April
18

A Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Time!

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We were SO EXCITED to spend our Easter weekend with our friends and supporters at The Grove for our scrumdiddlyumptious Golden Ticket to Imagination Story Time! It was a beautiful spring day filled with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory-themed crafts, face painting, candy, exciting prizes, and of course, story time.

With the chocolate river flowing, our guests were invited to enter a world of pure imagination…

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Our longtime friends and dedicated M+B supporters Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen came out to read “10 Things I Love About You” by Daniel Kirk. Their infectious humor made everyone laugh and their reading was definitely a highlight of the day! Check out their feature in People Magazine that talks more about their participation and what they value as parents!

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

Kids had the opportunity to make fun candy crafts for Easter, courtesy of Little Junebugs, that were inspired by our friend Jodi Levine (creator of SUPERMAKEIT) and her amazingly fun book, Candy Aisle Crafts!

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Two of our sponsors Mrs. Thinsters and See’s Candy kept our attendees sweet tooth’s satisfied with delicious chocolate chip & brownie batter cookies, and bags of delicious chocolate!

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Attendees of our Annual Story Time Celebration may have recognized the Candy Man…he made a return visit for this special candy-centric event where he was busy crafting candy art all day for our guests!

 

Copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl & Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine, were generously donated for our special GOLDEN TICKET giveaway and were given out as prizes for the very lucky winners…

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Guests attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Guests attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Atmosphere is seen at The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Atmosphere is seen at The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

In addition, we raffled off a HUGE Wonka Gift Bag, full of some of our favorite story books, craft kits, and goodies. CONGRATS to the winner, Sandra!!

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We of course have to give a special thanks to The Grove for hosting the event at their gorgeous venue. We always have so much fun putting on events with their rockstar team!

We would also like to give shoutouts to Grove tenants Barnes & Noble, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Laduree for supporting the event by donating a portion of proceeds to Milk + Bookies to help support our mission.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone who came! Whether you were a guest, a volunteer, or an OompaLoompa, you made the day a blast and we hope you will join us again next time!

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To sign up for our newsletter updates and to find out how you can get more involved with Milk + Bookies, visit our website at milkandbookies.org!


by Megan Tambio
March
30

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Madeleine

Today’s Book- Raiser Spotlight goes to our #ReadingRockstar & Host Ambassador, Madeleine!

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For the second year in a row, Madeleine organized a Milk + Bookies book fair at her local Barnes & Noble store in San Jose. She invited her friends, family, and classmates to come pick out specially curated titles to donate and enjoy some milk & cookies!

She partnered with the Family Resource Center at Valley Palms Apartments to help create a library and story room for their low-income tenants! The 300+ families who live there will now be able to enjoy the magic of story time every day of the week!

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CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED: 45-50

TOTAL BOOKS RAISED: 1,354!!!

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Students like her continually teach us the importance and joys of giving back. We love hearing about the success of #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS like her and can’t wait to see where her love of reading and giving takes her!

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Way to go, Madeleine!

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Thank you for making a difference with Milk+Bookies!!

Join us and start making a difference in your own community. Find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser here and purchase your Bookies Kit!

For some inspiration on how to make your Book-Raiser stand out, follow our Pinterest page!

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
March
22

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Heron School

Today’s Book- Raiser Spotlight goes to our friends all the way in Sacramento at the Heron School!

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This year marks the Heron School’s 2nd Milk + Bookies Book Raiser! Home of the Heron Flyers, 50 kids, parents, and teachers came together to raise over 60 books. The books they raised will be donated to homeless and foster youth within their school district, exemplifying the Milk + Bookies mission to impact underserved children right in your own community!

CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED: 50

TOTAL BOOKS RAISED: 60…and counting!

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Great work Heron School! These students teach us that it’s never too early to learn the joys of giving. We love hearing about the success of #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS like them and can’t wait to see where their love of reading and giving takes them!

Way to go, Flyers!

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Thank you for making a difference with Milk+Bookies!!

Join us and start making a difference in your own community. Find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser here and purchase your Bookies Box!

For some inspiration on how to make your Book-Raiser stand out, follow our Pinterest page!

READ! GIVE! GROW!

 


by Megan Tambio
March
15

It’s Always Time for Thyme Cafe & Market!

Thyme-Cafe--MarketIf you attended our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration (or just looked through our Instagram), you’ve probably noticed some of the delicious creations of Thyme Café & Market! They are by far one of our favorite local hang out spots and we were so thrilled to have them partner with us for this special event!

For our guests they provided delectable deli sandwiches, fresh veggies, pesto pasta and more!

