Valentine’s day is around the corner, but it’s not in everyone’s budget to get that new diamond necklace or go on that great weekend getaway. Not to fear! Valentine’s day can still be a special day for you even on a budget! We have a few ideas to make celebrating your love fun and romantic without breaking the bank!
Valentine’s Ideas for Your Kids:
- Play Dates - Give them a special love note that you decorated with a coupon for a play date together. Does your child like to read? Give a coupon to have a special story hour with him. Does your child love to play dress up? Give a coupon for a special dress up play date.
- No Chore Day - Give your child a chore-free day. While it’s important that your child has chores & helps around the house, you can give them a Valentine’s Day pass on chores.
- Special Dinner - Let your child pick the menu for the night. If they want macaroni & cheese with ice-cream for dessert – that’s their special Valentine’s Day meal.
Valentine’s Day Ideas for Your Honey:
- Indoor picnic – Pack a picnic for you and your honey. After the kids are in bed, spread a blanket on the floor and enjoy a summer picnic indoors. You will be surprised at how fun a simple picnic can be!
- Be Silly Together – Rent a romantic movie and pick a “kiss trigger” – i.e. every time you laugh you have to give your partner a kiss.
- Music Memories - Make a play-list of meaningful songs; your first dance, a song from a movie you saw when you first started to date, a song that was popular the year your child was born, etc. Have your own romantic dance night remembering special times you have shared.
Pass on the chocolate, here are some great low-call, low-cost Valentine Day gift ideas for your honey to give to you!
Gift Ideas for you:
- Chic, Affordable Jewelry – Made by a woman for women. We fell in love with this super cute & chic Jewelry from Toute Jolie. It’s boutique jewelry at affordable prices. We saw similar jewelry in boutiques ranging from $50 – $70 an item. Not exactly mom-budget friendly. These pieces look expensive, but are affordable. They will have your honey saying “Oh La La” when you wear them!
- Spa Time – A trip to the spa may be out of your budget, but a good back and foot rub with essential oils from your honey not only fits the budget, but encourages quality time together.
- Coupons – Ask your honey to give you coupons where he will prepare you and the kids a yummy meal, do a chore for you, take care of the kids so you can have an extra hour of sleep, etc.
With a little creativity, you can have the most loving, romantic Valentine’s Day and not blow the budget!
What you will need:
- One 1 1/2″ Pom-pom – Whatever color you want your groundhog to be
- Two 10mm pink Pom-poms
- One 10mm Pom-pom – Whatever color you want your groundhog to be
- One 5mm Black Pom-pom
- Wiggle Eyes
- Scrap of White Felt
- 2 Chenille Stems – Whatever color you want your groundhog to be
- Craft Glue- only non-toxic glue should be used by children
- Scissors – used by adult only
How to make the Groundhog:
- Cut two 1 1/2″ pieces from one of the chenille stems. Gently bend them both into a circle shape to form the groundhog’s ears.
- Make the ears for your groundhog by gluing a 5mm pink pom-pom into the center of each chenille stem circle.
- Glue the two ears in place on the 1- 1/2″ pom-pom (groundhog’s head).
- Glue the wiggle eyes onto the pom-pom head just below the ears. To make the snout, glue the 10mm pom-pom onto the face, centered just below the eyes.
- Glue the 5mm black pom-pom onto the 10mm pom-pom snout to be the groundhog’s nose. Cut a small rectangle out of white felt and glue it in place to be the teeth of your groundhog.
- To make your groundhog’s arms, start out by cutting a piece of chenille stem about 6″ long. Fold each end in to meet in the center like shown in the top picture here. Then, bend it into a “V“ shape.
- Use a chenille stem so it sits neatly in your pocket. Start out by folding the uncut chenille stem in half. Hold the 2 ends together and put a generous dab of glue on them. Push the glued ends into the bottom of the groundhog’s head where the neck would be.
- To finish your groundhog, you need to attach the arms to the body. Place a few drops of glue onto one side of the “V”, near the point. Glue the “V” to the bottom of the groundhog’s head. The top sections of the “V” shape should be under the face to form the arms. Once the glue is completely dry, bend the arms so they are pointing down.
Put groundhog in your pocket & see if he sees his shadow!
Super Bowl is a great time for families and kids to bond. We have a few easy recipes and games so that the kids can be part of the Super Bowl fun!
