Archive | Moms

18 Awesome Summer Activities for Brainerd Lakes Area Moms and Kids!

Welcome to Summer! Fun, frolic, quality family time, chances for adventure, the official start to several months of MOM being head of the Entertainment Committee.

This will be the Flansburg’s 5th year of creating what we call The No Bummer Summer.

 

It’s our chance as a family to try new things and keep the kiddies busy without the assistance of daycare or baby sitters. It’s also a way to embrace this Season of Parenthood and try to create as many memories and learning experiences as possible.  Here’s some of the ideas and “adventures of interest” I have come across and hope to try this summer:

Backyard Bowling: I love the simplicity of this idea! It’s basically just as it sounds. Fill some water bottles with water and food coloring, arm the kids with a ball and enjoy a couple round of bowling!

DIY Backyard Bowling – Easy to make with kids and a great way to recycle the 2-liter bottles leftover after a summer BBQ. Repin and start saving those soda bottles.:

Rock Picking: As a family, we love rocks and love to go rock picking. It’s entertaining, educational, and a great way to get outside and explore.

Rocking picking for summer fun

I was pretty stoked when I found 30 Playful Ways to Teach Young Kids About Rocks:

Leader Pig Races: We’ve done this before and it is a HOOT. Hosted by The Bear’s Den in Leader Minnesota and every Friday and Saturday evening at 7 p.m. are the pig races. This event is geared towards kids without no only the famous “LA Racing Piggies” but plenty of other fun activities like hula hoop contests, jump rope, bouncy balls races and more.

LA Pig Races

 

Colorful fabric collars are around the piggie’s necks and a corresponding wooden pig is randomly handed out to kids in the audience. The child who holds the same color of pig as the one that crosses the finish line first wins a little bag of goodies. Totally fun and I highly recommend it. Check out The Bear’s Den Facebook Page HERE.

Geocaching: I don’t know much about this, but it sounds like something fun to try.

Parks: Playgrounds and parks! We are blessed with many good ones in the Brainerd Lakes Area and it’s a great way to get out and hang with other families as well. Some of our personal favorites include Whipple Beach, Loren Thompson Park, and Berrywood. There’s also two play groups for those of you with little tots. Fresh Air Fridays and Nisswa Time to Play can both be found on Facebook.

Game Day! Declare Game Day and play as many board games as you have time for!  Some good ones are:  Candyland, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Sorry Revenge, Farkle, Chutes and Ladders, Don’t Break The Ice, Clue, Monopoly Kids , Monopoly Frozen Edition and Operation.

Nature Walk: Go for a stroll in the woods and just appreciate that you are able to do so. Challenge your kids to a Nature Scavenger Hunt and there are awesome Nature Scavenger Hunt printables  here and here.

Great places for a nature hike is Northland Arboretum , Crow Wing State Forest, and Pillsbury State Forest.

Go Garage Saling: One of our favorite ways to find the best goodies for not a lot of money. Check your local paper or visit a Facebook Garage Sale Group like this one or this one.

If you plan to HAVE a garage sale, check out this handy (and free) how-to guide and checklist

 

Have a ½ Birthday Party: Our kids are both “winter babies” so they miss out on the element of summer fun when it comes to having their birthday parties. So I thought, why not have a “1/2 Birthday Party?” A 1/2 Birthday would be the halfway mark from their last birthday and the upcoming birthday. To “fun it up” you could have the party on the half hour mark (12:30 or 5:30), cut a cake in half (this way each kids will get a 1/2 of a cake for their Half Birthday) and float balloons that would the number half of the age they are turning (if they will be turning 10, float 5 balloons in the party area). If I do this, I think I will skip the presents and focus more on fun like renting a Bounce House from Party World for a “half day.”

Rollin in The Dough: Make homemade edible play-doh. Here are 10 recipes to try out (and you can decide which one tastes the best!).

Make a Pizza (Party): Everyone loves pizza (well, almost everyone. Our 7 year-old still claims she hates pizza. Really?) but for the most part having a mini DIY Pizza Party is always a crowd-pleaser. We like the Betty Crocker brand of dry pizza crust mix  and the Contadina brand of sauce. Choose 4-5 different toppings, shape out several mini pizzas with the dough, and encourage everyone to tap into their inner Pizza Chef 🙂 Here’s some fun ideas from the Baker Mama.

 

DIY Pizza Night

**for a Virtual Pizza Making Party check out this Pizza Making app for iPads from iGame Mom

Create a Dirt City: I remember doing this for HOURS as a child (yes I was a tomboy). It works best if you are blessed with a sandy area in your yard, but worse case scenario is have some sand brought in. Hook your kids up with shovels, toy dump trucks, cars, animals, containers, and even dinosaurs. Then it’s time to build mountains, rivers, streets, moats, or castles and then use the toys to play, dig, and create for hours.

