Inexpensive Ways to Keep Kids Busy

It doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to keep your child busy. All that is required is a little creativity on your part! If you are creative your child will learn to think outside of the box and learn to have fun with what they have.

Bubbles are so much fun for kids and adults. A large container of bubbles cost around $1. Making your own is possible but not recommended. Buy bubbles that are non-toxic and safe to play with. Use a paint tray to fill with bubble solution. Make your own bubble wands out of objects around the house. You can use wire coat hangers and twist ties. Have fun making different sized bubbles.

Sidewalk chalk is so much fun. There are many different types available for purchase. The multi-colored chalk is a favorite among kids! This activity will keep little ones busy for a while; or until they run out of space on the driveway! Make a Hop-Scotch course and play Tic-Tac-Toe. Incorporate game play with creative drawing!

The water hose is always a success. After you rinse down the driveway to clean away the sidewalk chalk, have fun spraying your little ones and let them spray you too! If you have a sprinkler, this is the perfect time to bring it out! This might be a good time to wash the car as well. Kids seem to love washing cars. Make a game out of it to see how clean you can get the car!

Build a fort using blankets and pillows. This is a fun activity for rainy days. Make a fort by covering furniture with blankets. Add pillows to the interior and read some books together. Pretend you are camping and talk about what sounds you might hear while camping.

Be creative and look for things around the house that can be used as toys. Coming up with fun activities sparks creativity within the child. It teaches them how to pretend and entertain themselves without phones, TV or the internet.

Recipes To Try With Your Kids

Cooking with kids is a great way to get them involved and interested in a variety of different foods. If you’re interested in doing some cooking with your kids this summer, consider trying one of these easy and fun options to get you started.

Oven Roasted Corn

This simple recipe makes incredibly flavorful corn that kids are sure to love.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil

Instructions

  1. If you do not plan on eating the corn the same day you buy it, wrap the ears still in their leaves in wet paper towels to help them retain moistness and flavor.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees (alternatively, you can also make this corn on the grill)
  3. Peel the corn and discard the leaves and silk
  4. Have the kids rub each ear of corn with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Wrap each one of the finished ears of corn in the aluminum foil to make a package.
  6. Place the wrapped ears of corn in a hot oven or grill for 40 to 45 minutes.
  7. Unwrap and allow to cool slightly before eating

Grilled Pizza

Grilling your pizza is a fun way to change things up in the summer and avoid heating up your kitchen with a hot oven.

Ingredients

  • Pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • Summer squash
  • Fresh bell peppers
  • Large tomato
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Roll out the pizza dough to about ¼-inch in thickness
  2. Place the dough on a hot grill until the surface begins to bubble slightly, then remove from the grill and turn over so the grilled surface is up.
  3. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the grilled dough and rub it in with the back of a spoon.
  4. Slice up summer squash, peppers and tomato thinly and arrange on top of the dough.
  5. Place small balls of fresh mozzarella cheese on top of the vegetables, or slice larger pieces to 1/8-inch thick and arrange on top of the pizza.
  6. Top with fresh basil leaves.
  7. Return the pizza back to the grill and continue grilling until the vegetables are slightly blackened and the cheese melted.

You will love the memories you make with your kids along with the food.  Don’t mind the kitchen mess!  Your whole family will thank you later on.

Kid Friendly Home Accessories

Children in the home bring joy, laughter and fun.  However, they can also be tough on smaller items throughout the home.  Just because you have children, doesn’t mean that you can’t have interesting accessories around your home. Find out what accents are great for children!

A globe is an attractive accessory and a great learning tool for kids. Teach your child about geography and far off places. They will have a great time examining the globe and imagining trips or adventures. Maps are also attractive as art work when framed. These are also great for starting conversations with kids!

Cute stepping stools are perfect to help children with chores. Find a fun stool that your child can stand on and help wash dishes or do laundry. They can also use it to stand on to help with the dusting. Foot stools are available for all décor styles, so have fun shopping around!

Textured rugs are great for providing a soft area for children to play on the floor. Kids love to be stimulated by tactile objects. Look for a shaggy area rug that your child can lay on while watching a movie or playing with toys. Faux hair rugs offer a unique touch to your room while inviting children to experience the softness.

Tea sets are always a fascination. Real and pretend tea parties are a source of endless hours of fun and entertainment. Set up an accent table with an attractive tea set and let your children have tea parties as often as they like. If they desire a real tea party, set out tasty treats and serve with the tea – complete the setup with milk and sugar. Let them have fun setting the table and arranging the treats themselves.  Don’t forget the chance to practice good table manners!

