Archives for category: family

 

pumpkin-latte-playdough

With the arrival of fall tomorrow and  Starbucks now serving their Pumpkin Spice Latte, are you ready for the season? This recipe for fun may put you and the kids in the mood. We have found a Pumpkin Latte Playdough for your little ones that just may become a new autumn classic at your house. Dinosaurs and Octopuses have the recipe for fun this week.

Here it is:

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup water
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1/3 of the jar of pumpkin pie spice (the tiny jar)
maple extract
vanilla extract
food coloring

Combine the dry ingredients and the oil. Slowly add the water. Add a few dashes of each of the extracts and a few drops of red and yellow food coloring. Cook over medium heat, stirring until stiff. As it mixes you can see if you’ll need more food dye. Adding a little at a time until the desired color is achieved. Turn out onto wax paper. The pumpkin pie spice was too spicy by itself, for my liking. The extracts make it smell sweeter, just like a pumpkin pie. Sniff the dough. Does it smell too spicy? Add a little bit more extract and knead it all together. If the dough is too sticky, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of water.

Betsy, you must give this a try for Katherine.

Anyone looking for a copycat Starbucks Pumpkin Latte recipe? Give this one from the Kitchn a try!

Pumpkin Spice Latte
makes 1-2 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin or 1 teaspoon of Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup (your choice)
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute – you can halve this amount
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine.)

Directions:
In a saucepan combine milk, pumpkin, and sugar and cook on medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice, transfer to a blender and process for 15 seconds until foamy. If you don’t have a blender, don’t worry about it – just whisk the mixture really well with a wire whisk.

Pour into a large mug or two mugs. Add the espresso on top.

Optional: Top with whipped cream and sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, or cinnamon on top.

Melting Snowmen

The Snowmen in our yards have overstayed their welcome. Finally we are losing some of the snow that has remained with us way too long in this never ending winter.  Even though we saw snow showers off and on this week, the Snowmen around town are melting away.  It is about time for April Showers to help bring in the May Flowers.

So, this week’s Recipe for Fun is Melting Snowmen Cookies from Home is Where the Boat Is.

Snowmen ingredients

Pop on over to Home is Where the Boat Is where Mary has the recipe for making these cute Melting Snowmen Cookies, a fun cook together with the kiddos.

Another year and this time we really thought that the last of the well – actually very well hidden Easter Eggs had been found…but they magically keep appearing.

Rather than packing them away we are making Egg Pops, a “cool” idea from Kailo Chic using our plastic eggs and just plain fruit juice.

Eggsicles

Fruit juice
Plastic Easter eggs
Sucker sticks
A large nail and thumbtack
Small funnel or piping tip to fill the eggs

First tip the eggs upside down and poke three holes in the bottom. Two of these holes are for letting the air escape when filling the egg, the third one should be in the center of the bottom. Make this center hole bigger using the large nail. You will need it to be as big as the popsicle/sucker stick.

Once that is done, and you have your egg carton full of eggs, use the piping tip to fill each one until almost full.

Then poke in the popsicle stick and place in the freezer until firm.

 

What do you do with your left over plastic Easter Eggs? Please share your good ideas.

Happy Passover

We send happy wishes to all of our friends and family near and far away celebrating Passover tonight.

Passover or “Pesakh”begins at sunset today. It’s an eight day celebration observed every year by the Jewish religion. It commemorates the freeing of the Israelites (biblical name for the Jews) from slavery after centuries of poverty and oppression under the reign of the cruel Egyptian, Pharaoh Ramses II.

Families celebrate Passover by sharing a Seder. With special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration. Seder means order, and the passover story is read in order from a book called a Haggadah.

This wooden child size Passover teaching set includes a Seder plate, goblet, two pieces of matza, bottle of wine, prayer book Afikomen and matza covers.

Although there are a number of food-related traditions that are observed during Passover, perhaps the most important part of the celebration is the ritual retelling of the Exodus story. In the Torah’s Book of Exodus, Jews are exhorted to tell their progeny about the enslavement and escape of the ancient Israelites. The act of recounting this story in a ceremony known as Magid forms a key component of the Seder feast, and it is told from a special text known as the Haggadah. The ceremony is meant to be interactive and inclusive, and includes questions and answers, special blessings, discussions, and songs. The story is usually told in both Hebrew and the native language of the majority of the guests attending the feast, according to tradition.

