Archive | July, 2013

Your children will become what you are

29 Jul

Your children will become what you are; so be what you want them to be

– David Bly

parent child holding hands offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Summer Activities for Toddlers

25 Jul

Summer is a busy time of year, and toddlers are always busy, so what can you do to entertain them during the summer?  Here are a few fun ideas I found from some crafty bloggers:

Fluffy Shaving Cream Paint

shaving cream paint

Such a simple idea, but one you should probably do outside where you can hose the little kids down after they are done!


Shaving Cream (I used an inexpensive on-sale brand)

Food coloring

Small bowls

Kids paint brushes

Paper (or something to paint on)

Put 3-4 drops of food coloring into the bottom of each bowl. Squirt shaving cream into each bowl and mix with the end of a metal spoon until the color is mostly incorporated. Add a couple more drops of coloring to the shaving cream as needed to intensify the color.  That’s it!

Note: You might be able to do this with whipped cream from the can too! (I haven’t tried it.)

– See more at:

Make Your Own Sidewalk Paint

sidewalk paint


1 part cornstarch (1 c.)

1 part water (1 c.)

food coloring (we used neon colors)

sponge brushes

Mix corn starch and water. Add food coloring and mix.

*I used a muffin tin for extra large muffins to hold the paint. One cup of cornstarch and one cup of water filled them about half way. The paint stretched further than I thought. I also included a sponge brush for each color–just simpler.

Edible Candy Necklace

edible candy necklace

I love this idea because of its double duty nature – First – it’s a craft and Second – it will serve as a traveling snack.  This one is nice for snacking in the car since I hate to give a little bowl of crackers to my niece to munch on.  As soon as I pull out of the driveway, I usually hear “Uh-oh” as the bowl slips out of her hands and hits the floor.  Before I give it to her in the car, I will certainly make sure she can successfully bite the snacks off the string without sucking on the string.  I wouldn’t want her to choke.

Since it has been so warm out, I think I will be looking for cookies and pretzels without chocolate.  That’s a mess just waiting to happen.

goldfish crackers

Oh, how I wish Goldfish crackers had a hole in them so they could be included in this activity!!!

Water Play

Water Play

I love how this Early Education grandmother takes such a simple concept (a little water and small objects you can put in the water) and lets her grandson explore what he wants to do with it.  I am definitely going to do this with my niece.  She will especially love to wash the ‘dishes’ or ‘toys’.  She loves to wash things in the sink, and I never thought to make her very own ‘sink’ with a tub of soap and water.

washing the toys

Learning in a Tub of Rice – more educational than I thought!

tub of rice

At first I assumed that this was a dry version of the Water Play (above) because I’ve seen this activity done with lots of rice and the kids burying toys and feeling the textures.  Who knew, less could actually be more?

I definitely plan on trying all of these simple activities with my niece.  Do you have any more ideas you can share?

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Schools out for the summer – but I still have to work!

24 Jul

Working Parents!  Check out this article I wrote:

Schools out for the summer – but I still have to work!.

mother and daughter working


When a Two Year Old Hands You a Toy Phone…

22 Jul

When a Two Year Old Hands You a Toy Phone... offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Heat Wave… How to Stay Safe from De-hydration

18 Jul

It seems like the whole country is battling a heat wave – and it’s not over yet.  With the temperature expected to hit 96 degrees on Thursday and feel like 105 degrees here in CT, it makes you wonder what you can do to stay safe?


We ended up in the emergency room after baseball practice a few weeks ago with my son.  It was a very hot spell (not sure if it was during an actual heat wave or not), and he was dehydrated.  Since then, we have obviously been taking a lot of precautions to be sure it doesn’t happen again.


I am not claiming to be any type of medical professional, nor am I attempting to give medical advice to anyone, but in the hopes that you or your family don’t suffer the same fate, here are some tips and tricks we have learned along the way.


Symptoms of Dehydration (per the Mayo Clinic)

Mild to moderate dehydration is likely to cause:

Dry, sticky mouth

Sleepiness or tiredness — children are likely to be less active than usual


Decreased urine output — no wet diapers for three hours for infants and eight hours or more without urination for older children and teens

Few or no tears when crying

Dry skin



Dizziness or lightheaded

Severe dehydration, a medical emergency, can cause:

Extreme thirst

Extreme fussiness or sleepiness in infants and children; irritability and confusion in adults

Very dry mouth, skin and mucous membranes

Lack of sweating

Little or no urination — any urine that is produced will be dark yellow or amber

Sunken eyes

Shriveled and dry skin that lacks elasticity and doesn’t “bounce back” when pinched into a fold

In infants, sunken fontanels — the soft spots on the top of a baby’s head

Low blood pressure

Rapid heartbeat

Rapid breathing

No tears when crying


In the most serious cases, delirium or unconsciousness


Tips and Tricks to avoid getting dehydrated:

You need to hydrate well BEFORE you participate in any demanding physical activity.  If you will be out in the heat and will be active, you really need to start hydrating that whole day – and possibly start the day before if you will be active for an extended period of time.

