Nov 232015
 November 23, 2015  Fall, recipes 2 Responses »

Coconut Pumpkin Bread |

Pumpkin bread is a fall staple in our household.  I grew up eating my mother’s version and now that I’m a mom I make it often for my family.  The main change is substituting coconut oil for vegetable oil and using some non-traditional flours and flaxseed.  Also, I leave out the ground cloves because to me it competes too much with the coconut flavor.


4 eggs, beaten

2 cups sugar

2 cups cooked pumpkin or sweet potato (1 can pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling)*

1 cup coconut oil, melted

1/2 cup water plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed

*If you have time, roasting the pumpkin or sweet potato and pureeing in the food processor gives a much richer flavor than the canned pumpkin

Coconut Pumpkin Bread |

1. Oil two small loaf pans.  Combine eggs and sugar; mix well.

2. Add pumpkin, coconut oil, and water.  Blend thoroughly.

3. Add all dry ingredients and mix until combined. Note: The batter will be much denser than with traditional pumpkin bread.

4. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until an inserted knife comes out clean.

What are your favorite holiday recipe makeovers?

Nov 202015
History of Thanksgiving: Squanto |

This is Carrie from Crafty Moms Share. Leanna asked me to share with you about one of my favorite topics to learn about–Native Americans. With Thanksgiving coming up I thought I would share about a man who had a lot to do with the first Thanksgiving. You have probably heard of Squanto, the Native American who helped the Pilgrims survive. Did you ever wonder how he was able to help them?

Squanto or Tisqunatum was a Native American in the Patuxet tribe. The Patuxet tribe was a tributary of the Wampanoag Confederacy. Squanto is believed to be born between 1555 and 1592, but no one knows for sure in the Patuxet village that is in the area of present day Plymouth, Massachusetts. He grew up in this vibrant village learning how to plant the crops, catch the fish and hunt. There are a few versions of what happened in his life here is what seems to be in every version. Squanto was kidnapped along with others. He lived with Spanish friars and lived with Sir Ferdinando Gorges in England. He learned English and to read and write. He was brought back to his homeland by Captain John Smith. This all took place between 1604 and 1619. He may have been kidnapped twice, but the stories are different. In 1619 he managed to make his way back home only to find his entire tribe had died and his village empty. He went and lived with the neighboring tribe, the Wampanoags. The Wampanoags explained to Squanto that his tribe died of the white man’s disease, smallpox. 

Plymouth Rock


The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.  They were lucky enough to find land already cleared to build Plymouth Colony. The land of course was once the Patuxet village where Squanto grew up. Living in Massachusetts I have been lucky enough to visit Plymouth Rock, Plimouth Plantation and the Mayflower II several times. The pictures I share here are from one of those visits. In 1621 Squanto was brought to Plymouth Colony by Samoset, an Abenaki (from Maine) who learned English from traders. Chief Massasoit wanted Squanto to help interpret between himself and the English as well as to spy on the English since there was not a full level of trust. Imagine the Pilgrims surprise when Squanto walked into the colony speaking perfect English.

Long House or Nush Wetu
Squanto helped the Pilgrims survive by teaching them how to grow the three sister crops: corn, beans and squash and where to catch fish and hunt. He really saved them. He also helped negotiate a treaty between the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoags. Chief Massasoit wanted peace and made promises to the Englishmen. His sons and he later regretted all that they did for them as the English took more and more land. Squanto died in 1622 in Chatham, Massachusetts (on Cape Cod) of a fever. He had been acting as a guide to Governor William Bradford. 

Wampanoags in Traditional Dress and Cooking Traditionally at the Wampanoag Homsite at Plimouth Plantation


For more on Squanto check out the many books on him. Here are some we found at our local library. We really enjoyed the Squanto & the First Thanksgiving DVD as it told the story in a way my 6-year-old could see and understand.

The Wampanoag region stretched from Southeastern Massachusetts to Rhode Island and included Martha’s Vineyard. Their language is a dialect of the Algonquian language family. The word Wampanoag literally translated to people of the dawn. The Patuxet was an extinct band of the Wampanoag. The Wampanoags had two types of houses, the long house or nush wetu and the wigwams or wetus. The long houses had three fires in them.

