No matter how old you are, celebrating your birthday never goes out of style. From character-themed parties to camping out and sleeping over, having a birthday bash is a great excuse for getting all of your friends together and having fun. If your child’s birthday is coming up and he’s crazy about video games, GameTruck is an exciting way to throw a party he’ll remember forever.
GameTruck is giving ONE (1) lucky winner a complimentary two hour GameTruck party, an approximate value of $400. The winner must live within 50 miles of a GameTruck service area or an alternative prize will be provided. If the winner is outside the service area, GameTruck will allow the participant to share the prize with someone that’s within service area or be compensated with a video game system valued at $200. The GameTruck allows 16 to 20 kids inside at a time; however, no food or drinks are allowed inside the truck.
To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day September 30. More Qs about our giveaway? Read our official rules. And be sure to note that the winner must claim and use their prize by December 31, 2014. So you may be celebrating your child’s half-birthday! Be sure to check back on September 30 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. Goody luck!
Photos courtesy of GameTruck.
Want advice on how to teach your child party manners? Watch the video below.
For those little feet that always seem to be growing, it can feel like you’re constantly buying new shoes. But rather than throwing out his old shoes the next time you need a new pair, you can now do some good (and save some green) in the process.
Through Sept. 30, as part of the “Big Hearts, Little Shoes” campaign, Stride Rite is teaming up with the international charity, Soles4Souls to donate as many shoes as they can collect to children in need both here in the U.S. and abroad.
For every pair donated in-store throughout September customers will get 20 percent off a same-day purchase of new shoes. And as a bonus with that purchase, families will also receive a certificate for a free class at The Little Gym. (You can also donate online and still receive the 20 percent off.)
Hundreds of millions of children live in extreme poverty throughout the world, and these kids might not have access to adequate footwear, which leaves them more susceptible to disease and often, unable to attend school. Soles4Souls has provided shoes to kids in nearly every state in the U.S. at homeless shelters and disaster areas, among others areas, as well as to dozens of other countries around the world.
Gilt.com is about to launch its Semi-Annual Stroll in Style event, and they’re giving Parents and American Baby readers an exclusive opportunity to get in the door before the event officially begins on Monday, September 22.
Two-Stroller Minimum “If you’re gearing up for baby, you’ll need two strollers: One for short trips or when you’re traveling, and one for strolling longer distances. The first should be super-light and easy to fold — Maclaren is a favorite here — and the second should be sturdy and easy to maneuver, like Stokke, with its taller frame and comfortable seat.”
The #1 Must-Have for Babies “Every baby needs an Aden + Anais blanket, and it will likely be your most utilized item. It’s perfect for swaddling, for tummy time, for shading your baby from the sun, and more. Plus, the beloved brand now makes even more essentials like bibs and buntings.”
The Baby Carrier “Having a carrier is super helpful when you’re out and about, especially when you have more than one child and need to be hands-free! One of my favorites — and of many celeb parents too – is by BabyBjörn. Their carriers are ergonomically correct, incredibly comfortable, inward and outward facing, and can be used from birth to age 3.”
Here’s an example of the discounts in the Stroll in Style event:
Danzo Hobo Diaper Bag- GILT Price: $150, Original Retail: $295
BabyBjorn Baby Carrier- GILT Price: $80, Original Retail: $100
Wifi Baby Camera- GILT Price: $205, Original Retail: $260
Britax USA Agile 2013 Stroller- GILT Price: $179, Original Retail: $250
JJ Cole Urban BundleMe Infant- GILT Price: $42, Original Retail: $59.95
If you have boys and wish there were more clothing options for little dudes, Melissa Joan Hart understands! She and her husband, Mark Wilkerson, have three boys: Mason, 9, Brady, 6, and Tucker, 2. They’re launching King of Harts and shared with Parents how the line got its start and what we have to look forward to.
P: When did you realize you wanted to launch a kids’ clothing line?
MJH: Mark and I have always been disappointed with the boy side of clothing stores. Never enough options and usually the shirts are covered in licensed characters like Spongebob or Spiderman. We felt we could add some cool options to the closets of little boys everywhere. We tossed around names for a few months but nothing seemed to be right until I told our designer that I thought maybe it should have my name in it for recognition and she immediately came up with King of Harts. I feel kinda silly that we hadn’t thought of it before.
P: So often girls get the cute designs. What were some of your ideas behind creating designs for young boys?
