Egg Shell Art

I created this kid activity last year after a few of our Easter eggs cracked. What to do with those colourful egg shells?! I devised Egg Shell Art…and it’s super easy!

Egg Shell Art

Related: my post on How To Boil Eggs (yes, you need boiled eggs to make Egg Shell Art)

Egg Shell Art

You will need:

  • Small coloured egg shells
  • White school glue
  • Construction paper
  • Washable markers
  1. Have kids choose a piece of construction paper.
  2. Then, have kids colour a green stem and green leaves.
  3. Next, put a dab of white school glue where the flower petals would go.
  4. Then, sprinkle the egg shell pieces over the glue.
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. Done!

I know…too easy right?! But it turned out to be a great Boredom Buster which reused materials and created artwork in an Easter theme. I call that a arts & crafts win.

And we might just do Egg Shell Art again this year…but this time…we’ll break the eggs on purpose ;-)

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Knowing how to dye Easter eggs comes in handy every Spring as it’s a great hands-on kid activity. Measuring ingredients (1/2 tsp vinegar, 1/2 cup boiled water), dropping food colouring, and dunking hard-boiled eggs – its total hands on fun (plus, it makes for a fabu table decoration!). My big kids LOVED this activity and I bet yours will too…here’s how to dye Easter eggs…

Note: this post was originally posted in 2013 but I’m re-posting because it’s super timely…

Easter Eggs How To

Parent Club Kid ActivitiesYou will need:

  • Hard boiled eggs (check out my post on How To Boil Eggs)
  • Containers (re-purpose glass and plastic containers – here I used a jam jar, yogurt container and baking powder container)
  • Egg carton (for drying eggs)
  • Food colouring
  • Vinegar (1/2 tsp)
  • Boiled water (1/2 cup)
  • Art mat (or newspaper)

REMEMBER: Food colouring stains so protect your surface with an art mat and wear an apron

Boil water. Add 1/2 tsp of vinegar to each container. Add 1/2 cup of boiled water to each container. Drop in food colouring (the more drops you put in the bolder the colour).

Dunk hard-boiled eggs in food colouring mixture. Colour of eggs depends on how many drops of food colouring you put in and how long you leave it in the food colouring mixture.

Easter Eggs Kids Activity

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Re-use an egg container to dry Easter eggs.

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Switch it up:

  • Colour eggs with wax crayons before dipping the eggs in dye.
  • Ombre eggs (inspired by Ombre hair – which my tween is dying (excuse the pun) to do – dip bottom half of egg in one colour and then dip other half in another colour)
  • Double dip eggs and see what patterns you create.
  • Use kool aid, natural dyes (blueberries, boiled red cabbage leaves, boiled spinach leaves, beets, strong coffee)

This post was originally published on Mar 16, 2013

Easter Basket Craft

A tisket. A tasket. Want to make an Easter basket? Even though it doesn’t quite feel like Spring yet – we’ve started to do some kids Spring activities to decorate the house. This Easter Basket Craft was a hit with my three year old…

Easter Basket Craft

TIP: Empty your paper punch to make instant confetti – the perfect size to paste on to your Easter Basket Craft

Preschooler Easter Basket Craft
Things you will need:

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • White school glue
  • Washable markers
  1. Take coloured construction paper and scissors and cut out egg shapes.
  2. Have preschooler colour on egg shapes to decorate their “Easter eggs”.
  3. Cut out a rectangle.
  4. Then, cut out a semi-circle (the handle).
  5. Have preschooler squeeze out glue onto rectangle and semi-circle and direct them to place the rectangle under and the handle over. This is the Easter Basket.
  6. Have preschooler colour the Easter basket with markers.
  7. Next, have preschooler dot out glue all over the top of the Easter basket and along the handle.
  8. Then, have preschooler place and paste their coloured Easter eggs and confetti (remember my tip above about the hole punch!).
  9. Done!

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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How Much Do I Pay A Babysitter?

How much do I pay a babysitter? An age old question (and a good one). Experience, age, location – all contribute to finding the magic number. Here are my tips to deciding how much do I pay a babysitter…

How Much Do I Pay a Babysitter

How much do I pay a babysitter?

First, consider the minimum wage in your province or territory (or state). Remember adult minimum wages in Canada differ from students rates of pay. Minimum wage will at least give you a a starting point for deciding how much to pay a babysitter.