Wigwam or Wetu

So on Thanksgiving think about the former slave who helped save the second colony of the United States and perhaps say a prayer for all the Native Americans.

Resources for this post: Biography.comNative Languages, Wikipedia, and Plimouth Plantation

Crafty Moms ShareCarrie is a former high school math teacher with diversity training and helped advise many diversity clubs at the schools she taught. Now she is a stay-at-home mother of an almost five-year-old and very active with her church. She writes about her life with her daughter and the fun things they do at Crafty Moms Share. You can also find her on Pinterest and Google +.




Native American Heritage Month | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Welcome to our second annual celebration of Native American Heritage Month! All month long we’ll be sharing posts about sharing these rich cultures with kids. Find our full schedule of posts below, and don’t forget to link up your own as well! We’ll also be having a big giveaway (details coming soon!) You can find even more ideas on our Native/Indigenous Cultures Pinterest board:

Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs’s board Native/Indigenous Cultures on Pinterest.

November 6
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November 16
The Mommy Factor
November 30
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Native American Heritage Month Giveaway: Grand Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Grand Prize Package

From Five Star Publications: Nanisé, a Navajo Herbal (US Shipping Only)
From Jeff Altabef: Wind Catcher & Brink of Dawn
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Native American Heritage Month Giveaway: First Prize | Multicultural Kid Blogs

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$50 Gift Certificate to Zazzle
From Wisdom Tales Press: Red Cloud’s War (US Shipping Only)
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From Daria – World Music for Children: Handmade owl pottery from the Jemez Pueblo (US Shipping Only)
From Birchbark Books: The Birchbark House (US Shipping Only)
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Oct 132015

Children's Books for Day of the Dead |

The Day of the Dead is rapidly becoming a popular holiday in the United States.  The following books are great to teach children about the holiday, and range from books that are more informational to those that are more for fun and finally to those that center on children who are dealing with the loss of loved ones.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Children’s Books for Day of the Dead


A great book to introduce children to this festival is The Day of the Dead/El Dia de Los Muertos. It’s rhyming text covers the basics of the holiday without being too overwhelming for young readers (additional information is included at the book). The artwork itself – which was inspired by the work of well-known Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada – is wonderful, incorporating traditional symbols and capturing the spirit of Day of the Dead.

One of my favorite discoveries was Un barrilete / Barrilete: para el Día de los Muertos / A Kite for the Day of the Dead.  It is a beautifully photographed book about a young boy in a village in Guatemala famous for the incredible kites the villagers make every year for Day of the Dead.  It is a wonderful book because it tells how Day of the Dead is celebrated outside Mexico and lets children take a peek into the lives of other children as they prepare their incredible kites and get ready for a very special day.

Fun with Calaveras (Skeletons)

Some of these books do not specifically mention Day of the Dead, but they all either exhibit artwork associated with the holiday or are in the spirit of the festival.

The art of paper mache skeletons is celebrated in this ABC book for Day of the Dead. Based on the life and work of a real family of artisans in Mexico, Calavera Abecedario: A Day of the Dead Alphabet Book tells of a family getting ready for Day of the Dead by making their special life-sized paper mache skeletons, which are then featured in an A-Z display of all the different professions an aspiring skeleton might be, whether an Angel or Bruja or a Zapatero!

I love the illustrations and poetry in The Festival of Bones / El festival de las calaveras, a wonderful look at how skeletons celebrate Day of the Dead after being cooped up all year. Also includes an essay at the end about the holiday, including recipes and activities.

Mi Familia Calaca / My Skeleton Family does not actually mention Day of the Dead, though its theme of a skeleton family is an obvious reference.  The text itself is quite simple; the real star is the artwork: paper mache skeletons made by a young artist from Oaxaca, Mexico, in the traditional method.  (Each figure took one month to construct!)  This is a great book to showcase skeleton art from Mexico and how, unlike in the United States, skeletons there are not seen as creepy or scary at all!

