3 Non-Food Easter Gift Ideas For Kids

Looking for something to stuff the Easter baskets with that won’t give kids a sugar high and rot their teeth out? We’ve got a few ideas to help! You’re welcome.

Idea #1: BOOKS

First off, just out this month is Cynthia Bardes latest children’s book, Pansy in Paris: A Mystery at the Museum

pansy in paris

My kids (boy 3, girl 6) thoroughly enjoyed this book and asked me to read it again when it was over. It really is a cute story with delightful artwork. This is definitely one children’s book worth checking out. There are more books in the “Pansy” series as well that we can’t wait to read. Visit www.cynthiabardes.com or click here to read more about the author and her dog Pansy (a real-life poodle!).

BUY IT: Get Pansy In Paris on Amazon ($14.99)



What little girl doesn’t love nail polish? I know my 6 1/2 year old daughter absolutely LOVES polishing her nails. She’s always begging to use the computer so she can get on Pinterest and check out fancy nail art. Luckily, we found Totally Cool Nails: 50 Fun and Easy Nail Art Designs for Kids


Of course we decided to try out BUNNIES first! The instructions were simple and easy to follow and clear pictures showed the step by step progression to it’s completion. We were both very happy with the result and she got tons of compliments, of course!

I enjoyed it because it was a great mother/daughter activity for us. We can’t wait to try the ombre dot, splatter, cupcake, flip-flop, and union jack nails. This would be a great book for a sleepover too!

BUY IT: Get Totally Cool Nails on Amazon or in your local bookstore ($12)


Idea #3: MOVIES

I’m sure every kid on the planet already owns a copy of Frozen, so why not get them something a little different.

iesodo dvd covers

Meet Iesodo, (YAY-sa-doe) a highly acclaimed Telly and Accolade Award winning series featuring a cast of animated birds who live in a Cypress Tree on the shores of Galilee.

As soon as I saw the cover of the DVD for this series, I immediately thought of Rio! My kids loved that movie so I knew they would be interested in Iesodo. The movie has cutting edge imagery that is somewhat unexpected for a Christian DVD series. Click here to read our review of the DVDs.

With each and every story in the series, Iesodo and his cute feathered friends “present the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a winsome, compelling way” through music and adventure (MovieGuide.org).

BUY IT: Get Iesodo DVDs on Amazon ($14.99 each)


New Baby? Five Tips To Feng Shui Your Nursery!

I’m not due until mid May, but I’m definitely nesting right now! I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to store my cloth diapers this time, what’s the best laundry detergent for baby clothes (which I will post about soon) and how to get organized before I’m too fat and tired to do anything!

TishaI was lucky enough to get some very helpful tips straight from Feng Shui Consultant and Interior Designer, Tisha Morris who recently released her latest book titled, Mind, Body, Home: Transform Your Life One Room at a Time.

Mind Body Home is geared to educate us on the energetic connection made between you and your home. Whether you believe in “Feng Sui” or not, her helpful tips offer an easy and comprehensive path to creating a holistic home. Whether you have a new baby on the way (like I do!) or you simply want to start over fresh for the new year, this book will help you improve the stability of your health and relationships just by changing some of the things in your surroundings. Tisha uses Feng Shui methods to connect every aspect of the home, from the basement to the roof, to the physical and mental state of the mind and body. Mind Body Home is available for purchase on www.amazon.com.

Mind Body Home Book Cover

Five Tips to Feng Shui a Nursery

Because babies are developing all five senses, they are extremely sensitive to the energy of their environment and are therefore quite the feng shui enthusiasts. In fact, good feng shui engages all five senses. For babies, it is important to engage the senses, but to not overwhelm them. In doing so, the nursery should feel safe, peaceful, and nurturing. Here are some tips to create the ideal nursery environment.

Engage the Senses:
Play soft or classical music in the nursery is recommended.Include textured items for the baby to touch and feel. Use gentle and natural aromatherapy in the nursery, such as lavender in an oil diffuser. Use a mobile above their bed is recommended to give them a sense of something around them as opposed to vast open space. Clearly, mobiles serve other functions as well, such as developing eyesight.

