Friday, April 4, 2014

Easter's On Its Way!

Hopping Down The Bunny Trail – Easter’s On Its Way!


Easter is one of the magical times of the year. We are celebrating fresh beginnings and much more. While adults may be focused on things like the religious importance of the occasion or they may be concerned about what they will serve or eat during the Easter dinner most kids have other concerns. In a kid’s world Easter is all about Easter bunnies, Easter baskets, and lots of fun.  

Whether your focus is strictly on the religious aspect of the holiday or it’s on food choices, there are plenty of ways to include your kids. The reality is, almost all kids like to ‘create’ things. It gives them a sense of accomplishment and thus, helps to build their confidence in themselves. Increased self-esteem can help kids in lots of ways.

Palm Sunday Craft

With these things in mind it is a good idea to involve kids in learning about the holiday and encouraging them to create various crafts related to the event. For instance, you can teach kids how palm leaves relate to Palm Sunday. This craft is simple enough for small children. All you need is large pieces of green construction paper, crayons and kid-safe scissors. To begin you cut out long oval leaf shapes. Next, you fold the shapes in half – this makes them appear more realistic. Then you or the kids use scissors to cut the edges to create leaf fronds. The final step is using crayons to add special touches or even a special message.

Get Kids Involved In Cooking

The kitchen seems to be a favorite place for old and young alike. And if you happen to be making a special treat you can count on the fact that kids will gravitate to the area. Most will enjoy helping out. Here’s how to turn an ordinary cookie into an extraordinary treat – and it’s a quick and easy recipe. You will need some frosting, about a cup of flaked coconut, food color and jelly beans.

Lay your cookies flat and add frosting to the top side. Drop coconut into a plastic bag. Mix a few drops of food color with a drop or two of water. Add the mix to the bag and shake well – ensure that all coconut is colored as you desire.

Sprinkle coconut on cookies – the goal is to create a nest-like with the coconut. Then add a few jelly bean eggs and your adorable treat is finished!

An Easy Easter Game

Decorate an empty pickle jar with a ribbon and a few Easter-inspired stickers. Fill the jar with jelly beans or other Easter candy. Count as you add the candy and save that information. Give each kid a piece of paper – preferably paper that has been embellished with Easter decorations - and ask them to write down their names and a guess about the number of jelly beans in the jar. The candy-filled jar goes to the person that comes closest to naming the exact amount of candy in the jar.

These are simple ways to add joy to this magnificent holiday. 

Keep reading this Package From Santa blog for other ideas you can use.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Make Your Own Fairy Garden

Make Your Own Fairy Garden


Gardening is an activity that is fun for old and young alike – it’s something the entire family can enjoy together. But not everyone wants to commit the time, money and effort required to make and maintain a large-scale garden. With that in mind, smaller versions can be the ideal alternative. In this case we are referring to ‘fairy gardens’.

Getting Started

Fairy gardens are perfect for decks and patios. But they can also be added to almost any outdoor space. Plus, you can use a variety of ‘garden’ containers. This includes everything from an old suitcase to a picnic basket, wooden box or a discarded wagon. Other options include a non-working outdoor fountain with a large base or a large concrete planter.

The basic step is to fill the container with dirt and add plants. Small compact plants, such as succulents and ground covers are good choices. Since this is a fairy garden you should try to use plants and other items that are small-scaled, but that are interesting.

The Fun Begins!

After you have the plants in place you can begin the fun part – accessorizing the garden to make it the perfect home for fairies!  Keep in mind, this will probably be an on-going process – because as time goes by there will likely be new ideas and items you and your kids want to try.

One important consideration is pathways. You should add paths that will take the fairies through the garden. These can be made with any type of small rocks – a good choice is aquarium gravel.

You may even want to use some aquarium decorations in your garden. You can find great-looking caves, houses and castles that any fairy is sure to love. You can also find some items that make wonderful ‘statues’ for the fairy garden.

Use your imagination to create the perfect garden. Want a gazing ball for the fairies’ front lawn? Just glue a pretty marble to a golf tee!  Want a pond in your Fairy Garden? Partially bury a small dish. Check out the idea of using small knick-knacks to decorate your garden.

Besides using aquarium accessories and knick-knacks you may already have you might also want to visit the craft aisle of your favorite department store. You will find things like small bird nests, birds, butterflies and bees that can be added to the garden.

Be creative and have fun – the fairy garden will be a magical place that your family will enjoy for the long term.


Debbie Allen writes about everything from real letters from Santa to home decoration and gardening tips. Visit this Package From Santa blog regularly to stay informed.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Traditional St. Patrick's Day Meal

Traditional St. Patrick’s Day Meal


Maybe you’re like millions of others – you don’t have a lot of time but you still like to make holidays fun. And with that the thought of planning and cooking something special probably doesn’t sound too appealing. But the good news is – you can make a traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal very easily – in fact, you can use a crock pot!

