Super Cool Art Makes Creating Super Easy (and Fun) For All Ages + Giveaway

Let's face it. Crafting with kids is a crap shoot. Oftentimes it takes mom twice as long to set up the table for an art project than it takes crafty kid to get bored of said project and move on to something entirely different, leaving you to spend another 30 minutes cleaning up. Fun? Yeah, not so much.

I don't necessarily think of our family as a crafty one, but there always seems to be a paint brush or ten laying out to dry on any given day. One of the main challenges our family faces is storage. Between camping gear, backpacking gear, photography gear and our home office, we are constantly on the hunt for space, so as you can imagine, buying art supplies and crafting supplies and glues and glitter and, and, and... just isn't feasible (and boy does all that stuff start to add up)!


Last year we came across a super cool idea and decided to give it a try. Super Cool Art is an all-inclusive, self-contained art studio, bundled up into one pretty flat, easy to store box. Founded in 2012, their passion and their goal is to consistently create exceptional, inspirational, educational products that foster creativity and they've done just that!

What We Dig about Super Cool Art

Non-Toxic
Super Cool Art's products are certified non-toxic. They employ rigorous independent testing of their manufacturers to ensure our littles are safe from harmful ingredients. 

Environmentally Responsible
A large percentage of the materials included in each kit are biodegradable and earth friendly. In addition, Super Cool Art tries to keep their carbon footprint low by sourcing close to home. 90% of the products used are Made in the USA and they are vigorously working towards that becoming 100%.

Fostering Creativity
The number one mission of its founder is to inspire by providing fun and simple creative outlets for kids and their parents to easily express their creative side. The educational components provided in each kit allow parents to begin teaching important concepts such as color theory, scale and composition.

This is not a fly by night company. It blossomed out of a desire to cultivate and nurture little artists-to-be. So, you ask, what's in the kit?

What's Inside the Box?

The "complete kit" includes everything you could possibly need to get your child painting.

  • (1) 16" x 20" canvas
  • (4) poplar wood stretcher bars
  • 5 pack of 4oz non-toxic Primary Color Tempera Paints
  • (1) pack of 10 artist quality paint brushes
  • (2) foam paint brushes
  • (2) paint palettes
  • (1) Colorsaurus color wheel 
  • (1) bottle of Bristle Magic paintbrush cleaner 
  • Instructions
  • A set of four sheets of 12″ x 12″ custom designed themed stencils made from non-toxic, recycled, durable, washable polypropylene.

At the time of publishing, you may choose from 12 different stencil packages, ranging from kid favorites like "Frolicking with Fairies" and "Dinosauria" to "A Night in Space", "Peace, Love, Art" and even an abstract art themed stencil kit where parents and kids alike can be coaxed into channeling their inner Pollock.
The Super Cool Art Complete Kit is $35. The best part is all of their stencil kits, supplies and materials are also sold separately making it easy to keep creating. Ala carte stencil kits range from $14.95 to $22.95, but the complete kit with any stencil set you choose still remains $35. Sounds like a deal to us!

What the Kid Thought

Our four year old squealed the first time she laid eyes on her bright yellow fairy stencils. We were both astonished as we kept pulling item after item out of the seemingly bottomless box of goodies. She figured out the stencils immediately, but had a hard time keeping it from sliding. I taped the stencil's corners to the paper she was drawing on, then taped the paper to the small plastic tarp on the floor and she was good to go.

It was a joy watching her learn and create, but of course, as most 4 year olds are want to do...


She was done in 15 minutes flat and on to the next discovery!


So, who wants their very own Super Cool Art Complete Kit?! We are super excited to say that Super Cool Art has given us one to giveaway! So jump on down below to the Rafflecopter widget and enter to WIN today!

Entries are limited to the contiguous US only. Giveaway ends this Friday, June 19th at Midnight, Pacific Time, so what are you waiting for? GOOD LUCK!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

[Food Series] Cut Calories and Cool Down This Summer with 3 Delicious Yoghurty Recipes

Yogurt is a staple in our family's diet. It is consumed on a weekly basis and in the hot Los Angeles summer months, we eat it daily. We don't need a fancy yoghurt recipe to jazz it up, plain and simple, we love yoghurt how ever its served up!

