Sacred Heart Schools


Sacred Heart Schools

“At Sacred Heart, students know that they are genuinely loved and cared for, which helps them both excel in their studies and embrace life with confidence and purpose. Our approach is tried and true—we have been teaching in Chicago since 1876 and today, we are part of a global network of nearly 180 schools.

As a Catholic, independent K-8 school that warmly welcomes children of all faiths, Sacred Heart is committed to educating both the head and the heart. Our 9:1 student/teacher ratio allows us to provide a quality, personalized learning experience in which students thrive academically. And our “best of both worlds” approach—single gender classrooms on a coed campus—encourages student focus and engagement. We are also committed to teaching the value of faith, service, community and wise decision-making.

Most importantly, Sacred Heart students are excited about learning! They love their teachers and school traditions, and feel inspired to be successful in high school and beyond.

Unique to Sacred Heart is the Early Decision program in which pre-K children who receive early acceptance are assured that a place will be reserved for them in kindergarten. Join us for a tour of Sacred Heart and experience our caring and supportive community.”

 

-from Nat Wilburn, Head of Schools, Sacred Heart Schools
6250 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, Il 60660
Email: admissions@shschicago.org
Phone: 773-262-4446
Online: shschicago.org
Facebook: facebook.com/sacredheartschools
Twitter: twitter.com/SacredHeartChgo

 



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Malarkey Kids


Malarkey Kids

“My first son was a really good baby, slept, ate well… However, when my little guy turned 3 months old I noticed my giggly, laid back baby boy was turning into a monster baby! Suddenly he was cranky, up all night and drooling like crazy. I noticed he had started to put his hands in his mouth all the time. Could this be teething? Turns out that at 3 months old, the teething process had started. Because of his age, my son was unable to hold the typical teethers and provide himself relief. He then turned to his hands, or my hands (when available). Sometimes I would have to sit and hold teethers to his mouth for hours! In addition to this, my son has sensitive skin. I needed something that would protect his hands, give him pain relief and keep him interested. He also needed to be able to access it himself when he felt like it. Thus the Munch Mitt was born!

After 3 years of research, design, development, sourcing, testing and a 2nd teething baby; I am happy and excited to know that I am helping other parents and their little ones with the Munch Mitt.”

 

-from Melissa Hyslop, Malarkey Kids
Online: malarkeykids.com
Facebook: facebook.com/munchmitt
Twitter: twitter.com/munchmitt
Instagram: instagram.com/munchmitt

 



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Marcus & Marcus


Marcus & Marcus

“Developed by two parents who share a love for their children and unique modern designs, Marcus & Marcus was inspired with contemporary lifestyle in mind to make our product appealing to your sense of style. The bold, bright and engaging colors keep your child engaged and interested to make our products a must-have baby item. Marcus & Marcus products also makes for great gifts for parents to be.”

 

-from Marcus & Marcus
Online: marcusandmarcusna.com
Facebook: facebook.com/marcusnmarcus
Twitter: twitter.com/MarcusandMarcus
Instagram: instagram.com/marcusnmarcus.na

 



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Best Audiobooks for Kids

Heading over the river and through the woods can take a little longer than usual during the holidays. When “the alphabet game” is old news and “Wheels on the Bus” is about to make your head spin round and round, queue up one of these recent audiobooks of classic children’s books read by celebs of today. Take a trip to Never Land—or maybe OZ—or to the fair fictional isle of Avonlea. Scroll down for nine stories that just might make your next road trip seem too short. 

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1. Anne of Green Gables read by Rachel McAdams

Just out on Nov. 22, and ready for your next long holiday ride/flight, Audible Studios has teamed up with the amazing Rachel McAdams (yep, now you have yet another reason to love her) to create an audiobook version of Lucy Laud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Pop it in the car player or invest in some earbud splitters so you can cuddle up with the kiddos in flight, because you are going to want to re-live every word of this story with your kids. Delight in the adventures of Anne with an “e” (raspberry cordial, anyone?) just like you did back in the day. Listen to the full book before enjoying the upcoming Netlfix adaptation and the PBS remake coming soon.

