Thursday, May 31, 2012

12 fun Beach Day Activities

1. Fill a bucket relay- Set up a bucket a few feet from the water. Have each child race to the water and fill their hands with water and race back to the bucket to dump it in. Time them to see how fast they can fill the bucket up with water using only their hands!

2.Go on an archiological dig- Dig deep into the sand to find rocks and trinkets. Discuss how each item looks, feels, and even smells. Explain how the smooth rocks got their feel from the waves crashing over them and buffing them smooth. Tell them how the sharp and jagged rocks may not have been in the water very long and they haven't been smoothed by the water.

3. Look for sea glass- Did you know that glass is smooth after it has been in the water for some time? Mason jar glass often takes a blue color to it when it has been buffed by the waves and shore. Brown glass is usually from root(beer) bottles and red sea glass is considered one of the rarest colors! See if you can collect enough sea glass to make a mosaic picture frame.

4. Collect sea shells- If you live near the ocean or a large body of water try and find a shell large enough to hold up to their ear. Have them listen to the sound inside. Ask them what they think the sound is: is it the ocean, is it an animal, is it the toilet (yes, my kids say this!).

Jamie in the beach at Santa Monica
5. Bury more than your feet!- Have them cover mom or dad completely in sand. Leave your head out though (and remind yourself that you are getting a free exfoliation out of the deal). When they are done have them put funny glasses on you, a silly hat and snap a photo!

6.Build a sandman- Just like you do in the winter with snow except use sand and beach toys for the face. It is a blast!

7. Make jewelery- Collect seashells along the beach and string them onto yarn or a piece of string and make necklaces and bracelets out of them. A fun keepsake, free jewelery and a great story.

8. Silent pictures- Sit across from each other in the sand, smooth out the sand in between you and draw pictures in the sand. The person drawing can only say yes or no.

9. Make a city- Forget the sandcastle making! Make a city. Include skyscrapers, landmarks, roads and vehicles. This keeps them busy for hours.
Sand Castle 1

10. Finger soccer- Smooth out a section of sand, make goals on each end. Find a small seashell and use that as your soccer ball. You can only use your fingers to flick the seashell to the goal.

11. Make sand angels- Just like in the winter except with sand! So fun! Afterwards run and jump in the water to rinse off.

12. Treasure hunt- Just like the pirates from long ago....bury a treasure and mark it with an X. Search high and low for the best treasure hiding spot.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I'm a #DontSweatMom! You can be one too--Giveaway

A few weeks ago I (Jamie) decided to join the campaign to become a Don't Sweat Mom.  What is the Don't Sweat Mom campaign?  It is based on the book "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms" by Kristine Carlson. The campaign is creating a community of moms that are coming together to stress less and choose happiness more. It’s about finding our joy in everyday parenting.
As Colorado Mountain Mom said in her book review, I too had a little blogger regret after I signed up for this campaign.  Like her, I didn't think I was going to have time to read the book.  I quickly discovered, however, that the book was broken up into short, easy to read chapters.  It doesn't have any particular flow, so it's convenient to simply pick the chapters that you want to read and skip around.  In fact, this blog post has taken me MUCH longer to write than actually reading the book!

There were many chapters in "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms" that struck a cord with me.  "Make Special Mommy & Me Time" became clear when I finally got my first large chunk of time alone with my 5 year old (Nutty) since my 3 year old (Tottie) was born.  As the book states, "Sometimes our kids don't know how to verbalize that all they really want is some of our attention."  Since Nutty has been in preschool and now Kindergarten, it's been easy to spend alone time with Tottie, and because Tottie is more demanding than Nutty, I often forget that Nutty needs one-on-one time too.  Nutty and I got some great, and much needed Mommy & Me time when Hubby took Tottie to his parent's house for a few days.  The "Don't Sweat..." book reminded me that I don't need to wait for Hubby to take Tottie away for a few days, I could easily take 10 minutes a day to pull Nutty aside and spend time with just her.

"Keep The Lines Of Communication Open" along with the chapter "Practice Breathing Before You Speak" made me realize that I am in desperate need of a communication revamp with my girls!   I often react rather than respond to situations, and I end up yelling a little too much.  I need to remember to breathe before I speak allowing me to "access [my] inner wisdom and bring [myself] into a calm resolve that is conducive to healthy responses.  Keeping in mind the 12 factors for effective communication that Kristine shares will hopefully improve the way I relate to my girls and in turn, I hope, strengthen our relationships.

"Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms" doesn't tell you how to be a good mom, it makes you think about the type of mom you are now and gives you ideas for how to improve by focusing on who you are as a person.  You are first a woman, and second a mom.  By improving who you are as a woman, you improve who you are as a mom.  

