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!
March 1, 2018Mother's DayComments Off on 10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Make Mom Feel Special
This post on Mother’s Day gift ideas is sponsored by RosesOnly; however, my love for moms and all they do is truly from the heart.
Mother’s Day is that special time of year when families recognize the hard work, dedication, and unconditional love that mothers provide to their children. There are so many simple ways you can make Mom feel special this year, whether you are looking for the perfect gift to buy or you’d like try your hand at making something special yourself. However you decide to do it, here are 10 Mother’s Day gift ideas you won’t want to miss!
10 Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to Make Mom Feel Special
Seriously! Most moms I know would give this option top rank. Motherhood requires a lot of energy and frequently demands late nights and early mornings, particularly with young children – although teens often make moms lose sleep, just for different reasons! So give her a break this year by letting her snooze longer than she gets to the other 364 days. This doesn’t just mean not having kids jump on her bed at 6 am, but maybe even taking them outside to play so she can enjoy a quiet house in order to really get some extra sleep.
2. Breakfast in Bed
Once she does finally wake up, have a special breakfast waiting for her! Of course, you can go all out and make a fancy spread, but really you can just keep it simple with juice and toast or maybe pancakes. (Just don’t forget her coffee!) Moms will definitely appreciate any meal they didn’t have to prepare themselves, no matter how simple – bonus if she gets to eat her food while it’s still hot!
3. Homemade Cards
I love homemade cards! In this day of emails and texts, a homemade card is something to be cherished. Again, I tend to go for simple and heartfelt, especially if it’s something made by my kids. There are lots of fun ideas out there for creative cards kids can make, but if you aren’t very crafty, don’t worry! A simple drawing with a loving message from the kiddos is really all that’s required.
4. Keepsake Craft
Moms love keepsakes from their children, so take the time to do an easy craft with your kids that she will cherish for years to come. Anything made with with the kids’ hand prints or thumbprints is a winner – as time goes on, she can look back and marvel that her children used to be so small! Again, when making a keepsake craft, think heartfelt over perfect. This sweet hand print craft is one we originally did several years ago for Father’s Day but works just as well for Mother’s Day.
5. Bath Scrub
Help Mom relax with a bath scrub! You can find some great ones to purchase, but did you know that you can also make your own? Try this orange coconut bath scrub! You could go all out and give her a total “home spa” treatment complete with cucumbers over the eyes and smoothies to drink – let your imagination go wild!
Moms love little things to make the home beautiful. Candles are always a lovely gift, as they can really brighten a room and add a touch of elegance. Don’t forget you can DIY them too! Look for scents like vanilla or apple spice, which are always popular, just be sure to pick one that’s not too overwhelming, especially if she or someone in your family has a sensitive nose. You can even buy or make some elegant candle holders for her to display them.
7. Cooking or Art Class
I have to admit that this is my personal favorite (hint, hint!) Taking a class can be a fun way for Mom to unwind with some friends and learn something new! These days you can find classes on everything from cooking to crafts to painting. Do a search for ones available in your area, or ask a talented friend if she would be willing to put on a class for you! This can be a fun way to support a friend and set up a fun evening out with for Mom with her friends!
8. Quality Family Time
Mother’s Day is a great time to spend quality time together as a family – whether it’s going on a hike or having lunch at a favorite restaurant. Last year we were able to take a trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains on Mother’s Day. To our surprise, it was still snowing, even though it was May! The afternoon we spent playing in the snow together is still one we talk about frequently.
9. Coupon Book
Keep the gift going long after Mother’s Day with a coupon book! We used to love making these for our mom when I was a kid, with coupons for making dinner and helping with the laundry. Customize it to give her the little treats you know the mom in your life will want – like help around the house or a date night with Dad.