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Length: 9 hrs. and 30 min.
Price: $24.95
Suggested age range: 9-12 (but our editor swears she read this when she was 7)
Purchase: audible.com/anneofgreengables

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2. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer read by Nick Offerman

Well, thanks to this audiobook, if it’s not already”sagacity” will soon be part of your regular vocab. Just like you (hopefully) did in school, the story will also give you a chance to talk about race issues and commonly used words that today we don’t use (and why). Offerman makes this the next best thing to getting in a time machine and heading back to 1876 to hear Twain read it out loud to you himself.

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Length: 7 hrs. and 52 mins.
Price: $19.95
Suggested age range: 8-12
Purchase: audible.com/tomsawyer

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3. Peter Pan read by Lily Collins

Your kids might recognize her as Snow White from the movie Mirror, Mirror but this time Collins is in the middle of a whole new fairy tale: J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. Listen to the adventure of Wendy and the Lost Boys as you make your way to your in-laws or maybe just as you and the kiddos drift off to sleep. Either way, this classic will never be the same for you. And we mean that in the best way possible.

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Length: 4 hrs. and 51 min.
Price: $19.95
Suggested age range: 8 and up, possibly younger for kids familiar with the story
Purchase: audible.com/peterpan

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4. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland read by Scarlett Johansson

Lewis Carroll’s story of the girl who fell down the rabbit hole comes to life in a whole new way thanks to the voice of Scarlett Johansson. From the beginning to the end, you’ll be lost in the chase as you join Alice as she follows the White Rabbit, argues time with the Mad Hatter and negotiates nonsense with the a hookah-smoking caterpillar.

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Length: 2 hrs. and 44 min.
Price: $14.95
Suggested age range: 7-11 but we think this one could skew younger thanks to familiarity with the Disney cartoon
Purchase: audible.com/alice

5. Appleblossom the Possum read by Dustin Hoffman

You’ll fall in love with this possum family sure to become a family favorite. Author Holly Goldberg Sloan’s detailed, descriptive storytelling is a delicious mix of fictional characters and animal facts, while Dustin Hoffman’s voice aptly captures the sentiment of this tale about growing up. His crisp narration brings alive its vivid cast of characters: Appleblossom the spunky runt, Ajax the pest, Antonio the brainy, and Amlet the dramatic. Their fun adventures captivate the imagination.

Length: 3 hrs. and 30 min.
Price: $16.95
Suggested age range: 6-10
Purchase: audible.com/appleblossomthe possum

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6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz read by Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway lends her sprightly voice to bring young Dorothy alive, skipping along the yellow brick road. She captures the awe and curiosity of Dorothy wonderfully and gives voice to the great variety of characters she meets: the Munchkins, scarecrow, and the Wicked Witch of the East to name a few. Unlike Dorothy and the Lion who were lulled to sleep by the beautiful field of poppies, we bet your little ones will stay wide awake with Hathaway’s captivating performance.

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Length: 3 hrs. and 51 min.
Price: $14.95
Suggested age range: 8-14
Purchase: audible.com/thewonderfulwizardofoz

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7. The Night Before Christmas read by Jeff Bridges

Save this short gem for the very end of your drive as you anticipate the magic of Christmas. This brand-new version of The Night Before Christmas features Jeff Bridges as narrator. The book’s beautiful illustrations unfold landscape-style— adding to the charm of the story. Bridge’s voice, with its mixture of soothing, gruff and sweet tones brings Santa alive as the family delights in picturing jolly St. Nick fill the stockings again and again.

Length: 4 min., 28 pp.
Price: $9.95
Suggested age range: 1-101
Purchase: amazon.com/nightbeforechristmas

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8. Matilda read by Kate Winslet

During your family travels, take along spunky, brilliant Matilda as she escapes to new lands through books. Kids are sure to laugh aloud with her as she pulls pranks on mean-spirited adults like her father, Mr. Wormwood working his second hand car garage in his garish clothes. Kiddos will crack up as Kate Winslet dives into each character, immersing them in the distinct, realistic British voices.