Want to be a #DontSweatMom too?  Enter to win a copy of "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms" below (or buy your own copy) then join the community on Twitter and Facebook or check out the website.  
You can get the first chapter of the book for FREE here! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a free copy of the book "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff For Moms" for the purpose of this review post.  I received no other compensation.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Amazing chocolate and salt bars

chocolate salt bars

 Are you ready for the most amazing blondies in the world?

2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 bag of semi sweet chocolate chips
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix all but kosher salt together and spread into a square baking pan. Sprinkle the kosher salt on top of the brownies before baking. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes. Grab a HUGE glass of milk and enjoy! HEAVEN!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day

We hope each and everyone of you take time to remember those loved ones in your life. Enjoy this Memorial Day.
Happy Memorial Day!

We're guest posting over at 5 Minutes for Mom today!  Check out our post Playing In The Rain!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Finances and Children--Guest Post

Today we have the pleasure of having Dr. Deanna Cole, a a licensed psychologist with a broad background in neuropsychological and psychological assessment, therapy and psychoeducation share her thoughts on finances and children:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Raising Kids...

We all know that raising children has good, bad, and ugly times. Today we bring you a little humor related to raising your little ones!
The Good:  Pregnancy gives you the best, most luxurious hair you've ever had.
The Bad:  Four months after you give birth, your hair begins to fall out.
The Ugly:  You no longer care that your luxurious hair is gone because there's no time to wash and style it anyway.

The Good:  Pregnancy gives you glowing skin.
The Bad:  Six months into your pregnancy, stretch marks begin to show.
The Ugly:  Your skin now looks like a prune.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

#EclosBeauty Skin Care Review and Giveaway!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of éclos Skin Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a mom, how often do you take time (and money) to pamper and take care of yourself, especially your skin?  I know I don't take a lot of time or spend a lot of money.  Skin care is something I totally lack on!  In my defense however, I've been told by more than one skin care expert that I have "perfect" and "healthy" skin.  I guess for me, less is more!  I am however, always up for tyring new products, especially cheap ones!
I was given the opportunity to try éclos Skin Care.  I received the the Anti-Aging Skin Care starter kit which contains sample sizes of their complete line:
  • Facial Cleaner Skin Prep
  • Cellular Activator Face Serum
  • Moisture Therapy Regenerative Cream
  • Restorative Eye Cream
  • Instant Radiance Facial Scrub
  • Skin Renewal Clay Mask
  • Terry Cloth Head Band
To be honest, I was a bit skeptical of this skin care.  First because it's resonably priced and can be found at mass retailers such as Target and Walgreens.  Who really thinks that a cheap skin care will actually work?  Second, they claim the products contain high-potency apple stem cells extracted from the rare Swiss apple, Uttwiler Spätlauber.  Stem cells? Rare Swiss apple?  Yeah, whatever...  Third, we've all heard products claim that they can bring back skin's youthful appearance and decrease fine lines/wrinkles.  Doesn't every beauty product claim that?  If I didn't have the before and after photos to prove it, I would have thought éclos Skin Care was a gimic.  But it's not!!

WARNING:  You're going to get a bit too up close and personal with my skin...
These are the before and after photos of my face after two weeks of using éclos Skin Care.  They are self portraits using natural lighting, no make up, and no photo editing (except some cropping).  I know, you don't notice much of a difference from the above photos but...wait for it...wait for it...
You don't even notice much after a close up of my cheeks.  That's ok though, remember, I have "perfect" and "healthy" skin already!  Plus, I'm only in my 30s so my skin doesn't have many wrinkes to start with...wait for it...wait for it...

Here's where you notice a difference!  The fine lines by my eyes are gone!  After just two weeks!
I also noticed a decrease in the pore sizes on my nose (thanks clay mask!--I'll be buying you again!).  I didn't get a photo of my nose because it was hard as a self portrait!  They kept turning out blurry!  Trust me though, they ARE smaller!  On a side note, I also loved the smell of the products!
My conclusion: It works and it's definitely worth trying for yourself!  Luckily we're giving away the same starter kit I was able to try!  
Visit Sponsor's Site
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Patriotic Pinwheels

Almost all kids (and adults too) love pinwheels!  It's fun to blow on them and watch them twirl or let the wind take them spinning.  Today we've got patriotic pinwheels.  They're great for entertaining the kids at your Memorial Day party or while waiting for the parade to start!
To make your own pinwheels you'll need:

