Archive for the ‘ GoodyBlog ’ Category

Unbored Games: Easy Ways to Have Fun as a Family

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

In a world of high-definition entertainment, sometimes it can be hard to get your kids enthusiastic about family game night. Thankfully, Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn offer loads of ideas to help entertain your kids in their new book Unbored Games: Serious Fun For Everyone. Larsen discusses the importance of family play and why people should take games seriously. 

Your book promotes kids playing not only among themselves, but also with their families. Why do you think that playing together as a family is so important?

Playing games together is great for a lot of reasons: It’s a way to connect and enjoy each other that doesn’t feel forced—it’s genuinely fun, and that’s truly important. I’ve interviewed a lot of child psychologists over the years and one thing they say is that kids are often stumped by the question: “What does your family do to have fun?” We want kids to grow up with memories of enjoying time together with the people they love. And that can get tough in a culture filled with homework and regularly scheduled extracurricular activities.

Along with indoor and outdoor games, your book talks about online games and mobile app games. Why is it so important for parents to be aware of their children’s online activities? 

We enjoy a lot of online games and apps and think there’s no reason kids should stay away from them if their parents have pre-screened them and if kids can show they can regulate their use and not become addicted.

The first page of the book lists the ten reasons why games are important. How do you think playing games positively affects a child’s development?

Where do I start? Games encourage kids, especially younger kids, to learn how to keep practicing until they figure out how to do a certain move or skill correctly. They also teach collaboration, problem-solving skills and, in the case of outdoor games, are an incredibly fun way to get exercise. We encourage kids to hack or modify a game if they don’t like the way it works, which is important when it comes to nurturing creativity.

What is your favorite game to play with your family?

We love Anomia, which is a fast-paced word association game. But when all of my kids were in elementary school our absolute favorite was Apples to Apples. We’re a loud family who love to argue and persuade each other that each one of us is right. Playing that game is still a great way to get us laughing, even if we’ve all had bad days.

How is your latest book different from your previous book Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun?

The original Unbored is an all-encompassing activity book and resource for kids and their families that touches on all parts of a kid’s life. Unbored Games focuses exclusively on games—how to play them, how to make them, how to modify them to suit your needs.

The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!

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Parents Goody Giveaway: Enter to Win a John Deere Wagon Full of Toys

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Harvest season intersects with toy season, and if Santa is feeling a little pressured all around, this week’s giveaway of a wagon full of John Deere toys can help! 

The John Deere Steel Stake Wagon (worth approximately $200) is one we have here in our offices; it’s our secret weapon for moving props around our hallways. You’ll love pulling your kid around in it, or watching him use it himself…ideally to help you get leaves to the curb.

The winner of this giveaway will also receive the following toys: Gear Force Harvest Action Combine ($60), Monster Treads RC Gator ($50), Monster Treads Shake & Sounds Farm Armor ($35), Monster Treads Raging Bull Roundup ($30) and Kernel Shucks ($16). Most of the toys are for ages 3 years+; the wagon is for ages 2 years+, Kernal Shucks is for 18 months+, and the remote-control gater is for ages 6 years+.

The approximate retail value of the total prize is $391. That’s a nice start, Santa! For your chance to win, you can leave a comment below, up to once a day every day between now and 11:59 p.m. on Monday, November 17th. We’ll post the winner at the bottom of the thread, and please check your “other” message folder on Facebook to claim your prize. For more details, check in to our official rules. Goody luck!

We Pick the Best Toys of 2014
We Pick the Best Toys of 2014
We Pick the Best Toys of 2014

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Teach Kids About Veterans

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

When the Penguins of Madagascar tell you to do something, you do it!

At least that is what your kids probably think.

First Lady Michelle Obama knows how influential those four show-stealing penguins are, and that is why she enlists their help with a top-secret mission in the video Operation Got Your 6. In the video, the penguins let everyone know how veterans better our communities. They also explain the military lingo Got Your Six, which means standing behind someone.

The campaign works to inform civilians about the importance of our service members, both those who have served and those who currently serve.

The video also promotes the “Take a Vet to School” program, which allows schools to welcome veterans into the classroom to share their stories with students.

Operation Got Your 6 is a cute, quirky way to teach your kids about the significance of our veterans and is a great way to observe Veterans Day. Click on the penguins to watch the video.

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Dear Mom: I Gave Your Brats Candy for Dinner

Friday, November 7th, 2014

By Brooke Schuldt

When I originally said I was free Saturday night, I figured it would be three hours of feeding and entertaining your kids—two boys who are very close in age—before they went to sleep and I continued my Mad Men Netflix binge.

