Eighteen Summertime Activity Kits for Kids

Highlights for Different Age Groups
When I and my brothers were in grade school, we needed something to do during summer break.  Besides playing outside with each other and our friends, we needed a few inside activities.  So Mom always ordered Highlights Magazine and a few books from the school’s Scholastic Reading Club flyer before summer break so we got the things in the mail.  We shared the magazine and different ones of us did different mazes, puzzles, and other activities within it.  Mom also made sure we had puzzles, coloring books, board games, comic books, and cards on hand to share.  These items were usually given to one of us as Christmas or birthday presents.  We were expected to entertain ourselves.  My brothers and I would have loved some of the craft kids and learning activities children now have available to fill their time.

When I visited Half Price Nooks, I saw they had lots of children’s activity kits available of the summer. Most were priced around $10, which seems like a great bargain to keep the kids occupied for a few hours.  They also had lot of regular cardboard puzzles containing various numbers of pieces for different age groups, as well as a few large floor puzzles for toddler thru kindergarten ages. For those without an HPB, the 18 activities below are also available on Amazon, some are less than $10 and others are more.  Anyone wanting more educational items should consider using the free Scholastic printable activity sheets to keep children learning during the summer. 

·         Soda Can Robug
·         Build Your Own Minions
·         Finger Print Doodles
·         Catapult Making Kit
·         Paint Your Own Dinosaurs
·         Flying Machines
·         Fun with Clay: Create and Play
·         Stuck on Fun: Pets Playset
·         Craft-tastic Link Scarf Kit
·         Paris in 3D
·         Window Art
·         Discover Nature Dinosaurs
·         Shark Tooth Dig Kit
·         My First Handprint Creations
·         Gaga for Googles

Getting Allowance or a Job - What is the Difference?

Do your children get an allowance?  If yes, what do they have to do to get it?  Do they do chores; get the money for having a nice attitude and being good kids, or get paid regardless of either and so it is just because they are too young to work?  What values are you teaching by giving an allowance?  What do you think your teen can learn from an outside-the-home job?

As children, my brothers and I got a weekly allowance.  However, we had chores to do based on our age and ability in order to “earn” that allowance.  The smaller kids just had to pick-up toys without complaining.   (A bad attitude, complaining, pouting, or being told twice did not count as a properly done chore.)  At a certain age, doing dishes in pairs became a daily chore. One child washed and placed dish in rinse, the other removed dish from rinse and dried it.  Once the boys reached a certain age, mowing the lawn became a rotated chore and their allowance went up a little.  Dusting the home was added to my list of chores once mom decided I wouldn’t break anything. 

Also, when we were a little older and a lot more responsible, we were allowed to work outside the home around the neighborhood for extra money, in addition to our allowance.  The boys would mow neighbor’s yards for a few dollars. I would babysit at an hourly rate.  Once we reached a certain age, we were encouraged to get a “real” job.  Once we had the job, our allowance stopped however the expectation of us being accountable to do the chores we were responsible did not.

Having our kids work, is that crazy talk?  Am I suggesting child labor?  Well, the USA Labor Age Requirements say some teenagers can work part-time jobs if they want to (and parents permitting of course).   Depending on minimum wage for where they live, teenagers might make better money working outside the home than if they get an allowance.  However, depending on the amount of allowance given by parents and the requirements for earning it, teenagers may feel they have to do less work to get the same money.

EXTRAS:
If you have a child who is considering being a babysitter for extra money, read the pros and links in 10 Reasons You Should Be a Teen Babysitter and check for any potential community or state regulations before advertising services. 

Monthly Zodiac Gemstones and Astrological Jewelry

I have noticed that many of the shopping channels are showing not only standard  zodiac signs as jewelry.  Some are also doing the astrological star formations in jewelry.  It made me wonder if there is a resurgence of this style jewelry in fashion.  Then I wondered if there were gemstones that went with the zodiac just as there are monthly birthstones. 

So I did a little research and compiled a Zodiac gemstone chart (similar to the birthstone chart I did before) at the bottom of this post.  The chart took some time to compile as some sites I visited took the easy way and just assigned the closest monthly birthstone rather than check history.  So when I found a correspondence to each signs power colors and gemstones, I used that and the most referenced stones as my basis for gemstone in chart below. Also, there was discrepancy as to what the date range was for each zodiac sign.  So I went with the dates used on most sites that I found.

I think the new interest in zodiac this may be due to people (especially millennials)  looking for ways to find who they are and get direction for where they should go based on the cosmos.  The “who they are” may also be a reason for the popularity of  mail-in DNA testing, occasional accessing of on-line zodiac, or starting the less popular more-work of researching their genealogy(Hmm, could this be a future  post idea?  Let me know what you think.)


I know there are a few people who rely on their zodiac and will not start their day without reading their daily horoscope.  However, most people I know just read a short weekly text version in their newspaper “for grins.”  I also feel sure there are a select few people who go for longer text weekly or monthly horoscopes from ELLE fashion magazine.  Although it can be interesting, it should not be taken as true life advice.  Anyone who wants to know more about a zodiac sign and astral stones in chart form, visit Emily Gems.

