5 Interesting And Easy Ways To Keep Your Children Busy This Summer

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The summer months are a testing time for any parent. Your children have just so much free time that you might find yourself at a loss when deciding how to fill it. Another problem that you may have come across is that children’s activities are expensive. During the summer, attractions tend to be more expensive than in the rest of the year. Business owners take advantage of the fact that you need to entertain your children, and so hike up the prices to make an extra profit. Of course, you can take your children to the odd theme park or adventure golf, but what about the rest of the time? Here are five interesting ways that you can keep your children busy this summer.

1. Go Camping In Your Own Home
If you have camping equipment then a great way to keep the children busy is to use it. You don’t have to go on a trip or a holiday to use your camping stuff; you can use it in your home right now. Pitching a tent in your living room and pretending that you and your children are camping out in the wild is a lot of fun. Children love to play pretend and with this activity you have to make the entertainment. Help your children to put the tent up, as this will teach them some valuable life skills. Sleep in a tent at night and pretend that there are wild animals or even dinosaurs lurking outside. Your children will love that you are playing an imaginary game with them.

2. Make Play-Doh Balloons
If you have some Play-doh from when your children were young, then you can use it to make brand new toys. Get some different colored balloons and put the Play-doh inside them. Tie the ends of the balloons and make sure that they are tight. You and your children can make faces on the new balloon heads using felt tip pens. Your children will adore this project because they get to be creative. The can play with the balloon heads after and even put on a show.

3. A Simple Craft Project
Children love to get creative in any way that they can. A fabulous way to keep your children busy during the summer is to give them a craft project to do. You can buy various card making kits online, which are an ideal way to keep the little ones entertained. Give your children a time limit to complete the project, whilst you get on with some housework. Say you need to do the laundry, tell your children that they have an hour to finish the cards and that you’ll be back to judge them then. Making the project a timed affair means the children will get invested in the crafts and want to excel in a short period.

4. Create A Garden Hammock
A hammock is the ideal garden accessory for the summer. Children love playing on hammocks and using them as swings. You and your children can create a garden hammock using some old material or a net and some string. You will need to find a safe place to hang your hammock in the garden. Trees make ideal hammock posts, but if your garden doesn’t have trees, you can pitch posts using wooden sticks. Use the string to tie the material to the posts or trees. You and your children will have a wonderful time taking turns on the hammock in the garden.

5. Make A Memory Box
A fantastic way to bond with your children whilst keeping them entertained this summer is to make a memory box. Get a good quality box from a trinket store and decorate the outside of it. You might want to paint it a bold color or make hand prints of you and your children on the outside of it. Make sure that the decoration is individual to you and your family. Tell your children to write notes to their future selves to put in the memory box and do the same yourself. Find trinkets and photographs to put in the box as well. You and your children can have some great fun taking photos for the box. When you have completed the memory box write the date on it. Hide the box away somewhere safe and set a date to take it out and look at it. Five years from now you and your children can look at the box and see how much you have all changed.

Use Toys To Relive Your Childhood – And Connect With Your Kid

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Childhood memories can fade as you grow older. That’s terrible. We should all try to remember the things that made our childhood distinctive. They say it’s the best time of our lives. That may or may not be true, but being a kid is great fun. No responsibilities, new experiences and endless summer days – all that stuff is wonderful.

Of course, there’s a chance that we misremember our childhood. It’s easy to idealise those times because you didn’t know any different back then. There’s a good Richard Nixon quote on this subject (unbelievable, but there you go). He said of his childhood that “We were poor, but the glory of it was we didn’t know it.” That’s an accurate summary of childhood. You edit out a lot of the bad stuff and keep the good stuff.

Will today’s children still have the same attitude? It’s hard to say. We already know that millennial children are pessimistic about the future. Does that mean that they idealise the past? Who knows? What’s important to recognise is that all kids should have good memories from their childhood. A bad start in life can lead to a bad life. Having fun, and playing should be the central activities for every child.

It’s a good idea for any parent to try and engage with their children as they play. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Today, children don’t play, in the same way as their parents used to. “Play” doesn’t mean sitting in front of the fire with model Eddie Stobart trucks. For these children, it’s curling up on the sofa with an iPad or their mobile phone. There’s nothing wrong with children using technology. It’ll do them good in later life. The problem is that it’s hard to take an interest, as a parent, in that kind of play. How do you engage with a child who’s got blinkers for the smartphone or tablet?

