DIY Candy Corn Candle Holder

Candy Corn Candle Holder

Fall is such a wonderful season to enjoy. As we watch the leaves turn from green to orange and browns, the temperatures drop and everything around us is pumpkin and apples then you know it is one of the best seasons of all. I wanted to share this simple DIY that can bring fall into your home for under $10.  Your love of candy corn can make the perfect decor. You just need a few supplies to create a unique centerpiece. Simply take a small glass candle holder or container, fill it with candy corn and top it with a tea light. That’s it! It’s a perfect, yet simple centerpiece to a Fall dinner table.

Materials

  • Glass Jar
  • Bag of Candy Corn
  • Tea Light Candle
  • Ribbon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pour the bag of candy corn into the glass jar, filling slightly to the top.
  2. Add your tea light candle.
  3. Display your beautiful decoration on your table or mantle.

This candle holder can be displayed in many different ways. Add a ribbon of your favorite season. Add crystal clear or blue marbles during the spring months. You can also add m&m’s or holiday colored candy corns for Christmas. The options are endless.

 

No More Dirty Dishes with the Bosch AutoAir™ 500 Series Dishwasher

Southern Carolina Family has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for freeAll thoughts and opinions are my own.

As the kids get older, some parts of life have gotten easier. The night time calls for mom are rare, the messes seem less severe and they can dress and groom themselves. But, the one area that hasn’t gotten any easier would be our dish situation.

Three growing boys can create a massive amount of dirty dishes in a matter of moments. Keeping up with their hunger and the aftermath has had me dreaming of a new dishwasher. My eye sparkles at the sight of the Bosch AutoAir™ Bosch 500 Series dishwasher when I am shopping at Best Buy. 

No More Dirty Dishes

I love that the Bosch AutoAir™ automatically opens the door at the end of the drying cycle to let moisture escape and fresh air circulate for better drying results. *Compared to Bosch Dishwashers with PureDry. It has a quiet operation and a roomy interior which can hold up to 16 place settings. That is just the right size for a family who has always hungry kids, or that loves to entertain. 

Back to School with Bosch

While the kids are just getting back to school, the mom in me recognizes that cold and flu season lurks right around the corner. A big selling point in the Bosch 500 series Auto Air is that this dishwasher has a Sanitize Option that reduces 99.9% of bacteria with a hot-wash rinse for sparkling clean and sanitized dishes. How helpful is that in keeping your family healthy year-round?

If you are looking for a new dishwasher, the Bosch Auto Air is the one to look at; it has a flexible third rack and the capabilities to customize how the racks fit in the dishwasher for a one of a kind clean, every time.

Next time you are in Best Buy be sure to check out the appliance section with the new Bosch Auto Air dishwasher. It has made my life in the kitchen a lot less stressful.

**Compared to Bosch Dishwashers with PureDry.**

Disclosure: Southern Carolina Family has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Truth About Little Boys Who Love to Get Dirty

the-truth-about-little-boys-who-love-to-get-dirty2

Little boys can bring you to the brink of insanity and then gently ease back. Raising boys is certainly not for the faint of heart. It is messy and emotional. It can be muddy and even at times heartbreaking. As I look at them with their little elbow dimples and skinned knees, I realize that one day, they’re not going to be my little boys anymore – someday they will be grown, men. Someday they may even get married; I could be raising someone’s husband.

Being a boy mom means checking pockets before you throw shorts into the wash so you’re not fishing rocks out of the washer or dryer after your load is complete. I can’t recall how many times they’ve chased down frogs and lizards from outside, hoping to gross their mom out. Our boys live to gross anyone – for them, it is the biggest compliment to see someone sincerely grossed out.

Raising boys can be constant shushing; constant asking for them to calm down, to stop running, or to take their loud toys outside or in another room to play. From the moment boys are born they are on the go. From bouncing on the bed at 5:30 till they fall asleep at night they have 2 speeds fast and faster. They enjoy constant movement. It can mean dirty fingernails, mud pies, and wondering why their shoes are always filled with dirt, rocks, and mulch after a long day at school. It’s about telling them 100,000 times to stop touching their pee-pee or to stop farting on their brother.

