Director Jewels

Friday, November 28, 2014

Hank Finds An Egg + Hank Has A Dream Children's Book Review + Giveaway - #HolidayGiftGuide2014

 Disclosure: I received sample books for review, but no other compensation was received and all views expressed are my own.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you already know I'm a sucker for children's books. We have books coming out of our ears here in our home, yet when I was planning for the Holiday Gift Guide this year, I still accepted tons of wonderful new titles to share with both my kids and all of you! I can't help it - reading opens the doors to so many adventures, it only makes sense to let my kids experience that wonder often. 


We were all really excited to check out two titles from Peter Pauper Press and we were not disappointed in any way. Hank Finds An Egg and Hank Has A Dream have become new favorites in our collection.

These titles are simply adorable. Created by Rebecca Dudley, they feature a small woodland creature who has fantastic adventures in his forest home. The pictures in the book all feature amazing dioramas made by the author! Lincoln and Addie were both just fascinated the first time we read these books, and they continue to ask for them during storytime.


Hank Finds An Egg was released last spring, and is actually a wordless book. At first, I thought this would disappoint the kids, but I honestly think they like it better! I love that I can ask Lincoln questions about what's happening in the pictures and watch as he figures out his interpretation of the story. What a great way to help reading comprehension - even without words!


The images are beyond beautiful and we stare at them for long periods of time, picking out new details each time we open the cover.


Hank Has A Dream is a new release this fall and you can check out the sweet book trailer over on YouTube. In this second title (which does contain text), Hank tells his little hummingbird friend of the dreams he has dreamed and how he imagines himself flying, sailing, soaring across the land. Each dream parallels an action on the ground and it's easy to spot the similarity to that of a child's imagination at play.


I really think these books are a wonderful addition to a child's library, and highly recommend them as a Christmas gift for a child on your list this year!


You can find both books on Amazon: Hank Finds An Egg and Hank Has A Dream.


Visit Peter Pauper Press online for more info about Hank and other great books, journals, and stationary. You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a copy of Hank Has A Dream and Hank Finds An Egg! This giveaway will end on December 12 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: Thank you to Peter Pauper Press for providing my samples and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our 2014 Hallmark Keepsake Ornament Picks + A Giveaway - #HolidayGiftGuide2014

Disclosure: I received a free product for review. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Last year, I wrote a little bit about our Keepsake Ornament tradition. I've been drooling over the Hallmark Dream Book since I was a teenager and each year, I love to select a few ornaments for our family Christmas tree.

I'm supposed to only be choosing one ornament to represent our family each year, but I have yet to actually get my list down to one. This year (again), I found two that I wanted to represent the memories we've made this year!


Family Ornament 1 - Snow Angel Team. This one is too perfect - Lincoln and Addie have spent half the year pretending to be Captain Barnacles and Peso from the Octonauts. A polar bear and a penguin are perfect to remind me of 2014 in years to come.

Family Ornament 2 - Cozy Country Church. We've been church hopping for what feels like years now, but I think this year we have finally found the place we belong. That's such a great feeling! I feel like an ornament to commemorate this milestone is perfect.

Lincoln's Ornament - Mickey's Fire Brigade. Much to my chagrin, Lincoln seems to be outgrowing his truck obsession, at least to some degree. I never dreamed how much I would miss finding little cars stashed all over my entire house. But at the beginning of 2014, he still loved them and we had a fun firetruck birthday party for him. The fire-fighting Mickey perfectly describes the first half of Lincoln's 2014.

Addie's Ornament -
The Doc Is In. Addie doesn't have a lovey that she carries around with her, but her Doc McStuffins doll has definitely been the leading contender for such a position (we even bought a second one as a backup). She loves Doc and all her little toy friends, so this seemed like a great fit for her this year.

Hallmark graciously offered to send me one of the ornaments from my list this year - and they're giving one away to one of you, as well! Keep reading for details on how you can win.


We were sent the Cozy Country Church Keepsake Ornament, and we're so excited for it to have a place on our tree this year. The snow-capped roof glistens as the little church rests in the branches of our Christmas tree. It measures 3.19" W x 4.38" H x 2.44" D.


My kids love to press the small button on the side to hear a choir sing a snippet of O Holy Night, which is one of my favorite Christmas carols.


