Monday, April 9, 2018

Beat the Heat in the Pool With SwimWays Products



Yes, I know most of you are still battling snow and cold, but some of us (me in Florida) are beginning to envision fun in the sun. Everyone will enjoy this weather soon. Think about this---

Your kids can quench the “sizzle” of summer with water. So, whether you have a big swimming pool or wading pool; your kids can spend hours of fun and “beat the heat” this season. These wet and wild toys will make your outdoor time a splash hit!
SwimWays puts the FUN back in water toys and swim gear for kids! The company’s innovative water toys, ranging from water-activated transforming toys to licensed toys featuring kids’ favorite characters, will keep kids entertained all summer long. Here are a couple products to consider.

SquiDivers™  
Featuring an all-new style, SquiDivers are soft and flexible learn to swim dive toys that wiggle and jiggle their way to the bottom of the pool, landing nose down. The soft, flexible tentacles float upright making these brightly-colored dive toys easy for kids to see and grab. Finger holes allow kids to place on finger tips for in or out of the pool fun

Great for every day swimming fun, for practicing underwater dive and retrieve skills during swim training practice, and as a pool party activity! New characters include shark, ray and fish.
Three SquiDivers are included in each pack. Recommended Age: 5+ MSRP: $7.99
Availability: Toys “R” Us (new style) and Target (current style) 

Funny Face Swim Goggles™  
Kids will love to express their personality at  the pool with these selfie-ready novelty swimming goggles, which add some fun to swim lessons and kids pool parties. The goggles feature an easy-button adjustable head strap, leak-resistant design and soft construction for a comfortable fit.

Available in 3 styles, sold separately: stars and stripes, soccer balls and butterflies. Recommended Age: 3+ MSRP: $7.99
Availability: Academy and Swimways.com
And while the big kids are playing in the pool, your baby can enjoy the water while safe in this fun product:

Baby Spring Float Activity Center™  

The Baby Spring Float Activity Center features an interactive play station with a rotating octopus character that holds 6 baby toys - squeaker fish, stacking rings, fish teether, and soft touch star.

Additional features include a removable sun canopy with UPF 50+ sun protection, see-through mesh sides on the canopy so baby can always be seen, fabric-covered inflation and a soft mesh seat with secure leg holes for durability and comfort, a wide base, child safety valves, and dual air chambers.

The float folds flat into three compact circles and a carry tote is included for easy portability Recommended Age: 9-24 months MSRP: $29.99 Availability: Toys R Us, Target, Amazon




I want to thank SwimWays Toys for the opportunity to view their products. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling and SwimWays, all rights reserved

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Creative Crafts for Easter



Easter/Passover is on it's way and the perfect time to craft with the kids. Do you need some ideas? I'm posting a culmination of some articles I wrote the past couple years. They are easy and mostly use materials found in the home. Enjoy your holiday and spring!

Happy Parenting,
Tania


Hatching Baby Chicks

Spring is the season for renewal of life and we often hear about baby chicks hatching from eggs. I would suggest getting a book from the library on hatching baby chicks so the children can understand the process.
You will need:
  • Egg halves (washed and dried)
  • 2 yellow pom-poms (one larger than the other)
  • Googly eyes
  • Orange construction paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Heavy-duty glue
Directions:
  1. Give each child one eggshell and two yellow pom-poms. Have them carefully glue their pom-poms inside the eggshell, one on top of the other. Make sure to have extra eggshells available as these are fragile and could crumble.
  2. Finish this craft by gluing on two eyes and an orange beak cut from construction paper.
  3. You can display these baby chicks inside an egg carton or staple a circular ring from heavy-duty paper to make an egg stand.

And more...


  • Crafting With Matzoh for Passover



  • For Passover, let the children use broken pieces of matzoh and invite them to glue these pieces onto construction paper. Lots of very creative pictures emerge from this activity. Have them tell you about their design.
    What’s more fun than painting matzoh? Eating it! Melt white chocolate chips in a bowl (a microwave can be used). Separate the melted chocolate into several bowls. Add drops of food coloring to make a variety of edible paints. Using a clean paintbrush or cotton swabs, invite your child to paint designs and pictures on a square of matzoh. Note: you may have to keep reheating the chocolate to keep it liquid for painting. Chocolate hardens very quickly. Another variation is to use pre-made frosting in tubes that can be purchased in grocery stores. When finished, share the artwork and then enjoy the snack.



