Children’s Book Signing in Pittsburgh: Papa’s New Home


Book Review: Papa's New Home by Jessica Lynn Curtis

Papa’s New Home is the award-winning story of a young girl who loses her grandfather, Papa, only to get to see him again in a miraculous visit to his new home, heaven.

Book Review: Papa's New Home by Jessica Lynn Curtis

Here are a few of my favorite things about this book.
I like that the book not only mentions Jessie’s sadness and confusion about Papa’s death, but also her anger. I think that anger is an often overlooked stage of grief in regards to young children. While anger is only mentioned in one or two sentences I think that it’s enough to open up communication with a child who is experiencing anger in grief.
I like how Papa explains that bodies can get old, or sick, or hurt and stop working, but that our spirits never die.
I really like that Papa is portrayed as still looking the same age as when he passed. Many hold the belief that everyone in heaven is young, but I think that concept can be confusing for young kids.

Book Review: Papas New Home by Jessica Lynn Curtis

This book obviously contains spiritual elements with mentions of heaven, spirits, and angels. However, this is not a specifically Christian book as there is no mention of God or Jesus. This book would appeal to families of many different faiths. It paints a very vivid picture of Heaven beyond what is mentioned in Scripture depicting lost loved ones with jobs they enjoyed on earth (such as gardening) and living in houses with beloved pets and eating chocolate cake with relatives.

Book Review: Papa's New Home by Jessica Lynn Curtis

The story is beautiful and the lovely illustrations definitely help portray a feeling of peace. For the right child it could be a powerful tool to help with the loss of a grandparent.

If you’re in the Pittsburgh area you can meet the author of Papa’s New Home, Jessica Lynn Curtis, at a book reading and signing this Saturday!

Book Signing: Papa's New Home by Jessica Lynn Curtis

BOOK READING AND SIGNING EVENT
Meet author Jessica Lynn Curtis, who will be reading and signing
copies of her Mom’s Choice, award winning title, PAPA’S NEW HOME!
Saturday July 26, 2014 11:15AM
The University Store on Fifth
4000 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Click here for directions or more information
(Book can be purchased at the University Store on Fifth)

Buy Papa’s New Home on Amazon!

You can also like the book on Facebook and follow Jessica on Twitter (@JessieLynn817!

*Disclosure: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you purchase through one of these links I may receive a small amount of money. I was not compensated for this review, all opinions are my own.


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Edible Mud Play Dough (Guest Post: A Pinch of Perfect)


I’m excited to share this guest post with you by Katie from A Pinch of Perfect. Katie posted on my Facebook wall that she found me through the SITS Girls and as soon as I saw her blog I knew I had to ask her to guest post right away. Katie’s blog is packed full of great activities and fun ideas for your little ones, so be sure to visit her blog after reading and commenting on this post! Now here’s Katie…

I have noticed that mud must have some sort of magnetic properties because my son can’t seem to stay away from it. My poor garden has suffered multiple assaults from my son and his shovel. To try and deter him from the garden I wanted to make him some mud that he could play with indoors or outdoors and as often as he would like. This is how Edible Mud Play Dough came to be. It had to be edible because I think you never can be too safe when toddlers are around (my son just turned 1.5) so I work really hard at coming up with safe activities for him.
(See more Toddler Friendly Activities Here)

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Our homemade mud can be made with things found in your pantry. It’s fast and simple to make and looks exactly like mud. After coming up with this awesome recipe, when my husband came home from work and took a look at the “muddy” tray on the table he wondered why I had brought mud into the house. Oh the look he gave me when I took a bite was priceless, lol! By now he should know we are always up to something fun and interesting.

The awesome part about Edible Mud Play Dough is it is dry and crumbly and at the same time doughy and shapeable. Although it is edible, it doesn’t taste good at all so this activity shouldn’t turn into snack time. Get those trucks, shovels, and mud pie pans out because your kiddo is going to love playing with it. What a fun new Sensory Play experience!
(see more Sensory Play Activities Here)

Supplies:
1 Large box of chocolate pudding mix (we used the instant kind)
1 C. baking soda
1/4 C water
3 Tbs. oil

I suggest making one batch per kid.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough RecipecfotbwmDIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Directions:
Mix dry ingredients together.
Add wet ingredients and mix evenly and it’s ready to be played with.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Makes a perfect mud ball because it can hold its shape, but will still crumble apart.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

Here are my busy little kiddos smashing, filling, and building away.

