Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hot for the Holidays: The Original Christmas Classics Blu-Ray Gift Set

Photo Credit: Classic Media
One of the things I look forward to most during the holidays is revisiting all of the classic children’s Christmas specials that I’ve watched since I was a kid! I’ve owned many of them on VHS, but we’ve been slowly replacing all of our bulky VHS tapes with Blu-ray discs. So, I was really excited to learn that many of my beloved Christmas shows are now available on Blu-ray!

One of my all-time favorites is Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, and I can’t believe that it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year! I love this story about how Kris Kringle is found by the elves and becomes Santa Claus. The story is narrated by Fred Astaire, and Santa is voiced by Mickey Rooney. Remember how the mean Burgermeister Meisterburger forbids children from playing with toys? And how Kris meets his future wife, Jessica, the schoolteacher? I always got a kick out of how the show explains certain Christmas traditions, like Santa’s entry through the chimney and hiding presents in stockings. I can’t wait to see the show again this year!

For the first time, Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town is part of a new Blu-ray gift set called The Original Christmas Classics. It’s joined by three other Christmas classic programs that I love: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (oh, how I wanted to slap those other reindeer for being so mean to Rudolph), Frosty the Snowman (I still cry when Frosty melts in the greenhouse), and Frosty Returns! These Christmas classics are definitely a “must-see” for families every year. The Original Christmas Classics Blu-ray gift set is available wherever Blu-rays are sold!





DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary gift set to facilitate my candid review. No financial compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

TodaysMama and GameStop are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season, and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

My holiday wish is that we all remain healthy, safe and happy throughout the next year!

2. What is your Christmas morning / Hanukkah Nightly tradition?

On Christmas morning, we open all of our gifts slowly so we can take several hours opening up presents! Everyone has to watch each other open the gifts one-by-one so we can ooh and ahh over each one. We also take a break for breakfast to make the process last even longer!

3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

I would wish for a new house. When I married my husband over 7 years ago, I moved into his house, which was supposed to be “temporary.” With four kids now, we really need more room, and I’d love to have a big yard out in the country.

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

Family traditions make the holidays special, like taking out treasured ornaments and decorations every year, and making the same cookie recipes.

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

We loved (and still do) to play a card game called “31.” We each bet 30 cents per game. We’re big gamblers (NOT!). We also played lots of Scrabble.

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

We go to church on Christmas Eve and open all of our presents on Christmas day. My mom and I make quiche for Christmas breakfast with mimosas (for the adults only, of course).

7. Where would you go for a Christmas/Hanukkah-away-from-home trip?

I think it would be fun to have Christmas in another country to see how they celebrate the season. I’d love to go to Australia!

8. Check out GameStop and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

Sony Playstation 3 160GB Holiday Bundle for my high-schooler


Super Mario All-Stars: Limited Edition Wii Game for my twins, who will take over their brother’s Wii if he gets a PS3


Halo Wars for Xbox 360 for my oldest son


Join CardsDirect in Sending a Texas Sized Holiday Card to the Troops!

Those serving our country deserve special recognition throughout the year, but especially during the holiday season. Being away from friends and family during the holidays is especially tough for our fighting men and women, and a show of appreciation from those they are defending can do wonders to keep their spirits high. In an effort to salute our troops, CardsDirect is preparing to send a Texas sized holiday card to our troops in December, and they need your help! Just go to www.cardsdirect.com/TexasSizeHolidayCard.aspx and enter your message of support. All of the messages submitted will be printed on a huge holiday card and presented to the troops. Thanks to CardsDirect for initiating this terrific endeavor!

Dinosaur Train: A Brand-New Episode and a DVD Giveaway!

I’ve had the pleasure of being able to offer Dinosaur Train giveaways before, and they’re always popular because it’s such a great show! In fact, this Jim Henson production ranks in the top 5 children’s programs among kids ages 2 to 5! This Monday, December 6th, there’s a brand-new episode of Dinosaur Train premiering on PBS Kids! In “Big Stomping Dinosaur Feet”/“Hornucopia,” Daphne, a Daspletosaurus, shows Buddy how to make stomping a fun dance instead of a temper tantrum. And at the Big Pond, Tank introduces the Pteranodon family to his friend, Stacie Styracosaurus, a fellow Ceratopsian with a crown of elaborate horns on her head. Be sure to watch or record this brand-new episode on Monday!

