Santa in a Snow Globe

Santa in a Snow Globe by A.H. Edelman

NEW ILLUSTRATED CHILDREN’S BOOK HONESTLY EXPLAINS WHY THE HOLIDAYS WILL BE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR — AND HOW TO HOLD ONTO THE CHRISTMAS MAGIC

The holidays are typically a season of unbridled merriment and joy. However, this year’s celebrations are going to look a bit different. Recognizing the challenges this year’s holiday season will bring, New Jersey mom A.H. Edelman was inspired to write Santa in a Snow Globe, the first illustrated children’s book to offer parents, caregivers, and children a starting point to talk about life’s new realities—explained straightforwardly by Santa—complete with timeless advice, beautiful inclusive illustrations, and a big dose of Christmas cheer.

The mom of two was reading the business section of the Sunday New York Times when she saw a story about protecting Santas from COVID-19 this year. “The president of the International Brotherhood of the Real Bearded Santas—yes, it’s a real trade group—mentioned how they would explain to kids this year that Santa would need to sit behind some type of barrier,” Edelman says.

“Evidently Santa is in a high-risk group: many have diabetes, are overweight, and elderly.” Edelman thought about how, in 2020, children have had to adapt to new holiday traditions and celebrations nearly all year long. “Kids already couldn’t celebrate Easter, they sat out most of the summer and Halloween. They’re really going to want to see Santa for Christmas, or at least be assured he’s still coming,” she adds.

Going beyond mask-wearing and social distancing, Santa in a Snow Globe also touches on issues the world is facing today, including climate change and protests. However, Edelman’s Santa still shares a positive message of hope and the importance of appreciating the simpler things in life.

About the Author A.H. Edelman is the author of The Little Black Dress and Manless in Montclair. And, yes, she still believes in Santa. She lives in Montclair, NJ.

About the Illustrator Serge Srećko Gall, originally from Zagreb, Croatia, is a painter and illustrator whose work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Esquire, and The New Yorker. He lives in Hillsdale, NY and is currently working on his autobiographical graphic novel.

My Review

This book is super cute, and I love the simple rhyme and how it explains to children in a lighthearted and easy to understand way why Christmas is going to be a bit different this year, and how that’s OK.

The pictures are so fun and the rhyme is easy to read, it’s a book that my children will enjoy over and over this season, and is a great segway into answering their questions about what’s happening this season.

“Because of Covid” is already a common phrase is my house, and while that makes me super sad as a parent to see my kids missing things that I had hoped for, it’s also helpful for us to talk about why things are different and how we can still have a great holiday.

I love how this book inspires parents and kids alike to talk about not just having fun for ourselves, but looking outside of ourselves and considering how we can encourage others this holiday season.

Plus, we love snow globes in my house, so seeing Santa in a Snow Globe in real life would actually be kind of awesome!!!

Question and Answer with the Author

QUESTION: Congratulations on Santa in a Snow Globe! Tell us about the book.

A.H. Edelman: Santa in a Snow Globe is the origin story of how and why St. Nick will be found sitting ‘in a place that is clear and quite round’ when families come to share their wish lists with him this holiday season. The book offers parents, caregivers, and children a starting point to talk about life’s new realities explained straightforwardly by Santa, complete with some timeless advice, beautiful and inclusive illustrations, and a big dose of Christmas cheer.

Q: What inspired you to write this book?

Edelman: I got the idea for the story after reading an article in the business section of The New York Times Sunday edition when the president of the International Brotherhood of the Real Bearded Santas mentioned how they would explain to kids this year that Santa would need to sit behind some type of barrier. Evidently Santa is in a high-risk group: many have diabetes, are overweight, and elderly. I thought about how, in 2020, kids already couldn’t celebrate Easter, they sat out most of the summer and Halloween. They’re really going to want to see Santa for Christmas—or at least be assured he’s still coming.

Q: You are a parent to two girls. Why do you think it’s important for parents to talk openly with their kids about the news and world events?

