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The Best of Jewish Children’s Books for the New Year!

I partnered with PJ Library on this sponsored post.

The Best of Jewish Children’s Books for the New Year! 

For Jewish people worldwide, the new year kicks off on Rosh Hashanah when people wish each other l’shana tova – a sweet new year!  This September, on top of eating delicious apples with honey and making resolutions for the coming year, families raising Jewish children can also kick off the New Year by signing up for PJ Library, a free program that offers monthly, age-appropriate books celebrating Jewish values and culture through the joy of story books.

A program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, PJ Library sends more than 200,000 books a month to families across North America. Expertly curated, the monthly selections exemplify the best of Jewish children’s literature and offer books that are certain to capture children’s imaginations with cheerful characters, compelling stories, and vibrant illustrations. 

Start the Jewish new year off right

PJ Library welcomes all Jewish families, whatever their background, knowledge, family make-up, or observance may be. The stories help families engage with Jewish values, ideas, and traditions on their own terms, and the books are paired with activities and resources for the whole family to learn, create, and play together.

Celebrate the new year by signing up your kiddos for PJ Library. Sign up today!

 

Be sure to follow PJ Library on social media – connect with them on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram – to learn more and share your stories! You can also follow me on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram too, and let me know your thoughts about PJ Library using the hashtag #PJLibrary!  

 

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Fall is My Favorite Time of the Year!

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

I live in the PNW – in central Washington state, a mid-sized city called Yakima. We grow apples here, and are right next to Wenatchee, which is considered the apple capital of the world. 77% of the hops grown in the United States come from the Yakima Valley. And we’re fast becoming a major wine tourism destination. We’re the 11th biggest city in Washington, but still a MAJOR agricultural area too. We get four distinct seasons here, and fall is my favorite – the colors of the trees, the harvest of all that fall produce, the U-Pick farms that turn into corn mazes and haunted tours and pumpkin patches. Fall always feels like new beginnings, fresh starts, an embrace of changes – and the start to some of my favorite things like hoodies and boots, holidays and entertaining, football and fun!

Fall favorites quote

Since the fall weather here is so beautiful, this is the time of year that Abby and I like to get our family photos together. Last year we used a local photographer for a s’mores themed photo shoot, outside of town at a big ranch with horses and open fields and beautiful views. My favorite was one that was kind of out-take… Abby thought it would be funny to eat a s’mores like Lady and the Tramp ate their spaghetti. The photographer caught us in the middle of that, and it’s so funny. ;)

fall smores photo shoot

I love to entertain. And being just a few hours away from Seattle, the Seahawks are our JAM here, man. So we throw a lot of game-day parties here. And if you love football parties too – you have got to check out my Snackadium tutorial! These pics are from a few years ago – I’ve made bigger and more elaborate versions the past two years, but never took time to post them. This year tho, I promise! This original post though – it is honestly NOT hard to create, it’s pretty cheap too – you can get all of the supplies you need at your local Walmart super cheap {pro tip: order it all online, do ship to store, and then just pop in and pick it up, easy peasy!} – it just takes a little bit of time. Totally worth it though, it’s a pretty rad way to serve your snacks during football season!

football party food snackadium tutorial

Another thing I absolutely heckin’ LOVE about fall is …. HALLOWEEN! Abby {she’s NINE now, can you guys believe it?} and I into witchy stuff, we love dress up, a black cat lives with us…. lol. It’s totally one of our favorite holidays. A few years ago I got a black pre-lit tree from Treetopia, that I put up in late September, to decorate for Halloween. Our last theme was a DIY Nightmare Before Christmas tree – lots of Dollar Tree decor, Sharpie markers to draw Jack and Sally on the big shiny ball ornaments, and some extra lights for pizzazz. After Halloween, I take the themed ornaments off, and stuff some fall flowers and leaf garlands on it for Thanksgiving. Then we decorate it up for Christmas too. It’s a tree for the whole holiday season. We are festive as all heck over here. 

diy nightmare before christmas black tree

What are YOU guys excited about when it comes to fall? I love to hear from ya. Leave me some comments below – or chat with me on Twitter at @sunandsipcups, or on Facebook at Sunshine and Sippy Cups!

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Santa’s Toy Factory is Bringing Christmas Magic to the Clackamas Mall!

My little girl, Christmas-loving, Santa-smitten heart is super excited – The Clackamas Mall has partnered with Mattel to introduce a new holiday adventure that will be memorable for the entire family. Santa’s Toy Factory will open on November 11 in the center court area of the shopping center. Who’s ready to get some holly in their jolly??!!

 ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale

If you’ve ever read a blog post from me, or follow me on social media, or spent 5 minutes with me in real life – you already know that I’m an elf at heart. I fully embrace the whimsy in life, teach my daughter to believe in magic always, and am a total junkie for all things glitter and sparkle. So, I LOOOOOOOVE Christmas time! We always like to make the most of the holiday season by checking out all of the fun local events and parades and shows, to really celebrate this magical time of year. This year, we’re super excited to be buddying up with my blogging bestie – Alison, from Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, and our little girls, to head over to Santa’s Toy Factory at the Clackamas Mall!! I keep hearing that line from the movie Elf – “Santa Claus is coming to town…” :) So – if you’re like me, and Buddy the Elf, and smiling is YOUR favorite too, I’ve got something awesome to bring smiles to everyone’s faces, check it out….

Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Image Credit: ©2017 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. ©2017 Mattel. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s a bit more about Santa’s Toy Factory:

Santa’s Toy Factory is designed to empower creativity through an interactive, immersive experience to meet Santa. Within the 1,600 square-foot space, young guests will have the opportunity to “test” new toys in Santa’s Factory before they get delivered to all the boys and girls on Christmas morning. After they “test” the toys, they visit different stations to digitally design, build and paint toys from Mattel’s iconic brands including Barbie®, Hot Wheels®, and Thomas & Friends.. The grand finale, of course, will be meeting Santa himself for photos and to share their holiday wish list.

