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6 DIY Halloween Kids’ Costumes That You Can Make Faster Than Amazon Can Deliver

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Halloween is fast approaching, and you had so many grand ambitions of making that complicated Where the Wild Things Are costume from scratch. But while you may not be up for a huge project, you can still DIY it. Here, six clever ideas you can throw together practically overnight.

@Primarydotcom/Instagram

An Aerobics Instructor

It’s as simple as putting the pants under the pastel-colored onesie you already own. And you can make the leg warmers by cutting off the feet on a pair of kid-sized socks. 80s genius.

Get the look: Primary babysuit ($8); Primary baby legging ($12); Gymboree socks ($7); Suddora headband ($3)

@LoveandLion/Instagram

Harry Potter

The scarf is the key item in this magic (vs. muggle) inspired look, dreamed up by Leah and Jenni over at Love & Lion. Peep your local Good Will store or comb through your closet to find one—anything in a burgundy(ish) hue will do—then throw on a white tee, casual black hoodie and oversized glasses. The true marker of Harry Potter is that penciled on forehead lightning bolt, after all.

Get the look: Cat & Black hoodie ($8); Fruit of the Loom t-shirt ($8 for 5); GrinderPUNCH Kids wizard glasses ($9); Elope scarf ($25)

@Primarydotcom/Instagram

Eleven

Yep, the Stranger Things character is still totally on trend. All you really need is a pink dress, blue cardi and knee socks. Oh, and a box of Eggo Waffles.  

Get the look: Primary dress ($20); Primary cardigan($16); Rocky tube socks ($16)

@cheerfulandco/Instagram

Bubble Bath

Dress your kid all in white and affix white (or transparent) balloons to his clothes. Done and done.

Get the look: Primary legging ($14); H&M t-shirt ($5); mikimini showercap ($10)

@ArinSolange/Instagram

Arthur

Yep, the aardvark—and star—of the PBS Kids TV show is also one of the easier Halloween costumes to pull off. All you need is a denim bottom, mustard-colored top, oversized glasses and paper ears, according to blogger Arin Solange.

Get the look: Old Navy shirt ($10); The Children’s Place skirt ($13); FancyG glasses ($2)

@primarydotcom/Instagram

Belle

To pull off this Beauty and the Beast ensemble, just pair a sleeveless yellow dress with white above-the-elbow gloves. Oh, and the ultimate prop to finish the look: a rose.

Get the look: Primary dress ($15); Party City gloves ($9)

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Kids Are Eating More Fast Food Than Ever Before — Here’s Why

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Fast food has changed quite a bit in recent years. In addition to the usual burgers and fries on the menu, most restaurants now also offer healthier options like wraps, salads, fruit and yogurt. But that doesn’t mean everyone is eating well or as well they should. In fact, a new study out of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that American children are eating more fast food now than ever before.

The study polled roughly 800 parents — in 2010, 2013 and 2016 — regarding their children’s eating habits, particularly those at the nation’s four largest fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway. According to the results, 91 percent of those surveyed bought at least one meal for their child from a fast-food eatery each week, which is up from 79 percent in 2010. 

What’s more, 74 percent of the kids ordered an unhealthy drink and/or side items with their meal.

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center and the lead author of the report said in a statement, “We know that fast food offers parents a convenient, affordable option for feeding their families. But restaurants have a responsibility to make these affordable, convenient foods healthier. Most fast-food meals — even kids’ meals — have more fat, sugar and sodium than children need, and eating this kind of unhealthy food can have negative health consequences over time, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.”

That said, Harris acknowledged that fast-food restaurants have made great strides in recent years. However, they need to do more to educate parents about the options they have.

“While most fast-food restaurants do have healthier kids’ meal drinks and sides available, many do little to make parents aware of the healthier options or to encourage parents to choose the healthier options instead of unhealthy ones,” Harris said. “If restaurants are serious about children’s health, they will make the healthiest choice the easiest choice for parents and the most appealing choice for children.”

As such, the best thing parents can do is to research each chain’s menu and keep an eye out for healthy items and encourage kids to opt for those over the deep-fried offerings.

 

This article was written by Kimberly Zapata from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Science says parents of successful kids have these 11 things in common

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  • There isn’t a set recipe for how to raise a successful child.
  • However, research points to several factors that could help.
  • Some of those factors might be totally out of your control: research has shown that being wealthier and a college graduate are two big influencers of your children’s success.

