Garanimals Blog

October 20th, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Halloween Games and Activities

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Halloween fun isn’t only about dressing up and trick-or-treating. Playing halloween games is a nice way to have fun as a family, or celebrate with friends at a party.

  • Witches Hat Ring Toss – Purchase some witches hats from the dollar store and stuff with newspaper. Use rings of some sort (I used glow necklaces) to throw around the hats.
  • Tic Tac Toe – A great game for people of all ages this printable is an easy way to make it Halloween worthy.
  • Costume Paper Doll Dress-Up – An easy activity to keep kids occupied is by drawing a cut out of a person. I usually just trace a the largest gingerbread man cookie cutter I have. The kids love to transform the shape by drawing a costume on it. They can draw on clothes to make it a pirate, Frankenstein, Dracula, a princess, a fairy, etc. Be ready to provide lots of papers with the initial drawing because the ideas can be endless! You can even make these life-size by tracing your child.
  • Leaf Rubbings and Other Drawing Fun – Another craft idea is to take some leaves and stick them under a piece of paper. Use a crayon with all the paper off to make a leaf rubbing. Create a fun picture or use the design to be the background to a fun shape that you cut out. Or, did you ever notice that your foot upside down looks like a ghost? This is a great craft for really young ones. Paint the bottom of their feet and toes and place down on paper. Add some eyes once it dries and you have a spooky, but cute ghost!
  • Mummy Wrap –  Each  child gets a roll of toilet paper and they get to wrap up their friends.
  • Pumpkin Ping-Pong – Cut out some shapes to make them look like Jack-O-Lantern faces and line them up in a row away from you. Give the kids ping pong balls to throw at the buckets one by one. First person to get them in all the buckets wins!
  • Halloween Sensory Boxes – Take a box, cut a hole in it, and cover it with a cloth. Fill it with stuff and have the kids pass it around to touch. Some of the fun things you can add are popcorn kernels for “witches teeth, bologna for “tongues,” peeled grapes for “eyeballs,” and spaghetti for “brains.”
  • Costume Race or Dress-Up –  We’ve got tons of costumes and props lying around from past years. See how many different costume ideas can come out of that box. Have a timed race to see who can put the best costume together the quickest. Have little ones? Then do a Halloween fashion show complete with pictures.
  • Pumpkin Bowling –  Take some toilet paper and make it look like ghosts with cutouts from construction paper that you attach. Take an extra pumpkin and drill three holes in it, just like a bowling ball. Hours of entertainment!

Have a great time celebrating Halloween!

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October 17th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

Halloween Safety

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Halloween is such a fun holiday for kids! They get to dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat with friends, and get free candy. But with all that comes some concerns that you should discuss with your kids ahead of time. Safety first! Here are some things to think about, whether you’re taking your kids or they’re heading out with friends:

Costume Safety (For Parents)

  • If you are trick or treating in the dark, make sure the costume is visible. Give your kids a flashlight or flickering necklace hold or wear while they’re out. There is also reflective tape you could add to the costume.
  • Make sure the costume fits and isn’t hanging onto the ground, creating a tripping hazard. Also make sure any eye holes are big enough to be seen through.
  • Any props like guns, swords, etc. should be evaluated as to whether they are really needed for the costume.
  • Make sure any hair spray or makeup has been tested beforehand. Sometimes cosmetic substances like that can be irritating to the skin.

Trick or Treating Safety (For Kids)

  • Stay in the neighborhood (parents and kids should discuss boundaries beforehand). Be careful when crossing the street. Watch for cars and obey any traffic signals.
  • Never enter someone’s home, even if they invite you in.
  • Only go to each house once.
  • Don’t be greedy, take only one piece of candy (or two if the homeowner says you can) and leave the rest for other trick-or-treaters.
  • Stay with your group and/or adult or parent at all times. Don’t wander off.
  • Use manners – always say “thank you” after receiving your treats.

Candy Safety (For Parents)

  • Check your children’s candy to see if anything has  been tampered with, or if there is anything they are allergic to or should have because of certain dental or health issues. It’s generally a good idea to discard anything homemade or in unsealed bags.

Be safe and have lots of fun!!

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October 13th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Fun Treats for Halloween

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Trick or Treat?

Halloween is really all about the treats, right?

There are so many ways to get creative with treats for this fun holiday. Here are some of my favorites.

Little Frankies

Frankenstein Cupcakes

Goldfish Filled Pumpkins

Monster Pudding Cups

Witches Hat Cupcakes

Frankenstein Rice Krispies

Mummy Hot Dogs

Pumpkin Rice Krispies

Yummy Mummy Treats

Frankenstein Halloween Treats

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Halloween Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jello Worms

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

Spookey Halloween Bones

Dracula’s Dentures

Mini Donut Spiders

 

I definitely will be making several of those for my boys over the next few weeks. An easy Halloween snack my boys love is caramel apples. Here’s how I make them for my family!

