Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Family-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

 

St. Patrick’s Day is traditionally associated with green beers and an ever-elusive pot of gold. But your Irish heritage celebration doesn’t have to be boozy to be interesting and fun for the entire family.

Here are ways to enjoy the luck of the Irish with your littlest lad or lass.

 

Dinner party

Few meals conjure up images of hungry Irishmen after a day of hard labor more than a traditional dinner of bangers and mash. By plating plump sausages with creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, you have yourself an Irish meal that most everyone will agree is delicious. Here’s an interesting fact: Bangers – the sausage – get their nickname from linked sausages that tend to pop when exposed to heat. Bang! Of course, if you don’t have time to cook or aren’t handy in the kitchen, you can always make it a breakfast night and let the kids enjoy a bowl of Lucky Charms.

 

Brush up on your Celtic

There are few people in the U.S. who actually understand many of the most popular old Irish sayings. You and your family can research Celtic language and idioms and compare similarities to English. Business Insider’s list of 15 Irish expressions is a great place to start. Also, Google’s translate feature is a really fun way to share the language with your entire family. Bain sult as féin!

 

House hop

You don’t have to stop with just your house to enjoy a Celtic dinner. Talk to the neighbors and get everyone involved. One house can provide appetizers, another the main course and another still an enjoyable Irish dessert.

 

A family vacation

If you would like to really immerse yourself in Irish culture, a trip to the Emerald Isle is an excellent way to celebrate the holiday. Ireland is not only known for its looming castles and grandest estates, it also has some of the best beaches you’ll ever have the honor of relaxing on. If you don’t have an extra $10,000 lying around for an international vacation, you can also find family-friendly activities in Irish heritage-rich areas such as St. Louis, Missouri, and Charlotte, North Carolina, on FamilyLivingToday.com.

 

 

Movie marathon

If the weather’s bad or you simply don’t want to leave the house to celebrate, there are plenty of Irish films that will satisfy your cinematic senses this St. Patrick’s Day. The youngest in your crew may enjoy the animated classic The Secret of Kells or Disney’s Luck of the Irish, which chronicles the life of an everyday American teenager who finds out he’s actually not ordinary at all but half leprechaun.

 

Understand the holiday

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional holiday that celebrates life of the eponymous Saint Patrick. As the Patron Saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick is celebrated each March 17 and has been since the 17th century. What first started as a religious feast has evolved into a secular day of fun featuring festivals, parades, and special events in most major cities in the US and UK. The History Channel offers more information about St. Patrick’s Day.

Another great way to learn about this Irish day of honor is to visit your local cathedral and partake in a Catholic mass. Most parishes are happy to host guests but be sure to talk to children about Catholic traditions before attending as they may be wildly different than your own place of worship’s weekly service

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to honor good St. Paddy as well as your Irish heritage without a hangover on March 18. And by forgoing the libations, you and your family can enjoy the day – or week – together making memories that you’ll cherish for years to come and relive each St. Patrick’s Day.

 

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Holiday Party Planning Made Easy!

Holiday Party Planning Made Easy: Tips for Doing it Right

 

Are you worried about planning that perfect holiday get together? Relax!

We’ve got the steps for you to follow to make it easy and fun. Here’s how:

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Image Source: DIYDarlin.com

 

 

 

Additional Holiday Party Prepping Resources:

  1. Cleaning tips for a party-ready house
  2. Party planning checklist
  3. How to prep your home for festive entertaining
  4. 10 stress-free holiday party decorating tips
  5. 10 holiday party mistakes to avoid

Now that you know how to get started, you can enjoy the process. Make those lists, light some candles, and start thinking about your menu. You’ve got this!

 

Grace Heritage Ranch

Autumn Adventure:

October – November   (2017 will be Oct 21 – Nov 25)

Saturdays: 10:00 am – sunset

Sundays: Noon – sunset

Weekdays: Reserved for school field trips and private groups of 25 or more

READY, SET, COME PLAY! Bring the whole family out to Grace Heritage Ranch in the autumn to enjoy all the fun fall activities. Started in 2016, we add more fun and games each year. Climb a hay bale pyramid, hit the target at the Apple Slingshot, challenge someone to a sack race, take a hay ride, hang out in the pumpkin patch, and more! And, don’t forget to stroll the ¼ mile walking path to feed and visit with our animals along the way. Let your Adventure Begin!!!DSC_1221-cc-300x199

