Rainbow Day Celebrations

happy rainbow day

April 3rd is “Find A Rainbow Day.” Why did I not know about this day before!?! It certainly sounds like a fun day to celebrate. There are many, many ways you can celebrate rainbows.

First the scientific route and what makes a rainbow:

Now that we have the boring stuff out of the way… FOOD!

I didn’t realize how many foods you could make into a rainbow theme! YoYoMax12 on YouTube has a whole playlist of rainbow themed foods. If you click the word “Playlist” at the bottom left of this video widget you can see thumbnails of the different video and choose which one you want to watch. The videos include unicorn poop, panna cotta, as well as normal things like cakes, cookies, and bread in the colors of the rainbow.

 
We can’t leave out sports so here is how to do the rainbow in soccer:

 
Lastly, songs with “rainbow” in the title! Again – if you want to scroll through the playlist and pick a video to watch click the word “playlist” in the bottom left corner.

Just in case you don’t know the colors of the rainbow I’ll leave you with this final tip. If you remember Roy G. Biv you’ll always know the colors of the rainbow and the order they go in - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. It’s great for impressing your kids too.

Did you ever make rainbow themed food? Do you have any special rainbow memories you can share with us?

World Autism Day

My son has autism. He is turning 5 in a couple of days. You can read about my hope for acceptance here.

Brady World Autism Day

 

From AutismSpeaks.org – Did you know …

  • Autism now affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys
  • Autism prevalence figures are growing
  • Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
  • Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
  • Autism receives less than 5% of the research funding of many less prevalent childhood diseases
  • Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
  • There is no medical detection or cure for autism

The Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT™) is a scientifically validated tool for screening children between 16 and 30 months of age to assess their risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It was developed by neuropsychologists Diana Robins and Deborah Fein and clinical psychologist Marianne Barton.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children receive autism screening at 18 and 24 months of age, and the M-CHAT is one of the AAP’s recommended tools. Click HERE to screen your child for autism. 

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Head on over to Autism Speaks for more info on Autism and how you can help. 

DIY Gift Baskets – Target Dollar Spot Diaries

My daughter is not a big princess fan. She likes them just fine but if given the choice she would rather play dinosaurs or make art than pretend to be a princess or fairy. But as a five-year-old kindergartener she has a lot of friends who do love princesses, fairies and basically all things Disney. Also, as a five-year-old kindergartener she gets invited to what seems like a never-ending stream of birthday parties. All these parties and party gifts add up, so what is a mom on a budget to do? Target Dollar Spot to the rescue!

For less than $10.00 we were able to load up on a bucket load of goodies fit for a princess, or a six-year-old who thinks she is a princess at the very least. You read that right, our fun Disney themed gifts were pulled together for $8.00! Thankfully Target has their bins stocked with a variety of Disney items right now, 101 Dalmatians  Princess, Lion King, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and more. 

Simple tips to make your own fantastic gift baskets from MommyNeedsaBreak.com

Making an inexpensive, attractive, and fun gift basket is simple when you follow these tips. 

1. Pick a theme and feel and stick with it. Not everything we picked out for our girly bucket was Disney princess but everything fits in with out princess theme. It’s good to keep colors in mind too.

2. Choose a cute basket, tote or box to arrange your gifts in. It will help pull everything together and dress up the items in the basket. Luckily the Dollar Spot always seems to have a variety of items that fit this bill perfectly. 

3. Pick out all the items for your gift and then take a moment to arrange them in your chosen basket or box before leaving the Dollar Spot, this will give you the chance to grab one more little thing to fill things out or put something back if you’ve grabbed too many items. Taking a minute to do this could save you a trip back to the store.

What are your favorite gifts to give for children’s birthday parties?

Magic Tricks To Impress Your Kids [Video]

March 29 is Smoke and Mirrors Day. That made me think of magic tricks and how much fun it is to play them on my kids. It’s also good to have some up your sleeve for times when you have an unexpected wait; you can distract the kids and make the wait time go much faster.

smoke and mirrors day

Here’s some easy sleight of hand tricks that don’t need special equipment and could be done just about anywhere.

All you need is a penny or small coin for this old, but good one. Make a coin disappear:

 

I think this one is clever yet so simple. He uses pencils, but mentions that you could use French fries or some other small objects. Crazy pencil trick:

 

This one might need a little practice with a rubber band, but looks like fun. Rubber band through thumb:

 

I’ve found that it’s fun to awe my kids with what I can do, then after they beg a little bit I show them how to do it. Then they spend a while practicing it themselves. And that’s one of the ways I distract my children or nieces & nephews when we have to wait for something and there’s nothing fun to do.

