Native Americans would have cooked their food since they didn’t have electricity.  You never know, you might find some new family favorites.

  5. Watch a Food-Centered Family Movie 

Enjoy a movie that centers around people gathering and eating food that is age appropriate. There are plenty on family-focused channels.

Spend some time with the kids talking about Thanksgiving and why it’s important to you and your family.  Many people find that adopting an attitude of thankfulness all year long helps them enjoy life more.  Give it a try and see what you think.

Last Minute Halloween Costumes You Can Pull Off Quickly

Even though we are in a pandemic, some are still going to celebrate with intimate gatherings with just family, or at Halloween parades and virtual events. If you are you looking for a last minute Halloween costume you can literally just thrown on using pieces and items likely already in your closet, you are in luck!

There are some pretty easy costumes of cartoon characters that can be re-created easily. I curated these last year, and apended them for this year.

Here is how to pull it off really quick.

Here is an easier meme to pull off:

You’ll need to head to your craft store to pick up a large roll of light green felt, that you cut into triangles then sew or hot glue together to form the collar of Kermit the Frog’s neckline. Wear a darker green tee shirt and black pants, carry a sign that says “But That’s None of My Business” and a cup of tea and voila! Instant nosy kermit meme.

 

To be the Dos Equis bear guy, it helps if you are already a guy with a beard. Then you just have to pick up a large cardboard from your local office supply store and get the large stick on letters. Cut out the rectangle for the windo and pick up a couple bottle of Dos Equis! Done!



A blue shirt and denim jeans, make up to color your nose brown or black and a couple of books and you’re

Roxanne from A Goofy Movie



Singer Sade has a signature pull back hair style but you can be her by investing in a cuff from a local thrift store, a denim shirt you have or get one while thrifting, pair with cold hoops and red lipstick.



A Dora The Explorer costume also just requires a pink shirt and orange shorts you can get from a consignment or second hand store. Pair with white tennis shoes and orange socks and throw on a backpack and you’re ready for MAP!



It helps if you already have naturally curly hair and work in the medical field then you can go as Dr. Bo Johnson from the ABC family TV show Black’ish



If you have a red blazer and black shirt, you would only need to invest in a roll of metallic tape from the Home building store or drug store to cut out the silver neckline, then wear a back pack. If you have a blunt cut bob weave, Even better to become Jane from Daria

My fave which I think I am going as is Arthur the Aardvark because I already own a yellow sweater, white collar shirt and blue denim jeans and faux eye glasses. If I want to be creative, I put together a cut-out of the “When Nobody knows your costume” frame and ball up my fist and become the Arthur meme! See it here:

 

An orange bob wig, a light blue shirt and khaki pants are all you need to be Lois from Family Guy

If you don’t have a green jacket, comb through the racks of your local thrift store for one to wear over a yellow shirt with a black skirt with boots and you’re Daria.

You too can be Velma from Scooby Doo in an orange long sleeve shirt, red, pink or darkish magenta pleated skirt, orange socks and red vans. A bob wig and eyeglasses complete the look. Get your Thrifting on if you do not already have these items in your closet or head to your fave box retailer who usually sell generic colored clothing.

A green tube top and denim jeans and I could be Roberta Tubbs from The Family Guy spinoff show The Cleveland Show. 

It may take confidence to rock a white crop top, denim mini skirt and thigh high boots but if you have these items in your closet, you’re half way there and can be Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman



I don’t know where they found a computer graveyard but this little girl wore a green denim shirt over a white tank and shorts to cosplay singer Singer Sza from the cover of her first album Ctr.Alt.Del

RIP to actor John Witherspoon who passed away at the age of 77. He is famous for his role in the cult movie classic Friday as is the character Felisha. The saying “bye Felisha” which recently was a pop culture reference for dismissing people is also from that movie. If you want to dress as her, an oversized maroon, burgundy sweat shirt or shirt and big white or tan shorts will do it. Partition your hair into several plaits. from Friday

If you have a leather jacket and red scarf already like I do, you can dress as Nagan from The Walking Dead. Just need to invest in red paint from the costume store and a bat.



Finally, anyone with curly blonde hair or a curly blonde wig or weave can wear a denim jeans with a plaid shirt over an orange drop top or regular orange shirt and become Debbie from The Wild Thornberries

Photo source:

Pregnant Women Who Nailed Their Halloween Costume

Every year, Buzzfeed does a great round up of pregnant women who knocked it out the park with their Halloweed costume that included their bellies in their get-up.

