Monday, April 18, 2016

Is Your Yard Kid-Proof?

Nowadays, children oftentimes stay in the house playing games on the computer, watching TV, and simply chatting on their cell phones. But even though these types of activities offer certain benefits, it is also important to encourage kids to play outdoors. They should go outside to enjoy the fresh air and to get more exercise as they run and play with other children and peers.

Outdoor Fun Begins With Safety and Security

It's also a good opportunity for the family to bond together and have some healthy outdoor fun. But first things first. Take the time to inspect your yard, because the typical backyard can include some dangers – especially for younger kids. Always keep the safety and security of your family as top priority. Here are a few pointers to ensure your garden is kid-proof.

  • The garden should be fenced in to ensure the children do not wander out of your garden. Be sure the gates have secure locks.

  • Remove prickly shrubs from the garden or have them enclosed so children do not get entangled in the thorns. Some plants have sharp stems that can cause nasty cuts. Kids might not notice these shrubs when playing around the garden.

  • Keep all garden tools in an enclosed place, like a tool shed or inside the garage. And to be doubly-safe, be sure to lock the tool shed and garage.

  • Fix damaged paved areas and walkways. Cracks can cause people to trip and get hurt.

  • Check your lawn for stones and other sharp objects. Your grass should be mowed regularly so small items do not remain hidden in the grass. You should remove pet poo. Stepping on pet poo can be disgusting, not to mention the worms and insects that could go in your child's shoes.

  • Keep barbeque tools safely out of reach.

  • Make sure your swings, slides and other similar play equipment are located on soft grass. Otherwise, put rubber play mats around the area.

  • Check your trees and branches. One thing a child finds exciting and very adventuresome is climbing trees. Although your goal is to prevent them from climbing trees, it seems that climbing comes naturally to kids. So, it’s important to make sure the trees are safe to climb.

    • Make sure the branches are sturdy and do not break suddenly. You should cut off the weak branches. Make sure the area around the tree has rubber matting. It may help prevent serious injuries if they fall off the tree.

  • Always keep a first aid kit in the house. Hopefully you will never have to use it. It could help treat minor injuries until you can get them to the hospital. Be sure everyone is familiar with the 911 emergency number.

You may have other danger areas in your garden. Take a walk around the yard and inspect it thoroughly. Picture youself as a child once again and imagine where you would go and what you would do in the garden. You might discover other aspects to kid-proof.

If you have additional backyard safety tips, please share them with us. The team at Package From Santa is dedicated to providing helpful information and we will be happy to share your tips with others.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fruity Dessert Recipes That Your Kids Can Help With

Fruit can be turned into delicious desserts that are fun to make.
Desserts are a welcome treat at the end of a hearty meal. Simple and tasty fruity desserts go great with any meal. Why not have the children join you in making fruity desserts?

The kids will enjoy eating the fruits, especially if they help prepare the desserts. Here are some fruity desserts that can be easily prepared by children.

Cinnamon Bananas

Cinnamon bananas are healthy and sweet. This recipe will serve 6 people.

You need:
·       6 bananas (medium size will do fine)
·       4 cups ice cream (you can choose any flavor of ice cream)
·       2 cups brown sugar
·       1 ½ tablespoons of squeezed lemon juice (you can use the bottled juice if the kids don't like squeezing lemons)
·       2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

Mix the sugar and cinnamon and put it in a bowl. Cut each banana lengthwise. The cutting should be done by an adult. Have the children sprinkle the bananas with the lemon juice.

Then let the kids roll the bananas in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until the banana is fully coated. Grill the bananas for a few minutes. When it is ready to serve, put a few scoops of the ice cream on the top. It has a semblance of a banana split, but the taste is more fabulous.

Fruit Surprise Dessert

You can also make a dessert with a lot more different fruits in it, like pineapple, peaches, apples, and raspberries.

