Posted 12-1-2017 at 06:54 AM by Jessica
Now that the weather has cooled off (at least it has here in Utah!), it’s time to plan out some fun activities during the holiday season! The chaos of gift shopping and hosting family members can make the holiday season stressful, so be sure to take some time to relax and have fun with your loved ones.
Have lots of fun with these ideas…
- Go ice skating
- Find some snowy hills to go sledding
- Pack up everyone in the car to go for hot chocolates
- Find the most festive neighborhoods in your city and drive around to see the lights
- Look for a free live nativity by where you live
- Think up a few random acts of kindness to do together
- Watch Christmas movies in your pajamas
- Build a blanket fort and drape Christmas lights over the top
- Find 3 cookie recipes and bake all 3 (you could even have a cookie bake-off and see who bakes the best cookies)
- Make Christmas Candies together
- Attend a Christmas play at a local school or theater
- Host a game night complete with all of your favorites
- Decorate Gingerbread houses together
- Indoor S’mores (you can roast marshmallows over an unscented candle or simply microwave them for a few seconds)
- Blast holiday music at home and have a dance party
Posted 11-26-2017 at 04:37 PM by Jessica
Some kids love to take baths. For others, bath-time can be a real struggle. If your toddler does not get excited at the prospect of getting into the tub each night, you should give a few of these ideas a try!
Homemade & Natural Bath Crayons
Your kids will love these. They get to color all over the tub, their toys, themselves, and the best part is they’re actually getting clean at the same time!
All you need for this easy creation is:
- natural bar soap
- a few tablespoons of water
- non-toxic food coloring!
- Grate the bar soap into a medium bowl
- Add the water and a few drops of food coloring
- Stir, and once incorporated, knead into a paste
- Invite your kids over to help you mold these into fun shapes (placing the mixture into a cookie cutter or other mold for at least one day will help the crayon keep its desired shape)
- Let dry for an additional 2-3 days
- Once they’ve fully dried, they can be played with in the tub for hours!
Creative Bath Toys
A few new toys can work wonders in motivating your little man or lady to hop into the tub. If there are specific toys used exclusively for bath-time only, they may be more excited to take a bath if that’s the only time they get to play with that particular toy.
Make sure that the bath toys you do buy for your little one are PVC, phthalate and BPA free. So many bath toys on the market now contain harmful toxins that can easily be ingested by a toddler who loves to try drinking the bath water, or who often places the toys in his or her mouth.
Bubbles may be all you need to entice your kiddo to take a bath! Make sure to look for a Bubble Bath that is natural and free from harmful ingredients, or try making your own!
All you need is:
- 1 cup liquid Castile soap (make sure it’s the tear-free version)
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp. vegetable glycerin (this makes for more bubbles, and moisturizes their skin!)
- essential oils of your choice (lavender is great for soothing crazy kiddos before bedtime)
Here comes the hard part… add the ingredients to a bottle and shake a few times to incorporate. (Just kidding, that’s not hard at all. Unless you don’t have the cap screwed on tight enough and you end up with a luxurious-smelling slippery mess…)
Add a couple tbsp. of your bubble bath solution to the running bath, and BOOM! You’ve got a relaxing, all-natural bubble bath for your toddler. He or she will love playing in the bubbles, and you’ll love that they’re playing in safe water that is cleaning and moisturizing their sensitive skin.
Give these ideas a try and see just how quickly your toddler finds that taking a bath can actually be a lot of fun! 😀
**Remember, never leave your child unsupervised in the tub. Even just a couple inches of water and a few seconds alone can prove to be fatal.**
Posted 10-3-2017 at 06:05 PM by Jessica
Halloween candy and treats are delicious. I’m not going to lie and tell you that I don’t look forward to a good handful of candy corn (yeah, I’m one of the few that actually likes candy corn…). But I am not a huge fan of giving processed sugary foods to the kids. Halloween is one of those days that kids can get overloaded with junk. Plus, there are so many kiddos with allergies that would love to feel included when trick-or-treating! So here are a few suggestions for things you can hand out instead of (or in conjunction with) candy…
Packaged Healthy Treats
If you’re handing out Halloween goodies at your door, and want to steer clear of the heavy sugar candies, stop by big box stores for prepackaged healthier foods. Head to the aisle that you buy lunch box snacks. Options are endless. individual bags of popcorn, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, and more. You may want to steer clear of nuts if you’re handing out to other children.
I have found great deals on Halloween and fall themed pencils at our local drugstores. And pencils encourage writing, which is important for kids!
Another great inexpensive and educational item to hand out to kids on Halloween.
Most kids, even as young as toddlers, enjoy stickers. Have fun with them by choosing Halloween themed stickers that the kids will love.
