christmas guess the word game

holiday guess the word game teachmama.com

christmas guess the word game | teachmama.com

My kids are basically a captive audience at breakfast, and they have been for a long, long time.

Whether they’re staring at the cereal boxesreading the newspaper, chatting grammar, or doing brain teasers, it always seems like they are waiting for some sort of activity while they throw back their Cheerios or waffles.

Because they love the Guess the Word Game that we play at their Halloween class parties, we made a holiday version.

I like the simplicity of this activity, it’s mobility, and the many different ways you can adjust the rules.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Christmas Guess the Word Game:

The premise of this game is super-simple: one person holds up a card with a word on it and tries to guess what it is.

christmas guess the word game | teachmama.com

 

christmas guess the word game | teachmama.com

But here’s the thing: the card holder does not look at the word.

And everyone else gives one-word clues to help the person guess it.

We play in a few variations:

  • the fewer words it takes to guess, the better;
  • the person who can guess the most words in row wins;
  • for a challenge: all of the clues must begin with the same letter; or
  • all of the clues must rhyme with the word on the card;
  • add a timer.

christmas guess the word game | teachmama.com

christmas guess the word game | teachmama.com

Fun, simple.

And when the kids help me generate a list, sure, they know what’s coming, but it’s still fun.

They feel more a part of the game when they are the co-creators.

Want to download the cards?

The Christmas Guess the Word Game is here to download as a pdf if you’d like: christmas party word guess game

The last page is blank so you can add your own!

(If you choose to share this post, super! Please just link to this post instead of the attachment page, though! Thank you!)

 christmas guess the word game christmas party word guess game

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out: 

Follow along on pinterest:

 

Follow amy mascott @teachmama’s board christmas ideas for kids and family on Pinterest.

 

holiday traditions that make our family rock: what matters most

holiday traditions that make our family rock cover teachmama.com

sponsored post

 

 

 

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com

 

One of my favorite parts of being a parent is establishing and celebrating traditions as a family.

And it’s funny because some things that we never really even intended to become traditions have become just that–expected, every year events that my kids eagerly anticipate.

Though I’ve written about them here and there over the years, this year I’m dragging them all out.

Each and every one of our holiday traditions.

All of the holiday traditions that make our family rock.

Or at least we think so.

These are traditions that make our family the unique and awesome and completely imperfect group that we are.

Because when it comes down to it, it’s all about what matters most, right?

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Holiday Traditions that Make Our Family Rock–What Matters Most:

For us, it’s family time.

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

Time spent together, doing things that often don’t cost much money at all.

Our holiday traditions are pretty awesome:

  • Breakfast with Santa: At our church each season, we have a chance to throw back some seriously awesome pancakes and sausage, chat with friends, and support our parish.
  • Find the pickle ornament: The ole pickle hides in our tree every year, and the first kid who finds it gets a ‘special’ gift.
  • Kissing reindeer hunt: Part of our Advent Activity Calendar, the kissing reindeer hunt is always a fave of my kids.
  • Cookie-baking day: Maddy, Owen, Cora, and I take a break from life and spend the entire day–start to finish–baking, baking, and baking!
  • Make candy wreaths for schools: Our school and my husband’s school always loves this gift that we try to deliver early in the month so that there’s time to eat it! Though by the end, everyone’s fingers are way tired of tying, it’s always a really fun family project.

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

 

  • Give shoebox gifts to less fortunate: Our local homeless shelter and church manage this event, which involves us filling shoeboxes with items for those less fortunate. We have organized events with our pals to make preparing, filling, and wrapping these boxes more fun and meaningful.
  • Empty Give Jars for needy:  Though we’re admittedly not as great with our Spend, Save, and Give Jars as I’d like, the kids do tend to keep a small amount in their Give Jar. We empty the contents in December and give it to a Salvation Army Collection point, near a local grocery store.
  • Homemade ornaments for family: We not only love unwrapping our homemade ornies each year, but we also really love giving our homemade ornies to friends and family.
  • Family photo album:  The kids know that each year they’ll find one fun photo album under the tree. It’s my personal deadline, and I’ve really brought it down to a science, the whole creating of the family photo books. It’s a lot easier than you think to make these, and the payoff? Huge.
  • Look at holiday lights: Usually when the kids least expect it, we’ll have them throw on their shoes (maybe even over pjs!), jump in the car, and take a gander around our ‘hood, in search of the most beautiful holiday light display.
  • Holiday cards on kitchen door: We send a ton of holiday cards, and we are truly grateful to receive a ton of holiday cards. As we receive the cards, we tape them to the kitchen door. We all love it–as the season progresses, our door becomes filled with our friends’ and family members’ smiling faces.

