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The little book with BIG resources!

Valentines Day Guide for Kids

Valentines Day Guide for Kids

Valentine’s Day is great opportunity to show appreciation for the people we love. Even when we’re young, this day revolves around heart shaped candies and glittery notes covered with stickers passed from desk to desk. This is a guide for parents to help their children express their love and friendship on this special day.

Food: Surprise your child with valentine food art! If there’s one thing they love more than food, it’s playing with it. Click the links below to direct you to a variety of Valentine’s Day treats that perfect for the heart shaped holiday (healthy too!).

Heart Shaped Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Valentine Calzone Bites

Fruity Smoothie (pink of course!)

Valentine’s Day Cup-a-Cakes

And many more… follow the arrows on the site to continue your search.

Valentines day guide for kids 1


Arts & Crafts: The links below will direct you to a handful of Valentine inspired craft ideas for kids. Whether you plan an after school activity or organize and incorporate this hands-on art into your class lesson (for teachers), they will be fully entertained. Step by step instructions and material list included in the link.

Flower Bouquet (that never dies!)

Woven Heart Basket
Perfect for carrying and delivering your valentines!

Captive Heart
Pretty pink keepsake with note inside—great gift for Grandma!

Jolly Lollies
Silly lollipops in the shape of mustaches and puckered lips—sure to make the kids giggle.

 Valentines day guide for kids Fun Facts about Valentine’s Day:

  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
  • 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
  • More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine’s Day.
  • 189 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S. on Valentine’s Day.
  •  Approximately one billion Valentines are sent out worldwide each year according to estimates by the U.S. Greeting Card Association. That’s second only to Christmas.
  • Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.




The Grass is Not Always Green Encourage Imagination: Raise a creative child

The Grass is Not Always Green
Encourage Imagination: Raise a creative child

Nowadays, the toy industry is overly concerned with education, causing them to shove creativity to the back burner. Don’t fall into this trap. Encourage your child to embrace their creativity. Allowing them to explore will not fault their learning. In fact, a bigger imagination allows for a broader mind, and there is no wrong in that.

To start off, when it comes to creativity, stray away from the word “No”. They say there is no such thing as a dumb question… and I’m here to say the same goes for art. Let their imagination steer them in the direction they feel is right.




“No sweetie, the grass is green”
“No, no you should paint the sky blue”


This is not your work of art, it is theirs. When it comes to young minds and their growing imagination, set your thoughts aside and let them soar. Judgmental comments will only discourage them. Change your own attitude and do not be afraid that this is a sign of development, or lack of. The correlation of their puffy clouds and the red crayon they chose to draw them, has nothing to do with their learning ability. In fact, Diane Peters of Kaboose Education and Learning states that creative learners are often better learners.


creative kids


“”Creativity lets children develop their skills in a way that works for them,” says Karen Halpern, a speech pathologist and creator of Thumbprint Adventures, a creative play-based program in Toronto. Her own six-year-old, for instance, can do basic multiplication: she figured it out on her own through playing.”


Halpern also encourages the notion of free play. Not everything has to be planned, activity-wise; especially if you have stuff of your own that you are itching to get done. Provide your child with a washable marker and send them on their way! Children will play as children; it’s better to just accept it and relax, the sooner the better.


Source: http://parenting.kaboose.com/education-and-learning/creative.html


10 Ways to Stay Connected Family Bonding

10 way to stay connected family bonding10 Ways to Stay Connected Family Bonding

1.      The good and the bad. How was school? Good.
Sound familiar? They’re growing up and it’s hard to pry information out of them about their day… especially when you go about it with a question like that (no offense). Try going about it in a different way. Ask them to share one good and one bad thing that happened throughout their day. Share and exchange stories. This will allow them to open up and connect with you… and hey! Maybe you’ll even have some expert personal advice in your back pocket from grade school.

2.      And tonight, the kids cook! Once they hit the appropriate age where you trust them with the stove and a spatula, decide on one night of the week where they cook dinner. Not only will this give you the chance to kick your feet up while they slave away in the kitchen, but they’ll start learning at a young age. Preparing a delicious meal is a quality everyone loves, why not get a head start? Good luck 😉

3. One on one. How are you supposed to get to know your children if you do not treat them as individuals? Yes, they may have siblings to interact with but parent bonding is important to them too. Set aside time to do an activity of their choice on your own with each child. They’ll appreciate this time together more than you think.

4.      Share a “joke of the day”. Who doesn’t love a good knock-knock joke? And from sending them to a school full of children all day, there’s a big chance they’ll come home with a few up their sleeve. The dinner table may not be the ideal time, but find time to make each other laugh before bed time.

