Posts Tagged ‘
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
Whether 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!
Get in the Halloween spirit by downloading these free Halloween printables!
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Thursday, December 26th, 2013
Didn’t get what you wanted this year for Christmas? You’re probably not alone. We recently asked our Facebook followers to share the worst present they’ve ever received, and nearly 600 people commented! Here are some of our favorite responses.
Downright Hilarious Gifts:
“One year I told my parents all I ever get is crap for Christmas so the next year they bought me a rubber turd and wrapped it in a really nice jewelry box.” -Sydnie
“White fake fur coat with a western/horse theme shaved into it.” -Lacey
“My husband once got a dickie, which is a mock turtleneck with no shirt, from his aunt.” -Anna
“Seven of the same turtleneck sweater in different colors – one for every day of the week.” -Rayshelle
“A toilet from Home Depot … seriously!” -Lisa
“Vibrating slippers …” -Lezia
“A velour jogging suit from my MIL … I neither jog nor wear velour!” -Susan
“A ceramic cow dressed in a bathrobe and slippers with hair curlers. There was no way to mask the horror when I unrapped that as a 13 year old.” -Laurie
“My husband gave me an adorable leather skirt and vest but I was 50 years old. Not something I would wear.” -Debbie
“Long patent leather trench coat … Matrix style.” -Lisa
Saddest Presents of the Bunch:
“One slipper sock from my mother-in-law. No, not a pair of slipper socks, a single sock!” -Soni
“A regifted jacket with rusty screws in the pocket.” -Jamie
“An old purse that I thought was new until I opened the inside pocket and saw that they forgot to pull their tampons and chapstick out.” -Jessica
“A 100 dollar gift card that was never activated.” -Jill
“Airplane nuts.” -Nicole
“A pair of boots. They were both for left feet.” -Carrie
“An umbrella that was a free gift when a larger gift was purchased.” -Brittany
“Toilet paper from a friend.” -Andrea
“Benefiber. Yes, that’s what my husband got me!” -Danielle
“A last-minute gift of a bag of Doritos from my husband.” -Aleasha
For more laughs, check out our Baby Bloopers blog, and be sure to sign up for our 100 Days newsletter for everything you’ll need during the winter holiday season.
TELL US: What is the worst Christmas gift you’ve ever received?
Image via Shutterstock.
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Friday, December 20th, 2013
To me, French is the most beautiful language. It floats like a cloud and feels romantic. It’s the language of love. In high school, I worked my butt off to become proficient, taking honors-level classes, joining French club, and even becoming a teacher’s aid. I had dreams of keeping it in my daily life and raising bilingual children. Unfortunately, like a flower, language is delicate and must be tended everyday in order to flourish. When I got to college, my schedule doubled and I didn’t hold a single conversation en français.
Enter the French Institute Alliance Français (FIAF), a non-profit organization in New York City that promotes cross-cultural dialogue for children and adults alike. One of the largest and most respected centers of French-American activities in the U.S., FIAF offers art and education workshops for families.
Last Saturday, I tagged along to FIAF’s holiday bûche de Noël cooking class, where kiddos spoke elementary-level French to their moms and dads—c’est manifique!—while slathering layers of sponge cake with rich chocolate icing (and tons of red and green candies). Taught by Sylvie Berger, a chef raised in Paris, the class fully immersed children in the French language and was sprinkled with bits of English.
The bûche de Noël (“Christmas log,” or “Yule Log”) is a rolled sponge cake filled with buttercream and traditionally decorated with meringue mushrooms, marzipan holly, and wood-grain scored frosting. Its origins can be traced back to ancient Celtic celebrations of the winter solstice, but French pastry chefs popularized the confection in the 19th century and each bakery became known for its unique and elaborate embellishments. Today, few French people celebrate Christmas without one of these cakes.
Though messy, making the baby bûche was a blast! Take a look at my mini how-to video (click the play button), then make your own Christmas cake using one of the recipes below.
BAKE A BÛCHE!
Want more? Check out these recipes for easy holiday treats!
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baking, buche de noel, Christmas, cooking with kids, dessert, DIY, easy dessert, FIAF, french, getting your kids to do stuff, Holidays, recipe, Rheanna O'Neil Bellomo, yule log | Categories:
Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Thursday, December 19th, 2013
With the holiday season in full swing, Parents caught up with Mario Lopez to ask about his family’s traditions. The X Factor host and proud papa of Gia, 3, and baby Dominic, 3 months, emphasized that while he loves the food and fun, nothing is more important to him than family.
How do you go about blending Mexican and American traditions?
ML: Being Mexican, I just don’t know any other way. It’s what I grew up with. My wife is 100 percent Italian; Mexican and Italian happen to be my two favorite cultures, two favorite types of food. With holiday traditions, food is very important. We prepare and serve our food together. Lately, we’ve been loving fresh avocados from Mexico, which is just a staple in a lot of the holiday dishes because they’re so versatile. I give them to my kids. I think it’s an underrated fruit, a healthy fat.
Aside from tasty treats, are there any holiday activities that have become a seasonal staple?