Long-time readers may know that I am in love with roses, and what better way to celebrate Mom than by sending her some of these gorgeous flowers? Roses have long been a symbol of love, so they are the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. Sending roses to Mom for Mother’s Day is a beautiful way of showing your love for all that she does. You can even pair your roses with chocolate, because, well, does that really need an explanation??
So whether you like to celebrate by spending time together as a family or by making a keepsake craft for Mom with the kids, be sure to thank the mothers in your life this year with these simple but heartfelt Mother’s Day gift ideas!
Are you excited for Purim? Here are some ideas for throwing a Purim party everyone will enjoy, including an amazing new Purim album for kids! So whether your kids are already familiar with Purim or learning about it for the first time, here are fun ideas and resources to plan a Purim party your kids will love. And don’t miss the big GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Purimania by Danna Banana; however, all opinions are my own.
Plan a Purim Party Your Kids Will Love
What Is Purim?
The origins of the Jewish holiday Purim go back to the Persian Empire in the 4th Century BCE. After King Ahasuerus had his wife, Queen Vashti, executed because she didn’t follow his orders, he held a beauty contest to find a new queen. The winner, Esther, was at first careful not to reveal to the king that she was Jewish, yet she was destined to become heroine for her people.
The problems began when her cousin Mordechai, the leader of the Jews, refused to bow to Haman, the Prime Minister. Furious, Haman influenced the king and set into motion a plan to kill all of the Jews. Yet Mordecai convinced Esther to intercede with the king, a very dangerous task, since anyone who visited the king without being summoned could be put to death. Yet Esther showed true courage by speaking to the king, who turned against the wicked Haman. Haman was put to death and replaced as prime minister by Mordechai. The Jewish people were saved and were finally allowed to defend themselves against their enemies.
How to Celebrate
Purim is a joyous celebration of Esther’s bravery and the triumph of good over evil. Purim starts Wednesday night, February 28 and continues through Thursday, March 1, 2018, in the US (ends March 2 in Israel). Here are some great ways to help your kids celebrate Purim and learn more about this fun holiday. (Read more in this wonderful how-to guide).
Purim is perhaps best known for the fun costumes that everyone wears. While traditionally people dressed up only as Esther, Mordechai, or the King, these days you can wear any costume you like!
Try your hand at making hamantaschen, the triangular cookies thought to represent Haman’s triangle-shaped hat. There are so many variations to love! People also send gifts of food and drinks to friends during Purim, to reinforce bonds of friendship and community.
Service to Others
Purim is also a time to think of the less fortunate. Why not do a food drive at your Purim party or collect donations for a local charity?
At the heart of Purim is the story of Queen Esther herself and how she saved the Jewish people. Read more about her as well as other Purim stories in this collection of Purim books for kids.
Make your own grogger, a special noise maker to use when you read the Purim story, so you can boo and make lots of noise whenever Haman is mentioned! Another fun activity is to color in and use these printable Purim puppets. Don’t miss these other free Purim printables, including masks and coloring pages.
And just in time for Purim is a new album from award-winning family performer Danna Banana, writer of classics like “The Goofball” and “Suddenly Summer.” Purimania is a stellar collection of tunes old and new celebrating Purim. (See details below on how you can enter to win your own copy – plus a $25 Amazon gift card!)
Danna Banana is a well-loved performer with six albums out and numerous performances across the country. He is a John Lennon Songwriting Grand Prize Winner and named New York Magazine’s Best Party Entertainer. The New York Post called him a ‘ripe talent’ and a mom in New Jersey called him ’a piñata of listening pleasure’. Trained as an opera singer, he sang leading roles all over the country in such operas as La Boheme, Don Giovanni, and Carmen before turning his talents to children’s music.
While most of Danna Banana’s work is non-denominational music for kids, among his earlier albums include Bananukah!, a celebration of Hanukah. That album’s success prompted him to create Purimania.