  • Red, white, and blue paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue and other things to decorate with such as glitter and markers
  • A hole punch
  • A Pencil with an eraser
  • A thumb tac/push pin

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Memorial Day Fruit Kabobs

Memorial Day Foods

Holidays tend to be surrounded by food, at least they are in my family. Memorial Day is no exception! Looking for a snack that will sure to please, then look no further.
Memorial Day Foods

Memorial Day Fruit Kabobs are really easy to make AND there are a few different ways to do them. My kids  love watermelon and blueberries so I usually use those fruits. All you need is a few skewers and some fruit and a few marshmallows.
Memorial Day Foods

Ideas for RED                          Ideas for BLUE                                   Ideas for WHITE
Strawberries                             Blueberries                                          Bananas
Cherries                                   Grapes                                                Apples
Watermelon                              Blackberries                                        Marshmallows
Raspberries                                                                                         Popcorn

Monday, May 21, 2012

7 Children's Games for Your Memorial Day Party

We almost always get together with friends and family for Memorial Day.  While it's fun to let the kids do their own things, it's also fun to have some structured things to do too.  Here's some fun Memorial Day party games for kids:
1)  Patriotic musical chairs--It's the same as musical chairs but you play patriotic music!

2)  Red, white, and blue scavenger hunt--Set a time limit and have the kids find as many red, white, and blue things as they can.  The child with the most objects wins!

3)  Uncle Sam Says--Simon Says only patriotic!

4)  Puzzle race--Print out and color two identical patriotic coloring pages.  Cut them up into identical puzzle pieces (i.e. cut them together, one on top of the other).  Separate into two teams.  The first team to put the puzzle together wins.

5)  Make a person into a flag--Buy some red, white, and blue streamers.  Separate into two teams.  Have the children decorate an adult like an American flag using the streamers.  The best "flag" wins.

6)  Red light/blue light--Same as red light/green light except with patriotic colors!

7)  Name it--Sit in a circle, the first person names something red, the second, something blue, the third, something white, the fourth, something red again and so on.  Each person gets 5 seconds to come up with something.  If they can't think of something new they are out of the game.  Keep going until there is only on person left.  

What do you and your children do on Memorial Day?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Stuff Fridays (#21)

Welcome to Fun Stuff Fridays. We love seeing what our readers have been up to and cannot wait to share some of our favorites! Wanna know more about our linky? Click on "Fun Stuff Fridays" above, then "about". We wish we could feature all of them! Can't wait to see your amazing submissions this week! Feel free to submit as many ideas as you want over that time. And remember-spread the word!

One thing we've added is something that we hope you will like. We've been pinning each weeks featured picks into their very own Pintrest board! We hope it brings you loads of linky've earned it! You can find our Featured Pintrest Board HERE!

Our joint favorite pick was Little Boys Wallet submitted by Naptime Creations. We loved this! Little girls get all of the cute, princess-ey, girlie purses and dress up clothing....why can't boys have adorable wallets? Lindsi's 3 boys would appreciate these!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Free Tooth Fairy Certificate Printable

My oldest daughter had to have her first two teeth pulled instead of losing them because her permanent teeth were growing behind her baby teeth. She was devastated that she didn't get to lose her teeth on her own so I thought I needed to do something extra special from the tooth fairy.
I searched the internet for some fun ideas and got a ton of inspiration!  I also discovered that a lot of those ideas cost more money than I was willing to spend!  Me being quite computer savvy decided that I could take that inspiration and make something on my own!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tie Dying with Kids

Eeeek! I know, tie dying with kids sends shivers up my spine too! What a mess, and all that work. I have braved tie dying with my kiddos a few times and it was totally worth it. Tie-dyeing came to the United States in 1909. However, it became popular when musicians like Janis Joplin began wearing fabrics that had been dyed using this method. However, tie-dyeing is not a new concept. It has its roots in older methods of dyeing fabric used throughout the world. Many different cultures dye their own fabric using plants extracts. (thank you eHow)
tie dying

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Raspberry Cheesecake Salad

raspberry dessert

Get ready to become addicted! I am telling you that this dessert scores me points EVERY time I make it. I got this recipe from a friend about 6 years ago and I am going to bet you will love it as much as we do! I even make it for my hostesses when they have a Scentsy party with me...I've learned to bring the recipe with me on little cards otherwise I will get numerous emails afterwards begging for it!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Simple Bowling Game

A few days ago my girls played the "I'm bored" card on me yet again.  All the suggestions I gave the came back as "no".  It was a beautiful day outside so I wanted to keep them in the fresh air.
Searching through my garage for some thing new to do, I spotted some water bottles and a ball...bowling!

