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11 Children’s Gifts For Your Kiddos

Holiday Gift Guides - Tales of a Peanut 2015

Today’s edition of our gift guides is all about the kids. Whether they’re infants or older, there’s a little something for everyone here. And if you missed yesterdays, you can always check it out in the Gift Guides category.

11 Childrens Gifts For Your Trendy Kiddos - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

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BeMoShe - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

I Am Your Wild tee – BeMoShe – $24

This gray shirt will quickly become a go-to favorite for your children ages 2-6. Screen printed by hand on comfy American Apparel tee’s, each shirt will vary slightly making them more special. And reminding your child that it’s ok to be a little wild is probably a good reminder in this day. Whether you’re encouraging your child to get outdoors and explore or reassuring them that you don’t expect them to sit still all day every day, this shirt will be pulled from the laundry basket as soon as it’s clean each and every laundry day.

Perfectly Crafted by T - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Blue and Gray Argyle Bowtie – Perfectly Crafted By T – $8

This shop has lots of cute designs that can be made into either a bowtie or a bow. I love how easy it would be to get all of your kids matching with this shop! I’m a sucker for argyle and blue and gray is one of my favorite combo’s so choosing this design was a no brainer for me.

Toluka Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

MASH Pad – Toluka Paper – $15.50

When I was in middle school we spent a lot of paper writing out MASH games. I can’t even image how many we would have gone through if we had a notepad ready to fill in! The designs from Toluka Paper are old-school and I love the bright colors and retro feel. (Although I don’t love so much that my time growing up now feels like a retro time period.) This 8×8″ notepad would be a great stocking stuffer for a pre-teen and would help you show them what we did before screens were everywhere.

Ally B Designs - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Shine Bright Like The Stars Hooded Tee – Ally B Designs – $25

For the trendy kiddo, this hooded tee would be the perfect gift. It would work for boys or girls without sacrificing style for either one. And I love that it has a hoodie that you can pull up over their sweet heads if you get outside without remembering how blustery the winter wind can be. And as a bonus, $2 of every purchase is donated to a children’s charity and for November and December that charity is Make A Wish!

Jesus Loves Ice #TOAPGiftGuide

Jesus Loves Print – Tales of a Peanut – $12+

Not only do I like to surround my house with beautiful prints to remind me of Biblical truths but I like to include them in my children’s rooms as well. That’s why I love this print so much. It personalizes a very popular children’s story to remind them how personal Jesus’ love is for them. And it can be customized to match any decor which makes it pretty much perfect.

Strawberry Mommycakes - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts – Strawberry Mommycakes – $22.50

If your kids are a little old for the Shine Bright tee then these Grunge Fairy Tale Shirts might be the perfect fit. With designs that are a little rough around the edges, these shirts will make your child smile. And in sizes 2-12 and on super soft American Apparel shirts, these will be come their favorites in no time. PS Erin also has onesies in this line as well if your kiddo isn’t quite to the t-shirt stage.
miniPeanuts Plate Flutter #TOAPGiftGuide

Flutter Plate – miniPeanuts – $25

My kids love these durable plates and we celebrate special occasions with one designed just for them. As they set the table each night they love hearing the story behind each plate. This Flutter design is one of my favorites due to its vibrant colors and gorgeous watercolor patterns. And since these plates are dishwasher, microwave, and even oven safe and are non-toxic they are the perfect plate to let kids eat off of.

Pink Peppermint Paper - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Preppy Paddle Out – Pink Peppermint Paper – $1.99

It might be early to be thinking of summer camps, but these postcards would make great stocking stuffers for your older kids. Especially if you’re gifting them with a trip to camp this summer for Christmas! The postcards limit the space your child will be required to write (which they’ll appreciate) and you’ll appreciate receiving mail while they’re away.

Lysa TerKeurst - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

Win or Lose I Love You – Lysa TerKeurst – $9.20

Lysa TerKeurst is a very popular writer in the women’s market but many might not know that she also writes fantastic children’s books. And her latest one, Win or Lose I Love You, will be perfect for my kids this Christmas. It’s message on how to handle winning and losing as well as reassurance that your love isn’t changed by the outcome will be a relief for kids to stick away in their minds for the future. Lisa’s books are beautifully illustrated and I love that they help bring about conversations with your kids in an organic way that doesn’t feel forced and that they can relate to.

Tales of a Peanut Placemat Robots #TOAPGiftGuide

Robots Placemat – miniPeanuts – $17

Laminated placemats have become my saving grace for the kitchen table. It’s infinitely easier to scrape dried milk or pasta sauce off of a placemat in the sink than it is to scrape it from the grooves of the table. Not that I would know anything about that, of course. With a large size (12×18″), a thick lamination (10 mil), the ability to personalize the designs, AND the choice of two different designs for the front and back, you’ll be glad that you got these for your kids.

