Making Valentine’s DaySpecial for Kids

kids Valentine I know that Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day for sweethearts but what better sweethearts than our kids?

The Valentine’s memories that I have always have stirred me to make my children’s Valentine’s Day special and it extended over to my nieces and nephews as well. As for me and my children, of which there are two, I loved to sit down with them and make out their Valentine’s cards for school friends. We had a wonderful time shopping for not only the cards with the best sayings but the cards with the best candies attached!

 

I made a point of making up a Valentine’s package for my kids each year as well. I would peruse the Valentine candy isle and pick out all their favorites along with a special card just for them. They loved getting these gifts from mom and dad.

 

When my nieces and nephews were very small they lived in town with us and we saw them on a regular basis. When they became school age one of my brothers moved to another state and the other set of nephews moved to another part of our state. We were sad that we could not see them all the time but this made me even more determined to keep in close contact with them. That is a hard thing to do when children are so young but I was determined. My plan was to keep us on their minds by showering them with gifts on every occasion! Not only gifts but little notes and cards to keep us close.

 

Valentine’s Day was one of my favorite times to send my little care packages. One of my brothers has four children and the other has two. My oldest brother with two children and I did not always see things quite the same. He was anti candy at any time but I was often able to override his decision because his wife was my advocate. I am of the school of thought that a little candy now and then is good for the soul. So he tolerated my occasional overruling of his authority with a shrug of the shoulders and a non-approving glance.

 

Each year I would go shopping a few months before Valentines for small but meaningful gifts for each of the children and then nearer to Valentine’s Day I would pick up their favorite candies. They would drop me little hints on what those favorites were throughout the year by the way. My children joined in and helped me to make up these packages and we would all write out little Valentines for each child.

 

Every year my sister-in-laws would tell me that they awaited those packages as if it was Christmas and Santa was coming! It made my heart sing to think that we were able to give those kids such joy. They would call us up and chat about the things they found in their packages and my kids would get on the phone and share with them about their packages as well.

 

At our house we would make sugar cookie hearts with icing and sprinkles or a heart shaped Valentines cake. Sometimes we would sprinkle Valentine confetti on the white party table cloth we had and adding some red roses made the scene complete! Children get such joy out of simple things that do not have to cost a great deal of money; just a parent’s love and a little time.

I ended up carrying on this tradition not only on Valentine’s Day, Christmas, and their individual birthdays but on Easter and Independence Day as well. And on each of their birthdays I would also include some party favors for the other children as well. Sure, it made me the popular relative but that is not what I was going for at all. I wanted to stay connected to those kids just in case they needed another adult in their lifetime.

 

There are so many ways you can make people feel loved that do not cost a lot of money. Simple things like sending a card to remind them of your love or a few pieces of candy. My children have an aunt on my spouse’s side that always sent cards filled with confetti and after a while the kids knew not to fling open the envelope because it would fly all over. They got the biggest kick out of this small gesture. One year when my son was in high school he got the idea to turn it around on his aunt and he actually bought her a card and filled it with confetti and she was so pleased.

 

If you start when children are very young doing very simple things to let them know you love them they will remember. It seems that when we get older we sometimes lose sight of how important the small things are. We feel that they are not going to be appreciated if they are not elaborate gifts. I do not believe that to be true and I know that I carry a memory around in my own heart of a small gesture from as far back as I can remember.

 

My maternal grandmother was married twice and the second time she married a fellow that was kind of a tight wad but to be fair they did not have a great deal of money. Gram would put a dollar back here and there and hold on to them just so she could send each of her grandchildren a card with that dollar bill in it. Even when I was growing up that could not buy much but I always looked forward to grandma’s card and that dollar bill. To me it was like the story of the widow woman giving her tithe that the Lord honored because it was all she had compared to the rich man who gave a huge gift. She gave all she could and I loved her for it!

 

Never think that the thought is wasted or that if your gift is not large and showy it is not going to be appreciated. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts!