A list of Latino children’s books just wouldn’t be complete without including the incomparable Yuyi Morales.  Just a Minute! is a fun trickster tale and counting book, in which clever Grandma Beetle outwits Señor Calavera (Mister Skeleton), who has come to take her away.  She agrees to go but delays him with Uno (One) having to sweep one house, Dos (Two) having to boil two pots of tea, and so on until Señor Calavera unwittingly helps Grandma Beetle prepare a special surprise that makes him forget all about taking her away!  We love reading this book together, as well as the sequel Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book, when Señor Calavera prepares for Grandma Beetle’s party by looking for a very special gift.  Learn vocabulary and the Spanish alphabet as he searches for what Grandma Beetle would love the most.

Another fun skeleton book is The Dead Family Diaz, about a dead family preparing to make their annual trip to the Land of the Living during the Day of the Dead festival.  But young Angelito is scared about what the living are like.  Is it true that they are squishy and have bulging eyes like his sister says?  When he gets separated from his family and becomes lost among the living, Angelito must turn to a new friend to help him.  A really cute book that showcases many aspects of the Day of the Dead festival and imagines a friendship between two young boys from opposite worlds.

Dance along with the skeletons in Clatter Bash! A Day of the Dead Celebration as they come out of their tombs to celebrate Day of the Dead.  They enjoy the offerings left for them and enjoy playing in the cemetery and around the town.  The text is simple but lively, to go with the colorful pictures of the skeletons’ fiesta.

Remembering Loved Ones

Ghost Wings is a beautiful book about a girl dealing with the loss of a beloved grandmother.  Her father tells her that when you love someone, they never really leave, just like the monarch butterflies that return to the Magic Circle in the forest every autumn.  When the butterflies return that fall and the Days of the Dead arrive, she discovers the joy in remembering her grandmother and celebrating her life.  Includes information about Day of the Dead and the monarch butterflies as well as a guide to using the book to discuss feelings and memories with children.

The image of butterflies can also be seen in Uncle Monarch and the Day of the Dead. Each year when the monarch butterflies return, Lupita knows that Day of the Dead will soon be here. But this year’s celebration will be different for Lupita, whose favorite uncle has just passed away. It was he who taught her not to harm the butterflies, since they are believed to be the souls of the departed. Though the rituals of Day of the Dead comfort Lupita, it is not until she sees a lone butterfly flying above her uncle’s grave that the gloom begins to lift from her heart.

Beto and The Bone Dance is also about a child remembering his grandmother during the Day of the Dead, though it is a bit less melancholy than other of the books listed here. Beto wants to make something special for his Grandmother, who has recently died, but others have already made pan de muertos and Grandmother’s favorite drinks and foods.  Luckily, Beto receives help from someone very special to add to the altar what Grandmother loved of all.

Another book about a child dealing with loss is Felipa and the Day of the Dead.  It is from a German author, who was moved by the Day of the Dead celebrations she witnessed when studying art in Mexico.  Years later she traveled to Bolivia and studied their Todos Santos traditions, on which she based this beautiful book.  When Felipa’s grandmother dies, Felipa asks all the animals and searches through the mountains to find her grandmother’s soul.  Her father tells her that the souls of the dead live in another world, but they come to visit every year in November.  When the day finally arrives, Felipa helps with the preparations and visits the cemetery to remember her grandmother and visit with her there.  She is still sad but hopeful that each year she will have this special day to visit with her grandmother.

A beautifully done book about loss is Maria Molina and the Days of the Dead. Though Maria’s family does not have much money, they find special ways to celebrate Day of the Dead, which she describes as being like a family reunion.  For Maria, the heart of the festival is spent in the graveyard, remembering loved ones who have died.  (Note: One of those that Maria has lost is her infant brother, Pablo).  When Maria moves with her family to the United States, she wonders how they will continue to honor the dead in their new home, yet she discovers that the spirit of Day of the Dead can be continued even far away from Mexico.

When Rosita’s grandmother dies, Rosita is inconsolable, until her grandfather tells her that she can show her grandmother how much she misses her by making her a gift for Day of the Dead. Gift For Abuelita / Un regalo para Abuelita really shows the love that infuses all of the rituals of the Day of the Dead, and what a comfort it can be to loved ones.