Friday, May 11, 2012

25 Ideas For Keeping Children Calm During A Storm

Last week was quite stormy in our neck of the woods. Yesterday we did a post on Severe Weather Kits because we realized during National Severe Weather Preparedness week (April 22-28) that our families were not prepared for emergencies during severe weather.  Today we're giving you 25 ideas for keeping your children calm during storms.
  1. Keep yourself calm--This is the most important thing of all.  If you are not calm, your kids won't be either.
  2. Cuddle--Sometimes a little physical contact is all your kids need to feel safe and calm.
  3. Practice--On non-stormy days practice what you would do in the event of severe weather.  Knowing what to do will help your kids feel in control.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Severe Weather Kit

severe weather kit

The National Severe Weather Preparedness Week was April 22-28.  Did you practice safety techniques during that week? We did! In Minnesota we have quite a few severe thunderstorms and tornadoes each year. This year, spring came early and we had an earlier than expected severe thunderstorm. Our power went out and we realized we had not gathered our kit yet. So, after the storm was over I was determined to make a kit and store it in the same place all year so we would always know where it was.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

10 spring time flower crafts

1. Coffee Filter Daffodils-  You can't go wrong with this easy and adorable flower craft! These Daffodils are perfect for spring, mother's day, and to cheer someone up.

2. Make a spring bouquet by purchasing white carnations and adding some food coloring to the water. Watch the flower colors change! What a fun experiment too.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quick and Easy Meal Planning with Relish!--Giveaway too!

What's for dinner?  It is a question that many of us dread each day.  What is for dinner?  What do I have the ingredients for?  Ugh...I don't feel like cooking...

If you've been paying close enough attention to our blog, you know that Lindsi is a meal planning freak "expert" and Jamie has been trying her hand at meal planning too.  We both find meal planning to be helpful in stress, energy, and money saving.  It also helps with the dreaded, "What's for dinner?" question!  The one problem however, is the time it takes to come up with recipes.  Flipping through multiple different websites and cook books can get confusing and overwhelming.  Add in the time it takes to make a grocery list for all your meals and making a weekly meal plan can take up to 1/2 a day!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Make Your Own Word Search

I have always loved word search puzzles.  When my daughter started bringing them home from Kindergarten I was so excited that she seemed to like them as much as I do. 

The word searches she brings home from Kindergarten contain sight words that she has learned.  I thought it would be fun to make her a personalized word search puzzle that contained her own name and other family member names along with site words that she knew.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Stuff Fridays (#20)

Welcome to Fun Stuff Fridays. We love seeing what our readers have been up to and cannot wait to share some of our favorites! Wanna know more about our linky? Click on "Fun Stuff Fridays" above, then "about". We wish we could feature all of them! Can't wait to see your amazing submissions this week! Feel free to submit as many ideas as you want over that time. And remember-spread the word!

One thing we've added is something that we hope you will like. We've been pinning each weeks featured picks into their very own Pintrest board! We hope it brings you loads of linky've earned it! You can find our Featured Pintrest Board HERE!

Our joint favorite pick was Pizza Flag submitted by My Judy The Foodie. We liked this for a few reasons: first, it's patriotic and in the month of May (Memorial Day) we love that even more, second, because it looks delicious and healthy too, and last because this is a fantastic way to get the kids involved in the kitchen!

Jamie's number one pick was Growing up the Playroom submitted by Think Magnet. What's great about this is there are so many things that are geared for the playroom and little advice out there on how to change it as your child grows! This post shares that information with us AND let's be honest- how cool is it to have a Science/playroom!

Lindsi's number one pick was Are You My Mother? Storytelling using props submitted by Inspiration Laboratoriesl I will admit I am partial to this because it involves one of my favorite stories from childhood. I believe it was one of the first books I learned to read on my own. I love the idea to "get involved" by using story props! Brilliant!
Want to know what the most clicked on submission was? It was Making a Magic (drinking straw) flute.

Fun Stuff Fridays

Fun Stuff Fridays

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Plates In The Dryer Recap

Our Plates In The Dryer event was a HUGE success!  We had a great turn out and fun was had by all (at least we hope)!
OK, so it started out a bit rocky...Lindsi and I were late for our own event!!  How embarrassing for our first ever IRL (In Real Life) event!!  Blame Lindsi's truck's great way of breaking down and fabulous traffic on 494 (notorious for being stop/go traffic).  However, when we walked in (only 9 minutes late) and saw everyone having fun, we knew everything was ok.    Huge shout-out to Jamie's friend Pam for helping us not be even later by picking up the Caribou coffee for us!  And, yes, that is a Toys In The Dryer plate made for us by the staff of Color Me Mine!
(Jamie's daughter and husband)
It was as fun for us to watch the kids painting the pottery with their parents as it appeared they were having.  It was also great to get to meet some of our readers and interact with other local bloggers!
We painted pottery, socialized, ate delicious cheesecake from Muddy Paws (the chocolate chip kind went super fast!) and other treats, and spent time with our kids.
In the end, everyone received a fun swag bag from our sponsors (please see them in THIS and THIS post).

