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10 Ways You Can Create Lasting Memories With Your Kids Without Breaking the Bank

I get so busy doing dishes, running the sweeper, keeping up with my online business, running errands, cooking, etc. that sometimes I fail to STOP and PLAY! Play with my kids, appreciate the stage in life they are currently at and just enjoy…just…enjoy…life!

I have started to make it a point to relax and soak in my kids a bit more. Am I busy, YES…is it hard, YES…is it wirth it…YUP! Here is a list of some things I have done to create some lasting memories with my family and some things I plan on doing in the near future…some ideas on how I was, am, and will be able to STOP and PLAY a bit more.

  1. Do a science experiment together  https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/
  2. Tuck away electronics and play
  3. Escape into the world of your child. Become the princess or dinosaur and tromp around the house acting silly.
  4. Be silly. Have those dance parties, put make-up on each other, etc.
  5. Go splash in rain puddles with your kids…it is EXTREMELY fun!
  6. Conduct Family Interviews. Members of your family’s older generations, like grandparents, great-aunts, and great-uncles, have many fascinating stories of growing up in different eras. Have your kids ask them what life was like in yesteryear and use a tape, digital, or video recorder to capture their tales, voices, and expressions.

  7. Designate a Family “Holiday.” Surprise family members with “holidays” tailored to each personality. Just like birthdays and conventional holidays, pack these days with unique traditions (like a poem written in someone’s honor) and special foods, etc.

  8. Plant a Family Garden. Encourage everyone to get their hands dirty by digging a patch to plant flowers or vegetables in the backyard.

  9. Cook (and eat) a family meal together…from start to finish.
  10. Take a family nature walk.

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Finding Out Our Child Wasn’t “Normal”

I was just getting home from a work trip and my husband says to me…

“Now don’t get too alarmed…I am sure it isn’t anything BUT…our daughter seems to be experiencing some sort of strange head jerks that she can’t control.”

Of course I flipped out and then quickly witnessed it for myself. It appeared to be a seizure to the untrained eye and with that, we rushed her to the hospital. They hooked her up to every machine, put an IV in her tiny little vein and the process began. She was just 8 months old and as new parents, we were not ready for this…like AT ALL.

With tears lumped in my throat, I held back my sobs and prayed our little baby girl was going to be ok. My mother’s intuition told me different so suppressing that feeling was mandatory at the time just to get by.

I will NEVER forget that feeling of helplessness and fear. I remember where we were standing, what she was wearing, words that were spoken, etc…It is hard to believe it was 5 years ago.

What we found out from the tests,  PET Scan, PH tests, pokes and prods is that Annora had something called Sandifer Syndrome…AKA…a very severe case of GERD. This was a GREAT outcome compared to what they had been screening her for and we were relieved. With some medication, her symptoms would subside and she would be just fine. Through this screening and testing process though, we found out some other interesting news about Annora. She not only suffered from Sandifer Syndrome, but she had something called “hypotonia.” Hypotonia is a technical term for low muscle tone. Hypotonia was something she would not grow out of, it was something she would have for life. Our daughter was “different” from the “normal” child…OUCH! Wrapping your mind around that is tricky and takes time to digest.

That news stung because we knew she had a long road ahead of her and we were NOT prepared to best help her with the tools we currently had. We needed assistance, help and support. We turned to our developmental pediatrician who recommended Help Me Grow http://www.helpmegrow.ohio.gov/aboutus/Finding%20Help%20Me%20Grow/LucasCounty.aspx.

After some research into it, my husband and I decided to investigate further and found that the gobs of support they offer was just what we needed to help Annora be successful. The fear and stress of feeling alone went away immediately and we were able to process what she needed most with the help and support they offered (such as play groups, OT/PT one-on-one assistance, financial help, etc.).

Getting the help we needed for our child was stressful and hard because we didn’t have the necessary tools. I remember the feeling all too well when we found out the news our child wasn’t “normal” even though in a very slight way compared to what other children suffer from. It hurts, stings, and produces a helpless feeling. Knowing the resources available can cure those feelings and get your child on the road to success quickly.

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Smoothies…It’s What’s For Dinner

Ahhhhh…the cool breeze of spring leaving us and the HOT “dog days” of summer arriving. This is my time of year. In fact, I would say that summertime has allowed me to be creative…let me explain how. With hot weather comes days of eating a bit less BUT eating a bit unhealthier than usual. Oh, you know, ice cream with gobs of chocolate sauce, burgers and hot dogs on the grill with potato chips, potato salad smothered in mayonnaise, cotton candy and elephant ears at your local fair, etc. Food can either be our fuel or our enemy…and we get the opportunity to choose. Fortunately for you, I have some amazingly creative ways to get your fruits and veggies into you and your children’s diets without them batting an eye, squealing with disgust, or turning their cute little noses up at the thought of eating 2 cups of spinach daily. In fact, if you are not someone who loves their veggies, read on…this is your blog post my friend!

