Author: Kate Etue

The best lists of the best children’s books of 2016, all in one place

Once again, we’re happy to have compiled the best lists of all the best children’s books of the year, curated by the top publishers, reviewers, organizations, and bloggers we respect. And boy, was it a fantastic year for children’s literature and storybooks. You’ll surely find lots of great new discoveries from the New York Times to the American Library Association, from NPR to well-curated blogs like Brainpickings and Brightly and…well, us! So start with our own list of the best children’s books of 2016, then check out some other perspectives. We bet a few of your kids’ favorites will be on here, and you’ll surely find some new ones you’ll be excited to add to...

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Good luck charms to help get you through 2017

As we bid adieu to 2016 — or, more appropriately, don’t let the door hit you on the way out, 2016 — I’ve been thinking about friends who’ve had it particularly hard this year. If you know anyone who’s had a rough go of it too, then you might like this idea we’ve had to send notes of well wishes and a little good luck charm for a better 2017. I first got inspired to do this when I spotted these wooden good luck charms at Areaware. These little desk toys are what I’m going to add when I want to send just a bit...

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How to wear Greenery, Pantone’s 2017 color of the year: 3 glam accessories we love.

When Pantone announced their 2017 color of the year, I admit I wasn’t entirely sold on Greenery, a bright springy, yellowy green that seemed to come out of nowhere. But after reading the backstory, I get it: After a difficult year for so many people, both socially and politically, Greenery is Pantone’s effort to offer a symbol of growth, health, and new beginnings. That said, I don’t think Greenery is the kind of color that looks great on everyone, the way 2016’s Rose Quartz or 2015’s Mykonos Blue did. And that’s where accessories come in. Related: Glam holiday statement jewelry under $50...

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The best experience gifts for kids who want to do it all.

Research shows that the happiest families are those who spend their money on experiences instead of on things. I totally get it. Looking back at my childhood, I can remember only a handful of toys my parents gave me over the years — a Strawberry Shortcake lip gloss, still being a favorite. But every out-of-the-ordinary trip we took together is etched in my memory, whether it was a week at the beach or a night out to see the circus. So, this year, consider investing in an experience gift for your kids in addition to the books and toys they’ll be getting...

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My holiday gift wishlist: 5 great gifts on sale so I won’t feel guilty asking fo them

This year, I’m sticking to a pretty strict budget with my own Christmas shopping, because we’re heading to South Korea very soon to finalize our adoption. (Best Christmas gift ever!) (Eds: WE AGREE!)  And, as you can probably guess, flights to South Korea aren’t cheap. Even so, my kids and my husband are needling me about what I want for Christmas, and how can I deny them the pleasure of buying me a gift? So, I’ve picked out a few items from our holiday gift guides that I really wouldn’t feel that guilty asking for, considering they’re not just amazing gifts, but they’re all on...

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17 of the best subscription gifts for kids: From babies to teens, we’ve found something for everyone.

It feels like the holidays are going to be here in a minute, and I’m not ready! If you’re like me and are still scrambling for a few great gifts that will make your kids think you’re pretty awesome, then you might want to look into one of the cool subscription gifts for kids we’ve been scouting out. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen so many companies with such good ideas for subscription boxes that range from developmental toys for babies to science kits for our bigger kids. And we know from experience that our kids are thrilled to receive actual, real packages...

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This year’s best new books for Christmas, to help your kids get even more excited for the big day.

My family has a tradition of reading Christmas books at bedtime every night during Advent. Some years, I wrap each holiday book in our collection, so they’ll be surprised which book we’re reading each night. Other years, we take turns choosing a favorite. But every year, I like to add new books to our collection. And this year is no exception. I was excited to find some new, beautifully illustrated traditional stories as well as some clever books that are quick, funny reads (perfect for those nights when we’ve been out to a holiday party way past bedtime). I’ll be adding a couple of...

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An exquisite gift for book-loving kids from award-winning authors | Sponsored message

This is a sponsored message from Candlewick Press Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston have teamed up to create a gorgeous children’s book that’s a tribute to the power of a great story — and just in time for holiday gifting. The 2016 New York Times #1 bestseller, A Child of Books, is an imaginative adventure through the world of storytelling. The two young main characters discover the magic found in books, as they explore forests of fairy tales, sneak past monsters in haunted castles, and climb mountains of make-believe — all presented to the reader with a genius visual...

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13 sparkly holiday dresses for girls: Bring on the dazzle!

If your family’s holiday schedule is anything like mine, and you have daughters, you know why I’m looking for sparkly holiday dresses for girls right now. I have a calendar full of holiday parties, recitals, school concerts, and a gazillion other special events coming up, all excuses for my daughter to get fancy. But with a budget that doesn’t allow for a whole wardrobe of holiday dresses, I’ve been searching for a fun, sparkly dress that she can wear more than once, from holiday parties to New Year’s Eve with lots of playdates and family visits in between. CMP is an rstyle affiliate Related: 2016 Holiday...

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Cool, modern Christmas tree skirts that go with your own home decor, not Grandma’s.

We’re pulling out the Christmas decorations and dusting off the ornaments around here, and I’m realizing that one easy way to spruce up my holiday decor is with a fresh, new tree skirt. But have you ever searched for a modern Christmas tree skirt? They’re nearly impossible to come by. So I’m delighted to discover the wonderful modern Christmas tree skirts new at Minted this year. The designs are so crisp and clean, they add just the right amount of color and fun to your holiday decor. (And don’t miss out on a discount code they’re offering, right now!) Related: 14 festive and fun advent calendars to count...

