Mar 272017
 

April Fools Day is coming up quick guys and I am already planning out some awesome April Fools Food Pranks to play on my boys.  Growing up, there was absolutely no pranking in parent’s house.  They didn’t go for that sort of thing, so my sister, brother and I behaved. Then I met my husband, Christian, and he happens to come from a family full of pranksters. Christian knows I am not a fan, so they rarely get played on me, but my boys are a whole other story.

The boys think pranks are the best thing ever and pretty much live for April Fools Day because that’s the only real day that they can get away with them without consequences. But what kind of a mom would I be if I didn’t play a few pranks back?  I have experimented over the years and have found that food pranks are the best way to go with my two. It gets them every time. If you want to try some food pranks of your own, take a peek at some of these links.  There is lots of good stuff in there. Continue reading »

Mar 262017
 

Confession: I have more broken crayon bits in my house than actual whole crayons. It goes something like this – We get a new pack of crayons, the kids use them once or twice, 2/3 of them break and all of those broken pieces end up somewhere in the abyss. And because apparently no one in my family knows how to clean up after themselves, I would end up finding these little crayon pieces all over the place and at some point I decided that enough was enough.  I grabbed an old shoe box and started putting all the broken crayons I came across in there….and there they have sat, collecting dust, for several years.

I was at the store recently and found a really cute bunny mold. I thought it would be super cute to make new crayons out of and that’s exactly what I did. I took out the box of old crayons and got to work making some bunny crayons with the kids. It’s a fun Easter activity to do with the kids and they seriously could not be easier to make!

Continue reading »

Mar 152017
 

How to keep your kids entertained during school breaks can be a little rough. Those long breaks – winter holidays, spring breaks, and then summer break can be a lot. At first your kids might love the freedom, but over time find themselves being bored more often and getting frustrated! If you are looking for ways to keep your kids entertained, you might find some of these ideas below helpful. Granted depending on your child’s age will depend what fits there needs! But, hopefully a few of these might save you from a day of, “I have nothing to do, I am so bored!”

Ways to Entertain Kids During School Breaks 

Arts and Crafts: Thanks to the world of Pinterest you can always find fun arts and crafts to do. From making bird feeders with old toilet paper rolls to making salt crystals. You can find fun art projects for kids of all ages. Plus a lot of them can be very inexpensive, but keep your child busy for hours! So search out DIY crafts and see what fun ideas you find. 

Scavenger Hunt: This can be a lot of fun, create a scavenger hunt. Create a list of items they will have to go on a hunt to find. This can be one of their favorite toys, some kitchen utensils, the sky is the limit here. Then at the end you can have a surprise like a cookie or even a cheap dollar toy from the dollar store. They will love doing it!  Continue reading »

Mar 142017
 

Sky Zone is the world’s first indoor trampoline park and whenever I tell my boys we are going there, their faces light up. They love it because it’s fun, but I love it because it’s fun fitness disguised as family entertainment!

Sky Zone Kingston offers great activities such as Freestyle Jump, a SkySlam basketball dunking court, GLOW (all ages), Ultimate Dodgeball, a Foam Zone, and a Toddler Court for kids walking to 4 years old. We also offer a full schedule of SkyFit classes, Toddler Time, a special abilities low-sensory jump, and more. But did you know that you can have your child’s birthday party at Sky Zone?

Their goal is to make your party as easy and seamless as possible so you and your guests can focus on fun – and not have to worry about set up/clean up. Sky Zone offers a standard package (see below), but every party is completely customizable to your requirements. It is your party, after all! Continue reading »

Mar 062017
 

Many of you know that I volunteer in my son’s 3rd grade class. It’s one of the most rewarding things I do and I truly love spending time with all the kids. I am at the school two mornings a week and they are the highlight of my week.

My son is in a pretty small class (18 kids including my son), which makes it even better. If you’ve been around here for a while you know about our struggle to get him diagnosed with ADD, but once we did he got placed in an inclusion classroom – and it was one of the best things that’s ever happened to him. He’s having the best school year he’s ever had and a BIG part of that is his teacher, the classroom aide and the awesome kids in his class.

But I digress…..

On the days I go in to the school, I arrive about 9 am. When I get there the kids are usually working on their “morning work” which is either a math worksheet, a writing assignment or sometimes it’s a puzzle. The other day when I was there, the kids were working on a puzzle. It was a winter themed word scramble and as I was helping some of the kids figure out the words, I thought to myself “I should make one for St. Patrick’s Day”.