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you the different smoothie recipes we use throughout the summer. My kids LOVE these recipes and when they are asked what they would like to eat, they usually come up with some sort of smoothie they have had in the past several days. Check these recipes out, try them and comment on how well your kids liked them. Post your own smoothie recipes and let’s get some recipes flying!


Author: Tiffany McCauley | The Gracious Pantry.com

Yield: About 2 cups
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (in the can)
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cups raw spinach
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS: Blend and serve.


2. Cinnamon Chai Tea Banana Smoothie


  • -1 scoop grass-fed whey protein Use code LEXI for 10% off at checkout
  • -1 6 oz. cup pre-brewed chai tea, cooled
  • -1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • -1 frozen banana
  • -1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • -1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • -5 ice cubes
  • -Optional: Dash of raw honey or 3 drops liquid stevia


  • 1. Place all ingredients in high-speed blender
  • 2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • 3. Garnish and enjoy!


3. Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Servings: 1 • Size: 1 smoothie • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 5
Calories: 312 • Fat: 12 g • Carb: 51 g • Fiber: 10 g • Protein: 9 g • Sugar: 31 g
Sodium: 241 mg • Cholest: 0 mg


  • 3/4 cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1 loose cup baby kale
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/2 frozen ripe banana
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup ice

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.

4. Quinoa Banana Berry Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 328 | Total Fat: 2.8 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium:4 mg | Carbohydrates: 71.8 g | Dietary Fiber: 9.8 g | Sugars: 34.4 g | Protein: 7.2 g | SmartPoints: 11 |


  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa (cook according to package and chill)
  • 1 frozen banana (pre-sliced)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups green tea (home brewed without added sweeteners is best), add more or less depending on consistency preferred.
  • 6 ice cubes

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

5. Eat Clean Oats & Banana Protein Smoothie {Easy & Delicious}

 Author: The PennyWiseMama
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter OR 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp ground golden flax seed
  • 1 tsp bee pollen (optional)
  • 1 cup ice

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.


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Swimming Lessons for Kids in Summer

I find myself watching our little ones at swim class, week after week, and it looks like they’re doing the same thing without really learning anything. I gets a tad frustrated and makes me start to rethink this whole swimming lessons thing, since they’re not making progress…and it’s expensive. Let’s set the record straight: I believe they’re learning the building blocks of swimming and increasing their strength, skill and stamina, little by little.

If you have kids, you know they tend to do the same things over and over again — especially when learning. First it’s drawing a straight line repeatedly; then a curved line; and then — magically — they’re writing definite letters. But actually, there’s nothing magical about it. They worked hard at mastering the little skills that all need to melt into place to write letters; things like holding a pencil and focusing on the task at hand. The exact same concept is seen when a kid is learning how to swim (or any other skill)!

I mean, I wouldn’t expect my kids to be writing full sentences on the second or third week of preschool, right? It takes a lot of work to master a new skill, whether it is writing, swimming or tying a shoelace.

With all of that said…I am intrigued with ISR swimming lessons I keep hearing about.

 ISR…What is it?

ISR stands for Infant Swimming Resource and is a new technique for teaching kids to swim. What is so important about you ask? Welp…you basically throw your infant/toddler/child into the water (sometimes fully clothed) with a one-on-one instructor nearby and they teach your child the fundamentals of swimming to survive a fall into a pool or a drift into the ocean far from Mommy and Daddy. This technique has got my attention and should get the attention of others if you have a pool in your backyard or go to the pool or ocean often.

What Your Child Will Learn In ISR Lessons

ISR’s unique results are achieved through fully customized, safe and effective, one-on-one lessons with only your child and the Instructor in the water. What your child will learn, and the way he or she will learn it, is what makes ISR so different from traditional swimming lessons. Always putting safety first, ISR emphasizes competence, which leads to confidence, and provides the foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment in and around the water.

What your child will learn depends on his or her age and developmental readiness, but in all cases, at minimum, your child will learn to roll onto his or her back to float, rest, and breathe, and to maintain this position until help arrives.

