Black Friday Shopping Tips for the Smart Mom

I have yet to even shop for the necessary items to create a tasty Thanksgiving, and yet the Black Friday deal alerts have already clogged my inbox and Facebook and Twitter feeds.


Wasn’t there a time when Black Friday was actually restricted to the Friday after Thanksgiving?


Not this year, my friends.  This year it’s ON.


I must admit, the people who live for Black Friday intrigue me.  Actually, I’m kind of in awe of them.  There seems to be some kind of family bonding behind it.  They meet well before the sun rises, coffee and bagels in hand.  They strategize.  They compare lists.  And when the doors open, they make a run for it.


My adrenaline is pumping just thinking about it.


But you won’t find me fighting the crowds this holiday season.  This mommy of two will be Black Friday shopping from the comfort of my couch.  I’m likely to have a steaming hot mug of Vanilla Sleepytime Tea in my hand and repeats of Friends running in the background.  And I’ll probably be winging it, sans list.  There’s something exciting about the unexpected find, after all…


But for the rest of you brave moms out there who might even bring your kids along for the ride…I thought some survival tips might be in order.


Here goes:


Don’t Do It:  You read the part about the deals clogging my inbox and social media feeds in advance, right?  Now is the time to rock your social media savvy and shop ONLINE!  Sure, some of the door buster deals require your actual presence at an actual store, and shipping charges apply when you shop online.  But shopping from your couch when the kids are asleep?  There is no better way to shop, if you ask me…


No?  You don’t believe me?  You just have to have every single in-store deal this season?  Don’t say I didn’t warn you, but read on…


Have a Plan:  Certainly you’ve had at least one grocery store trip that didn’t go as planned…every mom has.  Create a specific list and stick to it.  This is no time to shop every department.  This is a grab and go kind of situation!


Arrive on Time:  This year, many stores have rolling deals happening.  Don’t assume that all door buster deals require a 4am arrival time.  Call ahead to find out exactly when those tablets go on sale and plan accordingly.  Kids have a limited attention span when it comes to shopping.  Shop smart.


Bring Healthy Snacks:  Believe me, I understand the power of a lollipop.  But the last thing you need on the busiest day of the year is a sugar high in your shopping cart.  Also?  You don’t want a vomit-fest because you finally broke down and bought the butter soaked pretzel.  Pack your purse with several healthy snack options and plenty of water.  Lines will be long.  Refreshments will likely be necessary.


Bribery Wins:  I know; I know…you don’t need bribes to get your kid to behave.  Don’t get me started on that (I love bribes.  You know that, right?  Bribes are practical).  For today, bring the bribes.  A single Tic Tac can work wonders for cranky kids, and an inexpensive toy will get you everywhere.  If you are bringing your kids shopping on Black Friday, you are asking a lot of them.  Crowds, lines, and frustration are pretty much part of the deal.  A small reward goes a long way…


Make it a Game:  If they have to come along, why not involve them in the process?  Even toddlers can recognize numbers and colors on signs…let them search for the goods!  Kids love to feel needed.  Create a picture list of your target items and let your kids help search.  Trailing along behind mom isn’t much fun, but helping mom is a different story.  Make it fun.


Shop Superstores:  If you have to shop with your kids, try to avoid multiple stops at your local mall.  The beauty of superstores is the one stop shopping element…resist the urge to drag your kids from store to store when you can probably find multiple items in one store.  The online deals will continue throughout the season…Black Friday should be used for must-haves only.


Know When to Say When:  Kids can only be expected to hold it together for so long.  Exhaustion, hunger, and boredom are all known tantrum triggers.  Black Friday is not the day to push the limits.  Quit while you’re ahead and know that you’ve done the best you can do in stores.


Then put your kids to bed, brew your Vanilla Sleepytime Tea, and buy the rest online.  You’ll thank me for it…I swear.


Happy shopping, brave mamas!





Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays for kids.  Ok, maybe that’s not exactly true.


