Christmas Wish List and a Grand Giveaway!

It’s that time of year again! Halloween has come and gone (but what a fun weekend!) and it’s November2nd (already?!?!?!?). Here are some of the gifts that Santa told me he has in mind for Pupa, age 1, and Fratellone, age 9:

  • My kids are active (thank God!) so Santa usually thinks of them with a fun outdoors or in the un-finished basement gift. At age one,Pupa can walk, but couldn’t figure out for the life of her how tosteerany of the other little ride-on carson the market. The Radio Flyer Scoot N’Zoom isperfect forkids two and under: since it’s wheels rotate 360 degrees, you don’t need to know how to steer.Pupa had the pleasure of testing it out thanks to Radio Flyer, and shefeltlike a big girl as shewiggled her little legs and drove all around the room.Radio Flyer ( is the American company you can trust for fun, classic toys that kids will love (and then pass down to their own kids) and the Scoot N’Zoom, as well as the classic little red wagon, are timeless gifts, ideal for your favorite tot. Fratellone will begetting a Shox Scooter He’s broken his arm a whopping five times (once from a bike fall), and I think scooters are a better fit for him to get around our city neighborhood than a bike For one, they don’t go as fast, second, it’s harder to fall off a scooter. At least I’m hoping, since I can’t handle another visit to the Children’s Memorial ER).
  • Fratellone is still a big time LEGO guy. Every Christmas I get him the LEGO City Advent Calendar and by Christmas day, we always have a cute little display under our tree. He’s also thrilled to see the Lego Harry Potter sets this year- he’s read the series so many times I think he has it memorized. Who knows? Maybe Santa will bring him Hagrid’s Hut and Hogwarts….
  • Pupa on the other hand, is obsessed with Matryoskas, a.k.a. Russian nesting dolls. She loves playing with an old Matryoska set of mine. (Of course I had to take away the littlest ones because they are choking hazards.)I’m going to get her another set of Matryoskas – this may even be a little start of a collection for her. There are several beautiful handful sets available on
  • Since we moved into a new home recently, I’d also like to gift each kid a piece of original artwork, reflective of their interests, to decorate their eclectic bedrooms. I love this artist’s interpretation of Star Wars for Fratellone (who is a huge StarWars fan) For Pupa, I asked this artist make a special painting featuring the Saint that she shares a name with.
  • I used to feel guilty sometimes because I loved to read as I nursed my kids (as opposed to staring lovingly at them like you’re supposed to – that was my reading time!) Well, maybe all that reading during nursing had a positive effect after all, because we are all big readers in our family. Pupa has a little armchair that at the age of one, she loves to cuddle in with her blanket and a good book (that’s my kind of gal!). Fratellone is most often found with his nose in a bookand he’s currently devouringanything by Rick Riordan – he’s now on the Kane Chronicles. For Christmas, I’ll be getting him the The Alex Rider Collection (3 Books) (Alex Rider Adventure).Pupa loves anything by Eric Carle but especially the Open Books, a nonprofit bookstore that alsoprovides community programs promoting literacy in Chicago and beyond, to pick out some classic tot board books for Pupa.Open Books has been called “the most beautiful bookstore in Chicago,” and it holds more than 50,000 donated books for sale to help support its literacy cause. Located at 213 W. Institute Pl., Chicago, 1 block north of Chicago+Franklin on Brown/Purple Lines, it’s open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 7pm and Sunday from 12noon – 6pm. Check Open Books out online at
  • This Christmas, as always, I’d like to keep the focus less on material goods and more on good times spent together. Because we all know that kids rarely remember all the gadgets and gizmos they receive on Christmas morning, but one day, they’ll hold dear to their hearts memories of baking cookies with Dad, sledding with the cousins, trimming the tree with mom, and checking out the Zoolights with Grandma and Grandpa. One of my friends, Lori Morrison-Contreras, shared an idea with me I think I’m going to borrow as a new family holiday tradition, too (Thanks, Lori!): She bought an advent calender – the kind with the little drawers that you can fill with a treat for each day of the advent season. Instead of filling her calender with treats, however, Lori fills each drawer with a note of something that she and the kids can do together that day to celebrate the holidays. Think: Bake sugar cookies. Make snow angels. Invite the neighbors over for dinner. Play a board game. Pop popcorn and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. On the weekends, I also add some fun things we can do together in the city, i.e. Visit the Christmas Kindlmarket. See the Flowers at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Go on a hike in the snow. Honestly, that’s all I want for Christmas: to spend time with my family and friends.

I’d love to make your Christmas shopping a little easier, and the folks at Radio Flyer and Shox Scooters have given me a couple of prizes to give away! I have a little Sccot N’Zoom from Radio Flyer and a Shox Scooter to give away, In addition, I have a CD that I’ll send along to the winner of the Scoot N’Zoom:It’s Santa Claus!-named for the album’s original title track-is full of holiday cheer with classic songssuch as”Jingle Bells,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Let It Snow, “Frosty the Snowman,” “Here Comes Santa Claus,” “Auld Lang Syne,” and “Greensleeves.”Songs may be sampled at

To enter our Grand Christmas Wish Giveaway, head over to my website , and leave a commentin the comments sectiontelling mewhat’s number one on your Christmas wish listthis year. Also, let me know whether you are hoping for theRadio Flyer Scoot N’Zoom or the Shox Scooter. I’ll be drawing a winner on November 8th and I’ll contact you by email so we can arrange delivery. Thanks and good luck!

**special thanks to Radio Flyer and Shox Scooters for sponsoring the prizes in this giveaway and allowing my kids to try out their great rides!

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