Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (sort of) - Christmas of the Wooden Toys

The presents have been unwrapped, the stockings have been emptied. And, the winners this year in our house are the wooden toys!

My preschool daughter received a Melissa and Doug Gleeful Garden Wooden Bead Set from Santa and has since spent hours and hours making beautiful necklaces for all the family members and then disassembling them and making more. This is by far her favorite gift (and maybe the least expensive one, too). Who would have guessed?














Santa brought the little guy a Rainbow People Mover from North Star Toys and he has enjoyed pushing it around the house, making the vroom sound and tossing the colorful people out of their seats. (His sister has tried to steal the toy several times, too. She likes to sort and count the people and drive them to pretend destinations.) North Star Toys (www.northstartoys.com) is a great source for simple, non-toxic, American-made wooden toys. I won ours from a blog contest at 3 P's Mama Says, but will be keeping the company in mind for future baby gifts.

What were your kids' favorite toys this Christmas?

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great Deals at Online Booksellers

One can never have too many books. At least that's my belief! There are some great end-of-the-year deals going on right now if you take the time to do a little searching. Temptation! Temptation! Here are a few that caught my eye (bet you can do even better):

Christianbook.com
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo; Hardcover ($4.99)
Maisy's Snowy Christmas Eve by Lucy Cousins; Hardcover ($2.99)
White Rabbit's Color Gift Set by Alan Baker; Paperback + Plush ($2.95)

Barnes and Noble
Goodnight Moon 123 by Margaret Wise Brown; Hardcover($3.99)
The English Roses by Madonna; Hardcover ($3.99)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Full to the Brim Kid's Book Giveaway List (12/29/08)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. During the week of New Years, it will be published on Monday only. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Brimful Curiosities - Book and Gift Set Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney and Precious Girls Club Gift Pack
Brimful Curiosities - Book Giveaway Ends 1/7/09
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo


Sassyfrazz - Book Giveaway Ends 1/1/09
I'm Turning Green by The Little Environmentalists
Parent Reviewers - Book Giveaway Ends 1/1/09
Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River by Kunle Oguneye
Lipstick to Crayons - WordWorld Giveaway Ends 1/5/09
WordWorld Bucket Set - House (no book but literacy related giveaway)
Growing in Grace Magazine - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
Andrea Carter and the Family Secret by Susan K. Marlow (Junior Historical Fiction)
Once upon a Qpon - Book Giveaway Ends 1/1/09
TAN-TASTIC TANGRAMS!
Life Starring Ellie and Eve - Books Giveaway Ends 1/10/09
Eric Carle Book Set
Sunshine and Lemonade - Family Night Giveaway Ends 1/2/08
Weekend winner prize pack includes: Blokus, The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer, DVD's of "The Goonies" and "The Princess Bride," and snacks.
Amanda - Franklin Giveaway Ends 1/10/09
The Speaking Spelling Bee and the New York Times PageMark Dictionary (no book but literacy related)
Hallie's World - Book Giveaway Ends 1/2/09
The Cupcakes Club Book Series from The Cupcakes Club (Tween Girls)
Sassyfrazz - Book Giveaway Ends 1/6/09
Candlewick Press book giveaway
The Funky Monkey - Book Giveaway Ends 1/2/09
Frecklebox book


For parents, caregivers:
A Frog in my Soup - Gift Pack Giveaway Ends 1/25/09
5 Sinupret for Kids gift packs that include among many items Dr. Sears’ book, The Healthiest Kid in the Neighborhood and Activity books
Metropolitan Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/09
Mama Knows Breast: Adventures in Breastfeeding, The ABC’s of Breastfeeding: Everything a Mom Needs to Know for a Happy Nursing Experience, or The Working Gal’s Guide to Babyville: Your Must-Have Manual for Life with Baby
Mom Most Traveled - Book Giveaway Ends 1/7/09
Travels with Baby: The Ultimate Guide for Planning Trips with Babies, Toddlers, and Preschool-Age Children by Shelly Rivoli
Christian PF - Christmas Giveaway Ends 12/29/08
Various Prizes: 8 GB iPod Nano, 1 GB iPod Shuffle, 6 months subscription to NeoBudget, 3 Silicon Scrapers from Pampered Chef, H&R Block Taxcut Premium 2008, C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce Audiobook, The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets by Peter Schiff, Overworked, Overwhelmed & Underpaid by Louis Barajas

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Tidings of Great Joy



Luke 2:10-11 (King James Version)
"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Merry Christmas to you from our family at Brimful Curiosities. (Angel painting by my preschool daughter.)

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas TV Specials


I love a good Christmas movie. My favorite isn't one of the more famous ones. It is the little known The Shop Around the Corner
starring Jimmy Stewart. It's airing tonight on TCM! There are number of good movies on TV in the next few days. I've prepared a partial list of Christmas specials so you don't miss your favorite! All times are EST so you'll have to adjust accordingly.

