Memorial Day – a time to remember those who have died for our country, a time to be together as family and the official kick-off to summer. We wanted to share some easy recipes and fun activities that you can do with your kids this Memorial Day weekend.
Picnic & BBQ time!
- Easy-to-make Pork BBQ, hot dog skewers and chicken nuggets!
- Fun patriotic desserts your child can help you make!
Memorial Day Activities!
Bucket Beauty – Let your child express her creativity by painting your beverage bucket!
What you will need:
- Large bucket from the dollar store or Kmart
- Non-toxic finger paint
- Smock to put over your child’s clothes (or have her wear clothes you don’t mind pain getting on)
- Let your child paint the buckets with stars, stripes, flowers – whatever she thinks will add festivity to your picnic!
Memorial Day Crafts & Activities!
- Your child will love these patriotic crafts for decorating the house or picnic area for Memorial day!
- Check out these short stories, coloring pages and more for Memorial Day.
- Take your child to visit someone in your family who has served in the military. Have your child make a card for the Vet and thank him or her for their military service.
- Check out your city’s local events for parades, festivities and more!
What will you be doing for the Memorial Day Holiday?
May is National Bike and Get Outside with your child month and we have a fun activity for you and your kids. Bike riding is not only fun, but a great way to get exercise. These nice Spring days are a perfect opportunity to get outside and bike, but how about making it extra special by having your children decorate their bikes?
- Streamers – streamers are a fun, inexpensive way for your child to decorate handlebars and the main frame of his bike with all sorts of colors!
- Stickers – Sponge Bob bike? Dora the Explorer bike? Princess bike? Superman bike? Not a problem! Get inexpensive stickers of your child’s favorite character and let her decorate her bike with them. Does her favorite character change weekly? Not a problem because they will peel off easily!
- Spray Chalk – want your child to express his personality on his bike without changing the color permanently? Get some spray chalk. It adheres to metal, but easily washes off with water!
And don’t forget to teach your child bike safety – helmet use, getting off the bike & walking it across the street, etc. We like the tips at the Safe Kids Bicycling and Skating Safety site.
If your child is too small to bike, you can always look into safe bike seat attachments for little kids.
Will you be participating in the National Bike Month?
SIDS is the number one cause of death in infants between one month and one year of age. This is a terrible tragedy and one that little by little research is shedding more light upon, but more funding is needed to bring SIDS’ numbers down. Check out Spring for SIDS and how you can help.
Ways to Lower Risk of SIDS:
- Always put your baby on her back to sleep.
- Give baby his own safe sleeping space.
- Put baby to sleep on a firm crib mattress.
- Keep baby’s sleeping space free of pillows, blankets and toys.
- Do not use crib bumpers.
- Keep the air in baby’s room fresh by using a fan.
- Do not allow smoking around your baby. Even smokey clothes can impact your baby.
- Limit baby’s exposure to infection. Feel free to ask people to wash their hands before holding your baby.
It’s never too early to teach your child how to take care of the earth’s resources and Earth Day is the perfect time to start! There are so many easy ways that kids can contribute to taking care of our earth.
Simple tips for kids saving energy:
- Turn off lights – Make sure they turn off lights when leaving a room. If they are too small to reach the switch, have them ask a taller sibling or you to help them.
- Close doors - Be sure they know to always close doors to your home when the AC or heat is on and make sure they close the refrigerator door.
- Water – Be sure they don’t keep water running unnecessarily especially if it’s hot water!
We love the Kids Saving Energy site. It has games, tips and facts for kids who want to save energy. (We love the TV features of Tinker Bell showing kids how to save energy.)
What ways do you teach your children to save energy?
World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) is celebrated April 1 -2 and it’s going to light up the world in blue! Light It Up Blue is an easy way to raise awareness about autism and be part of a worldwide movement to show your support for the autism community.
Early detection and early intervention of Autism is key and WAAD helps to raise awareness as well as funds for Autism research. It also celebrates the unique talents and skills of persons with Autism.
Some ways you can help:
- Sign the pledge to raise autism awareness and encourage family, friends and co-workers to do the same.
- Light your house blue by putting blue light bulbs in your outdoor lights. (Check out the slideshow of buildings around the world who are lighting it up blue!)
- Feature the Light It Up Blue logo on your Facebook profile.
- Ask local or governmental television stations to broadcast awareness raising media (PSAs, documentaries) about autism.
- Wear apparel to help raise awareness.
- Read about one blog mom who is trying to make a difference for autistic children through Autism Learning Felt Blog.
- Give a financial contribution to Autism research. Every little bit helps!
Thank you for joining Kolcraft in making a difference for Autistic children!
This Sunday is Big Bird’s birthday! Here at Kolcraft we love Big Bird and how he teaches children valuable lessons.
A few fun facts about Big Bird:
Likes: Singing, finding solutions to problems, roller skating, making people feel better
Dislikes: Making mistakes
Favorite Food: Birdseed milkshakes
Favorite Thing: His friends
Favorite Toy: Radar, his teddy bear
In honor of Big Bird’s birthday, we have some easy-to-do activities for you and your child to celebrate this lovable bird.
