Archives for the month of: November, 2011

Do you remember when you were a child and picked up a chapter book for the first time, one that you just couldn’t put down?  There were  books that transported us to magical places and ones with mysteries to be solved solve.

Which books were your childhood favorites? Were authors like Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, C.S. Lewis, or titles like Charlotte’s Web, Harriet the Spy, Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, A Wrinkle in Time ones you may have enjoyed.

Our Illustory allows kids to  write their own stories  about whatever they have in their heads waiting to be told. Once completed, you send it in and have it published for all to read.

This is actually a favorite gift for people of all ages actually. Grandparents, aunts and uncles can write their memoirs and illustrate wherever their creativity will take them.


If you are looking for 50% OFF  toys deals,

with new ones added everyday… click on the Secret Sale!

Reindeer Noses that require no cooking and we think they are an ideal Recipe for Fun with the kiddos.

They  are packaged 8 brown and then the 1 red one; Rudolph’s nose! Can you name the other Reindeer? The brown noses are Malted Milk Balls, and unfortunately, some of them might not pass quality control so you may have to eat them. The red  nose is bubblegum.





Sweet Paperie makes these bags of all red Rudolph noses. Best of all they offer with the instructions, the colorful printable header.

Last year we made Reindeer Poop for our friends, not enemies.

We wish all of our friends near and far a very happy day.

Nope, using a bicycle in an upstairs bathroom is not an upcycle, but sort of could be called that I guess.

Actually a German chemist Michael Braungart and architect William McDonough coined the term in their 2002 book,  Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. To upcycle simply means to use waste or discarded products to make useful things.


While speaking of upcycling in bathrooms, let’s take a look at Hammers and High Heels picture of a laundry basket hanging vertically for holding towels. Plus there is a clever use of TP (luckily not upcycled) for holding sprigs of what looks like pine.

This bath can be visited at the  Bachman’s Idea House in south Minneapolis, a place filled with inspiration for holiday decorating and upcycling.


A favorite Christmas Countdown that is so green you hopefully will love it as much as we do.

If you are a hoarder, I mean saver, like some folks not to be named here, you can use wrapping paper that you tucked away  from Christmases way past.

Last year Betsy introduced us to her own eco-friendly BoBo wrapping concept, but first let’s talk about this wonderful  Christmas Countdown idea from Katherine Marie.

Round up  24 Christmas books that you already own. Keep it green, there is no need to go out and buy new books, as we all know half the fun is in the opening of a package.

Then each day as you countdown, your little ones get to choose a present  that will be read that day.

Betsy’s  worms eat her garbage and her Christmas gifts are BoBo or Bojagi wrapped. Now who loves Mother Earth and lives it?

Bohagi is a fabric wrapping tradition that originated centuries ago in Korea and Japan, as a way to wrap and transport items before the widespread use of paper and plastic.

Betsy chooses colorful pieces of colorful fabric for her BoBo that can be used over again for gift wrapping or up-cycled into a quilting or sewing project.

According to the Clean Air Council, in the United States alone, an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the winter holidays.  Four million tons of this waste is attributed to wrapping paper, shopping and gift bags.

The Stanford University Recycling Center states, “if every American family wrapped just three presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover nearly 50k football fields.”

Please share any earth friendly gift wrapping solutions that you may have.

Photos by

We know it’s going to happen, that inevitable first freezing rain turned snowfall of the season when local drivers suffer memory loss. Most of them have logged months, if not years navigating icy Minnesota roads winter after winter. Bring on that first ice and snowstorm and you would think there was an invasion of never seen snow before Hawaiians clogging our highways and byways as they  maintain a top speed of fifteen miles an hour.

The State Patrol reported 200 crashes and 80 cases of vehicles spinning out or running off the road statewide between noon Saturday and 2:45 p.m.


If the thought of driving on miserable roads puts knots in your back, make a back rub shirt and have the kids massage away with their cars.

The Blue basket has the how to for this functional shirt. Who on your gift list could use one of these this year?

Whether it’s a super charged back rub car or an Automoblox for imaginative play, someone you know would love this one.

We could eat these every day from now until Thanksgiving, but have decided to save them as a just deserts surprise for the kids big and small next Thursday.


Double Stuff Oreo Cookies
Candy Corn
Peanutbutter Cups
Chocolate frosting
Yellow Frosting
Optional: Red frosting
Optional: black sprinkles for eyes

Our Best Bites has a beautiful pictorial for the step by step creation of these delicious turkeys.

You may wish to add chocolatey Pilgrim Hats to your desert menu as well.

Both of these are great make togethers for young children and families. They make sure to please teacher gifts too.

Next Thursday all  across this great land we will be gathering together for our Thanksgiving feasts.

If you are entertaining children this year, make it a grand Thanksgiving Feast just for them. Set  a table “for children only”.  Here is one that years from now they will gladly take with them as they travel down on memory lane.

One Charming Party has the winning recipe for fun this Thanksgiving. They fill pretend corn cobs with treasures that could be found at a craft or Dollar Store, such as stickers, a candy necklace, a toy car, a small container of playdough or pen. Hint: any little items that may amuse your young guests for a brief time while waiting for their real meal are ideal. Wrap the surprises in yellow tissue paper,  use real  corn husks for the outer wrapping, then complete the cobs by tying them together at both ends with raffia.

You will need: 3-4 bags of popcorn, a large brown grocery bag, 2 small brown lunch bags, a hot glue gun, scissors, white paper for the frills


1. For the frill, take a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11″ white paper and cut it in half lengthwise. Fold the paper in half lengthwise and make small cuts with a pair of scissors on the folded half to create loops.

2. For the drumsticks, make one hand into a fist and stick it inside the lunch bag. With your other flat hand, press on the bag to mold and smash it down into a more rounded shape. Fill the bag 2/3 of the way with popcorn. Gather up the bottom of the bag and twist to keep it tight. Hot glue the beginning of the length of frill and wrap it around the bottom, twisted part of the lunch bag. Then hot glue the end of the white paper frill to keep it in place.

3. For the main bag, do the same thing as the drumstick to make the corners rounded. Fill the bag up full with popcorn. Fold the sides of the bag in and tuck the bottom edge under. Hot glue the edge shut. Hot glue the legs onto the sides of the “turkey.” It’s best to use a plain brown bag, but if you can only find one with writing on the outside, you can carefully turn the bag inside out and it will be just fine.

*If using buttered popcorn to fill the turkey, use parchment or wax paper to line the paper bag to avoid grease marks.

Now, let’s talk turkey! You will find the recipe below.

Invite an adult guest of honor to “carve” the turkey with a real knife or scissors. Then everyone can enjoy some popcorn while they wait for the Thanksgiving Feast to start.