December 23
* White Christmas - ABC Family, 6:00 p.m./5:00 CST
* The Shop Around the Corner - TCM, 6:00 p.m.
* Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer - Cartoon Network, 6:00 p.m.
* Casper's Haunted Christmas - Cartoon Network, 7:00 p.m.
* An Oak Ridge Boys Family Christmas - Hallmark, 7:00 p.m.
* Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas – ABC, 8:00 p.m.
* In the Good Old Summertime - TCM, 8:00 p.m.
* The 10th Annual A Home for the Holidays with Faith Hill – CBS, 8:00 p.m.
* Prancer - AMC, 8:00 p.m.
* White Christmas - ABC Family, 9:00 p.m.

December 24
* A Christmas Carol – TCM, 6:15 a.m.
* Eloise at Christmas - ABC Family, 7:00 a.m.
* Christmas in Connecticut - TCM, 7:30 a.m.
* The Legend of Frosty the Snowman - Cartoon Network, 9:00 a.m.
* Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer - Cartoon Network, 10:00 a.m.
* Tom & Jerry a Nutcracker Tale - Cartoon Network, 11:00 a.m.
* Bah-Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas - Cartoon Network, 12:00 p.m.
* Holiday Affair - TCM, 12:45 p.m.
* A Scooby Doo Christmas - Cartoon Network, 1:00 p.m.
* Rudolph & Frosty’s Christmas in July - ABC Family, 1:00 p.m.
* Frosty’s Winder Wonderland - ABC Family, 3:00 p.m.
* Rudolph’s Shiny New Year - ABC Family, 4:00 p.m.
* Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town - ABC Family, 5:00 p.m.
* Casper's Haunted Christmas - Cartoon Network, 5:00 p.m.
* The Bishop's Wife - TCM, 6:00 p.m.
* The Santa Clause - Disney, 6:00 p.m.
* The Year without a Santa Claus - ABC Family, 6:00 p.m.
* A Miser Brothers’ Christmas - ABC Family, 7:00 p.m.
* Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Cartoon Network, 7:00 p.m.
* Miracle on 34th Street - HBO Family, 7:00 p.m.
* A Scooby Doo Christmas - Cartoon Network, 7:30 p.m.
* The Santa Clause 2 - Disney, 8:00 p.m.
* It’s A Wonderful Life – NBC, 8:00 p.m.
* Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas/Jim Carrey - ABC Family, 8:00 p.m.
* A Christmas Story – TBS, marathon begins at 8:00 p.m.

December 25
* A Christmas Story - TBS, marathon continues
* Meet Me in St. Louis - TCM, 1:00 a.m.
* The Shop Around the Corner - TCM, 3:00 a.m.
* The Greatest Story Ever Told - TCM, 9:30 a.m.
* Samantha: An American Girl Holiday - Hallmark, 10:00 a.m.
* White Christmas - ABC Family, 12:00 p.m.
* The Christmas Card - Hallmark, 6:00 p.m.

Full to the Brim Kid's Book Giveaway List (12/23/08)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. During the week of Christmas, it will be published on Tuesday only. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Brimful Curiosities - Book and Gift Set Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney and Precious Girls Club Gift Pack
Brimful Curiosities - Book Giveaway Ends 1/7/09
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo


Barefoot Mommies - Children's Doll Giveaway Ends 1/1/09
Nana Star or Moonman Lovey (no book, but book related)
Eco-office Gals - Book Giveaway Ends 12/26/08
Set of the “Whole World” from Barefoot Books
Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz - Book Giveaway Ends 12/26/08
Signed copy of Like a Maccabee by Barbara Bietz
Jamie's Precious Peas - Book Giveaway Ends 1/1/09
Barbamel Books - choice of book
Jamie's Precious Peas - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
Barefoot Books - choice of book
Jamie's Precious Peas - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
Frecklebox - Product of choice
Jamie's Precious Peas - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
SharedBook - choice of personalized children’s book
Family Travel Adventures - Book Giveaway Ends 12/28/08
More Mega Mad Libs activity book
Wendi's Book Corner - Book Giveaway Ends 1/5/08
Snow Valley Heroes by Robert J. McCarty
The Opinionated Parent - Life's Building Blocks Giveaway Ends ???
Life’s Building Blocks Zaki and books
Mom Most Traveled - Life's Building Blocks Giveaway Ends 1/3/09
Life’s Building Blocks package including Zaki, the chapter books and activity books
Chefdruck Musings - Doll/Book Giveaway Ends 12/27/08
Friends Forever Girls Doll, The First Day of Forever Book, jacket/shawl, and a purse or backpack
Cynsations - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
Dead Is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez (YA Book)
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 12/28/08
If You Give a Cat a Cupcake or Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
Family Life (The Post-Standard) - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
A Present for Santa Claus
Family Life (The Post-Standard) - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
Paddington and the Christmas Surprise
Confuzzled Books - Book Giveaway Ends 1/5/09
signed book The Faerie Door by B.E. Maxwell
Mom on the Random - Book Giveaway Ends 1/3/09
The Day Leo Said I Hate You! by Robie H. Harris and South by Patrick McDonnell
Classy Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 1/3/09
A Very Marley Christmas, The Lump of Coal, Christmas Cookies, and Biscuit's Hanukkah

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Tale of Despereaux Book Review and Giveaway


"Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark." - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

The movie, The Tale of Despereaux, just opened in theatres this weekend. Behind the movie is the 2004 Newbery award winning book by the same title written by acclaimed author Kate DiCamillo. If you or your children have not read the The Tale of Despereaux yet, I encourage you to do so. It is a wonderful book that deserves to be read.

