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The Shadow Books on First
My Life as a 6th Grade Super Zero
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Personalized DIY Craft Kit Gifts

Personalized DIY Craft Kit Gifts

I love giving kids creative gifts. I even more love giving them open ended creative gifts. A kit that makes a particular item if you follow the instructions is great for introducing new skills or for skill building- but sometimes what they really need is encouragement to take materials and use them in a completely

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Books on First:  The Shadow by Jill Cooper Review

Books on First: The Shadow by Jill Cooper Review

This month I was offered a complementary copy of Jill Cooper’s latest book in her Dream Slayer series to review in exchange for an honest review. The Shadow is a Young Adult urban fantasy featuring vampires, demons and a bullied teenage girl who suddenly discovers that the world’s fate rests in her hands. Ok, I

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You're the greatest, Charlie Brown!

You’re the greatest, Charlie Brown!

My eldest can be Bored IDon’tWanna McBordeypants Ruler of the BoredLandians, and if you say, “Let’s read a book,” he comes around instantly, and Little Brother follows right behind him. (I don’t want to say they take after their mother, but… they take after their mother.) He does have standards, of course- if he doesn’t like the way a book is written or the way the story is going, he won’t hesitate to inform you that there will be No More Reading Of The Hobbit Ever because he just can’t want to be part of this family when we read the Hobbit. (But if there’s a Lego version of it, though, that would be fine… I have no words.)

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Instant Gratification: The Honest Holiday Card Collection

Instant Gratification: The Honest Holiday Card Collection

We are keeping it real this year in our family holiday card. Note that I am gritting my teeth in the photo on the left, and that fifteen minutes into the family card photo taking experience, both of my children are so bored with the idea that they can’t even fake happiness for the season

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The Little Boy Who Lost His Name

The Little Boy Who Lost His Name

Discovering who you are is a great adventure. In the Lost My Name books, your child can embark on a completely personalized tale of kindness and courage, and they’ll never notice how much they are learning along the way. (But you will!)

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Give your kids the universe... in a box!

Give your kids the universe… in a box!

I want my kids to understand that the universe is vast and filled with endless possibilities- but I want to give them that information in installments they can absorb. Compared to interstellar travel, the monthly subscription cost is a bargain, and inside adventure awaits.

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Picture Perfect Holiday: Photo Gift Giveaway ends 12/16

Picture Perfect Holiday: Photo Gift Giveaway ends 12/16

Have you ever had a picture SO special you wanted to put it everywhere? Yeah, me too. So when Collage.com asked me if they could send over a sample of their photo wrapping paper for a review, I knew exactly what I’d put on it. Who WOULDN’T want to receive a gift with the smiling

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Sweets to the sweet: Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates Review

Sweets to the sweet: Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates Review

Mrs. Cavanaugh’s chocolates sent me some of their most popular products at no cost to me so that I would review them. Which means they are my new favorite people, becasue anyone who sends me chocolate with strict instructions to eat it is my favorite. (WHAT? How else was I going to review them? I

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Your Little Passport to Virtual Adventure

Your Little Passport to Virtual Adventure

I don’t have the budget for international travel. There. I said it. I KNOW YOU ARE SURPRISED. (Just kidding, you are all very intelligent people who have already figured out that if I was jetting off to Paris I wouldn’t be able to resist a few Eiffel Tower selfies, at least.) But my kids and

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All I want for Christmas is a #HoneyBakedHoliday #Sponsored

All I want for Christmas is a #HoneyBakedHoliday #Sponsored

Since I have my two front teeth already, all I want for Christmas is some HoneyBaked ham. Ok, maybe not ALL. I’d also like about 24 uninterrupted hours to tackle my to do list without anyone under 3 feet tall grabbing my posterior to shout HUG HUG HUG just as I pick up a sharp

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Warm you up Homemade Chili Kit

Warm you up Homemade Chili Kit

Create and give a kit your recipient can turn into delicious, savory chili to warm them any time. Recipe and FREE PRINTABLE recipe cards included.

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Beautiful Things for Everyone You Love

Beautiful Things for Everyone You Love

Welcome to our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide! Ideas! Tips! Reviews! Wine! (Seriously.) Gifts for the Kitchen Gifts for Kids who like Books http://www.joytroupe.com/max-explores/ Gifts For Everyone Gifts For Kids Gifts for Special Interests Related posts: Holiday for Her Gift Pack ends 12/6 Crazy For Kids Gift Pack Giveaway ends 12/4 Festive Fit Giveaway ends 12/8

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Santa and the Three Rs

Santa and the Three Rs

Have you ever thought, “do you suppose it’s okay to buy my children’s Christmas gifts off Craig’s List?” or, “is it okay for Santa’s gifts to be used?” What if they ask you, “Why does Santa bring me used toys?”