These awesome photos of our event were taken by Rod from The Imagery.  He truly captured the moment!  To see even more photos, or if you were an attendee that wants to order any of the photos, click HERE.  A $10 donation to Spare Key charity will get you 2 photos!  Order more for another donation!  Yes, Rod was generous enough to give you not one, but 2 photos for your donation!

Speaking of donations, thank you to all who brought food for the Eagan Food shelf!  We had 2 large box fulls to donate! Isn't that amazing!?!? We're super happy that our readers joined us in helping out the local community.

Again, please show our sponsors some love.  Without them, Plates In The Dryer would not be possible.  We look forward to more events in the future!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Make Your Own Harmonica

My daughter came home from Kindergarten with this homemade harmonica and I thought it was so cool and simple that I had to share it with our readers!
My girls spent hours (I'm not joking!) playing with this simple harmonica!  For hours of fun with your kids you'll need:

2 large popsicle/craft sticks (or tongue depressors)
1 large rubber band
2 small rubber bands
1 straw

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lemon Pound Cake--Guest Post

Today we are so excited to have Kate from Kate in the Kitchen guest posting for us as we take time to recover from our Plates In The Dryer event yesterday.  Kate is an awesome person and a fabulous food blogger.  She has a great way of combining recipes with stories so her blog is anything but boring!  Looking for some delicious food to try?  Check out her recipe index to find all kinds of healthy stuff!  Without further ado, here is Kate with Lemon Pound Cake (Yum!)...
My son just turned 18, so I've moved in to a much different stage of parenting, with a new set of joyous occasions. Still, the one aspect of guiding someone's life that I will never lose is wanting to fill them with healthy foods that not only nourish their bodies, but give them a mouthful of plentiful taste as well. I've learned so much in the course of his lifetime about feeding a little person, and helping them to negotiate the big world of flavors, textures and eating, and the one constant I've held through all of it is to try as hard as I can to make something that's healthy without compromising how it makes you feel when you put it in your mouth.

Desserts are a bit tricky in that regard, and I've never been one for heavy, sugary cakes. I don't even really care for frosting, which makes a simple pound cake far more desirable than a decadently coated layer cake. Still, making a pound cake is a lesson in indulgence; the traditional method was a pound of flour, butter and sugar. And of course, the taste is incredible. Who wouldn't like that? At some point, however, we realized that all that richness had a price, so cutting back made a lot of sense.

Recipes abound these days with healthier methods, better for you ingredients and yet still resound with that smile-provoking taste. This Lemon Pound Cake is one of those recipes that you can enjoy on occasion that carries a healthier profile, but if you weren't aware of that, it's dense and moist texture would never give away it's secret. I love anything with lemon in it. The scent of a freshly squeezed lemon is like instant sunshine, and with the addition of the bright yellow zest, your recipe will simply spark with it's lustrous, bold flavor. It's a delicious treat as a snack or dessert and welcomes a cup of coffee or tea to sip alongside it.

Lighter Lemon Pound Cake 
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 large lemons 
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided 
  • 3 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), at room temperature 
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat milk 
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Coat a 9-by-5-inch (or similar-size) loaf pan with cooking spray; dust with flour and tap out any excess.
Sift whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.
Finely grate 2 tablespoons zest from the lemons; set the lemons aside.
Beat 3/4 cup sugar, cream cheese, butter and the zest in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Beat in egg whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the egg and beat well.
Reduce speed to medium and beat in milk; the mixture will look curdled.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 2 batches, beating just until combined and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Run a knife around the sides and turn the cake out onto the rack. Set the rack over a plate or sheet pan large enough to catch any drips.
While the cake is cooling, squeeze 1/4 cup juice from the zested lemons.
Heat the lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Simmer the syrup until slightly thickened and beginning to turn golden yellow, 2 to 4 minutes
Set the rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Poke holes all over the top of the warm cake with a wooden skewer, 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep.
Spoon the lemon glaze over the cake, poking more holes if the glaze does not sink in. Alternatively, brush the lemon glaze all over the cake with a pastry brush, repeating as the glaze is absorbed.
Let the cake cool completely before slicing.
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