Before exercising, drink 1 to 3 cups of fluid – water is best.  And continue to drink fluids regularly during, and even after, the activity.


Eating lots of water based fruits – like watermelon – counts toward your fluid intake during the day.  Avoid soda and caffeine based drinks.


It’s important to eat well before you are active.  We have found that eating protein helps my son feel the best during his sports.  We have been known to grill chicken breast in the morning so he can eat it for breakfast before baseball.  His teammate told me that he had lamb chops for breakfast the other day before their ‘big game’.  He said he would have had mashed potatoes to go along with his lamb but his mom didn’t have time to cook them in the morning!  Like it’s not hard enough to get a well-balanced dinner on the table each night – now we need to do it in the morning too???  J


If you are very thirsty while participating in an activity, you may already be dehydrated.  You need to start consuming liquids right away.  If you are dizzy (lightheaded) or you have a headache, you should try to drink Gatorade or even better, Pedialyte, to get the electrolytes back in your system quickly.  Pedialyte has less sugar than Gatorade, and more sodium.  WORD OF WARNING – Please don’t take my advice on this to be the final word… please check this out with your doctor before you start feeding your kids Pedialyte before they head out the door to play.  What I have read seems to indicate that this is meant for the most serious of athletes, or folks actually experiencing dehydration.




If possible, postpone your activities until it is cooler outside.  I actually saw a few people running yesterday in the hottest part of the day.  I know folks are loyal to their exercise program, but really?  There must be some other alternative….


Swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean can easily dehydrate folks.  While playing in the water, folks tend to drink less than they should and they risk getting dehydrated in the process – physical activity, high temperatures and less access to beverages is the recipe for dehydrating your body.


Stay cool everyone – and stay safe out there!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.


” Where parents…

16 Jul

” Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves.”

Elbert Hubbard offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Summer Sports – Survival Guide – Post #3

11 Jul

One of the best things about kids being on a team is seeing them start as a bunch of individuals and seeing them build friendships throughout the season and really come together as a team.  Kids make friends so easily when they share common interests.  A little help from coaches and parents can go a long way in helping this process along.  A team that plays together stays together.  In this post I’d like to share some of the things that my son’s baseball team did to turn individual boys into friends.

Making New Friends

Parents talking at practice/parties – Parents and kids are both required to dedicate themselves to the team.  Kids are required to be at every practice and game (commitment is for 7 days a week).  The fact that every family supports the kids is a wonderful example of how we as parents are committed to the team and shows the kids that they should also be as dedicated.  One of the biggest examples of this is the fact that many parents actually bring their kids to practice and stay for the 2+ hours watching every practice.  Many friendships among the parents begin during these practice times.

parents in bleachers

Team Van – Our team mom was able to secure a 15 passenger van that she decorated with the kid’s names & jersey numbers as well as ‘Berlin All Stars’ (we live in Berlin, CT).  We meet at our home field before every game and all the kids piled into the van to ride together.  The kids love to get to travel together and it showed a real team presence as we drove up to the field in a decorated van.  The coach would give the kids a pep talk while they were in the van before we left our home field and revved the kids up for the ride.


Team Song – Each year the kids come up with a popular song that they all sing in the van on the way to the games.  Last year the ‘team song’ was “Call me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.  The kids had the best time with this song because this was a song that the Harvard baseball team had made up some arm movements to go with the song.  Each day, the kids would sing and ‘dance’ in their seats on the way to every game.  Our kids had the best time with this song!

singing in van


Equipment Truck – As a simple form of team unity, my husband would pile all of the kid’s baseball bags and the team equipment in the back of his pickup truck and follow the team van to get to the games.  The kids would pile out of the van and go over to the equipment truck to get their gear.  This is something that didn’t go unnoticed by the other teams…

equipment truck


Caravan to the games for parents that could travel early – In addition to the Team Van and the Equipment Truck, we have a Caravan of parents that drive behind these vehicles to get to the games.  This shows part of our families’ commitment to the team because we travel to games together at least 2 hours before game time.  Many parents need to leave work very early (like taking a ½ vacation day) to travel to every weekday game.

