This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Here are some of our favorite new movies, games, and more!

Movies and Television

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back, this time in a live-action adventure. The gang of Ninjutsu-trained fighters teams up with April O’Neil (Megan Fox) to save New York City from Shredder and his evil Foot Clan. PG-13, opens August 8

In Dora and Friends: Into the City! our bilingual heroine is moving to an urban area, making new friends, and exchanging her trusty paper map for a tech-savvy app. But her adventures, which focus heavily on community service and helping others, are still educational and entertaining for her legions of preschool fans. 2 years+, premieres August 18

Experience life under water with James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge 3D. The film recounts Cameron’s personal journey exploring on a submarine in a way that will inspire both kids and adults. PG, opens August 8

Amazon Studios just launched Annedroids, an original kids’ series about a girl genius. The live-action adventure show explores her amazing scientific discoveries and the difficulties of growing up. The first six episodes are available through Prime Instant Video, and more episodes will follow later this year.
4 years+, premiered July 25 on Amazon

Your little Barbie fan’s imagination can fly free with Barbie and the Secret Door, a new DVD release. When the shy princess Barbie discovers a magical hidden world, she must gather her courage to protect the land from danger. Luckily, she has two new friends—a mermaid and a fairy—to help her.
3 years+, $20

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood kicks off Season 2 with some big news: Daniel’s baby sister, Margaret, is on the way! The arrival of a new family member lets the PBS Kids hit series explore difficult emotions, such as feeling left out and dealing with change. 3 years+, premieres August 18

Video Games

Swing away with Mario Golf: World Tour. Players join the classic Mushroom Kingdom characters to putt and drive on a series of challenging courses. (Watch out for those vicious Piranha Plants!)
6 years+, $30 for 3DS, 3DS XL, and 2DS

Put your problem-solving abilities to the test with Pushmo World. Players push, pull, and climb blocks to solve more than 250 puzzles. Plus, a new feature called the World Pushmo Fair hub lets users easily share and play puzzles by other users around the world. 6 years+, $10 for Wii U

The lovable video game characters of the early ’90s are back in Lemmings Touch. The all new version was designed just for the PlayStation Vita, so players can use the touchscreen to guide the Lemmings through a variety of themed worlds, including Candy Land and Space. Keep an eye out for the mischievous Lemming while you’re at it! 6 years+, $10 for PS Vita

Apps

Eric Carle fans will love The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Friends – Play & Explore app. The beloved characters and gorgeous illustrations come to life on your device in a series of activities that include counting and memory games for kids. 3 years+, $4 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android

Little Builders lets your child experience a construction site without any mess. He can mix cement, drive a digger, paint a house, or operate a crane with ease. But watch out, because you never know when a water pipe might burst! 2 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Teach your kid to care for the environment with Habitat the Game. Players adopt a virtual polar bear and must complete real-world actions—such as turning lights off and conserving water—to keep the creature healthy. Little ones will take pride in making an actual difference in the world with these exciting games. 4 years+, Free for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

It’s Peppa Pig’s Party Time! Your kid can help her prepare by designing the invitations, decorating the party bags, and baking the cake. Afterward, join in the fun with some party games, including musical chairs and pass the parcel. Savor the memories with snapshots saved in the app’s photo album—and then start all over again! 3 years+, $5 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Sago Mini Space Explorer lets children explore the universe with an adorable dog named Harvey. Guide him past stars and planets, make alien friends, and take a spin in a flying saucer. The open-ended play experience encourages kids to make up stories as they go. 2 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Image courtesy of Paramount

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Best Deals for the Week Across the Web

By Susan Yoo-Lee, Editor of Savings.com

If you thought last week’s post full of Back-to-School deals was the bee’s knees, we’ve got an awesome encore for you this week, as well. Check out the coupon codes below to stock up on whatever might have been left off last week’s list, from Carter’s and Kohls to Sierra Trading Post, Tilly’s and more … you shouldn’t need to pay full price for anything for your kids when it comes to their back-to-school gear!