Zodiac Gemstone Chart
Zodiac Sign
Colors
Metals
Gemstones
Alternative Stones
Aquarius
Jan 21 - Feb 18
Aqua
Purple


Garnet******
Amethyst*****

Amber
Beryl/Aquamarine

Pisces
Feb 19 - Mar 20 
Lt.Green
Purple
Pink

Aquamarine******
Bloodstone ******
Amethyst******
Moonstone****
Lapis Lazuli***
Turquoise***

Jade
Blue Lace Agate
Fluorite
Jasper
Cats Eye 

Aries
Mar 21-
Apr 20 
Red
White

Diamond*******
Bloodstone*******
Amethyst *****
Emerald****
Carnelian***

Aventurine
Rose Quartz
Taurus
Apr 21 –
May 21 
Green
Brown
Turquoise
Emerald***** Sapphire****
Lapis Lazuli***

Rose Quartz
Agate
Carnelian
Crystal Quartz
Tigers Eye

Gemini
May 22 – Jun 21
Yellow
Light Blue
Agate********

Blue Sapphire
Citrine
Emerald

Cancer
Jun 22 – Jul 22
White
Lt.Yellow
Moonstone*******
Emerald*****
Ruby*****

Aventurine
White Pearl

Leo
Jul 23 –
Aug 23 
Royal Blue
Purple
Red
Onyx******
Ruby******
Peridot***

Amber
Citrine
Garnet
Crystal Quartz
Danburite
Zircon
Carnelian
Golden Topaz
Tigers Eye

Virgo
Aug 24 –
Sept 22 
Blue
Yellow
Gray
Tan
Navy
Lilac


Carnelian******
Agate****
Peridot****



Amazonite
Garnet
Zircon


Libra
Sept 23 – Oct 23 
Ivory
Blue
Pink
Turquoise

Chrysolite/Peridot******
Jade***
PinkTourmaline***
Bloodstone***

Chiastolite
Aventurine
Opal
Scorpio
Oct 24 –
Nov 22 
Red
Black
Indigo
Green
Beryl/Aquamarine****
Agate***
Malachite***
Garnet
Rhodochrosite
Peridot
Ruby
Turquoise
Jasper
Black Pearl

Sagittarius
Nov 23 –
Dec 21 
Scarlet Red
Lt. Brown
Dark Blue
Orange
Blue Topaz*******
Turquoise *****
Lapis Lazuli****
Amethyst****

Black Obsidian
Labradorite
Sodalite
Vesuvianite
Quartz

Capricorn
Dec 22 –
Jan 20 
Brown
Blue
Dk.Green
Gray
Red

Garnet******
Ruby****
Agate****
Sapphire***
Vesuvianite***

Peridot
Snowflake Obsedian
Smokey Quartz
Fluorite
Jet
Crystal Quartz
Amethyst

*Indicates how many websites showed this as the top gemstone for sign.


Eggs-actly the Treats You Want for Easter

GH April 2017 issue
When I see a magazine with good ideas, I share it on this blog.  Good Housekeeping Magazine April 2017 issue titled Spring Fun is such an issue for Easter.    The magazine contains all kinds of Egg and Easter decorating ideas.  It includes the secret to perfect boiled eggs with stages from runny, soft-boiled, or hard-boiled.  If you want the eggs for hiding as Easter eggs, you may want to check out The Best Way to Make Hard-Boiled Eggs as it also links to recipes for leftover eggs.

Most of the egg decorating ideas images (and how to links) are in their on-line slideshow below as well as many more than in the magazine:  75+ So-Adorable Easter Egg Decorating Ideas

If you want to color your boiled eggs for Easter, that was not in the magazine so I did a search to help out my readers.  You can buy an egg coloring kit to do so.  Or if you do not want to purchase a kit, How to Color Eggs Using Food Coloring is a good video for your boiled eggs showing the traditional method. The tips in this VLOG are similar to what we did when I was a kid, except mom did different colors in mugs so each of us kids could dunk out favorite color.  We would put an egg in our mug and mom would set timer for 2 minutes.  After the timer went off, we could take pastel egg out and put in another before timer was reset or if we wanted our egg darker just put it back for another 2 minutes.

The GH issue included recipes for deviled eggs.  After all, we have to do something with those eggs the kids like to hunt but do not want to eat.  Most of the deviled egg images (and either tips or how to links) are in their on-line slideshow, as well as many that were not in the magazine:  30 Eggs-cellent Ways to Make Deviled Eggs

If you want more basic deviled egg recipes, here are two favorites of my boys.  They say I make the best deviled eggs, but I think it is the way I make them rather the ingredients.  My tips for great deviled eggs is to make sure you smash-up the egg yolks before adding ingredients or it will not come out smooth and well blended.  Then blend in the creamy ingredients with the smashed yolks before adding other ingredients to you end up with a smooth and creamy center rather than a clumpy stuffing.


When looking for my deviled egg recipes online, I also found this cute decorative idea for your next BBQ party:  Little Devil Deviled Eggs.  Or if you want to make colorful eggs, How to make Red White and Blue Deviled Eggs is a post that features dying the egg whites for patriotic parties.  The idea can be used for other colors (like green eggs for St. Patrick’s and Christmas with red too, or doing pastel colors for Easter).

Peeling the egg without tearing it apart is a challenge for pretty deviled eggs. The method I use is in video https://youtu.be/2Z5GkSoIbq0  although I want to try this other video method with a glass next time https://youtu.be/FkWISKfgqZ0

Bunny Bottom Cookies
Besides the egg stuff, there was a cute idea for sugar cookies that uses a large round cookie and two small egg-shaped cookies.  Instead of buying lots of candies to do decorations, you may want to consider dying some of the frosting and piping it onto the paws.  You can find the same cookie idea at links below: