9 Creative Ways to Help Kids Say I Love You

Guest Post by Susan Marcus, coauthor of The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids

Got a tactile-learner? A kid who loves to dance? Or maybe your child really loves color? While every child has a constellation of Sensory Alphabet strengths (shape, color, movement and sound are just a few), your child probably has one or two that really stand out — that you notice in his or her artwork or in elements of his or her collections and activities. Valentine’s Day crafts provide ways for parents to nurture these strengths and help kids say I love you in fun creative ways. Below are craft ideas designed for each element of the Sensory Alphabet.

SHAPE: Is your child’s art always full of shapes? Cut out cookies! Make the process easier and faster by using dough from the grocery store refrigerator case. Find imaginative cookie cutters and combine shapes and words to say I love you in new ways.

SOUND: Let sound-oriented kids make a Valentine’s wind chime with metal, glass and wooden craft store finds. Throw in everyday household items like bowls and plates to create loving symphony.

COLOR: Make “stained glass” cookies with color-loving kids, using bread stick dough. Shape it to make the “leading” on a cookie sheet topped with foil. Use crushed colored sugar candies in the spaces, cook at 350 degrees and let the candies melt. Let cool before peeling off the foil. Experiment with the colors and explore what else can represent love besides red.

MOVEMENT: Have your kids spell out the letters of “I Love You” with their bodies, and then take pictures. These can be used to create a sweet card or frame.

LIGHT: Appoint the light-loving child as the official photographer for holiday events. A lesson in digital app photo editing (PhotoPad is free for the iPad) or in designing digital slideshows or print-on-demand books puts this creative eye into action.

TEXTURE: Make a Valentine’s card that focuses on touch rather than sight. Use bows, ribbons, homemade tassels and other textured embellishments. Feathers and sponge-and-paint prints are fun to cover things with.

SPACE: For little builders, create a giant heart using recycled boxes wrapped in plain paper or Popsicle sticks. Decorate it with stickers, markers, doilies and colored paper. When it’s done create a set of keys, and have your child give them to family and loved ones.

RHYTHM: With your rhythm kid, fill small glass jars (such as baby food jars or small jelly jars) with a tablespoon of different shake-able items such as beans, rice, red-and-green beads, and metal washers. Decorate the lids with foil tied around the tops and stickers for patterns. Shake along to Valentine’s songs.

LINE: A linear thinker loves stories. Put him or her to work making handmade Valentine’s books using photos that tell a story about the great love stories in your family. Start with folded paper with a construction paper cover, hole-punched and tied with string or stitched down the center on the sewing machine for the binding.

Matching a creative thinking strength to the right set of materials and a fun challenge can make it more fun — and help your child build from his or her strengths.

Article by By Susie Monday, educator and artist and co-author of The Missing Alphabet, A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids, with Susan Marcus and Dr. Cynthia Herbert. http:/www.themissingalphabet.com.

The Missing Alphabet: A Parents' Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids
The Missing Alphabet: A Parents’ Guide to Developing Creative Thinking in Kids

6 Tips for a Healthier Superbowl Party

Drumsticks 2

Drumsticks 2Trying to steer clear of Super Bowl temptation in the form of high-calorie drinks, wings and nachos may be more challenging than avoiding the blitz. But don’t worry: “As long as you choose wisely, you can enjoy the game—and the food—without blowing your calorie budget,” says exercise physiologist Bob Greene.

Greene, Oprah’s diet and fitness expert, author of the bestselling The Best Life Diet and founder of the popular weight loss program TheBestLife.com, serves up healthy Super Bowl recipes and other tips that will leave you even fitter by the end of the game.

TheBestLife.com’s 6 Tips for a Healthy Super Bowl Party:

•           Whip up Healthier “Football Bash” Bites: Instead of fried chicken wings—try a baked version. Use ground turkey instead of beef in your chili. Opt for kale chips, which are so nutrient-packed that they’d make a regular potato chip crumble. Buffalo (bison) burgers make a leaner burger than standard beef. Need more ideas? Check out TheBestLife.com for all kinds of recipes that are lower in calories (and far healthier) than your favorite party food.

