Posts Tagged ‘ Holidays ’

Rosie to the Rescue!: 10 Ways to Soothe the Common Cold

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Rosie PopeCheck 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.

How to Massage Your Baby
How to Massage Your Baby
How to Massage Your Baby

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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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Best Deals for the Week Across the Web

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

By Savings.com

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!

 

  1. Boden.  25% Off All Orders + Free Shipping (No code needed). Expires 12/13/2013.
  2. OshKosh B’gosh. 50% Off All Orders (No code needed). Expires 12/01/2013.
  3. Carter’s. Black Friday Sale: 50% Off Online & In-Store Orders (No code needed) Expires 12/01/2013.
  4. Kids Footlocker. 15% Off All Orders (Coupon code: LKS1NM46). Expires 11/30/2013.
  5. Kohl’sGet $15 Kohl’s Cash For Every $50 Spent (No code needed). Expires 12/01/2013.

 

 This post contains affiliate links

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Happy Thanksgiving: Celebrity Parents Share Gratitude

Monday, November 25th, 2013

This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop

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.

Holly Madison:

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.

Bethenny Frankel:

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.”

Nick Lachey:

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.”

Natalia Cigluti:

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.

Bruce Boxleitner:

Contagion star Bruce Boxleitner – dad to grown sons Sam and Lee – has a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

“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.”

Use our Baby Name Finder to find the perfect name for your little one, check out which celebrity is expecting in 2013, or find great Thanksgiving books  at Shop Parents.

Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat
Thanksgiving Kid Craft: Pilgrim Hat

More Celebrity Parenting News:

Nick Lachey: Camden Has Given Me Great Perspective And Patience

Bethenny Frankel: I Would Like To Have Lindsay Lohan On My Show

Gena Lee Nolin’s Blog: Having “The Talk” With Your Teens

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

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Thanksgiving Dinner Questions — Answered!

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.

Check out our helpful make-ahead plan for more ideas, or consider preparing this make-ahead sweet potato dish.

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.

How to Roll Out Pie Dough
How to Roll Out Pie Dough
How to Roll Out Pie Dough

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 Shutterstock

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Bake Up a Sweet Christmas

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:

How-to Make Snowman Pops
How-to Make Snowman Pops
How-to Make Snowman Pops

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Plan a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menu With Udi’s (Yes, It’s Possible!)

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Udi's gluten-free food - sweet potato hummus, sausage and fennel stuffing, roasted beet salad with garlic croutons, snickerdoodle cranberry cream cheese tartRounding 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:

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

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Best Deals for the Week Across the Web

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

By Savings.com Editor Susan Yoo-Lee

 As a result of the shorter holiday shopping season, retailers are hoping to cash-in on sales by offering great deals before Black Friday and Cyber Monday even roll around.

 Here are some of the best deals across the web to help you meet your holiday shopping needs this year:

  1. Need toys and games for your little love bugs? Save $20 off your toy and game purchase over $200 at Sears. Use coupon code STOYS20. Expires 12/31/2013.
  2. If you’re one of the many millions planning to travel this holiday season, Budget car rental has an incredible offer for you. Until the end of this year, you can save 40% off your car rentals at Budget by using coupon code U347956. Expires 12/31/2013.
  3. Who doesn’t love Legos?  Get a free holiday set with your LEGO purchase over $99. Plus, you get free shipping. No code needed. Expires 10/31/2013.
  4. It’s getting colder as we write. If you need to get new shoes for your entire family, save $20 off your purchase over $100 at Shoes.com on Amazon. Use coupon code FLOWER13. Limited time offer and can expire anytime.
  5. Your four-legged family members also deserve some nice holiday gifts! At PetSmart, you can save $3 off your purchase over $10. Use coupon code BDAY10CAT13. Expires 11/04/2013.

 

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Are They Making Their Lists? Are You Checking Them Twice?

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Holiday catalogs started arriving at our house last week. My kids are pouring over them, and their little minds are clicking with ideas of what they want for Christmas. I, like most parents, want to shout, “Can’t we get through Halloween first?!” But no, kids and toy companies have their eye on the prize, which seems to be a big pile of wrapped gifts at the end of the year. 

I “help” my kids edit their lists. If they’re trying to put, say, an iPad Air on there, I jump in and say that Santa doesn’t build those. And I try to make sure that the toys they’re picking out aren’t total junk. We have SO many toys already, we don’t need anything if it won’t really get played with!

Fortunately I get a sneak peek at all new toys by running the Parents Best Toys program. Each summer Parents, American Baby and Family Fun test some hundreds of toys. So if you want to match up what your child is circling in those catalogs with what we found to be great, take a look! Parents Best Toys includes 50 ideas divided up by babies, toddlers, preschool kids, school-age kids, and big kids. Family Fun’s Toys of the Year names a top-ten list of 2013 toys, plus twenty other faves. American Baby’s Best Baby Toys list hones in on fifteen great gifts for babies, especially those 12 months and younger. There’s some crossover in our three lists (great minds think alike!) but all in all, a huge range of ideas. You’re bound to find things your kids want, you can afford, and that tested well with one of our mags.

Are your kids already talking about holiday gifts? Let us know what they’re asking for! And just for fun, here’s a short video about our toy-testing. It’s a lot of work, so we hope you find our guides helpful!

 

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