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Friday, March 16th, 2012
Our 2011 Raise a Reader program ran from November 7, 2011 – January 30, 2012. Schools across the U.S. got their kids involved in tracking their extracurricular reading minutes.
We are happy to announce the grand-prize winner of the contest: St. Aloysius on-the-Ohio Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio! For its outstanding achievement in getting students involved in reading, St. Aloysius will receive $5,000 to be used toward their school library.
St. Aloysius on-the-Ohio Elementary School is a small school situated along the scenic Ohio River valley in the historic Sayler Park Area of Cincinnati. The students enjoy a safe, nurturing environment that encourages mutual respect and self-discipline.
Both students and teachers enjoyed participating in the program. Third-grader Connor shared, “I read all the time and the contest made it even more fun,” while eighth-grader Savannah said, “Reading makes kids smarter and gives them time to be with their parents. Without the library, I don’t know what I would do.”
The school also has a proven track record of academic excellence for the past 137 years, and strong family values and family involvement is a key ingredient for its successes. “Our librarian encourages the students to develop a love of reading all types of books. The students love to compete against others and themselves. It is amazing to see what a small group of avid readers is able to achieve. The students love to say, ‘We are small but we are mighty.’ Winning is proof of that,” says Regina Hornback, a teacher at St. Aloysius.
Congratulations to the students and teachers at St. Aloysius on-the-Ohio Elementary School!
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags: Book, Books, children's books, contest, contest winner, contets, elementary school, raise a reader, reading, reading contest, school
Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
Cooking with your kids is a great way to teach them about the importance of healthy eating, but we know it’s not always easy to find the time and energy to do so.
Which is exactly why you and your child should enter Loukoumi’s Secret Ingredient Recipe Contest! The contest is part of the release of Nick Katsoris’s latest book, Loukoumi’s Celebrity Cookbook (which we’ve already raved about). Children between the ages of 4 and 12 simply submit their favorite recipe and why they love it in 10 words or less. One child will win a private cooking lesson with celebrity chef Cat Cora.
The contest is accepting submissions until March 1. Download the contest entry form and enter today!
Read more about Cat Cora on Parents.com:
Image of Cat Cora courtesy of Nick Katsoris
Monday, January 9th, 2012
Looking for an awesome surprise for your valentine? We can help! Just in time for Valentine’s Day (and Mardi Gras!), we’re teaming up with Zatarain’s to send one reader and his or her sweetheart on a romantic trip for two to New Orleans. One lucky winner and guest will score a two-night stay in the French Quarter at Omni Royal New Orleans, $1,000 coach airfare vouchers, a $250 gift card to one of Chef John Besh’s exclusive restaurants for a VIP dining experience in the Big Easy, and a Zatarain’s prize pack! To enter to win, post a comment below in the comments section from now until 11:59 EST on February 6. For full contest rules, click here. Make sure to visit Zatarain’s Facebook page or Twitter feed @MyZatarains. And Goody Luck!
UPDATE: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!
Categories: Entertainment, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Time for Fun, Travel | Tags: contest, contests, free, free vacation, freebie, getaway, mardi gras, trip, vacation, Valentine's Day
Friday, November 25th, 2011
I have a lot of experience with American Girl dolls. I have a 9-year-old daughter, work a few blocks from American Girl Place in New York City, and am, apparently, a sucker. It stared with a “Just Like Me Doll,” which Grace wanted for her 6th birthday. I loved the idea, until I realized she was asking for a $100 doll. And that any given outfit for the doll was going to cost $20 to $30, which is what I spend on an outfit for my actual daughter. But I consulted with a neighbor whose girl is the same age, and heard all the good reasons to drink the American Girl Kool-Aid: The dolls are well-made, the girls understand that they’re special, and maybe most importantly, once girls are older than 5, the number of toys they really want dwindles rapidly. It’s nice to have them still want a toy, you know?
So we got the doll, and Grace named her Hollyfield, which is one of Grace’s middle names. Hollyfield has held up well over the past few years. And still gets played with! This past weekend, Grace totally scored a wheelchair for Hollyfield from some friends, who were holding a yard sale of American Girl stuff. I found out about it because their mom posted a notice on Facebook. A friend commented something along the lines of, “It’s so sad when they outgrow their American Girls.” And the mom posted back, “Oh no, they’re selling old American Girl stuff so that they can buy new American Girl stuff.”