•           Wrap It up Green Style: Lettuce wraps make for the perfect sandwich base for people who are looking for a meal that’s lower in carbs. Instead of a bun, try eating your bison burger on a crispy romaine lettuce leaf.

•           “WOD” Your Super Bowl: CrossFit’s Workout of the Day (WOD) is taking off around the country, and the fast-paced exercises done in 30-second intervals fit perfectly into those commercial breaks and halftime. Create a little competition of your own: Divide your guests into teams and see who can do the most push-ups, sit-ups, burpees and more.

•           De-Fat Your Dips: Instead of sour cream—use 0 percent Greek yogurt to cut calories but still keep the consistency of your favorite party dip. Other healthy dip ideas: guacamole, hummus and/or salsa.

•           Snack on Fruits and Vegetables. Your team falling behind? Reaching for a crunchy carrot stick can help release frustration. Red pepper and celery also make for good finger foods, as do grapes and clementines.

•           Try Seltzer-Based Juice “Mocktails” Instead of Beer: To help stick to the recommended alcohol limit (one drink for women, two for men), have cold sparkling water on hand. Look for flavored varieties with no sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can even show your team spirit by opting for a drink in the right color: blueberry or blackberry seltzer if you’re rooting for the Ravens; raspberry and strawberry for all you 49er fans.

“Super Bowl parties are a fun American tradition where people can spend an afternoon enjoying a great game with friends and family,” says Bob Greene, creator of The Best Life. “It doesn’t have to be a chore to make it a healthy event, and TheBestLife.com offers fantastic advice and recipes for all who visit,” he added.

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About Best Life
Best Life is a company devoted to helping you become your healthiest. From its popular online weight loss plan, TheBestLife.com, which is based on Bob Greene’s best-selling The Best Life Diet, to its food products and supplements, our focus is on helping individuals create their best life and encouraging them to enjoy it each and every day. Behind all of our advice and products is the belief that losing weight shouldn’t be about counting calories or deprivation, eating nutritiously shouldn’t require sacrificing taste, and living healthfully shouldn’t be a chore. Rather, living your best life involves making smart choices that fit into your lifestyle. It’s about taking pleasure in eating foods that taste good and are good for you. Ultimately, it’s a way of living that brings more joy and satisfaction to your life. www.thebestlife.com 1-888-454-3313.

Get a BuluBox Free!


buluboxYou may have read about the Bulu Box Monthly Subscription Box on our Great Gifts Blog.

Now, Bulu Box has given us a special code so you can try it out for free!

All you need to do, Momscapers, is go to the BuluBox site, subscribe to Bulu Box with coupon code box2661 to get your first box free. You can cancel anytime. Shipping is free, and there are no hidden fees.

If you missed reading about Bulu Box, here are the details:

Bulu Box is a cool monthly subscription box catering to health and fitness enthusiasts. BuluBox recipients get a goodie box each month, filled with 4 to 5 premium samples: things like vitamins, weight loss aids, and formulations for sports nutrition, protein, diet, energy, detox, digestion, herbs, natural remedies, endurance and more.

Bulu Box selects only the most recognized and tested brands to include in each box so you can test products and see how well they work before spending lots more on full-sized bottles.

BuluBox.com sent us a sample box for review, and we loved the healthy discoveries we made. It’s a fun and unique monthly subscription. (And it’s affordable, too, with subscriptions at just $10 per month).

So, redeem your code for a free box today!

Note, if Bulu Box has more codes redeemed than they have boxes ready, they will put up a temporary page and collect emails. When they get more boxes available the next month, they will email you to let you know when you can expect your subscription to begin.