Super Bowl Hot Potato Use a brown balloon to represent a football. Gather kids in a circle. Start playing music while the kids try to keep the “ball” off of the ground with gentle taps.
Football Hide and Seek
Hide small football erasers, stickers, pencils and coloring books around the party area and then send the kids to search for them…It’s just like an Easter egg hunt!
Use a football cookie cutter to make sugar cookie cut outs. Then provide frosting and sprinkles for decorating. You can use Popsicle sticks will make frosting the cookies easier for the kids.
Here are some delicious recipes:
Healthier BBQ Chicken Tenders
Makes about 24
- 1 cup prepared barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups coarse dry breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
- Olive oil or canola oil cooking spray
Combine barbecue sauce, mustard and honey in a large bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sauce in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken tenders in half lengthwise, then add all the tenders to the large bowl with the remaining sauce; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine flour, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat eggs in another shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a third shallow dish. Coat each tender in flour, shaking off any excess. Dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then roll in the breadcrumbs, shaking off any excess. Place the tenders on the prepared baking sheet. Generously coat both sides of each tender with cooking spray
Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each tender over and continue baking until the outside is crisp and the tenders are cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Serve with the reserved sauce for dipping.
Ranch Dip and Crunchy Veggies
- 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk,
- 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 2 teaspoons dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups vegetables, such as baby carrots, sliced red bell peppers, snap peas, broccoli and cauliflower florets, cucumber spears, grape tomatoes
Whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic powder and salt in a bowl until combined. Serve the dip with vegetables of your choice.
What activities does your family enjoy on Super Bowl Sunday?
Now that we are a week into 2011 and back from celebrating the Holidays with our families, we wanted to share with you what some Kolcraft employees were doing over the Holidays.
Holidays are a time for giving! Jessica, Accounts Receivable Supervisor, coordinated a gift drive at Kolcraft for the boys and girls at Mercy Home giving countless children holiday gifts and smiles.
Wally goes to Colorado! Wally Wonderbug joined Andy, VP of Sales & Marketing, on a family ski trip. He said that Andy was a great snowboarding instructor and looks forward to his next trip.
Catching Santa in the Act. Don, Director of Quality Assurance, snapped a photo of Santa delivering presents at his house! Note that Santa magically left his autograph on the photo!
Fun in the Sun! Emilie, Social Media Coordinator, spent time with her family soaking in sunshine and love in Belize.
Pets celebrate the Holidays too! Kathryn, Research and Design Coordinator, made sure Mac was able to whisper to Santa his Christmas wish list.
Grandson time! Russ, Senior Manager of Compliance, was able to spend some much needed grandpa time with his new grandson.
Oh Christmas tree! Sharon, VP of Finance, in long-standing tradition decorated her house with 19 Christmas trees! WOW!
An Igloo fit for a King! Laura, Accounts Payable & Licensing Supervisor, helped her sons build a 10 foot igloo in their front yard! It was so impressive, it was on the nightly news!
We hope your Holidays were cheery & bright. We would love to hear how you spent the holidays!
Last week we talked about parenting resolutions for 2011 so today we just wanted to share a few tips to keeping those resolutions.
- Choose an attainable goal and keep it simple. Avoid choosing a resolution that you’ve been unsuccessful at achieving year after year. This will only set you up for failure, frustration and disappointment.
- Visualize how you will live out your resolution. Sometimes picturing success makes it more attainable.
- Make contingency plans: don’t assume sticking to your plan will be easy. Plan on hitting bumps along the resolution road and be prepared with specific ways to overcome them.
- Be patient & give it time: most experts agree that it takes about 21 days to create a habit and six months for it to actually become a part of your daily life.
- Reward yourself with each milestone. If you’ve stuck with your resolution for 2 months, treat yourself to something special.
- Ask friends and family members to help you so you have someone to be accountable to.
- Trying turning your resolution into one word that will inspire you. For example if you want to be more patient with your kids so they can experience how much you love them, then love can be your word. If you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, perhaps grow can be your word. Put that word on your refrigerator or someplace where it will remind you of your resolution.
What tips do you have for living your New Year’s resolution?
2010 is coming to a close and 2011 is right around the corner whether we are ready or not! With a New Year comes an opportunity to start anew, to get a fresh take on old habits and have a change for a good old fashion “do over.”
We asked the parents and grandparents at Kolcraft to let us know what their parenting resolutions are for 2011. We wanted to share them with you. Some of them are very creative and give a wonderful start to 2011.
