Monday, December 31, 2012

13 Things You MUST DO With Your Children in 2013

1)  Take photos

When was the last time you took photos with your kids?  I mean, you get in the photo with them.  You don't have to take professional family photos (though those would be nice), self portraits can be a lot of fun too!

2)  Play in the rain

Let out your inner child, don't worry about getting wet (or even muddy), just have some pure fun, and play in the rain.

Sunset over Lake Minnetonka

3)  Watch a sunrise or sunset

Share the beauty of nature with your children and watch a sunrise or sunset.  Enjoy the colors in the sky and the peace that comes with them.  Just maybe you'll become engrossed in an conversation about the day.

4)  Have a one-on-one date

Show each of your children they are special by spending some one-on-one time with them.  Whether it's a half-hour or a full day, you'll both get something from it and you'll strengthen your bond even more.

5)  Go through old family photos

Younger children love to look at baby photos of themselves and older children like to see how weird mom and dad looked when they were younger.  You'll have fun reminiscing and sharing the stories behind the photos.

6)  View the stars

You don't need a telescope to view the stars (though going somewhere with a gigantic one would be a TON of fun).  Star gazing can be as simple as finding a dark area and looking up!  Bring your phone, laptop, or tablet to look up different constellations and have fun finding them in the sky!


7)  Surprise them at lunch

If your child's school (and/or your work) allows it, surprise your child for a lunch date.  Bring take-out from your child's favorite restaurant for an even better surprise.

8)  Let them talk while you really listen

We all listen to our kids but when was the last time you really listened?  Turn off the TV and radio, get your head out of your book or computer and listen while your child talks.  Don't interrupt, just let the conversation flow.

9)  Dance

Yes, dance!  Crank up the radio, don't worry about how weird you look, just enjoy a dance party!  It's great exercise and a ton of fun too!

Roses 10)  Plant something

You don't have to plant something big like a tree or even a garden, something simple like a house plant from a seed will do just fine.

11)  Make a time capsule

Gather things from the past year, write notes about what you think the future will be like and vow not to open your time capsule for at least 5-10 years.  Even better, have your younger child write notes (or you can write them while your child dictates) to be opened on dates such as their highs chool or college graduation or wedding day.  Include things such as what they think they will be like, what cars and houses will look like and what things will cost on that date.  Don't forget to include photos and the cost of things on the date the notes were written.

12)  Go on a hike 

Whether it be through the sidewalks of your city or on a trail at a park, go on a hike and make it an adventure by finding the beauty in the small things you come across.

13)  Show them you love them

We all tell our kids we love them.  This year, show them you love them.  Spend time with them, real time with them and let your actions speak how you feel.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Playing In The Snow WITH Your Kids

*There is no Pinned it, Did it! this week as we have been spending time with our families.  Instead, enjoy this post that was originally posted on the 17th but was taken down for a post about Sandy Hook.
We finally had our first big snowfall of the year last weekend.  We got almost a foot of snow in one storm!  Needless to say, the girls were anxious to get out and play in the white stuff!

Most of the time I sit in a chair and watch my kids play in the snow.  After all, they have way more energy than I do, I don't really like getting all bundled up, and I hate being cold and wet.  However, every now and then I do like to re-live my childhood by making snow angels.
I had a blast a few years ago when we took the girls sledding for the first time.  Tottie was too little to go down the hill by herself so Hubby and I had to go down with her.  At the end we were tired, cold, and wet but we all had smiles on our faces!

Last year there wasn't enough snow to really play in.  Needless to say, this year my girls and I were extremely excited about the near foot of snow.  I was looking forward to making snowmen with them and taking them sledding again.
sledding 1
Unfortunately, thanks to un-plowed and icey roads last Sunday, I got into a minor car accident on my way to work.  I ended up with whiplash and have been battling the pain all week.  No snowmen or sledding for me yet!

That's not the point of this post though.  The point is, you'd be amazed how much fun you will have and how much MORE fun your kids will have if you join them in the cold, wet fun!  This year, I will not be one of those parents who sits at the top of the hill and just watches.  As soon as my neck heals, we'll be heading to our local sledding hill and I'll be racing my kids to the bottom!  Maybe we'll make a snowman and some snow angels in our yard first!
sledding 2
Do you play WITH your kids in the snow or do you just sit by and watch?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oral-B Smart Series 4000

Put a spin on your friends and family’s oral care regimen with Oral-B® Professional Care 4000 power toothbrush. The Oral-B Professional Care4000 power toothbrush uses clinically-proven oscillating-rotating-pulsating technology to attack sticky plaque from multiple directions, providing more plaque-disrupting movements than regular manual brushes and the leading sonic technology brush. 

