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A Blurb Sale & Some Great Children’s Gift Ideas

We have established how much I love Blurb, right? Well today I have a great sale for you and some information on great ideas for Children’s Gifts for the holiday!

 

CURRENT SALE:  Save 20% on print books when you spend $40 or more

 

Making memories: Share the experience of a unique children’s book from Blurb

 

 

 

 

There’s something about the holidays—that warm glow from the fire, the fact that you actually get to spend time with your kids (or your friends’ and family’s kids)—that makes it the perfect time to curl up with the little ones in your life and read them a storybook. Reading a totally new, beautiful, amazing book with a child is a treasured holiday experience. And if you choose the right book, every time the child reads it alone in the future will bring back the memory of that time you shared.

 

If you’re a little tired of the standard children’s book selections in your local brick and mortar store, Blurb has a really incredible assortment of self-published children’s books that you won’t find anywhere else this holiday season. Try a few of these future classics and create some new holiday memories this year.

 

 

Title: Ollie + Loo
Author: Joni Cooper
www.blurb.com/b/4554150-ollie-+-loo
Joni Cooper brings incredibly original characters to life with brilliant illustrations in a book that will have parents and kids laughing along together.

 

 

 

Title: Edward Hopper and the Carrot Crunch
Author: Mike Smith
www.blurb.com/books/1189264-edward-hopper-and-the-carrot-crunch 
Very few children’s books have financial mismanagement as a central theme—we can only assume most children’s book authors have not had the pleasure of meeting a rabbit named Edward Hopper.

 

 

 

Title: My Bug Journal
Author: Hannah Rollings
www.blurb.com/b/1925331-my-bug-journal
Bug-lover or other, this journal is sure to spark interest from anyone who takes a peek inside the covers. Enchanted illustrations, bug facts, room for records and much, much more.

 

 

 

Title: Myrtle & the Scarecrow
Author: Kate Lowe
www.blurb.com/b/4662116-myrtle-the-scarecrow 
Myrtle finds solace with a not-so-scary scarecrow?and learns a lot about herself? in this short but sweet tale. The atmospheric illustrations have a little magic about them—we look forward to more from this young, talented illustrator.

 

 

 

Title: The Trouble with Bears
Author: K.D. O’Reilley
www.blurb.com/b/400437-the-trouble-with-bears?pid=Featured 
This story cleverly combines a lesson on self-worth with an exploration of different cultures, geography, and history. The talents of a former writing instructor and a visual artist are a winning combination here.

 

 

 

Title: Mylo & Peet
Author: Janyce Portalatin 
www.blurb.com/b/4290427-mylo-peet
A graphically pleasing book with a message tailor-made for the new generation of eco-warriors the importance of recycling and protecting the planet.

 

 

 

Title: Theo
Author: Kenny Lim & Grant Gilliand
www.blurb.com/b/781375-theo?pid=Featured
Join Theo on his journey as he navigates the obstacles and challenges of school—made all the more difficult due to his not-so-normal third eye. Fantastic illustrations bring this story’s great message to life.

 

 

 

Title: A Whimsical Tale of Invention
Author: Kara Pooley
www.blurb.com/b/628072-a-whimsical-tale-of-invention 
Fascinating facts, inspired inventions, intriguing illustrations, a poem or two—this book has it all.

 

 

 

Title: Ahwen’s Journal
Author: Alice Alder
www.blurb.com/b/4291566-ahwen-s-journal
It would be impossible not to fall in love with the beautifully illustrated characters in this book. Ahwen, Harn, Charwood—we’ll be keeping an eye out for you the next time we’re in the woods.

 

 

 

Title: Marco and the Zombies
Author: Justin Kerr
www.blurb.com/b/1360926-marco-and-the-zombies?pid=Featured 
Another collaborative project delivers a brilliant book. With Zombies at the heart of this story—and superb illustrations by Bret Bowers—it’s one older children are sure to enjoy.

 

 

 

Title: Baby Bear gets a Present
Author: Chris Wood
www.blurb.com/b/4387364-baby-bear-gets-a-present
Even toys relegated to a box in a forgotten corner of the house have lives of their own. In this heartwarming tale we learn just how much fun they have.

