Tuesday, June 27, 2017

10 Yummy Copycat Coffee Shop Kid's Drinks

We are so blessed to have a local minor league baseball team just a few minutes away from where we live. It is an amazing family friendly venue full of activities and treats for kids. The ballpark gives our kids a taste of the major leagues without the major league ticket prices.

This past spring our kids participated in a reading program sponsored by the ballpark's foundation. The reward for completing the reading challenge was two free box seat (or lawn seat) tickets to a game. We attended an early June ballgame and had a total blast!! Each kid and adult was given a free program upon entering the ballpark that was full of fun activities and COUPONS!

Each program had several coupons but the one they liked the best was a coupon for a free drink at Biggby coffee shop (kid style). Now that they have tasted such sweet goodness they want to try to make them on their own at home. Why not, right? Can't be that hard! I've been scouring the Internet for some great kid approved special coffee house drinks and thought I'd share what I found in this roundup. To make it a kid friendly drink just leave out the espresso/coffee ingredients.

 10 Copycat Coffee Shop Kid's Drinks

Coffee Shop Taste at Homemade Price

1 - Cotton Candy Frappuccino

via: bargain briana
A few squirts of flavored syrup send this drink out of this world! I've found great flavored syrups on Amazon for a reasonable price. A little goes a loooong way!

Flavored Coffee Syrup

2 - Starbucks Vanilla Steamer

via: real mom nutrition

3 - Starbucks Pink Drink

create kids club
4 - Unicorn Smoothie 
via: in the kids kitchen
Oh, just look at those darling paper straws!! Don't they make this drink look so pretty?

5 - Frozen Hot Chocolate

via: tastes of lizzy t
Now you can have hot chocolate (or cold) any season! Yummy!!

6 - Oreo Coffee Coolatta

via: we lived happily ever after

7 - Strawberry Cream Vanilla Bean Frappuccino

via: design eat repeat
8 - Passion Tea Lemonade
via: cincy shopper
If you are going to all the trouble of making a copycat recipe why not use a disposable plastic lidded cup just like the coffee shop has? You know it makes the drink taste better, right? (kidding....well not really). The clear plastic cups with lids can be purchased in bulk for cheap so you can take your DIY coffee shop drink with you and look like it came from a coffee shop (and not your kitchen)

9 -  Orange Mango Vivanno 

via: savory sweet life

10 - S'mores Frappuccino

via: the domestic rebel

What are you waiting for? Get out your Ninja and get blending!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tips to Keep Your Kid's Brain In Top Shape During The Summer

School has been out for a few weeks (or even a month) now and kids have slipped into their new summer routine - sleeping in, playing outside, staying up late and just relaxing. School is a past memory they would rather not think about but how do you as a parent keep them from becoming victim to the SUMMER SLIDE?


What is the summer slide you ask? It is the loss of learning/remembering what they had learned during their previous year of school. For example, let's say your 3rd grader worked super hard all school year memorizing their multiplication facts and by the last day of school was able to rattle them off without any prompting or help from you or their teacher. Fast forward 6 to 8 weeks into the summer and you happen to ask little Sally what 4 x 6 is and all you get in return is a blank stare - that is the summer slide.

So how do you keep your kid's mind just as active during the summer break as their little bodies seem to be? Reading! Reading and more Reading. Exercising those brain cells all year round is so important to their continued educational development. Like a muscle that has atrophied due to lack of use their little brains need the year round stimulation to keep it strong and sharp.

But how do you keep them interested or motivated to read during the summer? Most kids love a challenge so how about joining a summer reading book club! A lot of summer book clubs encourage kids to track their reading each day and if they attain the set goal the child gets a prize or an award. Kids love this kind of motivation!

This summer my kids are participating in 4 separate reading club challenges. Even my 4 year old is able to participate! During the summer I allow them to choose their own books rather than follow the school year curriculum book choices. They love to explore new genres - some of which they find they like and others they find aren't their "thing".

So where do you look to find these summer reading club challenges you ask? The first place we go is to our local library. Most libraries host a summer reading challenge for kids and some even have a fun kick-off event like a carnival or craft to get the summer reading program started.

Local book stores or even the big box bookstores host summer reading programs. The most challenging summer reading club my kids are participating in this summer is with a local bookstore that challenges kids to read a certain number of hours in order to earn their reward. The top reward after a child reads 150 hours during the summer is a $40 gift card to use in the bookstore. It is a tiered challenge so if you reach the minimum 20 hours of reading the child still gets a $5 gift card.