You will need:
·       1 cup each of sliced apples, sliced pineapples, sliced peaches, and raspberries
·       (You can use other fruits and berries that are in season)
·       3 cups brown sugar
·       1 pint ice cream (any flavor will do)

Mix the fruits together with the sugar until they are fully coated. Most kids are thrilled to mix the fruits in the sugar. Grill the fruits for a few minutes until they become glazed.

Transfer them to a bowl and top it off with several scoops of ice cream.

If you don't have ice cream, you can mix the glazed fruits with cereal and milk. Put the mixture in the freezer to cool off for a few minutes.

Fruits are healthy and when made into sweet desserts, can become more tasty and delicious. Have the children choose their favorite fruits. Just changing the fruits used will make the dessert a new adventure each time it’s made. The kids will look forward to trying each new concoction as they wonder how sweet and tasty the fruity dessert will be.

Frozen Fruit Salad

Another great dessert is fruit salad. The preparation of this dessert needs a little more time because the salad has to be cold when served. You may have to keep the salad in the freezer for several hours. But the actual prep time is very quick and it’s easy to make.

You will need:
·       1 cherry pie filling
·       20 oz. crushed pineapples (drained)
·       1 can condensed milk (sweetened)
·       8 oz. Cool Whip
·       ¼ cup lemon juice
·       1 cup pecans (chopped)
Just mix a cherry pie filling with crushed pineapples, pecans, condensed milk, lemon juice and Cool Whip. The mixture can be chilled in a casserole dish or even in muffin tins. The fruit salad tastes delicious!

Most kids love to help in the kitchen. Do you have a favorite fruit dessert or other dish that fun to make? Why not share it with Package From Santa? Please add it in the comments below.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Lots of Things to Celebrate During the Month of February

There are a number of holidays and events in February that you can celebrate with your children. The holiday may give you time off from work, but more than that, it gives you an opportunity of bonding with your children. If February is still chlly and cold, you can celebrate the holidays by playing with the children at home.

President's Day

President's Day is celebrated on the third Monday of February. Originally declared to honor the birthday of George Washington, it now gives recognition to other presidents. The actual date varies. For 2016, President's Day will fall on February 15. You can play parlor games with the children, such as getting to know the presidents. Prepare the questions and answer sheets ahead of time. Not only will the games help strengthen family bonds, the time spent together will enhance the knowledge of your children regarding the different presidents of the United States.

Valentine's Day

February 14 is Valentines Day. Why not combine President's Day with Valentine's Day and have a grand party with the family? You can spruce up the house with flowers and provide chocolates for everybody. You can exchange cards and gifts as tokens of your love for one another. Have each member of the family make their own handcrafted cards. It can be an enjoyable and exciting family gathering.

Groundhog's Day

Groundhog's Day is on the second of February. People look forward to this occasion since it is an indication that winter is almost over. You can have fun with the family by making a variety of crafts, such as making a groundhog from construction paper. You can also make groundhog masks. Decorating the house with groundhog figures and pictures will enhance the holiday spirit.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is considered as the last celebration before the beginning of Lent. It is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. For 2016, Mardi Gras is on February 9. Some places celebrate Mardi Gras with parades and public dancing. There is a carnival atmosphere in the air. You can bring the family to watch the parades and join in the festivities. 

Even if the weather is cold, or if you cannot make it to the scheduled celebrations in your town, you can hold your own Mardi Gras party at home with the family, relatives and close friends. Set up a festive atmosphere, turn on the music and dance. Wherever you do your celebrations, make sure the family joins in. It's so much fun celebrating with your family.

Why not create your own personalized days to celebrate? You can designate a specialized holiday each month that will have meaning for you and your family. For instance, you might want to celebrate education one day during the month of January and honor nature during a day in February. The choice is yours – you can create your own customized reasons to celebrate and add those to your family calendar.

Keep reading the Package From Santa blog for more great ideas about ways to strengthen the family bonds.

