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Children and Sleep

Children and Sleep
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Every living creature needs to sleep. It is the primary activity of the brain during early development. Circadian rhythms , or the sleep-wake cycle, are regulated by light and dark and these rhythms take time to develop, resulting in the irregular sleep schedules of newborns. The rhythms begin to develop at about six weeks, and by three to six months most infants have a regular sleep-wake cycle.

By the age of two, most children have spent more time asleep than awake and overall, a child will spend 40 percent of his or her childhood asleep. Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.

There are two alternating types or states of sleep :

Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) or “quiet” sleep. During the deep states of NREM sleep, blood supply to the muscles is increased, energy is restored, tissue growth and repair occur, and important hormones are released for growth and development.

Rapid Eye Movement(REM) or “active” sleep. During REM sleep, our brains are active and dreaming occurs. Our bodies become immobile, breathing and heart rates are irregular.

Babies spend 50 percent of their time in each of these states and the sleep cycle is about 50 minutes. At about six months of age, REM sleep comprises about 30 percent of sleep. By the time children reach preschool age, the sleep cycle is about every 90 minutes.

Sleep and Toddlers (1-3 years)

Toddlers need about 12-14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period. When they reach about 18 months of age their naptimes will decrease to once a day lasting about one o three hours. Naps should not occur too close to bedtime as they may delay sleep at night.

Many toddlers experience sleep problems including resisting going to bed and nighttime awakenings. Nighttime fears and nightmares are also common.

Many factors can lead to sleep problems. Toddlers’ drive for independence and an increase in their motor, cognitive and social abilities can interfere with sleep. In addition, their ability to get out of bed, separation anxiety, the need for autonomy and the development of the child’s imagination can lead to sleep problems. Daytime sleepiness and behavior problems may signal poor sleep or a sleep problem.

Sleep Tips For Toddlers:

Maintain a daily sleep schedule and consistent bedtime routine.
Make the bedroom environment the same every night and throughout the night.
Set limits that are consistent, communicated and enforced. Encourage use of a security object such as a blanket or stuffed animal.

Sleep and Preschoolers (3-5 years)

Preschoolers typically sleep 11-13 hours each night and most do not nap after five years of age. As with toddlers, difficulty falling asleep and waking up during the night are common. With further development of imagination, preschoolers commonly experience nighttime fears and nightmares. In addition, sleepwalking and sleep terrors peak during preschool years.

Sleep Tips for Preschoolers

Maintain a regular and consistent sleep schedule.
Have a relaxing bedtime routine that ends in the room where the child sleeps.
Child should sleep in the same sleeping environment every night, in a room that is cool, quiet and dark – and without a TV.

Sleep and School-aged Children (5-12 years)

Sleepy KidChildren aged five to 12 need 10-11 hours of sleep. At the same time, there is an increasing demand on their time from school (e.g., homework), sports and other extracurricular and social activities. In addition, school-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and leeping fewer hours.

Sleep problems and disorders are prevalent at this age. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, behavioral problems such as ADHD and cognitive problems that impact on their ability to learn in school.

Sleep Tips for School-aged Children

Teach school-aged children about healthy sleep habits.
Continue to emphasize need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine.
Make child’s bedroom conducive to sleep – dark, cool and quiet.
Keep TV and computers out of the bedroom.
Avoid caffeine.

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Your Child’s Top 10 Nightmares and Dreams – Explained (ivillage)

Your Child’s Top 10 Nightmares and Dreams Explained

By Dr. Gillian Holloway – December 9, 2011

Photo Credit: Getty Images

If your child has a bad dream about bugs in her bed, would it surprise you to learn that she may be upset about having a new sibling? You can learn a great deal about your child’s thoughts and feelings, and how to best comfort her, by discovering the hidden meanings behind her dreams. Get interpretations of your child’s most common dreams and nightmares from dream expert Gillian Holloway, Ph.D.

Monsters
Children have different kinds of monsters in their dreams, and the action involved varies. When a monster is hiding in the closet or under the bed, or lives under the front porch, this makes the situation doubly scary, because there is nowhere safe or off-limits. When a monster is chasing the child in a dream, or yelling and threatening, we have a clue that the monster may represent not so much a situation as a person in the child’s life.

