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Rosie to the Rescue!: When Mommy Has to Go to Work

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Rosie Pope headshotThe past four months have gone by in a flash. I can hardly believe it was just 16 weeks ago that I gave birth to my sweet baby Bridget, number four in our brood. Like so many other mothers in America, I was not able to take the maternity leave that I would have liked. After all, I run my own business, so stopping work for months at a time really wasn’t an option.

Juggling my dual life as business owner and a mother of four is not something that I’ve mastered with total elegance. While it may at times look like that from the outside — thanks to a great blow out and some snazzy wedges — the inside is a hurricane of emotion!

With hormones flying high and fantasies of being a stay-at-home mother swirling in my head, having to leave my children for work is very emotional for me. It is almost impossible to walk out the door without tearing up as the kids throw themselves around my ankles trying to keep me from leaving. On one hand, I am deeply touched that they want and need me so much, but I’m also deeply saddened that I have to leave and that I can’t just drop my bags and say, “Mommy is staying home today.”

Over the whirlwind of the last four months, I have become acutely aware about how I talk about the concept of “work” with my kids. It is so easy in these moments to be negative about having to work, to make it this big bad beast that is keeping Mommy from playtime, swim camp, and school trips. However, I’ve realized, as much as I would like to blame all of this on work, I can’t. And more than that, it’s just not healthy. It is incredibly important that I paint a positive picture of work for my children. It is imperative that they understand why I go and that it can be very fulfilling. I want the concept of work to be something they can look forward to as they grow older, so they are proud that I’m providing for our family and not angry that I am leaving.

Work is something I have to do. I can’t change that right now, but I can change how I present it to my kids so that is a positive thing in our household. I have started to tell them how much I will miss them and how much I can’t wait to get home to play but also that work is important because it can be very fun and it allows us to eat, live in our house, save for college and, of course, buy the all-important Legos!

My kids are already starting to understand this. In fact, this morning as I left the house, my 5-year-old said, “Mommy, I think maybe you should work more today because my birthday is coming up, and I would really like a big, lovely present.” I couldn’t help but smile.

Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas
Rosie Pope Solves Your Parenting Dilemmas

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Parents GoodyBlog Giveaway: Enter for a Chance to Win a Tablet and Rio 2 Blu-Ray Movie

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

If you saw Rio the movie, then you probably saw Rio 2 this past spring–and loved it just as much! The music, the bright colors, and the friendly comedy throughout, makes it a great “must- see” for the entire family.

With its recent Blu-Ray and DVD release, you can own a copy for your kids to watch over and over again. From long car rides to the beach, to waiting at the airport terminal and trying to keep your kiddos entertained during the flight, Rio 2 is your film  for the summer!

To celebrate its release, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is offering ONE grand-prize winner a chance to receive a 7-inch, 16 GB ASUS Tablet from Google (worth $229) and his or her own Rio 2 Blu-Ray copy (valued at $39.99 and rated G).

And Fox Home Entertainment is giving FIVE other lucky readers the chance to receive his or her own Rio 2 Blu-Ray copy!

To enter, leave a comment below, up to one a day between today and the end of the day on July 22. Be sure to check back on June 23 and scroll to the bottom of the post to see who won. We reach out to winners via Facebook message (it goes into your “other” message folder on Facebook), so if you win, look for us there as well. We’ve also posted all the Official Rules. Goody luck!

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Healthy Living, Family Fun &…Disney On Ice Frozen!

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Although the forecast may call for a hot-sunny day (and a trip to the pool), that doesn’t stop your kids from singing their favorite tune, “Do you want to build a snowman,” from Disney’s Frozen soundtrack, and we can’t blame them. Whether or not you are able to make it to Walt Disney World’s parks this summer, we know of another way your kiddos can see the Frozen characters–Frozen On Ice coming this fall!

In a first-ever agreement, Feld Entertainment, Inc, and Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt have paired up to combine healthy living, family fun and even more Frozen entertainment.