Caramel Apple Supreme

Ingredients:

Apples
Caramel topping for Ice Cream
Whipped Cream
Maraschino Cherries
Various Toppings: nuts, Heath bar pieces, mini M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, chopped candies, sprinkles, and more!
Cut the apple into slices and place in a bowl. Cover with heated caramel topping. Sprinkle on how many toppings you would like. Top with whipped cream and a cherry!

Super easy and super yummy!

 

 

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October 10th, 2014 at 12:53 pm

DIY Girls Costumes

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My mom always made costumes for my sister and I for Halloween. On the night before Halloween she would quickly craft two costumes out of almost anything! Thank goodness nowadays we have things like blogs and Pinterest to fuel our imaginations! Here are some fun costumes I found while scouring the web for girls costumes.

Tightrope Walker

Dr. Suess – Sam I Am

Animal Costumes

Mermaid

Elsa from Frozen

Owl

Sock Hop Girls

Unicorn

Cupcake

S’mores

Jellyfish

Cabbage Patch Doll

Felt Cupcake

Rapunzel

Wonder Woman or Bat Girl

Easy Halloween Makeup for girls

Plus, you can make practically anything into a costume when you make a tutu. I saw a ghost with a white t-shirt, princesses, pumpkin queens, clowns, superheroes and more!

What fun ideas have you made?

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October 6th, 2014 at 1:45 pm

DIY Boys Costumes

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One of the most exciting aspects of Halloween for kids is picking out a costume. They can get pretty expensive when bought ready-made from a store, but there are so many great costumes you can make yourself! Many of our fall clothing styles are great as the base of DIY costumes….a solid long-sleeved tee and fleece pant are perfect for the cooler weather and all you need is a little imagination to make it into something great! Here are some fun ideas for boys costumes:

Drummer Boy Costume

Box of Popcorn

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 

Harry Potter

Lego Brick

Charlie Brown

Octopus Costume

Peter Pan

Prince Charming

Strong Man from the Carnival

Green Army Man

Old Man from “Up

Stroller Costumes

Rocket Man

Minecraft

Ninja 

I love so many of these, I almost want to make my boys dress up as Peter Pan or a ninja. The problem is, as your kids get older they have definite ideas of what costume they want each year! Be sure to come back later this week and see some great ideas for girls!

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September 29th, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Teaching Children to Give

Giving

As the holidays approach, it is easier to incorporate giving into your life and teach children to do the same. Here are some ways that you can give every day, all year long!

Giving comes in so many forms. It can include money, gifts, food, and service. Here are a few ideas to help your children become more charitable.

Help Neighbors

  • Rake leaves
  • Take their dog for a walk
  • Spend some time chatting with them
  • Cook them a meal or dessert

Donate Clothing or Toys

Go through items you no longer need and give to friends or family going through hardship, or drop off at a place that distributes to the needy.

Stop Collecting Birthday Gifts

Instead of actual gifts being brought to parties, ask for guests to bring items that can be donated. Include your child in picking a favorite charity.

  • Pet food – Humane Society or Rescue Mission
  • Books – Shelter or School
  • Winter Items – Shelter for Kids
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Non-Perishable Food Items – Food Pantry

Help The Elderly

Teach your children to help the elderly complete tasks that have become more difficult to them, whether it is yard work, window cleaning, etc.

Complete Random Acts of Kindness

This can be something as simple as putting an extra coin in a parking meter, to something like buying a meal for the person behind you in the drive thru. Teach your children to lead with a giving heart where they are always thinking of others.

Deliver a Smile

Giving doesn’t always have to be to poor or needy people. You may know of a family that just needs a smile. Surprise them with basket of goodies, a special drawing or card, or even just a hello as you pass them in the store.

Giving is easy – spread some joy around!

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September 26th, 2014 at 11:33 am

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Recipes

One of my favorite fall flavors is pumpkin. I buy canned pumpkin starting the first week of September all the way through the end of November. Below are several of my favorite recipe links, as well as my personal favorite recipe for pumpkin bars! There are so many delicious options!

Ann’s Pumpkin Nut Bread

Pecan Pumpkin Dessert

Libbys Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Low Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir dry mix into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10 x 15 jellyroll pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting: Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners sugar, a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

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September 22nd, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Adjusting Negative Attitudes

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All kids complain, pout, or get angry at some point or another. In the morning, at the store, sitting at the dinner table, anywhere!!  It’s okay to complain every now and then, but constant complaining needs to be dealt with. .

