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If you’re ready for full-blown hygge as the weather cools, make sure your space is ready to serve maximum coziness! Amazon has a new Cozy Cabin collection packed with blankets, lighting, storage and accessories to make you feel like you’ve escaped to the woods on a wintry day. And in traditional Amazon fashion, most items are both stylish and affordable.

You’ll currently find eight pages of home goods to choose from, with many priced under $50. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites for you to score as we head into November!

photo: Amazon

Woolrich Throw Pillows

Hypoallergenic with lumbar support, these cozy pillows take us straight to a mountain getaway. Buy here, $20. 

photo: Amazon

Pendleton Queen Grand Canyon Multi Sherpa Blanket

Pendleton adds the ultimate classic Western flair to any home. This sherpa blanket pulls double duty with maximum coziness, too. Buy it here, $55 on sale. 

photo: Amazon

GE LED Vintage Night Light

This clever plug-in light will give your space a little vintage flair, perfect for capturing that classic cabin style. Buy here, $16.98 for two. 

photo: Amazon

Rugshop Geometric Bohemian Design Area Rug

This rug really ties the room together (and saves your feet from cold floors, too). Buy it here, $44.50 on sale. 

—Sarah Shebek

All images courtesy of Amazon

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3 Reasons You’ll Have Big Love for the New Clifford The Big Red Dog Movie

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Fans of Clifford The Big Red Dog books rejoice—this lovable pup is coming to the big screen (with extra-large paws, of course). Based on the beloved children’s book series, Clifford’s latest hilarious escapades take place in New York City. When middle-schooler Emily Elizabeth meets a magical animal rescuer, he gifts her a small, red puppy. But overnight, the dog transforms into a giant ten-foot hound—not ideal in a tiny NYC apartment! While her single mom is away for business, Emily Elizabeth and her fun uncle Casey get involved in edge-of-your-seat adventures. Here’s why your family will want to go along for the ride!

See Clifford The Big Red Dog only in theatres and on Paramount + November 10!

Clifford Teaches Us How to Love—and Dream—Big

Emily Elizabeth wishes for her dog to be big and strong. Poof! That’s actually what he becomes. While your child won’t be able to transform the family pet, this sweet movie reminds us to believe in something bigger than ourselves, because possibilities are endless when you have a big heart. From showing kindness to strangers in the community to being a good friend—Clifford proves there is magic that comes from loving big.

Stepping Outside of Your Comfort Zone Is Rewarding

Emily Elizabeth sometimes feels like an outsider. But Clifford is so full of love, he makes her feel like she can do anything. Kids will feel inspired by seeing Emily Elizabeth tap into her inner courage to stand up for her dog when a scientist tries to claim him as his own. From trying a new activity to speaking up, being brave and embracing our differences leads to good things!

Dogs Have a Way of Capturing Our Hearts

Kids (and kids at heart) will relate to the unconditional love and loyalty exchanged between a young girl and her dog. Clifford certainly has a way of “growing” on Emily Elizabeth, just like our treasured pets do for us. (If your kids have been begging for a dog… the Clifford movie just may help their case!)

This playful story will delight audiences of all ages with its themes of loyalty, friendship, self-acceptance, and the importance of loving big. Parents will appreciate the movie’s awesome cast including, Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Tony Hale, David Alan Grier, Kenan Thompson, Rosie Perez, Paul Rodriguez, Sienna Guillory and John Cleese.

See Clifford The Big Red Dog only in theatres and on Paramount + November 10!

Our Favorite New Family Cookbooks

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They say the kitchen is the heart of the home and that’s why we love family cookbooks. To help freshen up your recipe repertoire and get the kiddos excited to help in the kitchen, we’ve rounded up the best in new family cookbooks. From step-by-step recipes to creative cakes for kids, these books will guide you through everything from breakfast to dinner, with make-ahead tips and recipes for even the pickiest of eaters.

Kids

photo: Candlewick

Bake, Make & Learn to Cook

2019's Great British Baking Show winner David Atherton brings us quite possibly the cutest cookbook we've ever seen. Illustrated with whimsical images by Rachel Stubbs, Atherton shares healthy recipes that are fun for bakers and chefs of all ages. Kids will love everything from the Hummus Lion to the Cakey Caterpiller.

Pre-order here with a Nov. 2 release date, $16

photo: Bloom Books for Young Readers

The Unofficial Hogwarts Cookbooks for Kids

What better way to immerse yourself in the wizarding world than with a few magical recipes? Alana Al-Hatlani's newest release brings 50 simple recipes to the table that include inspired recipes like Pumpkin Pasties, Muggle-Style Pizza and Treacle Tarts.

Get it here, $16

Wild Child: Adventure Cooking with Kids

Sarah Glover, the James Beard Award-nominated author of Wild: Adventure Cooking, brings us this lovely book that will definitely motivate you and your kids to get cooking outdoors. From campfire bananas to food cooked in coconut, this book will definitely up your camping food game. 

Get yours here, $16. 

photo: Hearst Home Kids

The Big, Fun Kids Baking Book

Packed with over 100 recipes, Food Network Magazine's new cookbook for kids is fun for the entire fam. Not only do the pages contain no-bake treats, tons of rainbow sweets and food crafts, but also trivia to keep everyone on their toes.

Get it here, $16

Food Fun: An Activity Book for Young Chefs

Our friends at America's Test Kitchen are back with this fun cookbook and activity book for young chefs. There are recipes, word finds, Mad Libs and more. Your kids will love finding out the science of salt and why different chocolates taste so different from each other. 

Get it here, $13. 