  • The Hunts of the Season
    Celebrate Passover with a treasure hunt for the “Afikomen." The matzoh is placed in a holder and here is a simple one to make:
    You will need:
    • Two sheets royal blue felt (9" x 12")
    • Silver glitter glue, decorating decors
    • Tacky glue
  • Simply glue the two sheets of felt together around the edges, leaving one side open for a piece of matzoh. You could also sew them together if you wish. Draw six-sided stars with glitter glue. You can also add decors like lace, sequins, or faux jewels with the tacky glue. Let dry completely and you are ready to place this work of art on the Seder table.
    To hunt for the Afikomen, hide this piece of matzoh in the holder somewhere in the home. Present a few clues to lead the kids from the dining area to where the Afikomen is hidden. Whoever finds the matzoh wins a prize. 

    For Easter, create this cute bunny basket for your youngster to collect his “finds of the hunt." Take a half-gallon milk carton and remove one panel using safety scissors or a craft knife (adult use only). Save this panel to make a handle. Cover all sides of this carton with construction paper using glue or tape. Cut a strip from the saved panel and staple it on both sides to make a handle. Create a cute bunny face by gluing on googly eyes, stapling on bunny ears made from heavy paper, and lastly whiskers. If you punch a hole in the center of the top ridge; pipe cleaners can be inserted equal distance and bent slightly for bunny whiskers.
    Making homemade Easter crafts and Passover crafts for kids are milestones and memories that you and your children will never forget. Enjoy this creative time together and the fun holiday festivities to follow!
    Note: Use parental supervision and age appropriate art materials when making crafts with kids.

  • Articles first published on Bright Hub Education
  • Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Keeping Your Pets Safe at Easter



Many of us have pets in our household. They need protection just as much as our children. Here is an article that has valuable information on pet safety during this spring holiday.

Until next week -- Happy Parenting (and pet parenting)
Tania


"As most of the country digs out from under the snow and rejoices in spring, there are hidden Easter dangers putting our pets at serious risks. With kids home for spring break, it’s important to keep in mind the Easter holiday may present life-threatening hazards for our furry friends. And you’ll want to be aware that Easter Sunday isn’t the only concern, it can sometimes be a few days after the incident before the symptoms start to show. Embrace Pet Insurance compiled a list of five Easter dangers that pet parents should be extra cautious about the days leading up to and following the Easter holiday.

1. Chocolate

Eating the ears off the chocolate Easter bunny is a household tradition, but don’t let your dog or cat help. Chocolate is toxic to your pets and could result in an expensive Sunday emergency vet visit. Embrace Pet Insurance always sees an increase in claims for chocolate poisoning around Easter. Last year, a curious Beagle racked up a veterinary bill for over $1,400 after helping himself to a basket of chocolate. Chocolate contains theobromine, a potent cardiovascular and nervous system stimulant which is rejected slowly in pets.

2. Xylitol

Make sure to hide sugar-free candies sweetened with xylitol up higher than your Easter-basket-hunting pets can reach. Even in small amounts, xylitol is extremely toxic to your furry family. Veterinary bills are usually around $2,000 and require follow up visits to check blood work.

3. Lilies

Lilies are especially dangerous to cats but should be kept from dogs as well. Lilies in the genera Lilium and Hemerocallis are all toxic. This information should be on the tag of the plant, and when in doubt find a safer option. Some of the claims made to Embrace were over $3,700. Treatment for lily intoxication includes aggressive decontamination possibly followed by a dose of activated charcoal, IV fluid therapy, urine and blood work monitoring, and overnight supportive care for approximately 48 hours.

4. Plastic Grass

The plastic grass used to line Easter baskets and displays is an accident waiting to happen for your pets. It isn’t digestible which means that it can become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract and wreak havoc if consumed. Pet parents should be concerned if their pet is vomiting, has diarrhea, a decrease in appetite, lethargy, and stomach pain.

