Meet the Switch Witch: Halloween’s Version of Elf on the Shelf

Switchrafted Switch Witch book and doll setWhether you love Elf on the Shelf or just cringe at the thought, there’s no doubt that the jolly elf’s popularity is not waning anytime soon. Now joining the other variations of Elf on the Shelf (like the cheeky Dwarf in the Drawer and Hanukkah’s Mensch on the Bench) is a Halloween version called The Switch Witch.

The Switch Witch is a mythological witch (shhh, keep this a secret!) who visits children while they sleep to switch Halloween candy with prizes. Think of the Switch Witch as a Tooth Fairy who only visits on Halloween to protect trick-or-treaters from candy overload and cavities, while also ensuring healthy choices.

Switchcrafted: The Story of the Switch Witches of Halloween” is a new book-and-doll set (a black trick-or-treat bag is also included) that shares the story of the Switch Witches and their need for different types of candy to fuel broomsticks, homes, and baths. And similar to Santa, a Switch Witch watches over kids during the month of October to note those who are naughty and nice. Of course, nice kids get their candy exchanged for a toy (though keeping the candy doesn’t seem like such a raw deal, either). And in case you’re wondering, “Switchrafted” is the brainchild of three women and moms, Audrey Kinsman, Pam Hatcher, and Milena Kirkova.

If your kids can’t get enough of Elf on the Shelf, or if you just want a slightly non-traditional version of it, the Switch Witch (which kids can also personalize with a name) is a fun way to welcome the fall season and buoy everyone’s spirit. Since Halloween is right around the corner, pick up the “Switchcrafted” set and read the book at the start of the month. Then place your Switch Witch doll in different places around the house to watch over the kids!

Mini Witch Hat Pinatas
Mini Witch Hat Pinatas
Mini Witch Hat Pinatas

Get in the Halloween spirit by downloading these free Halloween printables!

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What Life Is Really Like With a Toddler

Each month in Parents, we print the 27 truest words about parenting from our favorite bloggers. Our November issue features a quote from Erin Huizen at Life in the Hood. Read her full blog post below. 

toddler playingLife as the mom of a toddler is exactly how I imagined it’d be: the convergence of one little boy stuffed entirely with wiggle worms and an easily out-smarted mom who doesn’t know the first thing about raising toddlers, these two forces swirling together, creating one big crazy $hit storm tornado.

(P.S. Raising a toddler also means I don’t have much time to blog, and therefore I’ll be using a lot of sweeping generalization to get my point across for the next few years.)

Actually, toddlerhood isn’t that bad, but the adjustment period is quite a shock.

At first it feels a tad bit like you are in prison, except I have heard that prisoners are allowed to take coffee breaks wherein some one-foot-tall inmate isn’t using a foreign, mono-syllabic language to demand access to the touching of her mug.

Anyway, somewhat rapidly, the world I once knew vanished. The world in which I could cuss, talk to another adult without stopping to answer un-English questions and comments mostly dealing with dogs and motorcycles, eat chocolate and cookies all day with zero accountability, and walk through a neighborhood anonymously without having to talk to every dog-owner and interesting-looking person with a light saber my son decides to engage.

That world is gone, replaced by one in which every thing I do, every plan I make begs the question, will this cause a tantrum? And if so, how large?

Maybe it’s this line of thinking that has caused me to go a little PTSD, minus the P.

While anxiously awaiting the discount grocery store to open its doors last Sunday morning, I decided we could try the coffee shop with the small kid’s play area. Though last time we graced this establishment, my toddler breezed past the toys straight to the trash cans, and after picking up all the diseases he could from their flapping lids, made his way behind the counter to help make sandwiches and serve soup.

This time he found a truck and a couple of baby-boomers rocking to music that wasn’t playing. He dug it and nodded his little head to the non-existent music as well. Just to make sure things didn’t get awkward, I bobbed my head too.

The woman told my son the music in her head was always better than the music they played there anyways.

He nodded some more, adding a fist pump.

“And if you keep your head banging like this,” she swirled her neck around and did a soft-core head-bang, “then no bad thoughts can get stuck in there.”

I liked that idea.

When my son is around and I need to think, I’ll sing a lot of made-up songs, some words, some simple melody, mostly humming. Lately I’ve been catching myself doing this without him around, mostly in public bathroom stalls, along with the head bang.

I’ve also noticed that many standards I am certain I once held dear, I cannot, for the life of me, muster up one fart about now.

Standards such as: not showing my bra-strap; being on time; mopping > once a year; masking my feelings for the sake of others; avoiding going out in public with avocado stains caked into my pants or poop crusted in my watchband; wearing shirts inside out, backwards, both, or the same shirt and pants for days on end if the avocado and other food-crust gods are blessing me as such; listening; using plates; refraining from acquiring most of my calories from what I can pick from the car seats, etc.

Knowing I’ve gone a little looney, I still try to preserve somewhat of my “self”, since it’s been beaten into my selectively porous mother-skull that I must be sure to take care of myself in order to take care of my child.

But sometimes it feels like I’m trying to preserve myself to the point of being a tree in the petrified forest, and I get the urge to just let go.

