This Mom Wants to Make Sure That Party Supplies Represent All Kinds of Kids


photo: Craft My Occasion via Kickstarter

Imagine that it’s your child’s birthday and you’re planning a big bash to celebrate. You head out to the party store (or go online) to buy enough paper plates, napkins and cups to keep the kids eating pizza, chips and cake, cake and more cake. Now imagine that the cartoon characters on the pint-sized paper products look nothing like your child. We’re not talking about trying to find an identical twin image here. Nope. We’re talking about birthday-ware that celebrates children of color.

When Lynnette Abbott, mom and owner of event planning company Craft My Occasion, was planning her own kiddo’s party, she noticed that none of the ready-made party supplies looked like her five-year-old daughter Anyah.

With a bevy of blond, blue-eyed party supplies out there, the mama wasn’t seeing anything that resembled her little girl. So she took to the drawing board (literally) and created her own design, along with graphic designer Ana Rako — a mermaid of color. In order to get her designs off the ground, Abbott started a Kickstarter campaign.

On her Kickstarter page, Abbott writes, “I chose a mermaid as our first design because I have been unable to find a brown-skinned mermaid anywhere.” She goes on to add, “I want my daughter, and every brown little girl on this planet to feel beautiful, acknowledged and loved each time they look at our party products and see themselves smiling back.”

Abbott proves that no one should sit back and just wait for someone else to make a change. She’s a change-maker who is making a difference in a major way!

What kid’s product would you like to change or create differently? Tell us in the comments below.



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Healthy Cookie Dough You Can Eat Right From the Container? YES, PLEASE


photo: P.S. Snacks via Instagram

Ahh, cookie dough. If it weren’t for the raw eggs and the ridiculous caloric content, we’d eat it after every meal (or instead of!). But wait! Now we can, thanks to gluten-free foodie Nikki Azzara of P.S. Snacks, who perfected a chickpea-based cookie dough that tastes like the real thing and spares you the guilt (and possible food poisoning).

P.S. Snacks Cookie Dough comes in three flavors — chocolate chip, peanut butter and fudge brownie — all of which contain no eggs, no refined sugar and no flour. They’re also all gluten-free and made from all-natural ingredients. The dough also only has about 3 grams of fat per 2 tablespoon serving.

photo: P.S. Snacks via Instagram

If you’ve got the will power to hold off eating it all right from the container, you can still cook the dough like any old batter to make cookies. Or, follow a few of Azzara’s recipes to use the dough creatively in snacks and meals.

Here’s the bad news: The dreamy dough is only available at these shops in and around Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. However, the company hopes to bring it to more stores, soon.

How much do you want this in your nearest supermarket? Tell us in the comments below. 

RELATED STORY:
Just Opened: The World’s First Raw Cookie Dough Shop



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Study Shows Parents Are Stressing Over Lunches. Here’s Why


Study Shows Parents Are Stressing Over Lunches. Here’s Why

photo: Elizabeth via Flickr

Back-to-school mornings can be hectic when you’re trying to wake, dress, feed and move-out-the-door a bunch of little ones. So it’s not really a surprise that a recent study found that parents reported “packing lunches” to be a stressful addition to the morning schedule.

The study, conducted by the lunch delivery company Wise Apple, found that 85 percent of parents were “stressed” when preparing and packing lunches for their kids, according to ABC News affiliate KSPR. And it’s not just because they’re struggling to find healthy options to stash inside bento boxes; many parents worry about allergies — either with their children or other kids in the classroom.

And there’s reason to worry. According to the Food Allergy Research & Education Inc., approximately one in 13 children — or roughly two kids in every classroom — have a food allergy. And, about 30 percent of kids with food allergies are allergic to more than one food.

“[My] oldest is allergic to dairy, peanuts, corn, soy and eggs,” Cheryl Li, a mother of two girls, told KSPR. “The youngest is allergic to corn, soy, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, any nightshades, any food dyes or artificial sweeteners, and both of them are allergic to gluten. I spent a couple of hours yesterday preparing food to go with us today.”

But even if you’re not fretting over food allergies, sending kids off to school with a balanced diet packed in their lunch boxes can be tricky.

“About half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, maybe a fourth whole grains, and fourth good lean, healthy proteins,” Mercy Hospital Registered Dietitian, Auvia Miller, said in the report.

Need some good ideas for lunches? Check out Red Tricycles Beyond the Boring Sandwich lunch ideas. And, check out these awesome bento boxes to make packing lunch a little less stressful!

