Friday, October 27, 2017

The Teal Pumkin Project - Make Halloween Treats Safe for Everyone

I am a big fan of Halloween and our neighborhood is one that attracts many children including families who drive to our neighborhood to Trick or Treat.  I want the experience to be one that EVERY child can enjoy and so I have a lot of variety to choose from.  But most of all my concern is for kids who have allergies – I want to give them something to enjoy also.

When I first became conscious of the problem Halloween was for kids with allergies I stopped getting candy with peanuts. But as I explored the Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) website, I realized that milk, eggs, wheat and soy are also common allergens that could be in many candies. Then I started to give a choice of non-food items.  I have been doing this for years.

Several years ago FARE initiated the TEAL Pumpkin Project and provided signs of a Teal Pumpkin which you can post and will let parents and kids know that you have non-food treats.  I have been posting my Teal Pumpkin sign since the first year and every year I have parents who thank me and kids who leave my door with a big smile and their non-food treat.  Last year we even painted a pumpkin teal and had it on our doorstep.

You can download your own Teal Pumpkin sign and find other Halloween resources here.  There are several to choose from - mine says that I have both candy and non-food treats.  

The non-food treats are a popular choice. The bonus is that it is also healthy to have some non-candy treats. Yes, I have candy too but I go through many more non-food items.  I try to have something for various ages so here will be my choices this year.

Moose Toys is a  supporter of the Teal Pumpkin Project and thanks to Moose  I will have loads of these Happy Places and Grossery Gang single packs.  Thanks Moose!
Grossery Gang Single Packs - Plastic Toy not a Candy Bar!

Happy Places Single Packs

Items that I purchased at Target and the Dollar Store:

Play Doh Party Size - Toddlers through Teens Love These

Pencils, Erasers and Pads
Bubbles - Popular with All Ages

Learn more about the growing popularity of the Teal Pumpkin Project here and Join In!


Monday, October 23, 2017

Boom Blast Stix - Wow What Fun!

I had no idea that my grandson would be so excited to get this Boom Blast Stix Game game.  He said he had seen it advertised a hundred times and it was really cool.  Little did we know how cool until we played the game.  This weekend the weather was like summer in New Jersey and we were enjoying being outside in late October. So we decided to play on our porch rather than indoors.  Although it is perfectly safe to play this indoors, it really lent itself to a larger outdoor space.

This is a simple game, lots of fun and although it is actually quiet the people playing it will be screaming and laughing – guaranteed.  So I don’t recommend playing it when you have a sleeping baby nearby that you don’t want to wake.

Boom Blast Stix is a cylindrical box with 32 stix and the lid doubles as the playing field.  The lid is slightly concave in shape and can be put on a flat surface or kept on top of the box.  The “stix” piece is open at one end and triangular shaped.  Each player closes the light weight piece and stacks one on the lid in turn. Before you know it, the pieces all open and explode into the air.  You just don’t see it coming.  There are no batteries, electronics or loud noise.  But the players provide the explosive noise when taken by surprise and the pieces go flying. And I mean flying.  They are very lightweight and won’t cause any damage but they can go quite high in the air.  They routinely flew over the banister on our porch and onto the patio.

This game is very easy to play and it is suggested for 6 and up.  I think that is a good guideline.  As the package says, it is an explosive game for those with a gentle touch and nerves of steel.  Let me translate – should have good fine motor skills, like suspense and not be upset when you put your stix on the tower and every piece blasts apart and goes up in the air.  So while the game is a blast for 6 year olds it may cause tears in a preschooler.

Theoretically, you lose if the tower explodes on your turn.  But you feel like a winner for having caused the explosion – not a loser.  My grandson and I played this for over an hour and neither one of us was bored.  I can highly recommend Boom Blast Stix.  The kids will enjoy it and so will you.  No batteries, no electronics and not easily breakable this is the type of game that will be a family favorite for years.

Oh, and here we are....