I never imagined that I would be pinned to the ground against my will by one brother while the other taunted me by dangling my IPhone over the trash can filled with the dinner that they refused to eat.

“Give us candy for dinner instead,” the first brother yelled, “Or your phone swims with the fishes!”

Technically it would be swimming with macaroni and cheese, but I decided it was not the best time to be snarky with him. And yes, I could have just thrown the second brother off of me, but the risk of hurting him stopped me.

So, do you know what I did?

I gave them candy for dinner.

Not a lot, because I still respect your rules. But you have to understand that when one of your demon children is pinning me to the ground, and the other is looking to destroy my only connection to the outside world, desperate times call for desperate measures.

If it makes you feel any better, I put a vegetable on the table with the candy. You can probably guess where that vegetable ended up.

Babysitters work hard for our money, and only occasionally does the “I’m going to call your mom” threat actually work. Kids are resilient and barbaric.

I once had a kid trick me into thinking that he wanted to go outside, only to lock me out while he ran around the house threatening to call the police and say I was a burglar. This was all because I said, “Hey, we have played Just Dance for about an hour now. Why don’t we do something else?”

Parents, please be kind to your babysitters. Most of them follow the rules to the best of their abilities, but if your smartphone was dangling over three bowls’ worth of Kraft Easy Mac and a stranger’s son was sitting on your back, wouldn’t you just give in?

Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care
Child Care: How to Find Quality Child Care

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This Month’s Screen-Time Finds

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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

Movies and Television

Get high-tech with Disney’s Big Hero 6. The film follows robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada and his gang of friends as they try to save San Fransokyo from catastrophe. PG; opens November 7

Everyone knows the Penguins of Madagascar are the real stars of the show. Join Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private as they embark on another zany spy mission. PG; opens November 26

Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is getting the Diamond Edition treatment. The Blu-ray release features in-depth behind-the-scenes footage, a sing-along to “Once Upon a Dream,” and deleted scenes—including one with a dropped character called The Vulture. G, $37

It’s going to be even easier for your karaoke star to belt out her favorite Frozen tunes with the special Sing-Along Edition. A bouncing snowflake helps her follow the lyrics as Anna journeys to rescue her sister Elsa. The DVD release also features the original theatrical version. PG, $30

A variety of popular Nickelodeon characters—including Dora the Explorer and Team Umizoomi—make Let’s Learn: Patterns and Shapes both entertaining and educational for preschoolers. The DVD release features five episodes focused on circles, squares, triangles, and more. Plus, early releases of the DVD come with a shapes worksheet to continue the learning once screen-time is over. 3 years+, $15

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is turning 50! The beloved Christmas television special shows what happens when the adorable reindeer teams up with Hermey, an elf who wants to be a dentist. Now on Blu-ray, the anniversary edition offers behind-the-scenes features, sing-alongs, and more. 3 years+, $18

Apps

Make like George Lucas and create your own animated movie moments with Star Wars Scene Maker. Choreograph a fight between Darth Vader and an ewok, or introduce Han Solo to the infamous “I Am Your Father” scene. Then, add music, dialog, and more. And don’t forget to share with friends afterward! 6 years+, Free for iPad and iPhone

PBS Kids and Sesame Workshop have teamed up for Cookie Monster’s Challenge, an app that teaches self-control, focus, and following directions to prepare young children for school. Nine different levels of mini games keep your preschooler busy—and as he progresses, he’ll earn more pieces of a cookie-making machine. 3 years+, $3 for iPad and Android

Your little one can explore her imagination with Toca Town. The open-ended, interactive app lets kids make up their own stories with 21 characters and six different locations to play in, including a park, a store, and a house. Players can engage with almost anything on the screen—including the toilet! 3 years+, $3 for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android

Bedtime just got a lot less painful, thanks to Disney Story Central. The large selection of e-books starring Disney characters—such as Mickey Mouse, the princesses, and Doc McStuffins—offer read-along narration and personalized book recommendations. Plus, your bookworm will earn trophies and awards as she progresses. 2 years+, free for iPad for first 4 books, with additional purchase packages starting at $4

Video Games

New figurines called amiibo can now interact with compatible Nintendo games. Players touch the toy to the GamePad to release the character into the game. 6 years+, $13 for one figurine

Most motion-sensing, TV-based game systems are for older kids, but LeapTV is made for little ones who can, for instance, do karate moves that help them recognize shapes. 3 years+, $150

Let your aspiring artist develop his skills with Pokémon Art Academy. The game features unlockable lessons and teaches everything from the basics of coloring and shapes to the more complex shading and blending. Print out his masterpieces after! 6 years+, $30 for 3DS and 2DS

Music lovers can’t miss Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved. The motion-controlled game lets you remix and transform 30 different songs—by artists such as The Who, Lady Gaga, and Mozart—by conducting with your hands. Perfect for family game night! 10 years+, $60 for Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Gamers young and old will have a blast getting lost in the world of Hohokum. The artwork looks hand-drawn rather than pixelated, creating a vibrant and imaginative world to fly around in. There are goals to work towards, but ultimately, the game exists as a colorful playground to explore. 10 years+, $15 for PS3, PS4, and PS Vita

Image courtesy of Dreamworks Animation

The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!
The Best Games of 2014!