 

Author Bio:

 

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of  morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

 

 

 

 

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Finding Time for Yourself in a House Full of People

 

 

 

For many of us the holidays are a time for family. The in-laws come to visit, family members come from all over and everyone stays for a while. While this can all be wonderful, it can also be stressful, especially if you already have a crowded home. How can you find time to recharge your batteries and stay calm this holiday season? Here are some tips:

  1. Get Out – One of the easiest things to do when you are feeling a bit squeezed is to get out. Go to the store to pick up something for dinner, go to the mall for a last minute gift, or even just go hang out at the coffee shop for half an hour to recharge. You don’t need to tell anyone why you are going. Just say you have to pick up something and you will be back soon.
  2. Shut the Door – Although some of us feel it is rude to leave guests unattended, when it comes to family or long term guests it is a must. You have to have time to yourself or you will quickly grow tired of your guests. It is okay to retreat to your room and shut the door. Taking a long, hot bubble bath, reading a book, or just taking a nap are great ways to get away from everyone for a while so that you can return refreshed.
  3. Plan Activities –Another thing to do that your guests will enjoy also is to plan outings. These outings should be of the nature that you can all scatter and do what you wish. Trips to a local park or sightseeing location, a large museum or zoo, or even a trip to the movie theatre or arcade can allow everyone to be together without being on top of each other. If you don’t have a lot of money everyone can pay for themselves or you can find great affordable options like free or discount days to plan your visit around.

As you can see it is very important to set aside time for yourself when you have a house full of people. Even if your house full is not just there for the holidays, and especially if they are not, you need to set strong boundaries and make sure you get the time you need to recharge. We all have different comfort levels when it comes to being around others. Some of us, extraverts, love it and can handle long periods together. However others, introverts, can’t handle too much together time and need a lot of isolation to regain their balance. If you are a guest be respectful of the needs of others and give them some time to get away without feeling pressured.

Author Bio:

Ken Myers is the founder of  http://www.longhornleads.com/ & has learned over the years the importance of focusing on what the customer is looking for and literally serving it to them. He doesn’t try to create a need, instead he tries to satisfy the existing demand for information on products and services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cute Deviled Egg Chicks for Easter

Deviled chick eggs

I love to make a fun food for each holiday. After my kids grew up, I stopped making silly, fun holiday food. But now that I have a 2 year old granddaughter, I have  a new generation to make these things for.

Now I actually saw something similar to this on Pintrest and I thought I had repinned it to show yall. But now I can’t find it so I guess I didn’t.

Anyway the original was made with your traditional deviled eggs, you know where the yolks are mixed with mayonnaise and maybe a little mustard.

I like my deviled eggs more chunky, like egg salad with lots of chopped veggies. So I wondered if I could make cute chicks with the chunky consistency. Only way to find out was to try it and I think they came out pretty cute.

Below I show you how I make my deviled eggs. Feel free to use your own deviled egg recipe if you want. Also I really don’t have many measurements for my deviled eggs. I just eyeball and taste test until they are just right.

What you will Need to Make the Chicks

  • Clean egg carton
  • Eggs (as many as you want to make)
  • Pitted Black Olives ( I only used 1 for this)
  • Carrot (I used just part of 1 baby carrot to make 8 eggs)
  • Ingredients to make Deviled Eggs (or make them the way I do- see below)

 

What You Also to Need if You Make Chunky Deviled Eggs Like Mine

Devield Egg Ingredients

Along with the eggs, I also use:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • A Dill Pickle ( I used 2 dill pickle slices)
  • 1 Stalk of Celery
  • 1 Small Onion
  • Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper

Boil Your Eggs

Boiling Eggs

  • Put your eggs into your pan in one layer and cover with water.
  • Put a splash of vinegar and sprinkle of salt to keep the egg shell from sticking to the eggs while cooking.
  • Bring to a boil and then turn off.
  • Let eggs sit on burner for 15 minutes (If you use a gas stove, leave them on low heat for 15 minutes).
  • After eggs are cool, gently crack the shell and remove it.

