We are a pretty tech savvy household. We have lots of techie toys, smart TVs, smartphones, tablets, and so on. While I try to keep a balance in this area and make sure we don’t become to dependent on our “screen time”. I don’t want anyone in the family to feel like they are in withdrawal if they have to sit with their thoughts and little else to entertain themselves. If they do start to get antsy without their electronic devices then I know we need some screen free time.
I also see the value in all these devices. It makes managing everything in life so much easier. I can’t forget a bill I have to pay because my phone and computer notify me when things need to be paid. Same with appointments. I can keep kids entertained on long car rides with games and apps too. They don’t have to mindless games and apps either. There is a whole world of educational apps out there that help us entertain kids in educational and thought provoking ways. One such app I have been using lately is the Scholastic Parent & Child’s KidQ App. It is educational yes but it also has a great twist…
It may seem a bit contradictory but the idea of this app is to help us connect and start conversations with our kids. The KidQ app for iPhone and Android facilitates great conversation between parents and children with fun Q&A’s about the things that kids (and parents!) are the most curious about, like Why do we get goosebumps? and What sea animal is related to the elephant? Each day, users receive a playful question that serves as a conversation starter along with the official answer. Families will have a great time as they compare their answers to these questions. I found it to be great fun, as did my kids.
Ever have a long car ride and you want to get the conversation started and you aren’t sure where to start? Well have one of your kids grab your phone (or their own device) and open this app to start answering some fun questions. I would rather talk to my kids about what lobsters hear and how crazy it is that their teeth are in their stomachs than hear the bleep, bleep, bloop of Angry Birds or the hum of music from a child’s earbuds. This app helps make device time a time of connection between parent and child and that is valuable to me.
As I mentioned you can use it on iPhone and Android, along with other great apps.
I have an Android device and the app installed in seconds. Here are a couple screenshots from my phone so you can see the app in action. Enjoy!
I was compensated by Scholastic Parent & Child for this post. They are a company I trust and love working with. All opinions are my own.
Fall is my favorite time of year! I am ready and ramping up for some fall fun by making a bucket list. What do YOU love to do in the fall???
My Fall Bucket List
Attend the Country Living Fair Done!!!
Go apple picking at a local orchard
Make apple dumplings
Make crockpot applesauce
Visit a pumpkin patch
Carve some pumpkins
Take a scenic drive too see changing leaves
Take a boat out on Alum Creek to see the leaves
Go on a hayride
Visit a haunted house
Go to the Pumpkin Festival
Eat pumpkin funnel cakes
Make my own pumpkin puree
Attend Boo at the Zoo
Go on a Ghost Walk
Navigate a corn maze
And of course enjoy every moment of fall before the terrible no-good awful winter comes…if you can’t tell, I am not a fan. :)
Kids love to get their hands messy and play with good ole fashioned play dough. The stuff in the stores though could have any number of unsavory ingredients. The truth is we don’t know because the major players in the industry refuse to disclose ingredients, claiming that it is proprietary. The uber bright colors are enough to make me worry though because there are lots of toxic nasties in dyes. The powers that be claim are they “perfectly safe”. I say why wonder when you can make your own. Enjoy!
RICE FLOUR PLAY DOUGH
from the Lisa Lewis book Special Diets for Special Kids
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. corn starch
1/2 c. salt
2 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 t. cooking oil
Cook all ingredients over low heat until you can form a ball.m When cool, store in zipper plastic bag.
COOKED FLOUR PLAY DOUGH
3 cups flour
1.5 cups salt
6 tsp cream of tarter
3 tbsp oil
3 cups water
Pour all ingredients into a large pot and stir constantly over medium heat until a ball forms. Knead the play dough until the texture matches conventional play dough (1-2 minutes). Add food coloring if you want colored play dough. Store in plastic container. Should last for at least 3 months.
NOTE: This recipe is made from edible ingredients it is not intended as a food item.
Peanut Butter Play Dough
18 oz. peanut butter
6 tbsps. honey
Non-fat dry milk
Cocoa for flavor
Mix all ingredients, adding enough dry milk to give make dough pliable. Shape, decorate with edible treats, and eat!
Colored Play dough
1 cup flour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Natural food coloring
Mix all ingredients in saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly until ball forms. Knead until smooth.
