Activities for Children–warm weather

We had a brief warm spell here in the Carolinas recently.  I like to take advantage of the break in weather whenever we get a chance.

Some ideas for activities for children if you have a brief warm spell include:

1) Going for walks!  This is my favorite.  Our street is a mile long and we have a great sidewalk to keep it safe.  The walk is pleasant and trees over-arch the street from both sides making nice shade, even for the hot sunny days.  The tree canopy is high enough to allow breezes so it always feels just about perfect.

2) Grilling dinner.  We give the children (or teams of two or three) each a different focus.  The oldest is now 13, so grilling is on the menu for any teenager!  This is a pastime I love to share.

3) Washing the cars.  Our conversion van is nearly 9′ high, so it does not fit in most automated car washes.  But it is great fun for the kids and helps us all learn responsibility and how to take care of things God has given us.

4) Pets.  For us pets now means chickens.  We are learning all about egg-layers and how to feed and care for them.  Warm weather is a great time to do this.

Muddy girl with bike

Muddy girl with bike

5) Gardening.  Even in the ‘winter’ (it does not typically get down to freezing much here in Charlotte so things stay pretty green) we can do some weeding and prepping for spring as well as picking up sticks off the lawn.

Girl in Garden with Banana Tree

Girl in Garden with Banana Tree

6) Sports.  Although I currently have a broken toe and am sidelined until it heals, we normally like to kick around a soccer ball or ride bikes.

7) Fire pit.  If it is dry enough and we can get chores done early enough and plan ahead, it is always fun to roast some marshmallows over the fire pit.

Girl with multiple hula hoops

Girl with multiple hula hoops

Girl with many hulahoops

Girl with many hulahoops

 

 

8)  Go to the park.  Frisbee, hoola-hoops, festivals, carnivals, outdoor concerts or just plain playing in the sand.

9)  Just plain old hanging around and chillin’.  Nothing is better than crashing out after a hard day at play!

Little boy crashed out sleeping

Little boy crashed out sleeping

Organizing Winter Clothes

SO, I don’t know about your house, but during the winter time we are flooded with hats, sweaters, coats, vests, boots, scarves, mittens, etcetera, etcetera, etceteraaaaaahhhhh….

Here are some tips on getting organized and keeping stuff from taking over the house:

Ikea Gear Locker

1) Ikea lockers:  we bought a dual-locker/drawer combination a couple years ago at Ikea or Pottery Barn Outlet or somewhere like that.  It is about 6′ tall, has two head-height shelves, under which are quad-hanging hooks on each side and a ‘locker space’.  Then under that the locker comes out about 10 or 12″ into a perfect-height seating area for children, and a foot-locker drawer beneath.  In the warm weather we keep soccer and swimming gear in here, and in the winter we keep boots, mittens, scarves and other various implements of destruction.

2) Stack-able plastic drawer-bins:  Robyn has used these for years for the smaller children’s mini-dressers in the laundry room, rather than truck laundry up and down the stairs (since the little guys get dressed in the laundry next to the kitchen anyway).  She found a pair of three-drawer sets that fit perfectly into the locker-space of the above Ikea lockers to help further organize gear.    We also use a larger and deeper one in a nearby closet to keep shoes (mostly) out of sight when not in use.

Shoe Closet Storage bins

Shoe Closet Storage bins

Behind door pocket array

Behind door pocket array

3) Behind-the door pocket hanger:  Robyn found a great way to keep ‘formal dress’ such as belts, church shoes, etc. organized and easy to find during the Sunday-morning scramble.  This array of pockets hangs on the back of the door to the laundry room and is an invaluable asset for getting ready and finding things easily.  She also has one hanging in the laundry area for easy access and storage for socks and tights for little ones, as well as those poor unpaired socks the laundry monster tends to create.

4) Hanging hooks and ‘storage steps’ in the garage:  since a lot of our entry and egress from the house is through the garage, we put rows of hangers along the stairway.  But as our family grows, we have been outgrowing our hanger space, and it wraps around the wall into the front of the car bay.  Since this is also a place where random stuff tends to get piled, and then the little guys can’t reach their coats, I took some pressure treated wood left over from another project and built an elongated three-step ‘storage-bench’.  This serves a few purposes:

  • the steps are hinged so sports equipment can be easily stored and accessed in the space under the steps during off-season;
  • mudboots are stored on top of the steps to keep the mess outside of the house;
  • the children can still climb the steps (when they are not a complete mess) to reach the jackets on hangers above.
Flip-top Garage Storage Steps

Flip-top Garage Storage Steps

Many thanks to Robyn for the brains and inspiration to help us get dressed and get to places.  If it were solely up to me, I am afraid we’d never get out of jammies.

It’s a New Year and it’s time for some change. We’ve got you covered!

Yes, it’s that time of year when we all think about organizing, starting over, and change. For most of us, our kitchen and eating area sees the most action in a day.
Wouldn’t you love to see some change in the areas that you see the most of (like all.day.long!). We’ve got you covered! Well, maybe not completely, but we do have your dining chairs covered!

If the spirit of ‘redo’ has hit and you would like to see a change in your dining room or kitchen, Everyday Elegance chair covers can help.

Everyday Elegance Dining Chair Covers - Time for Change

Everyday Elegance Dining Chair Covers – Time for Change

You can easily change the look of your kitchen or cover the stained chairs you have – giving them a nice, clean new look.

Everyday Elegance Chair Covers - Cover old dining chairs

Everyday Elegance Chair Covers – Cover old dining chairs

Everyday Elegance Chair Covers: Before-After

Everyday Elegance Chair Covers: Before-After

 

It’s that simple – imagine what your kitchen or dining area would look like if your chairs were covered in a different color. How fun is that?

