Need costume ideas? Watch this Halloween Fashion Show.

This family is crazy about playing dress up. They wear a costume to buy groceries or out to eat. Their collection is currently at 72 costumes. There are dinosaurs and zoo animals; princesses and superheroes; adult, kids and even pet costumes. Some have been made by grandma and even worn by their mom! Others were bought or handed down to them. Either way, it’s a great Halloween Fashion Show, where you can get ideas for your boys and girls costumes.

Healthy Halloween Snacks

I appreciate quick and easy recipes, especially those where my busy toddler can help. Here are some hauntingly healthy ideas for your Halloween party.

Itsy Bitsy Spiders

Spiders On A Log

Add a little bit of Halloween to an all-time favorite snack at our house. Don’t forget to practice the Itsy Bitsy Spider rhyme as kids gobble down these yummy treats.

Ingredients: celery sticks, peanut or almond butter, plastic spiders

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Cut celery sticks into bite-sized logs. Fill each log with peanut or almond butter. Decorate this protein-rich snack with plastic spiders. Kids would be happy to help with this part. Just remember not to eat the spiders!

Cheesy Broomsticks

Cheese Broom Sticks

High in protein, low in calories. These easy to make treats will fly off the plate!

Ingredients: mozzarella cheese sticks, pretzel sticks, chives (optional)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Cut each mozzarella stick in three pieces. Then cut up the lower parts of each piece to make it look like a broom. Ask your kids to assist with inserting a pretzel stick into the cheese broom. It’s easy and fun to do! As an option, you may decorate broomstick by tying a chive around the top of the broom.

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

This scary healthy dessert is a treat to prepare. Unleash kids’ creativity as you fill their tummies with vitamins and fiber.

Ingredients: bananas, chocolate chips, clementines, celery sticks

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Directions: Peel bananas and cut them in halves. Then press three chocolate chips in a triangular pattern to identify ghost’s eyes and mouth. While kids are busy decorating bananas, insert pre-cut celery strips into peeled clementines to make pumpkins. Stand banana ghosts on a plate along with your orange pumpkins. Voila!

To the mother of a strong-willed child: Now, I get you!

To the mother of a strong-willed childTonight a friend called and asked me to watch her handsome 1 year old baby boy for a few hours. We’ve had numerous play dates with him. My daughter loves baby D and treats him like a little brother. So I thought: “No big deal! By now (with Anna being close to 2.5 years old) I should probably have a black belt in watching 1-year olds.”

Well… today was the day I realized how easy I have it with my daughter! Don’t get me wrong, baby D was fine playing and going along with his plans for the night. It’s my plans of feeding or bathing everyone preferably at relatively the same time that he had some problems with. And unlike Anna with whom I can usually negotiate, he made sure we all understood that my plan was cutting in front of his. Baby D has a strong will and it takes a lot of patience and adjustment on the caregiver’s side to make things work for both. He is also very strong. At 1 year old he is MUCH stronger than my 2.5 year old! And I am not kidding! The moves and twists he performs when you try to change his diaper or when he tries to escape from the high chair are no joke. I’d call them “stay away or get a bruise” moves!

Luckily, my husband was home and was very helpful with both kids. There were times when I desperately cried for help. Like when I was covered in baby D’s oatmeal and he was trying to escape the high chair, for example. It was a good reminder for me of how easy it is to disregard the unique character each child has. We cannot apply a cookie-cutter parenting method to all children. We must accept and adapt to each personality to make our relationships work. A little help from our loved ones changes the world though!

Overall, to my surprise, we all did great. A few battles here and there, but everyone was successfully fed, bathed, and still had a big smile on. However, I must say to you – moms of strong-willed children – I have a new level of respect and compassion for you. I admire your patience and flexibility. Next time I see you, I‘d be sure to offer some help. Now, I get you!

Here are 7 lessons from tonight and into the future that will help guiding the strong-willed child and avoid power struggles. These helped us, but feel free to modify to suit your child needs.

7 Tips on Parenting a Strong-Willed Child

1. Clear Rules and Consequences

Set the rules and enforce them. The child will constantly test you, so don’t be shy to follow through. Clear boundaries and routines make even a strong-willed child feel safe and in control.

2. Give Advance Notice

As adults like to know the plan ahead of time as it makes us feel in control. So give your child an advance warning so he has time to switch his mind from what he is doing now and has an easier time adjusting.

