Category Archives: Entertainment

A Classic Movie Night: I Still Have Stars In My Eyes

My son’s birthday is in December. This last year he turned 9. If there’s one thing I’ve felt since becoming a parent and and having left the 365 days of sun in California for more seasonal states, it’s that I might never host an outside birthday party for this child.

That’s alright, our other kid has his birthday in the other extreme: August. We usually let our December boy help out with the plans so he can get the best of both worlds.

Having his birthday parties in the past have been hit and miss. There were times where many had to cancel at the last minute due to contagious illness or weather conditions. So I’ve adapted and learned to watch the weather, invite many, and have a back up plan.

This post is not about the hardships of a winter birthday. It’s about STARS (insert mystically music).

This last December, I decided to host a “Classic Movie Night” themed birthday party. My son loved it! I didn’t have to think of any games (which I’m really bad at planning) and we got a chance to invite our grown-up neighbors and get to know them while the kids watched the movie.

This movie night had EVERYTHING. There was crying, shrieking, laughter, spilling, munching and lots of socializing.

We made nifty invitations in the fashion of a movie event gala. I sort of wanted it to have an Oscar Party feel about it. Being that it was a Classic Movie Night for 3 to 12 year olds, we offered these three choices for a feature presentation:

  • A Christmas Story
  • Home Alone
  • Jurassic Park

I don’t know how it happened but, in the midst of a Christmas season, “Jurassic Park” won.

Then it was time to get the party gear…

We chose the colors of Black, Gold, and Red for balloons, plates and platters.

To give it that “Red Carpet” feel we bought, well, a Red Carpet.

And what is a movie theater without a Concession Stand?

I printed up voucher tickets for the kids to turn in for their share of Popcorn (served in popcornesque boxes) and other treats.

My son’s favorite snack to hand out is a little diddy I found in a Rachel Ray magazine year’s ago. They are sushi pieces consisting of the following ingredients:

Fruit Roll Ups (sugar)

Rice Krispies Square Mix (sugar)


Twizzlers (more sugar)

Now you know why I came up with vouchers: Management of Sugar

And of course you gotta have chopsticks for those.

We set up the living room as best we could to contain 10 kids as they watched the movie, chatted it up, and shuffled back and forth for goodies.

So why is this post about STARS???

Well, to enhance the magical, glittery feeling of going to a premiere of a classic movie, I purchased about a million little shiny gold and black STARS! And I sprinkled them all over the red carpet in our wood floored foyer for easy clean up later.

I can still remember what they look like… And that’s because I’m still finding them. EVERYWHERE.

On my socks

On my butt

In the couch

On the dog

On the kids

In the shower

In the Washing Machine

In the Dishwasher

In my Purse??



Under the Rug

In the Basement


In the Vaccuum (though I’ve emptied it numerous times since then)

So the moral of the story is, Do Not sprinkle cute little shiny stars all over your foyer unless you are prepared to be reminded that you did this for years to come.

It doesn’t bother me one bit, actually. It’s a pleasant reminder of the great time we had. Luckily we don’t have any babies, dogs or cats who like to nibble on the such.

Hey, there’s a party game we can play in August: Find the STARS.




What are you finding here and there from long ago? Share it in a comment below!


A Reptile Obsession: Our Take on Lizards & Snakes at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Let’s pretend it never snowed on Groundhog’s Day in Colorado this year, on the very same day that Punxsutawney Phil predicted 6 more weeks of winter, and that the weather forecasters of Denver never predicted a Winter Storm on the day that my family and I were supposed to preview the Lizards & Snakes Exhibition at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Yeah, let’s pretend that when we went on Saturday instead, Phil was chillin out in his hollowed out log over at Gobbler’s Knob granting us a redo since the weather kept us away from the preview event.


Getting right to it, we joined the awesome crowd at the Museum on Saturday for the newly anticipated Lizards & Snakes Exhibit and took along a friend of our boys to see what we could see. Packed in the Grocery Getter with clear roads before us, we headed for Denver. Since we invested in the Family Membership last Fall, we have used it four times, totally paying off. The T-Rex Encounter was a more-than-pleasant bonus for our money and now we were heading off to double our bonus on this new exhibit. The best part? My 9 year old LOVES all things reptiles. In case you didn’t know, we have two adorable Leopard Geckos.

