December 7, 2018music, recipes, WinterComments Off on 20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy
As we settle into colder weather, we all could use a little something to warm us up. Here are 20+ kid-friendly winter drinks to keep the whole family feeling cozy and snug this winter! And don’t miss our review of a fabulous new children’s album that will help everyone beat cabin fever all winter long!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Winterland for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
20+ Kid-Friendly Winter Drinks to Keep the Whole Family Cozy
Enjoy these kid-friendly winter drinks, including egg nog, hot chocolate, apple cider, tea, and more!
What are your favorite kid-friendly winter drinks?
New Children’s Album for Winter Fun
Just in time for the cold weather is a new album of 16 original songs from GRAMMY® Award-winning The Okee Dokee Brothers. Winterland is an upbeat, toe tapping album that celebrates everything that is glorious about winter, from playing out in the snow to getting to know a Yeti. My favorite is “Keep Me Warm,” (see the video on their YouTube channel), while my kids keep requesting “The Abominable Yeti.” (I love the rhymes on that one!)
This fun loving pair of childhood friends will catch children up in the excitement of exploring and enjoying the outdoors in winter. In a time where children often experience the world via screens, it’s refreshing to have music that takes us back to the wonders of nature and appreciating the changing seasons.
Looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids? Why not make an escape room? It is a fun way to engage a group of kids in crafts and puzzles related to Day of the Dead! We have you covered with a complete (though flexible) plan to set up your escape room, including a free printable pack! Perfect activity for a classroom setting or Day of the Dead party.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.
Day of the Dead Activity for Kids: Make an Escape Room
Are you throwing a Day of the Dead party or looking for a fun Day of the Dead activity for kids for your classroom? Here is a complete plan, including a printable (see below), though it is also flexible to allow you to adjust to suit your needs.
Below are eight activities (many included in the printable pack) that you can use for your Day of the Dead escape room. Any of these can be swapped out or modified to suit your group of students; however, make sure that you end up with EIGHT activities total, so that they can solve the final puzzle. The activities can be done in any order, but all must be completed before they are given the final puzzle to solve.
For each activity done or puzzle solved, the students will receive one letter (included in the printable). Once they receive all eight letters, they can solve the final puzzle.
Variation: To add some excitement to this Day of the Dead activity for kids, you could set a time limit to the game then blow up some of these skeleton balloons and pop one every few minutes. (So, for example, if you are going to give them 30 minutes for the activity, blow up 6 balloons and pop one every 5 minutes). Once the last balloon is popped, time’s up!
Depending on your layout and the size of the group, the children could work together on each activity on one large table, or you could set up each activity on a separate, smaller table, and have the children work in smaller groups, each of which would complete several of the activities. (For example, 4 small groups could do 2 activities each). However you decide, the entire group should solve the final puzzle together.
Work together to complete a Day of the Dead fill in the blank activity (included in the printable).
Activity 5: Papel Picado
Make banners with beautiful papel picado, either using this template or their own design.
Activity 6: Word Problem
Solve a Day of the Dead themed word problem (included in the printable).
Activity 7: Acrostic Poem
Get creative by writing their own acrostic poem about Day of the Dead! (Template included in the printable).
Activity 8: Honoring Loved Ones
While Day of the Dead has become a popular holiday, it’s important to remind kids about the real meaning behind it, which is to honor and remember loved ones that have passed on. Have each student make a drawing of a loved one or hero that has passed on, along with a sentence or two about what they remember about them. (Worksheet included in the printable).
Finish off your Day of the Dead activity for kids by having them solve one final puzzle! This puzzle (included in the printable) is solved using the letters earned with each completed activity.
While they enjoy their treats, read this fun new picture book for older kids! A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding is a great introduction to Day of the Dead from the perspective of a young boy whose family has recently moved back to Mexico. Like most children, Adri has heard some about Day of the Dead but finds much of it confusing. And to top it all off, his older sister decides to play a trick on him, telling him that Day of the Dead is when Adri is going to die!
