Friday, November 30, 2012

Colortime Craft Deals

Since 1990, over 5 million children and adults have loved creating t-shirts, pillowcases, backpacks, tote bags, bandanas, and more for parties, slumber parties, and scout meetings with our permanent fabric markers. We have provided our customers the opportunity to entertain their guests with a creative activity that becomes a permanent keepsake. Also, we are a licensed vendor of the Girl Scouts of America. Check out our wholesale program, great for your organizations.

We also offer free downloadable coloring pages ( and a "Birthday Club" ( with special incentives.
Get 15% off all orders Promo Code: 15USFG when you check out at
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Book Nympho's Secret Santa

Me and Reading button by Parajunkee

I just wanted to say thank you to Jennifer from The Book Nympho for hosting an awesome Secret Santa.

My super awesome partner, Erin, sent me a ton of great historical fiction books from my wishlist.

She sent me:

Thanks you guys! Pin It

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Cousins!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Give a gift, Make a difference with World Vision

I very happily sponsor a boy in India, named Daniel, through World Vision. I think they are an amazing organization that does wonderful things all around the world, including here in the USA. I was recently contacted by World Vision to see if I would like to share their new Christmas catalog with my readers. Of course!

So when you make a purchase from the catalog, you aren't buying something for yourself. You are buying it for one of the millions of people that World Vision helps out. You can buy chicken, goats, soccer balls, school supplies, and tons of other awesome gifts. These are things that we take for granted here in the US. For the people who are receiving these gifts, it could be life-saving or at least life-altering. Two chickens costing $25 will give a family an endless supply of eggs. If you give a goat with those two chickens, it'll cost you only $100 and give a family an endless supply of eggs, milk, and meat.

With some purchases, you do get a gift beyond what you are giving. For a $50 donation, you can get a blend of fair-trade coffee from Ethiopia, Sumatra, and Costa Rica, all held together in a bag handcrafted by African women. I'm in love with these ornaments that you get with a $150 donation. They are the cutest. For the littles in your family, you can get Veggie Tales League of Incredible Vegetables on DVD for a donation of $50. There are also gorgeous scarves, necklaces, and other accessories.

You can go here for the catalog. You can also follow World Vision on pinterest and facebook.

To thank me for sharing their catalog with you, World Vision sent me a copy of The League of Incredible Vegetables. They are also kindly giving one away to a lucky BBB reader. To enter, just fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Best Children's Christmas Books

If you have a pinterest, I can guarantee that you've seen the book countdown idea going around. The premise is, you get 25 books about Christmas, then wrap them. You let your child pick out one book every night until Christmas Day. Well, being the book nerd that I am, I loved this idea. But I may have gone slightly overboard. I ended up with 45 books.... whoops. I was able to whittle it down, and only wrapped 32. The rest are books that are anthologies or books that are just too advanced for a two year old.

I've seen really cute ideas of wrapping the books in green wrapping paper and then displaying them like a tree. There are tons of other ideas, but I just wrapped them in random wrapping papers and put them inside a Christmas box.

Since we had 32 books, we were able to start our countdown today. Yay! I was probably more excited than CJ was.

CJ ended up choosing the Golden Book version of A Christmas Story. I was glad that he chose a book about the actual Christmas story first as opposed to a book about Santa.

Since I went cray-cray finding Christmas stories, I'm making it easier for you by listing them all here by age. I've got a great mix of new books and old classics. I have them in order of age level. The board books are at the beginning and the longer books are at the end. Enjoy!

What Is Christmas? - Cute little board book that explains what Christmas means in a way that little ones can grasp.
Arthur Decks the Hall - CJ loves Arthur, and he'll love that this has little flaps for him to lift up.
Backyardigans' Jingle Bell Christmas - I think this will be one of CJ's favorites this year.
Snowman's Christmas Surprise & Santa's Christmas Surprise - Two different board books that I found really cheap somewhere. CJ will like them though.
Mouse's First Christmas - Really cute and really simple story. The pictures tell the story with very short sentences below.
The Mitten - Not really a Christmas story, but a great one by Jan Brett about giving and family.
The First Night - A beautifully illustrated telling of the birth of Christ.
Counting Christmas - CJ loves Karen Katz' books, he is going to love this one. He already saw it before I wrapped it and freaked about it.
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies - Another one that isn't really about Christmas, but the illustrations show that it takes place at Christmastime.
Little Critter's Merry Christmas Mom and Dad - Little Critter is another one of CJ's favorites, so this should be a hit.
The Twelve Days of Christmas - Another one illustrated by Jan Brett, this is just the classic song in book form.
Countdown To Christmas - CJ got this last year but was too little for it. It has a page to read every day with a little story, a bible verse, and a very simple craft. I love it.
The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear - This will be CJ's first Berenstein Bear book.
My Penguin Osbert - This story is so cute. A little boy has to be very specific with what he tells Santa he wants because Santa always gets it wrong. So he asks for a penguin from the Arctic.
The Snowy Day - This is one of my favorite children's books of all time. Not technically a Christmas book, but I'm including it because I love it, and it is Winter-themed.
I Spy Christmas: A Book of Picture Riddles - CJ loves these look and find books, so I snatched this up for a dollar at a thrift store.
Mooseltoe - I can't find this on amazon, but it is the story of a moose trying to figure out the meaning of Christmas. It is apparently part of a whole series.
Storybook Treasury for Christmas (Storybook Treasuries) - Contains The Night Before the Night Before Christmas; Wee Three Pigs; All About Christmas; The Nutcracker; Corduroy's Christmas Surprise; and The Little Engine That Could and the Snowy, Blowy Christmas. I'm just going to read Wee Three Pigs and All About Christmas. 
The Night Before Christmas - We have a couple versions of this, so I am going to use the most toddler- friendly edition this year.
The Christmas Story - The Little Golden Book version of the story of the birth of Christ.
The Polar Express - This is one of the new classics. CJ loves trains, so he'll love this.
An Irish Night Before Christmas - I had to get this when I saw it on paperbackswap, and I'm so glad I did. It is so funny. We are going to read it as a family on Christmas Eve. The donkey's name is actually my mother-in-law's maiden name. So funny.
When Santa Lost His Ho! Ho! Ho! - I don't know much about this one, but the illustrations looked cute.
The Littlest Christmas Elf - This was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I actually bought it when I was pregnant because I saw it at a thrift store for really cheap.
Mickey's Christmas Carol - The Little Golden Book edition of Mickey's Christmas Carol.
Noel - A Christmas ornament learns the meaning of Christmas.
Olive, the Other Reindeer - After hearing the song Rudolph, Oliver realizes that she plays a very important part in Christmas.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - This obviously had to be included.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - The Little Golden Book edition. 
Nutcracker - Another Little Golden Book edition.
Snowmen at Christmas - I don't know much about this one either, except that the illustrations look awesome.
Frosty the Snowman - Yet another Little Golden Book.
One Little Christmas Tree: A Children's Christmas Picture Book - Review coming soon.
A Christmas Treasury: The Children's Classic Edition - Contains songs and stories for kids, includes The Night Before Christmas, A Merry Christmas, The Little Blue Dishes, and the Biblical text of the very first Christmas.
The Littlest Christmas Tree: A Tale of Growing and Becoming - I left this one out because it is just too complex for a two year old, but the pictures are great.
The Littlest Angel - Another great one that CJ is too young for, but he'll enjoy it someday.
A Little House Christmas: Holiday Stories From the Little House Books - I love these stories, so I'll be reading them to myself, but CJ is still too little for the Little House books.