Most parents want their kids to stay out of trouble, do well in school, and go on to live successful lives as adults. 

And while there isn’t a set recipe for raising successful children, psychology research has pointed to a handful of factors that predict success.

Unsurprisingly, much of it comes down to the parents. Keep reading to take a look at what parents of successful kids have in common.

Drake Baer contributed to a previous version of this article. 

They make their kids do chores

 

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“If kids aren’t doing the dishes, it means someone else is doing that for them,” Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult” said during a TED Talks Live event.

“By making them do chores — taking out the garbage, doing their own laundry — they realize I have to do the work of life in order to be part of life,” she previously told Business Insider.

Lythcott-Haims believes kids raised on chores go on to become employees who collaborate well with their coworkers, are more empathetic because they know firsthand what struggling looks like, and are able to take on tasks independently.

They teach their kids social skills

 

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Researchers from Pennsylvania State University and Duke University tracked more than 700 children from across the US between kindergarten and age 25 and found a significant correlation between their social skills as kindergartners and their success as adults two decades later.

The 20-year study showed that children who could cooperate with their peers, be helpful to others, understand their feelings, and resolve problems on their own were far more likely to earn a college degree and have a full-time job by age 25 than those with limited social skills.

Those with limited social skills also had a higher chance of getting arrested, binge drinking, and applying for public housing.

“This study shows that helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future,” said Kristin Schubert, program director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research, in a release.

“From an early age, these skills can determine whether a child goes to college or prison, and whether they end up employed or addicted.”

They have high expectations

 

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Using data from a national survey of 6,600 children born in 2001, University of California at Los Angeles professor Neal Halfon and his colleagues discovered that the expectations parents hold for their kids have a huge effect on attainment.

“Parents who saw college in their child’s future seemed to manage their child toward that goal irrespective of their income and other assets,” Halfon said.

The finding came out in standardized tests: 57% of the kids who did the worst were expected to attend college by their parents, while 96% of the kids who did the best were expected to go to college.

This falls in line with another psych finding: The Pygmalion effect, which states “that what one person expects of another can come to serve as a self-fulfilling prophecy.” In the case of kids, they live up to their parents’ expectations.

They have healthy relationships with each other

 

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Children in high-conflict families tend to fare worse than children of parents that get along, according to a University of Illinois study review.

A nonconflictual single-parent family is better for children than two-parent families with conflict, according to the review.

But, conflict between parents before and after a divorce can affect children negatively.

Another study in this review found that 20-somethings who experienced divorce of their parents as children still report pain and distress over their parents’ divorce ten years later.

They’re educated

 

Washington University in St. Louis/Facebook

2014 study from the University of Michigan found that mothers who finished high school or college were more likely to raise kids that did the same.

Pulling from a group of over 14,000 children who entered kindergarten from 1998 to 2007, the study found that higher levels of maternal education predicted higher achievement from kindergarten to eighth grade.

A different study from Bowling Green State University suggested that the parents’ education levels when a child is 8 years old “significantly predicted” the education and career level for the child four decades later.

They teach their kids math early on

 

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A 2007 meta-analysis of 35,000 preschoolers across the US, Canada, and England found that developing math skills early can turn into a huge advantage.

“The paramount importance of early math skills — of beginning school with a knowledge of numbers, number order, and other rudimentary math concepts — is one of the puzzles coming out of the study,” coauthor and Northwestern University researcher Greg Duncan said. “Mastery of early math skills predicts not only future math achievement, it also predicts future reading achievement.”

They develop a relationship with their kids

 

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A 2014 study of 243 children born into poverty found that those who received “sensitive caregiving” in their first three years did better in academic tests in childhood than those who did not receive the same parenting style. 

Those children also had healthier relationships and greater academic achievement.

“This suggests that investments in early parent-child relationships may result in long-term returns that accumulate across individuals’ lives,” coauthor and University of Minnesota psychologist Lee Raby said.

They value effort over avoiding failure

 

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Where kids think success comes from also predicts their attainment. 

Over decades, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has discovered that children (and adults) think about success in one of two ways. Over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova says they go a little something like this: 

A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens that we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the affirmation of that inherent intelligence, an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled.

A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of un-intelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. 

Dweck’s mindset theory has attracted valid critiques over the years, but the core tenant of believing that you can improve at something is important to encourage in children.

The moms work

 

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According to research out of Harvard Business School, there are significant benefits for children growing up with mothers who work outside the home.

