If your kid’s running a fever, vomited or had diarrhea in the past 24 hours, or seems lethargic and just not himself, plan to stay home and play nurse. Here’s how to also have some fun with your patient.
With younger kids: Break out the photo album. Tired of the same book? Your child will end up “reading” family pics to you—“Look, das Gwamma!” or “I met Santa!” Bonus: He may even be content to sit and peruse them on his own.
Today is Valentine’s Day and if you are scrambling for ideas to celebrated with your offspring(s) as well, here are 20 last-minute ideas of things you guys can do at home!
There are some great at-home activities in here you can do nonetheless, with a few resources scrubbed off the internet!
1. Have an Indoor Picnic in the Living Room
2. Have a Movie Night. Stream movies both like, pop some popcorn and snuggle under the covers.
3. Make Pizza. Be your own Italian Chef.
4. Go for a Drive to the Country a little way from home and back. Use the time to talk and catch up.
5. Go out for Dinner. Get dressed up and have a fancy dinner delivered. Eat by candlelight
6. Go Roller Skating. Have some physical fitness and fun while skating to the hits and oldies outdoors if the weather is fitting, of course.
7. Make Soup for the Week. If you live in a climate experiencing winter, whip up several batches of different soups to eat and save for later. You can pick different recipes from online resources or your crock pot cook book
8. Make Desserts. Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and Decorating fun designs is guaranteed fun.
9. Paint. Roll up the Sleeves, Get out some paper or a canvase and some paint and get creative. Frame your masterpieces and hang them up in your home.
10. Craft. There are loads of crafting projects online. Taking the time to create some crafts is fun and functional if you make some thing that you can use later like an oven mit or a frame.
11. Write Short Stories. Get your creative juices flowing. Get out some paper and pen and write up some fun stories to share or use to enter into writing contests.
12. Have a Game Night. Haul out the Connect Four, Checkers and Monopoly board games and have fun.
13. Have a Dance Party. Put on the Music Video Channel or Crank up the Stereo and Dance in the Basement or in the living room.
14. Have a Karaoke Night. Find Videos with Lyrics on YouTube and set it up so you can have a performance.
15. Do Puzzles. Get out different puzzles, get on the floor and put together some pieces.
16. Tell Scary Stories. If you’re caught in the storm and without power still, it sucks but you can use that time under the dim lights to tell spooky ghost stories to pass time until the light comes back.
Preheat oven to 475°F. Flatten dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out into a 12-inch circle and place on baking sheet. Spread tomato sauce evenly over dough. Sprinkle with cheese, basil and oregano. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until bottom of crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Let cool. Slice and eat!
Spicy-food fans, drizzle sriracha hot sauce over the toppings for an extra kick.
Breakfast lovers, crack a whole egg on top before baking for a gooey golden treat.
For a perfectly crispy crust, cook your pie on a preheated pizza stone.
1 package slider buns
1/4 c. milk
2 tbsp. sliced chives
Freshly ground black pepper
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
4 c. shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3 tbsp. butter, divided
1 tsp. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350. Slice slider buns in half lengthwise.
On the bottom layer of the slider buns, sprinkle 2 cups of the cheddar cheese.
In a large bowl, beat eggs with milk and chives. Season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Cook eggs to desired consistency.
Top bottom layer of sliders with eggs and crumbled bacon. Top with remaining cheese. Place the slider tops on top.
In a small bowl mix the butter with the maple syrup. Brush on top of sliders. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and slider tops are golden. Serve.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place ground chuck and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Sprinkle with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until meat crumbles and is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spread chips across pan in a single layer with as little overlap as possible. Top chips evenly with meat mixture, beans, and cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese melts and just begins to brown in places, about 8 minutes. Remove chips from oven, and top with onion, jalapeño, avocado, sour cream, and cilantro. Serve with salsa and lime wedges.
It’s tax filing season and if you are expecting or just had a new baby, there are some expenses related to your journey to parenthood that you may or may not know about.
The fact of the matter is that babies do in fact change your tax situation and here are a few tax tax deductions and credits available to families this year.
