This is our favourite and easiest strawberry fruit leather recipe. You can also try different kids of fruit. Experiment to your hearts content!
Be sure to check out our other yummy recipes here:
I’m always on the lookout for great gift ideas for kids. I love gifts that give back to the world. Nowadays it’s so easy to go to a toy store and buy a gift; the selection is amazing the prices are low. But I’m realizing that my kids don’t need things, they have lots of things. I grew up very poor and when it came time to getting gifts I cherished every single toy I got. I knew the value of having having things. Today I feel my kids are missing that understanding of value a little bit. Things are now cheaper and easier to buy than they ever were in the past. This makes it easier for parents to shower their kids with gifts. But I’m realizing there is more to gift giving than just toys and fun. I want my kids to have a greater understanding of the world beyond our backyard. And that is why I’m always looking for gifts with a cause.
I was recently introduced to Walls That Unite. Think “Toms of Toys”. With every kit purchase a donation is made to help kids in need in Kenya, Nepal or Rwanda. They create art kits for kids that have a social impact. The kits include a donation to support one of the three causes. The art that the children create is transferred to a tile and hung in appreciation and as a commemoration of their donation in the form of an art tile as a part of an art tile wall installation in each of the charities they support.
The kit I received for my kids was the Literacy Wall – Rwanda. The kit comes with the following:
• Educational materials on the children of the area
• Art Instructions and ideas
Art Supplies for Creating your Masterpiece:
• Square paper canvas (3 per kit)
• Oil Pastels (set of 12)
• Black Marker
• Glue Stick
• Collage materials (tissue paper/scrap construction paper)
I loved the information the kit contained. There is information about literacy in Rwanda and how Walls That Unite is supporting the efforts to help improve literacy there. They have installed 800 literacy tiles in 2 primary schools. These are currently being used as English teaching tools in the schools as kids are visual learners and with the book famine in Rwanda, they are able to leave a permanent learning tool. This year Walls That Unite have 7 schools they are looking to adorn with these visual tools. The proceeds from the Rwanda tiles support the development and printing of books that are created here in the US by school children – it is a double whammy – they create global citizens, critical thinkers and creative writers and artists here in the US and in Rwanda they create global citizens learning about the US and kids here as well as improving English language skills (English is the primary language of Rwanda since 2008).
There is also an info sheet on a typical day for a Rwandan child. We read about a 10 year old girl and what her day looks like. My daughter is 10 so we were able to talk about how she would feel if she had to do all the chores and tasks that this little girl has to do each and every day. My daughter was interested in learning about Rwanda and literacy and actually went online to learn more. Over dinner she shared interesting facts she discovered. This gift provided me with a great teaching tool and a wonderful experience for my daughter to learn more about the world around her.
Be sure to check out their website to learn more about the causes they support and the gifts you can bring the lucky child in your life!
Learn these opposites signs and how to put them in a fun and engaging song! This is a perfect way to help your child learn key ASL signs! You’ll find Fireese a great little teacher for your child! To learn more with Fireese, you can purchase her Musical Adventure DVD here!
Dear Ms. Southwest,
It’s been nearly seven years and I want to tell you that you will forever have a special place in my heart and I don’t even know your name!
On August 12th 2008 I was on your flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa.
My husband, 2 ½ year old daughter and I were vacationing in Ft. Lauderdale. While we were eating breakfast in a diner, my cell phone rang. I was on vacation so I didn’t answer. And then, I realized that the people who have my cell phone number are people who know me. Most of them knew I was on vacation and wouldn’t call if it wasn’t important. I checked the message; it was my cousin Denise, asking me to call her immediately. My heart sank. I knew something was wrong. I walked out to the parking lot and returned her call. She told me my mom was in the hospital with only hours to live and that I needed to make it home. No one is ready to hear this kind of news – no matter what their relationship with their mother might be. All I could think was, my mom??? My best friend???? The woman I talk to every single day, my confidant, my rock? Thirty-three years and she was just going to leave me????? I was filled with dread, panic and overwhelming grief.
The next few hours were a blur. We raced to the hotel, grabbed our stuff and searched for the best flight back to Toronto. I managed to talk to my mom during this flurry of activity. The only thing I remember was asking her to wait, to not leave this earth without me. She promised she would.
My husband tried to get us the earliest flight back home. It was already 11 am. The best direct flight had us landing in Toronto at 10 pm. Finally, my husband found a flight that would get us to Buffalo at 7 pm (our car was in in Buffalo thankfully). Flying to Buffalo then driving, would get me to my mom faster than flying into Toronto.
Florida is great – except for its thunderstorms. We needed to catch a 20-minute flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Tampa so that we could make our connecting flight to Buffalo. Enter thunderstorms. All flights grounded. As we waited at the airport, I paced and prayed and cried and paced and prayed and cried some more. Please let the thunderstorms stop. I need to be with my mom! Finally, the gate opened and we were on our way. And this, Ms. Southwest, is where you entered my life. You took the time to acknowledge my weeping as I held my little girl. You asked what was wrong and I hiccuped and sobbed my way through the story.