Growing up, we had neighbors that would hand out quarters! It doesn’t have to be quarters, consider dimes or nickels too!
Many party stores offer toys for as little as 10¢ each if you buy a large lot. This is a great alternative to candy. And, they can keep it much longer as well!
Do you have any other ideas on alternatives to Halloween Candy?
Posted 07-19-2017 at 04:43 PM by Jessica
Need a summer-boredom cure?
Make your own sidewalk paint! It’s messy (but washable) and oh so much fun! Your kids will spend hours painting driveway masterpieces. 😉
All you need are a few simple ingredients that you likely already have on hand. What I love most about this recipe is that the colors are so bright and vibrant – perfect for summer!
- ¼ Cup Cold Water
- ¼ Cup Cornstarch
- 1 T. Washable Paint (in your color of choice)
The paint-making process:
To start it off, get a bowl and stir together the water and washable paint until it reaches a smooth consistency. Next, slowly add in the cornstarch to this mixture. And that is it folks!
Yay! That’s it, you have now made washable sidewalk paint! If you’re interested, another option for mixing the paint together would be to get some jars and put all the ingredients into them and shake it up! I’ve always used popsicle sticks to stir but you can always use paintbrushes as well! Use whatever works best with the resources you have in your home, and enjoy! Once your kids are done painting all you have to do is rinse it off with water – it’s that simple! Have a blast! 😀
Posted 07-8-2017 at 11:01 AM by Jessica
This is a super easy DIY project for the adventurers, the wild spirits, and those who have a bad case of wanderlust. Everyone likes to have a little something that personalizes their home, and this is the perfect way to decorate plain walls, add to a theme, or even keep track of where you’ve been or where you wish to go!
- A foam core board (can be found at the dollar store)
- Any paper with maps on them, i.e. scrapbook paper, actual maps, etc.
- Mod Podge glue or another kind of sturdy glue
- Christmas lights
First, you will stick the map paper on the foam board with the glue. If your maps are not big enough to fit the board, that’s fine! It is extra fun to make a collage of maps so you can design your own wall art. You can cut out pieces that you want and stick them where you want. You are free to make your own design! When you have glued the paper to the board, you can begin to poke holes as randomly as you like through the board. Then you can stick the lights through the holes from the back, plug it in, and you’re finished!
Posted 06-14-2017 at 10:00 PM by Jessica
Summer is officially HERE! Well, in terms of school being out it is. The first official day of summer according to the calendar is the June 20th, so we’ve got just a bit longer to go. As soon as the weather gets warm enough I transition from my boots, flats and sneakers to nothing but flip-flops. I’m honestly a very lazy person. So much so that even the thought of taking a few extra seconds to strap on sandals is enough to keep me wholeheartedly addicted to flip-flops.
Even if you aren’t a huge flip-flop wearer like I am, I doubt you’ll be able to resist how cute these flip-flop wreaths I’ve found are! They are the perfect symbol of summer, and you can usually score them for super cheap at Walmart or during a sale at Old Navy! Take a second to look through the following tutorials – then get crafting!
A few of my favorite flip-flop wreaths…
You can make this fun flip-flop “wreath” welcome sign in under 30 minutes! Now that’s my kind of craft! Head here for detailed instructions.
Head here for a tutorial on this style of flip-flop wreath. There are 6 different flip-flop wreath themes that A Day in the Life with TJ has crafted, from Patriotic to Wild Colors!
This last wreath is also super inexpensive to make, and has a cute flower in the middle! Check it out here.
Posted 04-22-2017 at 12:15 AM by Jessica
Sidewalk chalk is super fun, but want to know what’s even better? Sidewalk chalk paint! I bet you’ve seen the containers of it sold at the store, but did you know it’s actually really easy to make? This is a great activity for you and the kids to do together now that it’s getting warmer and we’re moving into Summer. Simply mix up a batch of this paint and your kids will be entertained for hours!
All you need for each color…
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water (or whatever amounts you want; as long as they are equal parts)
- 1 – 2 tablespoons washable paint (or a couple drops of food coloring works great, too)
- small plastic containers with lids
- lots of fun brushes and sponges!
In each plastic container or bowl mix the cornstarch and water together. Add in the paint or food coloring until you reach the color you want and viola! You have paint perfect for the driveway and sidewalk. When painted on the sidewalk it will start out light, but don’t worry! The colors will darken as the paint dries – your kids will be amazed!
This paint is great because it will wash right off of the driveway as soon as you spray it with the hose (or it rains). Messy but washable is exactly what you want for maximum kid and parent happiness.
Posted 04-6-2017 at 12:05 AM by Jessica
Now that the weather is getting warmer it’s time to switch over from that Winter activity bucket list to to a Spring one! There are lots of great things you can do with your kids in the great outdoors, whether that’s in your backyard, at the beach or up in the mountains – and it doesn’t have to cost much, either!
