Archives for category: kids

Handprint Ornaments – Tomorrow’s Memories

Salt dough ornaments are so very easy to make.  Here is a perfect clay recipe for creating little hand impression ornaments giving you a head start on Christmas gifts. We like that it is non-toxic, made of food ingredients therefore safe for kids to play around with and squish, mush and squeeze the dough through their little fingers. It’s great for a quick economical, yet treasured gift for grandparents and other favorite relatives.  There may be a new tradition happening at your house too.

This clay recipe will harden when left out for a day or two and can then be painted and embellished if so desired. In humid climates, it may take several days to dry out. The drying time will depend on the humidity and how large your ornament is. To speed up the drying process, you can put it in the oven at 90 degrees for 30 minutes, then shut off the oven for it to cure. Remember to leave it inside the oven with the door closed.  You could also dry it completely in the oven for several hours.

Salt Dough “Recipe for Fun”:

  • 1/2 cup of table salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of mineral oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix all  ingredients together and knead it with your hands. If it is too wet, add a pinch more flour and if it is too dry add a bit of water. For a seasonal scent, add a small amount of cinnamon to the dough mixture.

This recipe yields a good snowball size ball. It is the perfect size for one keepsake hand print ornament. Flatten the ball out and press your little one’s hand into it. Pierce a hole with a drinking straw toward the top of the ornament for a festive ribbon that you will tie through once it has properly dried.

Kellie from This Blessed Nest made these hand prints with her twins.

If you’re not quite ready for Christmas preparations, then, let’s talk turkey.

Turkey Toes if you dare! Tickle the fancy of your Thanksgiving guests with these turkey toes aka what to do with leftover Halloween candy corn. This timely idea is provided by Laura Lee Lewis.

A great hostess gift!

Gobble Gobble!

Admit it! Are you that parent? The kids were sound asleep so you knew it’s a safe time to rummage through their stash for the “good” candy.

Our Facebook survey results are in. The candies that top the theft list of the most likely to be stolen by parents are: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups at the top, closely followed by Snickers, M&Ms, Kit Kats, Twix, Milky Way, Butterfingers, candy corn, Three Musketeers, and Skittles.

If the candy jar at your house runneth over, or you have a Halloween fear of dental bills, there are cures for the candy coma.

Have you heard about the Switch Witch?  A child grows in Brooklyn shares this disappearing act for all of the sugary stuff you may not care to have around for you or the kids.

The story goes like this: a child gets to eat all the candy they want up through Halloween night.  On Halloween night, before the child goes to bed, s/he lays out all their candy for the Switch Witch. The Switch Witch comes when they are asleep and takes the candy and switches it for a toy. Ta da! Cavity-creating candy is gone and a sugar-free desirable new toy is there instead!

For the more curious:

The Switch Witch lives in Hallow Heights which is a little island in the sky by the moon. The Switch Witch loves candy.  All witches love candy, but the Switch Witch loves candy the most and she has the biggest candy stash of all the witches.  Do you know how the Switch Witch gets her gigantic candy stash?  The Switch Witch gathers most of her candy for herself and all the witches and cats on Halloween night. (Did you know that witches’ cats love candy too? They only eat milk chocolate though as it has delicious milk in it! –this is true only for witches’ cats though!).  So, here is how the Switch Witch gets her candy: late Halloween night, when all the children are sleeping, she visits the houses of children who choose to switch their candy for a toy. How does she know which ones are switching their candy in? A child puts a piece of candy on the door (of their room or house) to let her know that they want to switch.  The Switch Witch flies from building to building on her broom, with her black cat Corn (as in Candy Corn) on the back. They come in through a window. They fly in through the window with magic- the window does not need to be open.  She takes all the candy the child puts out and puts it into a sac that Corn holds open for her in his mouth.  Then she ties the candy bag to the end of the broom.  She takes out a shiny black bag that is full of toys. She leaves one toy for the child to thank them for the candy.  Then she leaves just as quickly as she came: on her broom, out to visit other children and perform more switches. By early morning, she and Corn return home to Hallow Heights where she sorts all the candy into large glass jars. That night, all the other witches come to visit and the Switch Witch doles out the candy they want.  They eat their candy with her, share stories of Halloween, hear about what toys she brought to the children and come back night after night for a treat.  You know how most pictures of witches are flying near the moon?  That’s because they are on their way to Hallow Heights to visit the Switch Witch and share in her gigantic candy stash.  By next Halloween, the Switch Witch has run out of candy and goes back out to do her switches.

I’m not sure about this one but to each your own. What do you think?

An important message from Higgins the Totally Kids fun furniture & toys shop dog.

Halloween Safety Tips For Your 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 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 to make your pooch howl! Pop over to She Knows. She really does know how to make these Pumpkin & Peanut Butter Dog Treats and will show you how to too.