Over a decade ago, we discovered Mountain High Yoghurt and have been loyal fans ever since. Not only is it rich and creamy, it is one of those brands still making yogurt the traditional European way; mixing milk and cultures together. It is simply yoghurt with none of the fillers, gelatin or any of that other silly stuff, made from cows that are happy and hormone free.

The benefits of yoghurt are multi-faceted, full of nutrients and half the calories of other similar foods, it can be easily substituted for high fat foods like sour cream and mayonnaise without sacrificing flavor. In addition to being full of protein and high in important minerals like magnesium and potassium, yoghurt is loaded with friendly bacteria called probiotics.

Mountain High Yoghurt contains numerous strains of probiotics including L. bulgaricus and S. thermophilus, which are live and active starter cultures that turn milk into yoghurt; and L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei, which are live and active probiotic cultures.

  • L. acidophilus, B. bifidus, and L. casei serve numerous functions in digestion, metabolism (the breakdown and synthesis of energy and vital nutrients), and immunity. Healthy levels of these probiotic cultures can:      
  • stimulate the immune system to resist illness, including infection from the common cold and influenza viruses, as well as more serious pathogens     
  • discourage the growth of harmful bacteria and other pathogens     
  • aid digestion by increasing enzyme levels     
  • increase absorption of calcium and other nutrients     
  • help break down lactose (milk sugar)     
  • reduce/avoid the onset of or speed recovery from diarrhea
So, now that you know a little bit more than you ever thought you'd know about yoghurt, let's get to it! I am serving up a few deliciously easy ways for your family to cut down on calories and cool down this summer. Enjoy!

Cold Cucumber and Yogurt Soup (Cac─▒k)


Ingredients: 
6 Cups of Whole Plain Mountain High Yogurt 
2 Cloves of Garlic 
4 Persian Cucumbers 
1 Cup of Water  

Into a large bowl, grate the peeled cucumbers and use a zester or microplane to add the garlic. Dump the Mountain High Yoghurt and water into the large bowl with the cucumber and garlic and blend until it is smooth. I usually use a fork because it easily breaks up all of the lumps, but doesn't aerate the yogurt. Chill and serve! That's it, literally!  

In our house, we usually prefer it on the thicker side, but feel free to add more water, in very small increments, to get it to the consistency that works for you. This dish is also delicious with finely chopped mint or dill, a drizzle of olive oil or served as a side dish with any yummy protein!

Summer Yoghurt Pasta


Ingredients
1LB Whole Grain Pasta
2 cups Whole Plain Mountain High Yoghurt
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
1/2 cup sliced Mediterranean Olives

Boil the whole grain pasta according to the instructions listed on its packaging. Drain pasta and place it into a large mixing bowl while still hot. Add the Mountain High Yoghurt, Herbes de Provence and Mediterranean olives and mix. Serve warm.

Healthy and Delicious Oatmeal Banana Bread



Ingredients 
2 1/2 cups of Organic Whole Oats 
2 very ripe Bananas 
1/2 cup Honey 
1 cup Whole Plain Mountain High Yoghurt 
2 Eggs 
1/2 cup applesauce 
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg 
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 teaspoon Baking Powder  

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Throw the oats in to a food processor until they become a fine, powdery consistency. Into the oatmeal flour, incorporate the other dry ingredients; nutmeg, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly begin to blend in the wet ingredients, starting with the applesauce, then add the 2 eggs, Mountain High Yoghurt, bananas, vanilla extract and lastly the honey. Scrape the sides of the processor to ensure there aren't clumps of the dry mixture stuck and all of the banana is pureed throughout. Spray two bread pans with non-stick cooking spray and evenly divide the batter between the two pans. Bake loaves for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Now here's your chance to become a loyal Mountain High Yoghurt loving family just like ours! Subscribe to the Mountain High Yoghurt monthly newsletter and download a coupon to save $1.00 when you buy 2 tubs!

We want to hear from you! Try our recipes and let us know what your family thought!