MJH: We wanted to be sure to start small and grow our company over time to be sure that we maintained the quality of our garments. So we decided to start with only boys and within that, we wanted to start with jeans and graphic t-shirts. But we are suckers for great outerwear and decided to include a military-inspired jacket. A few months into developing the line, we couldn’t resist adding a great chambray shirt and hooded sweatshirt.
P: All of the clothes from the line are made in America. Why is that important to you and your husband?
MJH: We believe fully in the Made in America label and look for it ourselves on everything we buy. I think our country is struggling in many ways due to the lack of manufacturing in the US. By making the line in the US we hope to support local farms, factories, and businesses on every Main Street across the country.
P: What have you done to make the clothes long-lasting since many boys are tough on clothes?
MJH: Nothing is more aggravating then paying good money for clothes that don’t last. We have passed down almost every item from Mason to Brady and now to Tucker. We put in a double panel with a cool stitch around the knees of our denim jeans to help add support for those boys who like to play rough on the playground and dig for worms.
P: King of Harts will be working with the national nonprofit, Youth Villages. What made you and your husband want to work with this organization?
MJH: We came across Youth Villages and fell in love with their team and the work they do because they seek out kids across the country that need support and love and they help them find their way again. They fiercely believe that building strong families is the answer and we couldn’t agree more! Families are the answer to changing the course of a child’s life so that they can have every chance for a successful future. The proceeds from our limited-run Louie tee (with an awesome photo of my fellow Dancing with the Stars alum and Olympic snowboarder, Louie Vito) go directly to Youth Villages, as will a portion of our T-shirt sales every month.
P: What is your favorite outfit?
MJH: I am crazy about the Chambray shirt with the Camo shorts together. It’s perfect for school picture day or a trip to the zoo. The lobster with the funny sunglasses tee is also a fun fave of mine.
P: The Winter 2014 line is available for pre-order and the Spring/Summer line will be available in March 2015. What are your future goals for King of Harts?
MJH: We will see what happens as we grow but the fall 15 line is in development now. I encourage fans and friends to recommend what they would like to see in future collections using the website’s email address. Someday we hope to have a Queen of Harts and maybe shoes called Hart and Sole. The big dream is to build our own factory in the US someday to provide knits and woven materials for our designs.
P: In one word, how do you describe your line?
Photos courtesy of King of Harts.
Want behind the scenes footage? Watch their video here!
Hollywood is having a baby boom. And some of our favorite celebrity moms are welcoming their babies at home.
While home births still constitute less than 1 percent of total births in the United States, births at home have increased 50 percent since 2004, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Continue reading about 10 celebrity moms – including Cindy Crawford, Alyson Hannigan and Gisele Bündchen - who had home births.
Supermarket Superstar host Stacy Keibler and her husband Jared Pobre welcomed their first child on August 20, she announced on her website. The Dancing with the Stars alum welcomed daughter, Ava Grace, via home birth.
“Jared and I have been blessed with the new love of our lives,” the proud new mom announced. “Ava Grace Pobre was born at home on Wednesday, August 20th. We’ve never experienced a level of joy and happiness like this before! Thank you so much for all of the special wishes and positive energy.”
Omarion’s girlfriend Apryl Jones
Former B2K singer Omarion, 29, and his girlfriend Apryl Jones have welcomed their first child – a son – the proud papa announced via Instagram August 9. “World. Allow me to introduce. MEGAA OMARI GRANDBERRY. He is 7 pounds. 4oz & 20 inches long,” he captioned the sweet snapshot holding his newborn in his arms.
“My son I’ve been waiting on you,” the R&B singer continued.
The new dad went on to gush about his “soul mate,” who welcomed their son via home birth.
“God is the realist!! I witnessed a miracle,” he added. “My soul mate @aprylsjones is so strong! Not only did she have a un medicated birth (no drugs) she did it at home. Naturally. Just like my mom had me. I love you. thank you for having my legacy. I’ll forever belong to you & you will forever be tied to me. Creating a child takes no love or skill but being a parent requires lots of both. Thanks for watching me grow. #MEGAAhome #OmarionsonMEGAA #donthateonmysonsnameillkillya #Nolol #royalObloodline #blasain #mysongotgoodhair #freshpitthewombhandsom alright. I love y’all.”
During an appearance on TODAY, Rogue actress Thandie Newton talked about the joys of home birth. The mom-of-three proudly said she birthed her son Booker, now 6 months, at home on her bathroom floor.