Barnes & Noble offers a summer reading program encouraging kids to read this summer too! The reward is a choice of books to choose from (by age/grade) when they complete the challenge.

Our last book club is through our local homeschool building bookstore. Kids can earn a $5 gift card to spend in the bookstore and PARENTS get a 5% discount card to use too.

Now you might be asking about those lost math facts and how does reading help your child retain those memorized facts. Reading will help your child keep their brain in tip top shape making it easier for them to remember their math facts or reduce the time they need for a refresher at the beginning of the new school year.

Can't find a reading club challenge for your child in your area? Don't worry! How about creating your own family reading club summer challenge. Here is a bunch of ideas (and links) you can use to help keep your kids reading this summer

#1 - Summer Reading Challenge Bookmarks
via: thirty handmade days

#2 - Color Your Own Reading Logs

via: 123 Homeschool 4 me
#3 - Reading & Reward Chart
via: pretty providence

#4 Summer Reading Chart Bingo Game

via: simply kierste

#5 - Summer Reading Challenge Chart

via: a teachable teacher

Looking for a great list of age appropriate books for your child to read? Check out my post -   Top Ten Books for Children Ages 8 - 13

Here are some other great summer reads for your kids:



Just remember - make it FUN for your children to read this summer! Exercise those brain cells and enjoy a good book. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The 10 Best Father's Day Dinner Ideas to Make For Dad

by mommysuburbia.blogspot.com

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

What's a better way to tell dad how much you appreciate him than with a tasty home cooked meal on Father's Day. A hearty meal to top off a day filled with relaxing, watching the game or maybe even a round of 18 holes is sure to make this Father's Day unforgettable.

I've rounded up ten of the best dinner ideas for you to consider as you prepare the menu for this year's Father's Day feast. If this list doesn't get you inspired (or maybe drooling) I don't know what else will!

#1 - Honey Ginger Soy Surf and Turf

via: rock recipes
The marinade is what really makes this dish top notch! A mixture of sweet, spicy and salty flavors for both the steak and shrimp make this dish a winner for dad!

#2 - BBQ Ribs

via: six sisters stuff

Treat dad like the king he deserves to be for the day with a platter of fall off the bone BBQ ribs plus sides. Easy to prepare with just a few ingredients - no one will believe the main cooking is done in the crockpot! 

# 3 - Philly Cheesesteak Burger

via: snappy gourmet
Melted cheese sauce drizzled over a pile of onion, bell peppers and mushrooms on top of a burger patty make for a memorable burger for dear old dad (and anyone else enjoying this burger!). Yummy!

#4 - Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon 

via: 4 the love of food blog

Amazing looking right? Wow, just Wow! Spice rubbed salmon grilled on a cedar plan sends this meal to the top of my list. My hubby loves salmon and so do my kids so I'm sure this would be a hit for us to serve on Father's Day.

#5 - Tuscan Roast Chicken

via: simply-delicious-food
Roast chicken flavored with rosemary, garlic and lemon and cooked in white wine make for the perfect Father's Day dinner. Don't forget a good crusty bread to accompany this meal.

#6 - Creamy Broccoli, Chicken and Bacon Pasta

via: julia's album
Creamy Broccoli, Chicken Breast, and Bacon Fettuccine Pasta in homemade Alfredo sauce. Easy, delicious pasta dinner!

#7 - Pan Seared Steak in a Balsamic Herb Cream Sauce

via: Carlsbad cravings
A juicy pan seared steak topped with a delicious balsamic herb cream sauce will impress dad like no other dish you have ever served!

#8 - Shrimp Pasta with Tomato and Spinach

via: eat well 101
Bold flavors come together in one pot to create this beautiful dish. Fill dad up with this tasty meal!

#9 - Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas

via: isabel eats
Covered in an easy Homemade Tomatillo Salsa Verde, these baked Mexican Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas are great for dinner.

#10 - Honey Lime Ginger Pork Tenderloin

via: the recipe critic
The flavors of this dish are amazing! I made this for Easter for a big crowd and it was a total HIT! Make Father's Day special for dad with this (crock pot) dish - which is easy for you and good for all.

Happy Father's Day to all you dads, grandpas and other special men in your life. I hope you feel loved and well cared for on this one special day set aside especially to honor dads.

Don't forget a special gift for dad this year - check out this great 10 Awesome Photo Gift Ideas For Father's Day.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for Kids

by mommysuburbia.blogspot.com

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Summer vacation is finally here! Schedules are more relaxed, days seem longer and the fun seems endless. Well, that is until you hear the first exasperated "I'm BORED" spew forth from one of the kids.