If you have boys you will also have the chance to be blessed by their good night hugs and kisses.

You will hear their sweet “I love you, mommy”. You will get to kiss those dirty little skinned up knees after they have fallen down. You will be able to hug those dirty little necks tightly at night. Being a boy mom means a lot of things and some of them aren’t really glamorous and can be quite nasty but sometimes it’s really calm and quiet. Sometimes being a boy mom means you can read books to them about trains and cars. It can mean holding them in cute little character towels after a nightly bath. It isn’t always dirt and bugs.

Being a boy mom is the best job I’ve ever had.

Do you have any stories to share when your little ones love to get dirty? We would love to hear all about them.

How to Choose an After School Activity your Child will Love

Word After School

  1. Lооk fоr сluеs іn уоur сhіld’s асtіоns аnd іntеrеsts tо hеlр уоu аsсеrtаіn whісh ехtrасurrісulаr асtіvіtіеs аrе bеst suіtеd tо thеm. Іf уоur сhіld іs аlwауs сlіmbіng thе furnіturе оr hаngіng оff thіngs, уоu mау hаvе а buddіng rосk сlіmbеr оn уоur hаnds. Dоеs shе brеаk оut іn sоng оr dаnсе аt thе fіrst sіgn оf а bеаt? Dаnсе аnd thеаtrе соuld bе rіght uр hеr аllеу.
  2. Соnsіdеr реrsоnаlіtу аnd gіvе thеm а сhоісе. Маnу kіds аrе kееn tо trу sоmеthіng whеn thеу аrе gіvеn а сhоісе, whіlе оthеrs shу аwау frоm еvеrуthіng. Іf уоur сhіld hаs аn аdvеnturеsоmе sріrіt, sреаk tо hіm аbоut thе dіffеrеnt орtіоns аvаіlаblе іn уоur аrеа. Іf hе іs mоrе tіmіd аbоut trуіng nеw thіngs, fіnd оut whаt асtіvіtіеs оffеr а trіаl сlаss оr drор-іn орtіоn. Тhіs wау уоu саn іntrоduсе dіffеrеnt орроrtunіtіеs tо sее whаt hе еnјоуs thе mоst bеfоrе соmmіttіng tо а full sеssіоn.
  3. Іs уоur сhіld а tеаm рlауеr оr mоrе оf а sоlо flуеr? Ѕоmеtіmеs іt’s bеst nоt tо рush thе full tеаm sроrts іf уоur сhіld іs nоt rеаdу fоr іt. Yеs, оrgаnіzеd аthlеtісs mау hаvе bееn уоur fаvоurіtе dіvеrsіоn аs а сhіld, but уоur dаughtеr mау рrеfеr thе sеlf-dіsсірlіnе оf Таеkwоndо, swіm сlub оr tеnnіs іnstеаd.
  4. Lооk bеуоnd sроrts. Fоr kіds whо wаnt tо раrtісіраtе іn оthеr thіngs bеsіdеs sроrts, lооk fоr hоbbу аnd skіll-bаsеd сlubs suсh аs аrt сlаssеs, musіс lеssоns, аnd уоur lосаl gіrl guіdеs оr bоу sсоuts trоuре.
  5. Рrохіmіtу аnd trаnsроrtаtіоn tо аnd frоm ехtrасurrісulаr асtіvіtіеs аrе аlsо kеу fасtоrs іn уоur dесіsіоn mаkіng рrосеss. Іf а studіо іs оn thе оthеr sіdе оf tоwn, іt mау bе сhаllеngіng tо mаkе іt thеrе оn tіmе аftеr sсhооl. Тhе lасk оf рublіс trаnsроrtаtіоn оr lіmіtеd аvаіlаbіlіtу оf саrрооlіng саn mаkе іt іmроssіblе fоr mаnу раrеnts tо еvеn соnsіdеr сеrtаіn асtіvіtіеs.
  6. Ѕtrіvе fоr bаlаnсе wіth аftеr-sсhооl рursuіts. Оftеn, оnе асtіvіtу а wееk іs еnоugh whеn kіds аrе јugglіng sсhооl, рlауdаtеs аnd mоrе. Еnsurе thеу hаvе еnоugh tіmе tо dо hоmеwоrk аnd gеt аdеquаtе slеер, аs thіs іs еssеntіаl tо hеаlthу dеvеlорmеnt.
  7. Аftеr-sсhооl асtіvіtіеs shоuld bе а роsіtіvе аnd соnfіdеnсе-bооstіng ехреrіеnсе. Whеthеr уоur сhіld іs lеаrnіng а nеw іnstrumеnt, trаіnіng fоr а sроrt оr vоluntееrіng іn thе соmmunіtу, ехроsіng thеm tо а vаrіеtу оf асtіvіtіеs wіll hеlр thеm bесоmе wеll-rоundеd іndіvіduаls. Аnd thеу mау dіsсоvеr а truе раssіоn іn thе рrосеss. Ѕuрроrt уоur сhіld bу hеlріng thеm tо сhооsе аn аgе-аррrорrіаtе аnd sаfе асtіvіtу thаt thеу аrе ехсіtеd tо раrtісіраtе іn, аnd dоn’t fоrgеt аbоut thе іmроrtаnсе оf unstruсturеd рlау.