“There are very few things, that we know of, that have such a clear effect on gender inequality as being raised by a working mother,” Harvard Business School professor Kathleen L. McGinn, who led the study, told Working Knowledge.

Daughters of working mothers went to school longer, were more likely to have a job in a supervisory role, and earned more money — 23% more compared to peers raised by stay-at-home mothers.

The sons of working mothers also tended to pitch in more on household chores and childcare, the study found. 

But, working mothers aren’t necessarily spending every waking minute outside of work with their children

 

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Women are more likely to feel intense pressure to balance child rearing with workplace ambitions. Ultimately, they spend more time parenting than fathers do. 

A 2015 study found the number of hours that moms spend with kids between ages 3 and 11 does little to predict the child’s behavior, well-being, or achievement.

In fact, the study suggests that it’s actually harmful for the child to spend time with a mother who is sleep-deprived, anxious, or otherwise stressed. 

“Mothers’ stress, especially when mothers are stressed because of the juggling with work and trying to find time with kids, that may actually be affecting their kids poorly,” study coauthor and Bowling Green State University sociologist Kei Nomaguchi told The Washington Post.

It could be more beneficial to spend one fully-engaged hour with a child than spend the whole evening half-listening to your kid while scrolling through work emails.

They have a higher socioeconomic status

 

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One-fifth of American children grow up in poverty, a situation that severely limits their potential.

It’s getting more extreme. According to Stanford University researcher Sean Reardon, the achievement gap between high- and low-income families “is roughly 30% to 40% larger among children born in 2001 than among those born 25 years earlier.” 

As social scientist Dan Pink wrote, the higher the income for the parents, the higher the SAT scores for the kids. 

“Absent comprehensive and expensive interventions, socioeconomic status is what drives much of educational attainment and performance,” Pink wrote.

 

This article was written by Rachel Gillett from Business Insider and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Afraid of the Dentist? 6 Tips for Helping a Fearful Child

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Make your child’s next trip to the dentist a fun experience with these insider tips.

Taking a child to the dentist is rarely simple. Dentist anxiety and phobia are problems for about 30 million to 40 million people in the United States, according to Colgate. And in many instances, these challenges prevent people from getting the dental care they need to maintain clean, healthy and beautiful smiles.

If your child is scared of the dentist, it is a good idea to address his or her fear as soon as you can. That way, you can show your son or daughter that the dentist is here to help, not harm. You may even reach a point where your child actually enjoys going to the dentist—really!

Below are five tips to help your child overcome his or her fear of the dentist and put them on track for a lifetime of strong oral health.

1. Arrange a Pre-Appointment Meeting

A quick meet-and-greet with your child’s dentist can go a long way toward easing his or her fear or anxiety. This meeting will give your child an opportunity to get acquainted with a dental office and staff. It also gives the dentist a chance to learn about your child, build a rapport with him or her and take the first step toward fostering a long-lasting relationship.

2. Watch Your Language

When you talk about a dental appointment with your son or daughter, try not to use negative words like “hurt,” “pain” and “shot.” Instead, focus on positive words like “clean” and “healthy.” You can also use kid-friendly terms to describe various dental issues, procedures and tools. Rather than say “cavities” or “tooth decay,” for example, you may want to use “sugar bugs” to describe these oral health problems. Kid-friendly terms are not intended to fool a child; conversely, they can be used to set the stage for a positive experience during your child’s next dental visit.

3. Keep Things Simple

Your child might want to know a lot in the weeks and days leading up to a dental appointment. If you get bombarded with questions, try to keep things as simple as possible. Maintain a positive attitude, but don’t tell your child that everything will be fine. If you do and a dentist ultimately discovers that your child is dealing with severe oral health problems, your son or daughter may lose trust in both you and your dentist.

4. Host a Pretend Dental Visit

Practice makes perfect, particularly when it comes to helping your child alleviate his or her fear of the dentist. By hosting your very own practice dental office visit at home, you can help your child prepare for an upcoming dental appointment. During a pretend dental visit, you can count your child’s teeth and hold up a mirror to show him or her how a dentist evaluates the teeth. Of course, it is important to avoid simulating drilling sounds or any other dental office noises that might otherwise make your child’s fear or anxiety levels rise.

5. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Give your child something to look forward to following a dental appointment—you will be happy you did. For instance, you can reward the little patient for good behavior during a dental appointment by visiting a playground afterward. Remember, if your child feels good following a dental appointment, he or she may be more likely to respond positively to the dentist in the future.