So remember how I said that I went a little overboard on getting Christmas books? Well I ended up with a couple of repeats, so you are in luck. I'm going to give a couple of the extras away. It is a surprise though, on which ones you will get! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase, I get a small percentage of the profits. That money will be sent right back into the blog for awesome giveaways! 

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving - More Angst

I did make this super cute Fall mantel though. 
Since my opinion of Thanksgiving hasn't changed, I'm just going to re-post what I said last year.

Thanksgiving Angst

I've been struggling a little bit lately with the thought of Thanksgiving. I love the idea of a holiday where family gathers and gives thanks for all that they have. What I don't love is the rest of the propaganda surrounding Thanksgiving. I grew up in Massachusetts, where all this peace, love, and thanksgiving supposedly happened. In school, we were taught this great story about how the pilgrims and the indians gathered together and had a wonderful meal together. As a kid, I ate this up. What a lovely story. People of different backgrounds joining together in harmony?! What could possibly be wrong with that? Nothing, except that the story is complete bullshit.

 Now I don't claim to be a historian, and I don't really want this blog to get all political. I've genuinely been struggling whether I wanted to touch on this at all. But after reading Simon Moya-Smith's blog post today about homeless natives in Denver, I knew I had to post something. So let's think about this. How many truly Native people do you know? Probably none right? Like I said, I grew up in New England, in Massachusetts, a state named after the Massachusett tribe. I do not know a single Native person. Oh I know plenty of white people who claim some sort of "indian" ancestors (my own family members included), but I don't know any true Native people. So obviously that great coming together of different groups didn't really work out for them.

While the facts of where Thanksgiving truly came from are hard to find nowadays, the general thought is that Thanksgiving was officially declared by Governor William Bradford after the Pequot massacre 0f approximately 600 indians living near the Mystic River in 1637. He wrote "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children." It was signed into law that, "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots." For more of this story, please read I Am Not A Mascot: Homeless Jimmy, Burger King and Lakota Corner to get just a little perspective on where many Natives find themselves today.

As for me, I will be raising my son to celebrate thanksgiving-the act of being thankful for the things that we have that others may not. When he's older and in school, he will not be participating in any sort of Thanksgiving plays that depict the accepted (and untrue) version of Thanksgiving. I will be teaching him the true facts behind Thanksgiving, and I will teach him not to take everything he learns as fact. I will raise a son who takes what he's taught and then finds the truth for himself. I apologize that this blog post is very different from my usual happy-go-lucky posts, but I find that I have a hard time being happy-go-lucky in regards to Thanksgiving.

For more information regarding the myth of Thanksgiving, please check out these sites: 
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Godson Snuggles

Secret Code : Snuggles Pin It

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sharpie Gel Highlighters Review

Always take lecture notes in pencil. 
Since I am currently in grad school, I take a lot of notes. Not to brag or anything, but I am an amazing note-taker. For reals. I should get straight A's on my note taking skills alone. I like to use multi-colored highlighters and different colored pens (black, blue, and red) to get to the nitty gritty of what is being taught.

Sharpie sent me over a couple of their new gel highlighter pens to see what I thought. I've used every highlighter that ever existed, and obviously Sharpie was my favorite brand, but what would I think of these new highlighters? What was wrong with the old highlighters, I thought to myself. Then I met this guy....

Look at that little gel tip. It is flawless. It glides like the smoothest crayon you ever used in your life. I want to highlight all the things. You can't really tell the difference between the regular highlighter and the gel one as far as color goes. The only difference is the glide. Like I said, it is smooth. It is the jazz of highlighters.

These new highlighters can be found at your local school supply store, or online at These are perfect. When the gel tip runs out, you just twist the bottom and more pops up, like a mechanical pencil, except more awesome. I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Pin It