Apples 4 the Teacher explains Passover:

Fearing that Jews were becoming too strong, a Pharaoh decreed that all male Jewish babies were to be killed. Jocheved and Amran, a Jewish couple, wanted to save their infant son – so they put him in a basket that floated him down the river. The infant was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter and she raised him as her own son. She named the baby Moses, which means ” take from the water.”

When Moses grew up, he empathized with the Jewish slaves and tried to get the Pharaoh to free them. The Pharaoh refused – so there were 10 plagues sent down to Egypt: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and Slaying of the Firstborn. The name Passover comes from the Plague of Slaying the Firstborn. The Angel of Death passed over the homes of the Jews who had put lambs blood on their doors.

After the 10th plague, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jewish slaves go. They gathered up their belongings quickly, and didn’t have time for their bread to rise, so they had to bake it and take it the way it was. This is why the Jewish people eat matzah during Passover.

As the Jews were fleeing, Pharaoh changed his mind, and sent his army after the people to bring them back. Moses parted the Red Sea for the Jews to cross, and as soon as they were safely to the other side, the waters closed on the soldiers, drowning them all. The Jewish people were free.

Happy Passover!

peep-show

Nothing shouts Easter like a box of brightly colored Peeps bunnies and chicks.

What do you do with your Peeps?

Check out the second annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest.

Warning: It is a Peep Show; parental discretion advised. May include adult content.

There were more than 800 sugar-filled entries. Here are the 37 best creations.

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Karas Party Ideas just pops colorful Peeps on a Stick!

Love From The Oven makes these Rice Krispies Peeps Treats and has a pictorial recipe so you can make them too.

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Take a good thing and make it better. Chocolate dipped Peeps according to the Jack  and Izzy blog: Aren’t these “peep pops” the cutest things ever?!! They’re so simple to make — just put a bunny peep on a candy stick (found at Michael’s) and dip it in melted chocolate.

 

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question

What Is Open And What Is Closed On Good Friday & Easter Sunday?

Banks:

Many banks are open on Good Friday, but closed on Easter Sunday. Wells Fargo is open on Good Friday, but closed on Easter Sunday, though you can check ATM & Banking Locations locator for exceptions. TDBank is open on Good Friday, but closed on Easter Sunday.

Mail:  

UPS does not recognize Easter Sunday or Good Friday, and will be open. FedEx is open on Good Friday, but closed on Easter Sunday. Good Friday and Easter do not affect the United States Postal Service.

Government Offices:

Easter is not a federal holiday, but many offices may be closed because it is Sunday. Check your local listings.

Public schools:

Open on Good Friday, but obviously students do not have class on Sunday.

Financial markets:

U.S. financial markets will be closed on Good Friday, which falls on March 30. The Toronto Stock Exchange will also be closed Friday and European markets will be closed Friday and Easter Monday.

easter-bunny-at

Where in the world is the Easter Bunny? Now, just like tracking Santa on Christmas Eve, you can track the Easter Bunny. One of the most popular ways to track the Easter Bunny this year will be with iPhone apps.

This Easter Bunny Tracker allows iPhone users to track the bunny using a map, plus…. you can even send emails to the Easter Bunny right from the phone.

Several times each day, you will receive new blogs with beautiful graphics and entertaining audio as the characters present a tale of friendship, pride and forgiveness. An interactive globe and radar map add to the realism as you track the exact whereabouts of the Easter Bunny as he travels thousands of cities the night before Easter. This could be an opportune time for teaching your children about time zones.

While using your iPhone’s location, you will know how long until the Easter Bunny enters a tunnel near you. You will be also able to communicate with the Easter Bunny via text.

Another site promises to track the Easter Bunny on the web, but we are not sure if it will be up-and-running because it’s not working yet and the bunny will be delivering his eggs soon!

Rockhopper has also launched an Easter Bunny tracker for 2018, and you just have to refresh the page keep track.

Forget a pencil and paper, email the Easter Bunny and he’ll email you back!

Technophiles,  “App”y Easter Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious.comrecommends the following apps and game:

  • ClickySticky Easter Eggs (99 cents on iTunes): For the kids to decorate eggs, fill baskets, and build Easter bunnies without the mess with this sticker app.
  • 3D Easter Bunny Tracker (99 cents on iTunes): Track the Easter bunny as he hops around the world delivering eggs. Zoom in on any location on the 3-D globe.
  • Easter Recipes & Meals ($1.41 on Android Market): Looking for a new twist on a traditional Easter dish? Find more than 75 recipes for everything from side dishes to lamb to desserts. Chocolate-covered pecan Easter eggs, anyone?