6. Take Your Children to a Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry

Make your child feel at ease by taking them to a pediatric dentist. They’re specifically trained to treat children and have a great understanding of child behavior. Their offices are also designed to accommodate small children and make the visits fun.

Lastly, if you want your child to feel comfortable going to the dentist, it typically helps to start dental appointments at a young age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends a child visit the dentist for the first time no later than age 1 or within six months of his or her first tooth erupting. If your child gets accustomed to dental appointments early, he or she can avoid dental fear and anxiety. Encouraging great oral hygiene habits from a young age can also help mitigate any serious future dental issues.

As the top awarded pediatric dentistry, orthodontics, and parent dentistry practice in the greater San Diego area, The Super Dentists are dedicated to providing an exceptional dental experience for both kids and parents. Since 1996, The Super Dentists strive to continue to empower parents with the knowledge they need to make well-informed decisions about their children’s dental health.

 

This article was written by The Super Dentists from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Why You Should Let Your Kid Fail (Sometimes)

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Is your child resilient? How do you, as a parent, support your child while also bringing out their strength and bounce-back for the days ahead? You let them fail. Sometimes.

“At any age, humans are hardwired to have coping skills,” says pediatrician Edward Gaydos, DO. “The real question is, how do we help our children shape and interpret experiences? I think one thing we need to do is give kids a  comfortable space for failure, and then empower them to try again.”

How kids learn from failure

Today, many kids feel the invisible but heavy pressure to be the best, to stand at the top, and to collect the most awards, scholarships or trophies. The truth is, we can’t all always win king or queen of the mountain every time we play.

Parents with unrealistically high expectations can unwittingly create anxiety and fear in their children. Rather than creating an environment where they feel the need to win every time, it would be healthier and more realistic to expect setbacks sometimes — especially because we all tend to learn more from our mistakes than from success,” he says.

For example, if you take a quiz, you tend to remember the answers that you got wrong rather than those that were correct.

A parent’s role

Part of this process of building resilience is about ourselves, the parents. We are the ones waiting eagerly at the sidelines, rooting for our favorite little people.

Check in with yourself and see if you are living any of your own dreams through your child. If so, this can create a lot of pressure and expectation, making kids feel self-conscious or even inadequate. Instead, we need to be supportive while giving children room to breathe.

“Children shouldn’t be the center of attention, but rather treated as part of a special community, your family and those you invite into your circle,” Dr. Gaydos says.

He offers the following tips to parents:

  • Validate your child’s fears or concerns.
  • Let kids figure some things out on their own.
  • Encourage children to be in situations where they interact with others and learn social cues.

Fail, learn and try again — it’s all OK

When children are allowed to have a variety of experiences in which they are allowed to fail and try again, they naturally learn more.

“You can help their kids by teaching them that life is about learning, making mistakes, and then working hard not to make the same mistakes again. This, to me, is how you define wisdom.”

He says it’s OK to tell your children that you are learning from your own mistakes. It helps children to trust you and to understand that we are all in the journey together.

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Easy Ways to Sneak STEM Lessons into Your Kid’s Day

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Creative ways to turn your child into a little scientist.

There’s a growing public conversation about the importance of getting kids more engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), to prepare them for their futures. Our economy, workplaces and society require more women and men who excel in these fields and can drive the innovations that will make our world a better place. Despite its obvious importance, it isn’t always easy to get children excited about STEM education.

That’s why I penned The Imagine It Book: Discover, Create and Invent Our Amazing Future, which offers some tips on fun ways you can get your children excited about STEM learning. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Encourage Curiosity

Kids ask a lot of questions, and sometimes we just don’t have the time to field them all in the moment. Buy a small journal or spiral bound notebook that you can keep with you when at home, in the car or out and about in your community. When your children ask questions that relate to science, technology or how things work, write them down. Set aside time each week to sit down with the book and a computer and find the answers to those questions. This experience not only informs children, but also helps them understand the research process so they can answer their own questions and fully embrace their curiosity and drive to discover new things.

2. Plan a Field Trip

We don’t all have the knowledge or experience to be informed STEM educators for our children. Luckily, most communities have institutions and experiences that can help with this process. Museums and libraries often have programs for children to help them experience STEM topics firsthand. Plan field trips to places or events in your community that your children will find interesting. Create fun research assignments for your kids prior to the field trip so they are flexing their curiosity muscles and preparing their minds to fully engage in the experience and understand the information being presented. Afterward, let them share pictures and stories from the experience with the family at meal time or when everyone is together.