5. Table scraps

Your Easter meal is likely delicious, and your dogs and cats probably agree – but be sure that your guests know not to feed them any scraps and remember to secure the trash once the feast is over. People food is too rich for your pet’s belly. According to Jenna Mahan, RVT, and Director of Claims for Embrace Pet Insurance, “We see an increase in the number of claims related to gastroenteritis, constipation, foreign body [ingestion], and lethargy during the holidays. An Easter favorite, hot cross buns contain dried fruit, such as currants and raisins are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits they can suffer severe kidney failure which may be lethal.”

If a pet parent notices a pet experiencing vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea, lethargy, or hyper-excitability, they should take them to their primary veterinarian right away to discuss a recommended course of treatment. “Unexpected accidents and illnesses can happen at any time – and our dogs and cats aren’t exempt from this. Having pet insurance is like having a safety net for unexpected veterinary bills,” says Dawn Pyne, Marketing Manager for Embrace Pet Insurance. “It provides you with peace of mind that if the unexpected happens, you’re covered.”

Blog post with permission from Embrace Pet Insurance
Photo graphics courtesy of Pixabay.com  CC0 Creative Commons

Monday, March 19, 2018

March Winds Are Perfect for Kites



“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” is the common phrase for this month’s unpredictable weather. Discuss weather changes with your children by charting lion days (blustery, windy) and lamb days (spring-like) on a March calendar. Ask your child what he would like to do on a windy day? Have you tried flying a kite when the March wind blows? Here’s a fun craft to make that signifies the windy weather and a kite-flying theme. There are several art techniques with this project that are sure to keep your child amused.
Materials:
  • Clear adhesive paper
  • Colorful tissue paper
  • Safety scissors
  • Tape
  • Black marker
  • Stapler
  • Ribbon
  • Construction paper in several colors

Directions:
Step 1 – Cut a large square of clear self-adhesive paper and tape the clear plastic side down onto a table. Peel off the protective paper so the sticky side is facing up.
Step 2 – Gather some tissue paper in several colors, preferably spring-like hues. Cut the tissue paper into small squares or other geometric shapes.
Step 3 – Instruct the child to take the squares (or shapes) and place them onto the sticky paper. Let them cover half of the sticky paper with these shapes.
Step 4 – Carefully fold over the one side of the adhesive paper and press it down firmly.  Rub over the folded plastic to release any air bubbles. Now, the colorful tissue paper is inside the plastic sheet.
Step 5 – Draw a kite shape (diamond) in the middle of this large square and invite the child to cut this plastic kite out. You can draw a vertical and horizontal line on the front side of the diamond to look like a real kite.
Step 6 – Next, cut a piece of ribbon, about a foot long and fishtail the end. Staple this to the bottom point of the diamond shape. This is the kite’s tail.
Step 7 – To help the kite tail do its job small ribbon rungs can be cut from construction paper (bow-tie shape) and stapled to the main ribbon tail.  A kite’s tail helps to steer the kite in the proper direction using a combination of weight and air resistance to steer or trail this flying object.
Step 8 – Display your child’s artistic kite in his/her bedroom – on the wall or hanging from the ceiling.
On your next blustery day, why not take the kids outdoors and attempt to fly a real kite? It’s a fun sport and will give you and your kids plenty of exercise chasing this soaring toy.
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rainbow Craft for St. Patrick's Day



During St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th  legends arise about tiny shoemakers living in the forest called Leprechauns. These mysterious little men are supposed to be rich and hide their gold in black pots found at the end of the rainbow. It is supposed to be good luck when you see a rainbow, so involve your child in making one that not only is a St. Patrick’s Day craft, but one that teaches about the colors of the rainbow. Teach your little learner the name “Roy G. Biv” (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) and he will never forget the order of colors in a rainbow.
Materials:
  • Sky blue card stock or construction paper
  • Tempera poster paints (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet)
  • Black construction paper
  • Shiny pennies
  • Pencil
  • Heavy-duty glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Paper plate