Happy February!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to Help Your Kids Get Their New Year Off to a Great Start

Everybody, especially the children, enjoyed eating all types of food and goodies during the holidays. They played on their computers, talked on cellphones and watched television. Now it's time to start the year right by learning to live a healthy lifestyle. It is much easier to set goals of a healthy lifestyle for your kids if you join in with them. Make it a family goal. Children join in more easily when they see it as a family activity. You should make the goal appear exciting and enjoyable.

Make healthy eating a family affair!

Eating Right

Start off by providing nutritious food, such as meat and vegetables. Fast foods like pizza, fries, and burgers should be minimized. Eating vegetables becomes more enjoyable when you turn it into a game. Try mixing different types of vegetables together. The meals become more colorful and interesting. Ask your children to identify the different vegetables that are mixed together. You can offer rewards for those that get a perfect score.

Be sure your kids eat a good breakfast. Breakfast is considered the most critical meal of the day. Breakfast should provide sufficient nutrients and energy for the day. Load breakfast meals with fruits, cereals, milk and other healthy food. A variety of food during breakfast makes it easier for your kids to select different types of food. But be sure they get an assortment of food for breakfast. The varied choices make the meals more interesting and exciting. You can offer prizes to the child that eats the most assorted healthy food during breakfast.

The entire family will enjoy getting active.

Keep Them Moving!

Besides eating a healthy diet kids need to have adequate exercise. You can have them do chores around the house to keep them busy and moving around. You can set up outdoor games to keep your kids more physically active. If they get sufficient exercise during the day, it shouldn't be difficult getting them to sleep early. Rest and sleep are equally important in ensuring a healthy lifestyle.

Remember, children do not fully understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. They are young, strong, and vibrant. You need to show them how to live a healthy lifestyle. They will see the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle in time. And they will be glad you showed them how to integrate healthy eating habits and regular physical activities into a busy lifestyle.

When you’re in need of ideas on ways to make life more interesting, remember that the team at Package From Santa is here to help. Please visit the blog often - we add new content each month.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World

When we talk about Christmas, it’s easy to assume that the holiday is the same all over the world. But is that really true?

Traditionally, kids in the United States write letters to Santa to talk about the things they want for Christmas. If they’ve been good throughout the year they will likely receive a letter from Santa that assures them their name is on his ‘Nice List’. These same kids will probably have a decorated Christmas tree in their homes and they will hang stockings for Santa to fill with wonderful surprises.

For most of us, Christmas includes an exchange of gifts, a visit from Santa, and a delicious meal that is shared with loved ones.

But what about Christmas in other places: Is the holiday celebrated in the same way? Now, we have Internet and social networks that make it possible for us to see and experience how people observe Christmas in different parts of the world.

Christmas Foods

Christmas food is not only ham, turkey, and delicious side dishes and desserts. In other parts of the world, different kinds of food will be served on Christmas. Most European countries
celebrate Christmas Eve instead of Christmas Day. The Czech Republic, Austria and Germany serve carp with vegetables.

The carp is cooked in a beer and ginger sauce which makes it very tasty and spicy. Bulgaria serves twelve dishes, none of which are meat. They are different kinds of beans, fruits, cakes, cheese and spinach. Some countries, like Australia and Brazil follow the traditional turkey, ham, and stuffing viands.

The Christmas meals in France vary based on the regions. Parisians enjoy foie gras and oysters, while goose is the main fare in Alsace and Burgundy. Spain and Portugal concentrate on seafood such as sea bass, almonds and marzipan.

Christmas Traditions

Some Christmas traditions follow the cultures of the country. Russia celebrates Christmas on January 7. On Christmas Day, the Czech Republic women try to predict if they will get married in the coming year. With their back to the main house door, the shoe is thrown over their shoulder. If the heel is nearer the door, they will remain single.

German children leave their shoe outside the door and if they are good, the shoe will be filled with candies. This is similar to leaving your stockings in the fireplace, with the expectation that it will be filled with goodies the following morning. Slovakians throw a spoonful of loksa to the ceiling to predict if they will have a good harvest the following year.