3. Take it Apart

We don’t generally encourage the kids in our lives to destroy their things, but it can be a good exercise from time to time to let children really dig into how things are made and put together. Some examples of items that are fun to take apart include clocks, radios, typewriters, old computers, toasters or mechanical toys. For safety, make sure wires are completely cut off from electronic items and that there is no power source for the item. For ideas and guidance, search “take things apart” in YouTube for a ton of tutorial videos. Some kids may really get into watching these videos even if they aren’t disassembling the items themselves.

4. Make Them Reporters

Most children have someone in their lives who creates things or works in the fields of science and technology. Arrange for your child to interview one of these people. Help them do research on the family member or friend’s area of expertise and put together a list of questions. You can also help them video the interview so it can be shared with others via your social media or at a family event.

5. Make the World a Better Place

It’s important to help children identify issues that are important to them and develop a lifelong habit of giving back and making a difference. Help your children identify a cause or issue that is close to their heart like helping animals, the environment or developing cures to diseases. Then supervise them as they do research on the internet to find organizations that are working on the frontline of these issues. Most nonprofit organizations have interactive materials or videos that help explain how their research or innovation is making a difference in their area of focus. You can also help kids set aside a portion of their allowance each week to support the organization’s work so they can feel like an active part of the solution while they are learning.


Ellen Sabin is the founder of Watering Can Press and the author of a series of award-winning books that “grow kids with character.” Watering Can Press books are used widely by companies to support employees (through ERGs, Events, EAPs and other touch-points), clients (giving branded copies to connect with the family market for brand outreach, marketing and sales) and communities (through foundations, CSR, volunteer programs or donations to partner nonprofits). Ellen speaks at conferences and events to adults and hosts reading events with children on the topics of her books.

 

This article was written by Ellen Sabin from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The Easiest Ever No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

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These no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are insanely cool—and there’s no gooey mess to clean up when you’re finished!

Set that knife aside, and resist the urge to toss a carving kit in your cart the next time you’re at the store, because these no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are worthy of displaying in your home this fall. With just a little imagination and simple art supplies, you will wow the neighborhood, and have fun doing it! Plus, you’ll not only spare your kitchen table from a stringy, gooey mess, you’re bound to get more bang for your buck with no-carve pumpkins because they last longer. Did we convince you yet? Hope so. Here are 7 no-carve pumpkin ideas we love.

1. In a Web of Glue

Nothing beats the awesomeness of a hot glue gun when it comes to crafting (it’s easy to use, too!). You won’t care about any of those excess glue strings with this pumpkin design because the more melted glue and glue strings, the better. The hot glue gun is like a stencil you don’t have to pre-cut or stick on—just let your hands squeeze the trigger, and start designing—the hot glue gun will do the rest!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Spray paint, dark blue, teal and aqua

How-To:

  1. Using a hot glue gun, create spider web designs on the pumpkin. You can create large, medium, and small webs, and even a spider hanging from a web. You will find the hot glue ooze is really fun to make webs with.
  2. The glue will quickly dry, so once the design is set, spray the spray paint in a well-ventilated area over the webs. You can make each web a different color, or create an ombré effect over one large web.
  3. Wait about 20 minutes for the paint to dry, and then carefully remove the hot glue gun webs. It will easily peel off the pumpkin to reveal your cool web design.

2. Thumb Print Monsters

Grab the entire family to partake in this pumpkin decorating activity. It’s time to let the kids get messy, and leave their fingerprints all over the pumpkin. There are no fingerprints too small large, small, round, or thin for this project—every fingerprint makes the cutest, more colorful monsters ever!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Acrylic paint, pink, yellow, green, blue, purple, red
  • Paintbrush
  • Sharpie, black

How-To:

  1. Paint a thin to medium layer of paint on your thumb, or any fingertips with the colors of your choice, and press it on to the pumpkin.
  2. Continue until the pumpkin is covered in polka dots of fingerprints.
  3. Once the paint is dry, begin to make silly faces, eyeballs, feet, and wobbly hands with a Sharpie marker on the fingerprints to make mini monsters.

3. Flower Power

Trendy foliage inspired by a non-traditional fall color palette makes this pumpkin centerpiece swoon worthy. There is no watering necessary with this arrangement. The cotton stem is a nod to the farmhouse chic designer Joanna Gaines—we all want to have a little Gaines in us when it comes to our home decor, right? An added bonus is that this pumpkin can be made prior to company arriving, and the flowers will last forever.