Directions:
Step 1 – Prepare your work area covering the table and floor with newspaper. This craft involves finger printing with paint and can get messy. You may even want your child to wear a paint smock to protect her clothing.
Step 2 – Place a dollop of paint (one of each color) onto a paper plate to look like an artist’s pallet.
Step 3 – Draw an arch on the sky blue paper large enough for a rainbow that covers two-thirds of the page.
Step 4 – Invite your child to use his pointer finger or thumb to do the printing. First, dip into the red paint and make fingerprints along the lines of the arch. Wash that finger with soap and water and then proceed with the next color that is orange. Continue this procedure one row after the other with yellow, green, blue, and violet paint until the rainbow is completed.
Step 5 – While the paint is drying, cut out a pot shape from black construction paper. Parents may need to draw the pot and the child can cut this out using safety scissors.
Step 6 – Glue the pot shape on the sky blue paper at the foot of the rainbow.
Step 7 – Search for shiny pennies and glue a few on the black pot. You will need to use very heavy-duty glue or a low-temperature glue gun to adhere the pennies.
During this craft session talk with your child about how and why rainbows appear in the sky adding a little science to this art project. A rainbow is a circular arc of colors that appears up in the sky when raindrops are illuminated by the sun.
Then tell the fictional, but symbolic story about the leprechauns and their gold. Storybooks are helpful with this task. Legend says if a leprechaun likes you, he will share this gold and other stories say you must catch the leprechaun for him to lead you to his fortune. ‘Tis the luck of the Irish – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Until next time,
Tania

First published on Peku Publications Holidays Helper
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
Permission needed to reprint this blog


Monday, February 19, 2018

Putting Fun into a Healthy Breakfast




Whether it's school, camp or a day adventure, getting up in the morning is a scene every parent dreads. The alarm goes off; the kids pull up their covers and refuse to get up. As the kids finally rise and decide what to wear, it's time to head to the breakfast table. Whether breakfast is eaten at home or in the car, it is important for your child's performance. Breakfast jump-starts the brain and keeps adults and children alert throughout the morning. After eight to ten hours without food, the body is essentially a cold furnace waiting to be fueled. A good breakfast should include.
-A serving of protein-rich food, such as low-fat milk or yogurt, cheese, or peanut butter.
-A food rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereal, bread, or muffins.
-A food rich in vitamin C such as an orange, grapefruit, or strawberries.
-A small amount of fat.
Special containers make mealtime a special treat for the young child. Use clean egg cartons and fill each section with a finger food. Or fill an ice cream cone with snacks other than ice cream. Try foods such as cubed cheese, peeled apple slices, or cereal. Your youngster may find this on-the-go breakfast fun while carpooling your older children. The almighty juice boxes and bags can help to wean your toddler from his bottle. Start by filling his bottle only with water and later, let him drink juice with a straw from the box or bag. This is a pleasant diversion for your child and a convenience for you because these containers can be carried easily in the stroller or car.

Instead of serving your child plain hot cereal, set out a few small bowls of toppings from which she can choose. For instance, try yogurt, applesauce, apple butter, fruit spreads, chopped nuts, dates, raisins, fresh fruit, or granola. Your child many want to add just one topping or she might choose to mix several of them on top of her cereal to experience some new and different tastes. Some of these toppings can also be used to add creative interest to cold cereals with nutrition along the way.
Keeping in mind that creativity often means doing something in a new way, you can give your child's breakfast toast a "new look" by using a cookie cutter to make them heart shaped. This also boosts self-esteem by sending her a "you are special" message. Another way to do some creative personalizing is to form your child's initials with batter when you are cooking pancakes. Or use ketchup to squeeze an "I love you", a heart shape or her initials onto cooked hash browns. Having fun in the kitchen now should bring a love of cooking later.
Hope these tips are helpful.
Happy Parenting,
Tania
Photos courtesy of pixabay.com -- CC0 Creative Commons


Monday, February 5, 2018

Valentine Tea Party: The Perfect Gathering for Little Girls



Young children love tea parties. Why not invite a few of their friends over for an afternoon party for Valentines Day? Set a pretty table with linen napkins, fresh flowers, tea sandwiches and pink punch. During the party help each little guest create confectionary necklaces to take home as a party favor. Start with a pretty heart invitation and let the party begin.

A Formal Invitation

Cut a heart shape from pale pink card stock. Use a dark pink or purple glitter pen and write out the party details along the edges of the heart, working toward the center. Leave room in the middle to print each guest’s name. Here is an example of the invitation wording:

Ms. Susie Smith would love the pleasure of your company at a Valentine day afternoon tea.
Sweets and sips will be served to your hearts delight at half past three on February 14th.