For the holidays, you’ll be able to catch encore presentations of “Dinosaurs in the Snow”/“Cretaceous Conifers,” which will broadcast on December 8, 12, 20, and 24 (check local listings for times). This particular episode is also one of eight fun and educational adventures available on the Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs in the Snow DVD from PBS Kids and Paramount Home Entertainment. On the DVD, Buddy travels to the North Pole, explores nocturnal animals, becomes a detective, celebrates his birthday, and more! This DVD also features great bonus features: an interactive game, coloring pages, a dinosaur reference guide and parent information (SRP: $14.99).

GIVEAWAY

Wouldn’t that DVD make a great holiday gift for your kids? I have one copy of the Dinosaurs in the Snow DVD to send to one lucky winner! To enter, visit the Dinosaur Train interactive website at PBSKIDS.org/dinosaurtrain and check out the games. Leave a comment with the name of one that your child would enjoy! You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional, additional entries by... (leave a separate comment for each)

- Following PBS Kids (@PBSKids) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet up to three times each day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Liking Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)


One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Tuesday, December 14, 2010, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, CMS!



DISCLOSURE: I received no products or financial compensation for this post. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.

Beautiful Holiday Gift: Inspired Design, by Roxanne Hughes Packham and Hannah Packham

My mother loves decorating and design. Although she’s never been formally trained in this field, she has worked for a decorating firm and is often asked to help others decorate their homes. Her own houses have always been very tastefully decorated and furnished. So, she’ll be getting a copy of the beautiful book, Inspired Design, for Christmas!

Inspired Design is written by Roxanne Hughes Packham, an acclaimed interior designer whose classic designs grace hundreds of California homes from San Francisco to San Diego. She comes from a long line of gifted artisans, including world-renowned silversmiths Allan Adler (her grandfather) and Porter Blanchard (her great-grandfather). Roxanne is a graduate of the University of Southern California and Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Los Angeles, and she studied design at Paris Fashion Institute and the Sorbonne. Her work has been featured in numerous design publications. Roxanne coauthored this book with her 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, who plans to continue her family’s long tradition of design excellence. Inspired Design also contains breathtaking photographs by Mark Lohman, a southern California-based photographer whose specialties include interior, garden and architectural photography.

If you’ve always dreamed of creating a more “inspired design” in your home, Roxanne and Hannah share ideas that will help you create beauty, warmth and passion in your home. Read the following interview with Roxanne Packham:

Why did you write Inspired Design with your daughter?

My grandfather (Silversmith Allan Adler) passed this love of design to me, so it just seemed a natural, alongside a book about the design and subsequent use of our homes, infused with family heritage, that my daughter who lives alongside me take a large part in the powerful subject of “the home.” I also wanted to create a place where we could initiate, create, and complete a project where my daughter, Hannah, could learn alongside me both the practical and the ethical implications of a project this size, where all the profits go to a charity that is dear to our hearts, Heart of Hope Ministries, Intl. I wanted to show her an example of using our talents and gifts for the enjoyment of others, while benefiting others, not ourselves. It wasn’t to be pious, but just a fun way to give back and truly make a difference while doing something together that we loved!

What is Inspired Design?

A book about three aspects of the home and its power to touch the souls of those within. Those three aspects are: Designing for warmth and beauty to nurture others, meaningful touches and gestures to celebrate and honor your loved ones on special occasions and ordinary days, and lastly that it is not what we have or do not have that blesses others and changes lives, but how we use what we have. It is about incorporating YOUR family heritage, and your unique gifts, into making a beautiful family home.

Inspired Design has had such a wonderful response, without a traditional publisher, distributor, or agent. Why do you think that is?

It resonates in the spirit of women, who want to make a positive impact on their families and loved ones. The blessing of word of mouth publicity has really caused this book to sell and touch the hearts of every woman who has read it. They tell one friend, and so on and so on. For example, Jill Foster, author of Creative Cakes Anyone Can Make, raves, “Your Inspired Design is amazing. I have devoured it, sipping coffee as I have enjoyed reading each page. Your family legacy is depicted in beautiful illustration. Having Hannah’s words throughout the book is wonderful.”

We heard that one customer in Coronado, California has reordered about 10 books, each one as a gift for friends’ birthdays. What is it that she finds so touching? 

She is someone I have never met, but she said she found it so real, beautiful, uplifting and from such a realistic perspective on touching others with the bonus of spectacular homes and photography. The combination makes her want to give it to all her friends for their birthdays. She loves the blog that goes alongside it as well, with weekly tips and suggestions to make others feel special.

