On the third day of Christmas baking with Sweet'N Low®: Three French Hens, er, French Butter Cookies

On the third day of Christmas baking with Sweet'N Low®: Three French Hens, er, French Butter Cookies

I partnered with Sweet’N Low® to bring you this special “12 Days of Christmas” recipe.

The Christmas countdown has begun! This year, I’m singing along to “12 Days of Christmas” with Sweet’N Low® and celebrating the holiday season with a new recipe inspired by the classic song.

The makers of America's favorite pink zero-calorie sweetener selected a dozen bloggers—one for each day of the song—and tasked each with sharing a holiday recipe based on our assigned verses. My verse? The third day of Christmas, that of “Three French Hens” fame!

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Holiday gift ideas for grandkids: Toy time!

Holiday gift ideas for grandkids: Toy time!

Seeking unique screen-free toys for the girls and boys on your holiday list?

Check out these five fun gift ideas for your grandkids, all reviewed and recommended by my grandkids.

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4 baby shower gifts for grandmas to give

4 baby shower gifts for grandmas to give

This time of year, gift ideas naturally lean toward what to give (and get) for the holidays.

Despite the season, though, there are still babies being born, still showers being thrown. Which means many grandmothers and others seek goodies for giving newborns and new moms.

Here are four of my recent favorite baby shower gifts, perfect for grandmas to give whether they prefer passing along presents of a practical sort or something sweet and sentimental.

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Pneumococcal disease: How it affected my life, how to prevent it from affecting yours

Pneumococcal disease: How it affected my life, how to prevent it from affecting yours

This is a sponsored post in partnership with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

When I was in fourth grade, I was the only one in my class who could spell pneumonia. I clearly recall my teacher standing at the front of the class, carefully writing out P N E U M O N I A on the chalkboard then asking the rapt students who knew what the word was. No one raised a hand… so I did.

I did indeed know the word because I was, in fact, the reason my teacher had written it on the board. He resourcefully used my return from an extended absence—due to pneumonia—as a lesson on a wacky word that not only began with a silent P, but boasted an abundance of vowels.

That wasn’t the first time I’d had pneumonia. I had suffered a serious bout at …

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Squelch mosquitoes with portable repellent devices from Thermacell

Squelch mosquitoes with portable repellent devices from Thermacell

Ah, Labor Day Weekend. The BBQs. The picnics, The camping. The outdoor gatherings celebrating summer's end.

Ugh, the mosquitoes! Those pesky pests not only ruin outdoor fun and frivolity, they carry the risk of diseases such as Lyme, West Nile, and Triple E virus.

Sounds more scary than summery, doesn't it? Thermacell Repellent Inc. has created nifty little devices that assuage mosquito concerns—without having to slather guests (and grandkids) with goopy gunk again and again during festive outdoor occasions. Thermacell sent me two such devices, Thermacell Patio Shield Mosquito Protection and Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Protection, free for review.

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DOZZI Natural White Noise Machine by WITTI a doozy of a baby shower gift

DOZZI Natural White Noise Machine by WITTI a doozy of a baby shower gift

My newest grandson will soon arrive, and the baby shower for his mama — my eldest daughter — is on the calendar. With Brianna's shower scheduled, all things baby have been on my brain lately. She'll receive a nursery glider from her dad and me (not a secret, so no spoiler here) but I plan to present her with a few other little goodies, too, as grandmas do.

Yet as I peruse the possibilities, everything seems so, well, generic, typical, common. All that's on Brianna's registry is adorable, yes, but I'm looking for something a little different, useful gifts versus

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Brief book review: Benji and the Giant Kite

New from best-selling author Alan C. Fox and illustrator Eefje Kuijl:

Benji and the Giant Kite

Benji and the Giant Kite is available on Amazon.com (affiliate link) and other retailers. For more information on the book and author, visit alancfox.com.

Disclosure: I received this book free for review; opinions are my own.

Brief book review: Unconditional Love by Jane Isay

Brief book review: Unconditional Love by Jane Isay

I recently noticed a new "guide to grandparenting" book making the review rounds on several of my favorite grandma blogger sites. Soon after perusing their thoughts, I was offered the opportunity to check out the book myself.

The book, Unconditional Love by Jane Isay, features the intriguing subtitle, "A guide to navigating the joys and challenges of being a grandparent today."

Upon reading Isay's thoughts and interviews with numerous grandmothers, it seems Unconditional Love can be wholly…

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