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Happy Father’s Day 2012!

17 Jun

This is absolutely the best Father’s Day e-card I ever got…so I just had to share it.  My amazing, creative and wonderful wife really surprised me with this and I can almost NOT stop watching it 🙂  Happy FAther’s Day to all you fellow hands-on dads!!!

Happy Father’s Day ecard/slideshow!

Staying Active as a Family

29 May

With summer break just around the corner, this has been top of mind for us.  Sad to say – we aren’t the most outdoorsy family – my wife and I went on an ‘easy’ one hour hike and it ended up taking two hours because we got lost.  We are trying!  I think becoming parents really shines a huge magnifying glass on what little issues one might have – and in our case – we’re not great exercisers or sporty people.  It’s easy to fall back to what you’re used to and leading your kids the same way – so we’ve been a lot more cognizant of raising our kids differently (although the last time our 5-year-old went hiking – she couldn’t quite understand why we were outdoors walking to no particular destination lol – we still got some work to do ;0) )  For this summer my wife and I have identified some goals – like swimming for our 5-year-old and maybe golf too, and lots of splash pad/playground time plus dance class for our toddler. There is fun in activities, learning, and also time to just veg out.

Hope you guys also have a great summer!

Staying Active as a Family

Family at the park

Keeping your family active can tax your imagination but it doesn’t need to tax your budget. Vacations, museum and zoo visits, movie nights, and craft sessions all have their place in your schedule but lively playtime has the added benefit of being healthy for everyone. The idea is to have fun, keep moving, and spend time together.

child and father on titter totter
Grounds For Action

With so many opportunities for children to participate in organized sports and events, it’s important to allow time for unstructured fun. Perhaps the easiest way to keep your family active is to take them to a playground; walk if possible for a little extra exercise. Teach children to use the equipment safely and encourage them to stretch their skills under your supervision.

Boy riding his bike
Riding High

Bicycling is a sport that kids and adults can enjoy together most months of the year. Start with short rides with frequent breaks for young children and make sure they understand good biking etiquette and the laws that govern public byways. More towns and cities are constructing bike paths that provide safer family outings for all ages and abilities. Be sure that all bikers wear well-fitting protective head gear.

Playhouse
Build It, They Will Come

Kids love to build things and the bigger, the better! Constructing forts is an activity that works indoors or out but outside gives you and your budding architects more scope. Not only does it foster problem-solving skills but it fuels the imagination as well. All the items you need can be found around the house: blankets, chairs, old rugs, leftover plywood, cardboard boxes. If you have a clothesline, you’ve already got a jumpstart as these make great armatures for draping blankets.

boys on scavenger hunt
On the Hunt

Stage a scavenger hunt for the whole family. You can make your list of common items for players to find from things found within your house and yard or you can enlarge it to encompass the neighborhood. For a neighborhood hunt, alert your neighbors or invite them to join the fun and make it a family competition. Team the youngest players with adults for safety.

playing in lawn sprinkler
Get Wet

Sometimes the simplest pleasures are the best and they are often right outside your door. On a warm day, set up the lawn sprinkler or an inexpensive water slide, get everyone into swimsuits and let the fun begin. Even an effortless activity like this can have a powerful influence on the lives of young children and strengthen family bonds when shared with parents and older siblings.

Family swimming in pool
In the Swim

Swimming lessons are a great way for kids to get healthy exercise and learn how to enjoy water sports safely. But when the lessons are over, get the whole family in the pool together for games like water volleyball or basketball or just unstructured silliness and splashing around. Getting parents and older siblings in the pool, too, will help younger kids develop confidence and safe habits in the water.

potato sack race
Backyard Olympics

Organize a backyard track meet and get the neighborhood involved if you can or plan one in a nearby play park. Use talcum powder to set up race lanes in the grass and place flags at your start and finish lines. Run sack races and three-legged races pairing older and younger participants so that everyone has an equal chance to win. Set up a measuring stick and see who can jump the highest and the farthest. If you have a set of horseshoes, see who can toss them the farthest; use flags to mark everyone’s best try.

toddler wearing star sunglasses
Stage Right

If building a fort isn’t up your child’s alley, how about a backyard theater instead? Children love dressing up and pretending, so why not give them the chance to act out their favorite stories? Let everyone, even the youngest actor, get involved in the planning and finding elements for the stage and costumes. Your backdrop can be as unfussy as a blanket hung from a clothesline or a canvas painted with scenery.

Kids playing with red ball
Play Ball

Organized games and sports can fill a summer and are important for building teamwork and sportsmanship, but impromptu ball games in the yard or neighborhood can also help build skills and confidence in a less stressful environment and build family relationships at the same time. Rotate positions during the games so that everyone has a chance to expand their abilities.

boy washing car
Washed Up

Give the family a chore that’s also fun — a car wash. Pull out all the vehicles — even the little red wagon if it’s a bit dusty — grab the hose, and fill buckets with soapy water. Even toddlers can wash the lower panels of a car or the tires. Encourage safe water fights but make sure that everyone gets a turn with the hose! Hand around car towels to buff everything (and everyone!) to a squeaky clean shine.