Celebrate Kids to Parks Day in Southern California and Beyond



In Southern California, we have so much to be thankful for. Wide open spaces surround us, but the hustle and bustle of life can easily get in the way. Thanks to the National Park Trust, they are inspiring families all over the US to get outside and get exploring.

Start by making the Kids to Parks pledge to get outside May 16, 2015, alongside 287,827 other families. In doing so, you will be automatically entered for a chance to win their GRAND prize, a Nikon COOLPIX L830 camera and a boatload of other prizes guaranteed to help you have fun outdoors, so round up the kids, slap on the sunscreen and get OUTSIDE!

To find a Southern California participating park near you, check out the National Park Trust park events page. There you can search by local community to find the closest park or the coolest park. There is also a great family resources section full of free cool stuff for kids like activity guides, an adventure book, inspirational stories and awesome tips for families who are not so well-versed in the great outdoors.

Check out these awesome Kids to Parks Day events in Southern California:

Channel Islands Tidepool Talk  (Ventura)
May 16, 2015
11 am - 11:30 am & 3 pm - 3:30 pm
Channel Islands National Park, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, CA 93001, USA
Phone: 805-658-5730
Website: http://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/event-details.htm?eventID=347557-307230

Story Time with A Ranger (Joshua Tree)  
May 16, 2015
2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
6554 Park Boulevard, Joshua Tree, CA 92252, USA
Email: lorna_shuman@nps.gov
Phone: 760-367-5521

Little Planet, Big Journey at Jumbo Rock Campground Amphitheater (Joshua Tree)
Joshua Tree National Park, National Park Road, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277, USA
May 16, 2015
8:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Email: lorna_shuman@nps.gov
Phone: 760-367-5521

Cabrillo Critters That Creep Crawl and Slither (San Diego)  
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego, CA 92106, USA
May 16, 2015
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Email: Amanda_gossard@nps.gov
Phone: 619 557 5450 ex 4589

"Ready, Set, Wear It!" Life Jacket World Record Day (Oceanside)  
May 16, 2015
All Day Event
1950 N Harbor Drive, Oceanside, California 92054
Email: suzycoop@gmail.com
Website: http://www.readysetwearit.com

Be Outside - Kids to Parks at El Dorado Regional Park (Long Beach)
May 16, 2015
9 am - 1 pm
7550 East Spring Street, Long Beach, CA 90815, USA
Email: letthembelittle1@gmail.com
Phone: 310-918-7730


Need some more ideas? Here are fifteen! Now go outside and enjoy!

Hikes:

Fern Dell - Griffith Park

Malibu Creek State Park

Toganga Canyon State Park 

Eaton Canyon

Monrovia Falls

The Grotto @ Circle X Ranch

The Bronson Caves

Fryman Canyon Trail

Solstice Canyon Trail


More awesome Southern California parks:

Leo Carrillo State Park

Ernest E. Debs Park

Franklin Canyon Park

Temescal Gateway Park

The Ventana Wilderness

Limekiln State Park

Italy With Kids: Hiking Cinque Terre from Outdoor Families Magazine

Part two of our family's Italian adventure is now published at Outdoor Families Magazine! What an absolute delight it is to have the opportunity to relive the trip of a lifetime through narrative. I hope it inspires other parents to get out there with their kids and continue to check items off their bucket list!


I first discovered the tiny, scenic fishing villages of Cinque Terre, Italy nearly 20 years ago. A fellow traveler had thrown out a fascinating new term of “agriturismo” on the still-young internet, and, intrigued, I began researching its roots. Virtually scanning Tuscany’s rolling hills and vineyards, I was led to a magical place where craggy mountains greeted rolling seas, and Cinque Terre soared to the top of my bucket list. A quick jaunt from the French border, this region, known as Liguria, is sandwiched between relatively low, rolling hills of the Piedmont and an expansive, emerald sea where dramatic mountains crash boldly down to the warm Mediterranean waters. I became transfixed, perhaps even obsessed, with pictures of meandering passages, cozy coves and spirited locals. To read the full article, go to Outdoor Families Magazine!
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