Corned beef and cabbage is the traditional meal most people associate with St. Patrick’s Day.

Main Ingredients:

  • Corned Beef Brisket (3 pounds) & Spice Packet
  • Small Red Potatoes (10 -12)
  • Red Onion (1 - diced)
  • Carrots (5 – peeled and cut into small pieces)
  • Head of Cabbage (cut into small wedges)
  • Water (3 cups)


Cooking Instructions:

  • Add vegetables to crock pot. Combine contents of spice packet with 3 cups water – then pour over vegetables. 
  • Add brisket to pot – then top off with cabbage.
  • Add cover and cook on low for approximately 8 – 9 hours. Meat and vegetables should be tender at completion.
  • Place cabbage and vegetables in separate bowls. Add broth to bowls. Place brisket on a platter and slice to serve.


Don’t Forget About Dessert!

What could be more appropriate for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert than a rainbow cake or cupcakes in a jumbo size? And the best part is – this recipe is easy!

Ingredients Needed:

  • White Cake Mix - 2 Boxes
  • White Cake Frosting – 2 Containers
  • Water – 2 ½ cups
  • Vegetable Oil – 2/3 cup
  • Food Color – Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare paper muffin cups or you can choose to make a rainbow cake.
  • Add cake mixes, egg whites, vegetable oil and water to large bowl and mix until thoroughly blended.
  • Separate mix into six smaller bowls. Add food coloring to create the following colors: Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Orange (add 10 – 12 drops of yellow color and 4- 5 drops yellow), and Purple (9-10 drops red color and 5 – 6 drops blue).
  • Begin each muffin (or the bottom layer of the cake) with 1 tablespoon) red batter.
  • Build the color layers of the rainbow as you desire using all 6 colors you created.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes (test by lightly touching center of cake/muffin or by inserting a toothpick).
  • Cool for 10 minutes before adding frosting.

There you have it – a delicious way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Debbie Allen is a regular contributor at Package From Santa blogs. She writes about everything from everyday lifestyle tips to craft projects and recipes and even about holiday traditions like writing letters to Santa .

Friday, March 7, 2014

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day


You don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This is a holiday that offers lots of ways to make time with your kids fun and meaningful. You can celebrate by creating some delicious treats and you can make some great decorations and craft items.

St. Patrick’s Day Treats

Let’s start with some St. Patrick’s Day treat ideas. One of the very simple treat ideas for this holiday is cookies that are decorated in green. Green M&Ms can be pressed into freshly baked cookies or you can add green frosting or other decorations. You can do the same with brownies and cakes.

Miniature pretzels can be perfect for creating special treats for any holiday. Just spread a sheet of wax paper to add your pretzels to. Then melt white or milk chocolate in the microwave. Drop a teaspoonful of chocolate onto each pretzel – then decorate using 3 green M&Ms for each pretzel – which now becomes shamrocks. A bit of green icing be used to create a ‘stem’. The same process can be used to create treats for other times of the year – just use appropriately colored M&Ms and skip the stem!

Cool Drinks For St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick ’s Day drinks include everything from lime-flavored Kool-Aid to green smoothies and shakes. Get creative – add vanilla ice cream, milk and a few drops of green food color to your blender – just blend and serve! You might also want to consider serving up a green punch and add some scoops of green sherbet for interest. Top your St. Patrick’s Day drinks off with a bit of whipped cream and some green sprinkles.

Craft Project For St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrocks and leprechauns are the traditional icons used for St. Patrick’s Day decorations. As our image indicates, St. Patrick’s Day is often associated with good luck or even with good fortune. After all, everyone knows that leprechauns love gold and jewels. Leprechauns are small and they visit our homes on St. Patrick’s Day. 

With this, trapping a leprechaun can offer the promise of something exciting. It should be remembered that leprechauns are clever – they can always escape from traps. But if your trap is one they like, the leprechaun(s) will leave behind something special for you. This could be candy, money, or other items. Parents should be warned, just as kids look for ways to ensure they receive real letters from Santa – they will also want to know if the item left really came from leprechauns.   
     
Obviously, creating a leprechaun trap can be a lot of fun – and there are lots of ways to do this. One way is to use a Quaker Oats box. Of course, leprechauns like the color green, and they like rainbows and pots of gold. Keeping those things in mind the box should be decorated accordingly. Placing the box on top of a paper plate that has been decorated in a similar manner will help make box look like a leprechaun hat. The top of the ‘hat’ is the trap. 

You can cut a few slits from the outside rim of the lid to the center. This ensures that if a leprechaun walks across the lid he will ‘fall in’ to the trap. You should add something to the box top that will lure leprechauns in. This could be a small trinket, candy, or other items. You can even make a ladder to help them scale the side of the hat (box). Just glue some twigs together to create a ladder.


The hardest part about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is deciding which option(s) you will go with. All we can say is, choose wisely – best of luck!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Home Remedy Treatments for Diaper Rash

Do You Know About These Home Remedy Treatments for Diaper Rash?


Diaper rash is not uncommon – but if you are very careful you may be able to eliminate it – forever! Below you will find some home remedy treatments for diaper rash as well as some ways to prevent it.

First Things First

Wet or soiled diapers are the perfect breeding ground for the development of diaper rash. With that in mind, a bare-bottom can be healthier for your baby. Of course, that isn’t a reasonable option for most of the day. With that in mind, you should change your baby’s diaper often. Keeping your baby clean and dry can certainly make a huge difference.

Clean and Dry

Store-purchased baby wipes may contain alcohol or other substances that can irritate skin. In most cases, a soft washcloth wet with water and a very gentle soap is a better choice. After cleaning baby you should use a washcloth wet with plain water to rinse away any residue left behind. Baby’s bottom should then be dried. Use a soft towel and pat dry. If possible, wait a few minutes before diapering baby.

Creams and Ointments

There are countless creams and ointments available that can be used as protection for baby. These products add a barrier that helps to defend the baby from irritations that urine and feces can cause. Keep in mind that these ointments can also prevent air from reaching the skin – therefore, they should be used sparingly on skin that is already irritated.

Change Can Be Good

It is possible that a baby is sensitive to the materials used in any brand of disposable diaper. Sometimes changing to another brand will make a difference. So if you change your baby frequently and allow air to get to the baby’s bottom but diaper rash continues to be a problem, you may need to try a different disposable diaper.

Consult With A Professional

All these suggestions are just that – we do not provide medical advice. In fact, if diaper rash is an ongoing problem or if it seems severe in any way, you should consult with a healthcare professional.


Debbie Allen is a regular contributor at Package From Santa blogs. She is the owner of The Things Women Want – an online magazine for women.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How to Handle Unsolicited Parenting Advice

How to Handle Unsolicited Parenting Advice


When it comes to parenting it seems everyone has an opinion. Whether it's from your own mother, your mother-in-law, your next door neighbor, or a complete stranger, as a parent you are likely to receive lots of advice - much of which is not asked for and not wanted.

Many people feel they are experts in the field and therefore, they are ready and willing to give you advice. The problem is, unless you ask for the advice, you probably don’t want it. Even so, most of this advice is given with good intentions – and it is up to you to respond to it in whatever way you see fit.

However, since the advice is given with good intentions, you probably want to respond in a polite way. At the same time, because you don’t want the advice you may feel a bit offended. So how should you handle unsolicited parenting advice?

Public Parenting

Every parent has or will experience a time when their child misbehaves in public. You may be at the grocery store waiting to pay and your child decides to cry because he/she is tired or maybe because you didn’t buy the candy they wanted. This is a perfect time for someone to offer advice about how to help your child calm down.

You could of course let the advisor know that you don’t need any advice – but that could be considered rude. Another way to handle this is to simply thank the well-intentioned person and ask if they have any solutions for another situation, such as how to get your child to sleep through the night, etc. – you may even go as far as asking for their phone number so you can call them if needed. In most cases the advice giver will back off from giving additional parenting tips.

Isn’t He Too Old For That?

Sometimes family members as well as strangers like to help out with parenting advice – but in a subtle way. They may ask if your child is too old for this or shouldn’t she be better at that by now. Rather than being hurt or offended, take control of the conversation. Ask what their experience is with children. If they are not qualified to give advice they may immediately feel regret for asking the question; on the other hand, if they happen to be experts in some way, you may get some free advice that is truly helpful.

Spoiled Rotten

What one parent considers spoiling a child is what another thinks of as being a good parent. Parenting styles differ. If you are accused of spoiling your child you should simply give appreciation for the opinion but feel confident with your own parenting skills and style.

Keep in mind that most people giving parenting advice really do not mean any harm or hurt to you. Responding in kindness and understanding can keep the interaction cordial and in some cases, it may be the best way to build or enhance a relationship.


Debbie Allen is a regular contributor at Package From Santa blogs. She often writes about ways to live a happy and healthy lifestyle – her topics cover everything from craft projects to ways to save money and recipes.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Greetings!

Valentine's Day Greetings From Santa...

Santa asked the team at Package From Santa to deliver the above message... From Santa and everyone at Package From Santa - 
Happy Valentine's Day!

We hope your day is filled with love and joy....
XOXOXO