I know that a mother-daughter ministry, “Inspired 31,” has begun alongside of Inspired Design. Why do you think it has resonated so powerfully?

Especially in this economic climate, so many women are more resolute than ever that their families are the most important thing in their lives, and their daughters, or close friends, should be celebrated and cherished. Without exception, our gatherings (3 so far in its first 3 months) have attracted hundreds of mother/daughter/sister/friend combinations wanting to come, for 2 hours, and celebrate what is good, pure, worthy of praise, especially each other. Inspired 31’s mission is to teach girls (and now even women of all ages) to find and follow God’s unique path for their lives. We have inspiring speakers and a wonderful positive/uplifting program. We have people inquiring about beginning a chapter in their area, in many cities.

Where can we purchase a copy of Inspired Design? Also, we heard this book is helping orphans and teenage girls as well.

Inspired Design makes a perfect gift with so many ideas for making Christmas, or any holiday, more special with all kinds of thoughtful little details. 100% of the profits go to Heart of Hope, which benefits orphans in Romania, and Inspired 31, a mother-teenage girl ministry. With each purchase, you are helping all kinds of different children. Please visit my web site at http://inspireddesignpublications.com/.

For future opportunities to win a FREE copy of Inspired Design, click on the following links to enter random drawings conducted by Christian Speaker Services:

CSS Blog (please see blog posts for details)

CSS Virtual Blog Tour on Facebook (please see EVENTS pages for details)



DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of this book was provided to me as a blog tour host by Inspired Design Publications in exchange for posting this interview on my blog. Please visit Christian Speaker Services at www.ChristianSpeakerServices.com for more information about blog tour management services.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hurry for a 50 Percent Discount and Free Shipping on the New Personalized National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World!

For a limited time, National Geographic Kids is offering to readers of Susan Heim on Parenting a 50% discount and free shipping on their fantastic new fully personalized National Geographic Kids Atlas of My World! This is a really cool book! Here’s how it works: Just go to www.atlasofmyworld.com and upload your child’s/children’s photos, choose from several different personalization options (ranging from where the child/children go to school, information about their pet, things they love/enjoy and more), write a personal dedication, and then preview the final product before you purchase. Some of the terrific features of this one-of-a-kind atlas include:
  • 48 pages, hardcover
  • Over 200 full-color photographs and maps
  • Custom printed with your child’s photo and details
  • Available in US and Canada
  • Available for multiple children or an entire class
I went to www.atlasofmyworld.com and made a sample atlas. I simply uploaded my son’s picture (I used one of his baby pictures), answered a few quick questions, and then clicked on preview. Here are a few of the adorable pages from his book:


These beautiful personalized atlases are normally $39.95, but for a limited time, you can receive up to 50% off, plus free shipping! Following are the codes you need to take advantage of this fantastic offer:

50% discount plus free shipping
Offer valid on November 29, 30 and December 1, 2010
Discount code: shop50gift

25% discount plus free shipping
Offer valid on December 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, 2010
Discount code: gift25shop

Please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family because these offers don’t last long!

You can follow National Geographic Kids on Twitter at @NGKids and friend them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalGeographicKids.

If you have a special child on your list this holiday season, this wonderful personalized atlas from National Geographic Kids is the perfect gift. Your little one will be thrilled to see his or her picture in a real full-color picture book!



DISCLOSURE: National Geographic Kids is entering participating bloggers into a contest to win personalized copies of this atlas plus savings bonds.

Cheerios Supports Literacy with Free Books in Cereal Boxes Through Its Spoonfuls of Stories Program

I love companies that recognize the importance of reading and literacy. Cheerios wants to encourage kids to love reading at a young age, so they are including more than six million children’s books free inside Cheerios boxes! The Spoonfuls of Stories program, going on now, offers books that are appropriate for children ages three to eight, written in both English and Spanish.

Following are some interesting findings that Cheerios gleaned about reading and family life in a survey they conducted:

• 67% of moms said they read to their children at least once a day
• Nearly two-thirds (61%) said “busy schedules” prevent them from spending more time reading with their kids
• Eight in ten moms (81%) reported that they started reading to their child before their first birthday

Through Spoonfuls of Stories, Cheerios has two goals: 1) to celebrate families who read together, and 2) to encourage those who do not yet read every day to pick up a book and start. Cheerios will also make a $300,000 donation to First Book, an award-winning national nonprofit that helps get books into the hands of children from low-income families. Since 2001, Cheerios has donated more than $3.5 million to First Book and distributed almost 50 million children’s books inside Cheerios boxes. Cheerios has also enlisted the aid of actress and mother of three, Jennie Garth, to help spread the word about the Spoonfuls of Stories program.