So that’s what I did. Continue reading »

Feb 282017
 

As you probably know, Dr. Seuss’s birthday is coming up this week – on March 2nd to be exact. We are really big fans of his work in our house and read his books almost every night around here. We have every book he’s ever written, so we definitely have a lot of his books to keep us busy. Today I wanted to share a fun craft that I made recently that was inspired by Dr. Seuss and one of our favorite books of his: A Truffula Trees Fork Painting from The Lorax. We seriously love The Lorax and since it is one of our all time favorites, I couldn’t resist a fun craft inspired from that book in particular. These Truffula Trees are really easy to make and I think it’s a fitting tribute to the works of such a brilliant man.

Here’s what you need:

  • White paper
  • 2 Shades of each green, blue, and pink craft paints
  • Colorful paper straws
  • Plastic forks
  • Paper plate
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun

Here’s what you do: Continue reading »

Feb 122017
 

If you are a parent you’ve either been there, are going through it now, or will someday experience the joy (please note the sarcasm) of raising a teenager. Let me start off by saying that I love my son with all my heart and cannot imagine my life without him. It’s been just the 2 of us taking on the world for the last 12 years, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days I just don’t like him very much. He is very much a typical 14-year-old boy. He’s a good kid and doesn’t get into trouble, but the mouth, the sighs, the eyerolls, and the general “mom, you are the dumbest person alive” attitude are enough to put me over the edge. I know that I’m not the first parent to experience this, and I certainly won’t be the last, so I decided to do a little bit of research on parenting teenagers and here is what I came up with. Continue reading »

Jan 172017
 

During winter months, you may notice that your kids gradually start spending more and more time indoors, sitting in front of their computers, TVs or smartphones. While this type of fun is perfectly fine once in a while, it’s not healthy and definitely not family-oriented if your children have no other memories of charming winter time other than those that gadgets provide them with. In that respect, it’s time that you organize some cool outdoor activities for a whole family to enjoy. And most importantly, relax – these activities do not have to cost you an arm and a leg. All that’s necessary is your creativity, positive energy and love that you all share.

5 Frugal Family Bonding Outdoor Activities That Your Kids Will Love During Winter

Go out and make something
Winter time offers a lot of possibilities. If you happen to enjoy some good snowfall during winter, turn it to your advantage. Together with your kids, you can have a lot of fun in the snow. Making a snowman and other various forms, as well as using snow as a big canvas for your little works of art is a great and frugal way to bond as a family. Don’t feel sad if snow just doesn’t want to color your streets and yards white – you can make your own artificial snow that can serve the purpose of getting all artsy and crafty just fine. Continue reading »

Jan 162017
 

Trying to get your kids to eat enough fruits and vegetables is about as tricky as, well, trying to get a young kid to eat their fruits and vegetables. That’s why smoothies can be the ideal way to conceal the food that’s nutritious for them while giving them their daily intake of fruits and vegetables in a form that almost feels like a desert.

In broad terms, smoothies can run the gamut of flavors and ingredients so it is best to begin with something simple. Try starting your kids off with a pure fruits and yogurt yogurt mixture and work your way to more complicated recipes from there. Green smoothies can be filled with essential nutrients and can be extremely tasty, they may not be the best option for kids who still make dramatic faces overtime they look at broccoli.

A simple recipe to start them off would include frozen strawberries, a banana, and vanilla or plain yogurt. Once they get accustomed to the the basic flavor and texture of those smoothies, you could slowly start reducing the sugar and use a healthier vanilla yogurt instead of the plain yogurt. At this point, you can also start adding additional ingredients, such as blueberries or mangos, a little at a time without drastically altering the overall taste. Continue reading »

Jan 112017
 

If the thought of being able to put money into savings makes you laugh hysterically, clap your hands.

If you clapped, you’re not alone. It can be incredibly difficult to put money into savings. And that’s just when the savings are your own. When you start considering how you’ll manage to save any money for your kid’s future — well, that can seem even more impossible.

If you want to save money for your kid’s future, or at least want to try, here are a few tactics to consider:

Start a 529 Plan

Like a 401k, a 529 plan is helpful, but it can be daunting if you’re new to it. The IRS has a detailed and helpful Q&A page that makes for a great introduction to this popular college savings plan.

The short and sweet explanation is this: A 529 plan allows you to save money specifically for education costs without being taxed on the account’s earnings — provided you spend those earnings on approved education costs. It’s considered your asset, so it won’t affect your kid’s financial aid and you can transfer it to their sibling if they’re not interested in pursuing higher education. Continue reading »

Jan 032017
 

how-to-survive-raising-boys

If you are raising boys then you surely have become familiar with that everlasting boy humor. That humor that is inappropriate for the dinner table yet becomes a frequent occurrence. That toilet seat that never gets put down and that ever growing smell that seems to be boy’s feet. Sure some of you are the lucky parents with boys who don’t exhibit most of these qualities on a regular basis but for the rest of us, we are just getting started in learning how to survive raising boys.

