Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Monsterator Review

I'm so excited for Halloween and so is Monkey! I couldn't resist doing a Halloween review for this way fun children's book.

About the book

  • The book is about Master Edgar Dreadbury, a boy who finds Halloween a little boring. Edgar simply can't find a costume that is scary. He decides to go to a different costume store called the Monster Shop. In the shop, he discovers a machine called the Monsterator. He dropped a coin in the slot and stepped inside. The machine monsterated Edgar! Delighted with his ghoulish looks, Edgar decided to have some Halloween fun. Eventually, he went back to the shop to be un-monsterated. However, to his horror, the shop was gone! Edgar thought about his predicatment, and realized that being a monster wasn't so bad at all. He grew to appreciate his new looks especially around Halloween.

    About the author

    Tragically, Keith Graves was monsterated as a child growing up in New Orleans. He was never the same afterward. Legend has it that the hideous author now lurks in the dark forests outside Austin, Texas, along with his beastly wife and toothy twin cubs.

    My thoughts

    I love Halloween and so naturally my kiddos do too. Monkey loves to dress up in costumes, and he loves to help me decorate the house. The crazy thing is that he likes monsters! He wanted to hang up some skeleton window covers in his bedroom because he likes to growl at them.
  • When Monkey saw Monsterator, he was SO excited. He quickly grabbed the book and headed towards the couch. He had to "read" it first before we read it together. This goes to show how the book easily captivated his attention. 
  • The illustrations are done extremely well. There is a good balance between the grays and blacks to make the book spooky and enough color to make the book entertaining. The rhyming helped the story to flow and to allow the reader to travel to the Monsterator world. 
  • Monkey's favorite part of the book was at the very end. The final pages are cut into flaps so you can "monsterate" Edgar and the author. The flaps allow your child to get creative and imagine what the monsterator can do.My Halloween book collection is slowly growing, and I definitely recommend adding this book to your collection!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Library Learning

Sometimes a really great way to teach new things to your children can be done using very simple methods. One such simple method is the library. The small city I live in has a library and it is only a few minutes drive away from my house or about a 15 minute walk with my kiddos. I love how close the library is because when the weather cooperates, I get to walk with my kiddos to the library.

I started taking Monkey to the library at the beginning of summer. I just let him wonder around and pick whatever book he wanted to check out. We usually ended up with a wide variety, but Monkey enjoyed having "new" books.

The last few trips to the library, Monkey has wanted to get books about construction vehicles. The last month, Monkey and I have bee reading tons of books about construction books and what each vehicle does. Monkey can now spot and name all the construction vehicles he sees, and so can I! One book he really enjoys reading is about how an old road is torn up and replaced with a new one. This book, Road Closed,  is actually designed for much older kids. Despite paraphrasing some of the longer pages, I still end up reading most of the paragraphs Monkey absolutely loves Road Closed. He now explains the process of how a road is torn up and built whenever we encounter cracked roads and sidewalks.

This just goes to show how much a child can learn from reading books and going to the library. Here are some tips to make library learning fun and effective:
  1. Let your child pick out the books they want to read
  2. Don't be afraid to let your child take home an "advanced book" - you will be surprised what they can learn from the book.
  3. Get some books about a topic that your child is obsessed with
  4. Apply what your child is learning from the books to real life (example: discuss how construction vehicles help society out, identify shapes and colors when you go shopping, etc.)
I know a lot of us are blessed to live close to libraries. However, I understand that not everyone has access to a library. And the question is what can I do? Well, here are some suggestions that I even want to do!
  1. Create a "library" at home. If you have a lot of books in your house, then create a a place in your house that can be a library. This can be a box, a tote, or even a small bookcase. Take some of your books and put them in the now designated "library" container. Make a pretend library card for your children and then allow them to come to the library and check out some books. This is a great way to cycle through all the books on your shelves!
  2. Create a "library" with your neighbors, friends, and family. Find people who live close by to you that will be willing to "check out" their books to your children. This will allow your children to get new books and get the experience of a library. You can also create a library card so the experience is more real.
Please share your thoughts and experience about library learning because I would love to hear them!

Pistachio Chewy Bite Popcorn Ball By Spork Foods

Halloween means lots of sweets. In celebration of the upcoming holiday, Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods have created a delicious Pistachio Chewy Bite Popcorn Ball recipe that is easy to make and perfect for Halloween! The recipe is nutritious, gluten free, vegan, and something you will want to make all year long.

image was provided by Spork Foods

About the Chefs
L.A.-based sisters and celebrity chefs, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods are vegan chefs that own a Los Angeles-based gourmet cooking school. The culinary duo are also cookbook authors and work with some of Hollywood’s elite including Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer van Straten and Alicia Silverstone.

