Tag Archives: children

Making Every Family Dinner Special

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Making Every Family Dinner Special

If you want to spend more quality time with your family but you’re struggling to figure out how to do it, one way is to start making your family dinners special. If you all sit down for dinner and ignore one another while scrolling on your phones or watching TV, of course it’s going to feel like you don’t have enough quality time together.

Similarly, if you all eat dinner separately, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to catch up with one another. It might not be possible to do this every day, but there are all kinds of benefits to having dinner together each night. If you want to make the family dinners that you do have together more special, then read on for some advice:

Make It A Ritual:

Start by making it a ritual. Try to do family dinners at the same time, wash up beforehand, and name three things you’re grateful for before you begin to eat. Of course, your ritual may differ – but it’s definitely worth coming up with one that means something to you.

Set The Table:

Set the table for your dinner with nice plates and cutlery, place mats, a tablecloth, and even candles. Make it look fancy. This is especially important if you don’t get to have many family dinners together. Setting the table nicely can make a huge difference to the atmosphere.

Have Themed Nights:

It can be really fun to have themed dinner nights together. You could have Mexican nights, Italian food nights, and even nights based around Porter & York meats. Having themes can keep family dinners exciting and give some structure to your week if you have one every few days.

Turn Off The TV:

Ban phones from the table and don’t watch the TV, either. Enjoy one another’s company. Listen and concentrate – these could be the most meaningful moments of your day! This is so much better than spending hours sitting together while not really concentrating on one another at all.

Prep Together:

Involving your family in the preparation of the dinner can help everyone to get more invested in the meal and bond beforehand. This is especially great for younger members of the family, as they tend to enjoy helping and will learn a lot from it. They are also far more likely to eat different foods if they have had a hand in making them!

Find Something To Celebrate:

It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to find something to celebrate. Has somebody in the family achieved something? It doesn’t matter how small – find something and celebrate it! At the very least, this will make each dinner a cheery event and teach everybody to look for the good, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant!

Family dinners are tons of fun and helps bring you and yours closer together. Bon appetit!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Social Distanced Halloween Fun

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Social Distanced Halloween Fun

Hi! One of my favorite times of the year is Halloween. I love the spooky atmosphere, the weather, and all of the promises of scary fun activities. The best part of Halloween for me, though? Haunted houses, of course! I told Johnny I wanted to go to a new one every year and he was game, however, with COVID it will be impossible to attend one this year.

After making the disheartening discovery of no haunted houses, I just had to start brainstorming for new ways to enjoy the Halloween season safely. I came up with the following:

Pumpkin Patches:

Going to a pumpkin patch and picking out the perfect pumpkins to decorate, carve, or paint is something that can easily be done social distanced style. Many pumpkin patches often have other attractions like hay rides, corn mazes, petting zoos, and specialty shops to participate in too.

Making an afternoon at the pumpkin patch and then going home to get your jack-o-lantern on sounds like a great way to spend a weekend day. Get creative and competitive and see who in your friend group can carve the best pumpkin!

Apple Orchards:

I freaking LOVE going apple picking, as does my entire family, so I am sure we will end up at an apple orchard this fall. My favorite one in Ohio also doubles as an ice cream parlor as well as a novelty shop with all apple everything. There is nothing better than filling up a bagful of crisp apples and grabbing a dish of ice cream as a treat. And, can you say social distanced?!

At Home Trick Or Treat:

Trick or treating is probably the last thing on everyone’s mind right now but the little ones love it. Dress up as a family and hide candies all around your house and yard. Dim the lights for some added spookiness and give hints and clues as necessary. Wrap up the activity with a fun Halloween movie like Casper or Hocus Pocus and have a piece of candy… or ten. 😉

Scary Movie Marathon:

Johnny and I have already decided that a scary movie marathon is how we are going to celebrate Halloween. We will be watching everything from the classics and foreign films to our present day favorites. I plan on having caramel apples (My favorite!), candy, and popcorn handy. I also would like to make some spiked apple cider with salted caramel vodka for a delicious hot or cold drink to sip on. Yum!

