Archive for April, 2008

Apr 30 2008

Let’s Get Ready for Parties

treasure-adventure.jpgWe love birthdays in the Kannenberg household!  Every year we have so much fun planning them with the kids.   Because both girls have June birthdays, they usually are within the last weeks of school.   So, we have always made them big parties with no gifts and have invited their entire classes.   We have had roller skating, pool time, beach time, bowling, gymnastics, dance and make-up parties in the past.  Last year, for Heidi’s golden birthday (8 on the 8th) we rented a limo for a park and pizza party and then had a sleepover with twelve little girls.  Believe it or not, the limo party was by far the least expensive option because we limited it to twelve girls, rather than inviting their entire class to the party.  We have yet to decide this year’s theme. 

For those of you looking for a great birthday idea, check out to make finding your gifts a grand adventure.


Heidi and Megan had a gift adventure for Easter.  They received three letters from the Easter Bunny. 


In the first letter they found the missing eggs for the Easter Bunny, and then were asked to post the letter on the window for the birds to take their message to The Easter Bunny.  Ironically, the girls made friends with a pair of Cranes last year and to our surprise and the absolute delight of the girls, within minutes of taping their letter to our window, the Cranes came back for the season and landed in our backyard to nest again.  The girls were so excited and knew that the Cranes would take their message to The Easter Bunny.  The second letter had another activity for them, after its completion, they were then instructed to tape it on a window low to the ground for the Easter Bunny’s friend, the worm, to take to the Easter Bunny.  Finally the last letter was in code.  Once the girls broke the code—they found their Easter Baskets.

Here our 6 of my top tips for making parties fun:

  1. Involve and empower the kids in the process and try to pull off some sort of surprise, as well.    Heidi and Megan were involved in the planning of Heidi’s Golden Birthday, but the limo was an absolute surprise!!!
  2. Have an activity were the kids make something to take home, or plan a treasure hunt where they find party favors to take with them.  We have done little gift bags filled with non-candy items like little notebooks, stickers and markers for journaling, or lip gloss, nail polish a fingernail file for girls, and Matchbox cars for boys.
  3. Invite parents to come and attend as well.  Kids love to have their parents along for some family fun, too.  It’s great to see Mom and Dad on roller skates and having fun bowling!
  4. Make it more about the fun rather than the gifts.  Our girls have opted not to have presents so that they can invite all the kids from their class.  We have called it an ‘end of school celebration’ rather than a birthday party.  We still have cake and on the invite the girls say they would rather celebrate their birthday with an end of school celebration, rather than have gifts – so please no gifts!!!  We elected to pay for admission for roller skating or bowling, but most places will give you a discounted rate, a perk that can be written right on the invitation.


  5. Shop after holiday sales for discounted toys, decorations or party favors.  This past Christmas, we found Idogs that were regularly priced at $39.95 for $9.95 and I purchased six of them, and Barbie MP3 players that sold for $79.95, and I paid $20 on Amazon.  I stocked up on them and put them in a bin for birthday gifts.  This year the girls can either give an Idog or a Barbie MP3 player, and they get to select which one to give for each party they go to. 

  6. The girls love that we are exposed to many new products via that many of their friends have not been exposed to.  This year they have requested Froose (www.froose.comsee earlier post) and Breakfast Breaks, (which I will be announcing more about in a future post – if you like the Jonas Brothers, stay tuned) two of their favorite new products of 2008.  So, they have asked if we can give away Froose and Breakfast Breaks in their gift bags.  They love to rave about testing products and are obviously immersed in this reviewing process, as well.   Heidi and Megan told me, they are already dreaming about inventing the next best thing!!!  My answer….’You go girls!’

What do you do to make your parties uniquely yours?  Found any truly fantastic finds while shopping, or have any tips you use to deliver the best surprises?  The kids can’t have all the fun… share, share, share! 

Copyright 2008 Stacey Kannenberg, Cedar Valley Publishing, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

108 responses so far

Apr 22 2008

Early Childhood Skills Start At Home

Introducing basic early childhood skills at home will encourage a child to have positive learning habits necessary to succeed in Kindergarten. Incorporating basic skills will prepare a child for a successful school experience because he/she will ultimately develop a natural love for learning.

