Last Minute Gift Ideas for Christmas
During the holidays, do you ever find yourself sitting calmly on your couch after the Christmas tree is up and the lights are strung, but then you realize you've been pushing back Christmas shopping, and Christmas Eve is just two weeks away.
Remembering to go Christmas shopping is one thing, but finding the perfect gift to give our loved one is entirely another thing all together; especially when it comes to finding a gift that fosters active play, imagination and curiosity for our kids.
If you're not one of those people who begins their Christmas shopping months in advance, no pressure! StairSlide has your back. Let the list of last minute gift ideas below help you find and brainstorm that perfect gift for your child.
Sumbababy Teepee Tent for Kids
The World Needs More Purple People
Coco Village Balance Board
Ambosstoys PRIMO Ride on Toy Scooter
Teamson Kids Little Chef Mayfair Retro Play Kitchen
Wireless Express Party2-Go Karaoke Mike Disco Ball Combo
Extreme Slackers Ninjaline Kit 56'
*all photos on blog post were found on the corresponding toy brand's website
A Letter to our Readers
In honor of Thanksgiving and the holiday season, that warms our hearts, brings us together and opens our eyes to love and gratitude, we wish to share our love by expressing the things we’re grateful for.
First off, thank you for being a part of our lives. We cherish the videos we see on social media. The ones where your children giggle with their siblings and friends as they have the time of their lives sliding down your stairs; the ones where we laugh when we see grandmas and grandpas getting down with their grandkids as they join in the fun; the photos where we can’t help but smile when you gather around your living rooms while your kids try to escape to get that one last slide in.
This is to say, the photos and videos we see of you give us an extra appreciation for the wonderful customers and friends we have made through StairSlide. So, thank you! We are grateful for your support and love.
We’re also grateful for the joy we get to cherish with our loved ones. As we laugh together, enjoy delicious food together, lift each other up in service and decorate our homes with festive ornaments and lights together, our hearts are reminded of the extra peace and tenderness we feel this time of year.
The red ribbons, toy trains and boxes wrapped in plaid paper bring us happiness, but so easily that happiness is fleeting and forgotten once the tree is taken down, lights are de-strung, presents are opened, and January 1st comes around once more.
Yes, these memories are fun and nostalgic for many, but part of this time that feels most sacred presents itself in a sweet kiss under the mistletoe, a daughters smile when she snuggles with her mom in front of the fire place, a family singing sweet sounds of Christmas hymns around the piano and spending the afternoon making sugar cookies for the widow down the street, or going shopping for the family who can’t afford that bike their son is hoping for Christmas Day.
People. Moments. The little things that get set aside. That is joy. That is lasting happiness, and that is what life is about, not only during Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the entire year. This is our goal: paying attention to the moments that will stay with us for years to come even when our skin goes wrinkly and our bodies fail us.
Imagine years into the future, you’re sitting on your porch or favorite chair reflecting on life. Your eyes gently close, and a clear slide show of some of the most precious moments in your life flood back to you like images crystalized in time, memories protected in amber, untampered by age. You remember crawling out of bed as your tiny feet took you to the window, where you knelt in excitement and pressed your button nose against the cold window to witness the first white blanket of snow fall.
The quiet creek of the rocking chair fades into the distance, as the sweet and familiar sound of your kid’s high-pitched laughter echoes in your ear, while the memory of your children throwing pillows and pulling you desperately out of bed on Christmas morning comes to your attention; as you sit they’re comfortably in your favorite chair, you sort through the beautiful memories you’ve collected, and the corners of your mouth effortlessly creep up towards your cheeks.
This year, join StairSlide as we live our lives in a way that is focused on people and the little tender moments that we’ll remember on that day, far into the future, when we close our eyes and sit in our favorite chair.
It won’t be the fancy cars and glamorous gifts we received that we’ll want to remember. It will be the memories of our kids, our childlike wonder, the way people loved us and the way we loved others that will flood back to us like crystalized imagines frozen in time. And, oh, what a grateful day that will be.
Let us all practice living life this way now, so that one day we can feel the joy of looking back at our lives as we say we live for the important stuff. This season let’s start creating the habit of being present with something as simple as holding our child’s hand or stopping to say hi to our neighbor instead of moving through life too swiftly that we miss out on the moments that fill our lives with priceless riches.
Our Tips for a Stress Free Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again. The time of year when families around the world prepare food, eat glorified meals, share thanks with loved ones, and, if not careful, experience the dreadful food coma. And even with the overeating and stress of planning, we do it every year because the memories we associate with Thanksgiving bring us joy and a special appreciation for the little things in our lives. This beloved holiday marks the beginning of a heightened focus on kindness and love that no other time of year gives us.
Let us all focus more on the love this season brings and less on the stress of preparing the best Thanksgiving meal. If being in the kitchen is how you show your love, and brings you happiness, then, by all means, bake till your hearts content; part of the fun of Thanksgiving comes when mothers, fathers and children spend hours whipping up coconut cream pies, basting turkeys and taste-testing other mouthwatering favorites. But, as an early Christmas present from us to you, use our tips below to help you make thanksgiving a little less stressful and a lot more intentional.
Buy Pie Crust
Many would agree that Thanksgiving isn't complete without a slice of warm apple pie with notes of cinnamon and caramel and the saltiness from a flaky crust. Agreed. You can’t do a Thanksgiving feast without pie. But here’s a little secret, if you want to make your own pie crust, go for it, but if you need permission to skip that step, then, hear it is! Buy a pie crust at the store. Just this simple tip will free up hours for you to spend with your kiddos or get some early Christmas shopping done.
Go out to Eat
This tip is just a funny way of saying: Make Thanksgiving your own this year. If you feel like you don’t have the bandwidth to make an extravagant meal, or maybe you have a family member who is ill and needs your attention, please know that it is okay to make your own rules this year. For example, go out to the fanciest restaurant you can think of, and relish in a three-course meal. Adventure away from turkey and mashed potatoes, and explore Thai or Indian food. Make a charcuterie board and have a picnic in the coziness of your own family room while watching a favorite holiday movie. No matter what you do, make the most of it, have fun and remember to tell each other how much you care.
Entertain the Kiddos
If you look forward to sitting around the living room with family, eating pie and relaxing uninterrupted while your kids are off playing with their cousins, then this tip is for you. Have every couple bring a handful of games their children like to play. Get creative: Twister, Candy Land, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza, card games, blocks, Sorry, Life, puzzles, etc. Place the games in one room of the house and let them go crazy. Here’s a tip inside a tip. For ongoing fun and entertainment for your kiddos, get them a StairSlide as an early Christmas present. Sliding down and climbing up the stairs for hours will not only be exciting, but will make for an easy bedtime routine.
This may be difficult to believe, but turkey prep can be the easiest part of Thanksgiving if you time it right. Instead of preparing the bird the morning of, defrost the turkey in the refrigerator, toss the insides and rub in herbs and spices the day before. To make it even easier, a couple weeks before the holidays be on lookout for a good whole bird sale. Usually, they begin a month before Thanksgiving. Lastly, be sure to check out the recipes below, so you can cook the perfect turkey without all the hastle.
Part of the reason we feel like Thanksgiving is stressful is partly because we tend to think “it’s all on me.” You may feel this way, and if you do, listen to this one piece of advice. Give assignments. You’ll find that when you assign each family member a different task, like baking a pumpkin pie, bringing the turkey and a couple salads, or even cleaning up afterwards, it will make the day feel more doable and enjoyable.
Think back on a time when you brought your kids to the grocery store with you. Some days they act sweet and calm, and other days it seems like they reach for everything on the shelves and fall apart in the isles. Yes, it’s good for kids to get out of the house, but ordering your groceries and having them delivered to your door alleviates you from an extra to-do and, in replace of the car ride to the store, gives you time to play with your kids at the park.
We hope this gift aids in setting aside stress and giving you a Thanksgiving that’s focused on love and gratitude, gratitude for the little things that we so often set aside. Cheers for all of life’s blessings, and in honor of this unique time where we get to slow down, let us remember these wise words from Deitrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, “it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Grandma's To Die For Pumpkin Pie
Family, friends, turkey, mashed potatoes, yams with marshmallows on top, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salads, and any other traditional thanksgiving favorite makes this holiday a nostalgic feast for your familiar childhood tastebuds. But a traditional thanksgiving meal isn’t complete without Grandma’s to-die-for pumpkin pie.
You might have a family recipe that’s been passed down for generations, but in case you’re in the market for a recipe that will knock your tastebuds off, this will do just that!
Imagine finishing up the day with your family, gathering around the fireplace, enjoying both casual conversation and the smooth pumpkin texture, flaky, buttery crust and the refreshing coolness of vanilla bean ice cream all in one bite.
To make this beautiful memory come true, follow the recipe below!
Ingredients You'll Need
30 ounces of pumpkin puree
1-½ cups white sugar
2 12 oz cans evaporated milk
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground allspice
2-9’ unbaked pie shells
You can’t get simpler than this. Grab two bowls. Place the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and allspice in one bowl. Then, bring the pumpkin, eggs and evaporated milk together in the other.