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

My daughter used the words, “crumbly, brown, and soft.” What sensory words will your kiddo use to describe it?
Sometimes toddlers are hard to keep entertained…well my little man played with his dough for an impressively long time and even outlasted my daughter. He must love his new mud!

DIY Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe

We hope you enjoy our Edible Mud Play Dough Recipe. Thanks for playing with us. Drop by A Little Pinch of Perfect to say hi and make sure you catch our next fun idea!

Love-Katie and the Kiddos

Katie Pinch from A Little Pinch of Perfect blogKatie is a Stay-At-Home-Mom who is kept busy by her spunky 3 year old daughter and curious 1 year old son. She is always coming up with new, fun, and creative ideas to keep her kiddos excited throughout the day. She believes that creativity helps little minds learn & grow in amazing ways that conventional methods only dream about. Visit A Little Pinch of Perfect to discover more or follow her on social media on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Bloglovin’

Thank you, Katie! :)

Do your kids love playing in the mud?
Have you ever made mud play dough?
Please leave a comment for Katie below!


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This post is linked to: SITS Sharefest (July 12, 2014)

Experience Columbus Roar and Explore Package


***Thanks for entering! The giveaway is now closed.***
The winner is…Amaris R. Congratulations!
You have 24 hours to respond with your mailing address or a new winner will be selected.
**For another chance to win, please visit Stephanie’s blog where she’s giving away an identical vacation! Her giveaway ends 6/18!
http://whencrazymeetsexhaustion.com/here-have-a-free-vacation-really/
*If you didn’t win the giveaway, it’s easy and affordable to purchase a “Columbus Roar and Explore Getaway Package”…Click here!

In just over a week my husband and I will spending our 11th wedding anniversary in Columbus, OH! We’ll be bringing the kids with us because there are too many fun things for families to leave the kids at home. As a Pittsburgh Mom Blogger I was invited along with other local bloggers, Janene and Christine from More than Mommies and Heather from Diary of a First Time Mom, to #ExperienceColumbus with our families.

You can follow my family’s trip to Columbus on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (#CFOTBExperienceColumbus and #CFOTBRoarAndExplore).

There is an amazing and affordable Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway Package that can help you #ExperienceColumbus with your family.

Columbus, OH Roar and Explore Family Adventure  Getaway

The affordable Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway features four tickets each to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, Zoombezi Bay and COSI science center. Available May 22-Sept. 1, families can book their Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway online now at www.ColumbusFamilyFun.com or by calling (888) 795-3709. (Packages are designed for four, but additional guests may be added when booking.)

What fun things can you do in Columbus, OH with your family?

Starting at just $411 plus tax for a family of four, the Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway features:
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, ranked the No. 1 zoo in America, unveils its 143-acre Heart of Africa exhibit May 22. Visitors can stand face-to-face with giraffes and feed them a snack; get up-close with lions as they board a grounded airplane; and take a camel ride in the Zoo’s newest and largest region. This stunning new exhibit is home to 150 animals and adds even more reason for travelers to visit the place famed zoo director Jungle Jack Hanna calls home.

Zoombezi Bay, the world’s only waterpark inside of a major zoo, opens Baboon Lagoon this season. Ideal for younger kids, this active play land boasts eight water slides, fountains and a 1,000-gallon bucket dump. Beyond Baboon Lagoon, guests can splash and scream through 17 twisting waterslides, extreme raft rides, headfirst racers and the hair-raising 209-foot Cyclone, the world’s largest reducing-radius slide. Zoombezi also offers the more laid-back, adults-only Crocktail Creek, a lazy river where moms and dads can relax.

COSI, the nation’s top science center, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year by hosting The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes. Brand new this year and running only through September, guests get their own book full of clues and can join master detective Sherlock Holmes to participate in experiments and stay hot on a trail to crack a new mystery. In addition, COSI visitors can ride a high-wire unicycle, use sonar technology and get wild with loads of other hands-on activities that make science fun.

•As the preferred hotel of the Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway, the Drury Inn &and Suites offers special amenities, including: free, hot breakfast and evening snacks; indoor pool; and complimentary wireless Internet. Other Hotels are available, but prices may vary by location.

Columbus is a city unlike any other. Vibrant and alive, Ohio’s capital is known for its open attitude, smart style and entrepreneurial spirit. Columbus’ uncommon blend of neighborhoods, arts and culinary experiences, events, attractions and accommodations are made unforgettable by its diversity of outgoing locals who warmly welcome visitors. Free travel guides, maps, online booking and detailed information are available at www.ExperienceColumbus.com or 866.397.2657 (866.EXP.COLS). Visitor information is also available on Facebook: facebook.com/ExperienceColumbus, facebook.com/ColumbusFoodScene, Twitter: @ExpCols and Pinterest.

