Author Archive

Brooke Burke-Charvet: “We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family.”

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

One celebrity mom who knows a thing or two about travel: Brooke Burke-Charvet. The Dancing with the Stars champ and mom of four has ventured all over with her family, from the states to Europe, even Africa. It makes perfect sense then that the TV personality recently teamed up with Embassy Suites Hotels to host a panel with her daughter Rain, 7, and son Shaya, 6, on the “Pretty Great Family Debate,” a discussion on tackling common family disputes like homework, bedtime and yes, vacation planning. Parents got the scoop on how Brooke keeps her cool while traveling and what she can’t wait to do with her kids this summer.

P: So your family likes to plan vacations together. What helps you all make decisions without butting heads?

B: I’m all for a family meeting, but it’s really tough. I have four very opinionated children. The little ones, Rain and Shaya, kind of go with the flow but my teenage daughters Neriah, 14, and Sierra, 12, always have their own plans in mind. We try to do one big family vacation a year, so what we do is we’ll sit down and agree on a destination. More so, it’s about them deciding how we want to spend the time once we’re there. I try to let everybody choose one thing that they want to do. You want to make sure that family travel is enjoyable for every member, so it’s not just all about the kids or all about the parents.

P: In your travels, what places have your kids found cool?

B: We have a pretty good sense of adventure as a family. My children love to be on an island; they love the water. This summer, we’re going to try scuba diving for the very first time now that the kids are old enough. We’re going on a family cruise too, which I’m really excited about. They even like to go to Europe and discover history. I’ve always felt like we make every destination family-friendly. We teach them how to conduct themselves in any environment.

P: How do you keep your children entertained on longer trips?

B: I really feel like that depends on the energy and nature of the parent. I mean, I took Shaya and Rain to Africa when they were 2 and 3, even though every other mother thought I was insane. It’s just a matter of trying to go with the sun rather than staying on your own time zone. Be flexible as a parent and try not to travel as Americans. Get into the mindset of the local people wherever you are. When you go into a trip expecting to have exactly what you have at home, you’re just going to be disappointed. And I’ve found red-eye flights can be really great for long trips because everybody can just shut down and go to sleep.

P: What go-to items are with you all the time on vacation?

B: Books! I’m a big believer of less is more, and I like to encourage my children to read. It’s a great way to wind down on the plane. I limit tech, but everybody likes to have some iPad time. They’ll play with a mix of educational and pure entertainment games. I also like arts and crafts that are containable, like everyone’s into these bracelet-making projects right now. The things that take up a small amount of space but are cute and nifty are great for me.

P: Family fights are never fun! How do you handle meltdowns during a trip?

B: With more kids, it’s bound to happen. There’s always one child not happy. I just think you have to nip it in the butt really quickly. I don’t tolerate a lot of family fighting.

P: With summer on its way, what activities are you most excited to do with your kids?

B: My two teenagers are into paddle boarding, and I also just started doing Soul Cycle with my oldest, Neriah. We have a trampoline in the backyard; that’s great exercise and super fun. Shaya is honestly determined to teach me how to do a back flip. God help me! We also like to be outdoors and go on hikes.

P: I’m sure you’ll have more free time this summer with your children out of school. What helps you unwind in your spare time?

B: For me, it’s really my workouts. That’s totally my only hour in the day that’s me-time where I really don’t have to think about anything else. It’s not just a physical benefit; it’s also great for mind, body, and soul. And I love to cook. I find that it’s really relaxing. It’s a huge bonus because my family loves to eat and there’s a lot of people to feed.

Planning a family roadtrip? Use these tips for a smooth ride!

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

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: visit the La Quinta Inn & Suites Wellness Hotel in Trinidad, CO

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the ninth in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONLa Quinta Inn & Suites Wellness Hotel, Trinidad, Colorado

Located midway between Denver and Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this pet-friendly hotel makes a perfect home base for picturesque drives, scenic walks, and visits to local museums.

BOOK IT! From $99; you can check your travel dates online at LaQuintaTrinidad.com

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! Ask for the Yes Baby! package created for AB readers. From $265, it includes a bottle of sparkling cider, a platter of chocolates and fresh fruit, breakfast for two in your two-room suite, an organic facial, and a classic teddy bear basket of newborn goodies for your baby-to-be (about a $400 value). Other restrictions may apply; call 719-845-0102 for full details.