Next, consider scope of work. Is the babysitter caring for one child or multiple children? Caring for a newborn (who requires diapering, feeding, cuddling) or older kids (who require less hands-on child care)? Caring for a child with special needs? Long term care (i.e. a steady babysitting job) or a date night out? Will he or she be required to drive? Cook? Clean? These are all factors which go into deciding babysitter wage.

Consider experience. When looking for a once-in-a-while babysitter for my baby son I knew I was more comfortable with an adult or university student babysitter. I interviewed nannies, E.C.E. (early childhood educators) and university students – whose wage expectations ranged between $10-$18/hr.

My thirteen year old did a babysitting course where she was advised to charge between $5-10 an hour (the lower figure being as a mother’s helper – where Mom was at home while she was babysitting).

Consider location. Is the babysitting been doing at your home, the babysitters home, on location (like a hotel room if you were going to a wedding)? Are you picking up the babysitter and dropping them off (general etiquette). Or is the babysitter coming to you (and do you pay for a taxi/bus fare?).

Consider time. In my experience, daytime babysitting costs more than evening (because it is more difficult to find a daytime babysitter so you pay a premium). Special occasion babysitting (like on a holiday, during a vacation, for a special event like birthday party or wedding) can increase wage expectations as well.

How Much Do “I” pay a babysitter?

I pay $10/hr for evening babysitting for my three children at my home (I like round numbers and there is no need to count pennies at the end of a date night out). I will have ordered a pizza (so no cooking). The kids will be watching a movie in pjs (so no bathing of kids). And we drive the sitter home.

 Share  with Parent Club: How much do you pay a babysitter?…

Water Play Kids

This week’s #WW w linky inspiration is: Water Play Kids.

Put a step stool up to the sink, add a preschooler, run the tap ever so gently…and it equals so much fun…

Water play kids

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean

Cleaning can be such a “chore” n’est pas?! I try to make housework a family activity because A) it gets it done faster (mostly) and B) it teaches the kids the life skill of keeping things clean. Here are my 8 Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean…

Tips to get your kids to help clean

8 Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean…

Making it fun really is the key (otherwise you are in for a whole lot of complaining). When I do laundry, I lift my son to stand on the dryer – and let him pour in the Tide into the washing machine. He LOVES watching the washing machine swish around as the water fills up with soapy bubbles.

For my tween and teen, there needs to be added-value in housework…like the treat of listening to music. They are free to tune into their ipods or tune into “their” radio station while they tidy. It makes the chores go by smoother.

Normally, it’s “hands-off” Mom’s stuff, but when it comes time for clean up I let the kids use “tools”. You should see the fights over who gets to use the Swiffer (crazy, I know…but proves tools can be fun).

When it comes to housework, time it. Make it a race to see who can put their socks away faster. How fast they can run to their room to put away their t-shirts and then run back. And also, just time the amount of time it takes to do the chores…don’t spend all day on it…a 10 minute tidy can be enough to keep your living room in a proper state.

To reduce sibling squabbles, give them a “job”. In my house, one child sets the table and the other one clears. It gives them set responsibilities and jobs yet keeps the amount of work equal.

I truly believe one of the best tips to get your kids to help clean is to make it a family activity. Saturday mornings, we all tidy our respective rooms. No one is sitting on the couch or at a screen. We are all doing the same thing.

With younger kids, I recommend to create cleaning games. Like putting two Bounty sheets underneath the feet of your toddler and letting him “skate” through the living room while holding your hand. It cleans the floor and busts some boredom!

Finally, positive reinforcement is the only way to go when it comes to getting your kids to help clean. Smiles. Saying “Good Job”. Commenting on how good your house looks. Maybe even a cookie treat after the housework is done. All go towards making chores a better experience.

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.



Kids paper crafts: kid crafts t-shirt

This boredom buster is perfect for the pre-school crowd. All you need are 3 items and some little kid imagination and you have a great activity…check out this super fun Kids paper crafts: kid crafts t-shirt…

kids paper crafts kids crafts t-shirt

Kids paper crafts: kid crafts t-shirt

You will need:

  1. Construction paper of different colours
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue Stick

Cut out a t-shirt shape (it’s not hard…arm, neck hole, arm, and body).

Next cut out various shapes (stars, circles, squares, triangles)

Then, have your toddler choose shapes and let them glue them on to the t-shirts. (Saying the shapes and having the kids repeat will build their vocabulary skills).