Prepared below is a list of early childhood skills that can be introduced and practiced at home and school:

  • Share by taking turns.
  • Listen quietly.
  • Wait patiently.
  • Use words to communicate.
  • Recognize and know your full name.
  • Know your parents and/or caregiver’s first and last name.
  • Use toilet by yourself.
  • Dress yourself.
  • Know how to zip, snap, tie, button and fasten your clothing.
  • Recite and recognize alphabet letters.
  • Recognize your left hand from your right hand.
  • Know basic colors, shapes and numbers 0-20.
  • Recognize a penny, nickel, dime, quarter and dollar bill.
  • Use positional words (over, under, up, down).
  • Print your first name, uppercase for first letter only.
  • Know your address and phone number.
  • Know how to use a pencil, crayons, glue and scissors.

Copyright 2008 – Stacey Kannenberg, Author of Let’s Get Ready For Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready For First Grade!

Is your child ready?  What F-U-N things are you doing to get him/her prepared?  

11 responses so far

Apr 15 2008

Let’s Get Ready For Spring Cleaning the Bathroom!

See Stacey Kannenberg’s Video:  Spring Cleaning the Bathroom on The Morning Blend — CLICK HERE

It’s spring cleaning time and everyone always talks about those places you don’t clean all the time:

  • the inside of the refrigerator
  • the inside of the medicine cabinet
  • the pantry
  • the inside of our closets

But, the bathroom has more germs that any other part of the house – so let’s focus today on tips and tricks for making Spring Cleaning the bathroom a top priority!!

Quiz for you today:

Where are the three germest places in the bathroom?  The answers are below:

  1. toilet bowl
  2. bathroom sink
  3. shower/tub

That’s a lot of germs!!  Fighting germs doesn’t have to be a daunting task:

There is a right tool for every job! 

So in our house I use:  The Scrubbing Bubbles Fresh Brush – it makes cleaning easier, quicker and less disgusting.  It has a long curved handle, so I don’t have to reach into the toilet and it gets in all those hard-to-reach places.  It has two interchangeable cleaning pads:  the Max pad for heavy cleaning (that I use every Friday and toss in the trash taking those germs right out of my house) and the Flushables (for those touch-ups, when you need a little extra cleaning before Friday or if company is coming).  The flushable can be flushed right down the toilet and are safe for my septic or plumbing!

So this is the new trend in “toilet talk” – remember, the debate:  Do you fold your toilet paper roll:   over or under ??

The trend is:  when is the last time you changed your toilet bowl brush?? – only 4 out of 10 of us – actually admit to changing it every year or more – so think about the rest of those toilet bowl brushes – and all those germs?

One more tip for the toilet:  Close the lid on the toilet before flushing.  Your dentist will tell you that if you keep the toothbrush within 6 feet of the toilet bowl you need to be replacing that toothbrush along with your toilet bowl brush as well.

actionscrubber.gifFor the sink and tub, I use the Action Scrubber (and if you click here, you can get a $1 off coupon!!!) – so instead of having to spray and scrub you simply wet and go – it has tiny scrubbing fibers that provide a deep clean without gritty chemicals so it leaves a brilliant shine.  And it has a disposal pad that you simply toss after each use, eliminating all those germs from compounding on your cleaning pad. 

The bathroom needs to be cleaned each week, especially the sink, shower and toilet bowl.

  • Keep cleaning supplies in each room for quick 2 minute touch ups.
  • Shake off the shower curtain after each use and spread it open so moisture can evaporate. 
  • Use disposable cleaning supplies to keep germs from compounding.
  • Make hand washing your family mantra.  Not only after using the bathroom, but after you finish eating, when you come home from work or school, after playing with pets, and especially after coaching, sneezing, or blowing your nose.

If you’re interested in more information about these SC Johnson products, please visit

159 responses so far

Apr 14 2008

Mom’s Night Out

I spoke last week about enjoying Keebler’s “Flip Sides” with my mom’s night out friends.  Yes, they’re *that* good!