Family

photo: Clarkson Potter

Life Is What You Bake It

Great American Baking Show winner Vallery Lomas shares over 100 delicious recipes that include everything from biscuits and moon pies to crepe cakes.

Get it here, $22

photo: Ulysses Press

The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Bewitchingly Delicious Recipes for Fans of the Halloween Classic

Compiled with recipes from Bridget Thoreson, kids and adults alike will thoroughly enjoy running amok, amok, amok over William’s Wormy Bed Dirt Cake while enjoying your family movie night. The 60+ collection of recipes boasts must-make meals that bring the film to life, like Mischief Night Pasta and Baked Witch Casserole.

Get it here, $15

photo: Adams Media

The "I Love My Air Fryer" 5-Ingredient Recipe Book

So you have a brand new air fryer, now what? Make every meal a breeze with this 5-ingredient cookbook that includes everything from breakfast to dinner and snacks. Each recipe requires only five main ingredients plus pantry staples like salt and pepper. 

Get it here, $14

photo: Insight Kids

Disney Villains: Devilishly Delicious Cookbook

Follow the villains as they share some of their fave recipes in this fun new cookbook. Perfect for Halloween or any spooky soiree, this 50+ recipe book contains easy to follow recipes and treats like Poison Apples, Tiger Tails and Bald Mountain Cookies.

Get it here, $18

photo: Prospect Park Books

Lush Life

Embrace your inner Californian with this beautifully photographed cookbook packed with recipes for every season. Valerie Rush brings her simple methods with minimal ingredients to the table, alongside coordinating cocktails and wine suggestions. Perfect as a gift or anyone who enjoys gorgeous meals.

Get it here, $28

photo: Adams Media

Bread

Did you become a pandemic baker? If you're itching to up your bread game, this new cookbook is what you need. With 100 recipes that include sourdough, nut and sweet breads, this beginner's guide puts artisanal bread at your fingertips.

Get it here, $18

photo: Adams Media

The Anti-Inflammatory Family Cookbook: The Kid-Friendly, Pediatrician-Approved Way to Transform Your Family's Health

Getting your kiddos to eat healthy just got easier. Written by accredited chefs, nutritionists and pediatric doctors, the 100-recipe book is packed with simple recipes for better lunches, quick weeknight dinners and healthy desserts.

Get it here, $19

photo: Ulysses Press

The Unofficial ALDI Cookbook

Created by long-time fan, Jeanette Hurt, this new cookbook shines bright on all things ALDI. Using go-to ingredients and special finds from the cult fave grocer, this recipe book makes meal planning and cooking fun and easy.

Get it here, $16

photo: Adams Media

The "I Love My Instant Pot" 5-Ingredient Recipe Book

Are you intimidated by our Instant Pot? Then this cookbook is for you. It's packed with 175 recipes that range from easy peasy to decently challenging. While many of the recipes do exceed five ingredients (the author doesn't count basic spices or common items like milk that you probably already have on hand), they are enough to shake up meal time in all the right ways.

Get it here, $14

From 2020

Family

photo: Adams Media

The New Fondue Cookbook

How do you spell fun, family dinner? F-O-N-D-U-E! The DIY dinner activity is extra special with this new cookbook. Dip everything from breakfast fondue and shabu shabu to marscapone and donuts, this cookbook is a must for making meals memorable.

Get it here, $17.99

photo: Adams Media

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook

The Unofficial Disney Parks Cookbook is packed with 100 recipes and they’re all Disney inspired. From park classics like churros and Dole Whips to new offerings that include Star Wars blue milk, this book is a must for Disney foodies. The cookbook is organized by park and includes Disneyland, the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and California Adventure. 

Get it here, $13.99

photo: Flatiron Books

7 Ways: Easy Ideas for Every Day of the Week

Tired of the same old recipes? Jamie Oliver is here to give you 7 ways to reinvent family faves. Packed with over 120 recipes, Oliver uses 18 of the most popular ingredients to give you a fresh take on meals.

Get it here, $19.49

photo: Adams Media

The Everything Plant-Based Meal Prep Cookbook

Plant-based eating just got easier. Over 200 recipes are included in this easy to follow book that also comes with two full-week meal plans. Enjoy tasty, make ahead meals that even incorporate your Instant Pot.

Get it here, $18.99

photo: Flatiron Books

East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing

The newest cookbook from Meera Sodha takes home chefs on a journey through India, Singapore, Japan, China, Thailand and Vietnam. Packed with quick weeknight recipes and easy to find ingredients, the vegan and vegetarian book is perfect for diners of any palate.

Get it here, $28.99

photo: Disney Editions

Disney Eats

Miss the Disney Parks? Now you can bring home a piece of the magic with this 150-recipe cookbook. The full-colored book is packed with everything from easy treats to holiday sweets, all with Disney-inspired characters. The simple recipes make this a perfect book for young chefs or families who love to spend time in the kitchen together.

Get it here, $23.09

photo: Ulysses Press

The Unofficial Hogwarts for the Holidays Cookbook

Accio tasty recipes! Your magic-obsessed kiddos will love whipping up recipes inspired by their fave wizard franchise. From treacle tarts and trifles to Muggle meals, this 75-recipe book comes with easy instructions, color photos and all the magic you'd expect.

Get it here, $17.64

photo: Page Two

Dinner Uncomplicated

Claire Tansey is back with her newest cookbook that is packed with 90 inspired easy-to-follow recipes. The simple to shop for ideas are easy on prep work and cleanup, and packed with flavor. Broken up into sections that cater to make-ahead meals, big batch recipes, 45-minute dinners and more, Dinner Uncomplicated takes the guesswork out of meal planning.

Get it here, $24.95

photo: Page Street Publishing

Stress-Free Family Meal Planning

Part recipe book, part meal planner, this new release is perfect for busy parents. Packed with 75 simple and healthy meal ideas, readers will love weekly plans that have been designed by Kristen McCaffery, a professional meal planner. Enjoy four unique weekly meal plans, plus tasty bonus recipes!

Get it here, $17.99

The Veganaise Cookbook

You don't have to choose between healthy and tasty with this new cookbook. Created with plenty of recipes that incorporate the uber popular Veganaise condiment, the book provides plenty of ways to sneak in veggies. We particularly love the Sneaky Healthy Shepherd's Pie and Herbed Parmesan Polenta Fries.

Get it here, $19.29

photo: Harry N. Abrams

Smoothie Project: The 28-Day Plan to Feel Happy and Healthy No Matter Your Age

A smoothie a day keeps anxiety, weight, and stress away! In Catherine McCord's new book, the Weelicious founder shares her top 100 smoothie recipes she's perfected over the years to bring people of any age closer to a healthier life in just 28 days. Her simple recipes help readers to control ADHD symptoms, boost the immune system, improve digestion and much more.

Get it here, $15.67

photo: Flatiron Books

Ultimate Veg: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone

Eating and meal prepping just got easier and healthier with this new cookbook from Jamie Oliver. With chapters that include Soups & Sandwiches, Brunch, Pies & Bakes, Curries & Stews, Salads, Burgers & Fritters, Pasta, Rice & Noodles, and Traybakes, there is something for everyone. Vegetarians and parents just looking for a few meat-free meals throughout the week will love the simple recipes that make feeding the kiddos veggies a cinch.

Get it here, $22.49

photo: Workman Publishing Company

Half the Sugar, All the Love: 100 Easy, Low-Sugar Recipes for Every Meal of the Day

In this new release, parents will find 100 doctor-approved recipes that cut the sugar by half or more, from family favorite recipes. Written in a way that provides much needed education and simple ways to implement healthy eating, this cookbook is filled with easy recipes that are so tasty, you won't even miss the sugar. 

Get it here, $16.59

photo: Countryman Press

Simply Real Eating

This beautiful second cookbook from Sarah Adler makes eating healthy a breeze. The collection of recipes reads more like an inspiring memoir on self care, with encouraging ways to establish good habits and entirely gluten-free menu ideas. Many recipes contain five ingredients or less, accompany beautiful photos and are more than family-friendly.

Available on Amazon, $15.99

Kids

photo: Weldon Owen

Barbie Bakes

Barbie, Skipper, Chelsea and Stacy are ready to bake! This 50+ recipe book is chock full of the Roberts' family faves, with cookies, brownies, breads, pies and healthy snacks. Not only can bakers pour over the bright photos and easy-to-understand recipes, but they can also learn from the pantry staples and substitution sections that make baking a breeze.

Get it here, $15.97

photo: Weldon Owen

Disney Princess Baking

Over 60 royal recipes await in the new Disney Princess Baking cookbook. With categories that include morning treat, cakes, bars, cookies, pies and tarts, this comprehensive baker's book is great for budding chefs. While the recipes are a little more complex for a beginner, they make the perfect challenge for kiddos looking to up their skills.

Get it here, $17.99

photo: America's Test Kitchen Kids

The Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs

Budding bakers will love this DIY book that gives the perfect foundation for making their fave foods from scratch. The 100+ recipe book comes with tons of step-by step instructions and photos, quotes from kids and all the encouragement they need to be confident in the kitchen.

Get it here, $17.99

photo: Weldon Owen

Peanuts Lunch Bag Cookbook

The Peanuts gang is here to spice up your kiddos lunch! Packed with over 50 recipes and 60+ comic strips, this fun cookbook puts a fun twist on kid-friendly recipes, sneaking in a fair amount of fruit and veggies in the process.

Get it here, $24.99

photo: Gibbs Smith

The Llamacorn Cookbook

Perfect for budding bakers, The Llamacorn Cookbook's bright photos and easy recipes will inspire everyone. The 96-page book shares 45 recipes, many of which use store bought items to make cooking easy and fun––especially for parents. Kiddos can whip up Llamacorn's Meringue Cookies, Enchanged Unicorn Horns and Lah-Tee-Dah Pink Limeade and plenty more whimsical treats.

Ages: 5+

Get it here, $14.97

photo: America's Test Kitchen Kids

My First Cookbook

America's Test Kitchen has just released their newest book, My First Cookbook and its one for every little up and coming chef. The photo-focused book introduces kitchen language, equipment, helpful kitchen prep and tons of step-by-step instructions that littles (and cooking-challenged adults) will adore. Enjoy simple and delicious recipes for appetizers and snacks, main meals, seasonal goodies and international recipes.

Ages: 5-8

Available on Amazon, $19.99

photo: Gibbs Smith

Cakes for Kids: 40 Easy Recipes That Will Wow!

Paris-based baker, food artist and cookbook author Juliette Lalbaltry's latest book starts with teaching kids (and their grown-ups) four basic cake recipes (lemon, yogurt, chocolate and rolled sponge).  From these four bases she offers dozens of ideas for clever, totally doable decorations that will guarantee you'll never need to order another party cake. 

Ages: All Ages 

Find it here. $16.99

photo: America's Test Kitchen Kids

The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs

From breads and biscuits to pizza and pie, your little bakers will love America's Test Kitchen's The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs. The 200+ page book include everything your kids need to learn the basics of baking, including frosting 101, measurements and how to zest citrus fruits.