When asked why she had all three of her kids at home – she and husband Ol Parker are also parents to daughters Ripley, 13, and Nico, 9 – the Mission: Impossible II actress said she feels much more comfortable at home.
“I’d never been in hospital as a child or as an adult really, and I just associated hospital with being ill,” she said of her decision. “And I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home was the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable.”
She went on to talk about the taboo topic, saying that home births used to be the norm.
“There was a time when everyone had their babies at home,” the Crash star, 41, said. “It wasn’t such a big deal. It’s more about as a woman what do you feel most comfortable doing, and you make the choice, and I chose to be at home.”
Alyson Hannigan has quickly become one of our favorite celebrity moms since the birth of her first child, Satyana, in March 2009. Celebrity Baby Scoop sat down with the How I Met Your Mother star and asked about her drug-free homebirth.
“Yes. I did use a midwife and a doula,” she said. “We had the option of having a doctor there, but even he said you’ll only need me if you need to be transferred to the hospital–which thankfully, I did not need.”
Before welcoming her second daughter, Keeva, the American Pie star said she faced many fear-based comments about going forward with another home birth.
“Yes, we had lots of comments about it,” Alyson said. “And we had the doctor that scared us tremendously. There was definitely more concern the first time around. For me, that was just the perfect place. I am absolutely terrified of hospitals. so I think that the home is the best place for me to feel comfortable. I had a midwife, her assistant and a doula. It will be the same again this time.”
Mayim Bialik has really ‘blossomed’ into an amazing and outspoken mother! An advocate of attachment parenting, Mayim also empowers women to consider medication-free home births.
TheBig Bang Theory star and mother of two talked about her second son’s home birth, while her elder son watched.
“Fred, yes, was born at home, and Miles was able to watch the whole thing from his high chair while eating granola,” she said. “Fortunately it was a very fast labor because I think Miles would’ve been bored if it was longer than the hour and a half it was. He loves it, he still talks about it. It was something we talked about with our pediatrician, and believed very strongly in older siblings being present, and giving the choice. We gave him a choice before, we prepared him with videos about homebirth that our midwife prepared. Even during, I said, “If Miles wants to go the next room he can!” But he said, “No, I fine!” He got freaked out by the blood, but it was still nice.”
On Christmas Day 2011, Alanis Morissette and her husband Mario Treadway welcomed their son Ever into their home with the help of a midwife and a doula.
“I didn’t really even imagine myself having the birth experience in the hospital,” Morissette told Today. “My home is like my little sanctuary.”
She added: “My husband was at my side the whole time, my total hero. And the rest was really up to God.”
Throughout her home birth, the singer says she tapped into an inner strength.
“The experience was beyond pain,” she admitted. “It was a transcendental experience. I just went to this whole other world. I basically had to be the little soldier that I am and really focus on this new beautiful creature coming out of me.”
She went on to talk about the joys of home birth.
“I think once people know it’s quite possible to have a really amazing home birth — and in my case I have no regrets and would do it again and in the same breath it wasn’t the easiest experience of my life — I think having it be an option is really exciting,” she shared.
One of the most outspoken celebrity moms on natural birth is supermodel Gisele Bündchen. The former Victoria’s Secret model gave birth to her first child Benjamin in December 2009 and has openly spoken about her drug-free and pain-free home water birth.
“My delivery was in a bath tub, in water,” Gisele said. “I wanted to have a home birth. I wanted to be very aware and present during the birth… I didn’t want to be drugged up. So I did a lot of preparation, I did yoga and meditation, so I managed to have a very tranquil birth at home. It didn’t hurt in the slightest. The whole time my mind was focused in each contraction on the thought ‘my baby is closer to coming out.’”
A few weeks later the supermodel looked svelte on the cover of Vogue and spoke of her “empowered” birth experience.
“I wanted to experience the transformation,” the model mom said. “It was the most amazing experience of my life, feeling him come through my body. And once he was born, I never felt so empowered as looking at him and thinking, Oh, my God, we did it together!”
“I am blessed to have been able to have a home birth surrounded by love, where I was able to feel safe,” she wrote. “It was a powerful experience. I never felt so vulnerable but so strong at the same time. It was amazing to experience my body become free to do what it was made to do by allowing my mind and my body to let go and be free to experience the changes taking place within… I was just there… focusing on my breathing and relaxing the best that I could… so present, to witness the biggest miracle in my life happen before my very own eyes. To give life to another being, what a gift!”
