Happy Friday! | Cute Beltz

I am always excited to see Friday because it is the start to the weekend!! Fortunately, it brings a little relaxation(well, as much as a mom can get) and fun.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

So, here’s to an awesome weekend.  May you enjoy these last few days of summer before the kid’s school year kicks into high gear!

Happy Friday!! –CuteBeltz

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Our Favorite Educational Learning Toys | Cute Beltz

Are you looking for some good ideas for high quality and fun educational learning toys? Here are some of our top picks.

Alphabet Abacus
Ages: 3 years+

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The perfect way for little ones to learn their letters! Inspired by the abacus, this educational learning toy is more about ABC than 123. The colorful letters flip over to reveal an illustration of something beginning with the letter on the front.

This engaging learning toy is safe and healthy, made with solid wood and water-based paint.

Tie-Up Practice Shoe
Ages: 3 years+

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Practice makes perfect, and now your child can master the art of shoe-tying with this fun wooden shoe model. Incredible value and superior craftsmanship make this item a top seller and childhood favorite. Brightly colored, smooth-sanded pieces help build early shape, color and size differentiation skills. Wooden, high-top sneaker helps kids learn to lace and tie over and over again!

Art Time Easel

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Ready-to-Assemble Young Time 2 Station Art Center. Inspire young artists with this double-sided art center. Ample storage space below helps keep art supplies handy. Lifetime warranty. CPSIA and CARB compliant. GREENGUARD Children & Schools indoor air quality certified. Made in the USA. Young Time is for budget-minded buyers seeking to get the most for their classroom furniture dollar. Young Time offers affordable, American-made early learning furniture designed with a focus on the functionality you need most! With features like rounded corners, a durable laminated surface and thermo-fused edge banding, which helps seal out moisture its designed to satisfy and priced to please. All products are safety tested and certified and come with a full lifetime guarantee!

Mini Orchestra
Ages: 6 months+

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Make happy noises with the Mini Orchestra, a set of four fun musical toys that can be played one at a time, or all together! Includes a clip-clap, jingle bells, bead tumbler, and baby-safe tambourine.

These toys are a great way to develop rhythm skills, and the variety helps keep kids engaged.

Baby Blocks Walker
Ages: 10 months+

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Right after first steps come next steps, and this walker will help keep your toddler moving right along. This educational learning toy provides stability for little ones and has an adjustable handle for optimum support. And when it’s time to stop and play, it has 24 blocks they can arrange and rearrange.

Made from replenishable wood, this toy is safe, sturdy, nontoxic, and environmentally friendly.

Stacking Wooden Ring Set
Ages: 2 years+

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This classic children’s toy is done one better: includes 25 durable; solid-wood pieces to match and stack. Great for building early shape; color and size differentiation skills!

Get busy stacking all different shapes, colors and sizes. This fun Geometric Stacker comes with 25 durable pieces to match and stack on a solid base. Perfect for building shape, color and size differentiation skills. Pieces made of solid wood. One of the great classics of educational learning toys!

Creative Peg Puzzle
Ages: 18 months+

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This fun and colorful toy has lots of ways to play! A twist on the classic stacking toy, it encourages problem solving with its unusually notched posts that only allow certain pieces in certain places. A multi-dimensional puzzle they’ll love!

What’s your child’s favorite educational learning toy? – Cute Beltz

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5 Unexpected Ways to Use Curtains | Cute Beltz

The wonderful flow and feel of curtains, these simple pieces do more than just dress the windows. They’re perfect for rounding out a space and finishing a room, but in more ways than just the windows! Wispy chiffon or thick tuile, if you have some extra curtains hiding in the linen closet waiting to be used, we’ve found some wonderful, charming and different ways to use them! Take a peek!

Create a little privacy

It could be a cozy, comfy reading corner. It could be the bay window where you like to sip your morning tea and write out your to-do list for the day. Or it could be your office nook! Use some curtains to cut off the world and create a little privacy. It’s a lighter, softer way to divide a room or space than with doors or folding boards.

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Create a new table

Sometimes curtains can make the most perfect tablecloth or even table runner, depending on the size of a table and fabric. When you just can’t seem to find that most perfect color or print, look to the curtain and use your creativity. You may even save a few bucks in the process!

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Create a bit of cozy

We all love canopy beds, but using ceiling curtains creates something even more magical. It’s whimsical. It’s cozy and at a whole different level of style and design than a classic canopy. Whether it’s your bedroom or your little girls, this is a fun way to utilize some extra sets of sheer curtains.

