Author: Kate Etue

#Hairgoals: 10 cool hair braiding tutorials for girls with all kinds of hair.

My daughter’s new obsession: hair braiding videos. She’s all over YouTube, checking out the coolest braid styles she can do herself, do to her friends, do to me, do to her great-grandmother…basically anyone too nice or too tired to say no. Truth is, she’s actually come away with some really cute braid styles that are a fun change from our “hurry up and get your hair in a ponytail” routine. (And hey, if it gets her more apt to brush her hair in the morning without being reminded, I’m all in.) Need a little inspiration? Here are my top...

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How well do Inkbox semi-permanent tattoos work? | Damn You, Facebook Ads

I’ve never taken the plunge to actually get a real tattoo. While Kristen’s tattoos look amazing, the pain and permanence hold me back. So, when I saw the ads for semi-permanent tattoos from Inkbox in my Facebook feed over and over,  I thought I’d give one a try as part of our Damn You, Facebook Ads series in which we check out those products you may be wondering about too. So what are they? Compared to most temporary tattoos, the semi-permanent tattoos from Inkbox actually look like real tattoos. The claim is that they last much longer — from 8 to 18...

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What’s better than safe, kid-friendly nail polish? Safe, kid-friendly nail polish you can wash off with water.

My daughter loves nail polish, but she’s not so crazy about taking it off once it starts to chip. As for me, I cringe a little when I soak her little kid fingers with strong nail polish remover. Because, chemicals. Right? So I love our latest discovery: Nailmatic kid-friendly nail polishes which promise to wash right off with water, and actually do. To be more specific, the package says to use soap and water, but I find it comes right off without much soap required. Plus, it goes on really smoothly, which means I can actually get the polish on my...

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This bag is not a toy. Or…wait. It is.

I’m always open to finding new ways for my family to make eco-conscious choices with our daily habits. But, truthfully, if they’re too complicated we don’t follow through. That said, an easy switch I’ve made recently is to keep a couple of Dert reusable shopping bags in my handbag, thanks to press samples I got to try out. And I love them! Whenever I check out at a store, I decline their shopping bag and use my reusable bags instead. Hey, look at me saving the planet a little bit. Bonus: the totes become adorable stuffed animals when stuffed in their...

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Star Wars x Sperry: A match made in a galaxy far, far away. (Or Massachusetts, really.)

Forget having the coolest shoes in school, the Star Wars x Sperry mashup that just released this week may be the coolest sneakers in the galaxy. Classic shoe styles meets classic geek culture design?  Yep, we’re probably going to be stealing these Star Wars sneakers from our teens’ closets. Or maybe grabbing our own, considering these all come in adult sizes. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: This 40th anniversary Star Wars clothing collection is a force Although our whole household has become huge fans of the new Rogue One crew, I do love that these shoes feature original...

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Easy solar eclipse party ideas for a once-in-a-lifetime bash. Literally.

We are totally geeking out over the solar eclipse that’s crossing the United States on August 21. In fact, we think it’s the perfect excuse to throw a solar eclipse party! So, if your kids aren’t in school yet, check out these easy solar eclipse party ideas. From snacks and activities to the important gear you need to watch the eclipse safely, this is everything you need to throw a once-in-a-lifetime party. Literally. Related: How to know how much of the solar eclipse you’ll see, based on where you live And no, there’s no Bonnie Tyler playlist requirement; though that’s...

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New on Netflix for families in August: Top picks from cute kids’ cartoons to kitschy 80s classics to Sing! (Whoo!)

If your family is like mine, summer nights are more often Netflix and chill (like, actually chilling, not a euphemism) than theater and $7 snacks. So, I thought I’d look ahead to the next month and round up what’s new on Netflix for families in August so we can map out some fun viewing time, beat the late summer heat, and save a few bucks by popping our own popcorn. Of course the big release this month is Sing! (at very top), the Golden Globe-nominated kids’ movie that’s full of recent pop songs with impressive performances. I’m a fan, and my...

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Grab this Golden Snitch fidget spinner now! No Nimbus 2000 required.

Attention muggles: we’ve just discovered the fidget spinner of your Harry Potter-loving kids’ dreams.They will love taking pretend-play to the next level with this totally on-trend Golden Snitch fidget spinner. Even if a real game of quidditch is still just out of reach. (Maybe.) Related: The danger of fidget spinners: Miniature death traps! Or…not. I’d say it’s just about the perfect reward for a kid finishing their first Harry Potter novel for summer reading; or a cool desk accessory for more (hi!) grown-up HP fans. It’s a limited edition fidget spinner, though, so order ASAP if you want your kid...

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Mifold vs. BubbleBum: Travel booster seat smackdown

My kids have all used traditional booster seats in the car, but recently my son has had a chance to test out two cool booster seat alternatives so we could really give you the scoop on the pros, cons, and differences between the Mifold and the BubbleBum travel booster seats. While size and portability are huge benefits of travel boosters like these, my 7-year-old expert (you know, the kid who actually has to sit on them all day in the car) offered up some good insight too. So, if you’re looking for an option to the big traditional booster...

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Don’t toss it yet! 7 brilliant hacks that give second life to your baby gear.

I’ve racked up quite a bit of baby gear as a mom of four. From diaper bags to bottles to wipe warmers, I could fully stock my own Babies R Us resale outlet! But now that my kids are beyond the baby years, it’s time to purge. Because no parent needs leftover diapers after the kids are potty-trained. Or do we? So I looked around and found these 7 smart hacks for repurposing old baby gear before you go all KonMari method on your kids’ nursery. You might be surprised which items are worth keeping around. At top: Rainbow water...

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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. (Please note an editorial update below) 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...

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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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