How about you? Any tricks to distract kids? Any magic tricks you like to do?

The Expectation: Easter Edition

 Many years ago, before blogs, Facebook, Pinterest, and other visual reminders of holiday offerings, I fell into the trap. Every year, I’d vow this would be the last. And approximately eleven months later, I’d find myself in a wave of other harried mothers (and some fathers*), under some unflattering light, fighting over 99 cent plastic eggs and purple basket grass.

easter-cartoon

Yes, that trap is what I like to call, The Holiday Expectation.

Easter has been my least favorite holiday since having kids:

  • Coloring eggs that can’t be put on display. Or if we do put them on display, we can’t eat them. Either way, WASTE. 
  • Filling a cheap basket with grass, all for the sole purpose of giving the illusion of MORE. Plus it takes nearly a year to find every last lost strand. 
  • Finding that balance of just enough stuff, but not so much to overshadow other holidays or heaven-help-us, raise The Expectation. 
  • Locating the perfect chocolate bunny that is the right kind of chocolate and not broken. (Hint: they are all broken.)

Further, we no more get a break from Christmas when things start happening. It begins in early February with Son One’s birthday. March is our wedding anniversary as well as my husband’s birthday. Daughter and Son Two’s birthdays are in April.

Somewhere in there, usually on someone’s birthday, is Easter.

I fully admit to allowing The Expectation to happen. I swore I’d find a way to reel it in and tone it down, but it never seemed to be the right time.

Then, all of a sudden, it came to a screeching halt.

- -

While the official words hadn’t been spoken, it was clear: No one expected an over-sized rodent wearing a jaunty bow-tie and fabulous vest to hop in and drop off a basket of springtime goodness.

Last year, with a little bit of sadness, we transitioned over. I went to Target, bought a fantastic basket to be filled with goodies for the whole family to enjoy together. I felt pangs of jealousy as the other moms (and a dad!) decided which goodies to purchase for their little chicks.

This past weekend, my husband casually mentions we should probably get stuff together for The Basket. As we are walking into a certain big box store, there was a rather large display of candies touting everyday low prices. In 4.3 seconds, I had a little bit to please everyone’s palate. Brushing my hands dramatically, I declared, “Done. Ready for Easter.”

“Oh. Wow. Really? You’re not even going to get them a chocolate bunny? They’ll be crushed.” My husband said, as we walked away.

“Wait. What? Why? Didn’t we realize we were done with this last year?” I’m blushing as a couple of women tsk-tsk me.

 “Well, yeah, but you were so sad, remember? ‘They’re growing up to fast.'”

 And there, in the main aisle, between the checkout stands and poorly made-clothes in a variety of neon colors, I realized it would never be over.

Just when I found my out, the end of the trap, of trying to fulfill The Holiday Expectation, I’d turned my husband into one of them. Sure, he didn’t care much about coloring eggs or bunny-themed sidewalk chalks, but he wanted his yearly allotment of jelly beans, Cadbury’s Robin Eggs, and most of all, a chocolate bunny. 

It’s too late for me, but hurry; save yourself. Cut them off while there’s time. 

*photo courtesy of The Cagle Post

 *Special shout-out to the dads. I’ve got mad respect for the men out in the aisles, willing to risk life, limb, or <ahem> to fill an Easter basket. Because moms on a mission? We can throw down.

Tips for hosting a fantastic Easter Brunch, the Easy Way

Hosting Easter brunch this year? The secret to a throwing  fantastic brunch all while saving time and your sanity is to keep it simple. I’ve scoured Pinterest to bring you  only list you’ll need to brunch with the best of them! 

Keep it simple! Menu and decor tips for a fantastic Easter brunch

First and foremost pick a simple menu. As a general guide try serve at least four or five dishes. Only serve one or two dishes that require cooking immediately before serving. Everything else should be easily thrown together before guests arrive or made the day before. If you want to make it even easier make it a potluck and delegate specific dishes or types of dishes for guests to bring.

Egg – Eggs are a brunch must. A quiche or fritatta are the best and easiest ways to serve eggs for a crowd. Denver mini fritattas and Greek fritattas are quick and easy to make and are sure to disappear before your eyes.

 

Fruit – A fresh fruit salad is easy and delicious. Plus it adds a beautiful spring pop of color to any buffet table. 

 

Vegetable – Of course there are always vegetable trays, which are easy to put together or buy, but a simple green salad or even asparagus topped with feta and almonds will fancy up your menu without much effort. 

