Archive for the ‘Family Fun’ Category

Happy Easter!

HAPPY EASTER!!! 

I don’t have a post prepared (I’m a little busy with family festivities!).  I just want to wish my readers a Happy Easter.  I hope you are having a great day with your family.

If you are looking for some last-minute Easter fun, then check out these posts from earlier this week; Easter activities, egg decorating, and Easter treats

Enjoy your day!

Now That’s A Decorated Egg!

Oh, how I love decorating Easter eggs.  Isn’t it fun taking a plain, white egg and turning it into something fabulous?  Many of my childhood Easter memories revolve around decorating eggs.  There are 6 of us in my family, so we decorated a lot of eggs.  My mom was quite the penny pincher and would have us blow out the egg into a bowl – did you ever do that?  We would punch a hole in the top and bottom of the egg and then blow until the blood vessels in our eyes were about to pop.  We were left with hollow shells and a bowl full of egg.  Thankfully – after a lot of complaining – we started boiling them.  My mom would still make sure we ate the eggs in some way or another.  To this day, I love decorating eggs.  I enjoy using my creative side, but not nearly as much as I enjoy the family time.  

Simple How-To

  1. Gently place eggs in single layer in large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by 1 inch. Cover. Bring just to boil on high heat. Remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. (Adjust time up or down by 3 minutes for each size larger or smaller.)
  2. Pour off hot water and rapidly cool eggs by running them under cold water (or place in ice water) until completely cooled.
  3. Mix 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar and 10 to 20 drops food color in a cup to achieve desired colors. Repeat for each color. Or, use this Color Creator for more colors.
  4. Dip hard-cooked eggs in dye for about 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon, wire egg holder or tongs to add and remove eggs from dye. Allow eggs to dry.

 

I’m always looking for innovative ways to decorate eggs.  Here are some fun ideas we can all try this year.

Decorating Ideas 

  • Painted eggs: Mix 20 drops food color and 1/2 teaspoon vinegar in small container. Paint hard-cooked eggs with a small paintbrush or cotton swab. Go wild with stripes, polka dots and zigzags.
  • Designed eggs: Before dyeing, place rubber bands, stickers such as chicks, rabbits, flowers or other springtime favorites, or paper reinforcements on the eggs to create the design of choice. Once dry, remove the rubber bands, etc., to view the design.
  • Personalized eggs: Write initials, names or draw pictures on the egg with a white or light-colored crayon (white is best) before dying.
  • Marbleized eggs: Mix 1/4 cup boiling water, 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/8 teaspoon oil and 4 to 8 drops food color in shallow bowl. Gently roll egg in the mixture for 30 seconds, or until the egg is the desired shade. Transfer the egg to a second color mixture, and repeat the process. Allow the egg to dry completely. Wipe away excess oil with a paper towel.
  • Tie-dyed eggs: Place several eggs in a colander in the kitchen sink. Splash eggs with vinegar. Drop yellow food color onto eggs. Gently shake the colander for a few seconds to help the color spread. Let stand 30 seconds. Repeat with 1 or 2 additional food colors. After the final stand time, lightly rinse eggs with water. Drain completely. Allow eggs to dry.

 

If you love Martha Stewart crafts and would like to take egg decorating up a notch, then you’ll enjoy Martha’s 62 Ways to Decorate an Egg.  I’ve included pictures of just a few amazing Martha creations. 

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In honor of Earth Day, let’s recycle those egg cartons.  Try bringing critters to life.

  1. Begin by mixing 3/4 cup of potting soil and 2 tablespoons of grass seed in a bowl. Add water to moisten the mixture, then set it aside.
  2. Cut away a three-cup section of an egg carton, then trim the section along the longer edges so that your grassapillar will look the same from both sides. With a permanent marker, draw a face on one end as shown. Gently spoon the seed mixture into the cups.
  3. Set your creation on a dish in a brightly lit spot and keep the soil moist. The grass should sprout in about a week.  

 

Did you miss yesterday’s post?  Click here for fun craft and activity ideas. 

Do you have your own decorating tips or ideas?  I’d love to hear them.

Fun Ideas for Easter: Start Planning Today

Easter is such an amazing opportunity to spend time together as a family and create memories.   Here are some fun activities for the big day.  Coming up tomorrow and Saturday; fun ways to decorate easter eggs, and fabulous Easter treats.   Have fun planning!!

