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Here are 10 Easter Activities to Do with the Kids Today

Bellyitch Rewind

easter eggs
Easter brings images of bunnies, jelly beans, crosses and spring to mind! Most families do the traditional Easter basket, egg hunt and church routine, but this Easter shake things up a bit by thinking outside of the box and incorporating a few more meaningful activities into your Easter traditions.
  1.     Natural egg dyes – Did you know that you can dye your eggs without chemicals? Annie’s Eats provides a list of different colors that you can easily create at home by using food to provide the color. You can find recipes for grey-blue, blue, yellow, pink and lavender.
  2.     Egg dying techniques – Why not make egg dying an artistic process? Spoonful has various techniques to use for your egg dying experience, including using tin foil, string, bubble wrap, thumbprints and tissue paper.
  3.     Easter egg hunts – Egg hunts are a traditional Easter activity for most Christian families. A lot of towns or churches will host an egg hunt, but if they don’t you should consider arranging one for your neighborhood or family! You can use real eggs (make sure they are hard-boiled first!) or use plastic eggs filled with various items, such as money, candy or other small trinkets.
  4.     Tissue paper egg art – Egg art is an easy way to decorate your house for Easter. This simple project requires some poster board, tissue paper, a pencil and a bit of glue. Have your child cut out an egg shape from poster board, draw a design on the egg with pencil, and then, using small squares of tissue paper, the eraser end of the pencil and a bit of glue, fill in the spaces with the tissue paper to create your Easter egg!
  5.     Stained glass crosses – You can easily create a stained glass cross to hang in your window with your child using tissue paper and clear contact paper. Cut the tissue paper into small shapes (have your child help, if it’s age appropriate) and cut out a sheet of contact paper. Draw a cross on the non-sticky side of the contact paper, remove the paper, and have your child fill in the cross with the tissue paper shapes. Once they are done, place another sheet of contact paper over the tissue paper and then cut inside the lines of the cross you drew on the first sheet of contact paper. Hang your creation in the window for the entire family to enjoy!
  6.     The jelly bean story – The jelly bean story is a great way to represent what Jesus gave his people and why Easter is celebrated. There is a short story to print out to go along with the project and each jelly bean color represents different things, such as the sun, grace or sorrow.
  7.     Envelope bunnies – Envelope bunnies are a great way to welcome guests to your home during the Easter season. Have your children help create them and then fill them with treats!
  8.     Egg chickens – Egg chickens are a cute way to spruce up a hard-boiled egg for a centerpiece at your table! You can create other animals too, so let your imaginations go wild!
  9.     Egg relay races – If you live in a climate that makes it possible to head outside on Easter day, consider doing some active outdoor activities with the kids. Who doesn’t love an egg relay race? You can place the eggs (hard-boiled!) on spoons and run with them (if they fall, you have to stop and pick it up). You can also pass off the egg to each other or pass the eggs down the line using only your elbows! The possibilities are endless, and the entire family can get involved!
  10.     Egg bocce ball – Use your leftover hard-boiled eggs to play a game of egg bocce ball. You’ll need one white egg (the pallino) and each player will need two of the same colors of eggs to play. Roll the pallino in the grass and have players take turns trying to roll their eggs as close to the pallino as possible. The closest egg wins!

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The 5 Things Work-At-Home Moms Must Do to Stay Fit & Trim

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I am a work-at-home mom and like many other women who have to balance the rigors of earning an income from home while balancing responsibilities as a mom and wife, I find it difficult to squeeze exercise in my schedule.

For this very reason, I was excited to read blogger Dani’s post sharing her solid tips for getting her work out routine in while also caring for her children during the day. The girl looks fit so I think I’m going to try out her suggestions.

