Archives for July 31, 2014

Bloominous

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DIY Flowers made easy! What a great idea! Have you heard of Bloominous? You really should check them out! They have different collections such as Party Pop Collection and The Vintage Cottage Collection. You can visit their website here. 

The Party Pop collection looks so pretty! But, my favorite color is pink! You can also find them on Facebook!

Self Disclosure: Compensation was received to post but SoCal City Kids also believes that this website would be of interest to our readers.

5 educational apps to stop the Summer Slide

Summer holidays are here and no doubt kids are looking for a respite from the classroom. The well-deserved downtime comes at a cost though – the “Summer Slide” according to the US Department of Education.

Here are some thoughts below  from Mat Peterson, the app developer behind Shiny Things.

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Shiny Things is an educational app development startup who have developed their children’s apps in line with the Common Core curriculum – which has now been adopted across forty four states.

Designed to be interactive, engaging and inspire children to learn basic numeracy and literacy skills through play, the apps have caught the attention of educators and editors of Apple’s burgeoning App Store, including three Shiny Things apps in the Best of 2013 list.

With a strong policy to respect their users privacy, Shiny Things apps collect no data from users and have a strict no in-app purchases so parents don’t have to worry about their kids accidentally racking up huge bills.

Now here are 5 of their apps that can help kids stay on the ball throughout summer without feeling like they’re back in the classroom.

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Shiny Picnic – For ages 2-4, toddlers join Charlie the Monkey and his jungle friends catching flying fruits, packing the picnic basket, and feeding their animal friends across three fun and educational games that teach essential pre-number skills, such as matching and sorting. Shiny Picnic is also a storybook with highlighted text as the story is ready aloud.

Shiny Circus – For ages 4-6, this app introduces mathematical concepts in a fun and engaging way. Kids will begin to identify measurement qualities and their relationships and lets kids experiment with weight and distance. It’s also an interactive read-along storybook. Watch the trailer here.

Shiny Bakery – For ages 2-5, Shiny Bakery introduces early number sense through counting, measuring, dividing, and sequencing activities as kids help Alice the Zebra help mix, measure, decorate, then serve cakes and cookies to customers. Watch the trailer here.

Quick Math – For ages 6-12, Quick Math improves math proficiency and promotes development of mental strategies for addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and mixed operations. The in-built unique handwriting tool improves the child’s handwriting skills and strengthens muscle memory.

Quick Math+ – A challenging step up for ages 8+, Quick Math+ builds on Quick Math, introducing indices, negative numbers, and order of operations questions. It includes new game modes to test memory, logic, estimation ability, and pattern recognition. Watch the trailer here.

Mat Peterson

Mat Peterson, the app developer behind Shiny Things.

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Credit: Shiny Things.

Pout-Pout Fish by Debbie Diesen Illustrated by Dan Hanna Giveaway Opportunity!

It’s almost time to start thinking about Back-to-School! I know…it’s still summer and I am not ready to start thinking about school either. If your kids are feeling a bit nervous, they aren’t the only ones: our beloved picture book character, The Pout-Pout Fish, faces a bit of anxiety in the newest book in the series, THE POUT-POUT FISH GOES TO SCHOOL, which is every bit as charming and adorable as the previous books in the NYT-Bestselling series. This looks like it would be a great book for those young children who are starting school this school year.

You can purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Indiebound.org.

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I just love these illustrations!

We have teamed up for an early Back-to-School Giveaway! One winner will win the book! Leave a comment below telling us why you are or aren’t looking forward to back-to-school! Deadline to enter is August 6th, 2014 at noon (PST). One winner will randomly be selected from all entries!

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Self Disclosure: No compensation was received except for a book will be sent to the winner.

 

Fun, easy ice-pop recipes from Simply Sweet’s new cookbook Colorcakes Fun, easy to make and delicious recipes!

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This summer, the ice cream man’s jingle will be drowned out by the sounds of delight coming from your own kitchen. When it comes to whipping up homemade, frozen treats, the new dessert cookbook Simply Sweet Colorcakes has you covered with a number of ice-pops that are refreshing, colorful and best of all, incredibly easy to make. Most have 5 ingredients or less and are great to stock in your freezer for the warm summer months — just pull a few out when you need them. Whether you have a backyard full of playing children or find yourself hosting a spontaneous get-together, it’s great to be able to hand out healthy ice pops made with ingredients like fresh fruit and yogurt, including:

 

  • Frozen Berry Yogurt Ice Pops made with vanilla yogurt and frozen blueberries
  • Red, White and Blueberry Pops full of fresh strawberries and blueberries
  • Pineapple-Mango-Kiwi Pops dotted with colorful slices of kiwi and chunks of pineapple

Here is a delicious recipe:

Frozen Berry Yogurt Ice Pops

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Makes 8 servings Hands-On Time: 4 min. Total Time: 4 hours, 9 min.

 

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1⁄2 cup frozen blueberries

1 Tbsp. blueberry preserves

8 (4-oz.) ice pop molds

1⁄4 cup blackberry jam

8 (4-inch) wooden craft sticks

 

1. Process 1 cup vanilla yogurt, blueberries, and blueberry preserves in a blender until smooth. Pour mixture into ice pop molds. Top with blackberry jam and remaining 1 cup vanilla yogurt, and swirl. Cover each mold with foil; insert a wooden stick into each pop. Freeze 4 hours or until pops are frozen.