Hallmark wants to hear about your #KeepsakeIt moments this holiday season! Hop over to enter the #KeepsakeIt Sweepstakes. The contest is going on now through December 18.

What's your favorite Keepsake Ornament from this year's selection? Check out the Dream Book or visit Hallmark online for more info. You can also follow along on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a surprise Keepsake Ornament from Hallmark! This giveaway will end on December 12 at 11:59pm CST. This giveaway is open to US readers only. Winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be forfeited.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)! Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well. All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want! Winners will be contacted by email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Thank you to Hallmark for providing my samples and the giveaway prize! I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own. For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hanna Andersson: Welcome to Kansas City!

Disclosure: I received a gift card for participating in this event, but was not asked to write a review. I seriously love this brand and just wanted to share the awesome with all of you! This post contains affiliate links.


Where are my Kansas City readers? I know there are some of you lurking out there! I'm so excited, you guys, because there is a new Hanna Andersson store open at Town Center Plaza in Leawood. I had actually never heard of Hanna until my friend Stephanie pointed me their direction when I was working on my Toddler Girl Fall Fashion Roundup earlier this year, but once I took a quick look at their online shop, I was hooked. Organic cotton, glorious colors, and sweet designs that let kids just be kids? Yes, please.

To say I was excited when I was invited to be a blogger hostess for the Leawood store Grand Opening Event would be the understatement of the year. I was able to invite some friends to attend a special pre-sale event the night before the store's grand opening and it was such a blast!


I had the chance to chat with Adam Stone, the CEO of Hanna Andersson, during the event. He shared with me the company's background story - how one mom (originally from Sweden) decided to create a brand of clothing that would last for a long, long time - as is customary with most things in Swedish culture. The cotton clothing is designed in vibrant colors that don't fade regardless of how many times they are washed, and they're intended to be clothes that can be handed down from child to child. The company was started in a garage in Portland, Oregon 30 years ago and has grown immensely since that time! I'm so excited that we now have our very own Hanna store here in KC!


You know that one clothing item in your wardrobe that you love because it is so soft and comfortable you can just chill? Everyone has something like that, right? They're the clothes that you run to put on as soon as you walk in the door from work at night, or the ones you don't change out of when you're planning to just stay home and organize all day. Hanna's clothes for kids are all like that - from the very first day you buy them. They're the softest cotton I think I have ever felt in my life!


From the casual play dresses (with which I am obsessed), to the amazing adorable collection of holiday pajamas, every single piece of clothing sends a message that it will become a wardrobe staple. And it's a worthy message: Hanna Andersson guarantees that you'll love their clothing and that they'll last - or you can bring it back, anytime. There's no return deadline!


As if everything I've already shared isn't enough, Hanna offers a line of Star Wars pajamas right now that are (for this geek) to die for....seriously. Striped Darth Vader jammies (they also come in pink)? And Star Wars in Christmas sweater design? I almost can't handle it.

What, you forgot I'm a Star Wars fanatic? Please see: Nerd Alert: Family Star Wars Halloween Costumes.


The sizing works a little bit different than the American standard, but it's really easy to figure out as long as you know your child's general proportions. The friendly employees at the Hanna store were handing out size charts to each shopper like the one pictured below.


I think I could have spent an entire paycheck in this store without blinking an eye, but since my budget wouldn't look kindly on that idea, I managed to pick out a few favorites to bring home to my kids. Some of my favorites? The Heathered Henley for Lincoln and the It's a Playdress, It's a Daydress for Addie. I had such a hard time narrowing down which dress I liked best! They are all adorable.

Enjoying Festivities at the Grand Opening Party with Stephanie.


How cute is the snow monster shirt and the Pippi Longstocking doll?

I know that there will be sales this weekend for Black Friday, so if you're planning to look for kids clothing, make sure Hanna Andersson is on your list!


I can't wait to give my kids their Christmas Eve pajamas this year - not only will they look adorable in my Christmas morning photos, they'll be super comfy too! I couldn't pass up the Red & Green Striped Organic Cotton Pajamas!