I was given the opportunity to review the Oral-B Smart Series 4000 electric toothbrush, and boy oh boy was I glad to! Now, I'm going to admit something to all of our readers...I FEAR the dentist....and when I say fear I mean, shaking in my boots, sweaty palms fear! I had a bad experience when I was around 15 and it scared me for life. Since then I have used electric toothbrushes. Why? Because I feel like I can get a better at-home clean of my teeth and avoid any further "adventures" with the dentists drill. I have owned three different brands (which I will not name) in the past and have thought they were all great for their own reasons. Then I was asked to try the Oral-B Smart Series 4000...well, I am so impressed! (I am NOT just saying this because I was given a toothbrush to review, I truly and honestly am SO impressed!)

My favorites:
1. I love that this brush keeps track of the time I have been brushing for me. It has a wonderful built in two minute timer with 30 second intervals for brushing each "quadrant" of your pearly whites.

2. It has 4 wonderful settings for the "type" of clean you are looking for: Daily Clean, Sensitive, Whitening, Deep Clean. (My personal favorite is the Deep Clean- I feel like my teeth were just polished by the dental hygenest.)

3. The bristles have a handy dandy fade built in to remind you when to replace the head of the toothbrush. It reminds you to replace your brush head every 3 months, once they’ve faded halfway. How cool is that?

4. This fantastic toothbrush has (in what is my opinion) the best built in sensor. It actually stops pulsations to notify you you’re brushing too hard...along with a light on the end that will light up in red to alert you.

5. Once you have invested in the base, the replacement heads are not anymore expensive than a manual toothbrush. I found at my local store, that I could get 3 replacement heads for $25! (That's good for 9 months!)

6. Lastly, and this is a direct quote from my hygenist: "Wow, Lindsi, you've really done a fantastic job with brushing since we last saw you. You even managed to keep those problem areas clean with hardly any plaque build-up." Yes, I swear to you that is what she told me!

The only negative:
The pulsating of the brush seriously makes my nose tickle. I have rubbed my nose to pieces while brushing. But if this is the only negative to this brush then I will deal with that.

The best part:
P&G is giving away a Oral-B® Professional Care 4000 power toothbrush to one of our readers! Simply enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 17, 2012

With Sympathy

We are heartbroken over the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School this past Friday.  It hits home as we have children the same age as the victims.  Even as we write this, we are crying.  

Out of respect and sympathy, we have made the decision to take down Monday's post and replace it with this one.  We will also remain silent for the rest of the week.  

Click on the photo to learn about each victim

We encourage you to get out from in front of the computer screen and spend time with your children.  Be there for them, talk to them, and reassure them as they return to school.  We have included links to resources for talking to your children about tragedies.

While we do not recommend talking in-depth with very young, preschool-aged children about the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut, we understand that many of our readers have school-aged children as well and some conversation is inevitable.We recommend you consider the following tips from the National Association of School Psychologists for helping children cope:

1. Focus on your children today and over the next weeks. Tell them how much you love them and that things will be OK. Try and help them understand what has happened, keeping in mind their developmental level.

2. Make time to talk with your children. Remember if you do not talk to your children about this tragic event, someone else will. Take some time to determine what you wish to say to them.

3. Limit your child's television and Internet viewing of these tragic events. If they must watch, watch with them, and keep it brief, then turn off the television. Don't sit re-watching the same events over and over again.

4. Maintain a "normal" routine. To the extent that is possible stick to your family's normal routine for dinner, homework, chores, bedtime, etc., but don't be INflexible. Children may have a hard time concentrating on schoolwork or falling asleep at night.

For additional tips visit

Finally we wanted to share a heartwarming and beautiful poem we have seen surrounding these horrible events.

Twas' 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

Thursday, December 13, 2012

No New Content Found

We apologize for the inconvenience but we will not be publishing any new content for the rest of the week (i.e. there is no Tasty Treat today and there will be no Pinned it! Did it! tomorrow).

Jamie was involved in a car accident on Sunday.  Don't worry, she didn't have any major injuries but she does have whiplash and is currently drugged up on steroids and muscle relaxants.  (Yes, I did see my regular doctor, yes I am also seeing a Chiropractor, and yes, I will be going to physical therapy.)

