I love this one for kids, and adults too: Popsicle Rockets

Here’s what you need to get started:  red juice, blue juice and white juice.
Red is easy, blue can be blue Gatorade or Kool aid, and white juice can be lemonade.

You’ll also need two dozen 3oz paper cups and two dozen Popsicle sticks.

  • Begin by having your children mix up the juice if need be.
  • Pour two tablespoons of the red juice into the bottom of each cup and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  • Remove from freezer add two tablespoons of the white juice and place Popsicle sticks into the center of each cup.  Take care when pushing the sticks into the mostly frozen red juice.  Children can get enthusiastic and push the sticks all the way through the cup. 
  • Place back into the freezer for another 2-3 hours.  Pull out and top with white juice. 
  • Refreeze until hard.  Peel off paper cups and serve when ready! 

Filed under Cooking by  #

 "Being Sneaky"
By Julie Baumgardner

teen girl hiding behind treeA young lady told her parents she was going to the movies with friends. When asked what movie they were going to see, she promptly told her parents one title knowing that she intended to view an R rated movie, which would be unacceptable to her parents. She says she will never forget the moment when someone sat down next to her in the movie theater…it was her father!
Another teen’s parents specifically told her she could not have a space on facebook.com or myspace.com. Over time her parents suspected she had a space. After being confronted, she confessed, but felt justified in her actions because “everyone else is doing it.”
Some would say this is typical behavior for teens and just part of growing up. But in a world with so much uncertainty, how much room should parents give their children? READ More on Teaching Teens Accountability and Responsibility

Filed under Parenting, Teenagers by  #

barbeque toy grill recall           picture of ash tray on Play Wonder toy barbecue grill

I was just looking at one of these last  Christmas to put away for my sons upcoming birthday. It is unfortunate they are being recalled. While there have been no injuries reported, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall with the firm below of the Play Wonder Toy Barbecue Grill.  The circular ash tray on the picture to the right could pose a laceration hazard. Consumers are urged to take these away from children immediately and return them to Target for a refund.

About 2300 units of this product are affected. Target of Minneapolis, MN distributes this product and Schylling of Royley, Mass is the manufacturer. These units were sold at Target nationwide from December 2006 to February 2007.

If you have any questions you can get more detail at the target website www.target.com, or call 1-800-440-0680 Monday through Friday from 7 am to 6pm CT.

Filed under News, Product Recalls by  #

juggling kids and a careerSo have your kids ever asked why does Mommy and Daddy go away all day? For many families having both mom and dad work is a neccesity. In these situations parenting can be a challenge. It is important to remember that just because we have children, it doesn't mean we can work to earn a living any less than before the kids arrived. Today more and more households that have children are maintained by Mothers and Fathers that who both hold full time careers. It is inevitable to have to work full time in order to make a good living for you and your children, but how do you explain to them the reason why you are gone all day? How do you keep them from feeling that you don't care enough to be at home all of the time? READ More on Working Parents – Juggling Kids and a Career

Filed under Family, Parenting by  #

I have been brainstorming a bit tonight. Kids, we love them with all our hearts, but wow, they can be expensive. From formula, clothes, shoes, food, toys, medical care, books, to education and much much more. So what are some ideas that might help a bit? I have come up with a quick list and encourage everyone to go to the end of this page and post their ideas to help parents save a bit.