Length: 4 hrs. and 30 min.
Price: $21
Suggested age range: 8-10. (Note: Best for bigger kids who can handle the idea of not-so-idealistic adults. You may want to preface your listening with a discussion of the language you’ll hear such as “Shut up” and “stupid.”)
Purchase: audible.com/matilda

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9. The Velveteen Rabbit read by Meryl Streep

Need to calm a rowdy carload? Captivate your clan with this timeless, sweet classic made even more stunning by Meryl Streep’s gentle, soothing voice and the magical piano playing of George Winston. Share the beautiful message of being loved with those you love. As the story winds down and the delicate piano continues, you may just create Christmas magic by getting them all to wink off to sleep.

Length: 25 min.
Price: $3.95
Suggested age range: 5-7, but the message is irresistible to kids of all ages and kids at heart
Purchase: audible.com/thevelveteenrabbit

Have you tried any audible books for your car or plane rides? What’s your favorite?

— Amber Guetebier & Cherie Gough

all photos courtesy Audible 

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9 Reasons to Take a Caribbean Vaycay with the Kids

Pool, ocean, beach, spa. Repeat. If this schedule sounds like one you’d be willing to give a try, and you’re in the market for a vacation that won’t feel like more work than play, the Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica is for you. Read on to get the scoop on why it’s the perfect place for your next truly relaxing family getaway.

hyatt rose ziva

1. You can bring the kids (and still feel like you’re re-living your honeymoon).  

White sand beaches? Check. Warm tropical breezes and swaying palm trees? Total yes. But for parents, the real beauty of this resort is feeling completely welcome with your kiddos in tow. The Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall actually has an adults-only, adjoining property and beach (the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall) for those who prefer not to hear the pitter patter of little feet. This means parents can rest-assured they are not disturbing the peace, especially when the littles are getting over their jet lag. So dine, roam, swim, swing, relax and play with the gusto of a five-year-old. They’ve got you.

2. On-site amenities & activities, galore. 

When they are ready to finally get out of the pool (pool is open late but only has a lifeguard on duty until 6-7 p.m. depending on the season) the kiddos can join you in daily ping-pong and cornhole tournaments, shuffleboard, beach volleyball, bingo, fitness classes and other adventurous-but-not-that-far-from-a-frosty-drink activities. Seriously: you can make them laugh endlessly as you attempt to Zumba, Jamaican style. Each evening at turn down you will receive a print out of the next day’s schedule so you can plan accordingly.

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3. The Kidz Club is where it’s at. 

Even though YOU want to do all the things, your kids want to hang out. With other kids. Enter, the Kidz Club. Open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. every day, there’s a host of rotating activities including arts and crafts, beach going and more. Evening might call for a PJ party or even a mini-disco. You’ll find warm, fun-loving staff who are all CPR trained. Unlike other resorts, the Kidz Club at Hyatt Ziva will actually take the kiddos to eat both lunch and dinner. There is a one-hour break between 5-6 p.m. so staff can change shifts, etc. The resort also offers a Teen Club which includes video games, air hockey and more. (And did we mention that the entire resort has free wi-fi?) That means you can book time at the spa or relax near the beach (cabana + novel) while the kiddos are happy and busy. The Kidz Club is designed for children ages 3-12. Kids under 3 can participate in crafts and other activities if accompanied by a parent.

Insider tip: If you have a young babe but want a little time to yourselves, visit the Kidz Club to see if they can connect you with a babysitter.

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4. Buffet dining with unlimited dessert is usually every kid’s idea of a good time.