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The best group card games to play with the whole family: Game night, bring it.

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, it’s really starting to feel like Christmas to me. And as much as I love the shopping and the hot cocoa and the decorations, my favorite part is the parties. Instead of sending the kids to the playroom to watch a movie while the adults hang out this year, I’ve found some really fun group card games that the whole family can enjoy together. From competitive strategy games for the geeks in all of us, to light party games that are more about having fun than winning, these are our favorites. Of course,...

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The papercraft book that makes Christmas crafting so, so easy.

Houses up and down our street are starting to turn on their holiday lights, and it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in our neighborhood. My craft-loving kids would like for us to DIY everything holiday around here — cotton-ball snowmen, reindeer food, glitter wreaths…you name it. So when I discovered Papermade’s new book Paper Holiday, I knew I’d hit the holiday craft jackpot. The book includes 20 Christmas ornaments you can make in about 10 minutes each — just punch-out, fold up, and hang on the tree. No scissors, glue, or tape required. It even includes paper hooks. The ornaments are definitely Christmas specific,...

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We found 5 fab waterproof boots that also keep you warm this winter

Weather experts from Europe to the US are warning us to brace ourselves for the coldest winter in years…again. So, when life gives you snow, I say go shopping for a great pair of snow boots! When it comes to a good snow boot, I want something that will keep my feet warm and dry when I’m trudging through snow and slush, or just tip-toeing through those massive puddles that accumulate at street corners after a storm.  But I want them to feel comfortable and look at least as cool as I can in sturdy winter boots. Not too much to ask, right? So I’ve...

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The best Cyber Monday deals from 150+ of our favorite shops big and small. Yay for savings!

If you’re looking for some of the best Cyber Monday shopping deals and discounts around the web today, we’ve we’ve put together only the biggest and best (sorry, get $1 off purchases of $100 — no room for you here) all from our favorite shops! We’ll continue to update the post with new deals all day long, so be sure to check back, and follow us on Twitter where we’ll be tweeting ones you don’t see here. And don’t forget to check out our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for even more gift ideas featuring indie designers and small businesses. There are some great discounts in...

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The best Small Business Saturday deals: 75+ ways to save big while you shop small.

We love supporting our favorite small businesses every day of course, but to encourage you to make the most of Small Business Saturday, so many of them have offered up the best shopping deals and discounts today. We’ve rounded up more than 75 of them for you right here and we’ll even keep updating the post as more roll in — and be sure to follow us on Twitter where we’ll be tweeting them all day. What’s more, be sure to shop our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide for even more gift ideas from indie designers and small businesses, lots of which include their own discount codes too....

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Bring on the bling with these 7 metallic and jewel-toned coats for kids.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but down here in Nashville we went from about 80-degree days to 30-degree mornings overnight. And before I knew it, I was fumbling through our coat closets to pull out last year’s jackets for the kids to bundle up in on their way to school. And now, I’m scanning all of my favorite shops online to find some great deals on new winter coats for this year — since the 3/4 length arms on last year’s coats won’t quite cut it when the really cold weather hits. Since winter weather can be so dreary...

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Beyond thank you and please: 7 manners all kids should learn for holiday entertaining (and that we’re not all teaching)

Please and thank you — important stuff, right? I’ve always believe that courteous kids grow into nice adults and we all need more nice in the world these day. But that’s not where etiquette begins and ends. So with the holidays here, and lots of entertaining and mingling coming up on our calendars, we’ve started talking in our home about some of the manners that we want our kids to know, so they can be fantastic guests and hosts. I’m sharing them here with the hope that maybe our ideas will help some of you too. Top: Please and Thank You poster at TanyaGDesign on Etsy I know...

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10 modern, uplifting holiday cards that wish your family and friends everything good

It’s time for me to start thinking about sending out our Christmas cards again. Yikes! I haven’t even scheduled a family photo session and I still need to update my address book. School and work and sports — not to mention the major distraction of the election — has left me way behind schedule. But the thing is, this year more than ever, I’m wanting to send out the good vibes of love, warmth, and peace to my friends and family. Because we need it, right? These beautiful modern, uplifting holiday cards we found at some of our favorite shops go beyond the traditional Merry Christmas...

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Fitness tips for cold weather to help keep you on your routine: Because winter is coming (but pecan pie belly could possibly be avoided)

The winter can definitely put a damper on anyone’s fitness routine, which is why we’re putting together some really helpful, realistic, cold weather fitness tips to help you out as things get chilly. Between the can’t-resist holiday foods and the bitter cold weather that will be here before you know it, we’re all going to be more inclined to stay home and just eat our weight in comfort food. I know first-hand that the struggle is legit and following all the expert tips are easier said than done. That’s why I’m here for you! We’re in this together, mamas! So check out...

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Fantastic Beasts movie review: The magic is back, but is it okay for young kids?

We Harry Potter fans have waited very patiently. As in, it’s been five years (yes, really) since Deathly Hallows Part 2 came out. But friends, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is just out in theaters, living up to the magic we expect from J.K. Rowling’s universe in every way with blow-your-mind imaginative worlds, multiple layers of meaning that will spark interesting conversations with your kids, outstanding performances, and some impressive action scenes that will truly thrill. I still remember that breathtaking feeling I got when I first saw the grand hall at Hogwarts and the shops on Diagon Alley, and it’s the same feeling with the reveal of...

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