Ages: 8-12

You can purchase on Amazon, $13.59

—Karly Wood

Feature photo: iStock

 

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It’s time to get excited: Polar Bear Week is almost here! Running from Oct. 31 to Nov. 6, the special time coincides with the annual gathering of hundreds of polar bears on the shores of Hudson Bay where they wait for the sea ice to freeze so they can start hunting seals out on the frozen ocean.

Polar Bears International (PBI) is using this week to focus on protecting polar bears and people. Families can tune into Polar Bear Live Cams, play polar bear cam bingo, access free curriculum and activities, and watch live-streamed “Tundra Connections,” with scientists and experts.

photo: ©Kt. Miller + Polar Bears International

Polar Bears International will also be doing a live, family-friendly concert to kick off Polar Bear Week for the first time. The concert will host a performance by Kishi Bashi (multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter) with bears in the background, and families can tune in this Wed., Oct. 27 at 1:30 PST / 4:30 EST (it’s free, just RSVP here).

––Karly Wood

Feature photo: ©BJ Kirschhoffer + Polar Bears International

 

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Sentiment on Red Lobster may be mixed, but everyone can agree that the Cheddar Bay Biscuits are deliciously iconic. And this is very good news for biscuit lovers: for the first time ever, you can buy the product frozen and ready to bake!

No need to visit the restaurant to get your quick fix. You can buy boxes of Cheddar Bay Biscuits exclusively at Walmart and they’ll be ready for dinner in less than 30 minutes, with no mixing or prep work required. Once they come out of the oven, brush with melted butter and add seasoning from the enclosed pack to replicate the classic taste at home.

Look for the new product in the frozen food aisle at Walmart. Each box makes eight biscuits and make it easy to satisfy your Cheddar Bay cravings any time of day (or night). And if you’re avoiding gluten, you can also buy Gluten-Free Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix at retailers nationwide!

—Sarah Shebek

Image courtesy of Red Lobster

 

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Mark your calendar for November 3! That’s when you’ll be able to buy this year’s ALDI advent calendars, including the ever-popular wine advent calendar. The 2021 collection includes something for everyone, with cheese, chocolates, toys and even pet treats.

ALDI is highlighting the My Friend Gnome Kit ($24.99), a fun twist on a traditional calendar, for the upcoming season. Kids will love tracking the Gnome all through the house and parents will enjoy reading a special storybook detailing the Gnome’s adventures. This one is limited to one per customer, so you’ll want to buy it early!

The full list of calendars to shop for this year:

For the ones with asophisticatedpalate:  

  • Barissimo Coffee Advent Calendar ($9.99)   
  • Beer Advent Calendar ($49.99; in select markets)   
  • Connellys 12 Days of Irish Cream ($29.99)   
  • Emporium Selection Cheese Advent Calendar ($14.99)  
  • Sparkling Wine Countdown to the New Year ($29.99)   
  • The 2021 Collection Wine Advent Calendar ($59.99)  

For the ones who love self-care:  

  • Huntington Home Advent Calendar Candle ($4.99)  
  • My Beauty Spot 12 Days of Bath Fizzers ($12.99)   

For the ones on Santa’s nice list:  

  •  Lego City  Advent Calendar ($29.99)  
  •  Lego Friends Advent Calendar ($29.99)  
  •  Lego Marvel  Avengers Advent Calendar ($39.99)  
  •  Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar ($39.99)  
  •  Mattel Cars Advent Calendar ($16.99)  
  •  Mattel Polly Pocket Advent Calendar ($16.99)   
  •  Mattel Kids Toys Advent Calendar ($24.99)   
  •  Merry Moments My Friend Gnome Kit ($24.99;limit one per customer)  
  •  Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Advent Calendar ($19.99)   
  •  Warner Brothers Elf  Advent Calendar ($29.99)  
  •  Warner Brothers  Christmas Story Advent Calendar ($29.99)  

For theones with a sweet tooth:  

  • Choceur  Advent Calendar ($1.49)   
  • Moser Roth 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar ($4.99)    
  • Moser Roth 24 Days of Christmas Nutcracker Advent Calendar ($8.99)   
  • Moser Roth Luxury Chocolate Advent Calendar ($14.99)  

For the ones with furry friends:  

  • Pure Being Cat Advent Calendar ($5.89)   
  • Pure Being Dog Advent Calendar ($5.89)

As always, supplies are limited and calendars are expected to sell out fast. Head to your local ALDI on November 3 and commence the holiday spirit!

—Sarah Shebek

All photos courtesy of ALDI

 

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The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by…grabbing a pair of Hanna Andersson’s newest Elf pajamas! The apparel company has partnered with Warner Bros. to bring fans of all ages a limited-edition capsule collection for the holidays. 

Hanna Andersson’s classic stripes and fair isle patterns are decked out with scenes and characters that include Buddy the Elf and Mr. Narwhal that both kids and adults will love. Shop styles that include long johns, flannel pants, sleepers, pet PJs, hats, a sweatshirt and dress starting today, Oct. 25.

Perhaps the greatest news is that the collection includes Hanna Andersson’s classic Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton matching family pajamas in fair isle for adults, kids, babies, and dogs! The whole family can get in on the holiday fun, while watching Elf, of course.

Prices range from $30 to $50 and you can shop the entire new collection at hannaandersson.com while supplies last.

