Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘lori’ Category

August 29th, 2013 at 5:00 am

School Lunch Ideas


If the kids haven’t gone back to school yet, they will be very soon!  Here are some cool ideas for meals to pack into their lunch boxes:

Pita Chicken Sandwiches

Peanut Butter and Jelly Stars

Ham ‘n’ Cheese Ranch Rollups

Mock Sushi

Pizza Rollup Bento Lunch

Fruit Leather Rollups

Apple Cartwheels

Oatmeal Animal Crackers

What are some of your child’s favorite school lunches?

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August 21st, 2013 at 5:00 am

Coping with Back-to-School Jitters


Everybody remembers their very first day of school. While some of us may have been excited and walked right into the building without fear, a lot of us probably remember being afraid and not wanting to be left with a strange adult for the day. The first day of school doesn’t have to be scary for your first-time student. There are lots of ways to make your child feel at ease about taking this next gigantic step in his or her life.

First, try to get a tour of the school before the year begins. Show your child where he will be having classes, eating lunch, doing art projects, and where the bathrooms are. If at all possible, it may help to meet the teachers so that on the first day of school, your child will already know what they look like and what they are like.

Talk to your child about what school will be like. They will need to pay attention and listen to their teacher, but they will make friends and learn a lot of new things that they can tell you all about when you pick them up.

Your child may be clingy the first couple of days and want you to walk them into the building.  If the school allows this, then accommodate your child as he adapts to his new surroundings.  It might take a few days, but soon he will be able to say goodbye to you and walk in by himself.

School jitters don’t only affect the younger children. Even veteran students can experience anxiety over a new year and an unfamiliar curriculum. It’s important to be supportive, encourage them to simply do their best, and remind them of their successes in previous school years.

How have you helped your child cope with back-to-school jitters?

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August 14th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Throwing a Birthday Party for Your Pet


My little Comet turns 1 year old today (or at least that’s our guesstimate based on how old he was when we adopted him). And yes, I planned a birthday party for him.  I know I’m not the only person out there who loves their pet so much that they’ll throw parties for them! If you are so inclined to celebrate your pet’s birthday, try some of these fun ideas:

Decorations.  Pawprint tablecloths, balloons, and other “paw-ty” supplies will make everything festive.  If your pet allows, feel free to adorn him with his own party hat or a special bandana.

Food.  Keep your pet at the top of your mind when making food. For a dog party, you can serve hot dogs for the humans and kibble for the dogs. For a cat party, humans can feast on fish filets while Kitty can enjoy Fancy Feast or a small helping of canned tuna, and of course, catnip.

Activities.  Be sure to set aside some playtime!  Play fetch or tug-of-war with the dogs.  Dangle a piece of yarn or have your cat chase a flashlight beam.

Cake.  It’s not a party without a birthday cake! Use a bone- or fish-shaped cake pan for the humans and give something special to the guest of honor, such as this tuna birthday cake for Fluffy or this tasty cake for Fido.

Be sure to keep your pet’s personality in mind. If he prefers quiet, then consider keeping the party to immediate family or maybe invite one animal friend.

Have you ever thrown your pet a birthday party?

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August 8th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Helping Your Child Cope with a Fear of Thunderstorms


In my opinion, it’s such a satisfying feeling to be sitting in your cozy home during a thunderstorm. However, not too many little ones feel the same way.  The sound of a particularly loud clap of thunder and the sight of lightning in the sky can shake even the bravest child. While you may not be able to convince your child to love thunderstorms, you can still help them conquer their fear.

Teach them about thunderstorms by reading books about storms or pulling resources from the internet. Help them learn that they are perfectly safe indoors or in a car.

Devise a safety plan for when there is a thunderstorm to help your child feel even safer. Get indoors, avoid bathing, and unplug any electrical appliances, to name just a few ideas.

Try to distract your child from the storm by having them draw pictures of the beautiful day that will occur when the storm is over. Other distractions could be building a fort, reading, or having an indoor picnic.

If you can turn a thunderstorm into something positive rather than something to be afraid of, your child will slowly get over his/her fear and maybe eventually look forward to the next storm!

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August 1st, 2013 at 9:51 am

Organize Your Emails with


I used to dread my twice-a-day email checks because I knew it was just going to be a deletion of 20 or 30 spam emails.  And then after deleting all of those, sometimes even more would pop up in my inbox.  Email boxes have seemed to become a catch-all for junk.  Luckily, Gmail has recently begun to compartmentalize my emails into different categories, which has made life a little easier.  And then I heard about

With, you can now go through all of your email subscriptions and unsubscribe yourself from as many as you want in one click.  Don’t need to receive emails from Babies R Us anymore?  Now you don’t have to!  You can also sign up for The Rollup, which will send you a daily overview of all of the subscription emails you do wish to receive each day – only once a day.  I love going to my inbox now and seeing only the emails that I want to see.

Currently, only supports Gmail, Google Apps, and Yahoo but will hopefully support other email clients in the near future.  I strongly recommend signing up at so you can save yourself the time of sifting through too many unwanted emails.

