Pinterest really is the ideas place

balloonsPinterest is one app that I can’t seem to get enough of.  From recipes, gardening ideas, to kid’s crafts, anything you could ever hope to find is on Pinterest.  I have had to put strict limitations on my Pinterest browsing or else I can get lost in a sea of pictures…Or Pins .

I am a Pinterest party planner.  I think my dream job we be event planning.  I live for it.  I love throwing super fun parties for my little monkeys.   DIY should have been my middle name.  I really wouldn’t be able to do it without the help of my trusty toolbox.  By that I mean Pinterest, scissors and craft paper and glitter.  Always glitter.  Be warned though, there should be a disclaimer about proceeding with caution when operating Pinterest.  Something along the lines of “risk of addiction highly likely”, or “clock speeds up 5x faster while operating”.  However long you spend pinning, there is something for everyone.

Last July, we planned a Summer party.  Normally I would google fun food ideas, decorations, and activities.  With Pinterest, there was no need.  I wrote “Kids Summer Party” and everything I could ever need to know about hosting the perfect party was displayed in front of me in technicolor splendor.  I should correct that.  Displayed in full 1080p High Definition.  Does anyone else remember technicolor or is it just me?  Don’t get me wrong, I love google and find it helpful in certain situations.  However helpful google is, there always seems to be a lot of unnecessary searching.  Sifting through page after page to find what you are looking for.  Not with Pinterest.  Pictures keep loading as you scroll down.  Not only do you get to see pictures immediately, but it is constantly loading more below.  No need to access new pages every few links.

           beach-cupcakes          games

With a few simple keyword combinations, I was able to get everything I needed to plan the perfect party.  Not only does Pinterest show ideas, it allows you to pin them to your own “boards” to save for later or share.  Like Twitter, Pinterest allows you to follow different users as well as have others follow you.  Pins can be saved to your own board or sent to other subscribers.  There is even the option to edit pins and mark if you have tried them or not.

bean-bag-toss

Once you have selected a picture that you like, there is always a link to send you to either the DIY instructions page, or the vendor where you can purchase the item.  We bought printable photo-booth props which were amazing!

Pinterest is helpful for finding ideas for many things.  Not just parties.  I have different boards for different topics.  You can have as many as you want and label them whatever you like and add to them as you find new things to like and try.  Being able to save pins is much easier than saving bookmarks because it is much easier to scan through pictures for a specific pin rather than a list of websites that may not be clear regarding their contents.

If you haven’t already tried it for yourself, I strongly suggest you take a look…Just make sure you have a few spare hours before you get started!

For those of you who have yet to join – PC Mag wrote a great article titled “How to Use Pinterest for Beginners

facebook A place to become inspired – Pinterest really is the ideas place http://bit.ly/2lbAlq3

twitter-logo Pinterest really is the ideas place #Pinterest #pins #ideas

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Cyber Safety – Keeping Kids safe in the online world

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Children must be 80 lbs or 8 eight years old to ride in a car without a booster seat.  Not recommended for children under the age of 3.  You must be _____ high to ride.  These warnings represent just a few of the many safeguards that are put in place to keep kids safe.  But what about cyber safety?

Today’s generation is much more tech savvy then any generation before them.  I remember my then 3 year old showing my mother how to find something on her smartphone.  Classrooms have iPad’s instead of computers, and high school students are given laptops upon entering grade 9.  Never before has technology been as big a part of our daily lives as it is now. 

With this technology come responsibility.  Teaching our children how to properly operate and care for these devices is just the beginning.  Online safety is a major concern that as parents we need to address to safeguard our children.  Setting parental controls and using network privacy settings to block unwanted content is not 100% secure, but will limit what is accessible online.  Controlling who can access posts  will also limit predators and scam artists from contacting your child.

The #1 job of a parent is to keep their child safe.  In order to do this parents should be aware of their children’s online activity.  Monitoring what site are being accessed, who children are communicating with, as well as keeping the lines of communication open between parents and children are key safety procedures that should be practiced.  Talking about what is acceptable to view and what isn’t is important because many times, content is viewed or games are being played when children are away from the home.  Being  informed of the potential dangers before they happen is half of the battle.

