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I am so excited! I just heard about a new paint, that’s wonderful for the playroom! It’s called Idea Paint and it is completely erasable. You can paint the walls with it, or draw whatever you wish and then simply erase it. No more kid paintings on the wrong walls!

From the manufacturer’s site:

“Transform a child’s bedroom or playroom into a place to explore and express their creativity and imagination. Paint a toy box and make it more entertaining than everything inside of it. Use IdeaPaint to keep track of appointments, chores, shopping lists and all your important dates. IdeaPaint creates the perfect spot for the family to interact and keep up with each other’s busy lives.”

http://www.ideapaint.com

 

 

If you are like me, your abilities to create with playdough are limited. An Israeli friend recommended I check out the products of Rony Oren, a master clay animator and artist. His distinctive, easily taught method of working with clay is conveyed through a wide range of books and merchandise, available on his site. Rony sells how-to book series, story books, board books, clay-kits as well as internationally broadcast short animation films and worldwide workshops.  Rony likes to work with special clay, but his creations are easily replicated with simple play dough, as well. Check out his site to buy his amazing books, or just to get inspired.

http://ronyoren.com/

My friend Erica sent me a link to Counting Coconuts, an amazing blog for mothers of small children. The blog is full of creative ideas, projects and inspirations. I especially liked their “sensory tub” ideas. Sensory tubs, are, in essence, plastic boxes filled with stuff joined by a unifying theme. The lady behind Counting Coconuts Blog is very organized. She writes detailed lists and instructions for every tub and project. I  hate lists, can’t follow instructions and love to feel moved by inspiration, even though I admire those that are better organized than I am. Like my husband, for example. He puts everything in files.

Anyway, this is how we got the idea to do The Earth Project.

Firstly, we got a large plastic box. Then we went on a treasure hunt. While the twins were sleeping, my boy and I went outside in search for interesting Earth-themed” items, like pine cones, twigs, tree branches, rocks, dry leaves, etc…We put all of these treasures in the box. Then, we raided the Dollar Store. We bought gummy worms, caterpillars, rubber snakes, fake flowers, a tiny shovel and a fork.We also bought some green paper and cut leaves out of it. Then, we put some of our dollar-treasures into the box, filled with earthy items and – voila! Project Earth was ready.

My son loved digging in the box for hours and finding the same worms over and over. He loved wrapping the rubber snakes around the twigs and putting a plastic caterpillar on the rock, so that “he can sunbathe.” If you want to try something like that, remember that nature and a Dollar Store are a winning combo.

How about some patriotic blocks for Fourth of July? These wooden blocks can be a great tool in learning the history of the American presidency. The package includes 45 blocks with 44 presidents and one oath of office for $ 98.

Patriotic cubes with facial renderings of forty-four U.S. Presidents and an oval office cube stack neatly into a perfect, forty-five piece set forming a grand American flag on one side. Each cube presents a face, name, nickname, lifespan, party affiliation, term and number (1-44) in red, gray and blue ink.

Beveled edges make the blocks more comfortable and easier to hold.

Handcrafted in Michigan of Basswood grown in the Great Lakes area and printed with non-toxic inks.

Father’s day is his weekend.

Daddy can get a new electronic gadget, a wallet  or a pair of cufflinks, or he can get something funny, like this Tshirt I found (with a matching onesie):

My friends keep asking me for healthy cakes and healthy cookie recipes, so here’s one more: Raw Carrot Cake.  Keep in mind, even though this cake is free of white sugar, butter and flour, it is still rich in good healthy fats and calories. So don’t devour the whole thing.


 

 

Ingredients:

For  Carrot Cake:
4 cups grated carrots ( you can shred them in food processor)

1 small avocado

1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup dates
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 tsp grated orange zest

1/2 teaspoon allspice

For  Cashew Frosting:

1.5 cups cashew butter sweetened with agave to taste ( approximately, 1 jar)

Blend the dates, the apricots, and the walnuts. Add to the grated carrots mixture and the juice. Add the spices, the avocado and blend until the mixture holds together ( you may need to do it in two batches.) Add the coconut.

Put the cake mixture into a cake dish, using your hands. Put the frosting on top. If you want to do something fancier, you can add some carrot juice to some of the frosting to make it orange and paint carrots on top of your cake. You can also sprinkle the frosting with some more shredded coconut.

 

Preschool to kindergarden learning website :abcmouse.com

ABCmouse.com: A Fun Learning Website for Kids

Courtesy ABCmouse.com

This site was designed to help prepare kids aged 2 to 6 for school. It makes learning fun through cool and engaging activities including puzzles, songs, games, online books and art projects. Kid-friendly and easy-to-use, the site allows up to three child accounts per family.

I just found a pretty interesting website, to teach math to small kids. Whether you are homeschooling or teaching your kids after school, the site is full of great quizzes, problem-solving and different number games:

http://www.ixl.com/

I am in love with Exploratorium website! You can learn virtually anything on it: from arts to science, with cooking and geography in between! And, of course, you can teach your kids.

Recently I read this piece about sunscreen safety.  Apparently, typical sunscreens we cover ourselves and our kids with contain one more of these potential dangerous chemicals:

Dioxybenzone and oxybenzone are some of the most powerful free radical generators known to man. Other chemicals on this list have been connected to things like  cancer and hormonal imbalance.

I have been using Kiss My Face Sunscreeen for a few years. I love how light this cream is and how easily it absorbs into the skin, without leaving a typical white residue. I also like how it gives me and my family great sun protection without the dangerous chemicals. It is available in a spray bottle, as a cream or even as a sunblock stick.

What else can be done to protect the skin agains harmful UV-rays?

Nutrition helps, like it does with everything else.

Antioxidant-rich foods have been linked to good sun-protection of the skin. As pesticide residue can deplete the body’s antioxidant supplies,  it’s always better to choose certified organic foods.

1. Green tea’s  epigallocatechins directly block DNA damage from UV light, which has been demonstrated in studies involving human skin cells.

2. Moderate amounts of sunlight are helpful, as they provide us with vitamin D. A good buildup of this vitamin is essential, if you’d like to avoid sunburn. Dr. Mercola recommends staying in the sun until the skin turns light pink (for Caucasian skin.)

3. Phytonutrients lycopene in tomatoes and phenols in olive oil have been linked to better sun protection by a German study.

 Vitamin C, vitamin E and the mineral selenium all are good antioxidants that protect the skin against sun damage.

4. For vitamin C, try kiwis, oranges, bell peppers, broccoli, papaya,  and strawberries.

5. For vitamin E, try  sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, egg yolks and dark green leafy vegetables.

6. For selenium, try  mushrooms and fish.  Buying wild-caught fish is better,  because pesticide and antibiotic residues in farmed fish deplete the body’s antioxidant supplies.

7. Limonene and ellagic acid are other sun-protective nutrients. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons and limes,  are rich in limonene and berries, such as blueberries and rasberries are rich in ellagic acid.

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