Mom and daughter on nature hike
Take a Hike

Walk a nature trail at a local or state park. Have your child spot unusual plants (don’t allow them to touch them unless you’re sure they’re safe and never allow your children to pull up plants or flowers). See what animals you can find and identify. Bring a field guide to birds, binoculars, and a digital camera to record your success. Take along some compact refreshments to keep everyone quiet and focused on the task, but be sure to hang onto all disposables until you get home.

Copyright © 2009 Meredith Corporation.

shim


parents
http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

More Cardboard Crafts!!!

24 May

The Girls having fun with their box ‘cars’ 🙂

I have to admit we didn’t exactly come up with this ‘idea’ ourselves – our local art museum was sponsoring an event where you get to decorate boxes as cars and participate in a parade!  We had a blast painting the boxes – So our 6-year-old made a jet car and our toddler is in a flower float — colored rope to suspend it up and voila!  HOURS of fun 🙂

See the article below for more cardboard crafts/fun!

Crazy for Cardboard Crafts

craft with cardboard
Craft With Cardboard

I love working with cardboard. Why? For starters, it’s abundant. Cardboard sneaks into your home every time you bring in groceries and sundries, and you can get boxes for free at most stores just by asking for them. Then there’s the fact that you can build big things with it, using only some tape or glue. Finally, cardboard can be recycled, so it’s ecofriendly. I’ve made hundreds of cardboard projects, ranging from small milk-carton houses to cars and huts big enough for my three girls, ages 4, 5, and 7, to play inside. We work together to think up, plan, develop, and construct these toys. The three projects on the following pages were originally built and played with by my family. They also appeared on my craft and sewing blog, ikatbag (ikatbag.com), where you can find instructions for making the seven other crafts shown at right. Here’s are three fun projects using my favorite material.

See more crafts on Lorraine Teigland’s blog.

cardboard spaceship
Spaceship

Sized just right for tiny peg dolls, this basic structure can be used to make a dollhouse or castle turret as well.

cardboard spaceship step 1
Step 1

Start with a cardboard canister, such as an oatmeal container. Trim the top to shorten it. Cut three fins from corrugated cardboard. For the nose cone, cut a circle from cereal box cardboard that’s twice the diameter of the canister (our canister was 4 inches wide, so we used an 8-inch circle). Trim away a pie-piece section, and curve the rest into a cone, securing it with tacky glue. Paint the pieces with acrylic paint and let them dry.

cardboard spaceship step 2
Step 2

Cut a small circle in the canister’s side for the door window. Cut a larger circle around the first circle, leaving 3/4 inch on one side uncut for a hinge.

cardboard spaceship step 3
Step 3

Use hot glue to attach the fins and the nose cone. Add details with paint.

Pull-Open Pinata
Pull-Open Piñata

This no-whacking-required piñata provides just as much suspense as the traditional type. Kids take turns pulling one ribbon at a time, only one of which opens a trapdoor holding back the treats.

cardboard pinata tower
Make the Tower

From corrugated cardboard, cut a rectangle (ours is 16 by 25 inches) with the flutes parallel to the short sides. Cut tab like crenellations along one of the long edges. We also cut out a window and added a drawing of a princess. Roll the rectangle into a cylinder and glue the overlap in place.

Make the Trapdoor
Make the Trapdoor

Trace the tower’s base onto a piece of sturdy corrugated cardboard and cut out the circle. Use a craft knife (an adult’s job) to cut a trapdoor, leaving one side scored but not cut through to form a hinge.

place the ribbons
Place the Ribbons

Cut about a yard of curling ribbon. Glue one end to the inside of the trapdoor, opposite the hinge. Run glue along the bottom edge of the tower, and attach it to the base.

Cut more lengths of ribbon — at least one or two per player. Lay about 6 inches of their ends within the three sides of the trapdoor opening, then carefully close the trapdoor; the ribbons will be pinched in place.

Pinata deception
The Deception

The hinge edge of the trapdoor will not have any ribbons — a dead giveaway. To mislead players, use a craft knife to make small slits close to the hinge and insert ribbons into them.

With a hole punch, make holes at the top of the piñata, then tie a ribbon loop for hanging. Fill the tower with treats and hang it up.

Musketeer Swords
Musketeer Swords

These were created when my daughters were in a serious Musketeer phase — swinging broomsticks around, fighting invisible enemies.

cardboard sword step 1
Step 1

The blades of these swords are made from wrapping paper tubes. For each sword, flatten one end of a tube, trim it to a blunt point, and tape it closed.

cardboard sword step 2
Step 2

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard (with the flutes parallel to the short ends) that’s about 1 inch wider than the tube and about 12 inches long. Round off the ends. About 2 inches from one end, cut a hole big enough to fit the tube.

cardboard sword step 3
Step 3

Slide the tube through the hole.

cardboard sword step 4
Step 4

Next, bend the other end around to the flat end of the tube, and glue it in place. Spread a thin layer of glue on the blade, then wrap it with aluminum foil. Add a line of glue where the foil overlaps. If desired, paint the handle guard.