  1. Justice & Brothers$25 off your purchase over $50 (Coupon code: 38413084). Expires 7/31/2014.
  2. Carter’s40% off all orders (No code needed). Expires 8/5/2014.
  3. Kohls$10 off orders $30 or more (Coupon code: URSPECIAL). Expires 8/2/2014.
  4. Tilly’s20% off one item (Coupon code: DEALPRO2014). Expires 9/7/2014.
  5. Sierra Trading Post25% off your purchase over $125 (Coupon code: STP14). Expires 12/31/2014.
This post contains affiliate links.
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#JOMO is the new #FOMO because #YOLO

The constant barrage of parenting humblebrags, pin-worthy pedicures, and perfectly posed (and filtered) pics of well-dressed, angelic children is causing us to miss out on what’s right in front of us. So, bid adieu to that nasty FOMO feeling and embrace JOMO (joy of missing out). Let everyone else hustle to keep up with the Joneses while you enjoy the relief of doing your own thing, no matter how un-Instagrammable it may be. Start by:

Just Saying No
When everyone’s volunteering for a PTA committee but you choose to binge-watch Orange Is the New Black instead, JOMO! When your single friend invites you to happy hour but you’d rather sing along to the Frozen soundtrack with the kids (again), JOMO! Only say yes to plans that truly excite you. Who cares if you don’t get tagged in the photo later?

Keeping It Real
Find IRL experiences that mimic the sites you enjoy most. If you’re always pinning craft ideas or recipes, take a cooking class or pick up art supplies and get creative with your kids. Crave connection? Join a mom’s group for a real-life social meet-up.

Seeing the Bigger Picture
For each image of a child quietly reading a book, there are hundreds of un-photographed moments where his behavior is…less than ideal. The next time you’re staring in awe (and envy) at a photo or status update, remind yourself that social media is not real life—and that all the good stuff happens off-camera anyway.

—Sabrina James

Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail
Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail
Mom Confessions: My Latest Parenting Fail

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Simple One-Ingredient (Banana!) Ice Cream

You may or may not have heard the buzz about one-ingredient ice cream, and you may be wondering whether it’s too good to be true. Rest assured that, yes, it really is as quick, easy, and delicious as it seems! I whipped up a batch in less than fifteen minutes with stellar results. Most recipes call for a food processor, but a blender will work just as well.

This is a perfect treat for kids and adults with a dairy-free diet or as a light alternative to traditional ice cream, and it definitely doesn’t sacrifice taste. I used this recipe as a guideline and added a few of my favorite mix-ins.

This makes enough for two small portions or one hearty (read: sweet-tooth-approved) serving.

All you’ll need is:

  • 3 bananas, cut into small chunks and frozen

My optional additions:

  • 2 heaping tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • A few pinches of sea salt, to taste

1. Whizz your bananas in a blender or food processor. If your blender is low-power, like mine was, let the bananas thaw on the counter for about five minutes. If your bananas are straight from the freezer, stop a few times to give your blender a break and the scrape down the sides. Blend until the consistency is smooth throughout, like soft-serve.

2. Once you’ve got a smooth texture, that’s it!

3. If you want to take it a step further, add your mix-ins. Pulse just a few times until everything is incorporated. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt on top.

Let your imagination go wild when it comes to your mix-ins: nuts, berries, spices, candy, sprinkles, or granola are all great additions. Or, keep it plain and simple with just the bananas. Either way, relax and enjoy your guilt-free dessert!

Looking for more easy family desserts? Check out these recipes!

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How to Dress Now That You’re Pregnant

Not only has baby gear changed since our mothers were pregnant, but maternity fashion has, too-thanks goodness! However, what to wear for different occasions can still be a hassle.

Ten years ago Baukjen de Swaan Arons, founder of Isabella Oliver, had something in common with a lot of women during her first pregnancy–she found it really tricky to dress successfully.

“I’ve always said that I made every mistake in the book, and I really did. There’s more choice today but women still struggle with the same dilemmas – how to look smart for work with a growing bump, elegant for a wedding and what the best investment pieces might be,” she says.