While you mix the filling, preheat oven to 425 F. Once preheated, pour the mixture into two pie shells, and bake for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, reduce to 350 F, and bake for another 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick in center. When the toothpick comes out clean, take the pies out of the oven to cool. Top with ice cream or homemade whip cream, and enjoy!
Pie Crust Options
Making a homemade pie crust can be the most intimidating part of baking a pumpkin pie, so, we’ve got you covered! You can try either get rid of all the stress all together by buying a store-bought pie crust from your local grocery store or try any of the 5-star-rated homemade pie crusts, if you want to experiment.
- Inspired Taste offers an amazing pie crust that you can whip up in no time.
- Get creative with Sally's Baking Recipes homemade, buttery, flaky pie crust.
- Lastly, start from scratch with Taste Better From Scratch’s perfect pie crust.
StairSlide's Winter Wonderland Bucket-list
Tasty Halloween Sugar Cookies
Halloween is famous for sweets and fun memories. Make the holiday even more sweet by baking your own tasty Halloween sugar cookies. Gather all the kiddos, and let them help you prep, mix and roll out the dough, then decorate the cookies with orange and white frosting, candy corn and anything else you can think of. Give these sugar cookies a try. They’ll LOVE it!
5 Tips For Baking Tasty Sugar CookiesFirst, baking the perfect batch of sugar cookies is fairly simple, but just in case you need some extra guidance, pay attention to these 5 baking tips.
- Chill the dough
- Use room temperature eggs
- Use pure vanilla extract
- Don’t over mix
- Remove cookies before they’re golden brown
- Sift the dry ingredients
Last tip? Bake with love. As silly as it might be, it’s not a myth. Food always tastes best when you’re thinking about the people you’re making it for and when you’re having fun with the people you love.
Sugar Cookie Recipe
To begin, help your kids grab these ingredients from your fridge and pantry.
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Now that you have everything on your counter:
Place the flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl. Sift the flour until the dry mix looks like fresh snow.
Place the cubed butter and sugar in a bowl, and start mixing with an electric mixer on medium speed. ( You should probably do this part. If your kids want to help, tell them you’ll let them lick the spoon ) The mixture should be light and fluffy after 4-5 minutes.
In the same bowl, crack the egg and add the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and mix until you can’t see the flour.
Spoon the dough onto the counter, and divide in half. Pat each section into a 1/4 inch disc. Wrap in plastic, and place in refrigerator for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees in the meantime.
After the dough is firm, place one disc between two pieces of parchment paper. Help your kids roll out the dough into a 1/8 inch sheet.
Now the FUN part! Go to the store before hand to let your kids pick the cookie cutters they like. Cut the dough into shapes, and position them onto a baking sheet with 2 inches of space between each one.
When the oven is preheated, throw the cookies in for 10-12 minutes until almost golden brown. Cool for a couple more minutes, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Continue the process until the batch of cookies are done baking. Feel free to save the extra dough for another day if you don’t want to make them all in one go.
For the frosting you'll need:
4 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cups unsalted butter (softened)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Once you have the ingredients,
Put the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and sifted powdered sugar in one bowl, and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Place in the refrigerator until cookies are completely cooled.
Click on your favorite playlist, and start frosting!
Our Favorite Fall Activites
We often get caught up in the fast-paced culture of today’s society. Where it’s easy to fall into the pattern of wake up, go to work, come home, eat dinner and repeat. Consider this as an invitation for you to get out of the monotony of life. Consider these words as permission to be proactive about how you plan your time with your family during the fall season.
Take advantage of the last fleeting bits of fall’s warmth by going outside, laughing, remembering the nostalgic memories you made as a kid and recreating those memories with your children. They’ll look back on them with fondness, just as you do. Use the fall activity suggestions below to help you decide what activities would be fun for your family to enjoy together.
Make caramel Apples. Imagine looking out the window as the brisk air of fall rolls in and the sun begins to hide behind the horizon; and you and your family gather around the kitchen counter in the comfort of your own home. The scent of melted caramel pairs well with the maple scented candle, who’s light flickers in the corner of your family room. Festive music plays in the background and adds to the coziness to the evening.
A pot of hot caramel and white bowls of crushed m&m’s and graham crackers wait for happy sounds of children, bantering over which toppings they want to decorate with first. Chuckles and squeals explode over the music, filling the home with warmth and love.
With anticipation, kids with sticky hands and excited bellies lean over the caramel apples, to taste-test their homemade treats. Everyone sits around the fireplace in soft minky blankets, while drinking hot chocolate and talking, as the evening comes to a slow end.
Jumping in Leaves
There’s something about crunchy leaves that catches the attention of any childs heart. “There’s a bunch of leaves in the backyard. Let’s put them in a pile and jump in them!” she says to her friends. It’s naturally the only logical solution to the situation of course!
Do you remember the fun you had when you jumped in mountains of leaves for hours at a time? So, plan a whole day around it. Throw beanies and light jackets on the kids. Play their favorite tunes and JUMP! Try to let go of any distractions you have and be there, fully present and engaged in the moment with your tiny miracles.
Pumpkin patches, apple cider donuts, ax throwing, archery, ring toss, giant slides, photo booths, kids games: it’s a child’s playground. Spend a couple hours finding your way through endless rows of corn. If you’re brave, let your kids choose where to go. You may get lost, but it’ll be a laugh.
Then take part in one of the most traditional fall activities there is afterwords. Pumpkin carving! As per usual, let the kids go wild with their creations, and afterwords place the scary faces on the front porch for the trick or treaters to admire.
Trick or Treating
Speaking of trick or treating, it doesn’t feel like fall without this halloween tradition. Costumes and candy: is there any better combo? Not to your kiddos! Usually we get in the rhythm of helping them choose a costume. “What do you want to be for halloween?” we say.
Here’s a challenge for you. Dress up with your kids. Ask yourself, “what do I want to be?” It may feel silly, but apart from sugar and scares, halloween is a time for any age to find their inner child; where you can look at the world with eyes of wonder, imagination and pure excitement.
Go on a Hike
As simple as this may be, part of the beauty of fall comes from being outside, feeling the weather change and witnessing the leaves go from green to deep reds, faded oranges and bright yellows. Not only is hiking pleasant to the eye and great for good conversation, studies show that hiking also has an effect on our mental health.
One study shows that in just 15 minutes spending time outside positively effects our energy. Another study shows, when you bump that up to 90 minutes our mood changes and our brains become less susceptible to depression.
With this added bonus in mind, before the last leaf falls and the winter cold settles in, plan a couple hikes into the week with your family. If it’s not a hike, make it a trip to the park or a car ride into the mountains with the windows down.
Whatever you do, take advantage of the fall season! Eat caramel apples. Jump in piles of leaves. Go trick or treating. But don’t stop there. Play hard and have fun!
Parent's Guide To Yes Day
In 2021, the fun family comedy "Yes Day" premiered on Netflix; starring Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez with Jenny Ortega, Everly Carganilla and Julian Lerner, as their children.
Allison Torrez grew up saying yes to everything: sky diving, rock climbing, adventuring through the world and experiencing new people, places and cultures. When she met her husband Carlos, she continued living it up with him, doing fun things and making memories together.
One kid after another, she started saying no. No to jumping on the bed. No to strapping each other in rockets and attempting to launch each other in the air. No to play dates because of late assignments.
Fun Killer. Bad Cop. Spoil sport. Allison realized Katie, Ellie and Evan weren't far off. They never met the outgoing and exciting person she was before. One of their teachers, Mr. Deacon, offered she and Carlos some advice. "Have a yes day," he said.
We aren't going to spoil the rest of the story, but you can assume that this family takes Mr. Deacon's advice. If you're curious about how to plan your own yes day, go watch the comedy and check out the guide below.
When you give your children the authority to make their own decisions for 24 hours, they'll feel a sense of independence. They'll feel the trust you have for them. Yes day's are perfect for creating quality family time and making unique memories you normally wouldn't make otherwise.
When you're ready to plan your yes day, let your children make a list of five things they want to do. It may be scary to find out what crazy things they'll come up with, but this day will go down in your families history books!
Fun Family Halloween Costume Ideas
It’s that time of year again. Spooky season. It’s the time of year when summer heat fades, and the cool breeze of fall settles in. Apple cider, candy corn, pumpkin patches, hay rides, fall festivals, crunchy leaves. It's every childs dream. Then, when you add Halloween into the mix, candy, costumes and chills turn this season into a child’s paradise.
Around the world children go from house to house, in search of the best house with the best candy. “Trick or Treat,” they say. When the night ends, pillow cases and large garbage bags full of candy splatter on the floor. Kids sit for hours sorting the candy, stuffing their mouths with candy and hoarding the candy in places no one else would dare find it. Except you, when you sneak some candy for a late night treat.
Even though, with Halloween comes sugar highs and over tired children, we can’t help but fall into the magic of witches, princes and princesses, ghosts and other make believe characters. So, add to the excitement this year by trying these fun family costume ideas you can use for trick or treating or your annual costume party. Feel free to cater the costume ideas to the number of people you have in your family.