In total, the resort has 13 bars, restaurants and lounges. The family-friendly stars we think you’ll be rotating through with the kiddos are: Choicez, which features an upscale buffet ladened with fresh fruits and vegetables along with local hot and cold dishes, breads, soups and the aforementioned dessert buffet; Barefoot Jerkz—Jamaican jerk BBQ served while you squish your toes in the sand; and Bitez Deli where you can grab quick and delicious bites, sandwiches and treats for hungry kids who need to tuck in ASAP. Adjacent to the lobby parents will want to make a stop at Stirz, a coffee bar where you can get your latte fix. Naturally there’s also swim-up bars, adults-only fancy pants dining and more.

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photo courtesy Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

5. The rooms. Oh, the rooms.

Every room feels like deluxe accommodations. This recently remodeled resort, formerly the spot of the Ritz, left no detail out. Balconies, sweet breezes and super comfy beds (where do they get those pillows??) are all the norm. Parents with smalls can request a suite, many of which come with a mini bar area/fridge and additional sleeping on fold-out couch. Want to take things to uber-indulgence? Upgrade to a Butler Suite, which will come with your own personal butler. You are outfitted with a phone to call your butler, for those times when you simply can’t lure “the kids” away from the beach but everyone is hungry, or you find yourself poolside and in need of a cooler of drinks. Seriously. We are not even kidding about this. There’s also pool suites, ocean views (well, all the rooms have ocean views so more direct ocean views) and more. Parents should know that the rooms on the Ziva side near the stage (the building over Choicez buffet and shops) can be loud past younger kid’s bed times so you might want to request a poolside room.

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6. Jamaica, no problem

Few places on earth match Jamaica and Jamaicans for generosity of heart and spirit. Each and every person you will encounter here will not only offer you smiles and courteousness, but you and your children will make genuine connections that will become the most memorable part of your vacation. If you relax and go with the Jamaican way, you will truly have no worries.

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7. Nearby excursions (including a haunted plantation).

When you want to venture off-property, there is no shortage of activities, all easily arranged by the concierge. Go in search of the legendary White Witch of Rose Hall Plantation (the night tour makes Disney’s Haunted Mansion look like a fun house) or book a family snorkeling excursion, hike the jungles, explore luminous caves and more. There are even nearby parks that include animal encounters and ziplining. You know, if you have time.

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8. All inclusive, with extras.

All the food and drink, including room service, as well as on-site activities come with your stay. As an added bonus, one free round of golf is also included. Choose between two par-71 links-style course: White Witch or Cinnamon Hill. Check in with the concierge to arrange tee time (and even reserve rental clubs). Additional awesomeness (which has a fee) include upgrading your poolside chaise lounge to a cabana complete with towel swans; couple massages en plein; spa treatments like hot stone therapy and body wraps; candlelight beach-side dining and much, much more. There are also two gift shops on site so you can bring back a t-shirt for your catsitter.

hyatt-ziva-rose-hall-p077-family-enjoying-swim-up-suite-adapt-640-800photo courtesy Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall

9. Getting there is easy.

From most major cities you can book a flight (with one stop) to Montego Bay, Jamaica. It’s less than 2 hours flight from Miami, about 3 from Charlotte, NC and there are even nonstop flights on American from NYC and Chicago. Check out Fun Jet Vacations to book the most direct route. Once you arrive at the aiport, proceed past baggage claim and into the main hub where the Ziva (and Zilara) have a lounge. You chill there with a cool beverage and wait for your quick shuttle to the hotel.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall 
Rose Hall Rd.
Montego Bay, St. James
Jamaica
T: 1-876-953-2800
Online: rosehall.ziva.hyatt.com 

Have you been to Jamaica or an all-inclusive resort with your kiddos? What are your tips? 

Note: This trip was paid for by FunJet Vacations and Hyatt Ziva / Playa Resorts
but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.