Young readers will identify with Adri’s confusion and enjoy the happy resolution, learning all about the beautiful Day of the Dead holiday along the way.
I loved the artwork in A Marvelous Mexican Misunderstanding, which captures the emotional tenor of the story as well as providing some stunning views of Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. My favorite was the nighttime boat ride to the island of Janitzio, twinkling with candlelight. My sons enjoyed Adri’s sometimes funny, sometimes nerve-wracking misunderstandings – plus his pet axolotl, of course!
Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting another blog hop for Day of the Dead! (Don’t miss our series from last year, 2017, and 2016!) Be sure to visit all the posts below for great ideas on sharing Day of the Dead with kids:
All you looking for some not so scary books to share with your kids this Halloween? Here are some wonderfully silly Halloween books that will make your kids giggle, not scream (though there may be some groans at a few of the jokes)! And this post is part of a Halloween blog hop, so don’t miss the links to other fun Halloween themed posts at the end.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Silly Halloween Books Kids Will Love
Does Frankenstein Get Hungry? is the perfect read for any child who finds all the trappings off Halloween just a tad too scary. The young protagonist, when she gets too frightened of all things spooky, brilliantly turns the monsters and ghouls in her head from creepy to silly by asking pertinent questions, like whether Frankenstein gets hungry, or if Dracula flosses his fangs. (My son’s favorite, of course, was whether the boogeyman has boogers!) A great technique for teaching littles to conquer their fears!
AlphaOops: H Is for Halloween is such a great book for a range of ages – my toddler loves it she’s currently obsessed with the alphabet (and she gets to make her silly ghost noises), while my 5 year old laughs at all the jokes, like the running gag that the other letters keep stealing the letter B’s costume ideas. It’s a fun follow up to AlphaOops!: The Day Z Went First.
The Scariest Book Ever made us all laugh out loud, as we soon discover that this is absolutely not the scariest book ever. It’s actually a cute story about a ghost who is scared to go outside of his haunted house but eventually gains the courage to go to a Halloween party – with hilarious results! (Don’t worry, they all enjoy their Halloween cupcakes together in the end!)
Monster Trouble! has been a bedtime favorite for a long time now, and my son still laughs every time. Of course, I love the spunky heroine who is plagued by monsters who just want to play with her every night, so that she falls asleep in class the everyday. She tries every trick she can think of to get them to leave her alone so she can get some sleep, until one night she accidentally stumbles on the perfect (and very sweet!) solution.
Skeleton Hiccups is one of our favorite silly Halloween books and will definitely have your kids giggling, as the poor Skeleton attempts all the tried and true methods to cure himself of the hiccups. (Spoiler: Drinking water doesn’t help if the water just pours right back out!) It’s left to his buddy Ghost to come up with the perfect solution and prove that even Skeletons can get scared silly!
My homeschooling friends and I are all abuzz with plans for the upcoming school year: the best curricula, favorite planners, new approaches to challenging subjects, and tips to get organized (for real, this time!) Now that we’re entering our fourth full year of homeschooling (if you don’t count the co-op preschool we did when my oldest was small), I have a better sense of what we’ll need to get ready for the new year, so I’ve compiled some of my favorites in this back to school guide for homeschoolers. Share your favorite resources in the comments!
This is part of a back to school crafts and school supply guides blog hop be sure to check out all the great ideas at the bottom of this post!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Back to School Guide for Homeschoolers
I love these Magazine File Holders! They are an easy way to organize books, papers, and files by subject and/or child. (We also use them to organize the kids’ magazines and comic books). They are colorful and sturdy and easy to label. They also help maximize space because they can be set on top of a dresser or bookcase if (like us) you never seem to have enough shelf space.
Expanding file folders are another great organizational tool, which is also easy to take with you if you need to go to a meeting or want to take your planning to a coffee shop or on the patio.
