Archive for the ‘ Holidays ’ Category

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

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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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Dress Up Time! Halloween Costumes for the Pregnant Set

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Whether you want to flaunt your bump this Halloween or would prefer to hold onto your exciting secret a little bit longer, these ideas will see you through the costume party season.

Put that bump on display:

That go-to Disney Princess costume can wait! You finally have a bump to show off and are eager to incorporate it into your Halloween getup. Take a look at these options. Still undecided? Check out these other pregnant Halloween costumes

No matter how old you get, Halloween is always about the candy. Dressing up as a gumball machine is not only sweet, it allows you to make the most of that belly! Picture an adult-sized version of this costume from Pinterest. Clever and functional!

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Love the outdoors? Dress up as Mother Earth by wearing a mix of greens and blues, and then pin a printout of the globe to your bump. Get it?! It’s also a great budget-friendly idea.

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Britney fan? Go “Baby One More Time” on your friends by dressing up in a Spears-inspired school girl outfit that’s pretty punny. Make sure to flaunt that belly! This is perfect for moms undergoing their second or third pregnancy.

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Put that bump away:

Maybe you haven’t spilled the beans yet, or maybe you just want to go through one day of your life without someone asking you when you’re due (hey, Halloween is all about pretending to be someone else!). These costumes are for you.

You’re tired all the time and baggy clothes have never felt so good. So why not incorporate this getup into a costume? Save yourself from hours of primping and don a “bed head” look. All you need is a pair of cute pajama pants, a robe (an oversized option will help conceal a growing belly), and some bunny slippers. Twist some plastic curlers in your hair, and you’re good to go. If you’re feeling extra spirited, swap out your purse for a pillow case.

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Go Risky Business this Halloween. Borrow an oversized white oxford shirt from your guy, slip on a pair of sunglasses (and maybe some spandex if the button down isn’t quite long enough to wear in public!) and channel your inner Tom Cruise all while concealing that bump.

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You can’t go wrong with a classic pumpkin costume! Channel your five-year-old self and cover your bod, as seen below. Hard to tell what’s underneath! If you do decide to make the big reveal, these pumpkin-painted pregnancy bellies are pretty clever!

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Trick or treat? Try making this witch-themed cupcake!

Halloween Treat: House on Witch Cupcake
Halloween Treat: House on Witch Cupcake
Halloween Treat: House on Witch Cupcake

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Where to Find an Anna or Elsa Dress

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

When we heard that Frozen princess dresses have been selling out in Disney World each day, it got us wondering…are they really so hard to find? The most gorgeous, premium Anna and Elsa dresses are now on Chasing-Fireflies.com, the site behind the Wishcraft catalog. However, they’re not shipping yet and they won’t be cheap. The Elsa dress shown is $130; the Anna is $124 and when we looked, neither would be available until the end of August in smaller sizes. The size-10 Anna coronation dress looks to be backordered through the end of October!

Less-expensive BuyCostumes.com has pared-down Elsa and Anna frocks, backordered until just after Labor Day. Their Elsa is $38, and Anna is $40.

On to the Disney Store, and…they don’t have the dresses yet either, but nice ones are coming. We saw the two shown below, Anna’s with the cape and Elsa’s with cool ombre sleeves, at their fall preview. AND they are going to have an Olaf costume! No word on exactly when they’ll all hit shelves, but they’ll be about $50 each.

In the meantime, there are $30 dresses for both sister characters at Toys “R” Us and at other mass merchants. Fair warning, the user reviews are brutal. (As in, “The tulle sleeves are like sandpaper.”) But desperate times may call for desperate measures, scratchy sleeves and all. Or try and teach your little princess the virtue of patience!

Heading to the Magic Kingdom? Your kids may be more interested in meeting the celebrities characters than the rides! Watch our video.

Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides
Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides
Disney's Magic Kingdom: Beyond the Rides

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Boom! Here’s How to Protect Your Hearing This Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

The Fourth of July is only two days away, which means firework displays are right around the corner–maybe you’ve even witnessed a show already!

As fun as fireworks are to watch, listening to those big booms can cause some serious hearing damage. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association notes that instantaneous loud noise–not just damage over time–can harm one’s ears.

To protect yourself, ASHA recommends that you stand at least 500 feet away from fireworks (and do the same when in the presence of firecrackers and speaker systems), pop in a pair of ear plugs (ear muffs will protect kids under 8 years old), and simply know your limits by avoiding noises that are too loud, too close, or too long.

If you will be setting off your own fireworks this season, take a moment to review these fireworks safety tips! Happy Fourth!

Keep your family safe with these guidelines for your home.

The “fireworks” below are completely silent! Follow the instructions to make your own:

Pipe Cleaner Fireworks
Pipe Cleaner Fireworks
Pipe Cleaner Fireworks

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A Father’s Day E-Card That Gives Back (And Saves You If You Forgot to Buy One!)

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Shopping for yourself can be frustrating, but it’s nothing compared to shopping for the men in your life! E-cards are the new, easy way to get the “You’re #1 Dad!” message out without driving yourself crazy.

This year e.p.t teamed up with March of Dimes to celebrate fathers, both old and new (and even dads-to-be, see the card at right!). Until June 17, e.p.t will donate $1 to the March of Dimes for every Father’s Day e-card sent from e.p.t’s website: eptfamily.com/ecard. Each dollar supports the March of Dimes “imbornto” campaign, which is the notion that every baby is born to do something great in his or her lifetime. The money also goes towards the organization’s vital research and programs that continue to improve the lives of babies, and families, everywhere.

Besides giving to charity, e-card senders will receive a coupon for the new e.p.t Preconception Health Test. According to March of Dimes (and many women out there), having a healthy baby starts long before conception–including taking care of health conditions before getting pregnant.

Celebrate your dad by celebrating new life–just an e-card away!

Want some inspiration on how to show your dad how you really feel this Father’s Day?

Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy
Kids Talk about Loving their Daddy

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Celebrate Father’s Day with a Free Playlist for Dad!

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Dad’s big day is almost here–it’s June 15, to be exact! To celebrate, cue up this exclusive playlist featuring positive songs about love and families.

Artists include Raffi–the children’s artist’s latest jam, “Love Bug,” is the title track of his new album–along with performers The Not-Its! (“Love is Love”), Brady Rymer (“Light is Love”), Suzi Shelton (“Ten Thousand Kisses”), Lucky Diaz (“When I Grow Up”), The Pop Ups (“Feelings Change”), Sugar Free Allstars (“My Daddy’s Record Collection”) and Eric Herman (“The Elephant Song”). Download the songs for free from June 13-18, or just stream the playlist here: https://soundcloud.com/bethbcpr/sets/a-playlist-of-songs-for

The songs have sweet lyrics that will make you smile (“Daddy loves you little one,” sings Suzi Shelton in “10,000 kisses”–she co-wrote the track with her husband, Dave Mitri!) and reflect ( “Families are never quite alike”/”Yours may not be just like mine,” sing The Not-Its! in”Love is Love”).

Need a gift idea for Dad? Lollypapas are a cute, clever, (oh, and edible!) treat you and your kids can make together.

Father's Day Lollypapas
Father's Day Lollypapas
Father's Day Lollypapas

Photo: Brady Rymer with kids Gus and Daisy, taken by Bridget Rymer. 

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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with This Kid-Friendly “Cocktail”

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

Chef Tino Feliciano

Chef Tino Feliciano with his family.

Monday is Cinco de Mayo, and while moms and dads might not be able to indulge with multiple margaritas (like we used to) we can still celebrate with our kids. This special occasion drink recipe from Chef Tino Feliciano is a perfect treat with a Latin-style supper.

