Father’s Day Personalized cards

Father’s Day is June 15th, 2014, and there’s still time to create a customized card Father’s Day Personalized cards at Cardstore! Simply find a design you like, add your own photo(s), and make it your own with a personalized message of your choice! Need ideas? Google “Father’s Day Quotes,” search Pinterest, or browse other cards to find the wording you like. I have ordered from Cardstore several times, and they are super quick, when it comes to shipping, and the quality of cards is simply outstanding. I ordered my Father’s Day card last week and had it in my mailbox in just a few days.

Affiliate Exclusive! $1.49 Father’s Day Cards + Free Stamp when you let us mail it for you at Cardstore! Use Code: CAH4335, Valid through 6/9/14. Shop Now!

Cardstore also has an option of personalizing your card with your signature and mailing it directly to your Dad or Grandpa, and right now get a free stamp with your card purchase, if you use this Code CAH4335 – $1.49 Father’s Day Cards + Free Stamp , Valid through 6/9/14 at Cardstore.com

Also, be sure to check out this video about one of the world’s toughest jobs and our DIY Father’s Day gift idea from kids.

Halloween toilet paper roll crafts for kids

Halloween toilet paper craftsPaper roll crafts are very popular these days, and there are a few reasons for it: they are easy to make, most of the materials needed for paper roll craft projects are readily available at home, and you get to re-purpose items that would otherwise be discarded. Since it is almost September and some of us are already starting to prepare and decorate for Halloween, I figured that now would be a good time to post about Halloween toilet paper roll crafts for kids.

toilet paper roll crafts kids

For this project, you will need toilet paper rolls, construction or craft paper, glue, scissors, and paint. Markers or oil pastels for decoration are optional. Get all the supplies ready, fold the tops of toilet paper rolls as shown in the photo collage below, and have kids paint all paper rolls different colors (Crayola washable kids paint is perfect for the project). Let the paper rolls dry, then let kids decorate the paper rolls in any way they like: a witch, a bat, a spider, an owl, a vampire, a monster, a pumpkin – just a few Halloween characters them may want to make. Craft paper can be used for wings, vampire cap, or facial features. Create a Halloween display out of your child’s paper roll crafts – great way to add free/ inexpensive holiday decor to your home, and kids will be so proud to show off their creations to friends and family :)

Halloween Toilet paper crafts for kids

You may also like these creative ways to re-purpose paper rolls:

Fun Halloween characters made out of toilet paper rolls

Recycled pillow box favors for a Halloween party

Hanging bats out of paper rolls - cool Halloween decoration for your home, with very little help from adults

Pumpkin garland – fun project for a family craft night

Paper Roll painting – easy DIY picture frame

Where I party: Get Crafty Fridays

Window Drawing

Do you have a set of Crayola Crystal Effects window drawing for kidsWindow markers yet? If your children enjoy arts and crafts, window drawing will be a big hit. Not sure why the manufacturer recommends these markers for children ages 8 and up, as they are washable and nontoxic, and preschoolers enjoy these markers just as much as the big kids do. Drawing on a window (or any other glass surface) is only part of the fun. What kids enjoy the most is watching the colors crystallize like ice. The crystallizing effect is similar to window frosting in action.

We noticed that the markers work best when it’s warm or hot outside and the glass surface is slightly warm. On a cooler day or when the air is humid, it may take a while for the colors to crystallize – as long as a few hours.

These markers are very affordable. A set of these will cost you between $3.50 and $5 at Target, Wal-Mart, or on Amazon. They are very eco-friendly as they were manufactured using a renewable energy source – solar energy. Crayola Solar Farm provides enough energy to produce 1 billion Crayola crayons and 500 million markers a year. To learn more about Crayola Solar farm, visit Green Initiatives page on Crayola website and watch an educational video made for kids.

If you would like to see Window Drawing in action, be sure to watch the video below. In the beginning of the video, you can barely see the colors, but the crystallizing effect really starts showing up about half way through the video. Also note how easy it is to wipe off the drawing with a paper towel:

Why are blueberries so expensive?

why are blueberries so expensiveI absolutely love blueberries, don’t you? But I rarely buy them in stores because they are so pricey. And indeed, why are blueberries so expensive?

