Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Relax and Soothe With Herbs

Using dried and fresh herbs to relax and soothe isn't just a trick the spas use. You can do that same thing at home! I keep dried chamomile to use in the bath and for tea, as well as lavender, rosemary and mint. Herbal bath teas and bath salts are very easy to make, and if you allow yourself to experiment a little bit you will find your perfect combination!  


These are very strong "teas" that you add to your bath. Remember that you can experiment with combinations as long as you follow the basic recipe on the amounts. If you are allergic to plants of any type do be cautious, but you also are not ingesting the tea, so you should be fine keeping with the guidelines. So much of the commercial bath products we buy are very harsh on our skin, and these will soothe you...  

Skin Soothing Bath Tea 
You will need: 2 tablespoons dried thyme 2 tablespoons dried calendula blossoms 2 tablespoon dried chamomile blooms 1 quart boiling water Add the herbs to the boiling water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain the infusion and add to your bathwater. NOTES: You can use just chamomile and double the amount. 

Spring Herbal Bath 
You will need: 1/4 cup dried lemon balm 1/4 cup dried chamomile blossoms 2 cups boiling water Cover the herbs with the boiling water and brew for 20 minutes. Strain and add to your bathwater. NOTES: You can use fresh lemon balm, but increase it to 1/2 cup. I also use mint with chamomile.  

Relaxation Herb Tea 
You will need: 1 cup rosemary 2 cups lavender 2 cups rose petals 1 cup mint Mix these dry ingredients together and keep in a sealed, dry jar. Use about 1/2 cup for each bath. Pour 1-2 cups boiling water over the herbs and brew for 15-20 minutes. Add to your bath.  

Herbal Milk Bath 
You will need: 2 cups cornstarch 2 cups dry milk powder 2 tablespoons of your favorite herb, crumbled Mix these dry ingredients together. For your bath tie about 1/2 cup of the mix in cheesecloth, or a muslin bag and tie very tightly. Add to your bath. You can tie kitchen string to the bag and float the bag in your bath as the water runs. Keep the bath mixture in a sealed container. 
Bath salts are so easy to make and there are SO many variations once you start making them yourself. The basic recipe is as follows: You will need: 1 cup Epsom salts 5 or more drops of essential oil Mix together and keep in a covered jar. Allow the salts to sit for a few hours or overnight. Add about 1/2 cup to running bath water.  

Add 1 cup baking soda which is a skin soother. Add 2-3 tsp. honey for a moisturizing. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of a healing salt such as Dead Sea salts Squeeze in 3-4 caplets of Vitamin E oil to moisturize. Add 2 cups of baking soda, and 1 cup of citric acid for fizzies. You can use any type of essential oil that is soothing. Nice choices are lavender, rose, calendula or patchouli oils. 

What's Related:
Dream Pillows
Fifty Ways to Use Essential Oils
Growing Your Own Tea Garden

About the Author
Brenda Hyde is a wife and mom to three living in the Midwest United States. She is also editor of OldFashionedLiving.com.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fun Outdoor Play

As summer hits its peak, many parts of the country are experiencing very warm spurts of weather.To cool off here are some fun outdoor games for the kids and anyone else who would like to join in the fun!

Water Balloon Volley

This is a great on a hot summer day!

Each team will need a bedsheet and good supply of filled water balloons. Everyone on the team holds a corner or side of the sheet. Place a water balloon on the sheet. Using lots of teamwork, bounce the balloon on the sheet until you can flip it over the net. The other team must catch it in their sheet and flip it back.

For smaller groups or children, use a smaller sheet or a tablecloth. You can also use a ping-pong ball.

Balloon Head Race

Organize players into pairs and give each team a partially inflated balloon. When the game starts, teams must race to a finish line carrying a balloon between their heads. Don't use your hands! On hot summer days try using water balloons or running the race through a sprinkler. 

Water Balloon Fight

Just a good old fashioned wet and wild game of tag with water balloons! A great way to get cool! Set ground rules such as no hitting in the face or head.

After the water fight is over, or every hour or so, have a race to see who can pick up the most broken water balloons until they are all picked up. Use a plastic milk carton to collect them in, the spout is small enough to collect them and little hands can't reach in and take them out.

Safety Tip: Don't let children put broken balloons into their mouths. Remember, these little broken balloons are a choking hazard, not only to small children, but to anyone. If a balloon breaks in front of a child's mouth they can suck in the balloon when they gasp with surprise,and it can choke them.