What you need to know:
When parents yell or exhibit unexpectedly harsh behavior either toward their children or toward others, this sometimes translates into “monster” dreams. A cranky teacher or scary neighbor can also be the human side of the monster. These dreams are not necessarily a signal of abuse or anything horrific, but they do indicate that your child may be experiencing something stressful, usually regarding someone close to her. If the dreams repeat, notice when they occur and see if you can associate them with waking-life activities or people. If you recognize your own temper or meltdowns as fodder for the dream, take time to reassure your child that grown-ups sometimes get upset too, but that it does not mean she is at risk, she is in trouble or she needs to be frightened.

Falling
Children, like adults, are susceptible to falling dreams when they feel off balance or out of control. Falling dreams occur most often when there is a sense of chaos in the schedule, when small things mount up or when stability feels somehow shaky.

What you need to know:
In a few instances, falling dreams may be associated with ear infections or with an injury to the eardrum. If you suspect your child may be getting an ear infection or has recently had a bad head cold and falling dreams ensue, you may wish to consult your pediatrician. If you don’t believe there is any physical element contributing to the falling dream, then it is possible that your child is dealing with a sense of slipping, as if the normal taken-for-granted aspects of life may not be holding up somehow. This is a time to do what you can to reassure your child of the stable elements in her life, and to discuss, if she is willing to, the things that may seem scary or unsettling. Just the act of sharing can often be reassuring, since she’ll know it’s all right to be scared and that if she feels worried, she can always find a comforting ear to listen.

Bugs
Telling your child, “Goodnight! Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” may be better advice than you think, since children are prone to dreaming about insects in their bed or a swarm of bugs coming into their room at night.

What you need to know:
This is a dream that may recur a few times with varying degrees of agitation. It is a common dream for youngsters to experience when they are facing unpredictable situations, such as a separation in the marriage, moving into a new home or a new sibling being brought home. There is no single catalyst or interpretation for the attacking insects; rather, the frightening dream seems to reflect a sense of bewilderment and being overwhelmed. Arguments, unexpected changes and feeling as if she has no control over events may trigger repetitions of the dream. If your child has this dream, do what you can to give her some sense of control, or at least a voice in her own fate. Point out stability where it still exists, and help things to be as smooth and predictable as possible. And do what you can to manage your own anxiety, for she may pick it up and feel unsettled even though you aren’t saying much about the situation.

Ability to Fly or Do Magic
These dreams allow the child to perform heroic feats by virtue of her magical powers. She can often fly, perform rescues, travel into other realms and generally know what to do to make matters right.

What you need to know:
These lovely fantasy dreams allow your child to experience success by applying personal powers like imagination, compassion, courage and shrewdness to problem solving. They are wonderful dreams to explore in some detail because in some cases they symbolically allow your child to flex her creative muscles and write her own script. Drawing and coloring scenes from these dreams is one way to learn more about where your child feels confident and strong as well as where she may benefit from encouragement. Plus, having conversations about good dreams opens the door to safely exploring all dreams, both good and bad, without making your child feel interrogated or on the spot.

Ability to Fly When Being Chased by Villains
A common theme among children age six and up is being able to run extremely fast when being chased by bad guys. In the dream, the child sometimes runs so fast and so well that she actually takes off from the ground and begins to fly. The villains give chase, but the child’s ability to fly is her safety valve, and she can always outwit the bad guys with this superior power and manage to escape. This tends to be a recurring dream, and it may repeat occasionally, well into young adulthood.

What you need to know:
Children who have this dream usually have a significant challenge that disturbs them. The villains represent the pressure, and the ability to fly represents their own wish to escape, as well as their own sense that they have the intelligence, imagination and power to make their life work out better. Children who have lost a parent, who face economic struggles, who have a sibling that requires special care or who face some challenge that is part of the fabric of daily life seem to have this dream. The good news is that many successful adults report having had this dream during challenging early years. It appears the dream not only denotes the sense of challenge the child faces, but also hints at abilities and intelligence gathering steam to be applied in later years.

