(Family Features) By the time Halloween rolls around, many families are deep into the hustle and bustle of the school year. The holiday provides a great opportunity to focus on family and spend some quality time together.
Shared experiences bring loved ones closer, and Halloween is a perfect time for doing something with the people in your life who matter most, whether it’s your immediate family, college family, friends, siblings or extended family.
These family-friendly activities can help you create some special spooky memories this Halloween with your friends and loved ones:
Visit local attractions. Many communities offer seasonal events or destinations where you can find all kinds of family fun while enjoying a refreshing autumn afternoon. Some popular examples include corn mazes, pumpkin patches and haunted houses. You might also find other attractions such as hayrides and petting zoos.
Decorate pumpkins. Designing the perfect jack-o’-lantern or pumpkin creation can be fun for the whole family. Toddlers and younger children can express their creativity through painting, stickers and accessory kits while older children and young adults may find carving kits to be more their style. Consider the options from Pumpkin Masters, which creates new products every year so you can always find something fresh each Halloween. For example, Premium Sticker Patterns make it easy to peel, stick and carve with pattern transfer sheets while options like Mummy Carving and Decorating Kit or Unicorn Decorating let little creatures in on the fun.
Go trick-or-treating together. Participating in this age-old tradition as a family can make for a fun evening of joy and laughter. You can also incorporate numerous teachable moments, including reminders about safety around strangers and when crossing the street, practicing manners like please and thank you or taking turns ringing doorbells with friends or siblings.
Watch scary movies. Whether you relive your own youth by introducing your kids to the classics or explore more contemporary flicks, gathering the group around the screen for a frighteningly fun movie night can appeal to the whole family. With so many options available, you can easily find something age-appropriate for your little ones – just be sure to add some seasonal snacks to make the night complete.
Find more ideas to inspire quality time with family this Halloween at pumpkinmasters.com.
Recycle Your Pumpkin
Once the holiday fun is done, you may wonder what to do with your leftover pumpkin (and the insides, too). Consider these ideas:
Bake the seeds. Whether you eat them yourself or share them with local wildlife, roasted pumpkin seeds provide a tasty treat. They’re delicious with a light coating of olive oil and salt, or you can get creative with seasonings and spices.
Make slime. The stringy, gooey insides of a pumpkin make for a ghoulish bowl of goopy guts, perfect for Halloween pranks. You can use the pulp in its natural form or search for recipes that add ingredients like glue, water and baking soda for even more texture.
Compost it. Pumpkins generate organic waste, so adding them to a compost bin (or burying them) can be quite beneficial for the soil. Either option returns organic matter to the Earth, rather than heaping it into a landfill where it’s just adding to accumulating food waste.
Create a planter. If you save the pieces carved from your jack-o’-lanterns, you can use a toothpick to secure them in place. Then you’ll be left with a vessel that’s perfect for using as a seasonal planter. Add some mums or other autumn blooms and enjoy them throughout the fall.
Donate to a nearby farm. Pumpkins can be a tasty treat for wildlife and livestock. If you don’t have animals like bunnies and squirrels to share your pumpkin with in your own backyard, check with area farms to see if they’d like your leftover pumpkins to use as food for the animals.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (mother and child painting pumpkins)
5 Simple Holiday Hosting Hacks
(Family Features) Entertaining friends and loved ones during the holidays offers an opportunity to slow down from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and make lasting memories. The key is getting ahead of hosting duties so you can be present with family and friends.
Make this season’s holiday hosting effortless and enjoyable with these tips:
- Stick with a simple menu. There’s no need to create an elaborate menu with complex dishes that take hours to prepare. Instead, build your menu around easy crowd-pleasers. Save the experimenting with new recipes and ingredients for another time when you’re less likely to feel the pressure. Be sure to consider your guests’ likes and dislikes and be conscious of potential dietary restrictions.
