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Creative Children’s Desserts

Have some fun with your kids and teach them a few creative skills in the kitchen! These desserts will definitely be exciting to prepare:

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Credit: The Stir, Martha Stewart, We’re Calling Shenanigans

–       Homemade Popsicles: Making your own popsicles is extremely easy to do. It does not require super intricate tasks so it’s a dessert that can be fun for children to participate in making. The necessary materials include popsicle molds, popsicle sticks and any ingredients you wish to use. Shown above are Gummy Bear Popsicles, which only require sprite and gummy bears! For more popsicle ideas, visit The Stir.

–       Rice Krispie Treats: Rice krispie treats are a classic children’s snack, but in honor of October, transform these goodies into fun Halloween icons. Shape the concoction into candy corn replicas with food coloring. For objects that may be more challenging to create with your hands, Halloween cookie cutters can be more precise and also save you a lot of time.

–       Mini Aquarium: Have a ton of fun with your kids by making mini aquariums out of jello! You can choose to buy little candy fish to put into jello mixtures, or make them yourselves using any type of fish shaped mold. Candy fish will save you a lot more time, but there is no harm spending extra time on this exciting project that you get to eat. Any kind of clear container, from plastic cups to fish bowls, works perfect for exposing fish under the sea!

 

Incorporating Strollers and Wagons Into Trick-or-Treating

Trick-or-treating with babies and toddlers often requires strollers and wagons because children get tired from walking. Get creative and incorporate your child’s stroller, wagon, or other transporting vehicle as a prop for their Halloween costume. Here are some ideas from Baby Gizmo.

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Credit: Baby Gizmo

–       Mousetrap Wagon: You can construct a mousetrap wagon with a variety of materials. The photo above uses plywood but you can also substitute it for cardboard, which is a lighter alternative. Replicate the trap’s coil with any sort of metal tubing material or even make your own tube with scraps and spray paint it silver. Dress your child up as a little mouse and you’re ready to go!

–       Doll Box Stroller: Transform your baby’s stroller into a doll display box with cardboard and paint. The picture above shows a baby girl as a Cabbage Patch Kid. From Barbie to American Girl, there are so many dolls to choose from. If the doll figure isn’t what you are aiming for, try dressing your kid as a toy train or car in a display box.

–       Ice Cream Truck Wheelchair: For children who may be disabled, utilize their devices for creative props. The image above shows a child in a wheelchair that was transformed into an ice cream truck. The wheelchair’s wheels function as the truck’s tires and adds to his costume. This idea of incorporation can be applied to other tools like walking sticks, crutches, etc. With some imagination and brainstorming, you can covert any transportation tool into a prop for your child’s costume.

Halloween 2014 Q&A: SHEfinds.com & MOMfinds.com’s Jeanine Edwards

Need some expert advice on shopping for children’s Halloween costumes? Take a look at TheFind’s Halloween shopping Q&A series with shopping and parenting expert Jeanine Edwards. Jeanine, Editorial Director at SHEfinds.com and MOMfinds.com shares her insight on Halloween shopping tips and trends.

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What costumes do you anticipate will be trendy this Halloween?

For girls, Frozen will obviously be huge. We’ve found that Elsa is slightly more popular than Anna, but we anticipate character costumes for both princesses to sell out.

For boys, Ninja Turtles will likely be very popular given the movie’s success this summer. Superheros like Captain America, Spiderman and Batman are also always popular.

Popular Halloween costumes are typically character driven, so think of the big movies this year (Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, Transformers, etc) and those are likely where you’ll find Halloween gold.

What are some of the ideas on your kids’ Halloween costume list?

My daughter is torn between dressing as Elsa this Halloween or dressing as Storm from X-Men. Because she gets invited to multiple Halloween parties, we typically decide on 3-4 costumes. I only purchase one–the rest we DIY with items we already have or using pieces from costumes we’ve had in years past.

What suggestions do you have for parents shopping for hard-to-find items?