What You’ll Need:

How-To:

  1. With the foam paintbrush, paint the pumpkin with chalk paint. Let dry and paint one more layer.
  2. Once the chalk paint is dry, use the bristle brush and paint the pumpkin with the Cactus color. Be sure to wipe the excess paint on a paper towel before painting—this will create a texture all over the pumpkin.
  3. Begin to hot glue the flowers on top of the pumpkin. Start with the leaves, and when the base is full, glue the cotton stem, and finally top it off with the flowers. This arrangement can be made however you like, so play around with it until you like what you see, and begin to glue in layers.

4. Black and White Chic

Just because your decorating pumpkins in the fall, it doesn’t mean you have to keep the pumpkins orange. You can have a chic, modern pumpkin by swapping the carving tool for a paintbrush. Create a woodland scene like this one, or add your favorite quote, pattern, or a monogram. The classic black and white colors will catch everyone’s eye.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkins
  • Spray paint, white
  • Acrylic paint, black
  • Sharpie oil-based paint marker
  • Paintbrush

How-To:

  1. Spray paint the pumpkin white.
  2. With a fine-tipped paintbrush in hand, paint a woodland scene on the pumpkin with black paint. The pumpkin is your canvas to make a beautiful piece of art! The white Sharpie paint marker is a great tool if you need to paint white on top of the black, like we did for the fur and eyelashes on the mama bear.

5. Can’t Touch This

Planting cacti is a fantastic low-maintenance plant option for those who lack a green thumb. Well, just like a garden, this DIY mini pumpkin cacti garden is a great option for those who lack artistic skill. This simple no-carve pumpkin is made with cacti pattern napkins, and the end result is a lovely cacti garden that won’t poke anyone!

What You’ll Need:

  • Mini pumpkins
  • Acrylic paint, white
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Cactus napkins
  • Mod Podge
  • Scissors

How-to:

  1. Paint the pumpkins with two coats of white acrylic paint.
  2. Separate the thin, top layer of the napkin from the other layers. It’s likely a 2 to 3 ply napkin, and each layer can be easily separated.
  3. Cut out the mini cactus. The cut does not need to be perfect. You can cut around the cactus, leaving some of the excess napkin.
  4. Once the paint on the pumpkin is completely dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge (the size of the cactus) and gently press the cactus on to the pumpkin. Smooth out all edges and bubbles with your finger without tearing the napkin.
  5. Paint a moderate layer of Mod Podge over the entire cactus. Initially it will appear milky white, but don’t worry, it dries clear.

6. Boo-tiful Pumpkin

Your pumpkin will be glowing in no time with this DIY neon sign pumpkin. You don’t have to be an electrician to make this. If you can curve wire, use a hot glue gun and load batteries in a small battery pack, you can make this DIY neon sign in no time. Light up the night (and your pumpkin) this fall. Boo!

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Acrylic paint, black
  • Wire, pliable with hands
  • Neon el wire, 9 feet
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue

How-To:

  1. Design the word Boo on Microsoft Word in a script font, and then print.
  2. With the wire in hand, follow the lines of the word Boo. In other words, your tracing each letter of the word Boo with the wire, so the wire will look just like the printed word.
  3. Hot glue the el wire to the boo script wire. You will have excess el wire. You can cut it (not at the battery pack end), or wrap the wire to the back of the pumpkin. To keep the wire sign in place on the pumpkin, make small hoops with the end of the wire on each side of the word, and use a tack to hold it in place.
  4. Velcro the battery pack to the back of the pumpkin, or set the battery pack behind the pumpkin on the table.
  5. Turn it on, and watch it glow.

7. Totally Rad

The ’80s are back. This totally rad pumpkin is made with bright vinyl cut into geometric shapes. Put on some good 80’s tunes, such as Bon Jovi, Madonna, Michael Jackson or Journey, and unleash the ’80s in you to decorate this pumpkin with color, pattern and funk. It may or may not help to wear neon leg warmers or sweat bands while you design the pumpkin…just saying.

What You’ll Need:

  • Pumpkin
  • Vinyl, bright multi color pack
  • Scissors

How-To:

  1. Cut the vinyl into geometric shapes such as triangles, rectangles and circles. If you want to layer the shapes with black, cut the color vinyl and black at the same time so the shape is the same.
  2. Peel the backing off the vinyl, and begin to press onto the pumpkin. The more colors and shapes, the better!

