Christmas Tic-Tac-Toe

    One of the things that I have noticed as an educator is that children and young people are completely addicted to technology. They don't take time out to speak to one another fact to face anymore and they definitely don't play the kinds of games that we used to play when we were kids. The games I'm talking about were Jacks, Tic-Tac-Toe, Hopscotch, etc.     Lately, my husband and I have been trying to limit technology in our home. Since we now have a teen and a pre-teen, they would rather spend most of their time playing video games when we are home. While we do reward them with time to play these games, we've also been going back to basics by making them turn off their gadgets in lieu of playing some good old-fashioned games as a family.     When I was younger, one of my favorite games was Tic-Tac-Toe because it was so easy to play and because you could basically use any surface as a game board and many items can be used as game pieces. That … [Read more...]

Superhero Soaps

   In our family, we have been blessed with nothing but boys and they love wrestling, running around, riding their bikes, and pretending to be superheroes. Now that my boys are older, they enjoy being superheroes on their favorite video games. Recently, I was asked by a friend to come up with some fun party gift ideas for her nephew's birthday party. Since I've made DIY soaps before, I thought it would be fun to make superhero soaps for all the kids. Superhero Soaps Materials: 1-2 lb. clear glycerin soap block (I purchased mine at a local arts and crafts store but they are readily available on Amazon) 4-5 drops of essential oil in your favorite scent (optional) Superhero erasers Square soap molds Directions: Cut the glycerin into small chunks using a sharp knife and place in a 2 cup microwave safe glass measuring cup. Microwave the glycerin in 1 minute increments, stirring until completely melted. If using essential oil, add 4-5 drops and stir. … [Read more...]

Birthdays On Demand With Netflix! #StreamTeam @Netflix #Ad

    As a Working Mom, it's always a nightmare when I have had to plan for celebrating my sons' birthdays at school. I end up having nightmares of staying up all night baking enough cupcakes for every student in their classes and wake up in a cold sweat when I realize I miscalculated the amount of cupcakes in my dream. Let's put it this way, my baking skills are not on par with the beautiful images you see on the Internet from moms who are more talented in the culinary arts. The beautiful cake above was made by one of my fellow basketball moms for my son's fourteenth birthday...     When it comes to planning your kids’ birthday parties, the pressure can be overwhelming for parents. Thankfully, I'm not alone, nearly three-quarters (71%) of parents wish there was an easier way to make birthdays feel special for their kids. Wish granted—no candles required. Netflix is granting parents the ultimate birthday gift with the launch of 15 Birthdays On-Demand featurettes. Starring the … [Read more...]

It Is Time To Get Active! #LetsPlayHSMakeover @DrPepperSnapple @LetsPlay #Ad

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Let’s Play, an initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group that provides kids and families with the tools, places and inspiration to make active play a daily priority by building and improving playgrounds and donating sports equipment to groups in need. Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are my own.     It's no secret that we a huge basketball family. My older son has been playing competitively since he was in the third grade. Being an athlete has give him the tools to stay confident in all areas of his life and it has allowed him to be active on a regular basis. Even though our younger son plays basketball only for enjoyment, he understands that it is also important for him to engage in active play.     As an active family, we were really excited to find out about the Let's Play initiative by Dr Pepper Snapple Group. They are committed to making sure that kids and their families have all the resources that they need to … [Read more...]

15 Frugal Summer Snack Ideas For Kids

    Now that summer is here, kids will want to eat all summer long. It’s true, it appears once summer break hits they turn into bottomless pits that can never be filled. The good news is you do have some frugal options when it comes to snacking. Look below at these 15 frugal summer snack ideas for kids so you can fill the kiddos up for less. You might be surprised at how far you can stretch your grocery budget even when an assortment of summer snacks is on the menu! 1. Fruit kabobs. Give kids wood skewers and cut fruit (use what it is in season as it will cost less!) so they can make their own yummy and healthy fruit kabobs. 2. Make your own freezer pops.
 Buy refillable freezer pop trays and fill them with fruit juice or powdered drink mix for a cool summer treat. 3. Make your own fruit chips.
 Dehydrate or bake fruit slices into fruit chips. These are perfect for snacking and a great way to use up produce before it goes bad! 4. Try making trail mix.
 Buy … [Read more...]