Get creative! If you can’t find the ready-made costume your child wants, be resourceful and try to make the costume using things you already own. For example, all you really need for an Elsa costume is a glittery blue dress, blonde wig, tiara and wand. Chances are you can DIY a sparkly dress pretty easily and it will probably be less expensive than buy a pre-packaged costume.

How early should parents start shopping / looking for costume additions for their kids? How late can they wait?

It depends whether or not your kids are diehard Halloween fans or have their hearts set on a specific costume. If your child wants to be one of the popular characters, better to get those costumes as early as possible. If your child really doesn’t care what his/her costume is, you can wait pretty late in the season and find something. Of course, there will be slim pickings, but I got my daughter a fairly decent Cleopatra costume the day before Halloween last year.

Also, there are some brand’s whose Halloween costumes are cult. Pottery Barn Kids is a perfect example because their costumes are very high quality. They recently released their Halloween collection, but they sell out super fast so it’s best to shop those earlier in the season as well.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money on Halloween costumes?

For one, always save your costumes. Not only are they great for kids to play with during the year, but you can repurpose the items subsequent years to avoid having to buy a whole new costume every year.

Also, never underestimate the power of face paint. There isn’t a child out there that doesn’t love having his/her face painted and face paint is a heck of a lot cheaper than a name brand costume.

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Visit SHEfinds.com and MOMfinds.com for more tips and trends like these and for more updates from Jeanine, follow her on twitter at @momfinds.

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is an exciting time for children to dress up in fun costumes with friends and go trick-or-treating but it can be very stressful for parents. With so many people out in public to celebrate the holiday, there is potential for unfortunate accidents and events to occur. Help make your children’s Halloween experience fun and stress free with these safety tips!

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Credit: TheFind, Growing a Green Family, Stun-ning Sales

–       Reflective Tape: Neighborhood sidewalks tend to get busy with so many trick-or-treaters walking from door to door. Choosing costumes that are bright and reflective will help keep your children visible to vehicles. Reflective tape is a good option for children who may not be dressed in bright costumes. Applying a piece to their costume will make them easy to spot from the road.

–       Flashlights: As the night gets darker, it may be difficult to keep a close eye on your kids. Make sure to bring a flashlight to help guide your path. Provide your children with flashlights too so if they get lost they can still lead themselves. Flashlights will definitely help everyone trick or treat safely.

–       Face Paint/Make-Up: Substituting a facemask with face paint or make-up is a great option for everyone as masks can block your child’s peripheral vision. Using these products is a great alternative to a mask and will not impede their vision.

Halloween 2014 Q&A: SheScribes.com’s Kimberly Vetrano

There’s no better way to celebrate the beginning of fall than talking about everyone’s favorite spooky holiday. That’s right, we got in touch with Kimberly from SheScribes to bring you more advice on what to expect this Halloween. Check it out!

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What costumes do you anticipate will be trendy this Halloween?

– Anything and everything related to Disney’s Frozen, especially Elsa and Ana. I would love to see an Olaf costume.

What are some of the ideas on your kids’ Halloween costume list?

– Sadly my 15 year old son doesn’t have any interest in Halloween this year. My 17 year old daughter is still trying to decide what she wants to wear. As a senior in high school this year they are allowed the wear costumes to school (the 9th, 10th and 11th graders are not allowed to wear costumes to school – only the seniors). She was toying with the idea of a Police Officer.

What suggestions do you have for parents shopping for hard-to-find items?

– Get creative. See if you can make the item yourself rather than drive yourself crazy going all over town looking for it. Making the items yourself is also a fun activity you can do with your family.

One year my son went Trick-or-Treating as a dog. I wanted him to have a Trick-or-Treat bag that looked like dog food or dog treats. I couldn’t find anything so I made one. I took a large box of dog biscuits and glued a tote bag inside the box so that all you saw were the handles. It was the perfect accessory for his adorable costume and people gave me a lot of compliments for my creativity.