My mother-in-law owns a small ranch. She keeps chickens, geese, horse, and sheep. She also grows vegetables and some berries, including blueberries. A couple weeks ago, I got the phone call we have been waiting for – blueberries are in, come pick your own. My mother-in-law doesn’t exactly live around the corner, it’s more like a 2 hour trip one way, but it is so worth it! Not only do we visit with family, but we also get to feed and interact with farm animals, including lambs and horses.  And we usually leave with a big bag full of fresh farm eggs, vegetables, and berries – all organic!

When we got to the farm last Sunday, we went straight to the blueberry bushes. The three bushes are about 5 years old, but they have grown huge and have been producing large harvests of berries for a couple years. This year we have had a lot of rain, and, even though it’s only the beginning of the blueberry season, the berries are already large, sweet, and very juicy.

organic blueberries

Now let me share my theory behind why blueberries are so expensive. My mother-in-law says that growing blueberries does not require much effort on her part. She lets the rain water the bushes, she doesn’t use pesticides, and the only fertilizer she applies is hardwood ashes - she spreads a small amount of ashes around the bushes in the fall. However, it does take a lot of time to pick the blueberries. It took me over an hour to pick a gallon bucket full of berries in 100 degree heat. I pick blueberries a few times a year, so I am not very skilled at blueberry-picking. I am sure there are ways to increase your blueberry picking speed, but from what I am getting out of the video below, some of the commercially grown blueberries are also picked by hand, not machines.

Since blueberries have a very short shelf life (about two weeks), there are probably some additional costs associated with quick delivery system from farms to stores and a certain percentage of waste that has to be configured into the price. If you consider the cost of growing, picking and packaging blueberries, then add in the transportation costs, and the store mark-up (often 100% of the cost), $4-$5 a pint blueberries may sound like a bargain. In order to bypass all the additional costs, find a Pick Your Own blueberry farm near you and pick your own berries for as low as $1.50 a pint (be sure to check out the Pick Your Own website – it has a very extensive list of farms by State and County).

In the past, blueberries were on the dirty dozen list (produce with highest pesticide residue). This year, they are no longer on the list, but it still may be a good idea to buy blueberries organic, if you can afford it. If you see DiMeo name on the blueberry packages, buy with confidence – they don’t use pesticides or chemicals on their berries. To keep their production costs down, DiMeo uses blueberry picking machines towards the end of the season, when only few new berries are coming in. That way the cost of picking 12 pints of blueberries goes down to $0.26 vs $4 for hand-picked blueberries. Here’s the picking machine in action.

I think growing your own blueberries would be a fun project to get your kiddos involved in. They can help you with research and planting, and then, of course, with blueberry picking, once the bushes start producing. Even the pickiest eaters are likely to try garden produce if you involve them in gardening.

As for me, I am very inspired to start growing blueberry bushes. It seems to be so worth it!  I found some good tips on growing great blueberries. Since soil PH levels are so important, I will start preparing the soil in the near future and will then test it for PH levels ( I found a soil tester on Amazon for around $6). I would like to get two-three heirloom bushes in the fall. Let me know if you have any suggestions on where I can get them.

 

Parenting quote by Franklin P. Jones

parenting quote

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.”

                                                                                                                                        – Franklin P. Jones

This funny parenting quote is so very true, don’t you think? Funny, but true. Kids will test your patience at just about every opportunity they get. Picky eaters will spend hours at the dinner table, refusing to eat the veggies on their plates. Siblings will find a reason to argue, simply because, for them, arguing is fun. Toddlers will choose to skip their mid-day naps to drive you crazy later in the day. I think so many parents could relate to this! You can be the most patient person in the world, but you will still have a hard time keeping your cool when children find the right buttons to push.

This parenting quote is different from other quotes I shared on this site. It doesn’t really give you advice on how to raise children and be a good parent. Nevertheless, I think the quote is worth sharing. First of all, it will put a smile on your face. And second, it will remind you that it’s very human to loose your patience with children every once in a while, and, by no means, that makes you a bad parent.

But, humor aside, parents do learn a lot from children. Forgiveness, love, appreciation for simple wonders of the world, better understanding of ourselves and our parents – these are only a few of the things that children can teach us or help rediscover. Parents are teachers, and, as strange as it may sound, kids are teachers too :)

Happy Friday! Have a wonderful weekend, enjoy the beautiful weather, and keep learning with your kids.