Lindsi had minor surgery on Monday for a chronic issue.  She is recovering and pain killers are her friend.

You are currently reading a blog that is written by two drugged up mamas!  Doesn't that make us look good!?  

Needless to say, our kids have been crazy on their best behavior given the circumstances, but we have not had a chance to spend any fun time.  Most of this week has been spent yelling from the couch doing mellow stuff such as reading and coloring.

We hope to be back to our (almost) normal selves next week!  See ya then!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

$100 Gift Card Giveaway!

With the holiday season upon us, who couldn't use a little extra money? I know we could!  
We're excited to team up with a group of bloggers to share a great 

giveaway for a $100 gift card!

If I won $100 from Amazon you bet I'd put it toward an iPad!  What would you spend it on?  
Leave a comment below but use the Rafflecopter form below to officially enter the contest. 
This giveaway is open to US residents only. Ends December 20, 2012. 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is brought to you by the Mid-Atlantic Door Group, a provider of reliable garage door repair and installation services in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.  This is a group giveaway by multiple blogs.  Toys In The Dryer is not responsible for choosing the winner nor are we providing the winner the gift card.  We did receive compensation for hosting this giveaway.  All opinions in this post are 100% our own.

What to do with last years Christmas cards

what can I do with last years Christmas cards

If you are anything like me you have a bit of guilt when it comes time to take, toss, or store the Christmas cards you received last year. I personally feel a huge sense of responsibility to save, I'm not a hoarder! I just figure people took the time, effort and money to send me a card and I can't just toss them. This past January I got to thinking about it and came up with a neat way to save those cards without investing a lot of money or space into it! So gather up those cards and grab a paper hole punch while you are at it.
what can I do with last years Christmas cards

I sorted my cards first by just made it a little bit easier to punch holes in them. Get your kids involved and have them help you sort by size.
I took three or four cards at a time and punched two holes into each of the cards.  If your kids are old enough (and strong enough) have them help you with this too.
what can I do with last years Christmas cards

I then printed out 2011 Christmas Cards on a pretty Christmas patterned piece of paper. You can get crafty with this and make it as fancy as you order to save time I just used a piece of printed paper.
what can I do with last years Christmas cards

Secure the cards to ring clips (found at any office supply store) or zip ties. I used ring clips because I like that I can add, subtract or take them out if I wanted to. I like to keep mine under my coffee table throughout the years so people that stop over can glance through them, if they want.
what can I do with last years Christmas cards
This is also a great way to teach your younger kids who's who of your friends and family throughout the year!

What do you normally do with your old Christmas cards?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Our Elf on the Shelf is boring and that's ok!

Meet Tommy Teal, our Elf on the Shelf.  He first visited our house last November 26th.  Tommy isn't as crazy as some elves you see out there.  He's actually quite boring.  That's ok and I'll tell you why!

Yes, I do admit that I get a bit jealous of some of the ideas people come up with for their Elf on the Shelf.  I've seen some cute ones, some mischievous ones, and some just plain wrong ones.  However, not everyone is that creative nor do they have time to make those little scenes.  If you are anything like me, you have to set an alarm to even remember to move your elf each night!

Plus, I thought the point of the Elf on the Shelf was to help your kids be good during the holiday season.  Your elf is suppose to sit somewhere in your house all day and watch your childrens' behavior.  Each night he goes back to the North Pole and reports to Santa how they have been.  This is where I have an issue with some of the ideas I've seen and why I think our boring Tommy is just fine.

1)  If your elf is misbehaving why should your kids be good?  After all, isn't he the one who's suppose to make sure your children are on their best behavior?

2)  You are not suppose to touch your elf.  If you do, he'll lose his magic and ability to fly back to the North Pole each night.  If your elf is fishing in your toilet or making snow angels out of flour on your counters, are you really going to leave him like that all day? 

3)  Again, the whole point of the Elf on the Shelf is to watch your kids.  He can't be watching your children if he's being held hostage or hanging out in the freezer because it reminds him of home.

Photobucket My girls (ages 4 & 6) have fun just finding Tommy every morning.  First one to find him gets bragging rights for the day.  They even have fun tattling on each other to him (and now they don't bug me--bonus!).  They don't care that he just sits there all day without a pretty scene around him.  Don't get me wrong, some day I might come up with something a little more fun for our elf to do than hanging from the chandelier but for now, I'm sticking with the original idea of the Elf on the SHELF.

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?  What do you do with him?