As in Bananukah!, Purimania mixes traditional songs with his own tuneful originals. Mr. Banana offers lively versions of classics like “In Shushan”, “Wicked Man”, and “Hag Purim” while “The Purimania Song” offers up his own whimsical version of the Purim story. In “Hamantaschen Party”, he uses recipes for Hamantaschen, the traditional cookie of Purim, as his lyric– both regular and gluten-free!
My kids and I have been listening to Purimania over and over – it is irresistible! The songs on this album are sure to add the element of fun to any Purim party and make everyone – adults and kids – want to get up and dance!
Check out Purimania! It’s the funniest, most danceable Purim music ever! Let’s party like it’s 330 B.C.! Here’s the title video:
And now for our big giveaway! One lucky reader will win a digital copy of Purimania plus a $25 Amazon gift card! All you need to do to enter is comment below with your favorite character from the Purim story.
Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at midnight PT. Winner chosen by random drawing.
Springtime is here, and with that comes the rush to get outdoors and get active after the long, cold days of winter. Yet moms often don’t realize that they can easily overdo it as they strive to take care of everyone else – overlooking the need to take care of themselves as well. Here are my top tips for springtime self-care for moms, so they can enjoy all of the fun family activities that come with the season.
Parenting Hacks: Springtime Self-Care for Moms
Pack for Yourself, Too
Headed to the playground or to a baseball game? Pack for yourself just as you do for your kids: water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, and so on. Too often moms are so focused on meeting their children’s needs that they ignore their own. Take a few extra minutes to make sure you have what you need to keep you going through all your spring activities, such as Extra Strength TYLENOL® for any muscular pain, backache, or minor pains from headaches or the common cold.
Set a Realistic Schedule
What exactly a realistic schedule is will vary from person to person. Some people thrive on going to many scheduled activities during the week, while others need downtime to recharge in between the sports practices and park dates. I personally try to schedule only one “extra” activity a day outside our usual school routine. Know your own needs and make sure not to overextend yourself. It is easy to overdo it in the excitement of getting back outdoors, plus often we feel pressured to sign our children up for every available extracurricular activity. But you owe it to yourself and your kids to set limits and create realistic schedules. Remember that you are helping your family set healthy patterns as they move into adulthood.
Be Strict About Your Sleep
You are probably tired of hearing this, but getting a good night’s sleep is one of the simplest and most effective strategies for self-care for moms – and it is also one of the most ignored. I am guilty of this myself, since it is so tempting to stay up late when the house is finally quiet and I don’t have anyone making demands of me. But I really notice a difference when I commit to getting a full night’s sleep. And I know my kids can tell the difference, too!
Don’t Ignore Your Aches and Pains
We kiss all of our children’s boo-boos, carefully tending to each little wound, yet when it comes to ourselves we seldom show the same regard. As spring activities ramp up, it can be easy to overdo it, so don’t ignore those aches and pains. Whether you have a stiff back after gardening or a backache from helping set up at school events, Extra Strength TYLENOL®provides powerful relief so you can get back to what you enjoy.
We recently picked up some Extra Strength TYLENOL®at Target. You can see above exactly where we found it. So easy, since we are at Target all the time! Please remember, of course, that Extra Strength TYLENOL® is only for adults and children 12 years and older and should be used only as directed.
So this spring get out and enjoy all of your favorite family activities, knowing that you are taking great care of yourself just as you take care of everyone else!
These days Pinterest is full of fun, adorable Easter crafts for kids, but how many Easter kite crafts have you seen? Although this time of year boasts great kite flying weather, kites are not associated with the Easter holiday here in the US, but kite flying is an Easter tradition in many parts of the Caribbean, especially Bermuda.
Make an Easter Kite to Learn About Bermuda
The story goes that once a Sunday school teacher wanted to help his students understand the ascension of Jesus to heaven and so came up with the creative idea of flying a kite with a picture of Jesus on it. The idea caught on, and now Good Friday finds many Bermudians out flying kites, including an annual Kite Festival at Horseshoe Bay Beach.
