7 Ways To Avoid The Summer Slip
Fun & Educational Ideas For Kids
Summer is almost here. That means lots of free time and no school. homework, labs, workshops, etc. I know my kids will still have music and sports plus volunteering at the library. But besides that, I don’t want them to slip in the summer and have to relearn some of their subjects. Depending on the age you can do a lot to keep them interested in learning this summer and their brains active. Don’t let them sit on their computer, tablet, X-Box or iPhone wasting the day away. Here are a few toys, games and ideas to help your kids avoid the summer slip.
Get Hands-On-Fun with Little Passports Science Expeditions. You can get a monthly box with a new science kit in each one. Depending on the age, most need adult supervision but kids can do the projects. Most are geared ages 9+, or good for younger with adult help. Kits include topics like Hydrology and Forensic Science. Kids can do experiments like extracting the DNA out of a strawberry, understanding fingerprints or learning how scientists user splatter to determine events that occurred at a crime scene. Kids from Little Passports can be purchased as gifts as well. Science Expeditions: Berry DNA Video They also make kits for preschoolers. Teachers love the Little Passports Classroom Subscription! Every month, packages arrive for the classroom that reinforce geography, reading, and problem-solving skills with our award-winning materials.
Sunk! Is a fun social skill and action game by Winning Moves Games. Each round takes 15-25 minutes and is for kids ages 10+. It is a 2 player game. Players try to ad only 1 drop of water at a time to a cup floating in water, trying to not sink it. The game is fun and instructions are easy.
Math can be learned, relearned, studied and practiced in many ways. Have kids play Sudoku, Monopoly (taking turns being the banker), do chore charts and have them figure out their own earnings for the week. There are also apps with math problems-of-the-day.
Younger kids need to learn skills like telling them, counting to 100, skip counting. You can do these with outside games, have them help with recipes in the kitchen, reading the recipe outloud (reading skill) and doing the measurements themself. I love this clock for learning to tell time, called Telly the Teaching Time Clock. It has a analog display as well as hour and minute hands that tell time.
Kids can also learn math with make believe. You can create a grocery store with pretend foods using empty boxes and cans. Buy fake money and a cash register. Kids can shop in their own store, have prices on all the food items and then figure out the total for their purchases. My kids loved pushing around toy grocery carts when they were little, making plates of food to eat too.
Kids of all ages can get library cards and join summer reading programs. Get kids into books, audio books, podcasts, etc. Anything to encourage reading. Some bookstores, like Barnes & Noble, have reading programs where kids can earn a free book. Other programs are prizes. Join one or a few. Make it a part of your routine. Set aside a certain time each day for reading.
Explore and Travel!
Find local museums, community events and shows that offer fun and education for kids. I love our history museum’s Butterfly Pavilion, the animals at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the rotating exhibits at the California Science Center, etc. In California we have a TON of museums to choose from plus events like the Cajun Festival, Strawberry Festival, Civil War Reenactment, etc.
Look for a map of all the parks in your city and visit all of them. Have your kids help map them out and check them off. You can even grade each one and discover new favorites.
Older kids can look into higher education classes. Summer school at the school district, local Parks & Rec or community college. If their high school requires volunteer hours for graduation than summer is the perfect time to get some of these hours checked off.
What are fun ideas you have to help kids avoid the summer slide?
8 Father’s Day Gifts What Won’t Break Your Bank
Father’s Day is just around the corner. Perfect time to start shopping is right now. Plan ahead and shop around. I shop for my dad, stepdad and the kids give a present to their dad. So I do lots of shopping with three presents to buy. All three of them are very different from each other in personality and interests too. Check out my fun list for some great ideas for the dad in your life. Maybe you’ll love my Father’s Day ideas for him.
Crazy-fun-cool chocolates from Phillip Ashley Chocolates. They have flavors like Kryptonite; Roasted jalapeno avocado creme fraiche and Magma: Sriracha caramel lime salt and some that are a little more tame like Key West; key lime pie. This is definitely a ‘you’ve never tried these before’ chocolates. Great gift for the person that has everything. They even have a vegan selection. The Paris was my favorite (brie raw orange blossom honey). We even cut some up so we could share each one. I love how bright and colorful they are too.
Non-chaffing Board Shorts by Nonetz. Made for boys and men. Summer is around the corner. Perfect time to kill two birds with one stone. Get your man new clothing he needs and give it as a gift. They come in a few lengths, sizes and colors and are made with high quality fabric. They even have a back pocket, two deep hand pockets and cinch at the waist for a good fit. I love that they are UPF 50+ and chlorine resistant.
