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The school year is winding down and the last day of school is quickly approaching. I’m not ready! But, there is one big, last homework assignment for Moms and that’s the end-of-year teachers’ gifts. I try to get my kids’ teachers something either really unique or something they could really use, but sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas.
I live in a neighborhood with a lot of teachers so I asked them what teacher’s gifts they appreciated most. You can read their answers in my post 10 Perfect Teacher’s Gift Ideas.
The Homespun with Love blog created a cute bucket full of school supplies for teacher to use next year. Click through to see how easy it was to make.
Do you give gifts to your child’s teacher at the end of the year? Some people do and some don’t. Giving gifts to teachers is even illegal in one state. Read my article Teacher’s Gifts: To Give or Not to Give over at Patch.com to learn where. There are some nice comments from teachers at the end of the article.
What do you normally get your kids’ teachers at the end of the school year? Please share your ideas. Teachers, feel free to weigh in on what you appreciate the most.
As a small business owner, I know that every penny counts. So I’m thrilled to be able to offer one lucky reader a chance to win 250 free business cards from Uprinting.com. Whether you want to promote your business, your blog or just produce some fun Mommy calling cards, this giveaway is a great opportunity to look professional and save some money.
Uprinting is an online printing company that offers a wide range of marketing products to help you promote your business or blog. What makes the company unique is their large format printing options, free file review service which requires no upfront payment to review proofs, and their commitment to eco-friendly printing processes and recycled paper options. Uprinting serves their customers with a very user-friendly web site to make ordering super easy for busy business owners. But what caught my eye was the option to choose die-cut shapes for your business cards such as rounded corners, leaf, half circle, circle or oval, to present your business in a distinctive way.
Take advantage and be distinctive! UPrinting is offering 250 business cards to one lucky Chocolate Cake Moments reader. Simply fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win! Good luck.
Shape options: 2×3.5″ Rounded Corners, 2×2″ Rounded Corners, 1.75×3.5″ Rounded Corners, 2×3.5″ Leaf, 2×3.5 Rounded one corner, 2×3.5″ Half-Circle Side, 2×3.5″ Oval, or 2.5″ Circle
14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated
6 Business days print turnaround time
Free US shipping only
1. This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years old and above.
2. No prize substitutions allowed.
3. Winners are allowed to win once over a six-month period.
4. Only email addresses used for the giveaway will be eligible to claim the prize.
“You should assume that I will receive free print products in exchange for the post. Any and all reviews posted are based solely on my own experience and may be atypical. Please practice due diligence in making any related purchase decisions. Interested to hold a giveaway like this? Please sign up here.”
Well, this just takes all. I woke up this morning to read that today, January 21st is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Who knew?!? Who knew it was their day, let alone that they feel under-appreciated. Knowing that any rodent can have its own day now, I can’t wait for Elephant Shrew Day. What is an elephant shrew, you ask? It’s my daughter’s favoritest new animal and she feels that they deserve a day too.
But I digress. Back to the squirrels. I want to know what prompted someone to call for a National Squirrel Appreciation Day. Were they not getting enough attention? They are in every commercial out there now. I think they even have Hollywood agents. You don’t see moles getting their own commercials. What’s wrong with moles?
Sure, squirrels are cute. Sure, they are entertaining when they are chasing each other around the yard. But, they also eat my Halloween pumpkins and they ate all of the candy out of our Easter eggs one year. The yard looked like a pastel-colored yard sale once they got through cracking the plastic eggs. The kids were crushed. What’s up with that, squirrels?
However, if you love squirrels, today is the day to show them some appreciation. Here are some tips and a fun squirrel video from the National Wildlife Federation on 7 Ways to Celebrate National Squirrel Day.
I have to admit, I’m not a labeler. Every year around Back-to-School time I would read about how Moms should label their kids’ preschool and school items but I never got around to it. Maybe I would write their initials on a tag with a Sharpie pen, but that really wasn’t going to do much to get an item back if it was lost.