 

This article was written by Jessica Gregg from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Entrepreneur Mom’s Secret for Controlling Chaos Will Give You More Time with Your Kids

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

It might seem crazy, but it’s totally worth it.

It’s 7 p.m. on a Wednesday night, and my phone rings. I interrupt my midweek recap with my assistant and best friend, Erin, to take the call. We’ve closed on 12 homes this month, and I have the late-night call log to prove it. This is my busy season, as spring and summer usually are. Business aside, I have one daughter moving into college this week, I’m planning my Nan’s 90th birthday, and I have a radio segment this weekend to discuss the market.

This is my life in all its chaos. Among my many titles: multi-million-dollar real-estate producer with Coldwell Banker, owner of real estate brand the Pittsburgh Property Diva, fashionista and animal lover, but I am first and foremost wife and mother. Together with my husband, Chris Klein, we have a blended family of SEVEN children ranging from the ages of 10 to 25, three dogs and three cats. That’s right. There are nine humans and six furs in this modern Brady Bunch.

While my career is flexible and allows time for my family, it’s demanding. There are no set office hours, and we work around the clock. Just this week I’m launching five new listings along with my property showings, and I have a closing scheduled for Friday and seven open houses on Sunday. Seven open houses! I wasn’t lying when I told you we work around the clock.

Real estate doesn’t exactly offer a set schedule, and the time when you’d like to wind down for an evening with your children doing homework, running errands or carpooling is often overlapping with business. A set schedule isn’t offered, but it’s what I’ve had to create to juggle both roles as mom and agent. So, what’s my secret? How do I keep the chaos in order? I have a plan of action and stay routine-oriented each day. But I’ll let you in on the real secret … boundaries. Unapologetic boundaries.

Women seem to fear this word. So many of us struggle with boundaries out of guilt, fear or mere pride. Reason being that today’s woman is simply expected to be it all. We live in a world where we’re no longer “homemaker or working woman;” usually we’re both. We’re the modern-day superwoman rocking many hats as mom, wife and career woman. These expectations we put on ourselves forbid us from setting healthy boundaries, sometimes to our own detriment.

When I learned that the secret to being it all really was dividing and conquering, these barriers I set didn’t seem as crazy. Over the years, I had a really strict schedule in order to accommodate my children’s needs. I’d only show houses on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for many years. Sometimes that meant seeing four different clients in one night just so I had openings throughout the week. This term gave me some sense of normalcy and routine in an otherwise fast-paced industry.

When my children were really young, I had to learn not to be afraid to ask for help. There are plenty of people who would love to just sit and hold a baby for two hours while you take a nap and that doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Our health and wellbeing is most important as moms, so when your kids nap or are at school, try to be easy with yourself: rest, eat, exercise, connect with friends. How else will we run the show if we’re not revitalized, ourselves?

The thing is, moms, sometimes life has to be on your terms. The way I see it, we’re the ringmaster of this circus, and it’s our job to coordinate and collaborate to keep things running smoothly. Is it always easy? No. But balance and boundaries run hand in hand. I haven’t exactly mastered the natural “zen” we all seek from in life, but I can say that things run fairly smoothly at Diva HQ after years of experience. I manage to juggle life as mom, wife and agent while still making time to treat myself to a spa day here and there, guilt-free.

Setting your own guidelines can be a scary thing. I get it. The mom guilt is real. But if we want to breeze through this world without losing our sanity, we have to drop the guilt and get used to the word boundaries. The take-all? Take time for you. Time for your children. Time to connect with your hubby. Just two weeks ago, Chris and I fled off to Chicago to see Pearl Jam for our anniversary. Maybe I wouldn’t have that luxury now without those years of practicing the balance. Or maybe it’s all because I gave up cooking three years ago. You make the call.


Lauren Klein is a multi-million-dollar real estate producer with Coldwell Banker, and the owner of Pittsburgh Property Diva. Her successful real-estate career lit a passion in her for mentoring and empowering women in business, and she does so with her new networking series #DivasDoingBusiness.

 

This article was written by Lauren Klein from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

15 Easy School Lunches You Can Prep in an Instant Pot

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Getting our kids out the door in the morning is tough enough. But then you expect us to pack lunch, too? Enter these meal prep lunches, which keep in the fridge for up to three days and actually save a bunch of time—thanks to our favorite appliance, the Instant Pot.

The Cookie Rookie

Instant Pot Potato Salad with Dill Pickles

Pair with baby carrots.

