Monday, November 13, 2017

Treemote: A Unique Christmas Lighting System

Soon we will be decorating and putting up our Christmas trees. Whether you choose a real tree or artificial, they have strands of lights. Wouldn't it be nice to easily light your tree without bending down or crawling behind the tree to plug in the lights? Well now we have a solution -- TREEMOTE!

"Treemote solves the daily task of switching holiday lights on and off by using the wireless Treemote device. Treemote is simple and easy to install. To use, plug the white receiver into any wall outlet, and then plug a string of lights into the receiver. Using the green tree-shaped remote, customers can then control the lights from up to 80 feet away. "

And, when the holidays are over, don't pack your Treemote away. It can be used with any household lamp or small appliance to easily turn it on and off with a cute remote control device. Don't get down on your knees or strain your back any longer -- just push a button!

  • MSRP: $19.99 Batteries included.
  • Availability: Available for purchase online and at select retailers nationwide
We don't have our Christmas tree up yet, usually around the first week of December, BUT I have my Treemote  ready for this event. I tried it on a table lamp and it was so easy. I think every household should have one of these nifty devices. 

Until next week -- Happy Parenting,

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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide: Playmates Toys

As November approaches, it’s time to think about some serious holiday shopping for the kids. Since our kiddos love toys, I thought I would start with a gift guide with fun and educational items from Playmates Toys.
Does your child like to play alone or with a friend? Is play one of action or imagination? Here is a list of favorites from Playmates Toys that can fit whatever playful mood your child is in for the day.

Voltron: Legendary Defender

Playmates Toys is the master toy licensee for DreamWorks Animation's Voltron: Legendary Defender. This critically acclaimed series debuted as a Netflix original in June 2016, with the fourth season coming to Netflix in October 2017. The series is a contemporary reimagining of the pop culture phenomenon featuring five young pilots of mystical robot lions that combine to form Voltron, the most powerful defender in the universe. This action figure assortment features four fully articulated Lion figures that can transform and combine with the Electronic Black Lion to form a 16" fully-articulated Voltron figure with phrases and sounds.

Ben 10

“Playmates Toys is introducing a full range of toys based on the animated series. The new Cartoon Network series, which premiered in the U.S. in April 2017, is centered on fun loving, 10-year-old, Ben Tennyson, his cousin Gwen and Grandpa Max as they travel the country during summer vacation. Once Ben finds the Omnitrix, a mysterious watch that transforms him into 10 different heroic aliens, a world of extraterrestrial superpowers opens up to him.”
If you child is into this television series, he/she is apt to collect action figures that are part of the story. Playmates have these figures all around 5-inches tall and painted with extreme details. Some figures come with accessories that complement their costume. The assortment includes Ben & Grey Matter, Heatblast, Diamondhead, Four Arms, Cannonbolt, XLR8, Overflow, Wildvine, Stinkfly, Upgrade, Hex, Steam Smythe & Dr. Animo. These toys are recommended for children ages 4+ and cost around $8.99 each.

Along with the action figures, your kiddo may want the main vehicle seen in Cartoon Network’s new Ben 10 animated series, the Rustbucket, which is a 2-in-1 vehicle that transforms into a giant 3-level playset standing over 2 feet tall. The set features include an alien transformation chamber, plasma blaster, “alien-vator”, grabbing claw, alien lab and more. Now, the kids can get involved in pretend play between this playset and all the action figures. This vehicle costs $49.00 MSRP and suitable for ages 4 and up.

And, if your child wants to dress and act like all the heroes, why not present him with a Ben 10 Deluxe Omnitrix watch. Kids can turn the dial to choose an alien and press down on the dial to begin play.  Includes over 100 alien phrases and motion activated sound effects! This watch retails for $24.99.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The TMNT have made a comeback the last couple of years and still so popular. What kid wouldn’t want a Micro Mutants Deluxe Sweeper Ops Vehicle Playset? They can clean up the streets of New York City with this set that is two toys in one. With the deluxe spiral sweeper, kids can sweep up all of their Micro Mutants action figures and vehicles by rolling over them and transporting them into the Turtles holding jail! Once the trash is collected, transform the Sweeper vehicle into a multi-level Operational Headquarters playset designed with multiple levels of play and tons of play features to discover!  The Sweeper Ops Vehicle Playset includes three fully articulated micro action figures (Leonardo, Raphael and Shredder). This toy is suitable for ages 4+ and retails at $39.99.

++All toys are available at mass retailers

This is one of a series of gift guides I'm going to present. Keep checking this blog for more guides, holiday crafts, and more.
Until then -- Happy Parenting!