Because what you eat is key to fitness, weightloss and other weight management goals, it was awesome to read this segment of her piece, “5 Healthy Habits for Work-at-Home moms”:

healthy-habits

Put Junk/Kids Foods Out of Sight

Out of sight out of mind. Right? Wrong. (you know exactly where you hid the damn cookies. stop it.) But out of sight, less likely to binge on! I recently did a dump of all the processed foods, white sugar, white flour leftover, etc. I took it out of the cabinets and gave some way, tossed some out. It just had to go. Now, we do have some “junk” food left, and those are on the top shelf and only come out randomly for the kids. (I literally have to get a chair to climb up and get down their mac n cheese boxes) The fridge only has healthy foods (except for my mom’s jams for the kids pb&j sandwiches) If you don’t toss your favorite junk foods, I suggest you have your spouse hide the items and make sure he or she is strong enough not to bend and give them to you when you’re feeling hangry.  (This tip works for moms that work outside the home too!)

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Read more from this piece of advice and the entire post HERE!

Family Travel: 5 Ways to Entertain the Kids In the Hotel

hotel entertainment

If you’re on vacation, chances are there will be a lot of down time in the hotel room. Your child may find the lack of space in the room restrictive, which could prompt unruly behavior or temper tantrums. Help them avoid boredom or cabin fever with some fun games and toys. It’s unrealistic to bring the contents of the playroom with you on vacation. However, you can bring along some compact game and toy options, or you can create your own activities that require little to no equipment. Here are some ways you can keep your little ones entertained during your hotel stay:

Dress-Up

If you have a little girl, have a mini-fashion show in your hotel room. The two of you can get her prepared for her debut with outfit preparation followed by spa services. Perform a special facial, paint nails and create a fun hair-do. You can easily pack a few accent pieces in your suitcase, like ribbon, costume jewelry or your daughter’s favorite dress. This activity is ideal for the child who enjoys planning and is enthusiastic about dress-up. It will require some patience on her part– but if you keep the energy high and have fun, it will keep her occupied and the two of you will have a blast.

Puzzles

Puzzles are time-consuming activities that can keep a child’s attention. If you have enough room in your luggage, pack some jigsaw puzzles. The two of you should pick out a jigsaw that is your child’s favorite animal or animated character, so they’re excited about the final product. The more enthusiastic they are about the content, the more time they’ll commit. If you have limited space for jigsaws, you can bring along some printed word puzzles. Design your own word puzzles at Busy Teacher. Include terms or words that are at your child’s reading level. You can make the theme of the puzzle reflect your child’s favorite hobbies, books or movies.

Card Games

Cards are compact and can be easily transported–they make a great alternative to board games. You can bring along a pack of regular playing cards for games like go fish, speed or gin rummy. Bicycle offers a six pack of kids card games that include Go Fish, Slap Jack, Memory, Matching, Old Maid and Crazy Eights. These cards are well-illustrated, colorful and designed especially for kids. Uno is another fun card game that is great for the entire family, as you can incorporate many players.

Music Video

Get the creative juices flowing and produce a music video with your kid. They can choose their favorite song, and the two of you can storyboard the visual elements. You can orchestrate outfits and practice choreographed dance moves. The video can be recorded on your tablet or smartphone. Many smartphones have video editing capabilities or apps, so you can instantly assemble the footage and polish it up for presentation. Your child will love to watch themselves perform and it is a fun, creative activity the two of you can do together.

Bath Adventure

Liven up bathtime and make the tub an adventurous oasis. The tub is like a mini pool where your kids can hang out and play with their bath toys. Bring along the essential rubber ducky or foam figures, so your child can entertain themselves with these toys. You also can go one step further and create an exciting bath adventure. You can purchase themed bath kits at toy stores. The Pirates of the Tub play set includes 36 foam pieces that make pirate figurines, islands, a raft, boats and the Jolly Roger flag. The pieces will stick onto tiles, the wall or sides of the bath tub. The set also includes three pirate squirters that your kid will love.

Take the Anxiety Out of Public Breastfeeding with these 3 Solid Tips!

mom and baby

Breastfeeding in public can be STRESS-FUL and  can cause anxiety in many new mothers. But it doesn’t have to. The key is to ease the pressure is to  prepare for the moments. Here are three awesome tips from fellow mom blogger Carrie Willard on how to breastfeed in public like a pro!

1. Nurse at the first signs of hunger. A nursing baby generally draws less attention than a screaming one! So latch your baby on as soon as you notice that s/he is hungry…rooting, sucking on fist, grimacing face, etc. A crying baby also makes you nervous and you and baby may take longer to get latched on comfortably.