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Halloween Treats For People

Pupcakes recipe from Gourmet Mom On the Go.

Now, let’s get cooking!

 

Look at this DIY Halloween Garland idea featured on Forty-Two Roads. We are handing this one over to Josh, our Halloween decorator. Let’s see what he will do with it?

Templates for the cut outs can be found at Paper Crave.

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

Deviled Eggs, yes! Always for Halloween, as we do each year, we’re laying (out) our 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.

I think I’ll go eat worms. Would you care to join me?

Ingredients:

100 flexible plastic straws

(The straws with a bendable neck make the most realistic worms by adding ridges to the worm. Place bendable necks of straws at the bottom of the container).

An empty, cleaned 1-quart milk or orange juice carton to hold straws.

(The straws will fill up to the height of the container, the taller the better.)

1 package (6 ounces) raspberry or grape flavor gelatin
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
3 cups boiling water
3/4 cup whipping cream
12 to 15 drops green food coloring

waxed paper

Instructions: Combine gelatins in a bowl and add boiling water; stir until gelatins completely dissolve. Chill until lukewarm, about 20 min.

Meanwhile, gently pull straws to extend to full length; place in tall container. Wrap together with a loose rubber band to hold straws together.

Blend cream and food coloring with the lukewarm gelatin mixture. Carefully pour into container, filling straws.

Chill until gelatin is firm, at least 8 hours, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

Pull straws from container or, if you’re using a carton, simply tear the carton away from the filled straws. Pull straws apart. Run hot tap water for about 2 seconds over 3 to 4 straws at a time. Starting at the empty ends, push worms from straws with rolling pin, or use your fingers.

Lay worms on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Cover and chill until ready to use, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Worms will hold at room temperature for about 2 hours.  And another grand plan from the IdeaRoom.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones,
Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm!

Down goes the first one, down goes the second one,
Oh how they wiggle and squirm!
Up comes the first one, up comes the second one,
Oh how they wiggle and squirm!

I bite off the heads, and suck out the juice,
And throw the skins away!
Nobody knows how fat I grow,
On worms three times a day!

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me,
I think I’ll go eat worms!
Big fat juicy ones,
Eensie weensy squeensy ones,
See how they wiggle and squirm!

This may be one of our ickiest Recipes for Fun. What do you think?

October 1st is World Vegetarian Day and it can continue all month.

There’s no better time than today to start scaring up some spooky vegetarian Halloween food.

Monster Food –  Eyeball Caprese for brave of appetite.

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Edible Bony Maroney Skeleton and notice please that you’ll find no meat on these bones. Visually dissect the skeleton for a list of ingredients.

Stuffed Roaches anyone?

pumpkin
Puking pumpkin…… What can I say?

If you’ve just gotta have your meat, disguise it in a Mummy Meatloaf and we won’t tell. Mum’s the word.

Now…

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter? Pumpkin pi.

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Let Your Saturday Adventures Begin! Stop by Totally Kids fun furniture & toys today and take 50% OFF most kids furniture and ALL Toys. Just one mile west of the Mall of America.

 

Signs

Stephanie Lynn will show you how. to make some great signs to help begin your indoor adventure.

fake indoor fire

There are so many DIY inspirations for building a safe indoor firepit for the day. Full Home Living has 10 options for flameless smokeless fires.

smores

Indoor Smores!!! Pop on over to Like Mother Like Daughter where Ellen and Aimee, the mother & daughter duo has the recipe for you.

Let your Saturday adventures begin.

SaveSave

You fill in the blanks!

The possibilities are endless for what you can frame on your walls with this wallpaper aptly named “Frames”.

Go right ahead, put a photo, drawing, hang your blue ribbons,  paste on a little bling or use your creative skills and attempt to paint something in one of the frames. It’s simply up to you! You’ll love how interactive it is.

“Frames”  by Taylor & Wood for Graham & Brown  is only $50 per roll, so you’ll still have some cash left over for markers and paints.

What do you think? You’re Framed?

Social media, are you addicted, affected or connected? At one time the back fence was the pipeline and lifeline for neighbors. Where are we today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some old-timers remember when meaningful conversations took place around the dinner table. Family members found it an opportunity to catch up with each other and shared their day’s activities.

Now try to imagine this, there were homes that only had one telephone (landline) and it was not answered during dinnertime.

 

An article published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology speaks to how using your phone at dinner is not just plain out rude but also makes you unhappy. Technology at the table tends to cause people to feel more distracted and less socially engaged.

How often while dining out at a restaurant do we see a child acting out, and instead of engaging, a parent hands over a tablet or phone to distract the child with a game of baby leapfrog?

How does your family handle the once sacred family dinner, technology at the table or good old-fashioned human conversation?

 

 

 

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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.