Friday, December 7, 2012

Edwards Créme Pies Review and Giveaway

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Edwards for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do you eat pies during the holidays?  It's pretty much the only time my family eats pies.  I don't know why.  I guess I'm too lazy to make them and too cheap to buy them during the rest of the year.  That's ok though, pies symbolize the holidays for us.
This year, I might be a bit lazy again and buy Edwards Crème pies for our Christmas celebration.  Ok, maybe lazy isn't the word--I'm just too busy to make them this year!  Luckily Edwards has the perfect pies for my family.   I was able to try the Hershey®'s Créme pie and it's not as good as my mom's, it's better (shhhh...)!
Wanna know another reason I think I'll buy Edwards Créme pies for Christmas?  For every Edwards dessert product purchased during the month of December, $1 will be donated to Toys for Tots!!  It's the perfect way to treat your family and a family in need!
Speaking of family, Edwards wants to help you stay in touch with your family this season.  They've developed a micro site where you can create and send a holiday e-card to anyone you want!  The best part about sharing their holiday e-cards?  You'll each (sender and reciever) get a $1 off coupon toward a pie!  I sent a card to my parents.  It was quick and easy.
So let's get this straight--you visit the micro site and make a holiday e-card, you and your reciever get a $1 off coupon, you buy a pie, and Edwards gives $1 to Toys for Tots.  You can't beat that!
But wait, I'm not done!!

One lucky Toys In The Dryer reader will win a coupon for a free pie and will get $20 donated to Toys for Tots in their name! 

To enter use the Rafflecopter form below--leave a comment telling us what Edwards Dessert you would try and why.  Other entries include tweeting this giveaway and liking Edwards Desserts on Facebook.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Visit Sponsor's Site

Pinned it, Did it---Snowday Ice Cream

This post was actually written last winter and for some odd reason we never published it.  We found Snowday Ice Cream on Pinterest but have since lost the original pin.  Here's our take on it though :)  Yes, the lack of snow continues this year! 

Where we live (the frozen tundra) we normally have a surplus of snow for this tasty treat. Notice I said "normally?" Yeah well this year, not so fact this year was the first year I can remember in my 30-something years where we had a brown Christmas. Well we finally got a little bit of snow (just barely enough to cover the ground) and I can finally share this tasty treat with you.
snow ice cream recipe

Here is what you will need:
8 cups of CLEAN snow- steer clear of the yellow snow, for obvious reasons
1 can of sweetened condensed  milk
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (or almond is great too!)
sprinkles (because who doesn't like sprinkles)
snow ice cream recipe

Grab your largest bowl and fill it with the fresh snow that has just fallen.
Estimate 8 cups (give or take a little) and pour the sweetened condensed milk and flavoring into the snow and mix well. When you are done add some sprinkles, whipped cream, a cherry on top, or whatever else you like on ice cream and ENJOY!
snow ice cream recipe

*the only bummer thing is that this "ice cream" doesn't keep don't bother trying to freeze the left overs because you won't enjoy it the second day.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

Last year I shared a post about our family tradition of eating Ice Box Pudding on Christmas Eve.  This year, I bring you a tradition my mom started for us--Christmas Morning Sticky Buns. 
To be honest, I have no clue what the real name of these tasty morning treats are.  My mom found the recipe in a church cook book years ago.  When she started making them every year for Christmas morning, they became known as Christmas Morning Sticky Buns in my family.  Funny thing is, though, we eat them on Easter and Thanksgiving morning too!
Below is the recipe of you want to try them with your family.  Plan ahead though, these take time and are usually made the day before we eat them.

1)  In a large bowl, measure 1 1/2 cups of flour.  Add 2 packages of dry yeast.

2)  In a saucepan, measure:
      3/4 cup milk
      1/2 cup water
      1/4 cup margarine
      1/4 cup sugar
      1 tsp salt
Stirring constantly, heat until warm (120-130 degrees)

3)  Once warm, pour into the flour/yeast mixture

4)  Add 1 egg and beat with a mixer for 3 minutes, scraping the side of the bowl as you mix

5)  By hand, add 1 1/2 cup flour

6)  Cover the dough and let rise.

7)  Meanwhile, prepare the topping:
      3/4 cup butter or margarine
      1 cup brown sugar
      3/4 cup sliced almonds
      1 tsp cinnamon
      1 tsp pancake syrup
      1 Tbsp water

8)  Spread the topping in a 9x13 in pan

9)  Beat down the dough then drop by spoonfuls over the topping.