Hollyfield in her new wheelchair
The Christmas after we got Hollyfield, I was doing some television for American Baby magazine (no relation to American Girl dolls!), and had an excuse to call in and feature Kit and Ruth, who are friends in American Girl world. (All the dolls come with books, which help real girls learn stories about them, and a bit of history along the way.) Grace got Kit and Ruth from Santa, and that was thrilling. She took to Kit right away, and I’m going to go ahead and admit that I fell in love with Ruth. I joked that she was “mine” although she lives in Grace’s room. The following Christmas, Grace and I took Hollyfield and Ruth to American Girl Place for stylin’ hairdos, earrings, the works. And here’s my word of warning: That store is great fun, but a money pit. I paid as much for Ruth’s hair styling as I pay for my own blowouts. And the craziest thing is, the store is absolutely packed with parents pretending that spending that kind of money is normal. But. That’s what happens when you fall in love with a doll.
Here’s Ruthie—check out her leather jacket!
My favorite, Ruthie
There have been other trips to American Girl Place. We once went in for $14 doll glasses. Grace insisted Hollyfield needs them, I lied that the doctor checked her eyes and she was fine, Grace wouldn’t let up and saved money for the glasses, and we bought them. They lasted less than a year before they were stepped on and broken. We went to the cafe with her grandparents and had fun (note: They serve alcohol to the grown-ups), we went to the cafe with her friend Natalie and had a blast, and Grace went to a birthday party there too.
Now we’re heading into Christmas 2011, and Grace has announced she’s asking Santa for Cécile Rey, a new American Girl doll who lives in circa-1853 New Orleans with her friend Marie-Grace. I’ll admit, I still had the reaction I had years ago: Do I really have to pay $100 for a doll? But here’s the thing. Grace is 9. This may be the last sweet toy I get to buy for her. And at least she’s not asking for both dolls. I will take a deep breath and buy the doll and secretly kind of love it.
Oh, and I did ask someone at American Girl if there’s ever a way to get a discount. The answer was pretty much no. They have a “sale” section on AmericanGirl.com, but it’s small. If you “like” them on Facebook, you can find out about promotions such as free shipping. But! I went ahead and asked if they’d let us do a giveaway. They’ve agreed to give just one lucky reader a new Bitty Baby, plus the Snowflake dress to go with the doll.
Win a Bitty Baby!
Just leave a comment here on this post by the end of the day on Wednesday, November 30th, to be eligible. You can post once a day. For full rules, click here. Goody luck!
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Is your child a budding scientist? Kids in 3rd to 6th grades have the opportunity to enter the Kids’ Science Challenge, an annual nationwide competition created by Jim Metzner (award-winning radio produce of Pulse of the Planet) and funded by The National Science Foundation.
Kids choose one of three science topics and then propose an original idea or experiment that relates to it. This year, the three topics are Zero Waste, Animal Smarts, and Meals on Mars.
Zero Waste challenges kids to invent a package using materials that will also be recycled and reused and never ends up in a landfill. Animal Smarts asks kids to design a toy, game, or experiment that will enhance a pet or zoo animal’s life as well as demonstrate its intelligence. Meals on Mars motivates kids to produce new ways of preserving, cooking, deliver, or produce sustainable food for space travel and for living on the planet Mars.
Three grand prize winners, one or each topic, are then selected and given trips to unique places (e.g. Green Mountain Coffee in Waterbury, Vermont; Oregon Zoo in Portland; and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas). Various other prizes will also be awarded, and the first 1,000 kids to enter the contest will also receive a free science kit.
Visit www.kidsciencechallenge.com to download an entry form and for more details. Contest deadline is February 29, 2012.
