Monday, December 28, 2009

Creating a Family Resolutions Book

Today on WUSA 9 our Events Coordinator, Anna Snead demonstrated a craft for creating a Family Resolution Book. Most people think that resolutions are only for adults but really it’s a motivational and skill building tool for everyone especially kids. It can improve your child’s self esteem, build family communication as well as teach goal setting. I am a big fan of goal setting and how that can help children throughout their lives.

Anna selected this activity and you should consider starting it in your family. If you do, let us know how it works for you. I think it would be a lot of fun. I wish my kids weren’t all grown. Maybe I will do it with my grandkids?

Activity: Family Resolution Book

You will need:
-A photo album or scrapbook
(you could also use heavy paper as the cover pages)
-Photo of each family member
(if your child wants to draw each member of the family, that might also be good)
-Lined flash card or ruler
(use these if you choose to draw your own lines directly on paper)
-Decorative supplies (optional) – stickers, glitter, etc

1. Take or get a picture or headshot of each family member. Or you can let your children draw each person.
2. Glue each one on a separate page in your book.
3. Glue one flashcard onto each page or draw three lines under each photo.
4. Each family member can write down 3 resolutions (more or less optional) on their designated page that they will try to keep throughout the upcoming year.
Examples: Finish my homework before dinner. Clean my room at least once a week. Cook dinner at least 4 times a week for the family (mom or older children). Exercise 3 times a week. Raise my grades one point each semester. Help dad with the yard work weekly. Wash the dog every week. Have a positive attitude.
5. Decorate each page as desired.
6. Discuss the resolutions as a family. Make a list of ways each person can support the others at the back of the book. If, at first, certain family members struggle to find resolutions sit down before starting this activity and brainstorm together in a constructive (and friendly!) discussion.

**Over the next year, each month try to take out the book and see how each person is doing with their resolutions.

Anna had another idea for the book that I thought was very creative. She suggested video taping the family telling their resolutions. Then video tape the discussions through out the year. This would be a great video record of your children and you could post it on YouTube!

Here are some benefits Anna listed for this activity. I can think of more.
-Family Bonding and communication
-Goal setting
-Learning how to be more supportive of each family member
-Self Improvement

Does your family have any traditions similar to this? Do they work?

Let us know what your family does for New Year’s resolutions.

Happy Parenting, Brenda

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun Holiday Craft Becomes Traditon

The holidays mean family gatherings and big meals. Why not include the kids in the table decorations this year with a variety of fun and festive crafts? It will keep them busy and you’ll have decorations that you can treasure for years to come.

Today Liz McConville, Resource Editor for FAMILY Magazine was on WUSA9 News Now with Peggy Fox demonstrating crafts for table decorations

Why should we involve our children in the preparation of the holiday meal or decorations? I know it helps with the work, but does it do anything for them? YOU BET! Kids love it and it really helps them develop.

Helping benefits kids in many ways –
Raising self-esteem & learning life skills
Develop a sense of tradition (being part of a group)

Here are the crafts that Liz demonstrated along with materials and detailed instructions.

Candy Cane Napkin Rings

• 1 sheet of construction paper
• Red glitter glue
• White glitter glue
• White craft glue
• Paintbrush
• Scissors or cutting board
• Tape

What to do:
1. Lay down the construction paper lengthwise
2. Starting at the bottom of the far left corner draw a line of red glitter glue from the bottom to the top of the paper. Skip about one inch and repeat. Continue all the way across the paper.
3. Repeat step 2 with the white glitter glue, drawing the white lines in between the red lines. Your line won’t be touching.
4. Using a paintbrush gently spread out the first line of red glitter glue, careful not to touch the white. Repeat for each red line.
5. Clean out the paintbrush and repeat step 4 for the white glitter glue. All your line should be touching, or at least very close to each other.
6. Allow the sheet to dry completely. This can take several hours.
7. Once dry, fold in half like a greeting card and gently crease. Use scissors to cut along the crease.
8. Hold one of the pieces so that the strips are going horizontally. Cutting from the bottom upward, cut in half and then in half again to create four strips. Repeat this for the other half-sheet. This will result in a total of 8 strips.
9. Turn strips over so that the glitter side is facing down. Carefully fold along the long edge, both sides, to create a more finished look. Glue the folded sides to the back. Repeat for all strips.
10. Roll each strip into a circle; the ends should overlap by about an inch. Secure the overlap with a piece of clear tape.
11. Insert napkins.

