Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Your Passport to Fun in the Heart of Ontario

Sometimes you want to get away with your family but either time or budget (or both) don't allow. That is why it is so great to know that there are amazing places to visit close to home that don't break the bank but still give you the sense of getting away and experiencing new adventures.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario


I was amazed to find that just outside of Toronto there are amazing historical landmarks (think castles), museums, and outdoor adventures for the whole family. All this about an hour's drive from Toronto. We decided to have a staycation so I downloaded the Canadian Heritage Passport and my family set out on a weekend adventure.

The passport:

This free passport provides discounts and 2 for 1 entrances to many attractions and hotels throughout Hamilton, Halton and Brant regions of Ontario. The passport is valid through October so there is plenty of time to take advantage of the discounts.

The great thing about having a region so stocked with attractions is that you can pick and choose different places to visit for day trips throughout the year or you can group some together and make a full day adventure or even spend the night in a hotel for a weekend getaway.  We chose the second option and decided to make a weekend of it.

Some of our Highlights:

We started our Saturday morning with a beautiful drive through the country and arrived at the Halton County Radial Railway.  It was like stepping back in time with railcars you could climb aboard and even take a ride on.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Halton County Radial Railway in Milton, Ontario
See more of our fun adventure at the Halton County Radial Railway here.

Next we headed to Hutch's on the Beach for lunch.  A Hamilton eating destination for burgers, fish and chips, french fries and milkshakes since 1946, Hutch's sits right at the water's edge of Lake Ontario.  It's cool diner vibe had the kids excited from the moment we walked in.  The food was classic, the portions were huge and the decor set the tone immediately.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Hutch's on the Beach
My son figuring out the table-top juke box.

Just up the street, about a 5 minute drive was the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology.  Here we learned about the mechanics of two 70-ton steam engines that pumped water from Lake Ontario for Hamilton Waterworks.  The kids and I felt we were in Willy Wonka's factory at one point with the awesome steam cylinders, massive flywheels and iron pump rods on either side of us.  I have to admit this wasn't the favourite stop along the way for my family but if you have a mechanical mind or a real interest in the industurial revolution you'll love it.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology

Next decided to visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.  Unfortunately, when we arrived the power in the area was out due to a storm so they could not open.  The kids still thought the CF105 Starfighter on the front lawn was cool so we stayed, took some photos and pretended we were planes.  We'll definitely go back though because the museum looks very cool. Kids of all ages will love testing their skills as a pilot in a flight simulator or sitting in the cockpit of a real fighter jet.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Canadian Warplane Museum


After our brief visit to the Canadian Warplane Museum we decided to head to our hotel for a swim. I must have typed the address into the GPS incorrectly because it took us in wrong direction and we ended up at the Battlefield House Museum & Park in Stoney Creek.  It was a great find.  The site of a battle of the War of 1812, the whole family loved our tour through this historic house.  Our guide, Moira, was dressed in period costume and brought the story of the Gage family to light for us.


Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Battlefield House Museum

After that it was time to check in at the Sheraton Hamilton.  It is right downtown and located next to Copps Coliseum and across the street from the Art Gallery of Hamilton.  The hotel has recently been updated and our room was very modern, with amazing bedding and a great view.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Sheraton Hotel Hamilton
Photo courtesy of Sheraton Hamilton
Our room looked like this for about 2 minutes until the kids got in and hopped from bed to bed.
Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - View from Sheraton Hotel Hamilton
The view from our room - overlooking Hamilton and Lake Ontario

After a good night's rest we got back in the car and drove about 35 minutes to the town of Paris, Ontario for a morning of canoeing on the Grand River.  We arrived at Treks in the Wild just before 9 a.m. and were greeted by an amazing staff who got us all kitted out for our adventure.  We opted for the guided tour and had 2 canoes and two guides.  Our drive to the mouth of the river was the start of a fun morning.  We enjoyed learning all about the area and even spotted some deer along the way.  The paddle down the river was breathtaking and our guides were personable and knowledgeable.  It was a great way to get in touch with nature and spend time with the family.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - Treks in the Wild


Our adventure ended with us saying goodbye to our guides as we headed to a local eatery, a hotspot in Paris, for a delicious lunch.  The Cedar House Grill had a great and varied menu with something for everyone in the family.  I love that everything was fresh and that they source their ingredients locally.  I think my husband's sandwich was the biggest sandwich we'd ever seen but somehow after 3 hours of paddling he managed to crush it.

