10 Extraordinary Kids' Books

A slew of new interesting kids' book is out in bookstores and online, and we couldn't be happier to share our favorite selections with parents. Here's a list of 10 books great for elementary and middle school kids. From sci-fi and science to humor and creativity, there are fun stories for even the pickiest little readers.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy, Return of the Padawan (Book 2)
This is the second book in the Star Wars Academy series. Read about more middle school galaxy adventures as the characters face new challenges and lots of robots!

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up: Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Volume One
Leroy Ninker has everything to be a cowboy - minus the horse. This story shares how he finds his destined horse and all their wild adventures together.

Comics Squad: Recess! (Comic Squad)
Your favorite recess group is back for another playful story that will keep your children dreaming of fun adventures.

The Actual & Truthful Adventures of Becky Thatcher
Follow along a historical fiction novel as 11-year-old Becky finds mischief but learns to build a positive path in life.

Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor: Book One
Get ready for a brainy and funny story that'll make learning science so fun! This is by one of my favorite children's book authors: Jon Scieszka (of infamous Stinky Cheese Man fame)

The School for Good and Evil
A New York Times bestseller, this book mixes a sci-fi journey with a fairy tale.

Spy School
8th grader Ben Riley is ready to start his career as a secret agent. Ben gets into some misadventures as a spy while learning more about science and experiments along the way.

A middle schooler's life changes when he accidentally switches from a troublemaker to a gifted and talented student in this lovable and funny book.

The Mysterious Benedict Society
The importance of friendship is put to the test in this educational and creative story.

The Ability
Expand your child's imagination with a fast-paced spy novel leaving them wanting to read more.

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10 holiday gifts for boys

Have you began Christmas shopping yet? I haven't quite started, but it's been on my mind. There are a few kiddos on my "nice list" this year, so I need to find them the perfect gift. With the help of the holiday toy lists from Amazon and Toys R Us, I found a handful of idea for my little Santa's helpers (as I call the kids in my life this season).

The list below includes 10 gift ideas for boys, and showcases both new and bestselling toys this holiday season.

SmartLab Toy Stars and Planets Kit
This kit helps kids explore the universe and unlock the mysterious within outer space. Included in the kit is a tour of planets, stars and space exploration. $16.09

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Skateboard
The timeless TMNT brand is still very popular today. As the turtles say "kowabunga dude! $23.74

Plan Toys Crane Train
You can never go wrong with wheels. Here's a fun toy for the littlest of boys. $24.68

Hot Wheels 16'' Slider
This ultra-cool bike is perfect for the little man who wants to ride around like the big boys. $85.49

Franklin Sports Air Tech Baseball Glove
Here's one for the little athlete in your life. Play catch with the innovative air tech baseball glove. It's adjustable and comes in blue, red and silver. $23.74

LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer
LeapsterGS Explorer puts children in control of the educational games with a motion-based play and built-in camera. More than 300 apps are included to teach kids math, science, reading, social studies and more. $49.99

Simon Swipe
Another classic game that's still hot on the market is Simon Swipe. Start easy with level 1, and build up your speed and concentration up to 16 levels.Choose from four games and even challenge your friends. $17.99

Web Slinging Spiderman
Spidey is back in this new toy and is loaded with a can of web fluid (silly string) to fight off the enemies. You can also blast the bad guys with water. $19.99

Supernova Battle Rover
With a kid-activated control panel, the Supernova Battle Rover is the perfect machine to blast aliens. The vehicle comes with a scanner, lifting cranes, storage space, projectile launchers, 19 lights and more than 200 sound effects. $104.99

Air Hogs AtmoSphere
Soar to new heights with this the AtmoSphere, which is controlled by the palm of your hand! No remote control is required, and the product smoothly bounces off the walls. $25.99

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10 holiday gifts for girls

Let your little girl's imagination lead the way this season. We've rounded up 10 items that are at the top of the popular lists this year, that will make great gifts for young girls.

Olaf the Snowman
Bring Olaf the snowman to life - just like in the movie Frozen! Olaf changes his facial expressions, pops his head off and his arms fall apart, just so you can assemble him back together. $15.99

Elsa Singing Doll
Enjoy the sweet tunes of Elsa from Frozen right beside you! $39.95

Just Dance 2014
The world is a dance floor! Enjoy new beats, themes and dance moves with Just Dance 2014 for Wii and other game consoles. $39.99

Hello Kitty Boombox
Let your girl jam out in style with the Hello Kitty stereo CD boombox. The boombox is light and portable, so she can take it from room to room. $47.99

Disney Princess Baby Bell
Your favorite Disney princesses as cute baby dolls! Each one is dressed in a sparkly tiara and signature-colored romper. Choose from the following princesses: Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Ariel or Tiana. $14.99

Barbie Glam Convertible Doll
The new Barbie car and doll are a classic and fun gift for any girl. The rolling wheels, steering wheel, flashing lights and seat belts add realism to every day play. $24.99

Just Kidz Doll House
This mini doll house includes furniture and family figures. It'll be a blast to play with, and the kids can use the biggest imagination. $20

Expressions - Who's That Girl 7-Piece Beauty Kit
The young girl can have their own makeup kit just like Mom's! The kit includes eye shadow, two lip gloss tubes and three bottles of nail polish. $6.99

Sew Cool
Teach your girls how to sew in a safe and creative way with Sew Cool. This threadless machine is great for a first-time sewer. Create purses, pencil bags, pillows and more. $39.99

Lalaloopsy Baking Oven
Bake your favorite sweets in this two-in-one oven that's safe for kids. The product comes with baking mixers, pans, sprinkles, pan pusher and a recipe booklet, as well as one cookie and one cake mix. $39.99

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13 Mint and Chocolate Holiday Treat Recipes

Is everyone ready for holiday cookie baking? I sure am. Can't wait til next Saturday morning...I'm going to make oodles of cookies to nosh on over the holiday break. My kids are so excited to help me in the kitchen.

Since one of their favorite flavors of ice cream is Mint Chocolate Chip, I thought I'd research how many different kinds of holiday cookies, bars, fudges, candies, etc that one could make for the holidays. So here's the result of that research!

Have fun with your kiddos making and eating all these mint chocolate yummies. You can find more fun ideas like these on my Pinterest Board called The Cookie Exchange. This is a board I have with 15 of my mom blogger friends, and we've put all our favorite cookies in there for you.

This Collection of Mint and Chocolate Holiday Treats was made using, which is a unique recipe collecting platform, kind of like Pinterest. They are sponsoring this post and this collection that I'm sharing with you. You can sign up for and follow me as I build interesting recipe collections. I'll follow you back if you do!

Check out Mint and Chocolate Holiday Treats
by Lea Ann Stundins at

This collection of 13 mint and chocolate holiday treat ideas includes:
Cookies with Candy Cane Buttercream

Peppermint Crunch Drops

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Dipped Creme de Menthe Marshmallows

White Trash Candy

Candy Cane Oreo Peppermint Bark

Toasted Marshmallow Hot Cocoa Cookies

Low Carb Gluten Free Thin Mints

Double Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies

Flourless Fudge Chunk Cookies

Peppermint Kisses Cookies

Peppermint Bark

Peppermint Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

About Foodie
I hope you have fun making holiday treats with your kids, with one of these interesting recipes. If you've got a neato cookie recipe that your kids love, please leave a link in the comments, so we can all share! Download the Foodie app here and you can find lots of interesting recipes collected by bloggers like me, and the Foodie editors!

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