What activity is your child interested in this year?

How to Introduce STEM Play to Babies and Toddlers + Top 5 STEM Toys for Little Kids

Albert Einstein said, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” When it comes to kids learning through play, the old fashioned way of showing kids how to use a toy or kids learning through reading instead of experiencing has faded away in the wake of a new (and more effective) type of learning called STEM play.

STEM is an acronym for “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math” (also known as STEAM if you include art in there as well). 

Far before your child knows how to do math or completes science projects, STEM skills are developed naturally in babies and toddlers by exploring and learning about the world. (Source – Baby Savers)

Bright Hub Education explained each element of STEM very well:

  • “Science is a way of thinking through experiments, observation, making predictions, asking questions, and deciding how things work.

  • Technology is a way of doing. With learning tools, kids become inventive, identify problems, and make things work.

  • Engineering is also a way of doing. A child can solve problems with a variety of materials – they design and create. Little learners build things that work.

  • Math is a way of measuring. Preschoolers explore shapes, size, volume, and learn about patterns and sequencing.” (Source – Bright Hub Education)

What are the benefits of STEM learning?

  • STEM gets kids excited to learn.
  • STEM is all about curiosity which strengthens the brain.
  • STEM teaches kids to fail – and that it’s okay!
  • STEM prepares kids for today’s technology.
  • STEM fosters creativity and the imagination.
  • STEM promotes independent play – let your child lead and see what they discover on their own.
  • STEM helps kids relate to the world around them.
  • STEM helps kids with memory retention.
  • STEM better prepares kids for school.

(Source – Cool Mom Picks)

(Source – The Stempedia)

STEM learning does not mean a complicated DIY science experiment where you need a ton of time and materials.  It can be as simple as going outside in nature with your child.

Ask “What” questions when exploring:

What are those ants doing?
What shape is that rock?
What is on the branch?
What is under the rock?
What do you see in the sky?

For babies, try to not say “no” often and instead let your baby explore more freely. For example, our son used to get into this cupboard in the kitchen that was located on the ground level (all the other cabinets had safety locks), but this particular cupboard was filled with old baby bottles, plastic containers, lids, and things like this so we left it unlocked.

Our son LOVED opening this cupboard and taking out everything inside and then he would even climb in the cupboard and play in there (the door was always open). Yes, it made a huge mess on the kitchen floor, but instead of saying “no,” we allowed him to play and explore. Afterwards, I just cleaned it up – no big deal.

This cupboard would keep him entertained for a good 45 minutes!  With a baby’s short attention span, this was amazing and proves that STEM activities and toys are more engaging for kids.

For toddlers, STEM gets even more fun when we can talk with our kids, listen to what they have to say, and watch them imagine and figure things out.

Stemsational is a fabulous blog about STEM activities for kids.

“STEM projects for toddlers help children explore a variety of thinking skills that boost both their creativity, logic, spacial awareness, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills. Toddlers who engage these systems, versus toddlers who largely learn from screens an immobile activities have a huge advantage once they reach school-age.” (Source – Steamsational)

In addition to DIY STEM learning, STEM toys are really important because these are the best toys that will help your child develop and learn instead of just sitting around collecting dust.