This year, even though less people are attending Halloween Parties, they are still planning to dress up even if just to share the photo online and in social media.

Here is a few of the winning looks that made the site this year and year’s past. Head over to Buzzfeed to see the rest.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Happy Halloween!! 🥔🥔 @seamusmullen did I nail it? #halloween #mrpotatohead #pregnancyperks

A post shared by Neha Jambhekar (@neha177) on

20+ Halloween MakeUp and Nail Design and Art Ideas

Halloween will be different this year so you may want to experiment with fun ways to dress up your face and nails to dazzle friends and those you encounter at work or while out and about. As I posted in my last post about Halloween for kids, another option is to just do a fun panedmic-era photo shoot and post up the photos on social media to share with famiy and friends.

Find design source from my Halloween Nails Group board HERE! 

My fave Halloween eye make up look is this one right here which includes bright sunset eyeshadow look that I found years ago and blogged about and shared in a now, popular and widely shared pin.

Finally, I assmebled 20 of my fave Halloween themed nail art designs on my group DIY and Nail Art Board (click here for source) and am sharing the images below to give you ideas.

You will need a base coat, a nice top coat from a premium brand like O.P.I., a precision brush with black polish and a set of nail art tools in a kit like Red Carpet manicure’s.

Next if you have, use or collect all the colors in the designs below, you’ll have everything you need to recreate these looks!



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Pandemic Halloween Family Photo Shoot: Baby/Toddler Costume Ideas

 

So… Halloween is probably going to be a lot different this year. The CDC is recommending that parents skip door-to-door trick or treating and even parking lot trunk or treat events.

Whether you try to do a low key gathering with just family, attend a socially distant costume parade or visit a haunted forest in lieu of  haunted house, as the CDC recommends, you can always just dress up the kiddies and take photos to share on social media.

If a familly Halloween photo shoot is in the plans this year and you’re thinking of ways to dress the baby in the family, there are tons of creative ideas on the Internet.

You can go with traditional like pumpkin, a store-bought costume or you could go brave and try a DIY costume based on pop culture.

POPSUGAR assembled a list of 60+ of the most searched costume ideas and among them are baby ideas like Starbucks employee, Harry Potter, Chuckie from the horror flick, Child’s Play, and Boss Baby!

See the entire post HERE!

And if you want an easy way you, consider buying one of these:

Infant Bat Costume

Nissin Cup of Noodle Costume



Baby Yoda Costume

Snow White Costume

Lobster Costume

Shrimp Costume

 

Puppy Costume

Taco Bell Burrito Costume

image source

Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Costume

or HERE

Pope Costume

 

Starbucks Costume

Make Your Own Bath Bombs In 4 Easy Steps

It’s raining a heck of a lot in my part of the world and so much so that our outdoor fun and activities are becoming limited. I’m on the hunt for fun indoor things to do with the kids. I’m a  fan of pampering products, natural oils and the like so I thought it would be fun to create our very own bath bombs to make bathtime fun again!

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

The kids haven’t been able to enjoy bathtub toys since they were little. With bath bombs, a casual bath can turn into a relaxing and visually stimulating time watching the bombs of florals, swirls, fragrances, glitter and more explode and fizzle in the tub.

I got this recipe from Popular Science

Stats:

    • Time: 10 minutes of work, several hours of drying time
    • Cost: About $2 per bomb if you make a dozen and more if you add biodegradable glitter—but prices drop if you make a big batch
    • Difficulty: Easy

 

Tools & Materials

Instructions

STEP ONE

First, mix the dry ingredients (baking soda, Epsom salt, corn starch, and citric acid) together in a large bowl. Use the whisk to make sure the mixture is clump-free. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a key ingredient in this bathtub explosion: When the high pH powder reacts with a low pH acid, it produces carbon dioxide bubbles. Remember those baking soda and vinegar volcanoes you made in elementary school? Citric acid takes the place of vinegar in this chemical equation, but it doesn’t react with sodium bicarbonate until it gets wet. If you want, you can add visual decorations like biodegradable glitter into the mix. Just don’t use regular-old craft glitter, because it’s no good for our friends in the ocean.

 

STEP TWO

Mix the wet ingredients (oil, water, essential oil, and food coloring). The easiest way to do this is  to put them in a jar and shake them up. This is the step where you need to make some important decisions about scent. You can tweak quantity to suit your taste, but you should use about two teaspoons total of essential oil or perfume. Try cinnamon, cocoa, peppermint, or coffee scents for the winter holidays (or a combination of all four to make a mocha-licious bath). Or go with something classic, like a spa-like eucalyptus and lavender mix or a straight-up sugary hit of vanilla extract. The possibilities are truly endless. It’s also time to make decisions about color.