Mail or hand deliver these invitations at least a week or more before your holiday party.

Set a Delightful Table D├ęcor

Top your table with a pink or white cloth. Roll the linen napkins and tie it with pretty pink ribbon. For centerpieces, cut baby roses and arrange them in teacups to place on the table. To add Valentine flair, placing red paper doilies and heart confetti on your table. Since children love balloons, fill your room with balloons in Valentine colors of red, white, pink and lavender.

Tea Time Treats

Even though this party is passed the lunch hour, serve little tea sandwiches for snacks. Cut bread into heart shapes using cookie cutters. Spread the sandwiches with fillings such as tuna salad, chicken salad and even peanut butter and jelly. For the tea, pour a pink punch. This could be pink lemonade poured into children’s plastic teacups.

For dessert bake cupcakes in advance. Allow the little girls to ice the cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Provide an assortment of baking sprinkles in Valentine colors for the children to place on top.

Valentine Necklace Favor

Let each guest make a candy necklace to take home as a favor. Provide each child with a piece of plastic wrap about 2 feet long. Set out bowls of Valentine candy in the center of the table. The girls can select a few pieces of candy and place them 2 inches apart across the length of the plastic wrap. An adult needs to help them roll the candy inside the plastic wrap making a tube. Between the candy clusters tie a bow using a piece of ribbon. Do this procedure evenly spaced to create a pretty necklace. Make sure the candy is securely wrapped inside the tube using tape if necessary. When finished not the ends of the tube together to form the necklace. As the children leave the party, let them wear their necklace home.

Tips for a Successful Children’s Tea Party

  • Avoid serving hot tea to young children. The girls probably will not like the taste and you want to avoid any hot spills or burning of the tongue.


  • Stay away from sugar overload. Serve nutritious food during the party and only one dessert. When making the candy necklace make sure the girls label the craft with their name and take the party favor home to eat at a later time.


  • Recruit older siblings to help the little girls at the party. Or think about inviting the mothers for a mother and daughter Valentine tea party.


Most of all enjoy the party together and take pictures to savor the memories.




Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com CCO Creative Commons


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Who Doesn't Like Flowers on Valentine's Day?



Valentine's Day (February !4th) is just around the corner. Whether you are receiving flowers or giving these beauties to loved ones, here are some flower hacks from 1-800-Flowers that I have permission to share with you. Enjoy!

"7 Shopping Hacks from 1-800-Flowers.com to Help You Score the Perfect Gift for Your Valentine


1. Shop early and save BIG. Customers who order their Valentine’s Day flowers before February 4, can take advantage of exclusive discounts – so act swiftly and let the smiles begin!

2. Decide whether to vase or not to vase? 1-800-Flowers.com offers expertly-designed arrangements from local florists that arrive in vases, as well as gorgeous Valentine bouquets Fresh From Our Growers™ that arrive in gift boxes – either with or without a vase. If your Valentine loves DIY floral designing, skip the vase and save some money by ordering an arrangement labeled “Shipped in a Gift Box” and selecting the “Bouquet Only” option.

3. Sign up for email and mobile text alerts. Be sure to visit 1-800-Flowers.com and sign up for email alerts to receive updates in real-time about special rose offers and more. Additionally, download the mobile app and sign up for text alerts to receive notifications about exclusive, limited-time offers.

4. Office envy is a thing – don’t wait until the 14th. Send flowers to arrive at your sweetheart’s office on the Monday or Tuesday before Valentine’s Day. Not only will you impress with your bold proclamation of love, but your dazzling gift will be on display for all co-workers to see! Plus, an earlier delivery will give the flowers extra time to bloom, so they can be enjoyed at peak form on the actual holiday.

5. Quick order status updates? Check! 1-800-Flowers.com’s new, easy-to-use online Customer Service Hub provides real-time updates on order status, options for order modification and live chat support. Utilizing this online service will help save time and effort this Valentine’s Day.

6. Score free and fast shipping. 1-800-Flowers.com offers a great Celebrations Passport loyalty program, where members enjoy unlimited free standard shipping and no service charge on all orders year-round across the company’s entire family of brands, including Simply Chocolate, Harry & David, Cheryl’s Cookies and more!