I still work-out, have my bud in child care two hours a day so I can do my thing, attend a writing group, read, etc. Despite all this, I still sense my identity as it once was is in a serious state of flux, it’s slipping away, and when I come out the other end, I’m not going to be the same.

The world will have become my padded room, the bathroom stall my stage, the unwary dog-owner my confidant. I will have happily gone insane. I will be a mom.

Take our quiz to find out your parenting style and shop kids’ games.

You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿
You Know You Have A Toddler When¿

Image via Shutterstock

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Lakeshore Celebrates 60 Years of Learning Anniversary!

Haven’t finalized your weekend plans? You may want to dig out your party hat! On September 27, Lakeshore Learning Materials–a developer and retailer of children’s educational products– is celebrating its 60th anniversary by hosting a “60 years of Learning” event at stores nationwide. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., children and their families and friends are invited to participate in fun games, activities, and special crafts (such as decorating their own party hat!) at their local Lakeshore store. The event is free and kids will receive a goodie bag, too!

During its six decades of service to teachers, parents, and children, kids nationwide have the ability to grow and learn–all while having fun. Lakeshore produces new products every year for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-age children–covering all subject areas including math, language, science, music, and art.

“We’re extremely honored to be celebrating such a major milestone in our company’s history,” said Bo Kaplan, president and CEO of Lakeshore. “It is a huge testament to our people, our products and the loyal customers who have wholeheartedly supported us over the years. And, we are beyond excited about the future. We look forward to delivering the highest-quality products and service for many years to come.”

Besides helping children reach developmental and educational milestones in the classroom, Lakeshore Learning Stores have become a valuable part of the community by hosting family-friendly, year-round events with authors, folk singers and more. This October, Lakeshore is hosting a nationwide event in celebration of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record®, a national campaign celebrating early literacy.

For more information on products and events, visit The Lakeshore Story: A Simple Beginning and LakeshoreLearning.com.

Photos courtesy of Lakeshore Learning Materials.

Watch the video for tips and tricks on raising a star student in and out of the classroom.

 

3 Things to Raise a Successful Student
3 Things to Raise a Successful Student
3 Things to Raise a Successful Student

 

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American Baby’s Baby Booty: Win the ‘Most Registered For’ Travel System from Amazon.com’s Baby Registry!

Whether you’ve already registered for baby gear or you’re still deciding what you really need, Amazon.com is here to help you find the best gear for you and your little one. With a universal baby registry, Amazon.com makes it convenient to shop for the products you love. Plus, their top 100 most registered for baby items allows you to view the most popular gear purchased by moms like you. 

To help you get prepared before delivery, Amazon.com is giving away a Britax Travel System to ONE (1) lucky winner, a retail value of approximately $420.00. Prize includes Britax 2014 B-Agile stroller and B-Safe Travel System.

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day October 1. More Qs about our giveaway? Read the official rules. Be sure to check back on October 2 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!

Want advice on stroller safety? Watch the video below.

Stroller Safety
Stroller Safety
Stroller Safety

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Nominate an All-Star Parent

Does your child take part in a traveling soccer team? Dance troop? Swim group? Have you ever added up how much time and money you spend on the road? Embassy Suites Hotels did, and the results are staggering. The chain surveyed parents who travel with their kids’ teams and found that each sports season, they accumulated, on average, 1,000 miles and spent more than $1,400!

Inspired by this, Embassy Suites is hosting an All-Star Parents Facebook contest. Nominations for parents who deserve a reward for their dedication are being accepted now through October 7 in three categories: The Road Tripper (for the parent who knows not only directions, but everything about the area), The Mommy/Daddy Poppins (for the parent who’s bag of supplies is as endless as Mary Poppins), and The Unofficial Official (for the team’s biggest cheerleader, who knows the game inside and out). Each week during the contest, Embassy Suites will select one nominee and nominator to win prizes. Each of those four winners will be eligible for the grand prize—a VIP getaway for two at any Embassy Suites in the continental U.S., and a free stay for their kids’ travel team during their next weekend out of town. Embassy Suites will also be watching what traveling parents are talking about on social media, and will be surprising those all-star moms and dads throughout the fall sports season.

Find out if your child is ready for team sports with our quiz!

Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips
Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips
Top Tips for Better Family Roadtrips

Image: Child on soccer field via Shutterstock.

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5 Things I Do to Help Keep My Kids Cold-Free

This is a post from Penelope Guzman of Penelope’s Oasis provided by our sponsor Dr. Cocoa. This content was commissioned by our brand partner. Such content is not written by, and does not necessarily reflect the views of parents.com.

I have a son in kindergarten and a 2-year-old at home, so I’m pretty sensitive to the risks during cold and flu season. If my older son gets sick at school, he brings it home. If my toddler gets sick, my older son misses school. Either way, we have two miserable kidlets and a lot of stress in the house, so it makes me more vigilant about trying to keep my children healthy.

