Making Memories

Survive the Winter Doldrums with Weekend Fun

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Winter doldrums have set in and the weekends have you cocooned tighter than a hibernating bear. Don’t let winter get you down! Here are some great ideas for turning the weekend into something to look forward to again.

Indoor Weekend Fun

Bowling. Bowling is the perfect winter activity, and everyone in the family can participate. If you have different skill levels, get two lanes, one with bumpers and one without, and hold a mini family tournament.

Concerts. From local school concerts to philharmonic performances to rock and roll, indoor music venues offer a great option for new adventure.

Movies. Hot buttery popcorn and big screen entertainment. Is there really anything better?

Outdoor Weekend Fun

Skiiing. OK, I don’t ski. The idea of sliding uncontrollably down a hill at mach speeds with trees presenting all kinds of smack-you-in-the-face danger, I can’t bring myself to do it. But I’ve heard it’s a great way to spend a day. Even if you don’t like skiing, hot chocolate in the ski lodge while watching other fall down the hill is great entertainment.

Sledding. Why else have snow? Grab anything from a plastic bag to an ice blog to grandpa’s toboggan and find the nearest hill.

Fun without Leaving the House

There are times when leaving the house simply isn’t possible or desirable, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun.

Movie and popcorn. What’s better than going to a theater for a movie and popcorn? Healthier popcorn and movies in the comfort of your own home!

Scrapbooking. Take a trip down memory lane by pulling out a box of old pictures. Do some scrapbooking or just enjoy the moments.

What Do You Do for Weekend Fun?

Share your ideas in the comments below. We’d love to know what you do to beat the winter doldrums!

Let's Talk Parenting

Color Coded Easter Fun

Easter is just around the corner, and in our household, the Easter Egg hunt has always been a big deal. We have traditionally had a large group of kids in a wide range of ages participating in the hunt. If there are a lot of children in your family, you know that even the closest of siblings and cousins don’t always get along. It can be especially bad if the kids don’t think they’re being treated fairly, or if they think one child is getting more than another. You can avoid all of the stress and have tons of fun by planning an Easter egg hunt for your group of kids that will ensure no fighting.

All that you need to pull off the fun are a bunch of plastic eggs and the loot to fill them. What makes this Easter egg hunt stress-free and lots of fun is color coding. Assign each child a specific color of egg. Fill the eggs with M&Ms or other small candies, or with other less sugary treasures (filling the eggs can be done a week or more ahead of time if needed).

If the kids are different ages, color coding eggs lets you hide eggs for older kids in more challenging spots, while the eggs for younger children, in their own personal color, can be hidden in more obvious spots. There’s no fear that the older kids will take the younger kids’ eggs as easy finds and no worry that any child will feel they didn’t get their fair share since each child has the same number of eggs to find.

Since each child has his or her own color to search for, even your toddlers can participate fairly in this egg hunt. So can your teenagers; we buy the mini plastic eggs for an added challenge! Even

Not only does the color-coded hunt reduce the friction among the children, but makes for a stress-free holiday for moms and dads, too. You know ahead of time exactly how many eggs each child is seeking, so you’ll know (and so will they) when they’ve found them all. For a special treat, buy one large plastic egg in each color for a bigger prize, like a small toy.


Staycations: Big City Exploring

Exploring a nearby city can be a great, less expensive alternative to a weekend getaway. A day away from home, however, can be a catastrophe without some planning. Whether you’re flying in to an unknown city or just catching the bus to your local town, there are certain items no explorer should leave home without. The most important item is sunscreen. If you plan to spend more than 30 minutes outside, pack a bottle of the stuff and plan to reapply throughout the day. If you’re going to be rubbing sun lotion in – and for any number of sticky reasons – also pack a box of baby wipes.

You’ll be walking a lot, so make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. If you’ll be in a rainy city or in inclement weather, an extra pair of socks in the bag is a good idea. Wear comfortable clothing and dress in layers, so you can adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day. Don’t forget a jacket and an umbrella.

Not only will you appreciate having the free hands, but wearing a fanny pack can protect your money and credit cards from being stolen as you walk through busy and perhaps unfamiliar streets. Use the fanny pack to store cash, credit cards and lip balm. Stow the rest of your explorer gear in a back pack.

Little explorers should have a map and compass. Most cities have maps you can print from your home computer. You can buy inexpensive compasses for your school-age child and let them help guide the exploration. If you are bringing along little kids, don’t forget the stroller. Bottles of water, sandwich baggies stocked with pretzels and other snacks and a camera, and you’re ready to explore!

Crafts with Kids

Spring into Spring with a Easy to Make Wreaths

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

If you’re one of those people who have a hard time putting away all the Christmas decorations because it’s so much fun to have the color and delight of the season, let Spring give you a new reason to decorate!

Go ahead and pack up the green and red … this spring project is all pastels. It’s so simple even your toddlers can help you, and it won’t cost much at all. To start, cut a piece of cardboard (a leftover Christmas box will work) into large circles. Cut a center circle out to form a wreath. Don’t worry if it’s not perfectly round.

Spring Wreath

Paint the cardboard any pastel color and let it dry (moms can do this part ahead of time if little ones will be helping assemble the wreaths). Using foam cutouts of flowers or, my favorite, silk flowers from an old arrangement, begin gluing your decorations around the cardboard. Make one layer, then begin again and make additional layers until you achieve the effect you’d like. Allow to dry.

Use a ribbon to make a hanger for your wreath. You can either tie the ribbon around the top of the wreath or punch a hole in the top and thread the ribbon through. Tie the ribbon in a loop and knot to make a hanger.

These wreaths are simple and quick enough to make many in one sitting. Give them out to friends and family; give them to your children’s teachers. You can even let your kids hang one in their bedroom! This project can be adapted to the major holidays: Valentines Day (replace the flowers with hearts), St. Patrick’s Day (replace the flowers with Shamrocks), Easter (replace the flowers with bunnies) … you get the idea.

The point is to have fun, give your kids something creative to do, and give your front door a fresh and welcoming look for Spring.