Author Archive

Thanksgiving Decorating Ideas from Evette Rios

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

With Thanksgiving just a week away, you probably still have a ton to do: final menu planning, shopping, cleaning, cooking. And let’s not forget setting the holiday dinner table. To help you check the latter off your list, we asked Evette Rios (right), craft and design expert and entertaining contributor for eHow Food, to share a few of her favorite wallet-friendly decorating ideas. The best part? Your kids can make all of them from fallen leaves on your lawn!

For all of the project ideas below, start by making a simple leaf rubbing. Place a leaf vein side up under a piece of paper—Evette used a thin, colorful rice paper—and rub the paper with the flat side of a crayon. Cut out the shape of the leaf and repeat to create as many as desired. “These leaves are so easy to make that you can get the entire family involved,” says Rios. “Make a whole bunch and really brighten up your holiday table.”

Leaf Project 1: Using a kid-safe needle and thread, string together a bunch of leaves to make a garland. Hang it from a chandelier above your table or drape it across the dining room wall.

Leaf Project 2: Place a leaf on each dinner plate for a fall-themed place card. Have kids write each guests’ name on top using a bright colored crayon or marker.

Leaf Project 3: Glue the leaves to twigs and sticks, then place them in a small jar to make a rustic centerpiece for the kids’ table. “These handmade leaves look beautiful when the light hits them, and they’ll stay vibrant, colorful and won’t dry out like the real ones,” says Rios.






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Nominate a Gift for the 2011 Giftee Awards!

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Believe it or not, we’re about to send the December 2011 issue off to the printer. Which means all of us at Parents’ HQ have been busy decking the halls, trimming fake Christmas trees, spreading joy to the world, and rounding up the prettiest presents over the last few months – even though the rest of the world hasn’t even dreamed about holiday shopping yet.

But just when I thought the holidays were going to take a brief hiatus, I got a call from asking yours truly to be a guest judge for the 2011 Giftee Awards. Now, you should know that I am a rare type of holiday enthusiast that actually enjoys celebrating all things jolly for nearly half of the year every year. Picking out pretty presents – for readers from June to September then again for my family and friends in November and December – is a small slice of heaven for this product-maven. So am I completely over the top excited to be a judge for the this year’s Giftee Awards? Yes. Yes I am.

Here’s how it works: Visit between now and Friday, October 21st to nominate your favorite gift in a number of different categories, like Hottest Toy for Holiday, Best Gift under $25, Best Edible Gift, and Best Office Secret Santa Gift. Then on Monday, October 31st the Giftees judging panel will announce finalists in each category for you to vote on. The product with the most votes in each category will be declared the winner on Monday, November 28th. Oh, and there are two ways for you to win too: by simply nominating a gift you’re automatically entered to win a $500 shopping spree and if the gift you nominated wins you’re entered to win the grand prize of another $500 shopping spree.

So head over to to share all of the amazing gifts that have put a smile on your face or those of family and friends, and check out what other people love giving and getting around the holidays too. And be sure to check in the beginning of November for this year’s Holiday Gift Guide. We shopped for super stylish gifts for everyone on your list – and I mean everyone! – so you don’t have to!


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Enter Parents’ Family Vacation Photo Contest!

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Dust off your memory card… It’s time to enter the third annual Parents’ Family Vacation Photo Contest!

No matter if you snapped an amazing photo of your little one dipping her toes in the ocean, playing at the park, or exploring the top of a mountain – we want to see your best shots from your last family trip!

To enter, go to to upload up to 6 photos now through October 15th. One grand prize winner will score an amazing trip for a family of four to Jamaica, provided by Jamaica Tourist Board and Delta Vacations, worth nearly $5,000!!!

The prize includes round-trip airfare and ground transportation in Jamaica, 7-days and 6-nights hotel accommodations of your choice, plus your pick of not one, but two exciting family tours (choose from fun options like river tours, tubing, horseback riding, and dune buggies).

Wait, there’s more! We’re giving away a $250 cash prize every week for 11 weeks to the reader whose photo gets the most reader votes in Parents’ Photo Faves gallery. After you enter, you’ll receive a URL that you can forward to family and friends via email and post on Facebook and Twitter to encourage people to vote for your kid’s pic!

