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Thursday, December 4th, 2014
In the spirit of the holiday season, singer-actress Jennifer Hudson went to work with Johnson’s Brand as they launched their new initiative More Hands, More Hearts on #GivingTuesday. As a mom to 5-year-old David, Hudson was thrilled to assemble babycare kits to distribute to families in need nationwide as part of the campaign. Here, the Grammy-winning artist gets real about her desire to give back, her proudest moment as a mom, and the latest star David is trying to emulate.
P: What drew you to this particular project on #GivingTuesday?
JH: Well, in general giving back is very important to me. We founded the Julian D. King Gift Foundation in honor of my nephew a few years back because we wanted to be able to think of him and know that something positive was being done in the world. And with Johnson’s More Hands, More Hearts it’s that same idea of helping others. You never really think of how many needy babies there are in the world, but they need our help. Julian’s Foundation exists to provide positive experiences for children of all backgrounds so that they will become productive, confident and happy adults, but you need healthy, happy babies first. They need diapers and bottles to grow and be healthy and so I’m thrilled to be involved with this project.
P: You mention the Foundation in honor of your nephew. How has the Foundation progressed since you started it six years ago?
JH: Oh my goodness, so much. When we first started it we just wanted to honor my nephew and help kids in the community. It started with the toy drive for gift-giving around Christmas, but now we added a back-to-school supplies drive. The line was around the block. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. I can’t even keep track.
P: Does it work through scholarships or is it more event-focused?
JH: Well, we do have the dinner around Christmas each year and kids in the community can be nominated by their teachers to attend. They don’t have to be getting all A’s, but they do have to be trying. It’s the effort we want to encourage. It’s not a scholarship, but we reward that effort by granting their Christmas wish around the holidays. Our mission is to be something positive, a catalyst for change in children’s health, education, and welfare. We have the Toy Drive and Hatch Day each year and sometimes other events—we do as much as we can but we are local [in Chicago].
P: Let’s talk about your son, David. What is your favorite thing about this age?
JH: He’s 5 now and I think it’s just how creative he is. His mind is just going going. He started building a tent area at home, gathered materials and built this huge tent area and then I found out he has a garbage can in there. He throws trash in it and then empties it in the kitchen trash. He’s keeping it clean. It’s so funny to see him create his own little home.
P: It sounds like he’s very much his own little person. Is there a parenting rule that he always gets you to break?
JH: Bedtime. That’s probably the toughest because he always wants to stay up late and hang out. He’ll fake being hungry, like “Oh mom, I’m hungry, I can’t go to bed yet.” And I let him have a snack, but then I realized Wait. He’s not hungry, he’s just trying to stay up.
P: What has been your proudest moment as a mom?
JH: I mean, I brought a life into the world. That in and of itself…. But he’s also so smart and creative and thoughtful. He really cares about others. Like if I’m cold, he’ll curl up next to me and cover me with a blanket. He’s very aware of others and how they feel.
P: So is he like his mama? Does he like to perform?
JH: Ohhhhhh yes. He loves to dance and he just loves Michael Jackson. I took him to see Usher and told him Usher is like Michael Jackson. He had the best time. When we got home he said “Mommy! Turn on ummm ummm what is his name?” And I said “Usher?” And he said “Yeah, Mommy. Turn on USHER! I’m gonna dance for the camera!”
P: Through your Foundation you encourage kids to express themselves and accomplish things with this idea of Hatch Day. It’s so important for kids, but it’s also important for adults to mark their accomplishments. What do you hope to accomplish in 2015 in the essence of Hatch Day?
JH: Oh wow. I never thought of it that way, but I feel so blessed. I just want to keep making music and being with my family. If I can keep making music that people enjoy, I really hope for longevity in my career. I want to work towards that.
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celebrities, GoodyBlog, Must Read
Thursday, December 20th, 2012
We recently had the chance to talk with Lashinda Demus, Olympic hurdler and mother of five-year-old twins, Duaine and Dontay, about balancing life as a star-athlete and mom. Here, the 29-year-old track star shares her struggle with pregnancy and her experience adjusting expectations in order to fulfill her dream to become a legendary competitor and parent.
Do you think that in today’s society there is pressure for women to establish their career first and then have family, rather than the other way around?
I think that [we put pressure] on ourselves. The more vocal women are, the more we want to attain and do [we think], “Well I just need to get straight first.” And I think, “What happens to having a union and you guys working together?” Some women think when you become a mom or married, you automatically fit into this box of what a wife and a mother are supposed to be. I fell into that, too. I would find myself not dressing up, not going anywhere, and just making sure [my boys] look good. I didn’t care how I looked. I had to snap out of that.