Edelman: As a parent, I can understand people asking whether this is the type of news we want to share with our children. And my answer is, ‘Yes, we have to.’ Kids are perceptive, and with pretty much everyone wearing masks these days, it’s hard not to know something is up. They stayed close to home most of the summer; some are still not physically back in school. Some have had relatives or friends die from COVID-19. Many have seen, or suffered from, smoke from numerous wildfires. It’s a tough world out there, but this wouldn’t be the first generation of kids to learn the hard lessons of needing to keep a stiff upper lip, thinking of others before themselves, being kind, and giving to those who have less.

Q: What do you want parents and kids to take with them after they read Santa in a Snow Globe?

Edelman: Many kids are already aware they are not living in a world solely consisting of sunshine and lollipops. But they also know—innately—that love is stronger than hate. Perhaps that is a lesson they can share with their parents. As the author of this book, I want to try to change the conversation that we as parents are having with our kids. I’ve learned that kids are resilient, which gives me hope. Our grandparents, or great-grandparents, lived through the depression. Some of my family survived the Holocaust. Our parents were taught to duck and cover in the 1950s—remember bomb shelters? And Bambi’s mom died. In fact, most of Hans Christian Andersen’s and Grimms’ fairy tales are pretty, well, grim. And really, it’s the older kids who are today leading the fight for gun control and climate change awareness—Greta Thunberg was 15 when she started to protest.

Q: You wrote this book with a lot of honesty. Why so?

Edelman: The book offers a starting point to talk and learn about life’s new realities. Some of the messages in the book may seem dark, but these are the times we’re living in. Kids are resilient and they deserve to learn about what’s going on, albeit by Santa. This generation of kids is not the first to have to deal with hardships and reality. Christmas is all about peace on earth and goodwill towards men and women. That’s a good message to send. All hope is not lost if we’re kind to each other and help those who need it most—and believe in science!

Q: You’re Jewish. Why did you write a Christmas book? Do you believe in Santa and the magic of Christmas?

Edelman: I’m an optimist. I’m also an adult Jewish woman who still believes in Santa Claus and happy endings. So, of course, Santa will show up on Christmas Eve, but before he does, he has a few words to say about what he sees happening in the world, how we—both parents and kids— can help change it and what matters most.

Santa in a Snow Globe is available now in hardcover, paperback and ebook at SantainaSnowGlobe.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold.

National Fun at Work Day

What do we do for Fun?

One Fun thing about being an entrepreneur is being in charge of the office. Our employees often have the option of working from home, and they often do that. So, I’m always excited about days that make it fun to be in the office.

We’re kind of in the midst of the winter blues here so something fun is definitely needed.

National Fun at Work Day is today and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve brought in some of my favorite cookies and we’re encouraging employees to have some fun. Even if that’s just one extra foos ball break.

Wait, what is a foos ball break, you ask? Well, we have a foos table in the office. And when employees need a break, they are encouraged to bring along another employee – who may or may not need a break – to join them in a little fun competition.

It’s kind of like a water cooler, just louder.

For today, we’ll even break out the scoreboard and see who we can crown foos champion at the end of the day!

What is National Fun at Work Day?

Well, it’s a day for having fun at work. Not that you don’t already. At least I hope you do. But it’s a special day for having more fun that usual. And this year, it falls on a Friday, which makes it even more fun. Let’s just see how many more times I can say fun in this paragraph, because its, well…fun!

Did you know that 1963 was when the first cubicles were introduced? Can’t say that I find that fun. But, you can find this and other fun facts about having fun at the office at the official National Fun At Work Day page.

Also check out top global if you’re needing some help marketing your fun day at work.

*this is a sponsored post

HuePets – Review

Thanks to Tryazon for sending the HuePets party pack to share with my friends!

We combined our HuePets party with a birthday party and I gave away the Hue Pets swag as part of our party favors. All the kids loved the squishies and we parents had a great time discussing the new HuePets app and how difficult it often is to get our kids to eat their veggies!

Because of the number of kids, bananagrams wasn’t a huge hit, but it’s definitely a fun game that involves fruit! And we made sure we kept 1 cookbook for ourselves. My kids love to cook and I’m excited that they want to cook with more fruits and veggies!

The HuePets app is super easy to use. Just scan your food and it walks you through the rest. It’s a fun way to track what everyone is eating!

3Doodler Party and Review

This is a sponsored post. Thanks to Tryazon for this awesome party pack!

In our party pack we received:

I’d seen the 3Doodler sets advertised and really wanted to get one for the kids but hadn’t done it yet. I was super excited to get picked for this party. And the product didn’t let me down!