The movie, Peter Pan, is a beloved classic. Wendy Darling, Peter Pan, Tinker Bell and the lost boys warm our hearts and make us want to stay young forever. Play pretend this Halloween with your kids. Let them choose which character they want to be, and show up in style as the whole band of lost boys, with Peter Pan and Wendy and her dog Nana.
In 1994, The Lion King premiered in theaters and quickly became one of the classic sing-along Disney movies in history. Introduce your children to the touching storyline you loved as a child, by watching the movie with your children before Halloween. Then let your children choose which characters they want to be. For ideas, you could be Simba and Naula, while your kids dress up as Mufasa, Scar and even the silly toucan Zazu.
The movie, Incredibles, is a little kid movie favorite. The superheros and their powers easily entertain children, which is why they’ll have no problem playing superhero for the night. Dress as Mr. and Mrs. Incredibles, and let your kids dress as Jack Jack, Violet and Dash. Do you have more children? Tag along Frozone and Edna E. Mode, the creator behind the Incredibles iconic red suits.You can use the superhero idea with Marvel and DC characters.
Wizard of Oz
We can’t forget one of the first movies ever filmed in color. The wonderful land of Oz captivated everyone in the late 1930’s, with Dorothy and her red shoes, the Good Witch of The North and Dorothy’s friends, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scare Crow and we can’t forget her little dog too. Dress up as any of these characters with your family. It’ll be a Halloween to remember.
If you go all out with this idea, people will stop you on the streets with compliments. Be Mrs. Bow Peep and Woody or Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, or any other characters you’d like. Then let your children choose from the other Toy Story characters. Slinky dog can be a two person costume. Let one child be the head and another be the end. Attach a circular wire to the back of each child to create a slinky. Bow Peep’s sheep, Buzz Lightyear, the green space aliens and Rex make fun additions to a family night of trick or treating or an evening costume party.
It wouldn’t be Halloween if Disney princesses weren’t involved. If you have an infant or toddler, trick or treat as Flin Rider, Rapunzel and her pet chameleon, Pascal. If you have a smaller family, you may also want to team up with family and friends to complete the other characters in Tangled. Throw in Rapunzel’s evil mother, Gothel, Flin’s horse, Maximus, and the not-so-scary thugs Rapunzel meets at the Cozy Duckling.
Make the magic of Halloween come to life for your children by dressing up as the characters from Harry Potter. You must remember the three amigos Hermoine, Ron and Harry first. And for fun, invite your extended family along to fill in the other story characters like Dumbledore, Malfoy, Haggrid, Jinny Wesley, Luna, Nevel, Voldemort and the courageous Dobby. Add to enchanting world of Hogwarts, by hosting your own party where you serve butterbeer and cauldron cakes.
The Art Of A Good Dance Party
She waits outside the living room and listens for the words, “presenting Amanda,” that signals it’s time to walk onto the carpet. She gracefully glides to center stage (in front of the couch where her parents are sitting) with a high head and sparkling eyes; her feet in third position, arms gently bent at the elbow and her fingers positioned just like a perfect ballerina. “Queue the music,” she says. She takes her last step and smiles with pride as she hears the applause of her parents.
This little girl was me. I remember my four sisters and I would jump out of bed, eat breakfast and get ready to dance to one of our three favorite soundtracks: Shania Twain, High School Musical and Hairspray.
We would jump in front of the camera and try to outperform the other, as our dad recorded us, and we would spin and twirl around the room to feel like princesses. You could say, with all of this practice, my sisters and I know a thing or two about the art of a good dance party. Use the five tips below to help your kids plan their own dance party.
You absolutely need the perfect sound tract to jam out to. It doesn’t matter what music you pick, as long as you remember these insightful words from my eight year old sister Gracie. “You have to feel the music.” Choose music that allows your children to feel free to be their fun, silly selves. “For me it can’t be rock n’ roll. It needs to be soft, jazzy, kids music or sassy music,” Gracie continues. Take her advice, and listen to as many songs until the right one comes along, then create a soundtrack for the next time your kids want to dance.
A costume will turn any dance party into a full on event for your kids. Let them sort through your costume bin to find past halloween costumes to mix and match from. Let their creativity run wild with this one. Use old jewelry, dresses, pirate costumes, fairy wings, high heels, wigs, and anything else they can find. Giving them free rein increases their confidence and helps them feel empowered to make their own decisions. Just a warning though. You may have to remind them to tone it down a little when they go back to school.
It’s not a dance party if nobody’s watching, right? No matter how many times my sisters and I danced in front of our parents, we always felt their praise and love for us. From my own experience, I know children yearn to be seen and heard, so give your boys and girls the time and attention they want and need. Just like my parents did for us, introduce your kids to the stage and give them the floor where they can show off their moves, from funky breakdancing to graceful ballet.
“It doesn’t matter where you’re dancing. Just dance,” Gracie says. Your kids don’t need anything special or official. Any place will do. I have memories of us dancing in our backyard, basement or our front living room, that we decorated with blankets and pillows. If your kids want to decorate the stage like my sisters, encourage it! Make a fort with them to dance in, or create signs with them for you to hold up to when they perform for you.
You have a nice soundtrack, beautiful costumes, an audience and a place to dance. Now, the last last, and most important key ingredient to any dance party is FUN. Luckily children come by this naturally. But sometimes we take life too seriously. Having a full on dance party will hopefully inspire you to let loose, get down on their level, and have fun with them. Get out there, and make some memories!
5 Timeless Games To Play With Your Kids
You probably remember your little legs running up the stairs to find a hiding spot just as your sister says, “ready or not, here I come!” You probably remember those endless summer days with your band of neighborhood friends, playing jumprope, tag and any other game your childhood brains could imagine. You spent those days laughing, giggling and having complete joy in the fact that you merely existed to play. And what joy that truly was.
Now, as parents, joy comes from teaching and enjoying the same timeless games you once played, with your own children. Sure, life can get in the way. But if we prioritize our kids, and give them our full present attention, they can create their own memories of laughing and giggling and having joy in the fact that they merely existed to play!
Hide-And-Go-Seek is the perfect summer day activity to play with your kids. This popular game doesn’t require anything, but a house or backyard to hide in and a full imagination. Watching your kids play will surely bring back the nostalgia of huddling up and disbursing to fight for the most coveted hiding spots: the top shelf in the closet, under the first shelf in the kitchen pantry, inside the laundry room dryer, etc.
The fun and happiness Hide-And-Go-Seek offers is timeless, but so is the actual game. We recently asked ourselves when the popular game was invented, and we’re surprised to learn that it originated in the second century.
Julius Pollux, Greek writer and founder, originally named it apodidraskinda. Now, In the 21st century, children throughout the world play Hide-And-Go-Seek with their family and friends, just as children did more than 1900 years ago. What’s more timeless than that?
Much like hide-and-go-seek, sardines also originated from Julius Pollux. After he invented hide-and-go-seek, over time children started adding there own spin on the game.
Normally, every player hides, while the person it seeks. But in sardines, the person it hides while everyone rushes to be the first to find them. The last player to find the spot, gets to hide the next round.
Add sardines to your arsenal of games, whether it’s rainy, sunny or snowy weather. Children love it and will love you for playing it with them.
Freeze tag, underdog tag, flashlight tag, Marco Polo; you name it, and kids will find a way to make tag their own. But all of tag’s unique spin-offs come from, once again, Julius Pollux in the second century. He set up the rules by having two teams play the game. One team chases, and the other team runs.
To simplify, let your kids choose one chaser. When the chaser tags everyone, another another child gets to chase. Tag is both active and engaging, which means your children will leave exhausted and ready for a good nights rest! It’s a win win for both parties.
Charades is another timeless game that originated hundreds of years ago in the 1700’s. This game will not only entertain you and your kids, but will push them to think outside the box and get outside their comfort zones.
To make the game as simple and as interactive as possible, place paper and colored pencils in front of your kids, and invite them to write down any noun that comes to mind: dog, cat, water, book, duck, roller coaster, etc.
Once everybody is finished, cut and fold the paper into small pieces, and put them in a small bowl. Choose one player to pull from the bowl, and act the word out. The child who guesses correctly wins the game and gets to act next.
Do you remember the thrill of anticipation you felt as you counted “one...two...three...,” to see how many jumps you could take without tripping over the rope? Make the same memories you had with your kids! This popular activity excites children, but also burns off their extra energy, while increasing their body coordination. Added bonus.
Children over the years have experienced these benefits since the 1600’s when the Egyptians started using vines as rope. We don’t have pictures of them playing jumprope, but it is fun to imagine girls and boys jump roping in front of the pyramids and laughing together with their parents just as kids do today.
* Photo designed by Freepick.
Happy Father's Day!
To avoid hearing the familiar whine, “I’m BORED!” pick one, some, or all of these activities to make sure they (you) get the most out of their (your) Summer!
Super Summer Bucket List!
Get the most out of your Summer! With the kids’ out of school, they might have a little bit too much time on their hands. To avoid hearing the familiar whine, “I’m BORED!” pick one, some, or all of these activities to make sure they (you) get the most out of their (your) Summer!
