• The Playful Walnut Archive

    Do you know what you’d like for Mother’s Day? For me, it’s an easy request: peace and quiet for one whole day…(yeah, I know. Not so simple). All kidding aside, we know what great lengths our kids (and husbands) go to to make us moms feel special. But if they only realized that they didn’t have to try so hard, it might make the day a lot more meaningful. When most moms seem to crave a little more me time, maybe there’s a creative way to make that happen. I think my local library has the right idea: the current bulletin advertises a class for adult coloring, giving us the perfect excuse to sit down with a fresh box of crayons (who doesn’t love that [&hellip

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    Happy Earth Day! If your weather is as nice as ours is today, it’s the perfect opportunity to get outside and enjoy the fact that spring has finally sprung. If April showers have upended your outdoor plans, then a good book may be just the ticket. Yesterday, I had the privilege to read to a class of second graders for an Earth Day celebration, and one book in particular captivated this rambunctious crew. Critter Litter: See What Animals Leave Behind masks itself as an educational read with a hidden surprise on each page. Each photo spread is dedicated to one of 12¬†different animals and features fun facts, photos and illustrations. The biggest attraction is the lift-the-flap feature that reveals the “critter litter” this dirty dozen [&hellip

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    The first time I took my baby daughter to the beach, I made sure to pack all the essentials: sunscreen, bug spray, a towel and, oh yes, a book. Yes, she loved to dig in the sand and unearth shells, dead crabs and other “treasures,” but that’s not what I remember most about her first experience with the sun and surf. The beach is where she made her first connection with words and reading. After pointing to a picture of a child in Busy Beach, she proudly touched the top of her head and announced “har” (which I took to be “hair.”) I think my smile outshone the sun that afternoon; wow, I must be doing something right, I thought to myself. As a new [&hellip

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    Have you made your Easter basket store run yet? I was at CVS this past weekend, and from the looks of the nearly-empty shelves, the Easter Bunny has already come to town! Whether you are a seasoned pro or an admitted newbie at filling baskets, it’s always fun to include a variety of options (including the sugar-free kind) for kids of any age. This spring, we tracked down some alternatives to all those Peeps, jelly beans and chocolate eggs worth making room for. For baby’s first Easter or for a younger child comes the adorable Kaloo Les Amis Chick. Super-soft, this cuddly plush chick is the next best thing to the real deal (and incredibly low-maintenance). He comes decked out in a sweet baby bib [&hellip

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    Calling all taste testers and lovers of jelly beans: Just how well do you know your favorite flavors? With Easter just one month away, there’s no better time to whet your appetite than with the latest version of a well-loved game that will put your taste buds in a tizzy. The BeanBoozled 4th Edition features two new flavor pairings that may perplex even the most seasoned palettes: Dead Fish with Strawberry Banana Smoothie and Spoiled Milk with Coconut. Sure, these beans may look like their counterparts, but can you really tell which one is the better half? Kids continue to love tempting their friends and family into sampling these eye-catching confectionaries…but most admit, it’s the yuck-inspired names that keep them coming back for more. With [&hellip

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    The annual school Science Fair is upon us once again, and that means it’s time to start thinking up clever topics. I’m always amazed how the lemon light bulb and potato-powered battery make their appearance every year. Maybe this year, they can head back to the produce department, and let another veggie take center stage…like the zucchini. Never Insult a Killer Zucchini! is a delightful new picture book that pays tribute to this elementary school rite of passage. If you’ve been wracking your brain to help your kid come up with a prize-worthy experiment, this book not only provides food for thought, but pokes fun at the craziness of kids (and parents!) trying to outdo their classmates. Readers will enjoy this riotous romp, as the [&hellip

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    Barely a week into the New Year, and my resolution-keeping is off to a shaky start. After poring over home magazines and vowing to keep our little abode tidier than in past years, I admit to fighting a never-ending battle. With two school-aged kids and a husband who acquires more stuff than I can track, trying to keep up with the daily clutter is a job in and of itself. Even after de-Christmasing much of our house, I still can’t find a place for all of our odds and ends (sigh…). So, of course when the daily grind gets the better of me, I tend to seek out outlets that give me solace: my cat, a good book and anything that gets my creative juices [&hellip

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    It’s hard to believe that it will not only be a green Christmas this year, but possibly one of the warmest on records. And while it may be too soon to tell what January and February will bring, it doesn’t exactly put us in the seasonal mindset. If you’re looking to get into the holiday spirit –or are secretly hankering for a dusting of snow (don’t worry, we won’t tell)–two new picture books will surely satisfy your fix this season. The Tea Party in the Woods is a tender, unsuspecting story of a girl who sets out to deliver a pie to her grandmother. But before you think you’ve heard this one before, you can stop yourself right there. The lush watercolor imagery of this [&hellip

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    The holidays always usher in a new crop of kids’ movies, and that usually means a slew of toys to go along with them. If you have plans to take in Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur over the long weekend, don’t be surprised if TOMY’s line of dinosaur figures end up on the top of your kid’s wish list. Among the cast of characters is Arlo, an Apatosaurus who may be the runt of his family, but who proves that his small stature is no comparison to his big heart. Another favorite of ours is Forrest Woodbrush, whose branch-like horns enable him to pass for a tree. While he may be able to blend into the trees, we think this lovable creature will capture kids’ attention, [&hellip

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    Ever wonder what your cat does when you head out of the house for the day? If your answer is “sleep all day,” then clearly you don’t know Nature Cat. A natural extension of the Internet-based feline frenzy comes the latest animated television series from PBS Kids that’s kid-friendly and parent-approved. Centered around an ordinary house cat who transforms into a self-dubbed outdoor extraordinaire, this kitty is no slouch by any stretch of the imagination. Complete in a Robin Hood-esque get-up and an equally spirited energy that defies classic kitty stereotypes, Nature Cat and his gaggle of animal friends set out on a series of action-packed adventures that turn a basic backyard into a playground of non-stop fun. Voiced by SNL’s Taran Killam as Nature [&hellip

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