Blog Posts by Parentables

  • Track Santa on Christmas Eve with This Must-See Website & App

    Where's Santa now?If Santa were allowed to join Facebook, he could give us real-time check-ins and status updates on Christmas Eve to tell us where he is on the map. If he just brought his cell phone along for the sleigh ride, tracking would be made simple.

    Since Facebook won't let that happen, here's the next best thing that is sure to get your kids excited: the perfect Santa tracking app brought to you by NORAD.

    Read More: 4 Reasons I Wish Santa Could Join Facebook

    It's So Official, Even Non-Believers Will Wonder
    Based in my home state of Colorado, NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) is a joint organization of the United States and Canada that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for North America. Besides protecting us every day, it's got another very important job -- to track Santa. Norad has been tracking Santa for over 50 years -- when the tradition began in 1955.

    Read More: Can't Santa Just Make Me an Ipod? (So You Don't Have to Buy One!)

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  • 3 Reasons Santa Shouldn’t Wrap Presents

    Gifts from Santa.If you ask a crowd of people whether presents from Santa should be wrapped or not chances are you will get answers split pretty much right down the middle. It seems that most people prefer whichever method they grew up with. I grew up in a house where Santa didn't wrap the presents, and I'm a firm believer in it, but not just because of the traditions of my family. Here are three reasons I believe Santa should skip the wrapping.

    Read More: "The Elf on the Shelf" is a Holiday Tradition Worth Starting

    1. Wrapping Increases Your Chances of Exposing the Truth about the Big Guy
    When Santa wraps presents, he needs to use his own wrapping paper, not one from your closet. That means that you will have to buy an extra roll (or several) of wrapping paper, hide said roll from your children, and dispose of any excess pieces of that roll before your children spot it. Kids are very observant, and as soon as junior asks why Grandma's gift is wrapped in the same paper as his presents from

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  • Michelle Duggar on Making Birthdays Special

    Michelle and Jim Bob DuggarWith so many family members, it's birthday time in our house quite often! We try to make birthdays a special time for the birthday person. Sometimes when a few birthdays are close together, we might do one big birthday party, but we still make sure to have one-on-one time with each birthday person. Dad and I will usually let them decide where they want to go to for lunch and then we spend the afternoon with them going to their favorite places.

    Read More: 5 Cheap, Warm, and Fun Winter Birthday Party Ideas

    The girls enjoy shopping at thrift stores and the boys like pawnshops. We'll take them around to find some of their favorite things for their birthday. They can get what they want for a fraction of the cost at these kinds of stores, so they get more for their birthday money.

    Read More: 5 Inexpensive Places to Hold Your Kid's Birthday Party

    We'll do a 7:00 ice cream party because we like ice cream instead of cake around here. Sometimes the kids will request pumpkin

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  • What to Do when Pricey Tech Toys Top Their Wishlist

    Laura St. John's kiddos.My kids still believe in Santa, so it gets a little tricky when all they want for Christmas is very high-priced tech toys. They think they are doing me a favor by putting it on their list -- so Santa can just make it for them and I don't have to spend money on it. Yeah -- thanks.

    Do high-priced tech toys top your child's wishlist? Here are some tips that may really help.

    Read More: Do I Have to Buy My Kids Equal Presents for Christmas?

    1. Flip This Simple Question Back to Them.
    When your child says, all I want is an iPod, flip it back to him and ask, "Why?" Before you even consider purchasing a tech item, find out from your child why he wants it. Is it because his best friend got one? Is it because he wants to play games? Find out if it's even a reason that would be worth your consideration. My eight-year-old answered, "Because I want to facetime (video chat) with my cousins." Enough said. If I can help connect my son with his cousins 1800 miles away, then to me, the technology is

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  • Staying Organized with an Old-Fashioned Paper Planner

    Red Moleskine plannerThree years ago, I gave up on trying to organize my life with technology. My cell phone calendar wasn't efficient enough; I wasted time trying to enter dates and times and locations, and hated having to abbreviate my thoughts. I tried iCal on my Mac but that was just inconvenient when I wasn't around my laptop, or if I had to start it up just to check a single detail. The "random bits of paper everywhere" method was also a failure and needs no further explanation. I realized something had to change because I was stressed out and disorganized.