Online predators can be anywhere.  It sounds ominous, but its true.  The online world goes far beyond our neighborhood or even our country.  For this reason it is hard to regulate information being posted, and laws are often  invalid due to location issues.  There are however numerous government agencies and organizations that have been designed to help parents be informed and prepared to make sure that their children’s online habits are safe.  Everything Kids has created a helpful checklist to keep kids safe when spending time online gaming or on social media platforms.

Please click on the links posted below if you would like further information:

https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/for-parents/

https://www.cybertip.ca/app/en/internet_safety

http://www.safekids.com/kids-rules-for-online-safety/

twitter-logo Cyber safe for kids http://bit.ly/2l1wAUo  #KidsCyberSafety #OnlineSafe #kids

facebook   Cyber safety –  Keeping kids safe online http://bit.ly/2l1wAUo

 

 

Stay Safe on Social Media – 5 tips to keep you, and your personal information safe

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Nothing seems safer than cruising the internet from the comfort of your living room.  Your doors are locked.  You have your comfy pajamas on, a nice cup of tea sits beside you.  What better way to spend an evening than catching up on your social media feeds or looking at pictures on Pinterest?

It seems unimaginable for someone to walk though our front door and snatch our purse from us, right?  Wrong.  That’s exactly what can happen while we are online.  Social media sites and other online forums are full of people looking to exploit the innocence of people just like us!  I have compiled a list of tips that can get you social safety savvy in no time!

  1. One of the most important things we can do to safeguard ourselves is to be aware of what information we are posting.  Hackers are smarter than we think and always looking for ways to collect our personal information.  Be careful about sharing information that can be used to answer your personal account questions.  Things like, birthdays, home towns, parents names are all popular security questions to different accounts.  Another way to keep your account information safe is to create a custom security questions that will be harder for hackers to guess.  Having a strong password is always recommended.
  1. Be careful what links you click. Especially those embedded in emails.  What may look like an authentic link from a company may not be as it appears.  Some links can take you to third party sites or even sites set up to mislead you into entering  your personal information.  When in doubt, always access a web address directly.
  1. Assume everything that you put on the internet is permanent. Remember that documents, pictures and videos can be saved, shared, or printed, without needing permission from the one posting.  Even after things have been deleted, there is no guarantee that they are not logged somewhere else.
  1. Choose your social media friends wisely. Just because you were friends in high school does not mean that you live the same life now or have the same values.  People change.  Also, identity thieves have been known to create fake profiles to lure people to add them as friends so they can access personal information about you.  Be very selective about who you invite into your social network.
  1. Customize your privacy options. Most social network platforms have different levels of privacy that can be changed in the settings menu.  Many people choose to keep their personal profiles accessible to only those in certain groups or friends lists, while business related profiles will usually have more information available for public viewing.

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself or your identity.  When in doubt…Check it out.  And stay safe!

How do you safeguard your personal information?  Please leave your comments below.

Neowin posted a great infographic which has some surprising statistics regarding internet safety at http://bit.ly/2l9VUUT

Here is a link to a YouTube video that has some useful tips to protect yourself from identity theft

10 Privacy Tips For Protecting Your Identity And Avoiding Identity Theft

http://bit.ly/21YNq2U

 

Twitter    5 ways to stay social media http://bit.ly/2jMQYJw

#staysafe #onlinesaftey #5ways

Facebook    5 Ways to Stay Safe Social Media Safe

COM0011 – Conquering the Lunch Box…A step by step guide to creating big things for little people

school_lunch_milk_570How many mornings have I stood in the kitchen wracking my brain for ideas to make for school lunches?  More than I care to count.  My children are always willing to try new foods  at home or when we eat out, but for some reason they are very limited as to what they will eat for lunch at school.  It never ceases to amaze me that the same two people who will try oysters and love kale smoothies refuse to eat sandwiches that do not rhyme with “am”. That being said, over the past few years I have built up a rotation that gives enough variety to keep me from being accused of “Making us eat the same thing every day”.

Armed with a handful of cookie cutters and a limited grocery list, I am ready to attack the dreaded lunch box.  If your kids school is like mine, they have two nutrition breaks made up of  20 minutes to eat and 20 minutes to play.  This is a change from when I was in elementary school (I won’t tell you how long ago) where you had 2 recess breaks and one lunch.  2 balanced meal breaks means packing two full lunches.  I must add that it is frowned upon to pack both lunches the same. Actually, I can’t stress it enough.   Each break must have its own unique elements!