Enter to Win! Columbus, OH Roar and Explore Family Adventure  Getaway

Enter to Win a Roar and Explore Adventure Getaway!
(Giveaway ends Saturday 06/14/2014 at 11:59PM Eastern)
Experience Columbus was also awesome enough to offer me a Columbus Roar and Explore Getaway Package to give away to one of my readers! This package has a $400+ value!

Here is what your getaway includes:
2-night stay at Drury Inn and Suites
4 tickets for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4 tickets to Zoombezi Bay Water Park
4 tickets to COSI (Center of Science and Industry)

Click here to enter this giveaway via Rafflecopter!
(Please be sure to use a valid email address so that I can contact you if you win! Winner has 24 hours to respond.)

If you don’t win the giveaway, it’s easy and affordable to purchase a “Columbus Roar and Explore Getaway Package”…Click here!

Disclosure: As one of the Pittsburgh Mom Bloggers I was given a Roar and Explore package for free and one to give away on my blog. All opinions expressed are my own.


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Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark Pittsburgh


Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

This is a local post, but for my non-local readers I’m going to post the goods for you right away. You may not be near Pittsburgh to experience Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark firsthand, but you can be absolutely anywhere to watch me make an idiot of myself, get broke, and bust up my knee cap. Enjoy! (Watch video here)

Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

My family was invited to visit the VIP Grand Opening of Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark in Pittsburgh last Friday and we had so much fun!

The new facility is located at Pines Plaza Shopping Center on Perry HWY behind Shop N Save.
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

ABOUT THE SKATEPARK
The 33,000 square foot black light facility, located in the space under the Shop N Save in Pines Plaza Shopping Center is divided in sections based on skill level and every new skater, regardless of age or ability, is assigned an instructor for basic lessons. With ramps ranging in height from six foot tall down to short beginner ramps just about anyone can learn and have fun.

Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

The COOLEST Birthday Party and Family Fun Spots! Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, looking for a unique group outing or just dropping in for some public skate time, you’re sure to experience wholesome family fun like you’ve never had before!

*BLACKLIGHT Environment
*Positive, Hi-Energy Music
*Learn to Carpet Skate CONFIDENTLY in Minutes
*Ramps, JUMPS, and Grind Rails
*Instructor-Taught TRICKS and Stunts
*Birthday party packages for ages 4-7 and 8-teen.
*Groups: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sports Team Banquets, Clubs, Home/Cyber School, Physical Education, Team Building, Pre Lock-Ins, Church Youth Groups, Field Trips

Super cool party rooms…
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

Fun Slides, a multi-award-winning product from Simtec, Co., are plastic sliders that attach under athletic shoes. They provide the sensation of sliding on a hardwood floor with socks on. At Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark and Party Centers, kids and adults slide on the skatepark’s carpeted ramps, jumps and slide rails for an easy to learn thrill.
Athletic shoes must be worn in the park at all times! No FLIP FLOPS!
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

Adaline is 4.5. She had difficulty mastering the standing slides, but she still had a lot of fun using the butt slides. (See video above)
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

Everyone who skates at Fun Slides Park, must have a signed waiver.
*Anyone under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign the waiver.
*18 and over may sign their own waivers given that they produce proper ID.
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

Fun Slides Park requires that helmets be worn by children under 8. Elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards are recommended in all areas especially for novice skaters.
We brought our own helmet and elbow and knee pads for Adaline, who is 4.5 years old.
(If you watched the video I posted above you’ll see me take a spill and smash my knee with no pads on. It’s only banged up now, nothing serious, but I’d still recommend using knee pads! Ouch!)
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

We all thought that Fun Slides Carpet Skatepark was really cool. Adaline had a blast going from slide to slide and even my husband enjoyed sliding around. We’ll definitely visit again.
Fun Slides Skatepark Pittsburgh

The World’s only carpet skate parks!
*Pines Plaza Shopping Center
1130 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh PA 15237
(Behind Shop N Save)
*Greensburg Shopping Center
410 E. Pittsburgh Street, Greensburg, PA 15601
Behind Family Dollar (the old Bobby Dales)

Helpful info: Facebook / Website / Hours / Parent Info

Do you skateboard or roller-blade?
Would you ever try a carpet skatepark?
Let me know in the comments!