 

 

 

Title: Penelope and her Puffy Brown Crown
Author: Jasmin Ortiz
www.blurb.com/b/4181634-penelope-and-her-puffy-brown-crown-paperback
Popping with color and originality, this rhythmical story makes reading aloud a real pleasure. Apparently, bad hair-days happen to young people too.

 

 

 

Title: My Best Friend
Author: Nathalie Josephine 
www.blurb.com/b/4295225-my-best-friend
In this lovely little book, bright (and very cute) characters illustrate a story designed to help children deal with the loss of a friend.

 

 

 

Title: A Bit Lost
Author: Leanne New
www.blurb.com/b/4275053-a-bit-lost
Delightful creativity elevates the imagery in this standout book, a simple tale of lost-and-found for little ones.

 

 

 

Title: The Goose Girl
Author: Madeleine Valley
www.blurb.com/b/4274145-the-goose-girl 
A lesser-known story by The Brothers Grimm gets a thoroughly modern makeover in this graphically rich retelling of Goose Girl from Madeleine Valley. This is one for the older bunch.

 

 

 

Title: The Great Bear Surprise
Author: Carolan Coughlin
www.blurb.com/b/4259737-the-great-bear-surprise
Join Carolan on her hike up Red Plume Mountain where she discovers much more than the view of the surrounding landscape. This is a sweet story of unexpected friendship.

 

 

 

Title: Goodnight Forest
Author: Emilie Dale
www.blurb.com/b/3018559-good-night-forest
See your little ones off to sleep and bid goodnight to the forest with this rhythmic wind-down bedtime book, from graphic designer and illustrator Emilie Dale.

 

 

 

Title: The Adventures of Dude, Squat and Mose
Author: Michael Hall
http://www.blurb.com/b/4720681-the-adventures-of-dude-squat-and-mose
With fabulous illustrations from Gerald Kelley and a fun-packed story from author Michael Hall, the adventures of this brave trio of adopted dogs if sure to become a favorite.

 

If you’re still looking for that perfect gift for a child in your life, you should consider one of these great gift ideas!

 

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When Unexpected Life Changes Mean A Career Change

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My sister and brother-in-law, Nikki and Shawn, got the shock of their lives when two lines appeared on the pregnancy test two and a half years ago. Panic quickly followed shock as they started trying to figure out what they were going to do and how they were going to support a baby. My sister is a nurse but my brother-in-law had been laid off from his job in construction a few months prior to the big baby discovery. They knew Nikki was going to have to continue working full time even though it was her desire to be a stay-at-home mom. Shawn searched for a new job for months without success and was very frustrated with the lack of available jobs in his field.  

 

When my sister was halfway through her pregnancy Shawn made the decision that in order to make a better life for his family he was going to have to enroll in college and start working towards a degree. He chose to pursue a degree in IT for a couple of different reasons. First, it was something he was really interested in and could see himself doing long term. Second, our city has an abundance of career opportunities in the IT field. He enrolled in a 2 year program and started immediately. He took as many classes as he could fit into his schedule during the first semester before the baby was due to arrive so he could have a solid head start on his degree before becoming a dad.  

 

My sister went back to work full time when her 10 week maternity leave was over following baby Jax’s arrival. Shawn instantly became a stay-at-home dad, caring for Jax during the daytime hours, and a college student, attending classes at night. He studied during the day while the baby slept and at night after his classes. He was determined to finish his degree on time and find a job to help support his family so my sister could realize her dream of being a stay-at-home mom. Matt and I pitched in where we could by taking the baby in the daytime for a few hours so Shawn could study for a test or watching him in the evening while Shawn was at school so my sister could catch up on sleep.     

 

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Finally, 2 years after starting the quest for his degree in IT, Shawn graduated with honors! Our whole family attended his ceremony and watched him accept the degree he worked so hard for. As fun as it was spending the evening celebrating his new degree, Shawn knew the hard part was still to come. He had to find a job. Luckily, the college he attended held several career fairs and offered job and resume assistance to help their new graduates transition into their chosen career. Shawn received multiple employment offers within the first few weeks and was able to choose the job that was the best fit for him and for his family. Because of Shawn’s dedication and determination to get his degree in IT, next month my sister will begin her new career….as a stay-at-home mom! We’re looking forward to play dates and field trips together while our husbands bring home the bacon. 

