Category Archives: holidays

Boxing Up Father’s Day!

Father’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time shop for a gift for Dad.  But, if he’s anything like my dad or husband, he has enough ties, he has enough power tools and he even has a barbecue grill set, so he’s all set, right.  Which presents a problem – what to get Dad for Father’s Day.  After a little hunting around on Pinterest, we came up with a great idea for any dad – a custom made gift box!

This box is really special because it reminds your dad (or husband) of all the reasons that being a dad is so great.  On top of that, you make it yourself, so it is personalized just for each individual dad himself.

Here’s just what to do:

Step 1: Download and print out the special tags on this link. (You can decorate or color them however you want.)

Step 2: Choose the tags you want to use and match each tag with something the special dad in your life would like.  You don’t have to use them all – just choose the ones you like the best.  Or create your own on the blank ones provided. (Check out the examples listed below for some ideas.)

Step 3: Punch holes in each of the tags and use ribbon, twine or yarn to tie the tags to its corresponding item.

Step 4: Package everything in a gift box or basket.

Step 5: Give to your dad on Father’s Day with your best smile and a hug!

 

For the Tired Dad 

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There are lots of ideas you can do here.  A bottle of Dad’s favorite soda or a bag of his favorite coffee.  You could do a gift card to his favorite coffee spot, like Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts.  Some dads like energy drinks.

 

For the Athletic Dad 

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Try any of our Core-Sport or TheraSport athletic socks and sleeves.  The Core-Sport Arm Sleeve is a favorite among golfers!

 

For the Dad on the Go 

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Great ideas for this one can include high protein snacks to help Dad from getting too hungry when he doesn’t have time to stop for dinner.  A package of nuts or beef jerky.  Peanut butter crackers or granola bars.  Make sure that whatever you choose is either individually wrapped or re-sealable.  That way it can last a while and doesn’t make too much of a mess in Dad’s car.

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For the Dad that enjoys the Sweet Life 

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What is your dad’s favorite candy?  Snickers? Hershey Kisses? Reeses?  Pick up whatever your dad loves.  You can keep it small or king size, whatever you choose.

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For Dad the Reader 

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Whether you want to pick something for your dad to read on his “throne” or a great bedtime story to read together, you can’t go wrong with some reading material.  Great choices include the latest copy of his favorite magazine; a children’s book to read together like “Star Wars: Vader’s Little Princess” by Jeffrey Brown; funny adult books like “Dad is Fat” by Jim Gaffigan; or whatever your dad prefers.

 

 

For the Working Dad 

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We recommend Ease Trouser Socks for Men.  They are available in three different compression levels: mild, moderate or firm, so there’s something for all dads.

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For Making Memories with Dad 

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There are so many great possibilities here.  Is your dad into Sci Fi?  How about a gift card to see the latest Sci Fi movie.  Maybe he likes baseball.  You could get two tickets to watch the local team play.  Or you could get him passes to go bowling, roller skating or playing mini golf.  Whatever you and your dad like to do together.

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For the Dad that loves Comfort 

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Does your dad like fun or crazy designs on his socks?  Get him a pair of CoreSpun Patterns.  Or maybe your dad is more of a solid guy.  Regular CoreSpun socks are a great option for him.  Either way, CoreSpun socks give your dad the healthy benefits of true gradient compression in a soft and comfortable sock.

 

Ideas for the Gift Box

You can even personalize the way you package it for your dad.  A new cooler would be fun for a dad that loves tailgating or camping.  A tool box or a work bucket for a handy dad.  A tackle box for a dad that loves fishing.  Or maybe just a regular box if your dad has all those things already.  You can keep it manly by putting it in a nice wood crate (you can find these at craft stores).  Whatever you do, your dad will love it!!

Easter Bunny Bugsley Coloring Contest

Easter is this Sunday, March 27.  To help our SmartKnitKIDS fans celebrate, we got Bugsley to pose as the Easter Bunny for this adorable picture:

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But, something happened to our picture!  Somehow it lost all of the color before we could save it.  We’re hoping you can help!  Download our picture from the link below and add your favorite colors to make a SmartKnitKIDS Easter Masterpiece!

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Submit your coloring page to info@smartknitkids.com, post on SmartKnitKIDS’ Facebook page or tweet it (tag @smartknitkids in your tweet) on Twitter by March 31 at 11:59 p.m. CDT to join our coloring contest.  One winner will be chosen and will receive a $25 gift card to http://www.smartknit.com.  Be sure to have your child write his or her first name and age on the coloring sheet.