How early should parents start shopping / looking for costume additions for their kids? How late can they wait?

– We would start asking our kids when they went back to school in September what they wanted to be for Halloween – or what ideas they had – this way would could start looking around for a costume and/or have plenty of time to make it (or the accessories). I would recommend getting started as soon as you can and give yourself a few weeks, unless it’s a costume that is readily available every Halloween like a witch, Fireman or Policeman. Don’t wait too long for popular costumes because they might sell out.  The very latest we’d go costume shopping would be two weeks before Halloween.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money on Halloween costumes?

– If we had Halloween costumes that were in great condition after Halloween we would hold on to them for younger siblings or we’d trade old costumes with family and friends, that way no one had to spend a dime on a new costume.

I think it’s a lot of fun to create your own costume. You can re-purpose items from around your home. If you can sew (or know someone who can) even better! Why spend upwards of $50+ for a costume that will be worn for just a few hours when you can make your own costumes with items you already have for free or just a few dollars.There

Do you have any tips for parents who are chaperoning older kids while trick or treating?

– Always have your child go Trick-or-Treating with a large group of children.

- Depending on the age of the child/children there should be an adult chaperone – even if it’s an older sibling – who follows closely behind but without being a part of the group.

– Make sure the costumes are safe to wear (the child can easily see and won’t trip) and is wearing reflective tape and carrying a flashlight.

- Set ground rules and go over safety rules such as don’t eat any candy until an adult inspects it, look both ways before crossing the road, if they feel uncomfortable in a situation to run and get help…

- Have the child check in with you via a phone call or text.

- Know what roads or neighborhoods the child is going to and make sure they stick to those areas.

Any tips for parents who have very young trick or treaters?

- Don’t overdo it with little ones. They tire easily and the whole idea of Trick-or-Treating can be overwhelming.

- For the very young (toddler) I would recommend only a few houses – ideally neighbors or people they know so they are not scared by strangers. Not only that, toddlers don’t really need a lot of candy.

-  Go Trick-or-Treating early in the evening when it’s still light outside with little ones. As it gets dark the older children with scary costumes come out and that could frighten little ones.

- Make sure young children are well rested and well fed before heading out. A tired and/or hungry Trick-or-Treater can ruin an evening.

- If the young child is able to comprehend it I would explain to them what Trick-or-Treating is all about so that they are not scared.

- Allow your child to help you give out candy to other Trick-or-Treaters when they come to your door. Let your child remain in his/her costume too.

-  Stay away from houses that are decorated in a scary way or if there is a possibility of someone dressed in a scary costume to pop out at them. We had that happen not once but twice over the years where someone dressed up in a scary way jumped out at my kids. I think that might be why our son was never overly keen about going out Trick-or-Treating.

Do you have safety tips (any and all) for parents / trick or treaters?

- Make sure children (young and old) go Trick-or-Treating in known neighborhoods.

- Make sure the neighborhood is well lit (street lights) if not make sure your child has a flashlight and is wearing reflective tape.

- Don’t let little ones go Trick-or-Treating by themselves. They should have an adult chaperone at all times.

- Older children should go Trick-or-Treating in large groups.

- Always abide by the traffic rules and look both ways when crossing the street.

-  Make sure your child’s vision is not compromised in the costume and that that the can walk freely without anything dangling down that could trip them.

- Give older children a curfew and have them check in with you regularly via a phone call or text. Ask the older child to let you know what streets/neighborhoods they plan on visiting.

- Inspect ALL candy before allowing your child to eat it.

- Make sure your child knows to NEVER go inside someone’s home to get candy.  Sometimes people make you wait for candy because they are not prepared. If that is the case WAIT OUTSIDE. Do not wait inside the house even if the person tells you to.

-  Don’t let children have sharp or dangerous items as costume accessories to avoid accidents.

