These Dinosaurs Are Larger Than Life

dinosaurs, T-Rex, prehistoric dinosaurs

                                                                          Dinosaur Land

Looking for inexpensive places to visit before the kids return to school? If you’re planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia take time to check out Dinosaur Land. It’s an inexpensive roadside attraction that has been around since 1962, and is a great place for photo ops with the little dinosaur lover. 

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6 Tips For Purchasing School Supplies

school shopping, back to school shopping, back to tips, how to shop for school supplies

 

Summer is just about over and the kids will soon be returning to school. Where did the time go? Backpacks, school supplies, and clothing will be needed for the upcoming school year. Parents will be heading out to stock up on school supplies.  Here are a few tips on how you can stock up and shop wisely:

1.  Make a list of the needed supplies –   Check your child’s school site for a list of needed supplies for the upcoming year.  Many schools provide a list of the school supplies needed for the upcoming year as well to your local Kmart, Wal-Mart, Office Max etc.  Be sure to add extra items for homework and additional week-end/tutoring sessions. You can save money by not guessing about what is needed or having to make an additional trip to the store because you omitted items.

2.  Take inventory of supplies from last year purchases – Check your supplies from last year so you won’t buy duplicate or unnecessary items when you head to the store.  You can spend that money on other items.

3.  Do your homework – Check ads for the best deals. Head to your local Dollar Store first and eliminate as many items as possible.  You can purchase quality crayons, pencils, pencil cases, sharpeners and inexpensive notebooks for practicing math problems etc. here.

4. Purchase quality items –  Purchase quality book bags and electronics. Trust me, you will end up spending the money again if you don’t purchase quality items. Check online stores like Best Buy, Amazon, Dell, HP etc. for great deals on electronics and look for free shipping sites.  I purchased a Michael Jordan book bag for my grandson last year. He will carry it for years before I have to purchase another.

5.  Take the student with you – Getting the children involved helps eliminate items that they may be unhappy with and it also gets them involved in the back to school process.  If the student doesn’t want to go along, ask them for any specific items they may want.

6.  BOGO is your friend – You will use the item later in the year I guarantee it, so go ahead and indulge. The item may not be BOGO later in the year.

You may want to purchase a storage bin to house school supplies for the upcoming year. Items will be easy to track and access when needed too. What tips can you add to the list?


You may also like:  Back To School Shopping Tips

9 Tried and True Beach Foods

It’s beach season. Do you have plans to head to the beach within the next month to soak up a little sun and have a little fun? When I head to the beach I stay for most of the day. That means I pack plenty of food, drinks and a good book. Over the years, I’ve had food fails and successes when packing our lunch/snack bag.

I’ve learned to invest in a good insulated food bag to ensure the ice doesn’t melt and having it on wheels doesn’t hurt either. My cooler has 4 plates, which is great for the kids. I pack it with plenty of ice so everything stays cool. Baggies are my best friend on the beach. I double bag everything to ensure the food stays dry and to help keep the sand away.  Sand somehow seems to land on everything, and we all know that it sticks.  I actually have a cooler for the food that needs to stay cool and tote for the dry goods like chips, crackers, cookies/brownies, wipes, small cups, forks, plastic grocery bags etc.

I’ve also learned to pack foods that can be handled by both children and adults. Finger foods are great beach foods. I can have the children sit and relax in their beach chairs and they can handle the finger foods on their own or with a napkin. Finger foods are also easy to obtain from a container or baggies.

Our favorite foods to take to the beach are:

1.  Lettuce Wraps – Lettuce wraps eliminates the need for bread and is a much healthier alternative. The wraps go over much better with adults. Anything green is still an enemy for the kids. Another reason we love wraps is because they are so versatile. You can wrap chicken or tuna salad, spicy shredded beef etc., and control the size of the wraps. If you pack anything with mayo make sure is housed on ice. I use plastic containers to house the wraps because they are water proof and I can cover the container well with the ice.

2. Pepperoni Slices – These are great for both the kids and adults.  You can pack low fat or turkey pepperoni.  Pack plenty, these are a favorite.