- Family Traditions – My New Year’s resolution as a mom and grandma is to carry on more traditions and to document more events and family history. Simple traditions like decorating the family tree together or building a gingerbread house form memories that last forever. I often wish I had kept more photos and asked more questions of my dad, grandparents, and also my husband’s family, who have all passed on. As you get older, you get more curious about family history, and much of the information gets lost from generation to generation. I am going to keep more photos and journals for my family. -TH (editor’s note. We LOVED this resolution because it leaves a legacy for her whole family to enjoy!)
- Taking Time – My resolution is to be more patient with my kids by taking a few minutes each day to recharge my mommy battery. - MS
- Going High Tech - Our grandson lives 6 hours away and we don’t get to see him nearly as much as we want to. We are going to get a video camera and connect with our son via skype so we can see our grandson more often! -RB
- Date Nights - It’s easy to get caught up in the kid’s activities and schedules that my husband and I find it hard to spend time on our marriage. We are going to try to have date nights once a month. They don’t have to be expensive, it may even be having a glass of wine together after the kids go to bed, but it’s time for us to nurture our marriage. -NL
- Healthy Meals – I am going to try to plan our family menu out at the beginning of the week so I plan healthier meals. If I don’t plan, I end up relying on fast food. – PM
- Hugs - I will hug, smile, and tell my child I love them at least once a day. -CS
- Education – I will encourage my grandsons to study hard and work towards college. – CH
What parenting resolutions do you have?
Starting the year together as a family can be fun and doesn’t have to involve waiting around until midnight. You can have your very own ball dropping to ring in the New Year with a few kid-friendly activities.
- Set your clocks ahead a few hours so you can have a countdown to midnight without having your kids up past their bedtime.
- Make a New Year’s buffet made up of your children’s favorite finger foods.
- Have a board game challenge. Set up board game stations around your house. Play one round at each game and keep the night moving with everyone having a turn to play their favorite game.
- Spend some time sharing as a family your new year’s resolutions. You can make a special new year’s resolution jar where each member writes down their resolution and puts it in the jar. Throughout the year you can pull out the jar and remember the one thing you want to do that year to improve yourself.
- Create your own ball to drop from a stairway or have an adult stand on a chair and drop it. All you have to do is blow up a balloon and decorate it with glitter glue for a sparkly New Year’s Eve ball drop at “midnight”.
- Make your own noise makers (craft below) and crowns to wear at your countdown.
Her is a fun DIY New Year’s Eve noise maker for your family that you may remember from your kindergarten days.
Materials you will need:
- Empty plastic water bottle or dish soap bottle
- Beans, beads or other items to place inside (be sure these are not accessible to children under 3 years of age)
- 1 sheet white tissue paper
- Scraps of tissue paper in various colors, cut into small squares
- Non-toxic glue
- Scissors for adult use only
- Place a handful of beads or beans inside the clean, dry water/soap bottle. Run some glue around the mouth of the bottle and replace the cap.
- Make a mixture of 1/2 white craft glue and 1/2 water that will be enough to cover the bottle a few times over.
- Tear white tissue paper into large chunks, approximately 4”x2”.
- Paint a small section of the outside of the water bottle with the glue mixture. Place a torn piece of white tissue paper onto the glue mixture and paint over it with the glue mixture. Repeat this process, covering the entire bottle with 2-3 coats of white.
- Apply small colorful squares of tissue paper randomly over the white tissue paper to resemble confetti.
- Cut ribbon and carefully tie one of the pieces around the neck of the bottle. Repeat with other lengths of ribbon. Use scissors to cut each length to about 4” hanging length, and then cut upwards into thin strips. Allow to dry for several hours.
What ideas do you have to ring in the New Year with your children?
Last week Kolcraft celebrated the holidays with good food, sing-alongs, raffles and lots of laughs. We love to celebrate our Kolcraft family and all our wonderful customers who inspire us to put out must-have, quality baby products.
Here is a little glimpse into our celebration.
If you or your kids still believe in Santa, we thought you would like the NORAD Santa tracker. It’s a fun way to get your kids excited about the upcoming holiday(as if they need any help!).
The site counts down the days until Santa comes, has a Google Santa tracker and has all sorts of fun SantaVillage games such as Holiday crosswords, mazes, etc.
Check out the site with your children and watch the magic and delight of Santa light up their faces.
What ways do you get your children exciting about Santa’s visit?