For the record, I am not a big fan of mice. I dislike rodents. This is one of the reasons that I have cats. But, there are exceptions. Despereaux is one of them. It is hard not to like a sickly little mouse with obscenely large ears that loves music, stories, and princesses. It is even harder not to fall in love with this unlikely hero - one brave little mouse, the knight with a shining needle.

I first read The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread a couple of years ago. One of my educator friends recommended the title. And, if I remember correctly, it was one of those books so interesting that I read it all in one sitting. The Tale of Despereaux is a story of hatred and sorrow, of kindness and empathy, of revenge and forgiveness, and of love and light. It is a fairy tale of sorts.

Divided into four books, The Tale of Despereaux tells the intertwined stories of it's main characters, Despereaux Tilling, Chiaroscuro (Roscuro) and Miggery Sow. Despereaux is an outcast in the mouse world. He breaks mouse laws by befriending and loving the Princess Pea. For this he is banished to the dark dungeon. Roscuro (the light-loving, dungeon-dwelling rat) and the beautiful Princess Pea despise each other due to an unfortunate incidence involving soup. Because of this, Roscuro seeks revenge against the princess. His accomplice, Miggery Sow is a slow, abused little girl who unwittingly gets pulled into his terrible plot. It is up to Despereaux, the brave little mouse with a big heart to set things right and bring about a happily ever after.

The deeply engaging book works as a great read-aloud and is often used as a teaching tool in elementary schools. There is much to ponder and discuss, from the use of light and dark in relation to good and evil to the unusual vocabulary terms like "perfidy." The characters experience a gamut of feelings, from hatred to forgiveness. Children's books don't get much better. The black and white illustrations throughout by Timothy Basil Ering help bring a vintage, fairy-tale quality to the book. However, the book is correctly marketed for children ages 7–12 and is not for younger children. The character Miggery Sow experiences violent handling, and the book has many dark moments that made me, even as an adult, incredibly sad. I will not be reading this one to my preschooler but eagerly wait the future when she is ready for a story such as this.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering. Candlewick Press (August 2003), 272 pages, ISBN 9780763617226

Related links:
Candlewick Press Teacher's Guide to The Tale of Despereaux
Website of author Kate DiCamillo
Universal Pictures The Tale of Despereaux Movie Site
Scholastic Teacher's Guide to The Tale of Despereaux


Win your own hardcover copy! Candlewick Press has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. One (1) Brimful Curiosities reader will receive a hardcover copy of the original The Tale of Despereaux.

To enter, visit the Candlewick Press -Despereaux page and leave a comment letting me know which other Despereaux related book looks interesting.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Wednesday, January 7, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

This, That and a Merry Christmas!

Christmas is only days away. With this comes a few one-time changes. My Monday "Full to the Brim" Post will be published on Tuesday 12/23/08 this week. Confusing? Sorry. There will also be no Friday "Full to the Brim" post so that I can enjoy Christmas celebrations with my family. I will be taking a small blogging break over the holidays. Posts will be few and far between. Never fear though. I will be back after the new year with more posts, reviews and giveaways.

An early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers! This year I am especially thankful for God’s blessings: friends, family, home, health and happiness. May Christ’s birth be at the heart of your Christmas celebration. And, thanks so much for visiting the Brimful Curiosities blog.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Full to the Brim Kid's Book Giveaways (12/19/08)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Brimful Curiosities - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney and Precious Girls Club Gift Pack
Brimful Curiosities - Book and Prize Pack Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
VW Routan Prize Pack including Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields


Life With A Little One - Gift Card Contest Ends 12/20/09
$20 Target gift card (Try the children's book quiz, too!)
In the Shadow of Mt. TBR - Gift Card Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
$25, $15, $10 and $5 gift card to your choice: Borders, Amazon or Barnes & Noble bookstores
Petit Elefant - Book gift set Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
Customized children's book of your choice from Me Media
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
A Little Bit Nutty - Book Giveaway Ends 12/23/08
Precious Girls Club Prize Pack
dkMommy Spot - Book Giveaway Ends 12/20/08
The Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games: Classic Fun for Daring Boys and Girls
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/08
A Day With My Dad At The Beach by Lance Waite
Holly's Joy - Book Giveaway Ends 12/25/08
Boomtown: Chang's Famous Fireworks by Nowen N. Particular
She Scribes - Book Giveaway Ends 12/31/09
Genevieve's Gift
Classless and Lovin' It - Book Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
Laundry for Kids, Bedroom Cleaning for Kids, Zone Cleaning for Kids
Momma In Flip Flops2- Book Giveaway Ends 12/29/08
I'm Turning Green by The Little Environmentalist
Holidash - LeapFrog Giveaway Ends 12/21/08
Tag™ Reading System and Leapster®2 Learning System
What's on Mommy's Mind - Book/DVD Giveaway Ends 12/24/08
My Baby Can Talk collection
I'm no supermom - Life Building Blocks Giveaway Ends 12/22/08
Life Building Blocks package including Zaki, the chapter books and activity books


For parents, caregivers:
Short Stop - Book Giveaway Ends 12/20/08
Multiple Blessings by Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Precious Girls Club Review and Giveaway


My daughter is only in preschool but she will be attending regular school before I know it. Quite frankly, I'm a little concerned about the pressures she will face as she starts school, both social and academic. I'm also concerned about the influences that she will come across. It seems the world is a bit different now than it was when I was a kid.

I'm not alone. According to research conducted by BSM Media, "93% of moms feel that young girls today are being pressured to grow up too fast and 73% view the majority of dolls, games, shows and websites targeted at little girls as too sexy or inappropriate for their daughters."

In response, Precious Moments has just recently launched the Precious Girls Club, a whole new faith-based brand for young girls. Meant for ages 4-10, the Precious Girls Club includes a series of books, a virtual online world, and a merchandise.

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The Precious Girls Club centers around a series of chapter books. A Little Bit of Faith is the first book in the series. The main character in the series is a girl named Katie Bennett who has just recently moved to a fictional town called Shine, Wisconsin. Katie has a unique snowglobe that houses Faith, her own special guardian angel. With help from her guardian angel and her family, Katie overcomes the challenges she faces as a newcomer at school. She makes new friends and forms a club called "The Precious Girls Club." She also learns to trust and have faith in God.

A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney is well-written, divided into nine chapters and includes a few illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised to see it set in Wisconsin! I think it might be a bit advanced for the average 4-5 year-old but early grade-schoolers will enjoy it. More books in this faith-based series are scheduled to be released next year.
A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney. Dalmatian Press (July 2008), 72 pages, ISBN 9781403751232

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The virtual website at www.preciousgirlsclub.com is a special world where girls can create an avatar, explore the town, decorate their own room, socialize in a safe environment and more. Many parts of the website are free, although a premium Rainbow membership is required to access exclusive features. Though I wish the whole website was free, it is nice that a portion of the dues is donated to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Mothers are able to interact with their daughter through a parent's page. Related charms, figurines and plush dolls are available for purchase online at www.preciousmoments.com and through select stores.

The YouTube video below describes the virtual world and products in more detail:



As a reader of my blog you are entitled to a free premium month of membership on the website. Visit www.preciousgirlsclub.com and enter code 8137-KTQ1-NZCG.

Here are some additional related links:
Preciousmoms.com - A related website that helps connect mothers of like-minded beliefs and values.
Printable Coloring Page 1
Printable Coloring Page 2
Printable Coloring Page 3
Download The First Chapter of A Little Bit of Faith - [PDF File]


Want to win a Precious Girls Club Gift Pack? Precious Moments has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. One (1) of my readers will receive the following items:
One (1) Book: A Little Bit of Faith by Cindy Kenney
One (1) Precious Girls Club Charm Bracelet including Rainbow Charm
One (1) Precious Girls Club Teddy Bear Charm
One (1) Pack of Spacer Beads
One (1) Precious Girls Club Draw String Bag
One (1) Precious Girls Club Pen

To enter, leave a comment letting me know what Precious Girls Product you like the best in the Precious Girls Club Online Catalog.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.



Thanks to MomSelect and Precious Moments for this review opportunity.

Mom Select - Bringing Companies and Moms Together

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Winners are...

Thanks to all who entered my giveaways the past few weeks. And without further ado, here are the winners:


The Winner of the Itty-Bitty Bookworm Curriculum is Comment #10 RebekahC.


The Winner of the Cole Family Christmas is Comment #4 shelburns.


The Winners of the Toot & Puddle Christmas Book are Comment #15 kpmomma, Comment #16 adennispac, Comment #32 Steph, Comment #48 Staci, and Comment #55 Shannon "Coupon Princess". If you are Steph, please notify me within 48 hours as I do not have your email. Otherwise a new winner will be chosen.


The Winners of the WordWorld Giveaway are:
WordWorld Bucket Set - Barn goes to Ashley with her suggestion about doctors and nurses.
WordWorld Holiday Episode Screener DVD goes to The Jacobsen Family! with their alligator suggestion.