 

Help Keep Kids Cold-Free

 

Dr. Cocoa™, a sponsor of mine, is a new over-the-counter cough and cold medicine for children ages 4-13 (nighttime formula is 6+) with multiple formulations, and they all have a real chocolate taste. You never want your children to be sick, but if they are, this may be the one medicine your child would actually wouldn’t mind taking, because Dr. Cocoa is made with 10 percent real cocoa for a real chocolate taste.

Dr. Cocoa asked me to share how I try to keep my children healthier during this time of year, and I’m happy to share my top five tips, because no matter how tasty medicine is, it’s always better to have healthy kids.

1. Teach children about hygiene. We are big on hand washing, and this is probably why we’ve managed to get through a lot of winters without too many sniffles. Germs are everywhere, especially in school (door knobs, lavatory faucets, etc.) and kids are together about six hours a day…that’s a lot of germ-spreading time!

2. No sharing! We teach our kids to share, and it’s important to understand the concept of sharing some things, but not drinking cups or anything that could potentially be a breeding ground for cold germs.

3. Dress appropriately and eat nutritiously. Children should be dressed for the season and the day (if it’s a warm day, dress them in layers so they can adjust throughout the day), and make sure they are getting important, immune-boosting vitamins so they can fight off minor infections more quickly.

4. Get plenty of sleep. This is the area we struggle with the most, because my children do not like bedtime, but we pay for it the next day, so I have to enforce plenty of sleep at night. It ensures they are alert for school the next day and that their bodies are stronger and healthier.

5. If anyone feels sick, keep kids home. I know many parents have jobs or a lot on their plate, but don’t send your sick children to school. It will spread to other children, leading to a lot of unhappy parents, and may eventually come right back to you anyway. We all want our children to be healthy so we should work together as a community and all do our part to have healthier children.

If your children get sick anyway, my sponsor Dr. Cocoa has trusted, effective ingredients for cough and cold relief.

Dr. Cocoa

 

Get a coupon here.

Find out more information here.

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Tags: | Categories: GoodyBlog

Real Glam Moms: Chasing Davies

Megan Davey

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. 

Megan Davey runs Chasing Davies, a personal style blog. In between posts on outfits you’ll lust over, you’ll find adorable pics of her 9-month-old daughter, Nora, and 2-and-a-half year old son, Liam. We’re a bit obsessed with her bold lipstick picks in her Favorite Wears column, so she was a clear pick for RGM.

What is your beauty routine like?

As efficient as possible! Mornings are not my favorite, so I do whatever I can the night before—like shower. I go to bed with wet hair, and in the morning, it’s wild but dry. I fix it with a curling iron while applying my 5-minute makeup!

How has your beauty routines changed since you had your children?

Since becoming a mom, I have gotten more efficient and simpler. I wash may hair less (but it’s actually been good for it!), wear less makeup, typically just concentrate on one feature to accent and wear lipstick way more (easiest thing to apply to make a pop).

How do you find time to focus on yourself, your blog and your family?  

I’ve always been a person who likes to be busy! I have a strong capability for multitasking and love fulfilling my creative side, while being a mom, too. I could probably use a little more sleep, but for now, I’m making the most of every waking hour!

Do you have any beauty advice for moms?  

Don’t feel bad about taking some time for yourself, even if it’s only 5 minutes! Ultimately, retaining who you are and feeling good about yourself helps you be a better mom.

Nars lipstick

CHASING DAVIES’ FIVE FAVES

  1. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer in Brightener: This completely hides away those under eye bags and dark circles you get from lack of sleep.
  2. bareSkin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20: Three-in-one products are my favorite! This product is sunscreen, foundation and acts as concealer all in one.
  3. Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave: It’s the perfect orange-red lipstick that goes on smooth and lasts most of the day with just one application.
  4. Olay Regenerist Instant Fix Wrinkle Revolution Complex Primer: You can feel a difference in your skin right away, and it smooths fine lines quickly.
  5. L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Extra-Volume Collagen Mascara: I mix up my mascara often, but this is my go-to time after time for thick, long lashes from one bottle.

 

 

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Best Deals for the Week Across the Web

By Susan Yoo-Lee, Editor of Savings.com

With back-to-school season behind you and Christmas what seems like eons away (careful … it’s really not!), you might think now is a time to sit back, relax and put that pesky wallet away for a little while.

Well, think again! Now is the perfect time to stock up on some birthday gifts or early holiday presents at fabulous prices. Today’s deals offer discounts on everything a little kid could ever want or desire from great places like Build-A-Bear Workshop, Melissa & Doug, Scholastic and more. Stock up now while the getting is cheap and we promise you, eventually you will be able to put that pesky wallet away.

  1. Build-A-Bear Workshop. 25% off all Furever Princess Friends and Accessories (No code needed). Expires 9/25/2014.
  2. Melissa & Doug. Buy 1, Get 1 50% off Puzzle (Coupon code: PUZZLEBOGO). Expires 9/30/2014.
  3. ScholasticExtra 10% off all your orders (Coupon code: REBMR). Expires 12/31/2014.
  4. DisneystoreSave Up to 40% on New Markdowns (No code needed). Expires 10/05/2014.
  5. Discovery Store. Save 10% on your purchase over $50 (No code needed, follow the link). Expires 12/31/2014.

This post contains affiliate links.

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