Fun Ways To Teach Kids About Bugs

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Here in Texas, the last few days have crept up into the 80s and the we’re officially tip-toeing into the hot seasons which means lots of gorgeous green, lots of pool time, and, lots of bugs. Arachnids, Insects, Bugs, Pests, Beauties, whatever you are calling them we have them all and in abundance. Since they are so plentiful here, and since I have a very curious five-year-old, I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years learning about different kinds of bugs and teaching him about them. Here are some of my favorite ways to do so, including a fun giveaway so be sure to read all the way to the bottom!

Take a Pic & Google It — seriously, our favorite way of learning is to take pictures of local bugs and then search for information about them online. For example, this beauty crawled right onto Tyler’s finger!!!! He found it on the ground and stuck his finger out, it later jumped onto his legs then flew away, we were worried it was hurt but I guess it had just picked a bad resting spot originally. When we got home I searched “Bright Green Moth” and found out all about it, it’s a Luna Moth and we were very lucky to see it since they usually only come out late at night! The adults don’t eat any food because they only live for one week, and the one we found was a male because he has especially bushy antennas. Pretty cool, right?! The items in the giveaway below are absolutely perfect for this way!

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Check Out Books & Thrift For Them — Of course, your local library is a wealth of information and is the perfect place for finding a bunch of fun, informational books to learn about bugs. This is great if your children aren’t especially interested in non-fiction books and you  just want to do one fun activity or week with them this summer where you focus on learning about them. Since my little guy loves these kinds of books the most, I’ve been able to build up our private library stash by thrifting for them. I’ve had the most luck finding  them at thrift stores and through library sales when they pull books from their stash. These three have been especially fun!

Purchase Kits — I just found out the coolest website that sells a variety of scientific observation kits that are perfect for the classroom or home! We’ve already added the Ant Farm, Carnivorous Plant Kit, and the Tadpole Kit to Tyler’s wishlist for December! Having the (nice) versions in your home as pets is an amazing and fun way to really observe and learn.

Now that I’ve given you some fun ideas for this summer, it’s time to test YOUR knowledge when it comes to insects. While there are plenty of fun insects, there are also those that all of us could do without–I’m talking about your mosquitoes! They not only are a nuisance, but they also pose potentially serious health risks. Fortunately, the experts at Orkin study the science of mosquitoes and other pests closely in order to better tailor plans that help keep them out of your home this summer.

To help you better prepare yourself and your family to fight the bite, Orkin presents the “Buzzer Beater” app, which features its deep scientific knowledge of mosquitoes. Plus when you take it you can enter below to win this fun kit!

The Orkin Summer Scientist Bug Catching Kits are fun for the whole family! Each pack includes:

  • Bug Catcher Craft Kits: These awesome DIY bug catcher kits will let your family’s personality shine through while also learning about nature and the world around us. The kits include a variety of foam ladybugs, dragonflies and more!
  • Bug Nets: Explore the great outdoors with these fun mesh insect nets. They can be used to collect and study butterflies, ladybugs, caterpillars and many other backyard creatures.
  • See-Through Bug Jars: Reveal the wonders of your backyard with these clear bug jars. Each transparent plastic box has a magnifying lid for better insect viewing. Young explorers love discovering worms, butterflies, ants and insects. These containers allow them to make homes for their new discoveries.
  • Magic Color Scratch Little Garden Critters: Scratch faces, designs and more on these Magic Color Scratch Little Garden Critters! A perfect kids’ activity for critter lovers, simply scratch away the black coating to reveal vibrant rainbow colors. Includes butterflies, frogs, turtles and more.
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Creepy Crawlers: Turn off the lights and let them glow! These vinyl glow-in-the-dark bugs are lots of fun for all ages.

Enter Now!
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Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: A big thanks to Orkin for sending me two kits–one for you and one for Tyler, so that all the kids can have fun discovering bugs this summer!

A Day In the Life of the Family Scissors

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Hey there! I’m the humble family pair of scissors, also know by given name of Acme United Carbo Titanium Straight Scissors. You can just call me Titan, for short if you like. Not to toot my own horn, but my titanium-bonded blades that are eight times stronger than steel to stay sharper longer. But down to business. Since joining the Elliott family my home has been this little apple dish. I have to hang out with the whisks and spatulas, they’re not really my type but they seem like a good crowd.