7. Nip potential disappointment in the bud. Buying gifts for teachers or other professionals with varied schedules? Does your sweetheart work in a building that closes ahead of typical business hours? Consider ordering for a February 13th delivery to ensure receipt as you intended, as deliveries on Valentine’s Day usually continue into the early evening hours. This will eliminate any unnecessary anxiety as you wait for your Valentine to receive your thoughtful gift.

And…that’s it! As long as you keep these expert shopping hacks in mind, finding the perfect Valentine’s Day gift will be easier than ever before."


Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com -- CCO Creative Commons

More Valentine ideas for the kids coming soon!

Happy Parenting,
Tania

Monday, January 8, 2018

Technology Toys Kids Will Love


Even though Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are over, there are still so many occasions that toys will be gifted to children. As a parent, grandparent, and former teacher I’m always searching for toys that teach. We are in an era of technology and many children are delving into STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) projects at school. VTech toys understand that technology is where education is at and has a line-up of toys that meet this criterion.
So this gift guide is for you (parents) to collect ideas for an upcoming occasion or just an “I love you” gift. Check out these toys that teach.

LEAPSTART

“LeapStart is an interactive learning system that gets kids excited about counting, learning to read, problem solving and more through fun, replayable activities. The magic behind LeapStart is a stylus that reads invisible dots on every page, triggering questions, challenges, songs, jokes and more.  The grow-with-me stylus is comfortable for kids of all ages and promotes proper writing grip. The LeapStart library features touch-and-talk games, creative challenges, problem-solving puzzles, math mazes and more for 2-7 year olds with more than 30 activities in every book. Most replayable activities have two levels with more than 50 key skills per level so kids can play and learn at the right level and move up when they’re ready. The LeapStart library of 25+ books (sold separately) covers a variety of preschool through first grade subjects and includes two Learn to Read book sets. A total of 400+ activities help kids build tomorrow’s skills today.”
Ages 2-7 years; MSRP: $39.99

2-in-1 LEAPTOP TOUCH

“Learning fun is a tap away with the 2-in-1 LeapTop Touch. Kids can learn about letters, numbers, music and more on a laptop that's made just for them. Open the laptop to see the screen in keyboard mode, then close the laptop and watch the screen magically swivel into tablet mode. The laptop features an A-Z keyboard and number buttons 1-10, while the tablet features a touch screen. Kids will have fun pretending to email Scout or tapping away in five learning modes – ABCs, numbers, games, music and messages. Plus, the laptop can be customized to help children spell their name. The take-along handle makes it great for learning on the go!”
Ages 2+ years; MSRP: $24.99

KIDIZOOM ACTION CAM 180

“Kids can capture their adventures wherever they are with the Kidizoom Action Cam 180. The 180° rotatable camera lets kids take photos and selfies from all angles, plus shoot videos with fun features like slow and fast-motion. Use the included accessories to mount the camera to a bike, skateboard and more while taking great action shots anytime, anywhere. Add the all-weather, waterproof case for use up to six feet underwater. For even more fun, play one of the three included games. With the included micro USB cable, children can upload photos and videos as well as recharge the battery.”
Ages 4+ years; MSRP: $49.99

KIDIZOOM SMARTWATCH DX2

“The perfect tech for kids, Kidizoom Smartwatch DX2 lets them take pictures, videos, play games, tell time and more! Featuring a new sleek and stylish design, this durable smartwatch includes 55 digital and analog customizable watch faces to help kids learn to tell time. This smartwatch features two cameras that allow children to capture everything from action video to selfies that can be customized in the Silly Yourself app and made into new watch faces. Includes an assortment of new games including Monster Catcher, which uses the camera and augmented reality to help kids find and capture monsters in the real world. Kids can also use the watch's motion sensor for active play challenges or to track steps. Using the included Micro-USB cable, upload photos and videos as well as recharge the battery.”
Ages 4+ years; MSRP: $59.99

These are only a few toys that VTech has to offer. Check their website for more ideas.

Remember that play is learning, so pick out the most educational toys for your kids and make these times teachable moments!

