Did your family catch Free Birds when it was in theaters this past holiday season? The animated film tells the story of two turkeys traveling back in time to make some alterations to the original Thanksgiving menu (perfect for vegetarians!) Stars Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Amy Poehler all lend their voices to the zany comedy.
Now, the movie is coming to Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow, February 4. Aspiring film buffs will get a kick out of the bonus features, which offer an in-depth look at the production process, including the animation and composing the score.
Get a peek behind the scenes with some of the filmmakers in this exclusive clip:
Can you believe that the last weekend before Christmas is here already? Whether you’re spending it traveling, shopping, or just snuggling up at home, chances are the kids will want to watch a movie at some point. Luckily, Netflix recently released a list of holiday titles available for streaming, and we’ve narrowed it down to some suggestions of specials you probably still haven’t seen (that way you don’t have to watch the same classic you’ve already watched dozens of times!)
So pick a movie, gather up the family and get cozy. Enjoy!
Staying in tonight? You’ll want to check out Target’s brand new digital video service, Target Ticket. The site features more than 30,000 movies and television shows to choose from, including plenty of family favorites and recent releases. (I know where I’ll be catching up on this summer’s blockbusters!)
With so many online movie services out there now, it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you. But we like that Target partnered with Common Sense Media to give users access to thousands of reviews, each of which include an age rating, important information for parents to know, and even some topics to discuss after viewing. And if your children tend to disagree on what to watch, parents can set up a profile for each user, which allows different movies to stream simultaneously on multiple devices.
Anyone who opens a new account through February is given 10 free downloads on a group of pre-selected movies (among which, there are several kid-friendly films like Fern Gully, Rango and Space Jam, in addition to movies for Mom and Dad.) There are no subscription or sign-up fees, and prices start as low as $0.99.
What do you think of Target Ticket? Download the app or login on your desktop computer, and let us know!
Red Tricycle announced the winners of its 3rd Annual Totally Awesome Awards, a reader-driven awards program recognizing the best parenting brands, products, neighborhood services and resources for families with children ages 0-10.
The Totally Awesome Awards included 64 national Baby & Kids Essentials categories and 31 Local categories in 12 U.S. cities.
Parents from across the nation picked their favorite family-friendly businesses throughout a 12-week period. More than 236,777 votes were cast and the results for the Totally Awesome Awards Essentials winners are listed below. The local winners can be found at awards.redtri.com
Red Tricycle celebrated the winners and Top 10 finalists of the Totally Awesome Awards with 9 parties in 9 U.S. cities (Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.). Sponsored by Zulily, Zevia, Urbansitter and Smartypants, the Totally Awesome Awards parties brought together all the winners, finalists and local influencers in each market.
After writing more than 21 cookbooks and contributing to numerous national publications, mom-of-two Sally Sampson decided to dedicate her skills to the fight against childhood obesity. In 2010, ChopChop: The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families was born. The quarterly delivers lively food fundamentals for kids (and adults!) to doctors’ offices, schools, and homes across the country. Now, the clever cooking guide is available in book form. ChopChop: The Kids’ Guide to Cooking Real Food With Your Familyfeatures more than 100 recipes to get your kids in the kitchen. And if these fun ideas don’t inspire your little ones, Sampson has a few tips that just might do the trick.
ChopChop is dedicated to teaching children cooking skills and healthy eating habits. Why is this mission important to you?
Before I created ChopChop, I was writing cookbooks but didn’t feel that was enough. I knew I could do more than write recipes; I wanted to make a difference. Teaching nutrition and cooking to a child helps her understand that there’s a difference between an apple, apple juice, and apple-flavored products. Then she can make better food choices, and that results in better health. Plus, cooking is such a wonderful way to bond with your kids! I just think it’s the greatest, most important thing.
How did you come up with the name “ChopChop?”
You know, it’s the funniest thing: we spent days and days listing different names and none of them felt right. Then one day I just said, “ChopChop.”And it stuck.
I have to ask—what were the duds?
One of them was “Picnic,” another was “Nosh.” And there were a million versions with “Kids Cooking.” When I look at them now, they really just don’t fit.