3. Fresh Fruits – I love freezing seedless grapes. They are so refreshing after being out in the sun. I also slice a seedless watermelon and cut each slice into 4-6 pieces. I place the slices into gallon zip lock baggies. The children can handle eating it, and the adults devour their share too. Chopped cantaloupe, honeydew or strawberries will work too. Just chop it and place in a gallon baggie. Use a plastic cup to hold the chopped fruit when you’re ready to eat it.

4. Mason Jar Salads – These are great for adults.  I would recommend chopping your ingredients into bit size pieces before you place them in a pint size jar. You can add your favorite dressing before leaving the house. A plastic fork is the only utensil you will need.

5. Fried or Baked Chicken Wing Pieces – These are a huge hit with the kids. They are easy to handle and eat without a plate. I double bag these in gallon baggies and just let the kids grab a few. Place the bones in a plastic bag and just throw them in the trash.

6. Cheese Cubes/Slices and Crackers – The kids love cheese cubes. I buy a bag of the cubed cheese and transfer it to a zip lock baggie. It’s easier to access them from the baggie than the package from the store. I also pack sliced cheese to place between crackers for the kids. They love it.

7.  Brownies – My family loves brownies. I cut them into small squares and place them into baggies. Nice sweet treat without the mess.

8.  Rolled Deli Turkey or Ham – I take deli ham or turkey and roll it. I take a long toothpick and place it through a few olives before placing it through the rolled meat. Both the kids and adults like this. You can also add a slice of cheese to the top of the meat before you roll it.

9.  Chips –  Not healthy, but always great at the beach.  You can purchase low fat or baked. My family doesn’t care. If the bag says chips, it’s on.

Be sure to pack plenty of water, Gatorade, or flavor infused water. It’s better than sugary fruit drinks. I also take a container of wipes that I purchase from the dollar store to whip hands before and after handling the food. What’s your favorite foods to take to the beach?  Please add them to our list, we may want to pack them to.

10 Beach Safety Tips

beach safety, children's beach safety tips



Kids often get excited and need reminders on beach safety.  Being safe in and around the water is a must. Although my granddaughter doesn’t like the ocean, she heads toward the water to fill her bucket for sand castles.  As a result, we need to have somebody watching the water and somebody watching her on the beach.  My grandson on the other hand will stay in the water until he shrivels up. We need someone to stay in the water with him until it’s time to take a break.

I’ve put together a few rules that we use for beach safety. Our beach safety tips will help keep your child out of harm’s way in and out of the water.  As parents it is our responsibility to keep our children safe:

  • Never enter the water alone  –  Make sure children understand that they should only enter the water with an adult or older child.
  • Set limits – Provide an area that they are not to wade past while in the ocean.
  • Observe your surroundings  – Teach them to look for family or landmarks when they want to come out of the water.
  • Train your children to listen – Teach them to listen for the lifeguard’s whistle when they’re in the water and to follow instructions from the lifeguard and family.
  • Stay Hydrated  – They should understand the importance of taking a break from the water to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Offer water, fruit flavored waters or Gatorade instead of soda or sugary fruit drinks.
  • Apply Sunscreen – Make sure everyone is adequately covered in sunscreen. My dermatologist recommended Neutrogena. A beach hat is a good idea too.
  • Explain Signs – Make sure kids understand safety signs posted around the beach.
  • Provide Adult Supervision –  Make sure an adult is always present to oversee the children in the water and on the beach.
  • Re-enforce Stranger Danger  – The beach is full of people, so go over the rules of interacting with strangers, especially adults.
  • Provide a Shaded Area – Set up an umbrella so everyone can rest in the shade and allow the body to cool down and refuel.

What rules do you have for the beach?  We would love to add them to our list.  You may also like:  15 Summer Activities For Kids

15 Summer Activities For Kids

summer activities for kids

 

School’s out!  This time of year can be stressful for parents.  However, it is a joyful time for the kids. They can sleep in, they will be home all day, and they will need to be occupied in a fun and healthy way.  So, I have a list of summer activities for kids that won’t break the bank.

Furthermore, checking the local newspaper, subscribing to local sites like the zoo, the aquarium, family fun centers, can help you come up with activities.  Getting off the electronics and outside getting fresh air and enjoying the sunshine should be at the top of your list.