Lionheart Prints - #TOAPGiftGuide 2015

The Snuggle Is Real – Lionheart Prints – $22

Many of you probably know Lionheart Prints for their irreverent prints and Yeaux Leaux collection, but Liz also has this adorable onesie that will encourage you to treasure those baby snuggles while you can. And with a screen printed onesie on a soft Rabbit Skins’ blue onesie this would be perfect for baby’s of any gender or a fun Christmas gift for the newly expectant Mama.

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There you have it. My favorite gifts for the kiddos in your life. I think that any of these items would make an excellent gift for kids of all ages. Think I missed something? See something you love? I’d love to know about! Let me know in the comments or join in the conversation on Instagram! And you can support all of these makers by buying in their shops or by sharing this post and their products on social media. Please use the buttons below to share on any (or all!) of your favorite social media channels!


7 Places to Find Free Books

When I was in college I would tell my parents that they should be thanking me because instead of spending their money on drinks I was spending it on books. To be honest, they might have preferred me to spend it on drinks given the frequency with which I visited the local bookstores. They probably thank their lucky stars that this was before the widespread use of eBooks came about!

After I graduated and started supporting my own book habit, I realized that I needed to make some changes. But it wasn’t until we had kids and I stopped working that my book purchases really took a hit. The bigger problem was that I still wanted to read! And, honestly, reading is one thing that really decompresses me.

So I’ve searched high and low to find the best ways to find quality books for free or very inexpensively. I rarely ever buy books for full price. The exceptions are authors that I absolutely have to read as soon as their books come out (Melanie Shankle, Sophie Hudson, and Erynn Mangum are some of those). For all others I wait until I can get the books for a reduced price or get gift cards for my birthday or Christmas and then I purchase. I’ve been asked where I find all the books, so today I wanted to share my favorite book resources.

7 Places to Find Free Books - Tales of a Peanut


BookBub sends you emails daily with lists of free and discount books. When you sign up (it’s free) you select genre’s that interest you and then they send you one book from the different sections daily. Sometimes the books are hit or miss or most are discounted but still more than I want to pay for an untested author, but I have found some real gems through their daily emails. I included children’s as one of my genre’s and I have gotten a lot of books for my kids through these emails. Kids books like that are great for travel!
The majority of my free book downloads come from this website. You can either receive notifications through Facebook or can sign up for their email on their website. They share an abundance of books of all types (fiction, non-fiction, devotions, etc). Because they are only dealing with Christian books they often notify me of more books than the Christian genre’s in BookBub. If you want to start in one place, this is the place I would start.
This group is more of a conversation focused group where people converse about books they’re reading, enjoying, feedback, etc. There are sometimes sale threads or shares related to free or discount books as well though. I’ve had great success pinging this group when I’m looking for a particular type of book and have a long list of authors that I’m waiting to try from recommendations from group members.
This site is run by publishers and gives you access to free books, often before they are available for purchase. There are a few caveats to this though.  One is that you must request the book from the publisher and get approved before you can read the book. Another is that you are receiving the book in exchange for an honest review to the publisher via a form on their site as well as a review on any or multiple platforms (Amazon, B&N, blog, etc). I don’t think that the review publicly is required but I would assume that it would influence your receipt of future books from the publisher. A third quirk is that you are often receiving books before the final edit has been completed so some have rampant typo’s or formatting issues. If you can look past this it’s a great place to receive quality books in basically any genre for free.
Another site that gives you free digital books in exchange for a review but this one is more geared towards bloggers. I signed up for this site but haven’t used it at all so I don’t know all the details or features about it, but if you want to devote some blog space to books this is a good place to look for free ones.
Your Local Library
Libraries are always a great source of free books but it can often be hard to find new releases or find time to get to the library. Our public library has a digital catalog as well as their print catalog and they allow you to “check out” digital books just like you check out printed books. Every library is going to be different but you should be able to find the information about this service on the library’s website and might not even have to go into the physical library to use the service.
An Author’s Social Media Platforms
I often get first notice of free or discounted books straight from authors. I follow some of my favorites on their social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, etc) and they are always quick to notify their fans of any sales or freebies that are coming up on their books. Plus, you get an inside look at their writing process so it’s a win-win!
I find books incredibly relaxing (even when I’m reading intense mysteries and drama’s) and love finding new ones to read. But, my budget doesn’t allow me to head to the bookstore very often and a lot of the free books that are out there if you just look through lists on sites like Amazon can be not very good reads. By using some of these resources I’ve been able to increase the quality of my reading material while also limiting my book related spending. I’d love to know about any other free or discounted book resources. Let me know in the comments how you find books to read!
Books, Charlotte, Entertaining, Gift Giving, Recipes, Shopping, TalesOfAPeanut


