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Dixie Cup Snowmen Cups

Dixie Cup Snowmen Cups


No snow? How about making some snowmen out of dixie cups to substitute for the real snowmen you can't build.


This winter has been one of the mildest we have had in Colorado in the five years that I have been living here. Sure, we have had a few snow days but nothing major. Nowhere enough for us to build anything besides snow angels. With Madison in love with snow, I was hoping that we would have had a lot more so that we could go outside and build a snowman, like Olaf, from her favorite movie, Frozen. You might remember the song that Anna sings to Elsa, "Do you want to build a snowman?" when she's all alone.


Do you want to build a snowman?
Come on lets go and play
I never see you anymore
Come out the door
It's like you've gone away...
We used to be best buddies
And now we're not
I wish you would tell me why!
Do you want to build a snowman?
It doesn't have to be a snowman
Since I promised Madison that we would build our own Olaf this winter I couldn't quite possibly go back on my promise. So what do you do when you have no snow? Or maybe you live in a place where you don't have snow in winter, here is an easy way to bring your own snowmen to life. No snow needed, but you do need dixie cups.

Snowmen Cups

Supplies needed:

Dixie paper cups
White spray paint (or use white styrofoam cups)
Old newspaper
Metallic red and green pipe cleaners
Red, green, and orange felt
Black puffy paint
Scissors


Directions:

1. Lay out an old newspaper outside or in a well ventilated area and spray paint your cups white and let dry, they might need a second coat. If you prefer, you can also use plain white styrofoam cups to bypass this step altogether.

2. Cut out several (1 for each cup) 8"x 3/4" strips from your red and green felt, cut the ends into fringe and hot glue one around the bottom of each cup crisscrossing for a scarf.


3. Now cut out several (2 for each cup) nickel sized circles and hot glue a matching set on each side of the top of the cups for ear-muffs.

4. Connect the ear-muffs by glueing a 3" piece of the matching pipe cleaner to each ear-muff.


5. Then cut a small triangle from your orange felt and hot glue it above the scarf for the carrot nose.

6. Now use your black puffy paint to draw on eyes and a mouth and let dry


You now have your very own snowmen made from dixie cups and you didn't even need snow. Your hands are still warm and toasty and your snowman will never melt. You can check out our other snowmen projects.


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Annmarie John
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How To Encourage Good Dental Hygiene In Kids - #GKAS

How To Encourage Good Dental Hygiene In Kids - #GKAS



As a mother, a few of the things that I worry about are my children's health, mind, body and soul. As mother of school aged children, I worry about their dental health even more. While I can monitor what they eat at home, I cannot do that while they're at school. Madison my now 5year old hates smiling and it's not because she doesn't have a beautiful smile, she thinks that everyone will see her capped tooth. Madison at age 4 had to get her back teeth capped because of cavities, and it's not due to lack of brushing. She's one of many children whose teeth are much more prone to cavities, and since she doesn't lose her molars until around age 12, it was recommended that her teeth be capped. So when I heard about Give Kids a Smile and what they have been doing to help other children I knew that I just wanted to share their story.


Now while I have a dental plan for me and my family, there are many families out there who do not. You may remember my story about us being in Europe and needing dental care. Dental emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time. However, besides dental emergencies, our children need to see the dentist every 6 months, it's part of good dental hygiene. There are many children out there who suffer with tooth decay despite the availability of Medicaid and improvements in the coverage of children’s dental care under the Affordable Care Act.

That should never be the case, and a group of dentists felt the same way and formed GKAS (Give Kids a Smile). They decided in 2002 to start a one day volunteer event in St. Louis, Missouri, where they all came together with a few other volunteers and offered free dental care to nearly 400 children in need who had cavities. They made such a big impact that The American Dental Association decided to launch a national program.

Since the program's 15 year journey, more than half a million volunteers in the dental field have given their time and talents to provide oral health services including education, screening, preventive care, and dental treatment to kids who might not have otherwise received them.