Game tables are a wonderful addition because they have multiple uses. They can entertain children and double as an accent table. Many game tables are available that can transform from a game table to an accent table. Bumper pool tables are a blast for kids and adults and chess and checkers tables are good for teaching concentration!

What is your favorite way to incorporate fun accessories into your home décor?

Entertaining Your Kids at Home

Children can be one of the greatest blessings but come with a lot of needs. For instance, many younger kids need constant attention and activities to do at home. It can become a full-time job. So, it is essential to find entertainment in your own homes that can hold your children’s attention for some time while also being safe. If you are a parent with rambunctious children, here are several at-home activities to help entertain your kids:

Host Playdates

Children play well with other children, so one of the best ways to free up your own time is to find another parent willing to alternate playdates. Some days you can watch the kids and host a playdate while other days the other parents can. This idea will be a blast for all the kids as well as be low-maintenance for the parents.

Play Outside

Playing outside is a great way to let the children enjoy and explore the outdoors. You can go to the park or let them pick some outdoor sports activities. Let your children learn to discover what activities they enjoy and dislike during their early youth. From flying kits to sidewalk chalk in your driveway, the options are endless. You can even take them to water parks, playgrounds, soccer fields, and more!

Educational Video Games or Movies

If you need to get away and have some own rest and relaxation times, a movie or an educational video game is perfect for distracting children for several hours. This idea is not the best method to keep your children productive yet can help you get the physical break you need. A healthy mommy and daddy need their rest too to be the best parents they can be.

Creative Puzzles

While action figures, barbies, and racecars are all great toys to entertain kids, try adding some creating puzzles into the mix. Encourage your kids to try puzzles, Legos, or even word searches. These creative and brain exercising activities are great for children in their prime mental growing stages.

There are hundreds of great ways to keep children entertained. Try to keep in mind what children can and cannot do alone at their age. Always keep safety at the forefront. What are some of your children’s favorite household activities? Let us know how you keep your children entertained below in the comment section.

Lake House Activities for Spring Break

Throughout the United States, there are many highly desired homes. From mountainside living to high loft city apartments to a beautiful lake house oasis, we all have our fantasy home. If you grew up with a lake on your property, you probably have many fond memories of it. However, if this is your first lake house, you do not want to be missing out on the fun! There is plenty to do with your lake this spring break. Here are the top three must-dos for any lake house owner:

Boating

If you have a lake, you need to be on it! There are hundreds of different styles of boats to get for your home. Depending on the size of the lake and your community regulation, find the boat right for you. You can get powerboats like bay boats, cruisers, or deck boats, or you can get smaller options like kayaks or canoes. Depending on your swimming level, you may want to invest in some lifejackets as well.

Fishing

Fishing is also a great way to facilitate your lake. Make sure you invest in everything you need. Get your rod, extra line and hooks, bobbers, and bait. You may also want to pack some needle nose pliers and a small first aid kit for the day. Fishing is a great hobby to help relax and pass the time. Just do not forget to bring the sunscreen!

Swimming

Nothing feels more authentic and true to nature as swimming. Swimming is a timeless pastime that is great for all ages! Simply set up some lake activities and purchase some floating devices. Swimming in the lake is a great way to get the most out of your lake house.

If you are blessed with a home on a lake, make sure you use the many advantages associated with it. This exterior privilege is excellent for hosting guests and making great memories. All landscapes have different advantages, do not miss the opportunity of yours.

Arizona Hiking Precautions

Arizona has one of the most beautiful landscapes this country has to offer. In fact, because of its landscape, many Arizonians love the ability to hike. With so many diverse trails and scenic views, it can be a great way to stay physically active throughout the year. However, while hiking can be fun, Arizona’s deserts have some very harsh terrain. Improperly preparing for some of these elements can set you up for failure. To help, here are three things you need to remember before hitting the trails:

Stay Hydrated

Arizona’s heat is no joke, especially during the summer! If you plan on hiking during the summer, plan on going very early morning. Arizona’s peak heat time is in the afternoon, so evening hikes can still be very hot. Bring plenty of water for the trails. Be cognitive of how much water you are drinking. When you have consumed more than half your water, you should start heading back. This way, you are paced to not run out of water deep in the desert or high up in the mountains.

Stay on the Trails

The desert is beautiful, but many animals and plants in the desert should be admired from afar. Arizona is home to many venomous snakes and insects. Scorpions, Black Widows, Rattlesnakes, Gila Monsters, Tarantula, Brown Recluse, and Desert Centipedes are among some of the few critters to be concerned. Some cacti are even called jumping cacti and can “leap” towards you in your come into close proximity. Your best bet is to stay on trails and watch where you are stepping.

