Halloween Craft: Spirit Jugs

Halloween Craft

Photo Courtesy of Spoonful.com

I love this time of the year; I love the colors, the smells, the crisp air and the festivities. This year, I am determined to be festive for Halloween, however I can’t bring myself to spend a whole lot of money on Halloween decorations.  That’s why I was ecstatic when I came across these Spirit Jugs on Spoonful.com that I can make with my peanut.  They are so easy and will light up the driveway for all the ghost and goblins on Halloween Night.

Stationed on a walkway or porch, these homemade lanterns will extend a ghostly greeting and good-bye to all your holiday visitors.

What you’ll need

  • Clean plastic gallon milk jugs
  • Black permanent marker
  • Craft knife
  • String of 50 clear low-wattage holiday lights

How to make it

  1. Draw ghost eyes and mouths on the jugs. Tip: Leave the caps on while you do this, so the jugs don’t dent.
  2. Use the craft knife to cut a half-dollar-size hole in the back of each jug (a parent’s job).
  3. Arrange the ghosts near each other and string the lights between them, stuffing several bulbs into each of the jugs.

Get Your Groove on with these Pandora Children’s Stations

I find it absolutely hilarious that since having our peanut, our DVR recordings, CD changer and Pandora stations all have a new look. Our DVR used to be filled with trashy reality shows, Si-Fi Series or just plain comedies. Now it’s filled with Dora, Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba just to name a few. I am not a fan of peanut watching T.V., I often have it in the background, and until recently when I discovered some kid focused Pandora stations that I decided to play instead.  Here are a few of our favorites so far!

Hullabaloo Band: Is a local San Diego band that we often see playing at San Diego libraries, parks and events. This Free-Range Organic Kid-Folk music is perfect for getting the wiggles out and won’t make mom and dad pull their hair out. With original songs like “Raise a Ruckus” (2012 Parent Choice Winner) and “Dad Upside Down”, your little one is sure to get their groove on! Hullabaloo Band

Sandra Boynton Station: But wait you say, isn’t Sandra Boynton a children’s author? Yes she is, however many of her books have been made into catchy tunes sung by various artists (including the Bacon Brothers). Some of these songs include Tickle Time and Snuggle Puppy”. This station is full of original songs by Sesame Street, the Muppets and many more that won’t bore the family.

Mozart Lullaby: When we first found this station we were looking for instrumental Mozart songs, as we knew that they were good for babies. Well, this is anything but instrumental, however the calming tunes always help our peanut fall asleep. This station has a variety of relaxing tunes from Michel Bubble to Nat King Cole, to children’s classic lullabies. We often find ourselves listening to the station long after peanut is asleep.

Mozart Piano Quartet: Now this is the station we were originally looking for when we found Mozart Lullaby. This is pure classical music that sooths the mind and the soul.

Baby Einstein Radio: This station is full of your more traditional children’s songs such as “Wheels on the Bus”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “If Your Happy and You Know it”. Hey you have to have at least one station that the kids can sing along to right?

What Pandora Station do you think is AweMazing for children (and won’t have parents going crazy)?

XOXO

Backyard Fun

So the kids have been out of school for a few weeks now and the excitement of summer is starting to ware off. Maybe you have even heard those dreaded words “I’m BORED”!!!! Noooooooo!!!! Why not come up with some creative activities that gets the kids out of the house and gets them some fresh air and exercise with these backyard activates.

Sprinklers– Some of my best childhood memories are turning on the back yard hose and running and giggling my way through the sprinkler. This is a great way to cool off on those summer days

Bug Races– Capture a roly-poly, ladybug, caterpillar or whatever other critter you can find in your yard. Line them up and send them off and see which bug wins!

Paint the Fence– You can either use sidewalk chalk or butcher paper taped to the fence to paint a mural.

Build a Fort (or set-up a tent)- Camp in the backyard under the stars

Twister– Using spray paint, paint a twister board for some twisted family fun

Ghost in the Graveyard– Pick someone to be the “ghost. Hide while the kids count to 100 at the “base.” Then they fan out in search of the ghost. When one of them discovers your ghastly hiding place, he yells, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and all the kids sprint back to base. The child you catch becomes the new ghost.

Freeze Tag– The classic Tag game never gets old. When you’re “it,” the players you tag have to stay frozen wherever you tagged them. The other players can then tag them, which have the effect of “unfreezing” them until you get them again. The game ends if whoever is “it” manages the impressive feat of freezing everybody, or when any one player has been frozen three times (or five times for younger kids). At that point, he’s “it” and the game resumes.

Memory game Do a twist on any old “Memory” card game!  Take the card game and tape one of each card match to various spots around the yard (without your kids watching).  Then have each kid take a turn by picking one of the remaining cards and then searching the yard for its match.  They can find each card as a group too if they prefer.  If you don’t have the card game, you can use colored paper plates, construction paper, or anything else you have around the house. (Source: Examiner)

Kick Ball Croquet- Take the classic backyard croquet and add a kicking twist. Cut pool noodles in half down the middle and each pool noodle is enough to make up two arches. Use garden stakes to keep them in place on the lawn. Use a couple of kick balls and kick the ball through the course croquet style! First one to get their ball to the finish wins!!