“We are proud to be partnering with Mattel to bring this new, one-of-a-kind holiday concept to life,” said Dennis Curtis, general manager of Clackamas Mall. “We are always looking for ways to introduce new brands and experiences to our community and can’t wait to showcase Santa’s Toy Factory this holiday season. We know our guests will embrace it.”

The experience with Santa’s Toy Factory is free-of-charge and photo packages begin at $39.99. To make reservations to ensure quicker access, please click HERE. If you’d like more information, please visit www.VisitSantasToyFactory.com. Clackamas Mall is located at 12000 S.E. 82nd Ave and is home to a plethora of high-quality tenants including Bath & Body Works, Nordstrom and Sephora. [Read more…]

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Sweet DIY Chocolate-Themed Gift Ideas

 

This DIY Chocolate-themed gift post is part of a Fashionista Event, and a promotional item was provided to me by Chocolat Frey. Hosts for this event are Still Blonde after all these Years and ModlyChic.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… As well it should, because believe it or not, it’s only TWENTY days until Christmas! Are you ready yet? Have you made your list and checked it twice? Well, if you’re anything like me this year, and just getting started on your holiday gift shopping, I have a great suggestion for you. Chocolate. Yep. Because seriously, who doesn’t love chocolate? Especially when it’s a premium fancy-pants chocolate, and you gift it in a creatively fun way. Keep reading to learn more – and for a SWEET giveaway just for you!

Chocolat Frey for holiday gifting

I’m on a pretty tight budget this year. That means I have to get creative with my gifts. And it’s amazing how many fun ways there are to create unique presents using Chocolat Frey goodies – we’re using them as gifts for the Abby’s teacher, stocking stuffers for all the kiddos, as part of gift packages for friends and family – and my favorite, this super cool DIY Chocolat Frey Trifle Dish Gift Set! Just like a traditional trifle dessert, it has layers of deliciousness shown off in a pretty pedestal dish. But way more fun! [Read more…]

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DIY Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Tree

This DIY Nightmare Before Christmas tree post is a partnership with Treetopia – get your own pre-lit black Christmas tree, or any other color you can imagine! – and start creating awesome new holiday memories today!

Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Tree #witchesandwonders

“This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween….” Man, I so love this movie. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing your a fan of Halloween. And if you like Halloween, I’m willing to bet you also like the Tim Burton movie, “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Abby fell in love with the movie Coraline years ago, so I knew she’d love this movie too. Both have that quirky, slightly creepy vibe to them, but have a good message and good heart. So, when I found out that I would be partnering with Treetopia to decorate a black Christmas-style tree in a Halloween theme, I knew immediately that this would be the inspiration for it. I mean – it’s the perfect match: A Christmas tree + Halloween decor = Nightmare Before Christmas, for sure.

In my house, we are crazy holiday fanatics. We go a bit overboard when decorating and celebrating festive occasions. The Christmas tree goes up the day after Thanksgiving, sometimes even sooner. And it stays up through New Years. We’ve decorated an Easter tree every year since I was a little girl – some cool branches, painted white, in a pretty metal bucket, with beautiful spring-colored ornaments hung from each branch. But I’ve never had a Halloween tree! Why? NO IDEA! Because it’s pretty much the coolest thing ever. [Read more…]

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Halloween Pudding Cups with PEEPS Tombstones

{I received some complimentary product from PEEPS & COMPANY to create some fun treats to share with you guys. I hope you enjoy these Tombstone pudding cups – and stay tuned for more creative ideas coming soon!}

I love Halloween. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved dressing up. But I’m more of a “cute and fun” kind of Halloween person – not the gore and horror stuff. I get scared even in the little kid haunted houses and corn mazes. Truth. I usually go all out for every holiday – Halloween is definitely one of my more over-the-top ones. But this year, I didn’t get to do my normal decoration and month of treats for the kids. Last month I was in the hospital for a week, and then this month I had an accident and broke my nose, split my lip in 3 places, and got a pretty good concussion. {I definitely looked ready for Halloween after that happened, lol.} And all of that is why I haven’t been posting much lately. Don’t worry – I’m fine. And I’ll have a post up this weekend to let you all know exactly what’s been going on. But – I’m feeling much better, back at work, and excited to at least do a few fun projects before Halloween! I’m sharing one here that’s so easy to put together, but the kids will totally love. And it features one of everyone’s favorite candy – PEEPS! Yep, PEEPS aren’t just for Easter, they have tons of really fun products all year.

How to make Peeps Halloween Tombstone pudding cups 2 [Read more…]

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New Halloween Costumes For 2015

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links – thanks supporting this site!

Halloween will be here before you know it – and that means parties and trick or treating! If you’re still looking for that perfect costume, BuyCostumes has you covered with all new costumes for 2015, featuring all of the hottest characters. These costumes were recently released and are for all ages, whether you’re shopping for the kids, or are just a kid at heart :) Plus, BuyCostumes is offering 15% off sitewide! Check out a few of my personal favorite costumes below and don’t forget to use coupon code AFCBC15 at checkout to save on your whole purchase!

New Halloween Costumes For 2015


Disney’s Descendants: Deluxe Maleficent Costume For Women

Star Wars: Episode VII – Boys Stormtrooper Deluxe Costume

Browse the full selection of all of the hottest costumes for the entire family at BuyCostumes.com!

Let’s chat: Leave me a comment – do you dress up for Halloween? Any plans on what you’ll dress up as this year? And what was your all-time favorite Halloween costume? I’d love to hear from you guys!

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