“Magic” Homemade Ice Cream, A Science Experiment And A Treat!

Posted 05-19-2016 at 11:45 PM by JPMP

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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!

 

Diaper Swapers

Surviving the Morning RUSH

Posted 05-14-2016 at 11:55 PM by JPMP

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The Morning RUSH….The Morning BATTLE…the Morning CHAOS. Whatever you want to call it, we’ve all been there. Some of us more often than others. The morning rushing around getting breakfast made, hair brushed, clothes on, teeth brushed, shoes found, you name it, I’ve been there.

In my house I’m blessed with 2 morning kids. I’m also blessed with 2 night kids. What does this mean? Someone is always unhappy and unmotivated. Mornings were getting too crazy around here. I’m not just talking about school days either. I’m talking about every…single…day. We have 2 that enjoy the morning and like to chat and two that if you look at them in the morning their head may explode. Whichever type of kid (and adults) you have in your home, I have some tips to help with your sanity. This is great for kids of all ages. Babies through teens.

PREP the evening prior:

Have clothes laid out and ready to go. This includes socks and shoes. And even hair bows. Diapers too. Believe me when I say I have woken up to 0 diapers in the house before. It’s better to know the night before.
Cook breakfast the night before and pop in microwave in the morning.
Have lunches packed.
Have backpacks packed and ready to go.
Have a fully stocked diaper bag ready to go.

BREAKFAST:

Make breakfast the night before if possible. Pop it in the microwave right before the kids get up.
Have cereal out, bowls and silverware out and ready for the older kids.

GET READY FIRST:

If possible, get up prior to the kids and get yourself ready.
Have your coffee and calm time before the rush begins.

 

Do you have any time saving morning tips to share?

Boost Your Curb Appeal This Spring!

Posted 05-12-2016 at 11:55 PM by JPMP

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It’s not just the inside of your home that needs a good Spring-Cleaning this season, there are a lot of simple fixes you can do to make the outside of your house look great, too! Even small things can make a huge difference in your home’s appearance, making it look fresh and pretty.

1. Paint your front door. A fresh coat of paint (or stain), whether it be in the same neutral color or a fun new shade, will instantly make your house look nicer. Cracking and peeling or faded paint is an eyesore.

2. Pull your weeds! Nothing detracts from a home’s beauty like unruly landscaping. As annoying as it may be, spend a day pulling out those weeds and spraying your yard to keep them from coming back. You’ll feel so accomplished afterwards when you see how drastically it improves your yard. Also, be sure to keep on top of mowing your lawn. Grass can quickly grow out of control and really diminish your curb appeal.

3. Plant stuff! Head to the nursery and pick up a few plants. Some bushes and shrubs to fill up space and some flowers for pops of color. You don’t need to be a landscaping expert to spruce up your yard with some pretty plants. You can even string up a hanging basket by your front door for an easy improvement project.

4. Spread fresh bark. I love bark. I think that when paired with flowering plants in particular, it looks amazing. Pick up a couple bags from your local home improvement store and spread it in-between your plants. The rich color will bring out the color in your flowers, and it hides the not-so-pretty rocks and dirt below.

5. Pick out new house numbers. Simply changing out the metal numbers you have on your house for fresh new ones can have a big impact on your home’s appearance. There are so many cute ones that you can buy, and there a lot of DIY’s as well (you could even paint them to match your front door)!

6. Change your knob hardware. There are lots of really cool knobs out there, like this fun modern one. Door knobs, especially ones that you use frequently like your front door handles, tend to fade and get discolored. Change them out to freshen up your door.

7. Power Wash your front porch and driveway. Whether you pick up a nozzle attachment for your hose or not, spray down all of your concrete areas. Winter usually leaves behind lots of dirt and grime. Spraying down your steps and porch and sweeping away dead leaves will help a lot. It also doesn’t hurt to give your sidewall (and any other area that picks up a lot of dirt) a nice spray as well.

Those are all super simple and relatively inexpensive ideas to keep your home looking pretty this Spring. Be sure to give a few of them a try, and comment below if you have any other tips and tricks for keeping your yard and home looking well-maintained as we head into these lovely Summer months.

 

3 Common Mistakes Parents Make At Disneyland

Posted 05-3-2016 at 09:27 PM by JPMP

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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.