How to Survive Raising Boys

The initial step to ensuring that you survive the years of raising boys is to make sure that your weak stomach disappears. There will be times that you smell odd things on stuffed animals, wonder what’s hidden underneath their beds and why on Earth they still smell after having showered just that morning. Continue reading »

Dec 202016
 

‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house, no child was complaining, not even a spouse. The gifts were unwrapped and toys played with care, while parents reveled in the peace and quiet in the air… Well, that lasted 10 minutes. We know it’s not long before the first “I’M BORED” escapes your kids’ lips during holiday break.

We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve been in a slump due to the rainy day blues.  Instead of curling up into a ball and succumbing into boredom, there are dozens of different activities that you can do to keep yourself occupied.  Even if the weather is miserable outside, there is no reason as to why you should be miserable inside!  Below is a list of 4 great things that you can do to chase rainy day boredom away.

1. Plan a Scavenger Hunt

This is the perfect activity for families who have children that enjoy participating in activities.  A scavenger hunt is not only fun for the kids, but it is also fun for the parents.  Make a list of 20-30 items that the family will have to find throughout the house and the individual who finds all of the items first is the winner.  You can choose the prize, such as allowing the winner to pick what’s for dinner and desert that night. Continue reading »

Dec 042016
 

pokemon-elf-on-the-shelf-idea

This year marks the 4th year that our Elf on the shelf, Snowy,  has come to visit us. My oldest son (age 12) does not believe in any of the Christmas magic anymore….sigh, but my 9 year old does and I want to do as much as I can to keep the magic alive for him.

Back when I first got the EOTS (Elf on the Shelf) for our house, both of my boys were both believers and I thought it would be fun to have Snowy get into all sorts of shenanigans overnight while the boys slept.  They would wake up each morning in December anxious to see what kind of mischief that Snowy got into while they slept.  They loved every mess he made, but by the third year (last year), I was out of ideas.  My youngest made to to note that Snowy had sure gotten lame since his first year at our house.  Gee, thanks kid.

Anyhow, I am struggling yet again this year, but I was able to come up with this cute Pikachu idea since both of my boys were SO into Pokemon Go over the summer.  It only took me a few minutes and they both thought it was funny (even the non-believer).

Easy Elf on the Shelf Idea for Pokemon Fans

Here’s what you need:

  • Bunch of bananas
  • Red and black Sharpie markers
  • White puffy paint
  • Elf on the shelf

Continue reading »

Nov 282016
 

Teaching your Children to Help Out Around the House

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Does it seem like your house is never clean, despite wasting your day away picking up? Chances are you have kids! Children tend to be messy, both when playing and even eating. It can be frustrating as a parent to be responsible for all this mess, especially if your children are getting older. Instead of following those kiddos around, constantly picking up their messes, try getting them involved in the cleaning process instead. Here are some great tips you can use to help teach your child to help out around the house.

One Toy Rule

Start with the one toy rule. Not sure how this rule works? Basically, each child gets to start with one toy to play with. It can be any toy in the house, but that’s the only toy they’re allowed to have out. Once they’re done playing with their toy, they need to put it away before they can grab something else to play with. This will help keep your house clean and toy-free so that there’s not an overwhelming mess by 9 am. Continue reading »

Oct 252016
 

teal-pumpkin-project-non-candy-treat-ideas

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Have you noticed an increase of teal colored pumpkins on people’s doorsteps in your neighborhood over the past few years and have been wondering why?  It’s because of a relatively new nationwide initiative dedicated to making Halloween safe and fun for all kids and it’s called the Teal Pumpkin Project.

Every child should be able to experience the joy of going out trick-or-treating on Halloween night, but often times kids with food allergies are left out of the fun since most candy is off limits to them. The Teal Pumpkin Project helps make sure that all kids will be able come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy.

The Teal Pumpkin Project™ was launched by the Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014. It’s a great way to let people know that you are offering non-food treats to trick-or-treaters on Halloween. This way, kids with food allergies and other medical issues such as diabetes can still have a fun & safe Halloween.

Instead of candy a few of the parents I know in town are beginning to offer things like bubbles, glow sticks, spider rings and little bouncy balls for the trick-or-treaters that come to their home.  Oriental Trading Post has lots of safe, non-food Halloween goodies for you to offer to your trick-or-treaters this year if you are planning on participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project.  This way no one has to miss out on the Halloween fun. Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 

Last week I headed up to the Merrimack Premium Outlets to spend the day shopping so that I could stock up on all the back-to-school essentials that my kids will need this fall!

Merrimack Premium Outlets is an outdoor shopping center located 35 miles northwest of Boston and easily accessible off Exit 10 of Everett Turnpike (RT 3 from Boston). They have over 100 stores and in New Hampshire, you can enjoy tax free shopping at stores like Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store, Coach, Elie Tahari, J.Crew, Michael Kors, Nautica, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Tommy Hilfiger and more all at saving of 25%-65% everyday.