To answer these questions more effectively, Isabella Oliver launched an eStylist service–an online styling initiative–making shopping while pregnant fun and efficient. “Our eStylist service gives women the opportunity to book a time with one of our experts, and ask them, via video or phone, for a little assistance,” she said. “It’s totally free of charge and has been really well-received.”

Real questions that the eStylist has helped with are:

1. I am 3 months pregnant and have no idea how big I’m going to get. I used to wear a size 4 but am currently shopping for clothes in size M. What would you advise?

Your pre-pregnancy size is also your maternity size so there’s no need to worry about that. We suggest embracing your bump – figure hugging styles are very flattering, so don’t just keep buying bigger and bigger non-maternity clothes. Look for maternitywear in supportive fabric, wrap styles, or styles with ruching. We use many of those in the Isabella Oliver line to build both comfort and confidence.

2. I need help with just everything. From workwear to weekend. I’m completely lost and overwhelmed. I work in the fashion industry so I feel particularly pressured to remain stylish as my body changes. 

Start by creating a capsule wardrobe that doesn’t feel too far removed from your normal style and then go from there. I’d suggest a boyfriend jean, a classic tee, a blazer, a T-shirt dress, a shirt and a comfy pair of joggers then mix and match for a multitude of occasions. Use accessories to style up or down for even more versatility.

3. I have a wedding to go to when I am 32 weeks pregnant so will be quite big by then. What shall I wear?

I’d recommend our Zahara Silk Maternity Maxi Dress, currently discounted to $132. It’s a beautiful and luxurious choice for a wedding and benefits from a flowing cut and light fabric. Plus, its length means you can even wear a flat sandal if you can’t bear the thought of a heel or a wedge for more than a couple of hours. From a styling point of view, the print is super pretty and appropriate for both the formality and fun of the event. Add a chunky necklace and a clutch to finish the look.

Are these questions similar to what you’re going through, as well? If so, what are you waiting for? Book your free Isabella Oliver eStylist appointment today!

Watch this video for additional inspiration on how to show off your growing bump!

 

Fun Ways to Flaunt Your Bump
Fun Ways to Flaunt Your Bump
Fun Ways to Flaunt Your Bump

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Celebrate Friends and Sisters on August 3–and Every Day!

Whether your kiddo has a great group of buds, one bestie, a sister, or a sister who doubles as a BFFL (best friend for life, of course!), she’s in luck, because Sunday, August 3 is Friendship Day and Sisters Day!

While presents certainly aren’t necessary for this fun holiday (friendship is free, after all), those looking to amp up the celebration may enjoy gifting a pal one of the goodies below. Click the images to shop.

Your child can print out a picture of herself and a BFF and then add “captions” using these fun, inexpensive stickers. ($2.50, Amazon.com)

This clever set of bodysuits is great for twins (talk about a built-in bud!) or just for friends. Even better, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Save the Children charity. ($30 for set of two, BabyBasket.com)

Friendship bracelets never go out of style! Pals can make their own using this set, which is recommended for kids ages 3 and up. ($15, Target.com) Your daughters can show their sisterly spirit by wearing one of these pieces! (One-piece: $10, Babies R Us; Carter’s Top, $18, Boscov’s)

Whip out this book next time your child has a friend come over! They’ll never run out of activities. ($10, Barnes and Noble)

It’s always fun to meet new playmates! Here’s how you can help your child expand his social circle.

Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends
Back to School: How To Help Kids Make New Friends

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4 Questions That Can Get You a Free Breast Pump

* Guest-edited by Amanda Cole, owner of Yummy Mummy 

We’ve all heard the phrase “ask and you shall receive.” When you’re pregnant you’re going to be asking about (and receiving) tips on strollers, car seats, baby monitors and more. While you’re at it, ask the right questions and you could maybe receive a free breast pump.

The Affordable Care Act requires most health insurance plans to cover women’s preventative services, including breast pumps, oftentimes with no cost to the mother. But coverage varies widely, not only from one insurance carrier to the next, but also from one plan to the next. So you have to ask the right questions to find out what you are entitled to.