Disclosure: My family received free admission to the skatepark as part of the VIP Grand Opening for bloggers and other media. I was not asked or required to blog about my experience. All opinions are my own.

If you are local to Beaver County PA or the Greater Pittsburgh Area, please like my local Facebook page Beaver County Family Fun for updates on local family friendly activities.
Beaver County Family Fun Facebook Page

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Celebrating Independence Day: 4th of July Traditions!


Celebrating Patriotic Holidays

Here are some great family traditions for celebrating patriotic holidays: Memorial Day (May), Flag Day (June 14), Independence Day (July 4th), and Veterans Day (November).

Attend a local parade or other event
Many towns hold parades, fireworks, or memorial services on certain patriotic holidays.
Celebrating Patriotic Holidays
If you live in Beaver County, PA or the Greater Pittsburgh Area you can find local events posted here or on my local Facebook page: Beaver County Family Fun.

Display and/or carry a flag and wear poppies
Celebrating Patriotic Holidays

Wear red, white and blue
Celebrating Patriotic Holidays
(Video here)

Make a patriotic themed craft
Celebrating Patriotic Holidays

Teach the kids to salute servicemen/women and veterans
Celebrating Patriotic Holidays

Teach the kids the Pledge of Allegiance
Here’s a video of Adaline reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when she was 3 years old.
(Video here)

Celebrating Patriotic Holidays a round up of traditions
PLEASE PIN THE ORIGINAL SOURCE

Need more inspiration? See how other bloggers celebrate patriotic holidays…

*Flag Tag Relay Race: @ Spoonful.com
Flag Tag Relay Game from Spoonful.com

*Flag Day activity for kids: Flag Hunt!: @ No Time for Flashcards
Flag Hunt Activity for Kids

*4th of July Neighborhood Bike Parade: @ Busy Kids Happy Mom
4th of July Bike Parade

*Making Memorial Day Special and Fun For Your Kids: @ Disney Family
Patriotic Balloon Volleyball, Patriotic Color Race, Plan a Patriotic Party for Memorial Day

*10 Kids 4th of July Celebration Ideas: @ B-Inspired Mama
Have a Kids 4th of July Party, Decorate the House, Play with a Sensory Bin, Make a Kids 4th of July Treat, Dress Up, Have a Picnic, Do a Craft, Learn about Independence Day, Have a Kids 4th of July Parade, Decorate Your Bike

*Our Family Flag: @ Beauty and Bedlam
”What better way than the 4th of July to create your own Family Flag? Use construction paper, felt, or fabric. Select…symbols that represent each member of your
family.”

*Activities to Teach your Child about Memorial Day: @ Premeditated Leftovers
Have a History Lesson, Observe the Moment of Silence at 3 PM and Important Tradition, Learn About Your Military Relatives, Gather for a Family Cookout, Learn a Patriotic Song Together, and More Patriotic Activities for Kids

*10 Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day with Your Child!:
@ Super Coupon Lady
Go to your local cemetery, Fly your flag high, Find out about Memorial Day events in your city, Bring donations to your local veteran’s hospital, Enjoy children’s Memorial Day books together, Make a patriotic themed craft, Wear patriotic colors, Take a moment of silence, Attend a Memorial Day parade, Teach your kids to place their right hands over their hearts when they see the flag go by

*Memorial Day for Kids {A Few Ideas}: @ Fun-A-Day
A Simple American Flag Craft, Drawing Pictures for Marines (or other servicemen/women), Visiting a family member’s grave

*Memorial Day Activities for Kids: @ My Kid’s Guide
Make bouquets and wreaths, Make flags, Visit the local veterans hospital, Memorial Day Activities for Kids: Visit Veterans, Read stories on Memorial Day, Everyone wears red, white and blue

*10 ways to say thank you on Memorial Day: @ The House of Hendrix
Use your phone, Tweet use the #wearegrateful hashtag, write a letter, Fly a flag, Attend a parade, Make patriotic cookies, Pray for the families, give a discount to veterans, offer to do yard work, Do something

*10 Memorial Day Traditions That Are More Meaningful Than a BBQ:
@ The Stir Cafe Mom
Visit a veterans’ home, Visit the local veterans cemetery, Attend a parade., Attend a memorial service, Raise your flag, Honor the National Moment of Remembrance, Hoist a POW/MIA flag, Visit a battlefield, Watch/Listen to the National Memorial Day Concert, Share a photo of your beloved fallen soldier/airman/etc. on Facebook or Instagram.