A Harmless Creature Turns Menacing
In these dreams, a friendly squirrel is let in the window and turns out to be vicious and violent. Or a beloved toy comes to life and turns into a weird monster. Even a ball of yarn or a baseball glove can morph into something suddenly menacing that stalks your child in the nightmare.

What you need to know:
The theme of something ordinary, even beloved, turning into a threat suggests that your child may be struggling with some situation or person that is usually known and kind, but may sometimes seem inexplicably difficult and harsh. The real-life parallel to the dream may be that your child is dealing with something that seems fine most of the time, but occasionally seems to turn against her. This could be anything from a playground buddy who occasionally plays unfairly to a situation at home that becomes confusing because it flips back and forth between “normal” and “unsettling.”

The Witch
Many youngsters dream of a wicked witch in the tradition of the character in The Wizard of Oz. This witch may be terribly scary, or it may be a more ambiguous character with some redeeming qualities.

What you need to know:
As with monsters, the witch could represent a real-life person in your child’s world, one who is sometimes cranky and unfair. If you suspect the witch may be a science-fiction cartoon of you in your worst moments, don’t take this as an indictment of your worth as a parent. Rather, use the appearance of such dreams as a measure of your child’s confusion and worry. Think about how often you wish for your own reassurance. Then let your child know that she’s always got someone in her corner.

A Mean Animal
These dreams usually involve being chased or attacked by a wild animal, or even a domestic animal that has become enraged. The bull, the lion or the giant spider that chases the child may be a recurring image in a series of chase dreams.

What you need to know:
The animals that give chase in dreams typically represent a situation involving some person that could be troubling to your child. While such nightmares are not necessarily an indication of a serious situation, it may be useful to ask your child to draw the mean animal and to share with you the typical story line of the dream. Because your child probably won’t make any connections between the scary dream and a scary life situation, you’ll want to inquire at another time whether there is anyone at school or in the neighborhood that she finds scary.

Being Exposed
Children, like adults, sometimes dream of going out in public without their clothes on or trying to use a lavatory that is unfortunately out in an open area where others can observe them.

What you need to know:
Dreams of public elimination or being unclothed are usually symbolic of a sense of exposure. These dreams usually occur when the youngster is moved into an environment where the expectations are higher, such as starting school or going on to a higher grade. They are not an indication of incipient trouble, but may be puzzling because they tend to occur when the child has done well enough to be moved forward or has made new friends. This is a time to remind the youngster that it takes time to settle into new surroundings and that there is plenty of time to learn the ropes in this new environment.

Being Trapped
In some dreams, the child is paralyzed and cannot run, or she is trapped in a closet or caught somewhere when a crisis occurs.

What you need to know:
These themes of being trapped when the child most needs to run suggest there is something unsettling that she finds threatening in some way. They also suggest that there are forces or expectations in the situation that make it difficult for the child to express or protect herself. If, for example, your child senses tension between you and your spouse but you keep assuring her that nothing is wrong, she is left in a bind. She feels and accumulates fear and pressure, but it’s officially off-limits to find out what is going on or talk about the situation with you.

You can help relieve the tension by allowing her to describe her dreams, including what is most scary about them and what puts her in the bind. Don’t share your analysis of the dreams with her. Just inviting her to talk about them will help her feel she can communicate more freely and have more control, and that you are interested in her experience.

How to Talk to Your Child about Dreams
In general, it’s beneficial to set aside time at the breakfast table each morning to talk about your child’s dreams. (You can share some of your own dreams too, if you remember them.) Doing this will let your child know that this is a safe and even fun part of life to be shared, just as if you were talking about favorite books or movies. Drawing dreams, making a game of dressing up and “fixing” the scary ending in a make-believe drama are also good ways to help your child express her dreams, and will ultimately give her a sense of control over both the subconscious and conscious events in her daily life.

 

See ivillage for more :  http://www.ivillage.com/your-childs-top-10-nightmares-and-dreams/6-a-128425?p=1

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The Sweetest Contest EVER!

