• If you read my blog, you know how much I love books. Cultivating a passion for reading is something I have been doing since my daughters were born! With that being said, I’m thrilled to introduce my guest blogger who happens to be my almost (gasp!) 12-year-old daughter. She recently read and reviewed an advance copy of Cici Reno #MiddleSchoolMatchMaker, due out this month from Sterling Children’s Books. Read on to find out what she thought of this book and whether it’s something you might like to pick up for your own middle schooler: Cici Reno is a 7th grader at Alton T. Wright Middle School. At the “Back to School Campfire”, Cici’s best friend, Aggie, spots a boy she really likes, Drew Lancaster. She [&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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    Do your kids have their outfits picked out for Easter Sunday? This holiday is often a tricky one to dress for, especially since it falls so early this year. Here in the Northeast, we are largely dependent on Mother Nature as to what we will wear: springy sundress, or sweater and long skirt? So, it helps to dress in comfortable layers that look good and make sense, weather-wise. And that’s just what my younger daughter will be doing this Easter when she wears the adorable Photo Bunny Dress from The Children’s Place. This swingy, springy number, adorned with photo images of real-life rabbits, goes perfectly with a button-down blouse underneath. Once the weather eventually warms up, this sleeveless dress can be worn on its own. [&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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    With a hint of spring in the air and warmer weather well on its way, we can expect to see a caravan of strollers making their rounds. If you will be among the many fellow baby-toting moms, here’s a bit of advice from this seasoned mama: Pack lightly. If there was one thing that used to drive me bonkers as a new mom heading out to the park or playground, it was how unbelievably bogged down I was, schlepping all this stuff around. Between a clean diaper, wipes, snacks, a hat, sweater (in case of a breeze, God forbid!) and anything else I could cram into my bag, I wasn’t just prepared for an afternoon out with my baby daughter…I was ready for the apocalypse, [&hellip

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    If I had a nickel for every time I’ve used a plastic sandwich baggie, I could cash out and skip playing Lotto. Seriously, we go through dozens of these bags every week: from packing snacks and small lunch items, to storing craft supplies and other items I can’t seem to get handle on otherwise. Part of me feels guilty every time we open yet another one (hey, at least I recycle the box!), but as a busy mom, these baggies have become one of my most indispensable items to date. Imagine then how I felt when I recently received a sample of Stasher, a plastic-free, silicon storage bag. To call this item revolutionary would be putting it on a pedestal, and yet I feel this [&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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    Getting a cold is nothing to sneeze at it. And if you happen to live in a home with kids, chances are someone will come down with a case of the sniffles at some point this season. While we’ve been teaching our kids to cough and sneeze into the crook of their arm to prevent the spread of germs, it doesn’t exactly contain–shall we say–the contents of a running nose so well. Enter the Sneeve, a slip-on arm band that fits over a child’s shirt and gives kids ages 3-8 a designated spot for all those sneezes and coughs. Made from an anti-microbial material, it’s designed to kill most bacteria and viruses on contact. And because the Sneeve is disposable, it’s meant for one-time usage [&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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