I want to thank Playmates 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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Healthy Foods for Halloween

  • Make Halloween Fun and Healthy  written by Tania Cowling

    Halloween is a fun holiday for both children and adults - but with all the candy and sweets, we sometimes end up with cavities, tummy aches, and very hyper children. There is a better way by incorporating healthy Halloween foods keeping with the festive theme. This article brings you ideas on what to pass out to the "trick or treaters" rather than sweets and a few ideas on fun party food to present at your gatherings.

  • What to Put in the Halloween Bag

    I wish we were in the day that we could bake and prepare food snacks for the children, slip the treats in baggies and place these in the "trick or treat" bag. But, let's be realistic, because of the fear of strangers and some unfortunate events, this is no longer a good thing. Instead, look for pre-packaged items that are healthy snacks and easier to hand out. Here is a list of some healthy Halloween foods for the bag.
    •  Raisins (preferably organic)thumbnail
    • Pre-packaged trail mix
    • Granola bars
    • Pre-packaged pretzels or chips (low-fat baked)
    • Animal cracker boxes
    • Fruit cups (they have these individually wrapped in the canned fruit aisle of your grocery store - look for fruit packed in its own juice)
    • 100-calorie packs of cookies (these are baked, low-fat, and only 100 calories)
    • Fruit leather (preferably organic, low sugar)
    • Juice boxes (preferably organic 100% juice)
    • Sugarless gum
    • Packages of sugar-free cocoa mix
    • Pre-packaged cheese and crackers
    • String cheese sticks
    • Peanuts in their shells
    • Pre-packaged bags of roasted pumpkin seeds
    Healthy Halloween Party Foods

  • Jack-o-Lantern Rice Cakes
    • Rice cakes
    • Whipped cream cheese
    • Red and yellow food coloring
    • Raisins or other dried fruit
    • Mini-pretzels (optional)
    1. Place cream cheese in a bowl and tint it orange using two drops of red food coloring and three drops of yellow. Mix thoroughly.
    2. Spread the orange cream cheese on the rice cake to make the pumpkin.
    3. Invite the children or participants to make jack-o-lantern faces using the raisins or dried fruit.
    4. Mini-pretzels (twisted ones) can be used to outline the eyes and nose if you wish.
  • Edible Eyeballs
    1. Slice peeled carrots into 1-inch thick chunks and top each with a dollop of whipped cream cheese (white). Place a pitted black olive in the center. Place these on a tray for a quick-bite appetizer.
    2. Since we are talk about fresh produce, purchase a veggie or fruit platter from your supermarket (or make your own) and prepare a black and orange dip to serve along. Think about a pumpkin dip, carrot dip, or black bean dip to bring in the Halloween colors.
      Stuff an Apple
      Apples are synonymous with fall and Halloween. Core each apple and scoop out the seeds and hard contents. Fill the apple with peanut butter, cream cheese or even a cheddar cheese spread. Top each apple with raisins and granola. Chill these in the refrigerator. Carefully slice the apple into wedges, or with small apples your guests may just want to bite in.
      Turn Oranges into Jack-o-LanternsOrange Pumpkin Fruit Cups 2987712098 6dbef401e8
      Cut off the top of an orange and carefully take out the inside sections. With a black marker, create a Jack-o-Lantern face on the rind. Take the orange sections and add other fruit chunks and fill up each orange to serve a fun fruit salad. Use green ribbon or pipe cleaners to make a stem.
      Pass out Ghoul Gloves
      You will need to purchase clear disposable gloves. Fill each glove with fresh popped popcorn (either plain or flavored with parmesan cheese or spices). Tie each glove shut with an orange or black ribbon.
      Make Halloween Shaped Sandwiches
      This is especially fun for the kids. Prepare your favorite sandwich and cut shapes into the bread with Halloween cookie cutters. Place these on a platter for cute finger sandwiches.
      It's not hard to create healthy Halloween foods - you just need some imagination. Think about adding adhesive Halloween stickers to your "trick or treat" handouts, and make sure your party table is adorned with Halloween trinkets and centerpieces to set the scene. Not only will you feel better about what you are handing out or serving, the other parents will thank you as well.
  • Sources:
  • Cooking with Kids: Recipes for Year-Round Fun by Tania Kourempis-Cowling [Fearon, 1999]
  • Personal Experience
  • My article was first published on
    1. Photo Credits:
      • Jack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Halloween Projects to Craft With Your Kids

Let's get crafting for the upcoming Halloween holiday. Here are some published clips I wrote a while back for your viewing. Crafts and instructions are included per article.

  • Decorate your room or use these ideas for make and take projects. The materials are probably in your art closet or easy to find. So let’s get started on these “boo-tiful" crafts.