Take a minute to think about your child’s top three favorite toys.  I bet they are interactive in some way, right?  We just donated two trash bags of toys to our son’s pre-school because we noticed he only played with three main toys:

  • His cars / hot wheels (he loves to line them up and one by one he looks at each car carefully, it’s really cute. Especially when he says, “Look, Camero!” or “Mama, Hummer!” Also, he sorts all his cars by color in piles)
  • Building blocks
  • Lincoln logs

Baby Savers published an amazing list of ideas and activities for parents to refer to when choosing STEM toys:

“Seek out toys that encourage one or more of the following ideas or activities:

  • Comparing
  • Sorting
  • Sequencing (putting things in order)
  • Observing
  • Speed and distance
  • Cause and effect
  • Questions
  • Predictions
  • Identifying shapes, numbers and/or letters
  • Measuring
  • Spatial sense
  • Problem solving
  • Building or balancing” (Source – Baby Savers)

Additionally, here are some great tips to follow when introducing your baby / toddler to STEM toys:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Avoid technology.
  • Don’t use battery operated toys which tend to guide the child on how to play instead of the child exploring and learning on their own.
  • Avoid teaching.
  • Make it fun.
  • Talk together.
  • Follow your child’s imagination – there’s no right or wrong way!
  • Switch it up a bit – dad can be cooking and mom can be mowing the lawn.

Here are our top five STEM toys for babies and toddlers:

#1 People Blocks – Magnetic Building Blocks

People Blocks are GENIUS and it’s cool that their toy designer is the brainchild designer of the -world-famous Magna -Tiles. These magnetic blocks get babies and toddlers building earlier and learning while having fun. This is the epitome of STEM play.

“Most toys today are designed to only keep the attention span of a child for a short period.  We are changing that by creating toys that grow with your child, not outgrown by your child like you typically see,” says Rudy Valenta, CEO of People Toy Company (aka People).

Throughout the toy development process, People looked for ways to take the developmental milestones acknowledged by the medical community around the world and find clever ways to incorporate the skill development in play.  They have their own private studies and research with parent groups and child industry experts to ensure their toys are not only fun but have high play value with STEM features.

Their newest People Blocks collection are their Working Cars, a magnetic click and stick car set with 18 new automotive inspired shapes. Your child can build cars and discover how to fit the blocks together to build different shapes. Remember with STEM there is no right or wrong and it’s all about discovery.

$34.99 – BUY HERE

Another new People Blocks set we love are the Zoo Animals Clear Magnetic Blocks – perfect for light tables and a fun way to explore colors and light. This set comes with 17 new creature inspired shapes.

$34.99 – BUY HERE

#2 Puzzle and Geometric Lacing Toys by Manzanita Kids (Merged with Little Sapling Toys)

We love toys from Manzanita Kids because:

  • Natural wooden toys – no icky toxins!
  • Made in the USA – Seattle, WA.
  • For every toy sold, they plant a tree…100,000 trees so far!
  • Wide array of toys for babies, toddlers and big kids.
  • High quality – toys that last and can be passed down.

For younger babies the Natural Shapes Puzzle toy is a great way to introduce STEM play.

  • Handmade four-piece wood puzzle
  • Solid wood – maple, cherry and walnut
  • Finished with our homemade organic, natural jojoba oil/beeswax finish.
  • Simple, modern, natural and waldorf-inspired fun.
  • Solving puzzles helps children develop problem-solving skills, spatial reasoning, and builds their confidence!

BUY NOW – $34

For older kids (3 years old and up), this geometric lace toy really gets kids thinking and focusing!

BUY NOW – $34

#3 Kiddybrain Matching Eggs

They say this is a great Easter gift and we agree, but my son loves playing with this year round. Kids love anything to do with food. These eggs are not just any eggs though. Once opened, tiny shapes are revealed and to put the egg back together the child must match the extending shape with the shape hole from the other egg half.