 

holiday traditions that make our family rock  teachmama.com 4

 

  • Ugly Breakfast on Christmas morning: Ugly Breakfast is called so because the kids think it’s ugly. And it is. But it tastes oh. So. Delicious. More like a French Toast bake, it may be ugly, but man, it’s sinful.
  • Holiday card family assembly line: We do all of our holiday cards–well over 100–in one night. We have the family assembly line down to a science. One person adds address labels, another person stuffs envelopes. Another person adds stamps, another person adds the return address stamp, and the final person seals the envelope. Bam. There’s no actual handwriting. Don’t judge.
  • Holiday movies and hot cocoa: Our favorite way to spend an evening in December: Elf, Home Alone, or another holiday favorite and mugs of hot cocoa. Okay, or ice cream. Anything will do as long as it’s sweet.
  • Santa cookie tray and plate: Before the kid go up to bed, they put cookies on our Santa plate and Santa tray for the jolly ole guy. The we go grab our book.
  • Read The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve: We have several versions of this book, as well as a reading of it from my parents. We read through them all, savoring each and every word. We listen to my crazy fun parents read their version, and then it’s off to bed!
  • Wrap gifts and watch Love Actually with my sweetheart: One–or two–or three nights before Christmas, my husband and I turn on one of our favorite holiday films and wrap gifts until we can no longer stand to keep our eyes open or see another piece of tape and curling ribbon. Yes, there are a boatload of holiday movies, but this is our absolute fave.
  • Have kids participate in the Gospel Drama for our church: We’ve gone from the sheep in the wandering flock to angels to shepherds to Angel Gabriel over the years, and each year is better than the next.

holiday traditions that make our family rock | what matters most teachmama.com

New Year’s traditions I’ve talked about before:

  • Bingo bonanza: Bingo every New Year’s Eve, and it must involve tons of tiny, inexpensive wrapped gifts for winners. Start saving scraps of wrapping paper because it’s great to use for Bingo Bonanza gifts!
  • New Year’s Day fondue: A favorite of ours, we do fondue for New Year’s Day, and it gets easier and easier each year.

Want to download our happy little holiday traditions printable? You most certainly may: holiday traditions that rock teachmama.com poster

The coolest part of these traditions is that they’ve been taken from here, there, and everywhere. Some are ours–all ours. And others have come from my parents or my husband’s parents or from friends.

But together, they make our little, crazy family totally rock.

I’m biased, I know, but whatever.

holiday traditions | #forwhatmattersmost

This holiday, our friends at TYLENOL® are celebrating everything that makes families rock–everything. And they’re not talking about the picture-perfect family because we all know there’s no such thing. In fact, they’ve even taken a familiar, picture-perfect holiday painting, Freedom From Want, and they’re adapting it for today.

It’s pretty cool.

Take a look:

Seriously.

That’s Norman Rockwell’s granddaughter.  We’re huge Norman Rockwell fans over here.

And we’re huge fans of celebrating the every family, too.

The whole #ForWhatMattersMost campaign is one totally worth checking out.  I love the slider they created that literally morphs Freedom From Want into a more modern family. Very cool.

Go see for yourself, friends, and tell me:

What do you think? Yes, cool campaign, or not for you?

 

 

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my experience as an educator and parent and by my three sweet littles. I have received information about the TYLENOL® For What Matters Most™ campaign from McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc., the makers of TYLENOL®.  

 

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holiday traditions that make our family rock cover teachmama.com

special holiday deals for teachmama.com readers

special holiday deals for teachmama.com readers

holiday deals for teachmama.com subscribers

 

Thank you so much for subscribing to teachmama.com!

As a thank you for being a loyal (or new!) email subscriber, here are a few goodies for you that I will update several times each week as promotions come and go.

Here and there, where applicable, I will use affiliate links.

SPECIAL CURRENT DEALS: 

  • fashionABLE, 15% off the entire order this week, with code BEMERRY [until 12/19/14]
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  • fashionABLE, (Wednesday, 12/17 ONLY) we’re offering 30% off popular Meselu scarf in the beautiful charcoal + teal color

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday
Doodle Crate >>

Online Knitting Class
Online Sewing Class

 

  • Kidorable, Free Umbrella with $20.00 purchase. Use Code:UMBFR  [Need over $20 without umbrella cost. Coupon code cannot be combined with any other promotion. until 12/31/14]

giftwrap  teachmama.com

subscriber thank you long newsletter | teachmama.com

giftwrap teachmama.com

 

must have gifts for kids and family sq

 

giftwrap teachmama.com

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

homemade ornaments for digital kids

homemade ornaments for digital kids

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

My kids are getting older.homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

At 11, 9, and 7, they needed a little something different this year in order to get them excited about ornament-making.

