• Monthly Archive:: October 2012

    Lately I’ve been reading a lot about holiday gift-giving within big families, and each of these stories seems to have something in common: teenagers. They’re notoriously difficult to buy for, and unless you plan on shelling out big bucks for designer duds or the latest gadget at Best Buy, your purchase may be greeted with a forced smile and a¬† mere “thanks.” (Why do you think grab bags and Secret Santas are some popular these days?) I don’t mean to go all Grinch on you, but it’s frankly my least favorite group to shop for. Well, if you’re like me –a glutton for punishment who tries to seek out creative options– but you don’t want to buy yet another iTunes gift card, check out the [&hellip

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    Both of my girls have a flair for the dramatic. Whether they’ve inherited their parents’ passion for plays or have innocently been bitten by the theater bug, they adore putting on shows and having my husband and I as their hostages…er, captive audience. And because we are always on the lookout for toys and other fun stuff that can appeal to 4- and 8-year-olds, especially ones that are imagination-driven, we couldn’t resist Green Kid Crafts’ One World Puppets. Delivered right to your child’s door, this box is teeming with all the supplies needed to fashion paper doll puppets from repurposed materials. It comes with eight recycled cardstock dolls, an entire wardrobe of cardstock clothes (we love the vintage print romper!), wood craft sticks (in a [&hellip

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    Hide-and-seek is one game my 4-year-old never tires of. Come to think of it, her 8-year-old sister will often join in on the fun, no arm twisting required. Maybe it’s the thrill of the chase or the excitement about the unexpected…whatever the reason, it’s a guessing game that always ends in laughter. It’s this universally appealing¬† peek-a-boo concept on which a new lift-the-flap book is based, and one that’s bound to captivate curious preschoolers. Spot the Animals brings the outdoors inside with carefully concealed animals on each page, waiting to be uncovered. Even the youngest tot will be enticed by the slightly visible creature whose identity must be revealed by solving the preceding riddle. Pre-readers have a chance to reinforce what they may already know [&hellip

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    My 4-year-old’s favorite time of day is undoubtedly the afternoon. After a fun-filled morning at preschool, lunch and (hopefully) some outdoor play, she’s content to hunker down in her room for a while and settle in with her stuffed animals. I’m not rushing her off to be somewhere, so her mind is free to wander. It’s during these moments, the experts say, that kids get to “be kids” and when their imagination really takes shape. For those with an active fantasy life, but who also need to recharge their batteries with a little down time, comes CuddleUppets, a 2-in-1 plush toy that’s as fun on the go as it is for naps or bedtime. We’ve seen other soft travel toys, but none that is as [&hellip

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    My grandmother used to say, “Christmas is for kids,” but let’s face it: If it weren’t for all of Santa’s little helpers (yup, this means you), what kind of holiday would it be? You spend the entire month of December shopping, cooking, decorating and wrapping…and probably neglecting yourself in the process. But this year, it’s time to change all that and give yourself the gift of some TLC. Sure, you may not be able to swing an overnight visit to a spa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t replicate that experience at home. Our latest favorite indulgence? Goat Milk Stuff, an extensive line of lotions, soaps, bath bombs and other tub treats all made from raw goat milk. Before you go thinking that can’t possibly [&hellip

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    No, it’s not quite the “Monster Mash,” but with Halloween just around the corner, we’ve been giving a lot of thought to healthy eating for the kiddies (got to counteract that sweet tooth somehow…). While I know quite a few moms who started out making fresh baby food for their first child, they never quite followed through with their second (or third, etc.). And who can blame them? Trying to find time to keep up with laundry, and manage a shower every now and then, is enough of a chore without the pressure of preparing pureed veggies from scratch. Well, even those wonder women with the best of intentions can now shrug off that guilt like yesterday’s yoga pants. A new baby food maker has [&hellip

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    As a kid, I despised having my temperature taken. It was one duty that my mom specifically designated to my dad who seemed to wrestle with a thermometer at my expense. I could never quite get it to stay under my tongue, and having to endure that entire minute of waiting for the mercury to peak felt like an eternity. My, how things have changed since then. Today, we have the options of under-the-arm or the less invasive in-the-ear models. Yes, you still have to contend with a squirming child, but at least you can get an accurate reading…or can you? The thermometer I currently rely upon is sometimes questionable; I wind up hitting the memory button in a panic and don’t know if I’ve [&hellip

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    Cutting those first teeth has got to be one of the more painful experiences for a new baby–not to mention the mom who’s suffering alongside her. When I was a kid, my childhood doctor told my mom that an adult, much less a helpless infant, couldn’t bare the excruciating pain. Back in the good old days, a simple silver spoon fresh from the freezer worked in a pinch. Today, moms’ choices for babycare woes are much more plentiful. We’re especially taken with one of the new Dr. Brown’s teethers, just launched this week at ABC Kids Expo, one of the country’s largest baby products trade shows. You may recognize the Dr. Brown’s name from his award-winning line of bottles, and this is one doc who [&hellip

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    The block corner is one of my 4-year-old’s favorite part of her preschool classroom. There’s a variety of different styles from which to choose, from traditional, wooden cubes to colorful, cardboard blocks meant to resemble bricks. At home, she’s fortunate to have inherited her father’s childhood assortment of maple wood blocks, which she uses to build bridges, cities and other urban landscapes. Plus, there’s the foam blocks we have for the tub…let’s just there’s no shortage of construction opportunities in the course of her day. After playing with the translucent blocks at the library, we thought we’d seen it all…until The Land of Nod rolled out its brand-new block collection for the holidays. The aptly named It Makes a Village features an assortment of watercolor-hued [&hellip

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    As I write this, my 8-year-old is doing her math homework. A natural with numbers, she devours three-digit addition and polishes off regrouping like nobody’s business. Let’s just say she didn’t inherit the math gene from me…although both her uncle and grandfather (on my side) may account for some of her braininess (I just take credit for her way with words). Amazing, though, how all these years later, it’s still not cool as it could be for girls to love math. Even after the recent publication of Danica McKellar’s (a.k.a. “Winnie” from “The Wonder Years”) books touting math’s cool factor, I don’t see young girls running out to buy their own calculator. Maybe if we as parents found a way to recognize those kids who [&hellip

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