It’s important for any parent to connect with their children. You shouldn’t let them pour all their energy into electronics. You need to try and take their attention away from those devices. A great way to do that is to get them excited about physical play. A fun first step might be to take all your old toys down from the attic or out of the garage. Show your kids the stuff that you used to play with as a kid. It’s a sure bet that you’ll interest them. Let them ask questions about how these toys worked. Play with them; show them what you used to do when you were young. These kind of activities help you get some real quality time with your children. What’s more, they also help you to rediscover memories that you might have lost.

Using old toys with your children is a win-win experience. It benefits them as well as you. It’s a wonderful way to have some proper family fun, one-on-one or as a group. Take the opportunity to put some real childhood memories in your child’s head.

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Exciting Craft Projects for You and Your Little One

Are you struggling to keep your little one entertained in the summer holidays! Fear not; this article is here to help! Kids love nothing more than getting messy and making things, so try one of the following exciting craft projects to keep them occupied:

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1. A Rose Wreath Made from Recycled Book Pages
You can find plenty of books that nobody wants to read in used book shops and charity shops. Mix paper types if you’d like to create a cool looking design. You can then swirl the book pages to look like roses, and glue them onto a circular cardboard template to make your rose wreath. This project could last a whole weekend!

2. Confetti Hearts
Use parchment paper, a hot melt glue gun, and some confetti to create a cute heart decoration.

3. Wood Shim Crates
Cut out strips of thick, sturdy cardboard before colouring them with different colours paints/chalks. You’re trying to create a distressed effect. You can then glue them together in a box shape to create your very own ‘crate’.

4. Floral Mirror
For this beautiful floral mirror, you and your little one will need a collection of plastic spoons. Have a cardboard template ready, glued around your mirror in the size you’d like it to end up. You can then use the curved end of the spoons to create the petals of the flower, gluing in the same pattern all the way around. Use different tones of the same colour to create a realistic effect. They’ll love helping to create home accessories that you can display proudly afterwards!

5. Cute as a Button Hair Clips
To create these cute hair clips, collect various buttons in different sizes and patterns. Glue smaller buttons inside of larger buttons to create a nice effect. You can then glue them onto sturdy hair clips to make a great hair accessory.

6. Patterned Cork Board
Cork boards are great for pinning memos and memories onto, but they can look a little drab. Decorate yours using a nice piece of material and a hot glue gun. This could even create a focal point for your little ones room! They can pin all of their artwork in one place with a cork board, and a patterned one will look even cooler.

7. Melted Crayon Artwork
Get a load of different coloured crayons, and feed the crayons through a glue gun onto a plain canvas. This will create a really cool looking, unique piece of art that your little one will love.

8. A Wooden Orb
A wooden orb can give a really beachy feel to the house. Collect some driftwood strips that are fairly thin but sturdy enough to stick together. Creating your orb shape will take time and patience, but it looks amazing when finished – so pretty and laid back!

Your child will love these crafts, whether you choose to make hair accessories, play with melted crayons, or create a bespoke mirror out of plastic spoons. You can’t get bored with arts and crafts!

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4 Amazing Tips on How to Maintain and Prolong the Life of Real Wood Furniture

In the midst of buying real wood furniture, many of us often forget about how to keep it in premium condition. Keeping your wood furniture in the best possible condition is imperative to its longevity. Why? Well, you don’t want to keep replacing it year on year.

Mazzali

Of course, you undoubtedly keep your home in immaculate condition. But real wood needs a little more tender loving care than other types of furniture.

Here are some amazing tips on how you can keep your furniture in the best state:

Tip 1: Do Not Get Your Furniture Wet
Of course, much like the Gremlins you don’t want to feed it after midnight either. If you are keen to keep your furniture in premium condition, do not get your wood wet. You may want to invest in glass worktops. This will prevent any spillages from occurring. When wood gets wet, it can cause fading or peeling. This should be avoided at all costs. Ensure the life of your furniture and avoid water, or drinks from being spilled on it.