The Sweetest Candy Craft in Ten Minutes or Less Contest

SPTBook-filtered

It’s summertime!  Magical days and lazy nights filled with fantastical memories; memories we’d love to be a part of…

So we asked ourselves, how can we be a small part of your summertime memories?  The answer was too simple:   Ask kids (with parents help) to create “a sweet candy craft,” name the “candy craft,”  and video tape how they made it.

“The Sugar Plum Tree” is visually-magical-world filled with candy that grows on a tree. It resides in Garden of Shut Eye Town (which is found across the Lollipop Sea.) There are zippity-zaps, chocolatey- chews, sugary-snaps, and loli-lous.”

Here is what we are asking:

1)     Assist your child with creating the sweetest candy craft by coming up with a unique candy name and craft concept.

2)     You and your child will create the craft along with a ten minute or less video showing us how you did it.

3)     Like us on Facebook and post your video on our page as a status update. In the comments, please leave your e-mail so we can contact you, if you win.

4)     Once you have uploaded your video, head over to our Twitter page to follow us and tweet the following: I just uploaded my “sweetest candy craft” video on the @sugarplumtree3 Facebook page. Check it out! https://www.facebook.com/TheSugarPlumTree

5)     You and your child will be entered in our contest for an autographed copy of “The Sugar Plum Tree” book.

The contest ends on Friday, August 15th at 11:59 p.m. EST

 

We will be choosing 22 of the most creative crafts and submissions to receive our book.

In addition, we will feature the top 5 submissions on our website and blog.

How sweet is that?

Some guidelines for the contest:

1)     You can only submit one video per household. Please be sure you are absolutely happy with your submission before uploading.

2)     Please do not steal candy crafts from online or any other publication. We will automatically disqualify you for using something already out there. Be creative and really try to come up with something unique.

3)     We will not consider submissions over ten minutes.

4)     By uploading your video to our Facebook page, you are giving express consent for us to use your video for the purposes of this contest.

5)     Parental submission and permission is required. We will not accept entries from a child’s Facebook profile.

6)     We will contact all of the winners via e-mail on Monday August 18th, 2014. If you are chosen as one of the top five submissions, we will again ask for your consent to post this video on our website. Please note that you may opt-out at that time and any time preceding the end of this contest.

7)     We ask that you refrain from using this as an opportunity to upload spam to our Facebook page. We will remove any spam and/or inappropriate videos uploaded to our page.

8)     Most importantly, have fun!

 

For more information on “The Sugar Plum Tree” visit us at thesugarplumtree.com . Good Luck!

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Eugene Field (another poem)

Pittypat and Tippytoe
by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

All day long they come and go—
Pittypat and Tippytoe;
Footprints up and down the hall,
Playthings scattered on the floor,
Finger-marks along the wall,
Tell-tale smudges on the door—
By these presents you shall know
Pittypat and Tippytoe.

How they riot at their play!
And a dozen times a day
In they troop, demanding bread—
Only buttered bread will do,
And the butter must be spread
Inches thick with sugar too!
And I never can say “No,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!”

Sometimes there are griefs to soothe,
Sometimes ruffled brows to smooth;
For (I much regret to say)
Tippytoe and Pittypat
Sometimes interrupt their play
With an internecine spat;
Fie, for shame! to quarrel so—
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

Oh the thousand worrying things
Every day recurrent brings!
Hands to scrub and hair to brush,
Search for playthings gone amiss,
Many a wee complaint to hush,
Many a little bump to kiss;
Life seems one vain, fleeting show
To Pittypat and Tippytoe!

And when day is at an end,
There are little duds to mend;
Little frocks are strangely torn,
Little shoes great holes reveal,
Little hose, but one day worn,
Rudely yawn at toe and heel!
Who but you could work such woe,
Pittypat and Tippytoe?

But when comes this thought to me:
“Some there are that childless be,”
Stealing to their little beds,
With a love I cannot speak,
Tenderly I stroke their heads—
Fondly kiss each velvet cheek.
God help those who do not know
A Pittypat or Tippytoe!