To learn more about traveling to Jamaica, go to and visit to learn more about their travel packages.

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Shameless Plug: Amazon Prime

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

With the holiday shopping season upon us and Black Friday and Cyber Monday just days away, I have two words for you: Amazon Prime.

Shop millions of “prime eligible” items (including toys, books, household items, clothing, and more) on and get unlimited FREE 2-day shipping or pay $3.99 per item to overnight an order. There’s no minimum purchase and you can ship it anywhere in the continental US. Plus, you can share your account, which costs $79 for a year, with up to 4 members of your household at no extra cost. If you’re looking to simplify your holiday this year, joining Prime can help cut down on time spent at the mall (and money spent on shipping if you shop online already!) so you have more time to enjoy the season with your family!

Case in point: just yesterday my mother called me frantic because she’s hosting Thanksgiving and remembered last minute she had wanted to buy a highchair to keep at her house for my 18-month-old niece to use at the dinner table tomorrow and on future holidays. Her plan? To hit the big baby box store after the grocery store and various other errands with yours truly in tow so I could advise on which highchair to buy. So I took the bull by the horns and offered up a different, more practical approach. I immediately logged on to my Amazon Prime account and emailed her links to top-rated highchairs that were eligible for 2-day and overnight delivery for her to choose from. With 28 minutes to spare, I added my mom to my account and she logged on, added the highchair to her cart, selected overnight delivery for $4 extra, and voila! A brand new highchair is set to arrive on her doorstep any minute today (literally – I tracked the package) and all this sans searching for parking in a congested lot, waiting on long lines, and potentially loosing our minds in the mix of it. And that’s just one example of Prime coming in clutch in my life.

Do you shop online? Are there sites or services that work for you?

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Goody Green: Camelbak Better Bottles

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly gift for a loved one this season that can really make a difference, check out‘s limited edition Camelbak Better Bottles. One hundred percent of the profits from these BPA-free Triton and Stainless style water vessels go directly to helping people gain access to clean water.

Did you know that 884 million people lack safe water supplies or that a child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease? Show your support and go to to learn the facts, get involved, and make a donation.

Prices for’s Camelbak Better Bottles range from $19 to $25.

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Win Parents’ Hottest Holiday Gifts!

Monday, November 1st, 2010

If you’re not thinking about holiday shopping yet, you will be soon enough! Lucky for you, we rounded up the 50 hottest holiday presents (Check out Parents‘ December 2010 issue, which hits newsstands next week!) so you can spend less time stressing about what to buy for loved ones, and more time with loved ones. But before you scour the stores and sites, log on to before December 10th to enter to win the fabulous gifts featured in this year’s Gift Guide.

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Tags: | Categories: Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Shopping & Gear

Goody Green: Trashy to Trendy Clutches

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Take a look at these colorful classic clutches. Pretty, no? Now look a little closer. (Closer!) These Trashy to Trendy bags by Sheila Odessey are actually handmade from recycled dry clean bags, produce bags, and plastic shopping bags! They’re not just totally fun looking, they’re water-resistant and durable, which makes them a practical choice for moms on-the-go. Plus, with full lining, zippered pockets, and magnetic closures, they’re incredibly well made.

With an estimated 1 million bags being consumed globally per minute, this is another great way to upcycle plastic bags from trash into something, ahem, trendy. Learn more about the process and Sheila Odessey’s line here.

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Map Baby Quilts

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

indexLooking for a cool new baby gift or something to make your kid’s bed stand out from the rest? Check out Haptic Lab’s Baby Soft-Maps. They’re baby quilts stitched to look like city maps. Big enough to spread out on the floor for tummy time and soft enough to cuddle up to each night, these awesome quilts will grow with your child. Choose from NYC neighborhoods, US Cities, and places like Barcelona, Australia, Paris and more. You can even have the natural cotton blanket personalized with a child’s name, initials, or birth date.

Check out Haptic lab’s other awesome styles and custom designs here.

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