Happy April Fool’s Day

Happy April Fool's Day

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Looking to pull off a fun, easy prank? Check out some of our hilarious trick ecards, perfect for a quick joke!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Rogers…

Happy Birthday, Mr. Rogers...

Today would have been Mr. Rogers’ 86th birthday. In honor of this occasion, The Fred Rogers Company has asked people everywhere to wear a sweater and do something neighborly.

…What good neighborly deed could you do today?

How to Make a Child’s Christmas Magical (12.13.13)

December 13, 2013

How to Make a Child’s Christmas Magical

Top Ways to Track Santa's Sleigh

The tradition of Santa Claus is passed down generation after generation, and kids of all ages like to celebrate and keep the spirit of Kris Kringle alive. In today’s tech-savvy world, it is a little more challenging than it used to be, but with a little bit of internet wizardry, you can add to the sense of wonder at the heart of the holiday season. Here are a few awe-inspiring websites and apps to help you keep Santa’s story going strong for another year.

Track Santa Across the World

Your child can track Santa’s progress across the globe on Christmas Eve with the help of a few very qualified experts!
Due to a happy accident, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) introduced the tradition of tracking Santa’s journey back in 1955. A misprinted Sears ad encouraged children to call a “direct line to Santa,” but the incorrect phone number actually redirected to the Colorado Springs Continental Air Defense Command. The good-natured agency rose to the occasion, and all staff were briefed to give Santa’s “current location” to any eager young callers.

Fast forward almost 60 years and the experience is considerably more captivating. Starting December 1, the NORAD Tracks Santa website provides descriptions of the technology used to follow Santa.  As he flies on Christmas Eve, it will be updated hourly with “Santa Cam” videos of his sleigh flying over famous landmarks around the world. The very serious and official nature of NORAD lends credibility to the whole affair for a fun, educational, and very convincing experience.

After a few years of partnering with NORAD, Google Maps branched out on their own in 2012. The Google Santa Tracker is very interactive, with mini games and animations in the style of Google Doodles. The link will be available on the Google home page, but you can also follow along on free apps for Apple and Android. It’s a good companion to NORAD’s offering and a fun way to keep kids engaged in those last long hours before the big day!

FaceTime with Santa

A video call from Santa himself will absolutely amaze your little ones. The Video Calls From Santa app is designed to look like a real Facetime call with the big man himself. You can leave Santa a voicemail, or call a number for “Nice” or “Naughty” — which may come in handy as a pre-Christmas behavior modification tool! This one will probably work best for the under-five set, but knowing Santa’s number is a surefire way to impress the whole family.

Send a Talking Santa Ecard

An ecard from American Greetings lets you send a completely personalized message to kids from Santa. Simply type what you’d like the animated Santa on the card to say in the voice you choose, or you can record a message by phone. There are two different Santa’s to choose from, Santa’s List and Dear Santa. It’s available when you sign up for a free trial of American Greetings’ ecards and is sure to inspire a lot of smiles.

In addition to the Santa talking ecards, AmericanGreetings.com offers a wide variety of Christmas ecards. Make the season sparkle with traditional, funny, cute or religious animated ecards.  You can even personalize a special Christmas song to send to your friends and family.

Provide Evidence After the Fact

This inexpensive and easy-to-use photo editing tool lets you insert a realistic image of Santa visiting your home on Christmas Eve. When the kids wake up on Christmas morning, you can proudly display the proof that you caught Santa in the act. Cue the wide eyes and excited questions!
These are our favorite examples of the many amazing Christmas resources online, so it’s worth a search! It’s heartwarming to know that people all over the world are committed to keeping Christmas magical in new and innovative ways. Children today might be a lot more sophisticated than we were, but technology is helping parents stay one step ahead to provide some of the most treasured Christmas memories of a lifetime.

Top 5 Tips for Surviving Black Friday (11.29.13)

November 29, 2013

Top 5 Tips for Surviving Black Friday

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Get your credit cards at the ready! Here we go–another round of Black Friday mayhem is about to commence!

There’s just something about the magical phrase “70-percent off” that sends humans into a crazed state of frenzy, so if you’re one of the brave souls heading out (or camping out) into the wee hours today, here are some helpful tips for surviving the shopping day to end all shopping days.