- Serve beverages with festive flair. A beverage station is a fun and unexpected way to infuse some extra holiday cheer into your event. Offer cozy options like hot chocolate and coffee, along with an array of seasonal mix-ins and flavors. Convenient and tasty options to have on-hand for the holidays are Starbucks creamers, featuring flavors inspired by cafe beverages like Caramel Macchiato, White Chocolate Mocha and Cinnamon Dolce Latte, all which are now available in limited-time red holiday packaging online and at your local grocery store.
Give your guests some festive drink inspiration to start with, such as this delicious holiday-themed recipe for Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee that is sure to become a favorite. For added fun, provide an array of toppings such as marshmallows, peppermint sticks and chocolate candies wrapped in colorful holiday wrappers.
- Plan for entertainment. When a well-acquainted group gathers, the party has a way of taking on a life of its own. In case of a slow start, or if you’re entertaining different groups of friends who don’t know each other well, it’s a good idea to prepare some options to get guests mingling and engaged. A playlist of holiday music creates a festive atmosphere and planning a few interactive games ahead of time can help break the ice.
- Pace your preparations. Make a conscious effort to spread your party prep over the days and weeks leading up to your event. Saving all the cooking and cleaning until the day of the party only leaves hosts exhausted before guests even arrive. Instead, make a list of everything you need to accomplish around the house and tackle a few chores each night. Do your shopping a few days ahead so ingredients are still fresh but you aren’t left scrambling. Prepare any dishes that can be refrigerated or frozen ahead of time.
- Anticipate guests’ needs. The secret to great hosting isn’t really a secret at all; it’s simply making sure your guests feel welcome and comfortable. Providing a secure spot for coats and handbags, offering a drink when they arrive and making sure they can find essentials like the restroom may seem obvious, but they’re easily overlooked basics. If you worry you’ll be too busy in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on the meal, recruit a friend or family member to act in your place.
Find more inspiration and other holiday-worthy recipes at athome.starbucks.com.
Iced Gingerbread Caramel Coffee
Prep time: 3 minutes
Yield: 16 ounces
- 1 cup ice
- 4 tablespoons Starbucks Gingerbread Naturally Flavored Ground Coffee for double strength
- 6 ounces water
- 1 ounce Starbucks Caramel Macchiato Flavored Creamer
- whipped cream
- homemade or store-bought caramel sauce
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- Place ice in 16-ounce glass.
- Brew gingerbread coffee with water and pour into glass.
- Add caramel creamer. Stir.
- Top with whipped cream, drizzle of caramel sauce and nutmeg.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock (friends celebrating holidays)
Most unmarried, low-income couples show positive co-parenting
Study shows how parenting teamwork helps child development
Newswise — COLUMBUS, Ohio – Despite the many challenges they face, slightly more than half of unmarried low-income couples with children have positive co-parenting relationships, a new study found.
And those supportive relationships were linked to their children showing more empathy, less emotional insecurity and fewer behavior problems.
Parents who are good co-parents work together as a team, provide support to each other and back up each other’s parenting decisions, said Susan Yoon, lead author of the study and associate professor of social work at The Ohio State University.
Those types of relationships may be particularly hard for the parents in this study, who may be more likely than others to be stressed by finances, racism, and lack of support.
“Our study specifically focused on racially and ethnically diverse unmarried couples with low incomes who are more likely to face a lot of parenting challenges,” Yoon said.
“But we found that 56% of these families had good co-parenting relationships which was linked to positive outcomes for their children. Our findings really highlight the strengths these families exhibit.”
The study was published online recently in the Journal of Marriage and Family.
Participants in the study were 4,266 unmarried couples and their preschool-aged children from eight cities across the country who participated in the Building Strong Families study.
Parents in the study completed measures of how much they worked with their partner as a team to raise their child, and their perception of the other parent as a supportive co-parent.