––Karly Wood

All photos: Courtesy of Hanna Andersson

 

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11 Cities That You HAVE to Visit in the Winter

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If you’re ready to get out there and explore a new city this winter, don’t let cold weather slow you down. Instead, pack a few bags and hit the road (or rails, or air) for a trip to one of these cities that are perfect for a winter vacation. Whether you want to escape the cold or hit the bunny slopes, these easy-to-get-to U.S. destinations have something for everyone. Check out our favorite spots below!

photo: Mt. Bachelor

1. Bend, Oregon

Outdoor adventures rule the roost in this family-friendly town. There are plenty of skiing and snowboarding spots, like Mt. Bachelor, where kids ski free with the purchase of an adult multi-day ticket. Be sure to make time for a visit to the uber-popular High Desert Museum. Set on 135 acres, you'll get an up-close look at wild animals in natural-like habitats. For built-in entertainment, make sure you're in town for WinterFest (Feb. 18-20) where you'll find ice sculptures, a fire pit competition, a family play zone, and more!

2. Charleston, South Carolina

If you're fiending for a tropical getaway but don't want to leave the U.S., consider a vacay in South Carolina's port city where winters are mild with high temperatures averaging about 60 degrees. Combine that with family-friendly activities (South Carolina Aquarium and The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry) and restaurants like Poe's Tavern, and you've found the formula for a perfect winter getaway. After the daily explorations, lay your head at one of the peninsula's charming boutique hotels, like Francis Marion Hotel and Zero George, offering seasonal deals.

photo: NYC GO

3. New York City, New York

Besides the crowd factor becoming a non-factor in the winter, there's plenty to do in the Big Apple even if you opt to stay indoors—museums, shows, play spaces, and more! Plus, the city runs money-saving programs during the week like Restaurant Week, which offers specially priced three-course lunch and dinner, and Broadway Week where you can snag two-for-one theater tickets. And then there are the parks, Central and Prospect, that really shine after fresh snow. 

photo: iStock

4. St. Paul & Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sure, most people would cringe at the low temps that rule during winter months, but Minnesotans know that the Twin Cities offer winter magic that is rare, indeed. The St. Paul Winter Carnival has ice palaces, parades, a huge snow park for play, plus fun quirky events like the annual Snowplow Competition. If you haven’t gotten enough ice palaces in St. Paul, nearby Stillwater, Minnesota offers one of the few Ice Castle locations in the country. And this year, Minneapolis is hosting the Superbowl. Plus, if the freezing temps become too much, you can hit up the biggest indoor mall in the countryand ride a roller coaster or two.

photo: iStock

5. Vero Beach, Florida

A beach that’s equally cool in the winter as it is in the summer? Yep! The family arts scene is alive and well here and peaks during the winter. And if it's your troupes' thing, Vero Beach also has its very own opera ensemble and professional ballet that both have performances happening throughout the winter months. For a pre- or post-show meal, take growling bellies to Citrus Grillhouse for simple—and yummy—Italian and Mediterranean dishes.

6. Chicago, Illinois

The best part about a Chicago winter, which averages 20 degrees, is that the city just keeps going. Chicagoans are hearty people who don’t shy away from outdoor activities just because it’s a bit chilly. If you think you and your kids can hang, pack your parkas and head here where you'll run into many only-in-winter outdoor activities. There's an ice-skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park that's super fun for all involved. If a brisk stroll down Chi-town's shopping mecca Michigan Avenue is on your to-do list, bundle up (we can't emphasize it enough) and make a pit stop at one of the city's top picks for cocoa.

photo: Mardi Gras Galveston

7. Galveston, Texas

Less than an hour away from Houston, this Lone Star state locale is often referred to as the Winter Wonder Island. It's no surprise, as there is a slew of things to do during the first part of the year. Galveston's ginormous Mardi Gras celebration (Feb. 18-Mar. 1) features a Family Gras (Feb. 27) with multiple kid-friendly parades. Typically packed in the summer, you can hop on a free ferry ride around Galveston in seconds and look for ships coming to port, rare birds and ... wait for it...DOLPHINS! P.S. Don’t ignore the beach! Temps can get up to '80s, which is great for dipping tiny toes into sea water.

photo: iStock

8. Park City, Utah

Once home to the 2002 Winter Olympics, snow activities abound here for speed-seeking kids and adults alike. The largest spot, Canyon Resort, comes with a Little Adventures Children’s Center that offers childcare for children ages 6 weeks to 6 years. If you're looking for something a little toastier, Park City also has a nearby natural hot spring that cuts the chill of any day. Geothermically heated, the Homestead Crater at Homestead Resort is 35 feet deep (life jackets are required), and the water is 96 degrees ... year-round(!!). Bonus: Park City is also home to a pretty awesome history museum. Check it out!

photo: Market Row via Yelp

9. Los Angeles, California

You get the best of winter in Los Angeles without the hassle of the cold (and all those annoying layers). Hike the hills and take in the views thanks to the clearer air, go to the beaches since it's less crowded, and take advantage of local kiddos being in school and head to Disneyland or Universal Studios, which is usually slammed during the summer. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in L.A. You'll find museum exhibits, seasonal festivals, and plenty more events to do on your family vacay!

photo: The Island in Pigeon Ford

10. Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Many think of the Smoky Mountains in the winter and immediately think of skiing and snowboarding. It's an accurate but limiting thought because this part of the country has many other things going on for families when temps dip. From mini-coach tours of the Great Smoky Mountains (no driving duty for you ... yay!) and the imaginative light displays of WinterFest (through Nov. 11-Feb. 15) to ziplining at Anakeesta and riding the iconic Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, there's something for every traveler in your caravan.

photo: Kate Loweth

11. Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley is well known for its skiing and snow adventures, but hidden gems can be found in other hot spots. Check out a movie at Magic Lantern Cinema, which has been standing for nearly 40 years and has undergone renovations to include digital projection and memory foam rockers. At the nostalgic bowling alley and game room in Sun Valley Lodge you can nosh on Idaho potato skins, and for bigger kids and grownups there's an indoor archery arena on Main Street. So much quirky fun!

