Coding with Kids – Hour of Code

HourofCode

    My kids go to possibly the coolest school EVER!  They attend a charter school (we're in Florida) and have the ability to learn Greek language, music, art, and even computer science.  While they do still teach the basics and follow common core, they have a lot of freedom in the classrooms. My daughter is in Kindergarten and has been learning Greek since she was 3 yrs old (they also have a pre-K program). On Friday, I got our daily email from her teacher and she shared a very cool website that they worked on; Code.org.  There is an ongoing movement to show the importance of teaching code to students of any age.  With so much technology in our lives, our children have the ability to do so much if they are taught the skills early.  Today is the final day of "The Hour of Code" week, which encourages you to spend an hour with your kids teaching them the basics of coding. Breathe....you don't have to know ANYTHING about coding to help!!  You may even learn a little ... [ Read More ]

Cool Kids Gift Ideas

Cool Kids Gifts

  Affiliate links present in this post.  My kids are on different extremes when it comes to Christmas gifts this year.  My daughter is 5 (almost 6) and wants EVERYTHING she sees on TV or in the sales flyers. I seriously think if they came out with a LaLaLoopsy lump of coal she'd want it.  My son is 11 and a little more difficult to shop for this year.  There really isn't much that he's asked for.  Here are just a few gift ideas for kids of all ages... Lottie & Friends Lottie is a relatively new set of dolls for children ages 3-9.  Unlike traditional "Barbie" style dolls, Lottie is an actual child herself.  She doesn't have boobs, doesn't wear make-up, no high healed shoes! She's just a kid.  Lottie has some fun outfits that you can change and pets you can get.  My daughter has been playing with Lottie for a few weeks now and really likes it. She looks at Lottie like a friend, tells her secrets, and tries to sneak her to school in her backpack.  I happened to be ... [ Read More ]

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

If you're looking for a fun place to take your kids for a fun filled day (or week) on the beach, consider visiting St. Pete Beach and the TradeWinds Island Resort.  The weather is still warm in Florida this Fall and the water is still warm enough to swim.  My daughter and I were invited to spend a day at TradeWinds earlier this summer and I'm ready to go back! I hold a special place in my heart for St. Pete Beach. When I was growing up, my Grandmother lived one block from TradeWinds and I spent a lot of time as a child playing in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember vividly walking down to the beach with our arms full of sand toys.  I remember vividly how she used to sit on the beach for hours reading her books.  I remember vividly walking down the street to Larry's Ice Cream.  I used to love picking out a new souvenir at the little shop in front of her complex.  I still get a little teary eyed when I drive past the complex where she used to live (she died when I was in high ... [ Read More ]

Nut-Free School Lunch Ideas – Fun With Lunch Series

Nut Free School Lunch Ideas

Have a little fun with your kids lunches this year.  You don’t have to spend hours creating beautiful Bento Boxes that look like Hello Kitty to make them fun.  Your kids will love the little touches and I promise, you can do this in less than 5 minutes! With an increased awareness of nut allergies, many classrooms and schools are going nut-free for everyone.  I know that my daughter's class is completely nut-free (a few children in her class have nut-allergies) and it can be challenging to find things they will eat that comply with the nut-free zone.  As a mom who loves peanut butter, it hurts to have to spend a little extra money on peanut-free butters - but the lives of the other children are worth more than those few dollars.  I'm thankful that I don't have to stress out about my child being exposed to nuts in the classroom because it only takes one small encounter for an allergic child to have a reaction that could be fatal. Note: Some of the products featured in this post ... [ Read More ]

Sleepover Survival Tips For Parents

Sleepover Survival Tips For Parents

...and when I say parents, I really mean you - mom! At 11 years old my son has only had about 3-4 sleepovers and they've all been at our house.  I'm starting to wonder if sleepovers are still a "thing" that kids do.  Regardless, this past weekend my son convinced me that he should invite 2 of his good friends over for a sleepover. It gets better... ...he also invited the 5 year old sister of one of the boys to have a sleepover with my 5 year old daughter (they go to school together also). That's right, my son convinced me that having 5 kids in my house this weekend was a good idea!  Did I mention that I decided to go buy a car on the same day as the sleepover?  With 2 kids? By myself?  Um, yeah.... After visiting 3 car dealerships with 2 bored kids and signing the papers to my brand new Jeep Cherokee, I rushed home to a messy house to welcome 3 additional kids over for the night.  I must have still been on my "new car" high because I welcomed these kids with a huge smile ... [ Read More ]