This year’s books, all from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, are:

All the World, by Liz Garton Scanlon and illustrated by Marla Frazee, discusses the many wonderful things a child can encounter in the world as well as the commonalities all the world shares.


Chaucer’s First Winter, by Stephen Krensky and illustrated by Henry Cole, follows a bear named Chaucer, who knows he is supposed to sleep through the winter but feels it’s much more fun to stay up and play.


Jump!, by Scott M. Fischer, chronicles the adventures of a bug, a frog, a cat, a hound, a crocodile, a shark, and a whale, who all love to jump!


No T. Rex in the Library, by Toni Buzzeo and illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa, is a story about a little girl named Tess and her adventures in the library with a boisterous T-Rex.


The Purple Kangaroo, by comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Peter Brown, is a vivid and humor-filled story that tricks the reader into thinking about a purple kangaroo.


My family received copies of these books, and my boys pounced on them right away! The brightly colored illustrations and fun text definitely kept their interest. To learn more about the Spoonfuls of Stories program and this year’s in-pack books, or to donate to First Book, go to www.spoonfulsofstories.com. And please pick up a specially marked package of Cheerios to help support this important program.



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary box of Cheerios and the five books in this year’s Spoonfuls of Stories program to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was provided.

Hot for the Holidays: Freaky Pets -- A Plush Toy That’s Also a Video Game!

Just in time for the holidays, Hallmark has launched a line of plush creatures called Freaky Pets! They’re called “freaky” because you can transform them from cute to cranky just by turning them inside-out! And for even more fun, each Freaky Pet comes with a code that allows you access to their exciting 3D world at www.FreakyPets.com.

My boys really love their Freaky Pets! Check out the two that they have:

As evidenced by their love of jokes, music and sliding down icebergs, Gweeks have a passion for living life to the fullest. Despite being sweet-tempered and generous, Gweek still hasn’t quite figured out that most people don’t consider snowballs to be great gifts. Cranky Gweeks are legendary for having an icy hot temper. They stomp, growl and pound the walls until they’re out of energy. Word to the wise: Avoid cranky Gweeks until they’ve completely chilled out.

Despite being very shy and easily scared, Orkals are best known for being everyone’s BFF. When they feel safe, Orkals like to dance and do tricks. A tough talker who never backs down from a challenge, Cranky Orkals are full of themselves and completely out of control.

There are 8 other Freaky Pets, so your child is sure to find one that he or she loves. And on the Freaky Pets website, your child’s Freaky Pet comes to life! My boys really enjoy playing this game. You can teach your pet up to 60 tricks and hundreds of trick combinations, and then take your pet to Pet Town to compete against other players in a safe online environment. Coins earned can be used to customize your pets and their lairs.

And Freaky Pets are a great deal! The suggested retail price is only $14.95, which comes with a one-year subscription to www.FreakyPets.com. Freaky Pets are sold exclusively at Hallmark Gold Crown stores!

YOU MIGHT WIN A FREE FREAKY PET!

THIS Friday, December 3rd, is “Free Freaky Friday” at Hallmark! The first five children who go to a participating Hallmark store with the secret password (provided on www.FreakyPets.com) will win a free Freaky Pet! (NOTE: You might want to call ahead to your local Hallmark store to make sure they are participating.)

Go to www.FreakyPets.com to learn more about Freaky Pets and try out the online game for free. These fun new toys are sure to be Hot for the Holidays!




DISCLOSURE: I received two complimentary Freaky Pets to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was provided.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: The Christmas Clock, by Kat Martin

I have a huge weakness for anything with a Christmas theme: movies, TV shows, music, books, and more! So, I jumped at the chance to review the novel, The Christmas Clock, by Kat Martin. This book has everything you could want in a Christmas story: an orphaned boy, serious illness, lost love and romance!

Sylvia Winters returns to her small hometown in Michigan after many years in Chicago that was preceded by a break-up with her fiancĂ©, Joe Dixon. During their years apart, Sylvia was treated for cancer while Joe spent time in prison after a bar fight resulted in an accidental death. So, when Sylvia returns to Dreyerville, it’s a rough new beginning for her and Joe. But through the love of their friends and a little orphaned boy named Teddy, the couple works through their pain and begins to rekindle the love they thought had been destroyed.