Now I remember when Madison had her teeth capped, someone asked why would I even do that? Why not just have let them remove her teeth. After all, they're baby teeth and she would lose them anyway, right? Well that's wrong. Cavities in baby teeth do matter and they can affect the permanent teeth which can lead to even more problems. It's always best to take care of cavities as soon as they appear.

Before I started reading up on GKAS, I had no idea that half of all children enter kindergarten with tooth decay. I was also not aware that children with untreated tooth decay have lower self esteem, are also more often absent from school and have difficulty paying attention in school. It finally made sense. Even Madison at age 5 was self conscious about her smile because of her capped tooth, she thought that others were looking at her and refused to smile.

So today I want to share 5 tips on how you can encourage good dental hygiene in your kids.


1. Brush Twice, Floss Once Daily
Encourage tooth brushing twice and floss once daily. The best way to do so is to do it with your child. They say the imitation is the best form of flattery and children love to imitate what they see adults do. Brush at the same time daily so that you build a routine with your child, so even if you're not around, your child will be encouraged to do so on their own. Also make sure they're brushing for at least 2 minutes.

2. Toothpaste and Toothbrush
Make it fun! There are lots of toothbrushes out there, have your child pick their own toothbrush and their own toothpaste. Make sure that their toothpaste contains fluoride. If your child doesn't like the taste of one particular toothpaste, try another. There's lots of different flavors out there. Make sure however that you also teach them how to spit out fluoride toothpaste since we don't want them swallowing it. Too much fluoride can leave brown spots on your child's teeth.

3. Teach Proper Brushing Technique
It's not how hard you brush, but how you brush. Teach your children to brush at least 2-3 minutes to get the most thorough cleaning. Gently brush back and forth, holding your toothbrush at a 45° angle. Brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of your teeth. To clean the insides of the teeth, brush in up and down strokes.

4. Eat Healthy Meals
Cut back on the sugary snacks and sodas. Focus on fresh fruits and veggies. Sugar is the main enemy and too much of it can cause cavities, especially if your child isn't brushing. Sticky sugary foods can linger on teeth and cause enamel breakdown. Make sure that your child brushes after eating sugary foods. If you're not able to brush, have some water on hand so you can rinse.

5. Dental Checkups
Have your children visit the dentist at least twice a year. Just like you have your children visit their pediatrician yearly for their well child visit, the dentist should also be seen. The dentist will make sure that your child's teeth, is developing normally and that there are no problems. If cavities are found, you will be given options of how to take care of them. As part of a dental checkup, fluoride may also be applied to provide protection against cavities if there are none.


GKAS just celebrated their 15 year anniversary and what started as a one day event has expanded to a series of more than 1,300 events in all 50 states, reaching more than 5.5 million children who could not have afforded dental care. Children who needed the services. They are also now the largest children’s oral health charitable program in the U.S.


How can you help? 
Make sure that your kids follow the tips above and thank a dentist for volunteering to help kids in need, even if they haven't done so yet. Maybe that might be the incentive that they need, or maybe they just might not have heard of Give Kids A Smile and would join in.

If your child needs oral health care, visit ADAFoundation.org/GKAS and click “Find Dental Care for Your Child” for a list of resources. Or, call 1-844-490-GKAS (4527) to see if there is a GKAS program available in your area.

Here are the ways you can connect with Give Kids A Smile:




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Annmarie John
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Disney's Animal Kingdom - Rivers of Light and so much more!

Disney's Animal Kingdom - Rivers of Light and so much more!


In January I told you about Disney's Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light and Pandora - The World of Avatar, but today I'm here to share with you so much more.


Attending Disney's Social Media Moms Celebration was an experience in itself, however the highlight of my trip was visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom and learning first hand what was in store. Animal Kingdom has always been one of my favorite parks. From the Kilimanjaro Safari to riding the Expedition Everest or even taking a ride on the Kali River Rapids in Asia there is so much to do. Remember, Disney's Animal Kingdom isn't a zoo, it's a jungle! That's something that was told to me and my family a few years ago from one of Disney's cast member. However today I want to share with you what you can expect in this - as I like to call it - revamped Disney's Animal Kingdom.