Feld Entertainment, Inc., announced today that Stonyfield Yokids is now the presenting U.S. sponsor of Disney On Ice and Disney Live; which can only mean one thing: Disney On Ice presents Frozen! This marks the first time Feld Entertainment has signed a national sponsor for its touring ice and stage shows and brings together their shared focus on a healthier lifestyle and nutritious eating, (plus Frozen on ice is the cherry on top!)

“We are very excited to announce the Stonyfield YoKids sponsorship,” said Feld Entertainment Executive Vice President and Disney Live! Producer Alana Feld.  “In this time of renewed focus on nutritious food choices and well-being, Feld Entertainment and Stonyfield believe that by joining together we can promote active, healthier lifestyle choices for families everywhere, particularly for children.  This is why Stonyfield YoKids is a natural fit as the presenting sponsor of Disney On Ice and Disney Live!” 

As if your children weren’t crazy about Frozen already, now you can enter to win a chance to see Frozen on ice! Exclusive to Disney On Ice presents Frozen Presented by Stonyfield YoKids is a national sweepstakes focusing on Olaf, the loveable snowman sidekick, titled, “Where Would You Go with Olaf in Summer?”  A grand-prize-winning family of four will travel to Orlando, Florida, to attend the opening night of Disney On Ice presents Frozen Presented by YoKids on September 4th at the Amway Center.   Additionally, weekly prizes of $150 worth of Disney On Ice presents Frozen merchandise, including exclusive collectibles from Disney’s Frozen, will be awarded.  For full contest details, visit www.FrozenOnIceInSummer.com.

What are your waiting for? Get your toes out of the sand, grab your kids (and maybe your fur coat) and go see the Disney On Ice Frozen presentation!

Want to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? See how it can be a fun (and easy) experience for the entire family!

 

Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands
Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands
Walt Disney World: Ease Your Trip With Magic Bands

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8 Perfect First Birthday Gifts for Prince George

Monday, July 14th, 2014

It seems like just yesterday that the whole world was waiting for the little kiddo dubbed the “Royal Baby” to be born. There were tons of questions: When would Kate go into labor? Would she welcome a boy or a girl? Would she and Prince William name their child something classic or surprise us all?

Even though a year has passed, people are just as in love with Baby George as ever. Parents only wish their little princes and princesses were among his playmates, and news outlets can’t stop snapping photos of the charismatic cutie.

While we’d eagerly drop everything to attend George’s actual birthday celebration, it doesn’t look like such an adventure is in the cards. Instead, we’ve rounded up a few items that would make suitable presents for the Royal One-Year-Old (or, if you’re feeling super spirited, for your own little prince or princess!). Click on the images below to shop.

The wheels on the (double decker) bus go round and round! Help accustom baby to his George’s neighborhood with this cute stroller toy that looks just like the iconic London buses. ($13, Mamas & Papas

So what if Baby was born with a silver spoon in his mouth? He’ll still get great use out of this aquatic-inspired Reed & Barton silverware set. It’s never to early to brush up on table manners, especially if dinner with the Queen is on the calendar! ($35, Amazon.com

Even royals aren’t perfect! This bib will protect Baby’s clothing from spills while reminding him of his true…or desired…identity. (£4.99, Jo’s Baby Gifts)

Georgie is still an only child, so live-in playmates will have to come in the form of furry friends for now. Support Mum and Dad’s alma mater with this cute teddy. (£16, University of St. Andrews store

Will George grow to love corgis like his great-grandmother? For now, he can dazzle her with this fun one-piece. ($30, Zazzle.com

There’s no place like home. Jazz up your British-themed nursery with a picture of George’s abode (the prints come in both blue and pink). ($44, Etsy.com

Even future rulers should save their pennies! This Jonathan Adler piggy bank is perfect for kings-to-be (there’s a queen design, too!). ($78, YoYo.com)

This Prince William night light comes in a classic pattern suitable for a little royal, plus it’s named after Dad! ($31, Wayfair.com

Still expecting? Learn about British names for your baby-to-be!