10 ways to stay connected Family Bonding

5. Family nights. Decide on a night you can declare “family night” that works with everyone’s schedule. At the beginning of the week, discuss an activity that the children are dying to do and plan a reasonable game plan. Movies, bowling, pizza and the arcade, etc. This will motivate the children to behave and help out around the house in order to participate in all the fun.

6. Family traditions. Even as an adult, people hold onto and pass on a variety of family traditions. Holiday traditions, silly sayings, even the bar of the soap in your mouth. These are precious memories that remind us of our roots, and are ultimately irreplaceable.


7.      In print. That’s a phrase you don’t hear too often. With everything around us revolving around technology these days, it is sad to say all of these memories are digitally stored. But what is the good in that? Yes, they can’t be lost… but they also can’t be seen (hidden in folders on your desktop). Make it a point to print out the occasional picture for your children. If they are visual, creative children, maybe they will find scrapbooking a fun idea. Either way, waking up to a framed picture on your nightstand, of the ones who love you, is never a bad idea.

8.      Explore new things... As a family! Discovering new things with each other will contribute to the family bonding and better your relationships. Even something as inexpensive as hiking will open up their eyes to something new. And the fresh air won’t kill you 😉

9. Eat together as a family. Family dinners are the ideal scenario, but we all know life gets in the way. Between jobs, chorus concerts, and after school sports, it may not always be the best time. Give breakfast a try! Eating a meal together at least twice a week will draw the family in as one, connecting and grounding you as a family in between all of the chaos, even if it is for just a short about of time.

10. Don’t forget to be thankful. In pictures and movies, families may seem picture perfect, but in reality; the ups and downs are inevitable. With every complaint that pops into your head (child or parent perspective), accompany the negative with something you are thankful for. The list is endless, yet unfortunately, we tend to forget. Sure… your son’s room is constantly cluttered but look at the bright side! He’s involved and passionate about a handful of hobbies.

Winter Health and Safety Tips

Winter Health and Safety Tips

What to wear

  • It is a common mistake to protect babies and young children from cold weather with blankets, quilts, and pillows
    • Loose bedding is not ideal for a baby’s sleeping environment
    • Loose bedding may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
    • Instead, dress the child in warm one-piece sleep wear (onesies) or wearable blankets
  • This rule goes for both children and      adults—dress in several thin layers instead of one or two thick garments
    • Easier to shed a cold, wet layer and       still stay dry and warm
  • Do not forget to pack/ wear boots,      gloves, and hat/ earmuffs
  • “The rule of thumb for older babies and      young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an      adult would wear in the same conditions.”

Winter Health Kid in snow

When to Go Outside—Or Not To

  • Pay attention to the wind chill. Windy days are increasingly colder than the temperature detected
  • How long should the kids play outside?
    • 30 o F and higher
      • Comfortable temperature to play outside
      • Layer clothing, encourage hats and gloves
      • Provide water—regulates body temp.
      • Regroup inside every forty minutes or so
      • Check babies’ fingers and feet often
  • 20o F – 30oF
    • Follow the same rules as above but more cautiously
    • Gather children inside every twenty minutes (perfect hot chocolate break!)
  • Below 20oF
    • Keep children indoors

Sledding Winter Health

Why Bundle Up

  • Frostbite—
    • When the skin and outer tissues become frozen
    • Common spots are fingers, toes, ears and nose
    • If child complains of numbness or such symptoms, apply warm washcloth or place frozen parts in warm water (bath water temperature 104o F)
    • If numbness continues more than a few minutes, contact a doctor.
    • Hypothermia—
      • When a child’s temperature drops below normal
      • Occurs from excessive exposure to cold temperatures, most often playing outdoors
      • Be sure to remove all wet clothing as soon as possible when returning indoors
      • More common in children than adults
      • “As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy.  Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.”
      • Call 911 immediately if these symptoms are evident

Winter Health and Safety Tips

Stay Warm & Enjoy Your Winter,
Stephanie Falcone







Drowning in Laundry

Drowning in Laundry

Being a Professional Organizer, I am always trying to recognize events in my life that help me to identify with my clients.  My house isn’t perfect…and neither am I.  My most recent event occurred at the Laundromat – of all places.  Let me tell you my story.