Ms. Southwest, I know you were just doing your job but it meant the world to me that you came and talked to me. You asked about our ultimate destination. You helped us get settled on the first leg of our journey. You brought me a box of tissues. That little squeeze you gave my shoulder? It meant the world to me.
As I sat there holding my box of Kleenex an announcement came over the PA letting us know that the plane could not take off due to more thunderstorms. I was destroyed. Checking my watch, I saw the minutes slipping away along with our chances of catching our connecting flight. In my sadness I kept hearing more words, informing my fellow passengers and I of delays and cancelled flights. As the announcements rolled on and the minutes ticked by I knew I wouldn’t reach Tampa on time to catch the plane that could get me home to my mom. Finally the word came that we were cleared for take off. As I looked at my watch I saw that my connecting flight in Tampa was leaving at that exact time. I missed it. I missed the flight that could get me home to say goodbye to my Mom. I was so close! It was only a short hop, skip and jump over to Tampa. Why?! Why did this have to be happening to me. I closed my eyes and prayed for my mom to please wait.
Just then you came back to me. You again gently leaned over to me and I’ll never forget your words. You said, “We called ahead to the pilot in Tampa and told him about your situation and he’s holding the plane for you.”
They were holding the plane for us!
When we got to Tampa you asked everyone to remain seated so we could get off the plane and get on our connecting flight – and they did. Your Southwest colleagues were waiting to help us run to the next plane.
Thanks to you and your efforts (and those of the other staff and pilots) I MADE IT! I made it home to my mom. It was all BECAUSE OF YOU. It was late when we reached the hospital but my mom kept her promise and waited for me. She had fallen into a coma by the time I got there but she was still alive. I curled up in bed with her and took her into my arms. I whispered in her ear that I was with her, that I loved her, that I was so thankful she was my mom. I told her that it was okay for her to go. I had my husband and daughter and I would be taken care of. I told her that I would make her proud. I held her and loved her completely until she took her last breath in my arms.
I have no way of reaching you personally, Ms. Southwest. This will have to do for now. My only hope is this letter somehow finds you so you know that you are appreciated and loved. What you do makes a difference – in my case a BIG difference. I hope someday, when you most need it, someone will show you the extreme kindness you showed to my family and I.
With love and gratitude,
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
What kid doesn’t love doing crafts and being artistic?Here is a great video of an activity your children will love! For this craft you need to use oil paint – if you use other paint it won’t work as well. You can use linseed oil or replace that with sunflower oil that is easier to find in the grocery store.
This is a fun and easy craft for kids. Once the paper dries you can make beautiful cards or wrapping paper out of it.
We are often asked by parents if it is too early to start signing with their baby. Is there a perfect time to start? Watch the video below to find out!
Halloween is just around the corner, and kids all around are getting excited to get dressed up for a night of fun! We wanted to share a video where Fireese will teach you how to make these super easy and fun Halloween lanterns. Impress your Halloween visitors with these great Halloween decorations. Fast and easy craft idea!
Are you suffering from Postpartum Depression? I’ve put together some advice from women who have gone through PPD. You are not alone, you are not a failure. There are many women out there who are going through what you are. There are many women who have gone through it and are now healthy again. It passes. It hurts and you feel like it will never end but it does.
I am working on another passion project and I need your help. Can you please share this with your networks.
I am looking for moms who have suffered with postpartum depression in the past.
I need either a short video or a picture of you with a sign for a new video project I’m working on about postpartum depression.
1. If you are submitting a video I need two short clips (can be in the same video)
a) Tell me what’s once piece of advice you would like to share with people who have a loved one that is suffering with postpartum depression. What is one thing someone did for you or that you wish someone had done for you that would have helped? (hold the baby while you shower, cooked you dinner, did your laundry… it can be anything). I am looking for just one quick tip we can share to help loved ones help the new mom.
b) A second tip on what you would say to yourself when you were going through it. What is one piece of advice you want to share/tell to the mom who is struggling with this right now?
2. If you are submitting a picture just write the above tips on a paper and hold it up in the picture with you.
I can edit the videos so no worries about sending me a perfect shot.
It doesn’t have be professional. Capturing your video on your smartphone is great.
Please shoot horizontally on your phone if you are using a smartphone.
It’s okay if you show emotion in your video. It’s an emotional topic.
The deadline to participate is Sept 22. Please send me your stuff as soon as possible so I can begin to include you in this meaningful project. And thank you so much for participating and sharing!
Please send video clips to laura (at) mysmarthands com
Write in the email “I give Laura Berg permission to use my video clips (or pictures) in a postpartum video she will be posting on YouTube. My participation in this project is voluntary and I grant Laura perpetual rights to use my clips.”