Halloween is definitely not going to be the same this year but it can still be fun! Use the ideas above to help get you started. 🙂

What is your favorite Halloween activity? How do you plan on safely celebrating? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

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5 Top Learning Apps For Kindergarten & Pre-School

As a parent, you’ll want to help your kids with their education as much as you can. When you’re teaching them at home, it can be hard to know which resources are the best. There are many educational apps which can be used as learning aids at home. To get you started with a few of the best, try these five:

1. Teach Your Monster To Read

This fun-filled app is the perfect tool to teach your kids to read. It’s both simple to use and engaging. Teach Your Monster To Read was created based on the early phonics curriculum, so you can be sure that they are learning everything they need. It’s an award-winning game which takes your children on an exciting journey (with plenty of monster friends)! Kids get to match letters and sounds, blend, segment, master tricky words, and work towards making full sentences. The app is the perfect after school activity for a little extra learning!

2. Moose Math:

With the Moose Math app, your kids can learn all about geometry, sorting, subtraction, addition, and counting to 100. The activities make sure that learning about math is super fun! Your kids get to run their own juice shop, search the lost and found box, and meet plenty of cute and kooky characters. Your kids will just love the ‘pet bingo’ game and ‘paint pet’. Here they’ll learn plenty of skills, including:

  • Using algebraic thinking to solve word puzzles
  • Practice their pattern recognition skills
  • Recognize and identify shapes
  • Compare different lengths

3. Busy Shapes & Colors:

With the Busy Shapes & Colors app, learning colors and shapes has never been more fun. Here you’ll find plenty of cute penguin characters to entertain your children through the process! It’s a simple app to help little ones improve their fine motor skills. Each level brings a new challenge so your kids will never get bored! Further features of the app include four different play modes; the choice of fifteen languages; color and shape ‘makers’; multi-touch play and more!

4. Hungry Caterpillar Pre-School:

Based on the famous book by Eric Carle, this app is the perfect tool for preschoolers. The activities guide kids through math concepts, language, and literature too. Here your kids will learn about phonics and build their confidence over time. There are science topics, puzzles and reasoning, and plenty of fun songs!

5. ABCmouse:

ABCmouse is a fantastic learning program which covers music, art, reading and more. The app was designed for 2-8-year-olds, and is based on the pre-school and school curriculum. With so many fun activities your kids will have tons of options! Using the app, you’ll boost your child’s development across all their subjects, giving them a great head start.

All of these apps follow a pre-school and kindergarten curriculum. Choosing the right kindergarten is an important part of your child’s learning journey. If you’re looking for a top-quality kindergarten, be sure to check out jennys kindergarten and early learning. Ready, get set, and learn!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Early Christmas Shopping

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Early Christmas Shopping

Hello!! I know a ton of you are reading this title with a slight eye roll because Christmas is far away but yes… I did start shopping already. I promise it’s for good reason too because I have a ton of people to shop for. Not only do I have all of my family but I also have Johnny, his parents, my clients, and a new niece and nephew to share in the holiday spirit with.

I decided that I would like to knock out at least a couple of people on my list per month so that I am not stuck with a giant bill come December. I also feel a huge sense of relief when I am that much closer to purchasing all of the gifts I plan to put under the tree.

This past month, I decided to spoil my little niece rotten and I am so stoked about one of the items I ordered. Those with small children to shop for might be interested in this ultra fun and creative gift too:

Several months ago, I saw this inflatable, washable easel for finger painting advertised on Facebook and I thought it was such a fabulous idea. I could picture my sister and brother in law setting it up for my niece in their backyard on a nice summer day and having a ball with it. My niece will be older than two by the time it gets warm enough to use it and I can’t wait to see the masterpieces that she comes up with.