Simple Play Dough
1 cup flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 cup water
Gradually add water to flour and oatmeal in bowl. Kneed until mixed (this dough is sticky, but unique in texture.) Model as with clay.
Equal amounts salt and flour; then add enough water to make it doughy. Dries hard in a couple of days and then you can paint it.
Earth Friendly Goo
1 cup water
1 cup cornstarch
4-5 drops fruit juice like blueberry or raspberry (combine a 1/4 cup of the food with 2 cups water, simmer for an hour. Cool, strain, and use as coloring).
Work the ingredients together and let your kids have fun with this gooey concoction.
Natural and Safe Finger Paint
1/3 cup soap flakes melted with 1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water
A few drops juice dyes (combine a 1/4 cup of the colored food like beets, blueberries, or raspberries with 2 cups water, simmer for an hour. Cool, strain, and use as coloring).
Make Your Own Bubbles
1 qt water
8 tbs glycerin, can be purchased at drug stores
6-8 tbs Ivory dish soap
Mix all ingredients together and use outdoors with bubble blowers.
Make Your Own Silly Putty
2 cups white school glue
1 cup liquid starch
Mix together and set aside until dry. Store in an airtight container.
I am a big advocate for cosleeping. I shared a bed with all three of my kiddos and I found the benefits for both mom and baby to be without measure. This is especially so with infants and babies who are still breastfeeding but the benefits easily extend to toddlers as well. It makes for healthier and more attached and secure children. And another big bonus: It’s free! No need for a pricey crib which might just be recalled a year or two down the line anyway.
For more info check out my article on Co-Sleeping Safely With Your Baby and enjoy the infographic below!
Image from http://afterschool.ae/
The following is a guest post from Nikki at Green Moxie. She is sharing with us a DIY, upcycle project that is worthy of a million Pinterest pins. I adore the finished product and no doubt I will be looking for lovely teacups and saucers at estate sales and flea markets for making of my own teacups lights. Enjoy!!
I grew up in a tea-drinking family and I have always loved the delicacy of teacups. If you have some you particularly like, turn them into these gorgeous teacup lights. It’s not as difficult as you may think and it should only take you about an hour to create these cute little lamps which are just my cup of tea. They also make really great gifts.
What you need
• Cup and saucer
• 1/2-inch diamond hole saw drill bit Upcycling ideas teacup lamp
• Chandelier light fitting
• 1/2-inch steel threaded lamp nipple with matching nut
• Screw driver
• Wire cutters
• Gloves and safety glasses
Turn your cup and saucer over and mark the center with a pencil. Put on the gloves and safety glasses before using the drill. Pour a little water over the bottom of the cup and place the drill bit on your pencil mark at a 45 degree angle. Slowly start to drill into the bottom. Drill slowly and don’t apply too much pressure until you have a hole in the bottom of your cup. Now do the same with the saucer.
This is the kind of 1/2-inch diamond hole saw drill bit I use:
Put the cup and saucer together and slide the steel threaded lamp nipple through them. Use the wire cutters to cut a length of wire and feed it through the steel threaded lamp nipple. Split the wire and strip 1/2 inch of plastic coating off the ends of the wire that are on the inside of the cup. Use the screw driver to loosen the screws on both sides of the chandelier fitting. Wind one wire around each screw and tighten. You can put either wire on either screw. Try to find a light socket that will accept the same thread size and pitch as the threaded lamp nipple, and screw the lamp socket on to one end, the end inside the tea cup.
This is the kind of steel threaded lamp nipple I use:
This is the kind of chandelier fitting I use:
Pass the nut over the other end of the wire and screw it down onto the exposed threaded pipe at the bottom of the saucer. Tighten until the whole lamp fitting is secured. Strip 1/2 inch of rubber shielding off the two loose ends of the wire. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws on the plug and open it up. Loosen the screws inside the plug. Wrap one wire (either one) around each screw and then tighten. Put the plastic cover back on the plug and tighten the screws.
Screw a bulb into the chandelier light fixture, plug in your light and voila! Great idea!
Like this DIY? Buy the book! Greenmoxie’s Guide to Green Living contains over 80 DIYs, recipes and tips on how to live greener and leaner. Learn to make fun upcycling crafts and furniture, make your own cleaning products, grow your own food and make all your own beauty products from face creams to mascara.