A Book Drop for Jill

This is my cousin, Jill. She would have turned 49 years old today.

Jill was born with Spina Bifida and lived with significant physical disability.

She was also gifted in many ways. She smiled bigger, laughed harder, hugged tighter and held your hand longer. More…

Sleep Schedule for a Baby: Tips From a Pro

sleep schedule for a baby

How do you create a healthy sleep schedule for a baby?

The key, says Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant Kelly Robson of Baby Bliss Consulting, is to promote healthy sleep habits from–or even before–day one. As the mom of four boys (ages 13, 11 and twins who are 8), Robson speaks from experience.

“I truly believe HBOTB (Happiest Baby on the Block) saved us with the twins,” says Robson. “I had been an educator for two years when they were born and we used all of those tips and tricks to soothe during the day and night.”

A few years before her twins were born, Robson started doing in-home consultations for families with newborns–teaching them to soothe babies and increase sleep. Since then, she has become a certified pediatric sleep consultant and helps families with newborns up to age 4.

Robson teaches Happiest Baby on the Block and Safe With You–preventing SIDS/ AHT / & Child Abuse & Neglect, as well as baby-sign language classes and potty training and support.

Here, Robson offers some of her tips for creating a healthy sleep schedule for a baby.

More…

How to Create the Perfect Easter Basket

perfect Easter basket

We had exclusive access to the Easter Bunny and he shared some of his tips for creating the perfect Easter basket, just in case he’s snowed in this year and can’t do it himself.

According to the fluffy guy, the perfect Easter basket includes something chocolate, a keepsake personalized book, something soft and squishy, a couple of fun interactive games, and, of course, something Peep.

More…

The Shape of Your Story

Did you know that many of the world’s greatest stories aren’t really all that original?

Revered author Willa Cather once said “There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never been told before.” (Wait, what? You’ve never heard of Willa Cather?! Oh, well, you must not have grown up in Nebraska…)

Like Cather, famed American author Kurt Vonnegut believed stories shared a handful of ‘shapes.’ He gave a wonderful lecture about the “simple shape of stories,” where he gives us story-shapes that we keep telling over-and-over-and-over again. More…

How to Create an Organized Reading Space for Kids

reading space for kids

Red ones. Blue ones. Old ones. New ones. Our house is overflowing with kids’ books.

We decided to consult professional organizer Kacie Ferrazzo, owner of Get Organized Omaha, for some tips on creating an organized reading space for kids.

Ferrazzo specializes in home decluttering and enjoys working with her clients to help them get control of their home and create a more joyful, simplified personal space.

We’re hoping a more organized space will make those old books seem new again and reignite a love of reading.

More…

Grandparenting From Afar

Grandparenting from Afar

*This article was written by Jerri Haussler, mother of Phil Haussler, MarbleSpark co-founder.*

When my two children were small, Dear Abby printed a letter in her well-respected advice column that I carried in my billfold for many years.

The gist of her advice for raising successful kids was to give them roots and give them wings.

I tried to follow that advice by encouraging my daughter and son to explore worldly adventures, as well as family connections.  At the time, I didn’t realize that would mean my grandchildren would never live close-by.  More…

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for the Kids (Ages 0-5)

Valentine's Day gift ideas for the kids

Chances are you’ve already been thinking about gift ideas for your significant other, but what about Valentine’s day gift ideas for the kids?

We think personalized, sweet, soft and squishy are the perfect places to start shopping for your littlest sweetheart!

Check out these Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the kids in your life, ages 0 to 5.

More…

Sharing Our Love of Reading Aloud

Reading Aloud

My husband and I have been reading aloud to our kids since they were in utero. Our love of books has made it an easy and fun activity.

As our kids have grown, we’ve continued to read aloud to them. Sharing a book together has been a special way to connect.

If you follow MarbleSpark happenings, you know about our literacy initiative, Project OpenBook, where we give away copies of our kids poetry book, The Yeti in My Freezer, to deserving kids without access to books at home.  

Our wish has always been to read the poems aloud to the kids and hand the books out individually rather than drop a pile of books at a nonprofit for distribution. We wanted to expand our love of reading aloud to kids besides our own! More…

Through the Eyes of Our Favorite Children’s Book Illustrator

children's book illustrator

“If a book is a song performed by a band, the words are the lead singer and the illustrations are the instruments,” says MarbleSpark children’s book illustrator Brad Sneed. “A talented vocalist can sound great a cappella, but add a guitar, bass and drums…well, now you’ve got something!”

In honor of National Reading Day, we went one-on-one with Sneed, the children’s book illustrator who brought to life “Pipp” the mouse from Twas the Mouse Who Saved Christmas and “Felix Featherbottom” from Following Featherbottom. He is the talented artist behind all of the illustrations in MarbleSpark’s line of personalized children’s books.

Sneed has done the art for a number of other well-known children’s picture books including When the Wind Blows by Stacy Clark and The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Dianne Arnold. He is also an in-demand school speaker and is renowned for his bird art prints and line of products.

More…

New Year’s Goal: Create a Family Motto

family motto

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions. But a while back, I read an article on a family who had created its own family motto and the idea really struck a chord with me.

So, what better time than the new year to create ours?

A family motto needs to be a phrase, or a few sentences, that speaks to each person in the family.

It should be inspiring. And simple.

More…