Kite flying sounded to me like a wonderful Easter tradition, and a great way to do a craft that is both fun but also has spiritual significance. I’ve got three little kids, so I keep our crafts simple, but if you want to make an authentic Bermuda kite (they are beautiful!) you can watch this slideshow.
Instead, I just opted for this very easy paper kite. They are fairly small and don’t fly as well as the big plastic ones, but I wanted to use materials that we already had on hand and to make kites that would be easy for the kids to put together and decorate themselves.
They turned out really cute! I couldn’t resist putting bunny ears on mine. We were all very proud of ourselves and excited to put them into action. So the next day we headed for historic Gibson Ranch, a beautiful local park, to take advantage of the windy spring weather.
Unfortunately it was a little too windy for the boys at first, but luckily they rallied (and the wind died down a bit) so we could test out our kites and enjoy the scenery.
Beautiful Gibson Ranch
So this Easter try something different – make an Easter kite with your child and learn more about this wonderful tradition from Bermuda!
I am fascinated by the Hindu celebration Holi, the one you see the amazing photographs of each year, with people showering each other with vibrantly colored powders or colored water. But to be honest, beyond the sense of it as a joyous, lively festival, I really didn’t know much about it. Well, dear reader, for you I have decided to go deeper and find out more: Here is why now I’m convinced everyone should learn about Holi!
I received a copy of Let’s Celebrate Holi 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.
Holi is one of the most fun celebrations I have heard of! The most famous aspect of Holi is how celebrants throw colored powder on each other and spray everyone with colored water, until everyone and everything is covered with beautiful, bright colors. Talk about fun, especially for kids who are always told to be careful not to spill or get their clothes dirty! (Find out how to make your own homemade colored powders).
2. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil.
No matter what your religion or philosophy, the battle of good and evil is a classic struggle where we all can support the same side! Sharing the story of Holi is a great way to teach children that when it comes down to it, all people believe in the same basic principles.
3. It is celebrated throughout India and around the world.
Holi is not only celebrated in one of the world’s most populous countries, it has also become popular in other countries as well, in part due to immigration but also because it is such a fun festival (see #1!)
5. Your kids will think you are the coolest parent ever.
Getting messy, throwing water and powder on each other, eating great food, and hearing stories that excite the imagination: no doubt about it, if you help your kids learn about Holi, they will think you are awesome!
Convinced? Then I have the perfect guide to teach you and your kids all about Holi! You may remember the series I have reviewed previously about Maya and Neel, the brother and sister who introduce children to Indian culture. They taught about Mumbai in Let’s Visit Mumbai! and the holiday Diwali in Let’s Celebrate 5 Days of Diwali! (see my reviews here and here). In their latest adventure, Let’s Celebrate Holi!, Maya and Neel help children learn about Holi through traditional foods and activities. I love that the book also highlights regional variations in how Holi is celebrated, with colorful illustrations and maps.
I also appreciated reading the story behind Holi, something I had never really understood before. After all, what does throwing powder on each other have to do with the triumph of good over evil? Find out, plus discover what it has to do with the bonfires during Holi!
As with the other volumes in this series, the illustrations are beautiful and engaging, and young readers can easily relate to these siblings as they learn about Holi and Indian culture, as seen through the eyes of children. If you are looking to introduce your child to this festival or want a story to share in your classroom, I highly recommend Let’s Celebrate Holi!!
Purim is coming, and I have gathered together the best FREE Purim printables out there! They are guaranteed fun for you and your kids, as part of your celebrations of this fun holiday. From masks and puppets to coloring pages and activities, there is something for everyone!