So, when Name Bubbles contacted me to try their back-to-school name labels, I jumped at the chance to see what I was missing or doing wrong all these years. If you have ever had to rummage through the school’s lost and found box, you’ll understand why I was very interested in changing my family’s organizational habits. Now that I’ve tried them, I have to admit I’m hooked!
Name Bubbles Labels come in a variety of sizes and styles that are – get this – waterproof, dishwasher, laundry, and microwave safe. That’s perfect for labeling all of the items your kids use when they leave the house. Cool! The labels are made of a vinyl material with a non-toxic, eco-solvent ink to provide fun color and durability. There are custom name label packs for School, Childcare, Sports, and Camp, depending on what you need. They even have labels to put in your kids shoes! If you have every been to a birthday party with 20 kids’ shoes lying by the front door and several of them the same style, you’ll be so thankful that you can find your kids shoes before their next birthday party rolls around.
In addition, once you are hooked on labeling they have packs for other aspects of your life like Elder Care, College, and Luggage. They even have a Party Pack where you can order personalized labels to give as party favors at your kids’ birthday party. The party guests go home with a set of labels personalized with their name. Cool! I’m always on the look out for unique kids’ birthday party favors and this is one of the most useful I’ve seen yet.
Since my son camps a lot with Boy Scouts, I’m digging the Camp Label pack since he had a fiasco last camp out with someone accidentally taking his new sleeping bag. We had written his name on the bag but it wasn’t prominent enough, I guess. These labels will help going forward. The large square bubble labels in the Camp Pack are perfect for big ticket items like a camera, iPod, or cell phone that you really want to come home from camping trips.
At summer camp, my kids lost their towel and swimsuit practically every day. I wish I had these labels two summers ago! A waterproof label on their swim gear would have made searching through the lost and found box a lot easier.
I remember when my kids were in day care and we were just labeling the bottles with masking tape and a pen. I wish I had the labels from Name Bubble’s Childcare Pack way back when. It would have made life easier, let along made the bottle look a little nicer too.
Applying the Name Bubble Labels is pretty easy, too. Stick the labels on and wait 24 hours before getting them wet. The company claims the adhesive will stay put in extreme conditions and so far I’ve seen that to be true. The packages are affordable – $20 to $43 dollars depending on which pack you are ordering. Now that I am hooked, I definitely see how the cost is small compared to how easy they are to apply and how nice the label looks.
Another great product that Name Bubbles offers is the Allergy, Medical or Special Needs Alert stickers that you can apply to your child’s lunch boxes, bottles, food containers, diaper bag, and even favorite toys. You can customize the labels to list your emergency contact information or indicate that your child is Autistic and doesn’t like to be touched.
Disclaimer: Name Bubbles did send me a free press kit with sample labels to review. All opinions expressed are mine, though. I’m stubborn that way.
What are some of your tips for labeling your kids’ school, camp and day care gear?
My whole family was lucky enough to be invited to the press event and get free tickets for “Cirque Shanghai Extreme” at the Navy Pier Skyline Stage in Chicago last week. The show was “extremely” awesome. I knew we would enjoy the show but I was surprised at how much everyone in the family really enjoyed it. Even my sometimes jaded 11-year-old son thought it was totally cool. Read below for details to win 4 Free Tickets to Cirque Shanghai Extreme from OntheGoChicago.com or get a discount code for tickets.
The show is thrilling. From the opening act when the performers “zip line” onto the stage followed by Chinese dragon dancers coming down the aisles, your kids will be mesmerized by the sounds, colors, and cool feats of the performers. The acts feature juggling, acrobatics, dance, contortionists, and MOTORCYCLES.
My daughter’s favorite act was the Barrel Contortion Act. Three girl performers are dressed like candy and they squirm and contort their way into and out of these three tiny barrels with ease.
