Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Valentine's Day for Kids: Plant and Create a Valentine Garden

Valentine’s Day for Kids:
Plant Seeds, Seedlings, Flowers, or a Valentine Garden!

Looking for a fun activity to do with your children on Valentine’s Day? Even though the weather is cold, you can still enjoy planting in February! Whether you plant seeds, seedlings, flowers, or Valentines, planting can be a messy but fun activity to share with your children.
When I was a child, we often planted seeds in egg cartons and watched them grow. First, go to your favorite store and purchase a bag of potting soil and some flower seeds. Add the potting soil to the egg carton cups. Then, have your child poke his or her finger in each cup to make a hole. Next, add a few seeds in each hole, a little water, and cover it over with a little soil. Make labels out of colorful paper attached and attach to toothpicks to label the seeds. Set the pot in a window. Over the next few weeks, you and your child will love watching the flowers grow!
Also, you can paint clay flower pots with your child, making decorative Valentine’s Day designs on the sides. Then, plant flowers inside. The flowers will take root and will be a colorful addition to your home, bringing a bit of spring and sunshine into your home, even through the cold winter days.
Besides flowers, you can also plant vegetable seeds with your child. Within weeks, the seeds will sprout just in time to plant outside. When summer comes, you will have an early garden filled with fresh vegetables.
In addition, you could plant seedlings, which will allow the plant to better take root. Again, make sure to label the pots so you and your child will know what vegetable is growing. Then this summer, carry on the planting tradition outside with your child by transferring the seedlings into to a raised or outdoor garden.
Another fun activity you can do with your children is to create a Valentine Garden! Attach Valentine hearts with special messages to pop cycle sticks. Then, push them into the back of a seed pot and enjoy a Valentine Garden! Your children will enjoy the special messages while you’re waiting for the seeds to grow!
In addition, you can plant a Valentine tree! Choose a small, bare tree and plant it in a big flower pot indoors. Then, use red and pink ribbon to tie Valentine hearts with special messages to the branches to create a special Valentine Tree! When spring comes and the ground softens, plant the tree outdoors. Bare branches placed in a vase can be used to create your Valentine Tree, as well.

Whether you plant seeds, seedlings, flowers, or Valentines, you and your child will have fun planting together! Some of my fondest memories as a child were when I spent time with my family planting vegetables or flowers. You and your child will enjoy it, too.
Join me tomorrow when we make crafts out of Valentine hearts! Enjoy! 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Valentine's Day for Kids: Craft Ideas

Valentine's Day for Kids:
Valentine's Day Crafts to do With Your Children!

Valentine’s Day crafts can be fun to do with your children and can be done any time. Here’s some ideas.
·         Valentine’s Day Gift Boxes:
Valentine’s Day gift boxes are fun to make and can easily be done with your kids. First, cover a box from Dollar Tree or any dollar store with tissue paper or construction paper. Next, save Valentine’s Day cards and use the pictures from the covers the next year. But for this year, just look up Valentine’s Day pictures of hearts, cupids, and more, print them out, and glue them to the construction paper to secure. Then, paint a thin layer of glue over the whole box, sealing in the pictures. When the box is dry, then place tissue paper inside along with special things to give your loved one. This is also the perfect gift for your child’s favorite teacher!

·         Tissue Paper Flowers:
Tissue paper flowers are also wonderful to make with your children. We used to make these out of toilet paper when I was a child, but it’s so much better to make from tissue paper! LOL! Just cut four inch squares. Place four or five squares together, fold in half inch segments, accordion style, and join together in the center with a florist wire. Then, flare out the pedals. Last, use floral tape to cover the joining and to wrap the stem. Wrap floral leaves on the stem, too, one on each side. Place in a vase to create a bouquet to use as a centerpiece or give to a favorite grandparent!

·         Hand Print Heart:
Hand print hearts are a little messy, but fun to make! Draw a heart with a pencil on a sheet of heavy white paper. Then, have your child coat his or her hand with paint and place a hand print on the heart. Repeat and place again on the other side of the heart. Repeat with different colors until the heart is covered. Hearts can be filled in with various colors or hand prints can be placed only along the edges, leaving the center of the heart open. This makes a wonderful gift for a parent, or the perfect addition to your refrigerator!

·         Hand-Traced Heart Picture Frame:
Hand-Traced Heart Picture Frames are wonderful and easy to make! Just place your child’s hands on a heavy sheet of colored paper—hot pink or red—thumbs overlapping, index fingers together, and the rest of the fingers spread. Trace your child’s fingers with a pencil. Then, cut out and set aside. (This can also be done with hand prints.) Next, cut out a heart and the center in a contrasting color, leaving enough space for a picture. Then glue the picture on a heavy sheet of white or colored paper and glue the cut out heart over it, leaving the picture visible. Last, glue the hand-traced heart over the heart frame, leaving a border visible between the picture and the hands (see picture). This is also perfect to give to a grandparent, place on the refrigerator, or save as a wonderful memory!