I haven’t set foot in a Laundromat in more than a decade. When my dryer broke a few months back I thought we would use it as an opportunity to move forward in being earth conscious and use a clothes line.  Noble as this idea may have been, line drying all of the clothes for a family of five during the rainy season isn’t quite the start I was anticipating.  When my most precious friend told me she goes to the “mat”, I thought it might be fun to go to together.  This would give me time with my friend and get my family off my back about needing clean underwear.  Boy was I in for a surprise.

laundry pile drowning in laundry

First, I had a car load of laundry.  Now, I drive an SUV.  I am talking the entire cargo area, back seat and passenger seat…FULL.  The good news is it only took me two hours to wash every stitch in my whole house.  It was hard work! I sweat more than during a workout but had such a great feeling of accomplishment.  The crowning moment was when I got home with my 20 or so baskets of folded clothes that were already sorted by room where they were destined.

It was my precious friend that pointed out the connection to my organizing clients.  So many times my clients are indeed organized individuals who become the victims of circumstance.  Things happen…an illness, a new baby, a death…that prevents them from staying on top of things.  That is where an Organizer comes in.  Just as the Mat was hard work and pretty expensive; it was worth it to have an, albeit small, window with no worries about laundry.  The satisfaction of feeling a sense of completion made it all worth it.

Sometimes even the most organized of people need help getting over the hump…and I am not talking about Wednesday!  Now, how do you stay on top of laundry for a family of five (or three, or ten)?  One load each day, every day, no matter what!





Have a Neat and One-Load Day!

Jennifer Snyder

Neat as a Pin! Organizing Experts


Neat as a Pin Drowning in Laundry

Raising Children Funny Quotes

Raising Children Funny quotes
Stephanie Falcone

Raising a child can be a number of things. Fun, exciting, exhausting, worrisome, loud, heartwarming, dramatic, dysfunctional, delightful, expensive, perfect… the list goes on. There are days you ache to throw in the towel and other days you’d give anything to hold them forever and never let them slip out of your hands. All in all, raising a child is a blessing.

Raising Children

Here are a handful of quotes on raising children to remind you of the irreplaceable memories you make along the way. It’s funny how many you can relate to… Enjoy!


You try your hardest to raise your teenagers with patience, honesty and good manners, but they still end up being like you.

Imagination is something that sits up with dad and mom the first time their teenager stays out late.

You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance. – Franklin P. Jones

You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they are going.- P.J O’Rourke

There are times when parenthood seems nothing more than feeding the hand that bites you. – Ann Diehl

Many a man wishes he were strong enough to tear a telephone book in half — especially if he has a teenage daughter. – Guy Lombardo

A scout troop consists of twelve little kids dressed like schmucks following a big schmuck dressed like a kid. – Jack Benny

When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished,
I climb out. – Erma Bombeck

I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned how to dance, waiting in line for the
bathroom. – Bob Hope

Smiling Kids Raising Children



Fun and Easy Ways to Earn Money (For Young Teens)

Fun and Easy Ways to Earn Money
(For Young Teens)
By Stephanie Falcone

Does your child pester you about doing work around the house to earn a few extra bucks? Even toddlers get a little kick in their step when you toss them a few coins. Around the age of thirteen, teens have an urge to earn money for themselves, especially if you do not supply them with an allowance. Regulations do not permit children so young to work… so how is this possible? Keep reading to discover the choices kids have to work independently and learn a sense of responsibility.

As they get older, there are things your son or daughter will want and need to buy for themselves. Also, helping them pursue this initiative will teach them the value of money, and keep them from burning a hole in your pocket! Win, win! Whether it is clothes, the latest video game, or a ticket for the movies on a Friday night out with their friends… ease their frustration and suggest these rewarding jobs!


Be sure your child is serious about this commitment and aware of what he or she is accountable for when signing up for the job. Training courses are offered by a variety of places. Click the link provided to find a class in your area. On top of professional training to ensure the health and care of the client, be sure to learn more about them as well. Assist your teen in finding a safe family to work for. For example: family/ work friends, relatives, or close neighbors. Babysitting requires a great amount of trust and responsibility and in most cases offers a great payment in return!

Find Classes: Red Cross CPR Training

Kids Fun and Easy Ways to Earn Money

Help Senior Citizens

This is a job that has been around for quite some time. There are always older people who are willing to pay young, strong and willing kids to complete jobs that they are no longer capable of doing. For example: buying groceries, feeding pets, watering pants, and/ or mowing their lawn. Make a friendly call or casual visit to senior citizens nearby offering your services. I’m sure they’ll be pleased to see a new young and cheerful face. Worth a shot!