Children 6-12 Months Old

Generally speaking, children ages 6 months to 1 year learn the ISR Self-Rescue® skill of rolling onto their backs to float, rest and breathe. They learn to maintain this position until help arrives.


Children 1-6 Years Old

Older, more mobile children will learn the full ISR Self-Rescue® sequence of swimming until they need air, rotating onto the back to float, then rolling back over to continue swimming. ISR students are taught to repeat this sequence until they reach the safety of the steps, side of the pool, or the shoreline.

Understanding Developmental Delays in Children and What to do About Them

I am just a mom…a mom who was concerned for the development of her child so I took it upon myself to educate myself via the internet, pediatrician, developmental pediatrician, community resources and Help Me Grow. I am by no means an expert. I have an early childhood education degree but the class I took in college when we covered this material is long out of my aging brain. I knew one thing though…my husband and I are the only advocates for our children. Nobody else would speak on their behalf. With that, I became a growing expert in the field of child development. I found information fascinating and eventually, sought the help of my resources to assist my children with their struggles (or mountains as I like to call them). I found the following information off of WedMD and thought it was important to share.


What Are Developmental Delays in Young Children?

There are many different types of developmental delays in infants and young children. They include problems with:

  • language or speech
  • vision
  • movement — motor skills
  • social and emotional skills
  • thinking — cognitive skills

Sometimes, a delay occurs in many or all of these areas. When that happens, it is called “global developmental delay.” Global developmental delay may occur for any of the following reasons:

What follows are warning signs for different types of delays that may show up from infancy to age 2. You will also learn about some of the causes of developmental delays and potential treatments.

Language and Speech Developmental Delays in Children

Speech delays in toddlers are common. In fact, language and speech problems are the most common type of developmental delay. Speech refers to verbal expression, including the way words are formed. Language is a broader system of expressing and receiving information, such as being able to understand gestures.

Possible causes. A variety of problems may cause language and speech delays, including:

  • exposure to more than one language — which can cause mild delays in toddlers but not delays by the time they reach school age
  • a learning disability
  • child abuse or neglect
  • a problem with the muscles controlling speech — a disorder called dysarthria
  • hearing loss, which may occur in children who have severe middle ear infections or occur as a result of certain medications, trauma, or genetic disorders
  • autism spectrum disorders — a group of neurological disorders that may involve impaired communication as well as impaired social interaction and cognitive skills
  • no cause can be found

Types of treatment. If you or your child’s doctor suspects a speech delay problem, seek an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist. This specialist may test your child’s hearing and use speech therapy with your child. The specialist or doctor may also suggest that you:

  • communicate more with your child — talk, sing, and encourage repetition
  • read daily to your child
  • reinforce speech and language throughout the day
  • get treatment for middle ear infections

Vision Developmental Delays in Children

Until 6 months, a newborn’s vision is normally blurry. Then it improves as the child begins to coordinate sight in both eyes. However, sometimes this does not happen or other vision problems show up.

Possible causes of vision delays. Refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, are common in children. Other eye problems include:

  • amblyopia (lazy eye), poor vision in one eye that may also appear to turn outward
  • infantile cataracts — a clouding of the eye’s lens — or another inherited problem (these problems are rare)
  • retinopathy of prematurity, an eye disease that sometimes affects premature infants
  • strabismus — also called cross eyes — eyes that turn in, out, up, or down

Types of treatment for vision delays. Early treatment can help correct many vision problems. Depending on the eye problem your child has, he or she may need:

Motor Skill Developmental Delays in Children

Developmental delays may be related to problems with gross motor skills, such as crawling or walking, or fine motor skills, such as using fingers to grasp a spoon.

Possible causes of motor skill delays. Children who are born prematurely may not develop muscles at the same rate as other children.

Other possible causes of motor delays include:

  • ataxia, a defect that impairs muscle coordination
  • cerebral palsy, a condition caused by brain damage before birth
  • cognitive delays
  • myopathy, a disease of the muscles
  • problems with vision
  • spina bifida, a genetic condition causing partial or total paralysis of the lower part of the body

Types of treatment for motor skill delays. Your child’s doctor may suggest taking certain steps at home to encourage more physical activity. Your child may also need physical therapy for gross motor delays. Certain types of physical or occupational therapy may help with fine motor problems or sensory integration dysfunction.

Social and Emotional Developmental Delays in Children

Children may experience problems interacting with adults or other children, called social and/or emotional developmental delays. Usually these problems show up before a child begins school.