How can kids get their hands on a copy?
Subscribe! Or find copies in your pediatrician’s office, hospital, or school. If your school doesn’t have issues available, you can visit our website or call us to set up a classroom subscription. Some schools have even gathered sponsors and created custom editions!
The magazine received the James Beard Foundation Publication of the Year Award for 2013. What was that like?
Reviewers have credited the cookbook with teaching their own children math and measurements, science and chemistry through cooking, and nutrition. What other benefits are there to cooking as a family?
It’s such a great way to connect with your child as a parent. In some ways, that’s the most important thing about cooking. It’s creative, fun, and uniting. Food is also a really good way to understand other cultures. When I was growing up, we didn’t eat hummus or salsa. Through cooking together, new foods and tastes feel more familiar.
At what age should parents start bringing kids into the kitchen?
Immediately—it’s never too early! If you have an infant, bring her into the kitchen in her high chair and tell her what you’re feeding her. Say, “I’m cooking carrots. Carrots are orange.” Start a monologue with your baby. As she gets older, continue your monologue but start to ask questions. Ask, “How many cherry tomatoes are there?” And have her toss them into a salad.
Then as your child grows, gauge her ability. She will be interested in being part of it. Children want to be a success in the adult world and being in the kitchen is a great way to do that—just be sure to let her take the next steps and progress.
It might be hard at first for parents to get their kids in the kitchen—what do you suggest?
Start very small. Tell your child you need his help. Just say, “We’re having pasta tonight, can you pick out the shape?” Then give them more choices: “Let’s plan out your meals for school lunch.” To make it easier (and healthier) for my kids, I made a chart of acceptable options and they chose which lunches to have on which days. Tiny things like that can get kids very excited about participating.
How did you encourage your children to eat a variety of foods?
This was my point of view on dinner: I never made two meals and I never made them try anything. I never said, “You have to taste it.” Instead, I told my kids that if they didn’t like what I made, they could have cereal (non-sugared Cheerios), cottage cheese, or yogurt. If there isn’t an amazing alternative your children will eat dinner. Otherwise, if you make it appealing not to eat what you make – by offering chicken nuggets for example – why would they eat it?
As for picky eaters, don’t make it a big deal. Just keep putting other foods on the table that they might say they don’t like. Avoid defining your child as a picky eater and don’t give her pickiness a lot of attention.
The cookbook proves that you don’t need to be a “foodie” in order to cook well and healthfully. Instead, it presents cooking as a fun life skill that everyone should know and enjoy. Was this part of your goal?
Yes, of course. It’s really simple and easy to cook and it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or esoteric. We need to help the generation of non-cooks raising non-cooks and get them into the kitchen. I’ve even had retirees and college students send letters, thanking us for helping them become better cooks.
So which recipes are best for kids when cooking for the first time?
Smoothies—they’re so adaptable: If a recipe calls for an apple, you could replace with a pear. If you can’t have milk, you can use soy milk. It’s also really fun to watch the blender—it’s like it’s exploding!
Sandwiches are also great to make with any age kids. Our Rainbow Sandwich recipe challenges them to fill their bread with as many colors as possible. For this, I suggest putting out a spread of cabbage, tomatoes, colored cheeses, and other options. It shows kids that a sandwich doesn’t have to be ham, mustard, and cheese.
What are your favorite family recipes?
Vegetable chili. You can make it spicy or not, and you can serve up little bowls of onions, avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, and yogurt to personalize it. It’s a great way to get kids to try new things. And they love putting together our other adult-like “Make It Your Way” meals.
And about the term “kid-friendly:” Why don’t you use it?
I don’t think there’s kid food and adult food. We don’t have anything in the magazine or book that’s not appropriate for an adult. I highly discourage having a two-meal dinner. Food is food. And you shouldn’t have anything in the house you don’t want your child to eat!
What else should readers should know?
If you’re trying to change the eating habits of your family, take really small steps. If you eat out five times a week, and you can cook one meal a week at home, that’s a good step. Really big changes really fast don’t work. Take baby steps. It’s okay.