My son on the other hand was all about the Motorcycle cage at the end of the show. It’s AMAZING how they can get 4 motorcycles racing around the inside of a metal cage on stage.
The show is only 75 minutes long so don’t be afraid to take toddlers to the show. The little ones we saw in the audience didn’t move or fidget once through the show. You can take in the rest of Navy Pier’s attractions before or after the show, depending on your kids’ bedtime.
A note of caution – the Skyline Stage at Navy Pier is an open air theater. Even though it is hot out, if the wind picks up off the lake, your kids might get cold. My daughter was freezing by the end of the show and we didn’t have a jacket with us.
If you have a wide age range of kids in your family or guests in from out of town, this is the show for you. Toddlers, teens, and adults alike will be amazed.
My friend Cindy over at OntheGoChicago.com has 4 free tickets to Cirque Shanghai Extreme but you need to enter today!
Ticket Info: Tickets for kids ages 3 – 12 years old are only $15 and you can Cirque Shanghai has offered our readers a special discount offer! Use code KIDS for $25 Adult Gold Circle tickets for Wed-Fri performances for July and August. Tickets now on sale through ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000
Place: Navy Pier Open-Air Skyline Stage, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL
Tipjunkie.com recently ran a post with 14 Unique Ways to Say Thank You. At the end of the school year, there are quite a few people that need to be thanked by our family – bus driver, school nurse, neighbors who always help watch the kids when needed, etc. So, it’s nice to find some different ways to say thank you than a box of candy or just a card. Plus, by making something special, you’re really saying “Your help meant so much to me that I wanted to Thank You with something a little extra.”
I hope these ideas help inspire you. I’d love to get one of these from someone.
Not every girl wants to be a princess. Thank goodness! The world would be pretty boring with that many princesses. So we love when we find a toy that appeals to girls with other interests. Check out these sports-themed dolls that help girls celebrate their athletic interests, encourage them to lead a healthy lifestyle, as well as make great companions to take to practice. We just started selling these Go! Go! Sports Girls Dolls at ChocolateCakeClub.com because we think the Dolls are so fun and we really like the Mompreneur behind the company, Jodi Norgaard.
The Go! Go! Sports Dolls are designed to support and encourage girls to play sports and lead an active lifestyle. The idea is to teach girls it is cool to be strong and active—not just another pretty face. (As a woman in her 40′s who still can’t put on make-up properly, I love that message!) The dolls’ bodies are not overly mature so there is no confusing sexuality associated with the doll – you know, grow up fast and dress like a 20-year-old. The bodies are soft so they are easy to hug!
Now that the weather is getting warmer – need new clothes? Don’t miss this great deal to stock up on a new wardrobe and help find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes – here’s a coupon to save 30% on your entire purchase this weekend at all Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores. Best part – 5% goes to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). My daughter thanks you for helping find a cure and you’ll love your new Spring clothes.
Did anyone watch the Grammy’s last night? I usually don’t, but last night I had it on while I was folding laundry and I caught Cee Lo Green performing his song with the Muppets. While I loved the theatricality of the whole performance, (I’m a sucker for silliness, creativity, and muppets) it made me nostalgic for Elton John performing Crocodile Rock on the Muppet Show, my favorite kids show of all time.
Don’t these seem similar?
Since you can’t let the kids watch the Cee Lo Green clip with the swearing, go grab a copy of the Muppet Show Season 2 on DVD and show your kids the Elton John version. (As much as I liked Cee Lo’s muppet drummer, Animal still holds my heart.)
This Valentine’s Day why not tell your child you love them … over and over again? I love this adorable Valentine’s Day gift, the Mimicking Monkey Sleep Soother by Cloud b which helps your child fall asleep by playing soft music. But to put the “Ultimate” in Ultimate Kids Valentine’s Day Gift, you can record a voice message as well. So go ahead and sing or whisper “I Love You” and the monkey will repeat as many times as your child likes. Your child or grandchild will love listening to Mom’s, Dad’s, Grandma’s or Grandpa’s voice.