Your biography refers to your pregnancy as unplanned. What was the original plan?
I always wanted kids, but my plan from the beginning was to compete until 2012, which would have me making three Olympic teams. I made ’04 my junior year in college, and then I hoped to make ’08 and then ’12. Then, I’d be 29 and start having a family. My husband and I were together for four or five years before I got pregnant in 2007. It wasn’t planned at all and I don’t think I was ready to have kids and that’s why I went into my little depression. I find that I’m more attached and more hands-on now because I constantly think about how I didn’t even want to be pregnant and that sets me straight. Now I’ve made my twins a part of my dreams.
Once your life started to take this different course, did you consider becoming a non-working mom?
I did not. I would get discouraged because I knew my body went through a drastic change and I thought “I don’t know how I’m going to get back to being number one in the world athletically, after having two human beings in my body.” I’m actually one of those women that won’t mind being the stay-at-home-mom. That’s one of the things that I think I’ll like to do. But at that point, I knew I was gonna get back at it.
You said your goal was to go through 2012.
I’m going to go to 2016. Once you’ve run as long as I have—I’ve been running since I was five years old—you want to make sure you finish the book. I want four things out of my track career and that’s an American record—which I have—a world championship title—which I have—Olympic gold and a world record. Almost had that gold this year, so I have two more on the bucket list.
Do you see that in your boys, that thirst to be the best?
I see not a will to be the best, but I see them wanting to please me, and that’s scary. That’s why I kind of keep them away from track…for a while. I don’t want them to think they have to stand up to what I’ve done. To me, that’s a lot of pressure. I want them to be passionate about something, but not passionate about pleasing me or outdoing me.
How is it being the mom of twins?
I always wanted twins that had that “I feel what you feel” thing, and they really have that. They’re best friends. My family is a family full of fraternal twins: My great-grandmother had four sets and they’re all fraternal.
That’s quite the legacy. In past interviews you mentioned that your legacy is what you want to leave your boys. Other than the markers, what message do you want your legacy to send them?
The message of greatness—not just in athletics, in whatever you’re passionate about. Since I was a little kid, something was put in me that I’m the best at this. I want them to just exude greatness. I’m going to have grandkids one day so I want them to have an example of “she was a woman, a mother, an athlete and she still, she put her best on the line all the time.”
Image via Luke Wooden Photography
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Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Crafting’s gone cool. Think beyond twee crocheted potholders and macramé plant hangers. Spurred on by Etsy and Pinterest, the new crop of crafters can seemingly make anything. And now they’ll be put to the test: DIY folks do battle in “Craft Wars,” premiering on TLC on Tuesday, June 26. Each week, three contestants will go scissor-to-scissor in creative challenges, and one will win $10,000. We chatted with host (and mom of 3!) Tori Spelling about the new show, and her advice for crafting with kids—especially her little artists, 5-year-old son Liam and daughters Stella and Hattie (ages 4 and 8 months).
Parents: Why this show, and why now? Do you think that crafting is trending?
Tori Spelling: I’ve been an avid crafter my whole life, but the whole crafting movement has definitely changed. It went from hobby to DIY home when the economy went down. People started to figure out how to redecorate their home or make a fashion statement by crafting everything yourself. It brought a lot of people with many different interests together to create. Creation is passion!
Parents: Are there any craft blogs on your bookmarks list?
TS: I love PSIMadeThis (by Erica Domesek, one of our judges on “Craft Wars”), Curbly, DesignSponge, TipJunkie, and HonestlyWTF. We also show great crafts and DIY craft projects on my website, EdiTORIal.
Parents: What kinds of craft projects do you make with your kids?
TS: We craft weekly as a family. We sit at my kids’ small craft table for hours creating cards, tags, presents, and jewelry, and we paint pottery and canvases. We get glitter everywhere and laugh through the whole thing. So fun!
Parents: How do you store or display your kids’ artwork or craft projects? Any fun alternatives to tacking them up on the fridge?
TS: They each get their own clear art storage box. Then I show off their work in mismatched lacquered frames and make a picture wall of their art projects mixed in with great black-and-white family photos. I also decoupaged a bunch of their artwork on top of a table. Every time we use it, we see their amazing creations.
Parents: Do you have a go-to crafting tool?
TS: Mini glue gun. And twine. I use twine on everything!