We also used to have a Corn Snake and my son recently did a report on the Gila Monster.


Arriving around noon, we brought our own packed lunches and ate first in the Museum’s Cafe’ dining area. Yeah, we’re pros. At their own table, the 9 year old debriefed his pal on a few facts, scarfed down lunch, got super pumped and jumped up ready to go straight to the third floor. He meant business.


After a bit of ooohing and ahhhhing upon entering, we immediately made our way over to the adorable Kim who was searching for her pal “Bo”. She quizzed the kids on some of the capabilities and hunting techniques of snakes and finally found “Bo”. Don’t worry, he’s just a virtual pal. No need to freak about snakes on the loose. And don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.

The number of live lizard and snake species was more than expected. I was impressed by their active behavior and the cleanliness of their habitats. My son is very sensitive when it comes to proper treatment of contained animals, so it’s a big deal when I “pay” to see animals in captivity.

As usual, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science offers a lovely crew of volunteers to give our kids hands on demonstrations and displays to enhance their learning experience. My personal favorite experience was finding that the Gila Monster’s skull has the same bumpy texture we intricately imitated for my son’s school report. (I assumed it was the skin that was bumpy.) I got my 4 year old to touch the skull since he was the trooper who went with me to four different stores in one day in search of the specific ingredient that gave our Gila Monster that perfect look (more on that in a future blog post).

The other impressive display/demonstration was that of the large replication of a snake’s skull. My 9 year old impressed us all by having all the right answers for the volunteer. The gentleman used the skull to simulate how a Burmese Python can fit a big ol’ deer into that seemingly smaller mouth. As our 6 year old guest stared straight into the open mouth of the skull, my husband assured him that he would easily fit in there.

One of the highlights for families was the large hexagon tank in which you can observe 4 species of Geckos chilaxin in their resort-like surroundings with two big brother cameras. You do the driving as you control joysticks to focus, zoom and pan out on them.

But what ultimately caught the attention of these three boys was the interactive “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” simulation. Each boy had a chance to be the rattlesnake, flicking the snake’s tongue to smell out a rat, viewing the rat through the snake’s eyes, striking at the rat, and then ultimately chowin’ down. We had to return to this one last time before leaving.

After taking a look at a real life Burmese Python, the boys ran over to try and lift the 15 foot, 100 pound Anaconda. This feat required assistance from dad, who lightly helped with the tail, allowing the boys to lift that sucker up off the ground.

Before heading back to “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” I disassembled the 3-D snake and lizard puzzles before the kids came around to put them back together. In true fashion, my 9 year old and the husband looked for a system to putting the snake back together and found the convenient numbering system on the underside, putting “Bo” back together again. The 4 year old, a puzzle fanatic, insisted on doing the lizard all by himself.

By the end of the exhibit, about an hour later, the 4 year old was claiming to be hungry again, but we did not leave without first claiming his very own lizard wristband. And when we hit “Hunt Like a Rattlesnake” that one last time, the kids gave me the “aw-mans” and we headed out. 

Although there is a “no-photography” policy in this exhibit, you get a sweet little family photo-op at the end with the ever-friendly “Bo”. Your photo is accessible for free online to share with everyone you know.


Be sure to check out the rest of the museum. We hit one of our favorites, Expedition Health, for another hour before calling it a day.


The Lizards & Snakes Exhibition runs from February 3rd to July 8th.

Click here for more info and details on a membership. Like I said, we have been four times and we also received two free guest tickets with our membership. We still have yet to see everything. If you’re just visiting, you have many options in Denver to keep you busy. This is one not to be missed.




The 9-year-old and 6-year-old (After about 50 minutes – 10 minutes before hunger set in again): 5

The Turkey Rating: A 5 during all his favorite parts. A 3 everytime we weren’t doing something he wanted to do.

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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Entertainment, Family, Kids, Motherhood, Travel


The Little Blogger That Could… And Will

I’m losing a little sleep tonite because I just volunteered for the opportunity to write my first review type blog entry!

The best part? I get to go to a really cool place. I’m welcome to take my children. I can even bring my husband!

I’ve never done this before…

There are no real rules, except that I get to go to this cool place and then all I have to do is write about it on my blog, twitter and/or facebook. That’s not a big deal, right?

