Marvel Hero Birthday Party

One of the hottest trends to hit the big screens in recent years has been the invasion of Marvel Superheroes. Kids are responding in a big way, and perhaps now more than ever, they want to play superhero dress up. Yet with Halloween only once a year, what are they to do? The answer is Marvel Hero Birthday parties.

The first challenge is establishing the cast of characters. Option one is to let every child come as their favorite and risk having 3 Iron Mans at the party, option two is trying to coordinate ahead of time, maybe letting the birthday person pick first and drawing names from a hat as to who picks next. It’s also not necessary that the kids arrive in costume at all. Face painting or costume/mask-making could become part of the party itself.

Party-goers could potentially form two groups of heroes that then play in friendly competition while engaging in fun-filled activities. The Avengers may certainly be the team currently most on everyone’s mind, but don’t forget about the Uncanny X-Men… they can be more than a match for Captain America and his crew! The two teams could work together, or try to show off their power in competition… but at the end of the day, they are all still heroes.

When dreaming up activities for the kids to participate in on their superhero adventure, all that’s necessary is to think like a comic book adventure, and modify accordingly. Set up interesting terrains for their adventure. A water sprinkler/pool party could become a standoff of Earth’s mightiest heroes at an exotic waterfall or island. Scavenger hunts are now a search for powerful alien stones that have crashed to Earth. Racing with an egg or a potato on a spoon transforms into rushing innocent bystanders to safety. You could even decorate these food items to look like people!

If there’s one party secret to getting the kids behind the activities, it’s making events like a video game that their bodies are actually participating in.

kids_backpacks

With so many different backpack options on the market these days, it can be rather difficult to figure out which ones are right for our children. While our kids are always going to love the ones with their favorite cartoon character or sports team, it’s important to remember that their safety and health should be our top priority. There are many brands to choose from when you go to the store or shop online, so here are the facts that you need to know before you make your purchase.

First of all, Jansport and L.L. Bean backpacks are usually going to be the best options when it comes to safety and durability. These backpacks are going to last a long time, and I have been using the same backpack for multiple children over the years. There are different types of backpacks available with each brand, and I actually prefer the rolling backpacks for the smaller children. When a child is struggling to carry all of those books and binders and his or her backpack, it becomes rather obvious that a rolling backpack is going to be a better option.

The backpacks that I try tell everyone to avoid are the ones sold at department stores with various cartoon characters and flashy colors displayed on them. These backpacks are simply made to grab a child’s attention while he or she are at the store, and there is not a lot of reliability that goes along with these options. Some of my children have begged me for one of these backpacks, but I ended up getting them one of the better brands instead. My child may be angry at me for that day, but at least I know that backpack is going to last until they are in the 20s.

I always try to stick to online stores when I shop for something like a backpack for my 10 year old because that is where you will be able to get the most in depth analysis of all of your options. Instead of going to the store and looking at some poor quality options, I take my shopping online and stick with the brands that I trust.

kids backpacks

Although most people think about education more than anything else when it comes to children going to school, we should also think about their health during the day. Whether it is nasty school lunches or making sure that they get enough exercise during the day, there are a few different things that we can change to give our children a better school day. One of the most overlooked problems that face children today is the heavy backpack that they have to carry around from the time they wake up until they finally get home from school.

While most parents probably think that a little extra weight on their children’s back will not be a problem, the fact of the matter is that there are plenty of children who now have back problems that are directly related to all of the books they carried on their back during their school years. Textbooks seem to be getting larger on a yearly basis, so we need to start limiting the amount of weight that these children are carrying with them all day. We should try to setup a school curriculum where only two or three books and notepads are needed to be carried at a time, although the exact number of books will need to vary from child to child.

Some children have the option of using lockers to store some of their books during the day, and we need to make sure that our children are taking advantage of these lockers on a daily basis. There is no reason to carry around thirty pounds of books on your back all day when you have a perfectly good locker that you can use. By adding more lockers to our elementary and middle schools, we can make sure that our children are able to ease the stress on their backs.

Some children skip out on the lockers because they feel too rushed between classes, so it could be a good idea to extend the time between classes as well. At the end of the day, we need to remember that the health of our children is more important than shuttling them off to the next class right away.

lunchbots

As a parent being concerned for my child’s health is a top priority. I am carrying on the same tradition of sending my children to school with a lunch from home just as my mother did. Unlike the plastic baggies, paper sacks and other containers for carrying lunches I have taken time to learn about eco-friendly lunch containers for our kids and have found that there are a number of great ones on the market today.

There are guidelines to consider when purchasing an eco-friendly container for lunches. First, is the container free of BPA radicals? If the container composition breaks down after continuous use then it is not healthy or eco-friendly for carrying food for lunches.

Second, is the container sturdy? Chipping, cracking or coming apart would make the container a costly investment if the lifespan is short-lived.

Third, can the lunch container be washed in my dishwasher safely? In considering these three factors I have found the following eco-friendly lunch containers to be just what moms like myself have been looking to find.