To celebrate your soon-to-be mommy status, have fun making this Mother’s Day bangle bracelet!

Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets
Mother's Day Paper Crafts: Bangle Bracelets

 

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a New Training Bike from FirstBIKE

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Here at Parents, we got a little bike crazy for our May issue, in which you’ll find our top five picks for kids. While we’ll be the first to admit that building a bike is much harder than it looks, we love that they encourage young ones to be active early on.

One example is the company FirstBIKE, which makes awesome trainer bikes for children 2 to 5 years of age. With a lightweight design and sturdy frame, they’re easy to lug around and durable enough to withstand a rowdy tot. Plus, with five versions to choose from, there’s a bike to suit any terrain!

We especially love that the company recently teamed up with the Partnership for a Healthier America, which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to get more kids moving and help fight childhood obesity. FirstBIKE will donate a minimum of 1,300 bikes to the YMCA of the USA and other organizations over the next three years. That’s pretty cool!

This week, ONE lucky GoodyBlog reader will have the chance to win a FirstBIKE model of their choosing, valued between $130 and $200! To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day May 5. Be sure to check back on May 6 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!

For some more summer fun, try building a terrarium with your youngster!

Congrats to our winner Ashley Garrett Nolan!

Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium

Click here for official rules.

 

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Catch the Hulu premiere of Doozers, the new kids’ series from Lisa Henson

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Who doesn’t have a soft spot for Muppet creator Jim Henson? We got excited to hear that his daughter, Lisa Henson, is producing Hulu’s first original kids’ series, Doozers, based off her dad’s Fraggle Rock, which followed a community of creatures living in an underground fantasy world. In the original show, Doozers were tiny green characters constantly at work on construction projects. With Lisa’s new animated series, the Doozers get their turn in the spotlight, teaching preschoolers the importance of science, math, and technology while having fun. To celebrate today’s premiere, Lisa shared with Parents her new spin on a classic and why problem-solving is a must for today’s kids.

P: What was it about your dad’s show Fraggle Rock that inspired you to create Doozers?
L:
 On Fraggle Rock, the Doozers were busy building with their hard hats and megaphones. They had construction projects going on all the time, but it was like peripheral business to the activities of the Fraggles. We always thought the Doozers had such a fascinating world and were such cute, wonderful characters. We feature kid Doozers and really build out the world so it’s no longer just underground. Most of the show takes place out in nature in our world.

P: The show will have its own special curriculum. In what ways will the series encourage STEAM learning?
L:
 We’re getting a bit more into technology and engineering with the Doozers because they love to create, make, build, and invent. They address a different problem in every episode and then design something that addresses that problem. We feel it’s a very unique curriculum but within a show that’s extremely fun and fantastical. For kids, I think they’re going to be watching the little green guys have fun and play. While the message is there, it’s not extremely formal, so they’re learning more informally.

P: The Doozers are really into creating and building. Why was it important for you to make a series that encouraged those qualities in kids?
L:
 With kids today, there’s no such thing giving them too much modeling of teamwork and problem solving. What it takes to improve our world is problem solving. We don’t really want kids to just lay back and become passive as adults. We want them to take a plunge and try to address problems.

P: This will be the first original kids series on Hulu. How did you decide that was the right source for your show?
L:
 What’s unique about this show is because it’s premiering on Hulu, that’s the only place that kids can see it. We find that to be pretty modern because it lines up with how kids watch shows today. They want to be able to watch them when they want, where they want, or even watch a favorite episode over and over again. Hulu is perfect for that kind of viewing.

P: Who’s your favorite character from the series?
L:
 The youngest Doozer, Daisy Wheel, instantly became a winner for me. She has bright blue hair, a ladybug backpack, and a jet pack she flies around with. She’s so cute! What she contributes to the show is very important too because she loves nature and is always observing things. Then, the Doozers take those ideas from nature and use them in their designs and inventions, also called biomimicry. She’s just so perfectly put together.

You can watch the trailer on Hulu now.

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: The Buccaneer in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the eighth in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONThe Buccaneer, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

This legendary romantic island getaway, featured on ABC’s The Bachelor, is one of the longest-running resorts in the Caribbean. Couples can stroll the grounds set against three beaches or relax at one of the hotel’s two pools. The family-owned resort encourages guests to be active with a golf course, tennis courts, and guided walks.