I could easily live without the added sugar, overstimulation, and constant parties…


But…I love the costumes.  I love the unicorns, princesses, super heroes, and tow trucks (yes, you read that right.  More on tow trucks later).  I love the cute little voices when I open the door and the smiling parents standing behind them.


I love (most of) Halloween.


But Halloween can actually be very dangerous.  More pedestrians (many of them children) are hit by cars on Halloween than on any other night of the year.


It’s dark, the kids are excited, and the added sugar can lead to impulsive decision-making.


It’s best to take precautions.


Watch them:  Kids crave independence and trick-or-treating without parents seems to be a coveted milestone among the elementary school crowd.  All children age 10 and under should be supervised by an adult.  Yes, that means walking door to door with them. The rest should have specific instructions (map a route and establish a firm curfew) and carry a cell phone.  That’s right:  Forget everything I’ve said about media overload for one night and fork over the Smart Phone.  It’s just smart.


Add light:  When darkness falls it can be very difficult for drivers to track the hundreds of kids repeatedly crossing the streets.  Glow sticks and glow necklaces are both fun and safe, while flashlights are a must.  Consider using reflective tape, particularly on the back of dark costumes (I would even go so far as to put a design on your kids…hearts or stars, anyone?)  Don’t assume that the streetlights will suffice.  One flashlight per person is always a good idea.


Walk, don’t run:  Running from house to house increases the excitement and increases the potential danger.  Forget about what others are doing.  Enforce a no running rule while trick-or-treating.  When in doubt, hold hands.  Yes, even with older kids…trust me.  That will stop the running!


Make a plan:  With all of the supervision, you shouldn’t need a safety plan.  But it’s always a good idea to have one.  Drive your trick-or-treating route earlier in the day to familiarize the kids with the route.  Establish a safe house (this should be someone you know very well) in case anyone gets separated from the group.  Keep it simple.  Stick to familiar houses on nearby streets.


Eat first:  Hunger leads to meltdowns and meltdowns lead to poor decision making.  Feed the kids a protein filled meal prior to trick-or-treating and make sure they drink plenty of water.  Halloween tends to be a loss as far as healthy eating goes…but a balanced dinner will go a long way toward keeping your kids calm and happy.


Quit early:  Kids will go and go and go.  Know when to say when.  Set a time limit and stick to it.  If the kids begin to tire early, take them home.  There’s no award for the largest bag of candy and they will have fun regardless.


Remember the routine:  There’s a good chance that you won’t make it home for bedtime on Halloween, but don’t stray too far from your normal routine.  The kids are already tired, sugared up, and over-stimulated…try to stay on track with your normal bedtime routine as much as possible.  This is particularly important for the 8 and under crowd.  Kids don’t know when to say when.  You do.  Just do it.


Get on those costumes and have a very happy and safe Halloween!

Safe 4th of July Fun for Kids

There is a lot to love about celebrating the 4th of July.  The weather is usually nice, the pools are open, and you can almost always find a fireworks display.


But the 4th of July can also include some risks…


Did you know that sparklers reach temperatures of 1000 degrees F and can light clothing on fire?  It’s true.  They might seem harmless from afar, but sparklers are not for children.


And yet, emergency rooms fill up year after with small children injured by sparklers and other fireworks.


It’s no big secret that young children are drawn to things that light up and sparkle.  But that doesn’t mean that those things have to involve fire…


Below are 5 safe alternatives to sparklers and fireworks for your kid friendly 4th of July celebration:


Light Up Spinning Ball WandDisclaimer:  We use these all year long in our house!  Who says the 4th of July is the only day to celebrate our country?  These are great for nighttime celebrations.  The light up, they spin, and some of them might even flash.  What’s not to love?


Neon Glow Sticks/Necklaces/Bracelets: They glow and you can wear them?  Toddler/preschooler perfection!  You can pick these up just about anywhere these days…


Red, White, and Blue Silly String: Yes, I know that this stuff is nearly impossibly to clean.  But it’s very safe and super fun for little ones…and the rain will wash it away some day, right?


