December 5, 2010

Cool Kid Craft-Holiday Cinnamon Ornaments

by Lifestyle Expert, Kimmie Dillon

However your family celebrates the holidays, how would you like to spice them up even more? Here’s the perfect holiday project for the kids that will fill your home with the yummy aroma of cinnamon. So easy and fun to create, even the youngest members of your family will be able to make their own ornaments!

Here’s what you’ll need for this craft:

¾ cup applesauce, drained through a strainer
¾ cup cinnamon (a large, economical brand works great)
Rolling pin
Craft glue
Cookie cutters
Ornament hangers
Colorful ribbon
embellishments, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 175°F. In a mixing bowl, combine the strained applesauce and cinnamon until a smooth ball of dough is formed. You will need to slowly add cinnamon until the dough resembles cookie dough. Then squeeze in about 3 Tablespoons of craft glue to help the dough stick together. If it gets too dry, sprinkle in some water. To make the dough easy to work with, chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Just remember, even though this dough smells good enough to eat, it is not edible!

2. Dust surface and rolling pin with cinnamon. Do not use flour. Roll out half of the dough to about ¼” thickness. Cut out festive shapes with holiday cookie cutters. Unused scraps can be re-rolled and cut into additional ornaments. Place cinnamon ornaments on cookie sheets.

3. Carefully press the metal ornament hangers into the top of each edge. If you don’t have these, poke holes in the top with straws.

4. Place cookie sheets into pre-heated oven at 175°F for about 2 hours. As an alternative, you can also set them aside for several days to dry out. Either way, your home is going to smell great!

5. Tie ribbon through each hanger (or hole) to form a loop. Although these cinnamon ornaments look great undecorated, your child may want to add their own special touch. Embellishments like glitter, rhinestones and opaque paint markers can help them add even more pizzazz.

I think you’ll agree, these cinnamon ornaments are inexpensive and easy to create. And they make great homemade gifts for anyone on your child’s list. Let your kids hang them throughout the house to get everyone in the holiday spirit.



November 27, 2010

10 secrets to keep your child from getting sick

by Kimmie Dillon

Why do some children stay healthy and others walk around sick? By adopting these 10 healthy habits, parents can help their children avoid getting sick during this upcoming season.
1. Wash their hands
Since most cold and flu viruses are spread by direct contact, this simple habit makes a big difference. Hand washing sounds obvious, but studies show many children (and adults) are not consistent about scrubbing up. Pathogens are found on all types of surfaces including bathrooms, door knobs, railings and other people. And here’s a fact that’s nothing to sneeze at: according to the CDC, hand washing for 20 seconds is the most effective way to avoid the 1 billion colds that Americans catch each year. Yikes! Hand sanitizer is also great to keep available to your child.
2. Get plenty of rest
Sleep is one of the best ways for your child to stay healthy. A good night’s rest will restore the immune system. Your child also needs more zzz’s when they are feeling under the weather.
3. Eat healthy
The importance of a good diet often goes overlooked. Healthier foods contain high levels of disease fighting vitamins and antioxidants. Think of it as “arming” their body for battle when they come in contact with a sick bug.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids can wash out any poisons in the body. The standard recommendation is for our kids to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
5. Stay active
Regular exercise keeps the body healthy by increasing virus-killing cells. According to a new study by Dr. Klentrou, kids who are less active and have excess body fat have more sick days. The doctor adds “exercise may keep kids healthy by providing a constant source of moderate stress, strengthening their body systems and enabling them to ward off bacteria and viruses.”
6. Avoid touching their eyes, mouth and nose
These are the areas where colds and viruses enter the body. Teaching our children to not touch these parts of their face can block the transmission of existing germs.
7. Wash shared toys
Wipe off toys with a good cleaner to prevent the spread of germs.
8. Take a daily vitamin
This will boost kids’ immune systems when the common cold comes knocking on their door. A good multi-vitamin contains a variety of supplements that the body needs to help protect itself from infection.
9. Avoid contact with sick kids
Easier said than done but this is common sense!
10. Get the flu vaccine
The CDC says the single best way to protect children against flu and its potential severe complications is to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. They recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get the seasonal flu vaccine.