Wednesday, September 21, 2016

2016 Halloween Costume Couture

 

My Halloween couture trade inside connection Rhonda Cowan, co-owner of Etoile costume and gift shop on Venture Boulevard in Tarzana CA reveals the hot trends for 2016. Rhonda and her sister Sandy outfit high-end Valley Girls and Guys and the studios. Look for their lineup at parties and trick-or-treat parades near you. From Rhonda,



"Trends...Deadpool, Harley Quinn, Joker, Harry Potter is still popular. Pirates are always popular, the 20's never goes out of style along with Gatsby now.   


 :

Super Heroes always for kids!  Especially Captain America, Thor and the villain Loki.


Top Halloween 2016 costume trends!:

Because of their recent passing, Prince and David Bowie costumes are in demand for adults...Michael Jackson is a perennial.  Star Wars is surging again.   Ghost Busters for preteens and teens."



Image result for ghostbusters

There you have it ghouls and guys, and for more Halloween fun be sure to download your copy of

A Harvest and Halloween Handbook from Amazon or BN.com.






and 



.:

And for great DIY costume ideas and instructions visit my Pinterest costume board: https://www.pinterest.com/pammcmurtry/costumes/


Friday, September 16, 2016

45 days and counting...

I'm excited about fall this year for some reason! Summer has always been my favorite but the past couple of years fall has taken the candle for my favorite!:


I am so ready to start decorating for Halloween. My youngest son, living at home while he attends college, has informed me that if I start decorating for Halloween too early he's moving out.

 Gosh I'm going to miss that kid. 

So it will be a few days before the harvest and Halloween make their appearance at McMurtry Manor; but not wanting to leave you hanging, here are a few of favorite blasts from the past. 

Halloween home from A Harvest and Halloween Handbook:

 Autumn decor featuring the portrait of g.g.grandfather Perus Sprague Tracy and Die Heilige Schrifte, my husband's antique German Bible. 

Happy Sukkot!

A sukkah for a Feast of the Tabernacles celebration.

LOVE houndstooth plaid!:

Houndstooth check and a black cat for you cat and dog lovers.

Here's a spot for a Halloween party.:

A polka dot party in our Kid Cave. 

Oh the lights at Halloween:

Cool but not creepy Halloween decor. 

Pumpkin pie cake recipe:

Pumpkin Pie Cake... mmm I can smell it now. 

Fairy house: site for a Halloween party treasure hunt:

A Halloween dollhouse to hide treats in for the treasure hunt. 

Halloween activity: Candy jar guessing game

Fun and games and more to come from 
A Harvest and Halloween Handbook


Get your Halloween inspiration when you download 
A Harvest and Halloween ebook today




Oooh, I just created a breakfast that I hope you'll try - 
its nutritious and delicious! 

Wheat Field, Macro, Wheat, Natural


French Toast Cracked Wheat Cereal


       With a hand-cranked grain mill set on extra-coarse, grind                  whole kernels of wheat. Measure out 
3/4 C cracked wheat
       Place in a large saucepan, add
2 C water 
1/4 tsp sea salt
       Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium          and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. Add 
1 C chopped pecans or walnuts 
1 C blueberries, fresh or frozen 
        Spoon into 3 - 4 bowls and sprinkle with 
cinnamon
nutmeg
brown sugar, maple syrup or honey (optional)
       Add milk and you have a protein-rich hearty breakfast that tastes and smells divine. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Two Little Mermaids Go Back to School


If you grew up in Coralsbed, love mermaids or the ocean, stop by Amazon.com to download your copy of  A Mermades' Tale. Shell and Pearl are 2 little mermaids who live just the other side of the tide line in a little village called Coralsbed. In their cozy sandcastles with their families, they learn the lessons of life, about school, making friends and even how to unmake anemone. 

Each chapter has an activity, puzzle, poem or recipe to your littles to enjoy. 


If you loved their story published here last year serially, you can now pick it up in one edition for your Kindle or phone. It makes a great bedtime story that you can read without turning on the lights! 

.:

P.S. If you would like to review A Mermades' Tale on Amazon, let me know and I will send you a complimentary copy. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Back-to-School Tips

It's that time again:



And 2 of the most important things your child will need for school:

https://familyshare.com/2611/parenting/the-most-important-items-for-back-to-school-tolerance-and-respect


Heaven forbid that your children will ever face the horrors of  school violence, but I remember reading that during the Columbine High School massacre at least one potential victim was spared because she had been kind to the shooters. Kindness works on many levels.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Don't hate me but I just finished my Christmas shopping.