Children’s socioemotional development was measured by asking mothers a variety of questions about their child’s empathy toward other children, their emotional insecurity and their internalizing problems (such as how fearful they were) and externalizing problems (such as being overly active).
The results of the study showed couples fell into four categories based on the quality of co-parenting and how each member of the couple thought the other did as a co-parent.
The largest category, Profile 4 – 56% of the sample – included couples with high-quality co-parenting in which both the mothers and fathers thought the other parent was supportive.
“This is the category where the children had the best outcomes, and it is encouraging that this was the largest group in our study,” Yoon said.
Parents in the other categories showed that it wasn’t just the quality of co-parenting that was related to how well the children fared – it also mattered quite a bit how much parents agreed that their partner was supportive, according to Yoon.
Children fared the worst in Profile 2 – (25% of the sample) – in which co-parenting was of moderate-high quality, but fathers had more negative views of how the mother co-parented.
“These findings suggest that fathers’ dissatisfaction might be an important warning sign for children’s poor functioning, even though co-parenting seemed relatively good,” Yoon said.
Children didn’t do much better in Profile 3 (12%), where co-parenting was rated moderate, but mothers were much less happy than fathers were with the co-parenting relationship.
Parents in Profile 1 (7%) had low-quality co-parenting and mothers had more negative perceptions of the co-parenting relationship. Here children also did not fare well.
“Overall, we found that it isn’t just the quality of co-parenting that matters for children, it is also important to look at whether both the mother and father are satisfied with how things are going,” Yoon said.
“It is not good if there is a discrepancy between how mothers and fathers feel about the co-parenting relationship.”
These results show how important it is to include fathers in studies like this, given how their agreement or disagreement with mothers on co-parenting played a key role in child development.
Results also showed that when both parents had higher income and education, they were more likely to demonstrate high levels of supportive co-parenting.
“In order to strengthen families, we need to ensure that these low-income, unmarried parents have access to financial and material resources,” Yoon said. “That can help support the development of mutually satisfying, high-quality co-parenting relationships.”
Other co-authors, all from Ohio State, were Joyce Y. Lee, Junyeong Yang, Jingyi Wang, Yiran Zhang, Minjung Kim and Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan.
George Magazine Introduces Children’s Magazine: George Junior
HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS, USA /EINPresswire.com/ — GeorgeMagazine has recently launched their latest creation, a new children’s magazine focused on leadership, patriotism, and faith. The magazine is geared toward children ages 6 to 12 and features a thought-provoking theme each month. Its latest edition set to release today focuses on setting goals and creative ways to stick with them.
In this issue, readers can also look forward to:
1. Comic Book Style Stories: Read along as George Jr., his friend John, and his
sister Betsy, learn a lesson in setting goals, practicing, and staying patient.
2. Bible Stories: Each issue brings to life Bible stories, offering a kid-friendly
perspective on the teachings and morals found within these tales.
3. Branches of the Military: Children will learn the branches of the United
States Military and what each branch is responsible for.
4. Activities: Readers will learn how to create their very own snow globe as
well as how to make Garlic Toast Pizza.
5. Vocabulary: George Junior believes learning new words is important, and
each issue features a set of five words in the beginning of the magazine the
children will seek to find throughout the rest of the magazine.
6. Notable People: This issue features information about Nikola Tesla and the
inventions he created.
Parents can rest assured that George Junior magazine provides a safe and enriching environment for their children. The magazine’s focus is on providing quality content that is both educational and entertaining, allowing kids to explore the world around them while maintaining the innocence of childhood.
George Junior is available at georgejuniormagazine.com. Subscriptions are also available for added convenience and savings. The magazine is a monthly
subscription, allowing children to have something fun to look for in the mail.
With its dedication to fostering intellectual growth and character development, George Junior is the perfect gift for parents and grandparents looking to inspire children while keeping them engaged. Each issue is thoughtfully crafted to stimulate young minds and encourage them to dream, investigate, and thrive.
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Source: GEORGE Magazine
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