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What comes after the season of joy, peace, and goodwill? Three months of stuck-indoors-sibling-squabbles. Inevitably, one present will emerge from the holiday season coveted by the siblings above all the others, resulting in this.


“Mom! It’s my turn! I want it! She’s had it long enough! MOOOOMMMMM!!”

Is there a way to avoid the playtime battlefield? Maybe not completely, but a few select choices might encourage cooperation over competition.

1 | Cooperative board games

It’s hard to end a game of Chutes and Ladders without at least one child gloating and one child sobbing. As much as we hope these competitive games will teach good sportsmanship, the lesson is often taught through clenched teeth as one parent picks up the pieces.

Cooperative games, on the other hand, offer players a chance to work together in order to reach a goal. Competitive youngsters will appreciate that there is still the chance to win – or lose. But rather than competing against siblings, players have to beat the game itself. Peaceable Kingdom offers a range of cooperative board games that might make game night a bit more pleasant.

2 | Sports equipment

There are few sports that are enjoyable to play by yourself. While sports might bring out the competitive side in siblings, they also require someone to play with. If you have a “no throwing balls in the house” rule, check out the Hover Ball. The half-soccer ball glides on carpet, giving it an added bonus: they have to pick up the room first.

3 | Walkie-talkies

Nothing bonds kids together more than the feeling that they’ve escaped the purview of the grown-ups. Walkie-talkies give kids a chance to share secrets and pretend to be explorers, all while being in separate rooms where they can’t physically fight with each other.

4 | Puppets

Creating a story to act out is only half the fun of puppets – sharing your work with someone is the best part. Puppets give kids a chance to collaborate, building off each other’s stories until they come up with a show that is all their own.

5 | Play kitchen/play food

Every great chef needs a diner to appreciate her artistry, and every customer is entitled to a restaurant that can serve his favorite imaginary dishes – chocolate-spaghetti-sandwiches, for instance. Playing restaurant gives children a chance to practice two important qualities: service and appreciation. Because what makes a meal (even a wooden one) truly special is who you share it with.

6 | Yoga Spinner Game

When being cooped up indoors is causing everyone to lose their zen, try a little yoga. The Yoga Spinner Game challenges players to attempt different poses, helping to burn off some of that pent-up energy that otherwise manifests as bickering. Some of the challenges require a partner, meaning working together is the only way to win.

7 | Doctor kit

While parents might give their kids a doctor kit hoping that it will spark a career in the medical field, the most important skill they can gain isn’t science-related at all. Playing doctor gives children a chance to practice empathy. Pretending to care about a sister’s ailment might actually lead to real caring down the road. After all, practice makes perfect.

8 | Blocks

The family that builds together stays together. Working towards a common goal – most likely, to build the tallest tower ever! – can help foster a sense of cooperation among siblings. Plus, blocks can capture the imagination of a wide range of ages, helping siblings who don’t normally share interests find something in common. One ground rule is necessary, however: no knocking down a tower that you didn’t build.

If your builders are looking to move on past the classic wooden blocks, check out Squigz, a silicone suction toy for an entirely different building experience.

9 | Indoor trampoline

Because these trampolines are typically only big enough for one, siblings will still have to practice sharing and patience. However, in the long run, indoor trampolines can help kids burn off some pent-up energy that would otherwise be spent annoying a sibling.

10 | Storytelling cards

Throughout time, nothing has brought people together like the power of stories. Storytelling cards prompt children to create their own stories by using pictures to inspire new ideas. Siblings can take turns telling each other stories, or make up adventures together. The more authors crafting a story, the more creative the plot becomes.

11 | Puzzles

When brothers and sisters have to work together, it becomes harder to fight. Puzzles keep hands busy and mouths somewhat quieter, making them the perfect cooped-up-with-nothing-to-do activity.

Of course, it’s not just the dynamics of young siblings that need a little help. If your holiday gatherings need a distraction from the annual “Is Sean Connery or Daniel Craig a better James Bond?” argument, consider plopping a 3D puzzle on a table to keep the adults occupied.

In a few months, the air will warm up, kids will spend more time outdoors, and some of that sibling bickering will evaporate. Until then, hopefully some of these gifts will help prolong the season of peace.