I figured that my niece is pretty well stocked for activities that she can use now – you should see her playroom! So, I wanted to purchase gifts that would be fun for her to use as she gets older. Her inflatable easel is what I am particularly excited for but I know Johnny is most looking forward to the tiny guitar he plans on getting her. It’s never too early to start lessons with her uncle! ❤

When do you normally start holiday shopping? Do you have a lot of people to shop for? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Feeling Presidential

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Feeling Presidential

Hi everyone!! For those of you who don’t know, my “big girl job” is as an Independent Provider for people with special needs. Most of my clients are not too interested in politics and that is totally fine. However, one of my clients decided he wants to become president this past week. With nothing to do cause COVID, we turned our time together into running his campaign and nurturing his dreams.

My client and I made posters, campaign speeches, and discussed all of his platforms and strategies. It proved to be educational for both of us because he learned more about what it takes to become president and I got to learn about all of the things that are really important to him. It was also just plain fun and something different.

If you work in the field like me or if you have children, this could be a great idea to get them Feeling Presidential too. Spend some time talking about what it means to be president and how your future candidate would go about their victory. Then, you can craft to your heart’s content and even work on some grammar as you write your speeches.

The crafting and talking about future goals is inspiring and it could open up a whole new world that your child or client might not know existed before. So put your president pants on and get to work!

How do you create fun and unique activities for your children? What would your platform be if you were president? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Featured Image By: Press & Journal

5 Things To Consider Before Homeschooling Your Children

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5 Things To Consider Before Homeschooling Your Children

If you’re thinking of homeschooling your children but you don’t know where to begin, then don’t worry: you have definitely come to the right place. Whether you’re looking to start homeschooling them as soon as they’re old enough or you want to homeschool them from a specific age, you need to be sure you’re making the right choice. Luckily, there are lots of questions you can ask yourself to ensure you’re doing exactly that. From dedicating ample time to them and keeping them motivated, the more questions you’re asking the better. With that in mind, here are five things to consider before homeschooling your kids:

Do you have enough time to dedicate to them?

One of the first things you need to consider is whether or not you have enough time to dedicate to homeschooling, as this is how they are going to get the best education they can get. Whether this means finding a job that works around school hours or creating a schedule that works for everyone, you need to be sure you can dedicate as much time as you possibly can. For a guide to creating a family schedule, you can visit this site here.

Do you have all necessary supplies?

Another important thing you need to consider is whether or not you need to buy any supplies before you get started. From notebooks to colored pens, you need to be sure you have everything you need. For a list of things to buy before starting homeschooling, you can visit this site here.

How will you create lessons?

Once you have worked out a schedule and you’ve stocked up on all of the essentials, you need to think about lesson plans. Whether you’re using state-mandated lesson plans or following something similar, it’s important that you know exactly what you’re going to be covering. If you’re looking for example lesson plans, you can find them here.

How will you keep your kids motivated?

One of the hardest things about homeschooling is keeping your children motivated, especially if they have lots of distractions at home. Whether you’re setting up a rewards system or giving them some new responsibilities, there are lots of different ways to help keep them motivated and on task.

Will you need extra help?

Finally, you need to think about whether or not you need any extra help. Whether that means hiring a nanny or working with an online tutor, you need to be sure you have all of the support you need. In some cases, you may be able to hire a student-teacher to help you once or twice a week.

With lots of important things to consider before homeschooling your children, you have to be sure you’re as prepared as you can possibly be. Use the tips above to help get yourself started!

Featured Image By: Esi Grünhagen from Pixabay

Animal Crossing Outdoor Fun

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Animal Crossing Outdoor Fun

Hello!! Children, teenagers, and adults alike have all been getting super into Animal Crossing during this quarantine. And, Johnny and I just so happen to be the adults who are super into it, lol. The charmingly simple game of building a prosperous island has captured many a hearts and I always look forward to when I can fish or catch some bugs for a while on our island of Dingusburg (Johnny’s idea, haha).