Tip 2: Use the Right Cleaning Materials
Some pieces of furniture require a wax finish. Beeswax furniture polish is great for hardwood materials such as Baumhaus Mayan Walnut. You need to ensure that you are using the right materials for your wood. Some pieces of furniture, such as corona pine require only a damp cloth and sugar soap solution. It is imperative that you research what cleaning fluids are best-suited to your chosen wood. By investing in the right cleaning products, you will ensure that durability of your furniture.

In most cases, all wood materials can be cleaned with a damp cloth. This ensures that your furniture is dust free, but without having to treat it with harsh chemicals. Some people prefer not to use chemicals for cleaning within their home, but this of course is a matter of personal taste.

Tip 3: Beware of the Sunlight
While you may have stunning French patio doors within your living room, this will damage the overall look of the wood. What is more, sunlight may cause the furniture to fade. By all means necessary, try to keep your furniture away from direct sunlight. Of course, in some homes this is nigh on impossible. Try to avoid putting furniture next to radiators and other heat sources. This can also cause wood to decay quickly. You want to prolong the existence of your new furniture. You don’t want to have to replace it.

Tip 4: Invest in Linseed Oil
Linseed oil is suitable for most kinds of wood. Due to the protective barrier that the oil naturally has within its compound, your wood will be preserved for the long haul. Linseed oil is not difficult to obtain; there is a plethora of retailers for you to choose from. The great thing about linseed oil is that it is cheap to buy, but it can add years to the life expectancy of your furniture.  It will ensure that your wood is not prone to cracking.

#TMNT Chocolate Covered Oreos

Check out this awesome treat for all the TMNT Fans out there.  These Chocolate Covered Oreos are easy to make and fun for everyone!

What you need:
Oreos
Green, Blue, Purple, Red, and Orange Wilton Chocolate
Purple Frosting if you can’t find purple chocolate
Plastic Ziplock Bags (Sandwich Sized)
Wilton Candy Eyes
Crisco

TMNT Oreos Ingredients

1. Melt the Green Wilton Chocolate in the Double Broiler, or if you prefer to microwave, use a dish deep enough to dip oreos in :-)
2. Dip the oreos in the green chocolate, set them on wax paper to dry.
3. After the Green chocolate is dry, Put the other colors in the ziplock sandwich bags.
4. Melt the chocolate- I melted mine just by dipping the bag of chocolate in the water of the double broiler, but you can also heat it in the micowave.
5. Cut a SMALL piece off one corner of the Ziplock Bag.

TMNT Choc in bag
6. Carefully squirt one line of colored chocolate across the oreo.  This will be your mask.  Add a TEENY Extra where you will put the eyes so the chocolate is thicker there.
7. Put your eyes on and press down so the chocolate covers the edge of the eyes and looks like a mask :-)

TMNT Choc Covered Oreos

8. Let Dry and enjoy!

Use the Crisco to thin out your chocolate if it isn’t thin enough for dipping or isn’t squirting very well.  Just add a little at a time until you get the desired consistency because if you add too much Crisco the chocolate won’t set properly.  

You can add mouths if you would like.  I did a few with mouths- but I liked them without better.  :-)

 

 

Easy Home Made Pizza

If you know one thing about me- when it comes to cooking, I am the Queen of easy, but delicious recipes.  As we all know the new TMNT Movie is showing in theaters starting TODAY, so why not make what the turtles love most, PIZZA!  Here is a VERY easy homemade pizza recipe for you to make for your family.

What you need:
Frozen Ready Made Dough
Sauce (I use Marinara)
Cheese (I use Mozzarella)
13 Inch Pizza Pan
Cooking Spray

Home Made Pizza Ingredients

1. Put one loaf of your Ready Made Dough in a bowl, or on a dish to thaw.  It thaws and rises best at 90* so I put mine on the lanai in the sun for about an hour.
2. Preheat your oven to 400* F
3. Spray your pizza Pan with Cooking spray to prevent your Pizza from sticking.
4. Knead out the dough to the shape of your pizza pan.
5. Spread sauce on your dough, about 3/4 Cup is what I used, but you can give or take on that based on how saucy you like it.
6. Add Cheese (8 Ounces is what I used)
7. Add any other toppings you like.
8. Bake at 400* for 20 minutes.

