Archives for category: family

“For children, play is serious learning,” Fred Rogers said. “Play is really the work of childhood.”

 Pretend play provides an outlet for children to practice coping strategies for stressful encounters. Imaginary play emerges around 3-5 years of age. It is important to encourage and allow opportunities for pretend play at home.

Here are some ways that pretend play impacts a child’s development:

  • increases use of language and vocabulary
  • expressing positive and negative feelings
  • increases self-regulation
  • helps in expressing empathy
  • encourages problem solving
  • allows for new communication
  • teaches cognitive flexibility
  • creativity in general
  • teaches organizational skills

Start by cooking up some good pretend fun with a colorful kitchen.

Add a pretend waffle maker and you can enjoy delicious pretend waffles all day long.

It is that time of year to begin planning holiday cookie baking.

There are so many options each day to help your children with the importance of pretend play.

It all begins with imagination, both yours and theirs.

Albert Einstein once said: “Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.”

FINGER FOOD

PREP TIME: Requires 30 minutes chilling
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
YIELD: About 30 Cookies

INGREDIENTS
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Amaretto
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons strawberry jelly
1 teaspoon water

NEXT:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, Amaretto, and vanilla extract.  In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Working in batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until fully incorporated.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

3.  Meanwhile, combine the strawberry jelly with 1 teaspoon water in a small saucepan.  Over low heat, melt the jelly.

4.  Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remainder refrigerated, roll a scant tablespoon full of dough into a thin log shape, about 4″ long for each cookie. Squeeze the dough around the center and close to one end to create knuckle shapes.  Keep the logs somewhat skinny, as they tend to expand in the oven.

5.  Make a small indentation at one end of the dough.  Drop a small bit of jelly onto the indentation, and press an almond slice firmly into the end of the cookie for a nail.  With a paring knife, make three slashes at the knuckle.

6.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until pale golden.  Allow the fingers to cool on a cooling rack.

Serve if you dare!

Have you visited the pumpkin patch yet this fall?

If you have  picked the perfect pumpkin and it’s not yet carved, thought there may be a little inspiration to be found here. Smashing pumpkins, aren’t they?

After the guts are removed and your Jack-O-Lantern has been wiped clean inside and out, use silica gel packets to keep pumpkins from molding.

Another tried and true method for preservation is mixing a solution of 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray the pumpkin inside and on all cut areas of the pumpkin with the solution.  Wait about 20 minutes, then rub all of the carved surfaces with petroleum jelly. This will help reduce bacteria and molds growth, as well as lessens the dehydration.

One more hint is keeping it out of direct sunlight. Erin, our marketing manager, even kept her pre-carved pumpkins in her refrigerator.

What to do with the guts?

Roasted Seeds recipe from Southern Food

Ingredients:

2- cups pumpkin seeds, rinsed and drained

2- T Canola oil

1-1/2 t salt

Preparation:

Let the pumpkin seeds dry on paper towels. Toss cleaned pumpkin seeds with oil and salt; spread out on a cookie sheet. Bake in a 250° oven for about 1 hour, or until the pumpkin seeds are dry, stirring occasionally.Categories

 

 

Wrap up some mummies and put them on your plate. Surprise the kiddos with the hot dog tucked inside. This how-to is found at Family Fun

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a no brainer? This Mummy has no brain, just unwrap it and you will find Halloween Playdough and un-candy treat. Another recipe from the Idea Room.

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Mummified Oreos could be your next surprise treat.

You can ask How She Does It, she will show you how to do it too.

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Mummy? No, it’s a baby silly!

Well… maybe a baby Mummy.

Babble claims all it takes is a roll of gauze. But of course you will need a very cute baby and presto change-o – you’ll have your own baby Mummy.

All you Mummys and Daddys have fun with your babies on Halloween.

 

prisoner-dog1So, you have a super cute costume ready for your dog this Halloween but have you thought about his or her safety? Here are a few helpful tips.

Halloween Safety Tips For Dogs

1. Avoid chocolate and other candy.  Make sure to keep any candy that you are going to hand out safely hidden from your dog. Notify kids in the house to put their candy bags away. Chocolate is a big no-no for dogs as it contains theobromine, which their bodies cannot properly digest. The darker the chocolate, the worse it can be. Small amounts are typically not lethal, so if he does snag a bite don’t freak out. But also don’t let it happen.