For more craft ideas like this one check out:

Angel Place Cards

• Paper Cups
• Napkins
• Lollipops
• Chenille Stems
• Paint, optional

What to do:
1. Fold a napkin back and forth as you do when you are making a fan.
2. Take a paper cup (painting the cup in optional) and turn it upside down
3. Place the napkin on the top (bottom) of the paper cup and with the stick end of the lollipop push the stick through the layers of the napkin and through the cup.
4. Make a halo out of a chenille stem and attach it around the angel’s head or push the straight section of the halo through the same hole made for the stick of the lollipop.
5. The name can either be painted on the cup or a round card with the name can be glued to the halo.

For this craft and more crafts like it check out

Silverware Stocking

• Stocking template
• Scissors
• Felt
• Patterned fabric
• Hot glue or fabric glue
• Rickrack
• Beads
• Beading cord

What To Do:
1. Use the template to cut two stocking shapes from the felt, then cut the cuff and toe shapes from the patterned fabric. The cuff is a long rectangle with the two long edges folded under and ironed for a clean look.
2. Glue the two stocking shapes together at the edges, leaving the top of the stocking open. Fold a 6-inch length of rickrack in half and glue the ends just inside the stocking’s top. Glue the cuff and toe in place.
3. String beads onto the cord. When the string of beads is long enough to form your letter, knot both ends. Draw your letter onto the stocking with glue, and then press the string of beads onto it.

For this craft and more crafts like it check out

Do you have any crafts you like to do for table decorations? Do you let your children help with this? We do name plates at our house and the little kids are in charge. It is a hoot. Maybe this year we will use one of Liz’s ideas. They look adorable!

Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Award Winning and Educational Toys and Games

With the holidays just around the corner, you’ve probably started making your shopping lists.

Today, during the WUSA9 segment, Amy Bevins, Assistant Editor and Toy Expert for Washington FAMILY Magazine, shared a few great ideas for this holiday season.

Here are a few standouts from Amy’s article on Award Winning and Educational Toys and Games in this month’s Washington FAMILY magazine.

Go Go Sports Girls from Dream Big Toy Company are one of my favorites for all ages. These sports themed dolls give a positive message about healthy bodies along with being absolutely adorable.

Cornerstone made by Good Company Games, has become one of my family’s favorite games and the most requested. It is kind of a cross between Jenga and Blokus, combining strategy and adrenaline as you build the towers and outsmart your opponents.

If you are looking to get kids and adults up and moving, Djubi is perfect and brings a great new twist to the game of catch. You use the hook to launch the balls and the net to catch them.

Q-BA-Maze is as much fun to create as it is to play with. You join the pieces to make a marble run. It is almost like a kinetic art sculpture and is so fun whether you follow the patterns or create your own masterpiece.

Funny Business from Gamewright is an absolutely hilarious game of mixed up mergers that the whole family can play. It is all about having fun and competition takes a backseat.

Sprig Discover Rig from Sprig Toys is a kid-powered eco-friendly truck that is made from recycled wood and reclaimed plastic and is so appealing to kids for imagination adventures.

The cute Muddy Pigs from Munchkin are perfect for a tub time. With a little warm water their muddy spots magically wash off.

Lastly, Chickyboom by BlueOrange appeals to all ages. There’s more science and math than you’d expect and it really draws in kids and adults alike.

Amy’s article, “Award Winning and Educational Toys and Games,” is filled with lots of wonderful holiday ideas and is in the December issue of Washington FAMILY Magazine. Pick one up or view it online at

Many of the featured toys have won numerous national and international awards, meaning they were a hit with kids, parents, testers and industry experts. Groups like the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Dr. Toy, Parent’s Choice and AblePlay give awards to toys and games that meet criteria for standing out among their peers. Each one is tested for quality, safety, playability, value and most of all FUN!