My 12 year old will only wear Under Armour clothing these days so I was happy to see that they had an Under Armour outlet there. My little guy is into Nike, so I was wicked happy that I could get lots of great clothing for my boys for back to school at discounted prices.

outlets2

For the 2016 back to school season, Simon is encouraging shoppers to ‘find your style’ while reflecting on your past first days of school and the outfits that were the height of fashion in the 80’s and 90’s. Continue reading »

Aug 162016
 

Opened First Aid Kit

When someone thinks of a first aid kit, perhaps only band-aids come to mind. However, a first aid kit is much better off if it has more of the necessities in it. Summer is here and it’s time to ensure you have everything you need in your first aid kid. Here are some ideas:

25 adhesive bandages in various sizes
If you are like me, you go through A LOT of them, so if you are prepared with different sized band-aids, you will be covered for boo-boo’s of all sizes.

Antiseptic Wipes or Alcohol Pads
It’s important to clean the wound before you put on a bandage and keeping wipes in your first aid kit will help you do this quickly and easily.

Antibacterial Ointment
Whenever your child gets a cut or an open wound, it’s important to clean it before putting on a bandage. Using an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin can help clean the cut and keep the bacteria out. Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Small Disclosure

When I was a kid in school my two least favorite subjects were math and science.  I hated math because I am just not good at it (to this day I still stink at it) and I remember being bored in science class.  Now that I am an adult, I wish I had listened more in science because a lot of that knowledge is relevant in my adult life, but hey – I thought I knew it all back then and wouldn’t have listened to my future self anyways.

Anyhow, now I’m the mom and both of my boys love science and math.  They especially like science and because of that, we do lots of science experiments in our house.  It makes my heart happy that they are learning and don’t even know it.  Because my boys love doing science experiments so much, when MEL Science asked me to check out some of their chemistry sets I just couldn’t refuse.  Especially since the kids are on summer vacation and I want to make sure I keep their brains active while they’re away from school.

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MEL Science is changing science education through a subscription service of nearly 100 interactive chemistry sets chocked full of experiments per year with free mobile apps for iPads, iPhones, Android smartphones and tablets. Even cooler, MEL Science kits are VR-based, and the kit’s complementary Google Cardboard device integrates perfectly with VR to emphasize 3D graphics, macro photos, and videos that allow both kids, parents, and science buffs to view molecules up-close. Here’s a YouTube video of the MEL Science chemistry kit in action. Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Back to School Morning Routine Hacks

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Tyson Foods, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JDgreatdays  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Guys, it’s happening – back to school that is.  The kids are going to be out there waiting for the bus before we know it and trust me, I know how chaotic school mornings can be.  It’s important to find ways to cut back on the chaos and make everyone’s lives a little easier and I believe I’ve found the secrets to a smooth morning.

1. Lay out clothes the night before.
Picking out clothes seems like something that shouldn’t take more than five minutes in the morning, however, when you’re in a hurry it can take forever. If you take five minutes the night before and lay out yours & the kids clothes, you will eliminate having to worry about it in the morning.

2. Set the alarm for a few minutes early.
Try getting the family to wake up at least 10-15 minutes earlier than normal on school mornings. Kids can be slow getting around because they are struggling to get used to a routine, so getting up a few minutes earlier will give them a little more time to wake up and get going. This might mean sending the kids to bed a few minutes earlier as well. Continue reading »

Jul 192016
 

the little gym logo

As you know I am the mom of two very active little boys.  Well actually they are not so little anymore. They are going to be 9 & 12 next month and I honestly don’t know where the time went. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was changing diapers and doing midnight feedings, but alas my boys are definitely not babies anymore.

I want to take a second to emphasize something I said before, though.  I said that my boys were active, and on most days that would be an understatement. I strongly believe that a big part of why they are so active today is largely due in to the multiple mommy & me classes that I did with each of them at the Little Gym. I had originally heard about the Little Gym when my oldest son was about five months old and after doing a little research, I found out that they offered classes for children as young as 4 months old.

I called my local Little Gym (which at the time was in Raynham, MA) and set up a free introductory class.  The class was a combination of singing, open gym play, circle time and a basic gymnastic skill (which for the littles were things as simple as rolling over). My little guy had such a fun time in class, I signed him up for the whole 20 week “Bugs” class.

lil gym1

Each week the classes were structured the same way.  We always started the class by sitting in a circle while the instructor sang a welcome song, always naming each child in the song. Then we would learn a new skill for the week (rolling, forward rolls, etc) and then it was time for free play. Each class ended back on the padded mat in a circle with a goodbye song. Miss Lisa was the teacher for all the classes that my boys took at the Little Gym (spanning about six years time) and I was always impressed that she knew every child’s name and always made it a point to compliment each child on their specific achievements during class as they left. Continue reading »