Candy wrappers, tinfoil, and other dangers can be found in candy bags, so keep your dog safe by putting these away.

2. Put your dog in a safe place, either a separate room or his crate, when the trick-or-treaters are coming by. You should not let him be at the door to greet the kids. Costumes, commotion, and loud noises will stress him out and can cause problems ranging from stress to aggression.

3. Don’t leave your dog around kids without supervision. The erratic movements and loud, startling noises can really upset him. Add in a scary costume and you have a formula for disaster.

4. Be careful about the placement of electrical cords for decorations. If your puppy or dog chews on these, trouble will follow. Arrange them for safety and use a bitter apple spray on the cord to keep pets at bay.

5. Don’t leave candles unattended. Carved pumpkins look great with a candle burning inside them, but they can be tipped over. They can also be investigated by curious pets which can lead to burns or worse.

6. Make sure that your dog’s costume is the right fit. Don’t put him in a costume that is too small or tight. Also, check for loose ends that could be chewed on and swallowed or cause other problems. If your dog hates having the costume on be a friend to him and take the costume off.

7. Watch out when the door is open. If your dog is not secured in another room or in his crate then he might bolt out the door. With all the activity outside it may be even harder to get him back in.

8. Walk your dog before the festivities begin – all those costumes can be scary.

9. If the noise is bothering him, try adding background sounds (radio, TV) to distract him from the neighborhood hubbub.

10. Be careful when out walking your dog after Halloween – loose candy can be found and he may grab a big piece if he sees it before you do.

11. Think twice about taking him out with your family to trick or treat. There’s a lot of costumes and commotion which can put any dog on edge. He might be happier at home.

12. Tell kids the dangers of the treats and to not feed the dog any.

13. Be firm. Don’t let anybody who wants to greet your dog just to be polite. Be willing to say “no thanks” if your dog is feeling anxious or if the other person (perhaps an excited, sugar-filled child) is approaching inappropriately.

14. If you take your dog with you, do not take him up to a stranger’s door – the resident dog may not take kindly to that and it could end up being a bummer. Someone should wait at the end of the driveway with the dog.

15. Do not leave your dog outside. There are plenty of rumors that dogs are taunted and teased, that gates are opened, and that candy is tossed in yards. It’s unlikely that lots of kids are running around causing harm to dogs on Halloween night, but the commotion is enough to unnerve your dog and it is conceivable that a youngster might toss a treat toward your dog with the best of intentions but bad results.

It may seem like a lot, but the truth is that Halloween is a fun time for parents and kids and can easily be fun for dogs too. Many dogs enjoy being the center of attention and will tolerate wearing a costume (which we get a huge kick out of!) to do so. Keep an eye out for the dangers of candy, keep your dog secure in your house, and be ready to ward off over-excited kids and all will be well. Happy Halloween.

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Halloween Treats For People

Pupcakes recipe from Gourmet Mom On the Go.

dog-cooking

Here is one of our favorite Halloween DIY’s. 

It’s that time of year for crafting all things Halloween. This inspirational garland idea is featured on Forty-Two Roads. Go ahead and give it a try – you’ll love the results.

Templates for the cutouts can be found at Paper Crave.

 

 

 

 

Last year these Spooky Spider Deviled Eggs were a huge hit. You might want to try making them with the kiddos for a fun cook together time.

Deviled Eggs, always for Halloween, but this year we’re laying (out) special spider eggs to creep out some friends.

Ingredients

  • 3 slices bacon (3 oz.)
  • 8 hard-cooked large eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

1. In an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon, turning slices as needed, until browned on both sides and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. When cool enough to handle, crumble bacon.
2. Cut each egg in half lengthwise; gently scoop out yolks and place in a bowl. Mash yolks with a fork, then stir in mayonnaise, green onions, mustard, and crumbled bacon until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Spoon about 1 tablespoon yolk mixture into the hollow of each egg-white half. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 4 hours.

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day and it can continue all month if you would like it to.

We always think there’s no better time than today to start scaring up some spooky vegetarian Halloween food.

Halloween Plate

The eyes have it!

Monster Eyes at Totally Kids fun furniture & toys

Here’s looking at you kid. Eyeball Caprese recipe here. If you dare!

pumpkin vomit

Unfortunately, this represents what some folks think of vegetarian food. Go ahead and eat it up. We dare you!

