Summer Reading, Earn a FREE Book

One of my favorite Summer Reading Programs is through Barnes and Noble.  The program is for children in grades 1-6 and is a wonderful time to encourage your children to read to earn the reward of a FREE book.

This has been a consistent summer event for my children which they have enjoyed over the years.  Sadly, my oldest will age out this year so although it is bitter-sweet, we are very happy with the selections of books we have been rewarded with throughout the years.

I encourage each of you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.  To get started, click here –> Barnes and Noble Summer Reading .

Happy Reading!

Stay connected and checkout our latest accessories for kids –> Cute Beltz

 

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Working Summer MOM | Cute Beltz

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Schools out, what’s the plan?

I am a working mother, so I do not have the luxury of taking the summer off and frolic at the beach!  So, when my children are out of school I have to plan accordingly.  I have found that it is great to have grandparents, friends and summer camp!

Things to Do With the Kids in the Summer

If you are fortunate enough to have parents that are giddy about spending the summer with their grandchildren, by all means ship them off!  I am fortunate to have a mom, who has finally decided to retire (we will see how long that last) that LOVES her grandchildren to pieces, so it is no problem to send them to stay with her for a few weeks.  Over the years, as my children get older it is has been a true blessing.  Momma’s need breaks too!

Do you have friends that will pick up your kids and keep them???  My friends who have the summer off have always been a huge help.  With many of my friends, they are like “family” so, it’s always been easy.  Now, I don’t dump my kids with them all the time that just wouldn’t be right!  BUT, if they are willing, I’m not turning them down.   Hey, it is always great to have a friend that is willing to scoop your kids up for the day.

Camps are AWESOME!! In my town we have great camps and fortunately they are economical family friendly, at the moment.  I know as time goes on, my children will want to participate in more specialized camps, but until then, off to the town camp they go!

So, what’s your plan for the summer?  Grandparents house, dependable friends, camp or a combination of all three?

This year our summer life is a combination of all three, grandma, friends and camp.  So, here’s to another working mom’s awesome summer adventure!

 

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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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6 Fresh Summer Bedroom Décor Ideas | Cute Beltz

We’re not saying that you should completely renovate and redecorate your home each time seasons change but it can be very refreshing to add a few new touches to some of the rooms in your house. For example, summer brings many major changes and you can get some inspiration from nature itself in order to give your bedroom a more cheerful look.

Observe the colors found in nature this time of the year and transfer them into the new interior décor you have chosen for the room. You can also take some inspiration from the seasonal plants and flowers and from the multitude of birds and insects that invade us each summer.

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Green painted beaded board walls lend organic appeal to this sunny bedroom. Nature inspired art prints and accessories sprinkled throughout the room also nod to the outdoors. The four poster in blonde maple adds a rustic simplicity to the bedroom, while nearly sheer plaid curtains soften the corners of the bed.

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White walls and sheer patterned draperies allow this bedroom to look open and airy despite it’s small size. The wood flooring and the dark painted dresser introduce visual weight to the room. An eclectic assemblage of bedding citron sheets, sea glass green shams, and block print linens add sink in comfort to the cozy bedroom.

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Accents of royal blue, orange, and hot pink add oodles of color to this otherwise neutral bedroom. The tones play out in less vibrant shades on the antique rug, a move that makes the room look pulled together, but also plays up the modern-traditional style of the room.

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The barely green walls, white architectural details and a palette of grays in this bedroom allow personality-filled accents to truly shine. While the elements of the room are decidedly eclectic, they are well edited and the room isn’t overcrowded. Next to the bed, an elephant shaped statue functions as a tiny night stand. The patterned area rug adds warmth underfoot and style leading up to the bed.

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In this bedroom, a patterned fabric bed frame functions as a work of art. The colorful print blends well with the warm wood accents throughout the rest of the room. Beige and white bedding and curtains echo the look of the bed frame. Scale plays an important role in this room’s design. Because the ceilings are tall, the walls needed to be treated accordingly. The oversize mirror fills the space above the bed better than a regular sized mirror and the large damask pattern on the curtains adds interest to the solid fabric without become too busy.

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Strict symmetry makes a big style statement in this bedroom. The two beds are identical, right down to the arrangement of throw pillows and sunburst mirrors above the beds. The bench between the two beds serves as a nightstand for both, eliminating the need for two pieces of furniture. Warm walls, window treatments, and flooring contrast the dark finish of the traditional-style beds. Handblocked textiles on the beds add unique pattern and interest.

How will you decorate your bedroom this summer? – Cute Beltz

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Perfect Summer Cocktail: Strawberry Ginger Mojito | Cute Beltz

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When the days start getting longer, and the weather gets a little warmer, I start dreaming of one thing: strawberry mojitos. It’s my favorite drink during the summer months and I’ll take any excuse I can to make ‘em. They’re sweet with fresh strawberries and mint and the perfect light drink for any summer meal. But my twist on the strawberry mojito is to add a little bit of ginger liqueur. It adds a slightly spicy kick that’s perfect for an afternoon barbecue.

Strawberry & Ginger Mojito
Total time: 5 minutes Serves: 1

 Ingredients

  • 6 mint leaves
  • 2 ripe strawberries, quartered
  • 1.5 oz light rum
  • 0.5 oz ginger liqueur (or ginger syrup)*
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup or agave Ice Soda water or sparkling water

* Ginger liqueur or syrup can be difficult to find at the grocery store, but there are many recipes online for making your own in only 15-20 minutes. Otherwise your local specialty beverage store should carry it!

Directions

Muddle mint leaves and strawberries together in cocktail shaker. Add lime juice, rum, simple syrup, and ginger liqueur. Fill the shaker a little over half way with ice and shake vigorously for about 15-20 seconds.

Pour into a tall glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a strawberry or mint leaf.

What’s your favorite summer cocktail?Cute Beltz

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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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