Plus, the Mimicking Monkey is so FLUFFY and cute, I want one! The minute I saw this product, we had to sell it.
This is also a perfect gift to give your child to stay connected when you have to travel for work. Record a message saying “Good Night” or “I Love You” and your child will still fall asleep to the sound of your voice. It’s also a great way to stay connected to your grandchild if you live in another city or state. Need I say more?
This weekend only to help spread the love, save 20% OFF of the Mimicking Monkey Sleep Soother at www.ChocolateCakeClub.com. No coupon needed but hurry and order before midnight, Sunday, Feb. 13th!
Looking for a place to go with the family that offers clean, family entertainment that actually makes you laugh? Go see the Harlem Globetrotters!
My family was lucky enough to get free tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters when they came to Chicago a few weeks ago, courtesy of PTPA Media. (Thanks, PTPA.) My husband and I were looking forward to it since we loved the Globetrotters when we were kids. Hey, they were big stuff back then. They had their own Variety Show, they were on TV all the time, and they were on Scooby Doo, for Pete’s Sake. (That is one of my dreams – to be on an episode of Scooby Doo. That, and to be Grand Marshall of the Rose Bowl Parade.) But I digress!
To read my review of the Harlem Globetrotters and why I think you should take your family, head on over to the Parent Tested Parent Approved Blog.Spoiler Alert – I got a hug from Curly Neal! Woo Hoo!
If you buy tickets online from the Globetrotters website, USE THE CODE “PTPA” TO RECEIVE A DISCOUNT ON TICKETS!
We just got in the most adorable gift for babies and toddlers. The Mimicking Monkey Sleep Soother by Cloud b takes traditional sleep soothers to a whole new level. Not only does the soft, adorable monkey play soothing sounds to help your child sleep but you can record your voice on it! Go ahead and sing a lullabye or whisper a message to help your kids feel safe and secure so they can sleep. How cool is that!!! It’s perfect for parents traveling for work or long-distance grandparents to “talk” to the little ones while they are absent. I wish I had invented this!
As they get older, they’ll have fun “monkeying around” recording their own weird messages and sounds on the Monkey. Fun!
There is nothing more fun than a tea party! Dressing up, pouring “tea”, serving cookies, and inviting your favorite friends – real or imaginary – is one of childhood’s greatest pleasures. At least, I think so! Even as an adult one of my favorite things to do is have tea with my BFFs.
If you know a little girl who would love to host her own tea party, then she needs a tea set. There are so many options and sometimes it’s hard to choose the right tea set for a child.
Tea sets come in a variety of materials, sizes and shapes. Porcelain, ceramic, tin, and plastic are the most common. While the first two are breakable, they are also more “dainty” or feminine in design which appeals to a lot of little girls. They are also more like “grown-up” tea sets and little girls definitely want their pretend play to be as realistic as possible. Here are some considerations to hopefully make it easier for you to choose the perfect set.
Toy vs. Heirloom
Here’s my take on this debate. I think buying a beautiful tea set that your daughter or granddaughter can keep as an heirloom to remind them of you is wonderful. However, if the child is young, don’t give it to them until they are older. Or, have Mom or Grandma keep the tea set and host special tea parties for the child when they are younger and then give them the set when they are older. It will be so much more special if they remember using it with you once they get it as their very own.
Giving a young girl a beautiful, expensive tea set that she can’t touch or play with is cruel. She either won’t be allowed to touch it, which then in their eyes they are denied something fun or they will play with it anyway and feel terrible if it does break. Make a tea set gift fun for them! It is the experience of having tea with you or their friends, that they will remember.
The Age Appropriate Myth
First, of all, how old is your tea party cutie? In general, the younger the child, the more durable the tea set should be. Younger kids may not be as dexterous and need a larger tea cup. Even though they have little fingers, it might be harder for them to grab tiny cups.