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Create a little concealment.

For some difference in texture and a unique spin, cover your shelves with curtains. It’s a fun, more feminine way of hiding any clutter! Use this idea in the kitchen, laundry room or even in your wild and crazy craft room! And it’s incredibly easy to DIY and a lot less expensive than installing new cabinets.

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Create a tinge of doggy style.

Have a boring ole black dog create hanging out in the house? Is in an eye sore in the family room or taking up dull space in the kitchen? Well with a bit of DIYing of some leftover curtains or even just laying some down, you can make that crate feel more homey for the pup and more styled for the house! Add some bows, add some ruffles and VOILA! better looking for everyone!

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What are some unexpected ways you would use your curtains?Cute Beltz

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5 Unique Birthday Party Ideas | Cute Beltz

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Your child’s birthday is coming up, and you’re fresh out of savvy ideas. Sure, you could just invite over a bunch of children to run around in the backyard like every other parent does, but you want something cool and unique to make your little one feel special.

It’s your lucky day! We’re sharing some extremely fun, chic children’s birthday party ideas that will make your kid’s b-day bash legendary among his or her friends.

Dinosaur Hunter

Does your child freak out over fossils? Make your budding paleontologist’s birthday wishes come true by organizing a dinosaur hunt for him and his friends! Send kids on a mini excavation in the backyard. Simply fill plastic Easter eggs with small dino toys or wrapped candy, and hide them in a large sandbox. Give your boy and his party guests plastic beach shovels, buckets and whatever else you think they’ll need for their archaeological excursion, and just let them dig.

You might not assume that kids would enjoy sifting through a sandbox, but when dinosaurs are involved, they’ll tear into the task with T-rex-sized enthusiasm. Stick with a dino-themed cake and decorations to keep the excitement going, and let guests take home the unearthed toys and candy as party favors. Your kid will likely remember this afternoon as the best birthday bash of the era.

Pet Party

If your kid is wild about animals, let her woof it up with a pet party! Send out animal-themed invites to her friends and their pets, then wait for the fun and fur to fly. If your little animal lover is inviting her entire class, you can set stricter regulations on the beasts of honor, such as dogs only, and plan to have the party in a large, animal-friendly environment like a dog park or, if you’ve got the space, your own backyard.

Is your child is inviting a smaller, more manageable group? In that case, you’ve got some wiggle room to invite anything that mews, barks or blows bubbles. Allow creatures of all types to attend, from fish and ferrets to felines. Section off an area of your home, but beware of guests with long-standing instinctual feuds. You’d be surprised how much chaos a few fleeing cats and one determined dog can cause, so make sure all furry party attendees undergo a temperament test before they’re admitted. Mandating that everyone’s up to date with vaccinations isn’t a bad idea, either, and be sure all parents understand the party’s theme so children with pet allergies will know to decline the invite.

Cupcake Party

If there are two things girls love, they’re sweets and sleepovers. Why not combine the two into a decadent, all-night birthday bash your daughter will remember for years to come? Yes, you’re going to have a huge mess to clean up afterward, but throwing her a cupcake party will be easy.

Instead of spending money on props and a party space, blow it all on candy and confections! Purchase lots of different flavorings, sugars, toppings, icings and, of course, eggs, butter and flour. If you really want to go all out, you can pick up personalized aprons for party favors. Your daughter and her baking crew will remember this event long after their sugar highs are over.

Spa Party Theme

Ask the girls to bring their bathrobes and slippers to set the scene for this party.   Set out different facial masks and peel masks and don’t forget the cucumber slices!  Set up different stations for manicures, pedicures, facials and hairstyling.  Let the girls rotate to each station every 10-15 minutes.  Have a different color nail polish for each guest and let them try them all. Give them colorful emery boards and toe separators along with their nail polish for a birthday party favor.

Costume Party

Have the kids come in costume, no matter what time of the year it is.  It can be a sports uniform, an old Halloween costume, a dance recital costume, or their parents’ old vintage clothes. When they arrive have each one state exactly who they are impersonating and for the remainder of the party have them talk, act, and do what their character would do at all time. The other kids must call them by their characters name from that point on.

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DIY Glitter Playdough Recipe | Cute Beltz

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Add some sparkle to your homemade playdough with this glitter playdough recipe! This is a kids’ favorite and one of the best playdough recipes to make for kids birthdays or other special occasions. This playdough recipe is not edible, but it does not need to be refrigerated so it is easy to store and keep. Use multiple colors and glitters to make all kinds of playdough that can be used to create every kind of shape and object, making this playdough recipe for kids a great choice, especially for crafts with young children.