Here are just a few ideas…
- Create a scavenger hunt
- Take a walk around the neighborhood
- Jump rope
- Draw pictures with sidewalk chalk
- Play hide-n-seek outdoors
- Blow bubbles
- Use hula-hoops
- Have a BBQ
- Play hopscotch
- Find shapes in the clouds
- Play baseball at a park (or a simple game of catch is always fun)
- Go for a bike ride
- Fly a kite
- Start up a soccer or basketball game
- Go on a picnic at the park
- Take a hike (literally, ha)!
- Collect seashells on a beach (or wade in the chilly water at a lake)
- Plant flowers
- Have a weed-pulling competition
- Feed the ducks at a pond
There are so many fun things to do now that the weather is warmer! After being cooped up inside all Winter the kids will LOVE heading out to have some fun in the sun, even if it’s not totally warm yet. Be imaginative and you’re sure to make lots of great memories this Spring without having to spend a dime!
Posted 05-19-2016 at 11:45 PM by Jessica
Homemade ice cream is one of my most favorite Summer treats. I love that it’s so rich and soft, and you can customize it so easily with syrups and toppings!
I have a super easy recipe for homemade ice cream that will take you 10 minutes max to make. Plus, the way it’s done is going to seem like magic to your kids. They’ll see you pour sugary milk into a small bag, place that bag in a larger ice-filled bag, they’ll shake it and squish it and voila! Ice cream will be made!
- 1/2 cup Half and Half
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar (you could try substituting in honey or agave)
- 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 gallon-sized bag
- 2 sandwich-sized bags
- About 3 cups crushed ice
- 1/3 cup rock salt (if you don’t have any rock salt table salt will work fine)
(This will make roughly one serving. You may need to do this a couple times, or double or triple the recipe and use larger bags.)
Pour cream, sugar and vanilla into one of the small bags, and then double bag it by enclosing it in the other small bag. (This will keep the mixture from leaking during the process, especially if you have kiddos shaking the bag.) Add ice and salt to the large bag and then put the small bag with the mixture inside as well. Seal the large bag. Now hand it off to a child to shake it and gently squish it. Continue for about 5 minutes or so, checking on the consistency of the cream every few minutes.
This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about liquids changing states to become more solid as they freeze. You may also need to explain that adding salt to ice will make it colder, and that way you can make ice cream faster!
In no time you will have completed a fun science experiment and made a yummy Summer treat!
Posted 05-3-2016 at 09:27 PM by Jessica
Disneyland is definitely The Happiest Place On Earth. No question about it! But tired kids who have sore feet are not happy, and they’re not likely to make it feel like such a happy place. There are a few timing mistakes that parents make when taking their family to Disneyland that, if corrected, could result in a much more enjoyable experience.
1. Not getting there 30 minutes before opening
If you have kids, waking up early to make it to the park entrance by 7:30 am when the park opens at 8:00 may sound insane. You have to trust me on this, though. The park will allow people to get in usually about 30 minutes before the park is scheduled to open that day, so you’ll have time to get through the check-stands and be ready to go as soon as they officially open the park. The first 30 minutes to an hour in the park is golden. You can practically walk on most rides as people are trickling in. This is the perfect time to head to rides with notoriously long wait-times (like my personal favorite, Peter Pan’s Flight). Within that first hour you can already have a handful of rides crossed off your list! A lot of people believe that being on vacation means sleeping in. But if you’re on a Disney vacation sleeping in means you could be missing out on some great riding time.
2. Not leaving the park during the mid-day madness
You know all those people I mentioned that like to sleep-in during their Disney Vacation? Well, it’s about 1 o’clock and they’ve all meandered into the park by now. The temperature for the next couple of hours is at it’s hottest, there are hoards of people everywhere and the wait times have just increased, possibly by a lot. It’s time to leave the park. Grab the kids and head back to your hotel for some napping or swimming (or both!). Giving your kids even an hour to cool off in the pool while you pick up your feet will make a huge difference for the rest of the day. During the mid-day madness you’re not likely to get on many rides anyways, and once you head back in you’re going to feel rejuvenated enough to hit a bunch of rides because no whining kids = more rides!
3. Not staying until closing
Lots of people with kids tend to head out a couple hours before the park closes, usually because they’re all very tired and have sore feet. If you avoided mistake #3 though, you’re more likely to still have some energy to spare! Use that to stay until closing. Just as the first hour usually has shorter wait times, the last hour does as well. Take advantage of that to finish off the night with a few of your favorite rides, and be sure to stay for the firework show. Disney puts on an incredible show that is sure to be the perfect end to a magical day in the park.