  • Come meet Harley, Henry, and Heidi – our Vietnamese potbellied pigs!
  • Adorable long-haired French Angora rabbits will be here!
  • Pet and feed the Jerusalem donkeys – Mercy, Faith, Hope, Love, and Joy.  Maybe Justice and Liberty will be around too!!
  • They love the Apple Slingshot!
  • Feed some of our rare San Clemente Island goats!
  • Meet our two and four-horned Middle Eastern Jacob sheep!!
  • Our Australian chickens, American turkeys, and Indian peafowl are always looking for treats!
  • Get a glimpse of our beautiful Peruvian alpacas!
  • Did someone say fajitas?  Feed our American Milking Devon cattle!
  • Don’t forget to take a photo with our snake Kaa, a 6-foot South American Red Tail boa!
  • And don’t leave out Boris the Texas tarantula, Bamboot the Asian scorpion, or our Madagascar Hissing cockroaches!

*feed is available for purchase to feed the animalsIMG_1942-300x225

A little friendly competition never hurt anybody!

  • Smack your way to victory at Tetherball
  • Chuck bags for points in Corn Hole Toss
  • Ascend the Hay Bales to be king of the Pyramids
  • Roll a pumpkin, clobber the pins in Pumpkin Bowling
  • Gain new ground in a Tug-of-War
  • Sharpen your aim and maybe win a prize at the Apple* Slingshots
  • Take a break while the kids swing, slide, and climb at the playground
  • Bust a bouncy “bronc”at the Hippity-Hop Corral
  • Challenge a friend to a meeting of the minds at the giant Tic-Tac-Toe Boards
  • Ready for the Rodeo? Rope a few hay bale “steer”
  • Strike the ball at the Ping-Pong Tables.  Best 3 out of 5 wins the match
  • Volleyball anyone?
  • Release your inner artist on our huge outdoor Chalkboards
  • Jump in the Sack Race and head for the finish line

*apples for slingshot available for purchaseDSCF3652-300x225For more info call :

956-230-6903

or visit : http://graceheritageranch.com

Top Summer Toys for Kids with Special Needs

Some of the biggest challenges of summertime for parents are keeping children entertained and developmentally stimulated. You probably want to add fun activities, exciting adventures and a couple of new toys to the mix to keep things interesting. Below are a few hot toy ideas that are fun and focused on your child with special needs–and just may give you an edge on the summertime blues!

Fidget Spinners, Puzzles & Tangles

If you’ve witnessed the latest toy craze, fidget spinners, then you know these tactile-type products are a hot item for kids of all ages and stages; however, they can be quite beneficial for children with sensory issues. They provide a pleasing, hands-on sensory experience that requires concentration from your child, making them a perfect stress-, anxiety- and boredom-buster for those restless moments on summer days!

Fat Brain Toys Squigz

Another hands-on toy – the visually unique and sense-stimulating Squigz by Fat Brain Toys – is described as “fun little suckers” according to the packaging. By the use of suction, they can connect to each other and any solid, nonporous surface, encouraging creativity, fine motor skills and playful experimentation – a fun addition to any toy collection!

Hedstrom Sensory Products

Hedstrom offers exceptional, quality products for kids, most notably their Sensory Stepperz that kids can balance, hop and step on. Features include different patterns and textures that help develop balance, coordination and gross motor skills. These can go outside or inside of your home, making them a great summer toy option!

Sand and Water Discovery Tables

Let’s not forget the classics! Sand and water tables – like this one – have been around for many years, but there’s a reason for that! A favorite for many, they not only provide hours of entertainment, but give your child a multisensory experience. And instead of using just sand and water, consider adding dry beans, shaving cream and other items of different textures, stimulating different sensory input.

SkyCurve Platform Swing

And finally, when you think of summer, long afternoons of swinging in the sunshine always cross the mind. Parent’s Choice and Creative Child Award winner, the SkyCurve Platform Swing by Hearthsong is a longer swing that allows your child to comfortably lay down if necessary, or it can hold multiple children sitting up. Nothing beats the great outdoors for stimulating all of the senses, and relaxing on a swing can be icing on the cake after a full day of play!

Summer certainly doesn’t have to be a bore! With a few new items in the repertoire, you’re sure to keep your child entertained, while giving them developmental tools to grow and have fun all at the same time!

