Category Archives: Hints and Tips

Find parenting tips, craft ideas, and yummy recipes to cook with your family. Have family fun with the helpful ideas from our hints and tips.

Dressing for the Day

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Many toddlers enjoy mimicking adult like activities such a cooking and cleaning, yet there is another activity that may inspire logic and decision making. That activity is learning how to dress themselves. Here are some tips inspired by Thriving Family Magazine on how to teach children how to dress:

1. Ask your child to observe the weather outside.

      • Does it look hot or cold?
      • Tell them what the temperature is and associate the temperature with a season. For example: “Although it is sunny out, the weather channel only says it is 38 degrees outside, that feels like winter weather. Burrrrr, I’m shivering.”

2. Talk about what the plans for the day are.

      •  Are you going grocery shopping with your child, going to the playground, or attending a wedding? This will help teach them the difference between casual and formal.

3. Separate clothing into categories.

      • Put short sleeve shirts in one draw and long sleeve shirts in another.

4. When children make what may be considered a good selection for a clothing choice, cheer them on. Toddlers love positive attention!

5. Based on the good dress decisions of the week, as a reward for dressing well, on a day that you and your child are spending in the house, give them the option to dress in their favorite outfit such as their superhero pajamas.

What tips do you have for teaching your child how to dress themselves?

Family Fun at the Movies

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Spring has officially arrived and it is time to get out of the house and have a family adventure. There are many great movies that have come out or are coming out soon that can be entertaining for the whole family. Take a look at these trailers for movies that are hitting this spring and summer:

The Croods: This movie rolled into theaters two weeks ago and has been making a rocking commotion ever since. It is a prehistoric comedy that follows the first family as they travel outside of the cave that has been destroyed. Families and critics agree that it is a movie full of laughs and surprises that the whole family will enjoy. This movie is rated PG.

Epic: Epic is an animated film, coming to theaters May 24th, that tells the story of the protectors of the natural world and their battle against the forces of evil.  A teenage girl find herself magically transported to this secret universe where she teams up with the good warriors to save their world and ours.  *This film is not yet rated*

Monsters University: The prequel to Monsters, Inc. scheduled to be released June 21st. The plot of the movie takes place ten years before the events that occurred in Monsters, Inc. During this time, Mike and Sulley are in college and happen to be roommates. Realizing they are complete opposites, they become enemies and begin a rivalry that could tear their world apart. *This film is not yet rated*

Smurfs 2:  The evil Gargamel has captured Smurfette in order to gain the secret spell that can turn his newest creation Naughties into real Smurfs. The Smurfs must partner with their humans friends to rescue her.  Smurfs 2 is scheduled to be released in theaters July 31rd. *This film is not yet rated*

Despicable Me 2: The Anti-Villain League needs help dealing with a powerful new super criminal so they decide to recruit Gru in order to defeat the villain. This movie is expected to come out July 3rd. *This film is not yet rated*

Will you and your family be seeing any of these movies in theaters?

Hippity Hop: Easter Fun

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Step2 is jumping for joy that Easter is almost here! There are so many fun craft and recipe ideas to experiment with, with the kids. We found wonderful crafts through Pinterest that can be found on our Springtime pin board. Here are some of our favorite ideas for Easter this year:

Lightbulb Lambs: Oh my, these little lambs adorable! If you have any light bulbs that are burned out or some spare bulbs that you are willing to use, grab the paint, yarn, pom-poms, and bows to create these cute creatures. These can be the perfect decoration as a table setting during Easter dinner. *Disclaimer: The Lightbulb Lambs are not meant to be used as toys by children*

lambs

20 Ways to Decorate Eggs: A tradition in many families is to decorate eggs for Easter. We have heard of dying Easter eggs or painting them but Making the World Cuter showed us twenty ways to decorate eggs. Whoa, that is a lot of colorful eggs!

20ways to decorate

Easter Bunny Treats:  This recipe reminds us of making your own DIY Peeps! The recipe requires a lot of marshmallows but is very simple which means it will be a ton of fun for children of all ages! These festive treats will make a yummy desert.

 bunny
 

Will you make any of these fun crafts for Easter? Have a Happy Easter!

Embarrassing Parent Moments

Being a parent is a joy within itself. There are plenty of ups and downs that go on while raising a child but along the way there will be many laughs. As a parent, one will experience plenty of embarrassing moments. Here at Step2, we are parents too, which means we have plenty of embarrassing moments we would like to share with you.