The Thinkbaby is not just for very small children but the older ones like it also. It is one compartment that holds quite a lot. The inside is large enough for snacks and finger foods and can easily be stored in the backpack until lunchtime. Being sturdy and dishwasher safe make this a good purchase.

LunchBots come in styles with one, two, three or four compartments. Having several foods at lunchtime make this container a good value. Everything can be packed in one container and there is no plastic bag to throw away. Just wash and use again the next day. Check them out here.

If packing a light lunch for the small eater choosing Lunchskins may be just the right containers. These are reuseable bags that hold sandwiches and snacks. They can be either handwashed or washed in the dishwasher. A variety patterns are available. Also try Kids Konserve and Laptop Lunches containers.

The Best Colors To Paint The Nursery

nursery painting

Before you give birth, you must first create a nursery to keep your baby comfortable at all times. Creating your baby’s nursery can be quite tough, as choosing the color of the paint will take some time, especially if you don’t know your baby’s gender. There aren’t really any colors that wouldn’t suit your baby’s nursery, but there are colors which are better than others. Every parents’ biggest concern when choosing a color is how it can affect their baby.

The Best Colors To Paint The Nursery

– Yellow

Bright yellow appears to be a great gender neutral color. This color is especially a great choice if the nursery room is tiny with a lack of windows. Having natural light in the room is important, as it is calming to the eyes. Shades of yellow actually encourages an optimistic and joyful disposition. Yellow walls with tiny accents of navy blue would be great if your baby is a boy, and yellow walls with small accents of pink would be perfect if your baby is a girl. To make it easier, you can paint the nursery yellow before the birth, and once you know the gender, you can add the blue or the pink.

– Lime Green

Lime green is also a gender neutral color that would look perfect on your baby’s nursery walls. Light colors like lime green is highly refreshing and uplifting to the eyes. The color offers a soothing and calming effect which is perfect for sleeping. Lime green goes with many other colors which can work as accents for the nursery.

A few other gender neutral colors that you can choose are beige, tan, cream, pearl, and light orange. Painting your baby’s nursery before the birth is advisable, as you don’t want your baby to inhale the scent of the paint. Avoid dark colors because they can be pretty depressing to be around. You want to choose vibrant and calming colors, as they will benefit your baby greatly.

thanksgiving kids

Thanksgiving is the holiday where we indulge our gluttonous side with heaping portions of comfort food. It’s also family-centered and a day we show gratitude for the relationships that we have with others by sharing a fabulous meal. This holiday meal doesn’t need to be a reason for days of dietary regret. Planning the menu ahead of time with your children with healthy options will encourage excitement about a Thanksgiving dinner everyone can feel good about.

Fresh is Best

The easiest way to making a healthier Thanksgiving is using fresh ingredients. Avoiding all the preservatives, additives, and unnecessary sweeteners can take some planning ahead. With kids, fruit and vegetables offer a colorful and fun way to add fresh ingredients. Many Thanksgiving menus involve seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, yams, and apples. Shopping for these at a farmers market is a fun way to encourage kids to eat healthy and become involved in the entire meal process.

Portion Control

Skip the giant portions by serving dishes in smaller containers. Instead of a pie, serving the filling with a crumble top in a small mason jar or inside of a hollowed out apple is a great way to present the dessert and keep portions in check.

Substitute Ingredients

To cut back on sugar and fats in a meal, look for substitutions. Not necessarily artificial sweeteners, but things like fruit butters for a dinner roll instead of traditional butter. There are many substitutions that can be made that keep the sweet taste kids love in a healthier way.

Keep it Fun

Involving kids in the meal from planning to preparation is the best way to create an enjoyable holiday meal. Younger kids can help choose dishes by pictures in a cookbook, while older children may help with making the shopping list and preparing the ingredients. Recipes that include appetizers or desserts in fun shapes are easily found online and can be a great way to introduce kids to healthier ingredients.

The Safest Water Guns for Kids

Water Warriors Colussus Water Blaster

Water guns are always wonderful to use and can be a great way for your children to enjoy playing with each other. The main problem with water guns is how they can be dangerous at times if they malfunction incorrectly. This is why so many people make sure to always look for the most safest guns available. There are actually many of them available, but only a few are actually worth buying for your children.

The Safest Water Guns for Kids

– Water Warriors Colussus Water Blaster

This gun has a pump handle and is designed perfectly for children 8 years of age and above. It is sized at 25.0 ” and has been considered as a very safe water gun. Children are even able to customize the dial to fit the way they want the water to squirt out. It can water up to 40 feet away, so it is very strong to use. It is important that children are always shooting from a good distance away from each other.

– Nerf Super Soaker Point Break

If your children enjoy shooting with water guns, you should consider buying this wonderful item. The Nerf brand always delivers wonderful products, and this Super Soaker can be perfect for them to use. This wonderful soaker is priced pretty low, and it is still able to offer a safe experience for your children.

– Max Liquidator Eliminator

The Max Liquidator Eliminator is formed in a floating device rather than a gun. If you have children who are very young, this is one of the safest water guns that they could use. It can even blast water of upto 30 feet if the water is pushed out faster than normal. Don’t be fooled by its size. It can easily shoot huge amounts of water, and the best part is that it was designed for the youngest of children to keep them safe during every time they use this gun.

