We’ve all been told to eat our veggies, drink our milk and stop eating so much sugar and other junk food. While there has been a much-renewed focus on health and nutrition even in the last few years, there’s still the problem of obesity and lack of exercise. For some a healthy lifestyle is a must. Others may find it a little harder to get on board with proper nutrition, and with an astounding 34.9% of adults and approximately 17% of children (Source) in America suffering from obesity, it has never been more important to emphasize proper nutrition and good health.
You’d better stock up on your favorite knitting yarns, granny! Creative folks of all ages — particularly those in their 20s and 30s — are cutting in on your yarn supply!
Even Hollywood celebrities like Uma Thurman, Katherine Heigl, Sarah Jessica Parker, Dakota Fanning, Julia Roberts, Amanda Seyfried and David Arquette are in on the knitting craze.
We’re not talking a small fad here, folks. The Craft Yarn Council of America estimates that over 50 million people know how to knit, crochet and craft with yarn. Now that’s a lot of love.
I mean, close to 30,000 people follow I Love Yarn Day on Facebook. Need I say more? (BTW, it’s October 15th this year.)
So, what’s behind the madness?
Lately, we’ve been focusing on our health, our families, and delicious desserts. While all of these topics are all well and good, our furriest family members are left out of the fun. Take a moment to honor man’s best friend by checking out these puppy-approved games!
Is your pup a little too plump for his britches? A treat ball like one from PetSmart is perfect for dogs who get more treats than exercise. Put treats in the middle of this hollow ball. You can also put dog goodies in the easily-accessible outside craters if your dog deserves double treats. With the alluring scent of the dog treat holding his attention, your pup will entertain himself for hours, all while getting much-needed exercise.
This doggy version of “hide and seek” takes a twist on a childhood classic. Doggy hide and seek is simple to set up, easy on the wallet, and perfect for a rainy afternoon. Thanks to Disney’s Babble for this DIY idea!
All you need are small-to-medium-sized empty boxes, your dog’s favorite treat, and little quality time to spend with your pup. If your canine friend is on a diet, substitute treats with toys. Place the boxes around a room, or multiple rooms if you want to take the game to the next level, and place a treat under each box. Tell your dog to “go find” the treat. Keep in mind that you might have to point to a box housing a treat the first few times you play so that your dog can learn the game. It will not take long for your dog to learn to find and flip over boxes hiding the treats! Kids love setting up this game, too.
Once you and your dog are doggy hide and seek pros, stimulate your dog’s brain with this game from DogProblems.com that is incredibly useful for the household humans. This game is a twist on doggy hide and seek but adds a little more complexity to the mix. Do you have problems with losing your keys from time to time? This doggy game will solve your problems!
- Attach a small piece of leather to your key chain. Spend two minutes pinching the leather between your thumb and index finger. This will transfer some of the oil in your skin to the leather and link your “scent” to it.
- During your next game of doggy hide and seek, substitute your key chain for the treat.
- When your dog finds the bucket that hides your keys, lift the bucket to reveal your keys. At this point, abundantly praise your dog for his feats and make a big deal about your dog finding the keys. You may also want to give a rewarding treat to your dog, at least at first.
- Finally, you can start hiding your key in other places around the room, away from the buckets. Start out easy. Place them on the floor, next to the couch, or anywhere your dog can almost stumble upon them quite easily.
- After a few days, you should be able to hide your keys in some really difficult places, and your dog will be able to find them for you.
- Imagine how handy this trick will become when you really lose your keys!
Give your dog the tender loving care that he deserves with games that will keep his tail wagging for hours. For more dog tips, check out our collection of canine reads that will help you be as loyal to your dog as he is to you.
What other games does your dog love? Share below in the comments!
Sometimes, it’s just too hot to be outside. When you and your children want to spend some quality time together but don’t want to brave the heat or spend money on indoor activities like going to a movie theater for the latest blockbuster, it’s time to get creative!
Make a taco bar with the whole family! Get out of the sun for a little while with this delicious, creative recipe from Food Network Magazine. Everyone can play “chef,” with each person in charge of his or her own part of the taco bar, from the guacamole station to the hot sauce station. An extra perk of this family friendly recipe? With a multi-compartment lunch box, you can even take your taco bar with you for work or school lunches for a tasty lunch that is much cheaper than dining out!
To make 2-4 servings, you will need:
- 4 thin slices roast beef (about 3 ounces)
- 4 (6-inch) soft flour tortillas
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 cup store-bought fresh guacamole
- 1/4 cup store-bought fresh salsa
- Mini bottle hot sauce
- 2-4 multi-compartment lunch boxes
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
- “chefs” to help out
- Fold 1 slice roast beef inside each of 2 soft tortillas, and put in the biggest compartment of the lunch box
- Sprinkle cheese onto the roast beef and tortilla
- Pack other compartments with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and other favorite toppings each.
- Seal and send off to school or bring to work!
Everyone has the chance to contribute to the meal, and you get to spend a little extra time with the family!
On lazy summer days, sometimes we just don’t feel like being active, and even cooking a meal together seems too ambitious. Even energetic children need some downtime! Take the opportunity to read to your kids. You can even act out scenes from the stories to get them involved! Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine has a few recommendations for places to start.
- Charlotte’s Web
- Tuck Everlasting
- A Wrinkle in Time
- Anne of Green Gables
- Where the Wild Things Are
Reading together will stimulate your children’s imaginations and will build memories that will last a lifetime! Support local literacy and save money by renting these books from your local library. Need more reading ideas for children? Magazines like Highlights can turn a lazy afternoon into a time of learning and discovery for children!
Indoor camping is another budget-friendly way to get the whole family involved. All you need are a few household materials before you and your kids are ready for a camping adventure!
