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Recent Entries

TBT Allie Feature

Throwback Thursday: Sharing Games and Family Meals From Your Childhood

by Allison McDonald | March 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm | comments

“Mama what was it like when you were little?” My kids have inherited my curiosity of the past and beg me to tell them about what life was like in the olden days, which for them means the early 80s. The questions that pop up the most are always about food and play. When you think about it that makes sense because for kids, meals are something that they know

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Smart Start Energy Balance Feature

Smart From The Start with Energy Balance

by Allison McDonald | December 5, 2013 at 4:44 pm | comments

Young children don’t have a lot of control over their world and choices, which can easily lead to frustration. So why not give them control over something with the practice of energy balance, a fundamental aspect of the Together CountsTM program. Energy balance is all about balancing the energy we take in with the energy we put out. Introducing our little ones to the idea of energy balance can be

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Let Them Be The Coach Feature

Let Them Be the Coach

by Allison McDonald | October 17, 2013 at 8:45 pm | comments

Being a kid is tough, probably much tougher than we care to remember. It’s easy to feel like you aren’t important, don’t know what you are doing and aren’t as good as you want to be at something. As a mom it makes me sad to see brave faces that you can tell are hiding those feelings but as a teacher I need to find a way around it. That’s

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Bring Recess Home for The Summer

by Allison McDonald | June 28, 2013 at 6:28 pm | comments

On summer vacation kids want to leave a lot of their school work at school, close the books for a few months and just relax. Who can blame them? Kids need down time too. As parents, we know that it doesn’t work like that. As a blogger representative for the Together CountsTM Program, I know it’s equally important to make sure they keep moving all summer too! Three things kids

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Spring into Activity

by Allison McDonald | April 29, 2013 at 2:51 pm | comments

Spring has been slow coming this year for most of the country, but we need to get our kids outside and active again so the winter lethargy doesn’t turn into a year round habit. What better time to get outdoors than Screen-Free Week, a week that kicks off today devoted to get families playing together, moving, dreaming and creating their own entertainment. It’s the perfect chance to practice some of the basic

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Get Crafty This St. Patrick’s Day

by Allison McDonald | March 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm | comments

One of the tricks I use to get my kids involved in family dinners is to have them make crafts for special occasions. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect holiday to bring out the green galore and get them involved in the fun. Even if you aren’t planning a big family meal on St. Patrick’s Day, you can still make these easy napkin rings with your kids for a fun

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Starting Dinner Chats: Conversation Plates

by Allison McDonald | March 5, 2013 at 9:00 am | comments

Me: “How was your day?” Them: “Fine.” Me: “How was school?” Them: “Fine.” Getting your kids to talk at dinner is not always the easiest, but once they get going, the floodgates are open and the family connections are strengthened. The difficulty is figuring out how you get started. The solution – making conversation plates! This is really easy to do and the payback is a fun dinner time filled

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2013 Healthy Playground Makeover

by Allison McDonald | November 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm | comments

How many times have you heard a parent or teacher say, “Use your indoor voice. We don’t throw balls inside.We don’t climb on furniture!” My guess is- a lot. There is a reason for that – children need to climb and move and throw and, yes, even yell sometimes. If their playgrounds are old, run down or even worse, unsafe, it makes it that much more difficult for young kids

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10 Turkey Crafts for Your Gang

by Allison McDonald | November 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm | comments

As winter draws near, outside time together becomes rare around our house. We compensate with arts and crafts that we can do together as a family. These 25 turkey crafts are all easy to make before or on Thanksgiving and will give you and your little ones time together to strengthen family bonds, which is what Together CountsTM is all about. The crafts are broken down into five categories, and

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The Reluctant Hiker

by Allison McDonald | November 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm | comments

Hiking as a family sounds like such a peaceful way to spend the day, but the reality isn’t as simple. With small children you can’t just grab a water bottle and hit the trail. You need to prepare so you are ready not just for scraped knees, but also for your kids’ attitudes going from “gung ho” to “get me home now” at the most inopportune times. Here are five

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