Ingredients:

  • flour – 1 cups
  • salt – 0.5 cups
  • cream of tartar – 2 tbsp
  • cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • water – 1 cup
  • food coloring
  • glitter

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients except glitter into a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix ingredients until consistent.
  • Add to a pan at medium heat.
  • Cook until mixture is a doughy ball.
  • Put on wax paper and add glitter.
  • Knead until dough is smooth and consistent.
  • Store in a sealed container but do not refrigerate.

If you want to add even more sparkle to your playdough sprinkle some glitter on after you’ve finish kneading everything together. This recipe is very kid friendly and easy to make! It is particularly fun to make after you have made some simpler playdough recipes with your kids and they can make something a little bit more difficult with your help.

What are some things your kids would add to their playdough  to make it fun to play with? – Cute Beltz

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Fun and Healthy Ways to Keep Your Toddler Busy This Summer | Cute Beltz

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Whether they’re tearing through the house giggling madly or scaling a Mount Everest of sofa cushions, toddlers are an active bunch. One of a kid’s main jobs in the transition between infancy and childhood is to learn the foundations of movement. When your toddler is throwing building blocks as hard as he can across the room, he’s not just testing your limits. He’s also practicing his motor skills. Toddlers learn by playing. And when you give them a wide variety of games and different settings in which to play, you help them to learn more.

Above and beyond the minimum of 60 minutes and up to several hours of unstructured free play toddlers require daily, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education recommends that toddlers get at least 30 minutes of structured physical activity each day. Here are some healthy ways to harness your toddler’s boundless energy.

Brain Games

From the moment they wake up until the time they drop off to sleep, toddlers are developing intellectually at an amazing rate. Here are some fun things you can do to boost your toddler’s brain power:

  • Dress Up: Adorn your daughter with a top hat and baton so she can “lead the band” while you both march around the living room. Comb through thrift stores for gently-used Halloween costumes, fancy hats, boas and ties for a low-cost way to build a stockpile of dress-up supplies. Keep in mind that a toddler’s attention span is very limited. He or she may like the silly hat more than the pretend game, but dress-up is a great way to stimulate creativity.
  • It’s A Bug’s Life: Head outside and hunt for bugs. She’ll learn the names and characteristics of all kinds of creatures, from ants to worms, and squatting and standing will help her practice balance.
  • Head and Stomach, Knees and Toes: Ask your son to point to his head, pat his ears, rub his tummy and touch his toes. This time-honored game not only teaches your toddler to recognize and identify parts of his body, it also helps him learn new action verbs like rub, touch, pat and point that he can use in many other games.
  • Story Time: Pick a time that you can read every day such as during snack, bath time, before a nap or at bedtime. Stories are very calming to a child as well as stimulating. The pictures visually stimulate the brain while your voice teaches vocabulary. Books with textures are will develop tactile awareness as well! Have fun and make animal sounds or give characters “voices”. Toddlers love to make sounds and the more sounds they make; the more they talk and will want to talk about what they see in the books.
  • Look and Listen: This you can do anywhere; sitting on your front porch, pushing the toddler in the stroller, waiting at the airport. Point out sounds – identify what it is and show the child where the sound is coming from. This activity teaches a child to follow where you are directing his attention. Encourage him to make up the sounds himself. This will also develop his listening skills.

Have a Ball

Since the wheel was invented, humans have been steadily improving upon things that roll. Today, toddlers and their parents can enjoy playing with balls in all sizes and shapes — from simple soccer balls to fancy spheres that light up and make noise when they move. Ball games can help teach everything from impulse control to motor skills. Here are a couple ball activities you can try:

  • Kick Ball: Set up simple targets (a sofa cushion, a stick or a pile of leaves) and take turns with your toddler kicking a ball toward the goal. The kicking will develop her motor skills and balance; taking turns will help her develop impulse control. This game works inside as well as outside.
  • Track Ball: Use a roll of wide masking tape to mark off a simple “track.” Encourage your toddler to try to kick or roll a ball along the track. Extend this game by setting up two or three stopping points along the way. When the ball reaches a station, perform a simple exercise like jumping, turning around or touching toes.

