Author: Kate Etue

We can’t believe the reason a kids’ softball umpire asked a deaf 10-year-old player to remove her hearing devices.

Parents of kids with special needs are used to having to fight for their kids’ rights. It’s part of the parenting territory. But when my friend told me what happened to her deaf child at her softball tournament this week, I was shocked. Lexi, her daughter, is 100% deaf. She has bilateral cochlear implants, which give her the ability to hear. Coupled with the implants,  a lot of hard work has given Lexi the ability to speak normally. In fact, when she wears her hair so that you can’t see her devices, you’d never even know she was deaf....

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8 must-read summer reading books for tweens and teens who want to stay woke

Lately, as my kids are getting older and the world has gotten (ahem) a little crazier, my 10- and 12-year-old have been questioning what’s going on. I chat with them about my own observations and beliefs…and ask them about theirs. But one thing that helps us both understand where other people are coming from is to read stories written from their perspectives. So I’ve recently tracked down a handful of books that can help kids stay woke. I’ve collected these with tweens and teens in mind (although check them out first, because some of the books on this list...

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4 great websites and videos that teach kids how to tie knots. Road trip entertainment, check!

One of the items on my son’s bucket list this summer is to learn to tie a bowline, a half-hitch, and a square knot…with his eyes closed. They are requirements for his scouting program, but have easily become at-home entertainment for the whole family. They’re sneakily addictive! So, whether you’re trying to help your child finish up their Girl Scout or Boy Scout requirements, or you just want to pack a bag of paracord for an easy, unexpected, and really fun activity for your kids on a long road trip, here are 4 websites and YouTube videos that teach...

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Tips for getting a better night’s sleep: 8 tips you may not have tried.

What no one tells you about becoming a parent is the total and complete lack of sleep you’ll suffer. Sure, we all know it’s rough when they’re new babies. But, spoiler alert: It lasts way beyond the infant years. We know moms who can’t fall asleep because they’re worrying about their massive to-do lists, moms who can’t stay asleep because their hormones are totally whack post-baby, and moms who get woken up all hours of the night by their kids. And hey, dads aren’t immune from this either. While we can’t come by your house and force your child...

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All about that babe: 7 of the most outrageous kids’ amenities at hotels and resorts

Sometimes it’s the little things that make your vacation really special … and sometimes it’s the huge splurges you’ll remember forever. If that’s what you’re looking for on your next vacation, check out these five luxury resorts and hotels with some incredibly outrageous kids’ packages and amenities. Like, we’re-a-whole-lot-jealous amenities. Yes, they’re all over-the-top. But if you’re celebrating a special birthday, a huge accomplishment, or a massive tax refund (ha), these family-friendly resort packages could end up making for the family experience of a lifetime. Just be sure to check with the hotel or resort concierge before planning, to...

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This board book about breastfeeding wins baby shower gift of the year!

Graphic artists Tupera Tupera are known for pushing boundaries with their cheeky, irreverent books. I mean, have you seen their Japanese-language book about poop for kids? Well, their newest board book is a winner too, though it might be moms who are more interested in poring over the pages. What Does Baby Want? is all about breastfeeding, and while it celebrates this new-mom experience, it definitely does it in a…slightly more realistic than romanticized way. In other words, if you have a friend with a great sense of humor, it will garner huge laughs at her baby shower, guaranteed. CMP is...

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The travel toy box that solves every parent’s travel toy nightmares

Traveling with kids is never (ahem) easy, although we do have some pro-tips that make road trips or air travel a little easier on parents. But one of the easiest ways to keep the kids happier while they’re stuck in a seat is to give them access to their toys. Right? Bonus points if you don’t have to squeeze across the aisles or stretch yourself over into the back seat to constantly pick their stuff up off the floor. So when I saw the successful campaign on Indiegogo for the Danish designed Teebee travel toy box, I thought it looked pretty...

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The new personalized books for kids that make the best birthday gifts

We discovered the cool parent-run company that creates personalized Lost My Name books for kids nearly four years ago, and became instant fans. From the gorgeous art to the compelling story, and the clever customization that makes every single book different, they remain one of our very favorite gifts for kids. Now they have two brand new stories to choose from — Kingdom of You and The Birthday Thief. Which means two more easy gift ideas that kids of all ages are going to love. (My kids will vouch for that.) Related: Personalized books that get kids with special needs in...

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The sweet kids beach poncho that multitasks in a big way

The thrill of watching a joyful toddler play in the ocean is almost enough to outweigh the pain-in-the-neck routine of swim diapers and sunscreen and sand and coverups. Not to mention the wagon full of towels, toys and other gear. But I just checked out a press sample of the adorable new children’s beach ponchos from Poncho and Parker and wow, they can really make the entire beach-going process surprisingly easier on parents.   Related: The most adorably modern, modest, mix-and-match swimsuits for kids. Just slip the beach poncho over your kid’s head; there are no sleeves to wriggle into so...

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Here’s why you may now need a passport to fly domestically, and how it impacts family travel.

If you’re a parent in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania (sorry, Kristen!), South Carolina or Washington State, a simple family trip to visit the grandparents is about to get trickier. And a lot more expensive. All thanks to the REAL ID Act of 2005, which goes into effect this year. And it may impact even more states and US territories than that. If you’re not familiar with the REAL ID Act, just a little background: it’s a fairly controversial measure passed after 9/11, designed to establish federal standards for the issue of state IDs for entrance to federal facilities, and...