Day of the Dead series | Multicultural Kid BlogsThis post is part of the Day of the Dead series on Multicultural Kid Blogs.  Follow along all month as we share ideas for teaching children about this festival!

Oct 072015
 October 7, 2015  crafts, Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving Comments Off on Balloon Print Pumpkin Garland

Thanks so much to Jaime of Frogs, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails  and All Things Kids for sharing this wonderful fall craft for kids.  Be sure to stop by her blog for more great activities and crafts!

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love all the pumpkin decorations, pumpkin picking, pumpkin treats, and of course the pumpkin crafts. The kids and I love getting the craft supplies out and finding simple crafts to use as decorations. We had pumpkins on our minds so we made a fun balloon print pumpkin garland to hang up in the house. It was easy to make and fun for all of us as well.

balloon print pumpkin garland craft for kids

Balloon Print Pumpkin Garland



Supplies/what I used:


white cardstock

orange paint

paper plate

orange yarn

hole punch




To start we made our pumpkin craft. We took blown up balloons and dipped them in orange paint. The kids pressed the balloon down on the paper to make a “pumpkin”. The kids made several pumpkins with the balloon. We left them to dry overnight.




The next afternoon I grabbed the scissors, sharpies, yarn, and hole punch. I used the sharpies to draw a brown stem and green leaves. Now the prints started to look more like pumpkins.




The kids helped me cut out the pumpkins. We cut them to look like the pumpkin print was on an index sized card. Now for one of their favorite parts. Using the hole punch! This always gets my kids excited. They love to make holes with the hole punch. We put a hole in each corner on the “card”. We did this till we had them all finished.




Now take the orange yarn and cut a piece long enough to fit the size banner you want. We used 6 pumpkin cards to make our garland/banner. This was the perfect size to hang up on the cabinet. We threaded the yarn through the holes. Now we had a balloon print pumpkin garland to hang up. We used tape and taped each end down on top of the cabinet. The kids love telling anyone that comes over they made it.


balloon print pumpkin garland

Sep 182015
 September 18, 2015  bilingualism, Education, Halloween 2 Responses »

Spanish Halloween Activities |

I am always on the lookout for fun activities I can do with my kids to learn Spanish, and what is more fun this time of year than Halloween?  Here are some of my favorite Spanish Halloween activities to help you and your kids have some learning fun getting ready for el día de las brujas!

Note: Most of the activities and printables included below are free.  Those few that are paid are very inexpensive and well worth it!


Halloween Story Cards and Letter Match Printables – Mommy Maestra: These super cute printables are a fun way to practice letters and encourage storytelling with your preschooler!  Also includes a video and list of Spanish Halloween books.

Spanish Halloween Printable Picture Cards – Spanish Playground: Here are printable vocabulary cards in Spanish, plus a matching game.  I love all of the extension activity ideas!

Spanish Halloween Memory Game: Have students that resist learning vocab words?  Try this fun pumpkin memory game to teach Halloween vocabulary!

Spanish Halloween Vocabulary Activities – Spanish Playground: Collection of fun Halloween activities you can adapt to practice Spanish.  Includes a comprehensive list of Spanish vocabulary related to Halloween.

Spanish Dual Language Kindergarten Halloween Pack: I put this 26 page mini pack in the “vocabulary” section, but it has lots of math activities as well.  Chock full of learning activities for kindergarten, with no English on the student pages!

Spanish Halloween Read and Draw Printable – Spanish Playground: Practice seasonal vocabulary with this read and draw activity!  Great for practicing reading and listening skills.

Spanish Halloween Jokes – Spanish Playground:  My son loves telling jokes, so I cannot wait to try these Halloween jokes with him!  This is a really fun way to practice vocabulary!

Halloween Printable Spanish Minibook – Mundo de Pepita: Follow along as Pepita and her friends dress up and get ready for Halloween!


C is for Calabaza – For the Love of Spanish: I adore this calabaza (pumpkin) craft!  Don’t miss the song and activity at the end to practice counting, vocabulary, and feelings in Spanish.