“I had the opportunity to experience the natural process of birth and it was one of the most life changing experiences for me and very very special!,” she said. “I believe it’s a woman’s right to make the decision about how she’s going to give birth to her child. And it’s also her right to have access to the information she needs so she can make that decision from a place of awareness, and not a place of fear.”
“I actually skipped the hospital … We decided to have the baby at home because we wanted it to be a natural birth, and it turns out that it was 30 hours of natural,” she shared.
Of those thirty hours, Evangeline says a full eight were spent pushing!
“Eight hours of pushing, that’s the part that men don’t understand.” the Canadian beauty added. “Women go, ‘Oh, dear, oh, dear God, eight hours of pushing?’ And the men are like, ‘Okay, eight hours of pushing. After about five hours of pushing, my midwife and my birthing assistant said, ‘You know, we have a few suggestions,’” she says. “And I was like, ‘Really? After five hours of pushing you have a few suggestions? You couldn’t have told me five minutes in?’
Ricki Lake’s documentary about home birth, The Business of Being Born, empowered women everywhere to have unmedicated births at home. She gave birth to her second son Owen, now 13, at home in a bathtub. She talked about her reasons for making the film.
“I wanted to make this movie after my two very different birth experiences with my children,” she said. “I felt like I had an opportunity to explore and question birthing practices in this country and perhaps be an advocate for mothers’ rights and better maternity care.”
On the experience of birthing Owen at home, Ricki said:
“After the birth of my sons, particularly my home birth with my second son, I thought I wanted to become a midwife,” she shared. “Then I looked at all the years of schooling and training that I would have to do and felt that the time could be better spent doing a documentary on the subject of birth.”
Model mom-of-two Cindy Crawford had both of her children – son Presley and daughter Kaia – at home with her husband Rande Gerber and three midwives on hand.
“I didn’t tell anyone last time because a lot of people are against home birth and tell you horror stories,” she shared. “Even my husband said at first, ‘Why are we doing this?’” But she went on to say her home birth was ‘absolutely surreal.’”
CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.
Flu season is coming up and actor James Van Der Beek is not taking any chances with his growing brood. The longtime TV star (Dawson’s Creek anyone?) and father of three, Olivia, 4, Joshua, 2, and Annabel, nearly 9 months, is spreading the word on fighting influenza with FluMist Quadrivalent, a needle-free flu vaccine. Parents took some one-on-one time with James to talk TLC, how being a dad to daughters has changed him, and the one thing he would do if he had 45 minutes to himself.
P: We’re here for FluMist. Vaccines have been a big buzz topic. What is your take on vaccines and what do you say to parents who might not be with you?
JVDB: I totally understand the debate about vaccines. They certainly have a utility. My wife and I went back and forth on the whole vaccine issue, quite a bit, but when it came to the flu vaccine specifically it was something we decided to do. Initially I was afraid you could get the flu from a flu vaccine. You actually can’t. It’s impossible. That was new to me. When I found that out, I realized there are a lot of myths about the flu that even I had—as health-conscious as I am. When I found out that it hospitalized 200,000 people a year and that it’s responsible for the hospitalization of more children than any other vaccine-preventable disease, that’s when I thought this is something that I can really get behind and help spread the word. And [FluMist] is needle free. Kids don’t like when you stick needles in them. Go figure. My 4-year-old did it and didn’t cry and was really proud of herself. We did not vaccinate our kids last year and I had two kids with the flu and my wife was pregnant. And G-d forbid it can lead to some bad complications.
JVDB: Well my first kid was a daughter, yeah you do start to be more concerned with the world in general knowing your kids are going to go out in it. You start to really look at other people’s attitudes towards women especially, and you’re a lot more hyperaware.
P: Have you seen the YouTube videos of the daddy-daughter dates? Would you take Olivia or Annabel on a father-daughter first date?
JVDB: I just loved stories. I loved to have a story to tell and my kids will tell me a story and the only way I’ll know that they’re making it up is that there’s a dragon in it. Everything else is really believable until a dragon makes an appearance and I say, “Oh ok you’re making this up.” I turn to my wife and go, “Sorry…my bad.”
P: You’re three kids in, what do you think you’ve learned and you’re doing better with the third than the first?
JVDB: I’ve come to just realize how important it is to embrace the chaos. There might be parents out there who are able to manage everything neat and tidy, but that’s certainly not us. Fighting to really find that appreciation in all of those moments is so important because it really does go by so quickly. It’s a big cliché and it’s so true. There are those times when you’re just so frustrated and you just think to yourself “Really?!” Especially those moments: sit there and think I’m gonna miss this when it’s not happening.