This post is part of our annual Purim for Kids blog hop. Visit the posts below for great ideas about sharing this holiday with the kids in your life! Don’t miss our blog hop from last year, and you can find even more ideas on our Purim board on Pinterest:
May 5, 2016family, Mother's DayComments Off on 5 Ways to Keep in Touch with Family Far Away
Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the mothers and grandmothers in our lives, so it’s a particularly hard time of year to live far away from family. My parents live across the country from us, while my in-laws are in Costa Rica. Though we try to visit as often as we can, it is not practical to go as often as we like, so maintaining ties can be a challenge. Here are some easy ways we have discovered to keep in touch with family far away. Leave your ideas in the comments!
5 Easy Ways to Keep in Touch with Family Far Away
1. Homemade Cards and Gifts
I am a big believer in old-fashioned cards and gifts. For special occasions the kids and I always sit down to make homemade cards to send to loved ones. Especially when you live far away, having a sweet, tangible gift really means a lot! And cards are very practical, since they are inexpensive to send overseas. Hand print cards like this hand trace art are perfect, since they are a great keepsake gift as well. At our last family reunion, my sister-in-law had all the kids make hand print T-shirts for each other – so fun! For even more ideas, check out my Homemade Gift Ideas board on Pinterest.
2. Photo Gifts
Photo gifts are also a lovely way to be “present” in your family’s lives even though you are far away. We send out photo cards with pictures of the kids each year, and often create special family photos to send to the grandparents in the US and Costa Rica for occasions like Mother’s Day. They are truly cherished, as this way the grandparents get to “see” the kids everyday.
3. Create a Shared Ritual
One sweet idea is to create a ritual you each can do at the same time. For example, you could take a morning walk or work in the garden at around the same time then share photos of the flowers or animals you see. (Especially fun if your kids help take the photos!) You could also have special candles that you each light as you say your evening prayers, or a favorite bedtime story you read together over the phone, or a decoration that you can both use on special occasions. My sister, for example, sent us all beautiful handmade garlands that each family uses to decorate for the holidays.
4. Virtual Parties
Can’t be there for a special occasion? Get on the computer and make a virtual visit! My family threw a virtual baby shower for us before each of our babies was born, and we have gotten to be a part of the big family Christmas celebration in Costa Rica each year via computer! We really felt like we were there as my sister-in-law “carried” us around the house to say hi to everyone and even drool over the food!
5. Send a Financial Gift
If we lived nearby, we could take the grandmothers out for brunch on Mother’s Day, or buy them a special gift on their birthdays. Since this is not practical because of the distance, we often send a financial gift instead. (Be sure to check out these awesome Mother’s Day deals and egift cards from PayPal!)
As a busy mom, I’m so glad that now I’ve discovered how easy and safe PayPal and Xoom are to manage and move money quickly. Now I can rest easy knowing our gift was received and they have more time to focus on family rather than chasing down the money transfer. Managing our money securely is important to our growing family, so using services like PayPal and Xoom helps relieve that added stress that finances can bring.
Xoom is the only remittances company that offers instant disbursements, and it has so many options for how your loved ones can receive your financial gift, such as bank transfers, cash pick-up or delivery, bill pay and mobile reload – so easy! And how great is it that you can track your transfers with SMS alerts, and even get a text message when the money is received? I can recall so many instances in the past when my husband had to make multiple phone calls to see exactly how/when our family could pick up the money we had sent, and even then we never quite relaxed until we got a call from our family members that they had received the money successfully. The Xoom system is so much easier, leaving more time for everyone to relax and enjoy the holiday!
How do you keep in touch with family far away?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Whether you are looking for a new twist on a staple of your Passover Seder or wanting to explore the traditions of Passover with your kids for the first time, you will love this Sephardic charoset recipe. Its sweetness is balanced out by the spices and nuts, making it kid-friendly and delicious!
When the opportunity came to participate in a blog hop about Passover for kids from Multicultural Kid Blogs, I rather innocently said that I would do a traditional recipe for Passover from Spain. Our Global Learning series is focusing on Spain this month, so it seemed like a great way to combine the two projects.