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My 8yr old loves the pen and had no trouble figuring out how to use it. Basically, you have a battery operated pen (rechargeable) that you feed plastic sticks into. The plastic is melted by the pen and you use it to create 3D objects. The melted plastic is warm to the touch but not hot enough to burn or harm you or your kids. And it solidifies completely in about 10 seconds. Even my 4yr old enjoys using the 3Doodler.

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At 4 he doesn’t quite have the fine motor skills to create anything very impressive but he has a blast doing what his older sisters are doing and crafting with them.

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I did make him a helicopter and he just loves it! It was actually way easier to make than I expected. The 3Doodler Start kit has templates included and it makes it so easy to create some fun 3D plastic items!

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Though, sharing is hard, but they managed! We’ve had so much fun with our 3Doodler both at the party and after. And the kids just love experimenting and discovering what new things they can create!

I enjoy crafting and I just love any product that gets my kids creating different things in different ways. This 3Doodler is awesome and so much fun for both kids and adults!

Check out these tips here for getting started with your own 3Doodler.

Or take a look at this YouTube video to help you get started on your first project. It’s so easy and fun!

Pley Subscription Box Review

I received the Pley Disney Princess box free for purposes of my review. All opinions are my own.

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First off, my 6yr old was so excited to receive her own pink box in the mail! She couldn’t wait to open it.

One box is $29.99 – including shipping or you can get a subscription for $27.99 a box. Boxes ship every other month so you can send your princess 6 boxes a year.

So, what comes in a princess box? I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was actually surprised by the quality of the items.

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  1. The box transforms into a castle – my kids thought this was so cool!
  2. When you sign up, you give your child’s t-shirt size. This t-shirt is so cute!
  3. The book has a story about the princess and some little activities
  4. The figurines were by far my daughter’s favorite – she combined those with her new castle and has had so much fun!
  5. The crown is beautiful and even has a little rose in the center.

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This box contained some really great items that were lots of fun for my daughter to play with. Would my child enjoy a box like this every other month? Yes, she would. Just guessing what princess will come next would be fun and the box items are well selected and so much fun!

You can find out more information on the Pley Disney Princess Website.

And check out my daughter unboxing her new Pley Disney Princess Box.

 

Dinosaurs and Cookies

How do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies by Jane Yolen & Mark Teague.

Our book topic for this month’s book craft was “How Do Dinosaurs…” I’d never read this series before but it sounded like fun.

I went a little overboard and check out maybe a dozen from the library – and there’s still more! The kids didn’t mind because these books are super cute, and fun to read. They all have a fun rhyme and my 3yr old loves dinosaurs so he was very excited to have all sorts of dinosaur books to read.

With the cold snap last week, baking cookies together was a great project. We made chocolate cookies with multi-colored dinosaur eggs (mini m&m’s). So much fun, and so tasty!

Along we way we got to talk about how dinosaurs help in the kitchen – they don’t throw the m&m’s btw. And how dinosaurs are very polite when they eat their cookies.

How do Dinosaurs Eat Cookies is a super cute board book with “scratch & sniff” cookies throughout. Lots of fun to read together over and over.

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Dinosaur Egg Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 package mini m&ms – or other chocolate chips of your choice

  1. Heat oven to 350
  2. With an electric mixer, blend together butter, sugars, and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, until well blended.
  4. Stir in mini m&ms
  5. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool about 5 minutes then remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Makes 5 to 6 dozen cookies

DinoCookies

This post does contain affiliate links.

Come join us for the Monthly Crafting Book Club. Each month we focus on a different book and encourage early literacy by pairing it with a craft.

Monthly Crafting Book Club

 


Outdoor Play over the Holidays

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play

My kids love to play outside! Whether it’s at the zoo, up in Gatlinburg, our back yard, or the playground. It doesn’t matter. They just love to be outside!

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Here in Tennessee, we’ve had a warm fall. As in up in the 80’s. So flip-flops and summer clothing were acceptable attire until just a couple of weeks ago. Also, the birds at the zoo are so interesting, I couldn’t get anyone to actually look at the camera 🙂

Imagine my children’s shock when I informed them they they had to take socks AND shoes with them (and coats, and hats, and gloves) when we visited extended family in Ohio over Thanksgiving.