Canadian Heritage Passport - Travel in Ontario - The Cedar House Grill, Paris Ontario
My Chicken and Brie Wrap - my husband's sandwich was about double this size

A few of our adventures were thrown a curve due to a HUGE storm that came in the night before and knocked down many trees and power lines but adapting and changing plans on the fly is all part of travel and can create even more vivid memories.

At the end of the weekend we really felt like we had a mini vacation. Can you believe we did all this in one weekend and within about an hour's drive from Toronto?  My husband had been travelling on business leading up to the weekend so the concentrated family time was a bonus. We had the perfect mix of family, history, fun and adventure.  A staycation we will never forget!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

4 Ways to Combat Distracted Driving...for Everyone's Safety

This post brought to you by Insurance Hunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a parent I take all precautions in making sure my kids are safe when we get in the car. I have bought the correct car seats for their size/age as they've grown and even taken them to car seat clinics to ensure their correct installation. We never drive without them safely buckled in but while I am doing my best to protect them should we ever be in an accident my goal is to do my best to drive safely and ensure that we never have to put those precautions to the test.

 
This summer we've spent a lot of time on the road and I have noticed without fail that every time we get in the car there are people on the road who are multi-tasking. I cringe to see transport truck drivers texting while they drive, people applying makeup, and even people reading newspapers while behind the wheel. With 8 out of every 10 accidents being a result of distracted driving, it is an issue that as drivers we collectively need to stop.
 
But it isn't just cell phones that are a cause of distraction. Kids, food and friends can also be distractions when you are behind the wheel. The infographic below by Insurance Hunter shows the 4 main types of distractions drivers face on a daily basis.
 

Stop Distracted Driving - An infographic by the team at Stop Distracted Driving

 

How we can combat these distractions:
 

1. Auditory Distractions:

  • PROBLEM: While music can be entertaining while you drive, other noises such as fighting kids, loud aggressive music, and questions from the back seat can cause drivers to lose their focus on the road and lead to many accidents.
  • SOLUTION:  Instead, make sure you have some activities packed to keep the kids busy. Books, colouring, magnetic games, and even in-car movies will help occupy the passengers and allow drivers to focus on the road ahead.
     

2. Visual Distractions:

  • PROBLEM:  As fun as a game of "I spy" is to keep kids busy and entertained, taking your eye off traffic and focusing on billboards, licence plates and the scenery around you means that you are taking your eye of the road.
  • SOLUTION:  Keep visual distractions to a minimum by having the kids play by themselves or with the passenger in the car. Leave the driver to drive.
 

3. Cognitive Distractions:

  • PROBLEM:  The car may seem like a great place to think about everything you have to do when you get to the office or get home but in reality, these act as cognitive distractions which in turn can take your mind off the task at hand, safely getting to your destination.
  • SOLUTION:  Instead, use the car as your place of meditation. Turn off all incoming devices and use this time to re-charge and re-energize so that when you arrive your mind is clear. What other place do you have that no one else can bother you? Take advantage of this 'me' time and allow yourself to focus on the drive and take a time-out from your otherwise hectic life.
 

4. Manual Distractions:

  • PROBLEM:  Yes, cell phones are a distraction but so are eating and drinking in the car. 
  • SOLUTION:  Try and keep your manual distractions to a minimum.  Take breaks for food and drink rather than consuming them in the car.  Not only will this allow you to focus on your driving when in the car, it allows a mental break from driving too.  Getting out and stretching your legs while you have a snack is good for both the mind and body.
 
Sometimes we are the cause of distraction and don't even know it.  I realised the other day that I was sending texts to a friend about a coffee order while waiting for her in a coffee shop.  At the time I didn't think anything of it because I was nowhere near my car.  But afterwards I realised that she was driving to meet me so in fact my actions were putting not only her in danger but those in cars around her.  I will never do that again! 
 