Building a complete lunch is not as tricky as it may first appear.  Once you get the core elements in place it comes together nicely.

#1. Choosing the proper container.

I have never been so happy as the day I found multi-compartment lunch containers (sometimes called “bento-boxes”) These magical little boxes allow you to portion out  lunches for each nutrition break instead of the virtual free-for-all that happens without them.

I realized early on that although my 4-year-old was very intelligent for her age, she was not always able to make responsible lunch choices when left to her own devices.  ie. Eating all of the snacks first and leaving the healthier options.  Tupperware makes some great containers which fit nicely into most lunch boxes. You can find them online at:  http://www.tupperware.ca/lunch-ittm-containers-3.html The compartments also make it possible to create balanced masterpieces each day.  I like to put a protein, starch and fruit or vegetable in each container along with a treat.

That brings me to my next dilemma –

#2 What to put into the box???

I know every kid is different but here are the top 10 fan faves at our house:

TOP 10 THINGS TO PUT IN A LUNCHBOX

  1. Goldfish crackers. Any crackers really but they like the fish best

  2. Veggies (Cucumber slices, carrots, celery)

  3. Any kind of fruit (grapes, melon, strawberries, blueberries. You get the idea)

  4. Pitas and hummus

  5. Sandwiches (mine will only eat, ham, jam, or cheese)

  6. Ham Wraps with ranch dressing

  7. Nacho chips and salsa

  8. Hard boiled eggs

  9. Cheese and meat with crackers

  10. Yogourt covered raisins

Like the old saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, all business and no treats makes a lunchbox pretty boring.  I like to shake things up once in a while to keep things from becoming mundane.

Sometimes I will create a theme for lunch.  Orange lunch for example is made up of things that are the colour orange. (see photo below)  Personally, I don’t think I would much like it is my lunch was all the same colour but if it makes the kids eat it – its ok in my book.

orange-lunch

 

(Nectarines, cheese cubes, mandarin oranges, carrot, cookies.  The ham wrap wasn’t orange because orange ham just seemed wrong)

 

 

 

homepagecarousel_funkycaterpillarCookie cutters are also a great way to put some excitement into lunchtime.  Some of our favourites are caterpillar sandwiches and trains. I couldn’t find a picture of  a caterpillar I had made, so I borrowed this one from Centra’s website.  Larger cookie cutters can create sandwich art while smaller shapes can add pizzazz to almost any lunch.  Fruits and veggies, cheese, pitas -the sky is the limit!

#3  On to the good stuff…Treats!

Most days I will include 1 unhealthy snack in with the rest of the lunches.  There seems to be more unhealthy option than healthy ones these days so there is never a shortage of treats to include.  Cookies, granola bars, rice crispie squares and gummies.  I could go on and on.  But some days you just need to let them eat cake! (or cupcakes)

cupcake              img_4651

One of the biggest challenges I have found when selecting treats is that so many of them include peanuts or tree nuts which are not allowed in our schools due to the allergies of some of the students.  The easiest way to eliminate this problem is to make everything from scratch.  Sounds like a good plan in theory but in real life its not always possible.  In real life, time is always short and task lists are always long. For that reason, it is important to read product labels carefully!  Many brands display a nut-free symbol showing that they have been produced in a peanut free facility like this:

peanut_free_eng

I hope that the tools and tips I have listed above will help you conquer the lunch boxes at your house!

facebook  – Be a lunchbox hero!

“Conquering the Lunch Box…A step by step guide to creating big things for little people”

twitterbird_rgb –  “Conquering the Lunch Box…Moms guide 2 lunches kids heart

#lunchboxhero #kidslunch #conquerthelunchbox #healthylunch #momsmakelunch #lunchbox

Links:

http://www.tupperware.ca/lunch-ittm-containers-3.html

https://centra.ie/ideas/recipe/lunch/funky-lunch-caterpillar-sandwich

http://www.healthcastle.com/drinks_lunch_children.shtml

http://www.summer365.com/food-allergies-at-summer-camp/