If you have a guy that likes gardening but isn’t home a lot check out the Parrot Pot. It is great for the front porch, back patio or even your countertop. You can program it with your cell phone to let you know when it needs water and even program in the type of plant you planted in it. It will automatically water according to your plant’s needs, without over watering. Great for people that travel & works for indoor and outdoor plants. You can even name your plant.
For the dad that is outdoors, likes camping off the grid for long times or with an RV, check out this really cool gift idea. A portable washer by Avalon Bay. It needs no electricity and you can wash up to 5 lbs of laundry. Clothing will need to be line-dried afterwards but this is a great way to clean them. The whole thing weighs less than 6 lbs. Right now you can save money using the Promo Code: ECODEAL.
Get a chemical-free steam clean with the HomeRight SteamMachine. This might be small in size but can steam clean so much. With summer around the corner get your barbecue ready, steam clean your stovetop, bathroom tile, etc. It is quick and easy to use to remove grease, grime, dirt and it kills 99% of all germs and bacteria. It has random attachable accessories too. Cleaning isn’t fun but SteamMachine gets it done quickly and painlessly.
For the dad that likes barbecues in the backyard (and already owns a barbecue) check out this bug zapper! Right now bugs are everywhere and all my friends are complaining about them. Gnats, mosquito hawks, mosquitos, etc. It isn’t fun being outside in the yard and having bugs all over. This one by DynaTrap doesn’t just zap them, because who wants dead bugs falling on them, it traps them. It can be placed outside on a patio table, near the door, in the garden, etc. There is water tray inside to attract insects off all types and it protects for up to 1/2 acre. Added bonus, no pesticides involved.
For families with allergies it is a pain to keep the A/C running just to have fresh air. Having filtered air can be much easier with the new Hepa-Type air purifier that circulates fresh Febreze scent. It removes 99% of air pollutants for medium-large sized room. Remove odors from cooking, pets, garbage plus remove household dust. This one is for a room up to 170 square feet! I love that it cleans the air, freshens and eliminates odor all in one. Give to dads for their stinky man cave, gym room or any place that needs cleaner air. Celebrate national Clean Your Room Day with cleaner air!
Got any dads that are teachers? Get dad favorite teaching materials with Go Teach supplies. Items by EXPO, Sharpie, Papermate, Elmer’s and more. They are having daily giveaways in the month of May in celebration with Teacher’s Appreciation. We know most teachers spend their own money on teaching supplies so why not help out and give them some extra for their classroom, right? Double-sided dry erase pens, scented markers and colored pencils, re-stick glue sticks and more.
Learn Stories From Your Mom’s Past With StoryWorth
This Mother’s Day create something with your mom or grandma that will last a lifetime. Find out about your mother’s past and create a book with her stories. It can be done a few ways and is really easy and totally worth it. This book can be shared with your children so they know more about the generations before them. Simply create an account with StoryWorth. They will contact your mom via phone or email weekly. Once a week your mom will get a prompt. Something like her first love. Favorite subject in school. Memories of family trips with her parents. Each story is from her point-of-view. She answers how she wants, with as much detail as she wants. You can pick specific questions or let StoryWorth generate questions for you.
When all the questions have been answered StoryWorth will create a beautiful hardcover book. A gift for everyone to read.
This is a fantastic Mother’s Day gift and right now you can get $20 off. Simply go to StoryWorth, create an account and let the questions start. It is a good idea to let your mom know ahead of time to expect the phone calls or emails. For me, emails are best because my mom isn’t always available by phone. There is no limitation. You can create accounts for more than one person. Do it for your mom, mother-in-law, grandma or your favorite mother-figures.
Get a year of weekly stories for your mom, bound in a beautiful keepsake book for $79 $59 through May 14.
Check out just a few of the StoryWorth questions:
- Are you still friends with any of your classmates from grade school?
- What is the best job you’ve ever had?
- How did you decide to get married?
- What foods do you dislike? Have these changed over time?
- Do you prefer summer or winter?
- What are your favorite memories of each of your children growing up?
- Have you ever sued someone, or been sued by someone?
- What sports did you like most as a child? Why?
- What was one of the best dates you’ve been on?
- Did you have a family member you wish you’d gotten to know better?
- What is your best relationship advice?
- Did you play any sports in college?
If you see questions that are irrelevant (like your mom never got married, never went to college) or you think might upset them then skip or delete that questions. Each book is 480 pages long and extra books can be ordered. I know I want my own book and I think it would be neat to give my mom one as well as one to my siblings.
I love this idea so much I think creating one with my grandma’s stories is the next one I want to do. She has stories from a long time ago, many I have never heard. Having them in writing will preserve them for my kids.