Crazy Home Features (and their affordable alternatives)
Who else enjoys looking at expensive houses and their one-of-a-kind renovations? Well, I do. I don't know it it's masochism, voyeurism, or pure curiosity(ism), but I love seeing extremely luxurious home features that I wouldn't be able to spy on without the aid of the internet. There's a chance that I could get rich enough to build one of these awesome features into my gold encrusted mansion, but I'm a writer, so I won't hold my breath. Plus, why should I wait to love my home? The most expensive option isn't the only option for revamping your crib (did you know MTV Cribs came back last year?). With a pinch of creativity, your home can be just as fun. The following is what I came up with for alternatives (and their prices), but don't let me restrict you; the only limit is your imagination.
Most people love the theater. And I definitely see the appeal of having that same experience in the comfort of your home, but a home theater comes with a hefty price tag.
According to HomeAdvisor, a person can expect to pay an average of $17,500 to install a home theater system, but the actual cost range could range between $2,000 to $63,000. The price really depends on what kind of projector you get.
In my opinion, I think going the thrifty route instead of installing an actual home theater is way more fun. What if you want to do an outdoor movie? Your makeshift theater can easily follow you outside! But an actual home theater doesn't allow for much flexibility in location.
The bean bag is totally optional and the one I have listed is BIG. Big enough to fit a small family.
I tried to find an estimate for this and came up empty, but I don't think it would be too expensive to assemble. The drawback is you'd need the right type of space that is usually only available in more expensive homes, like multiple floors with enough room so as not to feel overcrowded. If you don't have the space, replicating this cool feature doesn't seem possible, BUT replicating the effect is easy!
It's basically a hammock reading nook, right?
$104.98 to $519.98
If you don't have the space to accommodate a full hammock, a hanging swing is an easy fix! They have swings for kids and adults, and while the kids option is cute, I think a bigger swing makes more sense for longevity.
Look, I'll admit it; there's some really cool built-in indoor slides on the internet.
Look! Here's a secret slide! It reminds me of...secret tunnels... (Nacho Libre, anybody?).
Let's have a giggle-break so you can understand my movie reference.
From my research, the price tag for a built-in slide is AT LEAST a couple thousands on top of hiring an architect. Or you can outsmart the system and set aside 4 years at your local university to become an architect yourself...
Surprise! A blog on an eCommerce site is slightly promotional! Who would've known? 😅
But seriously, StairSlide is an awesome solution to not having the space or funds for a built-in indoor slide. It's the ingenious in-between sliding down in a laundry basket (which is bound to end in a head injury) and dropping thousands on a one-of-a-kind home fixture.
Okay, I've filled my StairSlide nerd-out quota for the day. Next cool feature!
I'm not even sure what'd you call this--indoor koi pond. Okay, I guess I did know what to call it.
Doesn't this look cool in a wannabe Bond villain way?
Based on my research, a quality koi pond could set you back somewhere between $5,000 to $60,000+. And that doesn't even include the maintenance and upkeep needed to ensure happy, healthy fishies.
$17.50 - $69.99
For a practical alternative, you can get a fish tank! It's more cute than Bond villain cool, but they're a great way to add a little "something" to your home.
OR go the super easy route and pretend you have a koi pond
As I said before, these are the alternatives that I could think of, but don't let that stop you! Is there another cool home fixture that I didn't name? What's your thrifty solution?
How To Do April Fool’s Day Right
Does your family participate in April Fool’s Day, or does it usually end in hurt feelings? Sometimes the line between “Haha! You got me!” and “No! Why’d you do that?!” can be blurry. So I understand the hesitation, but follow this guide, and it’s possible to stay firmly on the “haha” side and love April Fool’s Day.
All Eyes On You
What makes anything instantly funny? If you guessed googly eyes, you are correct! If you said a whoopee cushion, you're close but no. The only necessity for this prank is googly eyes which are surprisingly cheap. Next, apply the googly eyes to anything you can think of; the only limit is your creativity! Maybe stick them on everything in your fridge? Put googly eyes on all your family portraits (I think that has the potential to be creepy, though)? Or personify all your houseplants?
Laugh break: SNL sketch of Christopher Walken putting googly eyes on all his plants.
What better way to start the day than being rained on by balloons? Honestly, I'm drawing a blank. This surprise is easy to set up, and the effect is worth it. It's hard not to have a happy day if this how the world greets you.
What You’ll Need:
+ Crepe paper
+ Balloon pump (optional
+ Begin at the bottom of the door and tape the crepe paper across the frame.
+ Leave a slight slack in the crepe paper for the balloons to fit.
+ Fit the balloons between the door and the crepe paper.
+ Do this row by row and inch towards the top of the door. This way, you can make sure the balloons fit without wasting time and tape.
Watch it in action! From the Youtube channel Fun with Mama
Bubble Wrap Under the Rug
The title is probably self-explanatory. Hiding bubble wrap sheets under the rug might give the unsuspecting target a slight freak-out that they stepped on something valuable or make them do a quick panicky tiptoe dance off the carpet. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch.
Get sneaky with some plastic bugs and slip them into little hiding places: a drawer, in the fridge, or maybe in their bed? Anywhere that will give someone a little scare. Just be careful if anyone in your house has a severe phobia of bugs; if someone does, maybe skip this one.
(Extra points if you hang up some plastic spiders from fishing wire in the doorway)
This prank is slightly different from the other ones I have listed. You can do this as a family activity for the next-door neighbor or anyone you think might need a little pick-me-up.
What You’ll Need:
+ Popsicle sticks
+ Cut out as many hearts as you want–make sure it’s enough for the target to feel overwhelmed with love.
+ Glue them to the popsicle sticks.
+ Poke the popsicle sticks in their lawn.
If you want to do this for someone who doesn’t necessarily have a front lawn, like someone within your household, taping the hearts around their door will have the same effect. Also, always be prepared to help clean this prank up.
There are a lot of “treat” based pranks that leave a bad taste in your mouth. Literally. For example, caramel-dipped onions posing as apples is a lose-lose situation; the perpetrator wastes perfectly good onions and caramel, and the victim is crying. I don’t know if they would be crying because they’ve been robbed of a yummy snack or their eyes are sensitive to onions, but there will be tears either way. Plus, who wants to spend time making a treat you can’t eat?
Let’s talk about some treat pranks that actually pay off in giggles and happy tummies!
Raisin Cookies (Or are they?!)
Everyone gets disappointed when they bite into a chocolate cookie to learn it’s a raisin cookie. It’s like the little joke, “Raisin cookies that look like chocolate chip cookies are the reason I have trust issue.” But we flip it, reverse it, and bop it to, “Chocolate chip cookies that look like raisin cookies are the reason I believe in unexpected awesomeness.”
You can use any chocolate chip recipe you like, but if you’re not fortunate enough to own a mixer (the Kitchenaid quart tilt-head stand mixer in pistachio is on my vision board), I found the recipe for you from the mommy blog, Mom On Timeout. It’s super easy to make and de-lish-ous.
P.S. Don’t pull this prank on dogs
We did this in our household every year when I was younger, and I loved it! I wasn’t even a big fan of pudding or gummy worms, but the second the sweets were combined in a clay pot, it became my favorite dessert. You don’t have to use a terra-cotta pot or a fake flower, but I always thought it was half the fun.
What you’ll need:
+ Small terra-cotta pot (amount depends on how many you want to make)
+ 1 pkg. of Oreos finely crushed
+ Desired amount of gummy worms
+ Desired amount of chocolate pudding cups
*If you want to make your own pudding (serves 10)
+ 1 pkg. (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Flavor Instant Pudding
+ 2 cups cold milk
+ 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip Topping thawed
+ Whisk pudding mix and milk in a large bowl for 2 min. Let it stand for 5 min. Mix in ½ cup of the cookie crumbs.
+ Pour pudding into the terra cotta pots (our your preferred containers)
+ Cover pudding with cookie crumbs
+ Stick gummy worms in each pot
Optional: Stick a fake flower in the pot (daisies are especially cute)
Which prank is your favorite? Do you think you'll do all of them? Either way, I hope you have a fun April Fool's Day!
10 Ways to Reduce Screen Time
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the recommended amount of screen time is as follows: no screen time for children under two, one hour a day for children two to twelve, and two hours a day for teens and adults. I definitely exceed the recommended time for adults by a lot. I don’t know if you’ll believe me, but I’m staring at a screen right now.
Actually, that’s very believable; I literally have to look at a screen to write this.
And you have to look at a screen to read this.
Okay, what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that screens have become integral to our daily lives.
Even though it feels like a necessary evil as an adult, it can be incredibly harmful to developing minds. But don’t take my word for it. Pediatrician, parent, and researcher Dimitri Christakis explored what the stimulation from media does to a child:
[it’s the] overstimulation hypothesis, which is that prolonged exposure to this rapid image change during this critical window of brain development would precondition the mind to expect high levels of input, and that would lead to inattention in later life…as a school-age child [reality is] boring; it’s too slow…Why do I have to walk from here to there? That’s the general idea that you’re conditioning the mind to that reality which doesn’t actually exist. (6:39-7:18, TEDxRainier - Dimitri Christakis - Media and Children)
He continued to share an uncomfortable result from putting the “overstimulation hypothesis” to the test. The more television a child watches before the age of 3, the more they’re at risk of having attention issues when they enter school. For each hour they watch a day before age 3, their chance of problems with attention later in life increases by 10%. If they watch an average of 2 hours a day, they’re 20% more likely to have attention problems (Christakis). I recommend watching his whole TedTalk. He explores more of his scientific research, which is incredibly eye-opening. You can tell it’s really scientific; he experimented with mice and everything. Nothing’s ever really scientific till there’s a mouse experiment. Everyone knows that.