Happy Easter from Bugsley and your friends at SmartKnitKIDS!!

Holiday Recipes for Kids

With a chill in the area and snow on the ground (in some places), staying inside sounds like the place to be.  And with the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to do a little holiday baking.  If your house is anything like mine, you might have a few little elves that want to help with the process.  Instead of stressing, try some of these fun and easy recipes that your children can help with and some they can even make themselves!

Red-Nosed Reindeer Cookies

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Borrowed from Parents Magazine and Parents.com

Ingredients:
Pillsbury’s Simply Peanut Butter Cookie Dough
Flipz Mini Chocolate Pretzels
M&M Minis
Regular Size M&Ms
White Frosting

Directions:

  1. Slice pieces from cookie dough in half and shape each half into 1-1/2” triangles.
  2. Place 3” apart on cookie sheets and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Remove from oven. While cookies are still warm, press a mini pretzel onto each side to resemble antlers.
  4. Let cool completely.
  5. Decorate cookies to resemble reindeer faces. Mini M&Ms become eyes, M&Ms are noses and white frosting is used to “glue” them on the cookies.

They make an adorable snack for watching that old classic, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer!

 

Melting Snowman Cookie Balls

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Borrowed from Kraftrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 8 oz. Package of Cream cheese
24 Finely Crushed Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies
3 4 oz. Packages of BAKER’S White Chocolate, broken and melted
48 Mini OREO Bite Size Cookies
2 Tbsp. Decorating Icing

Directions:

  1. Mix cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.
  2. Shape into 48 1-inch balls and place in a single layer in a shallow pan.
  3. Freeze for 10 minutes.
  4. Dip balls in melted chocolate and place in a shallow waxed paper-lined pan, allowing excess chocolate to pool at bottom of each ball.
  5. Use remaining ingredients to decorate your snowmen faces.
  6. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Keep refrigerated.

Another fun treat for another holiday classic, Frosty the Snowman!

 

Ice Cream Cone Christmas Trees

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Borrowed from baby.co.uk

Ingredients:
Ice Cream Cones
Green Frosting (White Frosting w/ Green Food Coloring will work.)
Candy for Decorations

Directions:

  1. Frost each ice cream cone with green frosting covering the whole outside.
  2. Add candy pieces to resemble decorations.
  3. Let frosting set before eating!

 

Christmas isn’t the only holiday in December.  So, if you’re celebrating this winter season lighting a menorah, try this recipe for a fun holiday treat!

Marshmallow Dreidels

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Borrowed from marthastewart.com

Ingredients:
Marshmallows
Kitchen Scissors
Nonstick Cooking Spray
Nonpareils
Nonpareil Chocolate
Wooden Skewers

Directions:

  1. Spray kitchen scissors with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Have a parent trim sides of marshmallows to make them square-shaped.
  3. Dip marshmallows into a bowl of nonpareils to coat.
  4. Insert a wooden skewer and add a nonpareil chocolate for the tip.
  5. Have a parent trim the skewer.

 

Here’s a delicious treat for any children’s holiday party!

Peppermint Puppy Chow

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Borrowed from Sallysbakingaddiction.com

Ingredients:
5 Cups of Rice Chex cereal
10 ounces of Melting White Chocolate OR Vanilla Flavored Almond Bark
1 Cup of Crushed Peppermint Candy Canes
1 Cup of Confectioners’ Sugar

Directions:

  1. Pour cereal into a large bowl.
  2. Melt the white chocolate/almond bark according to package directions and pour over cereal. Stir and fold until the cereal is completely covered.
  3. Fold in crushed candy canes.
  4. Pour confectioners’ sugar into a large zipped-lock bag.
  5. Pour the cereal/chocolate/candy mixture into the bag.
  6. Seal and shake until all the cereal is coated with confectioners’ sugar.

 

How about an extra special treat to leave for Santa and his elves on Christmas Eve?  One that Mom and Dad are sure to enjoy, too!  This one might not have as many steps that the kids can help with, but I bet they’ll love knowing that you’re making Elf Biscuits!