Pop Sci recommends sticking to a single hue to avoid accidentally muddying the bath waters. Stick to something like 4-6 drops of food coloring total, but feel free to mix up different pigments.

STEP THREE

Slowly add the liquid to the dry mixture. Really slowly. Like a teaspoon at a time. Whisk as you go, and slow down if things start to look fizzy. You should end up with a mixture that just barely clumps together, like damp sand.

STEP FOUR

Stuff that stuff into your silicone molds, ASAP. You don’t want the mix to dry out while it’s still in the bowl, which is why you should make sure you have enough molds to make a dozen or more bombs at once.

Press the mixture down firmly into your silicone molds of choice.

Let the bath bombs dry. If your mold has a lot of details in it, you might just want to give them a whole day to be safe. Then pop them out.

Throw one into the tub and enjoy the explosive fruits of your labor. Bag the rest up in cellophane and make your friends and family love you forever.

Enjoy!

Get Family Organized for the New School Year and All Year

Life will be so much easier this school year of distant learning and continued remote working if families get and dremain organized. I co-sign all of these tips from guest blogger Marty Basher, design expert with Modular Closets,https://www.modularclosets.com who explains how to get the entire family involved.

There’s nothing that promotes family unity more than both parents and kids sharing in household responsibilities. While it depends on the age and stage of the kids, here are a few tips that can help children learn to be more independent in their everyday lives while contributing to daily tasks.

Set expectations.

  • Even small children can learn to follow routines and do their ‘chores’. If anything, most kids thrive on a little routine. Figure out what they can manage in terms of household tasks, for their age, and set up a chart so they have a visual reminder. You can apply a rewards system for the reluctant helper, but ultimately, the goal is to get kids to understand that being part of a family means contributing to its well being.

Establish routines.

  • Getting kids to start to do the things you need them to do everyday is largely a matter of habit. If they get into the habit of hanging up their bookbags and coats when they walk in the door, rather than dumping them on the floor, over time you will have to remind them less and less until one day, they’re doing it all on their own! The key to that is adding some organization to the madness, which is addressed in the next point!
  • Some other routines that make a difference include: picking out clothes, making lunches and packing school bags the night before; putting all soiled clothes in a hamper; emptying out lunch bags in the kitchen and placing dirty cutlery or containers in the sink; putting all school related materials that you are meant to see in a designated ‘inbox’. By having designated spaces for items—hooks for hats and baskets for mittens in the entryway, for example—you can establish routines for ensuring that items get put away properly, rather than tossed willy nilly all over the house.

laundry detergent

Get organized.

  • In order to establish routines, it helps to be a little more organized so that everything that comes into the house has a home, and everyone in the house knows where to put things. An example that plagues many families: sports gear. If you have a designated storage space for each child—hooks, shelves, or even bins—to put sports bags and a laundry basket for soiled gear, all cleaned items can be returned to the appropriate storage area, so that they are always at the ready to be packed for practice. This all depends on how much space you have to work with, but a full closet isn’t always necessary: you could carve out a section of space in a mud room to accomplish the same thing. The key is that there is a designated spot for these items and everyone knows where that space is.

Establish a family center.

  • If you don’t want your kids asking what’s for lunch, or can you buy XYZ, or what’s for dinner, all the time, it’s a good idea to establish a family center. This is a spot, in the kitchen for example, where there is a board that shows everyone what’s going on in the family. I can include chore charts, a schedule of activities and appointments (monthly), a menu plan, a shopping list, as well as baskets for individuals to place important information, like school forms (see the point above on the ‘inbox’)! This way everyone has access to the information about who is where, who is doing what and what’s for dinner!
  • Speaking of organizing, playrooms and kids bedrooms can be a minefield, but you can make it easier for them to stay a little bit more organized, in age appropriate ways:
    • For small children, plastic bins with photos of what goes into each taped to the front makes it a lot easier for them to help with tidying the playroom. One for LEGO, one for dolls, one for trains… you get the “picture”!
    • Make sure that their closets are useful for their age. For example, having some hooks and baskets at a low level for a small child enables them to hang up their hat and put away their stuffies, while you put away items on hangers or in drawers. As they get older and taller, they can take over more and more of these tasks, getting into a solid habit of putting things away, rather than leaving them on the floor.

