The Tween Years | Movies pt 2. (The Fun Part)

April 22nd, 2014 | Posted in Movies Worth Watching, The Tween Years

7 Great Movies for Tweens and their Families

Last week I finally dived into the tween series and talked about how R rated movies probably aren’t the best idea for our kids, while never touching two important things: 1. great movies for tweens and 2. how much fun it is to watch movies with my kids now. I consider that a fail on my part.

Consider this is a do-over. Continue Reading...

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The Reading Nook | Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

April 21st, 2014 | Posted in The Reading Nook

ottoline book review by Sandra Harris

Do you recommend books to your friends? Do they recommend their faves to you too? Yes on both counts over here. And luckily, some of my friend “recommenders” ALSO live in other countries so I get to see what British or South African kids, for example, are enjoying. One of the most recent recommendations is Ottoline and the Yellow Cat. Continue Reading...

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Great Eggs of Art | Free Printable

April 18th, 2014 | Posted in printable

great eggs of art

Well happy almost Easter. I know it’s almost Easter because my pinterest board is filled to the brim with beautiful eggs—hand drawn, naturally dyed, tattooed, and these guys are my absolute favorite.

My contribution to the Easter Egg madness is four of my favorite artists in egg form. It’s the type of utter ridiculousness you’ve come to expect from me. And of course, there are quotes. Because I’m nothing if not a nut for a good quote… Continue Reading...

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The Tween Years | R Rated Movies + Television

April 16th, 2014 | Posted in Parenting, The Tween Years

Tweens and movies + television

I should probably start this post by saying two things:

1. I remember a time before PG13 rating became a ‘thing’ and
2. I’m probably considered strict or conservative by many when it comes to screen time

Both of these things probably color my stance on movies and television. I remember my parents saying, “Close your eyes! Close your eyes!” during certain parts of movies growing up. There are two stand outs moments that are seared in my brain. The first is when the Arc of the Covenant was opened and all the Nazis faces melted. The second was during The Right Stuff. To this day, I don’t know what Ed Harris was doing, but I assume kissing or worse, sex, was involved.

My parents didn’t have the luxury of a PG13 rating. So there were things that popped up they weren’t anticipating. And it’s entirely possible my memory is fuzzy, but I don’t remember as many ‘family-friendly’ movies when I was younger. Continue Reading...

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What I Love About Being a Parent | Birute Efe of Playtivities

April 16th, 2014 | Posted in Parenting, What I Love About Being a Parent

I met Birute Efe through a comment she left here on the blog. Since that time, I’ve grown to develop a deep admiration for this mother of two raising her family in Turkey. I am honored to have this passionate woman who has a joyous outlook on life here to share her thoughts on motherhood. This parenting gig? It is tough, and it is beautiful. -Jen

what I love about parenting - Birute Efe of Playtivities

There is a video (still in VHS) of me in my pony tails answering a question: “What do you want to be when you grow up.?” My friends picked professions like doctors, bankers and teachers while I stood up and proudly announced that I will be….” A Mommy”. I was 6 years old then. 20 years later, my “career” took off so now I am devoted, fully employed and happy mama.

I love parenting every day for many different reasons.

Yesterday, I loved being a parent because I got to witness my child create something unbelievable. I feel so lucky to help her with her creative poetry journey. Honestly, I think I am in a bubble when she calls me and says, “Mama, I got a new poem!” I drop everything, sit on the porch and write as fast I can every word that comes out of her little mouth. I feel like the luckiest person on earth. To top that, I spend the evening with my husband reading and quoting poems of our daughter.

That laughter and full satisfaction I feel, is because I am a parent. And I love it.

Birute Efe has daily fun at her kids activities blog Playtivities and the farm where she lives with her family. She loves creating activities and toys for her 2 kiddos by up-cycling household items, so she will never walk pass by a big cardboard box or a pile of old magazines. She believes the best learning comes from exploring and creating.

About this series:
Throughout the month of April, I’m teaming up with my friend Jenny Yarbrough of The Southern Institute to celebrate the joys of parenting. Consider it a prelude to Mother’s Day. We’ve asked some of our readers to share what they love most about parenting.

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Art School | Mexican Folk Art

April 15th, 2014 | Posted in Art School

Mexican Folk Art Lesson for Kids featuring painting ceramics

Mexican Folk Art is one of my favorite types of art because each piece is so unique and different. No two are the same! It can be made from many materials and used for decorative or functional purposes. Some items you might see are wall hangings, metalworking, leather, weaving, pottery, toys, and lots more. Artists who specialize in this type of craft did not learn it in school, but rather have learned through apprenticeship. This is when a younger generation works alongside someone older who has worked in the field for many years and can pass down their methods and skills to the next artist.

Take a look at this gorgeous example of Mexican Folk Art in pottery. Continue Reading...

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Home | Pops of Pastels

April 15th, 2014 | Posted in home

1 - Faribault Throw

Spring flowers and Easter baskets and sunnier days – this is the time of year I fall in love with pastels. But I think some people shy away from pastels because they make a home look too feminine (except Yvonne Eijkenduijn of the Yvestown Blog, whose home is fresh and charming…and definitely feminine!)

So maybe if you’re looking to add just a pop of pastel happiness, you might like some of these picks: Continue Reading...

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April 14th, 2014 | Posted in Features


I have some big news! Next month I’m joining a group of bloggers in a new venture called It’s an online marketplace curated by top lifestyle bloggers. Between you and me, I’m still wondering how I made the list. But I’m not asking too many questions. I don’t want to be found out. So shhh!

I’m super excited about it because it connects makers of gorgeous things with you! I am a huge fan of independent artists (since I played the role of indie toy designer at one point) and have been working behind the scenes with makers to fill the shop with fun things I love and know you will too. The site launches in May with 50 bloggers like Bri Emery of Design Love Fest, Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, Danielle Krysa of The Jealous Curator and…er, *cough* me. Eep! Talk about pressure. Naturally, I’m filling the kid’s stuff demographic along with some others.

If you’re a maker with a clean, playful aesthetic and would like to sign up, Continue Reading...

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