The Scottish Granny Comes to NYC + Barnes & Noble Gift Card Giveaway!

Thank you to our partner Barnes & Noble! 

I adore reminders of all the goodness in the world, and it doesn’t get much better than a granny with a heartfelt, infectious laugh (AKA“The Scottish Granny” or “The Laughing Grandmother”) who went viral for merely being her delightful self while reading a book entitled The Wonky Donkey to her grandson.

Janice Clark has become quite the YouTube sensation, and Barnes & Noble recently brought her to their New York City – Union Square – location for fans (both big and small) to enjoy an exclusive live reading of the Craig Smith book.


Image via Barnes & Noble. 

More than 100 kids came to the event, and Janice could barely contain her laughter while reading The Wonky Donkey. Naturally, the kiddos laughed along with her and eagerly asked questions after the reading.

Janice Clark

He was a honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.”

Image via Barnes & Noble

I learned that the Wonky Donkey was out of print, and Barnes & Noble worked with the publisher to reprint copies for both their stores and online orders after they noticed a spike in searches of the book on when Janice’s YouTube video went viral. Thanks to this sweet Granny, the book has become a national bestseller!

Win It!

We are so excited that Barnes & Noble is spreading the love with a giveaway of a $100 Barnes & Noble Gift Card just in time for the holiday season.  Enter via the below widget. U.S. addresses only please, and all entries are verified. Don’t forget to check back to see if your name pops up as the winner!Check out the Barnes & Noble Holiday Gift Guides and find out where to catch a Barnes & Noble Storytime in stores nationwide every Saturday at 11 AM. Also, be sure to join their Kids Club for rewards and special offers throughout the year.

View the Scottish Granny in action here!

UPDATE: Giveaway closed.


28 Positive Mindset Books For Kids

Self-awareness and self-esteem form at early ages in life and It’s so important for us to help our kids grow to develop an overall positive outlook.  Obstacles and challenges are a natural part of life, and luckily, we’ve been able to turn to children’s books with poignant and powerful messages to help reinforce and shape a healthy response to the world around us.  We created a collection of 28 positive mindset books for kids, with inspiring messages of perseverance, resiliency, and the value of positive self-talk.  From following your dreams – to avoiding negative words, this list of books will help to introduce children to the tools they need to navigate life.


Unstoppable Me! 10 Ways to Soar Through Life

Dreams Come True…. All They Need is You

The Wonderful Things You Will Be

Incredible You!

I Think, I Am!

No Excuses! How What You Can Say Can Get In Your Way

Good-bye, Bumps! Talking to What’s Bugging You

I Am, Why Two Words Mean So Much


Beautiful Oops!

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are

What Do You Do With a Problem?

The Feel Good Book

What I Like About Me!

Bee Attitude: A Positive Motivational Book for Kids

The Energy Bus

Buddha at Bedtime: Tales of Love and Wisdom for You to Read with Your Child to Enchant, Enlighten and Inspire

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids

One Love

What a Wonderful World

The Little Engine That Could

Only One You

Sky Color

An Awesome Book of Thanks

The Way I Feel

Did your favorite books for kids make the list? If not, please share them with us in the comments.

Affiliate links included.


Helpful Books For Tween Girls and Mothers | The Care & Keeping Of Us With American Girl

Just the other day, my third-grader came home asking to talk about something privately.  It was the first lock-down drill of the school-year, and I quickly prepared myself (as well as a concerned mother possibly can) to be completely present in whatever my daughter needed to discuss behind her closed door.  The topic was much lighter than expected, but in that moment I was well aware of the fact that the ways in which I listen and respond to my children now, matter so very much. I always want my kids to be able to come to me.

I’ve been quickly trying to prepare myself with tools and tips to talk to my children about topics and life lessons that are on the horizon.  As helpful things come my way, I’m beginning to share them here  – but I’m well aware that I have so much more to prepare.

Hopes For International Day of the Girl

That’s why I’m grateful to have been invited to an intimate brunch with Momtrends, at the American Girl store to chat with pediatrician and New York Times best-selling author, Dr. Cara Natterson about her new three-book set, The Care & Keeping of Us: A Sharing Collection for Girls and Their Moms.

puberty books for girls

I’ve since had time to look through the collection (one book for moms, and one for tweens) which provides helpful tools to talk collectively about pressing topics for growing girls.  The book-set covers everything from puberty, body basics, social media, friendship, age-appropriate hygiene and so much more.  Solid tips and conversation starters are included, and even scripts for moms (thank you!) on how to talk to adolescent and tween girls about navigating various issues while growing up.  I love how the books emphasize closeness and trust while providing tools to communicate, including a sharing journal with prompts to keep the mother-daughter conversation open.

I’m so impressed with Dr. Natterson’s knowledge, down to earth nature, and new book collection.  We haven’t come across anything this helpful that covers such important topics for girls ages eight and up. I appreciate that the discussion will begin with the help of American Girl, a brand that my daughter and her friends know and trust.

fifth avenue new york city American Girl Store

We recommend ordering the book set early to pull out when the time comes!

Special thanks to Momtrends and American Girl for having us. Product provided but opinions as always are my own.


On Keeping Seasonal Magic and The Truth About Santa

We’re among the group of parents that choose to let out kids believe in the sort of magic and childhood whimsy that comes along with believing in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Easter Bunny.  Despite my oldest being bombarded by classmates since Kindergarten (yes KINDERGARTEN!!) that these things aren’t real – we have two believers in our home.

What about your family? Have you thought about the best way to tell your kids the truth about Santa and more?  Luckily, there’s a brilliant tool out there to help navigate this changing childhood terrain in a helpful and empowering way that celebrates this coming of age.