Reduce the Clutter:
Although a baby may not be able to see clutter in the room, he or she can pick it up energetically. In fact, their sixth sense is the strongest, which makes them extremely sensitive to their environment. Although babies like small spaces, the room shouldn’t feel crowded due to clutter. It is important therefore to have the baby nursery neat and organized. In other words, it shouldn’t be a room that is also used for storage or other functions. Do not store items underneath the crib, except for soft linens. (This goes for adult beds too!)

Practice Organization Early:
Despite their actions at times, children love organization. It gives them a sense of boundaries and therefore safety. Organization is a learned behavior that is picked up at early ages so set a good example early. Have designated places for clothes and toys. As your child gets old enough, start teaching them how to pick up after themselves and where certain items go. They will start to feel an ownership over their belongings and a sense of taking care of themselves that will continue to benefit them as they get older.

Choose a Soft Color Palette:
Stick with soft pastels and avoid primary colors. Colors emit a lot of energy, particularly the wall color of a room. The bolder the color, the more energy it emits into a room. The softer the color, the calmer it will be on a child’s energy. Since the primary function for a nursery is sleep, use colors that promote sleep. Pastels, such as soft yellow, blues, and greens, and monotones are calming to the nervous system.

Choose Furniture Mindfully:
Avoid large furniture items that give the appearance of towering over the bed. Babies want to feel safe, protected, and cradled, but oversized furniture can feel overbearing. Also avoid furniture pieces with harsh corners. Also be conscious of the history of the furniture that you place in a nursery. For example, an antique crib from the Civll War era carries with it the energy of its past. Consider the energy contained in family pieces and whether that it is positive or negative energy that you want carried forward for your child.

I don’t have a nursery for the new baby since we only have three bedrooms in our house AND we co-sleep with our babies anyway. (Oh don’t act so shocked, you knew I was a little crunchy!) However, I am working towards making a nursery “corner” in my bedroom this time around. Hopefully I can employ some of these tips to make my bedroom more inviting and welcoming for the new baby. Luckily, I redecorated my bedroom last year (with the help of Target) and now have a calming yellow and gray theme in my bedroom that I absolutely LOVE. I think that will be perfect for the new baby. :-)

Good Reads: Books To Read This Summer


Books We’re Reading This Summer

  1. The Art of Cake Pops: 75 Dangerously Delicious Designs
  2. Copykat.com’s Dining Out At Home Cookbook 2: More Recipes for the Most Delicious Dishes from America’s Most Popular Restaurants
  3. The No-Cook No-Bake Cookbook: 101 Delicious Recipes for When It’s Too Hot to Cook
  4. The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers
  5. Savory Bites From Your Cake Pop Maker: 75 Fun Snacks, Adorable Appetizers and Delicious Entrees

Now if I just had time to sit down and actually get through a whole book, I would be a happy, happy girl!

[Read more...]

Cookie Lover’s Cookbook – Hermits Recipe Review

The Good Housekeeping Cookie Lover’s Cookbook
Gooey, Chewy, Sweet & Luscious Treats

Yummy cookies and brownies! This superlative collection straight from the magazine’s famed Test Kitchens features 250 of the most luscious recipes ever created, along with irresistible photos, a handy ringbinder format, and links to 20 cookie-making videos. The book features:

  • -Triple-tested and tasted recipes guaranteed to work in any conventional oven with any brand of ingredients, no matter what
  • -Chapters on cookie-jar favorites, easy-to-shape cookies, brownies, blondies and bars, health-conscious cookies, and holiday cookies
  • -Baking advice, tips, and essential techniques from the Test Kitchen pros
  • -More than 200 color photographs show step-by-step baking and decorating techniques, as well as the finished cookies
  • -Links to 20 cookie-making how-to videos, watchable on a smart phone, e-reader, or computer
  • -and more

I flipped through the book until I saw a recipe for hermit cookies and I immediately started getting out all the ingredients to make them! Hermits are my favorite cookies in the whole world and I had never made them before, so this seemed as good of a time as ever to try it out!

They came out SO YUMMY! (as you can see from the picture above) Moist, chewy, spicy and the house really smelled like “Christmas” when I was done. These went perfectly with a cup of espresso. YUM! They were definitely the best hermit cookies I’ve ever had! I can’t wait to try making another recipe out of this book.