Embarrassing Parent Moments

Step2’s Embarrassing Parent Moments:

When my daughter was just a few weeks old, we stopped at a local coffee shop to warm up a bottle of milk. After I fed her, my husband picked her up out of my arms and to take her for diaper change. Before he could even grab the diaper bag, she passed gas that turned into a terrible blowout (a new type of blowout that I was unfamiliar with pre-kids). It must have been the way his hand was positioned, because it ricocheted out of the top of her pants (not having her in a onesie was parent fail #1 of this situation), hit my husband’s white shirt, then gushed onto the floor of the coffee shop. Between the mess and the smell, I was mortified. Looking back, it was kind of funny! – Ashley

Although I am not a parent, my mom has had plenty of embarrassing incidents. I was too young to remember this, but my mom often tells me of the one time I got lost in the mall as a toddler. At the time, I had an infatuation for Barney. We were in line waiting to meet Barney and I decided to make a run for it to go on a hunt for the purple dinosaur. During the time, this was a scary event for my mom; however, she did end up finding me hiding in a circular clothes rack in one of the department stores. Again, this situation was not funny at the time, but it is funny to joke about now that I am an adult and no longer a little trouble maker looking for Barney. – Nicole

A few weeks ago I had an appt to get an eye brow wax. It would NEVER be my intention to bring my boys back to the spa area BUT Daddy was busy and they can to come.  I knew it was going to be quick so I told them to be quiet and just sit and watch. Remember is spas how everyone has to whisper right? Well Ryan wanted to sit on my lap and Grizz wanted to good view so he shimmied right up to the table (he is eye level).  Grizz was asking all sorts of questions like “eye brows waxed?” Is that hot? Mommy does that hurt? All of a sudden Ryan passes gas rather loudly. He laughs, Grizz laughs and tries to take credit. I look at the esthetician and apologize for the behavior and also because we are in a really tiny room! It was hard to be quiet after that. – Sara S.

 My 20 month old has recently discovered the “fun” of pushing his little hands into my tummy fat.  I’m sure it feels like play dough to him.  Fun for him – embarrassing for me (name asked to be withheld – she can handle the embarrassment in front of her little one but not in sharing this with the Step2 world :)

Do you have any embarrassing parent moments that have happened to you lately?

 

Clover of Crafts

On St. Patrick’s Day, you and your little ones can spend time making crafts that relate to this green celebration even if you are not Irish! Step2 was inspired by cleverness of Spoonful, All Kids Network, That What Che Said, and Mess for Less when it came to creating crafts for this shamrock holiday.

cloverofcrafts

Wee-Leprechaun: The Leprechaun is an iconic symbol of St. Patrick’s Day. Help your kids make little leprechauns and let their imaginations run wild as they create them with paint, pipe cleaners, toilet paper tubes, markers, and glue. Sounds like a lucky party! If you are looking for a craft project with fewer materials, try making a leprechaun from construction paper, paper plates, and markers!

leprechaun

Fruit Loops Pot-O-Gold: At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. At the end of this rainbow is Fruit Loops! Grab a box of fruit loops, paper, and glue. Make a rainbow full of fun with this colorful cereal.

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Shamrock Pretzel Bites:  Besides leprechauns, shamrocks are also a common symbol of St. Patrick’s Day.  An easy and yummy way to create them is with small pretzels, Hershey Kisses, and green M&Ms.  This treat is festive and delicious for the whole family!

shamrock treat

Pot of Gold: To collect all the gold from a lucky day of crafts, it is important to create a pot of gold. The main materials for this project are cardboard buckets, green paint, glue, and paper grass.  You can even place your Shamrock Pretzel Bites or Wee-Leprechaun inside this pot and give it to a friend as a gift on St. Patrick’s Day. Being kind always brings good luck!

potofgold

How will you be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with your children? May the luck of the Irish be with you all weekend :).

Sharing Hobbies with Kids

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Here at Step2, we understand and promote the importance of families spending time together. A great way for families to spend valuable time together is by partaking in hobbies everyone can enjoy. Sharenanny.com gave us some great ideas for kid friendly hobbies that may spark the interest of you and your little ones:

  • Rock collecting: As we transition into spring, we may find many interesting objects on the ground that were once covered by snow or leaves. Try collecting interesting looking rocks with your kids when you decide to clean up the yard or go on a nature walk. Try putting similar color rocks into the same jar and see how many different jars of rocks your family ends up collecting!
  • Photography: Many parents enjoy taking pictures of the children so they can reflect on the memories of their kids as they grow up. Teach children how to take pictures whether it is with your phone or digital camera (parent supervision is strongly recommended).   Have your children take pictures of things they find intriguing whether it is pictures of their toys or trying to take pictures of you, it can be a fun experience you can both enjoy.  A fun project you and your children can do together is taking a picture of each other each day for a certain amount of time and the make a flip book out the pictures and see how much both of you have changed. Check out this example of this an awesome flip book!
  • Scrapbooking: While you are taking pictures, this is a perfect opportunity to take those pictures and decorate them and put the photos into albums. You can spark the artistic and creative side of your children by having them choose the placement of the pictures, coordinate the colors, and use different decorative embellishments.
  • Playing Instruments:  ParentalGuide.org expresses the benefits of children that play instruments. It helps improves children’s cognitive and motor skills. Teaching children basic notes on the piano or having them bang their hands on a drum may be a noisy experience but you will have a blast making noise together.
  • Cooking/Baking: This is an activity that children can do right along with their parents with their very own play kitchen. Teaching children different ways to prepare food will help aspiring little chefs to learn how to cook and bake from a young age.
  • Exercising: Keeping children active is very important. By spending time together doing basic exercise moves, it can promote a healthy lifestyle and a entertaining way for both of your to work up a healthy sweat. Whether you are having a dance party or playing outside, both of you will have tons of fun staying in shape.

What hobbies do you share with your children?