Enter the Society Of Seasonal Secret Keepers, a gift set created by a mother of two to help guide kids while enlisting them as Society Secret Keepers.

how to tell kids the truth about Santa

Inside this helpful kit, tucked away in a special zippered bag you’ll find:

  • A personalized welcome letter from the Society of Seasonal Secret Keepers inducting your new agent into an exciting new stage of growth.
  • A heirloom token, inside a velvet bag, inscribed with the Society’s seal and their core values of Empowerment, Agency, Respect, Curiosity, and Integrity.
  • An 80-page book entitled The Society Of Seasonal Secret Keepers Field Guide: Ancient Secrets for Modern Kids.
  • Access to an online Society Mission Control portal to provide seasonal missions and ideas, which keep the field guide fresh and current all year-round.

We have no idea how smoothly this new stage will begin in our family when the time comes – but this is the best resource we’ve found.  We love how the induction into a secret society can make a kid feel cool and empowered with their own specific training manual to help them navigate this new phase.  We think it’s AMAZING that significance is placed on vowing to protect and honor traditions (agents are bound by an oath) while caring magic on for others who believe.  And we think that truths are presented in the best way possible with an emphasis on magic as symbols of love and giving, and a sense of earned responsibility with growing up.

Do your family a favor and order it before you’ll need it.  You’ll thank us later. 🙂


LeapFrog’s Tag Reading System & Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book {Review}

In this space, I only share products that I can stand behind, would want my own children (or myself) to use, and be (what I perceive to be) of value to my readers.  I’m always excited to partner with LeapFrog and recently had the chance to review their Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book  in conjunction with  the Tag Reading System.  

My five year old daughter Lucia learned to read this past fall.  I’m still so amazed by this massive milestone and am so proud to see her budding confidence and interest in reading soar.  I work on academics with her daily and also believe in the learning that takes place during lots of creative, unstructured play.  I’m happy to have intuitive educational devices to use at her leisure, and the tag reading system gives Lucia an independent means to work on her reading skills in a captivating way disguised as play (it’s brilliant, really). 

With the touch of a quickly responsive stylus-like pen, Lucia can sound out individual words at her own pace, listen to an entire story, or hear specific facts through her Tag Reader.  LeapFrog carries a great selection of physical books (aimed for ages 4-8) that are brought to life after easily downloading the audio to a computer, to add to the Tag Reader’s internal memory via the included USB cable.

Leap and the Lost Dinosaur (aimed for ages 5-8) goes back to prehistoric days and includes facts about over 25 different dinosaurs.  It comes with 15 interactive playing cards (and an extra universal card in the event that cards are misplaced).  Luckily, the cards can be tucked into a designated pocket in the book and my children diligently put them away as the interactive card game is what they enjoy most.  What’s most impressive about my family’s experience with Leap and the Lost Dinosaur is the amount of advanced dinosaur vocabulary both of my children are now rattling off.  My daughter recently drew a picture of an Euoplocephalus and attempted to “quiz” me on what I thought it was.  When she saw my uncertainty, she suggested I think about the “cretaceous” period and told me to look at its “clubbed tail”.  She also suggested that I “imagine a turtle the size of a car”. 

Reading Leap And The Lost Dinosaur on her Tag Reading System in Bryant Park. 

It seems as if I have some Dino learning of my own to do.  

As a LeapFrog Parent, LeapFrog provided me with a Tag Reading System and a Leap And The Lost Dinosaur Tag Book  for the purpose of review.  As in all my reviews, all opinions are my own.


Marble Spark ‘Twas The Mouse Who Saved Christmas – Personalized Storybook {Review}

Books are gifts that truly keep on giving.  As pages are turned, creativity is cultivated and cherished childhood memories are created.  I love choosing books to send to our favorite littles and always appreciate books that are given to my own children.  With two budding voracious readers, I want to continue to encourage their love of learning.

We have a new reader in the house, and I was delighted to put her very first personalized storybook from Marble Sparks into her hands.  My daughter’s face lit up as she studied the cover of ‘Twas The Mouse Who Saved Christmas and saw her name spelled out in blocks.  Her eyes widened as she realized that she played a central role in the story, and was thrilled to identify her name in the text and photos.

Twas The Mouse Who Saved Christmas is a darling story chronicling the adventures of a mischievous little mouse named Pipp Squeak.  When Pipp Squeak accidentally rips Santa’s list she exerts considerable effort in trying to repair it to include your child’s inclusion in Santa’s delivery on Christmas Day.

Image via Marble Sparks

The author, Philip Haussler kept both of my children captivated by the storyline and  rhythmic rhyming, as did the beautiful illustrations by Brad Sneed.  Lucia’s name appears on the cover, back and spine of the book and in several illustrations and text.  It is graphic perfection, that in no way appears to be cut and pasted.

Image via Marble Sparks

This book made my daughter feel so special.  We’ve read it multiple times already, and I imagine that my Lucia will someday recall  this story as a beautiful Christmas childhood memory.  

Image via Marble Sparks

I absolutely believe in supporting companies that are rooted in social good – especially during the Holidays.  Marble Sparks created Project Open Book to rescue a child in Nepal from slavery and pay for her education.  Through Project Open Book, a book of poetry and artwork is collectively created and proceeds are donated.  Anyone can contribute artwork and poetry and help decide on the final publication through a process of voting. 

Marble Sparks definitely tops my gift giving list this year, and I can’t wait to create customized books for the special little people in my life. 

Marble Sparks provided my daughter the above mentioned book to facilitate this review.  As always, all opinions are my own.