Posts Tagged ‘ parents ’

Creator of Elf on the Shelf Inspires Christmas Spirit

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

You may have a watchful elf camping out somewhere in your home, but even if you don’t, you’re probably familiar with The Elf on the Shelf®. Parents across America have been busy welcoming this character into their homes—and into their children’s hearts.

Chanda Bell, a former reading and English teacher, created the The Elf on the Shelf® concept with her mother in their small hometown of Marietta, Georgia. The mom and daughter duo had no idea it would become a country-wide sensation, but it’s now their mission to make it a Christmas tradition that helps the holiday spirit thrive.

The magic began when Chanda was just a little girl. Her mother would tuck her in at night with a sweet story about a little elf who would watch over her and report back to Santa. After her mother kissed her goodnight, Chanda remembers confiding in the elf and sharing her Christmas wish-list. “He was like a magical family friend,” Bell says.

Now, the character has exceeded anything she’s ever imagined. One of her favorite ways to stir up The Elf on the Shelf® spirit is by reading the book to a group of children—or by marching in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade next to their inflatable elf (the tallest float in the bunch!). For Chanda, it’s a dream come true to listen to children on the sidelines chant, “Elf on the Shelf,” and hear the names they’ve given their elves at home.

Bell confesses that her main goal for The Elf on the Shelf® was initially just to create family moments. Toys and stuffed animals don’t hold the same meaning for everyone in the family, according to Bell, so she created something everyone could participate in. From mom and dad moving the elf around to the kids racing to find it first, it’s safe to say she’s accomplished that goal.

In addition to creating family moments, Bell hopes to liven up the Christmas spirit in kids across the country. That’s why she created the storybook, Elf Pets®: A Reindeer Tradition. Elf Pets encourages children to snuggle with their special reindeer friend at night in the hopes that stirring up enough Christmas spirit will help Santa’s sleigh lift off into the night. Bell says, “Elf Pets is unique because it teaches kids to actually look beyond themselves for the purpose of helping Santa on Christmas Eve!”

Whether or not there’s an elf on your shelf this Christmas, Chanda encourages all parents to remember the importance of tradition and holiday spirit—not just for their children, but for the entire family.


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10 Ways Parents Are Pretty Much Ninjas

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

These stealthy parenting moves look like something you’d find in a ninja handbook. Here’s how to tell if you’ve mastered the art:

1. You have all the right gadgets on hand. After all, you’ve stashed everything your child could ever want in your purse to avoid spontaneous midday meltdowns. 

mary poppins

Source: Mary Poppins via

2. You’ve perfected the silent creep, so you can keep a watchful eye on your enemies… er, kids, at all times.


Source: George Clooney via

3. You’re a master of deception and aren’t afraid to use these skills to gain a stolen moment of “me time.” 

[Sounds of shower running in the background, with kid banging on the bathroom door.] “I can’t hear you, honey! I’m washing my hair.”


Source: Woman eating in bathroom painting via

4. You possess superhuman speed, strength, and agility. But only when needed, of course. (Like that time your kid tried to take the family car out for a test drive.)

Source: Forrest Gump via

5. Between toting around your child’s car seat, diaper bag, lovie, sippy cup, snacks, and more on the daily, you make this juggler look like an amateur.


Source: Juggler via

6. You know how to deal with the unexpected—and change a diaper just about anywhere.

diaper change

Source: Diaper change via

7. You use the same care and finesse to pick up your sleeping baby that a ninja would use to unarm a ticking bomb.

disarm bomb

Source: Disarm bomb via

8. You’re a regular escape artist. When you’re out in public and your tot throws an epic tantrum, you immediately identify the fastest way to make a graceful exit.


Source: Penguins of Madagascar via

9. And sometimes your exit strategy is less graceful than others… Hey, it’s okay—even ninjas have off days. 

escape plan

Source: I’m Outta Here via

10. But you always get the job done. High five to that!

high five

Source: High five via

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Tags: , , | Categories: Your Life

The Hottest Hair Trend for Holiday 2014

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

We’re guessing Frozen has something to do with it: Braids continue to reign supreme! We love this trend for girls big and small because braids look fancier than ponytails, but work just as well to keep the hair off your face. And even if you don’t have a lot of length, you can still find a style that works. Take, for example, this short and sweet look shown on Stroller in the City mommy blogger Brianne Manz’s 3-year-old daughter, Siella. I met both of them when I hosted the Johnson’s No More Tangles Seasonal Celebrations Hair Workshop .

Need more inspiration? The beauty feature in the December 2014 issue of Parents is dedicated to fairy-tale-inspired hairstyles with a grown-up twist, including this one we’re calling The Spellbinding Side Braid. It’s a french braid on top and a fishtail on the bottom. Sounds complicated, but our associate photo editor (and resident hair model), Michele, will help you get a handle on it with this video. Cheers to gorgeous holiday hair!

Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid
Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid
Get Fairytale Hair: How to Do a French and Fishtail Braid

Young woman with beautiful hairstyle, isolated on white via

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Real Glam Moms: “Find what works for you, but don’t put yourself last on the to-do list!”

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Real Glam Moms is a brand new series from the Parents beauty department about mommy bloggers. Each week, we will feature what beauty means to real moms no matter what their beauty routine is like—and how they take time to themselves after having children. 

Kelsey B.

Pardon My French chronicles the adventures of Kelsey B. and her family of five in Alaska. She started blogging to help keep her family up to date with the life and times of Ace, 4, Pierce, 3,and Avalon, 16 months. Kelsey’s fashion picks are always spot on, so we knew her beauty picks would be too!

How has your beauty routine changed since you had children? 

I think after each child, my beauty routine was simplified. There is just not enough time to spend getting ready in the bathroom. I usually try to shower at night after the kids go to bed, that way my hair can air dry. Then the next day, it is ready for me to style or throw up in a top knot if I am pressed on time. My make up routine has definitely been streamlined to the essentials only.

What is the importance of taking time for yourself? 

For me, I know if I take the time to take care of myself, I feel better all around. A happy me equals a happy mommy!

How do you find time to focus on yourself, your blog and your family? 

It is all a juggling act, as I am sure most moms can relate. There are some days that things just work out, and I have time to shower or the kids take a nap and I can pound out a blog post. But there are many days that the circus comes to town in the house and I am making dinner in my pajamas that I have been in all day. There was no time for make up because I was picking Play-Doh out of the carpet. On those days, you just have to go with it. Bedtime will come eventually, and tomorrow is a new day.

The best beauty advice I have gotten was…  to take care of your skin. Moisturize! My mom drove home the importance of moisturizing and protecting my skin from a young age. Also drinking tons of water.

My beauty advice for moms is… Find what works for you, but don’t put yourself last on the to-do list! You will feel so much better if you start your day with a couple swipes of mascara and a dab of lipgloss!


Make Up For Ever HD Blush

  1. Egyptian Magic- This is my favorite skin cream. You can use it head to toe, but I use it primarily on my body.  It is oil-based, and you can just feel a difference in your skin right away.
  2. Laura Mercier Oil- Free Tinted Moisturizer- This give just enough coverage for a day of running errands and playing at the park. Because it has SPF in it, I feel ready for anything.
  3. Arcona Eye Serum- This is like a mommy secret weapon. You can feel it cooling under your eyes like it is sucking the under-eye bags away. I use it morning and night.
  4. Lucas Papaw Ointment- This is the best lip ointment I have found. It is great for the cold winters in Alaska. I have also used it to soothe bug bites and on very dry patches on mine or my kids’ skin.
  5. Make Up For Ever HD Blush- Cream blush is such an quick and easy way to add a little life to your face. This blush lasts a while, and it is so lightweight on your face.




New-Mom Makeovers: Choosing the Right Makeup for Your Skin Tone
New-Mom Makeovers: Choosing the Right Makeup for Your Skin Tone
New-Mom Makeovers: Choosing the Right Makeup for Your Skin Tone

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Behind-the-Scenes at Parents Magazine

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

Everyone has their own perception of what the magazine world is really like. To outsiders, it’s reminiscent of the glamorous and cutthroat scenes from The Devil Wears Prada, complete with Meryl Streep-like bosses on every floor. But to us—the editors, writers, and designers—it’s work. Well-dressed, perk-filled work. Granted, I’m just an intern (shock, horror, surprise!), so I only experience a fraction of the long days and hectic schedules of “real” employees. In return, however, I face multiple coffee runs, hours of tedious, backbreaking photocopying, and overall mental degradation.

…At least, that’s what I thought I would be doing when I came to New York for the summer. A magazine internship isn’t complete without at least one cringe-worthy story, right? Wrong. The atmosphere at Parents is nothing at all like Hollywood depicts. In fact, the staff here is so genial and kid-crazy that I half-expect to find a toddler sitting at my desk every morning, waiting to give me hugs. There is no coffee fetching or intern abusing, and I can proudly say that I have yet to pick up someone’s dry cleaning. My “work” has consisted of everything from covering press events with celebrities to wrangling the country’s cutest kids at the Parents cover contest photo shoot. I’ve crafted a car from a cardboard box and created fortune cookies in the break room. I’ve even experienced toy testing, which is a magical time where every amazing, never-before-seen toy is stuffed into one room so editors can decide which of them they like best. My job? Play with the toys beforehand (that’s me above, regressing to my 5-year-old self).

Of course, I don’t always feel like Tom Hanks in Big, and sometimes, I even have to do real work—like write this laborious blog post—but there’s always another fun reward on the horizon. While I could go on and on about my summer adventures, today is Bagel Wednesday in the office, and I really want to snag one while they’re hot.

