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End-of-Summer Celebrations: Make a Back to School Party!

End of summer doesn’t have to mean end of fun. Set the tone for a great school year, with lots of positive attitudes, by celebrating with a back to school party. Awesome food and exciting games will make get your neighborhood ready for a great school year with only a little time and effort.

Setting the Scene

For an indoor party, cover the tables with white paper and scatter crayons around. Encourage the guests to write predictions, impressions or hopes for the new academic year; save the tablecloth for your end-of-school party, when you can all laugh together about how close – or how very far—the predictions were. Chalkboards, erasers, rulers, pencil sharpeners, books and alphabet blocks add to the atmosphere.

Satisfying the Hungry Hordes

Prepare school cafeteria favorites like sloppy joes, pizza, chili or spaghetti to keep the theme going. Serve the food in disposable trays that look like those used at school. Add some pint-sized milk cartons or juice boxes, and you’re ready to go. For dessert, serve up a bus-shaped cake, cookies shaped like pencils or books, or school themed cupcakes.

Sending Them Home With Supplies

Combine the entertainment with the take-home by letting guests decorate mini canvas backpacks with markers, paint, ribbons and other embellishments. Stuff them with a new chapter book, a funky pen or pencil, a shaped eraser and a pencil topper. For older kids, provide a planner/calendar, a highlighter, a fun pen, and a locker shelf or mirror.

Don’t forget the Invites!

Of course, a back-to-school theme starts before the day of the party, when you let the guests know the details. Add a fun touch that also saves time with school bus invitations from the Amy Adele. Follow up with a reminder announcement printed with paint pens on mini chalkboards.

Have other Back to School Party ideas? Share them below!

Art of Fun Communication

There is no doubt that we live in an age of rapidly growing technology. It’s grabbing hold of us all – especially young people. Even though our ability to communicate may be provided by more expedient means there is something disappearing; the art of letter writing with personalized stationery.

Letter writing may seem ancient, but in fact, it is a rather intimate way to exchange more than information. The speed of delivery earned it the name “snail mail,” but what if there is a way to make letter writing like a game or a gift?

Make it Personal

Making a letter personal starts with what you write on. Using plain loose-leaf paper means you lose a chance for expressing the real you. Try sitting down with your child and letting them pick personalized stationery they find pretty or exciting. Every child enjoys feeling special. Why can’t writing be the same way?

If your child is too young to write, do not be discouraged. They can still pick out their favorite writing tools. In fact, the time they spend helping you write a letter to someone they love will be a special time for you to build your relationship with them as well as teach them the variety of ways to express themselves.

Letters are Gifts

With the cost of stamps now it is not hard to imagine a letter being like a gift, which is all the more reason to send them. The receiver will know you and your child took the time to get the stamp and go to the post office for them. Add a layer of fun by letting your child pick out the stamp as well.

Letting your child pick the recipient can be fun. If they find themselves unsure of whom to write, help stimulate ideas by suggesting family and friends. Take them on a walk around the house to look at their favorite pictures. Let them point out someone they may want to write.

In Closing

When it comes time to close out your letter make sure to suggest your child ask for a letter in return. Knowing there is something coming in the mail will give your child something to look forward to when they run to the mail every day. It will also be nice for you to open the mailbox and find something other than a bill. A nice final touch to any letter is the chance to seal it with a personal mark. Attaching a label with your home address is always nice. Also, consider letting your child place a sticker to close the letter similar to the idea of an old wax seal.

Writing can be the new art of fun communication. Don’t miss out on the chance to teach your child to reach out to family and peers. Grandma and Grandpa will definitely thank you!

Teaching Gratitude on Memorial Day

Memorial Day GratitudeIf you want to celebrate Memorial Day with more than a barbecue, you should be sure to thank a vet or service member for their hard work and support.  You can teach this Memorial Day gratitude to your children in a number of ways.

Read a Book

There are many books out there that explain what Memorial Day is and why we celebrate it.  One such book is Memorial Day Surprise, which takes young kids through a celebration of Memorial Day through a parade where the main character gets a surprise.  Another is Let’s Get Ready for Memorial Day in which a girl learns about Memorial Day in school, then goes to a war memorial.

For older kids, there are several good books including the classics The Red Badge of Courage, Catch-22 and A Farewell to Arms.  More modern books include Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel and Fobbit by David Abrams.  These books can go a long way to bringing home the reality of what our service people go through.

