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Apryl Duncan

Apryl's Stay-at-Home Moms Blog

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Answers to All of Your Summer Camp Questions

Monday April 21, 2014
It won't be long until the school bell rings one last time and the kids will be ditching books and homework for another memorable summer. Before the three-month break arrives on your doorstep with no plan in place, get all of your summer camp questions answered in the free summer camp guide and explore the many summer camp options available for your children.

A picture of girls at a summer camp
It's time to start thinking about summer camps for your kids.
Photo © Camp Warren / Flickr
This will be my seven year old's third summer attending camp. He's not quite ready for the big leagues of overnight camp but he's still excited about having fun, learning something new and making more friends.

His first stop will be a week of Vacation Bible School a few hours a day. A couple of weeks later, he'll spend a week at a nature day camp. Our family will also be spending plenty of time camping with our Cub Scout pack everywhere from in the outfield's grass at a baseball stadium to under the stars in the wilderness.

We'll fill in the rest of our summer spending plenty of quality time together as well as enjoying some of the free summer programs available in our area. Before we know it, the kids will be back in school and another summer will be in the books.

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Coloring Easter Eggs With Kids

Friday April 18, 2014
I recently picked up an egg dyeing kit at the store so my kids and I could continue one of our Easter family traditions of dyeing eggs together. It wasn't until I got home that I realized my son, who'd been oh-so-quiet in the grocery cart, had punched out all of the holes on the back of the dyeing kit's box where you're supposed to place the eggs to dry. With each small circle he punched, he lost a piece of our egg dyeing instructions.

A picture of colored Easter eggs
Coloring Easter eggs with your kids is a timeless tradition.
Photo © haitigirl0 / stock.xchng
Even though I've colored my fair share of Easter eggs, I rely on that box of instructions to get me from step 1 to the end. It's not rocket science, but I like my directions. PAAS has a PDF file of egg-dyeing instructions on the company's website if you've also become the victim of the missing circles on your egg dyeing kit.

If it weren't for those super-fizzy coloring tabs from the egg dyeing kit that captivate my 5 year old, we'd opt for food coloring. The egg coloring instructions are simple if you want to hop down this bunny trail with your own Easter eggs.

For Easter eggs with some extra flair, this video shows you some fun ways to decorate Easter eggs with your kids. If you really want to show them a unique way to dye Easter eggs, use fresh, frozen and canned foods to make natural Easter egg dyes.

Every egg is a work of art, even if it doesn't turn out how we intended. Show off your Easter egg pictures in the Easter egg photo gallery.

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Fingerprint Bunnies and Chicks Art Project

Thursday April 17, 2014
Earlier this week, I shared an Easter chick craft you can make with your child's footprints. I also shared a baby chick Easter card and an Easter bunny card, both made from your children's fingerprints.

A picture of the finished fingerprint bunnies and chicks art project
Use your children's fingerprints to make bunnies and chicks.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
See a common theme here? I love capturing everything from fingerprints to footprints. Those little fingers and toes grow way too fast, so it's nice to have a keepsake to help remember how small they were.

Sticking to that same theme, I've got another fun Easter project for you to enjoy with your children. A couple of years ago, I wanted to get both of my boys' fingerprints on the same page. I came up with this fingerprint bunnies and chicks art project.

I was able to get each one of their fingerprints ... 5 bunnies and 5 chicks. My then 5 year old's fingers made the bunnies. My then 16 month old's made the chicks.

We drew Easter eggs and colored in grass to make it look like the bunnies and chicks are in a field getting ready to pounce on those eggs. This year, we're repeating the project to add in the boys' new little sister into the keepsake project.

I love this project so much that we're going to have to add it to our list of Easter traditions. Those bunnies and chicks are going to get bigger and bigger every year, but what a nice collection of fingerprints I'll have to remember them by.

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Paper Plate Bunny Craft

Wednesday April 16, 2014
My preschooler wanted to make a bunny for Easter. I raided our art supplies cabinet and came up with this paper plate bunny craft on the fly.

A picture of the finished paper plate bunny craft
Create this lovable guy from cotton balls and a paper plate.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
If your child can put a cotton ball on a paper plate, she can enjoy this paper plate bunny craft too. You'll still have to help, but she'll be able to take ownership in the project.

This new friend of ours is hanging in my son's bedroom. We loved gluing the cotton balls, bending the whiskers and brushing some blush onto the ears to give them a pinkish look.

Now my son's giving me daily requests to make this bunny. I have a feeling we'll have a family of bunnies on the wall before April is over.

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Easter Chick Craft

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Turn your children's footprints into an Easter chick craft. You only need a few items you probably already have around the house.

A picture of the finished Easter chick craft
Make some Easter chicks out of your kids' feet.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
It's no secret that I love arts and crafts that make use of my children's handprints or footprints. Last Easter I wanted to capture my preschooler's footprints, so we came up with this Easter chick craft.

It doesn't take long to create, but it's a lot of fun to do. If you have construction paper, orange paint, white paint, a black pen and a pair of willing feet, you've already got everything you need to complete the project.