On the floor and down the hall,
Rudely smutched upon the wall,
There are proofs in every kind
Of the havoc they have wrought,
And upon my heart you ‘d find
Just such trade-marks, if you sought;
Oh, how glad I am ‘t is so,
Pittypat and Tippytoe!

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Importance of Board Games –

The Benefits of Board Games _ Scholastic

Playing games with your kids is a perfect way to spend time together — and build learning skills at the same time.

What your child most wants — and needs — is to be with you with no goal in mind beyond the joy of spending time together. He wants you to take pleasure in him, play with him, and listen to him. Nothing bolsters his self-esteem more! So why not pull out an old board game tonight? Playing games is an easy and excellent way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. As an added bonus, board games are also rich in learning opportunities. They satisfy your child’s competitive urges and the desire to master new skills and concepts, such as:

  • number and shape recognition, grouping, and counting
  • letter recognition and reading
  • visual perception and color recognition
  • eye-hand coordination and manual dexterity

Games don’t need to be overtly academic to be educational, however. Just by virtue of playing them, board games can teach important social skills, such as communicating verbally, sharing, waiting, taking turns, and enjoying interaction with others. Board games can foster the ability to focus, and lengthen your child’s attention span by encouraging the completion of an exciting, enjoyable game. Even simple board games like Chutes and Ladders offer meta-messages and life skills: Your luck can change in an instant — for the better or for the worse. The message inherent in board games is: Never give up. Just when you feel despondent, you might hit the jackpot and ascend up high, if you stay in the game for just a few more moves.

Board games have distinct boundaries. Living in a complex society, children need clear limits to feel safe. By circumscribing the playing field — much as tennis courts and football fields will do later — board games can help your child weave her wild and erratic side into a more organized, mature, and socially acceptable personality. After all, staying within the boundaries (not intruding on others’ space, for example) is crucial to leading a successful social and academic life.

A Word About Winning
Children take game playing seriously, so it’s important that we help guide them through the contest. When a playing piece falls to a lower level, our kids really feel sad; when it rises up high, they are remarkably proud and happy, even if we adults know that it happened only by chance. Therefore, you need to help balance your child’s pleasure in playing the game with his very limited ability to manage frustration and deal with the idea of losing.

For 3, 4, and even 5 year olds, winning is critical to a feeling of mastery. So generally, I think it’s okay to “help” them win. By about 6, kids should begin to internalize the rules of fair play, tenuous as they may seem to a child who is losing a game. So I am also fine with a 6 year old “amending” the rules to win if he feels she has to. I encourage you to acknowledge your child’s need for special rules. At the start of the game, you might want to ask, “Are we playing by regular or cheating rules today?”

Choosing the Right Game at Every Age
While in the long run we need to teach values, ethics, academic skills, and the importance of playing by the rules, in the early years the primary goals are helping your child become more self-confident and ambitious and to enjoy playing with others. If you’re playing with more than one child, divide the family into teams, giving each player a job he can do well: A younger child may be responsible for rolling the dice (which he considers important, since that is where the luck comes from), and an older child the job of sorting the Monopoly money.

As children approach 5, they have more sophisticated thinking skills and can begin to incorporate and exercise their number, letter, and word knowledge in literacy-based games. By 6, children may prefer more cognitively challenging games like checkers, which require and help develop planning, strategy, persistence, and critical thinking skills. Here are some of our favorite game picks for 5 and 6 year olds.