5 Reasons Skating Rinks Need Open Bars for Parents

Source: http://www.seskate.com/news/older-news/items/60-skate-mate-trainer.html

We are nearing the end of the second week of school and I just survived the first school skate night of the year....barely!  I am convinced that every skating rink needs to have an open bar for the parents and taxi's waiting outside to take them home afterwards. 5 Reasons Skating Rinks Should Have Open Bars for the Parents 1. Your kid doesn't know how to skate!  It's only been 2 months since she last practiced with her friend but she was terrified because of all the big kids on the rink.  She decided to cry instead. 2. Your child's friends skate better and faster than they do!  Her little BFF just wanted to skate and had no fear.  They both had their little PVC trainers (see here if you don't know what I'm talking about), but her friend was faster than her.  She decided to stop and cry instead of catch up with her friend. 3. Big brother is skating with his friends and not little sister!  Big brother is (finally) confident with his mediocre skating abilities and is off ... [ Read More ]

Best Summer Ever!

We started this summer with a plan, I even made an official Summer Bucket List with a few things each of us wanted to do this summer.  I was looking back over my Instagram account this afternoon with my youngest and I'm so excited about how much fun we had this summer.  I'm not writing this to brag or gloat over all the cool things we've done, but rather for me to look back over the best summer ever! It's really hard for me to believe that our 10 week summer is already coming to an end.  I've been a little emotional all day thinking about it.  This was the first summer that I didn't stick my kids in summer camp most of the summer while I worked.  I decided that, as much fun as they have at camp, I really wanted to be part of their summer too.  I have an amazing boss and a flexible job that allows me to sneak away from time-to-time to make memories with my family.  I've paid for that fun by staying up past midnight many nights completing projects, but it's been so worth ... [ Read More ]

5 Fun (and Rewarding) Summer Reading Challenges for Kids

5 Fun and Rewarding Summer Reading Programs for Kids #summerreading

Are you looking for fun ways to encourage your kids to read more this summer?  Great news, there are several programs available locally and online to reward your kids for reading. The Rays have paired up with the local libraries for Reading with the Rays; if your child reads for 24 hours they get a free Rays ticket!  Plus most local libraries also have an end of summer party scheduled to celebrate your child's summer reading accomplishments.  I know the Palm Harbor Library has a party scheduled for August 2nd.     Read any 8 books and Barnes & Noble Summer Reading program will reward your child with a free book.  You can download a reading journal on their website to track your child's goals.     Once your child reads 5 books they can be entered to win prizes from the Pizza Hut Summer Book It Challenge.  Pizza Hut also has a fun Instagram contest and scavenger hunt to support their program; follow #bookitsummer online for more information.    Kids who read 8 books from a ... [ Read More ]

Sea Shell Picture Frame Tutorial For Kids

Sea Shell Picture Frame

We just got back from a week long beach vacation and we may have collected a huge bag full of sea shells, sea glass, and other sea rocks.  When we got home we made a quick trip to Michael's to pick up some craft supplies.  Picture frames, glue, jewelry cord, ribbon, candles, and jars are all sitting next to our dining room table ready for us to get our craft on! We weren't home for 5 minutes and my daughter (she's my crafty minion) was begging me to make the shell heart frame!  The begging continued for almost 24 hours before we actually had time to sit down and work on it.  I probably won't be opening an Etsy store anytime soon but we had a lot of fun and will have sweet memories when we look at it. Supplies Needed: Wooden picture frame Miscellaneous paint brushes Acrylic paint (assorted colors) Elmer's Glue Sea Shells Picture from the Beach Directions: Paint the wooden picture frame.  You can tell that we had different techniques.  I prefer one solid ... [ Read More ]

Things To Do With Kids in Tampa

Tampa With Kids

As we start to check off things from our Summer Bucket List, my kids keep adding things to their list!  While I know we can't possibly do everything they bring up, that doesn't mean that you won't.  If you like in the Tampa Bay area or if you're traveling here this summer, there are a lot of fun things to do with kids of all ages. You can review our Summer Bucket List and see that we already have listed: Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks Busch Gardens Old McMickey's Farm Florida Aquarium Clearwater Marine Aquarium Weeki Wachee Springs Park play dates My kids have added to their wishlist Airheads Trampoline Arena and Passport to Imagination at Michael's craft stores.  We also have our annual trip to Ichetucknee Springs in July. I was sharing my ideas with a group of local bloggers and found out they have some pretty amazing ideas also.  Below is a round-up of fun things to do in Tampa with kids this summer. Tampa Bay Moms Blog: Keep it Cool at Tampa Bay's Best ... [ Read More ]