Mornings I see the family hustling and bustling all around the kitchen. Usually I’m called on to perform a little task like opening up a box or bag when those easy tear systems inevitably fail, silly people, I don’t know why they don’t just reach for me to begin with!

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Throughout the day my life is pretty easy, being called on to do the random odd tasks of cutting open that box of mail that Nicole gets in, she sure gets a lot of boxes in the mail! I’ve heard her say how much she loves ordering online. Or having the men of the house grab me and haul me off to their projects, sometimes I end up living in their area for awhile, which is fun for a change of pace.

My favorite jobs are when I get to cut through things for projects, it really lets me show off my heavy duty grip and superior cutting skill. I do everything from cardboard to fabric and don’t even break a sweat!

Life is good being a heavy duty Scissor, I really can’t complain!

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: Thanks to Shoplet for sending me to my new family in order for them to bring you a day in my life. You can check out their site for cleaning supplies, office supplies, medical supplies, and office furniture!

Why Confident Foundation?

 

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The world is  a whirl of blaring and confusing information for women.

Into our ears, it shouts, “You’re formidable, you’re proud, you don’t need anyone, you can do anything, you are empowered!!!!”

Then, the very next moment into our faces it hurls images and expectations. Perfectly postured and Photoshopped with body mass indexes that are far below healthy, but vaulted up to be ideal. It shames natural curves in the wrong places and praises fake ones in the right places. Skin is unsafely manipulated into the perfect shade of caramel through sun and tanning beds and creams and lotions, unless, of course, it comes that way naturally in which case you’ll probably be discriminated against because of it. Flirtations are encouraged and applauded at the same time break ups are gossiped into roaring scandals.

Exhausted, overwhelmed, bewildered–we turn to the church because surely we can find clarity and wisdom there.

Inside the church, however, is often just as confusing, though usually much quieter. Occasionally you’ll hear a mumble about how long or short or high or low clothing should be. Women themselves tend to be strictly far to one side of the proverbial fence or far to the other.

The right is wearing turtlenecks up to their ears, homemade denim jumpers down to their toes. The left side is wearing the latest fashions while trying, somewhat, to cover up the parts they know they should, while still flaunting plunging necklines and hems creeping ever higher. The similarity on both sides is that they all look confused, not sure exactly why they’re standing where they are, but as if they would just as soon continue to dance around the topic since those mumbles about how high or long or short or low tend to be incredibly uncomfortable, confrontational, and judgemental.

Given thunderstorm of the world outside and the rumblings of the church inside, women today tend to be drifting along. They’re lost and confused, uncertain and insecure when it comes to their bodies, their modesty, their talents, their abilities, their calling, and what on earth any of it has to do with their service to Christ.

Don’t despair, though, it’s not like this everywhere. Occasionally, just occasionally, you’ll find someone who isn’t so confused. A wise woman who knows that she was made fearfully and wonderfully by God himself. A woman who knows while she can happily dress in fine linen and purple, her real clothing is strength and dignity. A woman who knows that makeup and jewelry can be fun, but it’s useless without the fear of the Lord and a gentle and quiet spirit that make her true beauty shine. A woman who looks to Esther, Rebekah, Sara, Ruth, and Abigail and realizes that God crafted and created her beauty and talents. She sees that those gifts can be used to change the world, and are given to her for specific reasons and times. A woman who is most of all concerned about chastity and honoring God in any way He asks her to. A woman who is standing confident on the foundation of Christ, her Lord, despite her past and faithfully following him into her future, while accepting his grace for today.

We feel those women are too far, too few. We know the struggle it is to find them, we know the struggle it is to become them. We want to encourage you to join us as we prayerfully take this journey to become them, with and through Christ.

So that’s why Confident Foundation. It’s all about embracing the God-given beauty and talents within us, not out of pride or a false sense of self-worth, but through the beautiful, firm, true foundation of love for Christ, what He has created, and His plan for our life, in every area.

We’re so happy that you’re here, how can we help?

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Natural Skincare Routine for Blemish-Prone Skin

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Legalese Nonsense:  I was given two Timeless Skincare products for review.  All opinions, recommendations, and fantastic results are my own.