Wordless Wednesday - Watching the Snow




Here's our kitty cat contentedly watching the snow fall yesterday. We received about 2-3 inches. Tomorrow the forecast sounds much worse.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Sleeper of a Story Songbook! - Sleepytime Songs Book Review

"To your children, your voice, spoken, sung or whispered, will be the most comforting and beautiful music of all, and provide memories that will last well into their adulthoods." - The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs
The holiday season often evokes feelings of nostalgia. Memories of childhood permeate our souls. Music and singing played a large part in my life growing up. My mom was and still is organist at our small church. I think I sang my first solo when I was only 4 or 5 years old, and if I remember correctly, it was a Christmas song. When I was in grade school, my mom took lessons on the acoustic guitar. She played for sing-a-longs at the library, at church and during Girl Scout events. We sang mostly folk and traditional songs, and I learned many of them by heart. Those were the days, and I have many happy, fond memories.

The children's music world today is a booming business. The likes of Laurie Berkner, They Might Be Giants and other new artists have brought creativity and fun to the kid's music market. But the traditional folk music that has been around for generations still has a place in the home music collections as well. Peter Yarrow (of the 1960's band Peter, Paul and Mary) has just recently released two story songbooks titled The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs and The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Favorite Folk Songs. Following on the heels of his popular, bestselling Puff the Magic Dragon, these new songbooks are full of multi-generational musical gems.

We received a copy of The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs courtesy of Sterling Publishing. It is quite impressive and truly a great bargain. A whopper of an illustrated picture book, it includes a corresponding music CD in addition to guitar chord accompaniment diagrams and a section of historical facts about the songs in the back of the book. Twelve lullabies were chosen for the book and the lyrics to each of the songs have been beautifully illustrated by Terry Widener. Many of the illustrations include an image of a sleeping child. The CD is a pure folk recording, with Yarrow and his daughter, Bethany singing accompanied only by two acoustic guitars. Their voices blend wonderfully together in the comforting, lulling melodies. Songs included in both the book and CD are as follows:

All Through the Night • Puff, the Magic Dragon • Ol’ Blue • All the Pretty Little Horses • Hush, Little Baby • Kum Ba Ya • The Water Is Wide • Down in the Valley • All My Trials • On Top of Old Smokey • Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot? • Brahms Lullaby

Looking for a last minute gift for the holidays? Buy this one to share with children, parents, grandparents, or friends. Few products are appropriate for all generations. This is one of the few.
The Peter Yarrow Songbook: Sleepytime Songs by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Terry Widener. Sterling Publishers (November 2008), 48 pages, ISBN 9781402759628

Monday, December 15, 2008

Full to the Brim Kid's Book Giveaway List (12/15/08)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Brimful Curiosities - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle
Brimful Curiosities - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 12/16/08
Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie
Brimful Curiosities - Book and Prize Pack Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
VW Routan Prize Pack including Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields


Tyndale Publishers - Book Giveaway Contest Ends 1/31/09
Let Me Hold You Longer, Wait Until Then or Heaven for Kids
Bookroomreviews - LeapFrog Tag Giveaway Ends 12/16/08
LeapFrog Tag Reading System
The Opinionated Parent - Book gift set Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Elf on the Shelf gift pack including the book & elf
An Island Review - Life's Building Blocks Giveaway Ends 12/20/08
Winner’s choice of either Zaki the Chameleon, the chapter books, or the activity books
An Island Review - Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Elmo’s Countdown to Bedtime Soundbook
Simple - Giveaway Ends 12/18/08
I'm Turning Green by The Little Environmentalist
Sassyfrazz - Book/Doll Giveaway Ends 12/17/08
Girls ’n Grace Doll or Books (specific rules for this one)
Cynsations - Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Through the Wardrobe: Your Favorite Authors on C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia edited by Herbie Brennan
Maternal Spark - Book Giveaway Ends 12/19/09
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle
5Minutes for Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 12/22/08
Begin Smart books
Real Life Review - Baby Einstein Giveaway Ends 12/18/08
Your choice of the Baby Einstein DVD, CD, or book!
On The Verge - VW Prize Pack Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
VW Routan Prize Pack including Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields

For parents, caregivers:
Freebies 4 Mom - Giveaway Ends 12/18/08
Kid’s Nutrition
Healthbolth - Book/DVD Giveaway Ends 12/19/08
Exercise After Pregnancy: How to Look and Feel Your Best and DVD, Bounce Back Fast!: Post Natal Core Conditioning

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

VW "Routan Boom" Prize Pack Giveaway

Babies, a book, and the VW Routan. Brooke Shields has been one busy mama! Shields, who is the mother to daughters Rowan and Grier, published her first children's book earlier this year titled, Welcome to Your World, Baby. Just lately, Volkswagen has featured her as the star of their "Routan Boom" commercials.