First let's get into Disney's Animal Kingdom new nighttime experience Rivers of Light which debuts tonight! I have seen my share of amazing shows at Disney Parks but this new Rivers of Light takes the cake. It's a 15-minute storytelling adventure that takes you on an emotional magical journey through nature, choreographed to an original score. Rivers of Light combines live performers, beautiful floating lanterns, glistening fountains, special effects and authentic imagery projected on giant water screens.


Set in Asia, guests are seated in a new 5,000 seat amphitheater along the picturesque edge of the Discovery River. Sounds of animals can be heard from a nearby forest, and magical fireflies descend from the Tree of Life toward the lagoon, creating a sense of wonder as four beautifully illuminated Lotus flowers float across the water.


The ceremony begins with a stirring musical overture signaling the arrival of a pair of mystical Storytellers, two complementary forces who come to the river bearing gifts of light. They set out from the shore aboard elaborate lantern vessels. Adorned in intricately designed costumes, the hosts engage in a dramatic dance of water and light to summon the animal spirits – an Asian Tiger, Tropical Turtle, African Elephant and Great Horned Owl – and take guests on a wondrous journey across Asian jungles and African savannahs.

Just take a quick look!


There are also a few never before seen moments from Disneynature incorporated into the cinematography adding even more authenticity to the storyline. I was fortunate to sit in the middle of this magnificent showing with Madison seated right next to me. Usually Madison gets "antsy" and chatter throughout a show. However, she was mesmerized like everyone else who was there and sat enthralled throughout the entire show. It's definitely one show that you will not want to miss with your family and one you should most certainly see.


Following tonight's premiere, Rivers of Light will be performed on select nights.

Special dining packages are available to park guests that include reserved seating at the new show. Packages are offered at the buffet-style Tusker House or the new signature restaurant Tiffins with innovative dishes that take diners to Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas amid travel-inspired artwork. Tiffins celebrates the art of traveling and includes the adjoining Nomad Lounge with waterfront views with outdoor seating. Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffins' menu features a diverse menu drawing from places that inspired the creation of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Indian English word "tiffin" means a midday meal or type of container used to carry food while traveling. Reservations can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dining or by calling 407 WDW-DINE.


Rivers of Light joins a rich variety of new nighttime experiences and family adventures designed to offer up Disney’s Animal Kingdom in a whole new light. These include:

The Tree of Life Awakening After Dark 
Through projections and special effects, the animal spirits of the Tree are brought to life like never before, by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment. Projections of nature scenes and even a few movie scenes will magically appear and seem to emanate from within the Tree of Life. I can tell you that this was a delight and you'll have fun trying to remember the Disney movies that you saw throughout the years. 


Kilimanjaro Safari At Sunset Tour
The Kilimanjaro Safari Tour has always been my favorite and I've always done it during the day. Now you'll have the chance to experience the Kilimanjaro Safari like never before. Each evening, the daytime experience is artfully bathed in the glow of sunset with special lighting which allows guests to explore this part of the attraction well into the night. During the expedition you will now be able to experience the nighttime behavior of the wildlife that you were only able to see during the day, and you'll also be better able to tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals that you love.


Discovery Island Carnivale
The spirited community of Discovery Island comes together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discovery Island Carnivale. This nightly experience captivates Disney's Animal Kingdom guests with lively music, jubilant dance, vibrant costumes, stilt walkers, delectable food and beverage, face painting and more, winding from one end of the island to the other. This will be held nightly in the center of the park and also one you don't want to miss.