  1. What to wear Leave the stilettos at home– this is no time for high fashion. You gotta’ wear your comfortable, all-day-traction trekkers to stay ahead of the black Friday race (or even–dare we say it?!) crocks with socks!
  2. Sustenance: Munch early and often; the last thing you want is to become hungry, dehydrated, and irritable and lose valuable shopping energy. Keep a water bottle and snacks in your purse, or deck yourself out with one of those hat helmets with straws for hands-free sippin.’
  3. Buddy System: Shop with a friend! A buddy can take your place in line in you have to go to the bathroom, OR you can wear an adult diaper so you can hold your place in line while not having to hold your bladder. No one will know, and who cares—you just scored 80% off; that’s worth secretly peeing in your pants for. (We kid! We kid!)
  4. Know your territory: You might THINK you know the store layout, but on a day as huge as this, big ticket items often get moved to the end of aisles or put up closer to the front, so make sure you keep your eyes moving as you make your mad dash thru the store or you just might miss out on the deal you slept all night in a parking lot for.
  5. Get Appy: The last thing you want is to lug your huge flat screen to the curb and have no idea where you parked your car. Use a GPS car-locator app so you’re not stumbling around a crowded parking lot. Or better yet—have your buddy meet you curbside for easy loading of all your goodies.

Most importantly—keep calm, be kind and carry on shopping!

Talk Like a Pirate Day (9.19.13)

September 19, 2013

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Avast, me hearties!

“Talk Like A Pirate Day” be celebrated on September 19, ‘n ye ‘would-be’ buccaneers best learn t’speak th’ lingo. If ye reckon that jus’ sayin’ “arrr” at the’ end o’ every sentence will fill yer sails and float yer ship–recon again, landlubber!  It’ll jus’ get ye tossed o’erboard!

So don’t settle fer bein’ an imitation pirate—be authentic  ‘n colorful like a real swashbucklin’ scallywag o’ th’ sea! Lookey here fer some official Pirate Talk tips:

  • Ye be needin’ t’ be rigged up wit a Pirate name—get yer’s here!
  • Change yer Facbookin’ language t’ “Pirate”, ye’ landlubbers!
  • Send all ya scallywags an “Arr!” with a pirate ecard.
  • Wearin’ a eye patch will make ye’ more feared than th’ black spot.
  • A pirate without a crew is bereft indeed! Assemble yer mates and get loaded to the gunwalls with pirates grogg of rum, pineapple juice, coconut juice, or what’ere ye’ scallywags can muster.
  • Talk wi’ yer hands as much as ye tongue, as pirates be loud and animated. Just be careful wavin’ that hook around… ye could put n’ eye out!

Talk Like a Pirate Day ecard

Now get to celebratin’! ARRR!

Summer Series – Summer Song (7.29.13)

July 29, 2013

Summer Series: Songs of the Summer

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The weather is warm, the sun is shining and your mood is light—now all you need are some great tunes to complete this happy scene.  We thought we’d end our Summer Series on a musical note, so here are our picks for the Top Ten Summer Songs that will give you the perfect soundtrack all season long…

Summer in the City, Lovin’ Spoonful

  • Released in 1966, this song shows that you don’t need a beach to capture the summertime spirit.

All Summer Long, Kid Rock

  • Kid Rock crossed over to country and his fans followed, making this song #1 across eight countries in 2008.

Walking on Sunshine, Katrina & The Waves

  • There’s something about 80s music that always gets the summer party started, even if there isn’t one.

Surfin’ USA, Beach Boys

  • Happy 50th anniversary to this timeless summer classic!

Soak Up the Sun, Sheryl Crow

  • This song kicked off the summer of 2002 with soulful style and still makes you want to turn up the radio.

Summertime, DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince

  • After hitting the scene in the 90s, this hip-hop hit still a cool way to liven up the day.

Dancing in the Streets, Martha & The Vandellas (among others)

  • Take your pick on your favorite version that has blared at block parties for nearly half a century.

Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly & The Family Stone

  • How can we not include a song that became a hit at the biggest music festival ever?  Woodstock!