In fact, it should be so easy because I KNOW I will love this place and what it has to offer on this occasion.

But here’s what was keeping me up:

I don’t want to ramble on about how much I really, really, really like this place. And how I really, really, really enjoyed what they had there.

I want to be helpful, real, and honest. Am I over-thinking this? YES. Might I write this and all of it fall on zero ears anyway? MAYBE. But what if it doesn’t?

So I had to dig deep to discover my method of determining how to write my review. And I found it!

When I go anywhere or do anything with my kids and I recommend it to my very best friend, I first tell her how much my kids did or did not like it. That’s all it takes to pass on a good recommendation to another parent: Pretend you’re telling your best friend. You wouldn’t steer your best friend wrong, right?

So when I tell my best friend what I thought of something, I first tell her from the perspective of each of my kids. My boys can be pretty complicated and mature about certain things, but when it comes to liking an activity, their thoughts are simple and to the point. If one of my boys wrote a review, it would likely be a brief rating, one they would remember the next time I told them they were going to go to or do it again.

I have two boys. Right now they are 9 and 4. Now, if you have, say girls, the opinion of boys might not be of help, but you could certainly use their opinion as a reference point. Let’s say you do have boys, but they are neither 9 nor 4, you can at least imagine how they were or will be at one of these ages. What I can give you straight is my opinion, as a parent, based on the reactions of my children to the event and how happy it made me.

Now take the word “Happy”. I still vow to only tell you how much I liked something. When it comes to posting about my opinion on the Internet, I abide by the motto of Thumper’s mommy: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. (Unless of course it’s dangerous or disgusting). That’s just me though. I still depend heavily on hardcore, no holds barred, opinions and reviews to make many decisions.

Below is the rating scale for each of my children which, in turn, determines my happiness as a parent. They are dubbed by each child’s nickname. On a scale of 5 to 1, 5 would be the best possible scenario this mother could ask for. Each rating is based on actual words my children have used to clue me in on their honest opinion.

The E.E. Muck Muck Rating (Our 9 year old son)

5 – Do we have to go home?

4 – I can’t wait to tell my friends!

3 – Where are we going next week?

2 – Can I play your phone?

1 – Can we leave now?

The Turkey Rating (Our 4 year old son)

5 – I don’t wanna go home!

4 – I can’t wait to tell Nite-Nite Puppy!

3 – Did you bring me a snack?

2 – Can I play your phone?

1 – This is BOOOOR-ing!

I, myself, do not have a rating system. My satisfaction with a place, item, or experience is cut and dry. I either lose my mind or I don’t. As long as my kids are happy, I don’t lose my mind. And as long as I don’t lose my mind, I will have something nice to say. Call me a Positive Percy, but I want readers to want a great experience. If necessary, I’ll even throw in a tip or two on how to make you’re experience better than mine.

My first review comes out next month and I hope you’ll check it out. If your child has a rating scale, I’d like to know what it is!





Tip of the Momma 2 u: Handy Little Sucker

The way I see it, a diamond necklace is a whole lotta expensive little pieces strung together to make one big expensive piece. Okay, so I don’t have a diamond necklace, nor do I want one. Just give me the cash-ola, thank you. We do, however, own something that I consider to be our family diamond necklace. It’s our DS case. It’s a satchel really. It houses about 15 tiny DS games and two DS handheld players. This convenient case with shoulder strap keeps all these pricey pieces together. For sanity’s sake, it comes in handy for those long trips and sometimes very necessary peaceful out-to-eat meals.

I had this tip in mind for a while now, ever since my mother accidentally left our beloved satchel at Famous Dave’s. We searched everywhere for it, blamed the children, and called it good and gone. Now, if you have one of these, you know that each game can run anywhere from $14.99 – $29.99. Multiply that by our 15 games (A minimum of $224.85), the cost of the case itself ($24.99), and the price of two DS players (roughly $300.00), and we’re talking about $550 worth of merchandise. About 9pm on the third day of being gone, my mom made a few phone calls and was off to reclaim it from the wonderful guy at Famous Dave’s that returned her call to tell her he had found it.

I promise I never judged my mother on this incident. But I did think we had learned our lesson about keeping the satchel in sight.