 

 

Rub-A-Dub-Dub, How To Get Your Toddler Into The Tub

Posted 04-26-2016 at 08:42 PM by JPMP

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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.

 

Bubble Bath

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 to find 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)

Then 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…)

Anyways.

Add a couple tbsp. 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.**

 

 

 

 

The “Oh Crap” bag, and why it’s a perfect baby shower gift

Posted 04-24-2016 at 08:37 PM by JPMP

If you’re anything like me, you love giving gifts. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings, just because… and most definitely baby showers. Baby stuff is just so dang cute it’s hard to not want to buy absolutely everything for the new baby. My biggest stress when picking out a gift was that I would end up getting something that the new parents already had. After scouring aisle after aisle of fun baby stuff I was inspired to create an “Oh Crap” bag. I had heard of something similar before, and decided to try my hand at creating one of these nifty things myself.

The “Oh Crap” bag is a bag meant to be stored in mom or dads car with a few necessities that baby may need when out-and-about. You know, when mom or dad suddenly realize they forgot to bring extra diapers, or baby has a blow-out and there are no spare onesies in sight? This kit perfectly covers nearly every “oh crap” moment that involves the little one, and would be so handy for any parent, whether it’s their first child or they already have a few.

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Supplies

A bag. (I got mine at Walmart, and it’s technically a travel toiletries bag. I loved the three separate sections, and the size worked great for the items I included.)

3 or 4 diapers, at least two different sizes. (Too big is better than too small. I did two size 1 and two size 2 diapers. The parents will have to change these out periodically.)

Hand Sanitizer.

Travel size baby wipes. 

Travel size antibacterial wipes.

Small package of Diaper Sacks.

Spare outfits. (I did three different sized outfits consisting of a onesie and leggings. These will also need to be changed out as baby grows.)

Socks.

Pacifier(s).

A small toy.

Bottle.

I also hooked a couple of safety pins onto the bag, just because safety pins are the greatest things ever and you never know when you could use one.

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That’s it!

This is also super fantastic because it’s so easily modified. A bigger bag could hold a spare t-shirt for mom and/or dad, the disposable diapers can be traded out for cloth, a burping cloth could be added along with a spare blanket… The possibilities are endless.

This gift is sure to be the hit of the next baby shower you attend and really mean a lot to the new parents. Taking the time to assemble the items really shows how much you care, and you have so much room to personalize this present! You’ll give the new parents a bit more piece of mind as they head out with baby, knowing that when they inevitably forget something, they’re covered. :)

 

 

10 Easy Ways Kids Can Help Our Planet This Earth Day!

Posted 04-21-2016 at 08:38 PM by JPMP

 

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Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about taking care of our planet. Kids that learn from an early age to respect the Earth will grow up to be adults that respect the Earth. Here are 10 super easy ways you and your family can help our planet, and a lot of them could make fun activities for Earth Day as well!

  1. Plant a Tree. (Make a day out of this. Have your kiddo(s) pick out a tree from a nursery to plant in your yard. While they help you plant the tree talk about how trees produce oxygen and provide homes for lots of animals.)
  2. Recycle. (Use a cheap garbage can, bin, or reuse a cardboard box to hold recyclables. Teach your kids about why recycling is so important as you make a designated place to toss recyclable items. Mention that items like plastic water bottles can end up being made into a park bench one day if they’re recycled!)
  3. Switch from buying packs of plastic water bottles and give each family member their very own reusable water bottle. Personalize the bottle with their name for an extra fun touch.
  4. Turn off the lights before you leave each room. (Make a game out of it! There are even fun songs you can sing about turning out the lights.)
  5. Clean up your trash and any other trash you see. (Grab some gloves and some bags and head to the local park to pick up trash. Turn it into a game to see who can fill up their bag the most!)
  6. Be nice to the bees. (Teach them about how incredibly important honey bees and bumble bees are to the Earth. Watching the Bee Movie would be an extra great way to learn!)
  7.  Save water. (It’s as simple as turning the water off while brushing your teeth, or making sure you don’t leave the hose running outside.)
  8. Use both sides of the paper when coloring. (Easy enough! If kids are made aware that paper comes from trees, and trees ((like the one they planted with you outside)) need to be cut down to be turned into their paper, they may be less likely to waste pieces.)
  9. Reuse items for fun crafts. (The possibilities here are endless. A yogurt cup can make a fun vase for a flower, an egg carton can be painted and turned into a jewelry holder, a toilet paper roll can be transformed into a toy car…etc.)
  10. Go on a bike ride. (Next time you’re headed to the park (or anywhere, really!) take your bikes! It’s a great way to get some extra exercise and teach about keeping the air clean from pollution.)

