2014 Easter Activities: Community Egg Hunt

2014 Easter Activities: Community Egg HuntAt the beginning of April, I helped with our community egg hunt. As the social activities in our neighborhood have been non-existent for a couple of years, I was not surprised to find a low turnout. However, those in attendance had a great time.

Advertised in our quarterly newsletter and posted to our neighborhood’s Facebook page, our community egg hunt was on a Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in a cul-de-sac close to our playground.

Had it rained, the invitation indicated that the event would be canceled.

All members of the community were welcome to come as the children, ages 12 and under, hunted for eggs.

Each participating child was asked to bring the following:

  • Ten plastic eggs, each filled with a small item (e.g., sticker, coin, trinket, wrapped candy, etc.)
  • Basket or container for collecting eggs
  • Supervising parent or adult

In helping with this event, I assisted with preparing, setting up, executing, and cleaning up our community egg hunt.

Preparing for our Community Egg Hunt

With the residents invited, we took the extra step to personally notify the residents in the event cul-de-sac. This courtesy was extended to give them a contact name should they experience any issues. Having a one-hour event, we planned the following tentative schedule:

Tentative Schedule

10:30 a.m.: Collect eggs and children’s activity

10:45 a.m.:  Parents and teens hide eggs while children get organized into age groups

11:00 a.m.: Hunt eggs

11:15 a.m.: Open eggs and enjoy the contents

11:25 a.m.:  Conclude with refreshments

To pull off this event, we gathered the following supplies:

    • Tent/canopy
    • Table
    • Tablecloth
    • Centerpiece
    • Clipboard with resident names and addresses to verify residency
    • Pens
    • Two egg collection boxes – one for children ages 0-5 and another for children ages 6-12
    • Egg hunt book from the library
    • Blankets on which children can sit
    • Chair(s)
    • Water
    • Lemonade
    • Cookie tray with 84 cookies from Sam’s Club
    • Cups
    • Napkins
    • Cooler
    • Plastic trash bag

Setting up for our Community Egg Hunt

Our team of volunteers arrived around 9:30 a.m. We setup the tent and table. Then arranged all the items and waited for the children to arrive.

Executing the Plan for our Community Egg Hunt

10:30 a.m.: Collect eggs and children’s activity

As each participating child arrived, he or she added the 10 filled-eggs to the appropriate box. Then the child came to the blanket where we played a game. At 10:30 a.m., I read the egg hunt story titled, Last One In Is a Rotten Egg.

10:45 a.m.:  Parents and teens hide eggs while children get organized into age groups

While reading the story, adults went to the playground to hide the eggs. The plan was to hide the younger children’s eggs in front of the playground and the older children’s eggs behind the playground. However, with a small showing, all the eggs were hidden in front of the playground.

After the story, which teaches about playing fair, instructions were given that each child was to hunt 10 eggs. We then marched out to the playground to have them line up. Once in place, we gave the signal and sent them hunting.

11:00 a.m.: Hunt eggs

The big ones did a great job helping the younger ones. They wandered all over the place finding all the eggs and making sure everyone received 10 eggs.

11:15 a.m.: Open eggs and enjoy the contents

As they began opening the eggs to find their prizes, we headed back to the tent area for cookies and lemonade.

11:25 a.m.:  Conclude with refreshments

We munched and concluded our community egg hunt by finishing the games we started prior to reading the book. The older children enjoyed figuring out the buzz word from the list of given clues.

Cleaning up our Community Egg Hunt

With a few homeowners coming out to watch the festivities and getting in on the refreshments, we ended a little after the one-hour scheduled time frame. With everything together, tear down was quick.

We packed up the leftover items into the two empty boxes, folded up the table, and took down the tent within 15 minutes. Making sure all the trash was picked up and the area free from debris, we headed home chatting with our neighbors.

My oldest and youngest participated in our community egg hunt and enjoyed the activities, especially the lemonade and cookies. With a plan in place and the supplies gathered, the event was executed as scheduled.

Having the participants bring plastic filled eggs alleviated the element of guessing how many would attend. Also, limiting the event to one hour made this event relatively easy to assemble.

We had a great time at our community egg hunt, and my children are ready for more egg hunts this Easter season. Happy hunting!

Question: What additional activities do you include with your egg hunts?

