Rainbow Sparkle Gift Guide

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I love it when my littles are surrounded by things as vibrant and colorful as they are.  And who couldn't use a little more sparkle in their day?  We had so much fun compiling this gift guide- it is bright and fun and bursting with color.   Isn't the Penguin Classics Set lovely?

1. Grimm's Elements Large Block Set | 2. Instax Mini 9 Camera | 3. Care Bears Cheer Bear | 4. Rainbow Stripe Socks  Rainbow Socks | 5. Days of the Week Underwear | 6. Rainbow Sweater Dress | 7. Sterling Silver Rainbow Earrings | 8. Stuart Weitzman Verna Alexa Sandal | 9. Super Happy Magic Forest | 10. Art Workshop for Children | 11. Puffin Classics Set | 12. Swatch The Girl Who Loved Color 

And for the final touches, stocking stuffers to complement art time, play time, and bath time. The Playdoh soap is genius.  Did we miss anything?

1. Lush Playdoh Soap | 2. Rainbow Jump Rope | 3. OOLY Sparkle Gel Crayons | 4. Color Bath Dropz | 5. Sarah's Silks Rainbow Streamer


Gifts for Space Lovers

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's that time of year again, where we are planning out the holidays and thinking about how to make Christmas meaningful for our families. As part of that we are trying to get some of our gift purchasing done ASAP so we can focus on our families and all the fun activities that are part of the holidays. We thought some of you might be doing the same, or at least making some lists as Black Friday approaches so we happily put together some gift guides for you all.

This year we decided we were going to use a more minimalist approach also known as the 4 gift rule. We've put together some incredibly fun themes and we'll be sharing a few things that fit in the something to wear, something to read, something they want, something they need categories. Without further ado, check out our space themed guide.

space gifts, gift guide, books

And let's not forget stocking stuffers! Seriously, who doesn't love discovering the treasures a stocking holds?

This theme lends itself to so many fun ideas, we'd love to hear what you would add to our list. 


Little Fun Club Review and $50 Giveaway

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Little Fun Club blog tour. A subscription box for children's books. Great for kids ages 0-12.

You all know we love to check out subscription boxes, so when we were asked to participate in a blog tour of the Little Fun Club, we jumped at the chance. There are so many wonderful book subscription boxes out here, but one of the things that caught our eye about Little Fun Club is how they customize their boxes to fit individual families. You give them the ages for your children and each box they send is carefully curated to suit your kids, so no two boxes are the same. 

Everyone in our house loves book mail, so when our package arrived we were excited to see what it contained. I let my 8 year old do the honors:

There is something utterly charming about brown paper packages, am I right?

We were all excited to see what was in our package, but I may have been more excited than my kids. As a picture book enthusiast it is rare that we are gifted books and even more rare that we are given three titles that we don't already own. Little Fun Club did a wonderful job with our picks; all 3 of the books we received are books that we do not already have in our home library! My oldest was immediately drawn in by the cover of William Joyce's The Sandman

While my youngest immediately gravitated to Boy + Bot

 And I can't wait to read Return to the Willows with them as a read aloud.

 Some Details:
  • In addition to providing the ages of your children, you can add a note to your account with reading preferences so the box can be tailored to their interests. They can customize one three book box for up to 3 kids. 
  • As your child gets older, the books will change accordingly, so you will always receive age appropriate books. It's a gift that grows with them- and we love that!
  • Shipping is FREE on all boxes. Subscriptions prices are $29 for a 1 month subscription (we like this option as a gift giving option), $27 for 3 months (we think this would be perfect for summer break) or $25 for 6 months (the best value!). They also have a new two book box option available. Check out all the details here.
  • Little Fun Club selects books based on merit which means that their books go through a rigorous selection process and are read and reviewed by the Little Fun Club team before being considered.
  • If you receive a book that you already own, just let Little Fun Club know about it. They'll replace the book in the next box! You don't have to return anything.
  • You can cancel or put your subscription on hold at any time.
  • A Little Fun Club subscription makes a fabulous gift for birthdays, holidays, or just because you love giving books. We love that we can add this option to our gift giving arsenal.  
And now for the giveaway details