The newly released VW Routan seven-passenger minivan is Volkswagen's family addition to their vehicle line. If you watch any TV, I'm sure you've seen the commercial. The "Routan Boom" spot is a humorous spoof-documentary starring Brooke as a reporter who accuses parents-to-be for having babies just so they can own the new minivan. She tells them to, "have a baby for love, not for German engineering.” The commercials are ironically funny, so long as you take them lightly as they are meant to be viewed. If by chance you haven't seen them, I've included a YouTube compilation of the ads below:



The ads are unique but don't mention much vehicle specifics. The Volkswagen Routan was created with the family in mind. For the features and specs, visit www.vw.com/routan.

Want to have a little fun while visiting the website? Use the Babymaker 3000! Upload a picture of a mom and a dad and see the resulting combo-baby. Apparently, the image to the left is what one of my children is supposed to look like according to Babymaker 3000. Not bad, but I think my actual kids are cuter.

One other interesting fact: "Routan" is a combination of the English word "route" and the "-an" suffix that is used in the names of Volkswagen's European vans, so it's a literal combo of two engineering worlds, VW and Chrysler.


Want to win a VW "Routan Boom" Prize Pack? Volkswagen has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. One (1) of my readers will receive the following items:
One (1) Book: Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields
Three (3) Volkswagen T shirts
One (1) Volkswagen branded tin
One (1) box of Kleenex tissues (new Antiviral kind)
One (1) package of Wet Wipes from Huggies (not pictured)

To enter, leave a comment letting me know what you like best about the Volkswagen Routan.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Miser Brothers' Christmas

Remember Mr. Heat Miser and Snow Miser? There's a new spin-off film now.
"A Miser Brothers' Christmas" premiers tonight at 8/7c on ABC Family. This new original special stars Heat Miser and Snow Miser as they come together to save Christmas.

Friday, December 12, 2008

SmartShopper Review and Giveaway - Make a List (and Check it Twice)!


Routine activities like grocery shopping provide the perfect opportunity for kids to learn new words and encourage early reading skills. You can show them letters on food labels and have them help with the grocery list. Hmmm...grocery list. Handwritten ones are great, but there's even a better way to make that list. Have you heard of the SmartShopper?

The SmartShopper is an electronic grocery list maker that uses voice recognition technology. The handy gadget sticks magnetically to the fridge so that grocery items can be added to the list at anytime. By simply pressing the record button and speaking the item's name, your list is easily updated, organized and always available. And, when you are ready to go shopping, the SmartShopper prints out your list, arranged into shopping categories to help make your shopping experience more efficient.



In this economy, one of the best ways to save money on groceries is to create an organized shopping list. The SmartShopper is perfect for me because it is readily available right in my kitchen and provides a fun, organized way of keeping track of my grocery items.

Here are my favorite features:
Mounts magnetically to refrigerator or also has wall-mount option
• Uses four standard AA batteries (not some strange, expensive type)
• Comes built with 2,500 Pre-loaded standard items in the "library"
• You are easily able to add your own custom items
• The coupon flagging feature marks items you want to buy using a coupon
• At print-out it organizes items into categories like dairy and health & beauty
• You can maintain multiple lists for different stores

Like any gadget, it does have a few quirks. The voice recognition works best if used in a quiet location without a lot of background noise. The items that are stored in the library vary. Sometimes brand names are included, like Coke and Pepsi but sometimes you must use a generic label like diapers (instead of Pampers or Huggies.) I was surprised the library didn't include a few standard items in my kitchen like freezer paper or cooking sherry (it uses the term cooking wine instead) although those were easy enough to add myself.

While the device is great as is, it would be amazing if it included a computer interface so that you could add items to the library using the computer and print lists from your computer, a cheaper way than buying the special paper rolls. One of my friends would also love to see a way for it to print pictures along with the food so that young kids could follow the list at the store. I'd also like to see rechargeable batteries included with the product or some sort of solar power used. Maybe we'll see some features like these added in the future?

This time of year Santa is making his list and checking it twice. Wonder what he'd think of the SmartShopper gadget? It's probably already on his own personal wish list! Is it on yours? What a great way to start the new year off with a little organization!

Order your SmartShopper today for only $79.99! Use the exclusive promo code: PW59391 until December 31 to receive $5 off your order. Also, all orders placed between now and December 31 will receive free ground shipping (although be sure to order before December 18, if you want the SmartShopper by Christmas).


Related links I found about SmartShopper and a few bonus tips for grocery shopping with kids:
SmartShopper on Rachel Ray
PBS Kids - Quick Tips at the Grocery Store
Disney Family Parenting - Grocery Shopping With Young Kids


Win it! SmartShopper has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. One (1) of my readers will receive their own SmartShopper!

To enter, leave a comment letting me know what you think you'd like best about SmartShopper.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter and tweet about the contest.