Harambe Wildlife Parti 
This safari after-party crisscrosses Harambe, from its theatre district to its bustling marketplace with the sights and sounds of local street musicians and entertainers, inviting guests to join them in dance and song, partake in exotic foods and libations and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants. When the sun sets, the popular Village of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom will become a hot spot with the new Harambe Wildlife Parti. Here, "party animals" can dance alongside a variety of entertainers and local street musicians, and enjoy the lively rhythms of African music. Guests can also partake in exotic foods and libations, and explore the diverse wares of village artisans and merchants in the vibrant marketplace


After-dark hours allowing guests to experience nighttime on popular park attractions including Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and more. Expedition Everest thrills adventurers as it lurches forward and backward through the icy peaks of the Himalayas. At night, the majestic mountain challenges trekkers to an evening ride revealing breathtaking views of Disney's Animal Kingdom canopied by starlight. At sundown, Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom will reveal more mysterious twists and turns throughout the rainforest with dramatic and drenching fun. This river rapid ride takes guests on a wild ride and tells a story about the important role conservation plays in preserving natural habitats. Amidst the colorful midway games at Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney's Animal Kingdom, the thrills turn up aboard the zany Triceratop Spin or Primeval Whirl under the lights. Guests will be able to ride these favorite attractions during the day or night.


All are part of the largest expansion in the history of Disney’s Animal Kingdom which will culminate with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar May 27th.


What are you most excited for at Disney's Animal Kingdom? 

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Annmarie John
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5 Easy Science Experiments Your Kids Will Enjoy

5 Easy Science Experiments Your Kids Will Enjoy


Have you ever wondered how airplanes work? Whether static electricity can be conducted by water? Or where the salt that’s NOT “all-natural sea salt” comes from?


As adults, most of us just stop asking these questions. However, kids are constantly curious. Next time your child pesters you with a constant stream of “why?” maybe you can answer him with a science experiment instead and find the answer together!

Here are some quick and easy science experiments that you can try in the house with your children. You’ll get to learn something new too!


Sprouting Up

This experiment requires some time, but it will be rewarding to see how much your children enjoy it. Teach your kids gardening basics by showing them how seeds germinate. They’ll be fascinated by the daily miracle, and at the end you can have healthy bean sprouts to add to a wrap or salad!

To do the experiment: Soak the dried beans in water overnight, and then place them on a soaked paper towel on a cookie sheet or plate. Put another wet paper towel on top of the beans, and then place them in a sunny spot. Each day, re-soak the paper towels and watch the bean slowly sprout. For more specific directions, you can check out this article.


Cutting the Ice

Have you ever wondered how your skates can glide so smoothly over the ice? Well, try a little demonstration of it at home. Weight a piece of fishing line on each end (perhaps with rocks or cutlery.) Then, place a piece of ice high on top of an upturned cup. Place the fishing line over the ice, with the weights hanging on either end.

Watch and see how the string slowly cuts through the ice, causing the area directly under the line to melt faster than the rest of the ice. This works similar to ice skates. The added weight (as well as the heat from friction) causes the ice to melt a tiny bit under the skates. So, when you skate, you’re not skating over solid ice. Instead you’re gliding on the miniscule layer of water that your skates create.

Growing Salt Crystals

Boil some distilled water over a stove. Add in salt and stir the solution until the salt dissolves. Keep adding salt until no more will dissolve. You’ll notice that crystals start forming instead at the bottom of the pan. Pour the solution into a glass jar (if you put a spoon into the jar first, it should keep the glass jar from cracking with the heat). Dangle a string into the jar by tying it to a stick or spoon laid across the mouth of the jar. If you want, you can also add a drop or two of food coloring to the solution to see more differentiation in the salt crystals that form as the water evaporates.

Experiment more by trying some variations. Use different kinds of salt, and different kinds and temperatures of water to see what forms the biggest and finest salt crystals. You can even examine the salt crystals under a telescope.


Illustrate a Chemical Reaction with a Balloon

Since most gases are invisible, it’s difficult to observe them in action. However, a balloon is a great way to illustrate the movement of air. This science demonstration is fun because you can watch a reaction happen without the same mess that many baking-soda-related experiments cause.