I work in a physiotherapy office and witness on a daily basis the impact that distracted driving has on those involved in accidents and the families that support them.  It isn't rocket science.  We can make small changes to our routines that can reduce the number of distracted driving related incidents.  I encourage you to visit the Insurance Hunter website, read their blog on Stop Distracted Drivers and learn more about how you can stop distracted driving.   I am pledging to do my part to stop distracted drivers.  I hope you'll join me!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Ride the Rails at the Halton County Radial Railway

Did you know that about an hour's drive from Toronto is a hidden gem for rail enthusiasts? We had no idea until this past weekend when my family visited the Halton County Radial Railway.



History:


Back in 1953, 5 friends from Toronto, all transit enthusiasts, couldn't bear to see an old streetcar go to the scrapyard.  They agreed to pay $1 to purchase Streetcar 1326 but the purchase came with a condition, the friends had to take Streetcar 2210 as well. The friends felt proud to have saved these pieces of transit history and the Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association (OERHA) was formed.  But alas, streetcars are not small.  They had managed to save the streetcars but where would they to house them?  That brings us to a piece of land just outside of Rockwood Ontario and answers the question as to why a Toronto streetcar museum isn't found in Toronto.

The original streetcar purchased for $1 in 1953


Home to an original portion of the Toronto Suburban Railway (TSR) track that once connected Guelph to Toronto, it was the perfect location for the Halton County Radial Railway, a museum dedicated to the preservation, restoration and display of electric railway related objects and a whole lot of cool trains and streetcars.




Take a Ride:


Because the museum is housed along abandoned TSR track, they are able to offer daily rides all year long to visitors.  Rail enthusiasts of all ages will enjoy the 20 minute ride along the 2 km of track.  Of course the highlight for many is the arrival at the museum's very own ice cream shop.


Admission includes unlimited streetcar rides, access to the display barns and the historic Rockwood Station. With picnic tables on site, you can pack a picnic lunch or purchase snacks.  Visitors can also find railway inspired souvenirs in their gift shops.

Favourites:


We all had our favourite things.  For me it was the amazing restoration, right down to the advertisements lining the car walls.  The beautiful wood details have been perfectly preserved and hearken back to a time when travel was a luxury and when people got dressed up to go out.    

Do you think the TTC will go back to these fares?

For the kids it was the opportunity to explore.  They were able to climb aboard the rail cars, pretend they were the ticket seller in the station, ring the bell to count the passengers and step back in time.


For my husband it was the history.  We had an amazing tour from Mac, the most knowledgeable 18 year old I've ever met.  His stories brought the trains to life and really gave us insight into their historical significance.


Special Events:


 The Halton County Radial Railway hosts special events throughout the season.  Two that stuck out for us were the Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas on the Rails.

My family is excited to go back and experience the magic of the railway in a snowy setting this December and hopefully catch a glimpse of Santa along the way.

Final Notes:

The Halton County Radial Railway offers birthday party packages, wedding photography, group and school bookings.  Just refer to their website for rates and information.

If you have a rail enthusiasts in your family and are looking for a fun outing, then you should really make the trip the to Halton County Radial Railway.  The drive along Guelph Line is beautiful and direct from Toronto and surrounding areas.  An average visit lasts 1.5 - 2 hours but if your little engineer wants to ride the rails over and over, you are welcome to do so.

All aboard!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Story Rocks - Backyard Camping Activities


These are great for around the campfire, on long car rides or just for those "I'm bored" moments of summer. Kids get the inspiration they need to make up creative stories by randomly picking 3 or 4 rocks that they must weave into a tale. The more creative you are in making the rocks unique, the more wild the stories will be. Kids especially love if their face appears in a rock.




Materials Needed:

  • River rocks (purchased at the dollar store in floral section) 
  • Stickers/Photos -variety is key 
  • Scissors 
  • Paper and Markers (optional) 
  • White glue or modge podge 
  • Foam brushes 
  • Varnish (optional) 
  • Small drawstring bag


Instructions to make Story Rocks:

  1. Provide each child with a handful of river rocks. 
  2. Have them choose a sticker or to stick on each rock.
    * Do not duplicate any of the pictures. If the kids want to draw pictures, cut out pieces of paper slightly smaller than the rock's surface and follow the same directions. Try to have a good variety.
  3. Using the glue or modge podge, brush a coat over top of the pictures to secure them to the rocks. Allow to dry.
    * This step isn’t necessary with stickers but does make them more durable in the long run.
  4. If desired, varnish with a spray to further protect the story rocks. 
NOTE: Story Rocks can be made ahead of your backyard campout so they are ready when you need them but making the Story Rocks is a great activity in the afternoon, especially if you need your little campers out of the sun for a little while.