Glow in the Dark Bouncing Balls: What’s better than a ball that bounces super high?  One that glows in the dark, of course!  Ditch the traditional “ball pit” and fill a baby pool with these for a glowing nighttime celebration!


Flashlights: Never underestimate the power of a good, old fashion flashlight.  They are great for exploring dark closets; walking in the dark, pretend camping, and flashlight tag!  When they change colors?  Even better.


Keep it safe.  Keep it fun.  And have an amazing 4th of July!

Rainbow of Love

“All you need is love” – The Beatles

I love Valentine’s Day.  Maybe a little too much.  Not for the gifts, the chocolates, or the fine wines (although all of those are just fine with me)…I love it for the message it sends.  Even though it shouldn’t take a special day to tell your loved ones that they are loved, it certainly is nice to slow down and celebrate love for a day.  It’s nice to send a card, bake some cookies, and talk about the importance of love.

Because love is so very important.  Love really is all you need.

This year I wanted to do something different for the kids.  Yes, their cards are ready and some little gifts are wrapped.  But I wanted another little surprise for them.  Something that they will wake up to and appreciate for a moment before they find the red presents awaiting them at the kitchen table.

Something simple that conveys a big message.  Something that tells them exactly why they are loved so very much.  Something that shows them that we love them just for being them.

And so I started cutting hearts.  One for each color of the rainbow.  A rainbow of love, I thought, would show them that we love them for the individuals that they are.

I filled in the red first….

And then I filled in the rest of the hearts, one by one.  I thought about the little things we love:  Riley’s infectious smile, the sound of Liam’s laughter, Riley’s incredible imagination, Liam’s creativity…the list goes on.  It warmed my heart to write down each of these traits.  In fact I could have created many, many rainbows.

On Valentine’s Day they my kids wake up to rainbows of love taped to their bedroom doors.  Although they are loved every single second of every single day, on this day they will see that love written all over their doors.

I just can’t wait.

What Valentine’s Day surprises do you have planned for your little ones?

The Blogger #Cookieswap e-Book Has Arrived!

The big reveal is finally here…the Blogger Holiday #Cookieswap e-Book is here!  Once again, thank you so much to the 57 bloggers who signed up, swapped cookies, and spread some holiday cheer throughout the blogosphere.  This was an incredible event that far exceeded our expectations.  If you haven’t already done so, please stop by Ashley’s place to introduce yourself and thank her for all of the incredible work she put into this amazing recipe book.

Enjoy your cookies, try a new recipe, download this book, and share it with everyone you know!

Happy Holidays to you!


Practical Moms Feature: The Literal Mom

I’m very excited to have my friend Missy, The Literal Mom, here today for my Practical Moms Feature.  Missy and I were introduced through everyone’s favorite cupid in the blogosphere, Theta Mom.  Missy and I have similar parenting styles and we both love to share parenting strategies (whatever makes your day easier, right?).  Please leave her some support here, but then visit her at her place.  She’s a great mom to have in your corner!

Holiday Vacations: Tips for Handling the Transitions

I’m thrilled to be invited to Practical Parenting today.  Not only is it one of my favorite parenting advice blogs, but Katie is clearly a Literal Mom, so we are kindred spirits.

Today I’m talking about transitioning children into and out of holiday breaks.  Those breaks are coming, whether you ‘re ready or not, in just a couple of short weeks.   And I’m happy to talk about it, because transitions for children can be a little, ahem, difficult at times.

Here are some tips and tricks (yes, tricks!) I’ve learned over the years to help smooth the transition process into and out of a long school break.

