Weird But True: Halloween -- Fun Facts about Halloween with free printable


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Can you believe October starts tomorrow? October has been a bit of a dreaded month in our house. Since a young age Hazel has hated the scary and gory Halloween decorations and costumes. It got so bad I couldn't take her into stores with me in October. Last year she decided she no longer wanted to trick-or-treat. She use to love dressing up for trick-or-treating but now is getting older and not caring. Little does she know that there was a time where Halloween decorations included cupids to encourage romance. In fact Halloween was associated with love and romance. Yes, this is one of the weird facts I learned from National Geographic Kids Weird But True: Halloween by Julie Beer and Michelle Harris. 

Black Authors -- #blacklivesmatter Series


Today we return to your Black Lives Matter Series. I am working through a list of Black people that some of my Black teacher friends suggested everyone should know. Today I am going to focus on three famous Black authors that my friends added to the list: James Baldwin, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Toni Morrison.

DIY 1980's Doll Accessories -- A Crafty Sunday


Have you seen her yet? American Girl has come out with a new doll and she is from the 1980's. Her name is Courtney and I think I am in love. After all I'm an 80's girl. Although I'm not as in love with the actual doll (at least from photos) I love her outfits and accessories. I turned ten in 1980, so the 80s represent my teen years. I remember the neon, off-the-shoulder, leggings, legwarmers, rubber bracelets, walkman, denim, and scrunchies. Plus the Pac Man and Lisa Frank and rainbows. American Girl also added the Care Bears but I was a bit old for them. I decided to try to create some of the accessories for Hazel's dolls. 

New Latinx Books for Hispanic Heritage Month


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

September 15 through October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. September 15th is also Mexico's Independence Day. This year I am seeing the word Latinx being used a lot and wanted to see how it was different from Hispanic and Latino/a. Latinx is a nongender word to use instead of Latino or Latina. It is a word that is mostly used by young women according to this article I found. The article says one in four Latinos have heard the word but only 3% use it. Have you seen it around this year?

Creating a Happy Place in Your Home


Disclosure: Artsy Couture sent me this metal print in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

With so many of the schools starting back up remotely this year, it is important for you to have your own happy place at home. Whether you are working from home or are a stay-at-home mom like me, you need a space that is yours for when you need some quiet time, alone time or just a place to bring you up a bit when you are down. I created one for myself over the summer. I have shared bits and pieces of it with you but want to share some of the things I find important in it. My space is a corner of our family room. Our family room is a room with lots of windows that looks out upon our backyard and thus my bird feeders. I find watching my outdoor critters so relaxing so this is why I chose this space. Steve helped me move the furniture around so I have two comfortable chairs facing the windows. We actually switched one of the chairs to the glider we had in Hazel's nursery. It is so comfortable and has become my chair now. One of the chairs has an ottoman so that is there. I also put a small folding tv tray table to put drinks and things on. Now it has our collection of gel pens in case I want to color. 

Besides the furniture I have decorated my happy place corner. I had a pillow made that literally says "This is My Happy Place." I have family photos as well as picture to remind me "Prayers & Love over worry & fear." I have sayings about love and life. My latest addition however is a beautiful metal print of my other happy place--my family vacation home on Cape Cod. This is the house my grandparents built and I spent most of my school vacations visiting when I was young. I took a photo of Hazel looking out over the marsh from the deck of the house. This is truly a happy place of mine. I love sitting on the deck and watching the animals and enjoying the breeze.

Since it is a metal print, it has a bit of glare and reflection issue when photographing it. However, I LOVE it!! The print is absolutely beautiful in person. I love sitting in my glider and looking at it. I can almost smell the marsh and feel the breeze. I definitely begin to breathe a bit slower and feel my body relax. It is a peaceful place and a wonderful reminder of it. Plus usually I am at it with my family: Steve and Hazel as well as my parents and my sisters and nephew. It is a place where there is love and where I know I am loved. This print has all of that in it as well as just being beautiful for others to see. 

I have had other metal prints made. I had a sunset print for my parents since they moved out of this house with the beautiful sunsets. I had scenic prints made to decorate the house we now rent out. I also have canvases and prints of family photos and memories from vacations. This is the first time I made one for me to remind me of a peaceful place that makes me relax and be calm. I love what it does for me. 