10)  Let it rise again

11)  Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
The only thing I can say is YUMMY!  This is another family tradition I will pass onto my girls!

What family traditions do you have?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

SimplyFun®--Family Connections and Learning Through Play

How often do you play games with your family?  Growing up, my family played games together all the time, especially around the holidays.  My husband and I play games with our girls as often as we can too.  It's fun to sit by the fire, "unplug" and have family time in the winter.  In the summer, our air conditioned basement is the perfect place to unwind and play a game after a day of fun in the sun.

SimplyFun® is a company that promotes family connections via game playing with your kids.  They believe "play must be a priority for all families."  Their mission statement says, "Play allows important human connections to take root, to grow, and to flourish. It allows us to share with each other...It relieves stress and creates joyful memories...Play keeps our families connected!"

When SimplyFun® contacted us to do a review of some of their games, we jumped at the opportunity!  After all, at Toys In The Dryer, we believe the same things they do.  Our site is all about spending time quality time with your children.

Here's the kicker though, not only does SimplyFun® promote spending quality time with your children, they also promote learning through play!  Each and every one of their games has a educational element to them.  However, they are so fun, you kids won't even know they're learning while playing and spending time with you!

Jamie--I chose to review the Treasure Trot game.  Ever since Nutty's birthday, the girls have been into horses.  Plus, this game looked girly and has two sides (hard and easy).  I was impressed with the quality of the box, game board, and pieces.  This is not a flimsy game and will last through hundreds of uses!  My girls and I found the game a bit hard to understand at first but once we figured it out, it was a lot of fun.  My 4 year old needed some help but I expected that because it's meant for 5 and up.  My 6 year old (and her friend) could easily play both sides of the board once we figured out how to play it.  They play the game every time they get together!  Though "girly," my husband didn't mind playing it with the girls too.   

Lindsi--I chose to review Bee Alert game. Let me be honest, my husband isn't a fan of board games so I was surprised when I came home from the store to find him sitting on the floor playing Bee Alert with our kids. He actually said "this game is great! This game is perfect for all ages, I can even see playing this with adults." No kidding!!! The game pieces are quality made and sturdy. My favorite part of this game is that it works well with all ages and challenges. My son (one of the twins) is a HUGE perfectionist and he was rockin' this game, big time! My daughter (the other twin) doesn't have the same patience level as her brothers and she really got into this game. All in all I'd say this was a "win" and will likely remain a favorite in our home for quite some time.

The board games from SimplyFun® make the perfect Christmas gift for children in your family!  Hurry and order though because the deadline to guarantee delivery before Christmas is December 15th!

You can find SimplyFun® via their website, Facebook, and Twitter.  For more information on becoming a SimplyFun® consultant, please visit their website.

Do you play games with your children?  How often?

SimplyFun® is a consultant based company.  We were asked by the headquarters of SimplyFun® to review the games.  This review is NOT linked to any specific consultant and the links within the post go to the general website.  We were given games to review and keep.  The opinions expressed are 100% our own.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Tree Bunting

Christmas bunting

Some of you may remember my Bunny Bunting Banner I made last spring for Easter. If not be sure to HOP over and check it out (sorry, I couldn't help myself).  I loved the way it turned out so much that I decided to make one for Christmas this year, except put a spin on it. Instead of using colorful paper (which you can still totally do) I decided to use Christmas colored fabrics and make little trees! I am SO excited with how it turned out and I thought I'd share it with you for a little inspiration as well.
Christmas bunting

Gather enough fabric to make several trees. Cut and stitch them each, leaving the bottom open for turning right side out and for stuffing and adding the tree stump.
*If your kids are good with scissors, they can help you cut the trees out.

Christmas bunting
My least favorite part of sewing is making sure my corners (or points) are nice and precise. My grandma was a stickler for perfect sewing so I kind of feel like I would be letting her down if I gave it half of my effort. Using a small scissors or a knitting needle (or even a chopstick) carefully push out the three corners so that they come to a nice point.
*If you trust your children not to poke through the fabric, have them help you push out the corners.
Christmas bunting

Stuff each tree and blanket stitch (here's a link to how to blanket stitch) each tree shut, don't forget to add in the tree stump too!
*This step your kids can definitely do and they'll love it too!
Christmas bunting

Attach all of your trees to a pretty ribbon and hang! I am in love with how it turned out. Whatcha' think?

Do you let your kids help you with sewing projects?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...