Pumpkin Life Cycle Mini-Book in Spanish – Kid World Citizen: Get into Halloween science by making a pumpkin life cycle mini-book!  Wonderful way to teach fall related vocabulary and practice reading in Spanish.


5 Educational Things to Do with (Halloween) Candy – Mommy Maestra: Once you have all that Halloween candy, try these math activities to put them to good use!  Includes a link to a bilingual candy bar graph.

Pumpkin Size Ordering Activity – For the Love of Spanish: This activity is a fun way for kids to learn relative sizes in Spanish – with pumpkins!

Gross Motor

Spanish Skeleton Song – Spanish Playground: My kids and I have already been having fun dancing to Los esqueletos thanks to this post!  It is great for practicing numbers, time, action words – and of course, your best skeleton dance moves!

Of course, Halloween is not traditionally celebrated in Latin America, though it has become popular in some places in recent years.    From what I’ve heard from my Costa Rican family, for example, it was something of a fad a few years ago!  Just for fun, you can share with your kids how people have started celebrating Halloween in Spain!  (Day of the Dead – or el día de los muertos – is not just a version of Halloween but an entirely different tradition, though it also stems in part from All Saints Day).

Looking for more Halloween fun?  Don’t miss my Fall Fun for Kids board on Pinterest, plus check out these amazing posts from the All Things Kids Halloween Blog Hop!

Potato Print Spider Craft – Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Halloween Chalk Art – Craftulate

Bat Yarn Craft – Sugar Aunts

Floating Ghosts – Rainy Day Mum

Pumpkin Ice Painting – Crayon Box Chronicles

Aug 262015

Children's Books about Rosh Hashanah |

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year,  is coming soon!  To celebrate I’ve put together a list of books for children about this beautiful holiday.  Enjoy!

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Children’s Books about Rosh Hashanah

Every year Katy looks forward to making a special batch of homemade applesauce with her mother for Rosh Hashanah. But when a new baby cousin arrives early and her mother must go help, the holiday is ruined! Or is it? Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story is a sweet story of friends and neighbors coming together to make a very special New Year for a little girl. Applesauce recipe included!

What a Way to Start a New Year!: A Rosh Hashanah Story has a similar theme.  Dina is not sure how her family can have a happy new year in their new home, without any of their old friends.  When they try to make a visit back to their old neighborhood for the holiday, one thing after another goes wrong and they miss the celebration.  Yet a warm welcome into their new community makes it a wonderful start to the new year after all.

Daniel knows that Rosh Hashanah celebrates the beginning of Creation, so he decides to throw a birthday party for the world!  But when he shares his idea, everyone tells him he can’t possibly invite the whole word over for a party.  Luckily for the reader (and the world!) Daniel is not discouraged.   The World’s Birthday: A Rosh Hashanah Story is a great book about determination and coming up with creative solutions!

Rabbi Benjamin is thrilled when his congregation gives him a special gift for Rosh Hashanah – a beautiful holiday vest with four silver buttons.  But as the year passes and Rabbi Benjamin celebrates the holidays with the different families in the congregation – including eating plenty of delicious food! – one by one the buttons on his vest pop off.  What will the congregation say when Rosh Hashanah comes again and the Rabbi’s holiday vest is ruined?  Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons is a really cute book about the love between a Rabbi and his congregation.  It is also a great way to teach children about the holidays of the Jewish year.

Beni is excited that his family is going to spend Rosh Hashanah with his grandparents – until he finds out that Cousin Max will be there, too!  From the beginning of the visit, Max torments the other children, from hiding plastic spiders and worms under their pillows to taking the last date before they can have any.  Beni is furious at Max, until Grandpa explains to the children the tradition of Tashlikh, and the boys learn to forgive and start the new year fresh.  Happy New Year, Beni is a great way to introduce children to the traditions and true spirit of Rosh Hashanah.

Tashlich at Turtle Rock is a gentle book about one family’s Rosh Hashanah tradition of taking a hike into the woods together.  This year it is Annie’s turn to lead the way to Turtle Rock, where they throw crumbs into the river as a symbol of the mistakes of the past year.  The story also includes fun non-traditional ways that a family can reflect on the past year and plan for the next.