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July 26th, 2013 at 10:26 am

Curing Summer Boredom


Summer may only be half over, but it’s still not too early for boredom to already set in with you or your children.  After all, you can only spend so many hours at the pool or beach! There are still plenty of ways for everyone to stay occupied until school starts again.

  • Visit a local museum, zoo, or even an aquarium. Chances are the building will be air-conditioned and you’ll get to learn about all kinds of cool animals, artifacts, or science experiments.
  • Look for any upcoming events in your community, such as food festivals or carnivals. Some places even do outdoor movie nights to give you the experience of a drive-in movie without the cars.
  • But if you and the kids want a full drive-in movie experience, there are still some locations around the country. Maybe there’s one near you!
  • Check in with local churches, shelters, and community centers for volunteer opportunities this summer. Children can very often get involved and they will soon learn how rewarding it can be to give back.
  • Geocaching is fun for everyone, and all you need is a smart phone or GPS! Go to and search for the closest ones to you  The kids will love hunting for the geocache and seeing what’s inside!
  • Plant a garden.  There are many plants that grow well during the summer months, like cucumbers, lettuce, and radishes.  You can even get a head start on planting fall flower bulbs!
  • On really hot days, have a backyard water balloon fight or play in the sprinkler. These are easy ways to cool off without having to pack into the car.

Enjoy the second half of summer and take advantage of the beautiful weather while you have it!

How do you and your kids stay occupied during the summer months?

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July 18th, 2013 at 9:00 am

SnipSnap Coupon App


I don’t know about you, but it’s always when I’m scanning my items at the grocery store or checking out at Bed Bath and Beyond that I realize that I left all my coupons at home.  It’s pretty frustrating to think about how much I could have saved at the store.  Luckily, I no longer have this concern because I recently downloaded the SnipSnap coupon app to my iPhone!

With the SnipSnap app (also available for Android), you can take a picture of any printed coupon with the camera feature, and the app scans it into a digital format.  Then you can redeem the digital coupon at the store!  You have the ability to share coupons with others and “snip” coupons that other users have shared.  I’ve even found myself looking for coupons to snip and redeem while I’m in that store.  Coupons also have success ratings to let you know if others have been able to redeem it.

Two other nifty features in this app are the expiration date alerts for coupons that are about to expire and in-store alerts that remind you to redeem your coupons when you walk into that store.  I know I often forget to use coupons even when I have them, and who can keep track of expiration dates?  Now I don’t have to worry anymore – and I save a lot!  This app is free, so there’s absolutely nothing to lose by downloading it.  You can learn more about the app here.

Do you use any other apps to help you save money?

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July 11th, 2013 at 9:00 am

Hot Dog Recipes and Toppings


The 4th may have come and gone, but barbecues should go on all summer long!  I go food shopping every week and there are often Buy One, Get One Free sales on packages of hot dogs over the summer.  If your supermarket has a sale like this, enjoy the great savings and try some of these tasty toppings and recipes that deviate from the usual ketchup and mustard combo:


Peach Salsa Dog

Crescent Dog

BBQ Chili Topping

Guacamole Dog

Sweet Corn Relish Topping

Taco Dog

Reuben Dog

Baked Hot Dog Sandwich

Cubano Dog

Bruschetta Dog

Bacon Barbecue Dog


What are your favorite hot dog toppings?

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July 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am

Happy 4th of July!


The 4th of July is an American favorite date for so many reasons.  We celebrate this glorious summer day off with parades, barbecues, baseball games, and fireworks.  But we are also commemorating this day in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed and the United States of America was officially born.  The creators of this document believed in their new nation, as did the countless men who fought for independence during the American Revolution.  So while you’re enjoying your grilled hot dog and sitting underneath a spectacular fireworks show, remember that those men are the reason you are able to enjoy today.  And find a moment to remember today’s soldiers who continue to fight for our freedom.

Happy Birthday, USA!

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June 27th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Postable: The Easy Way to Mail Cards and Track Addresses


A friend of mine recently introduced me to my new favorite place to keep addresses and send out thank you cards – Postable!  It’s a pain to write down and keep track of everyone’s contact information, especially when I don’t have my address book handy.  When you sign up for a Postable account, you get your own unique link to email to people who can add their information directly into the address book for you.  You can also add in contacts yourself.  When done, you can export your entire list to multiple formats for printing labels or even just a simple contact sheet.  I love how easy this site is to use.

Now they make Thank You cards that make it a cinch to write and mail cards to a large group of people.  All you have to do is choose a card and then write as many different personalized messages as you want for that card.  (They have nearly 20 different fonts to choose from so it actually looks like a handwritten message!)  When you’re done, they print and mail all the cards to the recipients for you.  Your only costs are each card you send ($2.00 each) and postage (currently $0.46).  While that can start to get costly after a certain number, you’re also saving a LOT of time, trips to the store to buy cards and stamps, and writer’s cramp.  To me, that makes it worth it.

Check out Postable and let us know how you like it!

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