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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014
She’s sassy, savvy, and LOL-worthy. If you haven’t heard of Quinoa (no, not the food this time!), you’re missing out. Tiffany Beveridge turned her viral Pinterest board, “My Imaginary Well-Dressed Toddler Daughter”, starring a little girl with the same name as the trendy grain, into a clever book for fans to enjoy.
Quinoa is spirited and a hipster, but it would be a major faux paux to refer to herself as one, according to “The Rules of Being a Hipster” that appear at the beginning of Beveridge’s book. More specifically, as Beveridge writes, Quinoa is “the fearless and fashion-forward little girl who dresses to the ninety-nines, attends elaborately themed playdates with her cohort of posh friends” and “sets more trends in an hour that the number of times you check your email in Twitter feed.” Quinoa lives and breathes fashion, and even knows how to undergo a “textile cleanse” (wearing all white for a week) when necessary. If you’ve never found yourself jealous of a fictional character, you (or your child) will be now.
Of course, the book is also parody of our obsession with the latest must-have foods, styles, and technologies. Case in point: Quinoa’s friends are named Hashtag and Chevron, and a list of Quinoa-approved monikers includes gems such as Chia, Sephora, and Peplum. Likewise: The key to choosing worthwhile extracurricular activities, Quinoa says, is to follow three simple criteria: 1. Can it be posted on Pinterest? 2. Can it be posted in Instagram? 3. Can it be posted on YouTube?
Just as Bevridge’s Pinterest board is full of witty captions next to perfectly styled images, the book contains similar musings. A picture of two children sitting on a staircase is accompanied with the caption, “While playing brownstone, Quinoa and Bodoni got into an argument over who got to be the liberal arts professor and who got to be the work-from-home dad.” An image of an energetic young child dressed in camo, flannel, and some bling reads, “Quinoa’s friend Ellipses has the moves like Jagger, the smarts like Zuckerberg, and the curfew of a 12-year-old.” Laughing yet?
While some of the cultural references may go over children’s heads, the book is a fun read for teens, young adults, and parents who will appreciate Beveridge’s insight and humor.
Are you raising a little fashionista? These looks will inspire her as back-to-school time approaches:
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Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
Set your DVRs, ladies, because tonight is a 90210 reunion! Well, kind of. Jennie Garth and her longtime gal pal Tori Spelling are teaming up again in the new ABC Family series Mystery Girls, premiering tonight. Parents caught up with Jennie a few weeks ago and then met her at a special Mamarazzi screening event, hosted by The MOMS of SiriusXM fame. The actress and mother of three daughters, Luca, 17, Lola, 12, and Fiona, 8, opened up to us about raising her girls to be confident women, recovering from divorce, working her latest volunteer project, and filming her hilarious new sitcom.
P: Your girls are growing up so quickly. Is it tougher to be a parent to toddlers and preschoolers or tweens and teens?
JG: Oh my god I would have to say younger is tougher because they cannot articulate what they’re thinking or what they want or need so well. The language barrier is definitely a problem.
P: What traits of yours do you see in each of your daughters?
JG: All of my best ones [laugh]. I can definitely see qualities from myself as well as qualities of their dad. Good and bad from both of us. Luca today was listening to the same exact music that I was listening to at her age, which was The Cure. She didn’t listen to it today because of me, she listened to it totally on her own. So we have similar musical taste. She’s also beautiful. She has very similar body, dance, movement style. My middle one, Lola, is very organized and very much an organized thinker, a list-maker and she likes to have tasks and complete them—that’s how my brain works. My little Fiona, she’s very competitive. So when we play board games she likes to win, and she’s very quick-witted and those are definitely both qualities of mine. You definitely see yourself in them for good and for bad sometimes.
P: Is there a childlike thing that you get excited to relive through Fiona, since she’s your youngest?
JG: All of it. Easter egg coloring, and you know, she loves to play board games. Coloring. Coloring book coloring. I love just sitting and coloring. She loves any kind of game. Puzzles. We do all that. And reading with her. We still snuggle in bed together, where the other girls do their own thing at bedtime, you know. The book-reading at that time is one of my favorite times of the day.
P: Having three girls is no easy task, and you’re a single mom. Do you have any best piece of advice for women dealing with the same situation and transition?
