Fun Valentine Gift List

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Valentines day is a week away and this year I’ve been looking for unusual Valentine gifts. My kids love Valentines day, we have little mailboxes, valentine cards, chocolate, and a tea party for dinner. But for me, let’s be honest, hubby and I are a bit tired of the usual chocolate and roses every year. So, I’ve rounded up some family friendly, unique Valentine gifts for this year!

1. Sunglasses from Sunglass Warehouse – Summer is just around the corner so what better way to say “I love you” than with a cool new pair of sunglasses? Sunglass Warehouse has sunglasses that are fun and inexpensive. So I can gift something useful and fun without breaking the bank!

I’m loving these Oversize Cat Eyed Sunglasses – Bianca by Foster Grant. They’re so much fun! And this pink Daisy case is perfect for keeping them safe!

And check out the “Superman” glasses that I got for my husband. They remind me of the glasses Clark Kent wears. For some reason I’ve always loved this style on my hubby! They’re actually called Castle Rock, and they’re Polarized Retro Square Sunglasses. My husband saw them when I was taking pictures and stole them right away (I almost didn’t get pictures), couldn’t even wait for Valentines Day. And at $15 they’re practically a steal. He stuck these glasses in the soft case with a cleaning cloth, and he’s good to go.

2. Glow Battle from Starlux Games – I have 4 kids and this makes a perfect group gift for them! They’re basically light up foam swords and the kids love them! Even the 2 yr old insists on being in on the action.

They have a switch for turning them on and off and have a replaceable battery so they’re amazing for multiple uses. The foam is soft and covered with a plastic sheet that is sword patterned.

There’s 10 swords (5 blue, 5 green), 10 bracelets (5 blue, 5 green), a whole stack of game ideas, and 8 beacons (4 blue, 4 green). From just running around the yard and sword fighting, to capture the flag with the beacons, they’re having a blast. And we’re planning a back yard evening with friends as soon as the weather warms up so we can use all 10 swords at once!

I am loving how Starlux games has replaceable batteries because I know we’re going to go through a lot of them this summer!

3. Umbrella from La Bella Umbrella – I’m just loving this “Love at Sunset” umbrella from La Bella Umbrella. They have a variety of umbrella designs and styles to choose from. From animals, to food, to paintings. And considering the amount of rain we’ve gotten so far this February, this is the best Valentine Gift yet!

While the hand shaped heart is perfect for a Valentine Gift to my husband, it’s also a great gift for my girls, who love pictures with hearts and love umbrellas. In fact, I chose the stick umbrella because it’s their favorite style!

This umbrella is sturdy, large, and so cute! If you don’t want hearts they have many other fun designs. And they have umbrella styles from stick to automatic so there’s easily something for everyone.

It’s so hard to not just claim this umbrella as my own. I’m just loving the white handle! It’s large, soft, and has a terrific grip making it a lot easier to hold on to.

And, it comes in a carrying case with a strap so I can tote it around hands free if I want it along but don’t need it yet!

With these gifts, we’re basically all set for spring! Sunglasses, umbrella, back yard game! Because once Valentines day is over, I’m hoping for some early spring weather!

Kindergarten Book List

Picking books for a Kindergartner can be hard. Because not all of them read. Or, if you have one like my 5yr old. She can read, she just doesn’t want to. So, what do you do to inspire reading? Here’s a few suggestions.

And I would love for you to comment below with a book your Kindergartner (or past Kindergartner) has just loved. Because I’m always looking for new books!

Just One More by Jennifer Hansen Rolli – While not exactly at a Kindergarten reading level. My 5yr old just loves this fun book about a little girl who wants “just one more” of everything until she runs into trouble.

According to my 5yr old she can read it all by herself – which mean’s she’s memorized it. Any time a Kindergartner reads, even if it’s memorized, is good, because she’s still looking at the words as she goes.

This book basically lives on her bedside table so she can read it every night before she goes to bed.