Most of us would like to minimize the chemicals and toxins we expose ourselves to, including the things we put on our skin.  But if you’re like me and have sensitive or blemish-prone skin, it can be really hard to find all-natural products that your face can tolerate.  Even the ones that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin often cause me to break out, so finding the right products for my skin has taken a lot of trial and error.  My current skincare routine is almost completely natural, and it’s working pretty well, so I thought I would share it here in case some of the things I’ve found might also be helpful for you!

Step 1:  Cleanse

I have started washing my face with water or honey in the morning.  At night I use Simple Micellar Cleansing Water. While both of these options are working fine, I’m not in love with either.  They don’t seem to get my face all that clean but they are good natural options.   Some people have great results with oil cleansing, but I’ve never had the courage to try it 🙂  If you’ve found an awesome natural cleanser that works well on acne-prone skin, I would love to hear about it.

Step 2:  Tone

If you have acne or oily skin, a toner can be incredibly beneficial.  It restores your skin’s natural pH, keeps shine under control, and helps minimize pores.  My absolute favorite toner to use is also 100% natural and super affordable.  It’s simply a mixture of distilled water, apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”), and tea tree oil!  Mix it up, store it in a glass bottle, and apply with a cotton ball once or twice a day.  If acne is not an issue for you, you can also leave out the tea tree oil.  Here’s the recipe:

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Step 3:  Exfoliate

We all know exfoliation is important, but for some of us anything that involves scrubbing can also irritate the skin.  That’s why I LOVE this serum.  It contains 20% Vitamin C, which exfoliates, brightens skin, and evens skin tone.  I’ve tried several products to try to even out the red, blotchy areas on my face, but nothing made much difference until I tried this.  I even feel comfortable going out in public without makeup, which I had always avoided because of acne scars and redness.  If you have uneven skin tone or dark spots, try Timeless 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum.  It has been the most beneficial product I’ve added to my routine in a long time.

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Step 4:  Treat Blemishes (if necessary)

Most acne treatments are loaded with harsh chemicals, but the most effective spot treatment I’ve found is Tea Tree Oil.  It has anti-bacterial properties that seem to stop a zit in its tracks.  I just dab a small amount on as soon as I see a new blemish, and it usually keeps it from getting out of control.

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It can be strong, so if it stings too much or seems to bother your skin, just dilute with a small amount of non-comedogenic carrier oil.  My favorite carrier oil to use is shea butter.

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Step 5:  Moisturize

This can be a tough one for those of us who tend to break out easily.  Most commercial moisturizers contain loads of junk that can clog pores or mess with the delicate balance of our oh-so-sensitive skin.  So when I found this Timeless Hyaluronic Acid I was hooked.  It glides on like silk and absorbs beautifully, leaving my skin feeling moisturized but not the slightest bit greasy.  It fills in fine lines and even some of my acne scars and leaves skin feeling plump and healthy.  Two drops will cover my entire face, so one bottle will last a long time.  This is by far the best moisturizer I’ve ever used and I can’t say enough about it.  Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable!

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I hope those of you who have been searching fruitlessly for something that will work for your sensitive skin will have amazing results from some of the things I’ve shared about here.  As always, if you’ve had great success with anything in your own skincare routine, please share with us!

Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MySmoothie #CollectiveBias

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After each child, I tried to give myself some grace and wait a couple months before thinking about dieting and exercising. All three times there was a part of me that hoped ALL the weight would fall off before I needed to start a serious diet and exercise program. Unfortunately, that NEVER happened! When my youngest was two months old, my weight loss stalled and I still had 40 pounds to lose! At that point, I knew it was time to jump back into a better eating and fitness plan.

My husband worked as a personal trainer in college and he taught me that a mix of cardio and weight lifting was the best way to go for long lasting results. Like a lot of women, I was intimidated by weight training and concerned that I would get bulky. The logic behind weight training for weight loss is that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Basically, by adding lean muscle you are increasing your metabolism. My husband convinced me to give it a chance and trust the process. I took his advice and started a weight training program.

Over the next year I consistently worked out, made better food choices, and dropped the weight. I quickly learned that one thing you MUST do when you start a workout program is give your body adequate fuel! Your body will need more nutrients to aid in recovery after intense workouts. One of the main nutrients you will need to increase is protein.