  • Your children (and students) will love to make these theme projects for Halloween. Ghosts do not have to be scary (especially for young children) – make them a friendly figural part of this holiday season.  Click Here

  • How about some awesome monsters using paint chip pages that you can obtain free at your favorite paint store.  Click Here

Have a great week. I'll be posting more "spook-tacular" projects soon!

Happy Parenting,

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Halloween Craft Via Colortime Crafts & Markers

Hello Friends,
I wanted to introduce you to a company who provides the cutest and fun fabric coloring crafts. For Halloween I was provided a cotton tote, just in time for trick-or-treating. The kit contains a preprinted tote, three fabric markers, and an instruction sheet. If your child can color inside the lines, this craft is for you. My family found it easy to make and a “spook-tacular” addition to our Halloween accessories. 

ColortimeCrafts and Markers has kits for all seasons and reasons. Your child can color tee-shirts, bandanas, head wraps, totes, and pillowcases. The markers are easy to use and the fabrics do not have to be prepped before coloring. They are non-toxic and permanent on the fabric, yet will wash off hands easily. The design doesn’t need to be heat set and the colors are chlorine resistant. Just make sure to let the project dry thoroughly before washing (at least two hours). All of these instructions come with your package.

Clean, easy, and affordable crafts activity that doubles as a unique keepsake! For savings, join our "Birthday Club" and receive 20% off and a free backpack, with your order at

Check out this coupon code for the latest online special offers and promo codes to Colortime Crafts and Markers.

Until next time – Happy Parenting,

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

Monday, September 18, 2017

Puppet Play -- Post Hurricane Irma

Hi Friends,

Sorry this post is late, but I've just recovered from Hurricane Irma. Without power and Internet for a week I couldn't add to my Creative Preschool site. I'm starting with a fun post about making puppets and in a short time, I'll have some fun fall and Halloween projects to think about.

Until then.
Happy Parenting,

Puppet Play

Get out the recycle box and begin to craft puppets with your child. Paper bag puppets can be made and enjoyed by kids—from preschool and up. You decide how much time and artistic effort you want to put into your sack puppet project. They can be quickie puppet play stand-ins or works of art. You can draw facial features with crayons and markers and decorate them with a few “found” objects like fabric scraps, buttons, faux jewels, pipe cleaners, yarn, any variety of miscellany you can gather.  Place your hand inside to manipulate your newly created character.

Think about using old nylon stockings to make adorable puppets young children love. Stretch a leg from panty hose over a bent wire hanger. You can bend the hanger into a diamond or even a circle shape and tape the hook for safety. Knot the stocking leg at the bottom. This is a great puppet for the little ones as they can see through the nylon like a mask and pretend they are the puppet—good vision and a no fear factor. You can go to town decorating this puppet mask with all kinds of materials glued on. Puff and glitter markers work well on the nylon. You can make almost any character you want.

Turn your family snapshots into lifelike puppets. Invite your child to choose several family photographs (use the photo or make a color copy). Cut out the face or figure. Tape this photo figure to a craftstick.  Encourage your youngster to create a scene with a few toys and have these family puppets interact. Use a puppet yourself to ask your child’s puppet questions and to suggest different themes, such as going shopping or taking a family trip. While you are having fun together, this activity helps your child develop language and social skills.

Stick puppets are exactly as their name implies—puppets build and manipulated on a stick. These are among some of the quickest to make. For sticks, use dowels, yardsticks, tongue depressors, wooden spoons, and Popsicle sticks. The very simplest stick puppet is a head shape cut from construction paper and features added with paint or markers. Tape a stick to the back and your puppet is complete.  Make several with “faces of emotion” and your child can talk about his feelings through puppet play.  To act out stories, draw the characters, find ones in coloring books, or cut them from an old storybook.  Attach these to sticks and you now have all the characters to act out your favorite tale.

Photo by Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links or advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you informative and interesting content. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

LeapFrog Academy -- An App for Additional Learning

Hello Readers,

Last March I introduced you to the educational LeapFrog toys. Here is the link to my past post:

Now, I want to tell you about a great learning tool by LeapFrog -- the Academy.

"The Academy is an interactive app learning program for 3-6 year olds that guides children on a variety of fun Learning Adventures that they can play anywhere on a variety of devices.

LeapFrog Academy features a well-rounded curriculum, where children can explore a variety of skills that are important to their development. This exciting, new, subscription-based service offers access to more than 1,000 learning activities for just $7.99 per month.

Additional features of LeapFrog Academy include:

·         No Wi-Fi, no problem! Children have the ability to learn and play on the go, even when Wi-Fi isn’t available. They can play most of their preferred activities by adding up to 24 of them to their “Favorites,” making them accessible to play even without an internet connection.