JG: I have so much encouragement and wisdom to pass along to people. When I first was on my own, everything was so challenging. Everything was stressful. Everything was more than I could handle and I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to get through it on my own. I felt like I was swimming upstream all the time. And at some point it just changed. And all of a sudden, mornings are pleasant again. The morning rush isn’t stressful. It isn’t like “I can’t do this,” it’s like “Yeah, we got this guys.” Me and my girls will handle it and it will all be great. It rounded a corner for me and I think that that happens when it happens for everyone and nobody can force that, and it’s really hard to believe when you’re in it. Hold on to that faith and knowledge that it will get better.
From a kid’s perspective, it’s an ongoing condition. My kids are never going to not be sad that their parents aren’t together. And me acknowledging that and holding that really gently and tenderly is the best thing that I can do. I can’t change the situation unfortunately, but I can hold the fact that their feelings about it are always gonna be right there at the surface no matter how old they are.
P: It sounds like you are all so close. With such a busy career it can be tough to keep that “family unit” feeling going. Are there any routines to carve out family time?
JG: We do dinner every night together. It’s tough because my teenager’s got a full schedule. But it’s always family before friends and the girls respect that and they take that seriously, which is cool. I just keep it really tight. Family first.
Spice up your family dinner night:
P: You’re involved in a new campaign that starts July 24 “Get an A+ in Eye Care” to help other families. Tell me about your work with this cause.
JG: Well with the three girls, two of them are now in glasses. I wear glasses. Eye care is something that’s a part of our family. I see when we provide vision care for the kids that don’t have access to it what a difference it makes in their lives. It’s pretty profound. I love being a part of it and this campaign is a very simple one. For every “like” on the Eye Solutions Facebook page Alcon is donating a dollar and that money goes directly to free exams and eyeglasses to children in need. I’ve been there and I’ve helped kids get fitted for their very first glasses.
P: Is activism and volunteerism something you hope to cultivate in your girls?
JG: Absolutely. It’s something that’s been instilled in me since I was a little girl. It’s something I’m just naturally handing down to my girls. It’s not something I really thought about. You pay it forward, that’s just what you do in this lifetime.
P: Mystery Girls with your longtime friend and co-star Tori Spelling premieres tonight. Tell me about the show and how you help your girls create solid healthy friendships like the one you have with Tori.
JG: Tori’s and my friendship is a pretty unique situation because we were on  for ten years together. Not a lot of people get to experience what we did. So we have this crazy bond together and we are so blessed by that and able to carry that into our next job together. This is very a special love for each other. For my girls it’s just about teaching them their self-worth, first and foremost. Teaching them to love themselves and respect themselves and to gravitate toward other people who do the same and also to give them that same respect.
P: How did being a mom affect your decision to go back into the studio full time with Mystery Girls?
JG: For me it was location. It’s very close to my kids’ school and our house, where we shoot it. The hours of the day that we work, sitcom hours, are much less than any other show you can shoot, and we work three weeks on, one week off. So I can have a solid week with my kids. And also, our kids come to the set and it’s so close to their school that they just come right after school. If this was a show that shot in West Los Angeles or something, it would be a totally different decision to look at. When you have kids, for me, they come first and my job comes second. So I have to look at all those factors, location and traffic and drive time all that stuff.
P: Your character, Charlie, is a bit concerned about being perceived as a cool mom by her daughter. How concerned are you with being a cool mom?
JG: I try to be not cool. I’m the mom with the tattoos. My kids admire the fact that I am kind of edgy personally, and they actually try to keep me in line. But I try to be not cool because I don’t want to be their friend. I want to be their mother.
P: Your book Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde puts it right out there: don’t stereotype me. How do you help your girls be confident young women and defy stereotypes?
JG: I think just in my actions and them seeing me function, you know. I’m so independent and capable that they have no other way of seeing a woman. I set an example not by choice but because that’s how I have to live. It’s so easy to stereotype women. Even my 16-year-old daughter is cast in plays as the “pretty girl,” the cheerleader, and she does it beautifully and she does it with depth and a certain depth I wouldn’t think they were expecting, but I’m already cognizant of what’s happening with her. It’s something that we’ll be facing and working on and discussing I’m sure for the rest of all of their lives.
Mystery Girls premieres Wednesday, June 25 8:30/7:30c on ABC Family. Check your local listings.