And I think I found it.

In all things they do they’re like most kids.

They want to have control.

They want freedom.

They want to know I have faith in their ability.

So I created ornaments for digital kids–ornaments that any ‘digital kid’ would totally dig because they combine their tech-savviness and some hands-on, old-school crafting.

I’m sure all of the aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents will love them.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Homemade Ornaments for Digital Kids:

I love school pictures. I don’t care how ugly or funny they are, I just love them.

I think they’re classic in a nerdy and silly way, so I often try to use them for holiday gifts for family.

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

Sure, I love the natural, outdoor, casual shots of family, too, but there’s something about school pictures that have always made me laugh a little.

Plus I think they’re even more fun to edit than other shots.

So for ornament-making for digital kids, what you’ll need is:

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

And because Maddy, Owen, and Cora knew from the Advent Activity Calendar that today was the day to finish up holiday gifts for family, they knew from the start that they’d be crafting in some way, shape, or form today.

So when I said, Hey guys, let’s meet in the kitchen in five minutes to get our craft on, they were cool.

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com collage

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

(This one did not pass the ‘okay for family’ test)

I said, So today we’re going to start–and finish–our photo ornaments for aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. But we’re not just going to slap some glitter on the ornaments and call it a day.

Instead, you guys are going to do some serious digital creating. You are going to be the ones to put together your photos in any way you’d like. All I ask is that you make it so that we can clearly see your faces on each one. And each ornament needs to have all three of you on them, okay?

The kids had worked with PicMonkey before, so they were pretty psyched.

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

Like I said, it always seems that my kids are game to do things like this when I give them control, freedom, and my faith in them.

So all I did was load PicMonkey on each computer–my laptop, the chromebook, and my husband’s computer. And I put all three of the kids’ photos on a zip drive, then I loaded them into each computer.

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

On PicMonkey, very simply, I set the kids up for success. I didn’t want them to frustrate, I just wanted them to have fun creating. To get them started, I:

  1. Went to ‘Design’
  2. Chose the square
  3. Made the background white
  4. Clicked on the butterfly (for overlays) on the left sidebar
  5. Clicked ‘Your Own’ to add my own overlay
  6. Added each of the kids’ school photos to the blank square
  7. Let. Them. At. It!

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

I taught the kids how to use PicMonkey for their ornaments.

They simply went to the little snowflake for Themes and some highlights of each Theme. I showed them how to add Santa beards, hats, and snowflakes.

I showed them how combining elements (clicking the little stack of papers with the arrow pointing down, right next to the gear on the top right of the screen) allows you to use Touch-Ups (click the lipstick), Effects (click the wand), or Frames (click the frame).

They figured out how to add text and change color, font, and size.  They figured out how to add elements, change the background, and do more than I probably know, even after two years of using the platform.

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

Owen really got comfortable using the Halloween-inspired overlays.

He begged me to let him make an ornament of his face all morphed and crazy, but I told him that he’d most definitely give his grandparents a heart attack and make his little cousins have nightmares for years.

PicMonkey is super-easy to use, and though you don’t need the ‘royal’ features, I use it often enough that the royal features are way worth it for me. And now that the kids are more fluid in it, they can use it for school projects, invitations, or fun. I love it.

After the kids finished, I saved their ornaments onto the zip drives and moved them onto my computer. Then I added each of them to one word document. I made two columns and resized each ornament to 2.1″ x 2.1″.  Our ornaments were tiny, but I wanted the whole thing to fit.

 

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

We printed their creations on white card stock and then we got to the crafty-crafty part.

We grabbed our blank ornaments, divvied up the family members who we needed to create for, and got working.

 

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

Creating the ornament was super-simple. 

1.  We mod podged one whole coat on the blank ornaments.

2. We added the photo and all of the sequins and bling we wanted.

3.  We let them dry.

4.  We mod podged over top of everything.   Sparkle mod podge added a bit more bling, so some went that route.

5.  We wrote ‘Maddy, Owen, and Cora 2014’ on the back with black sharpie and mod podged over the whole back.

6. We added a fancy ribbon, and we were finished!

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

homemade ornaments for digital kids | teachmama.com

 

And that’s it.

Super cute, super exciting for the kids, and super-beautiful when finished!

The most important thing? Maddy, Owen, and Cora were honing their ‘digital kid’ photo editing skills at the same time they were making something really cool for family members.

It makes gift-giving all the more fun and meaningful when kids are excited to share this way.

 

 

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

 

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

super-easy, homemade photo tiles: coasters and more | a last-minute crafty craft for the non-crafters out there

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

super-easy, homemade photo tiles: coasters and more | a last-minute crafty craft for the non-crafters out there I find that no matter the year, I’m always scrambling for last-minute holiday gifts for family.

