April Simply Family/Simply Parties by Jackie
It’s Cool to Care: Time for yard work! Now that the weather is beginning to warm up here in the northeast, it’s time to get out and clean up our yards. Raking the leaves leftover from fall, getting the land ready for planting, picking up any trash that was buried under the snow- these are just a few spring yard duties. Grab your gardening gloves and rakes and start helping your neighbors too! Ask any older relatives or friends if they could use some assistance with yard work, cleaning out a garage, washing a vehicle, getting lawn furniture ready for the season, etc.
Happy to be Healthy: Tis’ the season for outdoor activity! Get out and walk. Walk around your neighborhood or go to your local outdoor track. Maybe take your dog for a walk or offer to take a neighbor’s dog. (Don’t forget to clean up after the pup) Are there any times when you drive, but perhaps could walk instead? Some ideas might be to the store for a couple items, to school if you’re lucky to live near by, or even to visit a friend. Time for jump roping (sing some rhymes as you jump) hula hooping (make up contests of who can hula-hoop the longest or who can use the most hoops) and bike riding (find some bikes trails to try out). Have your bikes checked out to make sure they are ready and safe for your adventures and always wear a helmet. http://www.fungameskidsplay.com/jump-rope-rhymes.htm
Family Fun: Movie Night- Some inspirational movies for the entire family to enjoy while learning about environmental issues-The Lorax, Hoot, Ferngully-The Last Rainforest, Free Willy, Spirit, Wall E, March of the Penquins, Planet Earth, Artic Tale, Furry Vengeance To find detailed descriptions of these movies and appropriate age suggestions, check out http://kcedventures.com/blog/kids-movies-about-environmental-issues-themes
Some of the movies also are books (Free Willy by Nancy E. Krulik, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, Artic Tale and March of the Penquins -both are called companions to the movies)
Game Night: Have a family video game night. Play Wii or any other video game system that gets you up and moving about.Here’s a couple of links (one mostly for workouts and one for the entire family to play together) http://lifewire.com/best-workout-games-for-the-nintendo-wii-2498628http://halleheartchildrensmuseum.org/8-best-active-video-games-kids/
Hooray for the Holidays: Easter– This Easter try and get your entire meal from local sources. If you’re as lucky as I am, you have easy access to farmers’ markets, food co-ops, and local butcher shops. Give each family member/guest the task of a dish, a decoration, setting the table, or cleaning up. Here’s some ideas for naturally dyeing eggs with simple ingredients-http://greenerideal.com/guides/color-easter-eggs-natural-ingredients/
Earth Day:How fun and satisfying it is to grow your own food! I’ve done small container type gardens in the past and one of my favorite ones was a “pizza garden”. We grew cherry tomatoes, basil, peppers, and oregano if I remember correctly. This was done all in a half wine barrel planter. I’ve also had luck planting lettuce in tires of all things. I’ve even seen super cute painted tires (ladybug, frog). The ideas for planting are endless! Here’s some websites with tips on getting a head start indoors. Start seedlings–http://www.kitchencounterchronicle.com/starting-seeds/,http://getbusygardening.com/easiest-vegetables-to-grow-from-seed/
Set up recycling for your family- To begin, check out your area’s recycling rules (what and where) http://www.maine.gov/dep/waste/recycle/whatcanirecycle.html At first, recycling can seem a bit overwhelming. Learning what goes where and creating a recycling center in your home would leave no excuses for each family member to get on board. If convincing is still needed, take a look at a visual of how long it takes trash to decompose. Can be quite startling, yikes!
Make homemade cleaning supplies – It’s spring cleaning time! When I went on Pinterest a few years back to research making my own cleaning supplies, I didn’t know where to begin as there were many recipes/websites to choose from. To start, I would say pick one thing you’d like to try to make. You may find you don’t care for what you’ve made (this happened to me with dishwasher tablets and laundry detergent). Don’t give up, try again until you find the perfect choices for your cleaning supply liking. Here’s a basic recipe for cleaning wipes to get started and also a website for lots of other homemade cleaning supplies when ready. Happy cleaning! http://sixdollarfamily.com/natural-cleaning-recipes-homemade-cleaners-for-your-home http://naturesnurtureblog.com/homemade-cleaning-wipes/
Arbor Day-Plant a tree – Another earth friendly activity where all can get involved is planting a tree. Talk with local landscapers and check out nurseries to find the best trees for your space. http://premeditatedleftovers.com/gardening/how-to-successfully-plant-a-tree
April Fool’s Day: Although it passed, you can still have much silly fun for April Fool’s month! Tell jokes at the dinner table and read tongue twisters at bedtime. Ask each other, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today?” They say laughter is the best medicine, and I believe it! A couple snack time tricks below-
Home Helpers: We’ve covered getting started with yard work and planting, creating a family recycling center, and making homemade cleaners. Some other home helpers can include making reusable lunch bags and containers. Also, make a designated spot for reusable shopping bags so they are handy to grab on your way out. When you clean out your garage, return any bottles and cans and add the money to your coin jar fund.
Mind Matters: Roses are red, violets are blue. Do you know who can write poetry? Of course, it’s YOU! April is national poetry month, so get your creative juices flowing and write some poems. Hold a special event such as tea time poetry night (set out some teacups, a variety of tea flavors, and mini pastries) or comedy poetry night (poems should be silly, use fun props, or speak in different voices).
April is Autism Awareness Month. Awhile back, I looked up autism in a children’s dictionary. As I’m reading the brief definition, I said to myself two things, “This doesn’t explain much” (and yes, I’m aware it’s a kids’ resource) and “Does anyone else use a dictionary anymore?” And then I laughed at my old soul self. So maybe it’s just because the dictionary is an antique, but thank goodness there are many insightful resources out there to increase our knowledge of any topic. The more we learn and become aware, whether it be about a disability, a foreign country, a religion, an illness, a career, etc, the greater our understanding and the kinder our hearts will be. Here’s a couple websites about autism spectrum disorder, perfect for all ages to gain better awareness. http://readingrockets.org/article/pbs-kids-and-autism-awarenesshttp://kidshealth.org/en/kids/autism.html
Read On: The list could go on and on for springtime reads, here’s a few faves- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, The Magic School Bus-The Climate Challenge by Joanna Cole, Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, Where the Sidewalk Ends (or any Shel Silverstein book), Rules by Cynthia Lord http://readingrockets.org/booklists/childrens-books-featuring-characters-autism-or-aspergers
Parents Corner: Each new day offers us the chance to refocus, refresh, and restart. Especially in the spring though, walls are covered with fresh coats of paint, flower and veggie gardens get started, and many times we focus back on those New Year’s resolutions. Spring is a fabulous time of year to recharge! Book yourself a massage or haircut, pick up a new journal to write in, and make a pitcher of detox water just to name a few ways to recharge those batteries.
Thanks for reading my blog this month. As always, much appreciated!