Easy yet fun!

Older kids might be interested in trying out my DIY Place Mat For Kids activity or my Toilet Paper Craft For Kids: Mouse activity. Both very great activities for school break!

Kids Activity Bags

Call it a busy bag, travel kit, or kids activity bags – these tips will help keep your kids entertained while en route. From day trip to road trip to international flight…I have filled my share of kids activity bags. Here are my kids activity bags suggestions…

Kids Activity Bags

Kids Activity Bags

Put all your kid travel activities in a resealable bag!  It helps to keep kid stuff organized (and if you travel for with multiple children like I do…it’s helpful for each child to have a dedicated activity bag). A resealable bag is easy to pack in a tote bag or backpack. Easy to store under a car seat or in the pocket in front of you in an airplane. It is a one-stop-shop for entertaining your kids.

Yes, I pack individual  kids activity bags (because my kids have a wide age range and thus their entertainment activities are wildly different).

Toddler activity bag ideas

  • Board books
  • Small toys (small enough to fit in your bag but age-appropriate-enough that they are not choking hazzards)
  • Headphones (for airplane or train movies)
  • Snacks (dried cereal, pretzels, dried fruit)
  • Spill proof water bottle or sippy cup
  • Crayons and paper (great for airplanes or trains)
  • Their favourite music on cd (for the car)
  • Paper cups and plastic spoons (role play stirring, drumming, digging)

The paper cup idea is one of the best (and most free) activities for kids on the go. Next time you stop for coffee, ask for a 2nd cup. Then, pass it back to your toddler and create role play games. Once I had my son repeating “Luke, I am your father” while speaking in a deep voice and talking into the bottom of the cup. It was hilarious for us…and our laughing…encouraged him to repeat it over and over.

Big kid activity bag ideas

  • Ipod & headphones
  • Magazines
  • Homemade Journal (my book Boredom Busters shares how to make this)
  • Snacks (dried cereal, pretzels, granola bars)
  • Water bottle
  • Word search, sodoku, crosswords & pencil
  • Gum (for airplane take-off)

I have even gone so far, as to create a word search for my kids based on our trip. Use a word search generator (there are tons of free ones on the internet) and plug in hints and answers based on where you are going and what you will see (i.e. Ocean, Airport, Table, Window, Dock, Hill, Highway).

And as an aside: My Family Travel Packing List might come in handy for your next family trip.

Fruit Eating Game

This is a fun Fruit Eating Game I created with the kids over the holidays. My daughter actually said “Mommy, Papa has ‘fun parent’ competition today!” – I think that was meant as a compliment ;-) Anyway, this fruit eating game was a big hit with the kids (and it got them eating fruit with big smiles!). I call it “One, Two, Three…SUCK”

Fruit Eating Game

Fruit Eating Game

You will need:

  • Plate
  • Knife
  • Orange
  1. On plate, cut orange into wedges (discard the white “pulp” but keep the orange skin).
  2. Line up orange wedges – skin side down.
  3. Kids circle around plate (doing this at the kitchen table or while sitting around the coffee table works best).
  4. Have kids hold up arms (as if they were being robbed).
  5. Have kids put hands behind their backs (as if their were being handcuffed).
  6. Shout out together “One, Two, Three…SUCK” and each participant picks up an orange wedge with their mouth (no using hands!) and sucks the orange. Discard sucked orange wedge to side of plate.
  7. Repeat.

It was like bobbing for apples. Just oranges. And. they. loved. it.

Do your kids like to play with food like mine? Then they will love my DIY – Kid-Friendly Sushi and Snack Ideas For Toddlers. I confess…most meals we sit down and are very serious – discussing days events and weekend plans. However, it is fun – once in a while – to switch up a family meal. Picnic in the living room. Hands-free eating like my fun fruit game above. Crazy dinner where you eat breakfast at night. There’s nothing wrong with a meal switch-up right? It breaks the routine and is kinda fun for pd days and snow days.

And when you pair an eating game with healthy food (like the oranges above)…well that busts the meal boredom and encourages healthy food choices. Win/win.

Tips For Making Valentine’s Day Special

This is the post where I share some of the special things I do at home to make Valentine’s Day special chez moi. For the kids. For my prince. Even for me. Here are my Tips For Making Valentine’s Day Special…

Tips For Making Valentine's Day Special

Lunch Box Notes are an easy (and FREE) way to make Valentine’s Day Special. A simple post-it note saying “I love you” is perfection.