Friday, November 4th, 2011
Even if you haven’t had your baby yet, you’ve probably heard that a car seat is tough to install correctly. (Most people can’t do it!) Summer Infant spent years perfecting this new Prodigy infant car seat, which has a panel that guides you through installation—and rewards you with a light-up smiley face when you’ve got things right. Our other fave feature: The straps never need to be rethreaded, a simple tug adjusts them to your baby’s size each and every time. (Important if your baby is a bit bigger when he’s bundled for the cold, for instance!) The Prodigy is $180 at Babies “R” Us, but the team at Summer Infant is letting us give two out to our lucky readers. To enter, just post a comment below between now and Friday, November 11, 2011, and we’ll randomly choose two winners. We’d love for you to tell us your biggest concern when it comes to car seats. And hey…if it’s getting one installed correctly, we also encourage everybody to go to SeatCheck.org, put in your zip code, and find your nearest safety-check station. An expert set of eyes and arms is awesome for getting a car seat in the right way! For full rules, click here. Goody luck!
Friday, October 14th, 2011
Just in time for the holidays, we’re giving away enough toys to make your kids very happy on Christmas morning. That’s right! You can take home the awesome playthings in one of five age groups (from baby to big kid) that’s in our November toy guide. To enter to win a fab prize pack, click here to go to the parents.com contest page. And don’t forget to check back for more great giveaways. Goody luck!
Categories: Entertainment, Giveaways, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun | Tags: best toys, Christmas, contest, contests, freebies, gifts, Giveaway, toys, win
Thursday, October 6th, 2011
So what do you do when handed an irresistible invitation that reads, Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Maker Invites You to an Evening of Elevated Desserts with Acclaimed Pastry Chefs Elizabeth Falkner and Johnny Iuzzini? If you love chocolate and eat dessert first, you say “Yes, please!” and head to the event with the resident Food Editor (the lovely Erica Clark) to watch the chefs give new twists to classic sweets using Scharffen Berger® chocolate.
Foodies and fans of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” will recognize Johnny Iuzzini as one of the head judges (alongside Gail Simmons) and Elizabeth Falkner as one of the guest judges from season one. Iuzzini cut his teeth at Payard and is now the Executive Pastry Chef at Jean Georges restaurant in New York City while Falkner will soon be appearing on “The Next Iron Chef” and is the brainchild behind Orson restaurant and Citizen Cake bakery/ice cream parlor in San Francisco, CA.
In a room mostly full of women (yes, we do love our chocolate), Iuzzini started his demonstration of creating “Chocolate Pudding with Passion Fruit Gelée, Whipped Chocolate Crème Fraîche, and Cacao Nibs,” which was inspired by Jell-O Pudding Face ads, while Falkner began her demonstration of “Chocolate Gelato Sundae,” which was inspired by her love for ice cream. In order to make the ice cream solidify faster, Falkner used liquid nitrogen to freeze the milk-sugar mixture, which gave the demo a science-lab feel. (Both recipes are featured after the jump below.)
The audience was then divided into two groups to learn how to make each dessert (while wearing chefs hats and aprons). Ending up in Iuzzini’s group, I mixed dry ingredients (those are my hands, on the right, and me with Iuzzini, below) and watched as unsweetened natural cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate became a trifle with layers of passion fruit gelée, devil’s food cake (that incorporated mayonnaise), chocolate crumble, crème fraîche, pudding, and for garnish: passion fruit seeds and freeze-dried raspberries.
Afterwards, we were given a taste of the deeply delicious desserts — the chocolate pudding was a combination of sweet/sour and smooth/crunchy while the gelato sundae (garnished with chocolate cake bits, cocao nibs, and marshmallow cream) was a combination of sweet/bitter and crunchy/chewy.
Moms (and dads) all need a little “me” time, so if you’re a parent who loves chocolate, baking, and creating unusual spins on traditional desserts, consider making these two desserts as a treat for the family (the gelato sundae is more child-friendly, though you won’t need a nitrogen tank at home to make it!). Or enter the “Elevate a Classic Dessert with Scharffen Berger® Chocolate Contest” for a chance to win a grand prize of $10,000. The contest period is between October 1, 2011 – January 2, 2012.
Categories: Food, GoodyBlog | Tags: chocolate, contest, dessert, food contest, gelato, ice cream, ice cream sundae, recipe, recipe contest, recipes, scharffen berger, top chef