—Kate Loweth & Ayren Jackson-Cannady

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Although your kids might think otherwise, Halloween isn’t just about the candy! We caught up with some of our favorite folks from Ireland to share the origin stories of our spookiest holiday. Read on for some cool traditions you can incorporate into your family traditions this year.

The Original Halloween: Samhain

Halloween began over 3,000 years ago as the Celtic festival of Samhain, pronounced sow-in. Say it out loud and you'll be able to hear the connection to the modern word Hallow-een. 

When the Christian holiday of All Hallow's Eve arrived in the 5th century, which took place around the same time of year, the practices began to merge and the more common term became Halloween. 

Samhain marks the end of the harvest season and a transition into the darker months of winter, the Celts believed that this was a time when the worlds of the living and the dead could interact, and spirits could move between the worlds.

photo: iStock

Walk Among Us: The Tradition of Costumes

In order to avoid being tricked or taken into the Otherworld (aka the world of the dead) people would disguise themselves as spirits like ghosts, fairies, witches, demons and goblins.

Ancient celts would frequently don animal skins and other elaborate outfits. These costumes would cause confusion and allow the living to walk among the spirits without harm. This is where our tradition of dressing up on Halloween comes from! 

Light It Up: Bonfires

Bonfires are lit on the hillsides to mark the holiday, a tradition that still is popular today in Ireland. Traditionally a Samhain bonfire was a place where clans and communities would gather together to celebrate. 

Recent archaeological excavations have suggested that Tlachtaga, or the Hill of Ward, (in present day County Meath) was used for feasting and celebration over 2,000 years ago. There is also documentation in manuscripts that it was thought that the fire from this hill was used to rekindle all of the fires in Ireland. 

Knife Skills: Carving Pumpkins

The tradition of carving pumpkins also has its origins in Ireland. While pumpkins are indigenous to the Americas, the Irish carved turnips and large potatoes into the original jack-o'lanterns.

Why the name Jack? Many believe it's because of the story of a man named Stingy Jack, who tried to trick the Devil. He did not succeed and in punishment, he was doomed to wander eternity with only a turnip with a single ember to light his way. 

Some believe that the single ember to light a jack-o'-lantern came from the Samhain bonfire and brought good luck to the household. It was placed inside a turnip and carried to the hearth to light the first fire of the Celtic New Year (Nov. 1). 

Trick-or-Treating & Caroling???

The practice of going door to door and asking for candy has its roots in this tradition:
On the night of Samhain, or in preparation for the big bonfire, children and the poor would go door to door to ask for donations for the celebration: food, kindling for the fire, or money. 

In exchange, they would sing songs and offer prayers for the dead. Often they were given a traditional food called a soul cake: a flat fruit cake. The tradition was known as souling. 

A Feast...for Vegetarians?

Feasting was a traditional part of the Samhain celebration, and foods included were those that were in abundance at the end of harvests, such as nuts, apples, grains, poultry, beef, pork and squash.

Eventually, Samhain merged with the Christian practice of All Hallow's Eve (to create Halloween) and the day before became a day of fasting and preparation. 

Part of the fasting was to eat no meat, and so vegetarian fare became the norm, including the use of apples, squash, turnips and potatoes. 

The classic Irish potato dish colcannon became part of a long-lasting Halloween recipe tradition, along with fadge (an apple cake) and barmbrack.

A Fortune Telling Cake

Barmbrack is a sort of fortune-telling cake that has trinkets or coins baked into it. What you get in your slice could predict what your new year holds. You can find a recipe here (caution should be used when serving this type of cake as there are small pieces that could be hazardous to young kids, so use sound judgment here). 

Common items found in barmbracks include a ring (marriage), a coin (wealth) and a piece of cloth (bad luck).

In some places, you'll find other unique items, including a stick (an argument), a thimble (independence) and a button (bachelorhood). 

Is That a Love Spell in Your Colcannon?

Colcannon, a beloved Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage, isn't just for warming your belly. 

If you were single and seeking a spouse, you would make colcannon on this magical night with similar symbols to barmbrack: a ring was marriage, thimbles a life of living solo and coins were wealth. 

If you were unmarried, you may be sent into the garden to pick the cabbage while blindfolded. Then the colcannon was made with that chosen cabbage, and a single ring was added. Whoever found the ring would be next to marry. 

One legend tells of putting the first and last spoonful of colcannon into a sock and hanging it on the door. The first (single?) person to walk through that door would be their spouse. 

Find a traditional colcannon recipe here. 

—Amber Guetebier

A special thanks to ireland.com for imagery and information!

Featured image: iStock 

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The holidays, and all the tasty food that goes along with them, have arrived. And while family gatherings may look different this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t whip up an epic holiday charcuterie board. From waffle and bagel boards to Christmas cocoa, these holiday charcuterie board ideas are great for gatherings of any size. Scroll down to see them all.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Grazing Board

Who needs a fancy dinner when you can dig into this Valentine's Day Grazing board from Domestikated Life? Packed with salty and sweet treats, the colorful candies tie in the holiday of love perfectly.

St. Patrick’s Day

Rainbow

You can truly taste the rainbow with this colorful dessert charcuterie board from Jenny Cookies. Sweet circular cookies are paired with coordinating sprinkles and candy for an eye-popping dessert you won't be able to pass up.