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The Beyond Tablet: Is this cool new screen-free gaming system worth the price?

When my kids get bored over the summer, their go-to entertainment, other than the Xbox (of course), is board games. So when we got a chance to try out the new Beyond Tablet — an electronic, but screen-free, tabletop gaming system — in advance of its release, we were excited to see if it held our attention. And to find out whether it’s worth the hefty price tag. Here are my feelings. TBH, they’re…mixed. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: The best family board games of 2016 What is it? The Beyond Tablet is a large (17-inches square) electronic smart tablet…with...

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So smart! A new board game subscription box to keep family game night fresh.

My kids’ playroom has a bookshelf with piles of board games taller than me. So yeah, you could say we’re fairly avid tabletop gamers at our house. But, even so, we’re still always on the lookout for fun new games. If they’re really affordable, even better. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear that Hasbro just announced their first-ever board game subscription box service. Subscribe, and every three months you get a crate with three new board games right to your door. Choose from either a family game option and an adults-only option for $50 a...

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Should you really avoid SPF over 50? We’ve got facts, and we’ve got answers.

Growing up as a fair-skinned, redheaded kid, I’m no stranger to the intricacies of SPF labels. Or sunburns. Like lots of us, I always believed that the higher the SPF, the better the sun protection I’d get, but that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, the EWG warns against sunscreens with very high SPF over 50, and that goes for kids and adults. In fact, they say flat out to avoid SPF over 50. But, why? Related: 2017 EWG best safe sunscreens for kids and babies: Which is the most affordable? First off, what is SPF? SPF, or Sun...

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The Night Sky’s custom star maps: The sweet, sentimental gift that’s modern, never sappy.

I’m a mom, you know, which means I pretty much can’t help but feel sentimental about the special milestones in my family’s life — my kids’ birthdays, preschool graduation, our daughter’s adoption day. The thing is: I love finding ways to memorialize these moments, but sappy just isn’t my thing. So when I recently discovered The Night Sky custom star maps, I knew this was the perfect way for me to commemorate an important event without getting cheesy about it. In fact, it’s so subtle most people won’t even realize it’s a secret sentimental nod to a special moment...

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5 creative ways to make a summer bucket list with your kids. Let the fun begin!

Summer break is here for my kids (yes, already!), which means I’m looking down the barrel of 13 long, lovely (and lively, knowing my crew) weeks at home. We have a lot of things we want to do — go for hikes, do every single craft in Project Kid (ha!), touch a frog (really!). But most days I look up and it’s already lunch time…and nap time for the toddler. Then, there goes all our plans. So, I’ve been researching some creative ways to make a summer bucket list with my kids. It’s going to help us narrow down our list to...

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The best family board games for summer travel…because good things come in small packages.

My family loves to play board games. I’m talking, big, involved, takes-three-hours-to-play board games. And what better time to play than when we’re on summer vacation? But, it can be tricky to travel with big boxes full of a zillion pieces. Luckily, we have found a few games we love that come in boxes small enough to easily toss in a backpack or tote bag. So, if you’re looking for some offline family fun that you can take with you, wherever you’re headed this summer, check out these 5 family board games for travel. In fact, these are the ones I’m packing for our trip...

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How to make a DIY weighted blanket, and save yourself $100 (whoo!)

I have a couple of kids with on-and-off sleep issues, so I’ve been paying attention to the swell of discussion about the benefits of weighted blankets for children. These blankets, which are generally filled with anywhere from 5–10 lbs. of weighted beads, are said to help increase both serotonin (which improves your mood) and melatonin (which makes you sleepy). Basically, your kids feel like they’re being held, which of course makes them happy. And sleepy. Yay! We recently received a sample weighted blanket from The Magic Blanket for my kids to try out, and after using it for a week or so their bedtime routines were much less...

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7 awesome page-turners your early readers really need to check out this summer

My kids are officially on summer break (I know, already!) so we’re hitting up the library ASAP to get started on our summer reading lists. My Kindergartner has made amazing strides this year with his reading, and these early reader books are all geared toward kids his age. So, if your kid is just giving up the picture books — or even still holding onto them tightly — but is more or less ready to move on to their first big kid chapter books, we’ve got 7 early reader summer reading books we think they’ll love. Because ours do. At top: Narwhal: Unicorn of...

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No way: Custom plush animals that look just like your actual pet.

A few years ago my kids tried out the cool service Budsies, which turns kids’ drawings into stuffed animals. They were so excited when their creations arrived, and they still have them in their beds today. So, when we heard that Budsies was launching a new company called Petsies, which creates a stuffed animal for you based on a photo of your pet, we were intrigued. Yes, it’s an interesting way for some people keep a memory of a pet around after they’ve gone to “join the circus” or “moved to the farm” or went to doggy or bunny heaven. Maybe you think that’s creepy, maybe you think...

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Hot trend alert: Rose sneakers are this summer’s new neutral

This summer we’re seeing a new trend that — I’ll admit — I was skeptical about at first. But now, I’m hooked. Rose-colored sneakers are everywhere. In fact, I’m declaring them the new neutral. The pretty, soft color dresses up our jeans-and-a-tee outfits, and I might even follow my daughter’s lead and start wearing them with casual dresses for a sporty look. So, here are 6 great rose sneakers I’ve found at some of my favorite shops, from Target to Barneys. A little something for every price range. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: Greek boho sandals: the fun summer trend anyone can pull...

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