1. Does your plan cover breast pumps?

Although the Affordable Care Act requires most insurance plans to cover breast pumps, a few plans have been “grandfathered in,” so the first thing to do is make sure your plan covers breast pumps. And despite some rumors out there, the breast pumps you receive through insurance are the same exact breast pumps you would buy at any retail store. They might not have all the fancy extras like tote bags and coolers, but the motor and mechanics are 100% identical. And there is no need to purchase additional accessories to start pumping! Just buy them later if you decide you need them.

2. What types of pumps are covered by your plan?

Some plans offer a double-electric breast pump, others offer only a manual pump, and some plans give members a choice. Some plans also allow you to rent a hospital-grade pump, but most often you or your baby must have a medical condition (such as a cleft palette) as well as a prescription in order to obtain a hospital-grade breast pump. Which leads us to question #3…

3. Do you need a prescription?

Some plans require your doctor to send in a prescription for any type of pump, so ask early to avoid delays later!

4. How and when do I get my pump?

For the most part, your insurance carrier will not let you go to just any store (or web site) to purchase your pump. They will require that you obtain your breast pump from an in-network provider. I am the founder and owner of Yummy Mummy, the largest Durable Medical Equipment supplier in the country specializing in breast pumps, so we may be in your network (we work with more than 25 insurance plans).

Your pump provider should ideally verify benefits on your behalf, offer you different brands of pumps to choose from, and ship the pump straight to your door. Some insurance plans will let you receive your pump at any point during your pregnancy, while others will only allow the pump to ship one month before your delivery or after you’ve delivered.

If you still have more questions, Yummy Mummy is here to help!

Seeking advice on what type of breast pump you should get or how many you should have? Watch this video introduction!

 

Choose a Breast Pump
Choose a Breast Pump
Choose a Breast Pump

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Steal That Kid’s Style! Our Takes on Fave Pitti Bimbo Looks

High-end clothing and accessories aren’t just for the Carrie Bradshaws of the world. The designers showcased at children’s fashion fair Pitti Bimbo, a bi-yearly event in Florence, Italy, prove that garb for little ones can be just as chic. Unfortunately, some of the pieces can run pretty steep–especially when you consider how much your kiddo grows each year!

Don’t worry, though–even if you’d rather save than splurge, your child doesn’t have to dress like a Plain Jane. Here, we’ve put together looks modeled after some of our favorite Pitti Bimbo fashions shown at past fairs. Your little one will be ready to hit the runway in no time! Click the “Off the Rack” images to shop.

On the Runway: This Miss Bluemarine dress, modeled in January 2013, is perfect for the girl who loves all things pink (and has somewhere super fancy to go!). 

Off the Rack: Florals and bows? Check and check. This Youngland frock from Sears also has the satin look of the designer dress, but it’ll only cost you…wait for it…$13! 

On the Runway: He’ll stand out in the crowd when he sports a neon yellow polo! Classic khakis and a grown-up blazer make for a “brunch at the club” look. This outfit, shown in June 2013, is by Miss Grant.

Off the Rack: These pieces are all great basics, so stock up and replicate this look at a minimal cost. Pair the OshKosh polo ($11-$13.20, Diapers.com) with jeans during cooler months. To make the look more feminine, girls may enjoy wearing this similar-looking blazer, also by OshKosh, over a dress ($18, Target). 

On the Runway: Anchors aweigh! The nautical look goes high-fashion with this Philippe Plein dress, which was shown at the most recent fair this past June. 

Off the Rack: It’s patriotic-looking and summery just like its runway counterpart, but this anchor dress is super affordable. ($32, Zappos)

Images of runway styles 1 and 3 by Giovanni Giannoni; image 2 courtesy of Pitti Immagine. 

Back to school time will be here before you know it! Check it some of our fashion tips:

Back to School: Fashion for Girls
Back to School: Fashion for Girls
Back to School: Fashion for Girls

 

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