These Easter crafts double as decorations and are easy (and fun) to make.  The kids will enjoy seeing their decorations displayed throughout the house.  Raid your craft closet, drawer, or bin.   If you don’t already have everything you need, then you can find inexpensive items at a local store.  Cut construction paper into desired shapes, then decorate with craft items you found or purchased.  You can use things like; felt, markers, paint, glitter, stickers, piping and the list goes on.     

Easter mazes  and coloring pages are always fun (and I’ll also mention easy and inexpensive).  You can find more mazes here and more coloring pages  here.

I hope I’ve given you some great ideas to help celebrate Easter with the kiddos.  I always enjoy spending time with family, dying eggs, eating treats and so on.  They are great activities to top off an already amazing day.  In the midst of the hustle and bustle, don’t forget to acknowledge the reason behind the holiday and thank the Lord for all He has done. 

Check back tomorrow for fun egg decorating ideas!

Mr. Tomato Head Helps Children Eat Veggies

Does the thought of climbing Mount Everest seem like a more manageable task than getting your kids to eat their veggies?  If so, maybe Mr. Tomato Head can help (along with some additional tips). 

Do try this at home:

  • Offer “special treats” and snacks in the form of veggies.  At times, it is the thought of dinner that makes kids automatically put their guard up…they just know there will be something green on their plate.  Mr. Tomato Head will somehow seem more appealing when it appears to be a “special treat.” 
  • Put away (or don’t buy) the junk.  Instead, keep a fruit bowl on the counter and ready-to-eat veggies in the fridge. 
  • Get your kids involved.  Let them pick out recipes they may want to try, let them pick out the veggies from the supermarket or local farmers market, and then let them help cook.  Kids like to help and if they feel a sense of pride in what they’ve made, they’ll want to eat it.  I tried this one year at Thanksgiving.  My niece and nephew wanted to help cook.  I decided to let them help make the broccoli and cauliflower casserole.  I had them cut the veggies and mix them in with the other ingredients.  I think they ate more of that dish than anything else and insisted that everyone try it. 
  • Talk about veggies like they are something to enjoy.  Say things like, “yum, I really like the Zucchini and it is so healthy for us.”  We all know that children pick up on our vibes and especially what we say. 
  • What kid wants to eat a blob of spinach (I don’t even want to eat it)?  Instead, offer variety and have some fun with it!       

(Share your tips and tricks with the group.  We can use all the help we can get!)       

I found these recipes on parents.com.  I’ve only included two, but the article gives 30 Kid-Friendly Fresh Veggie Meals.  Check it out for additional, fun recipes to try!

Source: parents.com

Mr. Tomato Head

Hollow out a tomato, saving the top slice. Fill with cooked couscous mix, top with shredded basil, and cover partially with reserved tomato top, as shown. Rest black-olive slices on tomato ledge for eyes. Cut a piece of provolone cheese in the shape of a mouth and place it right on the tomato — it’ll stick.

Source: parents.com

Tasty Tic-Tac-Toe

Peel an eggplant and cut lengthwise into sticks. Toss in a bowl with 1 egg and 1/4 cup milk, then coat with bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 20 minutes. Arrange strips like a tic-tac-toe board and fill in with cherry-tomato halves and broccoli.

 

P.S., Don’t forget to take the poll in the right navigation bar.  I’ll take the poll down next week and want your input!

Wear Green Tomorrow!

Because planning for a holiday the DAY OF can be stressful, I thought I’d post today.  I didn’t know the history behind St. Patrick’s Day until this week.  I thought I’d share.  I’ve also included a recipe for Corned Beef and Cabbage – a traditional, mouth watering, Irish dish (for tomorrow).  For activity ideas and green recipes, check out my post St. Patrick’s Day Fun.  Wear green tomorrow!
   