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When you're feeding multiple kiddos and figuring out meals for your own lunch and dinner, it can be difficult to find options that fit the bill for everyone. Our secret? Great kitchen gadgets and basics that make meal planning a breeze.

From the Instant Pot (yes, it's *totally* worth it!) to a cast iron pan, we rounded up some of our favorite kitchen basics every parent needs in their kitchen.

Make sure to add them to your cart today before Prime Day ends at midnight PT!

Ninja blender

Okay, so you might already have a blender—but you don't have a Ninja. It does everything from crushing ice for cocktails to pureeing baby's food and making hearty smoothies for everyone else. We love the sleek design that won't be an eye sore on any countertop.

Ninja Blender, Amazon, $49.99 (regularly $86.95)

BUY HERE

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When model Mara Martin was one of 16 finalists selected to walk in the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swim Search show, she was thrilled to fulfill a lifelong dream. And when she woke up the day after the show to see that she and her baby daughter had made headlines around the world, she was thrilled all over again.

Martin breastfed her 5-month-old daughter Aria while walking in the runway, and the story spread quickly.


"It is truly so humbling and unreal to say the least," Martin wrote in an Instagram post Monday. "I'm so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL! But to be honest, the real reason I can't believe it is a headline is because it shouldn't be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that."

SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day says the breastfeeding moment wasn't planned in advance, but it worked out wonderfully. Day was speaking with the models backstage when she noticed Aria was peacefully nursing away. Having breastfed her own two children, Day recognized this as a powerful moment in the making, according to SI Swimsuit.

"I asked Mara if she would want to walk and continue to nurse. She said 'Oh my gosh, yes! Really? Are you sure?', and I said absolutely! I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are," Day explained.

Martin hopes that her moment in the spotlight can help other mamas feel comfortable nursing when and where they feel like it, but she doesn't want to overshadow some of the other women who took part in the show.

"One woman is going to boot camp in two weeks to serve our country," she wrote. "One woman had a mastectomy (@allynrose), and another is a cancer survivor, 2x paralympic gold medalist, as well as a mother herself (@bren_hucks you rock) Those are the stories that our world should be discussing!!!!"

And thanks to Martin's powerful motherhood moment, now, people are.

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Dear Jeff Bezos and all who have anything to do with Amazon Prime Day,

I just want to start by saying—I know you are trying to be helpful. I love you all for that. I honestly do. But, you are kind of making me feel a lot of pressure today. Like, in a good way, but also, in an anxious way.

Let me explain…

On any given day, as a mother to three children, I have a certain level of anxiety. While it's not constant, I do have my anxious moments. Why? Because there are various versions of the following: Me asking my two older daughters to get their shoes on what feels like 500 times as I am changing my 9-month-old's very, very, very messy diaper while I am trying to figure out what I can throw on to wear in about five seconds while I am repeating brush your teeth, brush your teeth in my head so I, in fact, don't forget to brush my teeth.

Not even to mention the mental load that weighs on my mind every single day. Remember to flip the laundry, fill out the school forms, cancel that appointment, reschedule this appointment, order more diapers, figure out what we're having for dinner, squeeze in a shower, lock the basement door so the baby can't get down the stairs, find better eczema cream for my middle daughter, get more sunscreen...the list goes on and on and on.

But then you Amazon Prime Day me and I'm having a lot of feelings about that.

Because you're reminding me of things I need to order, to think about, to be on top of more.

The little potty that's on sale reminds me that I need to step up my potty training game for my 2-year-old. That super cute dollhouse reminds me that I need to think about my daughter's first birthday in two months (WHAT!). That face mask reminds me that I need to remember to wash my face before bed because I forget waaaay more than I remember which is terrible.

But then I realize, these deals are going to save my mental load by fixing my life. Right?

Like, I never knew I needed an Instant Pot until you told me it was only $58. Now I am scouring Pinterest for meals I want to prep in my own. THIS POT IS THE TICKET TO GETTING MY LIFE IN ORDER.

Do we need more plates and cups for the kids? I mean really they only probably need about two plates and two cups each but YES. Yes I do need more cute kids kitchenware. THESE PLATES ARE THE TICKET TO BEING A GOOD MOM.