You can get The Good Housekeeping Cookie Lover’s Cookbook: Gooey, Chewy, Sweet & Luscious Treats on Amazon.com or in your local Barnes & Nobles. I think they would make great gifts as well!

* The book for this review was provided to us free of charge for the purpose of product testing. This does not effect our opinion of the products in any way. We only write about products we personally like and use, regardless of how they were acquired.

Broken Voices by Children’s Author Winona Rasheed

Broken Voices by Author Winona Rasheed

Attending a new school and being amongst people you do not know, even if they are your peers, may cause a little stress and apprehension to any teenage individual. However, meeting the obstacles of being different and carrying a secret on your shoulders adds to the drama of high school jitters in a new city. This is the problem for student Ella Rose Abbot as she adapts to being different in a normal world. Even though she accepts her handicap, how can she make others accept her as she is? For deep inside she is just as normal as everyone else, trying to fit in and belong, finding her place in high school.

Broken Voices by Winona Rasheed, is a book for teens or young adults. This reading material comes as an e-book for Kindle lovers or as a paperback book.

Other books by Winona Rasheed include:

    • A New Home for Her Cubs
    • Stories from Grandma’s Garden
    • Sugar and Spice Fairy Tales for Girls
    • Wohali and the Little People
    • Smiles and Frowns through Animal Town Story Book

Books for kids and those who like to read to them.

Find Winona Rasheed’s book on Amazon.com

Purchase The Water Secret & Get Free Products

I haven’t read Dr. Howard Murad’s anti-aging prescription The Water Secret, but I’ve heard some good things about it.  From what I understand, it’s basically a common sense approach that emphasizes a healthy diet (rich in raw fruits and vegetables) as the best means for attaining your most beautiful skin.

It sounds good to me, and I support any beauty regimen that steers women away from needles, chemicals, and scalpels.  If you’ve been considering purchasing The Water Secret, now might be the perfect time.  Details below:

Order Dr. Murad’s New Anti-Aging Bestseller and Receive up to $200 in FREE PRODUCTS!

In celebration of The Water Secret’s best selling status, we’re giving away a secret gift bag filled with Murad favorites—including select full-size products—with every book purchase!*

Here’s how it works:

1. Order The Water Secret from:

2. Forward your order confirmation email to TheWaterSecretGift@murad.com.

That’s all there is to it! The retailer will send you your copy of the book and we’ll ship your FREE product gift bag directly to your door.*

Already purchased your copy of the book? Share the secret with others! Simply purchase the book for a friend or family member, and we’ll send you the secret gift bag as our way of saying thanks.

*Order confirmations must be received by 10/31/10 in order to qualify. Free gift will be shipped out from Murad upon receipt of order confirmation. Void where prohibited. While supplies last. If you are shipping the book to a retailer, friend or family member, be sure to include the address where you want your gift bag shipped. This offer is not valid in stores.

Sleeping Beauties – Book of Cute Baby Pictures

Sleeping Beauties: Newborns in Dreamland

(Sellers Publishing; April 2010; Hardcover; $29.95)
Photographs by Tracy Raver and Kelly Ryden

If you can get from cover to cover of this book and not end up wanting a baby, then you are missing the “baby gene”. This is an absolute tear jerker for any mom-to-be too!

Sleeping Beauties is an ideal coffee table book for moms and moms-to-be. If you’ve ever seen Anne Geddes work, then you will certainly appreciate Sleeping Beauties by Tracy Raver and Kelley Ryden.

These sleeping newborn babies are just so precious and peaceful looking. You’ll fall in love more and more with the turn of each page. It’s proven to be a wonderful bedtime book for my 21/2 year old as well. She loves looking at the tiny babies and I think it’s helping her grasp the concept of what will be joining our family come August!

Each page of Sleeping Beauties includes a gorgeous newborn babe sleeping in some of the most adorable positions and on the opposite page is a quote about babies, children or some other inspirational saying that is sure to bless all who love babies, but especially moms and moms-to-be. This would make an ideal baby shower gift or a wonderful mother’s day gift as well.

You can purchase Sleeping Beauties: Newborns in Dreamland on Amazon.com for only $21.56.