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Whether you first came to know Shawn Johnson East from her memorable gold medal-winning balance beam routine at the 2008 Beijing Olympics or her history-making victory as the then-youngest-ever winner of Dancing With The Stars when she took home the Mirrorball Trophy in 2009, there's one thing everyone knows about her: She tackles any new challenge with precision, poise and perseverance. It's been true of her work as an author, an entrepreneur, a mother, and most recently, the rigors of quarantine.
While raising an 18-month-old toddler (alongside her equally athletic husband, Andrew East) — plus there's another on the way! — would be enough to keep anyone busy during lockdown, East has found the keys to having fun, feeling refreshed and feeding the family in style. Here are her favorite discoveries:
"It entertains my daughter for hours," East says of this fun karaoke microphone. Amazon's No. 1 bestselling Bonaok Karaoke Microphone is a wireless Bluetooth gizmo that makes at-home karaoke easier than ever. And if you're concerned about perhaps being a little pitchy, it also makes at-home karaoke easy on the ears, with built-in autotune. With the Bonaok Karaoke Microphone, everyone from toddlers to adults can feel like a superstar, and the whole family can enjoy a concert without even leaving the house.
Shop it: BONAOK Karaoke Microphone Bluetooth Wireless, $28 with on-page coupon (was $30), amazon.com
"We went through probably 20 of these," East says of her family's newfound love of puzzles. It's true that many of us finally had the time to practice the centuries-old amusement (the first jigsaw puzzle dates back to 1762!), and rediscovered how relaxing but and mentally stimulating they can be. It even helped friends and neighbors bond in a time of social distancing, according to East: "Our neighborhood was on a puzzle rotation where we would swap."
If you're looking for the best brand in puzzles, East recommends Ravensburger. Offering a wide range of piece-numbers and difficulty levels, Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles are celebrated for their beautiful, detailed images, offering an eye-catching reward for all your hard work.
Shop it: Ravensburger Puzzles, starting at $15, ravensburger.us
Anyone who has ever dealt with a toddler knows that these tiny humans are not bound by societal rules like "Stay off of the grass," "Don't roll in mud," and raise questions like "If you cried when you got your new clothes wet in the puddle, why are you going back to the same puddle to splash again moments later?" All that to say, parents know that things like new shoes rarely survive through to the "terrible twos."
Johnson East singles out the Freedom Moses two-band sandals as the perfect solution to any adventurous toddler-induced mess. "Because they're rubber, you can just wash them off," she notes, sparing every parent the ruined new shoes blues.
Shop it: Freedom Moses sandals, $50, shopbop.com
Though Johnson East first made her name in a practice pioneered by the Ancient Greeks, namely the Olympic Games, nowadays she practices an art first cooked up by the Ancient Romans, panis focacius, now better known around the world as pizza.
East says the Ooni Pizza Oven is "probably my favorite thing" she discovered over quarantine, saying "You get Italy-style pizzas in your backyard!" And if anyone would know, it's the woman who spent time in Jesolo, Italy in 2008 to represent the Italy-Spain-Poland-USA Friendly. So whenever the athlete and her family want a pop-up Perla Nera in their own backyard, they simply order some dough, slide it in the Ooni Pizza Oven, and it's ready in 60 seconds.
East's latest entrepreneurial venture with husband Aaron is an adorable way to make kids' clothes act as multi-purpose amusements. Teddy & Bear are adorable mismatched animal socks that come in all different sizes (yes, grownups, we can get in on the fun too!). More than just footwear, these fun socks are fully decorated to function as sock puppets, so you can put on a show for the family, and then have your animal cast "take five" in the laundry basket.
"Our daughter is obsessed with them," East says of 18-month-old Drew's love of the socks/sock puppets. "Even in the car, she'll take her socks off and she'll put them on her hand." Call them socks, puppets or in East's words, a "multi-use fashion statement," Teddy & Bear socks show that there are so many ways to have simple at-home fun on any budget.
Shop it: Teddy & Bear Socks, $36, teddyandbear.com
Video by Nurys Castillo
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