So, we established why it’s so important to limit screen time for younger children. As they grow into middle school and high school, the issues don’t end but shift. Too much time in front of the screen can translate to too little sleep and unhealthy weight gain. When they’re streaming, playing video games, or on social media, what is the screen replacing? Are they missing out on learning from real-life experiences? Exercise? Connections with friends?
It’s easy to point out the problem, but it’s a whole other thing to take the actual steps to address the issue. I’ve scoured the internet for different tips to reduce screen time in the household, and I want to share some of my favorites.
Put the screen in a shared environment.Leaving the screens out in the open won’t only make it easier to limit screen time, but it’ll make it easier to have some control over what kind of content your child chooses to watch.
Set goals, but be realisticGoing cold turkey is hard for anyone, no matter the age. So, if the recommended hour is a far cry from your child’s present reality, do small attainable goals. Plus, there are particular environments where screens are your best friends, like long plane rides. Be consistent but bending every so often is not the end of the world.
Don’t eat and watchThis tip is hard. When I think of watching something, I think of snacking. When I’m snacking, I think of watching something. It’s a vicious cycle. A very unhealthy vicious cycle of overeating.
Establish phone-free zones/timesBe clear that there are certain times and places that are phone and tablet free. Choose a time when it’s essential to have a face-to-face connection, like at the kitchen table during dinner, on family game night, or an hour before bedtime.
Limit your screen timeI know. I felt personally attacked when I read that nugget of advice. It’s like the old saying, monkey see monkey do. If your kids see you spending most of your time on your phone or laptop, why would they do any different?
Make them part of the decision-making process.Okay. So, you limit your child’s time on screens. When are they allowed their screen time? Let them choose! Maybe it’s right after school? Or maybe as soon as they’re done with homework? When they choose the time, it’s like limiting screen time is a mutual decision and not some form of punishment.
When they do have screen time, choose the content wisely.The amount of screen time isn’t the only decider in whether or not a child is at risk of attention problems. What they watch is just as important. Citing Dr. Christakis again, he states that slower educational programs like Mr. Rogers or Bluey pose no risk of attention problems, entertainment programs with bright and quick scene changes increases the chances by 60%, and violent programs have even more rapid sequencing and
List alternatives to screensOkay, they are no longer attached at the hip to their screens, but now what? Give them alternatives. If they have nothing to do but stare at screens, they’re going to stare at screens. Get art supplies, sports equipment, *cough* a StairSlide *cough*, basically anything that will support or help them explore other hobbies!
Limit handheld devicesHandheld devices like iPhones and tablets are usually the most popular perpetrators of excess screen time. It’d be better to avoid handheld devices for your child altogether, but this is sometimes not realistic. When they get older, there are more extracurricular activities which come with more independence, but you might not be comfortable letting them into the world without a way to communicate. Maybe they need a phone if their activity got out early and they need a ride? Or do they want to tell you they found a ride home with a friend? Or even just for a general check-in. There are ways to stay connected while maintaining safe screen time limits.
Get them an Apple Watch instead of an iPhone: they still have the freedom to text their friends, but more importantly, you have peace of mind that there’s a way to check in with them even when they’re away from home. Plus, no one can comfortably scroll through social media or watch Netflix on a 40 mm square, so the chance of spending too much time on it is slim to none.
Look into kid-friendly phones: while these devices vary somewhat, they only include what your child needs and excludes what they don’t–like social media. The family lifestyle site, verywellfamily.com, made a great list of some of the most popular options.
Explain the ‘why?’ behind the rulesOf course, your child will go to a friend's home, and the friend’s household rules will be different. You will probably hear, “But Timmy’s mom lets him do this and that,” and possibly endure a tantrum. Get ahead of the explosion, and explain why your home has specific rules. It’s easier to follow a rule when you understand the reason behind the rule. You might not be able to altogether avoid an outburst, but it’ll be downgraded to a whine or two.
If you do happen to incorporate some of these steps into your life, remember that limiting screen time is beneficial long-term. Like the wise words of Dr. Dimitri Christakis (yes, again), ”If you change the beginning of the story, you change the whole story.” There will be moments when you’re frustrated and tempted to hand your child an iPad for a nugget of peace, but that one extra hour planted in front of a screen could do unseen damage to their future (save the screens as a last resort).
St. Patrick's Day and Its Traditions
Let’s begin with the man himself, St. Patrick! Did you know that St. Patrick wasn’t even originally from Ireland? The island's patron saint actually originated from the British Isles in the 5th century. I don’t think it matters, though; the home you choose is way more noteworthy than the home you’re born into, right? It gets even crazier when you learn how he first arrived in his chosen home. When he was 16, he was kidnapped and shipped to Ireland as an enslaved person.
He did manage to escape to his native home only to travel back to Ireland some years later after he was inspired to return as a Christian missionary to the previously pagan land. He’s credited with introducing Christianity and driving snakes out of Ireland; even though there’s some speculation around whether his life is more fiction than fact, I can safely say that St. Patrick is a symbol of Irish culture. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t only a celebration for the man, but a celebration for Ireland!
Why do we celebrate on March 17th?
We are not sure when he was born, but it’s believed that he died on March 17th, 461. So, St. Patrick’s Day is a party around the anniversary of his death…it almost seems like they didn’t like him that much. Celebrate a person’s birth? Yay! Happy Birthday! Celebrate a person’s death? Feels a little macabre. This reaction makes a lot more sense when you understand how it was first recognized; St. Patrick’s Day was first celebrated in Ireland in the 9th or 10th century as a solemn religious holiday. Once the holiday made its way to America, it evolved into the party we recognize today.
Surprisingly, the first St. Patty’s parade took place in America. With the influx of Irish immigrants in the 1700s, the displaced population became homesick. Instead of observing the Irish holiday as a quiet affair, as they would back home, it became a bright celebration of their heritage! From then on, St. Patrick’s Day became a happy event and a show of Irish strength with annual parades in Boston, New York City, and other American cities.
The bare minimum for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day is wearing green, but why? Why is green so significant for the holiday? Well, there isn’t one clear answer. Like most old legends and traditions, the reason “why?” varies from person to person. Here are some of the more significant answers for why we wear green:
+ For Ireland’s nickname: The Emerald Isle
Ireland earned the title “The Emerald Isle” because of its abundance of natural greenery. Ireland’s staple weather feature is rain. The temperature may change, but precipitation is a constant. Summer? Warm and wet. Winter? Cold and still wet. As you can imagine, this lends its hand to the island’s beautiful green rolling hills or, as Johnny Cash would say, its 40 shades of green.
+ For the Irish flag
The Irish flag has three vertical stripes: orange, white, and GREEN. The symbolism behind the design is actually super interesting. The green represents the Catholics, the orange represents the Protestants, and the white between the two colors symbolizes the peace between the two religions in Ireland. Even though this proposed reason for the green on St. Patrick’s Day is delightful, I wonder why orange doesn’t have the same love? For this reason, I doubt this is the answer to why we wear green.
+ For the shamrock
I think this is the most substantial reason why we wear green. The shamrock (three-leaf clover) has become synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland. St. Patrick is believed to be the one to bring Christianity to the island and used the shamrock to explain the idea of the Godhead (God, Jesus Christ, The Holy Ghost). Whether or not this took place, the event to solidify the shamrock as a symbol of Ireland is powerful…rebellion.
+ It could’ve been blue
The color most associated with St. Patrick used to be sky blue or “St. Patrick’s Blue.” Early depictions of the man would show him wearing this blue which became the color of the Order of St. Patrick (a part of Ireland chivalry). In even earlier mythology, the symbol of Irish power was a woman in a blue dress. When Henry VIII took the throne and declared Ireland part of England, blue became the official color. As you might assume, the people of Ireland weren’t that enthusiastic about this new arrangement; they used St. Patrick’s shamrock as a sign of rebellion and Irish independence. Isn’t that awesome? This, in turn, made green the color to represent Irish culture. Again, isn’t that awesome?!
(Don’t worry; I look best in cool colors. So whether it was blue or green, I would’ve looked fantastic. I knew that was keeping you up at night.)
What’s with the pinching?Do you remember when you were little and didn’t wear green on March 17th? Everywhere you turn, pinch, pinch, Pinch! Hopefully, it’s less common today than it was a couple of decades ago; but knowing how kids operate, pinching is probably still alive and well.
Why do they pinch, though? Easy, leprechauns. The leprechaun is a figure in Irish and Celtic folklore and is believed to be a fairy type. According to myth, leprechauns are incredibly cranky and mischievous. (Honestly, I would be a little cranky too if I was responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies all-day. Don’t they fly? Why do they need shoes?) They enjoy pulling pranks and…PINCHING! The reason to wear green to avoid their pinches does vary. Some say it’s because the holiday’s signature color makes you invisible to their spritely fingers and others say green is their favorite color and pinch anyone not wearing it.