  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare.  No matter the age, you can talk to your child about what kinds of activities you will be engaging in over break and what kinds of expectations you have for them over break.  You respect them by sharing the plans with them and they will respect you more when you’ve shared.
  2. Avoid “Errand Burnout. “  I know this is hard, but as much as is possible, get your boring errands done before the kids get out of school.  Nobody wants to go to the post office to mail Aunt Jane’s presents, the bank, the drycleaners to pick up Mommy’s party outfit, the grocery store (every day).  You will be less stressed if you can do it without them.  They will be less bored and less likely to act out from boredom.
  3. Think about signing them up for a Mom’s Day Out.  If you have one in your area, that is.  There is a gymnastics place here in our town, where for a low fee and discounts for siblings, they take your children for a few hours one afternoon, entertain them with large motor activities (read: wear them out) and generally show them an all around good time while the Moms can finish up last minute shopping.
  4. Limit the partying.  I know, I know!  Sometimes it feels impossible to do this.  But over the years, we’ve really begun to pick and choose only our favorite activities to do.  Trying to do every activity that comes along just begs the children to get overtired and to not be ready for that all-important transition back to school after the new year.
  5. Keep the bedtime routine consistent.  As much as you can, don’t keep them up too late.  You will all suffer and the transition back to school will be harder.  Unless they’re teenagers, then you won’t be able to wake them up no matter what you do!
  6. Allow for tears.  The holiday season, for all of its joy, can be a time of real stress.  And I’m not just talking about the adults!  Kids, when their routine is changed considerably, when lots and lots and lots of sensory overload occurs, and when they’re not sleeping enough, can have meltdowns.  It’s not the end of the world.  It’s actually a good sign for you that maybe it’s time to slow it down for a bit.
  7. Love them.  Appreciate them.  Telling them how much you value them, even in times of stress, will help their transitions stay smoother.  They will feel safe and in feeling safe, the transition won’t be as stressful or scary to them.
  8. Prepare.  Prepare.  Prepare.  When it comes time for back to school, start preparing them a few days early.  Remind them of the routine, your expectations, how the first day back to school will look.  You may not totally eliminate all of the “first day back” stress, but you will reduce it.

Katie – thank you so much!  I appreciate the opportunity to share how I’ve learned to guide my kids through the transitions of the holidays over the years.

Isn’t Missy great?  Now head on over there and introduce yourself!

Holiday Meltdowns (Tips for avoiding holiday stress)


Riley & Liam enjoying some holiday magic

The holiday season is full of fun, excitement, and tradition.  It’s a time of decorations, baking, and thinking about others.  The anticipation seems to start a little bit earlier each year, regardless of your holiday, which means that the holiday season now runs from the day after Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  That’s a long stretch of time.

Hidden among all of the fun and excitement are two potentially destructive hidden stressors:  Exhaustion and over-stimulation.

Holiday related meltdowns are to be expected, no matter the age of your kids.

It’s reasonable to assume that kids are talking about the holidays with friends at school, learning about various traditions in their classrooms, and talking about it at home.  A lot.  Tis the season of wish lists, after all.

You can’t even run to the local pharmacy to pick up a toothbrush without encountering toys, holiday candy, and decorations the second you walk in the door.  Just the other day Riley became fixated on a toy at Walgreens.  A toy that would most certainly be abandoned within minutes of getting it home.  But with the pretty bow on the box?  She just had to have it.  Until we walked out the door empty-handed, and then she immediately forgot that it even existed.

The point is that the holidays are everywhere.  It’s very difficult for kids to stay focused on gratitude and wait patiently for their holiday to arrive when they are bombarded with imagery and toys every which way they turn.  Who wouldn’t have a meltdown once in a while?

A meltdown (or temper tantrum) is simply a physical and emotional release of pent up stress, exhaustion, and overstimulation.  It’s perfectly healthy for kids to release their stress this way, even if it does earn you a few stern looks from passersby.  Fear not, parents; it’s all part of growing up.  But there are steps you can take to avoid excessive stress this holiday season.  Below are some tips to do just that:

1.    Let them sleep:  Kids need sleep.  Specifically, somewhere between 10-14 hours of daily sleep for the under six crowd, and 8-10 from 7 on up.  Resist the urge to keep your kids up late for holiday related parties and other special treats, and ensure that they get adequate rest.  Lack of sleep leads to stress, exhaustion, and illness.  Holidays aren’t much fun if you’re cranky, tired, and sick.