 

Whether you’re seeking further success in your current role or a new opportunity, Kaplan University can help you prepare for the exciting possibilities ahead.*

 

As an accredited university built on more than 75 years of experience,† Kaplan University offers a wide range of career-focused programs designed to develop the skills and knowledge leading employers seek. Our focus: to offer you the most direct educational path to achieve your goals.

 

Are you ready for a change?  Learn more at kaplanuniversity.edu

 

* Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.

 

† Kaplan University is regionally accredited. Please visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu/about/accreditation-licensing.aspx# for additional information about institutional and programmatic accreditation.

 

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Recipe

 
 

One of my favorite things to make during the holiday season is this amazing Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. I’ve been making it for years ever since I had an aha moment while eating traditional pumpkin bread topped with melted chocolate chips- why not combine the two? So simple and yet so delicious. This year I am making mini loaves for our neighbors as a holiday treat- if I can keep the kids (and Matt) from eating them all before they get delivered. The wonderful thing about this recipe is how versatile it can be- you can serve it as a dessert, as a appetizer at a party, or even for breakfast on that morning when nobody’s alarm clock went off on time….or is that just my house? Some nights when it’s been a particularly rough day I even drizzle hot fudge over top of a slice of this bread….and then I close my eyes while I savor every bite. It’s just that good.

 

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Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

4 eggs

2 cups canned pure pumpkin

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups canola oil

6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

1. In large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

2. In another bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until smooth.

3. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened.

4. Fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. 

6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

7. Cool for 10 minutes.

8. Transfer loaves to wire rack to cool completely.

 

Seriously, so good y’all. Matt requested several to take to his office holiday party and I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked for the recipe. It’s so easy to make but it tastes like you slaved over it! I always heat the slices before serving, it melts the chocolate chips slightly and the taste will just make your tongue happy. 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp baking soda
  4. 2 tsp cinnamon
  5. 4 eggs
  6. 2 cups canned pure pumpkin
  7. 2 cups sugar
  8. 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  9. 6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, beat eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil until smooth.
  3. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.
  6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  7. Cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer loaves to wire rack to cool completely.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/

Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday

 

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A Holiday Confessional

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Our annual holiday pic with Matt’s side. Please disregard the fact that my make-up is gone and I look exhausted.

 

 

1. We don’t do the Elf on the Shelf in our house. The thing is creepy and I’m scared of it. When I was a kid my mom had a wooden elf that she used as part of her holiday decor. One day it fell off the mantle on top of me and now I’m traumatized. So no Elf on the Shelf around here. Plus I’m far too lazy to think up and then execute naughty elf scenarios for 24 days in a row. Far far too lazy for that.

 

 

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 Five minutes before the house was invaded by family

 

2. I still have a Thanksgiving hangover. Not of the alcoholic variety, although that one was a real doozy too and totally interfered with my online shopping. I spent 3 days in a manic and borderline psychotic state of cooking and cleaning. Coming down off that high was hard, y’all. Now we’re back to real life and busy schedules and all I want to do is curl up in my comfy pj’s and watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation while stuffing my face with fudge. Don’t judge me.

 

 

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 Ty with Matt’s brothers- can’t believe my kid is almost as big as his uncles now

 

3. Black Friday shopping is my own personal idea of the Seventh Circle of Hell. You will never see me out shopping on Black Friday. I have a theory. The amount of bail plus court costs incurred when I inflicted serious bodily harm on some idiot who tried to shove me out of the way so they could reach the last $10 toaster would exceed any savings I might have gained. So I stay home and shop online. Clearly I have thought this through.

 

 

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 The kids’ table

 

4. We went through 22 bottles of wine, 68 bottles of beer, and emptied the liquor cabinet during our Thanksgiving holiday celebration. I think our alcohol exceeded the cost of the dinner. Now that’s the total for the whole weekend, not just the day. Still, I’m thinking our family could probably benefit from an AA meeting…or two. 

