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Archive for December, 2011


Posted on: December 21st, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

The holiday season has arrived! Every year this season brings happiness, sadness and a gamut of emotions in between. Whether a loved one passed or a family gained a new member, the one thing that stays the same are the holiday traditions. Sometimes families and individuals find themselves creating new traditions, but it is those traditions that make the holiday season so wonderful. Whether the tradition is something as simple as a holiday family brunch or as exciting as opening a gift a day early, it is important for every family to create these memories for their kids, and even their kid’s kids!
After having asked people what their favorite family traditions are, we have come up with a list of classic, unique ideas for families to grow their traditions from:
Have a Bake Fest – Gather the entire family in the kitchen and make some delicious treats while learning family stories and secret recipes!
Have a Pajama Party – Give your kids matching holiday pajamas every year! Great for photo opportunities and memories are sure to follow.
Have a Sing-a-Long – Have someone host a “pot-luck” and sing carols, have a white elephant gift exchange and make crafts!
Prepare for Santa – On Christmas Eve, find reindeer food (dead backyard foliage and grass) to sprinkle on the lawn. Have the kids bake chocolate chip cookies for Santa, so they can be left out on Christmas Eve
Host a Holiday Movie Night – Invite the family over, pop in the traditional holiday movies, grab a hot cup of cocoa and enjoy!
Aside from traditions to look forward to, we all know that getting gifts is one of the best parts of the holidays for kids. This is not true for all, some may truly enjoy the gathering of the family and celebrating their beliefs, but a lot of them enjoy seeing the shiny paper and bows around their newest toy!
If you are having a difficult time finding the perfect toy for your child, we have done the searching for you and have come up a gift for every kind of kid:
2011 Holiday Barbie: Holiday Barbie Doll celebrates all the joy and magic of the season! Add beauty and glamour to your holidays with this spectacular doll!
Road Trip: The fast family game of wacky words! Complete each word challenge and MOTOR ACROSS THE USA!  “Rest Stop” cards add to the fun along the way, with lucky breaks and the occasional pothole
Kiwi Crate: Hands-on fun, delivered right to your door! Enjoy monthly projects that spark creativity and curiosity for kids ages 3-6. All materials and inspiration included.
The Farmer’s Cook Book: The Farmer’s Market Cookbook presents an original approach to modern cuisine that hearkens back to a simple time when the land around us provided our meals, while also helping to fulfill our eclectic current cravings.
TIME’s The Big Book of Science Experiments: TIME For Kids’ successful Super Science Book just got bigger and better with the all-new Big Book of Science Experiments. This full-color and expanded hardcover book presents 100 fresh and fascinating experiments for kids 8 to 12 to wrap their heads (and hands) around.
Morphology: Morphology, the hilarious guessing game where creativity wins. If you like Pictionary or Cranium? Morphology is for you!
Wii’s Sing It Pop Hits: Sing along to 30 of the latest songs and music videos from today’s top artists
Toys Come Home: In six linked adventures, readers will also learn how the one-eared Sheep became one-eared; watch a cranky toy meet an unfortunate end; and best of all, learn why it’s okay for someone you truly love to puke on you. Here is perhaps the most charming of three inimitably charming books destined to become classics.
Dino Mazes: They’re ginormous! A marriage of two things kids love—dinosaurs and mazes—DinoMazes is a one-of-a-kind collection of 31 super-sized, colossal fossil mazes.
Wii’s Get up and Dance: Get Up and Dance – it’s Party Time! Get Up and Dance allows players to dance as lead or backing dancers in your own dance group! Dance to hit tracks from top artists including Katy Perry, Timbaland, Taio Cruz, Jessie J, Nicole Scherzinger, Girls Aloud, Gwen Stefani, Example and many more!
Be a Broadway Star: This isn’t your typical board game. This is a Broadway board game! And that means you’ll have lots of chances to show off your stuff along the way, with interactive “make or break” cards that just might have you singing and dancing on your turn!
Whether it is the time off to spend with your family, traditions or gift giving that you enjoy most about the holidays, remember not to lose sight of what is important and stay within your limits, financially and mentally! We wish you the happiest of holidays this year, and be safe.