Most toys give an age appropriate guideline on the box. Keep in mind this is a guide. The manufacturer is afraid you are going to break it and accuse them of not warning you, so they err on the cautious side. You are going to have to gauge whether your daughter or granddaughter can handle a breakable tea set. My son is almost 11 years old but I cringe any time he goes near glass. After all, he is officially the sworn enemy to all snow globes. If he even looks at one, it breaks. My daughter on the other hand has had a ceramic and a porcelain tea set since she was 3 years old and hasn’t chipped or broken a cup yet. She treats her tea set like gold and is dexterous enough to handle it carefully.
So look at the age guidelines on the tea sets, which are usually set for a worst case scenario and make a judgment call on whether she can handle a more fragile set. What’s the worst case scenario? She breaks a cup and you need to buy a new one. I’d rather see my kids playing and enjoying their tea set than worrying about breaking it. If you find a tea set you love and are worried it might get broken, buy 2 sets. That way you always have a back-up and no one has to worry.
Size Does Matter
Tea sets come in different sizes. There are mini tea sets which really are more collectible items or doll-size so your dolls can pretend to have tea. Your child will not be able to drink out of these. We sell this Mini Crown Tea Set which is perfect for a doll tea party. If you are buying the tea set online, it should say the size in the product description. If not, don’t hesitate to email or call, to get a better sense of the size of the tea set.
Who’s invited to the party? Believe it or not, it’s hard to find kids’ porcelain tea sets that have 4 cups. Most only have 2. We only carry one porcelain set that has 4 cups. Our plastic and tin tea sets do include 4 cups so you might want to look at tea sets in other materials, if you need more than 2 cups.
You can always buy mismatched porcelain tea cups at estate sales, flea markets, or second hand stores to add more cups to your set. I know I needed to invite ALL of my stuffed animals to the tea party or they would get upset.
Here’s the million dollar question. Is your child going to drink out of the tea set? When your child is younger, they have no problem pretending. They don’t need liquid in the cup to have a good time. When your child hits 5 years old or older, they might want to be a little more “grown-up” and serve the tea at their party, drinking water, ginger ale, root beer, or juice out of the tea cups. It’s as much fun to pour as it is to drink. If that is the case, you need to make sure that the tea set is food safe, FDA-approved, and water resistant. If the set is plastic, make sure it meets all BPA, phthalate, and lead safety standards. Basically, it needs to be non-toxic. While a tin tea set may be non-toxic, once you add liquid to it some tea sets start to leak or rust.
If she wants to drink out of the tea set, look for a cup size that is at least 2” in diameter. You won’t get a lot of liquid in these cups, about 2 ounces, but it’s enough. The porcelain tea sets we sell at Chocolate Cake Club, like our Daisy Tea Set, fit this bill.
I hope these considerations have helped you to choose the perfect kids tea set for your little girl’s first or next tea party. We’ll be adding a post on How to Host the Perfect Tea Party next week so come back for tips on how to make your kids’ tea parties even more fun and unique.
Still need some inspiration for Wow! gifts for your kids, grandkids or nieces and nephews? We created a PDF version of the ChocolateCakeClub.com’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide to make it easier for you to read at your leisure. Download it, print it and even show it to your kids to see what gets them excited.
If you have any questions, please send us an email at email@example.com or give us a shout at 847-963-1805. The Chocolate Cake Club is our sister company and when you shop there, it helps support our family fun ideas and blog content here. Thank you!
Buying the most impactful Holiday gift for your kids, grandkids, or nieces and nephews can be daunting. Do they have that toy already? What is age appropriate? Don’t let the stress of gift-buying ruin the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” for you!
We want to help make your gift buying easier, so we created our ChocolateCakeClub.com 2010 Holiday Gift Guide with our picks for the most unique, highest-quality gifts for kids that you won’t find in Target or Walmart. We divided the Holiday Gift Guide by age and gender to make it easy for you to find the perfect Wow! gift.