The History of St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day was not officially recognized until 1976. Saint Patrick has been credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. There seem to be multiple origin stories for St. Patrick’s Day, but:

  • Most sources agree that St. Patrick’s actual name was Maewyn Succat. They also agree that Maewyn was kidnapped and sold into slavery at age 16 and, to help him endure his enslavement, he turned to God.
  • Six years after his captivity began, St. Patrick escaped from slavery to France, where he became a priest, and then the second Bishop to Ireland. He spent the next 30 years establishing schools, churches, and monasteries across the country. He brought Christianity widespread acceptance amongst the pagan indigenous peoples.
  • It is thought that St. Patrick used a shamrock as a metaphor for the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), showing how three individual units could be part of the same body. His parishioners began wearing shamrocks to his church services. Today, “the wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day represents spring, shamrocks, and Ireland.
  • The date of St. Patrick’s death is still up for discussion. Some say that he died on March 17th, 461 AD. Another possibility is either March 8th or 9th – the days were added together to get March 17th. What is certain is that the holiday came to America in 1737, and was celebrated in Boston that year.

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Ingredients

(cut down recipe if needed)

  • 3 pounds corned beef brisket with spice packet
  • 10 small red potatoes
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 large head cabbage, cut into small wedges

Directions

  • Place corned beef in large pot or Dutch oven and cover with water. Add the spice packet that came with the corned beef. Cover pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer approximately 50 minutes per pound or until tender.
  • Add whole potatoes and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are almost tender. Add cabbage and cook for 15 more minutes. Remove meat and let rest 15 minutes.
  • Place vegetables in a bowl and cover. Add as much broth (cooking liquid reserved in the Dutch oven or large pot) as you want. Slice meat across the grain.
  • GUESS WHAT?  You can also cook this in the crock pot.  Put corned beef, veggies and seasonings in crock pot with water.  Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 8 hours.  You can cook the cabbage in the crock pot as well, but if you like your cabbage a little more firm, then you may want to cook it on the stove right before dinner. 

St. Patrick’s Day Fun

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner.  Here are some recipes and activities to kick off your planning. 

Visit Posh Little Baby’s Arcade for some fun, newly added free St Patrick’s Day Games:

Creating Traditions

Childhood is fun, full of simple pleasures and comprised of beautiful memories.  Think back to your childhood.  What are your fondest memories?  They may include one big event like visiting Disney Land, but likely most of your memories stem from traditions – things you did as a family every week, month, or year.  Traditions give your family a gift to cherish for years, or generations, to come.

Family Traditions Accomplish a Few Things:

  • Enriches the time you spend with your children
  • Creates positive memories for you and your children
  • Gives families a chance to reconnect and share their lives
  • Makes family life predictable. In a world where life is often unpredictable having a family ritual helps make life more secure for both parents and children.
  • A family identity is formed through rituals. By establishing family traditions & rituals we give children an identity, a group to belong to, and a sense of who they are.
  • Family rituals teach children values. Children learn what their parents value by the rituals that are observed such as attending church, giving service, and visiting elderly relatives. Rituals give children a set of values that they can take into adulthood and use in their own families.  By simply making family time a priority, you are teaching your children the value and importance of family.

Family traditions can be something that you do nightly, weekly or even yearly. They can be simple or complex. The only criterion is that you choose something that you and your children are both interested in doing.

Ideas to Get You Started:

Everyday Activities

  • Go to church as a family every week
  • Read a story every night before bed
  • Eat dinner together every night
  • Have a big family breakfast every Saturday or Sunday
  • Have a family night every week
  • Have a family reunion every year

Holidays

  • Ring in the New Year as a family every year.  Have a dress-up party.
  • Decorate the house for every holiday making the holidays extra special and memorable
  • Take a yearly camping, floating, or fishing trip
  • Let your child choose his favorite meal for his birthday
  • Make pancakes in the shape of the year your child is turning for her birthday
  • Read the Christmas Story from the Bible every Christmas
  • Buy Christmas presents for a needy child
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen  
  • Go to the pumpkin patch and pick out pumpkins for Halloween.  Carve them later!

Other Occasions

  • First day back at school – have a big breakfast, send a special lunch, and/or take pictures (your child my grumble but they will be able to look back and laugh at their outfits and hairstyles).
  • First day of summer vacation – have a pool party, BBQ, or let them invite friends over
  • Family pet’s birthday – let the kids plan this one.  They’ll have fun playing this role after watching you plan parties.   
  • Report card celebration (given they have done well) – have an ice cream party at home
  • Annual family walk on the first day of spring (rain or shine).

As parents, we need to create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime, instill family values, and build relationships with our children.  Keep it simple and fun!  (share some of your favorite traditions with the group)

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