To do the experiment, take a soda bottle and fill it with just a little bit of water (about a quarter of a cup). Add a teaspoon of baking soda and stir it around in the bottle. Then, add a teaspoon of lemon juice, and quickly seal the mouth of the soda bottle with your balloon. Gradually, you’ll see the balloon fill up. That’s because lemon juice (an acid) and baking soda (a base) create carbon dioxide when they combine. There are lots of other ways to illustrate this reaction, from mentos in a coke bottle to the classic science fair volcano.


Air Pressure and Ping Pong Balls

This one is easy to try out at any time. Take a hair dryer and turn it on, with the air stream pointed straight upwards. Put a ping pong ball into the middle of the airstream and release it when it hits the point where it hovers steadily over the flow of hot air.

The ping pong ball becomes suspended when the force of gravity on the ball is equal to the force exerted by the blowing air upwards. However, the really fascinating part is how the ball will stay in the stream of hot air instead of falling to either side. The moving air from the blow dryer is lower pressure air, and the still air surrounding it is higher pressure, which means that any time the ping pong ball wavers to either side, the high-pressure air outside the column of your hair dryer’s blown air will push the ball back into the low-pressure air.

This same principle is used to keep airplanes up, creating lower pressure above the wings by forcing the air to travel a greater curve.

What’s your favorite science experiment to do with kids? Share below!

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Annmarie John
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How to Have a Successful Movie Night - #TysonFreeMovieNight

How to Have a Successful Movie Night - #TysonFreeMovieNight


Read on to find out how you can have a successful movie night at home.


It's winter and it seems like it's officially here to stay. Just a week ago we were having temperatures that felt like spring and I was hopeful, but a few days later the chill set in. This is the season I almost always stay indoors, it's also the time when we get to spend more time together as a family since no one likes being outside in the cold. Imagine my joy when I found out that I could be rewarded with a FREE movie night just for buying Tyson® products that we already love at Walmart. How is that possible?


When you purchase any two participating Jimmy Dean®, State Fair®, or Tyson products in a single transaction at your local Walmart Supercenter or Walmart Neighborhood Market, simply snap a picture of your receipt and upload it to Tyson Free Movie Night, and your reward will be two Redbox promo codes, each valid for a free, one-night DVD rental. You can find the list of all participating products at TysonFreeMovieNight.com. How simple is that?

There are always Tyson products in our refrigerator and not only do they make it easy for me to have a successful movie night, but they're also great for when I'm not in the mood to cook. Today, I also want to share with you 4 simple tips on how you can have a successful movie night, featuring Tyson Products Winter to Go offer with Redbox at Walmart.


Have Food and Drinks
Think finger foods, paper plates and paper cups. Popcorn isn't the only movie snack available. Tyson Chicken Nuggets and Tenders are a hit in our house and so are State Fair Corn Dogs. They are also a lot more filling that regular popcorn. Finger foods don't require cutlery, making them the perfect movie meal.

Visit Redbox and Chill
Choose a movie that everyone in the family is in agreement of watching. With the movie selection available at Redbox kiosks at your local Walmart, it's easy to find a movie that your family can all love.

Set Up Your Viewing Area
Whether it's in the living room or your dedicated family room, set it up so that everyone is comfortable. Have the kids get their favorite stuffed animals, pillows, whatever it is that makes you comfortable. Remember, once you're settled in and the movie begins, you're not going to want to move until the movie is over.

Clean Up
Once your movie is over, clean up your mess. Having finger foods and paper plates makes it easy so there's no dishes to wash. That's why my Tyson products are perfect for movie nights.



*Disclaimer: 1 promotional code per transaction. Payment card required. Charges apply for additional days. Can’t be combined with other offers. Subject to additional terms. Void where prohibited.

#TysonFreeMovieNight



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Annmarie John
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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4 and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the Caribbean and now living in beautiful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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