Send a Service Person a Thank You

You can download a printout to color and mail to a service member with the address provided, or you can send a thank you card to a relative or friend’s relative who served in the military.  You can even find pink or green camo Thank You cards!

Memorial Day is one of the best holidays for teaching your children about thankfulness and being grateful. It can help connect them to the older generations of their family as well.  We are always looking to share ideas on how to teach your children gratitude! Please contact us if you have any you would like to share.

Thanksgiving Activities for Kids: DIY Painted Glass Plates

If you’re looking for Thanksgiving activities for kids, how about glass painting? It’s so simple you can decorate dinner plates for all your guests in a single afternoon. In fact, you and your kids will probably want to extend your collection once you see what you can do.

Supplies: Glass painting looks impressive but requires no drawing skills or fancy equipment. All you need are cheap clear glass plates or glazed ceramics you can find in crafts stores or discount shops. Any small paint brushes will do. Depending on your design, you may also want to get stencils and sponges. Many different kinds of paints will work including oven-bake acrylic enamels or regular acrylic paints.

Painting and Design: Wash everything first so you have a clean surface for paint to stick to. Draw your design on paper or use a stencil. Then, tape it to the back of the clear plate. You can paint in the outline directly or trace it onto the front of the plate temporarily with a grease pencil so you can fill it in. Even small children can stamp on animal shapes or geometric patterns with shaped sponges and stamps. Let kids choose their own favorite pictures like turkeys or trains. They may even want to put each guest’s name on their plate.

Safety Tips: Read paint labels carefully to check if your paints are food safe. If not, it’s still easy to keep the paint surface away from food. Paint the back side only of clear glass pates so you can see the design when you look through them. If you’re painting vessels like pitchers and glasses, decorate the outside only and stay an inch below the top edge.

Make holiday gatherings and everyday family dinners more fun. Set your table with beautiful and easy crafts you make yourself. You and your children will enjoy the time you spend together, and kids will love showing off their masterpieces.

Boys Stationery: Expressing Thanks With Style and Theme

At amyadele.com, we know how important it is to teach children to be thankful. Whether they have received a compliment or a gift it’s a nice idea to have your boys write a thank you letter.

Our boys stationery is made just for boys. We offer a variety of designs making it fun for boys to write thank you letters to their friends or family. Thank you cards are 5″ x 3.5″ and we offer both flat cards and folded notes.

Our boys thank you cards are available in several themes, from sailboats to robots and firetrucks. We carry animal themes and prints, sea life and school related designs. We even have camping, and train designs!

All of our boys stationary can be personalized. We can also take care of special requests. If there is a design or theme that you want but can’t find on our site feel free to contact us with your idea. We will be happy help.

If you are interested in changing the color theme of any of our available designs you can, for only $10.00. All thank you cards can be modified to meet your specific needs. Don’t hesitate to let us know exactly what you want. We will do our best to ensure your satisfaction.

We offer a hundred percent satisfaction guarantee. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase you can get your money back. Simply send back the products within 30 days and we will give you a full refund. You can receive a credit towards future purchases after the thirty days is up. You may request the credit up to sixty days after your purchase has been made.

We take pride in our stationary, thank you cards, and other products. We also try to encourage thankfulness. Teaching boys to write thank you letters to friends and family has never been this much fun!

Forging a Lasting Bond with Grandchildren Activities

Grandparents and grandchildren come in all different shapes, sizes, ages, and energy levels with different interests, hobbies, and personalities.  The special relationship  between grandparents and grandchildren has the potential to be one of  life’s most precious.  Oftentimes miles separate grandparents and grandchildren, making regular time together difficult.  When together, the time is usually packed with fun and exciting activities.  Sometimes just the opposite is true, with grandparents living in the same city, neighborhood, or even house as their grandchildren.  While this is usually a positive thing in most aspects, it may be harder to think of fun activities to nurture the bond and grow the relationship when it’s so routine and familiar.  Rest assured, there are many grandchildren activities to keep both young and old happy.

It is important to pair personalities, physical capabilities, and interests when thinking about activities.  Many activities can be good for a broad spectrum of ages.