Part of a series on Jewish holidays, Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride is wonderful for little train lovers!  Engineer Ari is so excited to be driving the train all the way to Jerusalem that he doesn’t realize his friends’ feelings are hurt.  Through his trip he learns about the true spirit of Rosh Hashanah and comes up with a plan to help them feel better.  Based on the true story of the opening of the railway from Jerusalem to Jaffa during the High Holidays in 1892.

I love love Even Higher!.  A newcomer is skeptical when the villagers of Nemirov say their rabbi goes to heaven every year on Rosh Hashanah to plead for a good year for them.  So as Rosh Hashanah approaches, the newcomer hides and follows the Rabbi to find out where he really disappears to.  What he discovers, though, is a secret even more wonderful than the tale he had been told.  Does the Rabbi go to heaven?  No, even higher!

Sound the Shofar!: A Story for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is great for young children especially, with simple explanations of the High Holidays.  In the book, we see one family enjoy the rituals and traditions of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, marked by the sounding of the shofar.

As a lover of history, I adore The Secret Shofar of Barcelona, which takes us back to the time of the Spanish Inquisition, when Jews had to hide their religion or face imprisonment or worse.  Musician Don Fernando longs to hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, but in Barcelona in the late 1500s, this is not possible.  Yet when he is commissioned to perform a concert celebrating the colonies in the New World, he and his son Rafael come up with a daring plan to usher in Rosh Hashanah with the shofar during the concert itself, with Spanish nobles in the audience!  This is a wonderful story to help children appreciate being able to celebrate the High Holidays in peace, as well as to imagine themselves courageous enough to play the shofar at that long ago concert in Barcelona!  Based on a legendary – though never verified – tale of a daring Spanish converso.

Jewish High Holidays for Kids | Multicultural Kid Blogs

This post is part of the Jewish High Holidays for Kids series. Be sure to visit our main page for great resources!

Jul 172015

Back to School Stress Saving Tips |

Thank you to Great Clips for sponsoring this post and helping me find #moreminutes to enjoy with my kids!

If you’re like most people, back to school shopping is not something you like forward to. Running errands with your kids to stores with big crowds – what’s not to dread? But here are stress saving tips to help you save time and back to enjoying the end of summer with your kids.

Back to School Stress Saving Tips

1. Start early. At the end of the school year, before you switch into summer mode, take note of what you’d like to do differently in the coming year. What items (like clothing labels or a command center) would make things easier for you and your kids? What were you always running out of? What supplies (backpacks, lunchboxes, etc) need to be replaced? To jog your memory, here is one back to school essentials checklist.

2. Keep an eye out for sales. You don’t have to wait for the big back to school sales to find good bargains. Some suppliers have sales mid-year or at the end of the season. Getting great bargains ahead of time will whittle down your to-do list and help you feel like you’re already ahead of the game.

3. Prioritize. If your life is anything like mine, the best laid plans often go awry – a child’s illness, unexpected visitors, a chance to go on a fun outing with your child’s friends, or just the reality of running errands with kids – all mean that things may not work out exactly as you had planned. It’s best to know ahead of time what has to get done before school starts and what can wait if needed.

4. Avoid peak times. If I am out running errands with my kids, the last thing I want to worry about is dealing with crowds. So as much as possible I try to go at times when there are fewer people at the stores – typically during the week and/or early in the day. Many stores run specials at these times to attract more shoppers, so you may even get better deals! But even if you work and can’t go shopping on a weekday, going out in the evening (after the post-work rush) can also be a good time. I’ve often run errands in the evenings after dinner: bonus, my husband is home and so he can watch the kids!

5. Take a breather. Remember to build in some downtime, especially if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by all the errands you need to run. Don’t miss out on enjoying those last few days of summer with your kids because you’re tearing your hair out worrying about getting ready for the school year. Many things can wait until after school starts, so don’t stress out about being the perfectly organized parent. Your kids would much rather make some more fun summer memories with you than have a stressed out, tense mom.

