• HAVING FUN WITH YOUR KIDS ON RAINY DAYS
  • This entry was posted in Table tennis on April 11, 2018

  • If you're planning on some spring fun with your kids and you get rained out, you don't have to scrap you plans for some quality time. Enjoy the day anyway with some rainy day adventures. Instead of turning on the TV, put together some fun indoor activities that everyone can enjoy. These are the days that make fun memories your children can remember for years to come.

    Make a Fort

    The indoor fort never loses its allure. Use some large blankets to completely cover your dining room table area and make a fort. Put the coziest and fluffiest blankets on the floor inside. Invite the kids to bring their pillows, a few books and their favorite stuffed animals. Add a flashlight, a deck of cards and perhaps some activity books. Pretend you're on a camping trip or on a voyage to a land far away.

    Table Tennis

    One fun way to get the kids active and have fun on a rainy day is a game of indoor table tennis. You can play singles or in teams. If you have an odd number of people, one person can be the scorekeeper. Another option is to put your skills and pride to the test and let the kids play as a team against you.

    Ant-Free Picnic

    Who says picnics have to be outdoors? Enjoy the indoors on a rainy day with a picnic in your living room. Plan a menu and have the children help you make lunch as if you were going to the park. Pack a basket full of drinks, snacks and sandwiches. Spread out a blanket on the floor and bring along a portable radio for some extra fun. Take it one step further by making a follow the leader procession from your kitchen all around the house – with your picnic supplies in tow – before arriving in your living room. Set up your picnic area together as if you've been on a long journey.

    Embrace the Rain

    For those days when the summer rain just keeps on pouring, turn it into a fun adventure. Get everyone bundled up in their raincoats and waterproof shoes. Grab your umbrellas and go outside. Splash in the puddles and have some care-free fun. Wrap up your adventure indoors with a bowl of soup and some good conversation after you've all changed out of your wet clothes.

    Baking Cookies

    Create some classic rainy-day fun in the kitchen. Whip up a batch of cookies. Pull out your favorite recipe and let the kids help, from baking and decorating gingerbread people to using cookie cutters for more interesting shapes.

    A rainy day doesn't have to be gloomy. Create some indoor sunshine with a little imagination and make some happy memories.




  • SPRING CLEANING-PICKING OUT THE TOYS YOUR CHILD HAS OUTGROWN
  • This entry was posted in Toys on March 27, 2018

  • As kids grow, their interests and abilities change and grow. If you've ever looked at your child's toys, you've probably noticed. With springtime in full bloom, it’s a great opportunity to finally get those cleaning tasks done that have waited all winter. This is a good time to go through the indoor and outdoor toys and pick out the toys your child has outgrown or never uses.

     

    There are many factors to help you to decide which toys should stay and which ones should go. Remember that any toys your children are attached to – even if they don't play with them anymore – could cause a forlorn whine when you suggest that it's time for the toy to go. You'll need to decide whether to tell them it's time to clean out the toys or to do it yourself when they're not around. Either way, getting things organized is the first step. Corral the indoor toys, and track down the ones used for outdoor play. If they're scattered and disorganized, find a better way to store them in bins, shelves and boxes.

     

    Now comes Step Two which is deciding which ones should stay and which ones should go. Separate all of the toys into three piles: keepers, giveaways and lost causes. The keepers may need to be cleaned up for more playtime or passed on to a younger sibling. Toys that you won't be keeping for any of your children can go to charity or a friend's kids. There are some toys that aren't fit for any child of any age. Games and toys with missing or broken pieces are the best candidates for the discard pile for lost causes. Recycle what you can, and appropriately dispose of the rest.

     

    Here are a few key areas to consider when deciding:

     

    Interest:

    Kids naturally lose interest in toys that are geared towards a younger developmental stage. If they haven't been used in more than a year, your child has lost interest.

     

    Size:

    Lack of interest isn't the only indicator that your child has outgrown certain toys. Ride-on toys that no longer fit your child's arm's reach or can't be adjusted to the right foot-pedal length are too small to use. Put these toys away for another child to use if they're still in good condition. If you don't have other kids or close family friends, these can be donated to charity.