These are all wonderful crafts to do with your children and to create memories that will last forever! Why wait until Valentine’s Day? Start now and give them to a favorite grandparent, teacher on Valentine’s Day, or keep the memories!
Join me tomorrow when we plant flowers, seeds, and a Valentine Garden! Enjoy! 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Valentine's Day for Kids

Are You Ready for Valentine’s Day?
This year, spend Valentine's Day with your children.

Valentine’s Day is the day when you express your love to that special someone. However, Valentine’s Day is also a great day to spend with your children. With Valentine’s Day only weeks away, I thought I would share some tips about ways to celebrate the holiday with your children. So, this year mark your calendar for Wednesday, Feb. 14, and save the date to spend with your children. But why wait? Start making preparations now.
For the next few weeks, I’ll post tips to help you have a great Valentine’s Day with your children, sharing ideas about crafts, food, and activities to make the day special.
Before we begin, I thought it would be fun for you to share the origin of Valentine’s Day with your children.
Valentine’s Day is also called Saint Valentine’s Day and The Feast of St. Valentine and is celebrated each year on Feb. 14. The Catholic Church recognizes three Saint Valentines. But one is associated with the following legends.
Long ago during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry. The emperor thought that married soldiers would be weaker and less dedicated, and therefore, made bad soldiers. However, a Catholic priest, St. Valentine, performed marriages for these men. He also administered to Christians who were being persecuted under the Roman Empire.
After his imprisonment, St. Valentine healed Julia of blindness, the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. As a result, Julia and all of her father’s household, family and servants alike, came to believe in Jesus Christ as their savior and were baptized by St. Valentine.
St. Valentine also cut out hearts from parchment and gave them to the soldiers, wanting to remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians. This is possibly how the heart became a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Today, people give hearts to their loved ones as a symbol of their love for one another.
Before his execution, St. Valentine wrote a letter to Julia, encouraging her to stay faithful to God, and signed it “Your Valentine”.
Valentine’s Day first became associated with romantic love in the 14th Century within the circles of Geoffrey Chaucer. In the 18th Century, the day evolved into a day for lovers to express their love for one another by giving flowers, hearts, and cards known as “Valentines” to each other.
In Padua, Italy, St. Valentine keys were given to lovers as a romantic symbol of unlocking the giver’s heart. The keys were also given to children to ward off epilepsy, known as St. Valentine’s Malady. Each year, a St. Valentine’s Day ceremony is held at Oratorio di San Giorgio, a chapel in Monselice, Padua, Italy, where small golden keys are given to the children. The tradition continues to this day.
Today, many of the traditions we have for Valentine’s Day come from the legend of St. Valentine, giving hearts and cards to our loved ones.
So, in honor of St. Valentine, make Valentine’s Day special for your children this year. Together, you can make crafts, food, cards, and more. But the best gift to your children will be the time you spend with them. This way, you can show your children you love them as well as telling them.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll post ideas on ways to spend Valentine’s Day with your children. But why wait until Valentine’s Day? You can start making the preparations now.

Visit again for more tips and fun ways to make Valentine’s Day special for your children this year.
Join me tomorrow for tips on Valentine's Day crafts to do with your children.  

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Calorie Counting No Longer a Nightmare

My Weight Loss-Data Tracker
My Fitness Pal 

Over the past few years, several more pounds than I care to admit have crept up on me. Just after Christmas, I began hemming and hawing about whether or not to go back on Weight Watchers (I had lost a lot of weight on that plan years ago), to try Nutrisystem (I did years ago and didn't lose), or maybe some other weight loss system. But none of them appealed to me.

I'm sure I'm not alone. 

A friend of mine recently began documenting her weight loss journey publicly on her blog and she mentioned "mindful eating" and calorie counting. I don't know about you, but calorie counting has always been a nightmare for me. Looking up the food, trying to find the food in the book in the first place, writing down the calories ... very time consuming and an absolute pain! Ugh! Then, my friend mentioned a calorie counter. Within a second--literally--she had looked up her food and viola! There were the calories. Then, she saved it in her tracker. Wow!

Ding, ding, ding! The bells went off!

Inspired, I searched the Google Play store and found a gem! It's a calorie counter and fitness data tracker all in one and I just had to share! It's called My Fitness Pal! Simple title, right? As soon as I downloaded it, I started tracking right away. First, I answered a few questions and then it automatically created a weight loss plan, personalized just for me. There's also a place to log in not only your meals, but your water intake and exercise, too. Yes! 

Here's a snapshot of mine this morning: 

As you can see, it shows the amount of calories I can eat per day and my daily target. I was able to search for the food and there it was! Not shown above is the water intake and the exercise log. 

Wow! This has really given me the shot in the arm I need! With my efforts over the past week, I've already lost 3 lbs. Even though I have a way to go, I've set a do-able weight loss goal of ten pounds at a time. If I look at the whole amount I have to lose, it will be much more daunting. But this way is much, much easier.

I look forward to being a skinny mini again sometime soon! I'll be sharing my weight loss finds on my blog if you'd like to join me! If my time with Weight Watchers didn't teach me anything else, it's that it's so much better to lose weight with others. Not for accountability, but for encouragement.