Fall

Harvest Charcuterie Board

There's a little bit of something for everyone with this cheery charcuterie board by Number 2 Pencil. We love that the look embraces the feeling of "harvest" with plenty of fruits, cheese and nuts.

Fall Dessert Charcuterie Board

With gatherings happening on a smaller level this year, this fall dessert board is perfect for avoiding full-size sweets. Some demi-desserts, sauces and fruit are all you need to whip up this choice charcuterie board by Live to Sweet.

Autumn Charcuterie Board

Hello, autumn! Perfect for Thanksgiving, this smorgasbord of fall treats from Healthy Little Vittles brings healthy snacks and a few hidden treats to your family and friends with plenty of eye-popping appeal.

Fall Apple & Cheese Board

Simple meets savory and sweet with this gorgeous fall apple and cheese board by Bless This Mess Please. We love how there's something for even the pickiest of eaters while remaining festive and delicious.

Perfect Fall Charcuterie Board

Can we all just raise a hand for the deliciousness that is a cheese ball? This fabulous fall board by Tidy Mom effortlessly pairs our guilty-pleasure snacks with tasty treats no one can turn down.

Turkey Charcuterie

It just got so much easier to get your littles to eat fruit this holiday! Arrange arrange layers of Sugar Bowl Bakery's Pumpkin Spice and regular Madeleines, Palmiers, Brownie Bites and fresh fruit to form a turkey. Don't forget the Nutella for dipping! 

Thanksgiving Snack Board

Waiting for Thanksgiving dinner to be ready can be hard! This ultimate snack board from Passion for Savings makes biding the time until the turkey is ready a breeze, with plenty of fruit, crackers and cheese that looks just as pretty as they are tasty.

Halloween

photo: Sugar Bowl Bakery

Halloween Sweet Treats Board

It's officially candy season with this treat board! Whether you're hosting a Halloween bash or staying home in lieu of trick or treating, this cute board from Sugar Bowl Bakery packs in tasty options like Madeleine cookies, popcorn and candy. Don't forget the the cobwebs!

Holiday

Waffle Breakfast Board

Whether you're hosting a small family brunch or just want to make breakfast special with your immediate fam, Sandra's Easy Cooking waffle board is next level. Pack it with plenty of waffles, toppings and a side of fruit. Breakfast is served!

Epic Cinnamon Roll Board

Is this not the most gorgeous cinnamon roll board you've ever seen? Perfect for kiddos who want to DIY their own Cinnabon, we love how this charcuterie from the Reluctant Entertainer to see all the assembly details. also packs a punch with other breakfast faves for the adults.

Bagel Holiday Charcuterie

Bagels are the perfect breakfast for busy mornings, especially when laid out on a fabulous board. Add a variety of flavors, plenty of schmear and all the fun extras that will make your breakfast extra festive, just like this board from Sandra's Easy Cooking.

Winter White Cheeseboard

Beautifully simple and elegant, Fashionable Hostess' winter white cheeseboard brings all the feels. The lovely colors and smooth textured foods make us want to dive right in!

Holiday Charcuterie Board

This rustic-toned holiday charcuterie board from Twelve on Main is major eye candy! Each item perfectly represents that winter season, and the gorgeous layout makes it the perfect fit for noshing on while everyone opens gifts.

Christmas Dessert Board

It's time to get your hot cocoa on! Great for post-dinner dessert, this Christmas dessert board by The Wiegands is loaded with chocolatey treats, peppermint and lovely greenery for the ultimate holiday vibe.

Holiday Candy Board

One of the best parts about the holidays is the candy! Load up all the goodies you've been gifted this season on this ultimate candy board from An Indigo Day that's just what your sweet tooth ordered.

––Karly Wood

 

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10 Splurge-Worthy Keepsake Gifts for Baby

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Looking to pick out the perfect baby gift? There’s no shortage of adorable items to choose from. But if you’re angling for something upscale that really makes an impact at that baby shower, first birthday or holiday, here are great choices for gifts that mom and baby will cherish.

Savor Baby Edition Keepsake Box
What parent doesn’t want a better way to keep track of baby’s sweetest memories? Savor’s Baby Edition Keepsake Box is an organizing system that keeps everything protected and easily accessible with the help of nine drawers, eight vertical files for cherished paper artifacts like sonograms, letters, and birth announcements, and 50+ illustrated labels. Parents can keep track of the first four years of their child’s life, from the hospital blanket to baby’s first tooth to that first haircut, along with other treasured items.

Available at savor.us, $79.95.

Watercolor Birth Announcement Pillow 
An artsy family would appreciate the gift of this watercolor-on-canvas-inspired cushion celebrating the details of baby’s arrival. Handmade in New York City by artist Lori Blum, the comfy-as-can-be pillow comes in pink, blue, mint and gray, and is the perfect addition to storytime in the nursery.

Available at uncommongoods.com, $100.

Tiffany & Co. Bubble Blower
You can practically hear children’s laughter on a summer day upon unboxing this darling silver bubble wand. A wonderful baby shower gift, the design has a signature Tiffany blue accent and can be engraved for personalization.

Available at tiffany.com, $250.

Butterscotch Blankees Metallic Classic Monogram Stroller Blanket
For a gift that baby will use day after day, this super-soft and cozy blanket comes in nearly 30 different colors to match all tastes. Take it from the nursery to the stroller to the car and beyond for constant comfort on all those baby-led adventures. Personalize it with a monogram and send it soon after baby’s arrival.

Available at butterscotchblankees.com, $75.