Every year we love to give our family homemade ornaments for the tree–preferably ornaments with our crazy kids’ mugs on them.

It’s so much fun every year to unwrap ornaments as we’re decorating the tree and to find photos of our kids when they were younger.

A few years back, however, we thought we’d be tricky and trade the ornies in for tiles.

And they came out really, really cute.

We made sets of coasters for grandparents and tiles for the aunts and uncles.

Honestly, they were the easiest gifts to make, and Maddy, Owen, and Cora loved doing them.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Super-Easy, Homemade Photo Tiles:

When I say, ‘easy’, I mean easy.

These tiles took a bit of time to dry, but that was the most time-consuming part.

To make them, you’ll need:

Making the tiles is super-simple.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles coasters and more  a last-minute crafty craft for the non-crafters out there  collage  teachmama.comHonestly, the hardest, most time-consuming part is finding a photo you like.

I chose one photo of all three kids together for the bigger tile and the kids’ school pictures for the smaller tiles.

I personally love school photos. I think there’s something really cool, clean, and classic about them. No matter how my kids’ photos turn out, I always try to use them for something throughout the year.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles coasters and more  a last-minute crafty craft for the non-crafters out there   teachmama.com

1. Grab your Mod Podge and cover the whole tile with it.  Because Mod Podge is essentially glue, all you need to do is paint the tile with Mod Podge and place your photo on top.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

2. Place your photo on top, where you want it on the tile. 

I added a little ‘holiday tag’ with Maddy, Owen, & Cora 2012 on it. Let. It. Dry.

You can download the tag here, of course personalizing it for your own cutiepies: holiday gift tags 2011

I love when kids can add their writing to any masterpiece, so for the tiny coasters, I had Maddy, Owen, and Cora write their names with a sharpie.

Want to know the really hilarious thing? I made these in 2011. Gave them to aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. It was 2011. The photo was from 2011. But I wrote 2012, like a champ. Awesome, right? 

I’m trying to confuse the whole world. Then I won’t feel so crazy.

 

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

3. Mod Podge again. On top. Add a coat of Mod Podge, and Let. It. Dry. 

I told you these took a bit of time only in the waiting.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

super-easy, homemade photo tiles | teachmama.com

4. Add felt to the back. 

So the coasters don’t scratch the tables they’re trying to protect, add felt. Your mother-in-law will thank you.

Just use superglue or hot glue–whatever you have. I personally love my tiny hot glue gun. I keep a bunch of the tiny hot glue refills on hand, and I probably pull this guy out 3-4 times each month to use it for something.

For the larger tile, I added felt to the entire back. Because you’d be able to see the back when it was in its holder, I thought it looked nicer.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

5. Let. It. Dry. Like totally and completely. 

And really? That’s it.

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

super-easy, homemade photo tiles

So easy, and such a fun little personalized, homemade gift.

This year? Cannot wait to share what we have in the works. Cannot. Wait.

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back at Make Meaning Bethesda Row

enjoy the holiday: teachmama.com

sponsored post

 

 

 

The holiday season is busy–busy.enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back at Make Meaning Bethesda Row

But it’s so important that we take time every so often to breathe.

I mean really, truly breathe.

Enjoy time with friends.

Enjoy time with family.

And enjoy time spent doing holiday activities that we love.

Who cares if the laundry’s piled up, the house is a wreck, and dinner’s cold by the time everyone’s at the table?

Not I! (Not this month, at least. . . )

This week, I had the opportunity to enjoy the holiday a bit with some local friends, and it reminded me of how important it is to carve time out of our busy schedules to do just that–enjoy time together.

I’m betting that there are tons of holiday crafty-fun options no matter where you are; calling the local recreation department or library is a great place to start.

Even if you just invite a friend or two over for hot cocoa while you address holiday cards? It’s something. It’s still time together.

If you’re local to the DC Metro area, though, I have a great option for you. It’s totally affordable, super-sweet, and it packs a powerful punch.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Enjoy the Holiday–Gingerbread Houses and Giving Back at Make Meaning Bethesda Row:

Make Meaning is an entertainment and events destination focused on fun with creativity. They offer a ton of hands-on activities including cake decorating ,glass making, soap making, jewelry making, candle making, ceramics and book making for kids and adults of all ages.

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back

 

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back

 

When we visited Make Meaning in Bethesda this week, we decorated Gingerbread Houses.

The kids (and adults!) loved it. We had an absolute blast, and I cannot wait to return.

Check out some Instagram shots of our night:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And? The insane thing is that they’re running a super promo: from December 15-24th, you can decorate one Gingerbread House for $9.99 (regularly $49.99).

