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  • Pets and children can become stressed during moving. If moving locally, you may want to leave these special family members with a friend during moving day.
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    April 22, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Chore Magnets

    Photo from Etsy


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    April 7, 2015
    Spring Activity Idea: Renaissance Festivals, A Guide

    I’m a total Renaissance festival geek. I’ve been going for about four years now, and I absolutely love it. I love dressing up, eating turkey legs, exploring castles, and watching jousting. Plus, visiting a Renaissance festival is a great family activity. It gives you the chance to be outdoors, try new things, and be a bit silly together. It also encourages creativity and imagination by allowing your kids to create their own costumes and explore a fantasy world for a few hours!  If you are thinking of going to one with your children soon, here’s my guide to everything you need to know about the Ren-Fair: 

    Tips for having fun and being safe:

    Costumes

    -Dressing up is not required, but it always makes the fair more fun! Kids will have a blast picking out their outfits.

    -Here are some ideas for costumes: King, queen, pirate, viking, princess/prince, knight, peasant, fairy, thief, assassin, elf, faun, troll, fortune teller, woodland nymph, archer, mermaid, unicorn, dragon, werewolf, vampire. Have fun creating your own character, or go as a character from your favorite series, like Lord of the Rings, How to Train Your Dragon, or even games like World of Warcraft. Anything goes.

    -Wear comfortable shoes! I made the mistake of wearing flip-flops last year, and the path was gravel. Ouch! Try boots or flats if you want your footwear to match your costume.

    -Be aware of dress code rules. Each renaissance fair is different- be sure to check their website for rules concerning revealing clothing (most do not allow it, and want to keep their fairs family appropriate), and weapon props.

    Costs:

    -Most fairs charge for admission, but also have a discounted price for kids. Some may even have lower rates for groups.

    -Bring extra money (cash) for food, drinks, and souvenirs. If you’re a fantasy geek, you’ll definitely want to hit up the shops. Many fairs also have shops that cater to kids. Last year, I saw kids running around in fairy wings, face paint, pirate hats, and waving around wooden swords. There are also some pretty cool renaissance themed toys for sale- and they are usually handcrafted and high quality. 

    -Activities- There is always something going on at the festivals! Most have shows like magicians, comedy, music, animal shows, and even jousting. A lot of these are free, and are perfect for kids (always check the “ratings” on your festival program. Some may not be appropriate for young children). However, performers always appreciate tips. There may even be activities that you pay to do, like archery, mazes, human chess, or even carnival rides or games. The memories and fun are worth it though!

    Safety:

    -Since renaissance festivals happen in the Spring and Summer, it’s most likely going to be very hot. Do your best to stay hydrated. Bring your own water bottle (or viking drinking horn) if they allow outside food. If not, bring plenty of cash for drinks.

    -Stay together! Always supervise your child. Fairs are usually extremely crowded. Make sure your child has your name and phone number on them in case they get lost.

    -If you buy toy/prop weapons, make sure your child is handling them properly. Again, supervision is key.

    -Familiarize yourself with locations of bathrooms and first aid areas.

    Tips for saving money:

    -If you haven’t caught on yet, renaissance festivals can get costly if you let them. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

    -Buy tickets ahead of time. Pre-sales tend to be a few bucks cheaper

    -Pack your own food and drinks if your fair allows outside food.

    -Make your own costumes by shopping at thrift stores.

    -Only go to free shows and activities. You’d be surprised how many are included with the cost of admission.

    -Set a shopping budget for your kids. You can

    find lots of fun, handmade trinkets for under 10 bucks. 

       

    Photo Credit: Fairy , Fairy Wings, Butterfly Paint, Young Pirate


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    March 25, 2015
    Wordless Wednesday: Adorable Kitchen Playset

    Photo and instructions from Ikea Hackers


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    March 6, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: Human Hungry Hippo Game
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox2hth5h

    If you work in a school, at a church, or at a community center and have a gym, please give me a call. I need to play this. I mean, I feel like kids would have a blast doing this. :)


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    February 20, 2015
    Friday Fun Video: How To Make A Butterfly Braid
    http://www.dailymotion.com/videox2f34uh

    This is for all you parents that are good at doing hair! I am absolutely miserable at stuff like this, but I really wish I was good at it. This hairstyle is so cute!