Parents: What are some easy craft supplies parents should keep stocked? Is there anything you think that parents should avoid?
TS: We love colored paper, stamps, ink pads, markers, glitter, and jeweled embellishments like stones, rhinestones, and grommets. Glue is messy. Try glue dots, instead!
Parents: Any advice for containing kiddie-craft messes?
TS: Do crafts on layered newspapers. When you’re finished, fold the newspapers and toss them away. Easy clean up!
Parents: Will contestants be crafting any kid-oriented projects on “Craft Wars?”
TS: Yes! They’ll make stuffed-animal pillows and playhouses made out of school supplies.
Parents: What other challenges can we look forward to this season?
TS: A birdhouse from a junk drawer and jewelry made from the wires inside a boom box!
Want to show off your kids’ creations? Download our Pocket Galley iPhone app.
Photos courtesy of TLC.
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Crafts, GoodyBlog, Time for Fun
Friday, January 6th, 2012
It’s tough not to be charmed by Daniel Radcliffe, who will always be known first and foremost as Harry Potter. He’s very articulate, intelligent, funny, and hyper-aware of the downfalls of being a child celeb. In fall 2011, I had the chance to see Radcliffe being interviewed for a Broadway Talks event at the YMCA in New York City and he was surprisingly down-to-earth.
Parade.com recently interviewed Radcliffe about his first post-Potter movie, “The Woman in Black,” a supernatural thriller in which he plays a young father who has lost his wife. In a candid video, Radcliffe shares how he adjusted to portraying a father on screen and why he would want to, in his words, have “a small army of children.” Watch the video below and read highlights from the Parade magazine interview with Radcliffe.
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Entertainment, GoodyBlog, Time for Fun
Monday, December 12th, 2011
Wait! Before you toss your Sunday newspaper, check out Parade magazine‘s interview with Academy Award-winning actor, screenwriter, and father of four, Matt Damon.
In the interview, Damon talks about how he is able to maintain a low-key lifestyle despite his fame. Once named People‘s sexiest man alive, Damon now says “I try to stay away from the beefcake shots.”
Shirtless roles might be out for the actor, but we can’t begrudge him; Damon’s busy with his biggest role yet: fatherhood. He has three daughters with wife Luciana and one stepdaughter, 13-year-old Alexia. Damon told Parade:
“I jumped into the deep end with Lucy. I mean, Alexia was already 4. I was an extra dad…The only way I can describe it – it sounds stupid, but – at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, you know how his heart grows, like, five times its size? Everything is full; it’s just full all the time.”
Read more from the interview on Parade‘s website or in this week’s print edition.
See All of Our Favorite Hot Celebrity Dads
Image from Richie Buxo / Splash News
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Friday, September 30th, 2011
Tonight is officially the start of playoff season for Major League Baseball! One of the most watched games this evening will be between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers.
On the mound for the Yankees at 8:37 P.M. ET tonight will be CC Sabathia. We were lucky enough to get an interview with the pitching ace and his wife. CC talks about managing a career in professional baseball and being a father to four children ages 8 and under.
Don’t like baseball? It doesn’t matter, CC’s words will resonate with any parent trying to find the balance between work and family time.
I’ll even add — though it’s hard for me to admit — that I’m a huge New York Mets fan and I enjoyed it. Check out the interview with CC Sabathia!
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Thursday, September 29th, 2011
I recently had the chance to talk with Jamie Lee Curtis, mother, actress, children’s book author, and spokesperson for Activia yogurt. We spoke about her continued support and endorsement of Activia (which has lasted for almost four years), her challenging and rewarding moments as a parent, and her advice for couples who are interested in the adoption process. Check it out below!
How did you become involved with Activia?
After the More magazine article in which I did the proverbial “show the real Jamie,” the Activia team wanted to work with somebody who had gravitas in telling the truth about something people didn’t like to discuss. When they came to me, it seemed like a good idea, and very soon after I was parodied on Saturday Night Live, which is the ultimate form of flattery. Then, for the first time, everywhere I went people came up to me and talked to me about digestive health. They thanked me and gave me big thumbs-up. They sang the Ac-ti-vi-aaa! song. That made an impression on me.
What did you hear from women about how Activia has changed or affected their lives?
I’ve heard some very personal stories, which I’m not going to relay here, but ultimately what people have said is that a digestive health issue was in their life until Activia came along. They credited Activia and its probiotic nature with helping them. When you feel better, everybody is better. And then you can go off and tackle the rest of life. Now Activia is launching a whole new element to it. Everybody is gaga over Greek and French yogurt, and they want it creamy or more tart or crunchy, so the company has come out with all these varieties.