laundry detergent

    • A hammock in the corner makes a great stuffie holder and is easy for kids to see their ‘friends’ but keep them tidy. Another option is a hanging sweater organizer in the closet: for all the extras! Clear plastic shoe organizers that hang on the back of the door make use of a little used space, but are perfect for older kids and their collectibles, card collections, or even their supply of nail polish.

laundry detergent

    • Older children need aworkspace for schoolwork, as well as the supplies that go with that, so whether that’s in their bedroom, or in a den with a desk, make sure that each child has a way to store their materials, marked papers and so on. A shelf in a closet with a basket of their own makes perfect sense for this. Another great option is a rolling file folder / drawer unit, which they can move out of the way when it’s not in use.

      [COPY THESE HOMEWORK STATIONS]

    • Get into the habit of doing a seasonal switch, where out of season clothes are sorted (piles for those that need to be cleaned, repaired, handed down or tossed out) and the ones that are being kept or handed down get moved to a storage area—a closet in the basement or garage works well for this—so that only the items that are immediately useful are occupying space in the kid’s closet. It’s much easier to put things away if there is space to do so!
    • Finding furniture that serves double duty is a good way to maximize your storage.

laundry detergent

For example, a bench to sit on that also is a storage unit under the lid is perfect for toys that get less use, extra blankets or other things that you want to keep handy. Having these in other parts of the house also makes it easier for kids to get used to putting their things away in communal spaces. That way, the family living room doesn’t look like a toy store blew up in it at all times!

Good luck, parents!

Do Pandemic Mental Health Checks With Your Teens in These 8 Ways

A new study says the COVID pandemic is taking a toll on our collective mental health.

Per NPR:

Nearly a quarter of people in the United States are experiencing symptoms of depression, according to a study published Wednesday. That’s nearly three times the number before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

And those with a lower income, smaller savings and people severely affected by the pandemic — either through a job loss, for example, or by the death of a loved one — are more likely to be bearing the burden of these symptoms.

When a population experiences something traumatic, such as a pandemic or a natural disaster, researchers usually expect a rise in mental illnesses in the weeks and months following the event.

But the mental health toll of the coronavirus pandemic seems to be far greater than previous mass traumas, says Catherine Ettman, a doctoral student in public health at Brown University and an author of the study, which was published in the current issue of the American Medical Association journal JAMA Network Open.

The impact for teens can be devastating.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among teens, but experts are fearing the worst as young adults prepare to face unknown challenges that the return of school may bring – from coping with varying curricula, stressing over grades, and continued social isolation from friends and trusted teachers.

In Raising Global Teens, Dr. Anisha Abraham analyzes key subjects facing today’s teens, in the context of our modern, mobile world. Dr. Abraham shares some real-world examples with practical solutions, drawing on her latest research and personal experiences to help teens thrive in school despite COVID-19 and the eradication of their daily lives.

Some  points from the book include:

1.  Stop Comparing – Remind your teens that no one is perfect. Everyone is “uneven”, meaning they excel in some areas, but not others, and that is OK.

2. Time Management – Encourage your teen to set goals, prioritize tasks, break large assignments into smaller steps, work for designated time periods and take  breaks, and use a reminder system for deadlines.

3. Unwinding – Make sure your teen is taking time to fill their “anti-stress toolbox” with healthy ways to unwind. This could be as simple as talking to trusted friends or watching a funny show.

4. Mind & Body Care – Ensure your teen is getting adequate sleep, eating well, and exercising to regulate mood and energy levels.

5.Resilience – Support your teen during these times of uncertainty and  help them to build resilience and get “bounce”

6. Conversations – Have important conversations with teens about challenging topics such as pubertal changes, sexting, vaping, planning for the future and more

7. Signs of Depression & Suicide Risk – Understand warning signs which include: mood swings, withdrawal, poor sleeping or appetite, trouble with memory and concentration, talking or writing about suicide, and giving away belongings.

8. Get Help and Support. Know when and where to get professional support  if you believe your teen is depressed or suicidal. Each city, county, state and community have resources, some free, some paid that are available. Don’t wait too long. Do some research online and get help sooner than later. It could mean the difference between life and death.

Mental health is a serious thing to consider especially in this pandemic era. Consider these tips and purchasing Dr. Abraham’s book at Amazon here!

We are all in this together.

Back to School: How to Help Your Child Manage Bullying

Kids dread returning to school for a number of reasons.