Pregnancy Test Kits. Birth Control Pills. Fertility Enhancement. These count as medical expense deductions. For medical expenses to be deductible, you’ll have to itemize your tax deductions, and your medical expenses must exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income.
Nursing moms can include the cost of breast pumps and supplies in their medical expense deductions. Lactation expenses are also deductible as are laboratory fees that may be a part of your medical care.
The New Arrival
The tax deduction that comes with your new arrival can’t match the joy, but this still should make you happy.
Under the new tax law, the child tax credit has doubled to $2,000 per qualifying child. And, unlike a tax deduction, which reduces the amount of your income subject to tax, a tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar for dollar.
Planning for Baby’s Future
The new tax law lets parents save tax-free for their child’s education. Under the law you can use up to $10,000 per child from a 529 plan to pay qualified expenses for elementary and secondary school and home school.
The 529 plans can also be used to pay for college.
Speaking of college, if you want to think that far ahead, two tax credits are available to help with qualified educational expenses. Those credits are the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a credit of up to $2,500 for qualified tuition and expenses for the first four years of college, and the Lifetime Learning Credit, which provides up to $2,000 per return.
I apologize if I’ve gotten too far ahead of you by talking about schooling and college and all those things. I’ll bring it back to the here and now by reminding you that whether your bundle of joy is born on January 1 or December 31 of the year, you can take a full $2,000 child tax credit.
And remember, as your child grows, the tax code is bound to change. You’ll want to make sure you get all the tax deductions to which your family is entitled. The best way to do that is to talk with a tax professional. It’s their job to keep up with the tax code. And, because they do their job, you can do yours, enjoying life with your new addition
Fathers are often the after-thought every Christmas. People buy their dads or husbands generic “dad” gifts but not stuff their guy or dad really want.
This year, I curated a list of gifts for every type of guy that they will
Dog Dad Who Runs
If your partner, husband or dad is the one who walks the dog and uses that time to get in a good run or catch up on his fave audio book, then he would love SparklyPets hands-free leash. He can attach it to his waist belt and then have his hands free to scroll his phone, eat, or jog.
Tile is great for that dad who is always losing his phone, keys, walled or gym bag. He attaches these tiny trackers to the frequently misplaced item, register it and the device will emit a small sound when triggered.
If the Tile is within the 300 feet Bluetooth range, it will play a loud tune until you find it.
From the product page: Age Defender Eye Repair is a lifting, anti-wrinkle, dark circle-reducing eye cream for men, visibly correcting aging skin around the eyes to firm sagging and visibly resurface crow’s-feet for a smoother, more youthful appearance.
The multi-action formula contains rye seed extract, which helps visibly strengthen skin for a recharged look, leaving the eye area with a more lifted appearance.
A guy who loves to ride his bike and safely listen to his fave tunes while doing so will love to receive Air Wireless Bone Conduction Open-Ear Headphones by After Shoks. They are super light weight and comfortable.
If you have a Sam’s Club membership, you can get it for $40 off this year.
As seen on Shark’s Tank, Good Morning America and other shows, Phonesoap is the first UV-C Sanitize and charger. It houses two scientifically proven germicidal UV-C bulbs that completely sanitize your entire phone, killing 99.99% of all bacteria and germs.
In addition, the unit offers one USB port and one USB-C port for charging.
“Laid to rest for 16 years in handmade oak casks, this enriched offering is finished in first fill Oloroso sherry casks to impart a subtle fruitful nature and a roundness to the whisky. Soft notes of honey, freshened with citrus, which gives way to spiced pears, studded with cloves, and drizzled with caramel. On the palate this well balanced dram is at first sweet and rich like fruit cake, but ends satisfyingly with a hint of dark chocolate.”
Experience an immersive acoustic performance with these Sony XB Extra Bass wireless headphones. The noise-isolating fit mutes ambient noises, while the lithium-ion battery offers up to 30 hours of playtime, keeping you entertained during long-distance travels.