 

Meat – Smoked salmon is an excellent way to serve an amazing meat without having to cook a thing. Ham is obviously an Easter favorite too, so if you and your crew are set on ham a simple glaze can dress up a plain old ham.

 

Bread – An easy quick bread such as hearty whole wheat banana bread, or mixed berry flax muffins can be made in advance and will be enjoyed by everyone. 

 

Cocktail – Celebrate the day with a simple and elegant cocktail. A Kir Royale is a step up from your average mimosa. Serve a selection of fresh fruit juices and coffee as non alcoholic options.

Source: allparenting.com viaCatherine on Pinterest

Sweet treat – Be sure to include at least one dessert like treat in your brunch line-up. Something fun such as Crispy Treats Easter Nests or a more traditional Wicked Easy Carrot Cake will add a perfectly sweet ending to your Easter festivities.

Source: sophistimom.com viaCatherine on Pinterest

Secondly, set a lovely and simple table. A lovely table can set the mood for a gathering. The key is to keep it simple. By staying simple you’ll pull off a fun look all while saving time.

Add a table runner. A table runner adds a little oomph to a holiday table and instantly dresses everything up. Don’t have a table runner? Lay a length of 10-12 inch wide burlap or colored tulle down the center of the table letting it generously hang over the edge. If you want to take it a step further gather and tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the burlap or tulle 6-8 inches below the edge of the table. 

 

Flowers keep things fresh. Use a bright springy bouquet of tulips of daffodils as a main centerpiece. 

 

Add a bit of whimsy. These peep and jelly bean filled mason jars make for a fun touch. And best of all then the festivities are over you can send them home with guests!

 

With a little thought simple can be quite fantastic. And lovely. And very tasty!

What are your favorite brunch dishes to serve? Do you have any tips for hosting a fantastic brunch?

Spring Fashion – Totally Turquoise!

I’m a bit obsessed with everything turquoise for spring. I’ve been layering on the accessories like nobody’s business. ;) 

Here I’ve put together a fun way to “spring up” your wintery clothes. Just by adding a few bright accessories, you have a new look that is ready for the warmer days and brighter sun! 

Spring Fashion  Totally Turquoise

 

What is your favorite color for spring? 

Raising Boys: Teen Years

When I was pregnant with my second child, I knew, without a doubt, I was a having another girl. Well, I was probably 92% positive. After an extra-long pregnancy and even longer labor, at 4:22 a.m., the doctor announced, “It’s a boy,” and my life changed forever.

At the time, I knew only one thing about boys and that knowledge is how I ended up a mother. Clearly, I was going to need some additional info –  maybe a pamphlet or something?! 

Fast-forward through another birth (“It’s a BOY!”) and fourteen years, and I’ve learned a lot about being a mother to boys. Especially of the teen set. Because in hindsight? The elementary years were gravy, a warm-up to the Olympics of Parenting, if you will- The Teen Years.

Here are some tips for raising boys:

1. Step away from the AXE.
Boys smell. Period. While cologne (along with showers and good deodorant) helps alleviate the issue, we tried AXE and it seemed to only exacerbate the problem. Fortunately for us, my boys happen to like the same thing my husband wears from Bath and Body Works. Teaching them “less is more” is taking more time, but at least the paint isn’t peeling off the walls anymore. 

A boy's best friend is his mother. 2. Talk their language. 
My boys aren’t big on general chit-chat or proclamations of love. And those lunch box notes? Waste of time. Texting has been a huge break-thru for us. And since I am trying to keep the lines of communication open, I even refrain from correcting their grammar. If that doesn’t say love, I don’t know what else does. 

3. Learn about [insert hobby here].
I know more about Mindcraft, Call of Duty, military weaponry, Star Wars, and other testosterone-driven subjects than I ever thought possible. And really, it’s not half-bad. 

4. Drink a lot of coffee. And Diet Coke.
Boys. Girls. It doesn’t matter. Raising kids is the hardest job one can do and it takes fuel to keep going. Plus all the working I do to earn the extra grocery money to fill the bottomless stomachs of two teenage boys; all of that takes an obscene amount of caffeine. Because seriously? THEY ARE ALWAYS HUNGRY. I thought that was a myth; it’s not. 

5. Remember: Some day they will be someone’s spouse.
I have no qualms about asking my boys’ opinions on certain things: how an outfit looks; a choice between two nail polishes; what to have for dinner. Very few topics are off limits. I value their opinions and insights just like I do my husband’s. I figure it will be less of a culture shock once they set up housekeeping with someone I hope to like but doubt will meet my standards.

If you are past the teen years, what would you add to the list?