Easy breakfast recipe for kids

Easy breakfast recipe for kids

Today, I am sharing an easy breakfast recipe for kids. This breakfast sandwich will take only a few minutes to make and will provide plenty of protein for kids growing bodies and tons of energy to take on the day.

All of the ingredients I used for the easy breakfast recipe for kids come from “Trader Joe’s.”  I am probably one of the most loyal customers of  the grocery chain as I drive 2+ hours to stock up on food for 2-3 weeks. In our area, we have a very limited selection of organics, and grocery prices are through the roof  (our grocery store prices are at least double of what “Trader Joe’s” charges for comparable items), so the drive is really worth it, especially if you are trying to go organic on a budget.

Ingredients list: cooking spray, sourdough bread (or whole grain bread, English muffin, bagel, or croissant), Canadian bacon, organic eggs or healthy eggs from farms that follow responsible farming methods, organic cheese or cheese made from milk from cows not treated with artificial hormones.

 Instructions: Ask kids to get all the ingredients ready for you. Even the simple steps make them feel important and involved in meal preparation. Turn stove burner to medium heat (I start with setting 5, and then turn it down to 4). Crack an egg in a bowl, beat the egg,  and add salt and pepper to taste (kids can help with beating the egg or adding spices). Fry the egg on both sides, then add a slice of cheese on top of the egg and let it cook for a minute or so. Then add 2-3 slices of Canadian bacon and turn the egg+cheese+Canadian bacon over and let it fry for another minute, then remove it from the pan. Now fry bread for 30-45 seconds on each side. Make a sandwich and serve warm.

easy breakfast recipe for kids

According to the labels of ingredients I used to make the sandwich, an egg contains 7 grams of protein, a slice of cheese – another 7 grams of protein, and a slice of Canadian bacon – around 3.33 grams of protein. That’s at least 20 grams of protein per sandwich!

And, just in case you are looking for breakfast ideas for Father’s Day, this is the perfect easy breakfast recipe for kids to help you make – Dad-tested and approved :)

You can also make this sandwich on a grill, check out this recipe: Camping Food Breakfast sandwich.

This guest post was written by Eva B, Mom of an 8 year old girl.

Ocean Play Dough Collage

ocean play dough collageI tend to favorite open-ended projects.  They are very beneficial to children because they allow kids to use imagination and express creativity and THEIR view of the world without any limitations of step-by-step instructions. The ocean play dough collage featured here is a vivid example of an open-ended project that started with a sheet of construction paper, play dough in four different colors, and a few sea shells. There were no instructions to follow – just craft supplies and a theme. We simply added one object at a time to create the ocean play dough collage, and it turned out beautiful. We started out with a mermaid and a castle, then added some sand and sea weed. We wanted to put sea shells to good use, so we used them to decorate the castle, and then added a creature to the cone-shaped shell and connected two sea shells with play dough to display a precious pearl.

As the brainstorming session for this open-ended project continued, sea turtles, fish, a sea horse, starfish, and a jellyfish also joined our Ocean Life Aquarium. Play dough is the perfect art medium that can be used to create multi-dimensional projects. I also love the fact that you can use play dough as clay or clue to hold different objects in place – kids can incorporate a variety of objects like sticks, stones, sea shells and cardboard into their artwork. Here’s an example of how we used play dough to build a fairy house out of natural materials.

An ocean play dough collage is easy enough to be completed by a preschooler. Although it may be a good idea for an adult and a child to work on the project as a team – collaboration can produce some outstanding results :) If you do decide to try out the ocean-themed project, please do shoot us an Email at info@parenting-today.com. We would love to feature your child’s artwork on our website.

And here’s a bigger image of the collage for you to get a better look:

ocean play dough collage

Father’s Day gift ideas from kids

Father's Day gift ideas from kids

Have you already started thinking about Father’s Day gift ideas from kids? In the US, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday in June, and in 2013, the third Sunday in June falls on June 16th.

Father’s Day is a very important holiday for children  to show their love and appreciation for a very special person – Dad. And the best gift a child can give Dad is a handmade gift from the heart. By creating a handmade gift, children not only get an opportunity to express their creativity but they also get to experience the joy of gift giving that comes from making a loved one happy. Raising a child who gives with joy is fundamental to raising a child who cares.

Parents have a great appreciation for handmade gifts made by children. They proudly display them at home and at work and hold on to them for many years. Some even start keepsake boxes to keep all the handmade gifts they received throughout the years.