  • Scrabble Junior (Milton Bradley): This is the younger cousin of the tremendously educational and challenging Scrabble, which we all know and love. Using large yellow letter tiles, players match letters to words already written on one side of the board. The reverse side has an open grid where older children can create their own words.
    Learning highlights: Fosters literacy and language skills.
  • Boggle Junior (Parker Brothers): The prelude to Boggle — one of the best learning games for older kids — is Boggle Junior, in which players link pictures to letters and words. The game comes with 6-sided letter cubes and numerous picture cards that have the name of the object spelled below. Players place a card on a blue tray and use 3- or 4-letter cubes to copy the item’s spelling. Older children can hide the written words and spell the word just using the picture.
    Learning highlights: Teaches letters, words, spelling, and matching skills.
  • Zingo (Think Fun Company): One of this year’s “hot” games, this Bingo-style matching game relies on a player’s ability to spot pictures (of a dog, say, or the sun) and match them quickly to the words and pictures on his play card. As in Bingo, the first one to finish a complete line of items wins.
    Learning Highlights: Encourages matching skills and quick thinking.
  • Monopoly Junior (Parker Brothers): As they do in its senior sibling, players roll dice to move around the game board and buy real estate. The game is shorter and uses smaller dollar denominations so kids can figure out winnings and penalties more quickly. 
    Learning Highlights: Develops math, color recognition, reading, reasoning, and social skills.
  • Junior Labyrinth (Ravensburger): Each player gets a large, easy-to-handle piece shaped like a ghost, which she moves through an extra-large maze in an attempt to reach a treasure. While the path may appear straight, the walls move and shift, so getting there is a challenge. This game imparts the idea of impermanence and change, since a path that was open just a moment ago might now be closed and vice versa. Players have to figure out what to do when circumstances change unexpectedly — a good life skill to learn.
    Learning highlights: Teaches spatial relations and relies on some manual dexterity.
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GAMES – over 100 years old – still PLAYABLE today

Historical Outdoor Children’s Games
By Corinna Underwood

Marbles

According to Collector’s Weekly, the game of marbles dates back as far as Roman times. The earliest marbles were made from stone, but as their popularity grew, they were also made from baked clay and real marble. Later still, marbles were made from agate and alabaster long before glass marbles came on the scene. Early games involving marbles were similar to the English game of bowls and involved rolling a large marker across the ground. Opponents would then try to hit the marker or get their smaller marbles as close to it as possible. The winner was the one who hit or got closest to the marker. Children still enjoy playing marbles today.

Annie Over

An outdoor game popular more than 100 years ago was Annie Over. This game was played by two teams. A barrier such as a table or log was set up between the two teams. One of the teams had a ball, and on the call of “Annie,” the ball was thrown to a member of the opposing team. If she didn’t catch the ball, she took a turn to throw. When the ball was caught, the teams switched sides as fast as possible. The catcher attempted to hit an opposing team member with the ball while he ran to change sides. If she was successful, the player who was hit had to change teams. The game progressed until one of the teams was eliminated. A modern version of this game is called red rover. This type of game is popular in school yards where young children can play with large teams. It’s a fun communal game that does not need any equipment, and ultimately there are no losers. Red rover is good for fitness and helps improve speed and coordination.

Graces

Another game popular more than 100 years ago was graces, which was played by two girls or a girl and a boy. Each child had a hoop and a stick, and they attempted to use the stick to successfully pass the hoop back and forth. This game was devised to promote grace and dexterity in young children. Although hoop-and-stick games are no longer played by contemporary children, the hula hoop has maintained its appeal to children of all ages. The hula hoop can be incorporated into many games, including those involving obstacle courses, skipping and running. Mini hoops are used in target games where objects are placed at a distance from the thrower, and the thrower tries to capture them with the hoops. Hoop games are good for improving coordination and dexterity.

Chase and Capture

Chase-and-capture games — similar to different variations of present-day tag — have always been popular with children both in Europe and the United States. There are a number of variations. For instance, a game popular in the streets of Brooklyn in the early 20th century, ring relievo, was a variation of the European game relievo. This game involved chalk rings drawn on the street; these served as bases for “prisoners.” The game often extended through many city streets.

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DREAM WISH BELIEVE Contest WINNERS!

The Sugar Plum Tree Dream Wish Believe Contest has ended!

Congratulations to: Anitha, Amber, Ria, Raymond, Diane, Kimberly, Angela, Maeve, Jenny, Stephanie, Brooke, Marina, MaryJoan, Angelica, Betty, Heather, Brenda, Jessica, Kyndal, Linda, Amy, Summer, Payton!

And a special congratulations to our top five contestants: Heather,
Debbie, Brooke, Carol, Anitha! These five will be receiving the grand prize gift basket!

And welcome to our 80+ followers on Twitter! Our Sugar Plum Family is growing!

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