Currently Tales of a Peanut

Reading: I’m picking up Amy Poehler’s new book, Yes Please, at the library today and can’t wait to start reading it. I’m reading You’re Already Amazing by Holly Gerth as well. And books on my to be purchased with hopeful birthday money include: Nobody’s Cuter Than You, The Art of Work, Keep It Shut, The Forgotten Seamstress, and The Rosie Project.

Currently Reading Tales of a Peanut

Watching: Madame Secretary. I am loving Tea Leoni’s new show with her as Secretary of State. I feel like it’s very similar to The West Wing only with a female lead.

Working on: Getting all my products listed in my own shop! If you read this in a reader you probably haven’t seen the redesign of our site. Katrina Martin at Riot Customs worked with me to implement my vision for Tales of a Peanut and the result is better than anything I could have hoped for. I haven’t talked about the redesign though because I’m still working on getting my shop set up. I’ve got some products listed and I wanted to share it with you now even though it’s still a work in progress. I’ll do a more in depth post on all the changes soon but come check out the new look and the new shop (I’m still on Etsy as well) if you haven’t seen it yet!

Tales of a Peanut Children's Plates

Planning: Hadley’s first birthday party. It’s hard to believe it’s that time but I sent her invitations to the printer yesterday. I’m doing a strawberry theme and now that I say that remember that I’ve got to get on ordering her cake! Here’s a sneak peek of her invite.

Strawberry Birthday Invitation Sneak Peek - Tales of a Peanut

Looking back and reflecting on: Charlotte at 11 months since Hadley will turn 11 months tomorrow. These girls look almost identical.

Charlotte 11 months

Cooking: Strawberry Oatmeal Bars from The Pioneer Woman. Red put this recipe in the back of her book, Charlie Goes to School, and so the kids and I have been saying that we were going to make them for months. We finally got around to them this week and they are fantastic. The kids love them plain for a small dessert but Jason and I might have been adding some vanilla ice cream and heating them for dessert after the kids go to bed. Very tasty!

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Wishing for: Courtney DeFeo’s Conversation Cups, a gift card for Athleta so I can by some new swimsuits and cover ups, some new slippers, and some new flip flops!

Conversation Cups Lil Light O Mine

Eating: Raisin Bran Crunch. It’s really good y’all and my choice for breakfast these days.

Raisin Bran Crunch

So, what are you currently doing, loving, reading, eating… these days? I’d love to know and check it out!


Books, Gift Giving, Kid Activities, Parenting, Personal

Friday Peanuts

Friday Peanuts

Well, I managed to finally get Hadley’s four month post and James’ three year post up last night. Other than that I’ve still been a scarce blogger. I’m not sure why other than that most days I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ll quit saying that I’m going to blog more next week but I am getting close to post 1500 so maybe I’ll do a giveaway then. Any suggestions on what to give??

On to random thoughts.

– I mentioned in Hadley’s post that I’ve given up on cloth diapers for the moment. It’s true. They kept leaking, spraying out newborn dirty diapers is no fun, and they were so bulky on her. I was using bumGenius Freetime’s (all in one’s, one size). I got discouraged and over the extra laundry and decided to wait until we were changing less diapers and I had time to try out a few other kinds. In good news, the cloth wipes are still going strong!

Do Not Sass Talk Your Mother – possibly one of the best parenting discipline ideas for teens that I’ve ever heard. Someone please remind me of this in a few years!

– IF:Pray was this week and even though I didn’t get to participate in real time, I greatly benefited from the tweets going out. If you want to join in a movement that is determined to start a revival in our church then join this one. It’s full of Christ-centered women encouraging and empowering others.

– I love this mother/son shot. Hoping to recreate it with my boy at our next session with the fabulous Erin Cobb!

– I’ve been listening to The Afters’ Life Is Beautiful album recently and can’t get enough of it. If you want upbeat music with a positive message this is a great band.

– I just finished Hello From the Gillespies and absolutely loved it. It was a very interesting read with lots of twists and turns. And with the Christmas card season coming a book set up by a Christmas card letter disaster is perfect to get me ready!

– Speaking of Christmas, I’ve been shopping for a while now but need some ideas for James now that his birthday is over. He’s got tons of trains although he’d probably love a few more. Other than books I don’t have a lot of ideas for him. Any great 3 year old present ideas?

