Monday, December 16th, 2013
Posts Tagged ‘ Holidays ’
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.Add a Comment
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.
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Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
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Monday, November 25th, 2013
To celebrate the festive season, we asked some of our favorite celebrity parents what they are grateful for.
From Holly Madison’s first Thanksgiving with daughter Rainbow and her new husband, to Bethenny Frankel‘s gratitude to her daughter Bryn, to Nick Lachey‘s happy family life, let’s hear how some high-profile parents are counting their blessings this Thanksgiving.
New mom Holly Madison has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season.
In September, the former Playboy model married Pasquale Rotella in an over-the-top wedding at Disneyland. And the newlyweds are set to celebrate their 8-month-old daughter Rainbow‘s first Thanksgiving.
“I am thankful for my wonderful husband and baby as well as our close friends and family,” Holly tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
The Real Housewives of New York City alum Bethenny Frankel may be going through a high-profile divorce and custody battle with Jason Hoppy, but the talk show host has a lot to be grateful for this holiday season — thanks to her 3-year-old daughter Bryn.
“This year, I am thankful for my relationship with my daughter and the fact that we are so close,” Bethenny tells Celebrity Baby Scoop. “I am thankful that I truly know what love feels like.”
Multi-platinum recording artist and TV personality Nick Lachey is counting his blessings this holiday season.
“I am mostly thankful for my immediate and extended family,” Nick tells Celebrity Baby Scoop of his happy family life with Vanessa Lachey and their 1-year-old son Camden.
“We are all happy and healthy, which I thank God for,” he adds. “I am also thankful for having my little boy now. This time last year, he was still pretty new at just two-months-old. A year later, it’s amazing to see what kind of boy he is turning into and what he is learning. He’s a lot of fun right now. It’s a great age—we can wrestle and I can teach him stuff. I am thankful for my family, for my wife, for my son, and all the love and joy they bring to my world.”
Nancy O’ Dell:
Entertainment Tonight correspondent Nancy O’Dell says she has “so much” to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.
“Gosh, I am thankful for so much,” Nancy, proud mom of 6-year-old daughter Ashby and stepsons Tyler and Cason, tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
“But I would say I am most appreciative of the little moments these days,” she adds. “I have really learned to enjoy the simple things these past couple of years. I have my husband to thank for that. He is always telling me to live in the moment. For example, last night after I came home for work, my daughter and I carved and decorated pumpkins together. We had been talking all week about it and planned that last night was the night. I can’t tell you how much I was looking forward to that simple moment with her. It is so much fun to see her eyes light up with excitement about something. She actually squealed out of happiness when I walked in the door last night knowing it was time to carve! And we had the best time, giggling, roasting the seeds, and decorating our front door.”
She continues: “We have also been doing family game night these days. My two boys, my daughter, my husband and I gather around a table and play all kinds of board games and card games. It is such a fun family bonding thing to do and we have great conversations in between turns.”
All My Children star Natalia Cigluti and husband, former NASCAR driver Rob Rizzo, are set to have a happy Thanksgiving with their 8-year-old son Kaden.
“I’m very thankful for my family, for my son, for the life I have, and for the people I love who love me,” the Saved by the Bell: The New Class alum tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
“I am thankful that I am still working,” the Tron actor, who is also dad to son Michael, 23, with ex-wife Melissa Gilbert, jokes with Celebrity Baby Scoop.
“I have been at this for many years, almost forty years, and I am very grateful that I have a good career going,” he adds. “I love what I do and the people I get to work with. It’s a blessing.”
More Celebrity Parenting News:
CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.Add a Comment
Tags: Bethenny Frankel, Bruce Boxleitner, celebrities, celebrity baby scoop, celebrity kids, celebrity parents, GoodyBlog, Holidays, Holly Madison, Nancy O' Dell, Natalia Cigluti, Nick Lachey, thanksgiving, Vanessa Lachey | Categories: celebrities, GoodyBlog
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Nervous about preparing Thanksgiving dinner? You’re not alone. No matter what your level of culinary experience, cooking the Thanksgiving feast can cause more anxiety than a turkey feels as November rolls around. I’ve been to culinary school and am now food editor here at Parents, and even I’m not immune. (Starting two years ago, I finally put my gravy anxiety to rest by making it ahead of time.)
Recently we asked our Facebook fans about their biggest Thanksgiving dinner challenges, and I chose a few of the questions to answer, here. My goal is to help make the cooking part of your day go more smoothly so you can get down to the important part of enjoying the feast with your friends and family.
Ashley Jude is hosting her first Thanksgiving and asked for our best piece of advice.
My best piece of advice is one I follow myself every year: do as much in advance as possible. Turkey stock for the gravy and my piecrust are already in the freezer. This weekend I will make my cranberry sauce. Tuesday I will cut up my vegetables for the stuffing and trim the Brussels sprouts. Wednesday I’ll whisk up the gravy and put together a mashed potato casserole that can go straight in the oven on Thursday. The more you do ahead the less stress you’ll feel on the big day, guaranteed.
