Snowed In with Kiddos??

Here’s a quick blog in response to a request for things to do when you are snowed in with little ones! The cabin fever may be setting in, but hopefully you can catch a brief break from it with these three ideas.

#1 – Homemade Playdough Recipe

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I have childhood memories of making and playing with homemade Playdough. (I may have also taken a bite or two of it when no one was looking…) The fun is more in the “making” than the “playing.” Kids these days have plenty of toys and Playdough. Showing them where it comes from is sure to make a memory. Check out this recipe for how to make it: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Playdough-Play-doh/

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#2 – Challenge House

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If your kid is bouncing off the walls with extra energy, try playing “Challenge House” to tire him out. Make a list of “challenges” that he must complete in each room of the house to earn a “token.” The challenges and tokens can really be whatever you want. The idea is just to direct his energy. Here’s an example:

 Kitchen – Hop on your right foot 5 times, hop on your left foot 5 times, touch the ground then jump in the air 5 times to earn ONE Gold Star Token

Living Room – Crawl like a baby in a circle, crawl like a baby in a circle backwards, act like a monkey, and make a sound like a cow to earn TWO Gold Star Tokens

His or Her Bedroom – Dance with your favorite stuffed animal to earn ONE Gold Star Token

Customize the challenges to fit your house and your rules!

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#3 – Happy Notes

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Put his brain to work by getting out some craft supplies (coloring paper, crayons, glue, etc.). Have him make a card for someone he loves (Grandma, Pap, cousins). While he’s doing that, ask him to name 3 things he loves about that person (ex: She makes yummy food. He reads me stories. We play Super Heros together). Write them down on a separate piece of paper, put that paper in the card he made, and mail it to that person. It will be fun when he gets a phone call a few days later from the person he loves thanking him for the sweet card!

Like I said, it’s all about directing his (or her!) energy. Give these ideas a try and let me know how they go!

Polar Vortex – Round 2

Ok, Polar Vortex – Round 2, we’re all ready for you! When Round 1 hit, we were all excited about the idea of time away from work or school. Now, it just seems cruel and endless. Last time, I spent my day indoors thinking of things I could be doing on a winter’s day.

Of course, you’d like to think you will spend the time cleaning or doing all those home repair projects you’ve been putting off. Yeah. Right. In reality, you are more likely to sit on the couch in your pajamas, munching snack foods, and watching game shows. (Or is that just me?) When you decide to move off the couch, here’s a few things you can do…

TRY A NEW HAIRSTYLE!

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Those buns on top of the head keep popping up everywhere. Wondering how to make it happen? Here’s some tips I found on how to style your hair with a sock bun: http://www.wikihow.com/Do-a-Sock-Bun.

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Or you can try a fishtale braid, because… why not?

http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/hair/hair-tips-00100000077218/page6.html

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IMPROMPTU DANCE PARTY!

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Have you ever seen that famous Risky Business scene where Tom Cruise slides across the floor in his socks? Look it up. I can tell you it’s as much fun as it looks. Instead of letting the cold air bring you down, get some friends together, download a good tune, throw on a pair of socks, and have a slip-sliding dance party! (Admittedly, this idea came from an accidental combination of slippery socks and Pledge dusting spray on the floor.)

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FOOOOOOOOOD!

Um, I would be remiss if I did not advise you to utilize your time by cooking or baking some delicious treat. Duh! Cold, snowy days usually make me want comfort food. My go-to favorites are Brownie in a Mug and Homemade Pudding. Oh so good!

 [Brownie in a Mug]

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Get the recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/microwave-chocolate-mug-brownie-349246

[Homemade Pudding]

vanilla pudding

I LOVE this recipe! Because I can’t do dairy, I use Light Vanilla Soy Milk instead. Perfection!

http://sewhooked.com/2009/09/09/recipe-homemade-vanilla-pudding/

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This cold weather may not be fun, but hopefully these few ideas I have shared will make it bearable… perhaps, even memorable? Do you have other ideas? Feel free to leave a comment and share!

Dr. Seuss 1st Birthday Party — Recap!

After many months of planning, Saturday was the Dr. Seuss-themed 1st Birthday party for a very sweet little boy. With websites like Pinterest celebrating the possibilities of DIY projects and parties, 1st Birthdays have come a long way from watching the kid smash some cake in the family’s kitchen. And this particular party was truly a Pinterest pinner’s dream!

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To make an event “Offbeat”, I look at what the traditional elements of the occasion are and think of ways to make them… different. In this case, the baby’s mom was right there with me creating all kinds of ideas! Bouncing ideas off of each other resulted in the themed pieces pictured below.

[The location restricted balloons, streamers, and hanging things on the wall. That meant our decorations needed to be creatively done. Our idea? Using clothesline and clothes pins to hang Dr. Seuss character cut-outs and quotes from hooks already on the walls.]

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[Tables were decorated with a white plastic cover and a red or blue plastic cover folded like a table runner. For centerpieces, we used Dr. Seuss books and trivia cards. The adults loved the trivia questions! ex. How many children and grandchildren did Dr. Seuss have? The answer will surprise you!]

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[We Seuss-ified (is that a word??) the buffet and bathrooms with simple signs saying “Who-Feast” and “Horton Hears a He” or “Horton Hears a Her.”]

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[Since there were some older kids there, too, we set up some activities for them. My personal favorite was the Hop on Pop Scotch… get it?? It’s like hopscotch, but the Dr. Seuss version. With help from my mom and husband, we painted “Pop” on a dropcloth. The kids loved it!]

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[The show-stopper was definitely the cake! Done by a friend of a friend, the cake was designed to look like a book. It turned out better than we could have dreamed! If you’re looking for a customized cake, let me know and I will hook you up with our baker!]

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[Dr. Seuss’ classic book, Happy Birthday to You, was used as a keepsake for the baby. Guests signed the book with wishes and memories that he can cherish into the future. Did I hear everyone say a collective, “Aw!”??]

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A few other fun details not pictured included a coloring table that was set up for the kids, but sometimes adults like to color, too!  A Dr. Seuss birthday party wouldn’t be complete without some Green Eggs & Ham. To make it happen, we used grid pretzels, Hershey Kiss Hugs, and green M&Ms. Place the Kiss on the pretzel, warm it in the oven until it gets soft, then place the M&M on the center, and let them cool! Yum!  Hot Cocoa Bar anyone?? On a cold winter’s day, this was a welcomed treat! We even dipped candy canes in the blue melting chocolates to tie in the Dr. Seuss theme. Put the candy cane in your hot cocoa to add a minty flavor!

It was a kid-friendly, parent-approved party – just like a 1st Birthday party should be!

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[Special Thanks to Michael Thorwart for the photos!]