Create a Backyard water-bed– Take a large piece of plastic tarp and fold it in half. Tape two sides down to the ground leaving one end open. Using the water hose fill the plastic with water. Tape the end closed and voila entertainment for hours. Even adults will enjoy jumping on the water-bed!

These activities are sure to help make your summer  AweMazing!

XOXO

Books, Books, Books

I decided to take the last few days off from blogging for some Family, Food and Fireworks! I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. While we were enjoying the festivities, we disconnected ourselves from the television, internet (except for a few tweets from our smart phone) and cell phones to really concentrate on the first “F”…Family! We spent a lot of time reading some of our favorite children’s books.  Here are some of the great  books we rediscovered.

“Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

This do-si-do book is Sandra Boynton’s best selling book of all time. Join the barnyard friends for a good old fashion two-steppin, party. This song book not only is catchy but it also incorporates farm animals and their sounds for a fun learning book perfect for little peanuts!

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein

The Giving Tree by Shel SilverStein

The Giving Tree by Shel SilverStein

So maybe this was more for mom and dad than for peanut, but I know its an all time classic that she will grow to love! Shel’s perspective of gift giving combined with the acceptance of one’s capacity to love paints the relationship of a boy and his tree.  The more the tree gave the more the boy wanted until there was nothing. This moving story and simple illustrations make it perfect for all ages.

“ABC” by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's ABC

Dr. Seuss’s ABC

Another classic, Dr. Seuss takes on us on an adventure through the ABC’s! With rhyming Seussical words and bright pictures this is entertaining for littlest of little ones. It never fails that I have to read this one two or three times in a row to my peanut. The very end always makes her giggle the cutest giggle; ” What begins with Z? Well I do I’m a Zizzer-Zazzer-Zeuss as you can plainly see”.

“Good Night Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This classic is an easy read for the smallest of readers. The lullaby words whisper as the child says “Goodnight” to everything in the room. The cool colors in the pictures set the mood for relaxation as the moon casts shadows over the rooms as the story progessees. This is the perfect bedtime story!

“I Love You Forever” By Robert Munsch

I Love You Forever by Robert Musch

I Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

I think I may cry just about every time I read this book. The journey of a mother and her son through life is sung by the simple words: ”

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

 I love saying these words to my peanut every night!
Do you have a favorite children’s book that you recommend?

Themed Sidewalk Chalk Activities

It’s always fun to drive thru the neighborhood during the summer to see all the art displays on the street, sidewalks and driveways!  Yes, kids are out having fun with sidewalk chalk. While it’s always fun to let their imaginations run wild and draw what they want, however why not change it up a little with sidewalk chalk themes? Here are 10 different things you can do with sidewalk chalk.

Create a City: Draw streets, stop signs and stores with parking lots. After the town is complete, the kids can drive their cars (bikes) through the city to run their errands. Don’t forget to draw an ice cream shop for those hot days!

Basketball Court: Draw a basketball court (or soccer field, baseball field, etc.).  Use beanbags or real balls to play.

Family Portrait: Trace the kiddos and have them draw clothes on them or better yet have them play dress up with their real clothes.

Story Board: Watch a movie or read a book together and then draw their favorite scene.

Bean Bag Toss: Create boxes with numbers in them and if the bean bag lands in the square they get that many points. This will help them keep their math skills sharp.

Chalk Stakeout: Chalk a house with windows and doors. Have several areas (windows, doors, chimney) to capture. Chalk a baseline about 5 feet away (for younger children 4 feet away). Take turns tossing a small rock onto the house. When a rock lands in a section that can be captured (like a door or window) mark the capture with initials. After all the sections are captured, each player counts up his Stakeouts. The player with the most Stakeouts wins!
 Penalties:  Lose a turn if your rock lands on another player’s Stakeout. The toss doesn’t count if it lands less than half-way over the line. (idea courtesy of ListPlanIt)

Sidewalk Chalk Props: Draw a tree, a basketball hoop, a bike or whatever they desire. Now take a picture of them posing next to the tree, dunking the basketball or riding the bike.

Create Fairy Wings: Draw and decorate fairy wings and then have your kids lay down so it looks like they have wings. This can also be done with princess crowns,  etc…Have your camera ready!

Draw a Maze

 Wet the chalk for a whole new experience.

These are just a few ideas of how you can take sidewalk chalk to the next level. The possibilities are endless for an AweMazing time!

XOXO

Things To Do This Summer!

First Day of Summer, Summer Time

Things to do this summer

Its officially Summer is HERE!!!! Today is the first official day of summer (although some of us have been enjoying the warmer temperatures for a while now).  Summer is a time for everyone to come out of hibernation and enjoy the fresh air with the sun kissing their skin…while wearing sunscreen of course! Here are the top 12 things to do before the end of summer

1.)  Enjoy an Outdoor Concert: Whether it’s the biggest concert of the year at the stadium or a small jazz concert in the park, grab your blanket, a picnic and a few friends and enjoy the live music under the stars.