caravan of cars

“Fan Shirts” – One of the best ways to show team unity is for the fans to show their team spirit with team shirts.  Last year the mom’s on our team got matching All Star tank tops when our kids won the District championship.  We wore these tanks at every game while the team played on in the next round of play.  The funny thing is, the dads were far too superstitious to wear fan shirts.  They had to wear same shirt they had been wearing and even had to stand in same order next to each other at fence as long as kids were winning…)  This year we ordered fan shirts before the season started with their kids name and number on the back so now our dad’s can wear the same clothes AND show their team spirit!

fan shirt frontfan shirt back







Going out to dinner – One of the easiest ways for team building was the picking a local restaurant and a bunch of families go to dinner after the games.  Since we would meet so early before the games, everyone would be starving by the time the game ended.  Since there would be so many of us, we would generally get seated at multiple tables.  The kids would all sit together and the parents would sit nearby.  This gave the kids time to decompress and relive the game and the parents would have the same opportunity to relax and have some fun.

Practice dinners – Because of the time commitment of practices every day with practices ending after 7:30 pm, we have been organizing dinners after practices.  Each night, one family organizes a dinner to bring to the field so the families can eat dinner right after practice.  What a huge help it is to not have to start making a dinner after 8:00pm!

team dinners

Pool parties / Lake House party – Summer means hot weather, and summer fun.  Weekend games are often followed up by a family offering to have the families back to their house for a pool party.  These parties are often kept simple by ordering pizzas – allowing the kids to relax and be kids in a pool.  The adults can hang out and talk while enjoying a few drinks.

pool party (2)

Sharing Memories – One of the easiest ways to capture the memories is to share pictures with the team families on a shared website.  I have used Shutterfly for years and have set up a free ‘Share Site’ for many of the teams my son has been on through the years (this is also great to do if you are a room parent for your child’s elementary school class – lots of nice features for a classroom).  At the end of the season you can easily pull together a commemorative book for families to buy, or to give as coaches gifts.

Shutterfly Share Site

What are some of your favorite ways to bring a team together?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.


Strength Of My Love

8 Jul

2013-07-08 strength of my love offers a full range of Baptismal and First Communion apparel and accessories for boys and girls.

Quick and Festive Fourth of July ideas

3 Jul


We interrupt summer sports for the Fourth of July… well, we are fitting in the Fourth of July in AROUND the sports…

Since school has been out for the summer, it’s been a whirl-wind at my house!  I can’t believe tomorrow is the Fourth of July!!!  My son has a baseball game tomorrow, and then we are off to multiple parties – and I haven’t figured out what to bring yet…  When I need some inspiration, and some easy but fun recipes, I usually head off to Pinterest to see what’s out there.  After pinning some really cute things for the fall and Christmas, I found some of these ideas for Fourth of July that I thought I would share with you.

Strawberry Blueberry Mini Cheesecake Trifle

Aren’t they adorable?

The how-to instructions can be found at this link:


 American Flag Cupcakes

Cupcakes are such an easy ‘grab and go’ food for a party.  And these are Soooo simple, and so cute when arranged on a tray.  All you need are 2 dozen cupcakes frosted as follows:  4 blue, 10 red and 10 white.  Using a star tip on a piping bag, pipe a few white stars on the blue cupcakes.  Follow the picture below arrange on the tray, and voila – you are done!  This is certainly an easy project that still looks festive.  I wish I could bring these to baseball tomorrow, but they won’t last 4 hours in the car, and I’m not sure we have a cooler big enough to keep them chilled.  Or do we?  At the very least, maybe I will bring it to one of the parties we are going to…

American Flag cupcakes

Patriotic Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries are so easy to make, yet make such a wonderful impression on party guests.  For my son’s birthday party – which happened to be on Memorial Day this year – we made these strawberries:

Red White and Blue Berries

Red White and Blue Berries

Although these are adorable – and very patriotic looking – they are very messy!!!  The blue sugar goes everywhere when you try to eat it and we had blue colored children as well as my kitchen floor and deck area.  That blue dye is hard to get out as it stains.  I would definitely suggest making these if they would be served outside – maybe on grass, and you don’t mind your guests having blue mouths and tongues.

I went on Pinterest looking for an alternative to the decorations above and found this:

Fourth of July strawberries

There should be much less evidence that your guests ate a strawberry from this version of strawberries!  BUT, the chocolate will crack and little star confections will fall off when someone bites into them and the blue and red stripes will probably come off in long strands so outside may be a better option for serving them.

The last pin I found on Pinterest is a Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

Since it’s easy to find strawberries and blueberries in the grocery store this time of year, and the rest of the ingredients are very easy to find in the grocery store, the biggest prep you will need to do is allow time for the tub of whipped topping to thaw out…

The how-to instructions can be found at this link:

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

On this Fourth of July, enjoy the food, enjoy the fireworks and stay safe!

What are some of your favorite ideas for Fourth of July festivities?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.