Photograph: Courtesy of Jennie Garth
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Saturday, June 14th, 2014
By Caitlin Ultimo
Any first-time parent surely can identify with the urge to snap dozens upon dozens of photos throughout their child’s early years. “Oh, look he’s smiling,” turns into: “Oh, look he’s smiling holding a cracker/a cell-phone/the cat (Sorry, kitty, for his awkward grip — we have to get this shot!).”
Well, Dave Engledow took his new-dad camera readiness even further. While Mom was on deployment in the Army, Engeldow and their new daughter, Alice Bee, staged (with the help of Photoshop) hilarious photo shoots. He began by sharing the photos on Facebook, accompanied with comedic essays, as a way to alleviate his fears as a new dad and poke fun at them. Starting at Day 3 and concluding with Day 918, his outlandish photos (some featured below) included scenes of Alice Bee helping him shave and the two of them breaking a sweat while lifting dumbbells together. Eventually, his photos were combined into one hilarious book, “Confessions of the World’s Best Father.”
Engledow is just one of a few parents who have opted for creative scenes in place of stiff photos. Jason Lee, a wedding photographer, started taking one-of-a-kind portraits of his two girls back in 2006. Because his mother was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and his daughters caught colds too frequently to be around her, he began a blog for the grandmother to see the humorous and whimsical pictures. Heather Sphor, who also had two kids, decided to document her infant’s, Jamesie’s, days because his older sister, Annie, had just entered preschool. Annie wanted to know what Mom and Jamesie did while she was in class, so Sphor decided to document Jamesie’s daily adventures, from searching for Cinderella to exploring the Wild West.
One of Engledow’s many unforgettable photos appears on Day 66, which shows him holding Alice Bee in one arm like a football while his other arm squirts bottled breast milk into his coffee cup that proudly displays the label, “World’s Best Father.” He noted, “Apparently, fathering is not going to be quite as easy or glamorous as it looks on TV.” With Father’s Day right around the corner, plenty of new dads will agree that even though fatherhood isn’t always glamorous, it sure can be fun!
What are some of the creative ways you make parenthood interesting?
Photos: Originally appeared in “Confessions of the World’s Best Father” by David Engledow. Used with permission of Gotham Books, an imprint of Penguin Books USA.
What’s your parenting style? Take our quiz to find out what type of parenting you are!
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Friday, June 13th, 2014
Last year, Parents rated Philadelphia as one of the 10 best cities for families to visit. If it’s in your summer plans, be sure to check out the massive new exhibit, Your Brain, that opens at The Franklin Institute tomorrow. Almost 10 years in the making, the exhibit has dozens of interactive features. When my daughter and a few friends (ages 9 to 12) visited during a sneak peek event earlier this week, they were blown away, and you know that tweens are not easily impressed. Some highlights:
The exhibit starts out with a large screen that lets you see your own skelten. Jump, bend your leg, raise your hand, and the skelton on the screen will move too.
The visuals in all the displays were bold and fun, like this one that demos what a brain scan is like.
The kids spent a half-hour on two-story climbing structure, complete with lighting and sound effects, that represents brain pathways. They would have stayed in there all day if we let them.
Many of the activities in the exhibit are geared to kids ages 8 to 13. But if younger sibs are exploring too, making a face on this magnetic board will be fun for them (and so will that climbing structure!).
Another section of the exhibit focuses on illusions. I won’t give away all the surprises, but be sure to go in the bedroom. I took this pic of the kids in an area designated for photo ops.
Bonus! A traveling exhibit, Circus Science Under the Big Top, is at the Franklin Instutute through September 1. Check out the dress-up area with amazing costumes (of all sizes), a tight rope that kids who weigh 50 pounds or more can walk on, and circus games.
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Friday, June 13th, 2014
A few weeks ago, I took my 11-year-old daughter, Katie, to BookExpo America in New York City, where many adult and children’s publishers have their latest titles plus sneak peeks of upcoming ones for fall and winter. Our fave finds:
Frozen Hide-And-Hug Olaf
It’s Disney’s version of Elf on the Shelf. The box contains a new Frozen story with a hide-and-seek theme, and a plush Olaf that parents are supposed to hide for kids to find (and hug). It will be available at the end of October; here’s a link for pre-order.