2014: March Madness – The Results

2014: March Madness – The Results

Photograph Credit: NCAA Tournament

March Madness was exciting and full of surprises again this year. With the teams ranked from a panel of sports experts, I found it interesting to see a team like Mercer, ranked #14, knock off a #3 seed Duke in the first round.

Poor Paul! He pretty much gave up on the NCAA Tournament after his team went out after the first game. 🙁

Though I was hanging in there through the Final Four, where Florida played, I lost interest once Florida lost to UConn (University of Connecticut) by 10 points. Although, if my team had to lose, I’m glad they lost to the National Champion.

Having shared how we setup our family competition through Sports Illustrated, I am not going to leave you wondering who actually won our family bracket. With our son being the reigning champion from 2013, we were all looking to bump him off.

So, the winner of this year’s 2014 Morrison March Madness Competition is    . . .

Mr. 8

For the second year in a row, he beat us all again, and he’s not shy about telling anyone who will listen. He is very excited as he had no teams remaining in the Final Four.

In order to beat him, I needed Florida to make it to the final game. Well, it did not happen this year. So, our family’s final scores were as follows:

Family Member

Points Scored

Mr. 8

132

Tracy

116

Paul

110

Miss 6

76

Miss 4

52

Second place seems to be my spot for sports competitions this year. I played in a fantasy football league and was winning all season until the final game. Where out of the blue, one player in our league swept in and snagged first place. Oh well, there’s always next year. 😉

In using time wisely, our family enjoyed rooting for the teams we picked; or, if your chosen team was already out, then rooting against the team another family member picked – just to keep the competition going. Our son kept us informed on the winners as he watched his iPod Touch closely for the final scores.

As March Madness has come to a conclusion for 2014, our son is our family champ for another year. But, we’ll get him one of these times when either Florida or Duke makes it to the final game.

Until that happens, we will enjoy this fun family activity as we pick, watch, and win or lose. Happy playing!

Question:If you participated in March Madness, then how were your results?

2014: March Madness – NCAA Basketball Tournament

2014: March Madness – NCAA Basketball Tournament

Photograph Credit: NCAA Tournament

March Madness has started! The conclusion of the college basketball season culminates with the Big Dance, also known as the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Last year, I posted a video of my son and daughter making their picks when they were 1 and 2 years old. (Love that video as it takes me back to when they were little.)

As a sports family, we love March Madness. Having dealt with the criticism of how poorly the Florida Gators performed during football season, I am thrilled that they are currently ranked #1 in basketball. My husband is a Duke Blue Devil’s fan, so it may come down to a showdown.

For those unfamiliar with March Madness, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) hosts a single-elimination basketball tournament each year comprised of 68 college teams. Though the ladies have a similar competition, our family focuses on the men’s Final Four tournament.

March Madness Online

In 2013, Paul created a group on the Yahoo! Sports page for our family. We entered our picks, and the program kept track of our scores. Our son won the family competition hands down.

My only regret from last year was that I did not print our brackets. About a week after the tournament ended, I went to get the results, and Yahoo! had wiped out those groups to make room for fantasy baseball.

This year, Paul created a group with Sports Illustrated as Yahoo! would not setup a group without verifying a phone number. We did not wish to disclose that information, and Sports Illustrated did not require a phone number.

With the online version, all selections must be made by Thursday, March 20, 2014 at noon. This is the deadline for our bracket through Sports Illustrated. If you choose another online bracket, then check their deadlines to participate.

Once all our family members fill in their brackets, I will print them – even if the games have not begun. I want to be sure to have the brackets for this year. I can always go back to see who won the games and record the winners.

My children get excited about making their selections. The following embedded video is of my children making their 2014 first round picks. (Please pardon my youngest child’s manners as she is still learning proper etiquette, and I did not notice her actions while I was filming the event.)

March Madness on Paper

Prior to last year, Paul and I printed copies of the tournament bracket, made our picks, watched the games, and recorded the winners.

2014: March Madness – NCAA Basketball Tournament

Photograph Credit: Sports Illustrated

If you prefer a paper version, you can print a bracket from ESPN, CBS Sports, or Sports Illustrated.

You can choose how you want to score your brackets. For our family, we followed this guideline for each correct selection:

    • Round 1: One point
    • Round 2:  Two points
    • Round 3: Three points
    • Round 4: Four points
    • Round 5: Five points
    • Round 6: Six points
    • Round 7 (Championship): Seven points – we also guess the score.