Summer Camps 2017

Albartos Colegio Infantil: Summer Camps

956-683-1977(Edinburg)

or 956-928-1699(McAllen)

  All Star Sports Basketball: Summer Camps & Year Round

956-627-0390 (McAllen)

Aqua Tots: Summer Classes & Year Round

956-687-7946 Mcallen

956-687-7946 Brownsville

Danz Force:

956-400-1068 McAllen

Debi Lou: Summer Camps:

956-454-0510 McAllen

Happy Planet: Art Camp

956-827-1386 or 956-616-2372 McAllen

Jing’s Gymnastics & Dance- Sports Camps

956-585-4967 Mission

956-702-4967 Pharr

Kids Village: Summer Care

956-686-8602 Mcallen

KinderMusik: Summer Camps

956-624-9436 McAllen

Little Crayons: Summer Camps

956-424-1299 Mission

Lavallette: Adventureland Summer Camp

956-585-4344 Mission

Little Paradise- Summer Camps:

956-627-1450 McAllen

956-720-4340 Edinburg

Main Event: Summer Fun Camps

956-787-7100 Pharr
Missy’s Modeling: $45.00 Mini Summer Camps

956-682-0044 McAllen

Nadia’s School Of Dance: 5 Weeks of Themed FUN!

956-534-0132 Mission

Rhema’s DayCare: Summer Daycare

956-682-3933 Mcallen

Rogue Hip Hop- Summer Dance

956-322-9707 or 956-912-2012

St Paul Lutheran: Camp Invention! K-6

956-682-2345 Mcallen

Sweet Boulevard: Summer Camps

956-599-3742 Mcallen

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rhemas_001 rogue-hiphop_001 Alll_Star_Basketball_TotsAd_summer2017 little-crayons_001 kids village2 Nadia's Camp Ad st-paul-lutheran_001 Lavalette jings2_REV2_001 Happy Planet Summer Camp Ad debi-lou_001 danz-force_REV5 art-connection-studio_001 aqua-tots2_REV2_001 colegio-albatros_001

New Year’s Goals: How to Involve your Child with Special Needs in Making and Achieving Goals

By Diane M. McCullom

It’s January—the holidays have come to an end. It’s back to school, back to work and back to routines. With the end of one year, comes the beginning of a new one—and a new opportunity to make goals for the upcoming months.

But this New Year’s tradition doesn’t have to be limited to adults. Children of all ages and aptitudes should also be encouraged to set goals for learning, personal growth and their futures. When children learn to set goals and reach them, they can visualize their futures, make good choices and make their dreams come true.

Unfortunately, it’s easier for children with special needs to get distracted or discouraged from setting and achieving goals. The Frostig Center, a program dedicated to improving the lives of children with disabilities through research, development and education, did 20 years of research on what makes people with disabilities successful as adults: Goal-setting was one of six success attributes.

Here are a few ways you can cultivate successful goal-setting in your children, students or friends with special needs:

  1. Ask children about their dreams and desires, and encourage them to set goals related to those dreams and desires. In this case, their own desires will fuel their motivation. Listen to their dreams, and don’t squelch them, but help to shape them. For instance, maybe the child lacks social skills necessary in working with others, but he tells you he wants to play basketball as a goal this year. In that case, perhaps you could start by taking him to the library and learn by reading books or watching movies related to the sport. You could also practice social situations in public with the end goal of playing basketball later in the year. With the desire in mind, the child will have a higher chance of being more motivated to achieve his goals.

 

  1. Make goals achievable, measurable and time-sensitive. Big goals are positive, but make sure that the goals are realistic for the individual child. Breaking a big goal down into several smaller ones can make the task of achieving them seem less daunting. For example, getting an A in math for a semester is a great goal, but does the child normally get D’s? It may be overwhelming for the child to suddenly feel the pressure to make all A’s. Smaller, more achievable goals could be getting an A on an assignment or a B on a test.

 

  1. Model perseverance. Teach children that it’s ok to fail as long as they get back up and keep trying. Lead the way this new year by making a family vision board—something in plain view that you and your child see regularly. Seeing how you handle your goals, in success and failure, could be the greatest example of perseverance that your child experiences. Regularly check in with your child about his feelings, encourage the areas where he’s experiencing failure and praise his successes.

These few steps can help your child with special needs make giant leaps in feeling purpose and making dreams come true. Happy new year!

 

Diane M. McCullom is the senior vice president of clinical operations at Dallas-based Epic Health Services, a leading provider of pediatric skilled nursing, therapy, developmental, enteral and respiratory services, as well as adult home health services, with operations in 21 states.