British Baby Names
British Baby Names
British Baby Names

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There’s A New Kind Of Circus In Town: Marvel Universe LIVE!

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Summer is full of concerts, capades, and circuses for families to enjoy. But there’s a new show in town unlike anything you or your kids have ever seen: Marvel Universal LIVE! Before you brush this off as just another big arena show, think about this: The Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man all on a single stage. (I think your own little Spider-Man just lept to the ceiling in excitement.)

Produced by the creators of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey and Disney On Ice, comes a show of massive proportions. It’s an original story that brings together 25 heroes and villains from the Marvel Universe. The spectacle brings these icons to life “to show audiences their powers—things they could only imagine could exist in film or in animation,” according to Juliette Feld, the show’s producer and EVP of Feld Entertainment. From a wild live car chase to actors freefalling 26 feet, the stunts are big and the action explosive. Marvel Universal LIVE! uses never-before-seen technology and special effects to bring the comic book world to fruition for the whole family.

“We really try to create stuff that parents will love as much as the kids,” says Feld, who is pregnant with her first child. “I hope I have a good perspective on what is meaningful to moms and to dads because I’m one of them.” While the show is recommended for kids ages 5-12, Feld knows from experience that even younger kids can get into the hype: her baby reacts in utero to Feld’s time in rehearsal. “She really likes this scene where Thor is fighting Rhino and Lizard and Doc Ock,” laughs Feld. “There’s really heavy bass in that scene, so that might be what she’s responding to. I think she has her own hammer in there. She just starts knocking around!”

Marvel Universe LIVE! kicked off it’s 85-city tour last night in Tampa, FL as it brings the magic of superheroes (and the villains they battle) to audiences all over the globe.

Click her for other fun activities for you and your kids to enjoy this summer vacation.

Click here to find out if Marvel Universe LIVE! is coming to your city.

Make a mask and matching cape for your mini-hero!

How to Make DIY Capes and Masks
How to Make DIY Capes and Masks
How to Make DIY Capes and Masks

Photograph: Courtesy Marvel Universe LIVE!

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Summer Ice Cream Round Up: Ice Cream on a Stick

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Summer is here, and temperatures just keep rising and rising. Along with the heat, the urge for a refreshingly cold treat also tends to increase on a daily basis. Thankfully, July is National Ice Cream Month. In honor of the celebration, here at Parents we’ve taste tested a variety of flavors and brands to bring you our absolute favorites! (Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.) Be sure to check back every week during the month of July for even more yumminess.

Whether your child is on-the-go in the car, at a picnic, or at camp, it doesn’t get much better than ice cream on a stick if you’re a kid. From fruity to creamy, decadent to juicy, these treats are sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Popsicle Red Classics

Popsicle Red Classic

Red usually means stop, except when kids see this Popsicle flavor. Red flavors are very popular, so the makers of this summer staple decided to package them all together. Gone are the days of children fighting over who gets the red one, while the poor grape and orange Popsicles are left to melt.

Flavors: Cherry, Raspberry, and Strawberry

Sold: Nationwide

“I love the adorable retro packaging. This is so smart because everybody always goes for the red ones, first, right?” – Samantha Hyde, editorial assistant

Dreyer's Outshine FV Apples & Greens

Dreyer’s Outshine Fruit & Veggie Bars

It’s pretty common for kids to enjoy fruit in ice cream, but veggies? That’s a whole different story, but these bars are 25 percent vegetable made with puree and juices.

Flavors: Peach Mango, Tangerine Carrot, Strawberry Rhubarb, Blueberry Medley

Sold: Nationwide

“With few calories and natural ingredients, you can’t go wrong!” – Caylin Harris, associate lifestyle editor

Talenti Gelato Pops

Talenti Gelato Pops

Made with fresh milk and pure cane sugar, these pops are worth the indulgence. And at 30 percent less fat than regular ice cream, you don’t have to feel guilty about it!.