  1. If you have babies, how about making your own baby wipes! We are on our second young one and know how this little expense can add up. Here is an article we wrote on baby wipes a while back.
  2. Thinking about babies. How about making your own baby food?
  3. Ok, this next one is easy for me. I save my loose change. In the evening when I come home I take any coins I have in my pockets and put it away. Its a great way to save for yourself, or you could put it in your child's piggy bank. If they are old enough its a great way to use this loose change for an allowance. You would be amazed as to how much extra money you have by the end of the week.
  4. Save with credit cards? Umm you say! Lean to manage your credit cards instead of having them manage you. Not every credit card is created equal. Shop around. Some cards, such as the Discover® Open Road Card offer great gas rebates, and with summer travel we could all use a hand, other cards such as the Toys "R"Us credit cards applies rebates at Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us. The key, to taking advantage of these great rebates is to pay off the cards right away. Only use them to buy gas or items you can pay for at the end of the month and you will be on your way to taking advantage of credit cards and not having them take advange of you. Click here to browse, compare, and read reviews of all our credit card offers. 
    Discover® Gas Card
  5. Buy clothing at second hand stores. These stores are becoming more and more common, and at a young age your child won't know the difference. We have found some great deals and bargains at second hand clothes stores.  
  6. Get your children involved in crafts and create hand-made gifts with them. This not only can save money, but in my personal opinion is a much better gift then buying daddy a tie on fathers day. Hand made crafts are extra special and will make special memories for yearsto come. Check out our site for some craft ideas. All check out http://www.allcrafts.net/. This is a great directory of craft links. My dear friend Melissa also has a great craft site at Caftyplaces.com 
  7. Did you know you can print manufacturers coupons from the internet? This can be a great time savings. You will no longer need to hunt and peck through the newspapers to find coupons, unless you really want to :) We have recently partnered up with a company to let you print out manufactures coupons. Click Here to learn how you can print these coupons.
  8. This is common sense. Plan head, and shop wisely. Compare prices and buy in bulk when you can at places such as Sams Club. And whatever you do, don't go shopping on an empty stomach!!
  9. Time is money. Did you know that a mom has a value of a 6 figure job! Check out this article from CNN Money. That being said, make the best use of your time and get your kids involved in chores at an early age. It is not only a great way to share some of the workload, but also a great way to teach your child responsibility. Check out our article on Chores and Teaching Responsibility
  10. Last but not least, if you have more than one child try hand me down cloths. The clothes don't have to come from older children, they can come from parents too. I try to make it fun for my oldest son, and he thinks it is very special to be able to wear one of Daddy's old unicycle shirts to bed.

Thats my quick list, I will have to make a more comprehensive list someday. What does everyone else do to save money? Scroll down to the bottom of this page and put in your comments. We would love to hear from you!!

Filed under Family, News by  #

Here are a few ideas to keep your toy box from getting boring and not having to spend a fortune:

  • Every 3 or 4 months change the toy box and it will be like having all new toys! (This is my favorite!!)
  • When your child wants to buy a toy that you aren’t thrilled about have them make a list ~ why they want the toy and how it benefits them, this will help them see if they really do need or want the toy.
  • Use Rubbermaid tubs as your toy box, but instead of buying one buy three and put different toys in each one. Don’t be afraid to let the kids pick what they want in the toy aisle, if it’s a chore give them options “you can get this, that or this” instead of standing in the toy aisle waiting for a decision 
  • Find a local trading group and swap your kids outgrown toys for something more age appropriate; sometimes called toy co-ops. 
  • Subscribe to the area freecycle list and give away and get some pretty cool toys (and sometimes stuff for mom and dad too!)
  • Avoid having too many toys; they’ll get boring, broken, and lost faster than you can say “put your toys away”
  • Read product reviews before you go shopping; avoid toys that break easily (certain brands of dolls and action figures are notorious for arms and heads falling off) 

Filed under Parenting, Playtime, Toys by  #

Good parenting is not only about when you are physically with your childrensmall toddler in daycare, but it is also making sure they are in a safe environment when you are not there. If you are a working mom and don't have the benefit of family or friends to watch your child, it often becomes a necessity that you enroll your child in a daycare center. While you may be understandably leery, here are some tips for choosing a daycare provider which will help in alleviating some of the fears you may have. 

  • Check out the daycare centers in your area, either on line or by calling.
  • Find out if there are any vacant spots so you can enroll your child.
  • Ask where they are located and their hours of operation.
  • What is the cost?
  • Ensure the daycare provider is licensed. 
  • Ask how many children are currently enrolled in the center, and their ages. 
  • Ask if they supply meals to the children.

The next series of steps you take are very important. Visit the daycare center and check on the following:

READ More on Choosing a Daycare – Questions Every Parent Should Ask