Hop on Your Bikes or Strap on Your Blades: We are blessed with miles of safe and wonderfully paved bike and walkways on the Paul Bunyan Trail.

After- Dark Play: See what bugs come out at night, play shadow games, or flashlight tag.  Grab some glow sticks, light up gloves, or a child’s headlamp and light up the night! Don’t forget bug spray.

Care.com has some great after-dark game ideas for kids as well.

after dark games for kids

 

Color With Nature: I absolutely ADORE this Color With Nature activity from Wildlife Fun 4 Kids. I cant wait to do this one!

 

What have I missed? What summer activity is your family looking forward to? What Brainerd Lakes Area attraction did I leave out? Please be sure and share in the comments below, or on our Facebook Page HERE.

Happy Summer!

**some of these links are affiliate links. Lakes Area Mom Squad was not compensated in any way for mention of the above businesses.

Best Apps for Busy Parents

As parents we know that our day can vanish as quickly as a bowl of popcorn on family movie night. We all have 86, 400 seconds in a day and that’s time that can’t be retrieved once it’s passed. Thankfully there are “helper tools” available to busy parents to help them gain back some precious seconds and keep their hectic lives on track.

Animal Sounds: You’re trapped in the doctor’s office with your restless child. The doctor is taking forever to come in and your child has lost all interest in books and tongue depressors. Its times like this that the Android app Animal Sounds can come in handy. This fun application is for kids of all ages and offers more than 35 pictures and sounds of both domestic and wild animals. Animals include: horse, cow, goat, cougar, donkey, lion, gorilla, penguin, frog, elephant, sheep, rooster, owl, alligator, turkey, baboon, raccoon, panther and lynx. Simply swipe the screen to go to the next animal and use the Play/Stop sound button to produce animal sounds. This free app may buy you enough time to keep your little monkey from resorting to swinging from the light fixtures to stay occupied.

Out of Milk: Picture this; you are at the grocery store aimlessly roaming the aisles trying your hardest to remember, “What else was on the grocery list?” Where is your grocery list? At home, on the kitchen counter, of course. Thanks to the ultimate list making Android app Out of Milk, you can avoid the “doh!” moment of forgetting your list at home. This app also eliminates the need to a pen with for checking off items on your shopping list. Simply tap on any item in your list and hold for about one second. The item will be crossed off with a single line. You can repeat this action to uncross an item on the list and Out of Milk will remember the history of your most frequently purchased items.

Chaos Control – GTD task management and To-Do lists: Need some help organizing your business and personal activities? Simple and effective, Android app helps to boost your productivity helps to prevent overwhelm and overload. This free and simple Android app helps create task lists which lead to clearly defined outcomes. A Project is a simple to do list, but it consists of actions related to a particular goal like “Double check softball schedule”, “Order new business cards”, or “Mail birthday invites.” Chaps Control also lets users differentiate between personal, family and business projects by allowing the grouping of projects and tasks in folders. Those lists of tasks can be review daily by using the Due Today option. If you are on the run and pressed for time, Chaos Control allows users to save all the incoming tasks, ideas or thoughts in Chaos Box to process them later.

These great mobile apps are just the ticket to relieve stress, get organized and gain back those precious minutes in your day.

Introducing FREElance FREEdom

Your Guide to Making the Leap to Being a Work At Home Professional

Beautiful young student woman study with tablet in park

Have you every dreamed of working from home on your own terms? Dreamed of earning a steady, and honest, income while still having plenty of time for friends and family.

Lucky for you, it is all very possible. It’s a life that I have successfully been living for over 4 years…and I can’t imagine supporting my family (and following my dreams!) any other way.

Within the pages if this robust 85+ page downloadable e-book and resource guide is the motherlode of awesome information about working from home (on your own terms) all rolled into a handy read-at-your-own pace guidebook.

Whether you are looking to pursue a career as a freelance writer, virtual assistant, graphic designer (and more) this Resource Guide will provide the insight, tools, guides, advice and strategies that can apply to any freelance business. If you want the very basics of getting started without the benefit of support and coaching, this eBook is for you.

FREELance FREEdom

Buy now for only $27.00

The Jump-Start Your Year Sale!!

Get this e-Book and Resource Guide for only $9.99 for a limited time!

Cool (And Healthy) Summer Snack Ideas

Last summer our family fell victim to the “too much crap eating” syndrome. The over abundance of  tater tots, chips and mac-n-cheese soon became evident on everyone’s waistline so this year we have committed to finding some better Summer Snack Ideas and eating better during the summer months.

Honestly, this is no small task for our family of four incredibly picky human beings. Lucky for me, our 11 year old is going through a stage where he will eat virtually anything as long as it’s deemed “food.” In fact, he wears his new nickname of The Eating Machine with pride. The other two (hubby and 8 year old) not-so-much. Both are picky as heck and would be happy dining of mac-n-cheese and toast 365 days a year.

Undeterred, I have set off on a mission to find some fun new foods that are easy to prepare and healthy too. Here are some of my favs.