Flavors: Caribbean Coconut, Double Dark Chocolate, Banana Swirl, Black Raspberry, Coffee, Mediterranean Mint, Tahitian Vanilla, and Sea Salt

Sold: Nationwide

“They’re so good!!! I love their salted caramel, and it’s great on a stick, too.” – Sarah Lyon, editorial assistant

Yasso Greek Yogurt Pops

Yasso Greek Frozen Yogurt Bars

At only 80 calories a bar and 5-7 grams of protein, you’ll want to go back for seconds with these delicious frozen treats. (Don’t worry. We won’t tell.)

Flavors: Chocolate Fudge, Mint Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Raspberry, Sea Salt Caramel, Peanut Butter Cup, Raspberry, Blueberry, Strawberry, Vanilla Bean, Mango, and Coconut

Sold: Nationwide

“AMAZING! It didn’t melt super fast, and was tasty without being too rich or heavy.” – Ashley Oerman, assistant editor

In the mood to made your own ice cream? Try one of the six delicious ice cream sandwiches!

I is for ice cream! Click here to download this fun coloring sheet.

How To Make Paper Ice Cream Cone Decorations
How To Make Paper Ice Cream Cone Decorations
How To Make Paper Ice Cream Cone Decorations

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Bastille Day Is On Its Way! Shop These Looks for Kids

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Even if a trip to the City of Lights isn’t on the horizon, you and your kiddos can still celebrate Bastille Day stateside with these festive outfits! Click the images to shop.

This sundress featuring a Parisian streetscape is très très chic and perfect for the humid July weather. ($24, Kohl’s)

Bon voyage, Baby! We have no doubt that your enfant is up for a rendezvous at the Eiffel Tower anytime. Let him lead the way! ($26, Land of Nod)

This black tank is funky and will allow her to brush up on her vocab–voilà! ($13, H & M)

For the cutie who can’t get enough of French cuisine, a macaron-themed one-piece by Spunky Stork. ($22, Shop Vault)

Bisou, bisou! This DKNY dress is a perfect choice for that upcoming summer soirée. ($56, Belk) 

He’ll look adorable wearing this traditional Breton striped shirt while lazing in the jardin. ($28, Boden)

Looking to add a little Genevieve or Charlotte to your pack? Check out more French baby name options here!

French Baby Names
French Baby Names
French Baby Names

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Raffi Returns! The Singer Discusses His Album

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Raffi was a hit in my house (or more specifically, in the car!) while my sister and I were growing up. We listened to his songs so much that we almost wore out his cassette tape (yes, this was pre-CDs!).

Though it’s impossible to forget the charismatic children’s musician, many of us may have noticed his lack of albums in recent years. But fear not: Though Raffi–who is also an author–has taken on a variety of endeavors, which he describes below, he’s certainly did not bid adieu to singing. His album “Love Bug,” his first since 2002, hits stores July 15. Want to purchase it earlier? Here’s how.

“I feel like a new papa with this album,” Raffi told Parents.com. “I’m just thrilled to keep making music with my ‘Beluga Grads.’”

Here, Raffi discusses his song inspiration, his views on technology use, and more.

Parents.com: What prompted you to release another album after a 12-year break? 

Raffi Cavoukian: I felt the creative need to express myself to my loyal audience of many decades now, and recently I returned to the concert stage after an absence of 10 years….I thought well, gee, you know, I think a new batch of songs to express love and caring in a new way would be fun. At the same time, keep in mind that “Love Bug” is the first Raffi album of the digital era. In 10 short years, social media has changed parenting or at least made it more challenging. It has certainly impacted the landscape of childhood, so after I wrote and published the book Lightweb, Darkweb, about social media awareness and reform, I thought it would be really good to have an album of songs in response to the digital era, an album in full celebration of the real world.

P: How can kids and parents regulate technology use? 