Addie is so far a huge fan of her Hanna Andersson clothing. The first time I put on her Lotsa Ruffles Dress, she declared "I'm beautiful!" and spent the next ten minutes twirling around. I love that it's one of her favorite outfits - because it's one of MINE, too! I can already tell that the quality is spectacular. This dress will hopefully be handed down to a little sister someday!


We love our Hanna clothing! If you're in Kansas City, stop by the store to check it out - but if not, you can find great deals online, too! Make sure you watch for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday deals all weekend!

Made to match headband by Adelaide's Attic.
Thanks to Hanna Andersson for allowing me to be a part of your grand opening celebration! I can't wait to visit again!

8 Easy Thanksgiving Crafts to Do With Toddlers

What no one tells you about surviving Thanksgiving with toddlers: they (the toddlers, that is) think it's just a normal day. They have no idea about turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. When they're done eating, they have just as much energy as always, while all the adults around them are crashing on the couch in a food-induced coma. What do you do with little ones to keep them from jumping on your overstuffed stomach? I've decided that some Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Toddlers are in order!

Okay, so I really had great intentions of getting this post shared before the day before Thanksgiving - but maybe some of you are (like me) just now getting around to planning your activities for tomorrow! In the hope that someone will be helped by a lovely collection of fun and easy crafts for their antsy little ones tomorrow...here you go!


The great thing about these crafts is that many of them require very few "special" supplies - you should have the basics in a normal craft supply stash, and you can always improvise if there's something missing. Toddlers will believe a bean is just as good as a googly eye in a pinch, I promise.

Click on each image (or the link below) to find instructions for these projects!

http://www.directorjewels.com/2014/11/super-easy-thankful-turkey-thanksgiving-kid-craft.html

from Director Jewels

http://www.simmworksfamily.com/2013/10/turkey-napkin-rings.html
from Simmworks Family


http://www.momentsthattake.com/2014/10/fall-crafts-for-toddlers-thankful.html

from Moments That Take My Breath Away

http://musthavemom.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-toddler-craft-turkey.html

from Must Have Mom

http://www.mommyoftwolittlemonkeys.com/popsicle-stick-crafts/

from Mommy of Two Little Monkeys

http://www.mommyoftwolittlemonkeys.com/popsicle-stick-crafts/

from Family Food and Travel

http://www.coffeewithus3.com/thanksgiving-placemats-for-kids/

Thanksgiving Place Mats
from Coffee With Us 3

http://formulamom.com/thanksgiving-crafts-for-kids-turkey-treat-bag/

from Formula Mom

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving - and happy crafting, everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Super Easy Thankful Turkey Thanksgiving Kids Craft


Heads up: this post does not contain any sort of detailed, in-depth instructions on how to create the most majestic Thanksgiving craft you can imagine. It is a pretty simple process, and I am sharing it with the sole hope that some mom out there feels the way I do: that holidays sneak up on us and we never get enough (or any) craft projects prepped, much less created, with our kids. Since the beginning of fall, the only project I actually remember making with my kids is our Falling Leaves Autumn Tree...and that was weeks ago! Sigh!

This one's so easy you can do it in your sleep - yet still fun for kids because they get to use a glue stick! See? Win-win.


Here's what you need to put together this friendly little turkey craft:

-Construction Paper in various colors
-2 Googly Eyes
-A Glue Stick
-A Writing Utensil (I used a marker)
-Something Round (to trace for your turkey body)
-An Eager Kid to help you


I told Lincoln that we were going to make Thankful Turkeys and he was very excited. In fact, he was so excited that he wanted to get started right away and not wait for me to do any prep work. So he watched as I hastily drew circles on brown construction paper and cut them out, then free-hand cut the nose, feathers, and legs. He's not super proficient with glue yet, so I helped him figure out where to attach the feathers and legs.

As we added each feather, I asked him what he was thankful for. The first thing he said was "my family" - cue the awwwws. After that, it got a little bit random with things like cheese, his sippy cup, a broom, and my camera. But the point is, he's learning what it means to be thankful and that's awesome!

Addie made a turkey too, but she said she wasn't thankful for anything and wanted to get down after helping to glue three feathers. You can't win them all, folks.

This turkey project took about twenty minutes from the time I thought of it until completion. So, moms....here's your easy craft project for the week of Thanksgiving! Enjoy!
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