Here’s a few activities on my list:

1.  Crafts and Coloring – I’ll occupy the 5  year old with crayons and printables that I collect all year. My grandson loves to do crafts too.  He’s very artistic, so he enjoys drawing and painting.  Set-up a table outside in a shady spot and let them paint and color until their heart is content.

2. Matinee Movies – Matinees are a great summer activity with the kids. They’re much cheaper than evening shows.  Also, theatres in my area offer free movies once a week until the end of the summer.  Check out your local theatre for freebies.

3. Family Fun Center – Next, add a water park to your list of summer activities for kids. You can also include arcade centers, paint ball fun and more.

4. We’ll spend a day at Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia – They have beautiful caverns, an area that houses props from Presidential Inaugurations, floats from Macy’s and the Rose Bowl parades, and an original 1957 Cafe that serves old time shakes, burgers and fries.  Check out your area for unique places to visit.

5. Day At The Park – I will be planning an old fashioned picnic.  Something most parents have lost sight off these days. I will be packing a picnic basket with sandwiches, drinks etc. and find a spot where we can just enjoy nature. The park also has swings, ducks, and paddle boats  Adding in a walk will be the perfect way to get exercise with the kids too. No grilling on this day.

6.  Story Hour At the Library – I’m still partial to actual books and I’ve started a library for both of my grandchildren. I think it’s important that the kids be exposed to books and family friendly stories.  Our local library also offers other activities, so I’ll have to see what’s on the calendar during their stay.

7.  Baking Day – We’ll make funnel cake and bake cupcakes.  The kids love to cook.  I found a kit that has flower pots that we can bake the cupcakes in.  Delicious Blooming Cupcakes baked in a flower pot makes a yummy day.

8.  Berry Picking Day – We’ll spend a few hours at a local farm picking berries to make homemade jam.  They love it on toast and biscuits.

9.  Home Movie Day – We’ll spend the day watching movies from the home DVD collection and eating popcorn. I also have Infinity on Demand. I can found shows or movies that we didn’t see at the theater.

10. Sprinkler Day & Sleep Over – I’ll invite a few of their cousins over to spend the day running through the sprinklers and a sleep over.  I have issues with public pools and the things that happen in them.  They can’t add enough chlorine for me! I’m debating on whether or not I want to put a pool in my backyard.  Once I retire, we’ll be able to enjoy it during the summer.

11. Fishing  – We’ll spend the day fishing and throwing back the fish at one of the stocked ponds in the area.  Life jackets for this one.

12. Summer Reading List –  We’re all avid readers in my family, and this summer I will be adding to my grandson’s summer reading list.  I will be downloading a few books on his Kindle, but I also want him to enjoy handling a good old fashion book.

13. Nature Hike – Summer activities for kids should include a day with nature. Set up a day to go on a small nature hike.  Give each kid a backpack with water, snacks, a magnifying glass, and disposal camera. You can look for bugs, birds, and flowers.

14. Bird Watching – Add birding to your summer activities for kids. Buy inexpensive binoculars for the kids and find them a shady spot in the backyard where they can watch the birds from a feeding station. Let them fill up the feeders, and than wait for the birds to retrieve the treats.

15. Sea Shell Hunt – If you live close to the beach, set up a day to go on a sea shell hunt. You can use the shells to make crafts.

Finally, we hope that you find a few of our summer activities for kids inspirational.  Implement one or two, and get your kids off to a great summer. What activities do your children like to do or participate in during the summer?

 

Whoopi Goldberg: Sugar Plum Ballerina Books Review

Whoopi Goldberg book reviews

 

I love Whoopi Goldberg. She was a teen mother who gave birth at 17 and went on to become a funny, highly intelligent actress and author. She is the mother of 1, grandmother of 3 and great grandmother of 1.  While looking for Christmas gift for my granddaughter, I discovered the Sugar Plum Ballerinas books.  Incorporating diversity into my blog, but truth be told there’s not much on the market for Bi-Racial, Latino or African American children.  Especially  in the form of books relating to their culture. The market is getting better, but there’s room for improvement.