The history of four Christmas food traditions:


You may not want to hear this, but girls and guys, I just finished my Christmas shopping. Don't be a hater, I will share my secrets for getting 50 - 90% off Christmas presents for the 30+ people we exchange gifts with every year.

1. Watch for sales at your favorite retailers. I live near a DownEast Outlet that has a tent sale every July. They have deep discounts on Pottery Barn, Mark and Graham and other quality lines. A pair of $150 pajamas cost me $6 plus an hour with a seam ripper to remove the unwanted monogram or to sew a piece of ribbon over the initials on the cuff. I picked up a a red plaid (my addiction) wool weekend bag for $10 and a set of Pottery Barn luggage for 90% off - one piece even had my initials. Leather accessories are priced at up to 95% off. Many have monograms that can be altered or removed - sometimes I get lucky and find something for a loved one with their initial. Good quality scarves and travel blankets were $2 and $3 dollars and Pottery Barn velvet Santa bags were about the price of paper gift bags. Call your local DownEast, there may be more sales coming soon.

2. Target toy sale. Target is getting ready for Christmas merch and is marking toys and games way down. I picked up Monster High and Barbie items for 50% off. Disney clay animation movie-making kits were about 70% off. Baby toys, art supplies and games are on clearance too; many at 75% off.

3. Barnes and Noble clearance sale. B&N not only marks down all kinds of fascinating books, but toys and readers are also on sale. The clearance begins at 50% off, but if you can hold out, after about 3 weeks goes to 75%, then $2 an item. We will be well-read this Christmas.

The only problem I am still having is that Christmas paper is not yet in stores. Fortunately I had a few rolls put away and was able to find some $1 red and white striped and polka dot rolls at Michael's. Make sure you grab a few rolls after Christmas for next year if you want the jump on wrapping before the busy holiday season. I am so excited that I am wrapping all of the treasures and stashing them so I can enjoy a peaceful and creative holiday season without the mad rush to shop in December. I'll have time to bake and visit family and friends and focus on the real meaning of Christmas - the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Down time? probably not. I'm waiting to hear from a publisher about my manuscripts they are considering and I might just do another holiday candy window for City Creek Macy's in downtown Salt Lake City. I'll let you know. 

100 pounds of candy! (Francisco Kjolseth  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  For the second year, Macy's unveils the holiday candy windows at Macy's City Creek on Thursday, Nov. 21,  2013, including the ornament called Merry! by Pam Layton McMurtry and her son Tim. The windows which kick off the holiday season, are made entirely out of candy and reflect Salt Lake City and the luster of the holiday season. Six local artists were chosen to design the windows.  https://www.ksl.com/?sid=28034321:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Happy Pioneer Day


Today is July 24th, the date that Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley after being expelled from their homes and businesses in Illinois and Missouri. One of my great, great grandfathers, Chauncey Webb, a blacksmith from Nauvoo, was with President Young's company. I suppose bringing your blacksmith with you was like having your favorite mechanic on a cross-country move. 


Fresh Baked Honey Wheat Bread

I read yesterday about some of the foods the pioneers enjoyed after they were established in the valley for a while. I always pictured the pioneer experience as sparse and desperate, but started looking at things differently when I learned about the abundance they eventually enjoyed as their crops and orchards matured. http://archive.sltrib.com/story.php?ref=/sltrib/entertainment2/58169927-223/cheney-utah-pioneers-mormon.html.csp


The eight currently in our household are anticipating our holiday celebration tomorrow. My daughter's family has spent some time with us as they prepare for her husband to enter the CHP Academy in a few weeks. He will become another first responder helping protect the innocent and upholding the law like our soldier, our son who recently completed EMT training and our son who takes the Bar in California this week. What a great crop of men we have been blessed with. Because we have 3 young children at our home we will enjoy a child-friendly celebration with pioneer games based on authentic activities, a homemade chili and bread stick picnic and (non-authentic) smore's - come on you have to have a bonfire at some point, right?

So here's a cheer for Pioneer Day with a nod of gratitude to the hearty faithful souls who helped settle the wild west and build temples so families could be sealed together forever. 