- Graham crackers
- Small candles
- Additional snacks (optional)
Choose a “campsite” – a room with enough space for the project – and tie the rope to furniture. Drape the sheets over the furniture to create your tent. Once you are ready for the camping to begin, get the small candle, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers for mini s’mores! Turn out the lights and use the flashlight to make the camping experience more realistic.
Even when the temperatures a tipping the 90s, you and your family can find fun, inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer. Let us know which of these ideas is your favorite!
Are you ready for the most patriotic day of the year? Whether you have a fully planned 4th of July event or still have more on your holiday to-do list than you would like to admit, add a little more red, white, and blue to your weekend with these American themed cooking and decorating ideas!
What is more American than apple pie? Red, white, and blue-themed cherry and blueberry pie! Try a twist on an American classic for an easy, delicious Independence Day dessert. Whether you are cooking for a potluck or a small event with family and friends, this mouth-watering recipe from Food Network Magazine is sure to please everyone. Preparation time is only 20 minutes, and Food Network Magazine gives this treat an “easy” level rating.
What You Need:
- 1 package double pie crust mix
- 1 (20-ounce) can cherry pie filling
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
What You Do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare pie crust according to package directions. Divide into 6 equal portions, roll into balls and refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll each into a circle about 1/4-inch thick.
- Place each of the rolled out circles onto the baking sheet. Divide cherry pie filling into the center of each of the 6 pie crusts and sprinkle each with the pumpkin pie spice. Fold the edges of the pie dough over the cherry pie filling, making sure to leave the center of the pie exposed. Place a few of the reserved blueberries on top of each pie. Brush the sides of the pies with milk and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Place pies in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
For Blueberry Topping:
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir together blueberries, sugar, and two tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- To serve, place 1 warm pie on 6 plates, top each pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of the blueberry sauce.
Sometimes a delicious dessert alone is not enough. Go the extra mile with tasteful red, white, and blue DIY decorations! BrightNest’s DIY patriotic firework placemats are a simple, quick way to add a nice touch to your 4th of July event.
What You Need:
- White, beige, or light-colored fabric placemats
- Red and blue fabric paints
- A kitchen scrub brush
- A paper plate
- Water for rinsing the kitchen scrub.
What You Do:
- Pour a quarter-sized amount of red fabric paint onto a paper plate; repeat for blue paint.
- Dip the scrub brush bristles one of the colors of paint and firmly press the bristles into the fabric to start making your design.
- To create the appearance of fireworks, alternate and overlap paint colors. Make sure to rinse the kitchen scrub in water between alternations to avoid overly blending your colors.
- Let the placemats dry in a safe place and – voila! You have your own patriotic placemats.
Tip: Want to add a little more flair to your fireworks? Use a second, smaller kitchen scrub to create smaller fireworks!
As you prepare for an all-American celebration full of potlucks, get-togethers, fireworks shows, and more, these quick Independence Day extras will add a little more bang to your weekend. Have a fun and safe 4th of July, and remember those who sacrificed for our freedom.
If you want more easy DIY decoration ideas, check out http://bit.ly/1o7EWSd. Have any other 4th of July cooking or decorating ideas? Feel free to share them below in the comments section.
“Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.”
– George Washington in his Farewell Address
Are you still looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift? Why not consider giving your wife or mom a magazine subscription? That way, she can enjoy the gift all year long. Here are a few magazines she’s sure to love:
1.) PEOPLE: With juicy gossip about Hollywood celebrities and detailed stories about real-life heroes, PEOPLE magazine is a popular option. Filled with colorful photos, interviews, and articles focused on celebrities and pop culture, it’s the perfect place to learn about Hollywood stars and societal trends. The magazine also has sections about fashion, movies, books, recipes, and events. It is famous for its annual “100 Most Beautiful People” issue, as well as “The Sexiest Man Alive” and “The Best and Worst Dressed Celebrities.” If your mom loves celebrity gossip and human interest stories, this magazine is the perfect option for her.
2.) US WEEKLY: For more celebrity news, consider giving your mom a subscription to Us Weekly. The magazine is filled with detailed interviews, numerous photos, and interesting stories about Hollywood stars. The magazine contains several columns such as the “Just Like Us” section, which shows celebrities shopping for groceries, playing with their kids, or jogging. Another popular section is the “Fashion Police,” which highlights both the best outfits and biggest flops of the week. If your mom loves staying informed about the latest Hollywood gossip, she’ll love a subscription to Us Weekly.
3.) O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE: O, The Oprah magazine is centered around helping women live the best life possible. It focuses on helping women achieve personal growth in health, career, and relationships. The magazine is filled with inspiring and empowering advice for women. Sections include “Live Your Best Life,” which offers tips about how to live a meaningful life and “May We Help You?” which features advice from trusted authorities such as Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. The sections “Love That!” and “O, Beautiful!” feature style and makeup tips. The section “Reading Room” contains book suggestions from Oprah’s Book Club guide. If your mom loves health, career, and relationship advice, she would enjoy a subscription to O magazine.
4.) FOOD NETWORK: If your mom loves to cook, get her a subscription to Food Network magazine. The magazine features recipes and tips from top celebrity chefs. Recipes are accompanied by colorful photos and step-by-step instructions so that she can easily follow along. There are also sections dedicated to the best types of food in America, new restaurants, and an insider’s view of the celebrity chefs’ kitchens. Popular sections include ”Weeknight Cooking,” which highlights a week of simple dinners, and “50 Recipes Booklets,” a tear-out booklet with advice on how to make everything from burgers to fancy dinners. If your mom loves to cook, she would benefit from a subscription to Food Network magazine.