Pistachio Chewy Bite Popcorn Balls

5 cups popped popcorn
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated buttery spread (Earth Balance)
2 cups vegan marshmallows (Dandie’s brand)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bag Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites, 6 pieces, roughly chopped

In a 4-6 quart heavy pot, add buttery spread, marshmallows, cinnamon and sea salt. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat and add vanilla extract and Pistachio Chewy Bites. Stir well, mixing until uniform.

Use a 1/2 cup measuring cup to portion out the mixture into 10 balls and place on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet.   

Enjoy when cooled.

These look so good! I hope you enjoy them! I know I will be making some soon with my kiddos!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

You've Been Booed!

I grew up in a family that just loves Halloween, and so I love Halloween as an adult. I don't love Halloween as much as my sister; however, I would be hard pressed to find someone who loves Halloween as much as she does.

Growing up, I hated waiting until the end of the month to do Halloween activities. It seemed that most parties and activities were during the last week of October, and all I could think was why. So my family started doing a fun activity at the beginning of October to get ready for Halloween. We started doing "chain letter" Halloween door treats.

We simply made some form of baked goods and left them on a neighbor's porch with a paper saying "You've Been Booed" or "You've Been Treated Instead Of Tricked" and instructions on how to continue the fun. Don't worry, we didn't put any curses on the paper. It was just for fun so if someone didn't want to continue passing on "You've Been Booed", then that was their choice.

Because I now have kids, I really wanted to start this tradition back up. Click here to get the document with the Halloween chain letter. Feel free to make your own and please let me know how much your family and neighbors enjoyed this activity!

I hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Belli Anti-Blemish Face Wash Products Review

Picky for a purpose
image obtained from website

About the products

Belli is a physician-formulated skin care line focused on ingredient safety to provide expectant and new mothers with piece of mind. Belli teratology screens its ingredients for use during pregnancy, to avoid "teratogens" - chemical, synthetic or natural ingredients that have been linked to birth defects or miscarriage. Belli also LactMed screens its formulations to ensure that nursing mothers can use the products without hesitation. All products are allergy tested and free of parabens, BPA, phthalates, and artificial dyes.

Using Belli products:
1. PREP:  Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub exfoliates to help prepare skin for the application of other skin care products.  This invigorating scrub for face and body sweeps away old skin cells to reveal soft, smooth healthy skin for better absorption and the optimal efficacy of any products applied afterwards. It features green tea extract and ginseng, both are rich in antioxidants and includes the refreshing aromatherapy of peppermint oil. We recommend using 2-3 times a week.  SRP $24 for a 6.5 oz tube
2. CLEANSE: Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash leaves skin clear and refined, without over-drying. This pure facial wash features lactic acid to cleanse and gently exfoliate acne prone skin. It contains lemon peel oil, a natural anti-bacterial and skin brightener, as well as green tea extract and cucumber, both are rich in antioxidants.  Gentle enough to be used as a daily cleanser; it may also be left on the face for 5 minutes as an intensive facial mask.  SRP $22.00 for 6.7 oz. tube. 
Belli is available at fine retailers including buybuyBaby and DestinationMaternity and online at www.belliskincare.com and ULTA.com. And, in a week, Belli SKincare is doing a fantastic promotion with their products where you can have the chance to win products and receive 30% off their products!

Belli Birthday Bash (September 8th - September 23)
It may be Belli’s birthday, but the gifts are for you! Belli Skincare is proud to partner with like-minded mom and baby brands to celebrate our birthday and the full pregnancy to motherhood experience with a sitewide sale and online giveaways.  
Visit the Belli website to enjoy 30% savings sitewide on Belli Skincare products with promo code (BDAYBASH30). Enter daily to win exciting sponsored product giveaways from prestige mom and baby brands.  Participating brands include Healthy Mama, Pretty Pushers, Guava Family, Birds & Bees Teas, Angelcare, Swaddle Designs and Sticky Bellies.  
Each day a different prize and/or gift certificate will be featured from a variety of brands.  On the final two days of the event (September 22nd and 23rd), there will be registration for a Grand Prize Package  which features prizes from all of the Belli Birthday Bash event sponsors.  One lucky winner will take home the Grand Prize package valued at over $1,200 in mom and baby products.

My thoughts

I was so excited to hear that a company was making skincare products that are safe to use for pregnant and nursing moms! Ever since I became pregnant with my first kiddo, I had to make sure everything I was using, eating, and touching was okay during my pregnancy and then when I was nursing.

The Belli Skincare products are amazing! I have used them for a little over a month and am quite pleased with the results. My skin feels soft and looks more smooth. I don't have severe deep skin acne, but I do have some acne. I am the type that gets the small skin bumps that are only noticed up close.

Belli Fresh Start Pre-Treatment Scrub

This pre-treatment scrub is a great scrub to clean face (and body) because it helps get rid of dead skins cells. This is what the scrub likes it. I love how there is no artificial dyes! I only used this scrub twice a week, and I felt like I got the results I desired.

I tried to take pictures of how my skin progressed, but my camera just didn't do it any justice. So I decided I would just show what the products like on from the bottle and what it looks like after it is applied to your face.