Dog Walking

What happens to the dog when you have to go to work? That’s where you come in! Make flyers or ask adults in person if they need help caring for their pet throughout the day. Surprisingly, there are such things as doggy daycare but the fees are through the roof! No pun intendedJ. Especially if you are an animal lover… what’s better than taking a dog for a stroll in the park and getting paid at the same time?

 Fun and Easy Ways to Earn Money

Seasonal Jobs

Depending on the season, there are specific tasks lawn owners are obligated to get done. In the fall, there are leaves galore! Offer a hand by raking leaves or unclogging those measly gutters in your neighborhood. In the winter, you guessed it! SNOW! Shovel driveways and sand/salt walkways in exchange for a few extra bucks. House owners will surely be grateful.

Fun and Easy Ways to Earn Money



6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break !

Christmas is quickly approaching and the kids are now home for a while on Christmas break.  Christmas break is always exciting for kids no school, no homework, free time, and Christmas is right within reach. However it often doesn’t take long before cabin fever sets in and they begin to become rambunctious or bored. That is why its best that you find ways to keep them occupied so you can keep your sanity. What better way to do this then to do holiday and Christmas themed activities! You and the kids will keep busy while having TONS of holiday fun!  Here 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break!

christmas cookies 6 Kid Friendly Activities for Winter Break


1. Cookie Extravaganza. Tis the season for holiday baking. Everyone loves a sweet treat this time of year especially Christmas cookies. Get the kids involved with helping you baking or the age old tradition of cookie cutters and decorating Christmas cookies! They will love getting creative and helping mom in the kitchen. Stick with traditional cookies such as chocolate chip, peanut butter & sugar OR click here for even more unique holiday cookie recipes or decorating ideas.

Holiday Sled Treats 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activties for Winter Break

It doesn’t just have to be cookies! With the help of pinterest there are so many adorable and delicious holiday treat ideas just like the teddy bear sleighs pictured! ( For this treat all you need is mini candy canes, mini snickers or milky way’s and a box of teddy grahams. ) Click here for more creative holiday treat ideas.

Gingerbread House 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

2. Build a Gingerbread House.  Gingerbread houses are a holiday tradition & a delicious one at that. The kids will have a blast with this! I mean what is more fun than building a play house out of candy… that you can EAT! Build a big one as a family or let each kiddo make their own! What you will need is graham crackers, frosting, gum drops, peppermints, candy canes, licorice, M&M’s, and whatever other candy you’d like! For more ideas on how to make the perfect gingerbread house click here.

Popsicle Stick Ornaments 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

3.  Popsicle Stick Ornaments & Decorations! Popsicle sticks are the ultimate craft because you can make almost anything out of them including Christmas decorations! Christmas a tree, reindeer, snowmen, snowflakes, picture frames, sleds, or Santa the possibilities are endless. All you need is Popsicle sticks, glue, paint or markers, beads, googly eyes, or glitter, and string if you want to make it into an ornament.  For more ideas on Christmas crafts made with Popsicle sticks click here.

homemade christmas paper 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

4. Homemade Wrapping Paper.  This is a fun way to get the kids involved in the gift giving of Christmas plus it puts an adorable personal touch to your gifts! For small gifts you can use the inside of paper groceries bags or you may need a roll of brown or white paper. You can use acrylic paints, markers, or crayons. To get perfect Christmas shapes you can trace cookie cutters or if using paint you can use sponges. Also if you’re feeling brave enough to let the kids get a little messy they can use their handprints!

homemade christmas card 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

5. Christmas Card Making. Continue you and your kids work as Santa’s little elves and decorate your very own Christmas cards. It is an activity that the kids will enjoy and your friends and relatives will cherish when they receive them. For homemade Christmas card ideas click here.

grinch movie 6 Kid Friendly Holiday Activities for Winter Break

6. Christmas Movie Marathon! Christmas themed movies are always a hit with kids they can sit down and rest from all the crafts or take time to eat some of the treats you have been making. It is also a way to keep them occupied while you get some holiday baking, cleaning, or gift wrapping done. An idea is to let each kid pick out a movie and then maybe you share one of your holiday favorites with them. Click here for a list of popular Christmas movies for kids.

Hope you and the kids enjoy these fun activties! Happy Holidays!

Photo Sources:








Tis the Season to Give Back !

Tis the Season to Give Back!

Tis the season for Give back!  It is very easy for us to get lost in the hustle and bustle of everything that goes on during the holiday season. This time of year is a great time to give back to your community and those less fortunate. There is no better feeling than knowing you helped someone in need and made their seasons bright! It’s also a great time to discuss with your kids the importance of giving back. Here a just a few ideas of ways you and your families can give back right here in the Kansas City Area.