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In 2004, Maire Byrne opened Thyme Catering where she quickly found success in creating New American food to enhance unforgettable moments throughout Southern California. The popularity of Thyme Catering led her to expand the company and launch her first cafe and gourmet marketplace, Thyme Café & Market.

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Located conveniently on Ocean Park Boulevard right here in Santa Monica, Thyme Café & Market offers tasty “New American” food and drink that is a MUST VISIT for their warm, charming, and communal environment. Perfect for catching up with friends and family!

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Maire Byrne is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and went on to work with culinary luminaries at various acclaimed restaurants in the United States, including Chez Panisse in Berkeley, The Ajax Tavern in Aspen, and Aqua in San Francisco.

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Her passion for travel led her to live and work throughout Europe, New York and San Francisco. Each experience has greatly in influenced her culinary point of view and strengthened her belief that good food draws people together and creates memories.

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Be sure to check out Thyme Café & Market’s delicious selections or even hire them to cater your next event! You won’t regret it!

Also, visit Thyme’s sister restaurant (a favorite for date night), LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE BAR, and don’t forget about the best toy store in Sunset Park, Quinnie & B – both are members of the Thyme family.

Thank you to the Thyme Team!


by Megan Tambio
March
9

8th Annual Story Time Celebration Recap

It’s that time of year again! Quicker than you can say “I Love Books!”, our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration came and went…and what a party it was! We could not have done it without the support of so many amazing guests, celebs, volunteers, and partners. We owe every ounce of our success to ALL OF YOU!!

This year’s Story Time was truly a labor of love and we would like to take this opportunity to recap some of our favorite moments from this incredible day…

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First and foremost, the BIGGEST THANK YOU goes to our incredible hosts and event partners at HD Buttercup in Culver City! Not only did they DONATE this space for the event, they gave us the run of the store that morning where we were able to utilize their beautiful furniture to create a truly unique and cozy Story Time for everyone to enjoy. Seriously, how gorgeous was this space?!?!

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“This event is a SUPER BLOW OUT version of the “host your own” book-raiser. We provide books on-site from which children choose, inscribe and donate to a pre-chosen recipient. We have arts & crafts all made from recycled book pages, costumed characters from your favorite classic tales plus a celebrity story time and yummy treats!”

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There was plenty to see and do at the event! Kids started off by taking our “Future Philanthropist Oath” wherein they promised to uphold the valuable lessons taught to them in their favorite books and to always give back to others. At our book store you could purchase some awesome M+B swag, buy a book, or donate one to a future Leader + Reader. Thanks to the generosity of our attendees and our book supply partners at Discover Books, we were able to donate over 2,000 books!

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In addition to special guest readings on the Story Time Stage, kids could make crafts from recycled book pages (created by the amazing Courtney Collins of little junebugs), play games with some Magic Characters (including Harry Potter, Pippy Longstocking, The Mad Hatter, and Captain Hook), participate in an exciting scavenger hunt with a super cool book necklace prize from Ann Williams Group, or grab a handcrafted treat from an amazing taffy artist!

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We were happy to have the support of both veteran and new VIP guests this year. Story Time readers included Julie Steines & Norbert the Dog, Greg Grunberg & illustrating partner Lucas Turnbloom, Mark Feuerstein, Henry Winkler, Dan Bucatinsky and our special Reading Champion 2017 Julie Bowen (she’s been with us since the very first Story Time!). Other special attendees included David Walton, KaDee Strickland, Jason Behr, Lindsay Sloane and our dear friend, Tom Everett Scott

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Arly Scott also performed her deliciously happy song “Pumpkin Pancakes” (check out her music video here!). And, lastly, but certainly not least, a HUGE THANK YOU to our MC, Adam Mellema, who kept the show running smoothly and provided the perfect mix of whimsy and fun that kept all attendees totally enraptured.

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Now, what’s a party without delicious goodies?!?! There was an ice cream truck, a coffee cart, snacks galore, a raw bar “boat”, picnic fare, and, of course, milk & cookies! We had so many wonderful partners and sponsors who went above and beyond donating supplies and tasty treats that kept both attendees and volunteers alike fueled and happy. Thank you to: Ripple Foods, Thyme Cafe and Market, Cast Iron Catering LA, Mrs. Thinsters, Organic Kids LA, Go Go Squeez, Bare Snacks, Ralph’s / Food 4 Less, Rockenwagner Bakery, Cheeky, McConnell’s Ice Cream, and Coffee Commissary. DELICIOUS!