How could you look at this, and not want to get married there?? #LDSTemples #MormonTemples #Gospel:


McMurtry Pioneer Day 2016


Picnic near the stream on our property
Games - Bean-GO (Could you have bean a pioneer?)
Stick horse racing with squirt guns for prairie fires and bison
Bean bag Toss
Musical Chairs
Indian Pictographs
Cookie making


Pioneer activity: Write with Indian symbols/pictographs and celebrate diversity. Draw on brown paper "pelts". A 72 character guide is available to download on Etsy:

A homemade chili and breadstick picnic on the grass with cold watermelon, grapes, peach crisp and coconut cookie s'mores. 

Maybe a pioneer scavenger hunt with activities that pioneer children did (if the mood strikes.) Happy Pioneer Day! 


Pioneer Day scavenger hunt game based on the activities and chores of pioneer children; hide the items and have children hunt for them or do the activities. We used a toy cow and fake eggs :) Digital image of game available to immediately download and print on Etsy.:

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Birthday America!


I love this land of the free and the brave. After years of enduring a sluggish economy, government leadership I often question and watching our culture slip farther and farther from its moral moorings, I have once again found a reason to celebrate being American.

I have been contemplating human rights as I've worked on one of my holiday books and have come to the conclusion that the Old Testament and the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights are the greatest documents promoting Human Rights that were ever written. Between the laws of ancient Israel, the Ten Commandments and our code of law, we have been granted freedom and protections unknown through much of the history of the world. And even though our laws and hearts have had to be updated from time to time, we are still a beacon to the world.


So thank you Heavenly Father, Founding Fathers, our parents, soldiers and lawmakers for giving us the opportunities for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. 


Congratulations Kaysville Rotary Club for another great 5K race to raise money for humanitarian youth projects! 








We talked to Andrew and Annie from their 3-year assignment at their new duty station. It seems the 4th of July is not as big a deal  in Europe. No fireworks, races, parades or barbecues for them this year. Thanks for foregoing the celebration to keep the flames of freedom burning bright for the rest of us. God Bless America. 




Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Getting Ready to Wish America Happy Birthday!


I'm working on a manuscript for A Holiday Handbook 2 and found this transcript from The Kim Power Stilson show 2 years ago celebrating "Pilgrims, Pioneers and Patriots: The Builders of our Nation" on 25 June 2014. I am also back to work on family history and thought this might be interesting for my family to read.

Here is a little piece of Americana for your summer reading enjoyment.





A partial transcript from the 
Kim Power Stilson Show 
on BYU Sirius XM Radio 143

Kim, Thank you for inviting me here today to have a little chat about the “Builders of our Nation” – Our heroes the Pilgrims, Patriots and Pioneers.
We’re getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July next week and Pioneer Day on July 24th. I thought it might be nice to share stories about these epic people who changed the world.  We usually think about Pilgrims in the fall, but their contributions and part of the story of the rise of America might be considered around the birthday of our great country.

The dictionary defines a Pilgrim as “ one who journeys in foreign lands :  wayfarer
 one who travels to a shrine or holy place as a devotee
capitalized :  one of the English colonists settling at Plymouth in 1620

