Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Whatever Wanda Review & Giveaway


About the book

Wanda is in serious need of an attitude adjustment! She doesn’t want to accompany her family to the Rubber Duck Days Festival, and once there, she won’t participate in any of the events or join in with her friends. Soon Wanda receives some helpful advice and learns that:

“Sometimes you have to believe something will be great before it actually is. Being positive is a choice that makes everything better, not to mention, a whole lot more fun!”

Whatever Wanda is the third book in the Shine Bright Kids series. The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with the tools to teach the importance of making good choices. The series explores such topics as: using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.
About Shine Bright Kids:
Choose Right. Shine Bright.
The Shine Bright Kids series provides children and their families with a framework to teach the importance of making good choices. The principles that will be explored include: using good judgment, taking responsibility, having a positive attitude, and demonstrating perseverance.
Want more information about this book and other books like it? Then, take a look at these links:
Visit the official website:  http://www.idealsbooks.com 

About the author
Christy Ziglar, financial planner, mother of twins, and niece of legendary motivator and the world’s original optimist, Zig Ziglar, is bringing the same timeless wisdom and ageless advice to an entirely new, younger audience through her Shine Bright Kids picture book series. Christy, her husband, and their twins live in Atlanta, Georgia.

About the illustrator

Paige Billin-Frye lives with her husband in Washington, D.C., where she gardens and grows food in her city yard. She has illustrated numerous children’s books and works in a studio over a neighborhood hardware store. Coincidentally, Paige has amassed a collection of rubber duckies of all sizes across the years.

My thoughts





Whatever Wanda is a really cute book with very captivating illustrations. The books is a great way to teachyour kiddos about the importance of having a good attitude. Sometimes things just don't go our way or we don't want to do certain things, but when we have a better attitude the situation is so much better.




Monkey sure loves this book and loves reading about all the ducks. He even asked to make duck cookies because of the book. Just goes to show that your kids really do remember things that you read to them.

I love the fact that Monkey can read a book that teaches uplifting messages and teaches him that his attitude has a huge impact on the amount of fun he can have.

Another fun feature about this book is the "Star Search". There is a star that follows Wanda through the book. Depending on Wanda's choices, the star will look happy or sad. So after your child finds the star, you can discuss the star's mood.


Giveaway
You have a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book! Just follow the rules and enter the giveaway through the entry-form below.

*Giveaway will be open from 4/1/15 to 4/8/15
*The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email.
*Open to residents of U.S. & Canada.




"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Martian Dice Review & Giveaway (#MartianDice)




                                                  Martian Dice Game

About the product

  • Martian Dice is a fun, fast-paced dice game that adults and kids both love.
  • Abduct cows, chickens, and humans to run tests and determine who is actually in charge on earth.
  • Your turn starts by rolling all 13 dice, and ends when you choose to stop and score points.
  • Martian Dice has a wonderful and fun theme. You won't find any zombies in this dice game.
  • 2+ players can play Martian Dice in 30 minutes.
 How to Play:
Your mission in Martian Dice, is to swoop down on the pathetic denizens of the primitive planet "Earth", and to scoop up as many of the inhabitants as you can manage. We are interested in samples of the Chicken, Cow, and Human populations, so that we can determine which of them is actually in charge. The Earthlings might manage to put up a feeble defense, but surely nothing that a small taste of your Death Rays can't handle. Make Mars proud be the first Martian to fill your abduction quota. On You Turn: 1. Roll all of the available dice. (On the first roll of your turn this will be all 13 dice; on later rolls it depends on how many dice you set aside earlier). If there are no available dice, proceed to scoring. 2. Set aside all Tanks, adding them to any Tanks set aside earlier this turn. 3. From the remaining dice, choose ONE type (Chickens, Cows, Humans, or Death Rays) and set aside ALL dice of that type. Chickens, Cows, or Humans may NOT be chosen if you have already set that type aside this turn. If you cannot set aside any dice based on these restrictions, your turn is over, proceed to scoring. 4. You may choose to end your turn and proceed to scoring, or return to step 1 to continue rolling. SCORING: Only score if you have at least as many Death Rays as Tanks set aside. 1 Point for each die set aside that is Human, Cow, or Chicken. 3 Bonus points if you set aside at least one Human, Cow, AND Chicken. 

My thoughts

My family loves games especially games that are unique. This game, Martian Dice, defiantly got my interest!  Because my husband and I love to play games, it is nice to have games that allow for only 2 players or more. And, thankfully this game matches the criteria.

The game is really quick to learn and fun to play. I love games that are easy to learn. The instructions provide an example turn which is helpful to visually see how the game is played.


 I thought the premise of the game was a lot of fun pretending to be the invading martians who need to collect humans, chickens, and cows while making sure their death rays will outnumber the human tanks.