$50 Cash Giveaway | batchofbooks.com   

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive $50 in PayPal cash Open to US and Canada Ends May 12, 2017 Use the Rafflectoper to enter. Entrants must be 18 or older or have their parent/guardian enter for them. The winner will be chosen randomly. Winner must respond to the notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. No purchase necessary to enter. This contest is void where prohibited by law.   a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Blog Tour Schedule- 
April 17 - The Mommy Island April 18 - Writing My Own Fairy Tale April 19 - The Kids Did It April 20 - Feed Your Fiction Addiction April 21 - Book Review Mama April 24 - Homebound but Hopeful April 25 - Looking Glass Review April 26 - Kristi's Book Nook April 27 - Natasha Reads Books April 28 - Create With Joy May 1 - That's What She Read May 2 - Tee and Penguin May 3 - Bookworm for Kids, This Kid Reviews Books May 5 - Word Spelunking May 8 - Babies to Bookworms May 9 - The Tangled Yarn May 10 - Geo Librarian May 11 - Savings in Seconds May 12 - Kid Lit Reviews


An ABC Easter Basket

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Does anyone else get excited when the time comes for your kids to learn the alphabet? I love when my kids are learning their letters and sounds because that means they are building a foundation for learning to read!

We've put together some of our top pick for little learners on this Easter basket round up and are now having a difficult time settling on what exactly to put in our kids baskets. So many cute options!

1. eeBoo Alphabet & Numbers Puzzle Pairs - putting things in pairs can be so satisfying, we love these eeBoo puzzle pairs because they are high quality, colorful, and fun!

2. Janod Alphabet Magnetibook-a toy that improves fine motor skills and encourages spelling out words, yes. This portable set includes illustrated pictures along with 104 letter tiles to encourage letter and word recognition.

3. Plan Toys Preschool Alphabet- I bought this Alphabet set for my oldest who is 8 1/2 and it is still in amazing shape. My toddler loves playing with the letters and matching them to the corresponding images on the cards. While I love that in addition to its durability, it comes with a drawstring bag to keep everything together.

4. AB See by Elizabeth Doyle- visual eye candy as well as educational, sign us up! Elizabeth Doyle has created a stunning and engaging book that showcases each letter as a compilation of tiny images that begin with that letter. A wonderful take on an eye spy- a must for any toddler library.

5. Words by Christoph Riemann- this clever book pairs 300 sight words with illustrations that encourage kids to delve into word meanings, explore how they are used and more. Perfect for the beginning reader in your house.

6. ABC Touch Think Learn by Xavier Deneux- this has been my go to gift for baby showers and first birthdays lately and has been met with universal adoration. The design is superb and the die cuts invite children to learn through tactile as well as visual exploration.

7. Mudpuppy ABC Flash Cards- so many flash cards, so little time. There really are an amazing array of beautifully designed flash cards available these days, but we picked this set because it is not only well designed but includes a ring to keep all those lovely cards in one place.

8. Melissa & Doug Alphabet Stamp Set- my kids are stamp fanatics, especially my 3 year old. If there is a stamp set available he is there. This alphabet set is a fun way to start a discussion on letters and would be a great way to practice spelling words, if you are looking to liven up study time!

9. Janod Alphabet Puzzle- this puzzle is gorgeous, wooden and colorful and begging to be displayed as well as played with. It fits so many of the criteria (educational, durable, long lasting) we use for buying toys that it's a no brainer.


An Easter Basket for your Little Sweet Tooth

Sunday, April 9, 2017

We both have quite the sweet tooth and actually bonded over our love of treats on our study abroad to Paris where our host family liked to feed us generic cornflakes and hotdogs with sauerkraut instead of all that is delicious in France. We were basically forced to sample all the neighborhood patisseries to really immerse ourselves in the culture.

This basket is for all our kindred spirits out there and your mini sweets lovers.