I think it was less than one month later that I had to phone my mother and confess. The first thing I said when she answered was, “You’ll never guess where we’re going.” I had to admit to her that I too had left the same case at a restaurant and we were on our way to reclaim it from the awesome guy who found it shortly after we left the day we forgot it. For some reason we had allowed our son to bring his school backpack to a restaurant one Friday afternoon. After a couple martini’s we went to another restaurant for a fun dinner. Burgers and chili fries… mmmmm. Of course, the DS case was inside the backpack. Three days and two phone calls later, I found we had left it at the second restaurant underneath the table. It was one of those “I thought you grabbed it” moments for my husband and I.

Obviously we had not learned our lesson. And, with two kids and plenty of chaos, I would say the chances of remembering the $550 bundle from here on out are great but not 100%. I’m not willing to risk another 3 day panic session. So I finally came up with a solution. For some reason we own several small carabiner’s. These are those ovaly shaped metal contraptions often associated with rock climbing. These little one’s we have are usually for clipping a water bottle to a backpack or belt loop at our house. Now we have a new job for one.

I have owned a purse for many years. My mommy taught me always to look back for my purse and never to leave it at home. There’s almost always a good reason to bring your purse. So, here’s what I do. Since I automatically feel naked if I don’t have my purse on my shoulder, I keep the carabiner latched to the side of my purse (which is a satchel really) and no matter how many extra backpacks or DS cases we bring into a restaurant, I attach them to my carabiner.

I never take this off.

From arrival to departure they must stay attached. If I even think of walking out of a restaurant without looking back, you can bet I’ll be surprised when I try to throw on my purse to find a buncha crap dangling from it. And, believe me, I’ve already done this. Since I rarely forget to take my kids home with me, I also have the option of carabiner-ing the DS case to the 8 year old.

I hope we’re not the only ones going through this. You know I wanna hear your story…



The Freakishly Cute Leopard Gecko…

If you don’t know who Snakey Baken is, now would be a good time to catch up —-> Snakey Baken

After traumatizing my child with letting his baby corn snake escape, we of course had to soften the blow with the promise to fill the void and the tank with another creature. Our older son immediately knew that a Gecko was the way to go. Somehow, in the process of merely getting a look at our future resident one Saturday, we ended up taking home TWO Geckos. I didn’t even have time to make my disclaimer of how I wasn’t going to be the one feeding, watering and cleaning up after these two little dudes. Of course, if you know the Snakey Baken story, you know that I really had no room to give know-it-all advice or rules. It was too soon.

So begins the story of Yoshi and Treeko. I have to admit that they are two of the cutest little creatures I have ever owned. And I have owned some cute buggars. (Hamsters, Felines, Pooches and so on)

First Day Home!

If you are thinking of adopting lizards into your family, I think there are a few things you should know about this particular breed. By the end of this list, you will find that they are a lot of fun and full of surprises. Am I encouraging you to keep Leopard Geckos as pets? Yes! No. Well, yes! And no…

Did you know that a Gecko whips its tail and pounces at its prey, just like a cat? This is highly entertaining to watch. They are hilarious. For one thing, they prowl around togther exactly like the Velociraptors on Jurassic Park – minus the screeching.

Did you know the guy at the pet store doesn’t always know what he’s talking about? These two little dudes were purchsed at… Wait, stop there. Make that dude and dudette! Now, temperature during incubation decides gender in Geckos. If Gecko eggs are all left to hatch under the same temperature, you will either have all boys or all girls. There’s no doubt our two Geckos were born on different sides of a tank. No, we don’t have eggs yet, but we’ve done our homework and inspection and we absolutely have a colorful meat-headed male (Treeko) and a dull colored slender female (Yoshi). Discovering this is only the beginning of a long line of entertaining moments. And I thought these guys were going to be boring…

Flat Stanley came to visit Yoshi

Did you know that Geckos don’t have vision coverage? Our Geckos are terrible hunters. On top of that, I personally feel that Yoshi could use glasses. She’s got terrible aim when it comes to crickets. I have seen her bonk the glass, the sand and the rear end of Treeko. It doesn’t help that the crickets hide in the lovely little tree we decorated the tank with. Yoshi walked right by the cricket tree and I swear you could hear the crickets giggle. We have since removed the tree…

Did you know that Geckos beg like dogs? We are supposed to offer them the alternating options of crickets and meal worms. I never could have predicted their addiction to meal worms. Not only does our black lab go nutso at 6pm every night, but around 8:00pm, when I shoo my 8 year old to his bed, the Geckos can be found staring at their mealworm bowl. Then they look at me. Then they look at their bowl. Then me. Then the bowl. I am NOT kidding.