Anyways, I just have to say how much I loved the smell of green tea, ginseng, and peppermint. The balance was perfect because it wasn't too strong or too subtle.

Belli Anti-Blemish Facial Wash

This facial wash was used daily and was really easy to apply. A little amount of the facial wash really goes a long way! The smell of green tea and cucumber was refreshing. My husband really like the way my face smelled after each time I used this facial wash.

I really like how the Belli anit-blemish facial wash could be used a daily cleanser and as a deep skin cleanser. I would do a deep skin cleanser once a week by leaving the wash on my face for about 5 minutes. My face felt so smooth and clean!

I love Belli products and love the fact that I don't have to worry about using them if I am pregnant or nursing. I completely recommend getting these terrific products from Belli Skincar.

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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ozeri WeightMaster Digital Bath Scale Review (#Ozeri)

About the product
  • BMI with Weight Differential Detection -- Instantly displays your BMI (Body Mass Index), current weight, and your net weight change since your last weigh-in. It also calculates your net weight change from the average of your last 3 and 7 weigh-ins to help provide a comprehensive understanding of your weight.
  • Accurate Weight Tracking with 7 Day Memory -- By measuring your weight once a day, the Ozeri WeightMaster empowers you to instantly see how your current weight changes from the previous day (e.g. -0.8 lbs), the average of the last 3 days (e.g. -1.1 lbs) and the previous week (e.g. -1.8 lbs), all displayed on an intelligent LCD with color alert technology.
  • Smart LCD with Color Alert Technology -- For users who want to focus on their weight trend instead of the actual numbers, this scale displays your weight change in color, with a GREEN illumination for weight loss and RED for weight gain, providing a visual form of intuitive feedback so you can see if your weight is trending up or down day to day, over the last 3 and 7 days.
  • Immediate and Flawless Results -- Performs and displays all calculations on the scale's LCD without complicated synching or data connection failures common to more expensive wireless and Bluetooth alternatives.
  • Quality Construction, Industry-leading Capacity and Built-in Intelligence -- Weighs up to 400 lbs with auto-recognition technology for 5 unique users at home, at the office, or at the gym. Automatically calibrates with StepOn technology and auto-powers off. Made out of impact-resistant tempered glass, and equipped with non-slip scratch-resistant feet that won't damage flooring.

My thoughts

I like to have a scale around the house just so I can keep track of my weight. I like to stay healthy. I find a scale useful when I am trying to get back to my pre pregnancy weight. I am the type of person that wants to have numbers.

Anyways, my previous scale was awful. I could gain and lose 5 pounds in 10 minutes! It very rarely provided an accurate weight. So I have been looking for a new scale. When I read about the Ozeri WeightMaster digital bath scale, I knew I had to try it out. I decided to get a black scale because all my weight scales would get dirty no matter how hard I tried to keep them clean.

When I opened the package, I instantly liked the scale. It was light weight and very sleek! I first had to program the scale to my height and then get my weight so the scale would remember me as a user. It was really easy to setup the user. Plus, the scale will allow up to 5 users which is super handy if more than 1 person wants to watch their weight. Once the scale has your weight and height, then it can provide you with your BMI so you can know if you are in your recommended zone.

I absolutely love the weight tracking feature! It is so nice to see if you have gained or lost weight from the previous week. The weight change is indicated by color which is helpful for the ones that like to see things visually. The picture (provided by Ozeri) shows how the weight tracking feature works.

I definitely have enjoyed this scale! If you want a scale that is easy to use and has some great features, then this is the scale for you!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Little Elliot Big City Review

                                 Little Elliot Big World by Mike Curato

About the book

Amid the hustle and bustle of the big city, the big crowds and bigger buildings, Little Elliot leads a quiet life. In spite of the challenges he faces, Elliot finds many wonderful things to enjoy—like cupcakes! And when his problems seem insurmountable, Elliot discovers something even sweeter—a friend.

About the author

Mike Curato

Mike Curato has the fortune of possessing a designer's brain, an illustrator heart, and an artist vision. You can find him on any given day walking around the city eating a cupcake (or thinking about it).

Book trailer

My thoughts

My family loves books. I love sharing my love for books with my kiddos. When I was contacted about reviewing a new book, Little Elliot Big City, there was no hesitation on my part. I couldn't wait to get the copy of it and when it finally arrived, I quickly opened it so I could read it with my boys.

Monkey really loved the book. Each page is filled with colorful illustrations and simple sentences. By the time I was done reading the sentence on each page, Monkey was ready to see the next page. Little Elliot Big City is a cute book about the best treasure is a friend. I loved the message of the book about how friends are there to help each other out. And as you can tell, Monkey loves this book. I will catch him "reading" it frequently at my house. Now Monkey wants to have an elephant and eat cupcakes together!

This cute book will be on sale August 26! Make sure you get yours because you won't be disappointed.

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