Today I am sharing this photo tutorial for turning cardboard box into canvas for kids art. Once canvas are ready, kids can decorate it with glitter glue, paint, or construction paper and write “I love Dad” or “Happy Father’s Day” on it. The artwork can be given as a gift for Father’s Day and then displayed on Dad’s desk or a wall (to hang, simply make a small hole on the back side of the canvas).

Father's Day gift ideas from kids

“I love Dad” picture on cardboard canvas – Father’s day gift from kids

The photo tutorial should be easy to follow, but if you need further explanation, please comment on the post, and I will do my best to explain how to put the canvas together.

Please also check out these great Father’s Day gift ideas from kids on the web:

Photo book filled with pictures and Q&As about Dad - you can order a softcover photo book for only $3 

Scratch off Father’s Day card 

Tackle box for Dad – box filled with sweet treats

Dad Rocks paperweight

Football pen holder

Candy bar letter for Dad - what an awesome idea!

My Pinterest board: Father’s Day gift ideas from kids

 

4th of July craft ideas for preschoolers

 

4th of July craft ideas for preschoolers

American flag craft

Since 4th of July is just around the corner, you may be already looking for 4th of July craft ideas for preschoolers. Last weekend we completed this American flag wall hanging – a fun DIY project for preschoolers that does require parental involvement. First, we collected sticks and broke them into shorter 14 inch pieces. Since there are 13 stripes on the American flag, we needed 13 sticks of equal length for the project. Ideally, you would want the sticks to be as straight as possible to simplify the project assembly. As you can see in the pictures, our sticks were a bit too crooked, so it was a bit of a task to tie them together. We painted the sticks with the same Crayola washable paint we used for the Cardboard fairy house. Children can paint the sticks completely on their own after you separate the sticks into 4 groups: 3 sticks to be painted red, 3 sticks to be painted white, 3 sticks to be painted white and blue, and 4 sticks to be painted red and blue. I suggest working with one color at a time. For the two-colored sticks, have your child paint two thirds of three sticks white and two thirds of four sticks red, then finish all seven sticks with blue. Let the sticks dry, then tie them together with twine or metal wire: alternate the white and red sticks to form the American flag with red and white stripes and a blue rectangle. We used simple knots to tie the sticks together – first tie the twine around the first stick, than tie 3-4 additional knots before tying the next stick into the flag. If your sticks are pretty straight, the additional knots may be unnecessary. The final step of the project is to draw 50 white dots or stars on the blue rectangle. If you use washable paint, display the finished wall hanging indoors or on a covered porch to prevent paint from washing off.

4th of July crafts for preschoolers

American flag craft project

Not ready to take on the American flag wall hanging project, here are a few other  4th of July craft ideas for preschoolers on the Web:

4th of July rockets

4th of July rock painting

4th of July flag banner

4th of July paper lanterns

Sparkling fireworks

American flag out of popsicle sticks

Also, if you have enough red, white, and blue LEGO blocks in your Lego collection, kids can make an American flag out of LEGOs. Unfortunately, we did not have enough Lego pieces to do all 13 stripes and 50 stars, but, other than that, our mini flag turned out pretty good :)

4th of July craft ideas for preschoolers

And if your preschooler enjoys coloring, here’s a link to American Flag coloring pages. A colored “USA with coloring key” page is featured below:

4th of July coloring sheet

USA flag coloring page

 

 

This week we are participating in these awesome link-up parties:

See Vanessa Craft

Liz Marie Blog

 

Good Parenting Quote by Haim Ginott

Good parenting quotes

Good parenting quote by Haim Ginott

“Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming.” This good parenting quote by Haim Ginott reflects his philosophy of education and family communication.  Haim Ginott was a teacher, a parent educator, a child psychologist, and the author of “Between Parent and Child” - the bestselling book that has helped millions of parents and teachers strengthen their relationships with children. Every child is a little person, and, therefore, should be treated like one. Positive reinforcement is better than criticism, giving your child limited options is better than choosing for him or her, acknowledging a child’s feelings and opinions is better than arguing. Respect is the key to successful parenting, no matter how young the child is. If you need advice on how to discipline your children, want to help your kids develop self-confidence, or are looking for guidance on how to build trust with children, Haim Ginott’s book is a must read.