To learn more about the Toy Awards; visit the FAMILY Magazine web extras on our homepage.

What great ideas do you have for gift giving this holiday season?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Training to Eat for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching. This wonderful time of year is filled with good fellowship, food, and fun….and lots of calories and overindulgence often leading to weight gain and weight loss resolutions. How can we make this year different?
After this segment be sure to log on to FAMILY Magazine publisher, Brenda Hyde, will be online to discuss this topic inside the Washington FAMILY Magazine Group.
Today, Judy Caplan, Registered Dietitian and author of the children’s book Gobey Gets Full – Good Nutrition in a Nutshell (, shared tips on “Training to Eat for the Holiday” during the Moms Like Me segment on WUSA9.
Judy suggests:
If you put some simple practices into play now, you can avoid that beginning of the year regret. She calls this “Training to Eat for the Holidays.”
Tip One: Make awareness part of the holiday spirit. Ask yourself, “Where do I want my weight to be to on January 2nd?” Jot the answer down on a piece of paper and post it where you can see it every day. For example: “I want to weigh 135 on January 2nd.” Now don’t lose sight of that goal.
Tip Two: Set into motion actions that will lead to achieving your goal. For instance, continue your exercise program. If you don’t have one, now is the time to start. Don’t wait until the first of the year to begin. Exercise is a great calorie burner. Exercise also increases endorphins which promote a sense of well being, something you will need lots of at this stressful time of year.
Tip Three: Set a carbohydrate limit for the day. Allow yourself a daily total of four to six carbohydrate servings. Since there will be sweets and alcohol everywhere, each time you eat a cookie or have a drink over the holidays, you have to subtract some other carbohydrate from your diet that day, so plan ahead. Here are some other examples of one carbohydrate serving:
One slice of whole wheat bread
½ of a hamburger bun
8 stick pretzels
3 Hershey kisses
¼ of a medium order of French fries

Keep a food log. This helps you know how many carbs you have eaten and how many you have left. One strategy is to limit carbs during the week and fill up on lots of salads and fresh veggies, limited amounts of whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. Use two servings of fruit each day to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Here is a sample menu:
Breakfast: Egg white omelet with spinach and low fat cheese, topped with salsa and sliced avocado
¾ cup oatmeal or whole grain cereal with sliced fruit and skim milk plus one teaspoon ground flaxseed
2 slices (40 calories each) whole grain bread with 1T. natural peanut butter and fruit spread
*Coffee or skinny latte

Lunch: Large salad with lean protein – grilled chicken, low fat cheese, shrimp, salmon or lean beef. Add sliced avocado or toasted nuts.
Vinaigrette dressing (preferable made with olive oil)
If you did not have carbs at breakfast (oatmeal, cereal, toast) sandwich on whole wheat bread with nitrite free turkey with olive oil mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle (if non meat, eater make with low fat cheese)
Fresh cut up veggies with 1/3 cup hummus plus 5 Triscuits or 20 Wheat Thins

Dinner: Fresh salad with vinaigrette, lean protein of your choice, and steamed or roasted veggies (non starchy)

Snacks: Use your two servings of fruit for snacks. Add 12 raw almonds with each fruit serving
*Coffee is a calorie free food but can lead to hunger pangs, so limit intake.

Tip Four: Have a plan before you attend a party because once you get there good intentions can quickly fly out the window. Alcohol, besides adding calories, diminishes your ability to stay focused on your goals. Set a number of drinks for the night and stick to it.

You never want to go to a party hungry. Telling yourself you won’t eat all day so it is okay to indulge at the party is a formula for disaster. At the party avoid fried food, any appetizer that sits on bread, creamy dips, and limit sweets and alcohol. That leaves veggies and protein. Save the carbs for your set amount of alcohol or a bite or two of something yummy.

For more articles and resources about how “Training to Eat for the Holiday,” visit the Washington FAMILY Magazine