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Seaweed Art Cards
  • Now that summer is here it is likely that your children are looking for a break from school, homework and the accompanying lesson plans that go along with them. I know my children always enjoyed less structured activities like hanging out at the beach, taking swimming lessons or playing soccer at the park.  Although a children’s summer full of culturally rich and educational activities like camps, trips to the museum and family vacations can be very rewarding and intellectually stimulating, studies show that children run the risk of forgetting material and losing academic continuity on the long summer break from school.

    I noticed with my own children that third grade was a pivotal year in learning since that was the age when children bridge the gap between “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. This was particularly prevalent in the area of math, which is why I always felt the need to supplement my kids learning. I used the Third Grade Math Worksheets that are available from Scholastic. I also focused on my children’s reading. In addition to joining the summer reading program at the local library and reading to my children, I utilized the Scholastic reading comprehension worksheets. I made it a game with my girls since they loved to play school and I let them choose the times they wanted to work on them.

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  • This one of those recipes that is fun to experiment with. I’ve made it a few different ways with various dried fruits and nuts. One ingredient I recommend that you not improvise with is the brown rice syrup. When I could not find it at my usual market, I substituted agave syrup. Although it tasted great, it didn’t bind well and the bars were more like clumps. Don’t skimp on this item. Purchase the brown rice syrup online if necessary. To get the recipe, click on the article I wrote for Parent Society.

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  • Materials:

    • Heart-shaped baking tin
    • Plastic bowl or container that is wider than your baking tin and about 2″ deep.
    • One cup sand
    • One-half cup water
    • Candle wick
    • Small metal washer
    • Wax
    • Candle dyes or crayons for color
    • Candle scent (optional)
    • Double boiler (Note: You can melt wax in the microwave or in a tin can in a shallow pan of water over low heat. Add color and scent after wax is melted.)
    • Newspaper
    • Scissors

    Fill bowl with sand and water. Press bottom of heart tin into wet sand.  Pull out leaving a heart shape. If the sides fall in, press tin in again and add some more water to sand. Tie wick to washer and place in center of the sand-shaped heart. Tie other end of wick onto a pencil and set on top of container. Make sure wick is taut. Pour melted wax into the heart-shaped hole in the sand. Position wick so it is in the center. Let wax harden and cool, about 45 minutes. Carefully lift heart candle from container and place on newspapers. Trim wick with scissors.

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  • cookies in a jarAs ubiquitous as they may seem to some in their quaint, kitschy way, who  can’t resist  homemade cookies? And if you can make the planning and preparation that much easier, you’ve got the perfect gift. Here are some suggestions for those layered cookies in a jar you can pass out to all your friends, relatives and kid’s teachers. Put all ingredients in a Mason jar decorated with some nice fabric, ribbon and a tag with recipe and baking instructions.

    Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix Read the rest of this entry »

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  • "image of stationery"This is a classic I remember from childhood. Some people call them fortune tellers.


    • Construction paper or copy paper
    • Markers, crayons or gel pens
    • Optional: Stickers or other decorations

    Take a regular-sized piece of paper and place it vertically flat in front of you. Turn one corner down to line up with the opposite side of the paper. Tear or cut off the excess.  You  now have a perfect square. Fold one corner to the opposite corner to form a triangle. Fold again to form an even smaller triangle. Open up the paper. Take each corner and fold it into the center point so that when you are finished all four corners folded make another square. Flip entire piece over and repeat the previous procedure. You should see eight small triangles. Number each of these. Flip up the flaps and write romantic messages underneath. When you flip it over you will have four squares that act as “pockets” for your thumb and index fingers.  Number these too. Place your fingers inside and start playing. Have your child hold the Cootie Catcher and ask her Valentine to pick a number. She then opens and closes the Cootie Catcher that many times.  The Valentine child then picks an inside number and when you lift up that flap you will find your special Valentine message.

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  • "image of pumpkins and gourds"Materials:
    Apple corer
    Large Rome Beauty apples or small, round gourds
    Waxed paper
    Aluminum foil
    Autumn leaves, pine cones, twigs

    Using an apple corer, make a straight hole about halfway through the middle of the apple or gourd. Remove the core piece. The candle should fit snuggly inside. If it doesn’t, wrap the bottom of the candle with waxed paper. Repeat for as many apples and gourds as you would like. Place several candle holders on a plate or serving tray covered with aluminum foil. Decorate with leaves, pine cones etc.

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  • The Fresh Air Fund is still in need of  host families for this summer. If you could help get the word out it would really help us place these wonderful children into a loving host family for up to two weeks of a fresh air experience they will never forget. If you would like to host a child in your home this summer that allows him or her to have an unforgettable experience you can sign up to host a child or donate to the Fresh Air Fund. To learn more about what you can do to help the Fresh Air Fund click here. Spread the word.

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  • Years ago when my children were small, we used to make a lot of craft projects with pressed flowers. At first, we mostly created cards and bookmarks, but eventually we expanded to decorating glass  pickle and spaghetti sauce jars that we used for pencil holders and vases. Eventually this hobby morphed into a family business in which I decoupaged flowers onto olive oil bottles and wine glasses. Before I knew it, I had quite a “blossoming” enterprise.

    Since I planned to sell my wares at farmer’s markets and trade shows I had to search for pop up trade show displays and pop up booths, which I knew would make setting up my travelling store so much easier. It took me a while to find just the right trade show pop up because there are a lot of pop up displays to choose from. I finally found one with a frame that opened up like an EZ UP canopy. It was a life saver. But more importantly, it made the whole experience of selling my glassware with my young children less stressful and infinitely more enjoyable.

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  • I picked up this wonderfully entertaining and delightfully illustrated book at a Scholastic Book Fair a number of years ago and devoured it with my kids. The subtitle, “Green Thumb Magic for the Great Indoors,” says it all. It is chock full of fun gardening related craft projects and science experiments that easily answer the question, “How do things grow?” But that’s not all. There’s legend and lore about a magic turkey that planted the first corn and a mythical dragon that dropped the first peas on the ground. It is sure to inspire your child’s imagination and fascination with nature.

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  • naturally dyes Easter eggs

    Instead of using the store bought variety of Easter Egg dyes, which are usually just food coloring mixed with vinegar, here are some suggestions for all natural ingredients that work just as well.

    • Brown–outer layers of an onion, coffee or tea
    • Green– spinach or dandelion leaves
    • Orange– ground turmeric, celery seed and or orange peels
    • Blue– crushed blueberries
    • Red– crushed cranberries or raspberries
    • Pink– chopped rhubarb or beet juice

    Place eggs in sauce pan with enough water to cover them, add your “dye” and 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Cook your eggs and color them at the same time. How efficient!

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