Group Fun Idea: Lil’ Lockitz Best Friend Party Pack

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Disclosure: I am an affiliate blogger and received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Are you looking for a fun and easy group craft idea? Look no further than the Lil’ Lockitz Best Friend Party Pack! Lockitz are adorable charms that your child can personalize by filling it with charms, photos and gems to make it uniquely hers. Think of it as a “wearable collage.”

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Create something truly personal, for yourself or a loved one. Lil’ Lockitz supplies you with gems, backgrounds and charms of your favorite things to float in a wearable collage that tells a story.

Recommended for children 5 years of age and older, it comes complete with everything you need to make 18 reusable Lockitz including:

  • Design Studio with Storage Compartments
  • Display Stand
  • 18 Locket Tops and Backs
  • 6 Necklaces
  • 6 Bracelets
  • 6 Keychains
  • 72 Charms
  • 54 Gems
  • 32 Backgrounds
  • 1 Pack of Sequin Letters
  • Photo Stencil
  • Locket Crimper
  • Photo Puncher
  • Storage Tray & Instructions

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Great for rainy afternoons, scouts or sleepovers – get a group of friends together and let the fun begin.  Children can make one for themselves and one as a gift. What a fun way to tell your story!

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Kitchen Club Kids Review & Coupon Code

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I’m one of those moms who, when she asks her kids “What would you guys like to eat for breakfast?” is really asking “Would you like some cheerios again or should I warm up some pop tarts?” So most cooking (and even reading about cooking) is a little out of my comfort zone.

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However, my kids have shown a lot of interest in cooking lately and when I saw the books ‘End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad’ and ‘Garden Safari Vegetable Soup’ that were geared for the preschool years, I was excited to introduce them to cooking in a fun way.

We read ‘End of the Rainbow Fruit Salad’ the same day we got it in the mail. The book was great and the illustrations were beautiful. My kids (3 and 4 years old) loved the colorful rhyming story and how fun and easy it made cooking sound.

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Of course, the kids wanted to try “cooking” right away. I let them slice bananas, peaches and strawberries for the fruit salad. They loved it!

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They were able to follow the recipe easily, practiced measuring the blueberries and counting out the strawberries. They stayed engaged, had fun and learned some new skills. I was happy the recipe was so healthy and colorful. The kids enjoyed eating their fruit salad for snack.

We read the “Garden Safari Vegetable Soup” book the next day and again I was impressed with the engaging fun story line and how easy and fun it made cooking sound. I also liked how it included counting, measuring and cooking healthy with many different colors of vegetables. Again after reading the story my kids ran to the kitchen to try it out!

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I was happy about their enthusiasm and I was glad I had most of the ingredients on hand. I had to help the kids chop the celery, carrots and onions, but they loved chopping the potatoes, measuring and pouring the chicken broth, rice and spices. And of course, mixing and stirring was pretty exciting for them. They were really cooking! I was surprised at how much fun we had! The kids ate their bowls of soup for dinner. My son even asked for seconds! I am now looking for other ways to involve my kids in our daily food preparation.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to get their preschooler excited about preparing food, eating healthy and learning a little math (measuring and counting), in the kitchen. The fact that cooking together can be a great one on one or family activity is just another great advantage. Who says learning can’t be a lot of fun?!

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Keep Your Sanity While Working from Home and Homeschooling

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A homeschool mom’s most important job is raising her children, overseeing their education, getting dinner on the table and administering an ample dose of hugs and kisses at bedtime. Homeschool moms pull off minor miracles to get this done. Add in earning money from home and it can get overwhelming! A work-at-home mom really is working two jobs at once and the biggest challenge for a mother is learning to do both in harmony.

There are some tips and tricks every work-at-home homeschool mom could utilize. It is important to understand that each person is unique and in a work-at-home setting what may work for others may not be what works best for everyone. Yu should feel free to experiment and discover what works for you and your family.

Home Business Setup Tips

When operating a business from home it is important to do so from a designated area. Making sure this area is clean, well-organized and well stocked with essentials will alleviate frustrations, which may be caused by trying to find the phonebook or stapler in a hurry. This should be carried over to the lives of the children in the home as well, after all if Johnny can find his crayons easily he will be less likely to bug mom during work hours.