So what’s the problem? As it turns out, establishing what exactly is a Spanish tradition for Passover – or any other Jewish holiday – is a bit tricky. Even though Jews have been in Spain since ancient times and during medieval times it had one of the largest Jewish communities in the world, today their numbers are relatively small. Remember the Spanish Inquisition?
Jews had thrived under Muslim rule in Southern Spain, yet everything changed when Ferdinand and Isabella (yes, the same ones that sponsored Columbus’s voyages) were finally able to conquer the remaining Muslim strongholds in the peninsula. As part of their “Reconquest” for the Catholic Church, they also expelled all the Jews. (England had expelled Jews 200 years earlier, and there were similar expulsions in many European countries). The expelled Jews – who today are scattered around the globe – became known as Sephardic Jews, from the Hebrew word for Spain.
Which brings us back to the charoset recipe. This fruit and nut paste eaten during the Passover Seder is meant to symbolize the suffering of the Jews in Egypt because of its resemblance to the mortar the Jewish slaves used in constructing the great monuments of that empire. And so it is fitting that we remember that the sufferings of the Jewish people were not just limited to slavery in Egypt or the Holocaust. They encompass numerous outrages throughout history, including the expulsion (or forced conversion) of the Jews in Spain.
The charoset recipe below, adapted from this version, captures the pungent flavors of Sephardic cooking today, influenced not only from the recent centuries outside of Spain but also from the generations of living under Moorish rule. I increased the proportion of nuts and skipped the spicier spices out of deference to my kids’ tastes. Feel free to tinker to discover your family’s own favorite mix. That is part of the fun!
Scant 1/4 cup each of dried apricots, dates, dark raisins, golden raisins, dried figs, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
About 1/4 cup of apple juice or grape juice
Put all ingredients except juice in the food processor and mix to desired consistency. (Some like a smooth paste, while others prefer it chunkier). Heat the juice and add it gradually to the fruit and nut mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes so the mixture absorbs the liquid and then mix again. Drain off excess liquid or add more if needed.
This post is part of the Passover for Kids Blog Hop from Multicultural Kid Blogs. Visit the co-hosts below for more about how to celebrate this special holiday with kids:
There are many things that a baby uses intensely during its first year, then never again. Think of all those adorable onesies that your baby uses in abundance, then quickly outgrows. Another such item is the receiving blanket. They are perfect for young babies – soft and snuggly and just the right size – until they are suddenly too small, and you are left with a stack of blankets you can no longer use.
Until now! Here is an idea to use an old receiving blanket to upcycle a basket into a cute DIY Easter basket for baby. I’ve also collected fantastic basket filler ideas, plus other creative uses for old baby blankets.
Disclosure: This article was inspired by a complimentary gift basket I received from Gifts.com.
DIY Easter Basket for Baby
I started with this amazing gift basket from Gifts.com. They have a great selection, including the one above, which was full of yummy, organic fruit!
After we had devoured the fruit, I was left with a basket that was just the perfect size for an Easter basket! Since we are all about natural parenting and green living, what better way to make an DIY Easter basket than to upcycle materials we already had on hand?
It couldn’t have been easier! All you need is an old receiving blanket, a basket, and a hot glue gun.
Receiving blankets are perfect for upcycling because of their even, regular shape; their soft material; and their adorable patterns. Plus you have a bunch sitting around the house already! And after Easter, it is great for storage in the nursery or as part of a baby shower gift. (Thanks to a reader for that last suggestion!)
I used this “faux sew” method, in which you basically just drape the material over the basket and hot glue it in place. I love the fullness of the draped material, plus it neatly sidesteps the need to make a hem! (If you do want to make a hem, you can either cut, fold, and hot glue one; or you can use hem tape). This no-sew tutorial is a bit more precise, plus I borrowed its idea of how to tuck the extra material under at the ends. If you want a liner that fits more snugly against the basket, here is a tutorial that includes how to measure material for a round basket.
So pretty and so easy! Now what do you put in that cute basket? Here are some ideas: