We’re approaching that time of year where normally sane women elbow each other on Black Friday to get reindeer sweaters at 60% off and my mailbox is stuffed with catalogs featuring every toy that lights up and makes noise.
“Wowwwww what is thaaaaat?” my five year old pointed to a toy Katniss-Everdeen-style bow + arrow set that came in a Target catalog in the mail. Her eyes started to gloss over, I could see the wheels in her head turning… “Do you think you could get that for me for Christmas?” (turns page) “This, too?”
Here’s a nice, quiet, no-batteries-required craft that gives a nod to some of things we want to cherish during the holiday season - giving and gratitude.
1) Gather some construction paper, draw a leaf shape, and cut. I used a hole-punch to make small holes at the end of each leaf. If your children are old enough, they can draw and cut the leaves themselves.
2) Have your kiddo(s) write down what they’re thankful for. If they’re too young to write, they can either draw a picture or you can write it for them. Ours ranged from apples to kittens to favorite stuffed animals.
3) String them up (we used yarn, but twine or ribbon works just fine), and hang them somewhere to admire. A mantel, a doorway, or in our case, a mirror.
For a happy sensory bonus, I set some water to boil on the stove, tossed in some rosemary sprigs, lemon slices, and vanilla extract and played some soft instrumental music on Pandora. The girls quietly colored and wrote their leaves, and it was just *such* a nice, soothing afternoon activity.
You’ll need a couple of those if you’re going to go elbow to elbow with Marge on Black Friday.
We love pretty, easy updates. What do we define as an “easy” fall pick for a busy mom? It has to be 1) attractive, obviously and 2) fuss-free. That means no ‘dry-clean only’ labels which means no pile of dry-clean only clothing taunting us as it languishes in a bag, waiting for us to bring it to the dry cleaners’. Our picks for fall even include a cute backpack for the days that we like arms-free living.
J.Crew Crinkle Boy Black Shirt ($89.50)
Target Mossimo Supply Co. Flannel Aztec Print Backpack ($29.99)
Anthropologie Izabel Mini-Wedges ($188.00)
Old Navy Fair Isle Sweater Scarf ($18.94)
Madewell Softest Ribbed Beanie ($38.00)
Hey! Hi! So if you are reading this, THANK YOU. You’ve taken the first, super easy, and free step to contribute to Wellspring Living.
What’s Wellspring Living? Well, it’s an amazing organization that offers restoration programs for survivors of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse ages 12-40. Wellspring Living confronts the issues of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation through awareness (it unfortunately DOES happen, every day, right here in Atlanta), training, and treatment programs for women and girls.
We at RedRover can’t think of a better cause to donate to, and would like to contribute $1,000 to Wellspring Living to further the important and much-needed work they are doing for our community.
How can you help?
As a thank you for doing this, we will donate $1 for every new Atlanta user.
***P.S. We have a super easy widget that will allow you do to the above tasks in a few taps…take a look:
What’s RedRover and why should you invite us into your lives? We are the easy button for planning the best day ever with your family. Learn more about us here.
THANK YOU again for your support of Wellspring Living!
Fall is definitely here, and it brings with it pumpkins, cooler weather, and bags of candy that we can’t stop eating. We’re kind of app-crazy here at RedRover, so with Halloween just around the corner, we thought we’d share some of our favorite apps for kids. They’re all perfect for pre-dinner screen time or for keeping them occupied in the waiting room.
Even toddlers can match play this word game illustrated with cute Halloween-themed photos. It’s a fun way to introduce letter recognition!
The “spooky” level on this is pretty low, and comes mostly in the form of an interactive jigsaw puzzle – fitting ghosts to shapes, for example, in the middle of this cute interactive book.
Your kiddo may be too young to wield a knife, but he can still design his own jack-o-lantern with this cute app by the smart people at Parents Magazine. Plenty of mouths, noses, and eyes to choose from (or draw them yourself!), so it’s totally customizable.
This interactive book provides a little nostalgia for parents as well as offers a fun story that caters to all reading levels. Kiddos can tap individual words and pictures and even record their own narration to share with others.
This adorable e-book is perfect for kids who feel a little apprehensive about all of the scary decorations donning storefronts and houses.
Enjoy! We’ll just be sitting here, eating all of the candy corn.
This is the first in a series called “The RedRover Q&A”, where we reach out to an awesome parent to give us real, hilarious, and insightful glimpses into their world. This week, we welcome Roo Ciambriello of NeonFresh.com. Roo rocks it as a talented blogger, copywriter, and mom of three.
Her answers are fabulous; take a look:
What’s the most embarrassing thing your child has done in public?
Asked a larger woman wearing purple if she was Barney the dinosaur. :/
What new tradition have you established for your family?
We are super Christmasy at Christmas. Neither my husband nor I grew up in homes that were really into celebrating the holidays (some years we didn’t put up trees), so we overcompensate for that a little bit. We put up our tree the day after Thanksgiving, bake cookies, and make hot chocolate with cocoa powder and coconut milk (my kids have food allergies). Jack does a gingerbread house with the girls right before Christmas, and then after spending time with family on Christmas Day, we throw a party later that night. Friends come by after seeing their families and we just eat and hang out and sometimes people end up passing out on our couches. We love it!
Coffee or tea?
Favorite kids toy:
LEGOS all day, as long as I never step on them.
Favorite kids book:
The Bear Snores On. I love reading this to my girls… the rhythm/pattern is so fun.
One word that describes you as parent:
Did you understand how hard it was going to be?
Absolutely not. I was completely blindsided after having my first baby. Now I’m definitely more easygoing.
Pencil, pen, or marker?
Beach or mountains?
What is your favorite restaurant to go to with your kids?
Our girls have extensive food allergies (womp womp) so this is kind of a hard question. Any restaurant that is super amazing and understanding about food allergies is okay in my book.
Mac or PC?
What kids’ music do you listen to when your kids aren’t around?
Rap/hip-hop. Always with my earbuds in or in the car solo. Waiting for the day that rappers sing about innocuous things like picking up their dry cleaning or finding a movie at Redbox.
iPhone or Android?
What quality do you wish you had more of as a parent?
*breeeeeaaathe iiiiiin* patience *breeeaaathe ouuuuutttt huuuug a treeeeee*
Night owl or early riser? (Or both!)
Early riser (but it’s always a struggle)
How many hours of tv/game console/iPad do you allow?
We went an entire month without any sort of television this past summer. It went great. I’d totally do it again, but at the same time, I don’t get down on myself if we’re having a particularly crazy week and I turn on a movie to gain a little sanity. Maybe we average an hour? IDK, man. Ask me something easy.
East coast or west coast?
What is the most annoying thing other parents brag about?
Honestly, I don’t know. I try to tune that out as much as possible because 1) comparison is the thief of joy and 2) I don’t have time in my day to be irritated with other parents. SO I usually just hide their status updates on Facebook. ;P
Favorite place in the U.S.?
Home, with take-out fajitas.
Do you volunteer at your school?
I homeschool my kindergartner, but my middle daughter goes to a great preschool. I volunteer to buy stuff, but never bake stuff. Ha!
Earbuds or bluetooth?
Are you strict about bed time?
Yeaaa boyyyyy! 7pm on the nose, Mommy loves you, and good night, little boos.
It’s only the middle of September, but we hear you, Type-A moms of Pinterest, and get it: Halloween is right around the corner. Even though some of us are still dipping our toes in the pool, fall is indeed in the air, pumpkin flavored everything is back in season, and the leaves are piling up on our lawns.
(Adorable photo credit here)
Therefore, we have compiled a list of our favorite fall ideas that you can DIY, if you are good at that sort of thing.
2. CountryLiving offers 43 DIY Halloween costumes, pumpkins, decor, and more here.
3. Rachelle Francey of Kenziepoo compiled a list of 9 DIY last minute Halloween costumes and crafts which you should bookmark on babble because you know (at least some of you) will be there the day before Halloween. Click here to see her ideas.
4. Being the arbiters of everything cool, you just know CoolMomPicks has an amazing Pinterest board waiting for you to peruse. Check out all the Halloween fabulousness here.
5. Are you a sucker for dressed-up newborns? Well you can thank the lovely Nadia Carriere of ChildMode for compiling Halloween costume ideas for newborns using accessories alone. Swoon! Click here to view them.
Do you know of any spectacular websites, blogs, or Pinterest boards full of great fall/Halloween ideas? Tell us in the comments below!
Atlanta RedRover partners and parents talk about why they love and what they love about RedRover during the launch of RedRover: Atlanta Edition hosted by Whole Foods Buckhead. Check it out here:
New York’s Guggenheim Museum of Art is an easy sell for art aficionados. But for an antsy four-year-old, the appeal of Edward Hopper or Camille Pissarro can dim pretty fast. Luckily, the museum’s staff have become masters at offering programs that let families explore in creative, hands-on ways. We spoke to Emily Rivlin-Nadler, the museum’s Education Associate in Family Programs, about how to make this art haven part of your routine.
The key, Rivlin-Nadler says, is to know your options. Right now, families have three activity choices:
1) Choose Your Own Path: A self-guided tour complete with family activity guides and packs for each major rotunda show and ramp exhibition. “It’s a little like a scavenger hunt,” Emily explains. “You can find the work on the front of the card, and on other side is information about the work, conversation points, and activities like drawing or movement.” (Be sure to check out the family guide to the new James Turrell exhibition, which encourages your kids to experiment with light, color, and space.
2) Drop-In Path: For those looking for a chance to get off their feet and spend an afternoon, there are two designated areas of the museum where you can park the stroller and stay as long as you want. “We have activities your kids can do right in front of the artwork, where they explore it through interactive activities like puzzles, games, and drawing challenges.” Ask for a Guggenheim sketchbook at the Family Activity Kiosk near the museum entrance. And for those with little ones, try a stroller tour on designated weekdays, led by museum educator and mom Jackie Delamatre.
3) Open Studio for Families: For those with older kids looking to get a little messier, there’s the Studio Art Lab, located in the Sackler gallery. The whole family can draw, paint, sculpt, and more, all using techniques and materials that the artists use. To see more photos from recent studios, click here.
For more information about the Guggenheim’s family programs, check them out on RedRover!
With back-to-school season hurtling toward us, we moms have 400 things to do and not nearly enough time to do them. But instead of scribbling lists upon lists on Post-Its, notebooks, and scraps of paper, try these pre-made checklists with everything moms need (and more) to be ready come September. You can download them on your phone, or print them out
1. The Cozi back-to-school countdown wisely starts preparing you six weeks out (which is, uh, now!). As we all know, it’s easy to lose track of time, and this is the perfect resource for parents who need a nudge each week.
2. This simple shopping checklist from the folks at zulily has all the basics in a clean, easy-to-read format. And while you may not need everything on the list, and the tone may be a bit prim (um, “trousers?”) it’s helpful to have when you’re at the department store trying to remember everything the kids might need in the colder months.
3. I’m a huge fan of the Get Buttoned Up creators and organizational gurus Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, so it’s no surprise that I love their free printable back-to-school countdown, which outlines things you need to do (and buy) based on a specific timeline. Helpful for those of us (ahem, cough) that leave things to the last minute.
4. This back-to-school printable checklist has three columns — To-buy, To-do, and To-label. If you’re like me, your child is always coming home with something that you forgot to put his/her name on. And in case there are items missing on the list, there are a few open spaces to add your own.
5. Alphamom’s technicolor printable countdown poster adds some serious festivity to the last week before school arrives, with special tabs your child can tear off to help keep track of the days. Think of it as an advent calendar, but for school — which may help curb any summer-is-over complaints. Plus it’ll help you fit in those last memorable activities (we’ve got a few suggestions on RedRover!) before school actually starts.
We’re so fortunate to have some of the best libraries in the country as RedRover partners. Of course, everyone knows libraries are a wonderful, free way to get books (hello, obvious much?), but they’ve got so much more to offer parents, especially during the summer months. And we’re not just talking about air conditioning.
1. Quiet time: Yes, while libraries aren’t like they used to be, with some mean librarian shushing your every move, you can always trust that for the most part, they’re guaranteed peace and quiet, which can be a nice change from the hustle and bustle of anywhere else you might be visiting with your kids. And once kids know the rules, they tend to know that they need to stick with them. And if not, that’s when you enlist the help of your not-so-friendly librarian.
2. Events: Along with the free books (including e-book rentals too, you techies!), libraries offer a plethora of free programming for families, whether it’s young babies (like this cool program at Brooklyn Public Library), or for adults only in the evenings. Need a free date night? You might not have thought about going to the library before, but these days, it’s a viable option. And what’s so wonderful about all these events and activities is that it’s a way for you to meet up and spend time with other families.
3. WIFI: While you may not be able to enjoy a Grande Mocha while you work, you’ll appreciate the quiet, which is something most coffee shops can’t offer you. Some libraries do have a time limit, but for the most part, you can sit and use your laptop or tablet for free. Plus, you don’t have to worry about being tempted by that glazed donut behind the glass window.
4. Movies, Audio Books, and Music (oh my!): In case you might have forgotten, libraries also offer families the ability to borrow movies, audio books, and music too. And yes, in the age of video streaming and iPods, many of us still have CD and DVD players, all of which can be put to good use thanks to your local library.
5. Learning: So while you might not have an incredible resource like the New York Public Library, most libraries, even in the smallest of towns, offer all sorts of educational activities and clubs for both parents and kids. It’s a wonderful way to meet like-minded parents (and kids), as well as teach kids skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives.
We’re thrilled to have San Francisco Public Library, Queens Library, and the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library as well as the Brooklyn Public Library and New York Public Library all sharing their events on RedRover. Make sure to download our free app or sign-up free at RedRover.co for access!
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