Almost equally important is to have a cooking plan for the day and write it down. I start from when I want dinner on the table (4:30 PM), then work backwards to carving the turkey (4:15 PM), taking the turkey out of the oven (3:15 PM), and putting the turkey in the oven (12:15 PM). It’s amazing how having a schedule on paper can keep you cool and composed.
Heather Beckman wants an easy pie crust.
Ah, Heather, don’t we all. Okay, here is my official “food editor” answer: piecrust isn’t difficult once you practice a little. Just keep your ingredients cold and don’t work the dough too much. Watch our video here to see just how easy it is to roll one out.
And here is my “unofficial” answer: you know what kind of piecrust I love? Graham cracker. Yum. How delicious with pumpkin or pudding or cheesecake or virtually any other smooth, creamy filling. You can press a graham cracker crust into the pan in seconds or, gasp!, buy one that still tastes great.
Several people asked how to serve a gluten-free Thanksgiving.
Happily, aside from the stuffing, gravy, and pie most traditional Thanksgiving dishes are gluten-free (remember gluten is a protein found in wheat). So pile your plate high with mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, squash, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, salad, and, of course, turkey. To replace a traditional bread stuffing try a wild rice dressing. Instead of, or in addition to, pumpkin pie add baked apples to the menu, pumpkin pudding, or poached pears. No one will miss the gluten.
We had a lot of questions about dealing with picky eaters on Thanksgiving.
Here’s the good news. I think Thanksgiving is the last day you should wage a battle with picky eaters. (And, in fact, try to avoid making it a battle any day of the year with these strategies.) On Thanksgiving, just make sure there are one or two things on the table your kids will eat. That shouldn’t be too hard since, let’s face it, there’s an awful lot of food on the table. Maybe little ones will eat the rolls with butter, the mashed potatoes, a fruit salad, or plain turkey. Some kids might love the cranberry sauce or the sweet potatoes.
Another beauty of the Thanksgiving table is that you can always add a dish, so if you don’t think they’ll eat anything you serve, add macaroni and cheese (traditional in some parts of the country) or apple slices. Once the food is on the table, let your kids eat what they want and have dessert later, no strings attached. This is a meal for everyone to enjoy. You and your children. Save the one-bite rule and other maneuvers for outsmarting picky eating for another day. That’s something both you and your kids will be thankful for.
Any other Thanksgiving dinner questions, let us know!
Image: Turkey dinner via ShutterstockAdd a Comment
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Like many moms, my to-do list this time of year is a mile long. But Sharon Bowers’ inspiring book Sweet Christmas is an excellent reminder to slow down and get back to the heart of the holiday season – spending time with our families. From crafting colorful garlands to baking creative cookies, her projects are doable, delicious, and perfect for sharing with enthusiastic kids. Sharon recently chatted about her go-to party recipes, her least favorite part of the holidays, and her best advice for busy moms.
Q: What inspired Sweet Christmas?
A: My first two books, Ghoulish Goodies and Candy Construction, had sort of made it evident that sweet stuff is my thing! But working on those books had also helped me understand more clearly that what’s fun around the holidays, any holiday, is not shopping trips with tired, crabby kids. What’s fun is staying home with your kids and enjoying projects together, celebrating as a family.
Q: I bet Christmas at your house is great! Tell me about how your family spends the holiday.
A: We do a lot of baking and a lot of eating! It’s not all about sweet stuff, however. We make an Advent Calendar by hanging paper envelopes or little socks on a string and we put tiny toys or knickknacks in to surprise each other, or we make little wreaths to hang off the doorknobs by sticking gumdrops into a foam core.
Q: How much latitude do you give your kids in the kitchen?
A: I’m really into letting my children be hands-on about projects. When you’re making something like Stained Glass Cookies, for example, with crushed candy melted into the opening of sugar cookies, it’s so easy to let your inner grownup take over, to make all the cookies look pretty. But what’s fun for my kids, and ultimately for my husband and me, is to let our boys do it themselves, and we end up laughing together in the kitchen and spending time with one another.
Q: What is your favorite part about Christmas?
A: The excellent excuse to eat whatever we want for a few days! I spend the entire rest of the year keeping a running tab on precisely what amount of fruits and vegetables went into each child each day, and did they get enough iron and calcium and Vitamin C. And I just shut that part of my mind down over the holidays. For that week or so between Christmas and New Year’s, when we’re with family and friends or going to parties or entertaining at home, I just throw it all to the wind and enjoy whatever is in front of us.
Q: What is your least favorite part about Christmas?
A: No matter how much fun everyone had at a big holiday meal, the dishes still have to be done.
Q: What are two or three especially good recipes/projects to make with kids from the book?