– One thing that I’m thinking about for Christmas is the new preschool themed Koala Crate from Kiwi Crate. Charlotte has always loved hers and these might be fun for Charlotte. If you’ve got older kids they have also started Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate for those 9+. They look awesome!

– And as for my Christmas list? I’m thinking that Smoothie’s would be a good thing to start with the kids for snacks and want a Smoothie cookbook. If you have one that you love please let me know!

Have a great weekend!

*Some links are affiliate links. Please see my link/review disclosures for more information.




Friday Peanuts – Children’s Books

It can sometimes be difficult for me to read the same book over and over and over again to my kids. They seem to get fixated on a book and want to read it until it’s falling apart. I know that those who should know say that the repetition is good for their little brains and I’m so thankful for that. But when I’ve read the same book five times in a row five days in a row I need a break. I’ve got a Pinterest board for children’s books that I reference when I’m looking for new purchases. But in case you want the high notes for me today here are some of our current favorites. Some of these links are affiliate links and you can check out all the details in my link/review disclosure.

Favorite Books for Two Year Old Boys

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Goodnight Baseball by Michael Dahl

This rhyming book is perfect for little boys.  It has brightly colored pictures that keep him interested and mentions all of his favorite parts of a baseball game.  It’s one of James’ current favorites.

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Bigger Digger by Steve Webb

I got this through the school book order and it has become a repeat request from James and Charlotte.  The biggest downside? It’s very difficult to read because of all the tongue twisters! But that just makes it even more fun for the kids to see Mommy sound silly.

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What’s Wrong, Little Pookie? by Sandra Boynton

I have always been a big Sandra Boynton fan and have even mentioned her personalized books before.  This is one of James’ current favorites of hers although we read a different one every week or two.  They’re great at rhyming, short, and easy to read with fun subjects and illustrations.  Plus, they’re small board books so they’re perfect to stick in my purse or take in the care to keep him occupied while we’re out of the house.

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A Crack in the Track (Thomas & Friends)

James is all about Thomas and he loves the Thomas books that he has.  This just happens to be one that we have and read often, but he enjoys all of them.  They’re longer so your child needs to be interested to stay still during them but they’re good reading and a good compromise when he wants to watch Thomas and I don’t want him to watch tv.

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Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin

Char Char brought this book back from California and the kids are constantly looking through it.  It’s a hilarious story about how dragons love tacos but with one big caveat…they don’t like spicy salsa!  My one problem with this book is that it uses the word “hate” when describing that the dragons don’t love spicy salsa which I try and keep out of my kids vocabulary.  Not a big deal (and seems even less of one when I type it) but it’s something that I wish it didn’t have in it.

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Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

The Little Blue Truck books are big hits at our house.  They teach good morals (helping others, being friends, taking turns) and personify the truck to really draw a child in.  The rhymes are cute and the illustrations and interesting as well.

Favorite Books for Five Year Old Girls

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Frozen Little Golden Book

It shouldn’t surprise you that we own literally every Frozen book for 5-ish year olds that I’ve seen.  Charlotte’s birthday was a Frozen-palooza.  She loves looking through the various books but especially loves the Frozen Little Golden book since it goes through the whole story.  But, be forewarned, it’s long and she’ll want to read it every night!

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Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet by Jane O’Connor

Charlotte had gotten out of Fancy Nancy but it appears that she’s loving her again.  I love the beautiful, fun, and interesting illustrations in these books.  The stories themselves are also always compelling and teach a lesson.  This is one of Charlotte’s current favorites since she was a Mermaid for her dance recital this year, but they’re all wonderful.

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Young Frank, Architect by Frank Viva

This is another one that Charlie brought home from California as a surprise and I wasn’t sure that it was going to be a hit looking at the cover since it doesn’t scream “fun” with bright colors like most books the kids have do.  But she and James both like reading it and I think have learned a lot from it.  Honestly, James picks it at night almost as much as Charlotte.  I like what it teaches them about architecture and history and gets them thinking about how they can use everyday things (like cookies) to make buildings or chairs.

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Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

We only have a few Splat books but both kids love hearing about his antics.  He’s a funny little cat who seems to have some of the same worries and fears that all children do.

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Ladybug Girl at the Beach by David Soman

Like Fancy Nancy, Charlotte has recently re-picked up Ladybug Girl.  The illustrations are beautiful and I love the stories that are told.  This one especially is a favorite because it focuses on a fear of Charlottes, the ocean.  We’ll be reading it a lot in the run up to our beach trip this fall.