Smoothies can be a quick, easy and tasty way to add more protein to your day. I workout in the mornings before my kids go to school and husband heads out to work. When I get home from the gym, I need to get something in me fast so I can get everyone up and running. Through my weight loss journey, I have found that a little preparation makes good food choices easier and more likely. I prepare Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs ahead of time so I can throw everything in the blender and have a post-workout smoothie ready in seconds.

If you are ready to start your new workout program and need a quick post-workout snack, follow the steps below. You can have better-for-you Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs in your freezer and you will be ready to refuel after each workout.

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Gather up your ingredients and supplies. I used Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt and Jif Peanut Powder to provide a large dose of protein without added sugar. (This is not a low calorie food. We are refueling after an intense workout, so the focus is on getting protein in quickly after the workout.) This recipe also includes ground flax seed which adds a boost of fiber, omega-3, and protein. Adding a banana to the smoothie will also add fiber along with potassium and vitamin C. Cocoa is an optional ingredient that will add some chocolate flavor without additional sugar. You will also need two ice cube trays and quart sized freezer bags for the Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs. I suggest using ice cube trays that are silicone or have silicone bottoms like the one pictured. It can be tricky to get the yogurt cubes out of a traditional ice cube tray!

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Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt. This recipe is going to make enough yogurt mixture to fill two ice cube trays. Two trays of yogurt will make six Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs. That is enough to get you through the week with an extra if you decide to workout on the weekend. Always take at least one rest day per week, your body needs time to recover!

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Mix the Jif Peanut Powder, ground flax seed and cocoa powder (optional) with the Oikos Greek Yogurt until combined. It will have a mousse-like texture.

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Divide the yogurt mixture equally among two ice cube trays and then freeze. Slice six bananas, lay them flat, and freeze in freezer bags. Make sure you get as much air out of the bags as possible to keep the bananas from turning brown. Once everything is frozen, assemble the freezer packs. Each pack should contain four yogurt cubes and one banana. On serving day, all you have to do is pour the freezer pack and 1/2 a cup of milk or almond milk in the blender and blend! It is so simple to whip up one of these smoothies, even on a busy morning. Since these are single serving packs, you may not want to get your BIG blender dirty. If you’re like me, you are rushing around in the mornings to get everyone where they need to be on time. No time to wash extra dishes! You can check out the  Oster® Blend-N-Go® MyBlend® which is a great choice for making smoothies and the PERFECT size for a single serving smoothie.  You literally blend and then the blending cup turns into your drinking cup-just fill, blend and go! I’m always up for one less dish to wash in the morning!

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I made these better-for-you, protein packed smoothies for myself to refuel after intense workouts but my son couldn’t resist trying it out. I was happy to share!

Protein Smoothie Freezer Packs

32 oz Oikos Triple Zero Greek Nonfat Yogurt (Vanilla)

6 Tablespoons Jif Peanut Powder

2 Tablespoons Ground Flax

2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder (Optional)

6 Bananas, Sliced and Frozen

3 Cups Almond Milk or Skim Milk (Serving Day)

  • Mix all ingredients together, except bananas and almond milk, and divide evenly among two ice cube trays.
  • Once frozen, divide yogurt cubes and bananas evenly among six freezer bags. Each bag will contain four yogurt cubes and one banana.
  • On serving day, pour contents of one bag in blender along with 1/2 cup of almond milk or skim milk. Blend until smooth and enjoy!
  • Each smoothie contains about 18 grams of protein.

InStoreOikosInStoreJifOster My Blend, ad, protein freezer smoothie packsI found everything I needed to make the Protein Smoothie Freezer packs at my local Walmart. The Jif Peanut Powder is on the same aisle as the regular peanut butter. The Oikos is in the dairy section with the other yogurt. Do you have the Ibotta app on your smartphone? Check out this offer! You can get $1.50 cash back on the combination of Jif Peanut Powder and Oikos (Vanilla) Triple Zero Greek Yogurt OR $1.50 cash back on the combination of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter and Dannon Vanilla Yogurt!