ML: Well, lately our tradition has been to have a very beach-y Christmas. We’ve done that the past couple years with my sister and her kids. My family and I will go down to Mexico right around Puerto Vallarta for Christmas on the beach.
Your son Dominic is only 3 months old. How will it be to travel with him?
ML: We’ve already traveled, believe it or not. He’s already gone to Chicago and he’s got a passport. He’s ready to g0 and the passport photo is the funniest thing. My daughter traveled at around 2-and-a-half months. We took her to Mexico last year, too. She’s 3 years old and her passport is all stamped up.
What present are you most excited to give Gia this holiday, just to see her reaction?
ML: The last thing she needs is another present. When we go to the beach I want her to boogie board with me. I think she’s big enough that we can take on the waves, so that will be fun.
What is the most special thing about a first Christmas as a bigger family?
ML: I’m all about just having the family around. As long as the family is all together, that’s the only tradition I really care about. We make it all about the kids. We go to mass at midnight and sometimes the kids are a little too tired and my wife will stay with them and I’ll still go with my mom and grandmother.
Is Gia excited about Santa?
ML: She is excited about Santa Claus. We also do the Elf on the Shelf. Right now, she’s just all about The Sound of Music. She’s been singing the songs. I can’t believe she knows all the songs and she’s only 3. She’s been singing left and right. It’s like Sound of Music overload. She’s got my energy, that’s for sure.
Working with young singers on the X Factor, does that affect how you think about your kids and their talents in the future?
ML: I’m just going to be supportive and try to guide them whatever way that they’re passionate. Just try to raise good, respectful, polite children and let their mother worry about what they want to get into.
Raising a baby boy can be different from a little girl. What is the biggest or most surprising difference so far?
ML: He’s only 3 months, so he’s just been sleeping or eating. He’s maybe been awake 10 percent of his life. He’s a good little baby. Fortunately he sleeps a lot. He even eats while he’s sleeping. My little girl, it’s hard for me to maybe be as firm as I should be disciplining her because she just melts my heart, but I don’t think I’ll have that problem with a boy.
For ideas and recipes to make your own holiday fun, visit our 100 Days of Holidays page.
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Monday, December 16th, 2013
When I said, in a Parents.com post on holiday traditions
, that my favorite is taking a one-on-one holiday date with each of my kids, some people complained that my kids need more than one
day a year of my attention. But of course, those two get my attention all day, every day. Here’s what makes a holiday time-out so special:
* They get me all to themselves with no sibling, no daddy, and no friends around. You’d think this would happen more often than it does, but I, like most mommies, have to work to be completely alone with any member of my family (the exception being my firstborn’s babyhood…we had plenty of alone time together!) Being with one kid usually means doing homework, walking to a playdate, shopping, or any number of mundane things, as opposed to just enjoying each other.
* I don’t cheat and do anything I “have” to do.
That includes running by a bank or post office, etc., because then it wouldn’t feel like a date, right?
* They get to skip school! At least as long as they are in preschool or elementary school. I try to keep our holiday date off of Saturday or Sunday, when we’re already off-duty. I take a vacation day from work, I excuse them from school, and we both take a break from responsibilities. On a weekday! It feels a little scandalous.
* I follow each kid’s lead.
Joe is a nut about penguins, so this year’s date was to the Central Park Zoo
where we spent maybe 45 minutes in the penguin room. After, I started to make an argument for seeing other animals (to make that entrance fee worth it!), but Joe wanted to eat a hot dog and then go look at Christmas decorations. So that’s what we did.
* Each kid gets something special, and I don’t fret about making things even.
Grace is now in middle school so, for the first time, I chickened out about taking her out all day. Her special mama date was a sleepover at the Conrad Hotel in lower Manhattan
. (It’s not as pricey as it looks, at least by Manhattan-hotel standards, and it’s kid-friendly.) In the morning Grace ordered room-service breakfast, which to her represents the pinnacle of luxury. The fact that I didn’t have to fix breakfast, make the bed, or launder the towels was my own pinnacle of luxury. Joe didn’t get a hotel stay, and Grace didn’t get to miss an entire day of school, but they accept that they can have things that are different and equally special.
* Obviously, we do holiday things.
When the kids were preschoolers I took them to St Patrick’s Cathedral
a few years in a row, where they have a beautiful nativity scene with a crib that stays empty until Christmas. It felt more meaningful to discuss what Christmas is, mama-to-child, outside of church service (and outside of some lecture about asking for too many gifts, lol). Now that they get it, we more often view the Rockefeller Center Tree, or join activities like the cookie-decorating that the Conrad Hotel puts on. (Happening this Saturday, December 21st, from 3pm to 5pm, if you happen to be in NYC!)
Maybe I am just getting old, but it feels like the world is spinning so fast these days that taking a time-out with these little people is the best tradition I’ve ever come up with. I hope you all get a real rest and respite with loved ones in the next few weeks, before we’re on to new-year resolutions and a busy 2014. Happy Holidays!
We’ve put together a helpful email full of our best holiday projects, recipes, and more! To get your copy click here.