5 Tips for Hosting a Child with Special Needs This Holiday Season

By Diane M. McCullom

For most people, the holidays are a joyful time spent with family and friends, though they can be quite stressful and demanding with party-attending, gift-buying and schedule-juggling. Families with children who have special needs face these same demands and more—wondering how their children will feel at social gatherings is just one of the many questions asked. If you have the privilege of hosting a child with special needs this holiday season, chances are you are wondering about some ways that you can help ease the process for these families and for yourself. We have a few ideas:

Check in with parents – Before your holiday gathering, check in with the child’s parents for a list of do’s and don’ts, traditions, food sensitivities and recommendations. This step can go quite the distance in ensuring that the child feels comfortable and at home in a new environment.

Be prepared – Organize your home in a way that provides few distractions: remove clutter, keep overstimulating items out of the central focus points of your home, have backup food that the child likes, and have fun, skill-appropriate activities and games available for the child in those moments when uneasiness or restlessness sets in.

Be flexible – You might have to throw all of that preparation out the window on a whim. And guess what? It’s OK! Be flexible enough to change your plans to meet the needs of your guests.

Teach your family – Use your experience hosting a special needs child as a teaching time for your own children or relatives to learn about awareness, difference, respect and acceptance.

Relax and have fun – A kid with special needs wants to be independent too, so let them attempt things on their own instead of immediately jumping in to help. Things might get spilled or kids might jump on your couch. As long as a safe and fun environment is maintained, don’t sweat the small stuff!

With a little preparation and an accommodating mindset for those special kids in your life, the holidays are sure to be a success for everyone this year!

Diane M. McCullom is the senior vice president of clinical operations at Dallas-based Epic Health Services, a leading provider of pediatric skilled nursing, therapy, developmental, enteral and respiratory services, as well as adult home health services, with operations in 21 states.

Guidelines for Choosing a Gift for a Child with Special Needs

By Diane M. McCullom

Walk into a gift store this holiday season, and chances are, you’ll be overcome with more items than you could possibly imagine—the hottest toy trends of the season and all things merry and bright. This same overwhelming sensation can be quite stressful for parents and those shopping for children with special needs. So what are some guidelines for finding that perfect, yet appropriate, gift for the child with special needs in your life? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when shopping:

Is the gift multisensory? If it’s a toy, does it respond with lights, sounds or movement to engage the child? Does it have scent, texture and contrasting colors? Sometimes these things can be overwhelming to children with sensory disorders, so depending on the specific needs of the child, these may or may not be positive things.

Does it provide open-ended play? This means the gift has no definite right or wrong way to use it. Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? Is it adaptable to the child’s individual style, ability and pace?

Does it meet the child’s individualistic needs and abilities? Does the gift allow for personal creativity and making choices? Is it developmentally appropriate?

Is it practical in terms of safety, durability and adjustability? Does it fit the child’s size and strength? Does it have adjustable sound, height, speed and level of difficulty? Is it easy to keep clean and store? Could it fit on a wheelchair tray?

For specific gift ideas, check out Toys”R”Us’ toy guide for “differently-abled” kids that categorizes items by different skill sets. For more than 20 years, they have offered this one-of-a-kind resource that provides parents and caregivers with gift recommendations that aid in the development of children with disabilities. With thousands of pins popping up under the search phrase “gifts for kids with special needs,” Pinterest is also a fantastic resource for finding gifts specific to the needs of each child.

Get creative with your gift buying and don’t forget to have fun with the process! With a little research and preparation, you can find the perfect gift and make Christmas special for these uniquely special kids.

Diane M. McCullom is the senior vice president of clinical operations at Dallas-based Epic Health Services, a leading provider of pediatric skilled nursing, therapy, developmental, enteral and respiratory services, as well as adult home health services, with operations in 21 states.

Halloween Fun

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Hello SUPER  Moms and Dads!!!

Halloween is just a couple of days away and there are a couple of events I want to go ahead and share with you that will be going on in the Valley.

1.-Saturday Spooktacular at Target!!

Drop by a Target store near you on
10/29/16 at 10am–1pm for free
goodie bags* and other giveaways.
Kids encouraged to wear costumes.

All you Target moms this is the event for you. Get your kids dressed up, grab your Starbucks and hit up Target for some Halloween FUN!