The harvests are plentiful if more loksa stays stuck to the ceiling. Christmas is normally celebrated on December 25. But there are countries that because of their culture and tradition, might celebrate it on a different day and for a longer period.

But wherever it is and whatever food you partake, the spirit of Christmas lives in everyone. From the team at Package From Santa: A very Merry Christmas to everyone!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The First Thanksgiving

Things You Didn't Know About the First Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving today is very different from what the first Thanksgiving was. Firstly, Thanksgiving was looked upon as a time for prayer, giving thanks for the bountiful food and the friendship the pilgrims forged with the Indians.

Now it is considered a holiday and a day for celebration. This is not too far from the reasons behind the first Thanksgiving. On that day, pilgrims and Indians took the day off to eat, be merry and enjoy the company of one another.

Thanksgiving Food

The food during the first Thanksgiving meals was very unlike what we have today. The pilgrims and Indians had to contend with the food that was available at that time. In terms of meat, there was deer, venison, duck and other wild fowls. Turkey, as we know it today, was not available at that time.

Aside from the meat, there was a great deal of seafood, such as bass, clams, oysters and lobsters. This is because the sea and lakes were nearby. Interestingly, we rarely see seafood now as part of the Thanksgiving meal.

There were nuts and berries growing wild around the area. The Native Americans taught the pilgrims how to plant and farm on the arid land they were living on. However, the land was full of rocks and the soil was too acidic. The pilgrims could not successfully grow crops until the Native Americans taught them the technique of small gardens.

Gardening Basics Provided Some of the Main Dishes

Fresh vegetables are still part of the typical Thanksgiving meal.

There were small sections of land around the area that could grow crops. By limiting the gardens to the land that could grow the crops, the pilgrims enjoyed successful results. Although the harvests were small, it was enough for a family. And there were many small farm plots around the settlers.

The Thanksgiving meals included crops from the garden. There was corn, squash, and beans. The stalks of the corn were used for the vines of the beans. The beans provided nitrates to the soil, keeping it fertile for the next planting.

Thanksgiving: A Favorite Holiday Then and Now

The first Thanksgiving included fresh vegetables, fish and meat. Although they didn't have pumpkin pie, potatoes, and bread stuffing during the first Thanksgiving meal, the food the pilgrims and Indians shared was probably delicious.

Our Thanksgiving meals today have gone through a series of changes over the years. But despite the changes in food, we still maintain the tradition of giving thanks for our food, the family, and close friends. 

From everyone at Package From Santa, Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

6 Steps to Make Your 2015 Holiday Season Special

6 Steps to Make Your 2015 Holiday Season Special

Are you like the team at Package From Santa, are you already excited about Christmas 2015? We are gearing things up and preparing for a truly magical holiday season!

The North Pole is beautiful this time of year. It seems that everything suddenly looks more vibrant. The holiday season is exciting and we very busy and of course, and Santa and Mrs. Claus are too. Santa is reviewing his list of nice little boys and girls and he has stacks and stacks of paper ready so he can write letters to them. Mrs. Claus is spending lots of time baking her famous cookies.

But at the North Pole everyone plays an important role in the holiday season. The reindeer are practicing their jumps and leaps and the elves are busy in the toy workshop. But that’s enough about us for now.

The truth is, everyone at the North Pole is working hard to make sure the 2015 holiday season is the best holiday season ever!

What about you? Have you started planning your Holiday Season yet? Don’t panic, but October is almost over. That means you don’t have time to waste. On the other hand, you do have time to do all the things necessary to make this Christmas extra memorable.

Step 1: Take a deep breath….

Step 2: Make a general to-do list….
This will include things like ‘holiday shopping’, ‘holiday decorating’, holiday party’, ‘gift list’, ‘letters from Santa’, and, well, you get the idea.

Step 3: Create specific to-do lists….
Use the general to-do list to make detailed lists for each topic.

Step 4: Start completing and checking things off your lists….

Step 5: Celebrate the completion of your work….

Step 6: Enjoy the 2015 Holiday Season!