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Join Auntie Anne’s & Alex’s Lemonade Stand to help fight childhood cancer

 

Childhood Cancer

Cancer is an ugly word. Unless it’s your zodiac sign no one ever wants to utter that word. Cancer is cruel. It has no limits and knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care if you are young or old, black or white, Italian or Irish, rich or poor. Cancer can strike anyone, anywhere at anytime.

Cancer has touched my life over the years. My grandfather had breast cancer, my great-grandmother died from ovarian cancer, my mother-in-law died from pancreatic cancer, my brother-in-law had cancer and a family friend died from brain cancer at the young age of 11. I recently went back to work and learned the site’s director had a cancerous tumor on her ovary. She’s only 24. They removed it and thankfully she’s doing OK.

Cancer is difficult for anyone to deal with. I think it’s even harder when it strikes children. They have their whole lives ahead of them. No one wants to watch a precious, innocent child deal with this sometimes fatal disease. It breaks my heart when I hear about a young warrior who is battling this cruel disease.

Victoria

One such Mini but Mighty Hero is Victoria. Victoria lives in Houston, Texas. Victor’s battle began when she was only six months old. Now four years old, she’s happily in remission. Her mom proudly writes, “Victoria is my hero because she has been through so much more than I could imagine going through myself. She has always been a positive and happy person.”

It’s wonderful to hear that through it all Victoria has remained hopeful and happy. That is very important not only for the child but also their families.

I hope and pray that Victoria’s cancer forever remains in remission and she goes on to have a long, happy and healthy life that she deserves.

Victoria is just one of many Mini but Mighty Heroes.

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Auntie Anne’s and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation have joined forces to help raise awareness and funds to fight childhood cancer.

Auntie Anne’s makes those delicious pretzels you often see sold at the mall. Their Sweet Almond is my favorite. My family and I often enjoy an Auntie Anne’s pretzel or another one of their yummy snacks when we go to the mall.

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has been helping to fight childhood cancer for many years. It was started by a four year old cancer patient named Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996 – 2004). She told her family that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to help raise money to find a cure for all children who had cancer. Her selfless act of kindness and good will towards others helped shaped her simple idea of a lemonade stand into the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Thousands of volunteers across the country carry on her legacy of hope. To date the foundation has raised over $75 million dollars and helped fund 375 research projects nationwide. Alex would be very pleased. If only she lived long enough to see her idea bloom and grow like it has.

Please check out this brief video to see how Auntie Anne’s and the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation have partnered to help find a cure.

 

There is something YOU can do to help. From July 28, 2014 – September 15, 2014 you can donate to the Join the Mighty Fight Campaign.

Here is a little more information about the campaign.

This summer, our goal is to find cures for children who are in the mighty fight of their life against cancer. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of these mini fighters. How can you help? By donating, you’re helping Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation fund potentially life-saving cancer. Here is what your donation could fund:

  • $5: Supports Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation one cup at a time.
  • $15: Provides a gas card to help a family drive to a hospital for treatment
  • $25: Funds a half hour of childhood cancer research
  • $50: Funds one hour of childhood cancer research
  • $100: Enables a family to reside at a nearby hotel so they can stay close to their child receiving treatment
  • $400: Funds one day of childhood cancer research

If we reach our goal of $35,000, we will help fund 700 hours of childhood cancer research! In appreciation of your donation, Auntie Anne’s will send all donors a $1 off coupon, valid at participating U.S. stores, within 7-10 days.

We also believe a small donation goes a mighty long way. For every share of the Mighty Fight, Auntie Anne’s, Inc. will donate $0.25 (the cost of a cup of lemonade!) towards childhood cancer research.

I hope you will consider joining the fight and help the campaign reach it’s goal. Every little bit helps. Even if you can only donate $1.00 it will help.

Perhaps the next time you are waiting on line to get your morning mocha latte you might consider giving it up for just one morning and donate that $5 to help find a cure for childhood cancer.

For more information or to make a donation visit the Join the Mighty Fight campaign page.

Has cancer touched your life? Do you know a Mini but Mighty Hero?

The Mighty Fight campaign

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I am posting this to support this charitable campaign. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Bubble Guppies: Get Ready for School! Available on DVD July 29, 2014

 

 

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I know many people don’t want to think about this but back to school time is right around the corner. In fact some children return to school in a matter of a weeks.

For some children the first day of school can be stressful. They worry about what their new teacher will be like, if any friends will be in their classroom and getting used to a new routine.