*Discover and Share Memorial Day Traditions and Activities: @ PBS.org
Displaying the Flag, Visiting Gravesites, Participating in the National Moment of Remembrance, Visiting Local Veterans Homes and Hospitals, Attending Memorial Day Parades, Experiencing the Nation’s Memorials, Brushing Up on Family and American History, Wearing Memorial Day Poppies

*5 Family Activities for Memorial Day Weekend: @ Parent Society
Get out and grill, Watch a parade, Watch the fireworks, Snag some savings, Root, root, root for the home team

*Celebrating Memorial Day with Children: @ No Twiddle Twaddle
Honor a soldier’s grave, Read books that honor soldiers

*Sharing Memorial Day with Kids: @ The Educator’s Spin on it

*Memorial Day Books for Kids: @ 3 Boys and a Dog

How does your family celebrate patriotic holidays? Let me know in the comments!


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May Day (May 1st) Traditions


May Day Traditions
PLEASE PIN THE ORIGINAL SOURCE

May 1st is “May Day”! On May Day there is a tradition of leaving baskets of flowers or goodies hanging on your neighbors’ doors anonymously. Other ways to celebrate May Day include the Maypole, building fairy houses, making/wearing a floral hat or wreath, and even a Magic Jellybean Lollipop Garden (a tradition that my family does for Easter). Below you will find a round up of May Day ideas from around the web including traditions, maypole tutorials, May Day treats, and free May Day printables.

You can find inspiration and tutorials for May Baskets on my May Day pinboard. A May Day Basket post will be coming someday. Maybe tomorrow, maybe next year. Who knows?! (I sure don’t.)

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MAY DAY TRADITIONS
*6 Ways to Celebrate May Day: @ WikiHow
Adding a Maypole to Your Backyard, Warming Up By a Bonfire, Trying Other Dancing, Enjoying May Day Food and Drink, Celebrating May Day with Flowers, Trying a Little May Magic
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*The Most Fun May Day Traditions: Magic Morning Dew, Fairy Houses and Foliage Accessories: @ BunchFamily.ca
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*Jack in the green: @ Wikipedia.org
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*Creating Summer Hats: @ Creative Connections for Kids
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*May Day Flower Headband Tutorial: @ Simple Simon and Co.
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*May Day – Magic Jelly Beans: @ Nothing But Country
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*Super Mommy Secret~May Day Tradition: @ Secrets of a Super Mommy
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*An Old-Fashioned May Day Celebration: @ Mrs. Gore’s Diary
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*Montessori Inspired May Day Activities: @ Living Montessori Now
A great collection of links to May Day Activities
09 Montessori-Inspired-May-Day-Activities

*LOCAL SPRING FESTIVALS!
Check your local community to see if they are hosting a spring or May Day festival!
Adelina from @ Home Maid Simple shared her family’s trip to the Provo Spring Festival complete with Maypole dancing!
Provo Spring Festival @ Home Maid Simple

*Carrying on the May Day Tradition: @ Omahaha

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MAYPOLES
*Paper Towel Roll Maypole Craft: @ DLTK-Kids
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*Children’s Maypole Tutorial: @ Mommy Blessings
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*Making a Maypole: @ MarthaStewart.com
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*Maypole Dancing and DIY Maypole: @ How to Run a Home Daycare
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*May Day and DIY Maypole: @ Montessori Mischief
They used a tall floor lamp as a maypole!
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MAY DAY TREATS AND SNACKS
*DIY Mini Maypole Cakes: @ Studio DIY
Cute Maypole bundt cake made with a stripey straw and ribbons.
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*May Day Cupcakes: @ Cupcake Project
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*Maypole cupcakes: @ Martha Stewart
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*Maypole Cake: @ Fiskars
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MAY DAY PRINTABLES
*Start a May Day Tradition with these Free May Day Printables: @ Happy Money Saver
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*May Day Surprise: @ Creative Preschool Resources
Free printable tag
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*Free Printable May Day Gift Tags: @ Skip to My Lou
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*DIY Printable May Day Basket: @ Alpha Mom
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*Printable May Day Basket Template: @ Printables4Kids.com
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*Free Printable May Day Basket (cone): @ The Neighborhood
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*May Baskets Poem and Poster / Coloring Sheet: @ DLTK
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Do you celebrate May Day? What’s your May Day tradition? Let me know in the comments!


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