So really, that’s a great deal. Remember, it’s about carving out time for you.

It’s taking time out of your schedule to be with friends and family and to enjoy time together–no matter what you decide to do.

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back

 

enjoy the holiday: gingerbread houses & giving back

The deets on the Make Meaning Bethesda Row Gingerbread House deal:

  • Limit one per person and while supplies last. Space is limited. First come, first served. No reservation necessary.
  • Valid weekdays only. Monday 10a-5p, Tuesday-Friday 10a-7p
  • This promo is special only for our readers, but you can share the coupon with others. SO YAY! (You won’t find info on the Make Meaning website.)
  • Here’s the coupon. Download and print: Make Meaning Bethesda Gingerbread House Special

 

make meaning bethesda

And?

When a Make Meaning activity is purchased during the weekdays between 12/8-24, an activity is also provided to a child at The Children’s Inn at NIH.

I love, love, love that.

So you’re enjoying time with friends and family, crafting and creating, and then Make Meaning donates an activity to children who are out of their element, far from home, and most likely not feeling too well.

It’s the very least we can do.

 

http://www.childrensinn.org/

 

So that’s it–just a really nice evening spent away from work, school, and everyday chaos, enjoying time with family and friends.

How will you enjoy the holiday? Do you have time set aside this month for family? Friends? Would love to know because the more we talk about stepping away and doing things that make us happy, the better!

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: This is a sponsored post, on behalf of One 2 One Network and Make Meaning, Bethesda Row. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

I am thankful for our friends at Make Meaning, Bethesda Row and to One 2 One Network for including me in this exciting campaign!

best books as gifts for kids and family

best books as gifts for kids and family | teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

I am so embarrassed about this, but I’ve talked about doing a post like this for years.best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com cover

I think I’ve even promised one the week after each of my 2012 gift guide and 2013 gift guide but never did it.

Ugh.

But this year, finding books for Maddy, Owen, and Cora has been so, so, so much fun.

I’m not sure why.

Maybe because they all can read now?

Maybe because the book choices we have at our fingertips for our kids–and even extended family–are spectacular?

Maybe because

So I’m thrilled to share which books we have loved this year, which books are on our holiday wish lists, and which books will definitely be under our tree this year.

I’ll organize it just like I organized the Gift Guide for Kids and Family–by age.

That might be the most manageable.

So exciting.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Best Books as Gifts for Kids and Family:

best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com littlest guys

 

For our littlest guys:

  • Ten Tiny Toes, by Carolyn Jayne Church: babies love the sweet illustrations in these books, and so do parents.  And? there’s counting.  Try Here Comes Christmas for the holidays.
  • Flora and the Flamingo, by Molly Schaar. A wordless picture book, this story shows how Flora and the Flamingo become friends without saying a word. Cool way to talk about body language with kids.  Pair it with a sweet flamingo stuffed animal for a really cute gift.
  • Locomotive, by Brian Floca.  It’s a Caldecott Medal winner which means that this book totally rocks. I love the way this book brings to life the summer of 1869 when the first transcontinental railroad takes its journey from coast to coast.

best books as gifts  kids and family  teachmama.com

  • The Book With No Pictures, B.J. Novak. 
    Remember Ryan Howard from The Office? Ever-changing dark haired young guy? He wrote this book, and it’s really fun and unique. It plays with language in a way that is engaging, exciting, and new.
  • Blizzard, by John Rocco.  Rocco shares his own memories woven in a story that teaches the important lessons of helping others and celebrating the little things. Based on his experience in the Blizzard of 1978, which some of us may actually remember.
  • Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad, by Henry Cole.  I cannot speak highly enough about this beautiful, wordless picture book. A farm girl helps a young, runaway slave who hides in her barn.
  • Exclamation Mark, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  This book tells the story of Exclamation Mark, who never really felt like he fit in with all of the periods and commas out there. It’s so fun and a great way to play with language and life lessons.
  • Nelson Mandela, by Kadir Nelson.  I love everything that Kadir Nelson writes, but this Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner is inspiring and enlightening.
  • The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdös, by Deborah Heiligman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. This book is an interesting reminder that we all are born with different strengths and that one is no better than the next. For math lovers and non-lovers alike, kids will find this book incredibly intriguing.