Android Marketplace shoppers can take advantage of the apps and games below, suggests diablolita on Appolicious:

  • Easter Egg Matcher Free: This free app is a nice-looking, easy Easter game that has you match Easter eggs in rows, and once you get three in a row it disappears (a la Bejeweled). Kid-friendly.
  • Easter Day Cards: This app is easy to use and cute. It has 25 templates that you can customize to make Easter cards. Add your own photos and share via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Kid-safe.

And finally, Megan Lavey of TUAW recommends these for some holiday fun:

  • Easter Basket Maker: If you’re one who likes to create an Easter basket, this $1.99 app will allow you to make virtual baskets, then save on the expense and calories by letting you email the final result to a loved one.
  • If you like zombies with your Easter games, check out the $0.99 Bunny the Zombie Slayer.

 

 

Try our favorite recipe for roasted  carrots. Remember before you start cooking – leave an extra bunch out for the Easter Bunny……

Roasted Carrots with Shallots & Thyme

Ingredients needed for 4 servings:

  • 2 pounds small- to medium-size carrots
  • 1 cup sliced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Place rack in center of oven.

Peel carrots if desired and trim green top, leaving about 1/2–inch. Cut larger carrots in half lengthwise and place in a rimmed baking sheet. Add shallots and thyme; drizzle with oil and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Totally Kids will be closed Saturday, March 31st to enjoy time with our friends and families.

Why didn’t I think of that?

If you have been bitten or will be soon by the spring cleaning bug, look at this clever idea.

Crafter Hours has the template for drawer stickers so little ones will know that there is a place for everything and everything must go in its place, of course.

Learning expressions has several tips for engaging your children in the Springtime cleaning ritual such as:

Assign animal attributes
Make a joke about each person’s cleaning style, likening it to the behavior of a particular animal: jackrabbit (fastest), turtle (slow and steady), squirrel (stores things away), bat (fast and fearless), and slug (goes to sleep when chores are mentioned).

Keep cleaning sessions short
A five or ten minute cleanup session, accompanied by upbeat music, is something the whole family can get into. You’ll be done in no time, and it’s painless enough that kids won’t mind doing another round every so often.

Reward hard work
Spring cleaning is nobody’s idea of a good time, so plan for a reward for your workers. When the chores are done, schedule a family treat. Whether it’s pizza for lunch or an evening film-fest, you’ll get better results—and sweeten attitudes—if there’s a payoff at the end of the day.

Along with Spring come the flowers. Make and Takes is the Master Gardener here and will show you how to grow this colorful garden.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?

Skip the Miracle Grow, these Brain Noodles will enhance your garden like silver bells and cockle shells.

 

There have been so many super Easter Egg decorating ideas sent to us. Here are a few more that you might find inspiring.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thumb print eggs were a rather “handy” idea from Family Fun.

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Life Hacker knows “it’s what’s on the inside that counts”. Learn how to make some Chinese Tea Eggs.

 

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If you find chocolate inside your egg, you know it is a “good thing“; thanks Martha!

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If you’ve been dying to find a safe eco-friendly Easter Egg coloring kit – search no longer. Included are dyes made from purple sweet potato, paprika, beta carotene, red cabbage and blueberries plus 2 soy crayons for decorating.

 

Then oh my goodness, hopping back to thoughts of tomato planting. Can you really believe that fish heads, egg shells and aspirin are the ticket to growing amazing tomatoes? Love Apple Farms has a colorful odorless pictorial of this interesting process.

How to Beat Backseat Boredom….

Now that we are in the Spring Break and holiday travel season, there is always the question of how to keep young travelers happy and occupied on their journeys. Whether you travel by air, land or sea, here are some super travel toy ideas to help you entertain the kiddos and also prevent the dreaded backseat boredom.


Flip To Win Hangman
Classic word game with a twist! Think of a word and try to
stump your opponent. Includes one game board with erasable
whiteboard, self-storing dry-erase marker and eraser. No loose
pieces! For 2 or more players. Ages 6 and up.


