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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

6 questions you should ask your kids every single day

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In today’s digital world it is becoming harder and harder to actually connect with our children. They come home from school to the waiting television and usually end up playing video games on the tablet while watching TV (no judgement, we all do it). We don’t really know our children because none of us really know how to communicate anymore.

The typical daily parental question is, “How was your day?” And the typical response from our kids is “fine,” “good,” “OK” or any other one word response they can come up with without actually thinking. This question is lame. It will always get you a one-word answer and leave you wondering why you even bothered to ask. The key to understanding our children is to trick them into talking by asking questions that cannot be answered with “fine” or “good.”

Here’s some proven suggestions that will give you true insight into your child’s life.

1. What made you laugh today?

The random things that kids find funny are absolutely hilarious. My nieces and nephews tell the worst jokes, but their insane laughter is contagious and we always end up laughing together. You know what they say; families who laugh together, stay together!

2. What made you sad today?

Hopefully the answer to this question is nothing too major and depressing, but kids have emotions too. No one likes to voluntarily share sad things that happen every day and our kids are no different, but children are also inherently honest. When asked point-blank, in a place they feel safe, they will open up. You may have to pry, but it will be worth it.

3. Who did you play with today (note that teenagers prefer the phrase”hang out”)?

As much as it may worry us, our kids’ friends will have a huge impact on who they become, which is why we have to know who they are. This is a subtle way to find out if Susie is still hanging out with bad news Bobbie or if she has found new friends to play hopscotch with during recess. When you know your children’s friends, you don’t have to hope they will stay out of trouble.

4. What made you proud today?

Sometimes we are too preoccupied to fully appreciate the lint collection being shoved in our faces right at dinner time, so give your children this chance to brag a little bit and show off their creations or good deeds for the day. This also creates a killer opportunity to praise your child and to reinforce good behaviors.

5. Who made you smile today?

People are the source of true happiness and true friends will bring that joy to the forefront. The people who make your kids smile on a daily basis are the ones worth keeping around. Those are the true, lifelong friends that will hopefully be in their lives forever.

6. What’s something interesting you learned today?

This is the ultimate show and tell moment for your children. Despite what they may think, our children really are learning new things daily. This question makes them actually stop and think about what they learned and helps them internalize those things by condensing and sharing them with you.

You may be thinking there is not enough time in the day to sit and ask all of these questions and that’s OK. Tweak these questions to work for you and your family. Ask them all at once or twice a week, ask a couple each day or ask them all every day. If it is hard to talk during family dinner time, then bedtime is the perfect opportunity to review the day. Sit on the side of your child’s bed (even your teenagers) tuck them in and ask these six great questions. Try it in a way that works for you. You will be grateful you did, even if your kids do complain you’re getting repetitive.

 

This article was written by Kelsey Robertson from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 fun winter activities for kids

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Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The post 10 fun winter activities for kids #ad appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Ways to Show Gratitude This Holiday Season

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The holidays are here, and as per usual, they’re busy and hectic and make you want to swap swear words into “Little Drummer Boy.” To make sure you don’t let the season fly by without recognizing how fortunate you really are, try out one of these seven ways to show gratitude. 

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Send Holiday Cards 

No, it doesn’t have to be a whole production with a photo shoot and monogrammed envelopes. The point is to let the people you love know that you’re thinking about them and grateful for all they do. Find a pretty, festive design (we’re obsessed with all of Rifle Paper Co.’s holiday options) and spend a little time sending holiday greetings to your nearest and dearest. 

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Start a Daily Gratitude Journal 

We know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time for this. But before you rule it out, try it for a day or two. Keep a little notebook next to your bed, and when you wake up in the morning, jot down one to three things you’re thankful for. Say, your daily coffee, or your health. 

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Go Wild With Compliments 

You know when a total stranger compliments you and it makes your whole day? Pay it forward and let that gal at the Starbucks know when you love her scarf or lip color (just make sure you’re genuine). It’s a small way to make someone else—and in turn, yourself—feel good. 

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Volunteer 

Raise your hand if you frequently think to yourself, “I should really give back more,” only to let other things take priority. *Raises hand sheepishly* This season, make good on your promise and spend some time helping people who aren’t as fortunate as you are. Check out Volunteer Match, a volunteer engagement network that can help you find opportunities to give back in your area. (A quick scroll in NYC found listings for helping seniors care for their dogs and becoming a reading partner for a local child.)