It is reasonably priced and available at Amazon and in stores.  Click below to order at Amazon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Treemote - Remote On Switch for your Christmas Tree Lights


Here is an early present idea for you to give yourself a - Treemote.  It is a remote for turning on your Christmas tree lights or any lamp for that matter.

Christmas shopping season is here.  The kids are just beginning to be bombarded with the must have toys this season but they haven’t yet gelled what exactly will be on their list.  Soon I will have my own list of Toys Grandparents Will Love to Give – but I am not ready with that post yet.  Today I want to tell you about something you should get for yourself.

If you are like me you have always had to sort of crawl behind the tree to put the lights on and off.  We did that for years with our “real” tree that was beautiful but took up a lot of space, needed to be continually watered and left us with pine needles all year long.  A few years ago, at our son’s urging, we bought a small  artificial tree with pre-lit lights that sits on an end table in front of our living room window.  We love it!  It gets brought to the attic without taking it apart and it is no trouble at all – the perfect grandparent tree.  However, the outlet for the lights is still low on the wall behind the tree.  My son again had a great suggestion last year.  Even though with two small children they are always crawling around on the floor, they had a remote switch and turned their tree lights on with a flick of a switch kept on their mantle.  Hmmm…sounds like a great idea…I think I’ll look into that for next year.

Lo and behold, I had this opportunity to receive a Treemote to review.  Well my Christmas tree is still in the attic so I tried it out on a floor lamp in the living room.  The best news is you can use it for any lamp all year long and it works up to 80 feet away.  This is helpful for me too as when I turn my living room light out for the night I then walk in the darkened room to go upstairs to my bedroom.  I intend to hook it up to this light and leave the remote on my kitchen counter.
This is the Treemote out of the box.

It is simple to install and use but the instructions could use a one step improvement.  I followed the instructions and the lamp light did not go on.  But when I looked at the troubleshooting box, I saw that the lights need to be left in the on position.  Problem solved.  See the operation instructions (It doesn't get easier than this) and the troubleshooting step highlighted that made the difference for me.

Whether you have the same issue I did of a hard to reach Christmas tree lights outlet or a lamp that is inconvenient to turn on and off, you should give yourself an early Christmas gift and get the treemote.

It is available here on Amazon.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Apple and Pumpkin Picking with my Grandson

Apple and pumpkin picking at Alstede Farm in Chester, NJ has become a Fall tradition in our family. This is one of days I look forward to all year - it is a perfect grandparent outing no matter what the age of your grandchild.  But there is so much variety in what is available that you will want o choose carefully which farm you go to.  Some farms are small and have a playground for young children and a nearby pumpkin patch with just a few activities.  My grandson is 8 years old so these days we go to a very large farm with lots of things to do and fruit and vegetables to pick with a long tractor ride to the various fields.  There is also a corn maze with two entrances  - easy and hard - so you can accomadate different age kids.  A place to buy lunch and later homemade ice cream.  And get this not only do they have hot dogs and hamburgers - I was able to have a fresh vegetable wrap - ummm.

Here are some pictures that don't begin to capture the fun of the day.

The day  begins with my grandson climbing the giant haystack at the entrance to the farm as I get in line to purchase tickets.  That's him as King of the Hill.

My grandson searched to the perfect pumpkin and he found four of them!

There were lots of varieties of apples to pick but we settled on Jonagold and MacIntosh.  We ate some and then I made an apple pie with the remainder - delicious.

On the long tractor ride to the fields.

Here are the pumpkins on my dining room table waiting to be decorated.  One will be painted teal and displayed outside to let people know that we give non-food treats in support of children with allergies.

If you haven't visited a farm and gone pumpkin and apple picking with your grandchildren, I highly recommend it.  It is a fun day for a wide range of ages and a good way to spend the day outdoors.  Yes, you will be tired at the end of the day but it is so worth it.

Here are some books to read to compliment your trip.