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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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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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 Frozen Treats For Hot Summer Days

On those hot summer days spent at the park with your little ones running around, there is nothing like coming home and making something cold and sweet for them to cool down. Frozen treats are fun and delicious, no matter how old you are. Today we’ll be bringing you all sorts of simple ideas for frozen treats to make and enjoy with your kids.

Kiwi Ice Pops

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Glowing in green, these sweet and tart kiwi ice pops appeal to kids and adults alike. This recipe is not only refreshing but no-fuss, making it one of the coolest ways to extinguish summer’s sizzle.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup(s) water
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 4 kiwis
  • 1/2 cup(s) (about 4 limes) fresh lime juice

Directions

1. Make the syrup: Combine 1 cup of water with the sugar in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Set aside to cool.

2. Make the ice pops: Using a paring knife, cut kiwis into quarters, peel, and remove the white core and seeds from each piece. Place the seeded kiwi pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée to a liquid — about 1 minute. Combine the puréed kiwi, 3/4 cup syrup, lime juice, and remaining 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid — about 6 hours.

Lemon Sorbet

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This fragrant sorbet can be served as an intermezzo to cleanse the palate and stimulate the appetite, or be presented, instead, with not-too-sweet cookies for a light dessert. Add fresh herbs to the sorbet to give this treat an unexpected twist.

Ingredients

  • 10 sprig(s) mint, stemmed
  • 4 teaspoon(s) mint sprigs, finely chopped
  • 3 sprig(s) thyme
  • 3 cup(s) sugar
  • 3 cup(s) lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon(s) lemon zest, finely grated

Directions

1. Combine 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in three small saucepans. Add the mint leaves to one pan and the thyme sprigs to another. Bring all three to a boil, remove from the heat, and steep for 12 minutes. Strain each steeping mixture into a separate bowl, stir 1 cup lemon juice into each, and cool completely. Process each batch separately — starting with plain and ending with thyme — in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions for sorbet. Stir the finely chopped mint into the mint-infused sorbet once it has set. Stir the lemon zest into the plain lemon mixture when it has set. Place a film of plastic wrap directly on the sorbet surface in an airtight container and freeze until firm — about 1 hour.

Watermelon Pops

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Don’t be fooled by these frozen treats! Made from sorbet blended with mini chocolate chips, they’re a great cool down dessert on hot summer days.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strawberry sorbet
  • 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup lemon sorbet
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • wedge-shaped popsicle molds
  • popsicle sticks

Directions

1. To make a batch, mash together 1 cup strawberry sorbet, 2 teaspoons mini chocolate chips, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl.

2. Put the mixture into wedge-shaped popsicle molds (we used six 2-ounce molds), filling each about two-thirds full.*

3. Spoon a thin, even layer of lemon sorbet on top. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup lemon sorbet, 2 drops green food coloring, and 1 tablespoon water.

4. Spoon a layer into each mold and insert a popsicle stick. Freeze the pops for at least four hours.

Ice-cream Cookie Cups

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This summer, double your pleasure by serving your family’s favorite ice-cream flavors in edible chocolate chip cookie bowls.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. To make the cookie cups, beat together the shortening, butter, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract, beating until combined.

2. In a separate bowl, sift together the salt, baking powder, and flour, then gradually stir them into the batter. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a flat disk, and wrap it in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

4. Heat the oven to 375º. Turn two 12-cup muffin tins bottom side up and cover 10 of the cup bottoms with squares of aluminum foil (use every other cup so there’s some space between them). Grease the foil with shortening and set it aside.

5. Unwrap 1 disk of dough, place it between 2 sheets of waxed paper, and roll it out to a 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out 4-inch circles of dough and place each one over a cup bottom, smoothing out any cracks. Repeat with the other disk, rerolling and reusing any scraps.

6. Bake the cookie cups for 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown. Let them cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the foil and cookies together from the muffin pan. Peel off the foil and let the cups cool completely on a rack. Just before serving, fill each cookie cup with a scoop of ice cream. Makes 10.

What are some other ideas that would make great frozen treats?

 

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