Of  course, it was cold up there. So they were very happy to have their warm clothing.

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We walked to the park up the street from my parent’s house and the kids had a blast playing. They just love slides and such. There’s a walking path here that my parents like to walk, so they got their walking for the day in while the kids played and occasionally joined them on their walk – but a new playground was just too exciting to resist for long!

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The park had these rocking eagles that my kids had never seen before. So, they had a blast trying them out. Next time we visit they want to go back to the park again so they can play some more!

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All in all, they had a great time at the park and can’t wait to go back again.

And then today, back at home, it’s almost 70 out and raining. So of course, they got to do one of their favorite outdoor activities. Play in the rain! They have umbrellas, but it’s way more fun to get wet from head to toe. I dumped cups of water from my little guy’s boots when he came in from playing.  He definitely found all the good puddles!

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So, tell me in the comments, what does your family love to do outside for fun in the fall?

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play. @Voice_of_Play #YearRoundPlay

IPEMA’s Voice of Play website

The post is brought to you by Activate by Bloglovin and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.
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P is for Play

I can’t tell you how many studies I’ve read this year that say that our kids need to play more. Or how many articles I’ve read this year telling me how much more play kids in the Neatherlands and France get than kids in the US. If you believe everything you read, lack of playtime has caused every childhood ailment that our children experience. From being sick more often because they aren’t getting dirty to getting poor grades in school because they can’t focus. I’m not saying that there’s no credibility to any of these. What I am saying is that there’s so many studies and articles out there it’s next to impossible to figure out actual fact from fiction, and reliable study from something just thrown together.

I do think play is an important and integral part of childhood. And that children should be encouraged and free to play, explore, and create with minimal rules.

1. Play is an important part of social development – Watch children play. They learn how to interact with each other. How to handle disagreements. And in pretend play they even act out (practice) making decisions in real life. It’s always interesting to me to watch my children play things like store and see what they’re choosing to buy and what they’re doing with it. Without play, where else would children learn these skills in a stress free, child led environment?

2. Minimize your handling of play disputes – I will interfere if the kids are being mean to each other (like the older girls squirting their younger brother with the garden hose), but for many play disputes I encourage them to work it out. Arguing over a toy? Well, they can either give it to me for safekeeping or figure out who’s going to play with it. It’s important for them to learn to work through problems like sharing, considering other’s feelings, and being polite to friends.

A lot of actions have their own consequences. If you won’t share with your friends, most likely, they’ll just decide to go play with something else. And that’s not fun for anyone. I try to allow them to see and experience their own consequences. I do draw the line if it’s a safety issue or I see that a child is just simply being unkind and needs a minute to chill and redirect.

3. Play is important for physical development – I remember climbing on top of the monkey bars and balancing across, jumping off the swings, and that awesome merry go round thing they used to have at playgrounds. It’s in play that I watch my kids try new things. We just pulled the slip and slide out for the summer and the first day they very carefully sat themselves down and tried to scoot down the slide. By the middle of the second day, they’re getting running starts and just flying down the slide (and by flying I mean that they are making it from top to bottom in one try which is quite a feat because the biggest hill in our yard is really pretty flat).

The important thing is that they’re learning their own limits. They’ve learned that no one can stand all the way down the slide – though, they keep trying. The fastest or preferred way down seems to be on their knees – there’s a pool of water at the end that no one wants to put their head in. And running starts are the fastest way down.

Play is the best way to learn how high you can leap, how fast you can run, and when to stop.

4. Please, don’t hover – There is nothing more amusing to me at a playground than watching some other mom hovering behind my almost 3yr old as he climbs up a slide. I just want to walk up to her and say, “lady, he’s been doing this since he was 18 months and hasn’t fallen yet, I think he’s ok”. But, no, I just watch, amused as he climbs to the top, changes his mind, and backs back down the steps, to run off and try a different slide. All the while this poor, paranoid, parent is standing ready to catch him if he falls.

I will admit, I did stand behind him at 18 months until I was sure he could do it. But these days, he’s climbing the jungle gym so I’m not concerned about his ability to handle a slide.