But, I also wanted to let you know that Rachel Hamman’s just released her new book, Mom’s Night Out: Even Inmates Get Time Off For Good Behavior — just in time for National Mom’s Night Out. :)  

I was actually celebrating it with a girlfriend trip to Turks and Caicos.  It was my first girlfriend trip since kids and it was heavenly!!!! 

If you turn to page 42 of Rachel’s new book you will see my story about my Future Beauticians, Heidi and Megan, and how after that particular day I was in great need of a Mom’s Night Out.  I was *so* honored to be a part of her great book!

Rachel’s book cover was photographed by my dear friend Dave Welder ( who took my wedding photos 15 years ago (this June) and launched into his stellar photo career. 


To get your copy check out of Rachel’s book, either or


251 responses so far

Apr 09 2008

The Elves are at it Again!

We have fun in our house, with the elves.  A friend of mine said that her kids think the elves make toys at Christmas … and cookies and crackers the rest of the year! 

flipsides.gifThese are so cool.  Keebler Town House Flipsides. One side is a cracker and the other side is a pretzel. All in one box! 

I have been watching what I have been eating and I really do (really!) stick to the serving size of five crackers in a baggie.  It takes the edge off and goes as a side with my dinner.

They get the Heidi and Megan seal of approval just because they are so incredibly good and SO inventive.  Megan said, “why didn’t I think of that Mom?!”  

I plan on serving these for all the upcoming birthday parties we have planned and they will be a hit for my next mom’s night out with my girlfriends.

Let me give you a little recipe, that I’m sure you’ll love.  Remember, we’re dealing with the texture of a cracker and the flavor of a pretzel:

Mustard Spread:
1/4 c. cream cheese
1 T. mustard
1 T. green onion, diced
1/4 tsp. horseradish

Mix well, then cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour before you spread it on your crackers.

Once your spread is ready, get a block of sharp cheddar cheese (I’m in Wisconsin, yaknow, and there’s no better cheese around!) and use a vegetable peeler and shave off thin pieces of the cheese.

When I’m being fancy, I put the spread into a cake decorating bag, with one of those pretty tips, to decorate with.  I squeeze a little spread on the cracker, then a piece of the cheese (the spread acts as yummy glue) … and then I squeeze another frilly dab of the spread on top of the cheese.  Arrange the crackers on a serving tray in the shape of a football (hehe) for a super bowl party … in the shape of a party hat for a birthday party … or in the shape of a crown for a Mom’s night out!

I have one (or two or four) boxes of Flipsides in my pantry, just waiting for more fun!

You can read more about the Keebler Town House Flipsides at

147 responses so far

Apr 08 2008

Let’s Get Ready to Kill Germs with a Halo Vacuum

If you haven’t heard about Halo, trust me you will.  It will definitely be all the rage!!


It kills germs with an Ultraviolet light underneath the vacuum.  How cool is that?  Come on, moms, how many times have you had to clean vomit up, off the carpet, and wished you had some sort of ultraviolet light to zap up the germs after you clean up a glob of sickness?  This is what I call using technology in a way to make my life easier!!! 

Using the same ultraviolet technology used for decades in water purification and hospital sterilization, HALO Ultraviolet vacuums are the first and only vacuums that can kill dust mite eggs, flea eggs and certain common viruses, bacteria and mold on the surface of your carpeting in as little as a second, safely – without the use of chemicals.

Plus, I am a vacuum freak.  I vacuum everyday.  It’s part of my daily exercise routine.  I’m the quintessential multi-tasking mom – yep – I vacuum for exercise, killing the germs out of my house and cleaning the carpet all at the same time. 

I have a dark burgundy carpet in our living room and purples and greens in the playrooms and the girls bedrooms.  Our problem areas are the dark carpets and the hardwood under the kitchen table.  I hate crumbs, thus vacuuming everyday takes our crumbs away. 

I get why they call it Halo – it’s like an angel has cleaned up the mess!!!

For more information on the Halo vacuum’s, please visit

133 responses so far

Apr 04 2008

A Winner!

Published by under CVP Winners

Since Kim was the only entry, she’s the big winner of the SC Johnson Scrubbing Bubbles!

Congratulations, Kim!

I’ll be in touch with you via email, to get your mailing address. 

Next week, a vacuum like none other.  Seriously.  I’m in love.

450 responses so far