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You have seen all of the small houses built from shipping containers. Now take a look at this shipping container inspired bedroom furniture collection.

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Tuck your precious cargo into bed each night with this solid metal Shipping Container bunk bed that is reminiscent of cargo containers on ocean-going freighters. Hope you like this new and unique look as much as we do!  Check out all of the sturdy matching pieces like desks, chests or wardrobes.

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The secure looking wardrobe from the red Shipping Container Collection.

 

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From the blue Shipping Container collection, you can have a rugged-looking day bed.

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Another rugged chest in an Arctic white, but you can choose it in blue, red or gray also.

 

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This Shipping Container bunk bed emanates cargo on an Antartica Icebreaker. Okay, come on, use your imagination with me.

Go ahead, you choose a color for your Shipping Container and see where it may take you.

 

 

 

 

 

Talk like a Pirate

Yarrr, that be right: tomorrow, Thursday, September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day 2019, a celebration of all things pirate.

Pirate Toddler Bed

Avast, all you young little Scallywags you can  sleep like pirate!

Now, if you wish to brush up on your pirate speak, try this useful English to Pirate translator.

Also offered is some advanced lingo once you’ve mastered the basics. like beyond “Aarr!”.

Beauty – The best possible pirate address for a woman. Always preceded by “me,” as in, “C’mere, me beauty,” or even, “me buxom beauty,” to one particularly well endowed. You’ll be surprised how effective this is.

Bilge rat – The bilge is the lowest level of the ship. It’s loaded with ballast and slimy, reeking water. A bilge rat, then, is a rat that lives in the worst place on the ship. On TLAP Day – A lot of guy humor involves insulting your buddies to prove your friendship. It’s important that everyone understand you are smarter, more powerful and much luckier with the wenches than they are. Since bilge rat is a pretty dirty thing to call someone, by all means use it on your friends.

Bung hole – Victuals on a ship were stored in wooden casks. The stopper in the barrel is called the bung, and the hole is called the bung hole. That’s all. It sounds a lot worse, doesn’t it? On TLAP Day – When dinner is served you’ll make quite an impression when you say, “Well, me hearties, let’s see what crawled out of the bung hole.” That statement will be instantly followed by the sound of people putting down their utensils and pushing themselves away from the table. Great! More for you!

Grog – An alcoholic drink, usually rum diluted with water, but in this context you could use it to refer to any alcoholic beverage other than beer, and we aren’t prepared to be picky about that, either. Call your beer grog if you want. We won’t stop you! Water aboard ship was stored for long periods in slimy wooden barrels, so you can see why rum was added to each sailor’s water ration – to kill the rancid taste. On TLAP Day – Drink up, me hearties! And call whatever you’re drinking grog if you want to. If some prissy pedant purses his lips and protests the word grog can only be used if drinking rum and water, not the Singapore Sling you’re holding, keelhaul him!

Hornpipe – Both a single-reeded musical instrument sailors often had aboard ship, and a spirited dance that sailors do. On TLAP Day – We are not big fans of the capering, it’s not our favorite art form, if you will, so we don’t have a lot to say on the subject, other than to observe that the common term for being filled with lust is “horny,” and hornpipe then has some comical possibilities. “Is that a hornpipe in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me? Or both?”

Lubber – (or land lubber) This is the seaman’s version of land lover, mangled by typical pirate disregard for elocution. A lubber is someone who does not go to sea, who stays on the land. On TLAP Day – More likely than not, you are a lubber 364 days of the year. But not if you’re talking like a pirate! Then the word lubber becomes one of the more fierce weapons in your arsenal of piratical lingo. In a room where everyone is talking like pirates, lubber is ALWAYS an insult.

Smartly – Do something quickly. On TLAP Day – “Smartly, me lass,” you might say when sending the bar maid off for another round. She will be so impressed she might well spit in your beer.

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Gold is trending and we have a golden opportunity for you to bring this trend into your home. Take a look at our Antoinette Collection offering just the perfect touch of gold.

 

Get the Midas Touch with some gold Duct tape. DIY curtains with easy instructions from the clever Love Nerds. Check them out for the instructions

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Look what you can do with a little tape on your walls!

Golden Walls

Here is a slick trick from Heart Handmade and again, all you will need is gold Duct tape!

Let us know how this works out for you. Share your finished products with us.