6. Don’t wait in line. Why waste your time waiting in line when you could get service as soon as you walk in the door? At Great Clips, now you can check in online, so that when you arrive for that back to school haircut, you don’t have to have to waste precious minutes waiting around.

The Great Clips app makes it easy to check in at your nearest salon (of the more than 3,800 throughout the US and Canada), and put your name on the list before you even leave your house, so that you can arrive just in time for your haircut. If you have more than one salon near you – as we do – you can pick which one’s waiting time best matches your schedule.

Little Monkey’s locks were getting rather long, so I decided to take him to Great Clips to experience the online check-in for ourselves.

Back to School Stress Saving Tips |

If you didn’t know about the #MoreMinutes campaign before arriving, you can’t miss the signs!

Back to School Stress Saving Tips |

With my two rambunctious little guys, it was sooo nice to be able to walk right in and get service. Little Monkey normally does not enjoy haircuts, so I was impressed that the stylist was able to put him at ease right away.

Back to School Stress Saving Tips |

I was so proud of him for sitting still during the cut, and I could tell he was happy with it! Just look at my big boy and his confident, post-haircut stride!

Back to School Stress Saving Tips |

Best of all, we had plenty of time to run the rest of our errands then get home and play!

Visit Great Clips online to find out more about their #MoreMinutes campaign and download the time-saving Great Clips app!

Don’t miss this adorable video about what kids say they would do with #moreminutes!



Back to School Stress Saving Tips

Nov 052014
 November 5, 2014  All Things Kids, Fall, Thanksgiving Comments Off on Fantastic Thanksgiving and Fall Pinterest Boards from All Things Kids

Fantastic Thanksgiving and Fall Pinterest Boards from All Things KidsBoards Button

Getting excited about Thanksgiving??  I know we are!  Today you can find me over at All Things Kids, showcasing some amazing Pinterest boards for family fun this Thanksgiving and fall!  Click the link below to see this great collection!


Fantastic Thanksgiving and Fall Pinterest Boards from All Things Kids

Oct 282014

Pumpkin Rolls from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} |

It’s time again for my monthly post for “Around the World in 12 Dishes,” the series in which each month participating bloggers travel the world with their kids by cooking a dish from another country and perhaps reading a book, doing a craft, or learning fun facts about it.

This time we travel to Vietnam, and in celebration of the season we made these wonderful pumpkin rolls.  We took them to a play date, and the moms couldn’t stop talking about how soft and yummy they were!

I got the recipe from this fun Vietnamese cooking blog.   I had a hard time thinking of pumpkin rolls as being authentic Vietnamese food, but the recipe has a very authentic looking Vietnamese title (Bánh Bí Ngô Tí Hon), so I decided to go for it!  Below is the recipe, with converted measurements.  I did modify some of the proportions, which seemed off to me.  In particular, the ratio of wet to dry ingredients did not work for me, so I ended up added a great deal of extra flour in order to get the right consistency.  Also, I couldn’t find what “brown yeast” was, so I just used regular baking yeast with great results.

As you can see, because the consistency of the dough was still relatively wet (but I was worried that if I added any more flour the taste would be drastically altered), I wasn’t able to do the adorable design like she does, which makes the rolls look like actual pumpkins!  If you are able to make this work, please send the pictures, because it looks adorable!  But even if you aren’t able to achieve this (as I wasn’t), kids and parents will still love the pumpkin flavor of these delicious fall rolls.

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} |

Makes 13-14 large or 17-18 medium rolls


200ml whole milk (between 3/4 c and 1 c – most measuring cups for liquids have markings for ml as well as cups)
1 can of pumpkin = approx 2 c of pumpkin puree
200g butter = slightly less than 1 c
2 – 7 oz packets of yeast
1 T sugar
1 T brown sugar
1 t salt
1 egg
2 c whole wheat flour
2 c white flour
Warm water, approx. 1/4 c


To Make

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a large baking sheet (you may need two).

Warm the milk then add melted butter and pumpkin puree.  Mix well.

