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Keeping the Magic of Christmas on a Budget

Just because the financial world has come crumbling all around us doesn't mean Christmas can't be as magical as ever. After all, Christmas shouldn't really be about the stuff. Not to sound like a pollyanna, but you really can have your best Christmas ever without spending a lot of money. So here are my tips for saving money during the Holidays:

Mommy Poppins Holiday Toy Swap/Drive

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Photo by PapaPaolo

I'm sure most of us have closets full of toys that our kids barely touch. Wouldn't it be nice to get rid of those toys to make room for the new Christmas and Hanukkah hauls that are about to descend on your poor, unprepared toy chests?

At the Mommy Poppins Toy Swap/Drive you can unload all the gently-used toys you want to get rid of and pick up some of the toys others are getting rid of. Maybe you'll even score something suitable for under the tree this year.

This event would be free except that to get in you have to bring a new, unwrapped present to donate to our charity toy drive. It's really a win-win-win situation. Purge, Splurge and Donate. All the swap items that aren't taken by someone will also be donated to charity.

The Holiday Toy Swap/Drive would be held in Tribeca on Sunday, December 2nd.

In order to do this I need to know how many people would be coming, so I've set up a poll to let people vote. It's right over there in yellow in the sidebar. If you are interested in this event please vote. If I don't get enough responses I won't do it.

5 Best Indoor Activities for NYC Kids

Though the weather doesn't seem like it will ever approach the lows that will force you & your brood inside. It's going to happen! Whether you have a newborn, toddler or school-aged child you're going to be faced with long hours inside this winter. After you have watched every video, played every game & read every book in the house you're going to need to venture outside or risk what I'd like to call M.G.S.C. Disorder better known as "Mommy's Going Stir Crazy".

Here are some ideas on where to go for indoor activities in New York that will be fun for parents as well as children.

Giveaway-a-Thon Winners and More Discounts

Big news! We have a winner of the Dish's Dish Giveaway. Congratulations to Sally! Sally, you better duck. There's a lot of envious eyes glaring your way. No, seriously. We're all really happy for you. Kind of. ;-)

If you didn't win anything, but are in love with some of the stuff, please do go and try it out for yourself anyway. The Dish’s Dish and Kaboost are both offering Mommy Poppins readers 10% off as added incentive.

Holiday Gift Ideas: Go Publish Yourself

As the end of the year and the holiday season approaches I start to think of photos. Whether it's realizing that another year has gone by that I haven't organized our photos into albums, or the thought that maybe I should put together some photos of the kids for holiday gifts.

Luckily my friend, Sara, has figured this all out for us already. She recommends a website called blurb.com which can help you turn your photos into albums lickity split. It's great whether you're just getting organized or perhaps making some holiday gift books. Here's what Sara says:

Middle School Muddle Blog Helps NYC Parents

Don't forget. You have until midnight tonight to enter theГЇВїВЅ Giveaway-a-Thon Finale and win two weeks of dinners prepared for you in your home.ГЇВїВЅ

Many people know about Inside Schools as a terrific resource for parents looking to find information about NYC public schools. It's one of the only places you can find clear, relatively unbiased, anecdotal information about the best NYC public schools from elementary school through high school. The site was created by Clara Hemphill, who wrote the definitive books on NYC schools, New York City's Best Public Elementary Schools and New York City's Best Public Middle Schools.

One of the great things about the website is that they continue to update it and add various features. One new addition is a blog by education writer and fellow parent, Liz Willen. Liz is tracking her own experience as she searches, tours and applies for middle school with her son. She's a veteran. Besides being an education writer, she's been through this before and has an older son at Clinton School for Artists and Writers.

Giveaway-a-Thon Finale: The Dish's Dishes cooks for you

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Congratulations to Sharon who won the Ayumie Horie Pottery Giveaway. It's truly beautiful.

Next up, I've been hyping today's giveaway for a week and a half. I'm super excited about it and I hope everyone else is too.

How many moms have thought, "You know what I really need? A wife."? Probably all of them. While I, of course, have a staff of five (you know, nanny, cleaning woman, chef, Saturday nanny and pet concierge), not everyone is so lucky. But seriously, putting dinner on the table is probably the most challenging part of parenting. It's so much easier to just order in, but that's so expensive and unhealthy.

The Dish's Dish is a new service in New York that is just what every NYC parent needs. The Culinistas at the Dish's Dish will plan your customized menu, do the grocery shopping and prepare a whole week's worth of meals so that all you have to do is come home and heat them up.

Giveaway-a-Thon Day 4: Ayumi Horie Pottery for Kids

Kelly Randt is our winner of the Mugwaz Fashion Craft Kits. Congrats. Today we have a beautiful piece of pottery to give away and tomorrow is our big finale so be sure to check in.

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Did you ever think that some day you would be serving lunch to your kids off Sponge Bob plastic plates? I never did. Wouldn't it be dreamy to have beautiful, but functional real ceramic tableware that you loved as much as your kids did?

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