If your child or grandchild is a fan of the popular series Bubble Guppies their new DVD is perfect for back to school time.

The new DVD is called Bubble Guppies: Get Ready for School! 

The DVD comes with a special Bubble Guppies pencil case which is perfect for school, while supplies last. The pencil case is really cute.

Bubble Guppies: Get Ready for School! features the following episodes;

Get Ready for School! 

Oona’s worried about her little friend, Avi! It’s his first day of school and he’s nervous. From cubbies to free play, the Guppies show viewers the ropes and teach them about school.

Good Morning, Mr. Grumpfish! 

The Bubble Guppies have a substitute teacher, Mr. Grumpfish, and he doesn’t seem to like anything! It’ll take a lot for the kids to convince Mr. Grumpfish that their favorite things are worth singing about!

Good Hair Day!

Gil’s hair grew really long and he better get it cut soon, because today is Picture Day. But when Gil arrives at the hair salon, he sees that everyone in town wants to get haircuts, too! Watch and discover if Molly and the Guppies can work together to help a busy hairdresser give everybody fabulous new ‘dos in time for the photo.

Check It Out!

Gil lost his library card while returning his favorite books to the library. Gil and his Guppy friends will have to dive into all of Gil’s favorite books to find it again.

Construction Psyched!

Goby needs help from the Bubble Guppies to retrace his steps and find his lost toy dump truck at a construction site before a wild bucking bulldozer crushes it!

The Moon Rocks!

Blast off with the Bubble Guppies – it’s time to learn all about the solar system!

This DVD would make a pre-back-to-school gift that you can watch and enjoy with your child or grandchild. It might also be a great way to start a conversation about going back to school and find out if they have any concerns and what they are most excited about.

Bubble Guppies: Get Ready for School! is available on DVD July 29, 2014. The suggested retail price is $16.99. Look for it where most movies are sold.

Bubble Guppies

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy for my participation. There was no compensation. 

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Tips for throwing the ultimate royal birthday bash and fun 1st birthday gift ideas

 

Birthday

It’s hard to believe that Prince William and Princess Kate’s adorable little son, Prince George, is one year old already. It seems like only yesterday his proud parents introduced him to the world outside the hospital where he was born.

Prince George is such a cute baby. He looks a lot like his dad, Prince William.

I can still remember my daughter and son’s first birthdays. For our daughter we rented tents and had an outdoor party. For our son we had a party at his great-grandparent’s house.

Planning for a first birthday party is a lot of fun. Next to a Sweet 16 birthday party the first birthday party is a very special one. It’s just sad that the person of honor (the one year old) won’t remember any of it. That is why it’s very important to take a lot of pictures and videos from the special day.

If you are planning on throwing a first birthday party this summer here are some great DIY ideas from entertaining expert and event planner Jenn Sbranti to help you throw your little prince or princess the perfect first birthday party.

Jenn is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of popular event planning blog, Hostess with the Mostess where she provides hip and creative entertaining ideas to inspire events for all occasions. Jenn has been regularly contributes to many media outlets in addition to authoring her daily blog. Her modern and no-fuss approach to entertaining serves as an attainable resource for party planners everywhere.

Get Inspired and Pick a Theme: The first step in planning a first birthday party? Pick a theme! This will help make planning and decision making so much easier. For example, a “Royal” theme tailored to a first birthday can inspire creative, age-appropriate decorations—like “castle turrets” made from Fisher-Price® Rock-a-Stack toys topped with golden sugar cones and felt flags.

Activities are King!: Keeping the little ones happily entertained is the key to a good time for everyone! For toddlers, designate a large, kid-proofed play area to serve as their “Royal Play Zone” filled with age-appropriate toys such as bouncy balls, Baby’s First Blocks, Corn Poppers, and Rock-a-Stacks. Coordinated craft projects are another great way to continue your Royal theme.

Please Be Seated: Want the littlest guests to actually sit down and eat? Set an inviting table styled especially for them. Start with a kid-friendly table runner lined with colorful toy blocks from Baby’s First Blocks and top each (unbreakable) plate with a pint sized-birthday crown or party hat.

Let’s Eat (and Smash!) Cake: Every party needs a cake, but a first birthday calls for TWO. You’ll need one cake to serve your guests, and a smaller one for your baby to taste…and smash. Create an extra special (and safe) “throne” for the guest of honor to enjoy their smash cake. Add a scalloped felt garland to the back of the high chair seat, and transform the tray with a fringed tissue edge.

