Independence Day

Happy 4th of July

July 4th is right around the corner and we’re all geared up for the festivities! And since the holiday is on a Friday this year, there’s 3 days to celebrate Independence Day. That means 3 times the food, crafts and all around fun!

July 4th food

Here are some yummy recipes for your 4th of July BBQ:

Chicken Fajita Kebabs from Serious Eats

BBQ Glazed Grilled Corn from Delish

Big Al’s KC Bar-B-Q Sauce from allrecipes

Red, White & Blue Berry Water by evite

Summer Fruit Tart by Glorious Treats

 

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And try these fun July 4th crafts with the kids:

DIY Eraser-Stamped 4th of July Shirt by Cutesy Crafts

Patriotic Fingerprint Flag Card by All Kids Network

Star Spangled Wavers by Spoonful

Free Personalized Coloring Pages by Frecklebox

 

Have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend, Freckle friends!

Five tips for getting kids to help out around the house

Amy McCready

Amy McCready

Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, Inc., recently sent out a list of great ways to get kinds involved with chores at home. Here are Amy’s thoughts on getting kids to help out around the house.

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Does getting your kids to help out around the house feel like –well, a chore? Here are a few quick tips to motivate your kids to pitch in:

1. Call it a contribution.
Do you know the difference between a chore and a contribution? It’s the difference it makes to someone else. Calling it a “chore” makes it sound like a burden, while calling it a “family contribution” empowers kids. It reminds everyone that the duties of running a house smoothly belong to everyone, since everyone enjoys the privileges.

2. Show your appreciation.
Let your kids know the impact of their actions and what it means to you. No one likes unloading the dishwasher or dusting the living room, but when your kids know their efforts make a difference, they recognize they’re making a meaningful contribution and perceive the tasks in a different light. That means fewer power struggles and better cooperation from your kids.

3. Let them see the results.
Explain how your kids’ contributions help the family. “You really helped all of us tonight when you cleaned up the kitchen after dinner. That gave us extra time for our bike ride.” Through family contributions, each child will gain a sense of personal significance, as well as a feeling of belonging to a social group—namely, your family.

4. Skip the rewards.
Don’t hinge your kids’ allowance on the completion of household tasks or use other rewards to motivate them – that sets the expectation that they should be paid for things that should be family responsibilities. Be clear that these tasks are something we do because everyone contributes to the family.

5. Include everyone.
Even toddlers can do simple tasks, like passing out napkins at dinner time or making sure the playroom is picked up. It’s important to show each member of the family that their contributions matter.

When kids see that everyone in the family needs to pitch in, they recognize the importance of the tasks they’re asked to do. That builds confidence and increases cooperation, and helps create a smoothly running household!

Thanks Amy! We’re excited to try these at home.

We’re also fans of Frecklebox Chore Charts to keep track of weekly duties at home!

chores_blog

 

 

Summer Reading

What are your kids doing this summer? Spending time at the local pool or riding their bikes through the neighborhood? Eyes glued to a video game screen? Visiting relatives on a vacation? Whatever your family has planned when school is out, summer is a great time for kids to read!

Many local libraries have reading programs designed to keep kids interested in reading all summer long. There are national summer reading programs, too. Scholastic.com has The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. Kids can get reading lists and keep track of their progress online or through printouts provided by the site. The challenge ends on September 5th, giving kids plenty of time to start now.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge provides:
– Summer Reading Challenge 101 for parents
– Reading lists for all ages
– Reading challenge activities
– Online log-ins
– Printable lists, tally sheets and review sheets

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

 

Association for Library Service  to Children (ALSC) has great summer reading lists for kids in kindergarten through the 8th grade. Just click on the appropriate grade link and print out the PDF list at home. Then just take it to the library or bookstore to pick out your books. Easy peasy!

ALSC Summer Reading List

I plan on reading a few books this summer and hope you and your kids do, too. Happy reading!

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

fathers-day-diy-typography-glasses

Men can be tough to shop for, so the question of what to get him for Father’s Day often perplexes us. It’s especially tough if he’s already got everything — the perfect wife, adorable kids and man’s best friend!

What do you get your dad or husband for Father’s Day? My dad loves See’s Candies and lottery tickets, so I’ll get him both. I can picture him munching chocolates as he uses a quarter to scratch his way to millions of dollars!

Here’s a few more ideas in case you’re stuck:

Car Play Mat T-shirt by bkykid on etsy

playmat_shirt

Hermetus Bottle Opener and Resealer

open-uri20130816-17199-yg3nxj-

 

Creminelli Wild Boar Salami

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And here’s a fun DIY gift to give him:
Father’s Day Printable Typography Glasses

We wish you all a Happy Father’s Day, whether your kids are human or furry!

POPsicles collection by S+K

S+K designed a fun collection called POPsicles and it features our fave frozen treats! The collection includes a lunchbox and journal and are perfect for good summer times. The journal fits in the lunchbox, making this darling duo easy to tote around to the pool or the park. Added bonus — they’re both covered with Popsicles and ice cream!

POPsicles_blog

I’m a sucker for ice cream. And let me be clear, I mean ice cream of any kind. A scoop of strawberry on a sugar cone, a 50-50 Dreamsicle bar, an ice cream sandwich — if it’s frozen, I like it! I try not to eat it *too* often, but a girl needs a sweet treat every now and then, right?

Making frozen treats at home is easier than you’d think. You don’t need a lot of supplies and they’re a fun activity to do with kids. I’ve even made them with Dixie cups before I had ice pop molds — easy peasy!

Easy homemade Popsicle recipes

15 homemade Popsicle for kids

Grown-up ice pops

Amazon has lots of fun shaped molds:
Ice Pop Molds from Amazon

Have fun and let us know what you make this summer!