Backseat Travel Books Set
Four great travel books make for hours of fun on the road! This  series is your source
for fighting those boredom blues. With this Kids’ Travel Activity Pack you get all four
books for hours and hours of travel fun. Are We There Yet? features great on-the-road
games, trip-tracking tools (including travel journal pages), mini mysteries, crossword
puzzles, road games, and much, much more. An answer key is also included in the
back of the book. Best Travel Activity Book Ever! features hundreds of coloring activities,
dozens of dot-to-dots, lots of mazes, and a ton of other fun games and activities. 
Kids’ Road Atlas
 features real road maps, great travel games, state-by-state puzzles,
state facts (including the nickname, capital, flower, tree, and bird), an index, and much,
much more. An answer key is also included in the back of the book. Coast-to-Coast
Games
 travels around the United States by region through National Park puzzles, city
games and activities, fun facts and trivia, and much, much more. An answer key is also
included in the back of the book. These fun-filled books are perfect for keeping the kids
busy at home or during those long stretches.  Ages 6 and up.


Travel Bingo
Great for travel! Both players select a Travel Bingo board, insert matching game
cards into the slot at the top of their boards, and flip open all of the doors so that
the pictures on the cards are exposed. Players close the doors as they spot objects
along their journey. Includes 4 double-sided, laminated, themed game cards.
No loose pieces! For 2 or more players. Ages 4 years and older.

Find these and many more great toys visit http://www.shoptotallykids.com or call a Totally Kids
personal shopper at 952-881-2425 to help you find just what you are looking for.

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Be certain everyone gets plenty of rest before you travel. Hydrate especially before air travel. Remember to keep washing hands so you will return home happy and healthy. Do not forget to have fun and take lots of pictures.

 

What kids wouldn’t find this to be the bed of their dreams?

Totally Kids fun furniture & toys is constantly searching for the most unique and creative bed options. We travel the world on that quest and pride ourselves in offering the best beds for you and your growing family.

Always at the top of our list is safety. Looking at this amazing bed, do you find anything that could be considered unsafe?

Here you see a perfect example of what at first glance might appear to be a dream bed, but in fact is a nightmare in the safety department.

 

 

 

The Sleep and Slide Bunk Beds are our newest fun yet safe introduction.  A place to sleep by night and an indoor playground during the day (minus the dangerous ropes and pulleys). Build of solid birch, it not only meets, but exceeds all safety standards. Since it is part of the add as you grow system, it takes your child creatively from first bed to college. Available in a warm Chestnut, painted white finish or natural birch as shown.

Over the years we have found hundreds fabulous beds that are available in other countries that fall short when safety is the main concern.

Let’s take a look at the most current regulations from the federal government.

Currently the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires the following as noted on their website:

Guardrails:
1. Bunk beds must have at least two upper bunk guardrails, with at least one rail on each side.
Lower bunks with mattress foundations that are 30 inches or less from the floor do not have to have guardrails.
2. The guardrail on the side of the bed next to a wall or on the side opposite to a ladder must run continuously from one end of the bed to the other. If the guardrail does not attach to an end of the bed, the gap between the end of the guardrail and the nearest end of the bunk bed cannot be greater than 0.22 inches.
3. A guardrail on the side of the bed away from the wall does not have to run continuously from end to end of the bed, but the distance between either end of the guardrail and the end of the bed nearest to it cannot be greater than 15 inches.
4. Guardrails must be attached to the bunk bed with fasteners that you have to release to take the rails off or they must require you to move them in two or more different directions, one after the other, to take them off.
5. The tops of the guardrails must be no less than 5 inches above the top of the mattress.
6. When you take the mattress off the upper bunk, any space between the bottom of the guardrail and the top of the mattress foundation must not let the wedge block described below pass through freely.

Bunk Bed Ends:
1. No opening in either end of the upper bunk that is above the mattress foundation can let the wedge block pass through freely.
2. When you use the thickest mattress and mattress foundation recommended by the manufacturer, the top of each end of the upper bunk must be at least 5 inches above the top of the mattress for at least half of the distance between the posts on each side of the end.
3. No opening in either end of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk and above the mattress foundation of the lower bunk can permit the wedge block to pass through freely, unless the opening also allows a rigid 9 inch sphere to pass through it freely.
4. Any opening in either end of the lower bunk below the mattress foundation of the upper bunk that is tested with the wedge block must also be tested for the risk of neck entrapment if the opening lets the 9 inch sphere pass though freely.

These are the guidelines set up by the federal government to ensure the safety for bunk beds that we all need to be aware of.