Monthly Archives: September 2011
You and your child can create a personalized pencil holder for your child’s workstation or for your desk. This craft creates an elephant pencil holder but use your own ideas to create a variety of animal pencil holders. Some animals also easy to create are a bat, mouse, or a dog. Have fun!
What you’ll need:
- Can about 4″ tall, wash and remove label (we used a recycled pop can and removed the top!)
- Gray construction paper
- Wiggle eyes
- Cut the paper enough to cover the outside of the can.
- Take a second sheet of gray paper and fold it in half. Trace and then cut out an elephant ear shape. This should give you two ears. Glue the ears on opposite sides of the covered can.
- Cut out the trunk. Use a pencil to “curl the trunk” so that it will stand out from the can instead of laying flat. Make a 1/4″ fold at the top and glue the trunk to the can.
- Glue on two wiggle eyes on the can on either side of the trunk.
We are home from Kentucky! The Kolcraft team has been at the annual ABC Show which stands for All Baby and Child. There were thousands of baby product manufacturers there and we had the opportunity to meet with moms, media and buyers from baby product retail stores.
It was an exciting week and we can’t wait to share fun and exciting news with you. We have a lot of great news to share with you for 2012. We will have to be quiet for now, but promise to share all of our new ideas with you soon!
There are so many choices when it comes to feeding your baby and you want to give her the best start to life that you can – enter Super Baby Foods. What are super baby foods? Nutritious, healthy food that won’t break your bank account or take too much time to make. We had heard about these so we bought the book by Ruth Yaron to find out what it was all about.
Super Baby Food is a very practical book that explains the “why” behind skipping over the processed baby foods and going right to super baby foods. Some of the benefits? More nutritious food for baby, money savings (you won’t believe the savings!), more control of your baby’s and family’s health.
We love that the book has charts on what food to give to your baby at her different stages, charts to keep track of baby and toddler’s nutrients, tons of easy-to-make recipes (even one for mock-soda pop!), crash course in nutrition, fun crafts and activities for your child and much more!
We give Super Baby Foods 5 stars!
It may seem summer was long ago, but this yummy, easy-to-make frozen treat is a great way to have your kids get a serving of fruit and enjoy a throwback to summer.
What you need:
- Bananas (ones that are on the verge of becoming overripe work perfect!)
- Popsicle sticks
- Semisweet or dark chocolate chips or carob chips (we recommend the dark chocolate chips)
- Wax paper
- Baking sheet
What to do:
- Line your baking sheet with wax paper.
- Peel banana.
- Insert a popsicle stick into the bottom of each banana.
- Place on wax paper & freeze for at least an hour.
- Melt chocolate chips in microwave or in a double boiler. Be sure to stir frequently.
- Dip each frozen banana in melted chocolate & allow access to drip off. Return dipped bananas to wax paper lined backing sheet and refreeze for an hour.
Thursday, September 22nd is Elephant Appreciation Day and to celebrate this symbol of wisdom, we’re sharing this easy to make elephant craft:
What you will need:
- Gray construction paper
- Scissors (for adult use only)
- Non-toxic glue
- Non-toxic black marker
- Googly eyes
How to make elephant craft:
- Cut out a big circle using gray construction paper (we traced a small paper plate to help draw the lines before cutting).
- Cut out a smaller gray circle (we traced a small cup) and glue this onto the larger circle.
- Cut one 1 inch strip of construction paper.
- Fold the strip into an accordion by alternating fold back and forth, and glue onto the smaller circle for the elephant’s trunk.
- Glue two large googly eyes onto the smaller circle.
- Cut the ends of the toothpick off for the tusks and glue onto the small gray circle to complete the face.
- Fold a piece of gray construction paper in half and draw out the ears. Cut them out and glue them onto the elephant’s head.
- Cut out four small rectangles for the elephant’s feet (around 1” x 1”) and glue them onto the bottom of the large circle.
- Using the black marker, draw on the elephant’s toes and outline the ears, head and body.
Once you’ve finished making this craft with your little one, check out these other fun ways to celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day:
- Visit your local zoo too see these majestic creatures up close and personal. If you live in the Indianapolis area, be sure to check out Kalina, the Indianapolis Zoo’s newest baby elephant.
- Watch Disney’s Dumbo or catch an episode of Babar the Elephant.
- Check out the Elefunteria site for more fun crafts and elephant trivia. Did you know that adult elephants sleep standing up??
Today it is becoming more common for children to be gluten intolerant. In my own family, half of us are gluten intolerant. The good news is that today there are more and more options for eating gluten free. We received a few product suggestions from our readers and we thought we would share them.
- Udi’s Sandwich Bread
- Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta
- Italian pasta producer Rustichella d’Abruzzo’s corn pasta
- Gluten-Free Pantry makes mixes for pancakes, pizza dough, cornbread, and brownies
- Annie Chun’s rice noodles are a great alternative to pasta
- Tamari is a gluten free soy sauce
Does your family eat gluten free? What are your favorite gluten free food products?