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Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
With the food riches of Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas is looming just around the corner (about three weeks to be exact). Though many get caught up trying to find the perfect gifts for family and friends, it’s easy to forget that presents don’t always need to come in shiny packages.
Today’s #GivingTuesday, a national movement that started just last year. The goal: create a national day of giving where people can pay it forward. Whether that means donating to a favorite charity or volunteering at your local shelter, being charitable is all about finding the causes that matter to you.
One toy company is taking that mentality and spreading the joy throughout December. Tegu, known for its award-winning magnetic blocks, recently introduced a new member to the family: the Tegu Elf. And he’s on a mission to give back this holiday season.
From now until December 20, he will be tracking the hashtag #TeguElf across social media–Tegu’s Facebook wall, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Once he finds a person in need, he’ll send a special present your way, anything from free Tegu products to a restaurant gift card.
To get the elf’s attention, just send out a message with the hashtag and the thing you’d like most this Christmas. Don’t forget to look outside your immediate family, too. The elf is on the lookout for charities to donate to as well.
In the weeks to come, be sure to track his movements and announcements on Tegu’s Facebook page. Each day, he offers something new (such as free cubes placed in every fifth order on the site). In the meantime, if you have your own plans to give back today, share a picture explaining your good deeds using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #UNselfie.
The time it takes you to do something for others will feel so much better than battling a sea of frenzied shoppers.
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Doing Good, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Your Life
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Check out blog posts by multitalented mompreneur Rosie Pope every month at Parents.com!
The holiday season is upon us. And while the cheer is beginning to bubble over, so are the number of pesky colds our wee ones are coming home with.
Let’s face it; sickness can be a massive buzz-kill when we’d rather be jingling and jangling some reindeer bells, getting goodies for our loved ones, and generally being ridiculously festive all month long. But when it comes to the common cold, a wait-it-out approach is often recommended by pediatricians provided there is no fever or other tell-tale warning signs. This can be frustrating parents, since we want to do everything we can to help our child feel comfortable, pampered, and ready to get back into the holiday spirit as quickly as possible.
If your little one is feeling under the weather, try my go-to home remedies to help soothe a sniffly nose, scratchy throat, and the general aches and pains that come along with a cold:
- It can be stressful for your child to feel sick and not know when he’ll be better, so be sure to reassure him child that his cold will pass. Then, dole out as many hugs as you can in the meantime.
- Be diligent about hand washing to prevent a household outbreak. Explain to siblings how germs can spread and advise them to keep their space and be a little cautious for the next few days. Just don’t go overboard—there’s no need to create the next generation’s germaphobe!
- If your child is over the age of one, honey is a marvelous thing. Take a teaspoon of honey, and mix into some warm milk to soothe a sore throat quickly. Skip the dairy if your child is particularly congested, and try to get him to eat just the spoonful of plain honey.
- Since Vitamin C is so important for a strong immune system, find as many ways as possible to pack it into your kid’s diet during an illness. At my house, we make hydrating homemade lemonade using as many lemons as possible and some sugar, honey, or other fruits, like strawberries, for sweetness.
- Use fresh ginger, which is known to help ease nausea, in cooking or baking recipes this holiday season. You can also find ginger chews, lollipops, or other ginger-infused candies to give your child.
- Peppermint tea and peppermint extract are wonderful ways to calm headaches and digestive issues naturally. Mix peppermint tea with fruit juice to make it more palatable for kids. Or, for a sweeter approach, bake peppermint extract (one or two drops goes a long way!) into your little one’s favorite treat.
- Oftentimes, your child’s appetite can wane during illness. If your child is having difficulty eating, try starting with apple sauce. It’s a healthy choice, packed with Vitamin C, and easy to swallow—even with a sore throat.
- Rub a small amount of vapor rub onto the soles of your wee one’s feet, and cover them with socks. The strong smell will help relive a stuffy nose, but the protective sock will cover the salve so your child won’t get his hands messy—or worse, put it in his mouth.
- Transform your bathroom into a mini steam room. Sit on the bathroom floor together and read books or write messages on the foggy mirrors while the hot water helps clear your little one’s sinuses. Don’t forget to hydrate afterwards!
- To ease aches and pains, add Epsom salt to your child’s bath water and let him soak away the tension. Follow the bath with a good massage; the healing powers of touch are amazing. Watch the how-to video below.
Want more Rosie? Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Boden. OshKosh. Carter’s. Oh my! Pick up some of the hottest names in kids’ fashion this week – at up to half the price off!
- Boden. 25% Off All Orders + Free Shipping (No code needed). Expires 12/13/2013.
- OshKosh B’gosh. 50% Off All Orders (No code needed). Expires 12/01/2013.
- Carter’s. Black Friday Sale: 50% Off Online & In-Store Orders (No code needed) Expires 12/01/2013.
- Kids Footlocker. 15% Off All Orders (Coupon code: LKS1NM46). Expires 11/30/2013.
- Kohl’s. Get $15 Kohl’s Cash For Every $50 Spent (No code needed). Expires 12/01/2013.
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