Feed Me!

Did you know that mealworms should be refrigerated? At least they should be if you want them to last longer. I found the perfect spot for them in the fridge.

This batch of worms will outlast the eggs and sour cream!

Did you know that Geckos shed their skin about once a month? They do.

Did you know that Geckos eat their own shedding? They do.

Nom Nom Nom

Did you know that, no matter how dry and itchy they look, you should NEVER try and help a Gecko shed its skin? This freaks them out. And, if you do what I did, you’ll find they were better off being itchy. Basically, Yoshi backed away from my pull and ended up with the skin around her face. She looked like she was wearing the cone of shame. I felt terrible.

Did you know that Geckos will eat the shedding skin off eachother? Treeko was nice enough to help Yoshi on another occasion. He’s much better at it than me.

All Shedded! Looking sharp Treeko.

Did you know that the crickets stink WAY more than the Geckos? And you have to water them and you have to feed them too. And if they don’t crawl into the tubing you use to fish them out of their container, you have to shake them from the container into the tank, without sending all the waste they produce in to contaminate the tank. Lotsa fun. Way stinky.

Did you know that when you change out the water or rearrange the tank, a Gecko could likely come up to your hand and lick it? Sure, its just smelling your fingers that look like giant meal worms. But when Yoshi did this to me once and cocked her head to the side just so, my heart absolutely melted.

And finally,

Did you know that Geckos cannot fit through the tiniest of openings in the tank cover? If you feed them, water them and clean up after them, they will stay loyal and not find it necessary to try and escape. They are curious but not TOO curious. And if you don’t know why that’s imporant to me, you should really catch up —-> Snakey Baken



More Family Traditions – Prepare to say Wheeeeee!

There’s a tradition my stepdad started when I was about 12 years old. He purchased our first Tyco slot car set. It must have been for Christmas because, every year after that year, we bought either another set or more cars at Christmas Time. The collection began to grow so large that we pretty much only took it out at Christmas time. When my 8 year old was old enough (4 years old), my mother sent us the entire set. minus the always collectible Dale Earnhardt Truck and Slot car combo. So now the tradition is passed unto us. The set is large enough to fill a large holiday tote. 

Although it’s worth hours of fun, it can become cumbersome. In the span of the Christmas holidays, my husband and I get tired of playing it, managing the use of it and, of course, designing the many combinations of track it takes to keep the children entertained through the remainder of December. But what keeps the tradition going are the numerous games you can play with a Slot Car set.

  1. Fast and Furious – Your typical one on one race.
  2. Faster and Furiouser – Your typical bracket race challenge.
  3. Survival of the Furious – Race until someone gets stuck or falls off the track.
  4. Nana Nana Boo Boo – Use the squeeze tracks or cross tracks and try to trick eachother into derailing.
  5. SuckaPunch – Use curves to spin out and knock eachother off.
  6. Mega Mega Survival – Split up all the cars evenly (We have 12 cars, so each gets 6) Race until all your cars are stuck on the road and only one car is still going. This is my favorite. You basically race your first car till it gets stuck. Then you send out your next car to hopefully knock the first car out of the way or into the other lane. This usually ends up in an 11 car pileup on the other end of the room. Sometimes you knock your cars back on the track and regain them back into the game.
  7. The Road to Nowhere – Tyco tracks don’t need to be continuously linked (I know this from experience) Make the longest straight track in the world. Now end it with a ramp and launch your cars straight into a pillow. See who can launch the farthest. Don’t allow kids to sit between the track and the pillow. It hurts. (I know this from experience as well).
  8. Deck the Tree – Make your track go around the Christmas Tree. Lose all the cars behind the tree. Now ro-sham-bo to see who has to go fetch them.
  9. Damn Kitty – This one requires a cat. See who survives the longest before rambunctious kitty swats all your cars off the track.
  10. Go Fish – Tyco tracks have a knack of getting residue build-up on the tracks after long use. If you build a large track, you can either employ a small child to fetch the stuck cars for you or you can play Go Fish. Discover a tool in your house that can reach long distances and snatch the cars up to ‘reel’ back in. We used a golf ball retriever back before there were those grabby arm thingys. Determine who is the best at this and, by the end of the holidays, dub them the “Sucker of the Year”.
  11. Happy Holiday 500 – Take on the insane and impossible feat of combining all the tracks to make one enormous race track. See if it’s even possible to make one lap around without getting stuck or spinning out.
  12. Farewell Party – Spend New Years day disassembling and organizing the entire set so it fits back in the tote and the lid closes properly.