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Kimberly and her family, along with her “mini-zoo,” reside in the suburbs of New York City. On her blog, She Scribes, she loves to cover a variety of topics. Her tag line is “A little bit of this, a little bit of that.” When she’s not blogging Kimberly can usually be found spending time with her family, watching movies or simply hanging out at a local park. For more updates from Kimberly, follow her on TwitterInstagram or Pinterest or like She Scribes on Facebook.

 

DripDrop: Hydration for Fall Sports

Credit: Metamorfit

Credit: Metamorfit

Fall sports practices have already started which means kids are practicing in full heat of summer.  They probably need something a little more powerful than water to stay hydrated. DripDrop is a medical grade hydration powder that delivers 2-3 times the electrolytes of typical sports drinks and 25% more than pediatric products made for hydration during illness in kids.  DripDrop’s patented clinical formula was designed to treat and prevent dehydration from illness or strenuous physical activities and is currently being used by leading hospitals, physicians and even US Special Forces! It comes in a box of 4 packets that are pre-measured to add to a standard 16.9 oz bottle of water to make one serving.  It is available in natural Berry and Lemon flavors and retails for about $10 a box.  Make sure your kids are staying hydrated out there in the heat!

 

Do It Yourself Costumes for Children

Halloween costumes can be pretty expensive to buy for parents, especially if you have multiple children. Many parents have resorted to crafting one of-a-kind costumes to avoid the financial burden. This is an innovative and affordable way to make sure kids are able to celebrate Halloween to the fullest! Here are some costume ideas from Winston View that you can make yourself with simple supplies, which you probably already have lying around your home.

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Credit: Costume Works, Coolest Homemade Costumes, Pinterest

–       Jelly Belly Beans: With a clear trash bag and assorted balloons, you can turn your child into a bag of Jelly Belly beans.  Simply cut holes for their head, arms, legs, fill the bag with colored balloons, then tie the bag closed at the top. Last, print out a Jelly Belly logo on regular printer paper and tape it to the front of the bag.

–       Frankenstein: If your kids want to be Frankenstein, you can use a gallon milk jug container to craft a boxy head. You can find instructions on how to cut the milk jug from Coolest Homemade Costumes. Make sure to paint their faces with washable green paint and then dress them up in torn up clothes.

–       Barbie Doll: Turn your child into a Barbie doll with a large cardboard box and some paint. Cut out a square in the front of the cardboard box then paint it pink. You can print out a “Barbie” logo and any other images that you would like to glue onto the exterior of the box. Dress your child up in any doll themed outfit they want and then slip the box over them.

Halloween 2014 Q&A: Daddy Mojo’s Trey Burley

Halloween is just over a month away, so it’s time to dust off the ol’ broom stick and figure out how to make this the best Halloween yet. We asked Daddy Mojo blogger, Trey Burley, for his expert advice on costumes, trick-or-treating and how to save money along the way. Check out all his helpful hints.

Daddy Mojo

What costumes do you anticipate will be trendy this Halloween?

Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s a great costume because it works for groups of four (it’s ideal for a family) and offers the chance for massive creativity. Create your own Groot, have dad paint himself green and more.

What are some of the ideas on your kids’ Halloween costume lists?

Our children want to be dinosaurs or some sort of zoo animal. I suspect they’ll end up being zoo animals. It’s looking like we’ll be a family of lions.

What suggestions do you have for parents shopping for hard-to-find items?

Go online and go now. There are lots of great accessories that you can find online and most of the costume places I’ve seen have money back if the costume doesn’t fit.

How early should parents start shopping / looking for costume additions for their kids? How late can they wait?

Now, start shopping now. As our children get older they know what they want to be for Halloween. In previous years we could go to a garage sale a couple weeks prior and find something that worked. Now we start looking in early September.

What are your favorite tips and tricks for saving money on Halloween costumes?

Don’t be afraid to make your own. Even for popular costume you can DIY it, especially a turtle costume or Drax from Guardians. Also accessories can go a very long way towards completing the outfit.

Do you recruit your kids for DIY Halloween costume work? If so, what are some tasks that they can help with?