·         Each LeapFrog Academy subscription includes five free user profiles, so multiple children can each go on their own unique Learning Adventures.

·         There is a wide selection of more than 1,000 learning activities including eBooks, games, puzzles, videos, music and art activities across a variety of Learning Adventures.

·         A Parent Dashboard lets parents choose and change their child’s Learning Adventures. The dashboard also lets them see how their child is progressing, view their account, manage each child’s profile and more.

·         There are no ads or links to take children to other websites, and no in-app purchases, making LeapFrog Academy a safe place for children to play online.

LeapFrog Academy is available now at and in the iOS and Google Play app stores. New users can try LeapFrog Academy free for one month, then continue the learning fun for $7.99 per month."

Check out an assortment of LeapFrog toys here.

Information about the LeapFrog Academy is courtesy of LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved

Thursday, August 10, 2017


The school bells rang in my area today, how about you?

Many parents and teachers have been involved with STEM activities in school, now we are talking about STEAM. Do you know what the acronyms stand for?

S -- Science encourages investigation and answering questions, often involving experimentation.

T -- Technology refers to using simple tools like crayons and rulers, as well as more complex ones like microscopes and computers.

E -- Engineering refers to recognizing problems and testing solutions to them.

A --Arts encourages creativity and allows children to illustrate concepts they are learning.

M -- Mathematics deals with numbers, but also patterns, shapes, organizational skills, and much more.

Young children are now introduced to STEAM learning and it's not too young. Through observation and critical thinking, our little learners are grasping skills in math and science early in life. Even if your child is still in preschool, remember that play is learning.

I was reading a magazine article that gave an example how parents can even promote STEAM learning at home. It talked about making a homemade boat from recycled materials (cork, foil, craft sticks, swim noodle, and such). You design the boat with your child!

Then launch your boat in the bathtub, swimming pool, or even a puddle. Does it float? If you blow wind on the sail, how fast does the boat move? How about making several boats from different materials and see which one floats and glides better? Faster? Use a stopwatch to record the time.

Young children can grasp these concepts through experimentation and trial and error. Don't be afraid to experiment with new ideas, new science projects, and ways to use materials as new toys.

Just think, you as the parent may be involved with STEAM concepts without even knowing it. And, if your school-age child comes home from school and talks about learning STEAM, you will have a heads up about this concept in their curriculum.

Until next week!
Happy Parenting,

Photos courtesy of, public domain
Source: What Parents Need to Know About STEAM by Sabrina Boesch, Lake Mary Life Magazine, March/April 2017

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Back to School Crafts Any Kid Can Make

Once again, the summer that seemed to move so slowly is coming to an end and school bells will be ringing soon.  A way to “beat the back to school blues” is to make crafty projects that will be “cool” for the new school year, as well as, a few activities that will preserve the memories of the summer.  The requirements are simple: some creative materials, a little imagination and access to a computer.  No matter what your child’s age, going back to school is a milestone parents and children can enjoy together while making fun projects. Here are two of my favorites I made with my children years ago and will repeat this project with my grandkids.

My Summer Vacation Shirt

Preserve your kids’ summertime memories on a tee shirt—a great way to “show and tell” everyone at school how you spent your vacation.  First you need some pictures that you took on a digital camera. Download these on a computer; crop and adjust the size you want.  There is a special paper that can be bought at office and craft stores that is fabric on one side and an iron-on material on the back.  This paper can go through your ink-jet printer capturing photos that can be placed onto your shirt.  You and your child can also download clip art on the computer; just type in school, vacation, or summer clip art on any search engine to find the sites.  Download and print these on special paper too.  Now that you have all your materials printed, just cut, place and press them on with an iron (parent supervision needed).  Voila, a special shirt that will let the memories of summer live on!

Buy your fabric transfer paper HERE.

Recycled Jeans Lunch Sack

Cut a 12-16 inch section from the leg of the jeans above. Turn the bag inside out and sew the bottom pieces together with a seam.  Fold over a half-inch strip around the top and sew it down to make a casing. Through an opening left in the casing, thread a 3-foot length of cording or ribbon and knot the two ends together.  Now, turn the bag to the right side. You can download some clip-art on the computer to the special iron-on paper and place these designs on the bag. Have your child write his/her name and make other enhancements using fabric paints. These lunch bags are definitely handy—if they get dirty, just toss them into the washing machine!

Fabric paints can be bought HERE

Get creative during these last few days of summer. Going back to school doesn't have to be dull -- make it bright and happy with these cute projects.

Happy Parenting,

Photos courtesy of Tania Cowling, all rights reserved
My projects have been posted on other sites and magazines in the past. 
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links or advertisements. I earn a small commission if you shop through them, which helps fund this website so I can continue to bring you informative and interesting content.