9.  ENJOY :-)

A few tips:
-Knead out your dough when it is thawed, but still cold.  It is MUCH easier to handle.
-DO NOT thaw your dough in the oven.  I tried this and my oven did not go low enough and actually cooked my dough and instead of rising and being easy to knead out, it was a nightmare and very sticky.

Snag 648 Huggies Wipes for $1.29 SHIPPED!!

I know.. I know… I am NOT a coupon blogger- however Midget Mama just posted this deal and I tried it and it WORKED so I HAVE to share because this deal is really too good to pass up!

Amazon has yet another AMAZING deal and you are crazy not to take advantage of it (even if you cloth diaper- sometimes having extra wipes is a good thing!)

Huggies Wipes

How to get the 648 Pack of Huggies Wipes for $1.29 SHIPPED to your door:
1. You will need to join Amazon Mom.  No worries, it is free for 30 days- Just set a reminder to go back and cancel your subscription if you do not want to continue it.
2. Add this Huggies Simply Clean Baby Wipes, Refill, 648 Count to your cart.  You will get 50% off with the Amazon Mom Promo.
3. Select the Subscribe and Save Option to save an additional 20% off
4. It will also automatically deduct a $2 off coupon.
= $1.29 for 648 Huggies Wipes Shipped to your door.

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Awesome Places to Live in the UK

As a busy working mom, I’ve often imagined packing up everything and taking the whole family across the pond to live in the UK. Okay, so their weather isn’t up to much. But in terms of culture, history and style of living, sometimes I think they might just have it sussed. But, then I realise I love my home here in America and could never uproot my family. For me, it’s just a fleeting moment of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ syndrome. So, if unlike me, you’re actually serious about relocating, here are some charming towns in the UK well worth considering. Or, if you’re just planning a vacation, make sure these places are at the top of your list of places to visit.

Glastonbury, Somerset
Okay, so this place might be a bit of a tourist hotspot, especially during the summer months. But if you don’t mind the hustle and bustle, it’s a lovely little place to raise a young family. There’s no place like it in the US, so it’s a great place to get a real sense of British history. Legend has it that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere were buried in Glastonbury Abbey. And Glastonbury Tor, which sits on top of a grassy hill known as the Isle of Avalon, is supposed to be where the mythical Holy Grail is buried. The whole place is steeped in magic, mythology and folklore. It’s a place that kids tend to love, because it really gets the imagination stirring.


http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glastonbury_Tor

Skipton, North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK and is also one of the most rural areas. British newspaper, ‘The Sunday Times’ recently voted it as the best place to live in the whole of Britain. This is largely because of it’s idyllic setting and picturesque views. The area is also known for its good schools and varied selection of independent shops.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skipton

Boston, Lincolnshire
A thriving market town, situated in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England. With attractions including Central Park and the stunning Fydell House, you won’t be short of things to do. Boston is also home to one of the county’s most famous landmarks, ‘The Boston Stump’. Despite its rather misleading name, it’s actually one of the highest church towers in the whole of England. From the top, it’s said that you can see up to 50 kilometers away.

There are all sorts of properties to choose from in Boston. There are country cottages for people who want a real taste of traditional English life. And there are contemporary properties for those who are looking for something a little more modern. Check out the local estate agents in Boston to get an idea of what the current market rate is for properties in that area.

So, if you’re planning on relocating to sample living life in the UK, each of these places is well worth a look. With lots to do, friendly people and oodles of British charm, it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to make the UK their home every year.

August Audio Fest at @BestBuy with the Denon Heos Wireless Speaker #AudioFest

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Music is a part of everyone’s life and if you love music you need to stop by Best Buy during the Audio Fest, from now until August 30th.  Best Buy will feature awesome audio deals and events all month long!  If you want to get the best prices on the best audio products, August is definitely the month to buy.

What I love about Best Buy is they always want to help you buy exactly what you need.  When it comes to home entertainment, Best Buy is top notch to help you enhance your home entertainment experience.  Their dedicated staff will help you upgrade your sound with additional components, speakers and headphones.  Stop into your local Best Buy to test and try out the latest and greatest equipment… before you buy it… they have everything from portable Bluetooth speakers and headphones to home theater solutions and car audio.  LOVE THE WAY YOU LISTEN.