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WorldVision Handmade Gifts Balinese Necklace Review

WorldVision Handmade Gifts Balinese Necklace Review

This necklace reminds me of a waterfall, and it is not only lovely but well-made. The glass beads are well chosen and the construction of the jewelry is sturdy enough to hold up to daily wear. (If you’d prefer a different handcrafted item, there are others available. They are all more lovely than the last- hard choices, indeed.) This necklace is quite long, and has leather thongs at the back of the neck. They don’t “adjust” per se, but you can tie them in a knot to make it shorter. The length makes it is the perfect accessory for a cowl neck sweater. My son calls it “the Merry Christmas,” and tries to steal it and hang it about the house. It certainly is pretty enough to put on the Christmas tree!

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Orangutan Houdini

Orangutan Houdini

Raising children with an appreciation for our natural world requires that we show them that world in every way we possibly can. Visiting our nations best zoos and natural parks, going outside and building a rain garden, observing the comings and goings of birds, squirrels, lizards, butterflies, bees, and other everyday animals are all great

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Have a very zombie holiday this year.

Have a very zombie holiday this year.

It’s not every day that you find something you can be delighted to call the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen. Merry Chiapocalypse.

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Give them a hug and tell them a story when you're far from home!

Give them a hug and tell them a story when you’re far from home!

The Original BedBug is a snuggly, adorable plush toy you can personalize with two greetings and a story. Come on in and see if I figured out a way to break it.

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Books On First: Damsel Not Review & Discussion

Books On First: Damsel Not Review & Discussion

Our Books On First series is our version of a virtual book club for moms! Read JMM Danette Z’s review below, and then jump in on the discussion in the comments when you’re ready! enter to win a copy of the book!

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Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD Review & Giveaway (til 11/25)

Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD Review & Giveaway (til 11/25)

Come see what we thought of the Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD by the creator of Veggie Tales and enter to win a copy for yourself! Join Buck Denver and his pals to learn about the history and origins of all your favorite Christmas tradions. One US winner will receive a DVD of Why Do We Call It Christmas.

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Introducing: Damsel Not Book Blast & Giveaway! ends 12/7

Introducing: Damsel Not Book Blast & Giveaway! ends 12/7

Join us in a monthly virtual book club for moms! Introducing this month’s book: Damsel Not! Be sure to come in and get a preview, and enter the Amazon Gift Card giveaway! JMM Danette Z will have a review for you shortly, and you’ll be invited to participate in a virtual discussion. Can’t wait to read it!

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Put the thanks in your #HoneyBakedHoliday #Sponsored

Put the thanks in your #HoneyBakedHoliday #Sponsored

Remember how yesterday I asked you if you were READY? Yeah, I’m still not. But let’s talk about that. Thanks to HoneyBaked Ham Company for sponsoring today’s post. I’ve been compensated for visiting their Alexandria, VA store and sharing the exact same honest thoughts I always would. (Don’t miss the giveaway down there at the bottom!)

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Are you ready?

Are you ready?

We think about being frugal with our money and using our time efficiently, but do we think about the way we spend our spirits? The constant struggle to “keep up,” to be “ready” is draining. It batters us, and it’s a burden we don’t share with our families. Every single woman I know carries this load alone, sometimes even with the added burden of criticism from a spouse who doesn’t understand why it’s important. It’s a bigger load at holiday time, but we carry it all year.

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Hunger in our communities: PWNED by Maddi's Fridge

Hunger in our communities: PWNED by Maddi’s Fridge

#girls making a difference… Sofia and Maddi play in the same park. They live in the same neighborhood. When Sofia realizes that there is no food at Maddi’s house, Maddi makes her promise not to tell. This book is a story about hunger in our communities, and what we (even kids!) can do about it. My favorite sentence is: “10% of profits donated to help fight childhood hunger.”

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Book for tweens helps with sibling and blended family drama

Book for tweens helps with sibling and blended family drama

Twin siblings Maggie and Max are assigned by their mother to create a handwritten journal over the course of a summer. She lays out some ground rules, and then they are to take turns going first and then responding to one another’s entries. The result is the kind of messy, handwritten, doodled in journal that has been building creativity since paper stopped being as precious as diamonds.

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