Swim like the Fishes

Most toddlers love the water, whether it’s bath time, running through a sprinkler or playing in the pool. While swim aficionados maintain that the earlier a child learns to swim, the safer that child will be in the water, parents often worry that pools bring a risk of accidental drowning, sunburn and chemical exposure. While pools do pose risks, with proper safety precautions, swimming can be a healthy and enjoyable activity for the whole family, including your toddler.

Use adequate sunblock or visit an indoor pool to reduce the risk of sunburn. The chlorine used in pools actually kills off disease-causing bacteria, and when applied within proper guidelines by safe, qualified pool operators, it doesn’t put people at risk.

A great way to introduce your toddler to swimming is by enrolling him or her in a qualified swim program. A good program will offer a clean, safe environment, warm water and experienced, trained teachers. Since parents are usually required to join their child in the water for lessons, both of you will benefit from the training. Soon your toddler may be a stronger swimmer than you are!

Move It!

The healthiest activity for toddlers requires no props, no instruction and no special venue. It simply requires that you and your toddler get moving. Young children aren’t meant to be sedentary. They need to practice balance and a variety of basic movements to develop the motor skills that form the building blocks for the more complex movements they’ll perform in later life.

Something as simple as ditching the stroller and having your toddler accompany you on a walk around the block will provide him or her with tons of opportunities to get moving in novel ways. He’ll have to navigate curbs, watch out for trip hazards and adjust his balance to accommodate variable surfaces. Turn your daily walk into a learning game by identifying and describing familiar sites along the route. Ask him: Is the neighbor’s dog with black spots snoring? Is the stop light red, green or yellow? Is the door to the bank open or closed?

To practice moving indoors, have your toddler crawl under, climb through, jump over and twist around a simple obstacle course you’ve made out of couch cushions, pillows and blankets. Even asking her to help you pick up toys will provide her with many different opportunities to squat, stand, walk and reach. It’ll also teach her to be helpful, which is a valuable lesson. Whether you’re tickling, wiggling, rolling, jumping  or chasing, the sky’s the limit on ways you and your toddler can get moving together.

How will you keep your toddler busy this summer? – Cute Beltz

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Fun 4th of July Treats | Cute Beltz

Somehow June has flown by and the 4th of July is right around the corner.   I’ve been looking for fun and festive 4th of July treats and desserts, and thought I would share some of the fabulous sweets I’ve found around the web.

Here are some 4th of July treat ideas that include just a few simple ingredients. No real cooking is involved- just some very easy assembly is required.

Red, White and Blue Strawberries

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Strawberries taste best in the summer but these juicy fruits might be too pretty to eat! Take a strawberry and dip it in melted white chocolate (I used the Baker’s brand) and then sprinkle blue sugar on the bottom tip of the berry. Keep the strawberries in the refrigerator on waxed paper until you’re ready to serve.

Ice Cream Sandwich Pops

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These treats are a kid-tested favorite and so easy to make it should be a crime. Cut an ice cream sandwich in half or use the mini sandwiches (I know Meijer has the mini ones.) Insert a wooden craft stick into the sandwich and then allow the ice cream to soften just a bit. Roll the ice cream in red, white and blue sprinkles and re-freeze on wax paper. Take out and serve when you’re ready.

Patriotic Cones

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These ice cream cones are just too fun and couldn’t be any simpler to make. Take a sugar cone and roll the top round part in melted white chocolate and then add red, white and blue sprinkles or colored sugar. Line them up on a wax-paper covered platter to harden and then bask in the admiration you will surely receive for your talent and creativity.

Red White and Blue Layered Popsicles

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Ingredients:

  • Blue Kool Aid (and sugar) or blue Gatorade
  •  Red Kool Aid (and sugar) or red Gatorade
  •  Vanilla yogurt
  • Cool whip
  •  Plastic cups or popsicle molds
  • Craft sticks

Directions:

1. Mix the blue kool aid as directed and pour into cups or popsicle molds for bottom layer. Freeze for 1 hour, or until mixture is beginning to freeze, but not yet hard.

2. In separate bowl mix 2 cups vanilla yogurt with 2 cups Cool whip. Spoon white mixture into popsicle molds. Insert craft sticks in an upright position into popsicle molds. Stick back in the freezer until solid (white mixture won’t get completely hard, but pretty firm).

3. Mix the red Kool Aid as directed and pour into cups for final layer. Freeze overnight or for at least 5 hours

If you feel like channeling your inner Martha Stewart, give any of these recipes a try and let us know how they turned out! Happy 4th of July everyone! – Cute Beltz

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