These Sony XB Extra Bass wireless headphones have a touch sensor for convenient control. These wireless headphones are an outstanding option for a comfortable listening experience at home, traveling or in a noisy office, one reviewer said.
A dad who is a fan of astroloy, Super Moon or birds would appreciate a pair of binoculars.
From the product page: Pairing a relatively low magnification with large objectives, Nikon’s black 7×50 Aculon A211 Binoculars are outfitted with enhanced light-gathering capabilities, a large exit pupil, and long eye relief, which work together to produce an optic that is optimized for use in challenging light conditions.
From the product page: Long-lasting, all-weather doormats handwoven in Maine using some of the toughest nautical rope around. Designed to withstand the extreme conditions of the ocean, these polypropylene doormats are water-resistant, mold-resistant, and mildew-resistant. Because water runs through them they’ll never harbor odors. Added UV protection against fading.
This is one hard-to-beat, long-lasting doormat. Great for boats and campers, too. Only use on non-skid surfaces. Handwoven in Maine using imported nautical rop.
These subscription boxes will tear kids away from the devices and nurture a love of books.
This year, many school children got homeschooled or went to school via distance learning and in between, maybe watched TV, played video games or engaged with mobile devices to distract.
Parents who want to make sure their children develop a love and passion for reading and books during this pandemic and beyonc should consider investing in a monthly subscription service or giving one as a gift to a child in their lives who loves to read or who should read more!
The global pandemic is restricting the ability for a lot of us to get outside this year which is frustrating especially to kids who love the great outdoor.
While a book cannot replace outside activity, it can be a way to exercise the brain.
In fact, book subscription businesses are trending.
Here are three that will deliver titles tailored to your child and his or her interests.
ATLAS BOOK CLUB
Maryland attorney and mom of three, Bunmi Emenanjo started a book club in 2017 so she could teach her Nigerian American kids about their culture and people from all around the world.
Emenano said she when she would guest read to children as part of the book club back then, she became intrigued and fascinated by how how responsive the kids were and how much they thirst to learn about cultures different from their own.
That curiousity turned into the Atlas Book Club subcription box business in 2019 for culturally curious kids!
The service delivers more than just books each month. Each box comes with souvenirs, postcards and other knick knacks related to whatever country is being featured that month.
Subscribers get a comprehensive and immersive experience in each box!
Since launching as a business in November 2019, Atlas Book Club has explored 20 countries including South Africa, Guatemala, the Philippines, Nigeria, Haiti, India, Chile and so many more.
Monthly subscriptions are $37.99. A three month goes for $110 and a 6 month about $215, which would make a great gift!
The box, while pricier than the other two in this list, is worth the value for parents, grandparents and caregivers who seek to grow a child who is a world citizen and who is cognizant and aware of the contributions of different people’s to society.
Epic is another parent-founding platfom and is currently the largest digital reading platform. I’ve blogged about this company before which owns a a collection of over 40,000 popular children’s books from over 250 of the top book publishers.
Epic curates collections based on age, topic, and other categories.
Founded by two parents, Epic was born out of a single question: How do we make books more accessible to kids?
Wanting to make books as accessible as games and other digital content, dads Kevin Donahue and Suren Markosian founded Epic in 2013.
Today, Epic has grown into an award-winning subscription service which gives millions of families and classrooms instant, unlimited access to thousands of books, videos and quizzes from leading publishers to help kids everywhere read, learn and grow.
While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through December 31st if you pay for the full year in advance!
While it is normaly $9.99 for monthly access, you can get an annual subscription for $4.99 now through the end of the year 2020.
A committee of parents carefully curate Lily Post’s monthy subscription boxes. Delivered in a nice box is either a set of 4 hard back books or three picture books.
And with Lily Post’s charitable One Book, One Box donation program, each purchase supports the company’s mission to donate to charities that give the gift of books and literacy to communties and children in need.
Your gift or subscription would have altruistic purposes as well this gift giving season!
If you’re the type of woman who enjoys getting her nails done or doing them herself to match mood and season, then you will love these 12 Holiday nail designs curated just for your to consider before you get your next set or design or paint your nails yourself again.