—all copy and photos by Amber Guetebier except where otherwise noted

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Snuza


Snuza

“Snuza is a cutting edge company that has developed an award-winning line of ground-breaking, easy-to-use, high tech wearable portable baby movement monitors that easily attaches to baby’s diaper.  Snuza is lightweight (1 oz) and alerts parents/caregivers in 15-20 seconds if no abdominal movement is detected. The are no wires, cords or sensor pads that could potentially harm baby. Plus, the line is made using hypo-allergenic, medical grade plastics and more importantly does not send or receive radio frequency signals.”

-from Snuza
Online: snuza.com
Facebook: facebook.com/SnuzaMonitors
Twitter: twitter.com/snuzamonitors



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WeVillage Los Angeles


WeVillage Los Angeles

WeVillage offers flexible childcare for children ages 14 through 6 weeks. It was built on the concept of childcare when you need it. With convenient hourly flexible child care, you will never have to worry about paying for care you aren’t using or lengthy child care contracts. Simply drop your child off and go!

WeVillage “play-based” programs, staff work hand-in-hand with the children choosing and personalizing their activities, based on their individual or current level of interests. The WeVillage teachers, encourage children with interactive play, helping with facilitating their individual social skills along the way.

 

-from Karen Beninati, WeVillage Los Angeles
13335 Ventura Blvd
Sherman Oaks, Ca 91423-3912
Phone: 818-233-8218
Online: wevillage.com
Facebook: facebook.com/WeVillageLA
Twitter: twitter.com/wevillage
Instagram: instagram.com/wevillage
Pinterest: pinterest.com/wevillage

 



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Sassy


Sassy

“Here at Sassy®, we’re on a mission to inspire the imagination of all infants; to encourage baby’s development through playful interactions. From tubby time to tummy time, from sitting to crawling and standing, we have taken a back-to-basics approach in our toy development to ensure each product has features that are ideally suited for baby’s emerging skills, through each stage of their early life.

When building the Sassy brand, we sought a balanced approach to form and design elements based upon the foundation of Early Childhood Development. These aspects of design are what separates Sassy products from all other baby products in the market. The Sassy brand is more than a series of “black and white stripes” or a “happy smiley face”. There is a harmony of elements, brought together in varying degrees, creating a sensory experience that will engage and stimulate baby’s senses!

Developmentally appropriate toys and open-ended play helps babies and young children learn to solve problems, be flexible, self-motivate, and most importantly, play…with purpose.”

 

-from Sassy Team
Email: allaboutsassy@sassybaby.com
Phone: 616-243-0767
Online: sassybaby.com
Facebook: facebook.com/sassybabyproducts
Twitter: twitter.com/SassyBabyToys
Instagram: instagram.com/sassybabyproducts
Pinterest: pinterest.com/sassybabytoys

 



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Satsuma


Satsuma

“For 8 years at Satsuma Designs we’ve been locally manufacturing organic baby products that make caring for kids as easy as child’s play. And NOW, at Satsuma the kids shop we get to greet our customers face to face and share even more collections of kids toys and gifts along with children’s dancewear.

We are so excited to share our offering with Wedgwood in NE Seattle and beyond and hope you’ll come experience our little slice of heaven.

Every day, we’re delighted by the little customers who peer through our window with wide eyes and thankfully pull in their chaperones to browse and buy from our range of designers. We’re featuring Seattle made and designed brands such as Manzanita Kids, Mimi Bug and Limited Editions Dancewear along with best selling national brands such as Manhattan Toy and 3 Sprouts. There’s a little goodie for everyone at Satsuma and that includes Mom. We’re excited for holiday when we’ll be launching the Mer | Sea collection of incredible smelling candles, soaps, lotions and more.

Come by to visit and we hope you’ll leave with a smile and if we’ve done our job, a bag full of goodies. Enjoy!”

Satsuma
8511 35th Ave NE
Seattle, Wa 98115
Email: satsuma@satsumadesigns.com
Phone: 206-604-6465
Online: http://satsumadesigns.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SatsumaDesignsBaby
Twitter: https://twitter.com/satsumadesigns
Instagram: https://instagram.com/satsuma_designs
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/satsumadesigns

 



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