First Birthday

These are great ideas!

My cousin’s son had a royalty themed first birthday party. She found a beautiful golden crown for him to wear. I’d love to share a photo of him wearing it but I know she wouldn’t be too keen on me showing her son’s face on my blog.

Finding the perfect first birthday gift is also important. Did you know that little Prince George received a personalized coin? It’s hard to top a gift like that, but from a one year old’s point of view it’s not very practical. One year olds want fun toys they can play with.

Classic toys from Fisher-Price are always a great option.

I LOVE Fisher-Price toys. I grew up playing with Fisher-Price toys, as did my kids. Even in old photos of me as a child you can see all my Fisher-Price toys.

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Fisher-Price Roly Poly Bear

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Fisher-Price Little People School Bus

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The box to the left is Fisher-Price (not sure what toy). There is a Fisher-Price Push Chime toy in the background and I’m playing with a Fisher-Price xylophone.

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Fisher-Price Little People Snowmobile and sled attachment.

I still have all my Fisher-Price Little People play sets from when I was a child (including my wooden Little People) and I collect Fisher-Price Little People too (the newer sets – especially the holiday sets).

When my children were little they played with a lot of Fisher-Price toys too.

Fisher-Price makes many wonderful age appropriate toys for boys and girls. Many of their toys would make wonderful gifts for a first birthday – they are the perfect option for your little prince or princess that won’t require funding from the Royal Mint.

Here are a few suggestions.

Fisher Price Popper

FP Popper

Brilliant Basics Corn Popper - I work in a childcare setting and this is by far a popular toy with the little ones. They love how the colorful balls bounce around inside the clear plastic dome like a popcorn maker. The “pop-pop-pop” sound that it makes when it’s being pushed or pulled is a lot of fun and the little ones giggle when they hear it.

FB Stacking Rings

Fisher-Price Stacker Rings

Rock-a-Stack - This is a wonderful toy for eye/hand coordination. Each colorful ring has it’s own place on the stacker. A child will have to learn which one goes on first, second, third and so forth. The only way to make them all fit is to put them on in the correct order. Babies enjoy holding the soft plastic rings, chewing on them and shaking them. The top ring has three colorful balls that turns it into a rattle which is also a lot of fun for little ones to shake.

Fisher Price Blocks

FP Blocks

Baby’s First Blocks - This is another wonderful toy that helps with not only eye/hand coordination but also with shape recognition. Children can pour the colorful plastic blocks out, put the lid back on then sort the blocks based on their shapes and dropping them inside the appropriate hole. This is a great toddler toy! It also has a handle which makes it easy for little ones to tote it around.

Each of these toys are around $10 (depending on the retailer) and will provide a child with hours of fun.

Fisher-Price toys are available at many retail locations. You can also find them online at www.Fisher-Price.com. You can also find the brand on all the social media sites (the links are found on the brand’s home page).

Are you planning on hosting a first birthday party? Or do you have any tips on how to throw a fun first birthday?

Are you a fan of Fisher-Price toys?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.

fisher-price-logo.jpg

Kimberly

*I received free products in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Don’t let your brain turn to “mush” this summer

 

Chalkboard

It’s summer time. That means for most children school is out of session. Instead of cracking open the books and studying about history, science and math some children are mindlessly sitting in front of the TV like zombies wasting their days away watching television shows or playing video games. Others, like my teenagers, love to sleep all day. The last thing they want to think about is school. In fact the last day of school they shoved all their leftover school supplies in my bedroom closet just to get them out of their sight.

Here are some startling facts from the National Summer Learning Association about “learning loss” that occurs during the summer months.

  • All young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer. Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains (Cooper, 1996).
  • More than half of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college (Alexander et al, 2007).
  • Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break (Von Hippel et al, 2007).
  • Parents consistently cite summer as the most difficult time to ensure that their children have productive things to do (Duffett et al, 2004).

There are things you can do to help prevent your child’s brain from turning to “mush” (aka – learning loss). One of my favorite ways is taking your child to a museum. My favorite is the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. You could spend all day there and not see everything. I love that place.

When my kids were younger we’d take weekly trips to the library and I would try and encourage them to pick up a book with some kind of an education value to it. It’s not so easy to do now that they are older.

classroom

I also used to give my kids educational (but fun!) workbooks to use during the summer months. I would “assign” them a page or a few pages to do each week. They didn’t mind because the activities were fun. The workbooks didn’t come across as being educational.