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Several partners also generously donated some awesome prizes for our raffle, including $300 in blowouts plus a gift basket full of hair goodies from Drybar, a five class pass for SoulCycle, four 50- minute massages from The Now, a fabulous one night stay in the King Suite along with valet parking and a complimentary breakfast at Langham Huntington Hotel Pasadena, a 10 day pass at Steve & Kate’s Camp, and a $1000 gift card plus a design consultation with VP of Design and Retail, Skye Westcott, from our generous hosts at HD Buttercup. We even auctioned off some of our iconic (and stylish!) paper animals created by the genius team at Dutch + Finn to some very lucky guests!

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It goes without saying that a lot goes into planning Story Time every year…That’s why everyone here at Team M+B is especially thankful to HD Buttercup for hosting us, Morgan Pansing for snapping some gorgeous photos, Dutch + Finn for designing our whimsical decorations, Chideo for shooting event video, our pro-bono PR team from DKC Impact, and Traci Hoffberg Events for helping bring the whole event together.

Perhaps most importantly, we’d like to thank everyone who came to #STC8, both new and returning guests. Your support allows us to celebrate story time every day and continue to spread the love of reading to underserved children who don’t have access to the books they need to thrive. Because of YOU, through initiatives like our Los Angeles based Leaders + Readers program we’ve been able to donate over 400,000 books to over 60 Title I elementary schools!

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See you next year! And, remember to always…

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
March
1

Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner

One poet begs an important question: Could you hug a cactus?

8x10We’re elated to introduce you to our Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner. The poet’s new book “Could You Hug a Cactus?” is a fun, soulful throwback to Dr. Seuss with poems that will make you laugh at its wit and tear up at its heart. The poems’ topics may sound silly (a girl with a large robot friend, a man with unusually long arms, a cactus in need of a hug) but each of Van Wagoner’s poems offer surprising food for thought.

Gorgeously illustrated by Spencer Smith, “Could You Hug a Cactus?” recently won the Moon Beam Children’s Book Award for Children’s Poetry. Phillip Van Wagoner will also be competing in the March Madness Poetry Competition this month hosted by ThinkKidThink! as 1 of 64 ‘Authletes’.

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We were lucky enough to interview Mr. Wagoner as our Author Champion:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a writer and creator! 

Originally from Michigan, I moved around a lot when I was younger so I went to a lot of different schools and met a lot of different friends. I grew up with a small library of Dr. Seuss books, and absolutely loved reading Oh Say Can You Say?, his book of tongue-twisters, before bed at night.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I found myself getting these silly rhyming lines stuck in my head while I was at work . So, I’d stop, and jot them down, and then go back to work – but I’d always come back to them. After a while, I had written 10, 20, 50 poems (and a couple were actually pretty good!) and I started sharing them. I absolutely loved seeing people laugh when I’d read them aloud – and that was it – I was hooked.

Now, when I’m not producing a TV show, hanging out with my fiancée, or walking my amazing dog, I find as much time as I can to write and share these silly poems.

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2. What inspired you to write “Could You Hug a Cactus” and how long did it take you?

The poems in Could You Hug a Cactus? were chosen out of folders full of poems I had written over nine years – so it’s a little hard to say. But once we decided to put the book together, the process took about two years from concept to actual, physical book.

3. The poems in the book run the gamut of emotion, from sweet to silly. If you had to choose, what would be the one thing you want people to take away from your work?

In one sentence – “Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?” The title poem asks the question directly, while poems like “Hero”, “Buttons”, and “Edward vs the Mannequin” offer up characters with unexpected shortcomings or skills. Throughout the book, we tried to find new ways of approaching that question.

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“Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?”

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4. What’s your personal favorite poem in the book? Why?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I’ll go with “Words are Words” because it’s the only poem in the book where Spencer’s incredible acrylic illustrations don’t steal all my thunder!

 

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, illustrators, poets, etc? 

Yeah, definitely! I’ll give the same advice I try to remember every day. Write fearlessly! You don’t have to show anyone else what you put down on the page, so just write and worry about the editing later. It’s only when you let yourself put it all out there that you find those things that are really special.

 

6. And, finally, what is your all time FAVORITE book?

In third grade, I actually remember the moment when I pulled Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends off the shelf and looked at it for the first time. That book made a huge impression on me. Here was this adult who “got it”. The book was hilarious and heartfelt and sometimes a little dark – but it was always honest. As outrageous as some of the poems were, I could relate to the characters and understood the decisions they were making. That’s my #1.IMG_3464

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Order your copy of “Could You Hug a Cactus?” here.

A huge thanks to Phillip Van Wagoner for reminding us that while sometimes we’re a little prickly, we all could use a hug!

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READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
21

Redecorate Your Life with H.D. Buttercup

Decorating can be tough. Entire professions and shows on HGTV can attest to this…

Want to make it a little easier? Check out H.D. Buttercup – our friends, partners, and HOST of our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration!