California Gurls, Katy Perry

  • Labeled by music critics as the “summer anthem” of 2010, this is best sung at the top of your lungs.

Saturday in the Park, Chicago

  • This 1973 classic instantly immerses you into the feeling of a sunny summer weekend, no matter what day it is.

Summer Nights, John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John

  • It’s been 35 years since this song was made famous by the movie “Grease,” but we bet you can still sing along.

Summer Series – Recipes (7.22.13)

July 22, 2013

Summer Series: Summer Recipes

Summer Recipes from StayInspired365.com

It’s summertime and the cooking is easy!  With so many delicious foods in season, the only hard thing about serving up the perfect meal is narrowing down the choices.

Simple Summer Meals

Nobody wants to spend a warm day over a hot stove, which is why summer salads are excellent options for lunch and dinner—especially if you add chicken, steak or seafood.   If you’re packing a picnic, it’s fun to combine classic favorites with interesting updates such as a BLT dip and pinwheel sandwiches, along with low-maintenance desserts that stay fresh all day long.

Great Grilling Recipes

Although burgers and hotdogs tend to be the most common grill foods, it might be time for a new spin on some old favorites, like barbeque hot dogs and stuffed burgers.  Or, serve all the flavors of the season on one skewer with easy kabobs.  If you prefer steak or seafood but worry that your grilling skills might not make the cut, a mouth-watering marinade is your key to success.  And don’t forget to grill your side dishes, too! Grilled vegetables complement any summer meal perfectly…and keep all the cooking out of kitchen.

The Coolest Cocktails

While water is certainly the best way to stay hydrated in the sunshine, it’s so much more fun to cool off with a creative summer drink.  For many people, iced tea is the official taste of summertime, but there are also plenty of occasions to keep the cocktails  flowing.  Non-alcoholic treats such as Watermelon Lemonade or an Orange Creamsicle Smoothie are refreshing options for kids—and a fun way to keep everyone in the summertime spirit!

Summer Series Kickoff (7.15.13)

July 15, 2013

Summer Series Kickoff 07152013_summer-vacation-series_packing_American-Greetings

With the sunshine season in full swing, today begins a series of summer-themed topics to help you enjoy these lazy, hazy days in the most wonderful ways.

First Stop:  Summer Vacation!

Whether you’re going on a short jaunt or a long trip, here are some tips to simplify the travel process and maximize the fun:

Packing

  • Keep a packing list and write things down immediately when you think of them.
  • Limit your luggage to what you can wheel or wear.    
  • Pack coordinating clothing items that can be interchanged—and layered.
  • Don’t pack more than one dressy outfit; clothes that require ironing; or anything you haven’t worn before.
  • Do pack extra underwear.
  • Zip-lock bag it!  If something can leak, it probably will.  And an entire kid’s outfit can fit in one bag…and then be used for dirties.
  • Stuff socks inside shoes.
  • Don’t forget chargers.  And be sure to check each outlet at the end of every trip.  
  • Always pack a first aid kit.    
  • If you’re staying with someone, bring a small gift for your host.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

  • Keep what’s needed within reach.  In a car, this includes cleaning supplies and emergency items.  Baggies also come in handy to corral your necessities such as gum, tissues, iPod, and anti-bacterial wipes.
  • For any long trip, bring your own blanket and/or pillow.
  • Layer your outfit for changing temps.
  • Pack an activity bag for kids (and yourself) with new surprises and reliable favorites.
  • Always bring snacks!

Safety First

*Put your credit card on travel alert before you go.*

  • Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket or your purse on your shoulder.
  • Never leave your valuables in your vehicle.
  • Closely inspect all final bills—and don’t be afraid  to question extra charges.

Make it Memorable

  • Ask locals for suggestions on restaurants, directions and activities.
  • Keep a journal.  You’ll be amazed at how much you would’ve forgotten if you didn’t write it down.
  • Take tons pictures and videos, but don’t forget to enjoy the moment while you’re capturing it.
  • Spring for that silly souvenir!  It will surely inspire a smile in years to come.