You can change your look for the holidays or parties or everyday – all the while protecting your chairs at the same time.
Everyday Elegance Chair Covers – elegant enough to create a whole new look, savvy enough to protect the look.
Definitely worth the investment.
Go ahead, go for the change! Your kitchen or dining room will thank you!

9 Great Tips for Taking Care of Sick Children

Taking care of sick little ones can be a tough job!  Your instinct is to hold and cuddle your sick little bundle, however…hiding behind those sweet little droopy pair of eyes is a cranky and uncooperative child.  Not to mention that even though you really would love to hold them all-day-long, that rarely is an option.

The primary things that sick kids need are fluids and rest.  When kids are really sick, the rest comes easy and it is hard to push fluids.  When kids are a little sick, the fluids are somewhat easier and the rest is hard to push.

Here are nine great tips to make taking care of sick little ones easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

1. Make a portable SICK BED that is close to Mommy or any caretaker – kitchen floor, laundry room, or wherever Mommy is for that time.  A sick bed is easily made with blankets and pillows.  Keeping them close makes them less likely to get up and come looking for you!

Portable Sick Bed for child

Portable Sick Bed for child

2. Put together a SICK BASKET of your little one’s favorite things – books, toys, blankets, etc.

Sick Basket for child

Sick Basket for child

3. Have a TASTE TESTING!  Offer lots of different fluids for taste testing.  Give small amounts frequently to encourage fluids.  This can also help with getting your child to take medicine, add the medicine as one of the flavors to test.

Taste Test - Encourage fluids for sick children

Taste Test – Encourage fluids for sick children

4. Offer FUN WAYS TO DRINK.  Kids love fun and different stuff.  Offer their drink in different types of cups or containers – small to large.  Use straws, bottles, or even medicine dispensers.  Popsicles are always a fun way to push fluids.

 

Fun ways to drink - encourage fluids for sick children

Fun ways to drink – encourage fluids for sick children

5. Put a small PLUSH TOY (especially the beany type) in the FREEZER and use it for a fever reducer.  You can wet the toy with cold water if it doesn’t hold the cold from the freezer very well (they do dry!).  Put several in the freezer and let your child choose which one gets to ‘take care’ of him/her next.

Cold stuffed animal for fever reduction

Cold stuffed animal for fever reduction

6. For tummy aches: use a TUMMY WARMER.  Make a rice sock or get a reheatable plush animal for those tummy aches that you just can’t seem to do anything for.  It’s amazing how a little moist heat can help a tummy feel better.

 

Tummy Warmer for kids tummy aches

Tummy Warmer for kids tummy aches

WarmBuddy for tummy aches

WarmBuddy for tummy aches

7. Get help!  Ask a sibling to be a NURSE and help take care of their sick brother or sister.  They may have lots of good ideas for entertaining or offering comfort.

Siblings help take care of sick little ones

Siblings help take care of sick little ones

 

8. Keep a BUCKET near by!  You might need it quickly for throwing up or a handy trash can for tissues and such.

Bucket for sick children

Bucket for sick children

9. Set up a BEDSIDE TABLE and SICK ZONE.  Keep everything you and your sick child could need near by.  Make it special for your little one.

Bedside table for sick child

Bedside table for sick child

Bonus!  Go ahead and cuddle and hold them as much as you can, those opportunities don’t last forever!

 

A Dad’s Thoughts on Laundry

Robyn had “a day away” recently, and the children and I managed the house while she was away.  Part of that included cycling several loads of laundry.  Now being a recovering engineer, I can understand the mechanics of laundry, and I even learned to separate lights from darks.

But I never have been good at folding.  Towels, OK, but mildly challenged by various shapes and sizes of shirts, trousers, jumpsuits, dresses, tights and the like.  And forget about fitted sheets.

Anyway I was reflecting a bit while folding this past week and here is something I discovered:

The children usually are in such rapid and random “Brownian” motion, they never hold still long enough for me to appreciate how small and perfect they really are at this very moment.  But the laundry holds pretty still when you are folding it (if not, I can usually wrestle it down into submission pretty well), and that is the time I get to realize that they are still so small and beautiful and absolutely perfect, with a perfectly balanced Swiss-timepiece of a heart in each little chest, and moods and emotions and feelings and all those great things that make us human.

I often pray that I learn to appreciate the here and now, since I am sinfully a “destination” person rather than a “journey” person. This was a little answer to my prayer with just a brief glimpse of enjoying the ride, even while doing a chore I normally find very challenging.

Thank you, God, for giving me a snapshot of stillness to appreciate the children as they are right now.  Thank you, Robyn, for giving me the opportunity to discover this blessing.

‘Tis the Season for ViveVita: Everyday Elegance Chair Covers Giveaway!

The holidays is full of family fun.  Decorating gingerbread houses.  Drinking cocoa.  Exchanging cookies.  Serving up holiday fare.  And with the merriment of the holidays, there’s also spills, crumbs, stains, and “uh-ohs.”  Right all over your dining room chairs.

Left: Simply Linen. Top Right: Richly Red. Bottom Right: Creamy Brown.

But, if you have Everyday Elegance Chair Covers, stress not.  Waterproof, washable, and adjustable, the Everyday Elegance Chair Covers are available in a variety of colors to match the decor and season.   Colored icing can get smeared, wine can get spilled, and chocolate can get rubbed into them, and you can pop them in the washer, put on a fresh cover, and keep on going. Talk about being prepared.

ViveVita would like for every parent to be prepared for a less stressful and more merry holiday!  To that end, we’ll be giving away two sets of the Everyday Elegance Chair Cover.  Each set contains two covers, and you can pick the color to match your decor!

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Enter to win by Friday, December 7th, using the Rafflecopter app below.  Good luck and Happy Holidays,

Robyn and the ViveVita Crew

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