Do you have any secrets for making lunch-packing easier? Tell us in the comments below. 



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Where You Can Still Attempt to Buy Eclipse Glasses or Make Your Own Safely


photo: Peter Corbett via Flickr

If you haven’t gotten your eclipse glasses yet, you’re not entirely out of luck. From a few last-minute places to check this weekend, to making your own DIY eclipse viewer, there are still ways you can safely view the event.

While it’s probably too late to score glasses online, there are a few spots you might want to check while you’re out and about over the weekend. According to the American Astronomical Society’s website, several national retailers you might not expect have been selling eclipse glasses in store. The AAS lists 7-11, Best Buy, Kirklands, Kroger, Lowe’s and Wal-Mart among several retail locations that have been selling the glasses. While there’s no guarantee which locations are stocking them or whether they have any left, it’s definitely worth checking when you make that Slurpee run.

Libraries across the country have also been giving away free glasses through the STAR Net program. While many have already run out, it’s a good idea to check with your local library in case they are hosting an event the day of the eclipse, in which case they may have some available for attendees.

If you’ve exhausted all your options, there are still a few ways you can safely check out the eclipse with nothing more that a cereal box and some other household items. Check out the video below from the NASA Goddard Space Center to learn how to make your own pinhole projector out of an empty cereal box.

What are your plans for watching the eclipse on Monday? Were you lucky enough to score a pair of glasses? Tell us in the comments below.



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Here’s Why a Beach Trip Makes You Happier, According to Science


photo: Pixabay

School may be back in session, but you’ll want to make the most of those last warm summer rays with a weekend trip to the beach. According to studies, the ocean can actually have an effect on your mind and your mood.

What better way to combat the stress of the back-to-school hustle and bustle, than a calm relaxing day at the beach? As NBC News Better explains, there’s a good reason you feel so at peace after a day of splashing on the shore. Data analyzed in a study published in Health Place found that people who live near the ocean reported having better mental and physical health than those who didn’t.

As a recent Gallup poll survey of the happiest states in the country highlights, being in close proximity to the outdoors makes you happier, so it follows that living near the ocean would also be a great mood-booster. Not everyone can afford a beach house, however, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ocean’s calming effects. As Richard Shuster, PsyD, clinical psychologist, tells NBC News, practicing mindfulness while you’re on a short visit to the beach can make the effects last after you’ve left the sand behind.

“Focus on how your body feels warm from the rays of the sun, focus on what it feels like to have your feet in the sand, breathe deep and smell the ocean air.” Most importantly, you need to disconnect. Avoid Instagramming every sand castle and seashell and just be present.

Do you feel more relaxed after a day at the beach? Tell us in the comments below.



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Target’s Hitting the Mark With Their New Sensory-Friendly Line of Kids’ Clothes


Target’s Hitting the Mark With Their New Sensory-Friendly Line of Kids’ Clothes

Those scratchy tags and itchy fabrics on some kids’ clothes are sure annoying. But to a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) or a sensory processing disorder, uncomfortable clothes are more than irritating — they’re torture! Well, Target’s new line of sensory-friendly children’s clothing is coming to the rescue. The retail giant’s Cat & Jack kids’ line is expanding with limited edition pieces. And they’re made specifically for kids with sensory issues.

photo: Target.com

Designer Stacey Monsen is known for her plus-sized creations that are part of Target’s AVA & VIV line. The fashion guru and mama saw a need to create clothing that catered towards kids with sensory sensitivities. So why did this designer for the grown-up set suddenly break into the world of kids’ clothes?

Monsen’s 7-year-old daughter is autistic. Finding clothes that fit and felt good was a major challenge. To top it off, when the fashion-forward mom was able to find clothes that met her daughter’s needs, they weren’t exactly…well, stylish. And so, Cat & Jack’s new line was born. Or at least conceived.

The designer, and a few of her colleagues, created their own volunteer-based team and began researching sensory-friendly clothes for kids. What they came up with may not seem ground-breaking. But to the children who will wear them, these clothes are everything.

photo: Target.com

The Target team didn’t stop there, they met with their guests (the parents of children with sensory issues) and organizations such as Pageant of Hope, Mind Body Solutions and the National Federation of the Blind Minnesota. After getting input, the design team created their first pieces. The special-edition line now includes items such as tag-less and embellishment-free tees and leggings that fit over diapers for older children.