The Sugar Plum Ballerinas series by Whoopi Goldberg is a great gift idea.  In particular, Birthdays, Christmas, or just because are great times to give one of the books until you complete the series.  I started the Sugar Plum Ballerinas series for my granddaughter. Each book tells a story that little girls can relate.  For example, leaving behind friends and moving to a new town.  Furthermore, about being untruth or  not feeling good enough.
Furthermore, I want my grandchildren to be proud of who they are.  Just as important, I want them to be able to relate to characters who look like them.  I think it is important that all children be able to relate to the stories they are reading.  It’s important that they see images that look like them, their relatives, and other children they are playing with.  Personally, I think the world is a much better place when everyone is included.

 

 

 

I’ve purchased the first 2 books in the series. The first book is Plum Fantastic and the second is Toeshoe Trouble. This series is great for girls ages 6-12; however, some reviewers believe 6-10 is more appropriate. In addition, the average number of pages in the books is 160. My granddaughter is still a little young, but she can blow the dust off the books later.

 

I need to purchase the following books to complete my set: Terrible TerrelSugar Plums to the RescuePerfectly Prima, and Dancing Diva.

 

 

 

 

The books are paperback.  Each are reasonably priced at $5.00 each on Amazon. At that prize, you could give the entire set without breaking the bank or you can download them to your Kindle. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are realistic.  Little girls love who love tutus and dream of being a ballerina will love the series.  Add it to your gift giving list.

 

17 Tips To Help Your Child Make Friends




Just like adults, every child has a desire to make friends. They want to be invited to parties, sleep-overs, and have playmates on the playground. It’s a natural instinct, but they may need a little help in reaching out to another child. Children develop friendships differently from adults, they must first learn social skills. These skills include learning how to communicate, solve problems, cooperate, and negotiate (share). Here are a few tips to help your child make friends:

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5 Fun Summer Activities For Your Kids

kids summer activities, summer activities

It’s about that time of the year again when the sun will shine brightly, the birds  will sing loudly, the flowers will be in full bloom.  Summer’s around the corner, and my little ones could not be happier. Also, everyone will flock to the beaches.  Along with the freedom to build sandcastles on the beaches and play long hours in the pool, they also have a long break to look forward to.
Next, the  problem’s mine.  I have to think of new ways to keep them occupied throughout the summer.  Otherwise, I’ll hear “we-are-so-bored” rants right on the third day of their vacation. Well, if your problem is similar to mine, I have a solution.  Here is a list of five summer activities that your kids are sure to enjoy:
Foil River Can’t take the little ones out boating? Fortunately you can help them build a river right in your backyard.  All you need is aluminum foil and a garden hose.  So, take a few sheets of aluminum foil and roll up the sides to make a U-shaped stretch of an artificial river.  Turn on the garden hose and let the water flow through the aluminum river. You can also build ice boats by freezing colored water in ice molds and topping it with toothpicks that can hold tiny flags. Sit back and watch the excitement unfold.  Your little ones are sure to have a blast with this activity.  Even after the ice boats have melted, your kids can sail paper boats in the artificial river.

 Stamping Glory – Worried that your kids will create havoc stamping in your living room when bored?  With this fun activity, they can go stamping without you  having to worry about any damage. Spread out a wide sheet of white cloth in your yard.  Also, hand your kids some paints, cut potatoes and apples, along with sheets of bubble wrap, tied to their feet. Let your kids dip the potatoes, apples and their feet in the paint.  They can create  stamping impressions across the sheet. This is a great activity to help your little ones let loose and open a whole new world of fascinating pattern ideas. An interesting variation to this activity is to let your kids stamp within the outline print of their favorite cartoon characters. Doing this will improve their concentration skills and help them develop a neat hand at art.
 
Dress Up Parade – Who wants to watch fashion shows on TV when little fashionistas are sitting right in your house. Involve the entire neighborhood and their kids in a fun evening of dress up parade. Keep 2-3 themes for the evening and have the kids dress up in outfits according to the theme allotted to them. The evening is sure to be fun not just for the kids but for all you adults too. You can follow up the fashion parade by distributing delicious treats and gifts to all the teeny tiny models.
 
Outdoor Movie Screening – Movie nights are loved by all kids and adults alike. Here’s a way you can double the fun. Put up a projector and screen a movie out in your backyard. Take charge of the snack counter and make some delightful munchies for the kids to enjoy. You can involve other families in the movie carousel too!
 