Vera Wang Wedgwood Love Always Baby Bank
Baby’s first bank should be precious and timeless. And it need not be a piggy! This elephant treasury by acclaimed designer Vera Wang fits the bill with its simple yet sculptural silhouette and a heart detail in the tail. Like all of her creations, the Love Always Baby Bank is a classic for contemporary tastes.

Available at wedgwood.com, $75.

Artifact Uprising Baby Book | The Story of You
From picking baby’s name to favorite books and songs, this baby book prompts parents to write down every important detail. With 100 pages to fill and nearly 50 spots for family photos, it’s a highly interactive photo journal that aptly documents a child’s life to be thumbed through and pored over for years to come. And it fits many family structures, including single parents, adopted children, and same-sex parents.

Available at artifactuprising.com, from $120.

Michael Aram Bunny Cup with Spoon Set
Handcrafted by American artist Michael Aram, this cup and spoon set calls upon the wonder and innocence of childhood with subtle whimsy and elegance. Made of stainless steel and silver-plated metal, this sweet set will stand the test of time, and, like children themselves, no two are exactly alike because they’re made by hand.

Available at michaelaram.com, $95.

Beadifulbaby Engravable Silver Baby Bangle Bracelet
A gift of jewelry will always be remembered, especially a child’s first bracelet as permanent record of that unimaginably tiny wrist. This lovely, high-polished sterling silver rhodium bracelet is made in the USA and can be personalized with a little one’s initials or full name. While this piece of jewelry cannot grow with baby, it makes for a darling gift that can be passed down to future generations.

Available at beadifulbaby.com, $110.

Write to Me | Baby – First Year of You Journal
Inspire any new parent to notice the little things with the gift of this beautiful First Year of You journal. There’s plenty of room for taking note of moments both big and small, with cues to include milestones like first steps, first Christmas and first haircut. The natural linen, gender-neutral design with gold embossing is fitting for just about any family and it’s all made with forest-free paper.

Available at writetomeshop.com, $59.95.

Reed & Barton Jungle Parade Silverplate Photo Frame
A classic silver frame gets a colorful upgrade with Reed & Barton’s Jungle Parade. This adorable 4×6 picture holder would look positively sweet in any boy or girl’s nursery, and it can be used to display a family photo from your latest adventures. To up the gift factor, personalize it for an extra $9.95.

Available at reedandbarton.com, $45.

Whitney C. Harris

featured image: jesse ramirez via Unsplash

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30 Meaningful Activities for Families to Try in November

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We hope you and your crew have lots to be thankful for this November and that spending time together is one of them. If you’re looking for things to do as a family this month, we’ve got 30 activities (that’s one for each day) with a late fall vibe we think you’ll love.

photo: iStock

1. Don’t toss that pumpkin just yet! Here are 22 other things you can do with it after Halloween.

2. Do you know what day Fred and George were born on? Or which house J.K Rowling was sorted into? Challenge your Potterheads to a round of Harry Potter trivia.

3. Give your kids a confidence boost before bedtime.

4. Break out the art supplies and try Ziplock finger painting or double-sided tape art alongside your budding artists.

photo: iStock

5. November 15 is America Recycles Day. Incorporate new sustainable practices into your everyday routine with tips and suggestions every family should know.

6. Now’s the time to book passage on your favorite holiday train ride. Hop aboard ASAP before the tickets are gone!

7. Teach the kids how to walk on eggs or make milk glow.

8. Learn about Indigenous people who are leading the way, like Neely Snyder and Joy Harjo.

photo: iStock

9. Speaking of Joy Harjo, add these kids’ books about Native American cultures and people to your must-read list.

10. World Kindness day is November 13, but you can commit random acts of kindness all month long with the kids if you want.

11. Planning a family ski trip this winter? Read this first.

12. Slime science is always a hit, and these easy-to-make variations will keep everyone in your fam occupied for at least an afternoon.

13. Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos with a funky skeleton project even the littlest kiddo can handle.

14. Find a way to thank a veteran on November 11.

15. No matter what size Thanksgiving celebration you’re planning this year, putting out games and activity pages for the kids means you can get the turkey to the table on time... maybe.

16. Put these roar-ingly fun dino movies on your family movie night list.

photo: iStock

17. Wondering what to do with all those Amazon boxes that tend to clutter up the recycling bin this time of year? Transform them into cardboard spaceships your little astronauts can fly around the living room.

18. Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a crazy hair day at home. Or better yet, bookmark this for Crazy Hair Day at school, because you know it’s coming.

19. Make your own bubble mixture for hours of outdoor fun on a sunny fall day.

20. Add extra veggies to your Thanksgiving feast with recipes your kids will love.

photo: iStock

21. Fall is the perfect time to take the kids stargazing in the backyard.

22. Spend the night in a treehouse

23. Cure cabin fever blues with a round of animal antics, mirror mirror or the always-popular musical chairs.

24. From a DIY mailbox to a rad rhino craft, these activities won’t break the bank, but they will keep your kiddos entertained.

25. Beach trip in the middle of fall? Depending on where you live, this might just be the perfect time to visit.

photo: iStock

26. Three words: Pirate. Treasure. Hunt.

27. Cozy up around the fireplace to play board games. Game night is always a winner!

28. It’s Friday, Friday, Friday! The perfect time to start a new family tradition that'll get your weekend heading in the right direction.

29. Spend time in the kitchen cooking together and trying new foods. We’re crushing hard on these Persian recipes that even kids will love.

30. Add becoming a Citizen Scientist to your weekend warrior to-do list.

—Allison Sutcliffe & Gabby Cullen

Feature image: iStock 

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