An office area should include any tools necessary to complete daily work such as a computer, Internet access, a telephone, cell phone and fax machine if applicable for the particular job being done. Along with all of these things perhaps the most important tool needed is privacy and freedom from distraction.

Tips for a Successful Work-At-Home Day

There are some simple steps that can be taken in order to enjoy a productive work-at-home day. The first is to set a schedule and stick to it. In order to have a stress-free day the work day should begin at the same time every day, focus on objectives, schedule breaks and plan ahead for any foreseeable variations to that schedule.

It is important to understand that children will be more accepting of schedule changes if they know they are coming and they know the game plan for the day. If breaks are normally taken at 2PM for homeschool or story time, be sure to discuss any changes in advance. For example, Jenna will be less agitated if she knows in the morning story time will have to wait until 2:30 and then is reminded of this again at lunch. By keeping them apprised of the situation children realize they are a priority and their special time has not been forgotten.

What Every Work-At-Home Mom Must Remember

Above all else, a work-at-home mother must make time for her own well-being and her own personal life as this will help to keep the stress factors to a minimum. Parents must remember to get a good night’s sleep each night, exercise each day, make time for themselves, say no to clients in unrealistic situations, and network. There are many groups designed specifically with networking for work-at-home moms in mind, they are a great resource for advice, support and even clientele.

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Cookie Dough Monkey Bread Recipe

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This delicious cookie dough monkey bread recipe is not only easy to make but it’s delicious too! It uses only 6 ingredients that you probably already have on hand!

Little helpers will have fun rolling the dough, adding the sugar and, of course, eating it. Prepare it for breakfast, dessert or a tasty snack!

Cookie Dough Monkey Bread Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Choc. chip MB IP 1

  • 2 (16 oz) cans of homestyle biscuits
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar for the dry mix
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar for the glaze
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 1 package of Chocolate chip cookie dough
  • Pam spray
  • Bundt Pan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a bundt pan with non-stick spray.

Set aside.

Open the cans of biscuits.

Cut each individual biscuit in quarters.

Set aside.

Open your package of cookie dough and cut each square into halves.

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Lightly flatten one of your biscuit quarters and add your piece of cookie dough in the center.

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Pinch all edges to close and roll in your hands to form a ball.

Set to the side each one as you do them until all are completed.

Using a ziplock bag add the sugar and brown sugar, mix to combine.

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Add 5-7 of the rolled biscuits into the ziplock bag and shake to coat each ball in the sugar mix.

Begin to add the dough balls into prepared pan.

Repeat until you’ve added them all in the pan.

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In a small sauce pan add your butter and brown sugar heat on medium heat until melted- stirring often.

Pour your melted glaze all over your dough balls evenly.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden and set.

Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then flip out onto a plate and enjoy!

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Easy Learn-to-Crochet Pattern for Kids: Coin Pouch

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Learning to crochet is a fairly easy craft project that kids as young as five years old can try. This easy crochet pattern for kids is a great way to help little hands practice fine motor skills and following directions. It’s cute enough to give as a gift too!

Easy Learn-To-Crochet Pattern for Kids: Coin Pouch

Materials Needed:

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  • Size “G” Crochet Hook
  • Scraps of Cotton Yarn (such as Sugar & Cream brand)
  • Darning Needle
  • Button
  • Scissors

Crochet Skills Needed:

Instructions:

Make a chain of 4, join to create a ring

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Work 8 single crochet and join

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Using the darning needle, weave the end of the yarn into the work and trim

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Grab a new color of yarn, attach using a single crochet and work into each stitch of the previous row using 2 single crochet (sc) stitches

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Using the same color, continue working 2 single crochet stiches in the previous row all the way around. By the time you are done, you’ll have 2 rows of the same color

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Grab a different color and chain 1 stitch, then 2 single crochet into the next stitch and then 1 single crochet. Repeat the 2 sc, 1 sc pattern all the way around

easy-crochet-pattern-for-kids-step-6Now, get a another color, attach it using a single crochet and follow this pattern: 2 single crochet in the first stitch, 1 single crochet in the next, 1 single crochet in the next, another single crochet in the next and then 2 single crochet. The pattern is:

2 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, … repeat this until you get all the way around

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Now, get a another color, attach it using a single crochet and follow this pattern: 2 single crochet in the first stitch, 1 single crochet in the next, 1 single crochet in the next, another single crochet in the next and then 2 single crochet. The pattern is:

2 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, 1 sc, … repeat this until you get all the way around

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Using the same color, this time, single crochet all the way around. Weave in all the loose ends and your first side is done!