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Hand-Write Thank You Notes 

Hand-Write Thank-You Notes 

Whether it’s a fancy sweater from your mom or homemade cookies from your desk-mate, take the time to hand-write a thank-you note. It’s so much more personal than a text or email, and takes little to no extra effort. (Especially if you stock up on greeting cards in advance.) 

Thank the People Who Make Your Life Run Smoothly

Think: Trash collectors, mail carriers, dog walkers and even your go-to manicurist. Give them a written or in-person thank you, along with a monetary token of your appreciation: This handy guide can tell you how much to tip.

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Teach Your Kids Gratitude

Now that you’ve got the whole gratitude thing down pat, teach the younger folks in your life that the holidays are about more than just gift-getting. Maybe it’s encouraging them to pick out a toy for a local charity drive. Maybe it’s spending a day with them at a soup kitchen. Either way, set the example that giving and thanking are just as important as receiving. They’re little sponges, after all.

 

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

This Easy Elf-on-the-Shelf Hack is a Dream If You Need to Declutter

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It also teaches your kids an important lesson.

Elf on the Shelf has become a polarizing holiday tradition for many working moms. Yes, it’s cute and gets kids excited for Christmas, but it’s also a pain to change the elf’s position every day. That’s why we love this popular elf idea that keeps things simple for parents and even helps cut down on clutter around the house.

A photo of the genius hack went viral after it was shared on Facebook last week. The picture shows the famous elf perched on a Christmas tree holding a sign with the message, “You got to give to get.”

The sign continues to explain to the kids that their elf “Trixie” is going to be collecting toys to take to the North Pole this year, and they will be given to other kids in need. The parents also put a basket under the tree for the kids to fill up with old toys they don’t use or want anymore.

The hack is perfect for parents who are desperate to get rid of rarely-used toys that take up space—especially since the holidays are sure to add more to the collection. While some kids may normally be reluctant to part with them, they are unlikely to say no to the elf who is delivering a message from North Pole. You can encourage your kids to get rid of clutter without dogging their footsteps up or doing the work yourself.

In addition to clearing up some room in your home, it also helps teach your kids a lesson about giving and helping others. It may even inspire them to volunteer toys to be donated to needy children all year round.

Since it was posted on Facebook last week, the photo has been shared over 158,000 times and has received thousands of comments from parents who are in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the person who first shared the photo doesn’t know where it originated, so we can’t extend our thanks to the savvy mom who came up with this novel hack.

It’s also worth mentioning you can use this trick to avoid coming up with creative ideas for rearranging the elf every evening. Just set a deadline for donations and keep him posted all season long. Now that’s what we call a win for everyone involved.

 

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

One-Minute Ways to Calm Down During the 5 Most Chaotic Moments of Your Day

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Keep your cool, even when you’re feeling hot.

Life demands more from us every day, thanks to everything from a nasty political climate and natural disasters to cranky kids. Moms need ways to deal with stress swiftly and with ease. Life can feel overwhelming and exhausting much of the time, which is why we need simple and effective techniques to help us come back to center when life gets tricky. It only takes one minute for all hell to break loose at work or at home, so we need tools to center us that work just as fast! Here are some tips that will help you go from chaos to calm in one minute or less:

1. How to Stay Calm During the Morning Rush

Each new breath we take is another opportunity to decide how the next moment will unfold. If our morning starts to go a tad haywire with kids who don’t want to get out of bed, or we realize we never picked up the cleaning and have nothing to wear, it doesn’t mean we can’t regroup and move forward in a way that feels better to us and our family.

In these moments where we are one step away from losing it, it feels helpful to find an anchor point. Pause for just a moment and notice where you feel your breath the strongest. Is it moving in and out of your nose? Is it your ribcage expanding and contracting, or your belly rising and falling? Wherever it is, spend a few moments breathing and focusing on your anchor point. You will be calming your nervous system so you can respond to each part of your morning thoughtfully instead of simply reacting and usually having regrets about how that went. Return to this anchor point anytime during the day as you need to.