Story Rocks - Backyard Camping Activities for kids

How to use the Rocks:


Single Story:
  1. Pass the bag of Story Rocks to the storyteller. 
  2. Have them pick out 4 or 5 Story Rocks without looking. 
  3. The storyteller must now tell a campfire story making sure to weave each of their Story Rocks into the tale. 
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until everyone has had a turn telling a campfire story. 

Story Rocks - Backyard Camping Activities for kids


Group Story:
  1. Decide who will begin your group story and pass them the bag of Story Rocks. 
  2. The Storyteller will pick out 1 Story Rock from the bag without looking. 
  3. The Storyteller will then begin the story incorporating their Story Rock into the tale. 
  4. The bag will be passed to the camper on their left who will then follow instructions 2 and 3 continuing the story from where the previous storyteller left off. 
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until all the Story Rocks have been used.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Nature Scavenger Hunt - Backyard Camping Activities

A backyard campout is a real treat for young kids but we all know that as the sun goes down so will they.  This means that for the younger set most activities need to be played earlier in the evening.  A nature scavenger hunt is the perfect activity to get them excited about the campout and in touch with nature.

Backyard Camping Activity - Nature Scavenger Hunt
Click the image to download the Scavenger Hunt List


Materials Needed:




Instructions:


  1. Provide each child a copy of the list and a marker.
  2. Send them on their way.
  3. As they find the items they can mark them off on their list until they've found them all.

By including an image with each item many children will be able to do this on their own.  For those who can't, pair up and have fun together!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Buggy Bug Catching Jars- Backyard Camping Activities

Part of camping is getting close to nature.  Kids get the opportunity to meet and greet insects of all shapes and sizes, real and imagined with this fun activity that is part craft, part adventure.

Buggy Bug Catching Jars - Backyard Camping Activities for kids


Materials Needed:


  • Empty Glass Jars - lids punctured with a few holes by parent
  • Hammer/Nail for puncturing lid
  • Craft Paint - red/black, yellow/black, any assortment of other colours your like
  • Paint Brushes
  • Googly Eyes
  • Pipe cleaners, feathers, pompoms (optional)
  • Hot Glue

Buggy Bug Catching Jars - Backyard Camping Activities for kids


Instructions to Make Bug Jars:

  1. Hammer a few holes into the lid of the jar using a nail to allow breathing holes.
  2. Paint the lid of your jar to look like the insect of your choice.  This can be a real or imagined insect. 
  3. Allow lid to dry.
  4. Have a parent help to add the eyes, wings and antennae using a hot glue gun.
NOTE: I would suggest pre-painting the lids a base colour as they can take a little while to dry and may need two coats of paint. This could be a pre-camping activity to get them excited for the big night!

Buggy Bug Catching Jars - Backyard Camping Activities for kids

How to Use Bug Jars:


  1. Have the kids gather some grass, twigs, flowers, and other items from the yard that they think will attract the insects.
  2. Add them to the jar.
  3. Look for insects under rocks, around the base of trees.
  4. Scoop an insect or two into the jar and screw the lid back on.
  5. The kids can keep, watch and enjoy the insect(s) while camping in the backyard.  
Buggy Bug Catching Jars - Backyard Camping Activities for kids

In the morning when it is time to go home, release the insect(s) back into nature.  Clean the jar and keep it as a souvenir from your fun backyard camping experience.  It is the perfect spot for kids to store their most treasured possessions.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Savings Jar - Craft Activity

The summer is a great time for kids to earn a little extra pocket money.  I know that my husband will offer up a few dollars for anyone who wants to help weed the garden.  Money seems to burn a hole in my daughter's pockets though.  Whether it is the passing ice cream truck, a pack of gum at the grocery store, or a new book, it seems she is always in need to spend as fast as she earns.  While it is important for kids to have some money of their own that they can spend as they wish, it is also important to teach them some valuable lessons in saving.