I’m not saying, don’t supervise. I’ve seen plenty of that too. You know, the kids who’s throwing sand at all the other kids and there’s no parent to be found to intervene. If your child is going to hurt themselves or another child, by all means, do something.

But, there’s no need to stand behind your 3yr old while he climbs a slide, especially if you’ve seen him do it thousands of time before. It’s a lot of work for you and does nothing to enhance your child’s play.

For me the point about play is that my children get the chance to play, create, and imagine without me giving directions. I want to see what they come up with, what they think, and how they choose to handle life. All those studies aside. Play is a very important part of childhood. Because what is childhood without play?

M is for Mondays

I don’t know about you, but Monday is the hardest day of my week. Really, it starts on Sunday. We go to Church early, meet up with extended family for lunch, and meander home sometime around dinnertime. After the kids are in bed I prep and pack backpacks and lunches for our homeschool co-op on Monday.

I love our co-op, but boy is it hard to get up at 7 am Monday morning. My kids find it difficult as well. This past Monday, my middle child – the child who is impossible to wake up – would not wake up. I had lights on, in and out of the room, etc. for 30 minutes and still nothing. I ended up packing her clothes and carrying her to the car in her pjs and then dressing her once we arrived at our destination.

This kid is seriously hard to wake up. She once fell asleep in the car, I carried her into piano lessons, she slept through the lesson, I put her back in the car, stopped at a friend’s house to pick something up, came home, carried her inside to the couch, and she stayed asleep for another hour! And, yes, she always transferred well from the carseat to her crib when she was an infant.

On Monday, we finish up our school around 3 and head home. Once we get him I have work to do. I’m office manager for my husband’s company – check out his awesome website! -, and Monday is the day for invoices, paying bills, hours tracking, and any other fun number related bookkeeping items I can come up with. I take a break to make dinner and hang out with the kids until their bedtime and I usually finish up my work by 10pm.

It’s quite the Monday!

Luckily, the end is in sight. I have 3 more co-ops and then we’re done for the year and I’ve already switched to a new group for next year that meets on Fridays. Which will work out way better. Friday is usually our “do something fun” day and since my kids are convinced that co-op isn’t school (because how could science experiments, public speaking practice, art, history, geography, math, and latin with friends be school?), Friday can be a very productive “fun day” for us every week.

And my Mondays can be a slower start to my week. Since I’m just not a Monday person.

Anyone else struggle with Mondays? What do you do to make your Mondays a little easier?

J is for June

I like June. It’s a good month. It’s one of those nice summer months where it’s warm enough to go swimming, but not sweltering hot like August. Where you eat ice cream outside for lunch, because you can. And your favorite pair of flip-flips is the only pair of shoes you need.

This time of year with warm weather one day and freezing cold the next, I start dreaming of June and all the fun things we will do when it’s warm. Swimming, hanging out at the park, meeting friends at the park for lunch, really, just being outside all the time.

I’m not the only one in my family who likes summer. My kids have this thing against shoes, coats, and cold weather. Snow days are so boring around here. “It’s cold outside” they protest after 5 minutes in the snow. And we spend the next 2 hours recovering with hot chocolate and blankets and refusals to ever go out again.

In contrast, on hot summer days, they stop in for a popsicle, some more water, or requests for large amounts of food for their lunch that must be eaten outside, then return to the yard until it’s dark or they’re just too tired to play anymore. I think my kids live on fresh fruit and popsicles all summer long.

photo_35251_20141229My daughters have been begging to wear flip-flops and sandals for weeks now. We’re getting ready to go out the door, it’s 35 degrees out. They have their coats, leggings, hats, etc. on and would like to know if they can please wear their flip-flops today. It’s not raining or snowing so it must be ok.

My 7yr old wants to know when she can plant her garden. Just as soon as it stops getting down to freezing at night, I tell her. Plant too early and that very last frost will kill everything and you’ll have to start over. She would still like to plant something.

Oh, and don’t forget ice cream. The kids have been begging for an ice cream party. I’ve already started planning it and Easter hasn’t even arrived yet!

I’m beginning to thing that right about now we need a vacation to southern Florida. A week of warm weather, flip-flops, and swimming.

Of course, spring is right around the corner, and summer is so soon. And summer is my favorite time of year. And I’m so hoping it’s a good one.

What do you love about summer?