2. How to Stay Calm When Your Kids are Fighting in the Back Seat

There were days during the “hot mess” phase of my life when my kids would fight in the back seat on the way to school. I’d be yelling and inevitably someone would get out of the car crying, and I’d feel remorseful all day for allowing their day to begin like that. It felt terrible!

I began implementing “morning mindfulness” into our car ride routine and now everyone gets out of the car feeling great and excited for their day. We started years ago, and even now at 13 and 11 my kids still want to do it, and so do the friends we carpool with. They love it!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Have everyone close their eyes and take 3-5 deep breaths, really feeling their belly rise and fall. I suggest having them imagine they are blowing up a balloon in their belly on the inhale, and then letting all the air out on the exhale. You can join them, just keep your eyes open while you drive!
  2. Have each child think of three things they are grateful for. They can be big or small, and they can decide if they want to share. If the kids are under seven, they can think of one thing.
  3. Everyone shares out loud why today is going to be awesome.

If you don’t drive your kids to school, this can be done waiting for the school bus or at the breakfast table.

3. How to Stay Calm When You are Exhausted

When you are exhausted, you need a little extra TLC. I find that creating a mindful pause with a cup of tea always does the trick to soothe my soul.

When making your tea really pay attention to your senses. What does the warm mug feel like in your hands? What does your tea smell like and taste like? Find three descriptive words for each. Using your senses is a wonderful way to be present in the moment, and who doesn’t love a cup of chai with a bit of almond milk and honey?

4. How to Stay Calm When Your Calendar is so Full It May Burst

When I feel overwhelmed, I use my favorite affirmation. I repeat “I get everything done with ease and grace” to myself until I feel calm and centered. It reminds me to take my day one step at a time, and to mindfully make my way through each task.

5. How to Stay Calm When You Walk in From Work and Get Hit With Everything At Once

The trick to this one is actually acting before you walk in the door. Spend an extra minute in your car before you get out to give yourself a minute come back to center and recalibrate. You want to walk in your door feeling like the best version of you, so take a moment to decompress and release any stress you are still holding from the day. While sitting in your car you can do a quick body scan. Relax your body from head to toe, hitting all of the major areas of the face, neck, shoulders, chest, belly, hips and legs. You will be amazed at how much tension you are holding in your body.


Ali Katz is a certified meditation teacher, and creator of the Hot Mess to Mindful Mom brand. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX News and many other outlets. Find out more about Ali, her work, and her books at www.hotmesstomindfulmom.com. You can find many more tips and tools like these in the latest book in her series One Minute to Zen: How to go From Hot Mess to Mindful Mom in One Minute or Less available on Nov. 6, 2018.

 

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

How to Unschedule Your Child

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It’s come to this: Doctors are now being told to prescribe play. The American Academy of Pediatrics details the urgency of the matter in a policy statement. There is a play deficit in this country, and we know it, don’t we? In articles about parenting, it seems that there’s no breed dissected more than that of the bubble-wrapped child who’s shuttled from Mandarin to fencing to organic cheese making classes until bedtime. We love reminiscing about the days when we could hop on bikes and meander for hours with the neighborhood kids (few of whose names our parents ever took the time to learn), and yearn for our kids to have that experience. We’ve learned that play enhances brain structure, helps kids practice empathy and makes them more creative and innovative.

And yet it’s strangely difficult to crack some of the structure of children’s lives. I know that I feel some pressure to add more adult instruction to my daughter’s days when I’m handed an inch-thick packet of extracurricular activities by her school teacher (“Ooh, robotics fight club”), or when other parents ask me what her schedule looks like for the fall (“Um, we’ve got Halloween?”), or when I read interviews by musicians and dancers and athletes who mention they started their paths to mastery at age three (“Argh, we’re already too late!”). To back off, it takes some real willpower and planning. Here are some tips for unscheduling your child in today’s overscheduled world.

Be Realistic

You don’t need to move to the woods so your kids can frolic in streams all day to give your family more healthy play time. There are benefits of having scheduled activities—higher self-esteem, lower rates of drug and alcohol use over time and social bonds. Some parents of middle schoolers told me that having their kids deeply involved in extracurriculars they love is what has kept them mostly safe during a time of peer pressure and emotional disarray.