    Read More: How Ditching Technology Helped Me Get Things Done

    That's when I splurged on my first-ever Moleskine planner. It was a beautifully old-fashioned, paper notebook-style planner, with a weekly layout on one side and a lined page for notes on the other. I chose a bright red one that would be easy to find in my purse. Soon it was full of crucial information that had previously been scattered throughout my house. For the first time in months,

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  • Baby Sleep Advice I Wish I'd Listened to Sooner

    Sami and kids.When I previously asked how long a toddler could cry for, I confessed that my wife and I had been pretty hands-on with our first daughter, Lilia. We hated the idea of letting her cry it out and, in the early days at least, we would jump at even the slightest squeak from her crib.

    Read More: 10 Tips for Getting Your Baby to Sleep Through The Night

    "Quick, rock her back to sleep before the crying starts!" was a common refrain. This drew raised eyebrows from grandparents and a few friends with kids. In fact my mother- and father-in-law insisted that they had made as much noise as possible around their kids when they were little - and had been blessed with good sleepers as a result.

    Read More: Seriously, How Long Can a Toddler Cry For?

    I may have railed against unsolicited parenting advice before, but I confess I have to eat some humble pie on this one. Adeline, our second daughter, did not have the luxury of peace and quiet or a crack team of rapid-response rocking chair operatives to

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  • Michelle Duggar on Teaching Young Adults About Modesty

    Modest, but cute nonetheless.Jim Bob and I have always talked openly with the kids about modesty and about my missteps as a young lady. It's important to teach them so they can learn from our experiences. When I was a teenager, I had no clue as to what men thought. My focus was just on drawing attention. I always wanted my girlfriends to think I had the cute outfit and the pretty hair. It was all about impressing my friends and not really realizing that there is a responsibility involved with that. Jim Bob is very open about how men see things and what goes on in their minds. He explains the challenges from a male perspective so the kids understand both sides of things.

    Read More: Michelle Duggar on Modesty and Bathing Suits

    Because our family is so open and honest in our discussions, I find that my daughters are even more careful with their appearances. Their modesty is their own. They own it themselves. I'm not the one telling them what to wear. As my 12-year-old girls are growing and maturing,

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  • A Note to the Parents of the Non-Believers

    Kids with SantaYesterday, my 6-year-old skipped off the bus and came running to tell me some big news. There was another kid on the bus that didn't believe in Santa Claus. "Isn't that crazy?" he asked me. "It is!" I exclaimed. But in the back of my mind, I was thinking, "I knew this was going to happen." I know that at some point he's going to figure it out. We don't really have that much time left, not because my son doesn't believe, but he's very observant. I expected he'd start to ask questions about why the big guy looks different from one picture to the next or how he can get from one place to another so quickly.

    Read More: Who Was the Real Saint Nicholas?

    And while I really want him to keep believing for his own sake, I also want him to believe for the sake of his little sister who was in the room when he bounded in to tell me the big news. So to the parents of the kid who told my son that, and to the parents of all the other non-believers, I have a request.

    Read More: 3 Ways to

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  • William and Kate Are Expecting! Now Give Them Some Space

    William & Kate.In case you haven't heard any of the people shouting from the roof tops in your neck of the woods, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (a.k.a. William and Kate) officially announced that they are expecting their first child. It is perhaps bad news for the tabloids who have been speculating a pregnancy ever since they walked down the aisle just over 18 months ago. What will they report on now?

    Read More: 10 Celebrity Parenting Events that had Everyone Talking

    As far as celebrities go, I happen to like Will and Kate. However, while I knew people were interested in them, I didn't realize just how intense and widespread the infatuation with them was until my Facebook feed started blowing up over the official pregnancy announcement. Friends and media outlets are all thrilled to spread the word and while I am happy for them, I wonder to what degree the details are our business?

    Read More: 'Fame Daddy' Launches World's First Celebrity Sperm Bank

    The announcement went on

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  • Michelle Duggar on the Importance of Giving Back

    Volunteering.We spend a lot of time on charity work at this time of year. One of the most memorable ways we get involved is an annual trip to El Salvador to take gifts to the children in villages for Christmas. It's been five years since we first started making the trip. Instead of spending a lot of money on each other for Christmas presents we really focus our attention on giving to the needy in El Salvador. We'll usually go over for about a week and help in the villages.

    Read More: 5 Effortless and Economical Ways to Make a Difference During the Holidays

    We like to take backpacks and fill them up with toys and necessities for the children. One year, we purchased a bunch of backpacks and soccer balls, flattened them out and packed them into big duffel bags as our checked luggage. Everyone took a small carry-on for their personal items and clothing for the trip. That way, shipping for the gifts was paid for. We've tried to keep this up every year.

    Read More: Michelle Duggar on the

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