Decorating ideas for small dining spaces, modern setups and more.
Much like the kitchen, the dining room is the heart of the home. It’s where you enjoy delicious meals and enjoy quality time as a family, so it’s only right that you’d want a clutter-free space that’s full of style. Whether your dining room needs a complete makeover or just a few basic design upgrades like a fresh coat of paint on your walls or floor, the possibilities are endless. There are a slew of inexpensive design projects you can tackle over a weekend or in a matter of minutes to take your dining area to the next level.
And if papers and bills have taken over your dining table, don’t fret. “You need to figure out the logjams that are creating clutter and handle those with portable solutions,” professional organizer Lorie Marrero says. For instance, you can easily purchase a rolling cart for paying bills at the table, so paper clutter stays out of sight come dinnertime.
Ready to revamp your dining room? Browse these chic dining rooms that are filled with more than enough design inspiration.
Made from ceramic stoneware with a slight glossy finish, our Pure White Vases come in a range of shapes and sizes. Collect a few and arrange this everyday must-have on mantels, ledges and tabletops.
Before sending children to summer camp this year, parents should ask themselves a few questions.
Experts say parents should learn about their child’s individual risk factors for COVID-19 and how children’s involvement in a summer camp program impacts the safety of other family members.
“Ultimately, parents will need to be cognizant of their children’s and other family members’ own risk factors and vaccination statuses in order to make these decisions,” said Dr. Sarah Schaffer DeRoo, a pediatrician at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
It would help if you also considered what risk factors might make sending your child to camp more challenging, including underlying health conditions or having a family member with compromised immunity.
Summer camp can be a chance for children and teens to make friends, learn new skills, and spend time outdoors. Kids have missed out on a lot of these opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Summer Camp could be where your child can relax and reconnect, but worried since COVID-19 continues to spread. More than a year into the pandemic, studies show that camps with proper safety steps in place can greatly limit the spread of COVID-19 infections. Key steps include mask-wearing, physical distancing, having smaller groups, and cleaning and disinfecting as part of the daily routine.
If you’re considering camp for your child this summer, whether it’s a just during the day or an overnight program, here are some questions to ask.
Will masks be required indoors at camp?
All campers over age 2 and all camp staff should wear face masks indoors, unless advised against it medical or developmental reasons–especially if not everyone is vaccinated. In general, masks do not need to be worn for outdoor activities except in crowded settings where there is a lot of close contact.
Will everyone be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before camp starts?
All camp staff who are eligible should be fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp. All eligible campers ages 12 years and above should also be encouraged to be fully vaccinated. If a camp operates with all staff and campers that are fully vaccinated, then additional COVID-19 safety measures, such as physical distancing are not needed while at camp.
There are so many different ways to celebrate your dad on Father’s Day. Picking out the perfect Father’s Day gift and writing a sweet message in his card may be a given, but it’s also important to make sure that your dad’s special day is full of activities that’ll bring him even closer to the people he loves most: his kids. Really, if you were to ask him, quality time is the best gift you can give your dad, which is exactly why we’ve rounded up tons of fun things to do for Father’s Day this year.
Before you dive into planning mode, figure out what kind of celebration your dad has in mind: Does he prefer a day jam-packed with activities or something more low-key? Then work your way down this list to find family-friendly ways to make his Father’s Day as special as possible. From free activities that you can do from the comfort of your home (a backyard movie, game night and home-cooked brunch) to all-day plans that’ll take you miles from home, you’re guaranteed to find something that whole family will enjoy — dad, especially.
All dads — even the one who claims to be Mr. Tough Guy — love a Father’s Day gift that tugs at his heartstrings. Since it can be tough to find a store-bought option that has just the right amount of practicality, personalization and heart, try your hand at making one of these DIY Father’s Day gifts this year. These homemade gift ideas vary in skill level, but most of them are easy enough for toddlers and kids to make (with mom’s supervision, of course).