Not yet, ours are just 5 and 3 this year. In future years for DIY costumes we’ll DIY it. My wife and I have DIY’d it many times.

Do you have any tips for parents who are chaperoning older kids while trick or treating?

Some friends of ours send them up the street and just wait for them. That, plus the fact that the kids have cell phones on them, makes things better.

Any tips for parents who have very young trick or treaters?

Don’t feel like you have to go to every house. When ours were younger we would do maybe 10 houses. That was enough excitement for the younger one. Also go out early, know which houses to visit and don’t give them a bag that’s too big.

Do you have safety tips (any and all) for parents / trick or treaters?

Get a big flashlight and use it in case there are cars moving when you’re out.

Are there any items that you recommend parents wait to buy and why?

Plastic pumpkins and most halloween decorations. We buy ours after Halloween and that does the trick for us.

How do you work out wish-list discrepancies with your kids?

If there is something that is really wanted we’d look for it on sale. Figure out what stores sell it and then compare it online, check for gift cards, apps with discounts, etc.

 

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Trey is also known as Daddy Mojo and produces the content on that site. There, he’ll write about parenting things, DIY projects, reviews and anything that revolves around ‘poop culture’. He’s the stay-at-home-dad to two active, young boys. Trey’s background is in management, animal shelters, media and education.

Prior to being a dad, he renovated a couple of houses and created lots of crafts. He still tinkers with the house, is teaching his sons about tools and does some crafting. Trey and his wife Jenny live in Alpharetta, Georgia. When he’s not being a dad or writing for his Daddy Mojo he also does some work in social media.

Teaching Kids About Money

Parenting children about the concept of money can be a challenging task. Find some advice on The Stir about methods to consider and avoid. Listed below are some tools that will help teach children different aspects of money—how to get it, where it comes from, what to do with it, etc.

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Credit: The Stir, Million Dollar Goal, Radical Parenting

–       Allowance: An important principle to teach children is that money does not grow on trees; money must be earned. Instilling hard work ethic in kids will help them appreciate money and not take it for granted. Giving children an allowance will show them that good behavior and actions will be rewarded. You can keep track of responsibilities on a chore chart so kids have a visual of what they are achieving.

–       Saving: Once money is earned, children often want to spend it immediately. It is important to teach them how essential saving money is.  Piggy banks are a great option for this. They help children be responsible savers and also guide them in establishing a lifelong habit.

–       Board Games: Board games are good for hands on teaching. They allow you to interact with kids about how to handle money and also give visuals that are much more easy to understand. Cashflow and Monopoly are two board games that will teach children many components about money like real-estate, debt, investing, etc.

Innovative Products for Baby Safety

There have been countless innovations made for the safety of babies; however, securing the well being of your child does not end at simply purchasing new gadgets. Emerging technologies are clearly aimed to protect children, but many accidents occur due to misuse of products.  Jennifer Durbin, author of Pregnancy Tips for the Clueless Chick, discusses baby safety tips on WNCN and suggests these products as reliable safety must-haves.

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Credit: Bumbo, Jamm, HoneyBee Child

 –       Floor Seat: For babies who have not been able to sit themselves upright yet, the Bumbo Floor Seat is a great product that will assist them. It is important to note the term  “Floor” in its name, because many people have improperly used the seat, resulting in accidents. This baby chair is useful in feeding babies and teaching them how to sit on their own.

–       Doorstop: Heavy doors serve as a common hazard for babies. The Jamm Doorstop works on all floor surfaces. It has a curved design so that when pushed underneath a door, both sides curve upward and secure the door firmly in between. This innovation will surely help protect little fingers.

–       Swing Safety: Although playground parks are meant to be fun for children, many of the activities are accident-prone. HoneyBee Child developed the SwingEase, which allows babies and toddlers to swing alone or with a caregiver. It clips onto a standard chain swing and converts into a toddler swing, providing support across the chest, back, and underarms.