8 Ways To Save Money On Summer Activities For Kids

    While the arrival of summer brings excitement, you might also be seeing dollar signs. It is no secret that beating summer boredom can also mean racking up the bills, but the truth is there are ways to save money while still having fun! Look at these 8 ways to save money on summer activities, so you can still have all the fun you want without going broke. 

1. Check Groupon and Living Social daily.
Since deals on these websites are always changing, it is always worth checking them out! Look for attraction tickets, movie deals, gift card deals, and other offers from summer fun spots. This way, you can enjoy the activities you love for less. 2. Call your local parks department.
Chances are your local parks department is offering all sorts of summer camps and activities for kids. Since these programs are often funded on tax dollars, this means the cost passed onto you is minimal. Call your local parks department for a schedule of summer events and be in the know! 3. Head to the … [Read more...]

Experience Interactive Storytelling On Netflix! #StreamTeam @Netflix #Ad

    As many of you know, I have been a Literacy Specialist in New York City public schools for over seventeen years.  Throughout my tenure, I have had a first-hand look at how reading affects children positively in every aspect of their life.  As a result, I am always on the lookout for opportunities for kids to improve their comprehension through creativity.     Netflix has recently announced their first interactive "branching" narrative episodes Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale and Buddy Thunderstruck: The Maybe Pile, where Netflix members have control over how the story develops and ultimately unfolds.  Non-linear stories like these allow children to tap into their imagination and to really think about the story elements and events taking place involving the characters.     My son and I recently had the opportunity to be among the first Netflix Stream Teamers to experience this interactive storytelling together.  As an educator, it was so rewarding to see him so engaged … [Read more...]

Teach Your Kids To Overcome Gender Stereotypes! #StreamTeam @Netflix #Ad

    Growing up, our mother was not raising my sister and I to be damsels in distress.  I can still remember her telling us how important it would be to get an education and to always be independent women.  It might seem unbelievable but studies have shown that girls are being influenced by gender stereotypes from as young as six years old.  That is why it is so important that they have access to positive role models in the media and within the entertainment programming that they are being exposed to.     Thankfully, Netflix is home to girls who mean business and that’s something all kids can get behind.  Whether it’s Violet’s quick wit, Elena’s activist mentality, or Deidra & Laney’s unorthodox thinking, there’s something for every girl to relate to.  Strong female characters aren’t just important for girls.  Boys are growing up with Eleven saving the crew and Tip showing that true friendship knows no bounds.     … [Read more...]

Show Your Peanuts Side With Hanna Andersson! @happyhannas #PeanutsInsiders #Ad

    I'm sure I don't have to tell those of you who are long time followers of Tough Cookie Mommy how much we love Peanuts around here!  As a Peanuts Insider, I have the distinct pleasure of sharing amazing interviews and products bearing the entire Peanuts gang and logo.  Today I have some really exciting news for you guys, Hanna Andersson is offering all of us 15% off all merchandise today, March 16th only.*     I've shared my favorite Hanna Andersson Peanuts backpack here before and now I am really excited for you to shop there!  Hanna Andersson was founded in 1983 and is a leading premium children’s apparel and lifestyle brand.  It is known for its iconic, globally recognized products with superior quality, classic styling and unique designs that “let kids be kids.”  The company’s products are designed for babies, boys and girls, ages newborn to 12 years.     Hanna Andersson created these adorable matching PJs for the … [Read more...]

What’s Your Sick Day Survival Kit? $25 Gift Card #Giveaway #Ad

    Those of you who also follow me on social media know that my younger son is asthmatic.  As a result, we spend quite a bit of time fighting off upper respiratory infections during the winter.  The moment that the temperatures drop here in New York City, we have to keep the house stocked with everything that he needs to be comfortable when he gets sick.     We have all experienced a sick day from time to time. Whether it is with little ones or ourselves, it is always good to have a Sick Day Survival Kit prepared for that moment. Read more about 5 must-haves for every sick day survival kit for kids.   These 5 necessities include: Tissues and thermometer Cough and Cold Medicines Humidifier and Blankets Entertainment in the form of DVDs Plenty of fluids to stay hydrated     Make sure that you keep all of these items on hand so you can brave any sick days you might experience this winter.  Nobody likes to be sick … [Read more...]