2. GREAT PUMPKIN CELEBRATION  

COME TAKE PHOTOS WITH CHARLIE BROWN AND SNOOPY

 

 

Monday – Friday, October 24-28 (6-8pm) | Saturday & Sunday, October 29-30 (NOON-5pm) |

Halloween Night Only, October 31 (4-8pm)

Dress your little ones up and get a Great Halloween Photo, I sure did!

kevin

Free Crafts  Monday – Saturday | Halloween Costume Parade 3PM Sunday | Trick or Treating 3-5 Sunday ONLY

 

Halloween Night

  • Face Painting 4-7 PM
  • Mcsteven’s Hot Chocolate Samples 5-9PM (While supplies Last)
  • Decorate a Trick or Treat Bag 4-8PM
  • Costume Parade 6PM (Participants will receive a plush jack-o-latern)
  • Trick -OR -Treating 4-8PM

 

3.-Valle Vista Mall in Harlingen  

Will be having Mall Tick-OR-Treating October 31 from 5PM to 7PM 

4. Harlingen & San Benito Public Library

-Harlingen will be hosting a Dracula PJ Party Thursday October 27th at 5PM

Games|PJ & Halloween Costume Contest|Halloween Film|Stories & More =D

-San Benito Public Library will be having a Fall Festival Thursday October 27th from 5:30-7PM

Costume Contest(Toddler/Kids/Teens)|Prizes | Candy & Treats

 

5. Trunk OR Treat

-Sponsored by the Harlingen High School Student Council

Monday October 31st from 5:30-7PM at HHS West Parking Lot

Costume Contest|Face painting | Games| Trunk Decoration Contest

-San Benito Police Department

SBPD will be parking 4-5 police cars in various locations throughout the city

-City of San Benito Special Events Board

Monday October 31st from 6PM-8PM at Old Thomae Funeral Home

701 N Bowie St

Halloween Safety Tips

-Plan a route in a familiar area with well lit streets

- Choose bright colored costumes

-STAY TOGETHER| DON’T LET LITTLE ONES ROAM AROUND|DON’T LET CHILD ENTER HOMES

-Parents check candy before having the children eat it

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There are plenty of events to take your little ones to this year.

Follow me on Instagram livelifetexasmomma  

 

 

 

 

Throwing a Pool Party as a Kid’s Birthday Party

Though it’s officially fall, many folks across the U.S. are still experiencing very warm temperatures. If your child’s birthday is coming up, a pool party is still in the cards and will be a fun and exciting way o celebrate for both the child and their friends. And if you don’t live in a warmer part of the country, not to worry. You can still have a great fall birthday pool party at one of your town’s local indoor pools. The best part is that pool parties can be thrown with a minimal budget with some careful planning.

Decorations, food, and beverages can all be bought on the cheap, but what about entertainment? Sure, the kids will probably entertain themselves for a while, but if you want your party to be a hit, activities are a must. Here are a few fun pool games to entertain your guests.

 

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Diving for Coins

Diving for Pennies is a pool game that literally costs mere pennies. However, if you wanted to make the game a little more complex, you could throw different kinds of coins for the kids to find. Whichever child comes up with the biggest sum of money wins. Prizes for winning these games can be very simple. Head to your local dollar store and pick up small, inexpensive toys or candy for the winners of each game.

Finding the Invisible Bottle

Another fun, competitive, and cheap game to play with your guests is Find the Bottle. Take a large, clear plastic bottle, such as a leftover two-liter soda bottle, and fill it with water. Try to use a cap that blends into the pool floor well. Have all the swimmers line up on the edge of the pool with their backs turned to the water. Toss the bottle in and allow them the turn around and jump in. The water makes the bottle nearly invisible and tricky to find. Whoever finds the bottle first, wins.

Sharks and Minnows

This game is a version of tag. The person who is “it” is the shark. They are supposed to chase the minnows and tag them, turning that person into the shark. Minnows can jump out of the pool for up to five seconds at a time in order to avoid the shark. To give this game a winner, you can change the rules and have the minnows sit out until the last minnow standing wins.

Pool Noodle Crafts

Pool noodles are inexpensive toys that kids love. While they can certainly be thrown into the pool for kids to use as they please, pool noodles can also make great crafts. Cutting a noodle into sections then slicing each in half gives you the base to a sail boat. Add straws and foam sheets for sails, and your guests have made their own pool toys – and they had fun while doing it. Tape some noodles into circles and invest in some ping pong balls. Floating ring toss is suddenly yours to enjoy. There are innumerable possibilities.

Hosting a fun and memorable pool party for kids does not have to break the bank. Many pool games do not even require you to purchase anything at all and those that do can be bought for cheap. Utilize a nearby dollar store for prizes, fish your spare change out of your wallet, and head to a superstore for some pool noodles. For just a few dollars, you already have the essentials for a wonderful pool party. Time to send out those invites and gear up to play the role of the host with the most.

Image via Pixabay by platinumportfolio