Know When Sunset Is

Sunset and sunrise change throughout the year. Arizona does not have a time change, but sunset can be pretty early in the Valley. Know when sunset is so you do not get caught in the desert at night. The desert comes alive at night with coyotes and javelinas. Be cognitive of the time while you explore the trails. 

Do Not Hike Alone

Lastly, while you may be excited to go explore, do not hike alone. Having a companion with you is always smart. Know your limits and be responsible for your own safety and others.

While there are elements to be concern about, hiking is still very safe when done right. Be smart and prepare for your trails before you go out for the day. Staying hydrated and being wary of your surrounds will allow you to have the best experience when hiking the beautiful desert oasis!

Jack O’ Lanterns 101

Halloween is approaching us, and anticipation is growing. There are hundreds of festive ways to decorate your home and get it ready for Halloween. Fun lawn decorations and spooky décor can always be a great addition to your home. Many people love the activity of creating their very own jack o’ lantern. Jack o’ lanterns are hollowed out pumpkins with holes and features carved into them. A light is then placed inside, which allows these features to glow. This fun tradition is great for the home. If you are looking to add some to your house, here are some basic tips:

The Right Pumpkin

When designing your pumpkin, you need to have the right canvas. Picking the perfect pumpkin can be more challenging than you initially realize. Look for a clean pumpkin with a large surface area. You should know what design you are planning to make prior to picking your pumpkin. When you get home with your pumpkin, draw the face or design your desire on your pumpkin with a sharpie. When you flesh out your pumpkin, it is going to begin the decaying process. So try to time carving your pumpkin as close to Halloween as you can.

Decaying Process

The internals of the pumpkin prolong the decaying process. Once removed, the decaying of your pumpkin will increase tenfold. There are several techniques to help extend this aging process. Most jack o’ lanterns usually have a lid. Instead of carving a lid, cut your hole at the bottom. You can now just sit your pumpkin directly over the candle. Bleach or peppermint castile soap can also be applied to your pumpkin to slow down the decaying process. Use a rag or spray bottle to add bleach or soap to your jack o’ lantern after it has been carved. Petroleum jelly and olive oil can also be used to help seal in some of the moisture of the pumpkin. You will not completely stop the aging process, but you can slow it down some.

Emergency Restoration

If your jack o’ lantern did not survive until Halloween night, you still have one last chance. Instead of buying a new pumpkin and carving it again, you can use this emergency fix. Take your jack o’ lantern and submerge it into a tub of water. The water will absorb back into the vegetable and make it fuller again. This trick does not last a long time but may help it survive the night for Halloween.

Choosing a design and carving your jack o’ lantern is always fun. Enjoy this time with your loved ones when creating the perfect jack o’ lantern. You can make spooky faces or unique artwork. Have fun, and enjoy these seasonal décors while you can, and for more tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe.

How to Stay Protected Against the Arizona Sun

Arizona days can be incredibly hot, and while outdoor activities are in full force, you may be looking for a little extra protection from the sun. Whether you plan on going to the lake, family picnics or playing sports outside, all too often, we have seen how intense the sun can actually be. When you are exposed to too much heat, your body may experience dehydration, which can lead to heat cramps, exhaustion, and even a sunstroke/heat stroke. So that you and your family are healthy all summer long we have listed some helpful tips for staying protected:

Light Colored Clothing

Depending on how you dress, light colors can really help you stay comfortable when outside in the heat. Think about wearing white or soft neutral/pastel colored clothes made from natural fibers like cotton and linen. Since dark clothing absorbs heat and tight-fitting clothes are not made to let you sweat, you can get overheated during the summer. Your body’s natural cooling system is to sweat and evaporate; therefore, do not wear clothes that will prevent this natural cooling system from doing its thing!

Hats & Sunglasses

Buy a wide-brimmed straw or fabric hat that prevents UV (ultraviolet) rays from getting to your face and neck. Your skin will appreciate this as you age and so will you, compared to people who chose not to cover their face in the sun. Make sure you purchase sunglasses that prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes. Choose sunglasses that block ninety to one hundred percent of UV rays to stay safe.

Lip Balm & Sunscreen

Lip balm protects your lips, which are very thin and sunburn easily. Make sure you purchase a balm that has SPF (sun protection factor) of at least a fifteen. When you are outdoors who wants to ruin the fun by getting a nasty sunburn? No one does, but if you do not purchase a sunscreen with at least a fifteen SPF, you will probably be sitting on the sidelines with that nasty sunburn. If you are swimming or playing sports and sweating, be sure to purchase a waterproof sunscreen.