I also always love to add new books to our collection so let me know your favorites, especially those for early elementary age kids and early readers as those are the books that I’m most looking for right now!

Books, Personal

Friday Peanuts – Books, Books, Books

Friday Peanuts

There’s only so much you can do when you’re up at 2 am nursing.  In order to keep myself awake I like to read.  Thus, I’ve read a lot of books in the last six weeks.  I thought I’d share my thoughts on some of them with you today.

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Irene Hannon – One Perfect Spring

One Perfect Spring by Irene Hannon

Haley Summers is 11 years old and writes a letter to a business that grants charitable requests to find her neighbors long lost son.  Many lives are changed as Keith Watson is tasked with the project.  A tale of discovery, romance against all odds, and a rekindling of their relationship with God, you will enjoy reading about Claire Summers, Keith Watson, Maureen Chandler, and David McMillan as their lives are drawn together through the search for Maureen’s son.

A compelling story that draws you in to the lives of the characters and entices you to continue reading.  This novel is very well written and invites the reader into the lives of the characters.  Addressing many common issues facing people today such as a distance from God and how relationships evolve this book with appeal to all ages of readers.

Publication date: May 6, 2014
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary
Setting: Present day St. Louis, Missouri 
Rating: A

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  I was not required to write a review nor was I instructed what to write. All opinions are my own.  Please see my link/review disclosures for more information.

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The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Theo Decker is 13 years old when he survives a harrowing incident in New York City that claims the life of his mother and leaves him in possession of a world famous painting.  Since his father abandoned he and his mother he stays with the wealthy family of one his friends until his father returns for him and takes him to his new life in Las Vegas.  As Theo ages he’s faced with many choices.  Grappling with his longing for his mother, an unfamiliar living situation, and an uncomfortable relationship with his father, Theo spirals into recklessness and heavy drug use.  And throughout it all his constant awareness of the stolen painting and what he should do with it lingers in his mind.

A coming of age novel that travels with Theo from his teenage years until adulthood, the reader is immediately drawn into Theo’s life and is immersed in his quest to understand his new life and adapt to living without his mother.  There is prevalent drug use throughout the novel as well as violence and occasional adult situations.  But this is a book that you won’t want to put down as you feel that you are right next to Theo as he navigates the underworld while maintaining relationships with those who have no knowledge of his unsavory associations.

Winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this novel is intriguing, captivating, disturbing, and melancholy.  If you’re looking for an uplifting coming of age novel this is not the novel for you.  But if you want to be entertained and transported to an unfamiliar reality then you should read The Goldfinch as soon as possible.

Publication date: October 22, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Setting: New York, Las Vegas, Europe
Rating: A

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No Dark Valley by Jamie Langston Turner

No Dark Valley  by Jamie Langston Turner

Celia Coleman faces the death of her grandmother and having to return to her grandmother’s hometown for the funeral and to take care of her estate.  Celia’s memories of the small Georgia town are not fond but as she spends time with her grandmother’s things she’s faced with the realization that she must come to terms with her and her grandmother’s past.  This includes finding answers to the questions about her grandmother’s Christian religion.

Bruce Healy lives with his sister and must face the ghosts of his promiscuous past as he tries to move forward in his new Christian faith.  As he encounters his next door neighbor Celia, can they find what they have in common or will the memories of their pasts force them to remain alone?

The first half of the book is told from Celia’s point of view and the second half from Bruce’s.  This was disconcerting to me as I was not expecting the change in narrator.  Despite that, the novel is captivating and insists that the reader confront any unresolved questions and fears that they have from the past.

Publication date: November 1, 2008
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary
Setting: South Carolina, Georgia
Rating: A-

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One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch

One Lavender Ribbon by Heather Burch

Adrienne Carter has found herself divorced and buys an old Victorian fixer-upper in Southern Florida to escape Chicago and the memories of her unhappy marriage.  During her renovations she finds a stack of letters tied with a lavender ribbon.  As she reads through the letters from a WWII solider to his girlfriend she is transported in time and drawn into the lives of the man and woman.

Adrienne sets out to find the owner of the letters and discovers new friends and a type of family that she’s never known before.  With the best of intentions she continues to make decisions motivated by the content of the letters and deals with the fallout when the solider’s grandson is not happy.  Adrienne’s quest to discover the origin of the love expressed in the letters  makes her reconsider her determination to never love again.

The novel is an epic romance that covers multiple generations and many obstacles.  The reader will find himself cheering on Adrienne even as her schemes seem a little unthought out and precarious.  This is a wonderful summer read.

Publication date: July 1, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
Setting: Southern Florida
Rating: A-