Recently, at work, I was outside with my client and her nieces and we decided to do some real life Animal Crossing of our own after we saw a big, beautiful butterfly flitting about the back yard. One of the girlies grabbed her butterfly net and the chase was on. We all took our tries at catching it and had no such luck. The butterfly flew away but it was still fun!

If you have little ones with some pent up energy from being cooped in, how about some Animal Crossing fun of your own? Set up a scavenger hunt outside or grab some butterfly nets and toy fishing rods and have an adventure in your back yard. Animal Crossing is all about enjoying the simple things, like planting flowers, picking fruit, and catching bugs… All of which can easily be done from your yard!

Still need some inspiration? Message me on Facebook at Sarah Mushenheim for my friend code and come visit Dingusburg. Then, bring a little of our island life into your activities with your kids for the day. 🙂

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Which games have you been hooked on in quarantine? What are some of your favorite activities with your kids? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Community Fun In Self-Isolation

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Community Fun In Self-Isolation

Hello! While all of us are basking in the boredom of self-isolation, I am sure that those who were active members in the community are itching to get back to planning and participating in events for all to enjoy. Although seeing each other from a distance is the standard now, there are still plenty of ways for us to come together as a community and make the best of a difficult situation. Perhaps with some of the following ideas:

Parking Lot Events:

The inspiration from this post actually came from a client’s mom who told me her family attended Easter mass from a broadcast in the church parking lot. What a great idea! Just like at the drive in movies, people filed in with their windows up and were instructed by signs to tune into a radio station for the mass. She said it was such an amazing, refreshing, safe community event and it sure sounds like it.

If attending a parking lot religious ceremony isn’t your thing, how about a neighborhood drive in movie night, instead? I could definitely go for that one!

Social Media Groups:

My city in Ohio has a Facebook “talk of the town” group where people can post news and chit chat with each other. If your area doesn’t have such a page, why not create one yourself? Have everyone vote on a different show to watch in unison from the comfort of their home so all of you can discuss it later. Or how about a neighborhood book club? As long as everyone is communicating with each other, that’s all that matters.

Neighborhood Games:

On your neighborhood social media group, you could post the rules for a neighborhood participation game. You could try something like I Spy for people to walk or drive around and find the clues. Maybe you could encourage everyone to put their dog in a Halloween costume if they are going out for a stroll. Or how about a quarantine edition of Bingo to play from the porch? There are tons of possibilities if you get creative!

Decorate Your Yard:

Something fun for your neighborhood to participate in could be a yard decorating extravaganza for everyone to enjoy. Perhaps you could plant beautiful flowers in your yard? Or what about putting some of your holiday themed inflatables or lights back on display? You could even do something totally random like a snowman made out of tires if you feel like it! Get inspired and create a lawn display for all of your neighbors to be proud of when they walk or drive by.

It’s hard not being able to see each other traditionally but it’s important to still enjoy your friends and neighborhood even if it is from a distance. Use the ideas above and have some fun!

How have you been interacting with people from a distance? Has your community done any social distancing activities like the ones above? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

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Activities For Children In Self-Isolation

Hello! Many of my friends are now home schooling their children and, for the most part, it’s going great. Some are even thinking of making the plunge to home schooling all of the time. But what do you do when your kiddos have a ton of extra energy and assignments due? How about some entertainment? Help eliminate the wiggles and get some extra focus back with the following activities:

Scheduled Recess:

To many students, playing with their friends at recess is the high point of their day. Schedule some play time outside or board games inside if the weather is inclement after lunch. It will bring some familiarity to their schedule and, after a half hour of free play outside, the next math assignment should come a bit easier afterwards!