For children, do not forget to protect the tender areas like the tops of ears, eyelids, nose, shoulders, the head and back of the neck. We would also recommend a lip balm that is for chapped lips with an SPF of at least a fifteen to put under eyebrows and on eyelids to prevent a nasty burn. The chapped lip balm’s thick consistency will prevent the balm from running into the eyes.

Enjoy your summer, and stay healthy!

Creating a Gender-Neutral Nursery

Did you just receive the wonderful news and now you are an expecting parent? We know this is an exciting time, but we also know this can be a stressful time. You immediately start thinking of a million things to do. Many expecting parents today are choosing the option of creating a gender-neutral nursery while staying away from the traditional blue and pink palettes. This can be a perfect solution for parents waiting to find out the gender of their child at birth. If you are interested in a gender-neutral nursery, we have some suggestions that will steer you in the right direction for creating the perfect nursery. Let’s take a look!

Color Schemes & Themes

Begin by choosing your corresponding color scheme and theme to pull the room together. You do not necessarily have to pick white or beige colored walls, but selecting a neutral wall color allows you to bring in other colors, patterns, and designs wherever you see fit. Think of the walls as a blank canvas, and what you add is the actual art.

Murals & Wall Decals

You do not have to be a talented artist to create a mural that corresponds with your theme. Painter’s tape is a wonderful tool to mark off various shapes, or tape off horizontal, chevron or vertical stripes. Simply paint the taped-off design with coordinating paint colors. If you do not have the time or patience to create and paint a design, research the hundreds of peel and stick decals that are on the market. Choose themed decals like jungle scenes, nature scenes, alphabets, or numbers to liven up the room. Believe us; you will have no problem finding decals to match your theme.

Furniture

If your walls are a neutral color, and your style is traditional, white or off-white is a safe choice for furniture. You can introduce a contrasting color with your mural and decals. If you are more adventurous, choose a darker color for the walls like navy or gray that will contrast with white trim and white furniture.

Accessories

Depending on your theme and color palette, choosing accessories is always the fun part of the project. Accessories including area rugs, lamps/light fixtures, window coverings, bedding, floor pillows, and stuffed animals can be functional yet stylish pieces that add to the overall design. Introducing contrasting colors to the nursery is easily achieved with the accessories you choose.

We hope you all the best and have fun creating the perfect sanctuary for your little one! Please let us know the outcome of this very special project.

The Perfect Father’s Day Gift

Father’s Day is right around the corner on Sunday, June 16, 2019. If you are helping your kids make a gift this year, we have the perfect gift that fathers will adore. The best part is that it is inexpensive and hand-made, two of dad’s favorite adjectives. So this spring, gather the kids and the supplies and let us get started!

Supply List:

  • Wooden Picture Frame
  • Small Sticks (collected from outside)
  • Hot Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
  • White Photo Mat
  • A Family Photo
  • A Fine-Tip Permanent Marker

Step One: Gather the Twigs

Take your kids on a walk through your favorite park or the neighborhood to collect small twigs. You want to make sure that they will be easy enough to break off into smaller pieces. If they are damp, let them sit on top of a paper towel inside of the house for a couple of hours before beginning the project.

Step Two: Snap the Twigs

Gather your kids and all the supplies and head to a cleared off workspace.

  • Pro-Tip: Now is a great time to plug in your hot glue gun so that it is hot and ready for the next step.

Begin designing by either doing a horizontal or vertical placement. You want to begin by placing each twig on the top of the picture frame. Snap each twig off where it covers the frame and does not cover too much of the picture itself.

Step Three: Hot Glue the Twigs onto Your Frame

You will want to place the glue directly on the frame in small lines below each stick. Pick up a stick then run a line of hot glue and place the stick back into its spot. Push the stick down and let the glue harden before you move onto the next twig.

  • Pro-Tip: The step uses an extremely hot tool that can cause burns; therefore, we recommend letting you, the adult, handle this part to avoid any injury.

Step Four: Finishing Touches

Take your white photo mat and measure its size accordingly to your picture frame. Hot glue the corners of your family picture on top of the white photo mat and wait for it to cool. The kids can use a fine-tip permanent marker to write a message to dad on the white photo mat portion. Wait for it to dry and place the photo mat inside of the frame. You will most likely need to secure it in with tape in case it shifts. Place the frame backing on and voila, your gift is ready for dad.

We hope dad loves his gift and wish him a Happy Father’s Day from our family to yours!