An Easter Basket for your Future Surgeon

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Doctor Themed Easter Basket

Probably like every other parent, I think my children have too many toys- but I just keep adding more anyway. Which is why I love finding toys and themes that are fun, further my children's interests, and are educational.  It eases my guilty conscience.  This Easter basket checked all the boxes for me.

1. Janod Body Magnet.  This looks like so much fun.  A great tool to teach your children about all the different systems that make up our bodies.  It comes with cards, a ton of magnets- and a pointer!  This has quite a few small pieces and is probably more appropriate for 6+ years.

2. Human X-Rays. How fun are these? Great individually and used as a puzzle.  

3. Perfect for some hands on practice.

4. Every good doctor needs to take copious notes on their patient's condition. 

5. This book is fabulous.  It is informative, accessible, engaging, and beautifully illustrated.  I think it's hard to go wrong with pretty much anything by Jenkins.

6. This is a game that needs no introduction.  It's silly and fun and what kid doesn't love it?  I always manage to lose at least one piece within a week but, thankfully, my kids have yet to notice.

7. There are really cute doctor costumes, and even a simple lab coat will work but these scrubs are just adorable.

8. The Fisher Price Doctor's Kit is a classic.  There are several other pretty cool versions of doctors kits (like this Janod one) but for some reason I keep coming back to this one.  I loved it as a kid and my kids love it.  Especially giving shots. 

9. Is anyone else's kid obsessed with putting bandaids on everything?  If I gave my kid a choice between a sheet of the coolest, brightest, shiniest stickers and a box of plain bandaids, the bandaids would win.  Every time.


Q & A with Cale Atkinson

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What we read when we're young has such an impact. What were three of your favorite books as a child?

While I always loved devouring picture books as a child, I also really loved comic strips and found they are what really began my love of storytelling through visuals and words. So to switch it up, here are my top 3 childhood comic strip books.

1. Any Garfield treasuries
2. Any book compilations of Sergio Aragones work
3. Charlie Brown books (and The Far Side, once I was old enough to understand them).

What inspired you to pursue a career in illustration? How old were you when you knew it was what you wanted to do?

I can't say for certain what initially inspired me to pursue illustration as a career. I grew up soaking in all types of art/stories/animation and think it muse have been true love at first sight. :) From a very young age I knew I wanted to be an artist in some capacity. I had always loved trying to make my own stories, be it though comics, comic strips or picture books. You can read about my whole journey here.

What do you wish you had known about this creative career path when you were first starting out, any words of encouragement for budding illustrators/writers/animators?

Don't get too caught up in comparing yourself to others. Do your thing, put in the time/effort and always remember to have fun!

Otherwise the recipe is pretty simple:

  • 7 quarts passion
  • 10 cups of determination
  • 58 liters of hard work
  • 16 tablespoons of getting yourself out there
  • a pinch of luck

We are so excited to read your latest solo project 'Where Oliver Fits' when it comes out this fall. What was the inspiration behind this story and character? What do you hope young readers take away from it?

Thank you! I'm super excited for everyone to meet Oliver!

Like most of my stories, the inspiration for Oliver stemmed from my own experiences and feelings. In our lives, fitting in is such a major part of who we are and how we feel. It truly is the search for where you as a piece fit in this big ol' puzzle called life! Drawing from the times I've tried fitting in the wrong spots, changing myself to fit and finally realizing, if I'm not being me, than I'm not really in the right spot.

I hope readers take away the message that finding where you fit can be hard, but if you just be yourself then your fit will surely find you.

What can you tell us about your upcoming picture book projects?

I've got a couple exciting projects on the release schedule!

April 4th- 'Night Night, Groot' with Disney Hyperion written by Brendan Deneen
August 8th- 'Little Red Riding Sheep' with Atheneum Books written by Linda Ravin Lodding
September 5th Our puzzle piece finds his fit in 'Where Oliver Fits' with Tundra Books.

Otherwise I'm busily working away on some exciting projects to look out for in 2018! Woo hoo!


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