AAHHH! Bored, really? Isn't this the same child who was just complaining and asking how much longer before school is done? Wasn't that only 3 days ago?

OK, mom let go of the clump of hair you are about to pull out from your head and take a deep breath! Boredom is a good thing, an inspiring moment for little Sally to start really digging deep to find out what she wants to get out of her summer break, right? Let her just stew a little in this boredom - it will bear good fruit!

Remember mom you are not an entertainment director (or maid, or waitress, or gofer), you are not responsible for providing the entertainment 24/7 for these school free kiddos. Your job is to help inspire these kids so that they can create their own inventions, adventures and summer fun.

Sometimes the best way to inspire your kids is to sit down with them and create a summer "Bucket List" - a list of ideas that they help come up with of things they want to do or accomplish during their summer break. Allowing the kids to come up with the ideas is empowering for them and allows the child to have a say in what they want to do. This list can also be a source of boredom busting for you mom - just whip out this list when you see the first signs of the "I'm BORED" beginning to surface on your child's face.

If you have never created a list like this before here is the Ultimate Summer Bucket List you can use as inspiration for creating your own list with your kids.

I'd love to hear what is on your summer bucket list - leave a comment with your great bucket list ideas! 


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

10 Awesome DIY Photo Gifts for Father's Day


This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Homemade gifts aren't just a treat for moms - dads also love getting these one of a kids creations from their kids too!

I find that if I provide my kids with a little inspiration, supplies and some encouragement they can come up with the most amazing homemade gifts. Father's Day is no exception!

Quite a few years ago, when we had 3 kids I had our kids each made one letter of the word DAD on a big piece of paper. The each colored the huge letter in or made designs all over it. After they were done I took each of their pictures separately holding their "letter". I printed of the photos and put them in a three way frame that we gave to my husband for father's day. He loved it!

My kids love having their pictures taken and especially if they know it is going to become a gift for their dad. This year I've been working hard at finding some new inspiration for the upcoming Father's Day gift ideas for them to do. I thought I'd share the ideas I've found so far to help you with your Father's Day photo gifts.

10 Awesome DIY Photo  Gifts for Father's Day

#1 - Superhero's are all the rage right now so why not give your favorite superhero, your DAD, a superhero photo collage for Father's Day. The link above provides a great step by step tutorial on how to create the sign to go along with the cute pics. 

via: homestories A to Z

#2 - Mason Jar Vase Photo Frame - Here is a super simple, budget friendly and totally adorable Father's Day gift you and your children can make together.

via: life your way

#3 - Photo Key Chain - Here is a great way to let your dad show off pictures of his kids while he is out and about (work, gym, church, etc.) Personalized key chain with kids pics is a great gift idea for dads this Father's Day! The link below the picture will take you to a great blog with a detailed tutorial for the key chain photo project.

via: all parenting

#4 - Wood Block Photo Cube - Simple project that can be completed in an afternoon. Dad can display his photo cube at the office, next to his bed or anywhere he wants to show off his kids smiling faces.

via: elementary art fun

#5 - Photo Trophy - Show dad who is number one by creating a one of a kind trophy with a photo glued to the middle of the cup. A great tutorial can be found here.

via: eighteen 25

#6 - Popsicle Stick Photo Frame - Let your creativity lead the way as you decorate Popsicle sticks with paint or washi tape (whatever you have on hand will work!).

via: tempojunto

#7 - Sidewalk Chalk Photo Prop - Sky is the limit for this photo creation. Chalk and a clear section of cement are all you need to make a really amazing picture for dad. Write a special message or draw his favorite things to include in your picture.

via: sweetgrace 

#8 - Personalized LOVE Picture - Grab four sheets of blank white paper, write each letter to the word LOVE on one piece of paper (make it BIG). Then pose the kid(s) holding each letter individually or as a group. To unify the picture turn it into black and white so the letters stand out.

#9 - Scrabble Tile Picture Frame - All it takes is a shadow box frame, a good photo and Scrabble tiles to spell out your message.

via: come together kids

#10 - Photo Bookmark - Silly poses caught on film start this project off on the right foot. After the pictures are printed and cut out around the child make sure to laminate them, hole punch a small circle at the top and attach a ribbon or tassel. For Fathers who love to read this is the perfect photo gift!


There are so many simple and affordable ways to celebrate Dad this Father's Day! I hope you enjoy creating that one of a kind gift for the special Dad/Grandfathers in your life.

How do you make your dad feel special for Father's Day? I would love to see your ideas and finished photo projects - post a picture or comment here to share.