Kids’ Coconut Mojito

• 10 mint leaves

• 2 limes, cut into wedges

• 4 Tbs. sugar

• 16 oz. lemon-lime soda (regular or diet for a lower-sugar version)

• 4 oz. sweet cream of coconut

• 2 Tbs. grated coconut

Place the mint leaves, lime wedges, and sugar in a large pitcher. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, lightly mash the ingredients together until they are roughly incorporated. Add the soda and cream of coconut and mix well. Serve in glasses with ice and garnish with the grated coconut.

Serves 4

Find easy Mexican dishes to make for dinner tonight. 

The father of two girls and one boy, Chef Tino is a restaurant-owner in Puerto Rico. On Cinco de Mayo he brings his culinary (and people) skills to the mainland in the premiere of his Cooking Channel special The Fixer with Chef Tino at 9 PM (check local listings). Tino’s mission: to turn around a family-run Mexican restaurant in New Jersey. I had the pleasure of working with Tino and the production company on Monday’s night special, and one thing’s for sure—watch and you will crave Mexican food! Tino’s creamy cocktail will be the perfect accompaniment. And once the kids go to bed feel free to add a drop of two of rum. I won’t tell.

Click to find fun activities your  family can play at home tonight.

Chocolate Chili Poppers
Chocolate Chili Poppers
Chocolate Chili Poppers

Image courtesy Engel Entertainment

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How To Do Valentine’s Day Sans Sitter

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Whether you planned it this way or not, Valentine’s Day is here and you don’t have a babysitter. Although you and your partner may not be in for a night of wining and dining, it doesn’t mean you have to scratch the special day altogether. After all, Valentine’s Day is a holiday you can celebrate with whomever you love, right? Here is our fool-proof plan to please the kids and the grownups at home tonight.

Show the munchkins some love with a kid-friendly dinner.

Who says mac ‘n’ cheese is just for kids? This yummy comfort food will make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and satisfy the whole family. And since it’s a special occasion, try spicing up your homemade mac or the go-to boxed version with one of our 21 spins on the classic dish. We especially love the “Little Italy” recipe with spinach, oregano, and chili flakes. It tastes fancier than it is to make (which is always a good thing).

While chowing down on your pasta, feel free to bust out your favorite wine glasses and pour yourself a glass of 100 percent grape juice (we like Welch’s, which has the same heart healthy antioxidants as red wine). While it’s no Cabernet, you’ll have more energy to keep the kiddos entertained than if you were sipping the good stuff.

One of the best parts of St. Valentine’s special day? The sweets! Finish off your faux-Italian dining experience with some tiramisu gelato. Recently, a batch of Breyer’s new gelato made its way into the Parents offices and was gone in a matter of minutes. ‘Nuff said.

Indulge in fun Valentine’s Day kid crafts and activities.

Start a Valentine’s Day tradition by creating cards, treats, and other crafts with the kiddos. Your little ones will love making you a Valentine keepsake and your heart will melt from their sweet little notes and scribbles. After you’ve completed your crafts, start winding down with one of our 50 Best Movies for Kids. We think 101 Dalmatians and Shrek are the perfect “love stories” for families.

Have adults-only after hours.

If you can manage to make it through dinner, crafts, and movies without falling asleep (it’s been a long week, hasn’t it?), reward yourself with some one-on-one time with your partner-in-crime. Feel free to exchange the grape juice for your favorite bottle of wine and pop in a romantic movie. According to a study by the University of Rochester, couples who watched love stories like “The Notebook” or “Terms of Endearment” and discussed them afterwords strengthened their relationship as much as couples who had been attending therapy together.

Then, be sure to check out our tips for finding the perfect babysitter, so you can have a date-night next week.

Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Nanny
Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Nanny
Child Care: Tips for Choosing a Good Nanny

Find more Valentine’s Day activities for your kiddos here.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock: beautiful girl with heart. valentine’s day concept

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