A: Believe it or not, good old-fashioned popcorn garlands absolutely enthrall kids. It might seem like the oldest holiday trick in the book, but your children may never have seen it before. 3-D cookies are another one of my favorites. Use any cookie cutter you like, but ideally more solid ones, such as Christmas trees or stockings. Then, when the baked cookies are still warm, cut a narrow rectangular groove up from the bottom of one and down from the top of the other, then fit them together through these slots to make a cookie that can stand upright (p. 78), which you can then decorate on all sides. It’s so easy but kids think it’s magic!
Q: You seem very crafty. What are some recipe options for more craft-challenged moms like me?
A: What’s kind of funny is that I’m actually really lazy about crafting. My motto is, “If I can do it, really, ANYONE can.” I think that’s why so many of my projects start in the kitchen, because I don’t have to go to a craft store and buy a lot of stuff before I begin. I’ve already got butter, sugar and chocolate in the kitchen most of the time, so I try to find things to make with what’s at hand like Chocolate Santa Mice (p. 77). These are made with a sort of sticky chocolate dough made from ground-up cookies that kids can form into shapes–we make mice–and roll in powdered sugar. All you need to be able to do is work a food processor, and your kids will do the rest.
Q: What are your go-to holiday party recipes?
A: My Caramelized Onion Dip (p. 99) is ridiculously easy considering how many compliments it gets. You cook onions until they’re deeply golden and stir them with sour cream and mayo and a little Worcestershire, serve with chips or veggies, and people will think you just invented the wheel. My mother’s side of the family is Swedish so I also am always in charge of making mini Swedish Meatballs (p. 104) which take very little effort but get people all excited–there’s never one left over.
Q: Any tips for moms who want to make special treats for their families but find themselves pressed for time?
A: Ohmigosh, yes: give yourself a break! We all work fulltime, whether inside or outside the home, and we’re all tired and kids’ schedules are demanding. So if you make “bake something with children” just another thing to check off your list, it feels like a burden. But a tray of Blondies (p. 89) takes about 6 minutes to mix, even if you let the kids stir, and 35 minutes to bake, and you’ve got something gorgeous you made yourself. So just pick one thing and do it and enjoy it.
Q: What do you hope families will get out of your book?
A: To slow down a little more at Christmas. To take the time to stay home and do a little baking with their children. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the shopping and gift-buying. But simple homemade gifts, even really easy things such as a jar of Salted Caramel Sauce (p. 167), are much more welcome to the recipients, and they express so much more love that everyone feels happier.
Interview has been edited and condensed.
Make delicious snowman pops for your next holiday party:Add a Comment
Thursday, November 7th, 2013
Rounding up the family together for Thanksgiving (and having them get along) is already hard enough without the added worry of creating dishes to satisfy certain diets and picky eaters. And if you have family members who have certain food allergies and sensitivities (especially to gluten), you might feel even more overwhelmed.
But don’t throw in the towel yet.
Hosting a gluten-free Thanksgiving feast is possible — and Udi’s Gluten Free has simple and delicious recipes that can even convert gluten lovers (like me). Recently, another editor and I were invited to a special Udi’s Thanksgiving luncheon, along with other Meredith editors, to sample gluten-free takes on classic holiday dishes. As a foodie and someone who believed going gluten-free meant eating pale imitations of “real” foods, I was surprised by the versatile spread and even more surprised by the delicious flavors.
On the menu was a whole course that incorporated gluten-free bread, chips, and cookies:
- Sweet potato hummus (served with multigrain chips)
- Turkey roulade with corn bread stuffing (a similar corn bread stuffing from Glutino, a sister brand, is available)
- Roasted beet salad with garlic butter croutons
- Fennel and chicken sausage stuffing
- Snickerdoodle cranberry cream cheese tarts
I could definitely see the sweet potato hummus and roasted beet salad on my own Thanksgiving table, which usually has some gluten-free (and dairy-free) dishes made especially for my little nephew, who has a few food allergies. Even if no one in your family has gluten allergies, there are still some benefits to going gluten-free, like taming tummy troubles and maintaining a healthy weight. And some studies have shown a gluten-free diet could possibly help kids with autism, though research results are inconclusive.
Best of all: these gluten-free dishes could easily substitute Thanksgiving mainstays (without sacrificing tastiness) and be worth repeating for Christmas, perhaps served with an additional dessert like ice cream sandwiches made with Udi’s maple pecan chocolate chip cookies. So now that you have some new recipes, I hope this year’s dinner planning will be just a little easier!
More Gluten-Free Foods on Parents.com
- Gluten-Free Risotto, Chili, and Whoopie Pies
- Best Brands for Kids With Food Sensitivities
- The Best Snacks for Kids With Food Allergies
Tags: Food, food allergies, food allergy, gluten allergy, gluten-free, holiday dinner, holiday foods, holiday recipes, Holidays, meal, meal planning, menu, recipe, recipes, thanksgiving, thanksgiving dinner, udi's | Categories: Food, GoodyBlog, Holidays