11 Tips For Having A Happy Puppy
We just got a border collie that is about 6-months-old. Einstein is a very smart dog (hence the name) but was never taught anything. She doesn’t know her name. Does not know how to walk on a leash. Does not know how to sit. So we have been trying to teacher her all of this. Having a loving, happy puppy means applies in many ways. We want her healthy and well fed with nutritious food. We want her to know dog commands so that she is obedient and welcome around friends and family. We definitely do not want to worry about her jumping on people (especially seniors or little kids), taking food from the table, running off if a door is open, biting, etc. We have started to train her with basic commands. Down (to not jump on people) and sit are the first ones. We took her to the vet and she got a clean bill of health. As for her diet, we are feeding her Purina Beyond dry dog food. She likes the Beyond Salmon Egg and Pumpkin Natural Recipe Superfood Blend very much and I like that the balanced diet the dog food provides. It has real fish in it and fish is the #1 ingredient. Plus no corn, wheat or soy products. I like that every bad has safety sourced ingredients too.
Have An Obedient Dog
- A dog that is well behaved is welcome around more often and not locked outside or in a kennel. Make sure you research this. Go to a dog training class. Search YouTube tutorials from respectable sources.
- Five essential commands are: Sit, Come, Down, Stay and Leave it. The last one could apply to other dogs, you coming across a snake on a trail, a squirrel in a tree, etc.
- Social your dog. Once your dog has rabies shots you should bring it around other dogs. Go to the park, dog park, on walks and other places dogs are welcome. Teach your dog to get along with other dogs.
Health & Exercise
- Get your dog a good leash and collar and go for daily walks. My sister gets too tired before her dog so taught him to run next to her while she rides her bike. Different breeds have a variety of energy levels and you will have to see how much exercise is good for your dog. Not only is exercise good for weight management but it is great for a dog to get outside stimulation so it is not bored.
- Feed your dog a healthy balanced diet. Purina Beyond dry dog food has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
- Limit dog treats to being a small part of rewards. You can also tell your dog ‘good girl’ or show affection with petting and hugs.
- With warmer weather make sure your dog is not too hot. In California temperatures can get over 110 for a few days in a row. This is too hot for a dog to be outside in the sun. We got Einstein a dog bed and kennel in the shade plus her water bowl has an automatic refill. We can have the groomers trim her to keep her hair a little shorter too so she does not overheat.
- Do not give dogs table scraps. You don’t want them taking food from people, dogs are allergic to some people foods and it is not made for their diet.
Toys, Tricks & Brain Exercises
- Rotate toys so your dog doesn’t get bored.
- Teach your dog new tricks. There are endless ones and not only is this good brain exercise for your dog, it is great when you have company over and your dog knows adorable commandments like, ‘Count to three’ or ‘play dead.’
- Go for car rides. Dogs love to put their head out the window and take in all the scenery and smells.Purina Beyond dry dog food is available at Ralphs and right now you are print a $3 digital coupon. Available until 6/29/17. You can try the Beyond Salmon Egg and Pumpkin Natural Recipe Superfood Blend or some of the other Purina Beyond choices. There are many reasons I feed Einstein Purina Beyond. I really think it is the best choice for a healthy, well balanced diet for my dog.
Einstein loves going camping and on hikes too. Her she is with Mr. Pickles. I love having a happy puppy and and she makes the whole family smile.
10 Mother’s Day Gifts: Something For Every Mom
Shopping for a gift for Mother’s Day isn’t easy. Some people have multiple moms, grandmas, spouses. Most have different interests. Trying to find the perfect gift for them is sometimes overwhelming. Check out my reviews on some items I received that will be going to my mom and two grandmas for Mother’s Day. Hope you like some of the ideas and they inspire you. Feel free to click on the photos or links to learn more from the product’s website or purchase the items.
Skin Care Naturally
Beessential has all sorts of skin care products for all ages. I love that they are all natural and made by hand with fresh ingredients, like honey and beeswax. Products are also parabens-free and most cater to sensitive skin. For a review I received:
- Beecology Shampoo and conditioner.
- Original Honey Hand & Body Cream. *This is fragrance-free so a perfect gift for my mom.
- Foaming hand soap in Grapefruit & Lemongrass.
- Foaming hand soap in Peppermint & Aloe.
- Three pack of lip balm in Lime & Coconut.
- Three pack of lip balm in Rose & Mint. *I stashed some of these away for the kids for Easter too.
- Dead Sea Mud bar of soap.
All of Beessential products are made in Cleveland Ohio by bee keepers passionate about honey.
Instavit Travel Kit
Perfect for wellbeing an health while on the road or in a plane. No one wants to get sick while traveling and this is a great kit for moms that are on the go. Each set comes in a resealable plastic bag with four Instavit 0.24-o.5 fl oz containers. Small enough for carry on and yet big enough for multiple uses. Each one is a zero calorie spray with a great taste.
