Shopping for the Holidays with blogger extraordinaire, Pragmatic Mom

Last year, Pragmatic Mom and I shared a wildly popular (said modestly, eyes downcast) series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping. This year we are a little more on top of things and are starting earlier.  We covered those challenging people to buy for (Gifts for Father-in-law was by far the most searched) including in-laws, tutors, and teachers. How can you be your best centered self (not self-centered self) if you are distracted and driving around searching for gifts? We’ve got you covered. This was such fun and worked so well last year that we are formatting it the same way this year. We’ll be joint posting for the twelve days and Pragmatic Mom will do half of each post, and I’ll do the other. We even have a giveaway thrown in the mix this year, too, from Botanical Paperworks – Check out their Green Gifts Guide and enter to win Eco Coil Calendar and Pop Garden Pocket Notebooks at Pragmatic Mom on December 4th and Poppy Notebook Pad and Mittens Card Set here on December 5th!

So here is a preview: The 12 Days of Shopping

Thursday, December 1:  Make Your Own Gifts

Friday, December 2:  Kids Make Gifts Craft

Saturday, December 3: Personalized Gifts

Sunday, December 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Monday, December 5:  Tutors/Teacherscapability mom scrounges sales racks for tea towels from Sur la table and anthropologie

Tuesday, December 6:  High Tech/Low Tech

Wednesday, December 7:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Thursday, December 8:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Friday, December 9:  Husband, Me (Our Own  List)

Saturday, December 10:  Pets

Sunday, December 11:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Monday, December 12:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts


A Brave New World

Pizza Hut's National Young Readers WeekIt is nice to see creative types, even possible digital immigrants like me, adapting to new technology. I knew before I even touched an iPad that I would be smitten and it has not disappointed. I had the requisite Angry Birds obsession infatuation followed by late night sessions on ibooks and watching old movies. I think I am under control now but there is always room for backsliding.

With a new place to read I am devouring books even faster than usual. While books for my – ahem – age group are not interactive (maybe someday), the book apps for children are at a wonderful intersection of technology and craft, people who are incredibly talented writing lovely stories with kind intent and gentle lessons that always work best. I like Moms With Apps for a great place to find the newest and best apps by category and great articles like How to Engage Kids Beyond the App. I do check out apps for all ages – I have a slew of nieces and nephews, too, so it is for family research.

There are lovely apps everywhere, some more worthwhile than others, and in the case of Brave Rooney that is clearly true. Brave Rooney is a story of a regular boy in a superhero school who realizes that he has his own brand of super powers, and not of super strength, flying ability or the cape-wearing kind only. He is a regular boy placed among fellow students who are super heroes, but he can do something none of them can! He can read a poem in front of the school and none of the other kids can, even with their super powers. It is a gentle tale of how everyone has a special talent. Lovely. Here is a link to a terrific review by Common Sense Media (which is another resource). This book also got great reviews on Cool Mom Picks, Kirkus and the School Library Journal – See them here.

The book is written by three time Emmy winner (and judging by his emails, a super nice guy) Gerry Renert.  In honor of National Young Readers Day (in the middle of National Young Readers Week) on November 8 – this app costs only ninety-nine cents  for November 8 and 9). Usual cost is $2.99. A nice idea to support a nice day.

Go like Brave Rooney’s Facebook Page to be nice!

Back to School – The Easy Adjustment

back to school photosAre we all breathing easier now that the first week of school is behind us? Sort of. I know that some people (me, for example) don’t do well with transitions. Despite three calendars and electronic reminders, I still have forgotten things this week. Is it my system? Is it my aging brain? Do I just wish that summer wasn’t over and am in denial? All of the above, I think. How do you make transition to school easier on your family? There are great online calendars and organizing systems for computers/phones/tablets like Evernote and Cozi, and paper ones for you paper people like MomAgenda and Mom Central that clean,  nice and easy to use (if you remember to use them). I am not really organized (cue the snort laughs from loved ones) so I have to set up no-fail systems – I actually just started a secret snack drawer (no, I can’t tell you where it is) so I have full containers of something for sharing (for those occasional times when it is 10 pm and someone remembers that we need a snack to share with the class – yes, I have beverages, too).  I also have a present cabinet (downgraded to a drawer now that the kids are older, the presents are smaller in size). What do I keep in it? Blank cards, basic (but lovely) hostess gifts, iTunes gift cards, Starbucks gift cards, unopened crayons, cool pencils, children’s birthday presents (anything from Klutz – especially the craft kits), books (I like to buy books anyway, and when you place your Scholastic order at school just order a few extra books or gift sets and you will have a great present on hand). Scholastic also has a great Parents page with tips and resources – sign up for their newsletter, too. I just received a packet of books from them to review and am so excited (some went out the door to family friends to read first – I managed to secure the promise of an actual young adult review or summary of the books in return) because I am busy driving carpool and re-learning some math skills  – Thank you, TenMarks! (a great on-line math resource for when I can’t get my engineer dad on the phone and sometimes even when I can). Now I am off to Staples one more time (this makes 6 times – don’t ask) – thank goodness I went for that 15% discount card! Don’t forget to get ready for Parent-Teacher Conferences! Here is a recent article from Social Moms on Making the Most of the Parent-Teacher Conference. What are you doing to get back into the swing of school? Advice? Snafus? Funny stories? I’d love to hear your experiences – Please share!

Silly Bands in G section of today’s Boston Globe

Yes, the trend of the rubber bands is in the Globe today – here is the link for the article but you saw it here first…and they are being banned in several schools as too distracting. Are they that much more distracting than the erasers that took hold a while back or silly bandzPokeman cards? What do you think? Do your children have them and are they still allowed in your school?

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