This is another book that sits in a stack by her bed.  She just loves Shopkins. While she still can’t completely read this alone, I’m always happy to read it to her and her older sister will often read it to her as well.

Both of my girls are crazy about Shopkins so this is actually a very popular book with both of them.

While not something she can completely read alone yet, it’s so important still to be reading to your Kindergartner. So find something that she loves and it’ll help a lot with her reading skills.

My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza is a favorite book with not just my Kindergartner but with all of my kids as well. It is a hilarious story about a little pig that “accidentally” shows up at wolf’s front door.

Wolf thinks that it’s his “lucky day” but is it?

We have re-read this story so many times that I have lost count.

If you’re looking for a book to read to your child that you won’t mind reading over and over, My Lucky Day is perfect. It’s cute, funny, and entertaining.

A Mud Pie for Mother by Scott Beck is another super cute book about a little pig.

It’s Momma pig’s birthday and little pig just wants to make her a mud pie. But when he sets out to do this all sorts of problems ensue.

In the end, little pig find the perfect gift for Mother pig.

This book actually has plenty of smaller words that your Kindergartner can read. You’ll have to read a few and she can read a few. It’s a fun and cute book to read together and help your Kindergartner work on her budding reading skills.

Barbie’s Cupcake Challenge is a tad bit advance for a beginning Kindergartner. It’s a level 3 Step into Reading, so it’s very likely that my child will be able to read it by the end of the school year.

My 5yr old told me that this one is one of her favorites and I’m happy to help her read things that she enjoys. There’s plenty more Step into Reading Barbie books out there and they’ll make great incentives or rewards for the next couple of years!

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4 Tips for a Successful Easter Dinner

I really love Easter, it’s such a fun holiday, and I enjoy the celebration of life, resurrection, and spring! Every year I host an Easter Lunch. With finishing prep as soon as I get home from Church, it’s important that things run smoothly! Here’s the top 4 things I do to make sure my meal goes as planned.

1. Don’t overload your oven or stovetop – You want all your food done at the same time. If you have to rotate items this won’t happen. I have two casseroles and a ham that are standard to Easter Dinner, but, guess what. This fills my oven. This year, my husband suggested a chocolate pudding cake for dessert, which is an awesome dessert but has to be whipped up and baked at the last minute. If I want to make this, I have two options, bake it after all the other food is out of the oven or put less in my oven.

I’m thinking that I’ll probably end up using my roaster for the ham and that will free up that oven space for rolls and dessert. The dessert is best hot so if it’s baking while we eat lunch that’ll work out great.

2. Minimize last minute prep – You don’t want to be chopping a salad, whipping up a gravy, making deviled eggs, and prepping an hors d’oeuvre all when guests walk in. As a rule, I try to only have one last minute item. If I decide to do deviled eggs I’ll make them up the night before. Also, any hors d’oeuvres will have to be made the night before.

I’m already mixing up a dessert and putting the final touches on my salad. So, nothing else can be last minute. You don’t want your guests coming in and seeing you running around like crazy trying to get stuff done.

Also, I usually set the table the night before. It’s tough keeping the kids away from all the pretty dishes so I’m not convinced that this saves me any time, but it seems like it should.

3. Make a list – I love lists! I have a list of items I’m making, a list of ingredients I need to buy, and a list of baking times so I know what to start making when. On the day, I’ll have a list of food that I’m serving so I don’t forget anything. There’s nothing worse than getting to the end of your meal and realizing that your salad is still in the refrigerator!

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Feeling overwhelmed? Ask guests to each bring a dish. Salads, casseroles, and snacks all transfer well.

Just check with your guests and find out if they’re planning to use your oven or stove. I asked a guest to bring biscuits once – she makes great biscuits and I was envisioning baked biscuits in a basket covered with a towel. Nope, she brought the ingredients and mixed them up on my nice clean counter (that was all set up for food as soon as it came out of my oven). Then she needed my full oven to bake them!