Egg & Spoon Race

This is definitely an outdoor activity! You will need one raw egg and one spoon for each person participating in the race. Line contestants up next to each other on a starting line. Racers should have a point across the yard to race to (point B), turn around and come back to where they started (point A).

Place the egg in the spoon. The racer must balance the egg in the spoon, without using their free hand, and make it from point A to point B and back to point A again. If the egg drops, but is not broken, the racer may pick up the egg, while STANDING STILL (no travelling!), reposition it on the spoon and resume the race. The first person back to point A without a broken egg wins!

Water Bucket Relay

This race works best with Rubbermaid containers, the size that you can fit snugly into your kitchen sink. Mark the inside of the container with a marker and fill with water to that marked spot. Just as in the Egg & Spoon Race contestants should have a point across the yard to race to (point B), turn around and come back to where they started (point A). Howeverm in this race, each contestant runs solo. Time each person separately, taking turns.

In this race however, the first person back may not be the winner! Using a stopwatch, or a watch with a second hand, time each contestant and record thier water measurement when they have completed their "lap". The person with the best time combined with the most water left in their tub wins! 

About the Author:
Amanda Formaro is the entrepreneurial mother of four children. She is the Chief Editor of FamilyCorner.com Magazine. Visit her blog by clicking here.

Reading To Our Children

As parents, we are bombarded with advice on educating our children; homeschool, public school, private school, or tutoring. It's an endless debate that we all participate in at some point. However, I think we can all agree on one thing: we want our children to have an appreciation for reading and literature. This can prepare them for college, working and life in general. So, how do we accomplish this?

Start Early

You are pregnant, and friends and relatives start planning the showers or asking about gifts. Of course, start out with the things you need the most. But, then ask for a good lullaby book, a book of rhymes and a few of those indestructible cloth and plastic books for babies. As you go through those months of waiting to have that precious baby, practice those lullabies and recite those rhymes. Story telling is an art every parent can learn. If you read in monotone, too fast or too slow, kids lose interest. Read like you would want to be read to! That little one in your womb will love the vibration of your voice and you will get some needed practice.

Books, and more books...

Children need to be around books. They need to learn that books are special. You can do this by teaching your children to take care of their stories. If you see them writing in one gently but firmly tell them "no". When they are older talk with them about putting them on a special shelf or drawer in their room. Make the books accessible, and trust them to take care of them.

You will find that you can quickly gather a collection of good kid's books by looking at garage sales, finding deals on the internet and asking Grandma and Grandpa to buy books instead of toys! Always be on the look out for books. The library is a great free resource for books, and you can take advantage of story telling time too.

By Our Example

The best thing we can do as parents is set examples for our children. If they see us reading, and enjoying books they will want that too. My parents were avid readers during my childhood. We went to the small library in our town often, and we had encyclopedias that were always fascinating to us. We loved reading! When I went away to college I found out my roommate had one book with her. One. She didn't leave them at home. She simply didn't own any. She looked at reading as a "chore". Her parents did not set an example, and she had no interest in reading.

Story Time

Set up story times for your children. We always read one or two books and sing songs before bedtime. Every night, no exceptions. If time is tight for some reason, pick a small book. You can read at other times, and when your children start school they will read in class. Your story time needs to be a special time that is never pushed aside. When they are older they can take turns reading too. I believe this is a tradition that will make an impression on your children. It is a special time they will never forget. We have all heard the expression "comfort food". Wouldn't it be nice if your children grew up and had "comfort books" that they could share with their own children?

Your child's perception of reading is based on the example you set.  Make it a good one...for their sake.

About the Author:
Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer and mom to three kids living in the Midwest. For more gardening fun visit her at Old Fashioned Living

Bullying - Both Sides of The Fence

Whether your child is being bullied or is the bully, our parenting expert has some solid advice for you.

When Your Child is Acting Like a Bully

It has been brought to my attention that my child has been bullying other kids at school. How can I help him improve his behavior?

Think about it
At first you may want to blame the other kids, or the adult who brought the information to your attention. You need to be honest with yourself to determine the truth in the situation. If your child has been acting in aggressive ways, you'll want to help your child have more positive interactions with other children. Your child needs you on his side right now to help him learn how to control his own behavior.

Solution #1: Instead talk about specific incidents. Ask helpful questions to determine the reasons for your child's behavior. Brainstorm with him a variety of options he would have as an alternative to being rough. Help him learn new ways to handle the conflicts that arise with other children. Use role-play to help your child practice new ways of responding to other children.