     

    Condition:

    The favorite toys receive the most attention. They sometimes have that loved-worn look about them, like the teddy bear with a missing eye and a shriveled arm. If a toy is still in good condition to play with safely, put it in the keeper pile or the giveaway pile. Otherwise, it's time for it to go away. You may want to put collectibles and the top favorites into a bag in the attic for when your children are grown and will appreciate them once more.

     

    Outgrowing toys is part of growing up. While it's sad to see some toys go away with spring cleaning, they can sometimes go to a happier place. It's always a good idea to take time to get organized and make room for more age-appropriate toys.




  • FUN ACTIVITIES FOR ST PATRICKS DAY
  • This entry was posted in on March 06, 2018

  • St. Patrick’s Day is coming.  Whether you’re of Irish descent or not there are generally a lot of fun events for adults and even for kids to join.  So, how can you make this festive holiday a wee bit of fun for you and your family?

    Get Crafty

    There are plenty of crafts to help get your children excited for St. Patrick’s Day, and ways to include them in decorating your home for any festivities.  

    - St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow in a Jar:  You have to make your way through the rainbow of Skittles to find the Leprechaun’s gold!  This can help your child learn about the colors of the rainbow, and they can sneak a few Skittles while making this special treat.

    - Stained Glass Rainbow: All you need is some tissue paper, wax paper and glue.  Tear up colored tissue paper (colors of the rainbow), tear off a sheet of wax paper.  Spread glue on the wax paper in the shape of the rainbow and then place tissue paper on the glue. Use a second piece of wax paper covered with glue and place over the top of the rainbow and your stained glass rainbow is complete.

    Get Active

    It depends on where you live, but there are often times a lot of fun activities for families on or near St. Patrick’s Day.  There are parades that showcase Irish Step Dancing, local Irish groups play music, and lots of great Irish food.   Some of the most famous and fun activities include:

    - Dyeing the Chicago River Green: If you live in Chicago, then head on to the Chicago River to see 45 pounds of vegetable dye get poured into the river to turn it a festive green color for the day. 

    - Leprechaun Hunts: Cities like Philadelphia and Chicago host Leprechaun hunts for children, in which children and parents participate together in a scavenger hunt to find Leprechauns and win prizes!

    - Leprechaun Dash: This is a special race as part of the Shamrock Marathon series, in which children ages 6 months to 5 years old can participate in their own race.  A 26.2 yard run, as these dashers reach the finish line, they are celebrated with a finishers medal, cheers from the crowd and more.  It’s a great way for young runners to get excited about St. Patrick’s Day, or to participate with their parents.

    Get Cooking

    We’re going to stick to a few sweet treats for St. Patrick’s Day, however, there are most definitely plenty of savory recipes that you can introduce your children to.  Corned Beef and cabbage, Irish Soda Bread are two of the better known Irish dishes for St. Patrick’s Day.  But, let’s have some fun with these tasty treats:

    - St. Patrick’s Day Crispy Treats: Your typical Rice Crispy Treats get a twist, add a little bit of green food dye to the melted marshmallows and turn these into special green treats.  (Get extra creative, and use a Shamrock cookie cutter to make them in the shape of Shamrocks).

    - Green Candied Popcorn:  Add a little bit of butter, sugar, corn syrup, green food coloring and more to spice up a normal bowl of popcorn.  Surprise your kids with their very own green popcorn.

    May the luck of the Irish be on your side this St. Patrick’s Day and we hope that you’re able to enjoy a fun-filled green weekend with your family.

     




  • ACTIVE DATE TIPS
  • This entry was posted in on February 14, 2018

  • In honor of Valentine’s Day – we are going to provide you with a few date ideas that get you and your significant other out and active.  These ideas are great for Valentine’s Day Weekend or just a surprise date.

    Hiking

    It may depend on your location, but getting out and going for a hike is a great date.  You get some fresh air; use some team work to help each other through the difficult sections.  You can even pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the scenic view as you make your way up the mountain or around the lake.  You’ll break a sweat, but your date will appreciate the thought.

    Ice Skating

    What better excuse to hold your dates hand than to go ice skating.  Even if you’re not a professional and keep falling, your date will want to help you up (or vice versa).  Best of all, afterwards you can cozy up afterwards with a nice cup of hot cocoa. 

    Dance Classes

    It’s not Dancing with the Stars but taking a class at your local dance studio could be a great date.  If you take a salsa class you get to be extremely close to your date, give them a twirl, and then bring them back close to you. It seems like a win-win situation for any date.