Some kids worry about returning to school out of fear for facing their bullies, not being included in activities or social groups, or both. But what can parents do to help kids build mental strength, reduce anxiety, and avoid bullies and social distress?

Best-selling author, family therapist, TEDx speaker and Psychotherapist Jodi Aman, LCSW, has a few tips on how to help their kids navigate these onerous social experiences to mitigate their negative impact.

Here’s Jodi’s top tips to help parents prepare for their children returning to school when faced with anxiety and bullying:

  1. Go over some bullying scenarios with your kids and make them come up with ways to respond to each one. This brainstorming will open their problem-solving mind so when they are in a situation they will trust themselves and be able to think their way out, rather than freezing or doing something unsafe. Remind them where to go for help at school and that they can always talk to you when they get home.

 

  1. Let them know why kids bully. Just saying that “they are jealous” isn’t enough to understand why someone might be jealous. Explain that miserable people are mean because they don’t like themselves. Go over examples from TV or movies so they understand this concept. This will help them not take the mean comments into their hearts.

 

  1. Some friend groups have cultures of drama and this may not be the best place for your child’s tender heart. If your kid is being excluded have them use their noticing skills to find the nice kids. They are always there and may be just the friend group your child is looking for.
  1. Ask your kids about helping their friends when they are bullied. Do they stand up to them? Do they check in with them? Make sure you go over these options for how not to be a bystander.

The bottom line is to be active! Good luck, parents!

Tips for Balancing Remote Work and Full-Time Parenting During COVID-19

balancing parenting and working

By: Sheyla Scaffo, People Experience Associate & Executive Business Administrator at Bunny Studio

Many parents are currently navigating an entirely new normal: Working from home while taking care of their kids full-time. As school picks back up and many kids remain at home for remote learning, figuring out how to balance their schedule and a full-time job sometimes feels totally unmanageable.

Most parents have had experience working remotely in one-off, unplanned situations. However, working at home day in and day out for the foreseeable future while also caring for (and in some cases, teaching) kids at home proves to be a major struggle without careful planning where needed and flexibility when possible.

Read on to learn how to create better routines and habits that can help parents maintain a healthy work-life integration:

1. When possible, keep things flexible

This is often easier said than done. However, when you do have the ability, consider getting creative with your work schedule to base your hours around your kids’ schedules. Giving yourself the flexibility to work differently during this time is crucial to maintaining work-life balance.

This can work in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re an early morning person or a night owl, or you are used to commuting a long way, consider working on projects during these times when kids are usually sleeping. Of course, there will always be vital tasks and meetings that require collaboration with your colleagues during regular work hours, but finding ways to give yourself time for small breaks during the day will help you and your kids stay on track.

2. Establish a kid-free zone

There will be times when you need to hunker down and complete work items free from distractions, which is why it is important to establish an area of the house where you can separate yourself from your family.

Not only is it important for this space to be free from other people, but it also needs to be free from other distractions such as dirty laundry and other messes. Keeping the area clean and organized will keep you from wanting to disengage from work to complete other tasks.

3. Clearly communicate with your family

If you have a partner who is also working from home and sharing kid duties with you, it is crucial to communicate the times you can and cannot help out during the day. Setting these expectations will allow for a much smoother daily routine.

It is also important to communicate with your children if they are old enough. Set expectations for when there will be breaks in your day that you can check-in, whether it be a quick snack break, lunch, or even hourly check-ins.

4. Utilize special toys and screen time during work hours

Set aside designated toys and other gadgets, as well as movies or TV shows, to be used when you need to focus-in during the day. This will give your kids something to look forward to and will allow for some distraction-free work time.

 

5. Don’t overwork

During this time, it can be easy to feel like we need to push ourselves to work extra hours, but the reality is that taking the time to unplug and reset each day is critical to success as a parent and an employee.

With schools and offices closed, parents are likely finding themselves faced with a to-do list that has only grown. Although many of us have now had a few months to settle into fully-remote work, that does not mean keeping up with distance-learning while figuring out the best way to accomplish your work has gotten any easier. Designing a schedule that fits your needs is easier said than done, but following the above tips should help ensure you are on the right track.

Should you find yourself out of work during this time, consider that there are other work options out there, such as freelance and contract work, that may help you meet your scheduling and finance needs. Freelancing is also a great source of supplemental income for people while they look for new full-time employment. Just make sure you choose the right platform to help you get the right kind of projects, such as Bunny Studio.