Each player takes a turn with the 13 dice. You tally your points after each turn and the first player to reach 25 points win. The best part about this game is that if you don't want to go up to 25 points, then you don't have to. My husband and I had fun seeing you could the most points in one round.

This is definitely a game I recommend because it is fun and easy to learn! You won't be disappointed.


Giveaway

Flash giveaway will happen on Facebook from 3/27/15 to 3/29/15 11:59 pm MST


*Disclosure:  I received the product mentioned in this post at no cost in order to do this review. All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Techno Gears Marble Mania Quest Review (#marblemaniaquest)

About the product

Set out on a search for fun and excitement with Techno Gears Marble Mania Quest. This adventure themed marble run features a hand crank that turns a bucket and chain pulley system to lift the marbles to the top of the build where they twist and turn down the tracks for an action packed run! More than 200 pieces will provide children hours of fun construction building. Ages 6+ years.


Check out this video to see this product in action:



My thoughts


My husband and boys love to build and tinker with their hands. When I saw this Techno Gears Marble Mania Quest, I knew they would love it.

My husband and I had to tackle this project together because it takes about 3-4 hours to put together. I wasn't expecting it to take that long, but it is understandable since there are a lot of parts. My husband took time to teach Monkey about all the mechanics and why things had to put together a certain way.



Once it is up, let the fun begin. My boys had fun moving the marbles around. Monkey sure loved all the cranks he could play with. This is definitely an activity for all the marble loving and mechanical inclined people. The only bad thing is that once it is up, you don't want to take it down because all the time you put into it. But, your older boys and girls will love this project because it will keep them busy for many many hours!
Adventure Series - Techno Gears Marble Mania Quest

*Disclosure:  I received the product mentioned in this post at no cost in order to do this review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Flat Iron with MicroProcessor Review (#flatironclassy)




About the product

  • ELEGANT AND POWERFUL - With its Sleek design and fast heating ceramic plates this flat iron offers a combination of elegance, power and precision reaching temperatures of up to 430 Fahrenheit degrees
  • SOPHISTICATED MICROPROCESSOR - Thanks to its highly sophisticated microprocessor and its LCD control display, the new Xtava Dolce allows you to personalize your settings to your desired style and hair type
  • LCD SCREEN - Achieve complete control of the heat function with the stylish blue LCD screen and convenient buttons on the side of the appliance
  • SAFETY - The Dolce flat iron is equipped with an automatic safety mechanism that will turn off the device when not in use. The device also offers a digital locking function to prevent any tampering with the unit
  • CASE INCLUDED - Travel and storage case with heat resistant material included with the unit.

 My thoughts

So this review was going to be posted several weeks ago with completely positive feedback. I was happy with the results. Here is what I thought:

First off, I just have to say how much I love the color and sleek design of this straightener. Before using the straightener, I examined the product. I loved the swivel cord because it gives me so much more freedom when styling my hair. And I really loved the manual lock feature because it is nice knowing that my kiddos can't tamper with the straightener if they get into my bathroom drawers.

The straightener is really easy to use. The power button needs to be held for a few seconds and then it turns on. I love how I can adjust the temperature to fit my hair type and styling needs! And, the straightener has a safety mechanism where it turns off after an hour which is good because there have been times where I wonder did I turn off and unplug my straightener.

I really like the fingertip grooves at the very top of the straightener because it allowed me to curl my hair without burning my fingers. I didn't get the curls I wanted, but that is due to person using it and not due to the product. I need to practice more with curling my hair now that I got a good flat iron.

The ceramic ionic plates are really nice and they make a huge difference. My hair stayed straight the entire day and didn't look frizzy at all. My ends also stayed straight which is awesome since most flat irons make my ends flip out or in which is annoying. Thankfully, the DOLCE didn't do that at all. In fact, I felt my hair looked nicer using this flat iron than other ones I have used. I am quite pleased with this flat iron and I definitely would tell my friends to try it out.

However, after about a week, the flat iron had major issues. It would turn itself off after only being plugged in for a few minutes. Any time I would barely tilt the flat iron, it would turn itself off. So basically I couldn't even style my hair because the flat iron would turn off every minute.

I contacted the company and they sent me a new one. I was hoping that I just got a defective flat iron. But, the replacement flat iron started after problems the same day! It wouldn't stay on no matter what I did and didn't do. Honestly, I am extremely disappointed that I have received two products from them and they have both provided me with awful experiences.

I would definitely NOT recommend this product to anyone. It is not worth the trouble .