Solution #2: If possible, arrange to have your child spend some time with an older, responsible child. If you don't have any close family members or friends that fit the bill, look into a Big Brother or Big Sister program. It may help to find a mentor for your child who can teach good social skills by example.

Solution #3: If you must discipline a child for a specific act, such as punching another child at school, use discretion when deciding on a consequence. Yelling, hitting or harsh punishment will only encourage your child to continue his own aggressive behavior. Instead, look for constructive consequences, such as assigning chores at home, or writing a note of apology to the child who was hurt.

Solution #4: Discourage your child from spending time with friends who behave in aggressive ways. (See: Friends, inappropriate choice of.) Encourage your child to become involved in an organized youth activity. Participation in a team or group often gives a child the social experience he may be lacking. Another option is to enroll him in one of the social skills classes that are now appearing in schools, churches and hospitals.

Solution #5: Enroll your child in a quality martial arts school. Visit the school first and watch a few classes in action before you mention the idea to your child. Choose a program with smaller class sizes. An authentic program will teach restraint, respect, and self-control. A good martial arts teacher will convey a quiet, reserved confidence. Talk with the teacher in advance of classes to let him know your concerns about your child's behavior, and what you are looking to achieve with the class. An experienced teacher should make you feel confident that you are making the right choice for your child. This may be just what your child needs to learn to control his physical power, and to develop self-discipline. (And it's heartwarming to see your child bow to the master and hear him end every sentence with a hearty "Sir" or "Ma'am"!)

Special Note: If your child displays a continuing pattern of aggression he may display other negative behaviors as well. He may display signs of low self-esteem, have problems in school, spend excessive time alone, and have a hard time controlling his anger. If this were the case, it would be wise to seek professional counseling for your child, so that the reason for the behavior can be discovered, and the child can learn to control his emotions and learn to succeed socially.

When Your Child is the Victim of a Bully

A bully is picking on my child. What can I do to stop this?

Think about it
As much as you'd like to step in and solve this problem yourself, it's probably in your child's best interest to teach him how to solve the problem. Once he's learned the skills to stand up for himself he can use them in other life situations.

Solution #1: Teach your child how to respond to a bully in a bold assertive way. Practice with him at home in a role-play situation. Demonstrate the difference between cowering and whispering, "Oh, go away, please leave me alone." versus standing tall, using a deep, loud, voice and saying with authority, "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

Solution #2: Suggest that your child stick with two or more other children when at the playground, the bus stop or wherever he comes face to face with the bully.

Solution #3: If the bully problem is at school, tell your child that if he's not successful in fending the bully off on his own it's okay to ask for help from a teacher or playground attendant. Rehearse with him what to say when he approaches an adult for help so he doesn't sound like he's whining or tattling. "Excuse me, Mr. Watanabe, but Jason keeps chasing me and throwing stones at me. I've asked him to stop but he won't." If your child practices saying this at home he will come across sounding confidant and will more likely get assistance from the teacher.

Solution #4: Teach your child to turn and walk away from a child who is being a verbal bully, without so much as a word. Being ignored may cause the bully to give up.

Solution #5: Determine if your child has healthy friendships with other children. If your child is a regular victim and doesn't have many friends, she can benefit by developing better social skills. Encourage your child to invite friends over to your home or to invite them to accompany you on an outing.

Special Note: If your child tries many different approaches but is continually harassed by a bully, or if the bully is physically aggressive, you may need to step in. It is rarely, if ever, effective to approach the bully or his parent's directly. Instead, approach the school principal or other person in a position of authority. If you lose your temper and yell, it will be unlikely you'll get the help you need. Instead, take the time to think about what you will cover in the meeting, and call ahead for an appointment. Outline the specific behaviors that you are concerned with, review the tactics you have used to try to stop the behavior, and have several suggested solutions in mind. Approach the principal with a calm, matter-of-fact attitude and you should be able to put together a plan to control the situation.

 More You Might Like:
I'm Sitting Up Front
Back to School Gear For Less
Back to School Wardrobes for Less
Managing Morning Madness
Kids Home Alone: When and How?
Preventing School Bullying and Protecting Your Child

About the Author:
Elizabeth Pantley is author of Perfect Parenting, Hidden Messages, & Kid Cooperation, and president of Better Beginnings, Inc. She is a popular speaker on family issues. Elizabeth's newsletter, Parent Tips is seen in schools nationwide. She appears as a regular radio show guest and has been quoted in Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, American Baby, Twins, Working Mother, and Woman's Day magazines.