The ice cube trays with silicon on the bottom that I mentioned previously, were at Walmart near the regular, plastic ice cube trays. I also saw ice cube trays made completely of silicon, which would work for this recipe. If you are interested in the Oster® Blend-N-Go® MyBlend® as an alternative to getting your big blender out each morning, it is also available at Walmart.  Everything you need to get started is at one store. Could it be any easier?? A little preparation today, and you will be ready to refuel your body after tomorrow’s workout!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchbox Freezer Sandwiches

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My son is always hungry when I pick him up from school in the afternoon. He usually makes it to the house before getting a snack, but the other day he got in the car and immediately started searching for food. I asked him why he was so hungry and he said it was because I did not pack enough food in his lunch box. I felt so guilty! Like any mom, I cannot stand the thought of my kids going hungry. I apologized and promised to start packing more in his lunch. He suggested that I make another batch of the ‘tiny sandwiches.’ The tiny sandwiches he was talking about are Lunchbox Freezer Sandwiches.

I pack my son’s lunch every day because he is not interested in eating cafeteria food. Mornings can get crazy, so I created Lunchbox Freezer Sandwiches to have a quick and nutritious lunch ready in minutes. The sandwiches are easy to make and customizable to the preferences of your family. In addition to being great for school lunches, these sandwiches are a quick afternoon snack and a great addition to a picnic.

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I make two versions of this sandwich for my son, and there are an endless amount of possible combinations. This sandwich is barbeque turkey with Colby jack cheese on mini ciabatta rolls. The mini ciabatta rolls are an important part of this recipe. The ciabatta bread is more airy than typical loaf bread. The texture of the bread allows it to freeze well and keeps it from getting soggy when it is heated up or thawed. I get these mini ciabatta rolls in the bakery of my local big box grocery store. If you are unable to find the mini ciabatta rolls, you can get a loaf of ciabatta bread and slice it to size.

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All you have to do to assemble the sandwiches is spread barbeque sauce on one side of the bread and stack the turkey and cheese. Depending of the type of cheese and turkey you choose, you may need to cut them down to size for them to fit on the bread.

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Once the sandwiches are assembled, wrap each individually in plastic wrap. After they are wrapped individually, put the sandwiches in a gallon sized freezer bag and put the gallon bag in the freezer. I can fit nine of the sandwiches in one gallon freezer bag.

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My son has an early lunch at school, so I warm the sandwich up and wrap it in foil before packing it in his lunchbox. The sandwiches will thaw out on their own if your child has a later lunchtime. I usually pack one sandwich along with fruit, a side, and a treat for my second grader. Older kids may want two sandwiches in their lunch.

These Lunchbox Freezer Sandwiches make packing lunch everyday quick and easy. Give them a try!

Barbeque Turkey Freezer Sandwiches
Recipe Type: Freezer
Author: Darisse Kennedy
These barbeque turkey freezer sandwiches can be prepared ahead of time and are ideal for packing in school lunches.
Ingredients
  • 12 Mini Ciabatta Rolls
  • 1/2 lb Sliced Turkey
  • 1/2 Block Colby Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Barbeque Sauce
Instructions
  1. Separate the top and bottom of the rolls
  2. Spread one side of each roll with barbeque sauce
  3. Cut the sliced turkey to size and distribute evenly among the rolls
  4. Slice the cheese to desired thickness and distribute evenly among the rolls
  5. Put the tops back on each roll
  6. Wrap each roll individually with plastic wrap
  7. Put the wrapped sandwiches in gallon freezer bag and freeze
  8. To serve, heat for 45 second in microwave or allow to thaw

 

 

 

 

How To Go on an Epic Mini Adventure With Your Kids!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  all® free clear detergent is not intended to treat or prevent allergies. As always, All opinions are mine alone. #allfreeclear #CollectiveBias

How fun!! Great tips for fun with your kids that's cheap or free! How To Go on an Epic Mini Adventure With Your Kids!

The other day I walked into Tyler’s room to find him filling his backpack. He looks up and exclaims, “Mom! I’m filling up my pack with survival supplies, and then, I’m going to go *exploring*!! In the real woods! But….could you come with me, maybe? You know, to keep me safe?”

After this conversation, I told him that I thought us exploring in the woods was a great idea, and it was also a great idea to bring me along. I just love watching my kids develop their very own unique personalities which are now completely evident. Tyler especially has flourished in developing his interest and desires and communicating them in this past year and his “isms” keep me laughing daily! I am also always looking for ways to raise the kids to be sympathetic and respectful to others, and I believe family time together is a key component to all that!

Continue reading “How To Go on an Epic Mini Adventure With Your Kids!”