Pillow Fort Party:

Are your kids hung up on English homework? Build a pillow fort special for them to do their reading in. Permit playing in the fort once the chapters are read and the homework is complete for a special reward. How about a movie night from the comfort of the pillows and blankets once the day is complete? Don’t forget the popcorn. 😀

Kitchen Helpers:

Kids can learn a lot about math and science through helping in the kitchen. Have your little ones help you out the next time you make lunch or bake cookies. Teach them about different measurements and kitchen safety. If it goes over well, decorating the treats once the “lesson” is done makes for a fine reward.

Talk To Them:

If you’re having a hard time keeping your kids focused on the task at hand, just ask them what you can do to help. Maybe that means playing music as they work. Or what about a dance break to a few songs every hour? They might have their own tried and true methods, themselves, so try sticking to them if they work.

Encourage Their Friendships:

I’m sure it’s so hard for all of the kiddos to be away from their friends right now, especially if they have no one around their age at home. Encourage their friendships even in self-isolation. Allow them to FaceTime or chat with a friend on the phone during a break. Even teachers give their students chit chat time so do the same while you’re homeschooling. Just a small break to talk to someone in their peer group could be a welcome change of pace for your child throughout the day.

I tip my cap to all of the parents at home right now with their children because I genuinely don’t know how they’re doing it! Hopefully, these tips will make their current job a little bit easier. 🙂

How is homeschooling your children going? How do you keep them focused during the school day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Making Learning Fun

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Making Learning Fun

Young kids love to learn. They are like sponges, soaking up any knowledge that they are offered. They are keen to learn and to practice new skills. Then, as they get older, things start to change. They might start to rebel against the idea of learning, avoiding studying, and complain about active learning. They might moan about going to school or hate the idea of sitting down to do their homework. As parents, we’re in a unique position to show them that learning can always be fun. That enjoyment of education isn’t something that gets left behind when school learning becomes more academically focused. Here are some of the things that you could try.

Create Puzzles:

Creating puzzles is a really easy way to learn but also to reinforce knowledge and help with knowledge retention. Use WordMint to create word searches and crosswords around subjects that they are studying or otherwise interested in. Alternatively, let them create puzzles, using their own knowledge, for you to complete. They’ll love being the teacher for a change.

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Pixabay Image

Use Your Imagination:

Very young children learn a lot through pretend play. They learn how a kitchen works by pretending to cook for you. They learn about dinosaurs by pretending to explore a Jurassic world. Not only is imaginative play plain fun but it also provides children with a plethora of benefits in language and cognitive development. Imaginative play can still be a valuable learning tool for older children, but you might want to bring in some tools, such as Lego, to help them to immerse themselves in a pretend world.

Manipulate Objects:

Playing with LEGO, building a fort, or even learning how to use a microscope are all fun ways to encourage learning by doing. Tactile play helps hone children’s social, emotional, and cognitive skills all while having fun! What’s great about these strategies is that they can be applied across various subjects and can be designed in many different ways so your options are limitless!

Read Stories:

Fiction is a great way to learn more about different worlds, times, and ways of life. Find stories set in times or places that they are learning about. Even big blockbuster films about topics of study can be an effective way to learn, as long as you take the time to sort fact from fiction and clue them in.

Make a Mess:

Messy play can be a great way to learn. Experiment with basic chemistry, use play-doh to craft volcanoes or mountain ranges. Paint seas and sea life. Getting messy is such fun, get some supplies, enjoy crafting, creating, and building together. Just try not to get stressed out about the mess!

Talk About What You’ve Seen:

Encourage learning by talking about what you have seen and done. Don’t just build a model or watch a film and then leave it at that. Speak about what you’ve seen or experienced. Encourage your child to ask questions and ask them your own. Spend time researching anything that they want to know more about and enjoy open debate.

Get Outdoors:

Getting outdoors is a great way to learn more about nature and the world around us and inspire conversation. Give them the freedom to explore and let them lead you on a trek through your local parks.

Learning never has to be boring. Use the tips above and watch your child’s interest in education grow!

Featured Image By: Pixabay