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Parents Daily News Roundup

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Goody Blog Daily News Roundup

Later Pregnancy, Lower Risk of a Cancer
The older a woman is when she gives birth, the lower her risk for endometrial cancer, a new study reports. The researchers found that women who had their last babies after age 40 had a 44 percent reduced risk of endometrial cancer, compared with women who had their babies before age 25. (via NY Times)

Devices Don’t Work to Save Kids in Hot Cars
Special seats and other devices designed to help prevent parents from accidentally leaving babies and toddlers behind in cars don’t work, a team of experts said on Monday. They said parents shouldn’t rely on them to keep children safe. Their review of 18 commercial devices, including systems integrated into a car, shows none works well enough to rely on. (via NBC News)

Blood Donations Lowest in 15 Years, Red Cross Says
A perfect storm of events has driven blood donations to the lowest in 15 years, a shortfall so extreme that some patients may have to cancel elective surgery, medical officials say. The American Red Cross fell 50,000 units short of its needs in June and will likely fall short again in July, it said. (via NBC News)

Parents Can Increase Children’s Activity by Increasing Their Own
Parents concerned about their children’s slothful ways can do something about it, according to research at National Jewish Health. They can increase their own activity. When parents increase their daily activity, as measured by a pedometer, their children increase theirs as well. (via Science Daily)

New Ways to Fight-Off Youth Anxiety and Depression
Approximately 8 to 22 percent of children suffer from anxiety, often combined with other conditions such as depression. However, most existing therapies are not designed to treat coexisting psychological problems and are therefore not very successful in helping children with complex emotional issues. (via Science Daily)

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Fun Ways to Prevent Summer “Brain Freeze”

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Family playing cardsEditor’s Note: In the first post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month.  He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.

Children’s brains go to sleep as soon as school ends for summer vacation, and they can hibernate until after school starts again in the fall. While kids need rest and rejuvenation, structured and unstructured play, physically active and tranquil days, and homework-free evenings, the summer “brain freeze” (a.k.a. “summer meltdown” or “summer slide”) can last too long. When resting brains slip into vegetative states defined by TV, video games, Facebook, text messaging marathons, and MP3 hypnosis, it’s time for an intervention.

Fortunately, there is a cure: enrollment at Family Summer University (FSU)! At FSU, there is no tuition and no homework, but there are tests (more like friendly and funny family competitions) every night.

As Dean of FSU, it’s your job to set aside a little time each day to write the quiz questions. Tailor them to the ages and learning levels of your kids, but don’t be limited to school subjects.  Instead, include a wide range of topics: celebrities, cartoon characters, favorite storybooks, sports teams, movies and TV shows, or any other topics that each family member will enjoy.  Fun trivia about Justin Bieber and Jeremy Lin can help camouflage the educational lessons about hypotenuses, homonyms, and Hamlet.  Mix and match questions every night from different subject areas or dedicate different nights of the week to certain subjects.

Look to brain teaser games, flash card sets, home versions of TV quiz shows, the library, the internet, and yes, your kids’ school books, to write your questions. But don’t overdo it — set a maximum of 20 questions per child per day, 10 questions if you have more than three kids! Remember, if you’re asking your 6 year old a tough question for his age, you should also be asking your 12 year old a tough one for her age.

Once your questions are written, gather the kids on the designated FSU campus (it can be the porch, patio, or another comfortable venue that’s preferably outdoors) and let the games begin! A great time for FSU to gather is after dinner because everyone is already together. Play every night or play a few days a week. Add bonus questions, musical prompts, and picture clues to make the game more interesting. Watch as scarce minutes with your kids turn into special moments.

After the answers are given, discuss them with your kids.  Gently explain the questions they missed and have them explain ones they got right. Tally the correct number of answers for each contestant each dayk. At the end of each week, give a prize to the child with the highest score, and then start scoring from scratch the next week.  This way, no one falls so far behind that they have no chance of catching up.  Good “prizes” can be letting the winner choose the DVD on family movie night or the theme for a special dinner night.  At the end of the summer, have an FSU “graduation” ceremony with cardboard caps, bed sheet gowns, and colorful paper diplomas. Then, make sure to go for ice cream!

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.  He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).

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Celebrate Parents’ Day This Sunday

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

Family in a hot air balloonDid you know the fourth Sunday of July was dedicated as Parents’ Day back in 1994? (Former President Bill Clinton signed a resolution with approval from Congress.)  If you didn’t, take time to celebrate yourself and your spouse/partner as a parent this weekend.  Similar to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Parents’ Day aims to “recognize, uplift, and support the role of parents in the rearing of children.”

The National Parents’ Day Coalition also encourages candidate nominations for the annual “Parents of the Year” award.  You can fill out an online nomination form here.

Here at Parents magazine, our mission is to foster “healthy kids, happy families,” and we hope you will take time every day to spotlight the fantastic parental figures that you know (go ahead and include yourselves as well!).

To inspire you, here are some fun family activities for unforgettable celebrations!

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