 

 

best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com bigger guys

For the bigger guys:

  • Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye, by Geronimo Stilton. Geronimo books have been around for a while now, but Cora has recently discovered them and has fallen hard. She laughs out loud at these. Owen does, too. Told by Geronimo, a witty and brave mouse, these stories always involve a mystery, and the engaging print and fonts makes them accessible for younger readers especially.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, by Jeff Kinney. It’s the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Kids love this series.  Greg Heffley is every child. He says what’s on his mind, and he’s funny. And life doesn’t always work out in his favor. This book shares his family’s road trip, and it’s a riot. Want a chunk of the series? Get your young reader a Diary of a Wimpy Kid gift set.
  • Fantasy League, by Mike Lupica. Owen is pretty much obsessed with fantasy football lately, so when we discovered this book by talented sports writer, Mike Lupica, it opened up a world of reading for him. Lupica rocks when it comes to writing books that speak to young athletes. Love this.

best books as gifts  kids and family  teachmama.com

best books as gifts  kids and family  teachmama.com

  • Smile and Sisters, by Raina Telgemeier. And Drama. These award-winning graphic novels are written in Raina’s honest, funny, and engaging voice, are faves of my girls. They’re (shhhhh!) getting Drama this holiday.
  • The 39 Clues series, by Rick Riordan & co. This book series is still a fave of Maddy’s. The books are quick and clever, and they’re full of history. We listen to a 39 Clues audio book just about every time we drive to Pennsylvania.
  • The Spirit Animals series, by Brandon Mull & co. Maddy and Owen have really loved this series. And the cool thing is that there’s a ton of online gaming, support and extensions for each book.
  • The Hunger Games series, by Suzanne Collins. I’ve waited a bit to hand these to Maddy because the content is a bit mature; the Hunger Games are not the kind of game you ever really want your kids to play. It’s about survival and doing anything you can to come out on top in a dystopian society with a totally corrupt government. But Maddy asked and asked, and when I allowed her to read them, she literally read the entire three books in three nights. I’m not sure she slept much, and I had to literally pry the book out of her hands and turn off her lights so she’d rest. It’s a fantastic series if you haven’t read it, and it does allow for a ton of interesting discussion if you can read them alongside your tween.

 

best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com family

Every family must-haves:

  • Humans of New York, by Brandon Stanton. I have literally gifted this book to almost every adult family member, so of course I needed to add one to our list, too. I am obsessed with Humans of New York. Looking at the photos of everyday people and reading their stories helps me keep things in perspective. I love it, and I’m hoping that it becomes a good eye-opener for Maddy, Owen, and Cora.
  • Little Humans, by Brandon Stanton.  Same as above. But all kids. All kids. Love times a million.

 

best books as gifts  kids and family  teachmama.com

 

 

best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com cool books they love

Other cool books that kids love:

  • National Geographic Kids Almanac 2015. This should be a must-purchase for families every single  year. It’s one of those books that once you pick it up, you cannot put it down. Full of fun facts from food to animals to planets, it’s awesome. It’s beautiful.
  • 5,000 AWESOME Facts (About Everything!) 2, by National Geographic Kids. Not even kidding. There are 5,000 facts in this book. And each is cooler and more interesting than the next. The photos, layout, and topics? Super cool.

best books as gifts for family  teachmama.com final cover

 

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

multi-year magazine subscriptions | CRAZY deal for families

multi-year magazine subscriptions | CRAZY deal for families

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

multi year magazine subscription | best holiday deal

 

I am in awe of the deals this week, and as I buy them, I’m sharing them.

Because why reinvent the wheel, right?

So remember when I shared that I scored some awesome deals on magazines on Cyber Monday?

Right.

Well? I totally had my cart filled but Never. Made. The. Purchase. GAH!

So bummed. So frustrated.

So sad.

So when I saw this deal–the multi-year magazine deal–I jumped on it. For realz.

Before anything, I threw some mags in my cart and clicked buy now.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Multi-Year Magazine Subscriptions | CRAZY deal for families: 
Magazines make super-awesome gifts, and here’s why:
  • Ordering is easy & hassle free!
  • 1000+ titles means that you can find something for everyone on your list!
  • No tax + no shipping fees = no extra charges!
  • No gift wrap needed!
  • Magazines are the gift that gives all year round!
  • Send email notifications to each recipient making the process simple and quick!
  • Convenient gift for out of town family and friends.
  • High perceived value but you pay a fraction of the cover price.
  • Magazine subscriptions make great last-minute gifts!

And? You’re getting your loved ones READING–and that’s a serious, totally awesome WIN!