BOOK IT! From $271; you can check your travel dates online at TheBuccaneer.com

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! Our new five-night American Baby package includes your deluxe oceanview room, daily breakfast, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 55-minute spa service for each of you, a sunset sail, beach picnic basket, romantic dock dinner and more for $2,381 (about a $3,381 value). Other restrictions may apply; call 800-255-3881.

Want to wind down before your trip? Throw a spa-themed baby shower with these tips.

Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2
Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2
Baby Shower Ideas: Spa-Themed Party for Mom Expecting Baby #2

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a $150 Special Edition Coffee Maker from Keurig

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

After a frazzled morning spent preparing your family for the day, sometimes all any mom needs is a cup of joe for an instant energy boost. While it’s important to remember drinking too much coffee can be dangerous, in moderation, the beverage could actually be good for you. Take recent research from the American Heart Association. They found that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee helped improve blood flow in small blood vessels, a big plus for maintaining cardiovascular health.

Good thing then that Keurig has a K65 Special Edition brewing system to help coffee lovers get a healthy dose of caffeine. Valued at $150, it makes a cup in under a minute as hot as you’d like thanks to the temperature control. Or you can brew your beverage of choice over ice.

This week, Keurig is offering TWO lucky GoodyBlog readers the chance to win a Special Edition coffee maker. To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day April 28. Be sure to check back on April 29 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!

For our preggo moms-to-be, check out this video for smart caffeine and tea consumption while expecting!

Congrats to our winners Jeevon Kay and Tanya Cox!

Coffee & Tea During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Coffee & Tea During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Coffee & Tea During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

Click here for official rules.

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American Baby’s Babymoon Special: Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach in Clearwater Beach, FL

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

* Guest-edited by Laura Manske, travel expert

This is the seventh in a weekly series of special travel deals. For the first few months we’ll focus exclusively on babymoons. About half of expectant couples say they take a pre-baby vacay; we’ll help you be one of them.

THE DESTINATIONHyatt Regency Clearwater Beach, Clearwater Beach, Florida

Between the Intercoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, this pink-hued resort with spa, rooftop pool, and three restaurants stands tall on a spacious beach — an idyllic locale for spectacular sunsets. Looking for a fun day trip? St. Pete’s Beach is a little over 30 minutes south and features a sweet zoo where you can feed rhinos and giraffes. Plus the entire area is famous for fresh seafood, cool museums and miles of sandy shoreline.

BOOK IT! From $259; you can check your travel dates online at ClearwaterBeach.Hyatt.com

HERE’S OUR SPECIAL! With the BABY14 package, enjoy a welcome amenity of sparkling cider and chocolates; full daily breakfast for two; guaranteed late checkout at 1 p.m.; and valet parking (resort fee included). Other restrictions, as well as specific book-by-and-stay-by dates, may apply; call 800-233-1234 for full details.

Before you leave, check out these tips on traveling while preggers!

Traveling Pregnant
Traveling Pregnant
Traveling Pregnant

 

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a $370 Movie and iPad Mini Prize Package from Universal Studios

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Once my sister and I got older, it became a lot harder for my parents to entertain us on family trips. The one thing that did hold our attention in the car was watching movies. It was as big a deal to figure out what DVDs we were taking as it was to pack clothing. Here are two new releases you’ll want for this year’s summer travels:

* Fans of funny animal flicks will love the animated action-adventure The Nut Job, released on DVD today. It follows the thieving squirrel Surly as he attempts to pull off the greatest nut heist of his life.

* Seeing a new spin on a classic can also be rewarding, like with The Little Rascals Save The Day. Key members of the gang, including sweethearts Alfalfa and Darla, return to help Grandma’s bakery stay afloat. After some botched fundraising attempts, they set their heart on winning the local talent show to raise money, proving they’re all still the same bunch of good-hearted, silly kids today’s parents may remember watching from their own childhood.

To celebrate the release of both movies, Universal Studios is giving away the DVD/Blu-ray Combo Packs of both plus an iPad mini so your kids can take their entertainment on the go. FOUR lucky GoodyBlog readers will have the chance to win this prize package, which retails at $370!

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day April 21. Be sure to check back on April 22 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see the four winners. 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!

For a fun outdoors activity, follow these steps to build a terrarium with your child!

Congrats to our winners:

  • Rita Alarcon
  • Shalini Jain
  • Tina Mercado
  • Becky George 

Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium
Simple Terrarium

Click here for official rules.

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