 

 

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 Cam had a blast with the kids

 

5. Matt and I agreed on no gifts for each other this year. We both want an iPad Air so we’re saving our money to put towards that after Christmas. And the whole family agreed on a $10 limit for adults this year. So why does it piss me off that he just chipped in $75 towards his parents gift when all I planned for my parents gift was a photo calendar? I’m doing my deep breathing exercises right now and counting to 10. I might need to up that to 100. 

 

 

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 This is one of my favorite pictures from Thanksgiving. Cousins.

 

6. I saw the hottest Santa ever the other day. No seriously. I wanted to sit on his lap and ask for things….naughty naughty things. I would blush right now if I wasn’t totally serious. For a minute I considered asking him to be the entertainment at my annual Christmas Cookie Exchange party. Honestly, I’m still considering it. 

 

 

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 Gluttony. The beginnings of a cheesecake coma.

 

7. I was going to do a whole recap post about Thanksgiving this week. Unfortunately, as you can see, most of the pictures I took are a tad blurry. I blame the wine goggles. Plus, I’m tired. And lazy. Please refer to #1 for further clarification of my laziness. 

 

 

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 Cousins. Still in their pj’s. At 5pm. 

 

8. I ate so much I had to break out the stretchy fat pants. And I felt no shame. We had 5 different kinds of pie. And Bacon Wrapped Brown Sugar Lil Smokies. And Triple Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. It was worth it. 

 

 

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 Zoey refused to let her cousin drive her Dora trike. She was kind enough to let him ride though.

 

9. We dragged all of the Christmas decorations out of the attic last weekend- and by we, I mean Matt. I don’t go into the attic. There are spiders and we all know how I feel about spiders. So he brought down all the bins and buckets but one of our plastic bins had an unfortunate accident sometime between last Christmas and last weekend. Of course it’s the bin containing all the ornaments, 80% of which are now broken, cracked, or shattered. Now I have to buy new ornaments. And I really do not want to know what knocked that bin over. Really.

 

 

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 These two together spell Trouble with a capital T. 

 

10. For some reason my kids’ teachers are cramming half a semesters worth of projects into the next 2 weeks. The three kids have a total of 5 projects due before Christmas break begins. The first project is due tomorrow. It came home yesterday. Really? Really teachers? And it’s not a little project either. It requires material, and research, and a 15 line poem. Really? I’m all for projects but not when I have zero notice, I have to go buy materials, we have to find a minute to do the research, and my kids have stuff afterschool today so we won’t even be home until after 6pm. Really? The inconvenience will be reflected in your holiday gift. Just sayin’. 

 

Anything you want to admit or am I alone in my scrooge-ness this year? Is that a thing? I’m totally making it a thing.

 

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The Best Crockpot Chili Recipe

We are a family of Chili lovers. Matt would eat chili for every meal if I allowed it- that’s how much he loves it. Of course, if he ate it for every meal then he would no longer be allowed to live in the house so I have to space it out. The kids, who normally whine about anything that might possibly have some form of health benefit, eat more than one serving of my crockpot chili. I love to make this recipe on Sunday’s. It makes the house smell so yummy and it’s the perfect meal to enjoy while watching Football. I’ve tried so many chili recipes in the past and they all seemed to be missing something. After years of tinkering and tweaking, I have hit on the best crockpot chili recipe. It’s so simple I can’t believe it but the taste is out of this world. Seriously y’all, it takes almost no prep work and it all cooks in one pot. 

 

 

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Ingredients:

2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained

1 pkt Great Value mild chili seasoning

2 cans Hunt’s Fire Roasted Garlic Diced Tomatoes

3 cans (8oz each) tomato sauce

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 cup ketchup

1 T sugar

 

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot.

2. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours.

3. Serve with shredded cheese and cornbread.

 

The Best Crockpot Chili
Write a review
Print
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs ground beef, browned and drained
  2. 1 pkt Great Value mild chili seasoning
  3. 2 cans Hunt's Fire Roasted Garlic Tomatoes
  4. 3 cans (8oz each) tomato sauce
  5. 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  6. 1/4 cup ketchup
  7. 1 T sugar
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
  2. Cook on high for 3-3.5 hours.
  3. Serve with shredded cheese and cornbread.
Confessions of a Semi-Domesticated Mama http://semidomesticatedmama.com/

Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday

 

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