Either way, wear green and keep your fingers to yourself!
2 Delicious No-Bake Pie Recipes
It’s 03/14, and you know what that means…pi day! To celebrate this day which happens to line up to a famous sequence of numbers which is also the name of a popular dessert, let’s make pies! Now, I’m not much of a baker, but I’m not going to let that stop me from making a delicious pie. For any fellow non-bakers, I’ve found some no-bake pie recipes I would love to share. Plus, if you want your kids to help you out around the kitchen but are a little hesitant to let them around the oven, these recipes are perfect for you; everyone has fun in the kitchen, and no one runs the risk of burning the house down. It’s a win-win!
Oreos are great and so versatile! They’re great with milk. They’re great with peanut butter. And surprisingly, make for a great pie crust (who knew, right?).
You just need 2 ingredients:
+ 24 Oreos (approx. 2 cups)
+ 4 tbsp of unsalted melted butter
Now, what do I do?
+ Throw the cookies (creme-filling still intact) in a food processor or blender and grind them into fine crumbs.
+ Combine the crumbled Oreos and melted butter in a bowl and mix them well.
+ Spread this mixture evenly over the pie dish of your choice (a 9 or 10-inch would work best).
+ Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator
While the crust is chilling out, we can make the filling! This is where the Nutella comes in.
+ 8 oz of softened cream cheese
+ 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
+ 1 cup Nutella
+ 8 oz of frozen whipped topping (thawed)
Now, what do I do?
+ Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and 1 cup of Nutella until smooth
+ Fold in whipped topping
(Folding is essentially a fancy term of combining a light and a heavy ingredient)
+ Spread evenly on the already-chilled crust
+ To be extra fancy, you can take ¼ cup of Nutella and warm it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds and drizzle it on top
+ Refrigerate the whole pie for at least 4 hours or overnight
Toffee Peach Pie
This crust is very similar and just as simple as the Oreo crust.
+ 6 ice cream sugar cones
+ ½ brickle toffee bits
+ 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
Now, what do I do?
+ Throw the ice cream cones and toffee bits in a food processor or blender and grind them into fine crumbs.
+ Mix the butter, cones, and toffee bits in a big bowl
+ Spread this mixture evenly over the pie dish of your choice (a 9 or 10-inch would work best).
+Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Fair warning, this filling does call for some heat.
+ 2 cups/2 large peaches divided
+ ½ cup sugar
+ 2 tbsp lemon juice
+ 1 tbsp cornstarch
+ 4 cups vanilla ice cream (softened if preferred)
Now, what do I do?
+ Mix 1 cup of peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly
+ Reduce heat to low and cook/stir for 2 minutes longer
+ Remove from heat to cool slightly
+ Stir in remaining peaches
+ Cool completely
+ Reserve a ½ cup of the peach mixture for a topping (cover and refrigerate)
+ With the remaining peach mixture, beat it into the ice cream until blended
+ Cover and freeze it overnight
Which one did you try? Do you prefer your desserts chocolate-y or fruity? Which pie crust do you think you'll do again? These are some of life's questions.
How to Clean Your StairSlide (and other toys)
Everything needs a good clean once in awhile. If you have kids, this is especially true. Whether it’s because of their literal sticky fingers or the dirt they tracked into the house, anything freshly clean in their vicinity is on borrowed time. The funny paradox is that people without kids have time to really clean and people with kids REALLY don’t. In this post, I want to do a solid for the people who have no time to clean and make this a one-stop information dump to keeping sanitary. Most of these toys can be cleaned weekly if they’re in daily use. However, if your child is on the younger side and has a penchant for putting their toys in their mouth, I would clean them every other day or so.
Another good rule of thumb to keep toys clean is to encourage your children to wash their thumbs. And their fingers. Maybe their palms while they're at it. Hand-washing. I’m talking about hand-washing. Unless your kid is a baby with a penchant for putting things in their mouths, the most contact they’ll have with their toys would be with their hands. So, to increase longevity between washes, go to the source and promote hand-washing.
How to Clean:
For most solid plastic toys, you can put them in the dishwasher without a problem. While StairSlide doesn’t have any screws or crevices, it definitely won’t fit in your dishwasher; that probably went without saying. Please send me a picture if you do manage to fit yours in the dishwasher; I would be genuinely interested in seeing that marvel.
Since there isn’t a lot of hand contact involved when using the StairSlide, it doesn’t need to be cleaned as often as other toys.
+ If there are any visible scuffs, it's best to spot clean them with a damp towel before you try to disinfect
+ To disinfect it, feel free to use your choice of sanitary wipes (Lysol or Clorox), a cloth wet with a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution, or a mixture of 1/2 cup chlorine bleach with one gallon of water.
+ Allow the slide to completely air dry before use.
Other Solid Plastic
As I said before, this kind of toy can be thrown in the dishwasher; everything is easier when an appliance can do the job, amiright?
+ Ensure all toys are on the top level to avoid turning the well-loved objects into a melted gloopy mess; the lego bricks will no longer fit right and any dolls/personified toy will become the thing of nightmares and/or Sloth from The Goonies.
+ Nestle the larger toys in between the top rack's prongs and place the smaller toys in a mesh bag to avoid them jostling about in the wash.
+ Don't put Barbies in...their hard can't handle the humidity.
+ Don't put hollow toys in since they can collect water which leads to mold.
I probably don't need to tell you but electronics + water = bad. So, how do you clean them?
+ Disconnect them from power or take out all batteries.
+ Spot clean any especially sticky or grimy parts with a wrung-out soapy clean cloth.
+ After you have spot-washed the toy, rinse the soap off with a different damp cloth and let it air dry.
+ To kill bacteria/viruses on the surface, you can use the typical Lysol/disinfecting wipe. Make sure to wring it out well.
+ If you expect the toy to be in your kid's mouth at any time, rinse it again with a damp cloth and let it air dry.
Most of these toys are machine washable, but before throwing them in, make sure any rips or tears are repaired since washin
g might turn the small rips into not-so-small rips.
+ Place them in a mesh laundry bag or a tied-off pillow case.
+ Set the washer on the gentle cycle with warm water.
+ Dry the toy (still in the pillow case/laundry bag) on low-heat and low-tumble.
+ If you can't machine wash the toy or you think the color might bleed, use a steamer or the same cleaning technique as you would with electronics.
Barbies or dolls are comprised of vinyl-like plastic and plastic hair which calls for slightly different cleaning.
+ Regularly sanitizing with a damp lysol wipe is great, but the unique vinyl-like plastic sometimes gets sticky which normal cleaning won't remove.For the "Stickiness"
+ Start with a damp clean cloth.
+ Sprinkle baking soda on the cloth.
+ Wipe the baking soda on the Barbie until the stickiness is removed.
+ Rinse under running water.
+ Allow it to air dry.
For the Hair
+ If there are any tough tangles, apply some conditioner and leave it for a couple of minutes and then brush it out.
+ If you put in the conditioner, rinse it out under running water.
+ Apply gentle/baby shampoo and work it into the hair to remove any dirt.
+ Rinse under running water.
+ Work in some conditioner.
+ Once again, rinse it under running water.
+ Pat dry.
+ Comb the hair to remove any remaining tangles.
+ Allow it to air dry.
I know some people like to clean with vinegar, and while it's great for on removing grease and limescale and kill some germs, it's lower on the scale of actually sanitizing and disinfecting compared to other solutions. If ever in doubt, hot soapy water should do the trick
Ten Tips for Building a Fort
Stuck inside the house? This might sound crazy, but you should build a smaller house, like a Russian nesting doll but with houses. In less confusing words, you should build a pillow or blanket fort. It's a classic and excellent way to treat cabin fever. Sounds fun, right? If you take the following tips we’ve collected, we guarantee you’ll have a Pinterest-worthy pillow fort/smaller house!
- Use sheets I don’t know about you, but I love heavy thick blankets–they’re great. But they do not help when building your masterpiece. It’s puts too much strain on your fastener of choice. While some might not have a lot of light blankets, everyone has one too many sheet sets. These are fantastic for fort building!
- Padding Remember those heavier blankets? Lay them out inside! If you want to get extra comfy and fancy with it, use sofa cushions or even an air mattress.
- Clothespins. Have lots and lots of clothespins on hand.
Rope/command hooks You know when little kids draw a tent? It’s basically the two top lines of a triangle–that’s the type of fort you can make with some rope and command hooks! Plus, it’s super easy!
- Fairy lights This is probably the most optional feature of a fort, buuut it is the cutest. It instantly elevates the look and sort of feels like you’re in a fairytale. I got mine from Target; all things cute and (mostly) inexpensive come from Target.
- Cardboard boxes If you’re anything like me, you have a little bit of a problem with online shopping…and what comes with Amazon packages? Boxes/cat houses! When you run out of pillows and still need some height? Cardboard boxes for the win!