Full to the Brim Kid's Book Giveaway List (12/12/08)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Brimful Curiosities - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle
Brimful Curiosities - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 12/16/08
Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Holly Hobbie


Momma Findings - Poingo Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Poingo reading system
The Full Mommy - Book/Lovey Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Nana Star and the Moonman and a Moonman Lovey
Babylune - Book Giveaway Ends 12/14/08
Whistle on the Train by Margaret McNamara & Richard Egielski
Mommmies with Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 12/14/08
The Christmas Lights Mystery
Berrie Sweet Picks - Life's Building Blocks Giveaway Ends 12/12/08
Zaki, one set of Spruce Street Six Chapter Books, and one set of activity books
Just a Mom's Take on Things - Giveaway Ends 12/18/08
Christopher Pop-In-Kins Doll and Book Set
Momma in Flip Flops2 - Book/Doll Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Nana Star posable doll, Moonman lovey and the Nana Star books
Ekidsview - Book Giveaway Ends 12/12/08
The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Days like These - Poingo Giveaway Ends 12/15/09
Poingo starter set
Ohana Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 12/12/08
VW giveaway including Book: Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields
Freebies 4 Mom - Teen Book Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
Chalice by Robin McKinley
Freebies 4 Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 12/17/08
Yellowbelly and Plum Go To School by Nathan Hale and Bean Thirteen by Matthew McElligott and $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate
Eternal Perspectives - Book Giveaway Ends 12/26/08
Tell Me About Heaven by Randy Alcorn
Books Ahoy! - Book Giveaway Ends 12/16/08
Snow Valley Heroes, A Christmas Tale by Robert McCarty
Chief Family Officer - Book Giveaway Ends 12/16/08
The Little Penguin by A.J. Wood
Metropolitan Mama - Giveaway Ends 12/15/08
“Peanuts Prize Pack” with a DVD, A Charlie Brown Christmas Hardcover Book, AND a tee

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some of the Best Kid's Books and CDs for 2008

It's the time of the year when the "best of" lists start popping up all over. Here are a couple I have stumbled upon lately. If you are looking for a good read or listen, chances are you'll find something in one of these lists!

NPR: The Year In Music For Kids (And Moms, And Dads)
Kathy O’Connell of WXPN lists her top 10 favorite CDs of 2008
Her top pick? Artist: Trout Fishing in America with album: Big Round World

Horn Book Fanfare Best books of 2008
The Horn Book Magazine's list of the best 2008 picture books, fiction and non-fiction for children and young adults.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - The Case of the Headless Snowman



This is what happens when you let your children play with the Christmas decorations. We've been missing one of the snowman's heads since last Christmas on our wooden nesting doll set (the Russian word is matryoshka).


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas - Book Review & Giveaway

I really, really need to start writing out my Christmas cards. A couple of years ago, I found a few boxes of Christmas cards illustrated by Holly Hobbie to send out. I love her adorable illustrations and all of her books. This Christmas, though, it looks like I could use Puddle's help (from the Toot & Puddle picture books) to get my cards out in time!

In Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas, Puddle is home in Woodcock Pocket trying to prepare for Christmas without Toot. Christmas is only a couple days away and poor Toot's flight home is delayed in Edinburgh because of an ice storm. Puddle writes out the Christmas cards but can't mail them without Toot's signature. He bakes and brings home a Christmas tree, all the while worrying that Toot won't make it home for Christmas. When Toot's flight finally lands, heavy snows make it nearly impossible to find his way home...that is until a lucky nut and a mysterious stranger help save the day.

As always, Holly Hobbie's watercolor illustrations steal the show. The winter snow scene pictures help set the holiday mood perfectly. I also adore the large, two-page airplane illustration where Toot is singing Jingle Bells. The back of the paperback book includes two punch-out Toot & Puddle ornaments to hang on your tree. Toot & Puddle fans will surely enjoy this book as well as all preschoolers though early grade school readers. This large-size, paperback reprint edition is printed on quality paper and would make an excellent holiday gift!

Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas by Hollie Hobbie. Little, Brown and Company (October 2008), 32 pages, ISBN 9780316033831

As a side note, if you are lucky enough to get the Noggin Channel, they started airing a new original animated series starring Toot & Puddle in November. Toot & Puddle follows a pair of best friends who travel the world and find adventure wherever they go. Tune in Sunday, 12/14/08 for "I'll Be Home for Christmas" @ 7PM ET.

Related links for Toot & Puddle printables, games and more:
Noggin's Toot & Puddle TV series site
National Geographic's Toot & Puddle site



Win your own paperback copy! Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has kindly offered to sponsor a giveaway. Five (5) winners will receive a copy of Toot & Puddle: I'll Be Home for Christmas.

To enter, let me know the title of your favorite Christmas or snow related children's book in the comment section.

• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Tuesday, December 16, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter and tweet about the contest.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Lands' End and Moon Shines Down Winners!

Thanks for all the comments on two of my recent contests. I have a few other contests still open yet. Please take time to enter them as well! And now the winners:


Huge Lands' End Review and Giveaway Ends 12/8/08

The winner chosen by random.org is Beth with Comment #2. Congrats!