“That’s mine!”

“I want that, NOW!”

“I don’t like that!”

“That’s unfair!”

“Leave me alone!”

Sometimes, little ones are just trying to test the limits and may outgrow the “phase.” This negativity can permeate your entire family and other children can pick up the habit. Here are some ways you can help them adjust their attitudes.

  • Explain that sometimes complaining is helpful, but most of the time it isn’t. Teach them constructive ways of showing their emotions and explaining how they feel.
  • Enlist everyone in the family to help change a negative attitude in one child.
  • Show them how they are acting and when they start complaining, do it back to them. Change your tone to the tone they use. My kids hate it when I start whining to them! Sometimes they don’t even realize what they’re doing.
  • Challenge them to not complain for a whole day or even just a whole hour. Then try to do it for longer periods of time!
  • Pick one problem to work on at a time.

With a little bit of persistence you can make an impact on your child and their negativity. Attitudes affect everyone in the family, so it’s important to nip issues in the bud.

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September 19th, 2014 at 9:00 am

Making Money Through Consignment Sales

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As kids grow up, you end up with a lot of extra clothing and items you won’t use anymore, but are still in excellent shape. One way to make some money to put towards new things is by selling your gently used clothing and other items at a consignment sale.  The ones I have participated in run in the fall and spring. I want to share a few tips to help prepare you for selling used items.

Hangers

Most sales ask you to provide hangers for your items. They do not typically return these, so you need to collect them throughout the year. I have a tote where I store hangers from when I purchase items. If I need other types or sizes, I recruit family and friends to save them also.

Collecting Clothing

I have two totes that are labeled Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. I collect clothing each time I clean out the boys closets. As I put these items away, I make sure they are in good condition, with no stains, rips, or holes. I fold them neatly and store them until I am ready to sell. This also gives you time to make any repairs like loose buttons, frayed hems, etc.

Non-Clothing Items

Depending on the type of consignment sale, you can sell gently used toys, home decor, small appliances, bedding, etc. Everything should be in good working condition, clean, and show little to no wear. Make sure all pieces are kept together and are packaged efficiently if necessary.

Tagging and Pricing

Each consignment sale has different rules on how to tag and attach pricing to your items. Make sure to use enough details in your tag descriptions so that items and tags can be matched up if they are separated. A good rule for setting pricing is by determining what is approximately 25-50% of what the item originally retailed for. Be sure to get all the details on any pricing requirements or suggestions from the person who handles the sale coordination.

A Good Set of Tools

Here are a few things that help me in my preparations:

  • Good Scissors
  • Masking Tape
  • Decent Pen
  • Black Sharpie
  • Batteries (Everything that runs on batteries needs fresh batteries or it won’t be accepted)
  • Screwdrivers
  • Cleaning Wipes
  • Goo Gone
  • Baggies (in various sizes)

Donate What You Can’t Sell

It’s a nice gesture to donate what you don’t end up selling, and you will keep house clutter to a minimum, allowing for more storage for new items you may need.

Happy selling!

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September 15th, 2014 at 10:31 am

100 Days ‘Til Christmas

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Can you believe there are only 100 days until Christmas? You are probably booing me right now….but with little kids, the more preparation time you have the better! Plus, the more you have done once Thanksgiving approaches, the more you can actually enjoy yourself during the month of December.

Here are some ways to get organized and prepared ahead of time:

Start your Christmas shopping list now. List each person that you need to buy for. If you have any ideas, great, list those too! Make sure to assign a dollar amount to them also.

Determine your Christmas budget. Add up the dollar amounts from your list above, but be sure to add a little extra. There are always gifts that come up last minute that you forget about.  Think about decorations, food, and all the other things that go into celebrating the holiday season.

Plan out items you need to make. Do you need to plan out your Christmas cards? If you have the picture you are using then you can get your card made and printed. They can be signed and ready to send out at a certain time. Are you making any gifts? Can these be started early? Make a list of things you may need to make these items.

Clean out your kids’ toys. The presents your children receive can take up a lot of extra space that you might not have,  so take the time now to start weeding out the old ones. Donate toys that they’ve outgrown or are are no longer interested in, and throw away  broken toys or toys with missing pieces that cant be replaced to make some room for the new ones. While you are doing this, take into account what things your children already have so you don’t buy something similar.

Start writing lists. Write a list of clothing needs, grocery lists, cookie choices and recipes, cleaning expectations, and more! Make your own holiday notebook to keep all these lists organized.

Christmas goes a lot smoother when things are organized, so get a head start today!

 

 

 

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