Romantic Dinner IdeasI love making Special Meals for Valentine’s Day (and birthdays and most holidays – I special days require special meals). I highly recommend the easy Valentine’s Day recipes in my Romantic Dinner Ideas  post or this recipe for Ravioli Hearts with Brown Butter Sauce because they all follow my philosophy “Valentine’s Day should be easy”. And parents just need more easy don’t they?!

Time Together really makes Valentine’s Day. I ensure we all have a sit down dinner where we can talk about our days. Even the bad stuff in our days. It connects.

Yes, I already have the class Valentine’s Day Cards ready to go (I’m such a keener!). Those class cards are such an activity in school. My kids always come home with a brown paper bag of them.  We love to put on some Music and play “show n’ tell” with the class Valentine’s. Though I prefer Michael Bublé my big kids will certainly choose a playlist of Bruno Mars.
And of course we gift. Gifts (homemade or store bought) are always a treat. Whether it be a “I Love Bacon” t-shirt for my big kids or a jar with “reasons why I love you” handmade…gifting is good.  So are Red and White themes – from clothing to home decorations – it puts you in the mood. I don’t expect Flowers on Valentine’s Day and Surprises like flower, sweet treats, and cards can really bring a smile to my face.

And there is nothing better than cuddling up next to your sweetheart on the couch – under a mountain of Warm Blankets. Ok maybe better than that would be Hugs and Saying “I Love You” to that sweetheart. ;-)

Do you have any tips for making Valentine’s Day special?

Disclosure: #Spon. And my pasta is my fav. romantic dinner – true story. As always, the opinions in this post are my own.

Meet and Greet With Caroline Fernandez

Life Milestone Alert! Last week, I was invited to the OLA Super Conference (Ontario Library Association Super Conference) for a “Meet and Greet With Caroline Fernandez”.

My 1st ever book signing!!! Headed there…I was a bit nervous…when I saw how HUGE this conference was…I became a lot nervous…

OLA Super Conference

My awesome book distributor, Thomas Allen & Son Limited, invited me to their booth for a book signing of Boredom Busters. (By the way – pencil Tues Mar. 4 for a twitter party book launch – more details to come! *cough – prizes – cough* ;-)

OLA Super Conference Author Schedule Caroline Fernandez

And at the booth I found THIS ->

Meet and Greet Caroline Fernandez

(Headshot above:Ali Martell » Photography)

And then guys…O. M. G….Meet and Greet With Caroline Fernandez

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

I try to go the no-chocolate/no-candy Valentine’s Day treat route (with food sensitivities, food allergies, and sugar highs I opt on the side of safe!). I have 12 Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas which will make great Valentine’s Day Class Treats!

Valentine's Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

12 Valentine’s Day Non-Candy Treat Ideas

  1. Zipit Monster Zipper Twister Pencil Case, Mastermind Toys
  2. Elope Heart Shaped Sunglasses, Mastermind Toys
  3. PLAY-DOH Valentines Bag, Target
  4. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers, Loblaws
  5. Valentines Day Lip Whistles, Party City
  6. Valentines Day Glitter Pencils 12ct, Party City
  7. Valentines Day Mega Sticker Box 1000ct, Party City
  8. Touchable Bubbles Test Tube, Mastermind Toys
  9. Safari Limited Lion Good Luck Mini Figure, Mastermind Toys
  10. Valentine’s Day Krazy Straw, Party City
  11. Valentines Day Puzzle Cube, Party City
  12. Glow Stick Necklace, Party City

List not in order?! True. We could call it a Valentine’s Mix n’ Match game or Valentine’s Bingo activity or simply there-are-not-enough-hours-in-my-day (last one is my pick).

Feelin’ DIY for Valentine’s Day? Try my Valentine’s Day Class Treats suggestions on how to make a Valentine’s Day pencil holder or Valentine’s Day ruler holder.

I do give sweets to my kids on Valentine’s Day (after school!)…I just think…if I was a teacher…I wouldn’t want 30 kids in my class in arms-reach to sugar while on school time.

Therefore, I’m pretty sure this is will be our après l’école Valentine’s Day sweet treat…sugar high on my time?…yes please!

Easy Chocolate Trifle

My Easy Chocolate Trifle recipe. It is amazeballs ;-)