 

Elf Biscuits

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Borrowed from myrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 5-1/3 oz. Package of Graham Crackers (1 Sleeve)
¾ Cup of Butter or Margarine
½ Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Chopped Pecans or Almonds

Directions:

  1. Arrange 11 whole graham crackers on an ungreased 15” x 10” jellyroll pan.
  2. Bring butter, sugar and nuts to boil in a medium saucepan. Boil 2 minutes.
  3. Pour mixture on crackers, spreading quickly to cover.
  4. Bake at 300° for 12 minutes.
  5. Remove crackers to wax paper to cool.
  6. Cut with a knife along perforations.

 

And finally one last one that the kids can make all themselves . . . and it will make the wait for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve that much more fun!

 

Magic Reindeer Food

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Borrowed from myrecipes.com

Ingredients:
2 Cups of Regular Oats
2 Cups of Birdseed Mix
2 Tbsp. of Red Decorator Sugar Crystals
2 Tbsp. of Green Decorator Sugar Crystals

Directions:

  1. Add all the ingredients in a 2 quart zip-lock bag.
  2. Shake to combine.
  3. Wait until Christmas Eve and sprinkle a path through your yard to your house. The path will help guide Santa’s reindeer to your house, and they’ll get a tasty treat, too!

NOTE: Remember kids, don’t eat the reindeer food.  The reindeer will eat some of what you sprinkle, but the rest will be a tasty Christmas morning treat for your neighborhood birds!

Visiting Santa with an Autistic or Sensory Sensitive Child

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Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The annual visit to Santa is one of the hallmarks of the holiday season.  But, this fun and happy tradition can be a scary and stressful activity for a child with autism or sensory disorder.

There’s a growing trend across the country to offer stress free time with Santa for special needs children.  Many of them, Like Caring Santa, are sponsored by autism awareness groups like Autism Speaks.  Perhaps you saw the story done last week and published in USA today about a young autistic child that had a very unique and memorable visit with Santa.  Pictures were posted all around social media sites of young Brayden Deely, along with Santa, sprawled out on the floor enjoying a few stress free moments together.  It was a memorable picture and one many parents hope for.

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For more information about Caring Santa, please visit the link at Autism Speaks.

Events like Caring Santa are truly making strides in helping children with autism or other special needs to enjoy some of the traditional activities associated with the holiday season.  But, the locations where it is offered are still fairly sparse.  Some parents don’t have the option of a Caring Santa event close at hand, but would still like to give their children the opportunity to visit with Santa.  Follow these tips to have a more successful trip with your child:

  1. Prepare your child with a mental picture – You may have to do some advance work to observe how the Santa in your area operates. Where does the line form?  What are the options that your child has when talking to Santa (sit on his lap, sit beside him, or stand beside him)? What does the area look like?  Will there be photos?  Will Santa have helpers there, such as elves?  The more details you can tell your child about, the more likely they are to feel comfortable.
  2. Plan ahead – During your visit, or a call afterwards, ask if it is possible for Santa and his staff to offer special accommodations for special needs children. Find out if there are any special details that you should be aware of.
  3. Go during a week day – Week days are generally less busy than evenings or weekends. You might be able to avoid long lines, as well as over-stimulating crowds.
  4. Make a schedule for the day – Some children like to know exactly what events will transpire in a given day. You can print off a schedule and point out where the Santa visit is.  Let your child hold it and follow along.
  5. Dress your child comfortably – Resist the temptation to dress your child in the adorable, but uncomfortable, Christmas outfit. Visiting Santa may be a little overwhelming, and an uncomfortable outfit might just be too much.  Save the Christmas outfit for some cute photos another day.
  6. Give your child an incentive for being good – No matter how well you’ve planned, you may still have to wait. Plan ahead of time to have an incentive for being good, such as new toy or a special privilege.
  7. Be open to other options – Despite all your best plans, your child just may not be able to tolerate visiting a mall Santa. Look into schools or churches that offer time with Santa.  Or, even have a family member rent a Santa suit and visit the child at home.  This might turn into an even better tradition for your family.
  8. Read a story or watch a video about visiting Santa – This is another way to help your child to be prepared for his or her Santa visit. We found the video below, which very calmly describes what your child will experience during a Santa visit.

Most importantly, make the visit fun for your child.  If it is too stressful or frustrating than it won’t be enjoyable for anyone.  You’ll want to create fun and lasting memories that your child will remember each year.