We recently met up with Jay from Chicago’s Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN). NPN has been connecting families all across Chicago for more than 30 years. Whether you need advice on the best schools in the area or are looking to meet other new parents in your neighborhood, NPN has something to offer all Chicago parents. With over 5400 active members, NPN’s diverse clubs and events bring together families from all across the city.
What made you initially decide to get involved with Neighborhood Parents Network (NPN)?
I’d heard about NPN since I was pregnant from friends with kids. When I had my daughter and went into “new mommy panic” mode, I joined a NPN New Moms Group. It was an immediate lifesaver. Having new friends going through the same new parent challenges was incredible.
What is the most rewarding part of being involved with NPN?
I love connecting new parents and helping them receive information on everything from potty training advice to the best kid-friendly brunch spots in the city. Having a fun, free event to go to almost every week is a fun perk too!
NPN offers so many great opportunities for new moms to mingle and share their experiences with other first-time moms. What advice do you have for new parents?
Ask for help when you need it! There is no shame in needing someone to watch the baby for a while so you can sneak in a nap or just unwind. Being a new parent can be all-consuming- I hope new parents realize there’s no shame in being overwhelmed, intimidated or confused at times.
We love the NPN blog for its great tips on fun activities and yummy local restaurants in various neighborhoods around Chicago. What’s your favorite place to take your family in the city and why?
There is so much to do in the city its hard to pick just one place! But this summer, we’ve loved taking long bike rides to Welles Park. It’s a huge park with a fun water feature at the play lot and a path for riding along the perimeter. On the way home, we always grab lunch at Drew’s Eatery –the perfect, kid-friendly place for an organic hot dog and ice cream cone.
NPN not only offers moms the chance to have group play dates and share parenting tips and advice, but also gives moms the opportunity to relax with their “Mom’s Night Out” events. Do you have any advice for moms out there trying to balance raising a family while still finding time for yourself?
Its definitely easy to be overwhelmed when you’re trying to do it all! For me, I think sneaking in even a ½ hour a day of “me” time is crucial to keeping me sane. I’ve stopped feeling guilty if I let the kids watch a show while I get in a long, hot shower if that’s what I need to re-charge for the rest of the day.
Chicago is such a diverse community with so many great family-friendly activities! What has been the best thing about raising your child in the city?
Thanks to the diversity in Chicago, we have an awesome selection of restaurants with foods from so many other countries. It’s been fun introducing the kids to different foods from all over the world. Now, my daughter names Thai noodles and spicy shrimp sushi rolls as her two favorite foods!
Now for a quick glance into Jay’s life.
What’s your one guilty pleasure?
I’m embarrassed to admit but I watch way too much reality TV!
What’s your favorite activity to do with your kids?
Foster Beach is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. My kids can spend hours playing in the sand and filling up endless buckets of water. An ice cream treat on the way home and it’s a perfect day!
What is the book currently by your bedside?
I just finished reading a great book called the Center of Everything by Laura Moriarty. Unfortunately my kindle just broke so it might be awhile until I start another book!
What is something that is always in your fridge?
My kids have recently become addicted to ProBugs, which are these organic kefir drinks in spill-proof, squeezable pouches.
Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox?
I’d have to go with the Cubs since we’re so close to Wrigleyville.
Now that they kids are back in school, you may be running around a bit more as you try to squeeze in homework, sports schedules and dinnertime. We love this easy-to-make Sloppy Joe Casserole recipe from Pillsbury. It only takes 30 minutes to make!
What you need:
- 1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef or turkey, cooked, drained
- 1 can (15.5 oz) original sloppy joe sauce
- 1 can Pillsbury® refrigerated original breadsticks (you can use low-fat options too!)
- 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (2 oz)
What to do:
- Heat oven to 375°F. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, mix beef and sloppy joe sauce. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, unroll dough; separate into 12 breadsticks. Cut each into 4 pieces, about 1 1/2 inches long.
- Pour beef or turkey mixture into ungreased 12×8-inch or 11×7-inch (2-quart) glass baking dish. Place dough pieces in single layer over beef or turkey mixture.
- Bake uncovered 13 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; bake about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Find more easy, quick recipes on the Pillsbury website.
You get the BFP and are all excited about the new life growing within you and then you pause and say, “Now what?” This is natural for any new mom. Thankfully Parenting Magazine has published a fun new book Show Mom How. This book actually shows moms through fun pictures how to do everything from eating right in pregnancy to how to make baby laugh to how to handle diaper disasters.
We love this book because at a glance you get all the basics you need to equip yourself for the amazing journey of motherhood!
The cost of diapers add up very quickly. Some choose to cloth diaper to save money and the environment, while others prefer disposable diapers. If you use disposable diapers, Pampers has a wonderful rewards program where you receive points for the diapers you buy much like reward points for a credit card. With your rewards points you can purchase everything from a Sesame Place ticket to Mega® Bloks to Spa gift certificates!
Check it out, it’s free to join!