 

There are so many easy ways to incorporate a small lesson on the importance of being kind to our planet Earth each and every day. Make this Earth day an experience that is just as enjoyable as it is educational for the whole family!

 

 

Easy To Make + Safe Play Dough For Your Toddler

Posted 01-29-2016 at 12:27 PM by admin

home made playdough

Easy to make playdough for the kids! Safe and non-toxic fun for your toddler and kiddos. Hours of fun and you probably have everything in your cabinets!

Ingredients:
1 cup All purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp. cooking oil
food coloring
1 cup water
1 tbsp. cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS:

Step One: Get out a nonstick frying pan to mix and cook your ingredients in. Don’t turn the heat on yet! Add all your dry ingredients.

Step Two: Add your wet ingredients and stir until mixed well (it can remain lumpy from the flour).

Step Three: Go ahead and turn up the heat to medium or medium high. Continuously stir and adjust heat if necessary. You don’t want your dough gooey or crispy.

Step Four: When your ingredients start to form a collective dough as you mix it, turn off the heat.

Step Five: Let your play dough cool down.

Chore Ideas For Your 2-4 Year Old

Posted 01-14-2016 at 09:52 AM by admin

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At the young age of 2, I began to give my kids chores. They were actually quite fun. And, most of these things, my toddlers asked to do! When they would see me or their dad wiping tables or vacuuming, they would ask to help. Take advantage of their willingness while you can. This all changes in the next few years.

Here are a few ideas of chores that are fun as well as helpful for toddlers and preschool children!

Before a meal:

Setting table (not glass)
Getting out condiments
Helping with dinner (mixing ingredients, etc)

After a meal

Clearing the table.
Wiping the table.
Older kids may be able to load the dishwasher.

Mornings:

Feeding the pets.
Walking the pets (with parents)
Self care when they are younger: getting clothing out, brushing teeth, etc

While parents clean, kids can tag along and you can give them jobs. I’ve even made up jobs that don’t need to be done, however the kids want to feel included.

Wiping low furniture
Wiping fingerprints off windows and walls
helping push the vacuum
putting clothes into laundry basket, older kids can separate them!
putting clothes into their room (older kids can put them away!)
Sweeping small areas. I had my kids sweep the dirt by the front entrance out the door.
Organizing shoe racks.
Picking up toys.

Family Friendly New Years Eve Ideas | New Years Eve With The Kids

Posted 12-30-2015 at 06:48 PM by JPMP

New Years Eve with the kids

Family Friendly New Years Eve Ideas | New Years Eve With The Kids

New Years Eve is a little different once you become a parent. Who am I kidding? It’s a lot different once you have kids in the house. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a rockin’ time with the kids on New Years Eve. Below are a few ideas to get the whole family involved in ringing in the New Year!

Set the clocks forward

If you don’t want the little ones to stay up too late, plan an afternoon or early evening celebration. Set the clocks in the house so that midnight comes at their regular bedtime. They can ring in the “New Year” at any time of day, it doesn’t have to be midnight. This will allow you to spend time with your spouse or friends at  midnight and you won’t have a cranky baby/toddler/child the next day!

Dress up!

Fun party hats and party dresses will get everyone in the mood for a fun night. Toddlers and preschool age kids would love to dress up like mom and dad do when they go out for a fun night. Fancy dresses and shoes. Play makeup and beauty salon would be fun as well.

Noisemakers

You can’t have a party without noisemakers. These can be found at the local dollar stores, or in the party section at stores like Target and Walmart. If you can’t take all the noise, wait to pull them out until “midnight”.

Sparkling Cider

Toast in the new year with sparkling cider. Let the kids cheer one another and join in on the fun.

Sparklers

Sparklers are always a fun addition to an evening party. With plenty of adult supervision, sparklers can help ring in the New Year!

Family Slumber Party

To make the night special, consider camping out in the living room as a family. Watch family movies, drink hot cocoa (and sparkling cider!) and make memories.