Balancing Youth Sports and Family Life: How to Find Balance & Reclaim Family Time

Raising sports active kids is difficult, perhaps more today than ever before. Parents feel pressure to help their kids succeed. They want to keep up with other parents in an increasingly winner-take-all society. Too often, parents just like you feel that if they don't do everything for their child, they are bad parents.

In fact, surveys show that today's sport active kids and their parents get too caught up in the crazy sports vortex. Today's parents spend eleven hours less a week with their teenagers than they did two decades ago. The average mother spends less than a half hour per day talking with her teens. Only six out of ten 15 and 16 year olds regularly eat dinner with their parents. Family vacations are down by 28 percent. Sports have replaced church on Sunday for many families. Children are being benched for missing practice to be with their families on religious holidays.

Surveys also show that your children most likely lament the lack of parental attention. They want to spend more time with you, not less. They want more free time, not less.

I sincerely believe it's time to reclaim our family time. Here's how you can find a balance between your children's youth sport activities and your family life:

Schedule family time. Set aside one night a week or month as Family Game Night. Choose a board game, play card games, make tacos, and just be together. Make it sacred time.

Consider your travel time. Before you allow your children to play a particular sport, or on a particular team, consider your travel time to practices and games. Other things to consider include: your work schedule as well as your spouses, your children's school schedule and homework demands, carpool availability, and the needs of other family members.
Look for balanced sports programs. Look for leagues and clubs that balance sports, family and school life. Make sure the program emphasizes having fun more than winning. Children shouldn't be penalized for missing practice on Christmas Eve to be with their family.

Find a balance between sports. Introduce your children to sports such as golf, tennis, squash, racquetball, cycling, sailing, windsurfing, rock climbing, jogging, kayaking, rowing, or canoeing that they can enjoy after their competitive careers are over. Encourage your children to engage in sports and activities with you as long as they enjoys them, like bike riding, hiking, skating, sailing, and running. Encourage them to play different sports and avoid early specialization. It will them develop a variety of transferable motor skills such as jumping, running, twisting and simultaneously reduce the risk of overuse injuries that too often result from early specialization.

Allow for a social life outside of sports. Being on a travel or select team often requires a year-round or near year-round commitment and extensive travel. If you allow your children to participate, they can end up socially isolated from the family, their peers and the larger community. The athletic role can become so consuming and controlling that their childhood essentially disappears. Early specialization can thus interfere with normal identity development, increasing the risk that a child will develop what psychologists call a one-dimensional self-concept in which they see themselves solely as an athlete instead of just a part of who they are.

Coach your child's team on "kid time". Too many parents fall victim to the idea that practices have to happen after an adult's workday is over. This falls during the dinner hour, when children should be spending time with their family. With the new statistics of parents (primarily mothers) working from home, why not get your coaching license and run the practice in the afternoon right after school is over? This will give you time to be with your children and their friends and still be home in time for dinner with the rest of the family.

It is possible to create balance within your family's everyday life, even with children who participate in sports. But it is up to you as the parents to make certain that your kids don't over schedule and that they establish the right priorities.

What's Related
Achieving Balance in Your Family
Surviving Little League
The Cost of Competition on Kids
The Simpler Family
Did you enjoy this article? Rate It! | Tell A Friend
About the Author
Brooke de Lench, Youth Sports Parenting Expert and author of Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports has helped over 42 million moms and dads worldwide get the tools and information they need to make their child's youth sports experience safer, less stressful and more inclusive. For more information on balancing your child's sports life with your family life, go to www.momsteam.com and sign up for Brooke's free newsletter.

Friday, August 12, 2011

DaGeDar: The Hottest New Racing Toys of the Summer! - Review and Giveaway


Our #2 Anonymous Poster says: What an awesome giveaway! I'd love to win this and give it to my grandkids for Christmas! Thanks for the giveaway 

Congratulations, Dorothea! 
Watch your inbox for an email from me today. You have 48 hrs to respond to it.


From the makers of the really popular ZhuZhu Pets, DaGeDar is one of this summer's hottest new racing and collectibles games. We were one of the lucky households chosen from Mom Select and DaGeDar to review a race set.

My kids couldn't wait to tear open the boxes to see which track and balls we were sent.

We tested the High Speed Jump Stunt Track. The tracks are easy to assemble and are made with great flexibility so that you can raise and lower them for different racing challenges every time! 

High Speed Jump Stunt Track

So, what speeds down those race tracks? They are DaGeDar racing balls! Each ball is outfitted with a special racing face and comes with its very own registration number that your kids can use to register their balls online at the DaGeDar website. There are 6 sets of racing balls to choose from.