RC:  In families, that’s the parent’s responsibility, to set the tone of their day, to set the tone of their interactions, and that requires conscious parenting, which is a Child Honouring principle….It just speaks to an awareness by parents of their inner processes so that they are mindfully engaging with their kids, and I know that’s easier said than done [laughs], but the goal is for mindful interactions, rather than unconsciously repeating what was done to us when we were kids. Parents have the opportunity and the responsibility of actually setting a tone in their families, where for little kids, I’m talking about real little ones, real life experience is valued and takes priority above all else. As I say to parents, and I’m basically saying what psychotherapists and pediatricians are saying, information technology can wait. What can’t wait is an infant’s need and desire to bond with the real world, the three dimensional world of wonders, of textures, of elements, this is the job of the formative years. You can do tech later. It’s going to change anyway [laughs].

P: Your listeners today are growing up in a different era than children of the past. How are today’s kids similar to your previous audience, and how do they differ? 

RC: The basic needs of early childhood are universal and irreducible, that does not change….What’s different is not the kids themselves, but the culture in which they live, to which they respond. It’s the culture that’s different, that’s faster, it’s more technologically obsessed, and these shiny tech devices represent an intrusion into the early years [of life for] a newborn and an infant. As I said before, the priority in early years, the job of a young one is emotional intelligence, as Daniel Goleman wrote brilliantly in that book, is to exercise the emotional intelligence, which is relational, real people, real world situations. We really have to be careful, we don’t want to introduce shiny tech representations of the three-dimensional world, these are flat, electronic representations that go hyper-fast.

P: What was your inspiration for the title track of your album? 

RC: The songs for this album came really easily to me. There was hardly any labor. I think for “Love Bug,” I had that guitar riff that I do [sings] and then the words just came immediately. I thought it was really a neat kind of way of looking at that impulse to hug people, and it’s just a love song.

P: What did you enjoy most about recording this album as a whole?

RC: I think the fact that I was recording again, a children’s album, that I imagined my fans would be waiting for it with great delight, because there hasn’t been a new one in 12 years. And the fact that I recorded 80 percent of it in my living room. In the book Lightweb, Darkweb, I talk about the lightweb being all that we like about digital technology, and I’m a tech enthusiast. I really appreciated the ability for my recording engineer to come from Vancouver, into my living room, with his laptop, and with just one connector box and some microphones, the recording console became his laptop, which is quite common these days. To work that way and the easy editing, I thought that was great fun. I look forward to doing more CDs actually, I’ve got more songs brewing.

P: One song on this album honors Nelson Mandela. Can you talk about this piece? 

RC: Those who inspire us live on forever, and Mandela was such a huge inspiration to me. Back in 2011, I wrote and recorded that song and got a chance to sing it for him in Toronto. You can imagine the thrill of being there, singing it for him, and when I finished, he stood up to shake my hand. Well you don’t forget that. In fact, that song title, “Turn This World Around,” is the subtitle of my anthology that I published in 2006, it’s a collection of essays called Child Honouring: How to Turn This World Around. While we wouldn’t think of “Turn This World Around” as a children’s song, it’s the bonus song that completes this collection of songs….The other person I’ve paid tribute to is Pete Seeger. I was with him two years ago….We sang two songs, I remember we were singing together, one was “This Little Light of Mine,” the other was “This Land is Your Land,” which Pete made famous. I mean, Woodie Guthrie wrote it, but Pete made it popular, so I included “This Land is Your Land” as well in this album. The song “Pete’s Banjo,” in case you’re curious, when I came back two years ago from visiting Pete, there I was on my front deck in the sun with my guitar, and I was playing…something that sounded sort of like a banjo, and that’s where I got the idea of a tribute song for Pete called “Pete’s Banjo.” That’s where that came from, and I think that’s where the impetus for this new album may have come from, from seeing Pete Seeger in his ’90s, singing, and people loving it, and I thought, “Wow” [laughs]. I kind of saw my future, if you know what I mean….What does an aging troubadour do? Well he keeps making music. That’s the message I got.

Photo by Billie Woods

Do you have a kid with an urge to sing? Start out with this simple song.

If You're Happy and You Know It
If You're Happy and You Know It
If You're Happy and You Know It

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