2.    Eat well:  Adults often reference over-eating during the holiday season.  If presented with unhealthy choices, kids will most certainly do the same.  Stick to your normal meal/snack schedule for your kids.  Provide light meals before parties to avoid over-indulgence on snacks and sugary treats.  Offer desserts as you normally would.  Set a good example and be mindful of what your children really need.

3.    Limit parties/activities:  Everyone loves a holiday party.  It’s the perfect time to catch up with old friends and let the kids run free.  Until the kids become over-stimulated, and then it’s just stressful.  Choose the parties that will truly be family friendly and limit the amount of time you spend there.  60-90 minutes of party time is more than enough for kids 6 and under.  Older children might hang in there a bit longer, but behavior shifts quickly when boredom sets in.  Keeping your kids at a party too long can be a set-up for poor choices.  Keep it short and sweet.

4.    Factor in downtime:  It can be tempting to sign your kids up for several “camps” the minute school lets out for a couple of weeks.  School vacations serve a purpose.  Your kids are working hard at school, be it preschool or high school.  Allow them some downtime to hang out in pajamas all day, build forts, and just be a family.  Kids need time to regroup and relax.  Downtime is the best gift you can give your child.

5.    Create traditions:  The holiday season should be about family, tradition, and giving.  Due to the constant bombardment of stuff everywhere, it often becomes about wanting.  Your children will remember the cookie baking, tree decorating, caroling, and stories/games by the fire.  Whether it’s Elf on the Shelf or a countdown calendar, start building traditions that aren’t about toys and stuff.  My kids had a great time choosing and decorating our tree, and are now looking forward to baking Christmas cookies.  They have their moments when confronted with cool new toys everywhere they go, but the minute they get home it’s all about family time.

6.    Don’t force the photos:  I know, I know…everyone wants the annual picture with Santa.  Here’s the thing:  Some kids are petrified to sit on a stranger’s lap and smile.  Can you blame them?  Let your child choose whether or not she’s ready to sit on Santa’s lap or just wants to wave.  And try not to force your kids to pose for big family pictures for long periods of time.  Chances are they will be fairly over-stimulated by the time they even reach the holiday party, asking them to sit still and smile is actually asking a lot.

7.    Appreciate the little things:  Instead of focusing on 8 nights of gifts or the upcoming visit from Santa, try to make note of the small wonders of the season.  Our favorite activity during this time is to take “night drives” to see the lights and decorations around the neighborhood.  Take time to point out the lights, enjoy the smell of fresh baked cookies, and sit by the tree or fireplace and just read together.  Cue your kids to find magic in small acts of kindness and the simple pleasure of appreciating a beautifully decorated home.

8.    Let it happen:  As I mentioned earlier, meltdowns happen this time of year.  In general, the first instinct is to find a way to stop the tantrum.  People cite distraction, bargains, and removal from the target as useful tools.  What they fail to realize is that these are simply Band-Aid strategies.  Children need to release their stress, and often a meltdown or tantrum is the best way to do so.  Let them cry, let them yell, let them let it out…and then help them regroup and figure out why they had so much pent up stress.  A meltdown can be a very good thing.  It gives your child a chance to get it all out and then start fresh.  It gives your child a second chance.

How do you avoid holiday meltdowns?


Childhood Food Allergies (Tips for holiday parties)


A study published in Pediatrics in June 2011, indicates that food allergies in children are much higher than experts previously believed.  In fact, the study shows that about 6 million kids (8 percent of the population in the U.S.) have a food allergy.  That’s a lot of kids.

The most common food allergies include:

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Shellfish
  • Fish

This is not a complete list, by any means.  Technically any food can potentially be an allergen.