2. Add yeast packets, sugars, salt, egg, plus 1/4 c of warm water.  Stir well but gently

3. Add flours then mix with wooden spoon until smooth and soft.  Add more water or flour as needed to make smooth dough.

4. Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and let rest for 5 minutes.

5. Knead by hand for approx 10 minutes then let rest for at least one hour, until dough has risen and is no longer sticky.

6. Divide into small balls of equal size. (See the tutorial if you would like to try making these into mini pumpkins).

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} |

7. Arrange the balls on a greased baking sheet.  Allow room for them to rise more as they cook.

8. Brush tops with beaten egg yolk then bake for 10-15 minutes, until rolls begin to brown.

What have you been cooking up with your kids?

Pumpkin Rolls Recipe from Vietnam {Around the World in 12 Dishes} |


Around the World in 12 DishesCheck out the other participating blogs to see what they have been cooking up:

Adventures In Mommydom, Afterschool for Smarty Pants, All Done Monkey, Crafty Moms Share, Maroc Mama, Creative World of Varya, Glittering Muffins, Kid World Citizen, Mermaids’ Makings, The Educators’ Spin On It and The Mommy Talks.

If you try a dish from Vietnam, we’d love to hear about it! You can link up your dish or craft here to share your post on all the participating blogs:

Oct 062014

Halloween Books and Activities that Encourage Working Together |

I’m excited to be participating in the Halloween Crafts and Activities for Kids series from All Things Kids!  See details at the end of this post.

This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.  I appreciate your support!

Halloween Books that Encourage Working Together

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

A trio of animals lives together in harmony, enjoying their daily meal of pumpkin soup, until one day the duck decides he doesn’t want to measure the salt, as he normally does.  He wants to stir.  In the ensuing battle, the friends discover the importance of valuing everyone’s contribution – and sometimes changing things up so that everyone has a good time!  I should add that it was thanks to this book that Monkey tried pumpkin soup for the first time!

Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman

A witch dreams of pumpkin pie, but when her pumpkin proves too big to pick on her own, a cast of scary Halloween ghouls comes by to try their luck.  Each fares no better than the witch, unless a bat has a clever plan, which requires that they all cooperate.  Will their desire for pumpkin pie overcome their dread of working together?  Spoiler alert: the book ends with a party!

Turtle and Snake’s Spooky Halloween (Easy-to-Read, Puffin) by Kate Spohn

Speaking of parties, this gentle story of Turtle and Snake preparing for a Halloween bash is perfect for beginning readers.  The book follows as step by step the pair go through their to-do list (made of pictures plus simple words).  Monkey loves reading along as they check items off their list, building anticipation until at last it’s party time!

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

This beloved book is now a favorite of ours as well.  It is a tale of a generous witch who always has room on her broom for new friends.  Her kindness is repaid when her companions team up to scare away a terrible dragon who threatens the witch.  In the end, the witch makes a new truly magnificent broom perfect for all of her animal friends.

Halloween Activities that Encourage Working Together

Playing a Halloween game

Decorating jack o’ lanterns

Doing a Halloween craft

Making a favorite treat, like Halloween cupcakes, pumpkin bread or pumpkin cookies

Throwing a Halloween party

Handing out treats to trick-or-treaters

Doing a fall family service project, such as visiting a senior center in costume!

How does your family have fun together at Halloween?

Halloween Activities and Crafts for the Kids - All Things Kids

Looking for some great Halloween Activities and Crafts for your kids?  Be sure to check out these wonderful posts from the members of All Things Kids!  And don’t forget you can also follow All Things Kids on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest!

Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dog Tail on All Things Kids: Fingerprint Pumpkin Art for Five Little Pumpkins

Craftulate: Halloween Window Decorations

House of Burke: Candy Corn Shaving Cream Sensory Dig

Where Imagination Grows: Halloween Math Games: Counting with Ghosts

All Done Monkey: Halloween Books & Activities that Encourage Working Together

The Sugar Aunts: Hanging Ghosts Craft with Recycled Containers

Little Bins for Little Hands: Quick And Easy Slime For Halloween Sensory Play

Mamas Like Me: Straw Blow Painting Spider Web

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