2. Dip bottom of molds in warm water for a few seconds to release pops.

 

*Simply Smart Tip*

If you want to make several batches of these pops but only have one set of molds,   just freeze pops, remove from molds, and place in zip-top plastic freezer bags before returning to freezer. Wash molds before starting a second or third batch of pops.

I received a copy of this book and all the recipes look so delicious! There really is a recipe for everyone! I had a difficult time figuring out which one is my favorite. I like that they are easy recipes to follow and love the colorful photos. It is a beautiful cookbook! I know that my son and I will be making the tie-dyed cupcakes soon. There are so many recipes that are just perfect for the Summer! Here’s one of my favorite below!

WatermelonCupcakes

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makes 24 cupcakes Hands-On Time: 30 min. Total Time: 1 hour, 40 min.

 

Paper baking cups

1 (18.25-oz.) package vanilla cake mix

Water, vegetable oil, and eggs called for on cake mix box

1⁄2 tsp. green food coloring paste

1 cup butter, softened

1 (32-oz.) bag powdered sugar

3 Tbsp. watermelon-flavored gelatin (from 3-oz. box)

1⁄3 cup milk

11⁄2 tsp. red food coloring paste

Large disposable decorating bag

1⁄4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate morsels

 

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Place paper baking cups  in 2 (12-cup) muffin pans.

2. Prepare cake mix according to package directions  for cupcakes, using water, oil, and eggs and adding green food coloring. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely (about 30 minutes).

3. In large bowl, beat butter and half of powdered sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in gelatin (dry) until blended. Gradually add remaining powdered sugar alternately with milk, beating until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Beat  in red food coloring.

4. Insert a large star tip into decorating bag; fill with frosting. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes. Decorate with chocolate morsels to look like watermelon seeds.

You can find this wonderful book full of the best recipes at Amazon! Your family will thank you!

Self Disclosure: I received a Free book to facilitate this feature but any opinions expressed are truthful. Photo Credit and Recipe Credit: Simply Sweet Colorcakes.

 

Energy Saving Tactics for Families this Summer

With record drought and a hotter than expected summer facing California, the state has launched an initiative to help Californian families conserve water and energy.

Easy actions include:
– Using advanced smart strips to stop standby power
– Replacing inefficient light bulbs with energy saving bulbs
– Installing smart thermostats and home energy monitors
– Using low-flow showerheads
– Playing fun family games at night by candlelight
– Following Energy Upgrade California on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EnergyUpgradeCalifornia) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/EnergyUpgradeCA) to learn more about energy management, upcoming events, contests and more!
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Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Thank you to Energy Upgrade California!

US Swim School Association Provides Tips to Stay Safe While Boating Natural bodies of water can pose a greater drowning risk than swimming pools

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While many parents worry about their children’s safety around swimming pools, as they should and need to do, drowning incidents can also occur in natural bodies of water. Safety precautions need to be taken around all water environments. According to the Center for Disease Control, about half of all drowning incidents occur in natural water settings such as lakes, rivers, or oceans. And, almost 75% of people killed in boating accidents die as a result of drowning. As the summer boating season begins, there are steps parents can be taking to keep their children safer in the water. The United States Swim School Association has put together the following guidelines to help keep children safe while boating this summer.

 

  • Make sure your children know how to properly wear a lifejacket. And always have children under 12 wear a life jacket at all times when boating or using personal watercraft.
  • Personal floatation devices (PFDs) should always be U.S. Coast Guard approved. Never substitute water wings or other recreational type floating toys for an approved PFD.
  • Create a water safety plan for your family and have water emergency drills with your kids covering how to recognize the signs of someone struggling in water and what to do in this type of emergency.
  • Teach your children the “throw don’t go” rescue method. Instead of entering the water to help a struggling person, teach your child to throw in a rope, reach with a stick, paddle or other object to pull the person in.
  • If you take your kids on a shore excursion while boating, be aware of tides and currents and other risks the ocean or beach may have.
  • Non-motorized boats can also pose a risk. If your family is canoeing or kayaking be sure your child is wearing a life jacket and knows what to do if the boat flips.
  • If your child is playing near a natural body of water and accidentally falls in, teach your child to roll over on his or her back and float until help arrives if exiting the water is not an option.
  • Never use floatation devices or water wings to keep your child safe in the water. Rely on your direct supervision.

 

Swimming lessons are a great addition to help keep your child safer while boating and around open water.  For more information about swimming lessons and water safety and to find a Unites States Swim School Association member swim school near you, visit: www.usswimschools.org.

 

About US Swim School Association

US Swim School Association (USSSA) began in 1988 to fill a gap in the swim school industry. USSSA has become the largest and preeminent swim school association in the country with over 400 members providing swim and water safety instruction to over 500,000 students each year. Swim schools receive invaluable benefits as USSSA members, receiving the latest training in water safety, swim instruction methods and tools, invitations to annual conferences, and many other benefits that help establish and build each individual business. Through USSSA, parents and students are provided with a reliable and trustworthy resource when searching for a swim school and can rest assured they have chosen a top school when they choose a USSSA affiliated location. For more information, visit www.usswimschools.org

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to feature. Thank you to the US Swim School Association for these helpful tips! Photo Credit: United States Swim School Association.