With the holiday season upon us, parents of children with food allergies are on high alert.  Kids are accosted with baked goods everywhere they turn this time of year.  The potential for coming into contact with a food allergen is high.  Unless you made it yourself, it can be nearly impossible to know what’s really in that cookie, brownie, or gingerbread house.  For instance, most people don’t realize that some brands of chocolate chips are cross-contaminated with tree nuts, while others are cross-contaminated with peanuts.  If you don’t have a child with one these potentially life threatening allergies, you’re probably not checking the labels on something as seemingly benign as chocolate chips.

Riley is allergic to tree nuts.  People hear that and think it’s no big deal, just stay away from tree nuts.  Given the way foods are manufactured these days, it’s just not that simple. I’ve encountered everything from wheat bread to all-purpose flour that included cross-contamination with tree nuts.  Premade snacks are very difficult.  Trying to find granola bars, crackers, and sometimes even pretzels that are free of cross-contaminants is nearly impossible at a place like Trader Joe’s (although, strangely enough, their chocolate chips are free of both tree nuts and peanuts).  I have to read labels very carefully.

We all want our kids to have fun during the holiday season, and at birthday parties for that matter, and a little preparation can go a long way.  Below are 5 tips to deal with food allergies this season:

1.    Come prepared:  Whether it’s birthday cake or a holiday cookie, you just don’t know what lurks beneath the pretty frosting.  And kids are impulsive, particularly when it comes to treats.  Don’t leave home without Benadryl and an Epi-Pen Jr.  If you are dropping your child off at a party, make sure the host knows how to administer medication should your child ingest a food allergen.  Symptoms of food allergies will occur within minutes to an hour after ingesting the allergen.  Symptoms can include hives, a rash (often around the face, mouth, and neck), wheezing, swelling (or an itching feeling) in the mouth or throat, pale skin, or difficulty breathing.  **Difficulty breathing necessitates an immediate trip to the ER.  Call 911.

2.    Tell the host:  Attending Thanksgiving somewhere else this year?  Tell the host about your child’s food allergies.  Request that food items containing the allergens be clearly marked at the table, or just ask again when the meal begins.  Being the annoying parent who never stops asking questions about ingredients is a small price to pay to avoid contact with an allergen.  Remember, food allergies can be life threatening.  It’s up to you to get the information and figure out what your child can eat.  While turkey is generally safe, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other side dishes might contain allergens.  It won’t hurt to ask, but it might if you don’t.

3.    BYOF:  Bring your own food!  I don’t leave home without a backup meal for Riley.  I would rather have her eat something different than take a chance.  Bring snacks or a small meal that you know your child can eat, just in case.  Kids with food allergies sometimes get anxious at parties as well.  They don’t know how to navigate the buffet either.  Hopefully you won’t have to use the backup, but at least you have it.  Always bring a dessert to parties!  Riley just had her end of soccer pizza party.  Parents brought tray after tray of premade cookies for dessert.  They all contained cross-contaminants.  We went home and made our own.

4.    Feed first:  Particularly if you are dropping your child off somewhere, even on a play date, it can be useful to feed him first.  If your child isn’t hungry, chances are he will just enjoy the party and avoid the food issue all together.  Give your child a light meal or hearty snack prior to the party to avoid excessive hunger and grabbing at food impulsively.  When kids are starving, they eat what’s directly in front of them.  When they are not that hungry, they are more likely to make good food choices.

5.    Be honest:  Your child needs to know the importance of asking before eating.  I hear parents talk in hushed tones about food allergies so as not to alert their child.  Tell your child exactly what he is allergic to and what it might feel like if he ingests an allergen.  He needs to know what is happening to his body and how to ask for help should he accidentally ingest tree nuts, peanuts, etc.  Just yesterday Riley looked up at me after speed eating a bowl of blackberries and said, “Mommy, my face feels itchy.  Was it the blackberries?”  She wasn’t tested for fruit allergies, but at this point nothing comes as a surprise. Be honest.  They will feel more in control if they know what to avoid and what to do if they accidentally ingest a food allergen.