P: What still continues to baffle you? Is there anything you wish someone would tell you the secret to?
JVDB: How do kids have that much energy?
P: I think we should institute adult naptime.
JVDB: I would LOVE adult naptime. I would endorse that in two seconds.
P: You recently had 45 minutes to yourself and you didn’t know what to do. If you had 45 minutes again, do you know what you would do?
JVDB: I should work out because that’s catch as catch can. What I would love to do is to see if I’ve got a football game recorded that nobody has ruined the score for me and just spend 45 minutes going through that. That would be something…. That’s so pathetic. Better than doing the dishes, which is what I think I did last time. I find myself doing dishes saying, “Why am I doing dishes right now? I could be doing anything.”
P: Despite the lack of free time, you seem to be very happy as a father. Was there one moment when you went “Wow. I’m a dad.”
JVDB: Yeah. First moment my first one was born. That was it. It was pretty instantaneous. I’d wanted that for a long time so when it did happen it felt like the resolution to a lot of unanswered questions in my life.
Photograph: Via Instagram with permission from James Van Der Beek
Here’s the newest installment of a brand new series from the Parents beauty department about mommy bloggers. Each installment will feature what beauty means to real moms no matter what their beauty routine is like—and how they take time to themselves after having children.
Let’s be real: A little part of us all wishes we were Jackie O. Or maybe that’s just Lauren Bryan Knight and me.
A little part of us all should aspire to be Lauren, too! The Texas native not only runs Aspiring Kennedy and is a mom to her oh-so-cute 1-and-a-half year-old daughter, Viola, she gets to do it all while living in London. Her travel guides will fill you with wanderlust, and her food posts will make your stomach growl.
What is your beauty routine like?
My beauty routine is very casual. I have many of the same products that I’ve been using since college in my makeup bag today. After finding what works for my skin and face, it cuts out one less round of decision making. Plus my hair is really thick, so it limits the options: up or down; clean or dirty!
How has your beauty routines changed since you had your daughter?
I have definitely learned to embrace the top knot. I don’t have two hours to wash and straighten my hair like I used to. Every two weeks, I have someone that comes to my house and blows it out for me at 7:30 a.m. She only charges $40! It’s a splurge but one that keeps my hair from being permanently in a nest on the top of my head. It helps me look—and feel—a bit more professional.
What is the importance of taking time to yourself?
We all have those days where we skip getting ready completely. That’s life as a mom—someone who is self-employed or being in school. I think it’s important to be okay with that version of yourself. However, I think many moms feel a loss of self and pride when they have a baby. The time they used to spend getting ready is soaked up by a baby. Taking five minutes to pull yourself together helps maintain confidence and pushes you to remember that there is a world outside of your living room.
How do you find time to focus on yourself, your blog, and your family?
Well the truth is: I don’t! When life gets too busy, I neglect the blog. I don’t feel bad about it either. It’s supposed to serve as a complement to my life. I never want to be a slave to it. The time I used to spend meandering Pinterest and other blogs for inspiration are gone. When I sit down to blog these days, I blog and then I’m finished. It actually keeps my content more original because I’m thinking of it on the bus or in the shower. The ideas come from my thoughts, and not because of something I’ve just seen elsewhere.
What’s the best beauty advice you’ve received?
Stop washing your hair so often.
Do you have any beauty advice for moms?
Spend a little more and invest in good products. You’ll use them, you’ll look better, and you’ll feel a bit more like a grown up, too.
ASPIRING KENNEDY’S FIVE FAVES
1. Bioderma Crealine H2O Makeup Remover: I buy this in France, and it’s literally like water on your face—except all your makeup is gone! No stingy eyes or oily gunk. It’s amazing.
4. Susan Posnick COLORFLO mineral blush: I adore the Susan Posnick makeup line. All of the pieces are designed so smart, and the mineral foundation has amazing natural SPF. I love having the powder and brush combo. It’s one less thing to tote around and makes your face look flawless in pictures.
Now that school’s back in session, you can turn your mind to the next big, important event in your child’s life — Halloween! Don’t wait ‘til last minute to scoop up whatever’s left in the store. Instead, use this week’s deals from Kohl’s, Costume Discounters, BuyCostumes and more to score amazing costumes at great prices right now, while the pickings are still good.