Because the pandemic has limited opportunities for student athletes to train and compete this year, they have to find in or near home creative ways to stay active and fit and maintain their skills.
These are gifts that your student athlete would love to receive this year for the holiday gift-buying season.
The swimmer in your life will appreciate the Finis SwiMP3 player which uses bone conduction to deliver sound from your cheekbones to your inner ear. The player delivers a surprisingly crisp sound and can enhance the enjoyment of any workout, whether you are listening to music or podcasts. It supports MP3 and wma audio formats compatible iTunes; listen to music, audiobooks, podcasts and more.
Users recommend getting an add on to the manufacturer warranty as they stop working after a year or so. but you can get new ones with the warranty!
The TRX suspension system are the best for training specific muscle groups and isolating areas to target for strength training.
The system itself was created by a former Navy SEAL that uses your own body weight to get a full-body workout. The kit comes with instructions for doing hundreds of different routines that can challenge everyone from beginners to extreme athletes.
It’s pretty hardcore but intermediate users can benefit from included workouts.
The TriggerPoint MB Vibe massage ball is a must-have for athletes who want to perform at their optimal level day in and day out. Combined with the spherical design for multi-directional rolling, the roller’s vibrations penetrate deep into muscles to target tense muscles with precision.
Ideal for use before a workout, the vibrating massage ball loosens and lengthens muscles to increase flexibility.
Cyclists, runners, hikers, and climbers will appreciate a pair of Pearl Izumi Thermal Arm Warmers when embarking on an early-morning or cold weather workout. The anatomical design ensures a comfortable fit, while the four-layer thermal construction generates enough heat to be toasty but not overly hot.
This is more of a stocking stuffer than a gift, but Marsheepy’s charcoal bags naturally absorb moisture and smells from shoes and stinky gym bags. Putting them on your shoe closet overnight will remove the shoe smell all while leaving no scent of its own. They also can be used for other applications as a dehumidifier on small enclosed places, or musty basements. Get a kit of 12.
First, for all athletes, these headphones are great for tuning out the distractions and noise, getting laser focused before performance and helping work out time pass quickly or getting them them get in the right mind set to compete.
Now these headphones can get pretty pricey so I would only recommend getting the higher end on the list for the very responsible kid who isn’t going to leave it around carelessly, on the floor by the pool where it can get wet or damaged or forget it out in the open on the field in a public park.
It is on par with Bose’s, the gold standard in home audio equipment.
Student athletes got a lot of gear, uniform and sport-related equipment they have to lug to school, to practice and to games, meets, tournaments and competitions. They need a back with a lot of compartments internal and external so they can organize all their stuff.
The UA Hustle 4.0 Backpack is the ultimate back pack for any student athlete. It has a front pocket for shoes and lots of interior pockets to separate all the gear and keep the soiled stuff separate from the clean.
The side pockets can hold large 24 ounce bottles of water or recyclable water bottles. It’s light weight and sturdy for a sports bag only.
For your gymnast, there is still time to get an FBSPORT floorbeam from Amazon in time for Christmas. This adjustable and foldable portable beam has a 5-inch to which is the same width as those used in competitions but has a 6 inch base to stabilize it so it won’t topple over.
It’s made of high density EVA foam, and its padded beam is covered in suede-like material with a nonslip rubber bottom for a soft sturdy practice surface that won’t flatten over time.
A lovely high performing sweathshirt is a great gift.
Nike’s Court line has these popular hoodies for after play tennis. It’s made of French Terry cloth and has a boxy shape which makes it unisex although Nike sells a female and male version of the hoodie!
It comes in other colors than the traditional Tennis white and you can still get it in time for Christmas!
To help your lacrosse player hone his or her passing and catching skills, a lacrosse rebounder is a great gift for a goalie, offensive player or for team practice drills to increase your kid’s reaction skills.
For running, there are many brands that offer superior quality shoes. My two sons’ high school is sponsored by Under Armourand we have had success for three years in the HOVR Infinite which lasts an entire season of training runs and meets. Don’t just take my word for it. The HOVR won Runner’s World Magazine’s recommended running shoe recognition this year!