- Heavy books or a stack of magazines Trying to spread a blanket or sheet usually leads to it slipping. Weighing down the edges with heavy books or the stack of magazines every home seems to come with. Depending on how much it ultimately weighs, the blanket shouldn’t budge anymore.
PVC pipe This is a totally different monster than your run-of-the-mill pillow fort and is a little more heavy-duty. This method is probably better suited for older children. I don’t think I could explain this as well as this Mommy Blog: https://oneshetwoshe.com/diy-fort-kit/
- TREATS! Sure, the activity might be fun, but you know what would make it better? Food! Food makes everything better. Honestly, food alone makes for a pretty fun time. So, pop in some popcorn to snack on in your makeshift blanket cave!
Entertainment So, you’ve built the fort. Now what? Grab your favorite board game or queue up a cute movie on the ipad (I recommend Paddington 2–it’s 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. I don’t know the one critic who thought it was rotten, but their opinion is wrong). Even though StairSlide is heavy on promoting screen-less time, there’s no harm with screen-entertainment in moderation. And if you watch it as a family, even better!
You can use all of these tips, some or even none to build a cozy fort when it comes down to it. Since they are usually improvised by whatever’s lying around the house, no fort is the same. They’re like snowflakes but considerably warmer. No matter how it turns out, it's a success if your kids come away with some fun family memories!
When you’re a writer, it’s too easy to talk the talk but not walk the walk. I, Lucy, am not that sort of writer. I made a fort.
Do I have kids? No. Did I have fun? Definitely.
As the saying goes, pics or it didn’t happen, right? Well, wah-pow!
(Surprisingly, I used my StairSlide to create height and pin a blanket to the table)
A Super Bowl Everyone Will Enjoy
The Super Bowl is this Sunday. Whether it’s the game, the half-time show, or the commercials, there’s something for almost everyone. The keyword in that sentence is “almost.” The Super Bowl with all its parts is quite an affair. A very long affair. A football game on its own isn’t the most time-sensitive. Whenever there’s a play, the whole game is paused to see the action in slow-mo, reverse, from below, from above, through infrared, or maybe even what it would look like if it were old-timey Western (as pictured).
You are happy to watch it, though! It’s fun and can get very exciting, but it’s probably a little too long for kids to sit still. To make sure you both enjoy game day, we’ve compiled a list of different activities to occupy their attention and allow you to sit back and relax.
ColoringThe coloring pages are located at the bottom of the post. Of course, I included the teams’ mascots and helmets, but there’s also a blank jersey and helmet so they can design their own!
Lego ChallengesIf you have little kids, odds are, you have legos. The game is the perfect time to break them out (just make sure to not walk around barefoot in the lego-danger zone)! To get the kids really engaged while you’re sitting back enjoying your Sunday, give them little football-themed challenges of what to build.
- The year’s roman numerals (LVI)
- The Superbowl trophy (or what they think the trophy should look like)
- Build a lego football stadium (depending on how much detail they want to include, this might take the whole game)
- Goalposts (if they choose this activity, hold on to it for the next activity)
- Paper Football
The lego goalpost is a fun addition to this game, but the goalposts can easily be replicated with your hands. This video is an excellent explainer of the rules and how to make the paper football.
- Balloon Volleyball
Let’s bring another sport into the mix–Volleyball! Well, it’s volleyball in the loosest of terms. Essentially, it’s “don’t let the balloon touch the ground!” I can personally attest that this game is addicting. We even play it in the office sometimes! I recommend setting up some obstacles (and hiding the breakables).
Printable bingo cards are linked at the bottom of the post. You might have to point/yell out when a particular action happens in some of the squares. There’s some football terminology that I don’t even know (but that is a pretty low bar).
- Sunday Sundaes
This is great for the half-time show! Unless your kids are big fans of early 2000s hip-hop and rap, they won’t have much interest in this year. However, I would be willing to bet they are big fans of frozen treats and have much interest in...ICE CREAM! You can simply put out ice cream, but how else could you utilize the solid word-play of Sunday Sundaes?
- The Stairslide
It would be silly to omit the Stairslide from your list. It provides HOURS of fun! Plus, it gives your kids an outlet for all their physical energy. While you’re sitting and watching the game (no judgment. I’m sitting and watching Netflix as I type this), they’re getting in some fitness without even realizing it.
5 DIY Valentine's Cards
Valentine’s Day is coming! This holiday means love, hearts, and chocolate. Have you ever tried heart-shaped Reese’s? Shaped Reese’s are better; I don’t make the rules.
I loved the holiday when I was a kid. I enjoyed making cards for everyone in my class and receiving Valentine’s from others. This exchange leads to an unsaid competition to distribute the most fabulous card. Even if your kids are doing school virtually, there are still people in their life who they would love to make a card for; you are probably one of them.
Instead of expensive store-made cards, I would love to share five cute DIY Valentine's card ideas I found. Plus, you can make them with things you find around the house! Do you have scissors, glue, and colorful construction paper? You already have what you need for the majority of these crafty cards! (P.s. Some of these are easier with templates. Feel free to nab the .jpegs I made at the bottom)
(Each numbered card title is a link to the necessary detailed instructions)
What you need:
- White cardstock (or any other color you want for the base of the card)
- Paper of various colors
- Glue stick
What you need:
- White cardstock
- An empty paper roll
- Red or pink paint
- Elastic (if needed)
*Disclaimer: This one is a little advanced, so older children might have more fun with this one
What you need:
- Pink or red cardstock
- Kraft paper (or any paper for the basket)
- Craft sticks
- Glue stick
- Tacky glue
What you need:
- Colorful/patterned paper
- White paper strips (for the fortunes)
What you need:
- Cardstock–red (for the heart), white and gray (for a polar bear), or brown and tan (for a brown bear)
- Black marker
It’s easy to post other things other people made simply, so I took the time to make my own! I was a little peckish, so I tried my hand at the Valentine fortune cookie…it didn’t taste as good as I thought it would.
While these different techniques make the cutest cards, make the card YOU want. Change the colors! Add little doodles of hearts! Whatever you want to put your own little spin on it. A homemade card tells the receiver you took the time and adding a little bit of yourself lets them know that you personally care. What’s a better gift for Valentine’s than your time and affection? Nothing!
Heart-shaped Reese’s is a super close 2nd, though.
You Guys Are TOO Cute!
We recently held a giveaway over Instagram for a stuffed animal penguin and have selected a winner! This was no easy task; all the entries were too cute! I wish we had more penguins to hand out, but they are an endangered species; of course, I'm only kidding (about the reason we don't have more to give away, not about the endangerment). We only had one penguin to give away because it was a prototype and therefore one-of-a-kind!
Our one and only prototype plushie penguin now has a new home and a new name! From the very cold Utah to the considerably warmer California, the penguin traveled to Vivian and her daughter who then named him Walter. Isn’t that name incredibly fitting for a penguin?
As stated before, all video entries were very cute. This is why I would like to dedicate this blog post to show Vivian’s and a few other adorable customer videos that were entered, so you can understand how difficult this decision was.
Every Christmas morning should feature matching pajamas!
Their landing set-up looks so soft!
The Stairslide set-up for their twins is absolutely charming
Running up and down the stairs, it looks like they're having so much fun!
We are planning to have more giveaways in the future, so follow our Instagram @stairslide
to keep up-to-date and possibly win upcoming giveaways!
Toys + Imagination
A child’s imagination is a beautiful thing. I only wish I had the same boundless imagination I had when I was a kid; I would never get bored, and I wouldn’t have to depend on Netflix so much for entertainment (I guess I could read a book instead of Netflix…eh). They’re able to spend hours at a time playing pretend. A child’s imagination is what keeps the toy business thriving! A toy isn’t whole until imagination is applied to it.
Barbie is a doll–after imagination, Barbie becomes a princess or an accomplished astronaut (it’s 2022). Legos are just plastic bricks made to destroy bare feet–after imagination, they become a giant tower or a UFO. The same goes for the Stairslide! Aside from turning boring stairs into a nifty slide, the Stairslide can be used in many ways. Asking the parents in the Stairslide office, we found some fun real-life Stairslide uses.
Stairslide is a racetrack.
- “My boys love to put their cars down it!”
- “They put all their hot wheels down the slide to see which car is fastest.”
- “They love to race their pinewood derby cars on the Stairslide!”
Stairslide is for extreme off-roading.
- “He has a remote control car that he tries to drive up the slide. It doesn’t have enough power to make it, but he thinks that’s funny in itself.”
Stairslide is in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
(tbh, kids probably aren’t imagining Harrison Ford sprinting down their Stairslide)
- “We have a giant bouncy ball that they kick up the slide; They have fun watching it roll back down.”
- “he throws ‘ball pit’ balls on his slide and gets a kick out of them.”
Hi, my name is Lucy
You must’ve been guessing who’s been writing these posts. If you haven’t, then this is very embarrassing; I shouldn’t have assumed–you know what they say about assuming, it’s rude, and it might get you in an awkward situation (doesn’t really roll off the tongue. They really should have thought of another saying). As you might’ve guessed from the title, my name is Lucy! I’m the head writer and a fan of Stairslide.
