Three Things to Do at Bedtime

Three Things to Do at Bedtime

After a long day of school, extra-curriculars, homework, dinner, and playtime, getting into bed is something we all look forward to. Kids are exhausted and parents can’t wait for the kids to hit the sack. But before the kids close their eyes and drift off into dream world, here are three things you can do to end the day on a positive note. Make it a habit to spend these precious moments with your children to enrich their lives every night. Read Together A bedtime story is always something to look forward to. No matter your child’s age, when you sit together and flip through the pages of a good book, the time is well-spent. Choose a story that your child will look forward to getting back to night after night and take turns reading aloud. Not only is the experience one to cherish, but it will enhance your child’s vocabulary while having fun. Talk About the Day When your child is finally relaxed, it is the perfect time to look back on the day and discuss the high and low points. It is so important that your child knows you are available to talk, no matter the subject. No secrets and no surprises. When your child is secure in knowing you are a shoulder to lean on and ready to offer advice and support, it will only bring you closer. Tune Out Bedtime is when we decompress and unwind. This means it’s time to put the electronics away. No cell phones or tablets. Turn off the TV and dim the lights. There is so much to distract us...
Simple and Special Reasons to be Thankful

Simple and Special Reasons to be Thankful

November is the time of year when Thanksgiving is the first thing that comes to mind. We get ready for a fantastic family feast, filled with delicious food and family from near and far. We reconnect over an indulgent meal, perhaps in our own homes or that of a loved one. Joy fills the air and turkey and stuffing fill our bellies. Some families go around the table to share what each person is thankful for this year. Sometimes the gratitude is for something significant, other times the blessing is basic. When it’s your turn to say what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving, why not keep it simple? After all, it’s the little things in life that often mean the most. Here are two reasons to remember. Your Family As you look around the room, see all the people who have contributed to your life in some capacity. You may see them every day or only on special occasions. But you are blessed to have this group to call your own. There are plenty of people sitting home alone with no one to share a meal or conversation. While you may not get along with everyone perfectly, just knowing these family members are present is a gift. Share your feelings with your loved ones and let them know they are important to you. The Meal Whether your Thanksgiving is an all-out smorgasbord or just something simple, be thankful for the food piled on your plate. Americans often go overboard on this “all you can eat” holiday, but it’s more about sharing a meal with those you gather with...
Fall Favorites – 3 Delicious Autumn Eats

Fall Favorites – 3 Delicious Autumn Eats

There’s nothing better than belly-filling food when the weather cools down. Comfort food makes us feel at home, satisfies our stomachs, and makes us just plain feel good. The food isn’t fancy; tasty and homemade is all that’s needed. Here are three delicious fall treats that kids and adults alike will adore…dig in! Grilled Zucchini and Swiss Oozy gooey goodness makes grilled cheese such a crowd pleaser. Make yours a little different for a new flavor combo that may just top the classic. Use a hearty bread like pumpernickel or rye and top with a few slices of Swiss and thinly sliced zucchini and another slice of bread. Butter a hot pan and let that sandwich sizzle. Flip ‘till both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted to perfection. Serve with some hot tomato soup for dipping. Sweet Apple Cinnamon English Muffins Make breakfast feel like fall with a special way to top the traditional English muffin. Slice the muffin open and spread with a little margarine or butter after toasting. Add a spoonful or two of canned apple pie filling and sprinkle with cinnamon. You can also use sliced apple and drizzle with honey, then sprinkle with the spice. Serve as is or pop in the broiler or toaster oven for a few extra minutes to warm it up. Breakfast is served and sinfully sweet! Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Whip up something wonderful. To make one pumpkin spice smoothie, place ½ cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 small banana, ¼ cup low-fat milk, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg in a blender...
Cozy Up for the Cooler Weather – Fun Stuff to Do Inside