The Moon Shines Down Book Review and Giveaway Ends 12/8/08

The three winners of The Moon Shines Down Book Giveaway as chosen by random.org are:
nanja (Comment #10), piece of me (Comment #15), and Brandy P (Comment #40)
Congrats to you as well!



The winners have been notified and have 72 hours to contact me. Thanks and keep the comments coming! Janelle - Brimful Curiosities

Kohl's - The 25 Deals of Christmas

Kohl's is a great Wisconsin-based company. Check out their 25 Deals of Christmas. A new deal is revealed every day! Grab this for your blog and keep up with each new deal. Thank you to The Full Mommy for mentioning the widget. Enter her contest to win a $25 Gift Card to Kohl's.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Toys ‘R’ Us "Hot Holiday Toy Giveaway"


Toys ‘R’ Us has a "Hot Holiday Toy Giveaway" sweepstakes promotion going on from Friday, December 5, 2008 to Sunday, December 14, 2008 (ends 11:59:59 PM ET). You can play once per day and will will receive one (1) Sweepstakes entry and one (1) Instant Win Game Play. Tell-a-friend at the end of the instant win game and you will receive up to (5) extra sweepstakes entries.

A total of four hundred (400) Instant Win Game Prizes will be awarded during the Promotion Period.

The Sweepstakes Grand Prize package includes the Top 10 Hottest Toys for the season: One (1) of each of the following: Step2 50's Diner, Thomas & Friends - Thomas Talking Railway - The Great Discovery Train Set, Thomas Wooden Railway Grow-With-Me Playtable, Power Wheels Toddler Fire Truck, Vtech Touch Tablet Pearl Ice, Meade 114mm Equatorial Reflector Telescope, First Act 7 Piece Designer Drum Set, Hasbro Nerf N Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster – Yellow, Lily Castle and FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin' Pup.

Cole Family Christmas - Book Review and Giveaway


"Ruble studied the round package carefully ... She hadn't really expected to receive the expensive, store-bought doll for Christmas, and now she understood that she didn't need it. Looking around at the smiling faces of her family as they waited for her to open her gift, she realized she was already perfectly happy." - Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle

Nine children, one snowy Christmas, a goat named Hilda and two loving parents are the subjects in Cole Family Christmas, the perfect story to read-aloud and enjoy together as a family this Christmas. Based on actual events, the heartwarming story is set in the year 1920 in a small Kentucky mining town called Benham. Times are a little tough but love pulls the large mining family together one Christmas. Though they live a simple, non-extravagant life, the children still excitedly prepare for Christmas by paging through the Sears catalogue wish book and writing letters to Santa. They joyfully attend the company Christmas party, a very special event filled with festivities like singing and eating a big feast. But, Christmas doesn't go off exactly as planned. A bitter snowstorm changes everything, and the children learn that the best gifts aren't always the ones we ask for.

Reading the Cole Family Christmas is like combing for treasures in a beloved antique store. Images of times past are brought to life in the book's wonderful, descriptive passages and in the beautiful illustrations by Jenniffer Julich. Based on family members' recollections, the story was written down on paper by two amazing women, Hazel Cole Kendle (the youngest member of the Cole family) and Jennifer Liu Bryan, her granddaughter-in-law. The story is told through the eyes of Hazel's sister, Ruble, who was the storyteller of their family. Though the story takes place nearly a century ago, the poignant message still rings true today, particularly in this difficult economy we are currently experiencing. The nine-chapter book is marketed for children ages 9 to 12, but it works as a read-aloud for younger children. I plan on sharing the story with my own grandparents. They grew up during similar times and will have a special appreciation for the events described in the book.

Because I grew up in an area with a rich mining history, I especially enjoyed reading about the life and struggles that the mining families faced. Additionally, as a mother, I appreciated the strength and patience shown by Mama Cole. I also have a great interest in genealogy and preserving family legacies. After reading Cole Family Christmas hopefully others, like me, will be encouraged to record and discuss their own family histories. Create some new memories this Christmas by reading this wonderful book with your family and then take the time to write down and preserve one of your own special stories!

Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan with Hazel Cole Kendle, illustrated by Jenniffer Julich. Next Chapter Press (September 2008), 74 pages, ISBN 9780981626505

Related links:
colefamily-christmas.com - The Cole Family Christmas website features reviews, Christmas tag printables, news and events, and information on the authors.
ReadAloud.org - Hilda, the goat from Cole Family Christmas is the "spokesgoat" for ReadAloud.org. Learn more about Hilda and the Read Aloud Campaign on the website.


Win a copy! Next Chapter Press has kindly sent me one (1) hardcover copy of Cole Family Christmas, to give away to one of my readers.

To enter, visit ReadAloud.org and leave a comment here telling me the title of one book you personally like to read-aloud.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, December 15, 2008 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.
Two ways to gain extra entries:
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.