Summer Savings Jar - Craft Activity - Financial Lessons for Kids


One way to help them save for a bigger purchase is to create a savings jar.  By making it transparent (i.e. a glass jar) they can see their savings grow.  By sealing the lid, they can put money in but they can't easily take it out.

Materials Needed:


  • Empty glass jar
  • Exacto Knife (tape - optional)
  • Craft Paint - colour of your choice
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper/Markers/Pencil Crayons for labels
  • Craft Glue
  • Embellishments - i.e. pom-poms, sequins, stickers, pictures from toy catalogues.
  • Glue gun

Summer Savings Jar - Craft Activity - Financial Lessons for Kids

Instructions:


  1. Have a parent cut a rectangular hole in the lid big enough to allow a Toonie to pass through.  (tape edges if sharp)
  2. Paint the lid of the jar.  Allow to dry.
  3. Create a label for the jar on the computer or using markers, pencil crayons, etc.
  4. Glue the label onto the jar.
  5. Glue embellishments onto the jar.
  6. Have a parent put a bead of hot glue along the inside of the jar lid before screwing it back on.  This will make it more difficult to open.

Summer Savings Jar - Craft Activity - Financial Lessons for Kids

I can tell her until I'm blue in the face that if she spends all her money on gum she will never have enough for a big purchase when the time comes.  That is why setting out and discussing the rules for successful saving will help.

Rules for Successful Saving:



  1. Set a goal:For example, my daughter has her heart set on visiting an American Girl store and buying her very own American Girl doll.  They don't come cheap so she will need to start saving now.
  2. Place Your Jar Prominently:
    Choose somewhere that they will see it regularly such as on their dresser or side table.  By placing the jar in a prominent spot your child is more likely to contribute to it.
  3. Deposit Regularly:
    When your kids earn pocket money, suggest that they put half of it in their savings and keep half of it for fun money.  This will allow them to still have splurges but they will also grow their savings at the same time.
Summer Savings Jar - Craft Activity - Financial Lessons for Kids

For an innate saver it boggles my mind to see the alarming rate at which money leaves her pocket. Hopefully having a savings jar will inspire her to drop in a few coins here and there to reach her financial goal.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm Stuck On Personalized Gifts {Giveaway & Coupon}

When a friend has a new baby of course you want to mark the occasion with a visit and often a gift.  Finding that perfect gift can be a challenge though when it is a second child and the same sex as the first.  What can you get that they don't already have?  That's when I like to get personal.

Stuck on You Personalized Gifts & Labels


I recently discovered that the company Stuck On You, famous for their adorable and practical labels also has a gift line.  Perfect! I was even more pleasantly surprised by the variety of gifts that could be personalized.  From bags, books, clocks, puzzles, placemats, clothing, towels, artwork, cushions, teddy bears and more - finding the perfect gift for any occasion is simple.

For our friends we chose a personalized puzzle for the baby.  It can be put on display right now, it will be a great manipulative when he is a bit bigger and when he has grown it becomes a treasured keepsake.

Stuck on You Personalized Gifts & Labels - Personalized Wooden Puzzle


We all know that new babies can be a hard transition for some older siblings.  In fact, big brother was with grandma when we visited getting a little personalized attention of his own.  Wanting big brother to feel special too, we chose a cute personalized silicone placemat for him.  There were a number of themes to choose from.



We selected the outer space theme and it was adorable.  We thought that this would be the perfect gift to show him that he is 'growing up' and the fact that it is practical and easily wipes up will be a hit with mom and dad too.  I personally love that it is oversize because somehow toddlers always seem to make oversize messes.

Stuck on You Personalized Gifts & Labels - Personalized Silicone Placemat


The turn around time at Stuck On You is quick so even if you wait for the baby to be born before buying your personalized gift you will have your gift in hand for a visit to the new family.