This Fruit Sushi from the The Kids Activity Blog is off-the-hook cool and I think is even something my fam would eat! I know I will scarf it down. We plan to make some this weekend.

DIY Fruit sushi, frushi.

Grab the recipe HERE.

Encourage your family to Eat Bugs! Here’s another sweet idea for The Kids Activity Blog:

healthy snacks

Yummy, Healthy Easy had the motherload of snack ideas too:

20+ Healthy Snacks for Summer! A great collection of guiltless treats you can enjoy all summer long!

I honestly don’t know if my 8 year-old would eat this, but this recipe made ME DROOL! Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Kabobs

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

 Luckily, all four of us like yogurt and fruit so this might be a winner from Pillsbury

Berry Pie Trifle Shots

Crumbled pie crust layered between sweet yogurt and fresh berries, perfect for a tiny summer treat.

Berry Pie Trifle Shots

  • 1 Pillsbury™ refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 container (6 oz) Greek honey vanilla yogurt
  • 3/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 container (6 oz) Greek blueberry or strawberry yogurt
  • 4 strawberries, sliced

Get directions here.

Trail Mix! We love trail Mix! Foodie Family has a great “GORP” Trail Mix idea that involves some of my kids favorite components (cereal, pretzels, choc chips). This is good road food and with one child with a peanut allergy, a safe one too.

Gorp, trail mix, scroggins... It's a delicious, quick pick-me-up no matter what you call it.

 

Summer Snack Food Grocery List

  • Pretzel sticks
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Hummus
  • Fruit (and lots of it)
  • Canned baby sweet corn
  • Black Olives
  • Rice Cakes
  • Baby Carrots
  • Cheerios
  • Yogurt
  • Brown Rice or Jasmine Rice
  • Eggs (boiled eggs)

What great snack ideas do you have to share? Comment below!

Dinosaurs In The Sink & Other Things This Mommy is Grateful For.

I came across this story I wrote over two years ago (July of 2008, to be exact) and to this day it’s one of my favorite posts I’ve written. I thought a little “blast from the past” would be fun today. Enjoy 🙂

p.s Sunday Spotlight will resume next Sunday and I have an awesome Mom-In-Business interview to share with you!



Something happens to us humans when we become parents. Our world becomes narrow and completely focused on our squirmy pink bundles of joy. It doesn’t change much as they grow either. Everything they do is exquisite..monumental…. the coolest thing we’ve ever seen. As parents, we have so many things to be grateful for…but sometimes it’s hard to remember that when your 2-year old defies keeping her clothes on, and your five-year old mouths off for the 567th time that day.

 
There was a dark and sad time in our life when being a parent seemed to be out of reach. After years of trying, our dreams came true and we were blessed with a child. That seven year wait has (I think) taken our gratitude to a new level. I always try to look on the bright side of life, even during the difficult times. Parenting is no different. There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be times that all you want is five minutes with someone NOT saying your name. When those moments/days hit, I remind myself, this too shall pass..and these are the things I am grateful for: for:


1. The honor of frantically racking my brain at 5 a.m….trying to think of something we have in the house that starts with “Q” that our son can take to show-n-tell that day.



2. That car seat seat belt strap that never seems loose enough, and has enough twists in it to double as phone cord, may make me mutter under my breath…but at least I have a kid to put in that car seat.


3. As the baby wakes up for the third time in one night, I remind myself I would gladly go without sleep for the rest of my life as long as I never have to feel the empty ache of childlessness again.


4. As I face-plant on the living room floor in the middle of the night, I remind myself how empty my house would be without that plastic Stegosaurus I just busted my foot on.


5. As we rewind Elmo In Grouchland for the 16th time that day, I remind myself there is nothing good on TV anyway, and these days of snuggling on the couch with our toddler while watching a furry red monster will too soon be gone.

6. As my four-year old hangs on me, whines and basically becomes my third leg, I try remember that, though she wants and NEEDS my attention me now, there will come a day when she will be too cool to even give Mom and Dad the time of day.


7. Even though part of me silently groans at the price of Pull-ups and kids shoes, I am just grateful I have little butts and feet to put in them.


8. In ancient B.C. times (Before Children) getting 8 hours of sleep was a priority and I would go to great lengths to make sure I got it. Now, I will gladly forgo sleep completely just to make sure my child’s fever stays in check in the middle of the night. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to get a better night’s sleep.



9. I quietly cuss under my breath every time I take one of my children to the Doctor and wait in the waiting room for 45 minutes, only to be told; “it’s only a virus. It just needs to run it’s course”. But at the same time I silently say a big “THANK YOU” that it isn’t a diagnosis that involves a specialist, biopsy, or surgeon.


What are you grateful for?

Life Moves Fast: Subscribe So You Don’t Miss Any Juicy Stuff http://feeds.feedburner.com/blogspot/mGYr

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

UA-21877160-1