Getting Ready for Groundhog Day

There are a slew of other ways you can have fun on February 2nd besides watching Bill Murray live the same day over and over again. Besides, if you have young children, I highly doubt that they will sit through the movie once, let alone over and over again. If you can’t make it to Philadelphia this Thursday to see if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, then recreate the magical moment at home. Kids love playing with flashlights, so break out some new batteries and let them go wild hunting for shadows with this fun Groundhog’s Day activity: Materials: Thick … Continue reading

Simple Chinese New Year’s Fun

Ear-numbing firecrackers, amazing noodle dishes and feeding crisp dollar bills to dancing lions; these are three things I remember most about celebrating Chinese New Year in my hometown of Hilo, Hawaii. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to ring in the start of the Chinese lunar calendar in paradise this year. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t be having fun ushering in the Year of the Dragon. This January 23rd, grab the kids, don your most festive red outfits and wish each other a hearty “Xin Nian Kuai Le.” Then, raid your craft closet to make these simple Chinese New Year … Continue reading

Dressing Up for the Holidays

About a decade ago I scored an invitation to a huge New Year’s Eve masquerade ball. The annual shindig is a fundraising event for the Boys and Girls Club and is held at the swankiest hotel in our city. It is one of the hottest social events of the year, so dressing down is not an option. Actually, if you are a female, all you have to wear to get in is a formal dress topped with a masquerade mask that matches your outfit. Men don tuxedos and throw on a small mask to cover their eyes. In some cases, … Continue reading

Making Clean-Up Fun for Kids

My 7-year-old loves to help. I’ve seen her practically jump out of her skin when asked by her teacher for volunteers to vacuum the story corner rug. I’ve also witnessed as she put away board games and puzzles, without being prompted to do so, prior to pick-up at summer day camp. Both times I nearly fainted on the spot. My kid abhors cleaning, so when I inquired why she was so willing to lend a hand to others, she matter-of-factly replied: “Because it’s fun.” Clearly, the fun factor is missing in our home or I would have clean carpets and … Continue reading

Snowmageddon Fun

Stop the presses! Snow has fallen in New York City. Okay, 19 inches is a lot in one day, but when you’ve suffered through a few Wisconsin winters, a foot or two of snow is not “breaking news.” Granted, NYC’s population is 10 times the size as our rural roost, but still, you don’t see this much media coverage when Chicago gets hit hard with the white stuff. Regardless, right now cable TV is saturated with news of the latest Snowmageddon that has paralyzed much of the East Coast. Schools are closed and parents are scrambling to find ways to … Continue reading

Snowed in With Kids

Christmas 2010 will be a white one for millions of parents across the upper Midwest. For me, it’ll be red and white. All the white has me seeing red. This weekend, more than a foot of snow fell on the Wisconsin city we call home. In addition to the five-foot tall snow drifts, we are dealing with wind chills in the -25 to -35 range, and subsequent school closings triggered by the inhumane conditions. For kids, a snow day is cause for celebration; for parents, not so much. Personally, I’m not a huge hater of the snow day, if it … Continue reading

How to Spice Up Your Holiday Party

Tired of the same ol’, same ol’ Christmas parties that feature tone-deaf Uncle Jack singing karaoke in the corner and Aunt Lucy forcing you to try her latest tofu creation? Then, consider hosting your own holiday fiesta this season with a spicy theme. If you don’t want to go whole hog by hosting an extravagant costume night (think elves, reindeer and Christmas movie characters), then go simple by decorating in a single color and having guests dress in red and green. Other theme options include: Hawaiian Christmas I was born and raised in Hawaii, and while we don’t typically greet … Continue reading

Candy Cane Crafts

It’s raining candy canes in our home. We attended a number of St. Nick’s Day parties and events in the last 48 hours where my daughter raked in quite a haul of candy canes. We are now the proud owners of more than two-dozen candy canes in a variety of sizes and flavors. (Who knew Jolly Rancher made candy canes?) Two-dozen seasonal sweet treats is way too much for a 6-year-old to consume, so I talked my daughter into using some of her candy canes to make Christmas crafts. Needless to say, my Martha Stewart wannabe jumped at the chance. … Continue reading

Holiday Decoration Family Fun

Who says you have to spend a fortune creating festive holiday decorations for your home? With a little effort and some creativity you can make a variety of seasonal decorations without breaking the bank. Here’s how: Christmas Card Collage: During the holidays, most people receive dozens of Christmas greeting cards. Instead of stacking the cards in a pile or tossing them into a basket, consider cutting out your favorite images, and creating a collage. You can even add small embellishments such as buttons, ribbons or silk flowers for a one-of-a-kind piece of holiday artwork. Gift Stacks: Fake out your kids … Continue reading

Make Your Own Holiday Decorations

If you are on a fixed income, but you still want your home to look festive during the holiday season, then consider making your own Christmas decorations. Doing so will help you save money, avoid chaotic shopping malls, and allow you to exercise your creative side. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a craft queen to piece together stunning seasonal decorations. There a thousands of simple projects that can be made with just a few materials and little if any skill. For example, last year my five-year-old helped me make a sensational centerpiece for our dining room table. All we … Continue reading