3. Give Options

Most people don’t like being told what to do, so try giving some choices. Just make sure you agree with both options. For example, instead of telling your child to eat, try asking if he prefers to feed himself or you feeding him.

4. Experience to Mastery

Most children have to experience everything for themselves in order to learn and master a skill. Once you make peace with this and make sure your child in not in danger, relax and let him explore. Messes can be cleaned up, kids can be washed, and most things can be fixed. As a result you will have one happy and proud child; as well as you will save your nerves and relationship with the child.

5. Disregard Tantrums

A tantrum is a cry for attention. And some love is generally in order. However, if you are certain the child is not hurt or in danger, don’t fall for the wet eyes and give in to the tantrum. Stick to your rules and consequences. This is the only way to maintain healthy boundaries.

6. Listen with Respect and Consider His Point of View

Many times we get so busy that we may forget things we’ve promised to our children or we are just in a hurry to deal with emotions of our little one. In both examples the child has a full right to be upset because he is not allowed to break his promises to us or ignore someone else’s hurt feelings. In these cases, you have to model the behavior you expect. Apologize profusely or listen empathetically to his point of view, assure him that you will do your best to keep your promises and show your love. It may be difficult for the very little ones to express their emotions, so you need to help them verbalize what they may be upset about, and you will notice the crying will stop when child feels understood.

7. Praise

Reward behaviors you would like to maintain, and ignore the behaviors you would like to eradicate. Most children react well to positive attention and strive to repeat this behavior to receive more praise.

If you have any other tips on managing a strong-willed child, please share them below in the comments. I will be happy to hear your success stories!

My toddler can’t get enough of the Gummy Bear!

My toddler loves gummy candies, so obviously this song was a hit in our house. The catchy tune, easy words to remember, and a funny gummy bear character make this clip simply irresistible. Anyone else’s kid is in love with the Gummy Bear song?

Interesting fact that the gummy bear candy first originated in Germany. In its honor in 2007 a German composer Christian Schneider wrote a novelty dance song “I’m a Gummy Bear”. It was first released in Hungary where it held the top of the charts for 8 months. Later, the song has gained popularity in other parts of the world. Today, the gummy Bear song has been released in 25 languages and has over 1 billion plays combined.

This 11-year old girl can move! Her performance left Ellen DeGeneres speechless.

An 11-year old Taylor Hatala has already conquered YouTube with a series of dance performances together with her choreographer Matt Steffanina. Some of their videos have more than 26 million views! Taylor has a natural talent and passion for dance. It was just a matter of time until she would get noticed by Ellen DeGeneres. Taylor’s performance at The Ellen Show left the audience cheering for more.

A 3-year old boy doing a random dance that melts everyone’s hearts.

The 3-year old Zhang Junhao, a boy from Zibo in Shandong Province has everyone up on their feet cheering. He is young, confident, and simply happy to do what he loves the most — random dance. He brought along his “baby” — the speaker decorated with many stickers. Zhang hugs his baby before their performance together. The judges are very amused with the little boy. Then Zhang asks the judges to help him control the music and turn on the songs at random. Little boy brings the remote to the judges himself and gets kisses from the judges.

As music starts Zhang gives an outstanding performance. He then adapts his dancing style to every new song coming at him randomly. Zhang has the moves to the traditional music, he then incorporates some martial arts elements, and even does the robot dance. Both the audience and all three judges are applauding for little Zhang with huge smiles on their faces. The boy has indomitable spirit! No wonder all three judges vote for him to move on to the next level.

When the judges ask Zhang where did he learn his moves, the boy answers that he dances with his whole family on the plaza: mom, dad, sister, aunt, and even grandmother. He started when he was 10 months old and has since fallen in love with dancing.

Judges then interview little boy and Zhang keeps laughing at one of the judges but not the others. He then says that he likes to dance because it makes his mom laugh. His mom taught him that laughing means happiness. Zhang then shares his dream, which is to make people happy because he is happy. This comment melts everyone’s hearts.

After getting two thumbs up from every judge, Zhang gets down on his knees and tells his “baby” that it’s time to go back to mommy. It’s so heartwarming to see this boy’s passion and kindness in everything that he does. May his dream come true and everyone be happy.