Get the recipe

A Pinch of Healthy

Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

No reheating necessary.

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Foody Schmoody

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in the Instant Pot

Be sure to pack extra napkins.

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My Crazy Good Life

Instant Pot Mini Frittatas

Presenting, the portable version of scrambled eggs.

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Tornadough

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Serve it cold and it counts as pasta salad.

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5 Dollar Dinners

Instant Pot Chicken Broccoli Cheddar Rice

Bento box-ready.

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Sweet and Savory Meals

Instant Pot Tomato Soup

This calls for a Thermos.

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Pressure Cooker Recipes

Instant Pot Applesauce

Brilliant.

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The Foodie Eats

Instant Pot Ranch Chicken Salad

Tip: bagels don’t get soggy.

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Meal Plan Addict

Instant Pot DIY Sandwich Meat

No more waiting in line at the deli counter.

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Damn Delicious

Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls

Wrap it up in a tortilla if you see fit.

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Crunchy Creamy Sweet

Instant Pot Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs

Pair with your kid’s favorite dipping sauce.

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Recipes to Nourish

Instant Pot Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

It’s so easy.

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365 Days of Crockpot

Instant Pot Broccoli Chicken Mac and Cheese

Pretty darn good eaten straight from the fridge, too.

Get the recipe

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Is it Better for Your Kid to Join the Gym, or Play a Team Sport?

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Activity is important for kids of all ages. But when it comes to regular exercise, what’s the best way to get them moving?

We all know that kids have energy to spare—the question is, what’s the best way for them to burn it? Is it better for kids to join a gym, or play a team sport? While it may seem like the best thing to do is just let them run in circles in the yard like puppies, the fact is, there’s a time and a place for different physical activities in a kid’s life.

The number one rule when it comes to kids of all ages and exercise: Whatever they do, they should have fun doing it. “We are creatures that are meant to move, and kids should get their physical activity through whatever feels good for them and makes them happy,” says Jessica Glazer, a certified personal trainer and former elementary school phys ed and health teacher. “Not all kids like to play organized sports, but those kids may find joy in simply taking their dog for a walk or playing on the trampoline by themselves. That’s totally okay!”

While unstructured play is important for children of all ages (yes, you too!), once team sports start around age 4, feel free to get your kid involved. “Young kids will benefit more from organized sports more than working out in a gym,” says Frank Rizzo, personal trainer and founder of The Dad Habit. “It’s fine for them to join as soon as they’re interested and they have the attention span to listen to the coaches. Early on, the focus should be on fun, learning the skills of the sport, and being part of a team.”

Team sports, both experts agree, have incredible benefits beyond the physical aspect. “Sports allow children a place to express themselves and find a healthy way to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression,” notes Glazer. “Sports also help teach coping skills, healthy competition, sportsmanship, communication, teamwork, goal setting, and long and short term gratification.”

These are all important skills to take with them into adulthood, emphasizes Rizzo. “Plus, they’re learning how to win with grace and lose with dignity,” he says. “They learn that failing is okay, as long you pick yourself up and keep working.”

For kids out of elementary school, exercising at a gym (or on gym equipment) can be a supplement to their other activity. “I think at around 12 to 14 years old kids can start seeing real benefit form exercise in a gym,” says Rizzo. “Focusing on an exercise program that will help them excel on the field is a great way to get them engaged. But they need to enjoy it, in order to develop a lifelong love of physical activity.”

Rizzo’s advice for taking your kid to the gym: Keep it simple. “A child doesn’t need much equipment,” he says. “Focusing on balance, agility, and calisthenics is valuable for kids. This includes exercises such as push-ups, squats, jumping jacks, running, sprints, lateral movements.”

Glazer notes that some gyms have their own rules about kids. “I’ve worked at a variety of gyms, and it’s pretty standard that anyone under the age of 18 needs an adults consent,” she says. “Many gyms also require an adult or trainer to be with the child during the workout if they’re under 14 or 16.” It’s for good reason, she explains. “Gym equipment can be extremely dangerous if not used properly—plus a lot of the equipment is not made for the dimensions of a child’s body. This can alter the range of motion and proper positioning in a dangerous way.”

Whether you start your kid on sports early, let him or her find her own way of moving on the playground, or introduce your older kid to the gym, your goal should always be to encourage them to find activity they love, and keep doing it. “Don’t overthink it,” says Rizzo. “Just keep them active!”

 

This article was written by Melanie Mannarino from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.