Sometimes you need to stay indoors during the hot and humid summer months. If you find yourself “trapped” inside and are looking for something entertaining – yet educational – to do with your child/children, consider watching a documentary together. Not only are they educational but they also open the door to some great conversations.

Netflix has plenty of educational programming worth checking out. Here are some titles that could help boost brain power and prevent brain “mush”.

JulyBigKids

 

1. Lewis & Clark: The Journey Out West
2. Walking with Dinosaurs
3. Secret Yellowstone
4. The Blue Planet
5. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions

Common Sense Media shared 12 age-appropriate documentaries that encourage kids to explore worlds they may not normally encounter, all currently streaming on Netflix – check out the list here.

Little ones can also experience learning loss. Be sure to check out some educational programming geared towards them too.

JulyLittleKids

1. The Great Mouse Detective
2. Busytown Mysteries
3. LeapFrog: Math Adventures to the Moon
4. Turtle: The Incredible Journey
5. The Magic School Bus

To check out more educational movies or shows visit Netflix visit www.Netflix.come. You can also follow the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

Sometimes doing crafts together can also help boost brain power, especially if you are creating a craft that promotes creativity. Crafts that require measuring and weighing are also great for keeping up with simple math skills.

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I love this craft idea for making story cubes. The cubes help boost a child’s imagination and help them come up with their own storybook adventures. You can find the directions to make the story cubes here.

Another fun thing you can do together with your child is cooking or baking. Once again math skills come to play when you have to weigh out the ingredients and portion sizes. Not only that cooking and baking are great skills to have for when they are older.

Strawberry-Yogurt-Popsicles2

Ice Pops are easy to make and are the perfect summer time treat. Check out this recipe for Strawberry-Yogurt Swirl Ice Pops which are not only great for a treat but also for breakfast or a healthy dessert. They are filled with brain-powering ingredients like Greek yogurt and berries. You can find this yummy recipe here.

How do YOU prevent your child’s brain from turning to “mush” during the summer months? Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share with others? Feel free to share in the comments section of this post.

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Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I receive a free membership in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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10 Easy Ways to Make Your House Giggle

 

Laughter

Nothing warms my heart more than the sound of children laughing. It’s like music to my ears and always puts a smile on my face. :-)

My kids are moody teenagers now. I’d give anything to hear the sound of their laughter again. Don’t get me wrong – they DO laugh. It’s just that my son sounds like singer Barry White (he has a REALLY deep voice) so his laughter doesn’t quite sound the same as a child’s giggle. LOL.

How do YOU make your child or grandchild giggle?

Courtney DeFeo, author of  In This House, We Will Giggle: Making Virtues, Love, and Laughter a Daily Part of Your Family Life (WaterBrook Press, October 10, 2014), offers parents a practical approach of how to instill virtues in their children through laughter, rather than lecture.

Joke Telling. Grab a pretend microphone and host an open joke night.

Game Night. Gather the entire family and choose one family friendly board

Movie Time. Each person acts out a scene from your favorite movie.

Swim Indoors. Fill up a bathtub, slip into your swimsuits, and pretend you’re at beach!

Design a Fort. Build a fort with sheets and dining chairs.

Best Costume Contest. Kids dress up in their parents’ clothes and accessories.

Daddy Disco. Play an old ’80s tune and pull out your craziest dance moves for the kids.

Mom’s Soprano Solo. Sing the menu for the evening in an operatic style.

Hide-n-Seek. Play a daytime game in the house—or at nighttime using flashlights.

Balancing Act. Find things to balance on your head, nose, toe, etc.

These are great tips. My family and I have already done several of these things when my kids were younger.

I’d love to hear from readers about other fun family things you can do together that brings laughter into your home. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

Laughing

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I am sharing these tips with permission for the benefit of site readers. 

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Cleaning up with the kids – tackling kid-made summer messes

 

popsicle

Summer vacation does have it’s ups and downs. I love doing things with my family and backyard barbecues. On the flip side I hate the heat and humidity and my kids constantly whining that they are bored and have nothing to do.

I had hoped when my kids got older they wouldn’t be so bored during summer vacation with their friends to hang out with. Sadly most of my daughter’s friends have jobs and no one is around for her to hang out with. She’s looking for a job too but so far hasn’t found anything. I hope she finds something soon because she’s driving me bonkers with her constant complaining about having nothing to do. I give her suggestions but like a typical teen she doesn’t want to listen to her parents because our ideas are “lame”.