As we proceed through these strange times of social distance think about what makes you happy. Grab a photo of that place or memory and get a print made. Create your own happy space in your home. We all need one these days!

Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- Learn how she touched all of our lives


Today instead of doing a Black Lives Matter post I thought I would share a bit about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her death Friday night really affected me even though I have never met the woman. Her death brings about all sorts of unknowns for our country and how we go forward will make a difference. However worrying about things I cannot control like how the politicians will respond to her death so close to the election will not help me and I want to show my respect to this amazing American hero. Do you know much about Ruth Bader Ginsburg? 

Learning about the United States with the New National Geographic Kids United States Atlases


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Schools are starting back up and so are homeschools. This has been a crazy year for schools. Most of my friends' children are still doing remote learning. Hazel is back in the physical school and the school is doing a great job keeping them social distant as much as possible. Hazel has told me she sometimes forgets she is even wearing her mask. I have not gotten to that point but I don't wear one for the entire day. Today I thought I would look at some educational books and lessons. I have the latest editions of the National Geographic Kids United States Atlases and I want to share them with you, give you some ways of using them and also have a round-up of map activities and lessons. Are you ready? First we will look at the Beginner's United States Atlas

Personalized Books for Boys, Girls, Teens and Adults -- Early Holiday Shopping!


Disclosure: In The Book sent me these three personalized books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. 

This year everything seems weird. I know many products are delayed quite a bit lately if they are not American made. I always begin my holiday shopping early and have begun quite a bit of it. One of my favorite things to give kids is personalized books. Kids love seeing their names and photos in books. This year In The Book Published by Signature reached out to see if I would be interested in doing a review. I checked out their site and was very interested. They have something for everyone!! There are books for boys and girls of all ages. There are books for teens and sport lovers. There are even books for adults including newlyweds!! I love the personalized anniversary books. A friend gave me an anniversary book at my bridal shower. We love it. Having it personalized would be even more special!

The True Story of Zippy Chippy -- Picture Book Review with Horse Craft & Activity Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

We have all heard of the little engine that could, but have you heard of the little horse that couldn't? Today I get to share with you a picture book about Zippy Chippy, the little horse that couldn't. The book is called The True Story of Zippy Chippy: The Little Horse that Couldn't by Artie Bennett and illustrated by Dave Szalay. 

This Is My America -- #blacklivesmatter Novel Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

After George Floyd's murder there was a cry from white people to find resources to educate themselves about how the Black people in our country are feeling. That cry seems to have calmed down but now is the time that it is even more important to step up and keep the movement moving. And please note I am not saying the rioting, violence and looting is appropriate. That to me is not part of the movement but some other organizations or sick individuals who want to cause trouble more than awareness. I have no problem with the protests as long as they remain peaceful. I also support our police but not the ones who have stepped beyond the boundaries so they think they have the power to kill or be violent to someone because of their skin color. That said today I am going to share a young adult novel with you that is eye-opening to me, a white person. Now I have gone through many diversity trainings and advised diversity clubs, so I have some experience and views into life as a different race but today's novel takes me farther and really helps me understand the life many of the Black people in America are facing today. I will be completely honest, I have not finished the novel. I was going to wait to review it until I finished it but I honestly just can't wait to tell you about it. It is that good and that powerful! I am just past half way through the book. The novel is This Is My America by Kim Johnson.

Quilt Décor to get ready for the change of seasons


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. The links are affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made through them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

The weather here is beginning to change. Hazel is back at school and I feel fall coming. Do you decorate for the different seasons? Since September is National Sewing Month, I promised myself to share some of my sewing books that I need to review. Since all the sewing I have done is on the quilt that I reviewed last week (and making more masks for Hazel to go back to school), I decided to review one that I won't be actually making. Today I am going to share Wintertime Shimmer Quilt and Table Runner by Jennifer Sampou. Now I am not trying to rush the seasons. I love fall and am going to make some suggestions to change these patterns for different seasons. The photos however are from the book so they are about winter. I am not making these because my digital review copy did not come with the pattern pages so I don't actually have the patterns to try them.

The Moon and the Sun -- Fun Facts, Books and Craft & Activity Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.