The Importance of Grandparents

Posted on: December 15th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Grandparents are not only the safety net for their own kids, but they are also a safe haven for their grandchildren. Typically kids do not like to talk to their parents about problems or ask questions because they are too afraid to confide personal information to them. On the other hand, they tend to divulge more information to their grandparents because it feels safe and free of punishment. Grandparents typically take on the role of buffer between their own kids and their grandchildren.

Grandparents are also unsung heroes. Not only are the typically able to help out in a time of need, they are trustworthy and willing. Having grandparents geographically close allows parents to have a babysitter that they know and trust, and typically don’t have to pay! When emergencies happen, they are always there to help you out. Grandparents can truly be a lifesaver if you let them.

When you’re unsure of the activities your kids and their grandparents can do together, the options are near limitless.

– Go to the library, museum or a show.

Take a monthly trip to your local library where grandparents can choose books from their childhood and shares them with the kids. Museum and live theater are a great way to spend time together.,,,,,

– Spend time in the kitchen.

Take out the apron, the recipe box and cook something from your family history. It’s a great way for kids to learn how to cook and talk about their heritage with family elders. The occasional food fight isn’t bad either.

– Teach them how to fish.

Fishing is an American pastime and a great way to spend a summer afternoon with the grandparents. Teaching kids how to wind the rod, bait the line and catch fish is fun and a great way to spend some time talking. You can even teach the older kids how to filet the fish

– Work on Arts and Crafts.

Grandparents grew up with a lot less technology than their grandchildren and probably learned how to sew, knit or scrap book at a young age. Sharing these talents with them is a great way to create keepsakes for them to remember their grandparents by.

– Share some history.

Grandparents’ stories are full of history. Grandkids love to hear from different generations about what life was like when they were growing up. This is a great time to share family history so it can continue on from generation to generation.

– Make a family tree.

It is never too late to start keeping a family tree. It’s a fun and fascinating project for everyone who is involved.

Grandparents may not always be able to be a part of your child’s life, but if it is possible, be sure to take advantage and urge that special bond to happen. Your parents and your kids will thank you down the road.



Making Your Morning Easier

Posted on: December 8th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Mornings can be a struggling battle for some, or something to look forward to for others. Over the years, we have all become familiar with the term “Morning Person”, and we have come to recognize whether we are one or not. What most parents can agree on, is whether they choose to be a morning person or not, that choice goes out the window when they start a family.

Some families may find their morning routines to be a breeze enjoying the quality time together, while others need a good night’s rest just to gear up for their morning routine. Although we all dream of kids waking up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, that is just not reality. Parents start out with the responsibility of doing everything in the morning while their kids are too young to do it themselves, but parents need to remember that as they get older they can teach their kids to do some of these simple tasks to eliminate the chaos and stress of the morning.

Teaching kids even the smallest tasks like waking up on their own, dressing themselves and brushing their hair and teeth will free up plenty of time for mom and dad in the morning to start their own routine.

A few steps families can take to make the morning calm and enjoyable are:

Plan: Problems in the morning are often rooted in the fact that things should have been done the night before. Check school bags the night before to make sure all necessary contents are in them and then place them at the front door. Also, lay out clothes for the next day to save a few minutes the next morning. Pack your kid’s lunches or teach them to pack their lunch the night before.

Stay on a routine: Creating a routine keeps most of the unpleasant surprises that wreck havoc on mornings out of the picture, allowing your family for the most part to start refreshed and charged. Wake up an hour earlier than you need to and take time to relax, drink your coffee, do yoga or read Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine. 

Get quality sleep: This sometimes seems like a thing of the past to adults, but to kids this is extremely important. Making sure your kids get quality sleep will allow them to wake up feeling refreshed and happier than being on an inconsistently unhealthy sleep pattern. All parents would rather see smiles in the morning than tears and temper tantrums!