Originally published in the March 2012 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

shim


parents
http://www.parents.comBringing together the power of respected magazine brands including American Baby and Parents, the Parents Network is your go-to destination for parenting information. From first kicks to first steps and on to the first day of school, we are here to help you celebrate the joys and navigate the challenges of parenthood.

Cardboard Box and Paper Towel/Gift Wrap Tube Log Cabin

16 May

Voila! Paper Towel Log Cabin!

When I saw this at my daughter’s preschool I thought this was ingenious!  Well… anything not involving paint but involving a lot of fun is pretty ingenious in my book 🙂

Here are the steps involved–

1.  Find a big appliance box — pictured is a box for a smallish refrigerator.  If you don’t have any on hand you can procure one by calling your local appliance stores.  It really depends on the size you want to end up with – the bigger the box the bigger the cabin, but on the other hand the more paper towel tubes or gift wrapping tubes you’ll need.

2.  Carve out with a blade (be careful!!) the windows and door.  Position top flaps of box to make the triangular roof – if not perfectly even use butcher paper (or brown paper bags) to make up for any gaps on the ‘peak’ of the roof.  We used clear packing tape to hold things together.  TIP – to save time – measure windows by placing a paper towel tube on both sides to gauge how wide the window needs to be – this will save you from having to re-carve the tubes later to accommodate extra space.

3. Now for the fun part – start attaching the tubes to the outside of the cabin – begin from the top and move downward (that way if you end up with a small tube-less gap in the end it will be at the base of the cabin and not at the top) – you can use school glue (Elmer’s Glue) or a glue gun if your want – I found that the tubes were light enough to stay on – although I suggest you use a good amount — inevitably little hands will want to try prying their ‘logs’ out of their cabins…

Front view

Now… if you DON’t have enough tubes to fill everything up – I would use brown construction paper (even better if they were on their way to the recycling bin anyways) or any color construction paper (if you’re adventurous 🙂 ) and roll them up to the size of the paper towel tubes – just tape the ends and glue to the cabin.

No need to fill the backside of the cabin if the cabin will be backed up to a wall anyway.

Don’t Wake the Napping Toddler!

7 May
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

‘Lol!  I guess I asked for it – was rocking S for her nap – she looked so cute I kissed her on her head (cue hallmark music) she woke up — whacked me on the head with her hand and promptly went back to sleep. ‘

This Facebook status update received 18 Likes and 3 comments 🙂  Real life parenting…the whole truth and all of it!

This is how much my family LOVES food…

9 Apr

When my 28 month old dear daughter carries around her bucket of cars, trains and trucks and lines them up on the floor, she always has a chicken leg and lettuce leaf with her!  Well, at least it’s protein and vegetable rather than donut and ice cream or something along those lines – LOL!  

Yep, I have a Daddy’s Girl…maybe two!

5 Apr

I’ve always had a close relationship with my first daughter, but I swear it got even stronger when baby sister came along at the end of 2009.  I believe Julia, (now 5.75 years-old) at the age of 3.5 years-old, decided when baby Stella arrived that “since the baby has mommy for nursing, naps, diaper changes, etc., Daddy is MINE!

It’s has not really been a problem.  My wife and I try to make sure we each have 1 on 1 time with each of our daughters (taking turns for bath time, reading time, trips to the grocery store or library, trips to the park, etc.).  Sure, there are plenty of times when one of the girls is with one parent and then the other girl wants to be there too OR the other girl seeks out the other parent!

In a totally non-boastful way, if Julia is away from me for more than 2-3 days (my business trip or the girls and my wife take a vacation before me) she has reached her limit of daddy-less-ness after 3 days apart and will be more emotional/sensitive and usually have a mini-break down of “I want daddy.”  Geez, even earlier this week when I had a board of directors meeting and wasn’t home for dinner and not sure if I’d be back to tuck her into bed for the night and she had a mini melt down and cried and asked to have a family photo with daddy to hold in bed!  Yikes – my wife thinks it may border on the side of unhealthy (and she felt like chopped liver/evil step-mom)…we anticipate that Julia will grow out of it and remind ourselves to cherish these times as when our daughters are teenagers they may not want to be around us much 😦 .  But none the less, I have a true “Daddy’s Girl” and I love both my daughters with all my heart!

Stella is more attached to her mom, being a toddler who nursed for 25 months, at this young age she has that special connection with her stay at home mom.  I am blessed with my daughter’s and have a feeling Stella will be a “Daddy’s Girl” too!