By the end of the school year, most of our crayons have been lost or used up, and the caps to all the markers disappeared, so it’s always nice to start out fresh! This Crayola Inspiration Art Case comes with everything – loads of crayons and markers, and even drawing paper!
My younger two adore doing crafts, so this ALEX Toys Craft Giant Art Jar would be perfect! It would also be a great way to keep them engaged while I work one on one with their older brother.
My kids love drawing! Honestly, most of the time we use reams of loose leaf paper, but a Melissa & Doug Drawing Pad is perfect to have in the car or to take when we’re waiting for one to finish with karate, etc.
We bought the Learning Resources Magnifier & Tweezers a couple years ago and have gotten so much use out of them! We take them on nature walks and use them with our discovery tray. Perfect for little hands!
If you are doing nature studies or just want to explore outdoors with your kids, try this Adventure Exploration Set by Ninja Kid. It comes with binoculars, flashlights, compass, telescope, magnifying glass, whistle, and bag!
Many of us are familiar with Little Passports for their amazing geography tools, but did you know they also have science subscription kits? I love everything by Little Passports, and a friend of mine has used really enjoyed using the Science Expeditions subscription with her daughter.
Another great science tool to have on hand is Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Discovery Kit. It is a great kit to get your child doing some hands-on science learning. Although the age says 8+, both of my boys were able to enjoy it by age 5 with supervision.
One of my son’s enrichment teachers – and a longtime homeschooler – once told me that one of her regrets was not buying a microscope for her kids sooner. There are so many out there, that which one you buy just really depends on your budget and your child’s level of interest. This AMSCOPE-KIDS M30-ABS-KT1 Beginner Microscope Kit is a good basic microscope for kids, and I love that it comes with accessories and a sturdy carrying case.
My kids are really into coding, so this year we’re purchasing a Kano Computer Kit. You actually build your own computer – what a great way hands on way to learn about how computers work! Plus afterwards you can practice coding on the computer.
There is no doubt that the relationship between dads and daughters is a special one, and one that is formative to a girl’s growing sense of self and her future relationships. (No pressure, Dad!) So this Father’s Day, celebrate all that is beautiful and goofy about this relationship with these wonderful new picture books about fathers and their little girls.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
New Picture Books About Dads and Daughters
With My Daddy: A Book of Love and Family (Growing Hearts) is a lovely keepsake book from the author of All My Treasures: A Book of Joy, also part of the Growing Hearts series (read my full review). It is a celebration of all the ways that a girl can spend time with her father – riding bikes, swimming, or just relaxing. To me, the underlying message it about unconditional love, as her father’s unwavering support makes the main character feel safe and more sure of herself, and more able to deal with big emotions.
For a more silly take on dads and daughters, don’t miss Pet Dad! The cover alone already gives you a hint about where this book will take you! This book takes a familiar disagreement – a child who wants a pet, the parent who says no – to a hilarious extreme, as a girl explores all the ways her dad is (and isn’t) the perfect pet. Kids will love all the silliness as the main character tries to “train” her dad, and parents will notice that she is the one being trained, into asking her father for things nicely!
June 4, 2018Sacramento, SummerComments Off on Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge
The Sacramento area has so much to offer for families! This summer, get out and explore the River City with your kids by taking part in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge: You could win one of our great prizes, while celebrating Sacramento summer fun with your family! Read on for more details on this fun Instagram challenge.
Sacramento Summer Fun Instagram Challenge: #SummerFunSac
Looking for a fun way to get out and explore the Sacramento area with your family this summer? Join in our #SummerFunSac Instagram challenge and giveaway, running this June and July and celebrating all the ways families have fun in the River City in the summertime!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.
How to Participate:
Post a photo(s) of you and/or your family having fun in the Sacramento area this summer! All photos must be family friendly and include the #SummerFunSac hashtag.