There will always be bumps in the road to challenge one’s parenting tactics, but just making a few of these changes will rid some stress and frustration out of the morning no matter what obstacle comes. With your newfound free time, make sure to spend it with your family enjoying each other. Sitting down and having a breakfast is a fantastic way to bond and get fueled up for the day! With something that could positively affect every member of the family, there is no reason not to try out a few of these ideas!


Avoiding (Academic) Sick Days

Posted on: December 1st, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Did you know that children on average get sick more often than adults? Since the immune system of a child is not fully developed, it is more susceptible to catching viruses when in close contact with another infected child. Seeing how most virus/infection transmissions occur at daycare or school parents can start feel hopeless when trying to keep their kids healthy. But avoiding the doctor’s office is as easy as instilling simple, consistent hygiene, sleeping and healthy eating patterns.

Some kids fall easily into these pattern early on. But for those who don’t, here are a few ideas to help get your kids eating right and in bed on time.

 “Why should I go to bed?”

Children between the ages of 5 and 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep per night. But with school and after school demands increasing, keeping kids on track after school can seem nearly impossible. Creating an afterschool chart of when homework, after school activities and dinner are to be completed will help keep kids on task and on schedule. Putting into place a “coming down time” 30 minutes before bed where TV, electronics and game playing ceases will help ease them into a restful evening. Enforcing a bedtime, even when on vacation, will help your child’s body rest and regenerate.

“Why do I have to eat that?”

Your child’s diet is incredibly important to keeping them from having sick days. Children naturally gravitate to “junk” food because it “tastes better”. But what your children may not know is that these foods can cause them to fill up on non-nutritional foods leaving little or no space for the foods they should be eating. Making sure that children are getting a balanced diet is pivotal to having a healthy child. Explaining to your child on a regular basis why nutrition will help to cement the habits of healthy eating.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found that when a group of 324 elementary school students, aged 5 to 14, were given a lesson in hand disinfection theory there was a 66 percent decrease in the number of students that missed school for four or more days in one academic school year. And the number of students with zero sick days went up 20 percent compared to the previous school year. “Regular training in hand washing and hand disinfection” is the simplest, most cost-affective way to reduce the number of days children miss school says the study author, Inge Nandrup-Bus. 

If you find that the bathroom sink has become a battlefield in the Soap Wars saga, here are a few ideas to help keep your kids from coming in catching an illness:

“Washing your hands is fun!”

Kids think that washing their hands is a chore. Making the experience fun will help ease the burden kids feel while washing their hands. Create activities like singing or using colored soaps for hand washing. Some companies are now creating clear, organic bars of soap that have a small toy in the middle of the bar. Once the child has worn down the bar of soap, they’ll get the reward on the inside. 

“Watch how mommy does it.”

If you don’t wash your hands on a regular basis, your children won’t either. Making it a habit to wash your hands when the kids are around will help set the right example for them. 

“Watch the clock.”

The amount of time your child spends washing their hands is very important as well. Running their hands under water for 5 seconds does not count as “washing their hands” no matter how much they insist. An easy way to remember how much time their hands should be scrubbed is by singing “Happy Birthday” twice.

“Why is it important?”

Explain to your child why hygiene is important. Making sure that they understand the correlation between hygiene and illness will help them make sense of its importance. 

“When do you wash your hands?”

Although there is no specific number of times a day children should wash their hands, there are certain activities that should always be followed by a visit to the sink. These include coughing/sneezing, handling animals and trash, before and after coming in contact with a baby and before and after meals. If your worried that the kids won’t remember, leave them a little note in their lunchbox or book bag.

Creating the good hygiene, eating and sleeping habit early on will help you avoid sickdays as your kids get older. Enforcing these habits will not only help them in the short term but in the long term as well. Kids truly are mounds of clay that parents can form into healthy, happy kids.


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