  • Gardening is a popular activity at any age.  The grandparent can share their knowledge and expertise while allowing the grandchildren to do most of the bending over and digging in dirt.  Then both can enjoy and share the fruits of their labor together.
  • Go for walks together.  This is an amazing opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to get to know each other better.  Children often love to hear stories of their grandparents and parents childhood.  Depending on your location and energy level, this may mean a walk around the block, a stroll through a park, or a hike through the woods.  As a bonus, walking is great exercise for everyone!
  • Play games.  This can be as active or passive an activity as you desire.  For quieter indoor options, consider board games, card games, or puzzles.  You can head outdoors for games like croquet, bowling, or miniature golf.
  • Cook, bake, or craft together.  Different generations have different ideas and skills.  It can be a lot of fun to exchange ideas and teach each other different skills.  Often grandparents love to share their knowledge and expertise in various areas.  Grandchildren can be fortunate recipients of this if they take the time together.  Grandparents may even learn some new crafting and cooking skills themselves.  Grandchildren have much to offer as well.
  • Read together.  While this is a pleasant pastime for an individual, it can also be a great one for a pair.  Sitting and reading aloud can improve reading skills and pass the time.

Of course, this is by no means a comprehensive list.  There are so many fun activities for grandparents and grandchildren to do together.  Don’t limit yourselves. Look into things that make one or both parties feel passionate and excited and explore them together!

Organizing Kids Toys in the Garage and Yard

Organizing kids toys may not sound so bad when you compare it to one of the toughest household challenges we all face. That’s the mess that builds up in our garages and yards. Try these 9 simple ideas that work just as well inside your home as they do outdoors.

Garbage cans: You can spend a fortune on a toy chest or buy an inexpensive garbage can to hold the big items. A variety of colorful plastic cans will look good and make sorting toys easier for small children.

Potter’s bench: These useful items are too good to be restricted to just the garden. Think of all the storage area and hanging space plus a convenient surface for work and play.

Hose: Yes, it would be messy to bring the hose into your child’s bedroom. Still, it comes in handy for tough cleaning jobs if you need to wash up before you can even think about organizing. A little dish washing liquid and a good hosing removes grime fast from many surfaces.

Hooks: Hooks aren’t just for garage walls and college dorm rooms. If you’ve got small closets take advantage of wall space for hanging lightweight toys. Stuff them into tote bags and hang them by the handles.

Small jars and containers: The same transparent containers filled with nails and screws can be used for tiny craft supplies, marbles and other small treasures. Drawer organizers work well too.

Platforms: If you love having room under your deck to keep things out of sight, how about a platform bed or other raised surface?

Categories and labels: If you keep your garage shelves labeled, why not create a similar system in your child’s room?

Ceiling storage net: If you don’t already have a net installed under your garage ceiling, buy two. You can use them like hammocks to store stuffed toys or anything lightweight.

Tarp: As a last resort, a big tarp or blanket can keep the mess under cover until you have time to organize. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.

Sweeten Grandchildren Activities by Making Candy Kabobs

Kids love making candy kabobs so they provide easy and fun grandchildren activities. If you feel like you’ve taken cupcakes as far as they can go, try skewering your sweets for a change.

How to Make Candy Kabobs: All you need are soft candies and wooden or bamboo skewers. If you’re not going to eat your creations on the spot, you’ll also want to have a supply of plastic bags and ribbons to keep them safe for later. Craft stores sell pretzel stick bags that are the perfect shape. Then, all you have to do is press the skewer through the candies.

Kids of all ages can join in the fun. Set up a station for them to select and sort the candies and assemble the kabobs. Skewers have sharp ends so you may want to handle them yourself if your grandchildren are very small.

Finding Candy for Your Kabobs: Any soft treat will do. Gummy candies are especially handy because they come in so many colors, shapes and sizes.

If you’re going to indulge in your kabobs right away, you can even alternate the candy with other foods. Add chunks of fruit like melon balls or pineapple cubes. Pop a couple of pieces of candy on the end of a chicken kabob for a built in desert.

How to Use Your Candy Kabobs for Gifts: You probably won’t be able to resist eating some of your work, but why not make a few extras for gifts? Insert a personalized gift tag with a special message and then bag them up and tie the bottom with a ribbon. Your grandchildren can bring home a treat for their parents or make a small present for their favorite teacher.

Simple crafts like candy kabobs can turn any afternoon with your grandchildren into a party. Creative play is even better when you get to eat your masterpieces.