Cozy Up for the Cooler Weather – Fun Stuff to Do Inside

November is here and fall is in full force. While the changing leaves and nip in the air are refreshing at first, soon it will just be too cold to enjoy the outdoor activities as much as we do during summertime. This means it’s time to head indoors for some cool weather fun. Cozying up with family is always a plus, so use the cooler weather to your advantage. Here are a few fun ideas for fall family time. Hot Cocoa Bar What could be better than a warm and comforting mug of hot cocoa? Make the experience even better by setting up a bar of toppings the kids can pile high over their cocoa. Lay out bowls of whipped cream, cocoa powder, mini marshmallows, crushed candy canes, and chocolate chips. Get fancy with flavored syrups and chocolate shavings. Serve with cookies for dunking and dessert is served! Family Portraits Everyone gets a sketch pad and it’s time for drawing. Pick a family member and sketch their portrait. They don’t need to be perfect, just artistic renditions that are sure to get lots of attention when hung on the fridge or framed. Color them in or keep them simple. Let those inner artists shine through! Movie Night With a chill in the air, it’s so much more relaxing to spend the evening at home. Rent a few movies, pop a big bowl of popcorn, and sit back on the sofa. Pick something seasonal or a movie the whole family can get into. Laugh along with a comedy or let your emotions flow with a great drama. A movie-musical will...
Simple Ways to Make Halloween Safer

Simple Ways to Make Halloween Safer

Halloween is almost here. Kids love to dress up, trick-or-treat, decorate, and carve pumpkins. With all the fun Halloween brings, there’s also the harsh reality that dangers lurk…even during times of joy. To be sure your kids are safer this season, follow these simple tips to ensure you’ve done all you can to make this Halloween not only festive, but worry-free. Wear Reflective Clothing When you pick out your child’s costume, find one that contains reflective material. Once the sun starts to set, your child will be more noticeable in the dark. If you cannot find a costume with reflective material, purchase stickers or sew-ons to redo the costume for safety and style. You can even go for a light-up costume. Not only will your child be safer, but their look will be a winner! Trick-or-Treat with a Large Group When it’s time to hit the streets to collect those Halloween goodies, the more, the merrier…and the safer. Be sure there are a few adults along for the ride and never let any child wander astray. When the kids get older, they may not need as many chaperones, but for the little ones, the more adults along for the fun, the less chance of anyone getting lost. Host a Party Why bother to head out to trick-or-treat at all? If you host a party, the kids will still have all the fun, collect their treats, and nobody has to worry about the potential dangers that exist outside on Halloween. Decorate your home with all the spookiest stuff you can find, turn up some Halloween-themed music, set out bowls of...
Inspirational Fall Quotes to Share with Kids

Inspirational Fall Quotes to Share with Kids

The season is splendid; fall is always fantastic. These five fall-inspired quotes are perfect for sharing with kids who love the crisp, cool weather of fall. Leaves are falling, days are shorter, and the many colors seen in nature make every day magical. Read these quotes to your kids to remind them how wonderful fall can be. Come up with a quote of your own to celebrate the season! “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Remind your child that a new season is a new beginning. A chance to redo past mistakes, try something new, and embark on adventures. “Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.” As the weather gets cooler, we’ll spend more time keeping warm at home. While the fun of summer may sizzle out, remind your children to embrace the blessings they have with the ones they love. Home is where the heart is! “Pumpkin spice and everything nice.” ‘Tis the season for anything and everything pumpkin spice. Sit with your child over a warm muffin and a spiced beverage and savor the flavors of fall. “Leaves are falling/Autumn is calling.” Go outside with the kids and take in the beauty of nature. As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, watch Mother Nature’s handiwork at its finest. “Make a happy autumn.” Happiness all year round is something to strive for. As fall brings its many wonders, take time to smile, even at the simplest things. Do you have a quote that is all about fall? Share yours...
Fall Fun with the Family

Fall Fun with the Family

The crisp feeling of fall is in the air. Leaves are changing, the weather is getting brisk, and T-shirts and shorts are being put away for the season. While summer brings a smile to kids’ faces, so does fall. The change in season brings a sense of newness, and the rhythm of school and all that goes with it is falling into a steady beat. Now that the season is in full swing, take advantage of some of the fun that’s meant for fall. Here are three family-friendly activities everyone will enjoy. Make the most of this time of year before winter’s chill keeps everyone indoors. Apple Picking Take a drive to an orchard or farm and enjoy a day of apple picking. Being outdoors in the fresh air is a nice change of pace and the scenery is delightful. Pick your own apples for eating as is or for baking pies and cobblers. If you want to gather lots of apples, you can make applesauce or jam that will last a while. But remember to enjoy a fresh, juicy apple on the way home…there’s nothing like it! Pumpkin Patch Halloween is right around the corner…time to get your pumpkin for transforming into a scary Jack-o-Lantern. But you’ll need more than one pumpkin if you want to whip up a tasty pumpkin pie in time for Thanksgiving. The kids will love frolicking through the pumpkin patch and choosing their own pumpkin. And don’t forget to toast up the seeds for a healthful snack to munch on. Walking Paths Find a local path and take a walk as a family....
Traveling with Kids? Be a Friendly Flier and NEVER Do These Things on a Plane