When we talk about America, we might consider that some of the first “Pilgrims” were the English settlers in Virginia. Jamestown was established in Virginia and was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. William Kelso says Jamestown "is where the British Empire began,...Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 4, 1607.  This was an exciting time in world history. The Virginia Colony was named for Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII, who was called the “Virgin Queen” because she never married. At this time in England, there was a lot of religious conflict. You might remember that Elizabeth belonged to the Anglican Church that her father started, and had her cousin Mary Queen of Scots executed after a failed coup involving Spain and the Catholic Church. In 1603 as she lay dying, Elizabeth named James, the son of Mary and King of Scotland as her heir. So James came to England to inherit the throne and Elizabeth’s favorite entertainers, one of which you may have heard of: William Shakespeare who began writing for his new patron works like King Lear and Macbeth which included a reference to King James’s ancestor, Fleance the son of Banquo for you Macbeth fans. In addition to enjoying the literary works of Shakespeare, King James had another project going on, he was continuing the  commission Elizabeth had started on  an English translation of the Bible, which we know of as the King James Bible. 
Back in America, several attempts to establish colonies had failed, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Another Colony upriver, the Berkley Colony was growing and was actually the site of the first Thanksgiving in 1619, the year before the Pilgrims arrived. But Jamestown served as the capital of the colony for 83 years, from 1616 until 1699.
The settlement was located within the country of the Powhatan Confederacy. The natives initially welcomed and provided crucial provisions and support for the colonists, who were not very agriculturally savvy. Unfortunately their relations went bad and wars between the settlers and native Americans began .and this unfortunate situation will come into play again during the Revolutionary War. The mortality rate at Jamestown was very high due to disease and starvation, with over 80% of the colonists perishing in 1609-1610 in what became known as the "Starving Time". About half of the Pilgrims died that first winter at Plymouth.
In 1608, the Virginia Company brought Polish and German colonists to help improve the settlement, as well as the first women. In 1619, the first documented Africans were brought to Jamestown. The following year, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts.
Shakespeare retired in 1611 and died in 1616.James Fort in Virginia became James towne in 1619. In 1699, the capital was relocated from Jamestown to what is today Williamsburg, after which Jamestown ceased to exist as a settlement, and today is an archaeological site.
KIM, Have you ever visited Colonial Williamsburg? American history buffs really need to go see the finesse and culture exhibited by the early colonists. So you have the British colonies established. Let’s jump ahead to 1750 to tell the story of one American Patriot. When we visited on St.Patrick’s Day, I told the story of one Irish-American family and their experience during the Revolutionary War.
Elizabeth Duncan was born in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1750 to Scottish parents who had emigrated from Ireland. When she was six years old her father died and her help was needed to keep the family alive. She grew up a hard worker and when she was 25, she fell in love and married Samuel Porter who had recently come from Ireland to America with his five or six brothers. Samuel had joined the Virginia Militia where he was assigned to protect settlers from Indian attacks. They moved to the Kentucky region which was then part of Virginia to build a homestead with several friends and relatives.
While there, the entire community was captured by Indians and it is thought British soldiers because they were not scalped. All of their livestock was taken and they were marched as prisoners of war to Detroit. Elizabeth was expecting their third child at the time. During the 600+ mile march, Samuel was forced to carry their little daughter Margaret and Elizabeth tried to keep their toddler son form making noise “lest their captors dash out his brains in front of his mother.” Although she was permitted to ride much of the way, she often spent hours with her feet in water. They endured abuse by their captors and nearly starved to death.
When they arrived at the prison camp, they were placed in stockades and pens like animals. Samuel was sentenced to be executed.
Elizabeth was assigned to cook for the British officers, which turned out to be a blessing. She was able to collected scraps of bread and meat and hide them in the “dishwater” tub which she placed near the building where Samuel was imprisoned so he could reach through the boards and get the food, probably saving his life.
Elizabeth and others were then taken over 700 miles from Detroit to Quebec, Canada where they remained prisoners of the British and Shawnee Indians. During the winter of 1780, which has been called a “little Ice Age” because it was so cold that the New York harbor froze and people could walk from Manhattan to Staten Island, Elizabeth and her children were north of New York approximately parallel to Vermont. It was there that her third baby was born.
Can you imagine living in those conditions? In all of the world’s history, the concept of freedom has been enjoyed by a relative few. The fight for a democratic government was so dear to the hearts of the people and so hard won, we don’t even know most of the sacrifices that were made by early Americans.
When the war ended, Elizabeth carried her youngest child and took the two others back to Virginia, about 1200 miles. If you can imagine a young mother, probably in rags with no money and three small children trying to get home, you wonder how they survived. You can see why it is imperative that we help the poor and struggling, as I’m sure people did for Elizabeth. Her home and all of her possessions were taken and she didn’t know if Samuel was still alive.
For a moment, fortune favored Samuel. The British commanding officer had taken a liking to Samuel and had stayed his execution. When the war ended he was free to return to Virginia to try to find out what had become of his family. But his luck didn’t last long. Because an American officer didn’t like him, Samuel was tried for treason by the Americans. Poor guy, he couldn’t win either way. He was acquitted and finally reunited with his Elizabeth and their three children. They started to rebuild their lives, a home and went on to have three or four more children.
While Samuel and his then four sons were building a house, they were once again attacked by Indians, but a band of wild dogs appeared and drove the attackers away. Another time Margaret and her sister Tabitha were going after water when they passed a group of braves hiding near a stream. For some reason, they left the girls alone. Samuel died and Elizabeth joined her sons in Jackson County Missouri where she died and was buried in 1845.
One of the interesting things about this story is that in Elizabeth’s day, she saw the rise of America and the signing of the Constitution of the United States. Joseph Smith was born on a farm in Vermont, the Church of Jesus Christ and priesthood power were restored to the earth and Joseph died, all within one lifespan. Elizabeth’s participation in the Revolutionary War, her sacrifice and courage have been honoredby the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution.  