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Snapchat Nanny Shows the Truth

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

** By Dana Baardsen

I’m sure when my best friend was hired as a nanny,Social Media Babies, Social Media Children, Funny Baby Stories, Funny Kid Stories
her employers had no clue that their little tykes would be so consistently featured on her Snapchat. But she isn’t shy about revealing what it’s really like to take care of kids. While my other mommy friends on social media tend to glamorize what parenthood is like, my friend, Snapchat Nanny, lets me see the moments that aren’t so picture-perfect. A few of her gems:

Hurricane Hysterics One day my friend was trying to bring the kids out of the back seat of her car, and they didn’t feel quite ready to get out. I received a little clip of the tantrums that followed. Sweeping in and out, like a hurricane, the hysterics got harsh, then a calm would suddenly roll over the kids, and then just as relief seemed to set in, the red faces, tears, and screams started all over again. It’s too bad Snapchat Nanny never even experienced a calm before the storm.

Beach-Bag Syndrome I’ve seen lots of cute baby-at-the-beach photos, but Snapchat Nanny sent me a photo of the trunk of her car packed with a stroller, cooler, and several other bags. The cooler was filled with snacks and lunches, all planned out, and the bags were each stuffed with different types of little-life necessities. This behind-the-scenes glimpse into her routine revealed the battle-like planning that goes into one simple outing.

Land of Loop My friend sends me snaps of a kid watching the same thing repeatedly, as if the show or movie is programmed to a loop setting. It doesn’t matter how many sources of entertainment there are, kids want to hear or watch the same thing over and over again. They really need to just Let It Go.

Snapchat Screenshot, Social Media and Babies, Social Media and Children

Messy-Clean Life This came in a series of three snaps. First was the mess, then was the clean after-photo, and then came the “mess again” picture. Now I know that no matter how many times you clean and organize, a mess inevitably appears when little ones run around, dispensing toys around the room like it’s their job.

End-of-the-Day Selfie I’ll never forget this one from last summertime. My friend had just left the family’s home after a grueling day of chasing tots around a hot park. She was lying down on her bed, with a red face, sweaty pores, and smeared mascara, when she snapped a selfie and captioned the photo #NannyLife.

Of course as scary as these snaps are to me (childless for now!), I know that these little moments are tiny parts of a more meaningful whole. Despite everything, I must admit some of the sweetest snaps to ever hit my inbox are also from my Snapchat Nanny.

Here, Johanna Stein of mothereffed.com shares her own harrowing real-life mothering tale.

Mother Eff'ed
Mother Eff'ed
Mother Eff'ed

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I Survived a Diaper Disaster

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

By Alice Laussade for American Baby magazine

When our first child, Penny, was 4 months old, my husband and I took her with us to shop for a new dishwasher. Half of the dirty dishes in our house were Penny’s bottles, so I figured she should come along for the decision.

Once we hit the aisles, she got fussy, so I picked her up from the stroller and took her for a walk, leaving my husband behind to sort out our options. As we walked the store, I noticed folks checking us out. Yeah, she’s super cute, I thought. You should totally be jealous.

Then, I felt it. Something was dripping off of my arm. My little angel had pooped all over me. And I mean All. Over. Me. Turns out, people were horrified by us, not enamored.

We were light-years from the stroller at that point, so I ran to the bathroom. But without my diaper bag full of everything I could ever need, I was a wreck: No wipes?! What do I do? My baby cooed. A woman in a nearby stall gagged.

And then it clicked. I’m not sure how it happened, really, but there were paper towels involved, and in the end, my baby was sparkling clean and wearing her shirt as a diaper. I was a freaking ninja. Best mom ever.

I hugged my sweet girl close to me, and she immediately barfed down the front of my shirt. Welp.

I may have left my dignity at Home Depot that day, but I did learn a lesson: No matter how well you pack your diaper bag, you can never be prepared for everything. But you’ll get through it. And one day, when your baby becomes a high schooler, you’ll use your stories to embarrass her in front of friends. And that’s what parenthood’s all about, right?
___

Assuming you’re home and not improvising on the run, here’s the ideal way to change a diaper!