Summer Picnics (Monday, June 17, 2013)

June 17, 2013

Top 10 Picnic Tips

Top 10 Picnic Tips from stayinspired365.com

It’s time to stock up the cooler, spread out the blanket and bask in the sunshine…because tomorrow is International Picnic Day!  And with the official start of summer occurring on June 21, a whole season of picnicking is about to begin.  So here are ten tips to get you perfectly prepared:

1.    Keep it simple. Stick to a menu of summertime favorites that you can serve all at the same time.  Guests can leisurely help themselves while you kick back and relax.

2.     Make things interesting. Even classics like fried chicken, watermelon and potato salad can be updated with a new recipe.  Or visit your local deli or gourmet market for a picnic made by pros.

3.     Cool it. Freeze bottles of water or juice to use as ice packs until they’re ready to drink.  Ice the cooler several hours beforehand to keep it colder longer, but be sure to keep some ice separate to put in drinks.

4.     Pack wisely. Use lidded plastic containers to keep things fresh and prevent spills.  Pack dressings separately to avoid soggy salads.  For condiments, many brands now offer convenient “picnic packs.”  But you still can’t beat individual fast food packets, so save your extras!

5.     Keep it light. Once you consolidate your supplies, make sure they’re simple to carry and not too heavy.  Some picnic spots are quite a hike. 

6.     Set the table or blanket. Bring extra plates or platters for serving, large spoons for salads, at least one sharp knife, and an opener for wine or bottles.  To keep things organized, put food and drinks in separate coolers.

7.     Be prepared. Sunscreen, bug spray, a waterproof picnic blanket, umbrellas and a first aid kit should protect you from most of the elements.

8.     Avoid these. Foods that don’t transport well (ice cream, puddings, frosted cakes) should stay off the menu.  And keep in mind that sweet and sticky tends to attract wasps and bees. 

9.     Clean up. You can never have enough hand wipes—especially if you opt for barbeque.  And be sure to bring extra bags for leftover food and trash.

10.    Stay flexible. Even the best laid plans—and picnics—are weather dependent, but no one ever said you can’t picnic indoors.  If the skies turn stormy, move the meal inside, lay the blanket on the floor and stay in the summertime spirit!

Fab Father’s Day Gift Ideas (Monday 6.10.13)

June 10, 2013

Fab Father’s Day Gift Ideas…

Father's Day Gift Ideas from stayinspired365.com

Sunday, June 16 is just around the corner, so plan now for great ways to make your dad a star on his special day! Here are some gift ideas that are sure to make him smile…

•Gear Up and Get Outdoors! Make the most of warmer temperatures and surprise dad with a hike or a few fun hours of fishing with the family! Bring a picnic basket filled with dad’s favorite snacks!

•Sports, of Course! Sweet summer days can’t be beat when they feature a trip to the ballpark and an afternoon of popcorn, peanuts and the all-American hotdog! Present dad with baseball tickets wrapped up with a home-team cap and some slick sunglasses to get him into the spirit of the season. Or if it’s golf he loves, treat him to a round with a friend at his favorite course.

•Photo Op! Show dad how much you care with a fun family snapshot! Personalize the frame with words describing all his great qualities. Or, make a card from a retro photo!

•A Day Off! Show your love with some sweat equity! Surprise dad by cutting the lawn or moving some mulch. Or, wash his car and clean and organize the garage.

•Techno Smart. From remote holders to the latest TV, there are enough great gadgets and gizmos to make dad’s head spin! Simplify his workweek with a cutting-edge alarm clock or an organizational “APP” for his mobile phone.

•Get Grilling. Steaks for dinner, bacon for breakfast. Make a meal to remember! Serve it up on festive napkins and plates—or design some placemats with drawings and fun facts about dad!

•Musical Memories. Create some CDs of dad’s favorite songs for road trips or just relaxing around the house. Tie them up with ribbons and deliver with a special note.

Plug in with Power Tools! Always a winner, add a spark to his workbench with a gift card to the local hardware or appliance store.

No matter how you wish your dad a happy Father’s Day, take time to say how much you care! American Greetings salutes dads everywhere!

Don’t forget that you can make a personalized Father’s Day card on our sister site, Cardstore.com!

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