We’re big fans of the The Story Pirates, a musical sketch-comedy group with performances based on stories written by children. (It’s been described as “Monty Python meets Schoolhouse Rock.”) So we’re especially excited to announce that you can now enter the No Kidding? Just Kidding! Sweepstakes for a chance to win a family trip to New York City this fall to meet and watch The Story Pirates live. And if you win, the group will even let your child perform in the show!
This weekend getaway—sponsored by Symphony Space in New York City and Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s “Kids Place Live”—will be full of comedy, music and delicious food. There are other great prizes included in the sweepstakes, including T-shirts, books and CDs. And everyone is a winner this time, because each entrant receives free digital downloads of over a dozen childrens’ songs, by artists such as Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey and Joanie Leeds.
For more information, watch this fun video featuring Lee from Story Pirates:
Feeling lucky? The sweepstakes closes on August 21, 2013, so hurry and enter now. (Note! Leaving a comment below doesn’t mean you’ve entered, so make sure you follow the above link).
Did you catch the Tonys last night? To be honest, I know almost nothing about theater, but I was excited that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella won Best Costume Design of a Musical. I was lucky enough to see the show a few weeks ago, and it was a wonderful experience. And it’s no surprise that the costume design was recognized—even the Broadway-obsessed friend I brought with me was impressed with Cinderella’s transformation from rags to beautiful ball gown right in front of the audience’s eyes. I’m still trying to figure out how those seemingly magical outfits worked, so I’m sure as a little girl, I would have been convinced that performer Laura Osnes was a real princess.
The story is a bit different from the classic Disney animated film that most of us are familiar with, but it’s a nice change of pace. And a cheeky sense of humor combined with the lively, gorgeous score keeps adults engaged throughout. The show is almost two and a half hours, so it may be a little long for very young kids (the official recommendation is 4 years and up). But otherwise, it is a fantastic family event. Find out more about the show here, and be sure to check out the original cast recording so you can relive the experience over again.
No matter how health-conscious you are or what diet you’re on, there are times when you just can’t pass on dessert.
When it comes to Sandra Lee’s pineapple-passion-fruit cupcakes, Guy Fieri’s caramel apple bread pudding, and Buddy Valastro’s Italian butter cookies, I can’t think of a single reason to say no.
On May 1, I perused the World’s Largest Bake Sale at Grand Central Station, sampling sweets, meeting local bakers, but most importantly, learning about child hunger in America.
Sponsored by the Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, the bake sale raised both money for the cause and awareness for the more than 16 million children affected by hunger in America.
I chatted with of New York City’s best bakers and browsed their selection of champagne cupcakes, pistachio-cherry scones, and peanut-butter-strawberry-jam doughnuts. All sweets were sold for $5, the proceeds from which were put toward the campaign.
Bake sale host Sandra Lee whipped up her favorite strawberry shortcake and banana split cupcakes for the event, and spoke to me about the urgency of the child hunger epidemic.
“Some working moms are going home with one check, paying rent, and wondering how they are going to feed their kids. Sometimes they have to choose between paying bills and food,” she said. “It shouldn’t be that way in America.”
Buddy Valastro, the “Cake Boss,” said that as a baker and a father, he just had to be part of the event. He also shared with me a personal story about his family history.
“My dad grew up in Sicily and I remember him telling stories of going to bed hungry, after sharing one plate with his family,” he said. “It really puts life in perspective. This is about more than raising money, it’s about saying, ‘Hey, America, this is happening!’”
Ty Pennington, former host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, expressed a personal connection to the cause and donated a colorful, handmade bake sale stand for the Share Our Strength Auction.
“I may not have a child of my own, per se, but it is staggering to hear that one in five kids goes hungry,” he said. “It really opens your eyes about not wasting as much and makes you think about what we can do to make sure they are fed.”
The Share Our Strength Auction for No Kid Hungry runs through May 31 and features items donated by food masters like Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. This is your chance to take a class in the Cake Boss’s kitchen, dig in to Bobby Flay’s signature Southwestern dishes, or learn to swirl icing like New York’s iconic Magnolia Bakery.