The Christmas clock refers to a beautiful antique clock that eight-year-old Teddy wants to get his grandmother for Christmas. She has a rapidly progressing form of Alzheimer’s, but the clock seems to stir up memories of her youth. When Teddy is removed from her care, he is more desperate than ever to give her one last Christmas gift.

I really enjoyed reading The Christmas Clock. This story will warm your heart and inspire you to treasure the gift of family and friends. Go to www.thechristmasclock.com to learn more about this book and author, Kat Martin. This little paperback would make an excellent stocking stuffer. Or purchase the hardcover edition to set out on your coffee table for the holiday season. Visit www.katbooks.com to see the other books published by Kat Martin!


GIVEAWAY

Two winners will receive an autographed copy of The Christmas Clock in paperback! To enter, just leave your email address in a comment below. (Note: This will sign you up for the author’s newsletter so you can learn more about her upcoming books!) You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional additional entries by (leave a separate comment for each):

- Following author Kat Martin (@katbooks) and Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Liking Kat Martin on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Liking Susan Heim on Parenting on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

Two winners will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Sunday, December 12, 2010, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED.
Congratulations to the winners, ossmcalc and debbie!




DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my candid review. No financial compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.

Home at Last!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We spent four days with Grandma and Grandpa (my parents). It was a long four-and-a-half-hour drive home with lots of heavy traffic. But the kids were little angels in the car (miraculously), and Austen even fell asleep at one point. Now the challenge is to keep the spirit of Thanksgiving in our hearts as we all return to work, school, etc. Have a blessed week!



Friday, November 26, 2010

A Time to Give Thanks: Pilgrim-Style

Guest post by Melinda L. Wentzel

Thanksgiving is a time honored day of celebration that we Americans hold near and dear to our hearts. It is a holiday rife with tradition and steeped in historical importance. It is a special time to give thanks for the bounty we now enjoy -- the many freedoms, the plentiful food and perhaps for the wealth of opportunity that exists in this land that is like no other. For many of us, it is also a time for personal reflection. We often pause this fourth Thursday in November (or at least we should) to remember for whom and for what we are to give thanks.

Now I may not resemble a Pilgrim in the least, but I am grateful for plenty -- for four-wheel drive vehicles, high-powered snow blowers and window defrosters in the dead of winter and for effective deodorant, insect repellant and air conditioners in mid-summer. I’m also especially thankful for wrinkle-resistant clothing, static cling sprays and industrial-strength stain removers that really work. Likewise, I appreciate heavy-duty trash bags that can handle the voluminous amounts of rubbish my family can generate in a week’s time as well as those priceless devices that contain, for the most part, the stench and mess associated with dirty diapers. What would the Pilgrims have given to possess such luxuries?! Probably a decade’s worth of their harvested crops or a plot of land the size of Texas.

I also give thanks daily for cats that are litter box-trained, fish that are quiet and for children who eat neither the fish nor the litter. I am equally grateful for economy-sized Cheerios, Goldfish snacks and buttery-tasting microwave popcorn -- staples that my family couldn’t possibly live without. Moreover, I’m quite fond of super absorbent diapers, no-leak sippy cups and the magnificent shelves in my refrigerator that prevent spills from becoming major catastrophic events. I am also thankful for par fives with wide, treeless fairways that possess neither an ounce of water nor a grain of sand. Sunny days are nice, too.

Furthermore, I have a wonderful family who accepts the fact that housework is not my forte; nor is cooking. And for that, I am eternally grateful. I have friends who understand that my social calendar has undergone an extreme transformation since the days before small children. They don’t take it personally when I choose to spend an afternoon sipping juice boxes with a dozen toddlers instead of sipping suds with them.

We have very kind and accepting neighbors who haven’t banished us even after they discovered that our cars are only washed an average of once annually -- whether they need it or not. Nor do they think twice about our strange cats that play fetch and come home to whistles instead of, “Here, kitty kitty!” For these things, I am highly appreciative.

What’s more, I am married to an amazing man who tolerates my incessant questioning throughout movies, accepts my foibles regarding domestic duties and refrains from nagging me about my deplorable lack of follow-through on yard sale projects. He also insists that I fit some “me time” into my schedule each day, since he knows he’ll pay dearly if I don’t. His mama didn’t raise no fool. And he never questions my credit card balances, especially when they include massages and yoga dues. He realizes, full well, that those things preserve my sanity. Smart man, that guy I married.