Make the back side. You can use a single color like in the picture or use more scrap yarn

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Now it’s time to sew the front and back together. You’ll use a simple whip stitch to do this. Just remember to keep an opening so your coins and fit!

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Next, sew a button to the front and then chain a few stitches leaving a long tail at the front and back.

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How many stitches you need to chain will depend on how big your button is.  Sew your chain to the inside of the coin purse.

 

 

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If you want, you can glue a decoration on the front or leave it the way it is.

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And there you have a fun coin purse to use for yourself or give as a gift.

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Delicious Strawberry Tart Recipe

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A wonderful dessert that is fancy and yet simple. The delicious blend of chocolate, strawberries and citrus make this a light after meal delight.

Delicious Strawberry Tart Recipe

Serves: 8

Prep time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Strawberry Tart Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons warm water
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Strawberry Tart Recipe Instructions:

Process almonds in food processor until finely ground.

Add butter, sugar and egg yolk. Mix until dough is  a ball.

Chill dough for 1 hour.

Spray bottom and sides of the tart pan (make sure the bottom is removable)

Press dough into pan and up the sides.  (The dough should be sticky)

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until crust is golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In small bowl mix together honey, cocoa, orange zest, and water.

Assemble tart:

Spread honey mixture in bottom of cooled tart shell.

Arrange Strawberries, in overlapping rings, to cover chocolate.

Melt Chocolate chips in microwave (about 1 min) .

Drizzle chocolate over strawberries.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Mediterranean Penne Pasta Slow Cooker Recipe

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A slow cooker is any busy family’s best friend in the kitchen. I especially like to use mine in the summer to keep the temperature in the kitchen nice and cool. The flavors and distinct look of this dish make it seem exotic and special. So easy to prepare in your slow-cooker that it makes a wonderful meal for a busy day. What I really love about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for a lot of “pre-cooking” food, like so many other slow cooker recipes do.

Mediterranean Penne Pasta Slow Cooker Recipe

Serves: 4
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 6 hours
Total time: 6 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients:

• 1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and cubed
• 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
• 1 medium red or green pepper, diced
• 1 large white onion, sliced thin
• 1 (10 ounce) can tomato soup
• 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
• 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 16 ounces uncooked, Penne pasta

Instructions:

1. Mix all ingredients, except pasta, in slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on low 5 1/2 to 6 hours. (On high cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.)
3. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
4. Serve vegetables over hot pasta.

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Easy Kids Craft: Upcycled Dog Toy

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My kids loved making toys and crafts for our dog. This project was a particular favorite because not only is it easy to make, but the materials are easy to find (you probably already have them!) and it can be done in less than an hour.

Upcycled Dog Toy Kids Craft

Upcycled Dog Toy Kids Craft Materials:

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• a piece of soft crafting felt (any color would do)
• an empty plastic water bottle
• a small jingle bell (or anything that will make noise inside the bottle)
• crochet thread
• a pair of scissors

Upcycled Dog Toy Kids Craft Instructions

Step 1:

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Measure the soft crafting felt to the empty piece of a plastic water bottle. There should be a significant allowance on the top and the bottom part of the bottle in reference to the felt because we will be creating vertical cuts on both sides.

Step 2:

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Place the small piece of jingle bell inside the plastic water bottle. Tightly close the cap afterwards.

Step 3:

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Tightly wrap the crafting felt on the body of the plastic water bottle. Place the bottle in the center of the felt and start wrapping it around.