Balloon Ping Pong – We all have those days when we just want to sit back and do nothing, but our kids don’t let us. I sail in the same  boat, and it’s during times like these that the balloon ping pong activity comes to my rescue. All you need is two paper plates, two ice cream sticks, and one balloon to prepare for this amazingly entertaining activity.  Next, stick the ice cream sticks on the paper plates to make the ping pong bats. Let+ your kids have fun bouncing the balloon to and fro. Ensure your kids play in a room free of any breakables so as to prevent damage.
Finally, Let your kids cherish some great moments with these amazing activities.  Also, which one of the 5 activities is your favorite? Let me know in the comments section below.  You may also like 4 Top Family Activities in Bali.
 
Author Bio – Aradhana is from India. She is a veteran writer on topics concerning parenting, child  nutrition, wellness, health and lifestyle. As a regular contributor to popular  sites like Huffington Post, Natural news, Elephant journal, Thehealthsite, Naturally  Savvy, curejoy and MomJunction.com. Aradhana writes to inspire and motivate people to adopt healthy habits and live a stress-free lifestyle.

8 Ways Leading Your Children By Example Can Shape Their Life

 

parenting tips

Do you believe in leading your children by example?  Setting a good example for my daughter and grandchildren is important to me.  I have always believed that I needed to be the mother that I wanted my daughter to be.

I never wanted to be the type of mother that says do as I say and not as I do.  How do you teach your children when you aren’t an example of what you want them to be or do?  So many things become generational. We have people who are unable to break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships and living.  They continue to struggle with dependency on drugs, alcohol, or the system in some manner. We all come from something, but that doesn’t mean that you have to continue down that path.  We all have the power to change our situation.

I believe that it is imperative to set an example for those whom I wish two inspire or lead.  Here are a few things that I have learned on my journey as a mother.  I have implemented them into my life, because I believe in leading your children by example:

  1. You must establish credibility – Seeing is believing. You don’t have to be perfect, but you must be honest and you must know that your children will be looking to you for guidance as well as looking at how you achieve your goals and how you provide for them.
  2. What makes you an authority? Let your children know that you’ve been in their shoes or a similar situation.  Tell them what you did to accomplish the goal or resolve the problem. It’s important that they know they’re not the only person experiencing a particular problem or situation and it can be overcome or the goal reached.
  3. Who wants to follow someone who is still struggling to get themselves together – You can’t lead with A Do As I Say and Not As I Do attitude.  You should be demonstrating how to improve yourself and move forward.
  4. You must be positive – Your child will respond to a positive attitude.  
  5. You must have good decision making skills and you must be disciplined – You need to teach your children how to make decisions and how to stick with the decision.
  6. Show your child that you can be successful personally as well as professionally –  If you’re struggling on a personal level continuously, it will be difficult to lead your children.  When I was raising my daughter I talked to her about my some of my personal struggles, but I did not burden her with my financial situation.  Running my household was my responsibility.  I did explain the importance of holding down a job and being reliable.  Goals should be a topic of discussion. My daughter understood that my job paid the mortgage, purchased food, clothing, and afforded her activities and our vacations.
  7. Demonstrate how to work toward financial goals Explain the importance of saving for a rainy day and the importance of paying yourself first.  Cry broke, but never be broke.
  8. Give your children a spiritual/religious foundation Teach them to say their prayers and bless their food. We all need to believe in someone or something greater than ourselves.
Finally, know that we’re all a work in progress.  However, we hold the future of our children in our hands.  So, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6.  We hope that our tips on leading your children by example has been beneficial, and you will strive to implement a few examples into their life.  You may also like:  6 Reasons Learning to Forgive is Good .

10 Tips To Get Your Child Moving


exercise tips for children, activities for children

 


How Do You Get Your Child Moving? Does your child enjoy playing video games or watching cartoons more than playing outside? Does he or she stomp and pout when you encourage them to get fresh air?  Times have changed.  Gone are the days that you see children riding bikes, pitching balls, climbing trees or playing hide and seek.  Through no fault of their own, the world had become a place for gaming and unhealthy eating.  The United States ranks fifth in the world for childhood obesity.    

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