2. Bring a book or large purse to set in your lap for camouflage. Your diaper bag would also work. Set it in front of baby on your knees while you latch baby on. Or hold a book so that your baby’s head and your breast are out of view.

3. Practice latching your baby on quickly and discreetly in front of a mirror at home, so that you know how to do it without anyone really noticing when you’re out and about.

Good luck moms!

How to Turn Your Palm Sunday Fronds into a Cross

palm fronds

Yesterday was Palm Sunday for Catholics and many other Christians world wide. The palms are representative of those crowds in Jerusalem waved when they saw Jesus and his disciples walking towards the temple on his donkey. The day is the start of Holy Week which includes Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Glorious Saturday and Easter Sunday.

It’s the end of the Lenten season and the beginning of ordinary time in the church.

During services palm fronds are handed out. Later the fronds are burned and their ashes are used for the next year’s Ash Wednesday.

A neat thing that people like to do with their fronds is contort them into crosses that they keep at their work stations at work, in their kitchens and some use as bookmarks.

Here is a video sharing how to turn your fronds into a cross.

#SaintPatricksDay 2016: Here are 25 websites for Crafts, Recipes and More

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Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!! 
Educators, parents, nannies and craft lovers who want to celebrate the day may be looking for crafts, and other ideas for children. We’re sharing once again 25 blogs with Saint Patrick’s day craft, party decorations, meals, desserts, and activities  ideas for the children to do for the Irish holiday:
 
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.
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10 Spring Garden Safety Tips for Kids

 

It’s lawn and gardening season once again. Every year 600,000 Americans are injured riding lawn mowers while doing yard work. Often times, your children also want to join in and “help” doing yard work. They can but while exercising proper supervision and following some safety tips. 

As an encore, I’m sharing once again 10 top tips for keeping the children safe:

As the temperature rises and the days get longer, the amount of attention that your lawn requires also increases. For parents who are considering outdoor chores for their brood, there are some safety rules that should be taken into account before sending them outside. Here are 10 of the most important guidelines that should be instituted when kids help out with yard work.



1. Teach Proper Tool Use
– It’s easy to assume that older kids have a handle on the use of basic lawn tools, but those without hands-on experience may be a bit confused. This can lead to serious injury if tools are mishandled, so it’s a good idea to outline the basics.

2. Supervision is Key – For younger children, it’s absolutely essential that they be supervised at all times. Work alongside them or even on another task nearby, but never let them work while you’re inside or on the other side of your property.

3. Keep Little Ones Inside During Mowing – Kids are fascinated with riding lawnmowers, so it might be difficult to keep them indoors while an adult cuts the grass. Still, the potential for flying debris and injury from the blades is too great to allow for close observation.

4. More On Mowers – In addition to keeping smaller kids indoors while an adult is mowing the lawn, it’s a good rule of thumb that those under the age of 13 be deemed too young to operate a mower. This rule can be flexible; you know your child’s abilities and level of responsibility best. However, be sure that they are well-informed about safety measures and instructed on proper operation.

 

 

5. Insist On Proper Footwear – Summertime might be flip-flop weather, but kids and adults alike should wear shoes that cover the entire foot and lace securely during lawn work. In addition to the chance of injury due to mishandled equipment, there are also a myriad of other things that can cause injury if stepped on.

6. Keep Kids Away From Chemicals – Though more and more parents are opting for organic or “green” lawn and garden solutions, it’s still important to treat all additives as if they’re potentially harmful and to keep kids entirely clear of traditional, chemical-based solutions.

7.  Store Everything Properly – At the end of a yard work session, kids should be instructed to return everything to its proper storage space. Rakes, hoes and shovels left lying in the lawn can be obscured and cause injury if stepped on.

8. Wear Proper Protective Clothing – Kids should wear protective gear to shield their eyes, close-fitting clothing that is less likely to be caught in any mechanical equipment, and plenty of sunscreen.

9. Stay Hydrated – Summer heat can be downright brutal in some places, so it’s important that kids know to stay well hydrated and to come inside if they feel overheated. These rules can also be applied to outdoor play.