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    February 9, 2015
    Coloring For Grown Ups

    Coloring is one of my favorite “keep the kids quietly busy” activities, and a favorite time filler of babysitters everywhere. It gives kids the chance to be creative, all while keeping them out of the way and letting you get other stuff done. It’s a win-win! But, coloring pages can also be an opportunity to spend some time together as a family. However, there’s only so many times you can color Dora the Explorer and Cars pages before you get bored. That’s why I love this website, Color Pages for Mom. They have over 200 advanced, free color pages that Mom (or Dad) can print out and use with their kids. They are also great for older kids or teens. They’re gorgeous! I especially love the geometric pattern ones. Check out all the pages here.

    Photo Credit: David Blaikie 


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    January 22, 2015
    Board Game Nights For Kids….Not Your Mama’s Monopoly

    I have a confession to make: I’m a huge board game/tabletop game nerd. I go to game nights with my friends at least a couple times a week, and we play some pretty intense games (Arkham/Eldritch Horror, Dead of Winter, Gloom, and Betrayal At House On The Hill are the current favorites). Board games have evolved a lot since I was a kid, beyond Monopoly, Life, and Clue (though, these are still fun to play every once in a while!) Playing board games together as a family is a great way to bond, and to create some memories that last. And there are tons of new games that kids will love out there. Here are my picks for newer, super fun, kid-appropriate* games that you should try out today:

    *some may be more appropriate for older kids (10 and up). Always check the boxes!

    -Apples to Apples (there is a Junior version for younger kids as well!)

    -Munchkin

    -Scribblish

    -Dixit

    -In a Pickle

    -Qwirkle

    -Settlers of Catan

    -Ticket to Ride

    -Quelf

    Photo Credit: Lauri Rantala 


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    January 15, 2015
    Sign Language For Baby

    My nephew Jayden hasn’t really said his first word yet. Sure, he says “dedededede” all day, and will sometimes say “nananana,” and “bobobobo,” and “yeyyyy,” but I don’t think he knows what he is saying. However, he has learned to wave hello and goodbye! He will also rub his eyes when he is sleepy, and put his hands up when he wants to be picked up. Babies learn how to use physical motions to express their needs before they are able to vocalize them. That’s why this infographic by iCanSign.com is really helpful! It includes lots of signs for babies to learn, including:

    -Eat

    -Hurt

    -Bed

    -Drink

    -Water, Milk

    -Mom, Dad

     

    Check it out! I’ve already been trying to teach him “eat” :)

    Photo Credit: gfpeck 


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    December 23, 2014
    Indoor Fun

    Where I live, it has consistently been over 50 degrees each day for the last week or so. Thank goodness for the South! Therefore, it hasn’t been much of a problem getting outside and not staying cooped up. However, I know in most other places, that is not the case. The kids are probably getting a little stir crazy, and I’m sure you parents are as well. That’s why this post by Jill at Enchanted Home Schooling Mom is a total lifesaver! It has a list of all sorts of indoor activities kids can do in the winter and still have fun:

    -Play Balloon Tennis

    -This Bubble Wrap Hop Game will have the kids hooked on hopping!

    -If they have energy to burn, you can make an indoor slide in a pinch.

    -These Tie Dye Art Projects are really neat, plus they are not messy!

    -Making stained glass decorations for your windows is crafty, easy and a great fine motor activity! 

    -This coloring page is fun because it creates 2 fun 3d buildings!

    Photo Credit: Zhao 


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    December 22, 2014
    Toys For ALL Kids

    Pink is for girls. All other colors are for boys. Girls get dolls and princesses and makeup, boys get science, nature, cars, superheroes, building tools, sports, technology, action figures- basically anything on the planet that has NOT been deemed as feminine. Then, we wonder why more girls aren’t interested in science, and why boys who grow up to be fathers are so absent in their children’s lives. To me, this is absolutely ridiculous. The very fact that “boy” toys and “girl” toys exist and are separate things proves that we still live in a very sexist, gender divided society. Some boys will grow up to be fathers and chefs and designers- they should play with baby dolls and cooking sets as well. Some girls will grow up to be scientists and athletes and engineers- and they need to play with microscopes and tools and sports equipment. So, if you’re looking for awesome, empowering gifts for ALL CHILDREN this holiday season, check out this post by Dayna at Lemon Lime Adventures:

    -Trucks and cars- always help with problem solving abilities

    -Work bench and tools-Work benches are great for fine motor development, problem solving, creative thinking, language development, and even pre-writing skills.

    -Science kits

    -Legos

    -Baby dolls

    -Cooking sets / play kitchens

    -Dress up clothes- dramatic play develops social intelligence in kids of all genders. Princess or pirate, doctor or ninja, cowboy/girl, — let your kids pick out their own clothes and go crazy!

    -Art supplies, coloring books, and anything that encourages creativity

    Photo Credit: Weird Nut Daily 


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