In my Instavit Travel Kit:
Sweet Dreams; Sleep aid supplement with melatonin and chamomile.
Instant Energy; Oral energy spray supplement with caffeine and B12.
Vitamin D supplement. 1250 IU (313% of daily value).
Immune Strength; Nutritional supplement to help support immune health.
Low-Carb Kitchen Sweets
Some moms have a sweet tooth but have restrictions of sugar, dairy or carbs. Check out Rigoni di Asiago’s variety of products. I love that not only are they all organic but the ingredient list is short. I received three products for a review from Rigoni di Asiago. All products are Kosher.
- Nocciolata Dairy-Free Organic Hazelnut & Cocoa Spread. This is also gluten-free and vegan. Delicious on fruit or toast.
- Dolcedi Low Glycemic Sweetener from Apples. This is the first time I’ve heard of this product and I am excited to try it since I am diabetic and try to watch my sugar intake. Dolcedi is a natural alternative to sugar and is vegan. It can be used in tea, coffee, with baking, etc as a substitute for sugar. It is made of only one ingredient: Concentrated organic apple juice.
- Fiordifrutta Organic Fruit Spread: Strawberries & Wild Strawberries. This is a fruit spread made of strawberries, apple juice, wild strawberries and pectin. That is it. Just four ingredients. Use it on biscuits or croissants. For PB&J (my go-to sandwich) or how every you fancy eating it.
Earrings from 7 Charming Sisters
From earrings to watches, bracelets and necklaces, if you are shopping for jewerly you have to check out the selection and prices from 7 Charming Sisters.
I received two pairs of earrings for a review. I tend to like dangly ones but other moms might like bright ones, or studs. I love the large variety. Definitely a ‘something for everyone’ type of jewerly store. Not only that, they are a great company helping people with disabilities find employment and 7 Charming Sisters employs disabled people in their studio.
All Hail The Queen are so pretty. They actually look better in person but were hard to photograph. I love all the two separate pieces joined together with purple stones.These are the Feisty Earrings. *Yeah, all their jewerly has rocking cool names. I like the three pieces-in-one hanging. They are very lightweight and can be easily worn all day long. They are Silver plated concentric tear drops rimmed with rhinestones.
Jumping Out To Say I Love You
LovePop Cards has the cutest cards ever and hundreds to choose from! The cards all ship flat and fit in normal envelopes but when you open them they are totally 3-D paper that just pops out! I’ve already given one to my grandma and one to my neighbor. These are my new favorite greeting card. Great cards to say Happy Mother’s Day, I love You, Congrats on a wedding or graduation and more. The selection on different type of love ones is huge too! You can get non-specific cards too. Like a tree or a dragon.
Get in the bath and detox your body with One With Nature. Products are all 100% dead sea mineral salts containing 21 minerals. Great for skin, blood circulation, skin allergies, rashes, pain relief from arthritis and more. They are all 100% natural.
- Camel Milk African Black Soap.
- Activated Charcoal Triple Milled Mineral Soap with Argan Oil & Shea Butter.
- Fragrance-Free Dead Sea Mineral Salts.
Don’t Forget the Candles!
This candle smells sooooo good! It looks like a mug of coffee with whip cream on top but is really a Hazelnut Latte candle. Lit Candles has seasonal candles and some that can be purchased all year long. They are all-natural soy candles and a great ‘here is a cup of coffee-smell’ gift. Bring into the bathroom for a relaxing bath with some flickering candle light.
Chocolate- For Any Mom
Maybe not all moms like chocolate, but they should! Especially when it is delicious chocolate from Tony’s Chocolonely! I love the assortment of types, dark, chocolate caramel sea salt, chocolate pecan coconut, almond and sea salt dark chocolate, dark coffee crunch and more. Yes, they taste great. Yes, of course, I tried them. Check out the opened one. Tony’s Chocolonely believes not everyone that wants to eat a piece of chocolate wants the same size, so they pre-scored the bars to break in all sorts of sized pieces. Have a nibble. Have a bigger piece. Enjoy all seven types. They all come from slave-free chocolate and have goals to make all chocolate free from slave labor.
Low-Cal, Low-Carb Frozen Desserts
I’d call it ice cream but it is really something more. Definitely a low-glycemic sweet-tooth helper. Arctic Zero made a whole new category for desserts! It is also lactose-free, kosher, GMO-free and made with quality organic ingredients. With brand new flavors you’ll want to try them all. The Peanut Butter Swirl is my favorite! Try over 20 flavors plus 5 flavors of dipped bars (I tried the cake batter ones and they are to-die-for). All are low-fat and vegetarian. They come in chunky, creamy and bars and are made in California.