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Tips

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With the Halloween costumes put away for the year and the children feasting on their Halloween candy haul, it’s time to begin thinking of the Thanksgiving holiday.  It’s right around the corner!  Thanksgiving weekend is known for being one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.  According to AAA, last year 46.3 million Americans packed their bags and journeyed at least 50 miles away from home to spend the holiday with family or friends.

Thanksgiving weekend travel is already stressful due to the sheer numbers of fellow travelers, but it can be even more stressful for families with young children – especially children with special needs.  So, if you’ll be among America’s travelers in a few weeks, follow these travel tips to help your family have a smooth and happy holiday trip!

  1. Plan Ahead – Make a detailed itinerary and make sure your children understand each leg of the journey. Rehearse parts of the trip that may give your children moments of anxiety. Take your child on short, practice runs for car trips, or visit the airport ahead of time. Walk through the airport and point out things to your child and watch some planes take off and land. When travel day arrives, the travel expectations will feel more familiar and comfortable.
  2. Arrive Early for Flights – Planning to arrive at the airport early will ensure that you’ll have time to make adjustments for any travel “roadblocks”. Be sure to bring enough activities to keep your children entertained for any waits or delays that may occur
  3. Create Realistic Expectations – Know what your children can handle and what they will not be able to handle. You may need to add extra stops into your itinerary or perhaps travel over multiple days.
  4. Charge Your Devices – Ensure that all your devices are charged and that you’ve brought extra chargers. You won’t want to be in a jam if the children have used up all the battery playing games just when you need your map app to get you to your next stop.
  5. Pack Plenty of Snacks – Pack plenty of healthy, low-sugar snacks that your children are familiar with and enjoy. You never know when a flight will be delayed or if the next restaurant is not for another 100 miles down the road.  Healthy snacks will help keep kids from getting cranky due to hunger.
  6. Pack Your Sense of Humor – Make the trip fun for you and your kids. Laugh with your kids and tell jokes.  Make up road trip games to play with your kids along the way.  It will make the trip more fun, enjoyable and memorable for you and them.
  7. Bring or Buy Special Needs Foods – If your child has special dietary restrictions, be sure to bring things you know they can eat. Special needs foods may be harder if you don’t know the area as well as home.
  8. Discuss the House Rules – Make sure your children know what will be expected of them at all locations – how to behave on a plane or in a hotel or even what special rules Grandma has at her house. Knowing what is expected up front will help them to follow along with your expectations.
  9. Do a Safety Check – Pack a first aid kit. Make sure each child has a proper car seat.  Bring all medications your children are on.
  10. Pack Insurance Cards – Just in case you need to visit a doctor while out of town, be sure to carry your insurance cards with you. It will make the process much easier and you’ll be able to save your concerns for your sick child.
  11. Visit a Local Playground – Help your kids create a memory of their adventure. Visiting a playground while on the road or in Grandma’s hometown will not only give them something fun to remember during your travels, but will also give your kids a chance to burn up some of the energy they’ve accumulated while playing 50 State License Plate Bingo in the backseat.
  12. Keep Your Cool! – There will always be things that happen, whether it be a speeding ticket from the highway patrol or a missed connection during a layover. Take a deep breath and go with the flow.  If you don’t stress things that happen outside of your control, you’ll better enjoy your trip and so will your kids.

Remember at the end of the road is Grandma’s special turkey and dressing or pumpkin pie that you’ve been craving for months – as well as hugs and smiles and family memories.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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We Have a #SCAREDSEAMLESS Winner!

A big SmartKnitKIDS Congratulations to the winner of our Halloween Costume Photo Contest!!  Isn’t this little one cute?!

Marina has won a $100 gift card to SmartKnit.com!  We’re so glad that Marina and all of our Photo Contest participants had a great and seamless Halloween!

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Halloween Costume Contest from SmartKnitKIDS

Hey Kids!  Question: What’s better than Halloween AND SmartKnitKIDS seamless socks!?!?  Answer: Winning a $100 gift card to www.smartknit.com just for wearing your Halloween costume.

We LOVED seeing SmartKnitKIDS fans in their adorable or scary Halloween costumes last year.  And we want to see them again.  To participate in our contest, just post your Halloween costume photos to SmartKnitKIDS Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #scaredseamless and you’ll be entered to win a $100 gift card to smartknit.com.  Winner is chosen at random.

We can’t wait to see all the princesses and goblins of 2015!  And from all of us at SmartKnitKIDS, we’re wishing you a safe and happy Halloween!

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