Tuesday, August 24, 2010

5 Favorite Family Time Ideas

Everyone should have some family time that includes the kids and adults doing something together.  Often we segregate ourselves and let the kids do one thing while we adults to others.  Its hard sometimes to find activities that keep both adults and kids entertained.  Here are a few of our favorites:

1) Family Movie Night:  This one is a no-brainer.  Pop some popcorn, clear the floor and spread out sleeping bags.  Choose a movie that the adults can handle and the kids will enjoy.  Sometimes its live action, sometimes cartoon.  Either way its one we all enjoy for some reason or another.  We usually reserve some special treat for the occasion, like soda or a special snack.  The kids even get a special later bedtime.


2) Family Game Time:  This is one we don’t get to do as often, but really fun when we can.  The kids are finally at an age where we can play games like Uno, Sorry, or even Pictionary.  They love interaction with the “big people” and the feeling of you being on their team while they test their skills or knowledge.  Game time is also a great time to be sneaky and work on learning.  Our kindergartener had just learned to read, by the end of the year we were able to use the Scrabble time pieces to make words.  That's all we did.  Who says you have to follow the rules?  Make up your own!

3) Family Drawing Time:  Ok, so we’re not all baseball players.  Daddy and I are avid artist and we encourage our kids to draw, paint and color as often as possible.  We love to sit around the table or living room drawing and coloring.  We have even purchased drawing sketch pads for the kids to draw on the go.  Take a look at each other’s are and encourage the best from your budding artists!!


4) Visit a Bookstore:  This for us is big time fun.  Each child is allowed a book and we have just as much fun choosing the books.  We wander, we sit, we read bits of books, when one has made a selection we help the next person.  Even a shopping trip can be family time as long as you do it together.

5) Family Dinner:  I know this one seems a bit silly, but there are plenty of families (including us at times!) that don’t really eat together.  Sit, eat, talk, laugh.  Its really an easy way to find out how everyone’s day went and talk about your upcoming plans.  Oh, and shut off the TV!  It’s difficult to talk over the sound of sitcoms and commercials!

There are tons of ways to have a bit of family time!  What are some of your family time favorites?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and LEGO blogging program, making me eligible to get a prize pack. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Smarty Rents educational video game rental giveaway!

Were you super excited to get video game systems for your child that were actually educational, only to be disappointed at the lack of variety of games, or the expense of purchasing additional games?? SmartyRents is your answer!!

image SmartyRents.com is a new educational online video game rental company, featuring LeapFrog
and VTech games. Rent games from eight game systems, including Little Leaps, Clickstart,
Leapster, Didj, V.Smile Baby, V.Smile, V.Motion, and V.Flash. All games are available to rent
including those no longer available on the market for purchase. Families can choose from one of
several SmartyRents rental packages to meet the individual needs of each child in their family.
"We at SmartyRents are proud to announce our new online educational video game rental
company that works similar to Netflix, in that, the customer's selected game titles are shipped
free, directly to their door and with no late fees."

No more buying games only to re-sell them once your kids have finished them or moved on to more advanced material!! They also carry games you can no longer find on the market. SmartyRents even offers gift certificates. What a perfect gift from parents and family!!

SmartyRents has offered our readers a promo code worth 1 FREE month of the 1 Game at a Time package or $9.99 towards the package of their choice!!

Promo Code: d1cbdd Expires: 8/31/10

ALSO SmartyRents is giving FIVE of our readers a THREE MONTH RENTAL package (worth $29.97) so you can rent all your favorite games!!

How can you win one of these awesome packages?
Here’s the rules:

First Entry:

  • Head over to www.SmartyRents.com and tell me your what games YOU would rent (this MUST be your first entry!)

Bonus Entries:

  • Follow this blog. Comment that you do!
  • Follow me on twitter (@Fraase) and tweet about this giveaway. Leave the permalink of your status update in your comment. For example: Win a 3 MONTH RENTAL of educational video games for your V.Tech & LeapFrog games courtesy of @SmartyRents & @Fraase http://bit.ly/drAQul (one tweet/entry daily)
  • “Like” SmartyRents on Facebook and let me know you did so!
  • Add my button to your blog sidebar. Leave a link to your blog in the comment.
  • For THREE extra entries, blog about this giveaway and include a link here. Leave your blog permalink in the comment.
  • For THREE extra entries start a rental plan at SmartyRents.com and let me know you did.
  • Leave a comment on a post in our Family Blog. Leave a comment here for each one. (limit 3 entries)

Giveaway ends August 31 and 11:59 pm. Winners will be chosen by Random.org and notified via email. Winners have 48 hours to respond or alternate winner will be chosen. Please make sure your email is available on your profile or in your comment so I can contact you!! Good Luck!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tips and Tricks for Back to School

Oh, yes, it’s already that time. I truly felt this summer had barely started and now its time to pack up those new school bags and lace up those new sneakers. It’s also time for a little peace and quiet around here, but I digress…

Even the seasoned pros need to prepare themselves for back to school. My kiddos are both in early elementary yet, so I speak from their standpoint. Here are a few of the things we do to prepare for the fall school routine:

1) GET TO SLEEP!! While I am really one who lives by our bed time routine, we relax quite a bit on the hour at which they actually climb into bed in the summer. Well, no more! At least a week or two before school begins we move back into the old routine. Earlier bed times and strict ones at that. They need time to adjust to going to bed on time, and getting up on time, too. Yes, that means YOU need to get up earlier too! Practice getting ready and having breakfast on time. Good sleep makes good students!

2) EAT A GREAT BREAKFAST! Our school, as well as many others offer a breakfast menu (if you can get there early enough). That isn’t always the most frugal option, but some days it makes the whole morning routine easier. Have a good selection of healthy-yet-quick breakfast options on hand. Pick things up with your school shopping that will be ready for the first day. I confess I just can’t get a full-on breakfast ready for them every morning. I rely heavily on hot and cold cereals and our toaster (with built in egg poacher!). Make sure that they have a cereal with some fiber and low sugar. Sugary cereals lead to practically lethargic kids by 10 am. Offer juices (real juice, not Kool-Aid!) to go along with their food. Occasionally I can get out some bacon and eggs before school and it’s a treat. Please don’t let your kiddos go to school hungry!

Muffins w/ Mom Day!

3) SHOP EARLY FOR SUPPLIES We tend to get our school supply list late. I have a pretty good idea of what’s on there now. By the time I got our first year’s supply list the stores were almost cleaned out of the items we needed. I ended up paying more for non-sale items! Buy a couple of everything, you know they’ll lose things, break things, or just plain use them up. Back to school sales, even when you buy extras, still saves you money rather than buying in December.

Still debating this one...

4) THEIR ENTIRE WARDROBE PROBABLY DOESN’T NEED REPLACING! I like to let my kids get a new outfit. They usually need a few pairs of jeans long enough to cover their recently exposed ankles. But often, much of their stuff will still work. Be frugal! Don’t replace perfectly good clothing just because they had it last year. I say if it fits and it still looks good, it works. Of course, the kids like to prove me wrong and grow out of everything they own!!

5) TALK ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS The big kids know what to expect from school, and also what is expected from them. A little reminder never hurts. My new pre-schooler will have no idea what she’s in for. It won’t take long to let them know the kinds of things they will be expected to do. You know, line up, raising hands, asking for help, taking turns, all that stuff. I remember the concept of forming a line to be totally foreign to my little guy when he started. Give ‘em a heads up!!

Getting ready for preschool!

What do you do to prepare your children for school? Please leave a comment below and help add on to the list!!!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms blogging program to be eligible to get a HarperCollins book set. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”