I have some fun books sitting on my review shelf. One is about the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year (2020) Mid-Autumn Festival is October 1st. Then I received a cute book about the sun and moon for younger kids. And finally I am sharing the new National Geographic Kids Almanac 2021 because of course it has something about the sun and moon. It has something about everything! As I was thinking about these books I thought it would be fun to share a bit about the moon and sun as well as some crafts and activities to go with them. 

My Life in the Fish Tank -- Book Review and Teen Mental Health Resource Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Do you know that 50% of mental illness start by age 14 and 75% by age 24? (Source) How about approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffer from mental health issues?  That's about 43.8 million people and nearly 40% of them do not seek any treatment or help. (Source) And then add in the pandemic and how things have gotten worse for people's mental health. There is a lot going on here. There is a stigma around mental health issues. People don't like to talk about it and many don't want to get treatment for it in fear of being shamed. It is something we need to talk about and we need to educate the next generation about it and what resources there are to help with treatment so we do not continue this stigma. Let's face just about everyone would take medicine for diabetes or cancer, but many people are ashamed to take antidepressants or antianxiety medicines or even seek therapy. Today's novel is about one middle school girl and her family's experience with a bipolar disorder in the family. The book is My Life in the Fish Tank by Barbara Dee. It is being released next week! (We have also had the pleasure of reviewing another of Barbara Dee's books which we categorized as a must read for all middle schools.)

A Place Inside of Me -- #blacklivesmatter


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

It is Labor Day, a day for rest. I have been taking this weekend off somewhat so I can get Hazel ready for the new school year. It begins tomorrow and she is going back in person. After being home for six months it is a hard transition. But I wanted to continue our Black Lives Matter Series. Today's post will be different. I have had this book to review that is a poem meant to heal the heart from all the riots, hatred and wrongs going on in the world these days. As a white person I find it powerful to read and get a glimpse into what my Black friends are experiencing. I have been trying to figure out how I wanted to share this book with you. It is powerful yet simple. I knew I didn't want to group it in without picture books, because its message is too important. So here it is, A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott and illustrated by Noa Denmon. 

Sensational Quilts for Scrap Lovers -- Crafty Sundays Review


Disclosure: I was sent a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. The links are affiliate links where I will receive a small percentage of any purchases made through them at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting Crafty Moms Share!

September is National Sewing Month. I have been sewing away this past week. I had to make some more masks for Hazel to take to school and I have been working on a quilt. The quilt instructions I found in Sensational Quilt for Scrap Lovers by Judith Gauthier. 

The Benefits of Doing a Puzzle and a Puzzle Review


Disclosure: I was sent this puzzle in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Are you a puzzle person? As the country shut down the sales of puzzles went up. In fact there was a puzzle shortage back in April. Puzzle manufacturers could not keep up. One company said that in one day in March they sold more than they sold in the entire month of December. (Source) I have always loved puzzles. However when Hazel was younger I often had Steve do them with her. She found out why a few years ago at my parents condo building. I become a little obsessed with the puzzle and will stay working on it for hours and hours and not go to bed because I want to find one more piece. My focus is completely on the puzzle and not much else. However we have started to do more puzzles as a family. Or at least they will help me a bit with puzzles now. I shared a new puzzle awhile ago as one of our stay-cation activities. (Which Hazel has found 1 of our missing pieces--under the chair cushion. Now we are just missing 1 piece. I know it will turn up.) Today I am going to share another, but before I do I thought it would be fun to look at some of the benefits of doing a jigsaw puzzle!

Back to School Picture Books


Disclosure: I was sent copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Back to school is going to look very different this year. Many schools are doing remote only. Some are doing a hybrid model and others are opening back up but with masks and social distancing. The decision on parents and teachers is a hard one. The kids will do better in person but what if someone gets Covid? Hazel's school is offering the choice of everything inbetween. Each day we can choose to keep her home to learn remotely or bring her into school. Since it is a small school and they did eight weeks of summer camp without anyone getting sick, we have decided to send her in person. Today we are preparing for her new student orientation. Since it is a new school and a strange year our anxieties are high. It reminds me of the years where many of the books I am sharing would have been helpful. As the school year begins teachers and parents turn to creative books to help put kids at ease. Today I am going to share some new ones of those as well as some books to help younger kids begin learning concepts. We will start with a book about getting to school on the bus and first time fears.