Moreover, I am thankful for a daughter who, at times, forgets that she’s a teenager and reminds me of what life was like when she was 11 -- heavenly. She willingly rescues me from computer glitches, understands that I cannot attend all her sporting events and occasionally thinks of me as someone other than “the merriment-wrecker” or “the nag queen.” Priceless treasures by anyone’s standards.

Furthermore, I am indescribably grateful that my twins refrain from inspecting the contents of their diapers, that they have yet to escape from the house or their cribs, and that they stopped biting each other months ago. For these things, even a Pilgrim would rejoice.

Despite the fact that this may have appeared to be an exercise in absurdity, there was some truth to it. Arguably, there is inherent value in discovering for whom and for what we can each offer thanks this season and throughout the year. Be sure to remember and acknowledge the special people and things that make you thankful, Pilgrim.

Planet Mom: It’s where I live. Visit me there at www.notesfromplanetmom.com.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving, let us be thankful for the 5 Fs:

Food
Football
Family
Friends, and our
Father, who gives us the above blessings and much more!

Give thanks!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review and Giveaway: SuperBaby, Plus an Organic Baby Onesie!

Step aside, Dr. Spock. There’s a new “Baby Bible”! It’s called SuperBaby: 12 Ways to Give Your Child a Head Start in the First 3 Years, by Dr. Jenn Berman, a family and child therapist. The author tells readers in her Introduction, “In writing SuperBaby, my goal is to wrap up, in one package, all the research and information I have used to help my clients as they navigate the critical early years of their children’s development.” This comprehensive guide, spanning more than 400 pages, addresses baby’s first three years because they are critical for the development of a baby’s intelligence, laying the groundwork for helping your child to reach his or her full potential.

Dr. Jenn, as she is known to her radio and TV fans, addresses subjects such as security, touch, language development (including sign language and foreign language), reading, play, TV time, toxic chemicals, and nutrition. Helpful charts, lists and sidebars are scattered throughout the book. And appendices include information on child care, preschool, sample baby schedules, and reducing the risk of SIDS. SuperBaby is a gold mine of information for the expectant and new parent!

You can learn more about Dr. Jenn and SuperBaby at www.DoctorJenn.com.

GIVEAWAY

Dr. Jenn has generously offered a copy of SuperBaby to one lucky winner, plus a matching SuperBaby onesie made of 100% organic cotton (size 6-12 months)! Here’s a picture of this adorable onesie, which is available at Dr. Jenn’s store, www.shopretailtherapy.net:

To enter, visit http://shopretailtherapy.net/shop/ and check out the adorable organic onesies and kids’ tees. Leave a comment on this post with the name of one that caught your eye! You must do this to enter the giveaway.

You can earn optional additional entries by (leave a separate comment for each):

- Following Dr. Jenn on Twitter. (1 entry; leave your Twitter name)

- Following Retail Therapy on Twitter. (1 entry; leave your Twitter name)

- Liking Dr. Jenn on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Liking Retail Therapy on Facebook. (1 entry)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting (@ParentingAuthor) on Twitter and tweeting about this giveaway. You may tweet this giveaway up to three times a day. (Please space them at least an hour apart.) Leave a separate comment with the URL of each tweet. (1 entry per tweet)

- Subscribing to Susan Heim on Parenting via email, RSS and/or Kindle (see sign-up options on left sidebar). Leave a comment for each subscription method. (1 entry for each subscription method for up to 3 entries)

- Following Susan Heim on Parenting through Google Friend Connect. Click on the “Follow” button on the left sidebar. Leave a comment. (1 entry)

- Putting a button for Susan Heim on Parenting on your blog (the code is in the upper right-hand column of this site) and/or a text link on your blog roll. Post a comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry for button; 1 entry for text link)

- Posting this giveaway on your blog with a link to this page. Leave a comment with a direct link to the post. (3 entries; leave a separate comment for each)

One winner will be randomly selected from the qualified comments received by Tuesday, December 7, 2010, at 11:59 PM ET. Please leave an email address on one of your comments if it’s not available on your Blogger profile. Winners must respond within 72 hours or another winner will be drawn. Contest is open to US residents only.

CONTEST CLOSED. Congratulations to the winner, rosannepm!



DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate this review. No financial compensation was provided. As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a small commission on sales made through the Amazon links in this post.