2.)  Hit up the Farmers Market: This is the time of the year when you can find the freshest, juiciest and best fruits and vegetables from the local farmers. Support locally and enjoy what the season has to offer.

3.)  Take a Swim: Pool, ocean or lake; we don’t care! Take a dip in the water to cool off from the hot summer sun! Add activities (surfing, snorkeling, swimming laps, fishing, etc.) for some added fun

4.)  See a Movie at the Drive-In: The Drive-In used to be the place to see summer’s hottest movies. Load the kids in the car, grab some snacks and blankets and catch our favorite Monsters in “Monster U” or the original super hero in “The Man of Steel”. Check your local theater for movie schedules

5.)  Catch up on your Reading: Take that book you have been meaning to read and grab a hammock, lawn chair, beach blanket or chair and enjoy a good book and some fresh air.

6.)  Chase Down the Ice Cream Man: Nothing says summer like the music blaring from the Ice Cream Truck. Check the couch from some extra change and enjoy a Rocket Pop just like when you were a kid.  Don’t forget to get the kids one too!

7.)  Take a Road Trip: This land that we call home is blessed with so much beauty. Enjoy what we have been given by visiting a National Park or an area you have never been to.

8.)  Sleep Outside: Whether in a tent, back of a pick up truck or on a blanket, sleep under the stars while the nights are warm.  You can even pitch a tent in your own backyard for a fun camping experience

9.)  Visit the Flea Market: At first when I thought of a Flea Market I though of junk, I later learned that you could find some pretty interesting buys there. For instance, I found the best toe ring made by a guy that custom fits your toe for the ultimate comfort! How cool is that?

10.) Attend a Carnival: Enjoy the sounds, the sights and the FOOD at the local or state carnival/fair. Experience some outrageous foods like fried Kool-aide, or fried cheesecake and enjoy some thrilling rides (be sure to wait 30 minutes after eating before riding any rides). We like going just to people watch!

11.) Have a Barbeque: Nothing says summer like the smells of the grill. Gather your friends, family and neighbors and host a barbque. Have every one bring a side and add some backyard games for some entertainment.

12.)  Finally and most important…Relax: Or at least try to.

Summer is a time to get away from the ordinary routine when the kids are in school. Take time to enjoy the family, the scenery and the weather! No matter what you do, your summer is sure to be AweMazing!

XOXO

P.S. Don’t forget to wear Sunscreen!

School’s Out For Summer…

Walking around the neighborhood this morning, you could feel a sense of excitement in the air; it’s the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL…. School’s out for Summer! This means parents will have to find creative ways to entertain kids without having them in front of the TV or computer all summer.  Why not trick your kids and plan activities that are not only fun for them but will also keep their mind sharp as they prepare for the next school year?  We have come up with a few activities that will be fun for your little ones while challenging their mind:

Reading

  • Choose a book to read together (if your child can read take turns reading the pages) and when the book is completed watch the movie together and discusses the similarities and differences between the book and movie.  Did you like the differences? Are the characters in the movie how you imagined they would be from the book? A few examples of books/movies: Charlottes Web, James and the Giant Peach Tree and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to name a few.
  • Join a summer reading program at your local library. Our library has an amazing summer reading program for all ages.  The children log their reading activity and once they have read for 10hours they earn a prize. Prizes include ice cream, a new book, happy meal, pool day, etc. If your library doesn’t have a program similar to this create your own rewards program.

Writing

  • Take all your photos from this year and create a photo album, either a standard album or a digital such as Shutterfly. Have the kids write the captions or a story about what is happening in the picture.
  • Keep a daily journal of what they did this summer and include pictures, drawings or anything else that helps represent the day. At the end of the summer you can publish the journal into a keepsake book.
  • Get a Pen Pal or write to a distant relative or an old friend. Exchange letters, photos and drawings of things your children did during the summer.
  • Send postcards to Troops overseas or send Get Well Cards with a nice message to the Children’s Hospital.

Math/Science

  • Host a lemonade stand. Nothing says summer like a lemonade stand on the corner. Have your kids create flyers with catchy wording, make a sign for their stand and post the flyers around so they gain customers. Let them be in charge of the money so they have to calculate how much is owed and the change that needs to be given back.
  • Bake with your children. Have them measure the ingredients and use smaller measuring cups so they have to add to get the right amount. For example if it calls for 1c, use ¼ so they can practice adding.
  • Create a count down chart for something exciting that is happening this summer like a trip, grandparent visit or birthday.
  • Go on a nature walk and take pictures of the different birds you see. When you get home use the National Geographic Bird Identifier to see if you can determine what kind of bird it is.
  • Lie in the backyard and take pictures of the clouds and then research the types of clouds they are.

These are just a few ideas that will be fun for the kids do and they will never know it’s educational as well! How AweMazing is that?!

Please leave more ideas in the comment section so our readers can continue to educate their children all summer long!

XOXO

P.S. Here is day 7 of the June Ab Challenge

40 Sit-Ups

20 Crunches

20 Leg Raises

30s Plank

It’s getting tough but your body can do it!

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