Set #1

Also included was a cool Flip Action Carrying Case and a Vortex Spinner. Each comes with their own special DaGeDar ball.

Each carrying case holds up to 3 balls and is equipped with a clip so you can clip them on your belt loop or back pack! We received a green carrying case (my daughter's favorite color!). The cases also come in orange and black.

Flip Action Carrying Case

Use your Vortex Spinner to launch off-the-track challenges!

Vortex Spinner

Advertised as the coolest new "boys' " toys this summer, we are here to tell you that girls love these racing collectibles and race tracks, too! (Shhh...don't tell anyone but Alexis beat her brother at most of the races!)

Both of my kids enjoyed playing with this racetrack. My daughter is always propping the track up against different things around our house. So far, the fastest time is when its propped up against the couch. (above).

Definitely a cool toy and the balls make trading fun again!

Now you have a chance to win your very own DaGeDar Basic Ball Set PLUS a Vortex Spinner or a Flip Action Carrying Case!
(US Residents Only - Prizes awarded are chosen by Mom Select and DaGeDar)

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is let us know why you would like to win this great DaGeBar Set!  

** Limit one entry per person **

The giveaway runs from 8/12 thru 8/19.  

The winner will be emailed and had 48 hrs. to respond.  Please be sure that your email info. appears so that I can contact you.  

(I was provided with these products to review by by Mom Select and DaGeDar)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Charlie & Lola Slightly Invisible Giveaway!


Kelly Dollard posted: "My girls adore the "I Absolutely Must Do Coloring Now or Painting or Drawing" activity book. We have a few of the story books too... but this one is a perennial favorite."

Congratulations, Kelly! Watch your inbox for an email from me today. You have 48 hrs. to claim your prize. 

Lola is 4 going on 5. She has an imaginary friend named Soren Lorensen and also a real friend named Lotta. Charlie is 7 and has a real best friend named Marv. Their adventures show the relationship between a brother and sister and how they handle different situations that arise.

FamilyCorner.com: The Blog is thrilled to be giving away a super Charlie & Lola Gift Set including all of these wonderful items:

Their latest book, Slightly Invisible.
Charlie and his friend Marv have invented an invisibility potion to help them find strange and tricky creatures. They would prefer to go on their hunt without Lola pestering them. But that doesn't sit well with Lola so she asks for help from her imaginary friend, Soren Lorensen. Together they set off to hunt for strange and tricky creatures, too. Looks like the creatures met their match when dealing with Charlie's little sister!  

Talking Poseable Charlie & Lola Set
The Talking Poseable Charlie & Lola Play Set is packaged in a reusable play scene and includes Charlie, standing 12 inches tall, and Lola, measuring 9.5 inches. Kids can bend the arms and legs into any pose for hours of fun. Each character speaks their signature opening line from the book, video and TV episode: "I have this little sister, Lola. She is small and very funny," says Charlie. Responds Lola, "I'm not small. I am BIG!".

Charlie & Lola: The Absolutely Completely Complete Seasons One and Two
Now together in one super amazingly terrific box set, the absolutely completely completest collection of Charlie and Lola ever - the complete seasons one and two, fifty-two episodes plus the double-length Christmas special, on eight discs! 


So, What do you have to do to enter this giveaway? 
Simply do one (or more) of the following:

*~*~*~Mandatory First Entry*~*~*~

Tell us what your favorite Charlie and Lola book or TV show is and what makes it your favorite.

 For More Entries:

-- "Like" FamilyCorner.com: The Blog on Facebook  or if you already "like" us, let us know. 

-- Become a Follower of FamilyCorner.com: The Blog via Google Friends - if you're already a Follower, let us know.

-- "Like" CandleWick on Facebook

The Giveaway is open from 8/10 thru 8/19. 

The winner will be contacted by email so please make sure that your contact information shows in your entries. The winner will have 48 hrs. to reply. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Tbox - perfect for teens!

For teenage girls, that "time of the month" can create an awkward situation around friends. What young lady wants to rifle around in her purse looking for a tampon? Tbox is a fashionable box that fits into your purse, or better yet, hangs inside your school locker, giving you discreet and easy access to those little unmentionables.

The Tbox Tampon Holder holds up to 8 tampons and comes in fun girlie designs. For locker use, the suction cup sticks to the side of lockers, or remove the suction cup to carry in a backpack. No one has to see tweens/teens personal hygiene items ever again!

Get more information about how to buy the Tbox at http://www.tboxgirl.com/