What would I do if I had five Echo Dots? I don't know, but let's find out because they're only $29! THESE DOTS ARE THE TICKET TO EFFICIENCY.

If I order a Vitamix at 30% off, I know I'll lose the baby weight. Think of all the smoothies I'll mix up! I mean, I just lost a pound even thinking about the smoothies that thing can whip up. THIS VITAMIX IS THE TICKET TO A SEXY BOD.

Buying this trendy, floral dress will step up my mom style significantly. THIS DRESS IS THE TICKET TO KEEPING MY COOL.

Okay, then after I add all the fixers to my cart, I realize… I have 99 things, but necessity ain't one.

I mean, I have everything from waterproof band-aids to bras to dresses for myself and my kids to an alarm clock and books. I basically feel like Oprah—You get an Audible subscription! You get an Audible subscription!—but instead of these products magically being paid for by Queen O herself, the money is coming from my bank account, which is a lot less fun of a game, TBH.

And if I am being honest, I don't need much help with my order-things-from-Amazon-and-pretend-it's-being-paid-for-with-Monopoly-money game as I am quite often coming home to an Amazon package wondering what it could be, opening it with the enthusiasm of a kid on Christmas morning—even though I am the exact person who ordered whatever is inside of that Amazon box.

But today, on Amazon Prime Day, you tempt me with all the deals. And yes, my anxiety, blood pressure and adrenaline rise. And yes, my bank account might temporarily decrease—BUT if we are being fair, with the savings I'm getting on things I would buy anyway, I am basically making our account increase overall. Right?

And while these things aren't going to make me skinnier, or cooler, or more put together—I'm okay with that. I am doing a pretty good job on my own. But some of them will actually help my life in a few different ways at a reasonable price, and I am grateful for that—for real.

Now, Bezos, please end this 404 error nonsense and let me purchase all the things!

Thank you for all the savings and excitement,

Mamas everywhere

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Usually when celebrities post swimsuit photos on Instagram they don't exactly look like your average beach-going mom, but former Bachelorette (and mom of two) Ali Fedotowsky posted a series of bikini photos on Monday that are both beautiful and relatable.

"This might be my most vulnerable post on Instagram ever," she wrote in the caption for the photos which show a postpartum belly that looks like a real postpartum belly.

"At the end of the day, I know it's important to be open and honest about my postpartum body in hopes that it helps even one person out there who is struggling with their own body image," Fedotowsky (who just gave birth to her second child in May) wrote.

In the first photo of the series she's wearing a sarong around her stomach, but in the second and third photos Fedotowsky reveals the kind of stomach many mamas sport: It's not perfectly taut, she's not showing off any abs, but it is definity beautiful.

"If you swipe to see the second photo in this post, you see that my body has changed. My skin around my stomach is very loose and stretched out, I'm 15lbs heavier than I used to be, and my cup size has grown quite significantly," Fedotowsky writes.

The photos are a sponsored post for Lilly and Lime Swimwear (a line made for women with larger busts) but that doesn't mean it wasn't brave. In fact, the fact that it's an ad makes it even more amazing because research shows that when advertising only shows us bodies that don't look like our own, women become "generally more dissatisfied with their body and appearance".

Ali Fedotowsky

On her blog Fedotowsky notes that a lot of comments on her previous Instagram posts have been followers remarking how slim she looks, or how much they wish they looked like she does postpartum. By dropping that sarong and showing her tummy Fedotowsky is showing other mothers that there is nothing wrong with their own.

"While I appreciate the positive comments, you guys are always so good to me, I keep trying to explain that I'm just good at picking out clothes that flatter my body and hide my tummy," she wrote on her blog.

"I bounced back pretty quickly after I gave birth to Molly. But things are different this time and I'm OK with that. I'm learning to love my body and embrace how it's changed. I hope I get back to my pre-pregnancy shape one day, but that may never happen. And if it doesn't, that's OK."

Ali Fedotowsky

It is okay, because our bodies are more than our swimsuit selfies. They the vessels that carry us through life and carry our children and provide a safe, warm place for those children feel love.

Loose skin is a beautiful thing.


Thanks for keeping it real, Ali.

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