Possible causes. Some causes of social and emotional delays include:

  • neglect from early institutionalization or parental neglect
  • ineffective parenting or attachment problems
  • cognitive delays
  • an unknown cause

Another common cause of social and emotional developmental delays fall under the umbrella diagnosis autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This was previously referred to as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), autism, aspergers and other names. ASD includes disorders that can cause a child have difficulty communicating, have repetitive behaviors and have language problems.

Types of treatment. There is no known cure for these conditions. However, treatment may include:

  • special types of behavioral and skill-oriented therapy
  • medication may help some problematic behaviors

As with most types of delays, early treatment can make a big difference in the progress your child makes. Depending upon the diagnosis, treatment may also include play therapy or steps to aid attachment between parent and child.

Cognitive Developmental Delays in Children

Problems with thinking, or cognitive delays, may be due to one or more of these reasons:

  • genetic defects
  • significant medical problems before birth
  • exposure to something harmful in the environment, such as a toxin

Possible causes. Causes of cognitive delays include:

  • a wide range of different learning disabilities
  • exposure to alcohol or toxins before birth or afterward, including lead poisoning
  • institutionalization or neglect during infancy or early childhood
  • Down syndrome and other genetic disorders
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • severe newborn medical problems
  • no known cause

Types of treatment for cognitive delays. As with most types of developmental delays, early treatment can make a big difference in the progress your child makes. Educational intervention can help your child develop specific cognitive skills. Educators and therapists may also recommend specific steps you can take at home to help your child.

Remember: There is a wide range of normal development in children. Most developmental delays in children are not serious and children eventually catch up. Even children who do have serious delays can make big improvements when treatment begins as early as possible. If you have any doubts, talk to your child’s health care provider.

Sunset at Brant Rock

It’s Summer Break…Now What?

TOP 10 Summer Learning Activities Blog Hop

Here are the TOP 10 posts, listed by the day they will be posted. Right now, all links lead to each site’s homepage. As links go live, the actual Top 10 post link will be listed. (Post dates June 16th – June 20th)


The Educators’ Spin on It | Top 10 Everyday Objects for Summer Learning & Fun!

This Reading Mama | Top 10 Ways to Help Readers Grow this Summer

Growing Book by Book | Top 10 Just Right Summer Reading Spots

Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas | Top 10 Ways To Get Kids Reading this Summer

P is for Preschooler | Top 10 Ways to Have Fun with Sight Words this Summer

Let’s Play Music | Top 10 Ways to Make your Summer Musical



Hand Made Kids Art | Top 10 Ways to Encourage Creative Thinking

3 Dinosaurs | Top 10 Ways to Use Flash Cards

Play Trains | Top 10 Summer Train Activities for Kids

Artsy Momma | Top 10 Ways to Explore & Learn with Activity Kits this Summer

Planet Smarty Pants | Top 10 Ways to Learn Something New This Summer

Living Montessori Now | Top 10 Summer Themes for Preschoolers

Teach Beside Me | Top 10 Sidewalk Chalk Games for Summer Learning



Rainy Day Mum | Top 10 Ways to get Creative with Water

Fun-a-Day | Top 10 Summer Science Experiments for Kids

All Done Monkey | Top 10 Ways to Travel the World Without Leaving Home

Multicultural Kid Blogs | Top 10 Ways to Learn about the World with the World Cup

KC Edventures | Top 10 Citizen Scientist Projects for Summer

Life Over C’s | Top 10 Summer Math Activities

The Pleasantest Thing | Top 10 Summer Art Projects



True Aim Education | Top 10 Recipes For Kids to Cook

Creative Family Fun | Top 10 Simple Summer Field Trips

Lalymom | Top 10 Summer Activities for Kindergarten Readiness

Slow Family | Top 10 Ways to Learn in Your Own Backyard

Lemon Lime Adventures | Top 10 Ways to Build Family Connection

Wildflower Ramblings | Top 10 Messy Outdoor Painting Activities

Line Upon Line Learning | Top 10 Ways to Learn at the Playground

Chicken Babies | Top 10 Ways to Get Kids Writing this Summer

Mom Favorites | Top 10 Tips for Rocking a Road Trip with Kids



Science Sparks | Top 10 Outdoor Science Activities

In the Playroom | Top 10 Ways to Learn Through Play

For This Season | Top 10 Ways to Encourage Creativity

Learn~Play~Imagine | Top 10 Ways to Learn with Water

Raising Lifelong Learners | Top 10 Ways to Learn About Insects

Creekside Learning | Top 10 Hands-On Math Games for Outside

The Outlaw Mom Blog | Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Thinking Over Summer Break