A World Without Princes
This is the second part of a chapter-book triology called the School for Good and Evil. It’s perfect for 8- to 12-year-olds, especially those who are fans of fantasy fiction. The kids who reviewed the first book in the series for Parents Best Books story last year loved it, and it was a close runner-up for the Best Chapter Book. (In fact, it was Katie’s top choice.) We had a chance to meet the author, Harvard-educated, Soman Chainani, who says he wrote the series because “growing up he watched a lot of Disney movies and felt that the good characters weren’t always the most interesting ones.” Both books are available now; my daughter says the second one is even better than the first.
Over at the Scholastic booth, Katie was drawn to advance copies of this graphic novel paperback. She recognized the name of the author (Raina Telgemeier) because she had read Smile, a story that Raina wrote in 2010. Katie finished the book before we left New York City: Sisters is a breezy (yet satisfying) read about siblings who patch up their relationship. It’s coming out at the end of August; pre-order here.
JoJo’s First Word Book
Once we got past the crowds waiting to see Grumpy Cat in the Chronicle Books book, we were struck by the adorableness of this title. It features more than 200 objects and a carrying handle. You can watch a video about it here or buy it here.
We’re fans of non-fiction, and this chapter book for kids 8 to 12 is so clever, delivering quirky childhood stories from 16 presidents. (For instance, kids will learn that FDR’s mom followed him everywhere and that Harry Truman broke a collarbone while combing his hair.) It will be available in October; pre-order here.
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Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
If you follow B.J. Novak on Instagram, you know The Office star (and Mindy Kaling’s BFF!) has a tongue-in-cheek feed called “Pictures of Text” with…well, photos of text-heavy signs, posters, book covers, you name it.
So it’s no surprise that Novak pitched an idea for a children’s book called, “The Book With No Pictures“, a “picture” book without pictures…the first of its kind! Speaking to People, Novak shared, “I really wanted to get kids thinking that the written word is their ally not their enemy and it creates a great experience between the parent and the kid.”
Novak also posted photos of the front and back covers on Instagram and Twitter recently. Given Novak’s fondness for text, the cover is plain and sparse, similar to the black-text-on-white-background cover of his other book, “One More Thing,” a collection of short stories for adults.
Although little else is known about the picture book, Novak did tell People that it was a “simple” book with “hidden messages.” He got a chance to read it to a group of elementary school kids in Queens, who responded in a positive way. No doubt humor is a big part of the book (as evidenced by the text on his back cover: “WARNING! This book looks serious but it is actually COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS!”).
“I think a lot of parents think they are not funny and are scared to read a funny book, but I’ve tested it with so many parents and I think this is fool-proof. No matter how you read it, you’re funny,” Novak said.
Look out for the book when it’s released by Penguin Kids on September 30.
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Thursday, May 29th, 2014
By Chelsea P. Gladden, BreezyMama.com
When it comes to the live action Maleficent, Disney is pulling out all the marketing stops. My kids and I will pause from fast forwarding through commercials on TV to watch the preview– every time it airs. And that has been a lot!
When it was time to actually see the film starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, my 10 year old and I were beside ourselves with excitement. So did it live up to all the non-stop hype?
The short answer is: Stop reading this now and head to a theater near you.
My daughter and I absolutely loved it. The film is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm fairytale “The Sleeping Beauty,” and the later Disney animated classic Sleeping Beauty, though this time from the perspective of the evil queen Maleficent, played by Jolie.
I’m a little surprised that it scored a PG rating as I felt it might be a bit more on the PG-13 side due to some violent scenes. Though my daughter was fine throughout, we did cuddle up during some very scary moments watching one of the greatest Disney villains ever.
Starting with Maleficent as a rambunctious young fairy you can’t help but root for, her innocence is ripped from her through a heart-breaking betrayal. Though she turns dark and seeks revenge on the king by cursing his first-born daughter (A.K.A. Aurora), you actually, in many ways, don’t blame her. Except for the cursing of the baby, of course!
From the start, the neighboring kingdom was bent on invading the moors she protects. With soldiers willing to stop at nothing to take her down, she relies on the nature around her, including some of the most frightening looking trees and a fire-breathing dragon made from the roots. Flying through the opposing army, she violently knocks them down one by one with her powerful wings protecting the land she grew up enchanting. The inability to bring her down further fuels the original king to encourage her demise, offering his throne to anyone who can exact revenge upon her.