Prepare Your Eggs

Cutting Boiled Egg

  • Cut your egg as shown in the photo above. Leave enough at the top for the chick’s “cap”.
  • Gently spoon out the yolk, being careful not to tear the egg white.
  • Put the yolks in a large bowl. NOTE: If you do tear the egg, just chop it all up and add it to the deviled egg concoction. I sacrificed 2 of my eggs this way.

Prepare The “Deviled” Part

  • With your electric mixer, mix the yolks with mayo, mustard, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. I don’t have set amounts for these ingredients but usually it’s around a tablespoon of mustard and 2-3 tablespoons of mayo.
  • Chop your veggies and add to the bowl with the yolks. I used my food processor to finely chop my celery, onion and pickle.

 

 

chopped celery

Your egg mixture should look something like this:

egg mixture

Make Your Chicks

Now comes the fun part!

Fill the egg whites with the deviled egg mixture. Make sure you over fill so you have the chick’s “head” coming out of the egg white.

Fill the eggs

Add the faces. Just chop up tiny pieces of black olive for the eyes and a carrot for the beak.

eggs in carton

 

Now just add the caps and your done!

finished chick eggs

MayMay loves eating these cute little guys. In fact, we made these about 4 days ago and she has asked me every day for more “eggy chickies”.

MayMay eating eggie chickies

If you make these, please let me know how they turned out. I’d love a picture too and will add it to this page.

Happy Easter!

Cathy

Mothers Day Ideas

What do you do for Mothers Day?

happy mothers day

It’s almost that time again. That time of year when we honor those wonderful women who gave us life! Mothers Day! Many of us are moms. I know I am. I have 3 children, all in their twenties. My mother who is in her 80’s  is still here with us too.

With this upcoming holiday, it got me thinking of how most of us celebrate it.  I know some of these will be things you have already done, but other ideas will be new.

  • The mandatory breakfast in bed, made by the kids, who God bless them, leave the kitchen looking like a tornado hit it. Not to mention the yummy burnt toast and undercooked eggs mom feels obliged to eat.
  • Some moms are lucky enough to get taken out to eat for brunch, lunch or dinner.
  • If you are a church goer, you will most likely get a carnation if you are a mom on Mothers Day morning. I know in our church, we always had special little prizes given for the oldest mom, youngest mom, and the mom with the most kids.
  • Another time at our church, the dads made a special dinner and provided entertainment for all the moms. They served us too. It was quite fun!
  • One year, a mothers club that I belonged too held a mother/daughter tea at a nice restaurant. We all dressed up and even the kids had a great time.
  • I have heard of this but have not been a part of it.  It being a Mothers Day party. Invite all the mothers in your life to a special party in their honor. Everyone gets a special little gift. I love this idea. I don’t know if I’ll ever get around to hosting a party like this but maybe I’ll get lucky and get invited to one.
  • One of my friends spends a special Mothers Day with her mom. They go out to brunch, and then go shopping and on to dinner and a show.
  • One gift I keep asking my kids for, but they never seem to oblige, is the gift of time and service. Instead of a store bought present, I’d love it if they would do some chore for me that I have a hard time doing or just hate doing. Things I would like would be to get my car detailed; have my wood stairs mopped; or pretty up my yard by trimming the edges, weeding, etc.
  • Maybe a special weekend trip for mom, like to the beach, the spa or a quaint little bed and breakfast.
  • Some moms just want a quiet day at home, spending time with the kids. This is great but it’s even better if mom doesn’t have to do any work that day. She deserves a restful day off.

So, how will I celebrate Mothers Day? Well, I’ll probably get breakfast in bed. Fortunately, my son, who is 20 has a natural talent for cooking and really could be a world class chef if he wanted. He will do the honors and make breakfast.

Then my kids will give me their gifts. I will also give one of my daughters a gift since she is a mother too but her child is just a toddler and obviously too young to buy her mommy a gift.

Later, I will visit my own mother and give her a gift too.

For dinner, my son will probably grill steaks so I won’t have to cook.

That’s it for me. Simple, but I enjoy it.

How do you celebrate Mothers Day? Please leave a comment and let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

Check out Fathers Day Gift Ideas for more great gift ideas!