Even if you don’t have a child with food allergies, chances are you know someone who does.  If a friend alerts you to an allergy make an effort to understand what exactly the allergy entails if you are the party host.  Knowing the details and providing ingredient cards for buffets will help everyone involved.

Does your child have any food allergies?

Speaking of holiday treats…have you signed up for the Blogger #cookieswap yet?  What are you waiting for?


Blogger Holiday Cookie Swap

It all started because I was bragging on Facebook about these amazing Oatmeal Pumpkin Cranberry cookies that I made last weekend.  A few friends responded with requests for the recipe.  My good friend Jenny of Karma (Continued) took over from there.  She tried the cookies yesterday, and did her bragging on Twitter.  It really got the ball rolling.  Long story short:  We all love cookies!

This impromptu Twitter chat with @WendyWillBlog @mommyofamonster @letters4lucas @PorchSwingMom @oldtweener and @jennyfeldon about delicious cookies resulted in the following decision:  We need to do a #cookieswap!  I love to bake with my kids, and apparently many of you do too.  Why not bake a batch of your favorite cookies and send them off to a fellow blogger for a little holiday treat?  In return you will be surprised with a batch of that blogger’s favorite cookies.  It’s a win/win if ever there was one…and a great way to spread holiday cheer.  Have I convinced you yet?

I will make this very easy on you (and hopefully me).  Ready?  Here goes:

Email me some info:  Your real (gasp!) name and mailing address and any food allergies in your house.  (Holiday cheer is not that cheery if someone with a peanut allergy gets a box of peanut butter cookies in the mail!)

This just in:  My lovely friend Ashley from My Front Porch Swing is helping me out with #cookieswap.  And it’s getting even better!  We will put all of the recipes used in #cookieswap into an ebook that will be available for download & to offer on your blog within the next 2-3 weeks!!!  In addition to yummy treats, you also get a recipe ebook and a little blog promotion.  Happy holidays!  That said, I need just a few more items from you.  In your email to me, please include your recipe, your blog name and URL, and a blogging tip that you might want to share (that last part is completely optional, but we know many of you have some great tips to share).

One more small detail:  Please post about #cookieswap on your site.  The more the merrier, and the better the ebook!

Deadline to email me the info:  November 30th

Be patient:  Once I get all of the names of bloggers who love to #cookieswap, I will email you the name, address, and food allergy info of your blogger.

Bake & Ship:  Let’s all ship our cookies on December 12th so that we all get our boxes that week!  I won’t tell you how to ship them, that’s up to you, but I’m going with an Priority Mail Flat Rate Box to ensure fresh cookies.  #justathought  (The fact that I can’t seem to get to the post office to mail the three boxes that have been sitting in my front hall for over two weeks is only slightly alarming.  I will mail the cookies!)

Recipe:  Please include a copy of the recipe you used.  You know, just in case your blogger gets hooked on these cookies and needs to make them again three days later.

Have fun and enjoy your yummy surprise!  

Chat about it with the hashtag #cookieswap, but please don’t tell your blogger what you’re sending…let’s keep it a secret until the boxes arrive.

Ok bloggers, are you with me?  Who wants to swap cookies?  Anxiously checking my inbox…

p.s. One Canadian blogger asked about joining in…I’m happy to match Canadian bloggers for a swap too.  Let me know! 


6 Tips for Putting the Thanks Back in Thanksgiving

I’m over at Life Is Hard, Laugh Anyway today talking about ways to focus on being thankful this Thanksgiving.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a football game as much as the next person, but I would like my kids to learn a little bit more about Thanksgiving than just turkeys and football (minus the massive deaths during the first winter.  That’s a bit much for preschoolers…wouldn’t you say?).  So please stop on by and check out 6 Tips for Putting the Thanks Back in Thanksgiving!

And take a look around while you’re there…you will love her, I promise.