Now that I have three sets of tiny feet roaming around my house, we're going to try the Easter chick craft again this year. This time, though, the left chick will be my 7 year old's footprint and the right chick will be my 3 year old's footprint. For our baby's first Easter, we'll squeeze a baby chick footprint right in the middle. It's going to be a wonderful keepsake that shows off all of my children's little feet.

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Handmade Easter Cards

Monday April 14, 2014
My sons and I have had so much fun with Easter art projects this year. Today, we finished our handmade Easter cards for our families. I have to admit, they turned out so well we had to create extra ones to keep for ourselves!

A picture of a baby chick handmade Easter cards
Create handmade Easter cards from your children's fingerprints.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
My five year old is sending an Easter bunny card made from his thumbprint. We laughed the entire time as this little white fingerprint eventually turned into a lovable white bunny.

My 16 month old also played along. For him, we made a baby chick Easter card out of his thumbprint.

Both Easter card projects are very easy to make. You only need some construction paper, paint, crayons and willing fingers.

Do give these projects a try for great laughs together and perfect keepsakes. They're both so cute, you'll want to make sure you get all of your children's fingerprints.

And to those in our family who just found out they're getting handmade Easter cards from us ... sorry to spoil the surprise. These projects are too good not to share!

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Top Backyard Swing Sets on a Budget

Monday April 7, 2014
We are practically living outside these days. With two little boys whose energy tanks are always full, we welcome the sight of the great outdoors after being confined within our four walls all winter.

A picture of kids playing on a wooden swing set
Invite all of your children's pals over to your backyard playground.
Photo © mattshomes / Flickr
That's where a swing set becomes one of my favorite toy purchases for the kids. We still hit our favorite playgrounds but there's nothing like having your own personal playground right in your backyard.

If you've shopped around for swing sets, though, you know they can come with quite a price tag. I ran into some that cost more than $10,000.

Now I love my kids but 10-grand seems a bit too extravagant for some wood in my backyard. When you break your family budget down to fit in a swing set, you can actually find some affordable solutions that rival those fancier, pricier wooden swing sets.

Once you start looking art the more budget-friendly swing sets, it's easy to become overwhelmed by all the choices. I've broken down the best wooden swing sets under $1,000 to help you narrow the selection. And if $1,000 is too high, there are some great selections on the list that are well under $500. Read More...

Things to Do with Kids in April

Wednesday April 2, 2014
Have you packed away the jackets yet?

A picture of a family gardening
April is the perfect time to plant flowers with your children.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
They are already in a box in the top of the closet at my house. We may be rushing it but we'll risk it.

Bring on spring!

April is the time of year we start hanging out under the sunshine. There are so many types of activities you can enjoy with the change of seasons, including one of our favorites: gardening.

Some of April's other activities to enjoy with your children focus on education, creativity and the importance of helping and understanding others, to name a few. Find fun things to do with your family this month to make the most of your quality time together.

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Are You "Robbing" Your Kids When You Post Pictures of Them Online?

Monday March 31, 2014
Some parents don't think twice about posting pictures of their kids online. Others can't bring themselves to hit the "submit" button.

A picture of a mom and her child on the computer
Should you post pictures of your kids online?
Photo © Rayes / Getty Images
That's the case for one writer who's made some strong comments about parents who do post pictures of their children online. Amy Webb says she'll never post a single picture of her child online and that parents today are "creating a generation of kids born into original digital sin." She also adds that parents who post pictures of their child online are "essentially robbing her of a digital adulthood that's free of bias and presupposition."

On the flip side, Andrew Leonard has taken the stance that parents are "strengthening the ties that bind a larger community of family and friends together." Leonard's article, titled, "Posting Pictures of My Kid on Facebook Does Not Make Me a Bad Parent," says that Webb's critique "stings."

There's truth to both sides. Your children do lose their anonymity with each picture you post. But people who do post pictures of their kids online aren't doing so maliciously, of course.

Still, before you post pictures of your children online, there are five key questions to ask yourself with each photo. What are your reasons for posting pictures or not posting pictures of your children online? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Sneak in Quality Time with Your Family Every Day

Monday March 31, 2014
I have three kids so my family is always on the go. Between shuttling everyone to and from tennis, swimming, Cub Scouts, doctor's appointments, playgrounds and every errand in town we have to run, our crazy schedule doesn't leave a lot of downtime in our days.

A picture of a mom reading with her kids
Reading together is one of our favorite activities.
Photo © Apryl Duncan
We never fail to sneak quality family time into each day, though. It's easy to be so busy that you get to the end of the day and wonder where exactly the time went. We've been down that road before so we sure don't want to blink and find our kids are out of the house and all we did was play taxi for them.

Some of our favorite activities that make the most of family time include cooking together, reading books to each other and having our big family activity every Saturday. My kids have decided every Wednesday is spaghetti and meatballs night. We read, "It's Bedtime, Wibbly Pig!" every night at bedtime. Saturday is family day and we either get out of the house for a day together or stay home to play board games, build forts or swing on the swing set.

It took a while, we're not perfect, but we finally found our balance to make sure our children get an equal amount of activities outside of the house while also getting in some much-needed family time that helps us all reconnect every day no matter how busy we are.

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