June 1, 2018recipes, SummerComments Off on Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade
Lemonade is the quintessential summer drink, so why not whip up a homemade batch? It only takes minutes! Adding strawberries makes it even more special, and now you have a guilt free version that uses honey as the sweetener, so there is no reason not to enjoy a tall glass (or more!) this weekend. Honey sweetened strawberry lemonade is a refreshing drink the whole family can enjoy!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Honey Sweetened Strawberry Lemonade
We are blessed with lemon and orange trees in our backyard, so when we found some ripe lemons on a particularly hot day last week, we immediately thought of lemonade! I found this wonderful homemade lemonade recipe and adapted it for our tastes, mainly by switching out honey for sugar in the simple syrup. Also, I used frozen strawberries instead of fresh to make strawberry lemonade because, let’s face it, if we have fresh strawberries we tend to gobble them up right away!
As for the honey, this recipe is very easy to adjust for your tastes and how tart your lemons are. Because you mix it all up in the blender, if you need to add extra honey later, it will mix it perfectly well.
We juiced 4 large lemons with our Cuisinart CJE-500 Compact Juice Extractor to yield approximately 2 cups of juice. If you end up with a different amount, the important thing is to make sure it is roughly a 1:1 ratio with the simple syrup. Again, as you can see, this is a very easy recipe to adjust!
Makes 2 liters
2 cups fresh lemon juice (approx. 4 large lemons)
2 cups simple syrup (see below)
1 cup frozen strawberries
To make simple syrup:
Mix 2 Tbs honey in 2 cups boiling water. Let cool.
In a blender, mix lemon juice, simple syrup, and strawberries until smooth. Add water and ice until you have 2 liters total, then mix again and adjust for sweetness, adding more honey if desired. Enjoy!
Do you homeschool year round? Or are your children in traditional schools but you want to avoid that notorious summer slide? Here is our summer homeschool plan to balance book learning with hands on activities and simple children fun!
Our Summer Homeschool Plan
When I first started homeschooling, I looked forward to summer as a much needed break and a chance to take stock and make any adjustments that seemed necessary as I planned for the coming year. Now that I’ve got my sea legs a bit (and my youngest is no longer an infant that requires more devoted attention), I’m ready to tackle the idea of year-round homeschooling.
As a result, this year we have embarked on a summer homeschool plan that keeps the kids’ skills sharp while also still feeling like vacation to them and a break from lesson planning for me.
I really wanted them to enjoy the simple pleasures of a childhood summer – like going to the pool and playing for hours at the park – at the same time as they take advantage of a less busy schedule to take on big projects that interest them.
So how are we achieving that balance?
Some activities will be ongoing, such as saying prayers together in the mornings and doing our read-aloud at lunchtime. Beyond this, I divided our activities into three areas: Written Work, Projects, and Adventures.
Written Work is what we traditionally think of as schoolwork: math, grammar, history, etc. For each of the boys, I created a weekly checklist of what they need to accomplish. For my 8 year old, he has to complete two tasks off the list each day, while my 5 year old has to complete one.
Thankfully, we found curricula that we love this past year, so they just need to keep going in those. As in, no lesson planning for me, unless there is a project tie-in I’d like to do, such as a craft or engineering project to go with our history lesson.
My eight year old has to do: History, Spanish, Religious, Math (twice), Language Arts (twice), Creative Writing, Coding/Science, and Journal.
My five year old has to do: Phonics, his Kindergarten workbook, Math (twice), and Spanish.
This is less than they have to do during the school year and so still allows plenty of time for free reading and unstructured play.
Projects are very open-ended and can relate to any subject (however loosely). For example, my five year old loves to build Lego and Knex sets, so we built a castle together. My eight year old loves coding, so he’s teaching himself to do some really nifty things in different coding languages (I expect he’ll be helping me with my website before long!) Other ideas are cooking, crafting, making slime, doing science experiments, and so on. This is the time we can dig into projects that we might not have time for during the school year, when we’re also juggling enrichment classes and sports. It’s also a great way to encourage kids to follow their passions and explore new subjects!