    Cooking Classes

    So this is not your typical active date, but it is outside of the box.  It’s always fun to learn something new and you and your date can learn to cook a new dish.  Check out a few locations that offer cooking classes and pick one that will introduce you or your date to a new cuisine.  Working together to create a meal can be more romantic than splurging on an expensive dinner.

    Run a Race

    Many cities offer a Valentine’s Day/Lovers race where you and your valentine can team up and run the race.  You get in your exercise and can celebrate together at the finish line.  Best of all, running can help relax you and relieve any stress you may have around Valentine’s Day. 

    Kayaking

    This is another great date for some teamwork, especially if you get a 2 person kayak.  You can work together, talk the entire day and you can even pack a lunch and post up on a beach for a nice romantic lunch.  You can enjoy the views, talk and enjoy the silence of the outdoors together.

    Paintball

    This is definitely outside the scope of a typical date, but for the extreme couple who enjoys a little bit of friendly competition and an adrenaline rush, this could be a great date.  Just be careful to not shoot your partner too much!  You can team up together and take on another team and see who wins at the end. 

    Golf

    Nothing like walking 18 holes with your date to spark up a great conversation!  Plus, what if they need a little help with their swing? You can help them, get a little close and show them what the proper golf swing looks like.  It’s a relaxing date that includes a bit of exercise, some (hopefully) sunshine, and lots of YOU time.

    Arcade

    Adult arcades are just as fun as regular arcades were when you were a kid.  Nothing beats playing a game of Skee Ball, or basketball to see is the best! You can hop on a racing game, try to win tickets, and—since it’s for adults—you can grab a drink at the bar.  Either way, you’ll be running around the arcade, playing games and collecting tickets like a little kid again. It’s fun and you can combine tickets to get your date a cute gift!

    There are plenty of ideas out there to help get you and your date out and active.  It doesn’t have to include sweating, or getting in a work out.  Working together, communicating, having fun and doing something outside of the box will make for a memorable date.  What kind of active date would you suggest to add to our list?




  • WINTER WORKOUT TIPS
  • This entry was posted in Fitness on January 10, 2018

  • As the majority of the country just experienced a “polar vortex” and has been dealing with frigid temperatures – it definitely can be a challenge to drag yourself to the gym.  There is no need to bundle up, trek through the snow (or freezing temperatures) to your local gym; you can get a good workout at home until the weather takes a turn for the better. 

    Cardio               

    AskMen suggests running up and down a set of stairs in your home.  This is a great way to increase your heart-rate without bearing the bitter cold.  If you invest in a jump-rope, that’s another way you can get your cardio in.

    If you have oversized boxes that you are able to stand upon (the higher the better) then use it for step-ups. If you’re able to do one (or all) of these for 30-60 seconds hard, then rest for a minute and repeat.

    Weight-Training

    Legs: If it’s too cold to go outside, and you have too many chores to get done around the house, that’s okay.  While you’re washing the dishes, do some standing calf raises.  See if you can lift and lower your heels for as long as possible, try to start with 20 a day and increase a little each day. You get a work out, and your dishes are now clean.

    It’s easy to do lunges at home.  Find a space where you can stretch out a bit or, if necessary, you can use your hallway.  Go back and forth a few times and get a really good stretch. 

    Abs: If you could add one piece of “furniture” to your home, it should be a fitness/exercise ball. Whether you’re watching TV or doing some work at home, if you can manage to sit on an exercise ball you are giving your abs a workout.  For more of a challenge – try doing some sit ups using the exercise ball.

    If you do not have an exercise ball available, then see about doing a few oblique crunches.  You’ll work out your abs and you can even do it while watching TV at night, or in the morning before you get ready for the day.  

    Arms: If you do have an exercise ball at home, then a simple solution is to do a few sets of push-ups on the exercise ball.  In addition to working your upper body, you will also sneak in an ab workout.

    Doing some light weight-lifting is another way to get fit at home.  Whether you have a few light free weights, or if you just want to use household items such as milk, can of corn, or laundry detergent.  Do a few reps and start sculpting your arms.

    It is important that if you’re not going to venture to the gym in sub-zero degree weather, that you still manage to keep up with your fitness.  There are definitely more options for workout routines at home, what is your favorite at-home fitness tip?