If you have a sports fan in your family, then you will probably hear about March Madness, the Final Four, the Big Dance, or the NCAA Tournament – known by lots of names.

This competition continues to bring enjoyment to our family complete with bragging rights. In using time wisely, we love the bonding that this FREE activity brings to our home.

Watching the games and tracking the scoring heightens the competition. The games begin on Thursday, and the deadlines for the online versions are fast approaching.

Setting up a family group takes minutes which is a great use of time for this FREE family, group, or club competition. Happy choosing!

Question: Does your family make selections for the NCAA Basketball Tournament? 

An Entertainment Backup Plan

An Entertainment Backup Plan

Photograph Credit: Fotolio

After today’s events, I am considering creating an entertainment backup plan. Lest you think Murphy hits our home each time we entertain, let me assure you that we entertain quite a bit without incidents.

Tonight was not the case. Everything was going well. I had picked up the pizzas from Papa Murphy’s this afternoon, the house was cleaned, and homework finished.

With the oven preheated, I placed the pizza on the top rack, set the timer, and sat down to rest.

Ahh!

The Incident

Paul came home and was hanging up his jacket when we saw a flash in our kitchen. Checking the light bulbs for outages, we found none. Not seeing anything else, we wrote it off to a power surge.

About 20 minutes later the timer sounded, and I went to the oven. Well, everything was dark.

At this time, I realized that the flash was from the oven. Paul reset the breakers, and then we checked the unit. The oven light and the stovetop worked fine. However, the oven had shorted out. Bummer!

Thankfully, I have wonderful neighbors. I called up one and explained the situation. In typical southern hospitality, she invited me down to use her oven. I enjoyed the time listening and playing with her children while the pizza finished baking.

Considering a Backup Plan

Our dinner turned out well, got off to a little late start, and we had a great night. We are not sure how we will fix the oven. But for now, the rest of our week sports a cooktop menu, so we are good to go.

Though this experience turned out fine, I began thinking about what I would have done had my neighbor not been home. I had called my nextdoor neighbor first, and she was not home. But the second neighbor I called was able to help me out.

Not that I plan to keep numerous options available when we entertain, but I have started thinking about our entertainment backup plan, which definitely includes my fantastic neighbors.

I’m thinking that I might want to choose a cooktop, oven, and freezer/microwave option. Of course, if the power goes out, then I’ll need a grill option. Happy creating!

Question: Do you have an entertainment backup plan? If so, would you be willing to share it?

XXII Olympic Winter Games Activities

XXII Olympic Winter Games Activities

Photograph Credit: Flickr (Department of Culture, Media, and Sport)

Excitement is in the air as the Opening Ceremony commences tonight. With my son studying Greece culture and literature and participating in a class Olympic exercise this year, we are ready to celebrate the world coming together to compete.

My girls are looking forward to the ice skating, my son is not particular, and my husband and I enjoy the curling events. To increase our excitement and check for our favorite events, the following schedules and activities should keep us busy for the next 2.5 weeks.

Olympic Winter Games Schedule

  • Sochi 2014 is the official website for these Russian games. All the events are listed on a chart highlighting the days of competition. When you scroll your mouse over each highlighted day, a drop box shows the times, type of event (qualifying, short program, etc.), and any teams that are playing.
  • Another great resource is NBC Olympics featuring videos, back stories, and television viewing schedule with channel lineups.

Olympic Winter Games Activities

  • Spoonful offers 16 crafts to celebrate the Sochi games. The international recipes look like a fun family activity as well as the sports score cards. Now your family can judge the competitions, too.
  • Activity Village is packed full of information for these Olympic games. From a listing of all the countries participating to activities for many of the events, you are sure to find some fun activities to include in your family fun. I really like the “Learn to draw the winter Olympics” activities as the instructions are step-by-step.
  • Enchanted Homeschooling Mom has created a 100+ page Winter Olympics Pack 2014. Designed for children in pre-K through 6th grade, this pack provides the history behind the events and background on the host city of Sochi, Russia.

With all these wonderful XXII Olympic winter games activities, my children will enjoy learning and practicing with many of these worksheets. Though my son will probably pass, my girls will flock to the activity sheets and drawing sketches.

As you watch your favorite events and cheer for your favorite team, we will be watching along with you. Go USA!

Question: What Olympic Winter event is your favorite?