$11.99 – BUY NOW

#4 Bug Catching Magnetic Puzzle Game by Melissa & Doug

I love watching my son play with this toy. There’s a bug net with a magnet at the end of a string and when it touches on of the bugs, the puzzle piece comes out. Once all are out, he then fits all the pieces back in the right place.  

At first, my son realized the magnet on the string would not easily go to where he grabbed the magnet at the bottom and placed it on the puzzle piece. Instead of me saying, “that’s not how you are supposed to use it” I said, “that was smart of you to realize you had to hold close to the magnet to get it where you want faster. This is an easy way of doing it. Now let’s try the harder way. Try with one hand only holding the fishing pole and I know you can do it with just a little bit of patience.” 

So he then tried again and slowly lowered the magnet on the string as it swung back and forth. As he lowered it more, it finally clicked on to the magnet. He was so excited he did it with only one hand.

$9.00 – BUY NOW

#5 Bettroom Geometric Shape and Color Board

I love this toy because it has many levels of learning. First, there are the shapes, then the colors, and lasting the peg holes that kids must fit the shape on in order to stack on the board.

  • Encourages hand-eye coordination and imaginative play
  • Great for 1 -5 year olds
  • NON-TOXIC and safe to use
  • Stacking blocks contains 20 pieces

$12.96 – BUY NOW

STEM play is not just a hype word; it’s a very important part of how our kids should be learning on a daily basis. Remember that STEM play can be done using anything around you like nature, a bunch of empty dishes that fit into one another or have covers that snap on, to more advanced STEM play using the best developmental toys for babies and toddlers.

By introducing STEM play early on, your child will be ahead of the curve when they go to preschool and school so get out and get your STEM on!

Fun Box Tops Activity for Parent and Teachers

School has officially started for the boys and one thing that is really important in our morning routines is making sure they eat breakfast before we head out the door. One of their most favorite is cereal. It is quick and easy and they love it. They each have a favorite kind as you can see in the below picture. Andrew loves French Toast or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Ty loves Cocoa Puffs and Eli loves Lucky Charms (mainly the marshmallows). Each of these boxes have a Box Top at the top right corner. It means that if we collect them and turn them into our school they earn .10¢ per one. Since we are attending a new school this year I thought this would be a great opportunity for the boys to help support their new school. It is also teaching them that even though we buy it and they eat it, we still are giving back to a good cause which helps our school help the students. So our goal this year is to buy all Box Top related products do that we can support our school.GMB3

Here are a few more of our favorites:

GMBT

If you would like to help your local school visit the Box Tops website and see their list of Box Top Products.

A fun way to remember Box Tops on a daily or weekly basis can be hard. I wanted to come up with an activity that a teacher or parent could do with their kids to help everyone to remember those Box Tops. Here’s the activity-

Box Tops Acrostic Poem

You and your class or kids are going to create an Acrostic Poem out of the words Box Tops. This is such a fun activity to get everyone excited about Box Tops and the role they play in Education.

  1. Step One: Pass out a piece of paper with the words “Box Top” written in bold letters.
  2. Step Two: Talk about what Box Tops are and how they help schools earn cash for Education.
  3. Step Three: Challenge the class to create an Acrostic Poem using the words Box Tops. The poems can be silly, fun, or serious!
  4. Step Four: Share the poems with everyone. And encourage the students to bring their poems home to show their parents.

Here are some examples of a few Box Tops Acrostic Poems to share and hang around your classroom or home.

B is for Breathtaking, a magnificent sight
O is for Original, an independent thinker
X is for X-factor, you have it

T is for Tasteful, odes of style
O is for Orderly, ever organized
P is for Perceptive, keenly insightful
S is for Sensible, you always do the right thing

Here’s another poem to share.

B is for Bold, forging your own path
O is for Optimistic, always staying upbeat
X is for X-factor, people are drawn to you

T is for Thorough, attentive to details
O is for Obliging, willing to accommodate
P is for Picturesque, strikingly beautiful
S is for Satisfying, most excellent company

Have fun with this little exercise and if there’s time at the end, you can have the children move onto writing an Acrostic Poem with their own name! They’ll have fun with this part of the exercise too.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of General Mills®. The opinions and text are all mine.

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