The best tech in the shoe is the ‘zero gravity feel’ to maintain energy return that helps eliminate impact step after step. It’s a good shoe overall and has great reviews.
Parents may want to use this opportunity of the impending Christmas and Winter Holiday break to give their child’s teacher a nice gift as a thank you for the school year so far, especially this very different and challenging pandemic school year.
In a lot of school systems, it may be not permissible to spend too much money on a gift and the government may have imposed a monetary limit, in some cases.
Because many schools systems are distance learning full time, there also may not be an adequate opportunity to personally hand a teacher a box of chocoloates, a nice mug or another nice gift of gratitude this year.
Fortunately, we live in the era when e-gift cards and virtual gifting is now a very regular thing!
I’ve curated a list of nine stores that offer amazing virtual gifts you can simply email your child’s teacher:
Starbucks e-Gift Card
With the digital Starbucks card, your child’s teacher will get a code that she or he can add to her/his mobile device and order enough hot cocoa to sip and chill all Winter break long, depending on how much of a cocoa fan s/he is.
Send your fave teacher the gift of a sugar rush this Holiday season with the popular Sugarwish treats delivery service. Send him or her an invite to choose their favorite flavors of candy, cookies or popcorn and it will get delivered to them. Prices start at $19.98.
When keeping up with lessons plan doesn’t allow time to dig into that new book she or he wants to read, Audible books are the next best thing. A month free listens provides access to thousands of books, podcasts and Audible original content. Prices start at $15.00 for one month.
Since we all will be home anyway this Winter, your child’s teacher can catch up and binge watch all those TV shows trachers missed during the semester! A Netflix membership for a month or two will do it!
The Bath and Body Works Annual Sale reminds us of another opportunity to support black-owned candle and bath essentials companies
If you were near a Bath and Body Works this weekend, you might have seen the super long lines with holiday shoppers taking advantage of its amazing annual Holiday sale featuring $10 candles that normally sell for close to $30.
Actually, you might have been in that line.
According to reports, the beauty, skin and body essentials company sold out of its online offerings forcing customers to have to visit the retail stores to get the deal.
Because we are still in the year of the death of George Floyd which triggered a renewed interest in elevating, promoting and recognizing, finally, black-owned businesses, the sold out situation presents an excellent opportuntiy to once again consider candle brands and companies that are among the group of biz owners that are traditionally undercapitalized, under appreciated, under represented.
As such, I compiled a list of over 48 black-owned candle makers for you to consider patronizing this year.
Some of these brands overlap with companies that Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Cosmo, NY Mag, The Zoe Report, 21 NinetyandEllemagazines put in their profiles of Black-Owned Candle makers this Summer and Early Fall back when it was quite fashionable and en vogue to spotlight Black makers in the US, Canada, the UK and globally.
Let’s keep up the energy.
About the Candle Makers
I did take a cursory review of many of the companies. I only shared an image from their Instagram page for convenience and to quickly put this post together.
However, you can access a link to their websites to purchase and you will see who makes their candles in their homes in small batches, who actually delivers locally, who sells at upcoming craft fairs, virtual and in person, and who delivers beyond their country’s borders.
Some, like the ones featured in the major fashion magazines this past Summer and Fall, have appeared on Oprah’s annual Favorite things list.
More Reasons to Support
And don’t think because they are small that the candles will be expensive. Some start at just $5 and others are luxury priced but worth it.
Also, for people who are mindful of essential oils that can be toxic to burn, and allergies to materials in many candles, quite a few of these brands are careful about using toxic dyes, perfumes and other allergenic materials.
They hand pour.
Here is a compilation of Black-owned candle makers in the US and Canada for you to consider patronizing this year.
They come recommended by some of the 38K members of Arsha Jones’ Build, Brand and Launch Facebook group.
I’ll add more as I discover them and I will update this post with local cities where this makers are currently located.
The companies are listed in random order and not by order of rank and I have reviewed none personally yet but did not want that to stop this list from getting out there especially this weekend.