There are magazines for everyone on your list here. Check out some of the more popular ones below, or search for your faves: DiscountMags Multi-Year Sale.

 magazines for whole family  teachmama.com

  Here are some super deals you might dig: 

 

  • Men’s Category
    • Maxim (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50, 3yrs: $12.50, 4yrs: $16.50)
    • GQ (1yrs: $4.99, 2yrs: $8.99, 3yrs: $12.99)
    • Men’s Journal (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50, 3yrs: $12.50, 4yrs: $16.50)
  • Women’s Category
    • Glamour (1yrs: $4.99, 2yrs: $8.99, 3yrs: $12.99, 4yrs: $16.99)
    • Self (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50, 3yrs: $12.50)
    • Lucky (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50)
    • Allure (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50, 3yrs: $12.50)
    • Vogue (1yrs: $7.99, 2yrs: $12.99, 3yrs: $14.99)
    • Teen Vogue (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $8.50)
    • W (1yrs: $4.50, 2yrs: $6.50)

 

Friends, this sale ends Sunday, December 7, 2014 at midnight ET.

No coupon code needed! WOOT!

Purchase the magazines for yourself, renew subscriptions, or purchase as gifts for others. They’ll even send a scheduled email card to the recipient to let him or her know to look for the gift!

multi-year magazine subscriptions | CRAZY deal for families

If these magazines don’t interest you, you can use coupon code: TEACHMAMA to get 20% off of most other titles at DiscountMags!

multi year magazine subscription | best holiday deal

 

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

tiny prints: holiday card weekend sale 40% off plus free shipping

tiny prints: holiday card weekend sale 40% off plus free shipping

 

 

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

tiny prints FLASH SALE 40off plus free shipping  teachmama.com

 

Did you know that this Sunday is the busiest holiday card shopping day of the year?

It is…but you don’t have to wait until Sunday to take advantage of an amazing offer from Tiny Prints.

For 24 hours only, you can get 40% off your order of ANY size plus get free shipping!

Here’s how to take advantage of this offer:

1. Go to Tiny Prints and select from hundreds of holiday cards.

2. Personalize your card with your pictures, your text, etc.

3. When you checkout, use the promo code TPCARDS40FS to save 40% and get free shipping.

This promotion is only valid from 12:00pm PT on Saturday 12/6 to 12:00pm PT on Sunday 12/7, so act fast!

 

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

tiny prints FLASH SALE: up to 50% off plus free shipping (not a joke)

tiny prints FLASH SALE: up to 50% off plus free shipping (not a joke)

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

tiny prints FLASH SALE: up to 50% off plus free shipping (not a joke)

Hey early birds, you’re about to get a great deal on holiday cards.

From 7 am to 11 am ET today, (4 am to 8 am PT), Tiny Prints is making their already awesome Cyber Week deal even more awesomer.

Through the end of today, you can get 40% off all holiday cards using the code CYBER40. If your order is more than $49, use that and stack the code FREESHIP49 for free shipping if your order is more than $49.

But, if you are up early enough, add the code FLASH1204 and you’ll save an extra 10% on your order.

That’s a total of almost 50% off holiday cards. 

So check it out and remember to use all three codes to save nearly 50%!

 

fyi: You are SO lucky, because I bought my holiday cards and only got 40% off.

fyi: Pass this on. Your neighbors, your sisters, and your college roommate will love you for sharing.

 

Want a few more holiday-inspired happy? Check out:

must have gifts for kids and families | teachmama.com

gifts for sunday school teachers or CCD teachers | teachmama.com

 

kids and family gift guide from teachmama.com

 

teachmama gift guide 2012

 

 

holiday gift guide | teachmama.com

 

fyi: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family | teachmama.com

post contains affiliate links

 

 

 

Did you celebrate Giving Tuesday?gifts that give back  teachmama.com

It’s a really simple concept: give.

Any way you are able, to anyone. Give.

The concept of giving is especially important at this time of the year, and lucky for us, many organizations have made it super easy–and so meaningful!–to give at holiday time.

Looking at my kids’ bedrooms and our playroom, I see we need very little.

So I’m encouraging all of our family members to do something this year that packs a bit more of a punch: buying gifts that give a little more than the norm.

Though there are thousands of ways to do it–something for every family.

These are the organizations that we will be supporting this year.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Gifts That Give Back–Ideas for Kids and Family:

Though I’m sharing this during holiday time, these gifts can obviously be given at any time of the year, for any occasion.

I encourage you to bookmark this, save it, whatever, and pull it out again for birthdays or other special occasions.

Seriously. Give something life-changing to a family in need. A goat. Some chicks. Some seeds. An education. Clean water.

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family

And give it in the name of one of your kids: Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. 

The Heifer International Gift Catalog online is super easy to understand and navigate.

You can purchase a share or whole animal for a family: goat, heifer, water buffalo, honeybees.

Giving an animal is like giving someone a small business, providing wool, milk, eggs and more. Animal donations can provide families a hand up, increasing access to medicine, school, food and a sustainable livelihood.

gifts that give back: ideas for kids and family Or you can support women’s empowerment:

If women farmers had access to the same resources as men, more than 150 million additional people would have enough food to eat. We aim to make that a reality. Your gift will provide support for women’s groups, training in gender equality and the means to send girls to school. Help empower women around the world to reach their full potential.

heifer international

Talk to your kids about the fact that so many of these people lack clean water. Can you imagine? Clean water.