Many of these DIYs highlight everything your #1 guy loves most: manning the grill, cracking open a cold one with his buddies and going on adventures with his family. While we made sure to find ideas that he can actually use in his day-to-day life (say, a new spatula and apron for grilling), there’s also so much room for you and your kids to get personal. Add heart to any of these handmade gifts by writing a heartfelt message, incorporating your family’s best photos or attaching a homemade Father’s Day card. Even if the final product doesn’t look exactly like the photo shown here (ah, expectations vs. reality), there’s no doubt that he’ll cherish this present for years to come.
Here are some DIY Father’s Day Gifts you can try out
The 4th of July is one of my favorite days of the year. For our family, the 4th is all about fireworks, root beer floats, a BBQ, and lots of time spent together. This year, as you wait for the sky to darken, snuggle up with a 4th of July picture book. Make reading as integral to your celebration as sparklers and s’mores!
Here are 10 fantastic 4th of July picture books to get you started. As you prepare to celebrate America’s birthday, select a few of these books and add storytime to your holiday plans.
Celebrate this Fourth of July with fireworks, flags and the Founding Fathers! From the well-known George Washington and John Adams, to Sybil Ludington’s midnight ride, this collection of books brings history and festivity to kids ages 0-12.
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson didn’t always agree, but this book explores their teamwork in a colorful and creative look at their differences and similarities. Award winners Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham researched the lives of these two great men to deliver an accurate but witty biography to young children.
Paul Revere wasn’t the only one who made a famous midnight run. Sybil Ludington was only 16 when she answered her nation’s call for heroes, and she and her horse rode for miles to alert her countrymen about the approaching British soldiers. This inspiring look at Sybil’s life reminds us that anyone can change history with a little courage.
This classic ballad is brought to life in a richly illustrated edition for the the whole family to share. Woody Guthrie’s powerful lyrics and Kathy Jakobsen’s detailed paintings invite readers on a journey across the country, creating an unforgettable portrait of our diverse land and the people who live it.
Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. It’s a time to remember the people who sacrificed their lives for their country. Here are some facts to give the holiday some perspective.
1. MEMORIAL DAY BEGAN AS A RESPONSE TO THE CIVIL WAR.
Memorial Day was a response to the unprecedented carnage of the Civil War, in which a total of some 620,000 soldiers died. The loss of life and its effect on communities led to several spontaneous commemorations of the dead.
In 1864, women from Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, put flowers on the graves of their fallen soldiers from the just-fought Battle of Gettysburg. The next year, a group of women decorated the graves of soldiers buried in a Vicksburg, Mississippi, cemetery.
We live in a world where some may say there is an overemphasis in academia and education public policy on STEM (Science Tech Engineering and Math) and where technology addiction is a thing, and children are growing up lacking basic social skills. The tech part of children’s brains and lives do not necessarily cultivate or stimulate interpersonal development when it comes to human in-face interaction.
In fact, I know I am not alone among the many parents scrambling these days to figure out how to teach their children empathy.
I know there is not a day that goes by that I am not lecturing my children about the importance of exercising basic social decorum and practices. I want them to always say “excuse me” when they pass in front of someone, and to do so audibly so the person hears. I want them to run to help when they see an elderly person struggling to open a door or carry a package. I want them to look people in the eyes when they have a conversation with them. I want them to show interest in other people’s lives and days and their well being, and to do the minimum and ask others how is their day is going.
I know young people are ruled by the ego and that they are generally, self-centered and self-interested. But I know that it is possible for them to also show interest in others at the same time.
Personally, I am at the point that I am not considering enrolling my three children into social etiquette classes because I figure, they may better respond to an instructor and instructional class setting where they can practice these habits with others in a controlled classroom environment.
I don’t know.
As I am considering this drastic approach, I was skimming through my copy of The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children and noted one passage in the chapter called “Raising Storytellers: Cultivating The Power of Empathy“, where authors Ronald F. Ferguson and Tatsha Robertson, might have come up with one solution: storytelling.
They write that ” the act of storytelling – of imagining the lives of real people – stretches the brain.”
The two researchers posit that “storytellers have to come up with words their character will use, the ways they’ll move, and even their vocal inflections and emotions. They must imagine how characters will interact with one another and how one doe will affect what the others will do.”
In short, the authors state, “storytelling builds empathy: it teaches the storyteller how to put themselves in other people’s shoes, which in turn increases their ability to ‘read” (and respond to) others’ thoughts and feelings.”
Storytellers, they explain, have a highly developed “theory of the mind” – what scientists call the ability to anticipate how other people think.
So today, after your child comes home from school or wakes from a nap and you read them a story, ask them to tell YOU a story or tell you a story about what happened the other day or imagine what another friend is grappling through.
I will try though I highly doubt my older two will engage me, but I’ll try.
Becoming a parent is an exciting, transformative time in one’s life, and that is true whether you’re carrying your own baby, working with a surrogate, or adopting a child into your home. For would-be parents looking at the wide range of options out there for expanding their families, adopting a baby or a child can be a controversial decision because of widespread social attitudes about biological heredity.
The fact is, adoption represents a way to put children with loving families and to make lives better for the biological parents, the adoptive family, and the kids themselves. If you are ready to move forward with the process, there are a few things you should know before you get started.
Understanding the difference between adoption systems, as well as the fact that they vary from state to state in their requirements, is vital to making sure you know how to navigate this process before you plunge in.
Voluntary vs. State-Sponsored Processes
In most states, there are separate resources for would-be parents who are looking to adopt an infant through a voluntary process and those who are looking to adopt through the foster care system after parental rights are terminated, because generally speaking the state’s child welfare resources do not concern themselves with voluntary adoptions. Instead, the transfer of legal parenthood happens through a court petition.
While adopting a baby from a voluntary biological parent is generally a smooth process because both parties are seeking the arrangement, there are details to negotiate that can represent some sticking points. By contrast, when seeking an adoption through state placement, the process involves weighing the best placement choice for the child. In the U.S., 59% of all placements are through the child welfare system.
Here’s what you should know about the two systems:
State welfare agencies seek to act as quickly as possible after parental rights are terminated, provided placement can be found and proven to be in the best interests of the child
Some states include placement subsidies to help cover the costs of children adopted through the system, especially older children
Most state placements will not be infants, although many are very young children
Placement takes longer when you have more specific requirements, whether those are related to age, genetic background, or other factors, and regardless of the type
Voluntary adoptions can be open or closed, with several degrees of compromise, if parties want the biological parent to be involved
If you do choose to use the voluntary system, then you need to know how to navigate it, because there is not a centralized system for administering placements when you are adopting a child who is voluntarily placed with a family. Luckily, there are information networks to avail yourself of if you’re looking.
You might need to put more time and effort into the search, taking on a few processes for yourself that state placements handle for you. On the other hand, you have additional options, including international adoptions, which can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your new family much more quickly.
Networks for Parents Adopting Privately
Private placement agencies are operating around the country to identify and facilitate these processes, and some lawyers even specialize in this niche as part of a family law practice. They tend to have resources for finding available parents looking to place children soon after birth, so they can help. Lawyers do have costs, though, as do agencies that do the legwork to bring people together.
Private religious institutions are also known for both placing children through voluntary processes and also for maintaining larger networks with other organizations looking to place kids.
Catholic organizations are especially good at this, in part due to the church’s international efforts toward child welfare and in part because of its traditional investment in institutions like hospitals. If you are seeking a private process and you’re intent on adopting an infant, these networks can be a huge help. Luckily, for those who are considering adoption as a biological parent, the demand is high enough that working with a good agency that has an established reputation should be all you need to find a range of possible placements for your child.