Bulu Box sent us a free sample box for us to review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Things We Love: Reclaim Your Hot Mama Mojo {Online Course + Free Book}

Hay House, Inc.Hay House has just announced a new 3-lesson Live Online Course: Reclaim Your Hot Mama Mojo: Three Weeks to a Happier, Healthier, and Hotter Life!

Erin Cox, the energetic and inspirational author of One Hot Mama: The Guide to Getting Your Mind and Body Back After Baby, will help you reclaim your Hot Mama Mojo…once and for all!

Erin’s guidance comes to mamas through a  fun and revolutionary life-rejuvenation process.

These are some of the questions she will be addressing in her Online Event:

* Do you ever feel like you’ve lost your SELF to being a mom?
* Has your love life taken a hit because you don’t feel sexy anymore?
* Have you lost touch with your spirituality and sense of inner peace?
* Could you use a little more time to yourself and more fun in your life?
* Would you like to have more vibrant energy and abundant health?
* Do you want to be a better lover, mother, or friend?
* Do you feel stuck in bad habits or negative self-talk that prevents you from being the best version of yourself?

Plus, as an added bonus, all purchasers will receive a FREE copy of Erin’s book One Hot Mama

You’ll also get exclusive bonus material including:
. The One Hot Mama Healthy Eating Plan
. Recipes and Shopping lists to help keep you hot and healthy
. Erin’s One Hot Mama exercise videos to help you get fit and stay fit

Get a more detailed description of the three lessons here.


New Giveaway: Quest Cravings


We just launched a giveaway on our sister site, BestSelfHelp.com, which brings you all the latest coupons, freebies, deals and discounts on health & fitness, beauty, wellness, self help, seminars, and more. And we wanted to share it here, as well!

quest-cravingsQuest Nutrition recently sent us a box of Quest Cravings Protein-Packed Peanut Butter Cups to try, and we want to give you a box, too!

Quest Cravings are as healthy as a protein bar. With 20 grams of protein, 4 grams of active carbs and no added sugar, you can eat Cravings every single day. These are high protein products that are actually good for you.

Learn more about Quest Cravings here: http://www.questproteinbar.com/cravings/, and enter to win a box 12 Quest Cravings Peanut Butter Cups below (Retail value: $27.99)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions – feel free to contact us!

Disclosure: Quest Nutrition sent us Quest Cravings free of charge for promotional purposes. 

Things We Love – Shred: The Revolutionary Diet

Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes
Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes

From the bestselling author of The Fat Smash Diet comes this helpful new diet book promising big results for people who are struggling to lose that last 20 pounds.

Many of us know firsthand how it gets more difficult to lose weight as we get closer to our goal. This book is designed to help you push through the plateaus when your previous weight loss efforts have stopped working.

Dr. Ian K. Smith has created this program, which combines a low Glycemic Index diet with meal spacing and meal replacements. (Dieters on the Shred Diet plan will be eating every three and a half hours, so it helps you keep your blood sugar – and moods – in check). The diet is composed of 6 week cycles, which you can repeat as often as you need to get the results you want. Dr. Ian puts the average weight loss for a cycle between 18 and 25 pounds.

What we love about the Shred diet is its inherent flexibility. Dr. Ian offers solid education about what works to push through frustrating plateaus and he provides specific guidelines to follow, but he emphasizes that, once you get an understanding of the Shred philosophy, you’ll be able to eat anywhere and know that you have the ability to both enjoy yourself (and food) while staying lean.

We also love that the focus is on eating a variety of healthy foods and on paying attention to meal spacing. As Dr. Ian says “the timing of your meals and snacks can be a reason why you are or aren’t losing weight.”

Dr. Ian has launched “Shredder Nation,” which you can get a taste of online. Get free tips by following Dr. Ian on facebook (facebook.com/shreddernation), Twitter (@doctoriansmith) and via his website: doctoriansmith.com. The book is available at amazon for preorder (with a release date of January 10).

Disclosure: An advanced reading copy of Shred: The Revolutionary Diet was provided to Momscape free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed are our own.