Happy Parenting,
Tania


I want to thank VTech Toys for the opportunity to view their products. I was not paid or coached to write this blog post. The information about the products was provided and these are my own opinions.






Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Winter Recipes Kids Can Make


Food Ideas With a Snow Theme
It's winter and time to use recipes with seasonal shapes and/or white ingredients for a snowy flair. Kids will love these treats; great for a party too!
Be it cold, a chill, a nip, it's crisp, it's frigid, a frost, we shiver, we chatter - it's winter and time to incorporate this theme into cooking with kids. Here are a few recipes to try.
Hot White Chocolate
Ingredients:
·      2 ounces white baking chocolate
·      1 cup water
·      3 cups milk
·      Cinnamon or peppermint stick (optional)
 Directions:
1.     In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 2 ounces of white baking chocolate and 1-cup water over medium heat. Stir this constantly.
2.     When this mixture is fully melted, bring it to a boil and then bring the temperature down to simmer.
3.     Stir in 3 cups of milk and heat this until it is warm.
4.     Remove the pan from the heat and beat the milk with a whisk until foamy. Older children can help with adult supervision.
5.     Serve the white chocolate in mugs with a dash of cinnamon or a peppermint stick inside.
    Makes 6 servings.
Snowflake Breadsticks

Children will like shaping this dough and placing it to make a snowflake bread roll.
Ingredients:
·      Refrigerator breadsticks (store-bought)
 Directions:
1.     Invite the kids to roll this dough into small snakes.
2.     Place one rope (snake) onto the baking pan overlapping with other small ropes until you have a six-spoked snowflake.
3.     Bake as directed on the package label.
4.     Continue making snowflakes until you have used up the entire dough.
 Ice Cream Snowballs [1]
 Quick and easy, but so much fun to make and eat!
 Ingredients:
·      Vanilla ice cream
·      Flaked coconut
·      Cupcake papers
 Directions:
1.     Scoop vanilla ice cream into a ball.
2.     Roll this in flaked coconut and place each ball into a cupcake paper.
3.     Freeze until hard.
 Snowman Pizza [2]
 This food construction allows children to use their creativity to create a snowman face.
 Ingredients:
·      Store-bought frozen pizza
·      Salami or ham strips
·      Pepperoni slices
·      Cherry tomato (cut in half)
·      Black olive halves (pitted)
 Directions:

1.     Bake a frozen pizza according to directions on the package.
2.     Remove this from the oven to a plate.
3.     Invite the kids to decorate with the ingredients below:
4.     Salami, ham strips, pepper strips or pieces, pepperoni, cherry tomatoes, pitted black olives; get creative with all kinds of healthy edibles.
 Winter White Waldorf Salad
Apples are aplenty during the winter months. Try this recipe for a sweet dessert.
 Ingredients:
·      Apples, peeled and cut into chunks
·      Raisins
·      Walnuts, chopped
·      Container of Cool Whip
 Directions:

1.     Peel and cut several apples into chunks.
2.     Add chopped walnuts and raisins.
3.     Fold in Cool Whip topping and mix.
4.     Serve cold.

French Toast Snowmen [3]
 French toast is not just for breakfast; use it for any meal or party food as well.
 Ingredients:
·      Thick white bread
·      2 eggs
·      1/2 cup milk
·      1 tablespoon sugar
·      1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
·      Dash of salt
·      Butter or margarine
·      Maple syrup
 Directions:
1.     Using cookie cutters, cut a snowman shape from each slice of think white bread.
2.     In a shallow bowl, crack 2 eggs and beat until foamy.
3.     Add the milk, sugar, cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Mix well.
4.     Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium-high heat. Grease the pan with butter or margarine.
5.     Dip the bread shapes into the egg mixture coating each side.
6.     Place it on the griddle and cook on each side till lightly browned.
7.     Serve these yummy snowmen on a plate with maple syrup.
8.     Children may like fresh fruit on top as well.
Many of these foods are the same foods families eat on a daily basis, but add a few extra ingredients to give them a winter theme. Having kids in the kitchen is a wonderful learning experience and teaching children skills they need in later life. Create, construct, and enjoy!
Sources:
Personal experience

{1,2,3] Taken from or adapted from Cooking with Kids: Recipes for Year-Round Fun by Tania Kourempis Cowling