How to Change a Diaper
How to Change a Diaper
How to Change a Diaper

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Tags: , | Categories: Babies, GoodyBlog

Real Glam Moms: “I take better care of my skin now than I did before I had children”

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Liz Oh

After giving birth to her third child, Brayden, now 10 months, Liz Oh began reading blogs during “those long sleepless nights.” After realizing all the beauty and fashion bloggers she loved were much younger than her and didn’t have children, she decided to start Oh Truly Me. “I’ve always loved beauty and fashion and nothing has changed even when I became a mom to 3 at the age of 40,” Liz says. “So Oh Truly Me, was born out of my passion to share my love of beauty, fashion and a fun lifestyle from the perspective of a 40 year old mom.” This week, the mother of Siena (8), Ryan (6) and Brayden tells us all about her nighttime routine and why it’s no important to exfoliate.

What is your beauty routine like?

First of all, let me start out by saying…I LOVE beauty products. I exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week, to ensure my serums are actively working, and penetrating the targeted sites.

Here’s my nighttime routine:
1. I first use Shu Uemura cleansing oil to melt away the makeup from my workday
2. I follow up with Dermalogica essential cleansing gel. I believe in washing your face twice—especially after you’ve worn makeup just to make sure your face and pores are makeup-free.
3. I apply my Dermalogica antioxidant hydramist. This has been my toner of choice for years now.
4. My night serum that I apply is Skinceuticals B5 hydrating gel
5. The eye cream that I have been currently loving is SkinMedica TNS eye repair
6. My final step in my nightly beauty routine is to apply Neova night therapy
On certain nights, when I feel my skin is dehydrated, I opt for an overnight moisture mask or a Korean sheet facial mask.My friends laugh at how many products I use during my nighttime routine. But honestly, it takes 10 minutes or less to apply everything.

My morning routine:
1. Rinse my face with water only
2. Apply the same Dermalogica antioxidant hydramist toner
3. Apply Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum
4. Apply Dermalogica active moist – my daytime moisturizer
5. I never leave home without applying sunblock
6. Than I apply my makeup: YSL foundation, Anastasia brow powder, eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow, mascara, blush, and lipstick

How has your beauty routines changed since you had children?
I take better care of my skin now than I did before I had children. I just turned 40 last year, and I’m a firm believer in “aging well.” “Aging well” to me encompasses two things: feeding your body with the proper nutrients and using good products that will allow you to “age well.” I also never used to wear eyeshadow until three years ago. I’m more willing to experiment with different makeup options.

What is the importance of taking time to yourself?
Having three kids, I don’t have the luxury to go to the spa frequently, so I have to improvise. My bathroom is my own personal spa. When I put the kids to sleep, I take a little time for myself to apply and enjoy all my beauty products. It is my way of unwinding. If I don’t take a little time for myself, I get burnt out.

Do you have any beauty advice for moms?
The best advice that was given to me: Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Your skin will thank you for it! And don’t forget to exfoliate at least two to three times per week. Exfoliating helps our skincare products penetrate to the intended sight of action. On the flip side, over-exfoliating isn’t good for our skin either. It can cause more damage than benefit.

I can live without…
Mascara. The times I have forgotten to wear mascara, I felt something was missing, something looked off. Mascara just opens up your eyes and draws attention to it. When I do my makeup, mascara completes the look.

How much do you usually spend on beauty products a month?
I don’t usually buy beauty products on a monthly basis. But if I averaged my costs out for the year—per month—it would come out to about $130.

Urban Decay Naked 3 palette

OH TRULY ME’S FIVE FAVES
1. Naked eyeshadow palettes: I love all three Naked palettes. The shadows are highly pigmented, and the colors are gorgeous. You can create so many different looks with these palettes
2. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Concealer: Best under eye concealer that I’ve ever used. And you can’t beat the price point. It definitely brightens up those tired mommy eyes.
3. Koji Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner: It stays on all day without smudging and has a perfect felt tip applicator that doesn’t dry out.
4. The beautyblender: Once you start using it, you can’t put your foundation on without it. The sponge creates a flawless, well-blended, natural look without the streak marks that brushes can sometimes leave behind.
5. YSL Touche Eclat: This is my favorite foundation. It is lightweight, illuminating and just the right amount of coverage.

New-Mom Makeovers: Makeup Tricks to Not Look Tired
New-Mom Makeovers: Makeup Tricks to Not Look Tired
New-Mom Makeovers: Makeup Tricks to Not Look Tired

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