How to make New Years Eve Rock for the kids

New Years Eve is well known for the champagne, staying up late, kissing, and glamorous outfits. But what about those who are a bit younger? They definitely want to be able to ring in the new year with just as much fun and pizazz as their parents and older siblings! So here are a few Holiday Party Ideas to make their night just as memorable as your own.

  • Sleep over party! If you just so happen to have young ones of your own and a lack of plans for NYE, why not offer to host a sleep over for the neighborhood kids. Other parents may be appreciative of the night out, or may even offer to help you out! As a result the kids will have a safe and fun place to be for the night. Have the kids get dressed up and provide themed snacks like cupcakes bedecked in glittery sprinkles, cookies decorated like clocks, or dip sugar cones in chocolate and then decorate to look like NYE hats. Hand out noise makers and bubbles to celebrate and plastic glasses of sparkling cider. If you want to avoid the sugar of cider and the possible mess, seltzer or sparkling water adds the bubbly without the extra sugar.
  • Karaoke party! If your kids are a bit older and still want to have their friends over, try busting out the karaoke machine or singing video games. Everyone can take turns belting out their favorite tunes between munching on finger foods and dips. Kick it up a notch and offer prizes for a contest. Set up a rotating panel of judges (so everyone gets to sing and everyone gets to judge) to pass out scores. Just make sure everyone stays nice with their comments! Just Dance! and other dance related games can make a fun addition to a karaoke party. Contestants take turns getting in front of the television and trying to match their own smooth moves to the avatar on the screen.
  • Glam it up! If you have teens living at home who want in on the fun but you want to make sure they stay out of harm and out of trouble, let them invite their friends to the house. The kids can dress to kill for the night. Set up appetizer tables and a “bar” with virgin mixed drinks (just make sure they stay unspiked!). A photobooth can add a fun element as well. Set up a glitzy backdrop with 2014 or “Happy New Year” and leave out props like boas and masks for the guests to use. Either set up a point and shoot digital camera with a remote on a tripod or a webcam on a laptop. Guests can take their own pictures to be posted to a social media site or party website later. Have your kids make a fun playlist of music and offer games like Apples to Apples to keep the laughs coming and everyone actively having a good time.

The most important part of New Year’s Eve is to have a good time and make sure that everyone stays safe, happy, and healthy so they can enjoy the coming year.

Christmas Tradition-Thinking Outside the Gift Box

Some Christmas traditions are passed down through generations.  Others are established intentionally to preserve the part of Christmas that is important to a family.  Sometimes though, traditions rise out of the ashes of human tragedy.

In 1999, a family of six was involved in a tragic car accident.  Three of the four children who were injured in the accident would not have made it had it not been for the heroic actions of the rescue personnel who arrived at the scene.  Several months after that awful day, the children, having finally been released from the hospital, traveled back to the rescue service stations to personally thank the men and women who had so bravely fought for their lives but it just didn’t seem to be enough.

In their hometown, the fire company has a tradition of putting hundreds of lights on the fire trucks and rescue vehicles on Christmas Eve.  Santa Claus climbs aboard the ladder truck and the vehicles travel from one neighborhood to the next blowing their horns with sirens blaring. The firefighters walk alongside handing out candy canes and toys to the children who come out to see them.

The family who was saved by the firefighters decided that one year they would turn the tables on them and instead of receiving candy canes from the fire company would instead give goodies to the fire station for those working on Christmas day to enjoy.  They set to work.  They baked cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning and put  them in a gift box along with cookies, caramel corn, candy, hot chocolate, microwave popcorn, hard tack candy and a thank you card explaining how appreciative they were for people who risk their lives to save the lives of others.  (After all, that is what happened the first Christmas when Christ came to earth with the sole mission of selflessly giving his life for the world.) The children stood anxiously along the road awaiting the fire trucks arrival and were delighted when the firefighter received their gift with a surprised, but appreciative smile and a tear in his eye.  From that time on, they asked every year to do it again and it soon became a Christmas tradition.

Even though those children are now young adults, you will still find them standing along the side of the road on Christmas Eve with their box of goodies in hand.  Some of the neighbors who have seen them do this every year have also jumped on board and offer their own gifts and thanks to the firefighters.

For them, Christmas is a time to remember how much they have received through the sacrifice of others.  It’s their Christmas tradition. And I might add, it’s their favorite one.