The water guns above are all very well made. Protecting your children should be your goal during every water related activity. With the guns above, you can be sure that they will always be safe.

Rediscovering Autumn With Your Children

autumn leaf mask

This season is well known for it’s beautiful colors and mild weather. There are so many inspirational and low cost projects that you can do with your children. The project I’m going to share with you now is environmentally friendly and great for decorating your home to welcome the season.

How many times have one of your children brought you a piece of paper with scribbles on it and presented it as the next big work of art? I’d like to share a different idea that is tried and true and will be fun for the whole family.

For a timeless, classy idea to decorate your home, consider twig art. You can go to your local art supply store and pick up white, non-toxic paint. Even fall colors like, orange, red, brown, and yellow would be wonderful. Then, go on an adventure with the children. Show them an example of a thin stick with only a few nobs on it. They should have no branches. Then, set the kids on a hunting trip to find as many as they can. When you’ve got plenty collected, bring them home and dust them off, removing any debris. Lay the sticks and twigs flat on some newspaper. Hand a paintbrush to each child and allow them to pick a color. As each stick is painted, they should be set aside on the newspaper to dry.

After the twigs are dry they can be used for a variety of things. You can fill decorative vases and place them around your home. Twine can be utilized to tie the twigs into a frame. Use these frames for some of their favorite pieces of art that they’ve done and hang it in their room. The possibilities for this endeavor, are endless. This project makes hours of fun and years of appreciation. Aside from that, you’ll have spent quality time with the children and have plenty of conversation pieces around your home.

Review – Widge iPad Case for Kids

Widge iPad Case for Kids

iPads are fantastic devices to encourage learning. With many applications to choose from to help a child’s reading, writing, math, etc., they offer a new opportunity for children to learn with new technology. I know that the thought of handing off your household Ipad off to the younger members of your family is enough to make you cringe dollar signs, as the image of the ipad crashing to the ground repeats in your head.

Anticipating that there might be some necessity to protect ipads form the curious,eager, and, admittedly dangerous, hands of the young, several products have come on the market, made to make sure that this doesn’t happen. The Widge ipad case was designed with this in mind. The Widge has models for third generation ipads and models for ipad 2. Priced around forty dollars, given the typical cost of Apple accessories, it’s a steal.

It’s name sake comes from the wedge shape design it has, angled for floor and table use, it can also be propped up on longways. It’s made from durable rubber material designed to absorb the concussive force of a fall from a slippery hand. The whole thing is somewhat bulky, aimed at being easier to grab firm hold of from multiple angles, though it does have a carrying handle on the back.

The only thing left vulnerable to less than careful ways of a young child is the screen. The Widge does not remove the need for a screen protector. The screen protector will save it from being scratched, as your child my decide that a quarter, or a pen is better than their finger, and The Widge will save the screen from shattering. As much of the screen remains exposed with The Widge as any other typical iPad cover, the dense rubber covering all sides will make it virtually(by clumsy kid standards)indestructible.

The case is also not so horribly designed, like so many other kid products. It avoids being overbearingly silly and child oriented by being a solid color and devoid of childish images. You could, if you and your children share an iPad, leave the cover on at all times. Assuming it doesn’t often leave the house.

The bulkiness of The Widge does make it much less convent to transport, but the case is easily removed and replaced when necessary. Best of all, The Widge allows you to take comfort in handing your child an expensive piece of technology, while allowing you, and your child, to take full advantage of the learning potential contained within.

Boy Holding Money

Children’s toys, furniture and clothing seem to come from a never-ending conveyor belt of better and more up-to-date things. You can never afford to get all of the things you want for your child, and money is often tight with all the expenses that come with being a parent. But sometimes you want to splurge on the smartest, most eco-friendly items out there, and who could blame you?

So what’s a parent to do?

Well, we’ve all heard advice about tapping into local email lists for parents and asking friends for their hand-me-downs, but have you really used these resources to their full advantage? Parents whose kids have outgrown their belongings can be surprisingly generous. And sometimes the items they have can be exactly what you’re looking for. Since it doesn’t take a child very long to outgrow their belongings, some of the items may even be quite new.

But even after you’ve exhausted all the resources you can think of, there will always be things you want but haven’t found. At this point it can be useful to distinguish between the new trends that have little value and those that offer genuine benefits to your child. This will help you prioritize your wish list and avoid investing in items that aren’t worth it.

When you identify the items that are worth your investment, you can always turn to budgeting to help you afford them. Budgeting has a negative connotation as being limiting and difficult, but it doesn’t have to be hard and it can actually be freeing if it allows you to afford important things you couldn’t have before. Just take a look at your expenses and identify areas where you can easily cut back, and then save that money.

When you’re able to save up enough to afford something nice, the small sacrifices you made to get there don’t seem like such a big deal after all.

Annie Idea is a freelance writer focused on how to live large on a little living. She writes financial savings tips for the short term loans company, QuickQuid, and enjoys taking any idea and making it easier or cheaper to complete.