Traveling with Kids? Be a Friendly Flier and NEVER Do These Things on a Plane

Taking the kids along for a plane trip has its pros and cons. For starters, the excitement of a trip above the clouds is something most kids find exhilarating. That said, parents who travel with kids have plenty to worry about. Some kids get nervous. Others tend to become a nuisance to other passengers. Of course, parents can’t do much about crying babies, but even the big kids have their moments. Aside from the obvious, like teaching your child to be respectful to others in the general sense, to remain in their seat, and to listen to instructions, here are 15 things to avoid while traveling by air. And this doesn’t only apply to the kids…adults, pay attention too! 15 Flying Faux Pas Bring Along a Tuna Sandwich (or any other stinky snacks) Talk to the Person Next to You When They’ve Expressed Disinterest Nod Off…On The Person Next to You Continuously Get Up to Use the Bathroom (when you’re not in the aisle seat) Laugh (or cry) Like a Lunatic as You Watch the In-Flight Movie Grab The Arm or Leg of a Stranger at Any Sign of Turbulence Keep Getting Up for Your Belongings in the Overhead Bin Start an Argument with the Person In Front of You When He/She Reclines His/Her Seat Travel with a Nasty Cough (if you can avoid it) Hog the Arm Rest Between Your Seats Be Rude to the Flight Attendants Wear Far too Much Perfume/Cologne Fall Asleep and Snore Like a Freight Train Take Off Your Shoes Mid-Flight Keep Closing the Window Shade When The Person Next to You Wants to...
Getting Back into the Swing of School

Getting Back into the Swing of School

School is back in session. Summer is over and the kids are back to basics. Books, backpacks, brown bag lunches, you name it. The fall is upon us and the regular routine is in motion. But are your kids really back into the swing of things? If you need some tips to get your kids out of summer mode and back into classroom status, we’ve got you covered. Learning can be as fun as time off. Schedules that are a bit strict aren’t all that bad. School can rule! Your kids just need a little swing in their step. Bedtime Lights out when you say so is rule #1. Without proper sleep, your kids won’t function at their finest. They will be moody, groggy, temperamental, and just off their game. Lack of sleep means lower concentration, trouble focusing, and sets them up to struggle in school. Set a reasonable bedtime and be sure the kids are sufficiently relaxed before hitting the sack. Wind down an hour or so before bedtime so they are ready to shut their eyes shortly after their head hits the pillow. Mornings after a restful night’s sleep will go much smoother too…for everyone! Breakfast Start the day with a healthy dose of good nutrition. An empty belly is not a recipe for learning. Provide a balanced meal that includes fruit, whole grains, protein, and some fat. Even if there’s not much time for a sit-down meal, prepare a take-along your child can eat on the way to school. Even a simple smoothie with all the essentials will do the trick. Just make sure you serve...
The National Toy Hall of Fame Contenders

The National Toy Hall of Fame Contenders

Let’s Hear it for the Toys! Toys of yesteryear, today, and those that have stood the test of time will have a chance to be inducted into NY’s National Toy Hall of Fame this year. From dolls to board games, simple to hi-tech, these toys are at the top of their game. They are in the running to make history in Rochester, NY. The Best of the Best The National Toy Hall of Fame recently unveiled this year’s finalists! They include American Girl, Tickle Me Elmo, He-Man, Masters of the Universe, Uno, Magic 8 Ball, Chutes and Ladders, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Tudor Electric Football, pinball, the sled, chalk, and tic-tac-toe. Vote for Your Favorite Toy! Toy lovers are welcome to weigh in on the selection process through September 19th. “The three toys that receive the most public votes will be submitted on one ballot and will join the other top-three submissions from members of the 23-person National Selection Advisory Committee. The public will collectively act as one member of the committee. The final inductees will be revealed at a special ceremony at The Strong on Thursday, November 8,” notes the National Toy Hall of Fame.” http://www.toyhalloffame.org/players-choice-ballot Prior inductees include LEGO, Monopoly, the Rubik’s Cube, alphabet blocks, and Atari 2600 Game System. Be sure to vote. And stay tuned to see which toys make it to the hall of fame. Is there a toy you’d love to see get this high acclaim? What’s your child’s fave toy and what was yours when you were a kid? For more info like this, please visit All My Children’s blogs. By: Melissa A....
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