Stuck on You Personalized Gifts & Labels


I know the family loved their gifts but between you and me, I think my kids and I ended up getting the best gift out of the deal.  Both kids got turns taking the baby for a walk, my son had a chance to be a 'big' brother for a change and my daughter actually got to push a real stroller with a real baby instead of her doll stroller.  Well, for me, I got snuggles and smiles and after handing him back to mom, I got a good night's sleep.

The kind folks at Stuck on You have offered up a $20 voucher towards your own purchase at their website www.stuckonyou.ca.  AND everyone is a winner this month because they have also provided a free shipping code for all purchase made in the month of July.  Enter the code: DIME1 at checkout from now until July 31st to receive free shipping!

Enter to win the $20 voucher now!  Good Luck!

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You can find out more information about Stuck On You here:

Facebook.com/stuckonyouofficial
Twitter.com/stuckonyoutweet
Instagram.com/stuckonyouofficial

Monday, July 8, 2013

Hand & Heart Silhouette Keepsake

Celebrating milestones and keeping track of their interests is important to our kids. This Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsake is a fun and simple craft that your kids can do pretty much on their own and keep to remember all the highlights of their year!  This is an easy craft they will have fun making and be proud to display.


Hand & Heart Silhouette Keepsake - Create memories with kids

Materials needed:

  • A piece of coloured paper
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • White paper the size of your frame
  • Scissors
  • Foam paint brush
  • Glue
  • Picture frame

Instructions:

  1. Fold the coloured paper in half.
  2. Place your child's hand on the coloured paper with fingers spread so that their thumb and first finger both touch the folded edge of the paper.
  3. Trace their hand with the pencil then cut it out.
  4. Lay the silhouette of your child's hand over the white paper.
  5. Have your child fill the white page with meaningful words. Encourage them to write the words in different directions and in different colours.
  6. Frame their masterpiece.

Hand & Heart Silhouette Keepsake - Create memories with kids


Year after year their hand prints will get bigger and their interests and favourites will continually change. By doing this every year they will be able see how they have grown and what was important to them at each stage of their life. Eventually you will be able to create an entire photo wall for them with each of their Hand Silhouette Heart Keepsakes, a true way to make and keep memories!


Hand & Heart Silhouette Keepsake - Create memories with kids


This was originally a guest post over at The Girl Creative as part of their "Create Memories With Kids" summer series.  For even more inspirational ways to create memories with kids this summer, be sure to visit all the amazing projects by clicking on the icon below!


Hand & Heart Silhouette Keepsake - Create memories with kids

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July Snapshots: 31 Day Photo Challenge

Looking for a fun activity for the family?  Why not try your had an the



Posterjack.ca ‘s July Snapshots: 31 Day Photo Challenge is back!

Starting July 1, shutterbugs are invited to share their snapshots of the daily theme for the chance to win a daily prize: a $25 gift certificate to Posterjack.ca

Photos can be submitted by sharing on Facebook.com/Posterjack or by tagging @PosterjackDotCa on Twitter using the hashtag #JulySnapshots.

So save the July Snapshots theme list on your desktop, phone or tablet, grab your camera and take on the July Snapshots: 31 Day Photo Challenge!

Contest rules: The July Snapshots: 31 Day Photo Challenge is open to Canadian residents only. To be eligible to win the daily prize, photos of the daily theme must be submitted on the day the theme occurs by 11:59 p.m.

The daily themes for each week will be announced on Facebook every Monday at 9:00 a.m.
The daily winners will be announced on Posterjack’s Facebook page every Friday at 12:00 p.m.
All photos entered must be original.

Happy Snapping!



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Blinged Out & Never Lost - YoYo Lipgloss {Giveaway}

Okay, so my daughter loves the store Justice and she loves lip gloss so when we heard that YOYO Lip Gloss recently released a NEW line of Justice Initial YOYO Lip Glosses she had to have one.


They come on a retractable clip covered in crystals. You can choose from one of 17 initials or a peace sign design. They also come in 3 different color and flavor variations - Cotton Candy(turquoise), Bubblegum (light pink), and Grape (purple).





What pre-teen girl doesn't want to be able to hang her blinged out lip gloss to her bag or waist band so that she can take it wherever she goes? Heck, I want one too!  No more rooting around my purse to find my lip gloss that always mysteriously disappears.