In addition to inspiring adults to maintain good health, you’ve written a lot of great children’s books. What message do you hope kids take away from your books?
What I really hope is that they understand I get it. That’s all I care about with anything I do — that people relate to me, and I to them. Self-esteem is complicated and big words are scary to use, but moods and feelings don’t have to be so frightening. I’m not a prophet. I’m not a teacher. I have no degrees. My degree is from the University of Life. I hope a child understands that I’ve navigated childhood, I’ve raised two kids, and I understand kids very, very well.
What are some lessons that your kids have taught you?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my children is to look in the mirror at myself, not at them. I’ve realized that everything I’ve done has had an impact on them. We have to understand that they are like little paparazzi. They take our picture when we don’t want them to and then they show it to us in their behavior. I have to watch myself. If I eat well, if I treat myself well, if I don’t self-flagellate and say “I’m a fat pig” in front of my daughter, she’s not going to grow up looking in a mirror thinking “I’m a fat pig,“ because she heard me say it.
What are some meaningful ways you spend time with your family?
Well, that’s a challenge. We’re a disparate group of people coming together to make a family. It’s easy to watch a movie, but that’s not really being together; that’s just watching something. We’re struggling through it like everybody else — how to find things that everyone wants to do. Games have always been a fun way to bring people together and we do that. We’re like every other family, where I’m trying to unplug and connect, but it’s hard.
Can you touch upon some of the more challenging aspects of parenting?
The challenging part of parenting for me is to make sure that an individual person is an individual and not some sort of cookie-cutter version of me. At the same time, I want to make sure that I impart my sense of the world as an adult. So it’s tricky to try to create an authentic person with his own mind about things but also inculcate him with the things that are important to me.
And the most rewarding aspects of parenting?
The most rewarding aspect of parenting is seeing my children be authentic. The most rewarding thing for me is to see them do anything that they’re proud of.
We have a lot of readers who either want to adopt children or are in the process of adopting. Based on your experiences with adoption, do you have any advice for them? Or are there things you wish you knew when you went through the process of adopting your children?
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Adoption is a very complicated road filled with incredibly emotional and challenging aspects. At its core, adoption is about loss. It’s one that needs a lot of good support for everybody, so that everyone is clear about the feelings that are being stirred up for everyone. Birthdays, for instance, are very hard for adopted children. For everyone else it’s a celebration of the moment of birth, but for adopted children, it’s the remembrance of a birth family that they don’t have. So it’s complicated terrain but still a beautiful way to make a family. You have to just be really open to all sides of it.
Monday, September 12th, 2011
I recently had the chance to sit down with singer and actor Harry Connick, Jr. and his 13-year-old daughter Kate to talk about their partnership with American Girl as well as Harry’s parenting experience. American Girl’s newest dolls, Cécile and Marie-Grace, are from New Orleans circa 1853. Despite their different appearances and backgrounds, the girls become best friends. To accompany the release of the dolls, Harry wrote a song about friendship, “A Lot Like Me,” and Kate recorded it. All proceeds from downloads of the song benefit the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a performance space and center for music education in New Orleans.
How did you become involved in this partnership with American Girl?
Harry: American Girl was interested in two New Orleans–themed dolls, and I’m from New Orleans, so they wanted to see what I had to offer. We thought it would be cool to have Kate be a part of it too. We like working together anyway, so I couldn’t think of anybody better to sing a song that I wrote. Kate truly lives the message of, ‘It doesn’t matter what’s on the outside, it’s all about what’s on the inside.’
The song is aimed at young girls. What was it like to write for a younger audience?
Harry: It’s just a matter of writing what feels best for me. I read the stories and thought they were great. The message was so clear, it wasn’t difficult to come up with a way to try to express that with a piece of music.
What do you hope girls take away from this song?
Kate: I hope they learn, as my dad said, that it’s what’s on the inside, not on the outside [that matters]. I’ve been able to travel the world and see the different backgrounds that people come from and the different religions that they follow. I’ve realized that it’s not about what they look like.
What’s important in your friendships? What do you look for in your friends?
Kate: I look for trust, loyalty, and kindness. I think if you have those three things then you have something special.
You two share an interest in music. Do you plan to collaborate in the future?
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Harry: I hope we get to do something again. My life is spontaneous and things just kind of happen. I look forward to years and years of working with Kate in different capacities. (more…)
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