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DIY: Make a Pampering Coffee Scrub with Your Kids

January 28, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Jessica Vician makes a pampering coffee scrub with her friend, Byrdie Von Hines.

Photos by Josh Hines

What mom doesn’t yearn for a spa day? Juggling schedules, from school to daycare to feedings, is exhausting. Sometimes you just need an hour or two at a spa to relax, unwind, and exfoliate. But let’s not kid ourselves—there’s no time for that!

Don’t worry— I have a solution that will work with your schedule and allows you some bonding and teaching time with your children, regardless of their ages. Make an exfoliating coffee scrub! You likely have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already.

This scrub is easy to make for kids aged two and a half and up. If younger children are helping you, supervise them throughout the process to make sure they don’t eat any ingredients or get the liquids in their eyes. As your kids help you make the scrub, teach them about measurements and fractions.

Once the scrub is ready, turn your shower into a spa! Massage it on your skin to exfoliate the dead skin cells away and moisturize your skin. If you have teenagers or college-age children, they will likely want to use some as well so be sure to include them in this DIY-activity.

Let’s start with the ingredients. They’re pretty simple.

Ingredients include sugar in the raw, coffee grounds, oil, and vanilla extract

1 cup coffee grounds

I like to use a winter-themed blend, like gingerbread, for a delicious added scent.

0.5 cup sugar in the raw

This sugar is courser than other sugars, but if you don’t have that you can use brown sugar.

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

3 tablespoons of oil

Use any oil you have. I always have a lot of olive oil on hand, but you could use a massage oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil, etc.

Jessica Vician helps Byrdie Von Hines measure the coffee grounds.

Have your kids measure out each ingredient, putting them into a medium-sized bowl as they finish measuring. Show them that the ½ cup of sugar is half of the one cup of coffee scrub to help them understand fractions. Then have them stir the ingredients thoroughly, making sure to evenly distribute the wet ingredients throughout the dry ingredients.

Pour the scrub into a plastic container with a lid if you’re using it at home (I use old gelato containers). If you’re giving it as a gift, use a glass mason jar or pretty jam container.

The coffee scrub is ready to use in a Mason jar.

Voila! You now have a coffee scrub to use in the shower for a spa moment no matter how busy you are. And in the process of making a little something to pamper yourself with, you helped your children learn real-world fraction use and how to measure, all while bonding through an activity. Enjoy!

Thanks to Josh Hines for this article's photography and to his daughter, Byrdie Von Hines, for her excellent coffee scrub-making skills. For more of Josh's photography work, visit his website.


Top 5 Winter Movies and Lessons to Learn from Them

January 23, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

Top 5 Winter Movies

Growing up in the Midwest, I’ve learned to look forward to cold, snowy afternoons bundled on the couch under blankets and sweatshirts. Spending time snuggled together as a family, enjoying classic winter movies that promote positive values is a great way to make memories and strengthen family bonds.

While there are plenty of fantastic holiday movies that families can watch together every year, now that the holidays are over, the YOU Parent staff wanted to highlight the movies that are fun all winter long. We took a staff poll, and pulled out five of our favorites and the lessons our kids can learn from them.

  1. Home Alone, PG 
    Not only does Home Alone promote resourcefulness in the face of adversity, but it also serves as a reminder that help can come from unexpected places—namely a misunderstood neighbor who ends up saving the day.
  2. Harry Potter, PG 
    Much of the Harry Potter series is set in the deep snow of winter, while students warm themselves by the fires of the Gryffindor Common Room. Families can enjoy watching a plucky underdog realize his potential for greatness through loyalty, compassion, and a strong sense of justice, or even read along with the books to find more adventures with Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
  3. Groundhog Day, PG 
    My own personal favorite, Groundhog Day is an annual tradition in my house. We get friends together on February 2nd and sit around with hot chocolate and watch Bill Murray get a second (and third, and fourth, and…. thousandth) chance at being a good person and finding happiness.
  4. About a Boy, PG-13 
    About a Boy follows a man with no close friends or family living his life by wasting money and lying to women. Through an unlikely friendship with a lonely boy, though, his world opens up and his life becomes one of meaning and joy. While it may not be appropriate for young audiences, this movie shows the value of honesty, compassion, and selflessness.
  5. Adventures in Babysitting, PG-13 
    A universal favorite of everyone polled, Adventures in Babysitting is a timeless comedy that still makes us laugh and cheer. Ultimately, this is a story of friendship and the lengths one friend will go to for another in distress. It also is about the push and pull of growing up and of being young but having responsibilities—something even those of us who are all grown up can still remember and appreciate.

As the snow lingers and you want to experience winter vicariously from the warmer states, snuggle close, and happy watching!