We're giving away a Limited Edition YoYo Lip Gloss to one of our readers. Enter below for your chance to win your own personalized Justice YoYo initial retractable Lip Gloss!

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

5 Tree Inspired Art Projects for Kids - Summer Art

School is out and the kids are raring to go.  This summer get your kids inspired by nature and try your hand at one of these fun art ideas that all stem from trees.

5 Tree Inspired Art Projects for Kids - Summer Art



Hand print/Fingerprint Trees:

Look carefully and you will see a special secret hiding in this tree.  Yes, your child's hand has formed the trunk and their fingerprints are falling leaves!



Materials Needed:

  • Large piece of paper
  • Paints in fall colours - brown, red, orange, yellow, green
  • Paper Towels
  • Green paper - optional
  • Scissors - optional
  • Glue - optional


Instructions:

  1. Dip their hand in brown paint and place a hand print in the middle of the page with fingers open.
  2. Dip their fingers back in the brown paint and use them to draw the trunk of the tree.
  3. Now let their imaginations go wild as they dip their fingers in the other colours and make fingerprint leaves.
  4. Optional : Have them cut a strip of green paper the same width as your large piece.  Have them cut into the paper every 1 cm to create grass.  Glue to the bottom of the page.


Recycled Trees:

These are simple to make and everything except the original piece of paper and the water colours came out of the recycle bin.


Materials Needed:

  • Large piece of paper
  • Paint - blue and green
  • Paint brush
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Scraps of brown paper
  • Scraps of tissue paper - greens, yellows, reds
  • Old coloured plastic bags


Instructions:

  1. Paint the background of the picture.  Paint the top 1/2 blue and the bottom half green.  Allow to dry.
  2. Cut out some tree trunks from the scraps of brown paper.  Glue them to the background.
  3. Using different materials, create tree tops and attach them to the trees.


Melting Crayon Trees:

You may have seen these melted crayon canvases popping up on the Internet.  Instead of just a blank canvas, why not paint a scene first.  You could even choose your crayon colours based on the season you want to represent with your tree.


Materials Needed:

  • Art canvas (usually found at dollar stores)
  • Large box of crayons
  • Glue
  • Paint (black)
  • Paint brushes
  • Hair dryer


Instructions:

  1. Glue the crayons, tips facing down) onto the top of your canvas in a straight line. Allow to dry.
  2. Using the black paint, create your tree to fill the remaining space on the canvas. Allow to dry.
  3. Using a hair dryer, aim the heat at the crayons so that they begin to melt.  
  4. Stop when you have achieved the look you like.


Pop Art Trees:

This is a great project for those younger kids because it doesn't take a lot of skill but they will be impressed (and so will you) with the results.



Materials needed:


  • White paper
  • Black marker
  • Photocopied picture of a tree (either you or the child can draw it)
  • Paint in various colours (minimum 4 colours)
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black paper for matting (slightly larger than the white paper)


Instructions:


  1. Divide the white paper evenly into 4 sections.
  2. Paint each section a different colour.  Allow to dry.
  3. Paint 4 trees in 4 different colours.  Allow to dry.
  4. Cut out each tree.
  5. Glue a tree in each of the 4 quadrants you painted.  Make sure to glue trees that are a different colour than the background.
  6. Paste your paper onto the black matting paper to make it pop even more.


NOTE:  No access to a photocopier?  No worries.  Draw the same tree 4 times or draw 4 different trees, it will still POP!



Kandinsky-esk Trees:

Colour and creativity abound with these trees inspired by Kandinsky.




Materials Needed:


  • Large piece of white paper
  • Smaller pieces of white paper
  • Old magazines
  • Glue
  • Paint - black and green
  • Scissors
  • Pastels, paints or markers


Instructions:


  1. Tear up pieces of your old magazines and glue them on the large piece of white paper.  Cover the entire surface. Allow to dry.
  2. Paint an abstract tree using black paint on the background.  Use the green to paint grass.  Allow to dry.
  3. While that is drying, create concentric circles on the smaller pieces of white paper and colour them various colours using either pastels, paints or markers.
  4. Cut out your concentric circles.
  5. Glue the circles onto the background.

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