10.No Horseplay Allowed – Kids are, by nature, prone to rough-housing and horseplay. They need to understand, however, that it isn’t allowed during lawn work. There are too many potentially-dangerous situations that arise from this sort of behavior when tools are involved.

Pi Day: 15 Kid-Friendly Recipes to Make Today

 

pie day recipes for kids

Today, Monday March 14 is Pi Day.  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!
Below, here are 14 Kid-Friendly recipes I curated that kids can easily make.
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.
YUM! Enjoy! The Diet Resumes on Tuesday! (smile)

 

Check out Kid-Friendly Pie Recipes

by JJ Ghatt at Mode


Viki’s Granola Mixed Berry Crisp

berry crisp

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.

You Need Spring Break Activities; Here are 48 Online Kids Coding & Tech Programs

 

kids code

Spring break is coming up and parents all over the world may be looking for places to go, activities to do and things to keep their young children busy and occupied.

If you can squeeze it in, why not dedicate some time during the day or week for your kid to learn to code? There are tons of free or low cost programs online for babies through high schoolers.

Getting kids and young adults to code and get interested in tech is a big initiative these days.  Several dozen programs, clinics, camps, code academies and the like have opened up in real life and online recently with the goal of helping more young people get interested in coding and technology.

Here are 48 of such computer programming and hardware courses that are part of a wonderfully robust and full list of computer learning programs curated by Katie Williams.  These are available online.

Coding for Kids

This is How Parents can Increase their Child’s Self Esteem

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It doesn’t take long for children to develop good or bad feelings about themselves.

A just-published study by researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences concluded that children have strong positive or negative self-esteem by age 5.

Great news for those who feel positive; not so good for those who suffer from a more negative personal view.

But parents know that even well-adjusted children can have moments of doubt about their appearance, their intelligence or their ability to make friends.

“Who hasn’t felt like less than adequate  at some point in our lives,” says Cathy Miller, a former foster mother who now serves as national spokeswoman for the UglySnuglies line of educational stuffed animals that help children discover they don’t have to be perfect to be loved.

“Being a foster parent taught me a true appreciation for how tender young people are and how easily and drastically their emotions can be damaged. I found that sometimes the simplest solutions can help children build strength, self-reliance and confidence.”

Whether it’s the successful feeling that comes from learning to read or the fears that are associated with being bullied at recess, children experience numerous positive and negative events that play a role in making them feel better or worse about themselves.

There are a number of ways adults can help children establish a positive self-esteem, Miller says, such as:

Praise them. Make sure when children do something well that you praise them for their good work. Thiscan help their confidence and encourage them to do more.

Let them help. Even a preschooler can do a few simple chores around the house, such as carrying their dirty clothes to the hamper or picking up their toys.

Allow them to make choices. Does the child need a new pair of shoes? Are there two possibilities fordinner this evening? Letting a child make choices, when appropriate, can make them feel more self-reliant and valued.

Miller grew up in a family with eight children and took on duties helping to care for her four youngest siblings. She says many people who raise children discover that a favorite toy, blanket or other object can help children feel more safe and secure – and ultimately better about themselves.

“I think that’s one of the reasons children are drawn to such toys as teddy bears and UglySnuglies,” she says. “For generations, stuffed animals have played a role in making children feel less lonely and frightened when it’s time to turn off the light at bedtime. They can snuggle up with their ‘friend’ and the world doesn’t seem as scary.”

Confidence is also important in improving self-esteem. That’s where the educational aspects of toys come in, Miller says, whether it’s the traditional Lincoln Logs that help stimulate children’s creativity, chemistry sets that allow them to experiment, or board games that teach them how to use strategy.

Children are like us, she says. As they learn, their confidence builds and their self-esteem rises.

“Because there is research showing our children’s self-esteem is being established even before they start school, shouldn’t we do all we can to make sure their self-esteem is positive?” Miller asks.

“All children deserve to feel good about themselves and to feel confident as they go about their daily lives. This not only allows them to be more productive youth, but arguably impacts the type of adult they will become.”