*Disclosure:  I received the product mentioned in this post at no cost in order to do this review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spiral Vegetable Slicer for Healthy Salads/Pasta Review (#spiralizer)



About the product

  • SUPERIOR VALUE for the Complete Spiralizer Bundle: The Kitchen Supreme Spiralizer + Flexible Cleaning Brush + Storage/Protective Bag + Spiral Slicer Recipes Digital Cookbook + Rapid Results Digital Guidebook - 101 Power Tips for a Fitter, Healthier You !
  • VERSATILE: Create NOODLES and JULIENNE SPIRALS from a great variety of vegetables: Carrots, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Squash, Radish, Sweet And Regular Potatoes, and lots others. 2 Julienne Sizes (1/16" x 3/32" and 1/8" x 3/16")
  • RELIABLE: Built from BPA-Free ABS Plastic and Heat-Treated Stainless Steel. Two High Class Japanese Razor Sharp Blades, guaranteed not to rust or loose sharpness qualities in time. Built-In Finger Guard Protection And Safety Cap. | CONVENIENT & USER FRIENDLY: Comes assembled and ready to use ! No Annoying Extra Attachment to set up, that take up your space and time. It's Dishwasher safe and Compact, easily stored in the kitchen drawer. Super-easy to use !
  • THE BEST CHOICE: Best spiral slicer for anyone on a Raw Food / Low Carb / Gluten Free / No Wheat / Paleo / DIET ! A PERFECT GIFT for Moms, Cooks and healthy-conscious people, making their life fun and easy. Most important for parents, it makes vegetables fun and attractive for children. PERFECT GIFT for FAMILY and FRIENDS !
  • HELPS YOU TO: ENJOY YOUR MEALS, even if you are on a DIET (Raw, Vegan, Low Carb, Gluten-Free, No-Wheat, Paleo, etc.), REPLACE HIGH CARB Pasta or Noodles with healthy and colorful veggie ones, Get your picky CHILDREN and FAMILY to EAT plenty of healthy VEGETABLES in disguise, SAVE TIME from slicing, dicing and conventional julienning methods, CRAVE for VEGETABLES ! Your veggies will look mouth-watering and still keep nutrients and minerals alive.

My thoughts

Every year I get so much summer squash and carrots from my garden that I start to run out of new and creative ideas on how to eat them. When I saw the spiral vegetable slicer by Kitchen Supreme, I just knew I had to try it out!



The spiral vegetable slicer comes with its own bag, a flexible cleaning brush, and a digital cookbook. The slicer has two julienne sizes of 2x3 mm and 3.5x5 mm so you can get the size you want for the dish you desire to make. I also love that the slicer comes with a lid that you can attach to the vegetables that you are slicing when it becomes too small to keep turning with your hands.




I have had a lot of fun experimenting with the spiral vegetable slicer. I really enjoy using it on zucchini and carrots. I plan on testing it out on cucumbers and potatoes really soon.


Look at those awesome spirals! It doesn't take long to figure out the best method to get long nice spirals with the slicer. So don't worry about this gadget being difficult to use because it is totally not! I also love the fact that it is extremely easy to clean!


This is a fun and great kitchen tool that I keep using on a weekly basis. I love making dishes with vegetable noodles because I am getting all the nutrients I need while having a delicious meal. My husband and kids love the pasta dishes and Asian dishes I have been making. I totally recommend getting this product because you will not be disappointed and will enjoy the yummy meals you can make in 30 minutes or less.




*Disclosure: I received the product mentioned in this post at no cost in order to do this review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Berenstain Bears' Please & Thank You Review & Giveaway




About the book

The cherished Bear family is coming to a new generation of toddler and preschool readers.

Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first Berenstain Bear books in 1962 and the Bear family celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012! Here the charming and lovable Bear family is once again introducing children to the typical issues and questions that they face every day.

In The Berenstain Bears’ Please & Thank You Book, little readers are introduced to the importance of manners, through gentle reminders given to Brother, Sister, and Honey as they await their milk and cookies. The short story and well-loved characters provide toddlers a perfect introduction to valuable life lessons and routines.

About the author

Mike Berenstain grew up watching his parents work together to write about and draw these lovable bears. Eventually he started drawing and writing about them too. Though Stan died in 2005 and Jan in 2012, Mike carries on his parents’ love of creating Berenstain Bear stories from southeastern Pennsylvania, which looks a lot like Bear Country.

My thoughts

I loved reading the Berenstain Bear stories when I was child and I still do. I wanted to introduce this series to my boys because I knew they would enjoy them too. I really love the fact that the Berenstain Bear family is available to toddlers by making board books. It is much easier for my toddler to read the book without getting tempted to rip pages.

I have been working on teaching manners to my youngest boy, Roo. He is learning to talk at a rapid pace, and I want him to say please and thank you instead of demanding what he wants. The Berenstain Bears' Please and Thank You Book came at the right time. I was able to read the book to my boys and have a small lesson about why we say please and thank you.

They absolutely loved the book. Roo loves the bears and making growling noises when I read the book to
him. He definitely picked up the word please and is learning thank you right now. My older boy, Monkey, had fun reading the book and teaching his brother to say please and thank you.