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I had the opportunity to check out the Heos by Denon Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, which is one of the speakers that Best Buy will be featuring this month during Audio Fest.  HEOS by Denon is a Wireless Multi-Room Sound System comprising a family of great-sounding music players for your whole home. You can enjoy your favorite streaming music services, internet radio or your own music collection and set-up is a breeze. There is a free app to control them from your iOS or Android phone or tablet.

HEOS5 is ideal for medium to large rooms such as dining rooms, larger bedrooms, offices or smaller living rooms.  The HEOS3 ($299.98) is ideal for smaller rooms, such as bedrooms or bathrooms, and are easy to move around the home.  The HEOS7 ($599.98) is ideal for large spaces, such as living rooms, great rooms; etc.

When you get the Heos Speaker the first thing you need to do is download the free app.  You can find it by searching ‘Heos By Denon’ in the Apps Store.  After you download the app you will need to connect the speaker to your wireless network.  This is where I struggled.  I am mediocre when it comes to technology, if it is easy or fairly straight forward I can usually do it on my own.  I had to wait for hubby to come home and let him handle setting up the speaker.  He says that he thinks I had trouble because of the type of network hardware we use in our house.  He was able to get it set up.

This is the back of the Heos5:  You will have an AUX cord that comes with your speaker.  Once you have the app downloaded you will connect your phone to the speaker with the AUX cord and press the connect button.  Hubby said he needed to change the WPS Settings on our access point, after he did that, the speaker connected and I was able to use it right away.  :-)

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The only bad thing about having him set up my speaker was that he decided to download the Heos App on his phone and that made it so he could turn down my Frozen music or change the song when I was jamming out.

After the initial set up, using the speaker was EASY.  You just plug into any power outlet and open the Heos App and play music.  You can create a play list right on the app and you are good to go!  I have a great music library on my phone- okay it is all music I love- so I preferred the option to play music from my phone.  BUT- you do have the option to stream music from internet radio, Spotify, Deezer, Tunein, Napster, etc.

Heos button details

The Heos speaker is extremely portable, you can bring it from room to room- since it is a wireless speaker and controlled by Bluetooth, all you need is a power source and you are set!  I enjoyed listening to music when I cooked in the kitchen, upstairs in my bedroom when I was folding clothes (ya- you can say it– mom life lol), and Colton and I enjoyed having Dance Parties in the living room with the new Heos3 :-)  Anyone who has the Heos App and is connected to your home wireless network can control your Heos Speaker.  This is good, because you can share… but also bad when your hubby wants you to turn down Frozen because you are listening to it very loudly ;-)

The only thing I would change about the speaker is it would be great if it had some way of either charging it or using batteries so that you did not need the power source to operate the speaker.  It would then be truly portable, but I am not sure if this is possible for this quality of speaker.

The Heos by Dennon is just one of the amazing Audio Options that will be featured during Audio Fest at Best Buy this month.  Definitely stop in your local store or check out BestBuy.com to see the awesome Audio Products Best Buy carries.

Here is some food for thought, What is your #1, ALL time favorite song? 

Kids Academy App Giveaway- $100 Amazon Gift Card #MomBuzz #SmartKidsWin

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Kid’s Academy is all about helping children learn verbal, writing and math skills in an easy and fun manner. Apps such as 123 Tracing and Bingo ABC have been top-50 educational apps in the App Store, and Kid’s Academy has also brought the well-known stories and nursery rhymes The Three Little Pigs and Five Little Monkeys to life with interactive apps. The simple interfaces of the apps allow children to take the reins and play on their own, but the sing-a-longs and other activities are perfect for parent or teacher engagement, as well. Research has shown that singing along with nursery rhymes has cognitive and physical benefits for children. Not only are children learning new words and the context in which to use them, but strengthening tongue and mouth muscles at an early age will help with pronunciation skills.

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Kids Academy is hosting an awesome giveaway!  Head over, download the app, and write a review in the App Store.  At the end of August, Kids Academy will randomly choose 2 lucky winners who will each win a $100 Amazon gift card!  Sweet!
CONTEST RULES:
2. Write a short honest review on the iTunes App Store. If you have already reviewed this app, simply update your review and you will be entered!
Giveaways Ends 8/31/14.
Good Luck!