Sorry, right now the line isn’t available in the stores. But you can find it online at Target.com, with sizes that range from 2T-5T (for younger kids) and XS-XL (for big kids).

What do you think about Target’s new sensory-friendly line? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. 



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Skinny Cow’s New High Protein Ice Cream Will Make You Want to Serve It for Dinner


Skinny Cow’s New High Protein Ice Cream Will Make You Want to Serve It for Dinner

photo: Skinny Cow

Don’t you sometimes just wish you could skip the meal prep and just pop open a pint of ice cream for dinner? Well, now it’s not such a terrible idea (just don’t let your kids see you!) as long as you’re dining on Skinny Cow’s new line of “enlightened” ice cream. The diet-friendly dessert company’s newest creation is low-fat and contains a whopping 22 grams of protein (that’s as much protein as is in a single hamburger) per pint-sized serving, according to this article on Delish.

There are four different flavors —  Mint Chip Mashup, Oh Fudge Cookie, Oh My! Vanilla Bean and Fudgetastic Java — and they all contain about 350 calories per package (compare that to Ben & Jerry’s nearly 1,000 calories per pint!).

So, yes, you can eat the whole pint!

For some mysterious reason, the new ice cream isn’t yet listed on the Skinny Cow website, but you can expect to see it on the shelves soon at stores including Publix, Hannaford, Target and Kroger, Delish said.

Guilt-free desserts are nothing new for Skinny Cow (hence the name). The company, a part of Nestle USA, already has a pretty good hold on the low-cal frozen desserts market with their killer low-fat popsicles, ice cream cones, candy and ice cream sandwiches.

What’s your favorite kind of low-cal ice cream? Tell us in the comments below. 

Related article:
The Most Popular Ice Cream in America Is Also Low-Cal!



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This New LEGO Reality Series Will Determine the Greatest Master Builders of All


photo: Channel 4 via Twitter

If your kids (or you) have ever ogled the handiwork of some impressive LEGO sculptures and wondered just how they got built, then LEGO Masters is the new reality show for you.

Contestants in the new U.K. television series LEGO Masters will compete in weekly LEGO building challenges to determine exactly who is the best Master Builder of all. The eight team pairs of all ages, including 9-year-old best friends, a mom and son, a dad and son, young female cousins, and university engineering students, will be competing in the debut reality series. Each week the teams face a different themed-building challenge, like nature, movement, and a LEGO feast. The final head-to-head battle of the top two remaining teams will require them to build a master-work measuring 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet and using 500,000 LEGO bricks.

The concept is so ingenious it’s hard to understand why it took this long to hit airwaves. Unfortunately for US fans the wait might be even longer, as the series is currently set to air on Channel 4 in the U.K. with no word on an American broadcast. With so many successful British adaptations for US television, however, it’s only a matter of time before it gets reworked and debuted here, so keep your remotes ready.

Would your own mini master builders love this show? Share your thoughts in the comments.



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This Netflix-Style Subscription Plan Let’s You Watch Unlimited Movies in the Theater for $10 a Momth


This Netflix-Style Subscription Plan Let’s You Watch Unlimited Movies in the Theater for $10 a Momth

photo: Raymond Shobe via Flickr

Netflix has been a game changer for watching movies and television shows at home, so it makes sense that one company wants to apply that same model to the movie theater business. With a minimal subscription fee, you can see as many movies as you want in the theaters every month.

With the cost of movie tickets skyrocketing, it can be a real gamble whether to take the family to the see the latest blockbuster in the theater or wait it out for the Netflix debut. MoviePass, which has actually been around for a few years, just announced that they are dropping the price of their monthly subscription fee to $9.99. Meaning, you can watch a movie in the theater every day for a month without spending more than $10. The way that MoviePass works is, you use their app to search for movie tickets at any theater for any movie and make your selection the same way you would on MovieTickets.com or Fandango, but instead of paying, MoviePass buys the ticket for you.

If it sounds too good to be true, it just might be. After yesterday’s announcement, AMC Theaters released a statement that they are trying everything in their power to stop MoviePass from being able to purchase tickets for showings at their chains, explaining that it’s a bad business model that’s doomed to fail. To be fair, it’s hard to see how MoviePass wouldn’t lose money on this deal, considering that watching just two movies in one month would cost more than $10.

However, MoviePass is hoping that people who sign up for the subscription and don’t use it every month will help balance the costs. You know, kind of like that gym membership you signed up for last January and ignored after March.

Would you sign up for a subscription with MoviePass? Share your thoughts in the comments below.



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