We are setting this sucka up this week and I CANNOT wait. Although Tyco tracks are no longer made, you can still find them at some hobby stores and definitely on eBay. I’d love to know if there are more games we haven’t played with our Tyco sets. If you have a strange family tradition, I’d love to know that too.



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Posted by on November 27, 2011 in Entertainment, Family, Kids, Motherhood, Tradition


Why We Still Love Our Webkinz World

Webkinz World is extremely fun. Here’s why. No wait, wait, wait. Go back…

A long, long time ago I bought a Webkin for my son. It was the black and white cat and he named him Fuzzy. Have you heard of Nite-Nite Puppy? I know, our stuffed animal names are phenomenal. Have faith, we get better as years pass. Do you think, if I knew that the purchase of Fuzzy would result in the ownership of 60+ Webkinz, I would have encouraged my son to get one? In hindsight, I confess. Yes.

If you don’t know what Webkinz World is, it’s a virtual world where you own a virtual pet and you feed it virtual food, buy it virtual clothes, and help it live a virtual life. If you’ve ever owned a Webkinz World account, you may have found that you have a favorite game, a favorite activity, maybe even a favorite outfit. There is SO much to do in Webkinz World. You can send mail back and forth. There are missions to go on. You can get a job, cook food, make clothes. The possibilities seem endless. We’ve had accounts for over 6 years now. In that time, we still have not grown tired of it.

Over that 6+ years we have accumulated Webkinz faster than bunnies procreate. For every holiday, our son asked for Webkinz. For every $10 – $15 he would save, our son would buy a Webkin. I think there was even a yard sale where a girl finally threw in the towel and sold all her Webkinz for 2 bucks a piece. I think we only bought 8 of 30. So, we’re not that bad, right?

Webkinz Overflowing

Although my 8 year old is done caring for his Webkinz online, my mom had vowed to check in on them from time to time for the kids. Well, now my 4 year old has caught the Webkinz fever. He’s had an account for a few years and my mom was checking on that one up until now. Now the tides have turned. My mom has her own account, I have an account, she checks in on the 8 year old’s account and then the 4 year old now plays with his own account. My mom recently shared her Deluxe membership account with the boys and has added several new pets to the little one’s World. So the fun continues.

In the real world, challenge your Webkin to a Mancala Tournament

With all there is to do on Webkinz World and the new things which the folks at Ganz have added over the years, and all the holidays and promotions Webkinz World there are, and the hundreds of things you can earn, create and purchase, I could never guess the one thing on Webkinz World that would make my child smile the most…


Basically, he purchases about 9 to 12 antique toilets, places them in one room and clicks madly from toilet to toilet. Every time the Webkin leaves a potty, there is a flushing sound. So when he clicks from one potty to the other, there is flush after flush after flush. This is worth a good 10 minutes of laughter. Potty humor, if you will.

Just when I thought the best part of Webkinz World was discovered, my mom sent the little one a Webkinz Transporter. Basically, you go into the capsule on one side of the contraption and, in no time flat, you appear in the capsule on the other side of the contraption. My mom worried that it might not be as exciting as it sounded. But, guess what! The 4 year old loves it! He discovered that if you go into the capsule and immediately click on the fruit stand, YOU DISAPPEAR! And while you are invisible, you only need to click on the TOILET… and you REAPPEAR. And, of course, if you click on the other capsule, you can FLUSH the toilet. We just bought another 15 minutes of laughter in the World of Webkinz.

Endless Possibilities I Tell You!

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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Entertainment, Humor, Kids, Motherhood