Tis the season to give back helping hands

1. Adopt a family. Wouldn’t it be awesome to feel like Santa and his elves and provide holiday joy to a family who otherwise couldn’t celebrate? Well through the Salvation Army Adopt-A-Family Program you can do just that. They will match you or your group with a less fortunate family and give you all the information you need including family size, gift wishes, and clothing sizes in order to provide the family with an entire Christmas. Visit The Salvation Army Kansas & Western Missouri to learn more!

2. TOYS FOR TOTS. With your help this successful program sponsored by the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve has been bringing holiday joy to children for many years. Their mission is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute them as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the local community. Local Toys for Tots campaigns run through mid to late December before the toys are distributed. Drop off your new unwrapped toy at any of the Kansas City Area collection boxes positioned at local businesses all around the area including Toy’s R US, Baby’s R US, & MORE. There all also many KC area events sponsored by Toys for Tots. You can also make a online monetary donation to your local Toys for Tots campaign!

tis the season for giving back angel tree

3. Angel Tree. Sadly many children in the Kansas & Missouri area will not have a Christmas tree or gifts under it on Christmas morning. However by participating in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Program you can make that their holiday dreams come true!  Adopt an angel off of the tree at any of these area locations: Wal-Mart, Oak Park Mall, Commerce Bank and MORE! You will be provided with sizes and wishes of your Christmas Angel to guide your shopping and instructions on where to drop the gifts off at.

4. Feed the hungry. Everyone deserves a nice meal during the holidays and there are a few ways you can do this. First you can participate in a canned food drive. Rather its organizing your own or donating to another food drive or food pantry this is an easy way to give back to those in need. Another way to help the hungry is to volunteer at a local soup kitchen. Your service will be sure to fill their stomachs and leave smiles on their faces.  Visit: Harvesters Community Food Network, Foodpantries.org, Feeding America, HSD Missouri, & HSD Kansas for more information on food pantries, food banks, & soup kitchens in the Kansas City Area.

5. Simply lend a helping hand- It doesn’t always have to be about money and donations. In fact with the economy some are on a tight budget and just can’t afford it. Instead you can donate your time by raking leaves, shoveling snow, hanging Christmas lights , or taking a plate of food to an elderly or lonely friend or neighbor. Your acts of kindness will likely be greatly appreciated.

These are just a few ideas of how you can give back this holiday season! Happy Holidays to you & your families.

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Work vs. Stay at home

Congratulations! If you are expecting a child, especially if this is your first born, you are probably bursting with questions. And one of the biggest decisions…

Work vs. Stay at home

This will help you eliminate your insecurities about your upcoming decision.
Take note of your personal pros and cons as you read.

How will this affect my child?
This is a mixed category, all depending on the quality of child care you are looking into. Obviously everyone wants the very best for their child, but with the best, comes other problems (that we’ll discuss next).
PRO: Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health prove that child care can in fact benefit children. Quality child care at a young age scored higher than most students in areas such as vocabulary before entering kindergarten.
CON: Discipline problems have been recorded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for preschoolers who have attended child care for more than a year. Without one on one attention, by the parent or consistent guardian, children tend to disobey orders because they are not being carefully watched.

Can I afford this?
This can go both ways. Can you afford to take a leave of absence from your job? OR Can you afford the costs of child care? Compare the two are decide which you will benefit from most, financially.

“In 2007, BabyCenter online estimated that sending your baby or toddler to a daycare center cost between $4,388 to $14,647 a year. It estimated that sending your baby or toddler to a home daycare cost between $4,128 and $9,508 per year. Personalized care from a full-time nanny was estimated to be between $26,004 and $36,396 a year.” (Miller, LiveStrong.com).

Also look into a relative or family friend to care for your child part time. This way you can still possibly keep your job by working part time and also stay home some days with your little one.

What are my values as a parent?
Staying home with your child as he grows is the ideal choice, but sadly, it is not always that easy. Many parents strongly believe a parent should raise the child, and if that is the case, work at it! Decipher which parent is best to leave their job behind to raise the baby. By electing one parent to stay at home, an income will still be coming in, and your child’s “firsts” will be witnessed by the one he/ she is loved by most, a parent. Cutting back on usually outings or shopping sprees will most likely need to be limited, but having a parent home will make up for it in the long run (if this is a value of yours). Or even better… both work part time. I know, easier said than done… but it doesn’t hurt to try!