Make a Milkshake:
Big Bird loves birdseed milkshakes. How about making a healthy fruit shake with your child?
What you need:
- A cup of yougurt
- Handful of ice
- Any combo of fruit such as:
- strawberry and banana
- mango and kiwi
- plum and raspberry
- blackberry and banana
- peach and pineapple
- apple and pear
- banana and mango
- peach and raspberry
- pear and pomegranate
- strawberry and blueberry
4. Blender or food processor
5. Knife (adult use only)
What to do:
- Wash fruit very well and cut into small pieces
- Put fruit, ice, and yogurt into blender & blend until smooth
- Sing Happy Birthday to Big Bird and Enjoy!
Activities for Big Bird’s Birthday:
- Go birdwatching – get a book of birds from the library, go to a local park and see how many different birds you can spot.
- Have fun – play one of Big Bird’s favorite games which you can find on the Sesame website.
- Spread love – Visit an elderly friend or grandparent in honor of one of Big Bird’s favorite activities – making people feel better.
Happy Birthday Big Bird!
It’s been said that everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. We found that to be true at Kolcraft as people shared their St. Patrick’s Day traditions.
Family – We gather as a family to celebrate my grandma’s birthday. Even though she was from Poland, she loved St. Patrick’s day so we still have corned beef & cabbage in her honor. – MH
Friends - The Sunday before St. Patrick’s day, we have a big party with our friends. Some friends even come in from out of town! We have a huge spread of food, a real Irish band play at the house and of course Irish dancing. -CF
Food – Our neighborhood block all gathers in one person’s yard for the annual Irish Soda Bread bake-off. The taste testing is the best part! -MW
However you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, in the words of the Irish toast we wish you – May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies, and quick to make friends.
From our family to yours Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day so we had to share some yummy, easy-to-make recipes for your family’s St. Patrick’s Day dinner.
Growing up on the Southside of Chicago where there is a large Irish population, Irish Soda Bread was always a hit and of course a competition of who could make the best Irish Soda Bread!
Irish Soda Bread
What You Need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 tbsp. butter or margarine
- 1-2/3 cups buttermilk
What To Do:
1. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking soda and salt. Using your fingertips, rub in the cold butter or margarine until the mixture resembles a coarse mixture. Pour in most of the buttermilk; you may need slightly less, depending on the balance of white and whole wheat flour. Mix well, turn out onto a floured cutting board and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.
2. Shape dough into a round loaf. Cut a cross in the top with a sharp knife and put the loaf in a greased round pan, such as a cake pan or pie plate. Bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. Let cool before cutting. Makes one 6 inch loaf.
Using baking soda in bread started out of necessity. Yeast won’t make dough rise unless the baker uses “strong” flour, which was scarce in parts of Ireland. Baking soda, however, did leaven bread made of different flours. The baking soda has to be combined with something acidic in order to do its magic so buttermilk is used. Irish Soda Bread is a heartier bread and pairs well with soup and stews which are ample in Ireland.
Easy Corned Beef & Cabbage
- What You Need:
- 4 cups hot water
- 2 tbsp. cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, cut into wedges
- 1 3-lb. corned beef round or brisket, packaged with spices
- 8 small white or yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into quarters
- 1 head of green cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cored and cut into 10 wedges
- What To Do:
- In a 6-quart electric slow cooker, combine water, vinegar, sugar, pepper and onions. Be sure to mix them well. Put corned beef in the mixture and scatter the potatoes over the top and along the sides.
- Cover and cook on the high heat setting for 4 hours. Remove the lid and place the cabbage wedges over the top. Cover and continue cooking on high 3 to 4 hours longer, or until the beef is tender. Serve by carving the corned beef into slices and serve with the cabbage and potatoes, with some of the broth.
The Irish were the first exporters of Corned Beef. Today corned beef and cabbage is not very Irish, but corned beef is. The area of Cork, Ireland was a great producer of Corned Beef in the 1600’s until 1825. It was their chief export and sent all over the world, mostly in cans.
What yummy St. Patrick Day recipes do you have to share?
Normally on Fun Fridays we have a craft, activity or fun-family recipe for you to do with your kids. Because of the tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and possibly Hawaii and the West Coast of the Americas, we felt it is important to look at how to prepare your family for natural disasters.
Natural Disasters can happen at any time without warning so it is important to have a plan in place that everyone in your family is aware of before tragedy strikes. It is important to have a plan in place for when you are home or on vacation.
You will want to protect your family by:
- Getting informed
- Planning for emergencies
- Assembling a disaster supplies kit
- Getting your children involved
FEMA has a very helpful website with tips on how to do all the above plus much more. They also have a very helpful website for kids with information on natural disasters that is presented in a way that informs children without scaring them.
Our thoughts are with all the families impacted by this recent natural disaster.
Today is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday and a great day to celebrate reading with your children. We love the National Education Association’s website with info on Read Across America. They have information on literacy, ideas and activities for reading with your children and a special Seussville section with games and other reading adventures!
Bake a cake for Dr. Seuss, grab your favorite Dr. Seuss book and celebrate all that the Cat in the hat has to teach your child!