Whether its kid’s cooking sets, family-fun games, arts and crafts kits, toys, or personalized gifts you’re looking for, our goal is to help you find really unique, cool kid’s gifts that will thrill the children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews on your list.
This video highlights 10 of the Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids from our Holiday Gift Guide. All of these gift ideas are available at our sister site, www.ChocolateCakeClub.com. Your gift purchases help us to continue to bring you our great ideas for Family Fun on this blog site.
Here’s a list with links to the Top 10 Unique Christmas Gifts for Kids from the video:
It’s Cyber Monday and we have some unprecedented deals for you! We’ve taken 25% off of some of our top selling gifts for babies, kids, and even Moms. Hop on over to ChocolateCakeClub.com to find some great gift ideas on sale or find inspiration for the perfect gift for your little loved one in our Holiday Gift Guide. We promise we’ll make you look like a Gift-Buying Superstar!
We are wrapping up our posts on top Holiday gift ideas for kids from the ChocolateCakeClub.com 2010 Holiday Gift Guide. Today, you’ll see our favorite unique gifts for girls 7 years old and up. Click on the link to our Holiday Gift Guide to see all of our top picks for kids divided by age and gender to make shopping a little easier.
The Playful Chef Kids Cooking Kits will help you tap into your kids’ eagerness to help in the kitchen. These kids cooking kits provide the nutritional know-how, kid-sized cooking tools, and fun recipes you’ll need to get your little one cooking! We can’t think of a better Chocolate Cake Moment than to have fun in the kitchen making Chocolate Mountain Lava Cakes (recipe included in kit.)
House of Fashion Design Studio
Does your little girl dream of appearing on Project Runway. Get her fashion design career off to a head start with this House of Fashion Design Studio. Create entire collections using a custom light tablet and cling-type wardrobe pieces. Add color, pattern, texture and embellishment for a look all your own. Let your creative senses run wild with this ultimate arts & craft kit.
Spa Pedicure and Slipper Set It’s Girl Time!!! This new Spa Pedicure and Slipper Decorating Kit is so much fun for your pampered girly-girl. She can pamper her feet with the pedicure set then while her toes are drying, decorate the slippers that will showcase the artfully beautiful toes. This is a great activity for a sleepover or a lazy Christmas morning! See our other Craft Kits here.
Believe it or not, this is a science kit! Your girls can pamper themselves while they learn the science behind a dozen different spa product recipes. The kit will teach girls how to create their very own unique beauty products and spa treatments out of household natural materials and custom-tooled components. Unleash some serious fun while creating Glitter Gel, Berry Lip Balm, or an Avocado Face Mask. Great for a slumber party!
Encourage her creative side and teach her to sew – a lifelong skill. Everything she needs to start sewing is all in this My First Sewing Kit. The kit includes cool pre-cut patterns for quick and easy projects! Included are 8 colors of embroidery floss, shapes to make felt animals and a notebook cover, stuffing, fabric, ric rac, needles, scissors, measuring tape, straight pins, thimble, pin cushion, buttons and a pom-pom strip all in the cute and colorful carrying case.
Cap It Off Jewelry Kit
Here’s a new twist to making jewelry. The Cap It Off Jewelry Craft Kit is a fun new way to make bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Decorate the bottle caps with with stickers, beads, or satin any way you want. Create your unique set of jewelry for a friend or just for yourself.
The Four Peas Spunky Stripe Messenger Bag is THE hip accessory. Flaunt a fun, girly attitude with this generously sized messenger bag that will help your kids tote their school stuff or important travel items. Your kid will love the bag for its style, Moms will love it for the sturdy construction.
The age old game of truth or dare is ready for a new generation. The Truth or Dare Box of Questions is a great way to get your slumber party started! Spin the miniature spinner to reveal what your question is going to be: Truth, Dare, or Double Dare. There are 83 cards to pick from to ensure a whole lot of laughs and revealing of secrets!