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What sets H.D. Buttercup apart is its dedication to curating unique, top-quality pieces for each of its locations.

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We are so beyond thrilled (and LUCKY!) that their Culver City location will be playing host to our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration taking place on February 26th, 2017. During Story Time, our guests will receive 10% off ALL items in-store. But wait – there’s more! H.D. Buttercup has also generously provide a super special raffle prize that can be won at the event. Enter and you’ll have a shot at a $1,000 H.D. Buttercup gift card AND a one-on-one design consultation with their VP of Design and Retail, Skye Westcott, who will lend her keen eye for style and years of experience to make your design dreams come true!!

Check out some of their amazing interior designs below and get inspired!

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“At H.D. Buttercup, we see the home as a reflection of self,” their website reads. “Our in-house team of design consultants are on hand to carefully curate this journey.”

Get your tickets to Story Time by visiting, conta.cc/2dj2KrK TODAY!!!

#STC8 #SupportLiteracy

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
15

Enjoy the Flavors of Cast Iron Catering

America – land of the free, home of the brave, country of the foodies! Our friends over at Cast Iron Catering  know the importance of authentic, local flavor, which is why we’re so thrilled they’re sponsoring and catering our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration!

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Cast Iron Catering prides itself on variety – whether it be taste in food or type of event.

“Our mission is to provide a truly tailored experience for each client from black tie events, clam bakes, backyard barbecues or a romantic dinner for two, ” their mission statement says.

The result? Organic, locally- sourced food that’ll make your mouth water. Feast your eyes:

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To find out more about Cast Iron Catering, visit their website HERE!

And, don’t forget to purchase your tickets to our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration on February 26th, 2017 at HD Buttercup in Culver City where you can get a taste of the amazing-ness that is Cast Iron Catering plus enjoy celebrity story time, arts & crafts, games, & more! Fun for the whole family!

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
February
8

Mrs. Thinster’s is a Cookie Dream!

We here at Milk + Bookies value snack time almost as much as we do reading! You can probably already guess what our favorite snack is (hint: it rhymes with ‘Bookies’). That’s why we are thrilled to introduce our newest partner and sponsor for our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration: Mrs. Thinster’s!

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You’ve probably seen our fabulous baking friend popping up more and more at your local grocery store. That’s because Mrs. Thinster’s cookies are more than just delicious – they’re unique! Thin and extra crispy, Mrs. Thinster’s combines the awesomeness of cookies and your favorite bag of chips.

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Mrs. Thinster’s comes in 10 tasty flavors that offers something for the purists and rebels alike including classic Chocolate Chip and decadent Coconut Fudge. Better yet – all of Mrs. Thinster’s products are Non- GMO, nut allergen-free, and made with simple ingredients – aka “nothing you can’t pronounce”.

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Our ultimate cookie crush is also socially conscious. With their “Share a Cookie, Share a Smile” campaign, Mrs. Thinster’s helps donate their products to those in need- from schools, to the homeless, to our troops overseas.  Mrs. Thinster’s website proudly declares:

“We believe that the simples of joys can be found in food. After all, it is food that brings people together at the table.”

 

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Get your Mrs. Thinster’s cookies at our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration taking place on February 26th, 2017 at HD Buttercup in Culver City from 11am-2pm! Tickets on sale here!

#bakedwithlove


by Megan Tambio
February
2

Get Creative & Crafty with Ann Wiliams Group

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Here at Milk + Bookies, we’re all about enhancing children’s imaginations. We do it through the love of a good book and inspiring kids to read, but Ann Williams Group has taken a more hands-on approach: crafts!

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Ann Williams makes creative, colorful crafting packages for the young and young at heart. It is no secret that we LOVE a good craft project, which is why we are so thrilled that they are partnering with us for our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration by providing these amazing Craft-tastic Book Necklace Kits to be won at our Scavenger Hunt!

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Create your own book necklace!

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If that’s not cool enough, Ann Williams is also giving a special deal on their monthly craft subscription boxes exclusively for Milk + Bookies supporters!!

Use the code MILKBOOKIES at check out and you can get you first box for just $8!

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Ann Williams‘ founder, Sheila Wright, is a “life- long maker” who truly believes in the creative outlet crafting can provide. “When kids craft, they develop problem solving skills. They become much better thinkers. And they acquire confidence. Above all, through making, they realize they can do anything they set their mind to.”

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Don’t miss your chance to get crafty with us and Ann Williams at our Story Time Celebration taking place on February 26th, 2017 at HD Buttercup – Culver City from 11am to 2pm.

 

Get your tickets TODAY!!


by Megan Tambio