And explain how clean water could totally, completely change their lives:

Millions of people around the world still lack access to clean drinking water. In the impoverished communities where Heifer is working, many of the homes lack running water, and some families do not even have a well nearby. Instead, they must spend each day fetching water. This is often a chore left to the children — especially girls — leaving no time for school.

 

gifts that give back | teachmama.com

 

Each gift you choose comes with a little card that you can give to the recipient, an Honor Card.  But more than the card is the impact of the gift on the recipient family.

These gifts are literally changing lives–turning life completely around for people. Equipping them with the tools they need to thrive.

Incredible.

 

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gifts that give back | teachmama.com

 

I met the creator of To the Market, Jane Mosbacher Morris, at the AYA Summit this year. She’s awesome.

The premise of To The Market is to combine the powers of commerce and storytelling to empower the world’s most courageous survivor populations, in the belief that resilience is more powerful than suffering.  How can you not love it?

You can shop in a number of different ways: by goods, by country, by cause, or by local partners. So you can literally find something for everyone, something that really meets your needs.

gifts that give back TTM ideas for kids and family

I love the Eva Necklace, the Sabrina Sparkle Earrings, and the Bernadette Earrings, both from the Starfish Project.

The Starfish Project is a fair trade jewelry company that cares for and employs exploited women in Asia. Each woman that enters into Starfish has a story of abuse and pain. At Starfish they are employed in legitimate, meaningful work where they start to reclaim the truth that they are capable; through counseling, shelter, education and health care they know they are safe; and through the Starfish community they know they are loved.

I also love the Punjammies–all of them. These are ‘lounge pants’ which I honestly think you could wear for any occasion because they are that beautiful.

PUNJAMMIES™ mission is to create pathways to freedom for women escaping the ravages of sex slavery to achieve lives of hope and dignity; each woman learns a trade (sewing) and practices refining her craftsmanship by producing quality sleep & loungewear called PUNJAMMIES™. The finished product is then exported to the US and sold online to countries all over the world with proceeds coming back to benefit each of the sewing centers.

******************************

Almost all of my scarves are from fashionABLEfashionABLE‘s mission is:

to create sustainable business for Africans so they aren’t dependent upon charity, but instead earn the dignity of a job. We offer opportunity to everyone, with a primary focus on empowering women. When we invest in a woman, statistics demonstrate that she will have a life-changing impact on her family and community… and herself.

 I love it.

gifts that give back ideas  fashionABLE
Some products I really love?

  • the Mamuye Tote because it is the perfect size for my laptop and the leather is simply beautiful
  • the Tizita Bracelet which is so affordable and cool–a set of three bracelets (two pewter and one antique gold) crafted from beads repurposed from bullet casings and scrap metal found by farmers in the Entoto mountains.  The Entoto community is a place of healing for those affected by HIV/AIDS, treating them with dignity + respect, and providing a fair opportunity to support their families. Under $30.
  • the Selam Scarf and the Gebeyew Scarf both which I have and both which I have gifted to friends and family numerous times.

******************************

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is driven by the mission to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.

gifts that give back  st jude

Everyone is welcome. Everyone. My heart.

Every purchase made from the St. Jude Gift Shop helps St. Jude because 100% of proceeds after all related expenses benefit St. Jude.

They’ve got a ton of celebrity gifts that younger kids especially would love, from their Celebrity Friend Collection: ornaments, jewelry, iPhone cases.

gifts that give back | experience gifts st. jude

You can donate event-based gifts for patients like ‘no mo chemo parties’, holiday parties, and more.

You can donate a things the patients would love, like red wagon (because that’s how little ones move through the hospital–no wheelchairs!), or you can donate art supplies or video games.  Toys, books, or meals for families.

You can donate treatments for the patients. You know they need them. This will help.

It’s an incredible organization, and it’s a great way to give back.

******************************

It’s a lot, I know.

But hey–it’s a great place to start.

My suggestion? Either make a decision yourself over here, or bring the kids over, look at the options with you, and let them decide.

I’m betting they’d love to say, Grandma! We bought some kids a goat in your and Grandpa’s name this year!!

How will you give? What will your family choose this year? 

Let me know! I love more ideas!

gifts that give back teachmama.com

Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out: 

 

fyi: The fashionABLE links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. This small percentage of money helps offset the costs of hosting this blog, which helps me keep this content free for you. Forever and always I recommend only products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  For more information, please see teachmama media, llc. disclosure policy