My daughter and I decided those scenes and the epic-though-violent finale would be far too scary for my 5 year old.
With all the press surrounding the film, you probably know by now that Angelina Jolie’s 5-year-old daughter plays a young Princess Aurora. As Jolie previously mentioned, all other kids her age were too afraid of Jolie in costume. It was a bit stunt casting, but when I actually saw the scene, I found it very touching. Vivienne and her mommy have a tender chemistry that ends up being quite essential to the plot.
Jolie as Maleficent is wickedly wonderful, which adds to the fun. Appearing from the shadows, her silhouette often looks just like the cartoon version, which is a treat for fans of the 1959 version.
Speaking of the original, the three fairies – Flora, Fauna and Merryweather – have always been favorites of mine, and the live-action versions definitely add some humor to the plot. Though Jolie is dark, she too has some fun playing tricks on the trio as well as some great one-liners.
Some may find one of the twists as taking too much liberty with the traditional fairy tale (hint: another twist with true love’s kiss). There are some slow-moving moments while waiting for the cursed Aurora to turn 16, prick her finger on the spindle from the spinning wheel and fall into the infamous deep sleep, but overall I found the film a lot of fun to take my own little “Beastie,” as Aurora is affectionately called, to see.
Grade on a scale of kid’s live action films: B+
Rated PG, Violent battle scenes; Slightly graphic; Scary moments; 97 minutes
Watch a sneak peek here:
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Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler star in Blended in theaters now.
By Patty Adams Martinez
Drew Barrymore is pretty much every girl’s fantasy BFF. She’s smart, talented, and ambitious, while still being all about girl power and wanting to lift other women up rather than tearing them down. If all of that wasn’t enough, she’s also super down-to-earth and relatable, and just about the coolest mom on the planet.
The actress—whose latest movie Blended is in theaters now—and mom of two dishes to Parents about sharing screen-time with her “cinematic soul mate” Adam Sandler, surprising pregnancy side effects, and dressing her kids—Olive 19 months, and Frankie, born April 22—in hand-me-downs (just like the rest of us!). After reading this, you’re going to love her even more!
In Blended, you and Adam Sandler go on a really bad blind date, and end up together with your kids at a secluded family resort in Africa, where you can’t exactly escape running into each other. Then, of course, funniness ensues.
Yes, I love this movie. It had been about three years since I made a movie because I needed time off to create my family, but my cinematic soul mate, Adam, got me to go back to work, and I couldn’t be more proud and excited about this film. It’s fun because it’s where Adam and I are at in life now that we’re parents. It’s also really, really funny, but still pulls at your heartstrings—which I love.
Is it different being cast in mom roles, like this one, now that you’re actually a mom?
I think it means more to me now; it’s more emotional, because I know what it feels like to have daughters and to know that kind of unconditional love, which is such a powerful, powerful thing. And I like that this character isn’t perfect, because I don’t believe in perfection. But I do believe in growing and that’s why my favorite thing about being a mom is what a better person it makes you on a daily basis.
You’re putting others first. It’s not about yourself anymore—it’s about these amazing little people you want so badly to take care of, and you really learn to be patient. Even if you already thought you were, this is a whole new level of patience. You also find out how to live in the moment, and to breathe, and to never take your life or the people in it for granted.
After three movies with Adam, what have you learned about being a good parent by watching him with his daughters?
He is just such a sweet and patient dad. He’s the opposite of the macho male. He really cares about their happiness and how their school is going and how they’re getting along with other kids. He loves hanging out with them and they are his priority in life.
Ok, dish! You revealed you grew a lovely “red goatee” when you were pregnant with Olive. Did you have any surprising pregnancy side effects while you were knocked up with Frankie?
I didn’t grow leg hair for like six months! It was the oddest, raddest thing I had ever experienced in my life. I was so happy, but sadly it didn’t last.
Are there things of Olive’s you’re excited to pass down to daughter Frankie?
Yes! When I found out I was having another girl I thought, Well that’s convenient, because I already have everything I need—including Olive’s duck onesie, which I loved and so sad when she grew out of it at four months. I would say about 70 percent of Olive’s clothes I got from my sister-in-law because she has two girls. So Olive wears her cousins’ clothes, and Frankie will too!
Download our free lion coloring page so your kids can go on an African safari, just like they do in the movie!
Image courtesy of Warner Brothers
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