Te book is perfect for toddlers because it has lots of illustrations and short paragraphs so you don't have to worry about your kids getting bored.

My family sure loves this book and we have been reading it a lot this week! To get this book or other Berenstain Bears' books, then click here.

Giveaway
*Open to anyone who is 18+ who lives in USA or Canada
*Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids (#ourforbiddencity, #HiLittleEmperor, #giveaway)



The Chinese New Year starts on February 19! It will be the year of the sheep. So let's start of the new year with some fun by making dumplings, reading some fun and educational books, and doing some fun activities found at http://www.walfc.org/play/activities/


1) Make dumplings 
Recipe provided by China Institute

Dumplings, called jiaozi in Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year. What better way to celebrate than to make your own dumplings! The recipe below is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all
sorts of different fillings.

INGREDIENTS 

Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough: 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Pork & Chive Filling: 
  • 1 cup ground pork (can also use beef) 
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
 
  • 1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper 
  • 3 Tablespoon sesame oil
 
  • 1/2 green onion, finely minced 
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage 
  • 4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots 
  • 2 slices fresh ginger finely minced
 
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced 


DIRECTIONS


Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well. 
 
Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers. 
 
Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers. 
 
To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings.

Note: I'm going to do make dumplings this weekend with my family since my husband will be home. I will let you know how they turn out. I can't wait since I am really craving them right now.


2) Read some Chinese books

This is the Greatest Place!
ages 5-9
Created by internationally renowned children’s book artists Brian Tse and Alice Mak, the book teaches children about Chinese architecture, how nature’s influence can be seen around us, and
how people and animals can live together in harmony. The illustrations capture the majesty of both the natural world and the Forbidden City and are enhanced by interactive components for readers, including a gatefold spread and lift-flaps. 
Tse and Mak are well known for their heartwarming and educational stories for children. They are the creators of the iconic cartoon characters McMug and McDull, who have been featured in numerous award-winning works including books, comics, television shows, and movies.

In The Forbidden City
ages 9+
Accompanied by a mischievous cat, readers will tour this colossal architectural structure, discovering the secrets hidden inside the palace walls. They will encounter the people who have walked through its halls and gardens, including emperors, empresses, and rebel leaders, and
hear exciting tales about the power struggles and intrigues of everyday life.
This large format book conveys the grandeur of the Forbidden City through highly detailed line drawings of its buildings, gardens, and courtyards with numerous foldout spreads. Each page is populated by a large variety of characters and peppered with entertaining anecdotes. Every book includes a plastic magnifying glass for looking at the drawings more closely. 
Creator Chiu Kwong-chiu is an artist, designer, and professor who explores Chinese traditional visual arts along with adopting groundbreaking ways to interpret and promote Chinese art and culture.

My thoughts

I absolutely loved educational books. I love learning about various topics, and I really want my children to be the same way. I try to have a lot of books on my kids' bookshelves that are fun and educational at the same time. And, This is the Greatest Place and In the Forbidden City are definitely books that you want.

This is the Greatest Place is perfect for the younger children who need to have more colorful illustrations and a captivating story to hold their attention. The story is about some animal friends (rabbit, squirrel, panda, and porcupine) who meet a master builder. The master builder is looking for inspiration for the design of the Emperor's palace. The story goes through and explains how nature holds so much inspiration.

Monkey really loved this book because there were lots of animals and lots of action. He loved the journey that the animals and the master builder went on. And, of course, he loved the lift-flaps. Although it is recommended for children to be at least age 5, Monkey (age 4) was able to enjoy the book and had no problems with it.

lift-flaps: my kiddos loved them

In The Forbidden City is designed for older children who want to take an in depth approach to learning about the Forbidden City and the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties. You will learn about symbols, buildings, ceremonies, courtyards, gardens, people, and much more.

detailed illustrations
lots of fold out pages!


I got this book for myself so I can learn more about the Forbidden City and discover all the secrets that are found in its walls. I didn't let my kiddos look at it because they are at the age (4, 2) where even though they try to be careful with books, there are a lot of "accidents". But, this book will be great for anyone who 9 and older.



I really loved the included magnifying glass at the end of the book so you can take a closer look at the very detailed illustrations. It was fun because you can be more like a detective. I know once Monkey gets a little older, he will love this book.






3) Enter to win one of the above mentioned books

Giveaway
*This is going to be a super easy giveaway.
*Mandatory entry is to comment on this post by answering the question provided in giveaway tools and then you will a couple of optional tasks like visiting a Facebook page and tweeting. And that's it!
*Open to anyone who is 18+ who lives in USA or Canada
*Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen


*Disclosure: I received the products mentioned in this post at no cost in order to do this review. All opinions are my own.