When my kids were younger I had a “Box Full of FUN” that I would take out on rainy days or summer days when it was too hot and humid to be outside. I would fill the box with crafts, crayons, coloring books, small indoor and/or hand held games and more.

When it comes to things like crafts kids tend to make a mess. During the summer months little ones tend to make even more messes with ice pop drips and bringing sand into the house after a day at the beach.

Here are some great tips from Debra Johnson, national cleaning expert for Merry Maids (Merry Maids can also be found on Facebook). Debra has simple solutions for moms and kids to conquer the sandiest and stickiest messes this summer.

The Ice Pop Drips

Ice pops are always a fan favorite once the weather warms up – but when the frozen treats start melting all over the carpet or furniture, they are not always a favorite to clean up. Johnson explains the best home remedy for removing an ice pop stain from upholstery or carpeting is to dampen the stained area with dish washing liquid solution. From there, place a white terry cloth towel over the solution and run over the towel with a hot iron – this will help transfer much of the stain to the towel.

Get the kids involved: An easy way for kids to help keep their hands clean and the floors dry is to make a DIY ice pop holder. Johnson suggests parents help their kids cut a hole in the bottom of a cupcake wrapper and place the wrapper around the base of the ice pop stick – use multi-colored or printed wrappers to make it fun and personal. This will catch all of the drips and drops and keep kids’ hands (and moms’ floors) from getting sticky.

Surviving Rainy Days with Glitter

On rainy summer days, keeping the kids entertained indoors is a survival coping skill, and many times, the best forms of entertainment involve glitter, glue, paint, and markers. A day of arts and crafts can be fun for the whole family, but leaves a lot to clean. Cleaning up glitter can be a nightmare, but Johnson has some simple steps to help contain the sparkly mess. She suggests spreading paper or plastic over the table before starting any craft projects – hopefully most of the glittery residue will stay on the paper, but prepare for some spillover.

Get the kids involved: Make DIY lint rollers with the kids so they can own the cleanup responsibility. Help them create a loop of tape, sticky side up, that fits loosely around their fingers or hands so they can tap the sparkly surfaces and capture any glitter that got left behind.

Sticky Season

Neighborhood lemonade stands and juice boxes are summer staples, but there’s no avoiding the spills when the kids are running in and out of the house for refreshments. To help prevent the spill area from being sticky, Johnson says the best trick is to wipe up the lemonade or juice immediately – first with a paper towel and then with a wet microfiber cloth, soaked in warm water, to ensure no residue is left behind. If the juice spill occurs on a cloth surface, rub the wet area with ice cubes and blot the area with a dry microfiber cloth.

Get the kids involved: Turn the cleanup task into a team project and get the kids involved by having one person rub the juice stain with an ice cube while the other pats the area dry.

Sand-y Days Ahead

One fun way to entertain the family during the long summer days is to plan a day at the beach. However, before leaving the beach, make sure to use a towel to dust as much sand off of the kids’ feet as possible, to avoid tracking the sand inside. Johnson also recommends keeping a bottle of baby powder nearby. The baby powder helps remove moisture from the skin, making it easier to wipe the sand off before it gets into the house.

Get the kids involved: Before entering the house, Johnson encourages kids to do a little dance on a door mat with bare feet –taking four or five steps on the mat will transfer the sandy soil from their feet to the mat, instead of from their feet to the floor. This will keep debris out of the house and help prevent any scratching of the floor.

Water, Water Everywhere

Warmer weather means kids are spending more time in the water – whether it’s jumping into a neighborhood pool, splashing friends with the garden hose, or running around on a slip ‘n’ slide. However, water activities lead to wet swim suits and soggy towels that can leave marks and water stains throughout the house. Once the kids are done playing in the water, Johnson recommends parents entertain the kids outside for five to ten minutes before heading back into the house, allowing enough time for swim suits to dry.

Get the kids involved: To make it easier for the kids to help prevent any slippery messes, Johnson recommends setting up a towel tree by the pool or placing a laundry line in the bathroom on which kids can hang their swimsuits and towels to dry completely.

I learned the baby powder trick many years ago. It works GREAT! We always bring along a travel size bottle of baby powder when we go to the beach. We just tuck it into our beach tote bag and when we are read to leave we put it all over our feet. It works great!

When it comes to messes, do you have any special cleaning tips you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section. I always love to hear from my reader.

Sandy Foot

Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this (with permission) for the benefit of my site readers.

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