Step 4:

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Tie one end of the wrapped plastic bottle with a crochet thread. This should create a candy-wrapped effect now. Make sure that you tie one end firmly because this is a dog toy and our pets tend to ruin their toys easily if it’s not sturdy enough.

Step 5:

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After creating several loops on one side, cross to the opposite side of the plastic bottle and do the same process on this side. The tassel on both sides of the plastic bottle should be prominent by now.

Step 6:

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Cross the opposite side of the bottle again and create several loops. Continue creating horizontal lines using the crochet thread until you finish the walls of the plastic bottle.

Step 7:

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Create vertical line wraps using the crochet thread. When you reach one end of the bottle, wrap the thread in a vertical manner around the walls of the plastic bottle. This will create more tension to the whole plastic bottle and will avoid the unnecessary tears on the crafting felt whenever the dog tries to munch or bite it.

Step 8:

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Secure the end of the thread firmly on one end of the toy. This will prevent the dog from ruining the toy that early if you get to tie this properly, without the spaces and gaps as seen in the photo.

Step 9:

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Finally done and ready to roll! You can now give this unique plastic bottle dog toy to your lovely pooch!

This unique dog toy will simply make your fur babies happy since the plastic bottle offers flexibility whenever they bite the body and at the same time, the dog toy will also produce a sound due to the presence of the small jingle bell inside when they try to munch and wiggle the toy extensively. They would definite love you for this because they would not have any dull moments anymore! Have fun with your fur baby!

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Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for High School

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One of the most common struggles parents face when homeschooling high schoolers is helping them learn how to manage their time and priorities effectively. It’s a skill that will help them now and later in life.Teaching your child how to organize and manage his or her time is one of the most valuable skills you can teach.  Not only will it help prepare them for college and work, but it will also give them a sense of security and control in knowing exactly what is expected each day.

It took a bit of trial and error but by the time my oldest daughter was in her “junior” year (I use the term loosely. I know you homeschool parents know what I mean, though), we finally found a system that worked for us. Based on what I created for my own children, I worked with a designer (because, no, I’m really not good at fancy graphic design) to make one for you and your high schooler.

Take advantage of this Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for High School by simply printing out what you need and use a simple three ring binder to keep it all organized.  Every Monday, have your high schooler fill out his or her schedule for the week in the schedule column. You can work together to complete the assignments and chores portion in advance as well, but we found it better to complete those at the beginning of each day, since there are times when assignments and chores need to be more flexible. You can even have your teenagers put all of their completed assignment behind that day’s page and you have a neat, tidy, way of keeping your homeschool records together!

Just click the image below to be taken to the download page for your Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for High School!

The daily planner page is absolutely free but if you’re looking for something more, be sure to take a look at the entire planner system. It’s packed with 23 printable planner pages for high school homeschoolers that include a weekly planner, project planner, study guide, monthly calendars and so much more!

PS – If you’re looking for a Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for Kids, you can find it here!

Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for High School

Free Printable Homeschool Planner Worksheet for High School

 

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Healthy Carrot Walnut Muffin Recipe

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Muffins are a lot of fun to make and even more fun to eat. This healthy muffin recipe using carrots and walnuts is dairy-free too. It’s great for breakfast or a quick snack.

Healthy Muffin Recipe

Vegan Carrot Walnut Muffins

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup oil (coconut/sunflower)
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup soy milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup carrot, grated
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 3-4 cardamom (only seeds)
  • Small piece of ginger, crushed
  • Handful of raisins, almonds

Vegan Spicy Carrot Walnut Muffins Ingredients

Method:

Preheat oven to 190 C (or 375 F) for 5 minutes.

Beat milk, oil, sugar and water together until sugar dissolves and to form a smooth consistency.

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Stir in rest of the ingredients except walnuts to the mix and lightly mix all ingredients.

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Pour the batter into the baking tin and garnish with grated/chopped almonds.

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Bake at 190 C (or 375 F) for 30-35 minutes.

Allow the muffins to cool on the rack for 10-15 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Tips:

  1. You can check if the cake is cooked by poking a toothpick right into the muffin.
  1. You can increase/decrease the amount of sugar based on your taste.
  1. You may need to increase/decrease the amount of water as carrots might lose some water in the mix.

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