I’m originally from Bountiful, Utah, so you can imagine how homesick I get working for Stairslide located in Lindon, Utah. That’s almost a full hour away. Somehow, I pull through. I’m very brave. I have a degree in Creative Writing from Utah Valley University–that’s why my writing is so creative, obviously.
I love arts and crafts, like embroidery, painting, collaging, etc. Essentially, I love taking something plain and simple and making it one-of-a-kind and more ‘me’, i.e., the pictured painted Stairslide. I’m a homebody too. Before you start to think I’m a hermit, you should know I have a black cat named Gary. So, don’t think I’m a hermit; know that I am.
It’s a joy to work for Stairslide and write about a product that I’m really excited about. Yes, Stairslide is a child’s toy. Do I have any children? No. Do I often slide down the Stairslide set up in the office for a boost of Serotonin? Most definitely, yes. There is a weight limit, but there isn’t an age limit. Loophole! I’m making up for all those years I had to walk down the boring non-sliding stairs.
How Did You Use to Slide?
Stairsliding without a Stairslide?
Even if our parents told us not to play on the stairs, we still did it. Now, as the parents, we seem to forget; no matter how much we say to our kids NOT to play on the stairs, they will find a way.
Personally, my three brothers and I would make an event of it. Surprisingly enough, we never broke any limbs; it must’ve been due to how much milk we drank. Whenever our mom finally got us to wash our sheets, we would lump the bedding into a snowball of fabric, wiggle our little bodies right in the middle, and fly down the stairs. And as I’m writing this, I’m beginning to realize we were playing in dirty laundry the whole time. I’m retrospectively grossed out.
How did you use to slide? Don’t say you didn’t; it’s not healthy to lie to yourself. Did you slide down in a laundry basket to receive a first-hand lesson on why helmets were invented? Or did you slide down on a pillow, bumping your tailbone on each and every step?
Thank goodness we have the Stairslide now. No worrying about your kids sliding in the dirty laundry (I still can’t believe I did that) or tumbling down in a flimsy laundry basket.
With the Stairslide, it takes the previously dangerous sport of improvised stair sliding and turns it into a sliding experience your kiddo would have at your local playground. The difference is that it’s inside, and you have control over how fast it is (the more slide sections, the faster it’ll be).
It's a Giveaway!
Do you remember waiting in anticipation early Christmas morning? You kept poking your exhausted parents to get up (they suspiciously looked like they didn’t get any sleep) before the sun even considered rising. Once the grown-ups woke up with their camera in hand, they would unleash you to tear into the lovingly wrapped presents. Naturally, you had to pose with every present for a picture in the scrapbook or a feature on the home video.
If you bought the Stairslide, it’s more than likely that you’re the exhausted parents documenting the morning. Of course, when you see those sparkling eyes and exclaimed smiles, it’s all worth it. You love Christmas morning; the reason might’ve changed, but the morning is still full of love.
Thank you for choosing Stairslide to be part of the happy day. It really means so much to us. So much that we want to give something back through a little contest. The winner will receive a big FREE plush penguin that’s perfect for sliding. I promise; you want this penguin. It’s a prototype which means it's completely one of a kind (and it's insanely soft)!
To enter, all you need to do is share some of your Christmas joy! Well, there are a couple more steps, but spreading Christmas joy is definitely the main goal.
1. Follow us on Instagram.
2. Take a video of your kids sliding Christmas morning.
3. Post on Instagram with #stairslideisreal
We will then pick our favorite video; I have no doubt that this will be a difficult decision, but we will then pick our favorite video to be the lucky winner. Remember to have fun and stay safe!
The History of Slides
(Preface: this blog post is going to be a shameless nerd-out for historical photos)
Some say the first playground slide was from Russia in 1910, but an image from 1900 of a rooftop playground in New York suggests different. The BBC and The Daily Mail also claim that the first slide was invented by British engineer Charles Wicksteed in 1922; his version was composed of a ladder and a plank of wood (I can just imagine the splinters 😬 😅). No matter the actual date for the invention of the playground slide, it's enjoyable to see that slides have always been a staple for playtime. Our culture might change drastically, but some thing's stay the same, like active childhood fun.
Now let’s get to the cool part: pictures!
Rooftop Playground in New York 1900
Smith Memorial Playground in Philadelphia 1904. Renovated 2005
Helter Skelter in Coney Island 1905
Nursery slide for the young Tsar Alexei in Tsarkoye Selo 1910
Charles Wicksteed's world's "first" slide in Kettering, Northamptonshire 1922
And finally, the first Stairslide (probably)! Charles Darwin made a Stairslide for his children in their countryside home, the Down House in Downe England 1842. I'm not saying our product is on par with Charles Darwin's discoveries, but I'm also not not saying that...
Darwin's Stairslide in Down House 1842
Which one was your favorite slide/picture?
Personally, I wish I could've slid down the whimsical Helter Skelter. It's gone; I checked. Unfortunately, it burned down in 1944 😕
Be Back Soon!To be specific, we’ll be back to processing orders after December 20th. The excitement for the Stairslide this holiday season exceeded our expectations by a pinch. With our record-breaking sale, we planned to run out of inventory by December 1st. However, Black Friday weekend had a different idea; by Sunday, November 28th, we sold out of our slides for Christmas.
While our online stock is on pause, we do have one physical location in Utah! You can find us at a mall kiosk in the University Mall in Orem, Utah. So, no worries for Utah shoppers or extreme gifters willing to travel like Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1996’s Jingle All The Way (I’ve actually never seen the end of that movie, I assume he found the true meaning of Christmas).
We are moving our manufacturing operations to the States during this slight lull and, of course, making more slides. Any orders placed after November 28th are set to start processing after December 20th. They won’t make it to your home by Christmas, but they are still available for Birthday gifts, gifts for giving sake, and the slides make for a perfect Groundhog Day present (that makes sense if you don’t think about it).
More Than One Way To Slide
No single person is the same. To quote the physician turned children's book author (I assume that's how he got his name), Theodor Seuss Geisel MD, "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." We are all unique in our own way and prefer to go at our own speed.
For example, a girl might love to go jet skiing, but that same girl might scream bloody murder when her brother drives the jet ski at full speed, which ultimately throws them in the water. That was a random example; I'm not speaking from personal experience or anything...on an unrelated note, I'm afraid of jet skiing.
We at Stairslide understand that each kids' play style is different. Some love to go as fast as possible, and some like to take their time on the jet ski, Max. To cater to your child's preference, there are two possible setups for the Stairslide:
10 Setup & Sliding Tips
Anything fun can quickly become very not fun if misused; playgrounds are fun, but if you run around on the wood chips without shoes, you’re sure to get splinters on the bottom of your feet (decidedly not fun). The same idea can be applied to an indoor playground, aka the StairSlide! Follow these setup and sliding tips to get the most from your Stairslide:
1. Reposition the StairSlide after each use. Did you stick the landing on the first try? Make sure nothing wiggled out of place to recreate your fantastic performance.
2. Have at least one foot of landing area for each stair covered by the StairSlide. The wall adjacent to your stairs will thank you.
3. Stack and store the slides when not in use. You know the heart attack you get when you miss a step? Now, imagine if the heart attack is followed by your feet slipping out from under you because you stepped on a slide. Scary, right?
4. Do not use near or under stair railings. No one likes a bonked head or a goose egg that doesn’t result in a cute baby goose. (fig. 1)
5. Use in a seated position. There’s a time and place for acrobatics; don’t try any new moves while you and the ground are moving at different speeds.
6. Bend your knees and land on your feet. If you drop a stick, it falls flat. If you drop a bendy spring, it bounces back as if nothing happened.
7. Use with adult supervision. Someone needs to witness (and maybe time) how quickly you slide down the stairs. (fig. 2)
8. Do not slide down headfirst. It takes expertise to do a headstand safely, while most people over the age of one can easily execute a foot stand. Make sure you land in a foot stand.
9. Do not use if you exceed 175 lbs Unfortunately, this means your sliding days are behind you. To quote an unnamed source, “I lead others to a treasure I cannot possess.” (fig. 3)
10. No more than one person should be on the StairSlide at a time. Sharing is caring, but learning how to take turns is also important.
11. Check out our Sliding Methods. There is no one way to set up the slides on your stairs. We have a few ways that might help you by visiting here.
Everyone knows a dad’s no. 1 priority during playtime is fun!
Which is why one of the faces on StairSlide’s new ownership team is none other than fun dad Damian Dayton!
According to Damian, StairSlide™ is more than just a slide, “Like many parents today, my wife and I have struggled to raise our active 6-year-old son without defaulting to excessive screen time. And then StairSlide™ came into our lives.
“Honestly, without the StairSlide™ (and a healthy dose of imagination), I don’t know how we would have made it through quarantine. Not only did the StairSlide™ bring hours of active play to our home, but as the world started opening up, it also brought new friends.
“Like with many startups, we noticed that StairSlide™ faced more than a few challenges. So we gathered a group of parents invested in their own kids' development and got them to invest in StairSlide™ to help this company reach its full potential. So we are excited, to say the least.
Agreed! We are so excited to see where StairSlide™ can go under the direction of Damian and other fun-loving parents.