The goal here is simply to protect your kids’ downtime. Denise Pope, one of the authors of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids, tells the New York Times that young children need an hour of play time (which does not include dinner or homework or baths) for every after-school scheduled hour. You might set a rule for your kids such as one sport or activity per season. (I’ve decided to put my daughter in another voice class, which she absolutely loves.) You have to find the right balance for your family.

Start With a Good Playtime Setting

Dr. Robert Murray, the lead author of the AAP report The Crucial Role of Recess, tells me, “Parents can absolutely help their child find safe, interesting environments for them to explore—but it’s important to let him or her self-direct.” He suggests playgrounds, beaches and streams, woods and parks, fields, the zoo, local farms or indoor spaces where kids can pretend play with peers. Wherever you choose to go, step back and give them some “BE Time,” which he describes as the antidote to parent-directed activities.

At home, give kids access to open-ended materials to tinker with, even stuff you might see as junk. Blocks are always awesome, but so are random pieces of string, aluminum foil, masking tape, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and emptied shampoo bottles.

Prepare for the Suck

Realize that it’s sometimes hard to give kids downtime. On weekends, the first thing my daughter asks when she wakes up is “Where are we going today?” When I tell her nowhere, she whines and declares that is so boring. And then parent-friends will start texting me: “What are you up to today? Wanna bring the kids to library story time? Or princess ballet class? Or go watch a movie?”And I often want to say “Yes!” It would be easy to strap my kid into the car and do any one of those things. But it’s good to sometimes say no. I know that my daughter’s groans will eventually turn to silence, and as I do my own thing around the house, I’ll often find her cheerfully playing with her dollhouse or making something out of a cardboard box or drawing with chalk in the backyard.

Put white space on your calendar and prepare for some protests. Then find something to do and let your kids do the same.

Connect With Other Back-Off Parents

Some parents are finding that as much as they want to unschedule their kids, there’s a problem: Their children have no one to play with. Playgrounds are barren as every other kid is off at chess or tae kwon do at 3:30 PM. A project called Let Grow is addressing that issue, connecting local parents who want to give their kids more independence by doing less for them. You can sign up to find nearby families.

Once you find other likeminded moms and dads, you might consider setting up a play street, in which community members transform a residential city block a car-free space for children and families to play together, say, either weekly or monthly, or lobby schools to start their own play clubs, in which they keep their gyms or playgrounds open till dinnertime for self-directed free play.

It’s true that unscheduling kids takes a lot more work than it did years ago. But after doing it, you may very well find that your family will be less stressed and happier. And plus, it’s the doctor’s orders.

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

14 Spooky Halloween Treats to Make with Your Kids

 

Two Peas and Their Pod

Sweet and Salty Marshmallow Popcorn

Make like PureWow Coterie member Maria Lichty and have your kids stir in the candy.

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The Mom 100

Mummy Cupcakes

The more disheveled the mummy, the better. (Thanks, Katie Workman.)

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It’s Always Autumn

Cute and Easy Mini Halloween Doughnuts

Bats, monsters and spiders, oh my.

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Sally’s Baking Addiction

Candy Corn Pretzel Hugs

Let the kids assemble, then watch them melt in the oven.

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Working Mom Magic

Marshmallow Monsters

Googly eyes? Check. Sprinkles? Double check.

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Gimme Some Oven

Brownie Spiders

The kids can attach the legs; you can eat the leftovers.

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Five Heart Home

Pretzel Candy Spiderwebs

Much less scary than the real thing.

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Kid-Friendly Things to Do

Halloween Chocolate Pretzel Bites

Grab some forks and let them go wild.

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Damn Delicious

Halloween Spider Cupcakes

Getting your kids in the kitchen has never been easier.

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Dinner At the Zoo

3-Ingredient Butterfinger Caramel Apples

Using pre-made caramel candies makes this kid-friendly.

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Sprinkle Bakes

Monster Popcorn Balls

Bonus points for the plastic vampire teeth.

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Well Plated

Halloween Banana Popsicles

Frighteningly good, and sorta healthy. 

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I Can Teach My Child

Pumpkin Patch Dirt Cups

As fun to make as they are to eat.

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How Sweet Eats

Chocolate Bark Halloween Brownies

Two words: sugar rush.

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.

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.