chitty chitty We love children’s classics and have been reading one after another the last few months. We’ve been through Pinocchio, Jungle Book, The Wizard of Oz, and a few others. Most recently we picked up Ian Fleming’s modern classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

This anniversary edition is beautiful with thick glossy paper, fun illustrations, and a “fooj” recipe at the very end (which we tried…YUM.)

I had never read this book before so we all experienced it together as a family for the first time and it was a huge hit. I read mostly during lunch time while the kids were eating – we’ve started doing this because otherwise lunch time becomes a sillifest and it drives me nutters.

We got through the story pretty quickly because even after they were finished eating they wanted me to keep reading. And after we finished, Elliot picked it up and read it again on his own. He’s 7 and in 2nd grade – I’m so proud of his love of reading!

Elliot’s favorite part of the book is when the Potts blow up Joe the Monster’s secret cave and Gus’s favorite part was when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang find the kidnapped children. Linus says his favorite part was also when they blew up the cave. Of course!

What a great story – perfect for all ages. We had 3, 5, 7, and 30 listening in and we all enjoyed it. Pick it up and read it, you’ll love it!

Before Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we read Kate DiCamillo’s Leroy Ninker Saddles Up. I enjoy all of her books and this was no exception.

leroy ninker

I particularly loved it was about a boy – there are so many wonderful books about girls and not so many about boys so we really appreciated this one.

It’s a cute story about Leroy Ninker, who we have read about in the Mercy Watson series, and who wants desperately to be a real cowboy. He’s got everything he needs…except a horse. He finds a unique horse full of character and quirks that he loves and all is well until…disaster strikes!

The book is a fun story about his adventure becoming a real cowboy and taking care of his horse. Some of our favorite Mercy Watson characters also make an appearance - Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and Mercy herself.

There are plenty of adorable illustrations, done by the same artist as Mercy Watson, and the writing is simple enough for a good 1st grader to read on his own at least.

Put these two fun reads on your list – you’ll love them!


9. Bohnanza

bohnanzaWe got this game for Christmas last year and have played it gobs of times since then.

It’s made by Rio Grande and they usually come out with pretty fun games but sometimes they’re very long, complicated, and require so much strategy to ever have hope of winning.


I love Bohnanza because it’s pretty simple – it’s a card game so there aren’t a million pieces to set up and figure out.


And he cards are efficient – the back of the deck is a graphic of a coin so when you harvest your bean fields for coins you use the back of the same card. It’s simple and efficient and smart.

Play is pretty easy to figure out – each player can have up to two bean fields. On each turn you must 1. Plant bean cards 2. Draw, trade & donate bean cards 3. Plant traded and donated beans and 4. Draw new bean cards.

Cards must stay in the same order they are drawn which adds an element of strategy. The more beans you collect of one variety, the more coins you earn for harvesting. And all varieties of beans have different value.

It’s a quick game to learn and play and even I can beat my strategy expert husband sometimes! It’s inexpensive at around $15 on Amazon.

10. Dodge Dice

dodge dice

This is a fast paced, simple game great for all ages. My 7 and 5 year old play and although they don’t always follow the rules exactly, they have fun.

The object of the game is to collect the fewest points. The dice include an Action Die, Penalty Die, and Dodge Dice.

dodge dice pieces

All the dice are rolled on the first die – the penalty die is set and is not rolled again until the first roll of the next round.

Whatever color dominates the dodge dice is the color you’ll want to collect. In my photo it was blue. Each player rolls all the remaining dies on their turn until 1. The Stop icon is rolled or 2. All the dodge dice are the same color. When one of those two things happens the round is over and the last player to roll collects the penalty points UNLESS he plays skip chips. Players can play one skip chip before their turn to skip their turn or two skip ships after their turn to ignore the results, even if they would otherwise end a round.


The game is over when the first player reaches 100 points.

It’s a simple, fun, and fast paced game great for kids and adults to play together. And it’s also inexpensive! That’s one of my favorite things about all these games – it’s less than $10 on Amazon.

And that’s it, our 10 favorite games. Happy holiday shopping!


Easy Pre-Cooked Chicken

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I just got my box of Zaycon chicken last week – 40 pounds of chicken with no added hormones, additives, or artificial ingredients, fresh from the processor. I’ve used my chicken in lots of different ways: canned – I love having canned chicken on hand, but I still have plenty from the last time flash […]

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I just pulled out my box of hats cause BRRRRRRR! It’s been cold here! We switched from beautiful fall to frigid winter overnight. I hates cold weather, but cute hats save the day. I made this one last winter and it’s one of my favorite – Another great pattern from ShanaGalbraith! Remember her? She’s the […]

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Top 10 Family Games EVERY Family Should OWN & PLAY OFTEN

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It’s finished! My list of TOP 10 Family Games is complete just in time for Christmas. Here you have 10 great gift ideas for players of ALL ages. They range in price from about $10 – $20 so completely affordable and so much better than all the much more expensive and far less entertaining toys. From the […]

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TOP 10 FAMILY GAMES #7 & 8: Wackee Golf & ZipIt

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We’ve been playing so many games together as a family recently and we’re not tired of it yet. We cycle through our 10 favorites and Gus and Elliot are getting pretty good at some of them! Our newest favorites are Wackee Golf, a simple but super fun card game, and Zipit, another great word game. […]

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*TUTORIAL* I Spy Economy Block

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  I’ve had a few things getting in the way of my craft time. Baby #4 (he doesn’t have a blog alias yet, coming up with his real name was hard enough…) and Homeschooling But I started to go a little crazy…again…and decided I needed to make something. I thought an I Spy quilt would take forever, […]

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Give stampanda

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We’ve been trying out all kinds of cool stuff lately – this is another perfect gift idea for Christmas, a personalized stamp from stampanda. I had such a hard time choosing a design. I love this and this and this. You can personalize each stamp to see exactly how it will look with all your […]

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4 Toys Amazon Missed

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Have you seen Amazon’s Holiday Toy Guide for this year? It’s pretty bad. I had to look for several minutes before I found something I would even consider buying for my kids. Most of it is noisy, plastic, electronic, or just plain junk. I’m not sure who is buying all that garbage when there are gobs of […]

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*BOOK OF THE WEEK* Sir Cumference and All the King’s Tens

Book Talk
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This week’s book is part of a series that is a new favorite of ours all about Math Adventures. I love the clever idea behind Sir Cumference (get it…Circumference??? As in the “the enclosing boundary of a curved geometric figure, especially a circle?” Ha!) There are 8 books in the series and they cover a […]

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