Framed Mary Engelbreit print. 



A classic Independence Day picnic!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Healthy snacks for your summer road trip and staycations

When you are ready to hit the road, take along healthier snacks and diversions for more summer fun! This is an article I wrote for FamilyShare:





http://familyshare.com/family/the-open-road-beckons-healthy-and-happy-snacks-and-diversions-for-your-summer-road-trips

  • Come away, come away, come away with me!
    As summer breezes begin to blow, the temptation to embark on an adventure becomes almost irresistible (do you remember the Wind in the Willows?) Here is a menu to fuel the energy of your wanderlust and set you on a course for a wunderbar journey. (Approved by my Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetic Educator husband.)
    Healthy and happy foods make for good traveling companions. If you eat mostly healthy food, you'll feel better and will probably consume fewer calories than if you eat a lot of junk food. The cold things need to be in a cooler with ice and the rest can be packed in a cute container with compartments or in a basket that's easy to get to. A friend always puts her veggies in mason jars with ice water. Don't forget paper towels, wet wipes or wet washcloths in bags and a trash bag.
    Tip: My sister-in-law makes her husband stop once a day for a sit-down meal on long road trips. I like to pack a portable propane grill or chef's single burner, a pot, spoon, disposable paper plates and bowls. You can heat up soup, and add a packaged salad or cook a simple meal, even oatmeal or eggs for breakfast.
    When you are trying to make good time on the road, here are some of our favorite snacks to pack for the journey.
  • Drinks

    A cooler filled with ice and drinks will be your best friend on the road. Consider forgoing the usual sodas (sticky) and try some of these suggestions:
    Water and fruit-infused water in bottles (strawberry, orange, lemon, cucumber, etc.)
    Sometimes you need caffeinated soda for drowsiness. It can also be diluted half and half with water so it's not so sweet, or try the diet variety.
    Fruit juices and nectars
    V8 and vegetable juices
    (Vernor's) ginger ale for motion sickness
    Bring straws.

  • Snacks

    A cramped car is the last place you want to jam a bunch of sugar-filled children. Give the traditional candy and chocolate bars a break on this trip and pack some of these items instead.
    Mixed nuts
    String cheese
    Whole grain crackers
    Popcorn
    Trail Mix: I don't like raisins and sticky foods in the car, but we do have a great dry trail mix made with mixed nuts, M&Ms, whole grain cereal and candy corn.
    Confession: I like adding oat and marshmallow cereal (Lucky Charms), but you could make it healthier with whole grain oat or wheat cereal. Pack it in bags or keep it in a large container and scoop out small paper cupfuls to pass around:
    2 C plain M & Ms (about a pound)
    5 C mixed nuts or peanuts
    1 1/2 C candy corn
    4 C cereal
    Also: 
    Olives
    Fresh fruits: grapes, apples, bananas and cut up melon for older and neater eaters
    Fresh veggies: carrots, jicama, cucumber, grape tomatoes, celery, broccoli, peppers
    Sandwiches, wraps and pinwheels (tortilla rolls with cream cheese, meat, tomato slices and lettuce)
    Whole grain bagels and cream cheese
    When you know the trip will be long, don't waste time stopping numerous times for food. Instead, why not consider packing a loaf of whole wheat bread and jars of peanut butter, honey or jelly (and a spreader). It's a money-saver as well as a time saver on the road. You may also offer your hungry passengers these items:
    Yogurt in tubes
    Bar cookies are usually thicker and more stable than round ones
    Homemade granola bars
    More travel tips:
    Pack a Frisbee or football for quick and stretching workouts at rest stops. Be sure to find a safe place to play.
    Bring something soft and fuzzy like a stuffed toy or blankie for young travelers. Stroking something soft helps relieve stress. (The cat probably would rather be left at home.)
    Pack some sunscreen in the car for stops and sightseeing.
    Paint the back of a wooden tray with chalkboard paint and pack some chalk and a rag. If you don't want crayons and markers in the car, the kids can still draw and play games and the tray can be used for snacks and a play surface.
    Busy books, paper dolls, toy cars and dinosaurs and simple travel games can be wonderful. You can get ideas and free templates on social media sites.
    Incentives: have a container of money in the car labeled with a list of forbidden actions like name-calling, whining, hitting, etc. If the kids get out of line, take out some of the money. Give them what is left for souvenirs and special treats.
    Buy a donut-shaped travel pillow for each passenger. They are heavenly for a quick snooze without waking up with a stiff neck.
    Check out a few well-written audio books from the library. You may tire of the constant interaction, conversation and "togetherness." Put on a good story and relax; better yet, find a series. Listening makes the time pass faster, too. To keep the happiness meter up, we love good comedies by Dave Barry and Bill Cosby. Do your older children have books they need to read for school? You can knock out a reading assignment and have an interesting discussion to boot.
    You don't have to leave your happy, healthy lifestyle on the side of the road. With a little preparation ahead of time, your family trip can be just as pleasant along the way as the anticipated destination.
  • Beef jerky