Adventures are a favorite area for all of us! This basically includes anything that gets us out of the house and exploring. It could be going to a park, going on a nature walk, geocaching, trying a new restaurant, or going to a museum. Summers are for exploring!
The weather is finally warming up in our neck of the woods, so we celebrated by concocting some fruity, chocolate-y pops! Inspired by a traditional Puerto Rican treat, these tropical chocolate mango popsicles are full of fruity goodness – mango, banana, and coconut – plus a touch of decadence from the chocolate. What better way to celebrate the fact that summer is just around the corner? Plus, you don’t want to miss our giveaway of a wonderful new children’s activity coloring book all about Puerto Rico!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Puerto Rico, the Island of Enchantment for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Tropical Chocolate Mango Popsicles
Summer is coming, which makes us all think about tropical beaches and relaxing by the waves. To bring a little taste of the tropics to our home in Northern California, we decided to make these scrumptious tropical chocolate mango popsicles. I was inspired by Puerto Rican limber, a frozen treat similar to popsicles and often made with fresh fruits and juices. You can do all kinds of combinations, but we were especially interested in mango – which was great because I had a huge bag of frozen mango in the freezer! Of course, if you have fresh, by all means use that, but it is often hard for us to find really good mangoes in our area, plus with kids, it’s so much easier to use frozen since it’s already peeled and chopped for you.
If you want an authentic mango limber, then I highly recommend trying this recipe from Modern Mami, or you can browse this great collection of healthy limber recipes! I wanted to do something a little different, so we added a little twist to our recipe by adding shredded coconut and banana, as well as chocolate. Cocoa powder alone is quite bitter, so I actually used hot chocolate mix (!) but if you don’t have this, just use cocoa powder and sugar to taste.
Ingredients (makes 6+ popsicles)
4 cups of mango (frozen or fresh)
honey to taste
3 cups water (add more or less depending on how thick you like it)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup hot chocolate mix (or combination of cocoa powder and sugar)
Combine all ingredients in blender. Taste and adjust for sweetness. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.
I am endlessly impressed by the author’s talent as an illustrator but also the depth of her knowledge about the subject. Puerto Rico, La Isla del Encanto – Cuaderno de Ejercicios: Puerto Rico, The Island of Enchantment – Workbook is incredibly comprehensive, covering topics as varied as history, geography, government, religion, sports, food, and the arts. It contains nearly 200 workbook pages (plus answer keys) appropriate for elementary school and even older (though younger kids will definitely enjoy the coloring part of it!) There is so much to explore here, no matter what your child’s interests, so it is sure to be a hit!
The book is completely bilingual, so whether your kids read/write fluently in Spanish, just un poquito, or not at all, this is the perfect book to expose them to Spanish and the rich culture and history of the Island of Enchantment.
Even better, all of the profits from the first year of its publication go to recovery efforts in Puerto Rico. This book is a true labor of love, dedicated to the author’s homeland during its time of need. It is a great way to support Puerto Rico and teach kids about this beautiful island that they have surely been hearing about on the news.
And now you can win your own copy! Simply comment on this post, letting us know which topic about Puerto Rico you think your child would be most interested in! Geography, history, the arts, sports, or … ? Let us know!
Contest ends Tuesday, May 15, 2018, at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random selection. US Shipping Only
Go green this Easter with these easy and environmentally-friendly ideas! Easter is such a fun holiday for kids, but unfortunately many of the products associated with it are meant to be disposable and so produce a lot of garbage. For example, each year more than 8,000 tons of waste results just from Easter egg packaging. Since Easter is a spring holiday, let’s show a little kindness to green and growing things by being mindful about what we use and buy. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with this huge collection of eco-friendly Easter ideas for kids, from upcycled Easter baskets to adorable Easter crafts made with recycled materials.
Eco-Friendly Easter Ideas for Kids
Go green this Easter with these fun eco-friendly Easter ideas!