Acclimating to American Culture for Your Children

January 22, 2014

By Lorena Villa Parkman

American flag

Moving to a new country is always a complicated journey, especially when learning a new culture and following a different set of social rules. Families face new values that often conflict with their own beliefs. Suddenly, parents have another difficult task to tackle besides adapting themselves to the recent challenges of their daily life: they are forced to negotiate a balance with their children between their own customs and what they want to adopt from their new culture.

Your child wants to belong and even though you shouldn’t leave behind your own beliefs, you need to understand your new culture in order to help your child adapt to his or her new home.

Here are a couple of things that are considered normal in American culture and that you might want to know beforehand in order to understand and adapt to the circumstances:

  • Dating at a younger age. In this country, children start dating more seriously in high school. Of course, it is your right to decide what sort of rules you set before you let your child go out with a romantic interest. However, just be aware that is generally considered normal to let two teenagers go out to the movies together, to have dinner alone, or to even go as a couple to a school event such as a prom. To feel more comfortable, have your child call to check in during the evening and speak with other parents about what they do to keep their children safe while dating.
  • Sleepovers. Your elementary school child might get invitations from same-sex friends to stay over their house for the night. Usually the host family will prepare activities for the kids to enjoy: movies, board games, or snacks, for example. If you feel a bit uneasy, ask the host family to please explain in detail what are they planning for the night. Leave your phone number and address so you feel at ease that they will have enough information to reach you if your child feels homesick during the night or if something else happens. Tell your child that if he or she is ever uncomfortable at a sleepover, your child can call you to come get him or her. Again, you can also create check-in times with your child and call him or her to know the status of his sleepover experience.
  • Parent engagement in school. In many cultures, talking or questioning teachers or school authorities is seen as disrespectful. In the United States, parents are expected to get involved in school and to talk to teachers about their concerns. Parents are welcome to schedule an appointment with school authorities once in a while to discuss their child’s academic achievements and opportunities for improvement. Don’t feel intimidated—rather, take this opportunity to speak up for your child.
  • Leaving home to live on campus. In some other countries, teenagers still live with their parents when they go to college (if they study in the same city). In the United States, leaving home to go to college is almost seen as a rite of passage. In some universities it’s even mandatory to live on campus at least for the first year of college. See this as a great opportunity for your child to be independent, to learn how to tackle daily life chores, and encounter new experiences and cultures.

It might be difficult for you as a parent to get used to a different "normal" in American culture, but by working with other parents to establish trust and by doing what feels right to you, you will soon feel more at ease in this new environment. By building up your confidence and getting to know more of your adoptive country, you will be able to help your children with any obstacle they encounter in their path towards success in America.


Healthy, Energizing Snacks for the Family

January 14, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

Healthy, energizing snacks include oranges, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, and pickles

Winter can be a drain on your child’s energy levels. Between colder air and less sunlight, it’s hard to stay alert. Keep your family’s energy levels up with healthy snacks throughout the day. If you plan ahead, these snacks can be fun and inexpensive.

You should offer your child snacks in between meals. They should be packed with energy-rich nutrients and have a low calorie count in order to keep a child satisfied until the next meal. You can find packaged snacks at your grocery store or make your own at home, which is healthier and inexpensive. Just remember to package the snacks in small grab-and-go containers for quick access at any time.

Here are some tips on making healthy snacks for your family that will not break the bank.

  • Provide healthy, easy-to-eat foods. Cereal, pretzels, sliced bananas and apples, and raisins are great finger foods for young children. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables when possible for nutrients. Foods with protein will keep your child fuller for a longer period of time, so try foods like peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and cheese.
  • Prepare safe food. Slice everything small to avoid choking and teach your child to sit every time he or she eats. Cook together. When you do have the time, prepare the snack with your child to make healthy eating a family experience.
  • Model healthy eating. Eat the same snack with your child if possible. It would be unfair for your child to see you eat something unhealthy and different from what you are offering him or her.
  • Go green. You can now find snack-size containers and bags at stores to package food. Be eco-conscious and buy reusable containers.
  • Reduce serving size for children. Remember that the serving size on the nutritional information on all food packages reflect a serving size for an adult so limit the amount served to your child.
  • Practice portion control. Do not offer a big snack for your child because he or she will not be hungry to eat the next meal.

By following these suggestions, you can prepare healthy, energy-rich foods that your whole family can enjoy, keeping them alert for any activity.


NPR of Ohio Answers How the Common Core May Meet Special Needs

January 7, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

In 2010, a coalition of states, led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), released the first national set of education standards in the U.S. Referred to as the Common Core State Standards, they define, grade-by-grade, the skills that students should be able to demonstrate in order to be college and career ready.

Many have criticized the standards, and there is still much debate about how the they will be assessed, but the standards themselves may offer enough instructional flexibility to support students in a variety of ways.

We read this article about how the Common Core may be used to support special needs students and wanted to share it with all of you.

Read through the article and let us know what you think in this forum.

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