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Old-fashioned Ideas for Summer Fun

Here are ideas for summer play from an article I wrote for FamilyShare:

Old-fashioned ideas for summer fun

Summer is a great time to enjoy creative play with your children and grandchildren. Here's a big jar full of creative activities to help you enjoy your busy and happy little ones this summer.

2533 views   
  • Summer days are like a canvas; ready for painting in any imaginative way. Freed from the restraints of school performance and other scheduled obligations, children are ready to let their imaginations run wild. In the days gone by, parents encouraged their kids to play outside, usually without a lot of supervision or expensive props. Enjoy some of the best of the past by turning the little ones loose to explore and create their own interesting adventures and worlds. The lawn may take a hit, but remember, you are raising children, not grass. Provide lots of drinking water and a few healthy snacks and watch the exquisite workings of the imagination unfold!
  • Here are a few ideas for enjoyable old-fashioned summer play

    Fill a large jar with slips of paper with ideas for activities and games. After chores are finished or if boredom begins to rear its ugly head, let the children select a slip of paper to jumpstart imaginative play. For ideas to fill your activity jar, you can download a list here.
  • No purchase necessary

    Provide simple items and encourage the children to participate in imaginative play. A few things to have on hand might include: large cardboard boxes, building toys such as interlocking blocks and Tinkertoys, old dress-up clothes, a few pots and pans, play money, dolls and assorted things (clean out a junk drawer).
  • Kids love a hideaway

    Help the children create one by setting up a tent or tying up a few ropes and blankets. This becomes a fort, store, castle, fashion show, stage or spy base. They are only limited by their imaginations. My sister, brother and I used to love playing together and with the other children in the neighborhood. We were secret agents, shopkeepers, fashion models, teachers and nurses, mermaids and stars. We created treasure hunts, obstacle courses, private clubs, zoos, safaris and worlds of wonder — even an imaginary candy land (before Willy Wonka).
  • Here are some simple ideas for themed play

  • Superspy

    Create surveillance and communication equipment from assorted stuff: old lipstick tubes, interlocking blocks and other junk. This might be challenging for kids used to having cell phones, but put away the real electronics and see what their brilliant little minds can come up with. From their super secret spy base, they may just save the world!
  • Box it up

    A whole world of transportation can be created from cardboard boxes. From trains and planes to cars, boats and rockets, your adventurers can zoom around the world and beyond. Other uses: forts, shops, castles and home sweet home.
  • Little Squirts

    Acquire an arsenal of hydrotactical assault weapons (get some water guns.) This is a tip from a recent high school graduate. Refill buckets are essential, but keep babies and toddlers away.
  • Wildflower Tea Party

    Invite the girls for a charming social. The hostess can make and hand out invitations, set the table (which could be a box), gather flowers for a centerpiece, pour juice and pass cookies and sweets.
  • Treasure Hunt

    Turn the older creative ones loose to create a treasure hunt for the little ones. Find landmarks, hide clues and try to get to the prize before the pirates do.
  • Dress up

    Gather a few interesting pieces of clothing and create a Bible story, fashion show or play. Our favorites were Peter Pan, we were either flying or playing mermaids in our wading pool, rock star and runway. On Sundays the Old Testament provides lots of great epic tales to recreate.
    Free playtime is a great incentive and reward for finishing chores. Children love creating all kinds of fun using invention and wit and developing social and imaginative skills. Save money and enjoy a little old-fashioned fun this summer with your children, you will be glad you did.