Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Around the world.... #Books #IC #Sponsored

We are HUGE book fanatics at our home. With eight kids, we read a lot- and collect a lot of books. We were really excited that I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hands-on-Prints books. I received books to facilitate this honest review.

The author of the Hands-on-Prints books, Christina Cheung, established a Montessori school that celebrates differences in learning preferences, personalities, and cultural backgrounds. She was compelled to write a collection of books that inspire simple and complex learning about the world while incorporating tactile elements and vibrant visual experiences for children. These books foster children's knowledge and sense of discover by helping them to engage in a way that encourages mindfulness and inspiring them to explore and learn.

Around The World From A to Z

This hard cover book has thick sturdy pages that will hold up over time. These are great for preschoolers, since they can turn the pages themselves without the fear of tearing them. There is a nice note to parents and educators that helps the adults understand how to use the book and what it can do.

This book focuses on the alphabet...the written letters are in the cursive alphabet. I know many parent's are thinking- well my child needs to know the printed alphabet first, why should I get a book of cursive alphabet letters? Well, each letter is printed in a texture similar to very fine sandpaper. The note to parents and educators states, "Careful penmanship and cursive writing not only refine fine motor skills from shoulder to fingertips, they also help to sharpen thought formation and brain development." Tracing the letters in cursive help to coordinate the two hemispheres of the brain. This helps the child appreciate and observe the fine details in the book.

The book allows many senses to be used while exploring it. Touch while tracing the letters, sight when looking at the beautifully illustrated pictures, and hearing when listening to an adult read the acrostic poems that accompany each letter. Using all of these senses together makes a connection in the mind and allows the child to learn without realizing anything is being taught.

Each letter is assigned a corresponding physical activity (cross-country skiing, dancing, equestrian sport), and each page includes a map that pinpoints where the sport came from. On the bottom right corner of the poem pages there is also a little image of the page being turned and the image of a specific type of footwear. This allows the child to guess what sport will be coming up next.

Our four year old daughter really enjoys this book, she loves tracing the letters, seeing which feet will come next, and listen to me read the poems. The book has furthered her curiosity for some of the activities in the book (Quoits and ostrich-chasing) which has lead to more learning experiences.

Overall, this original book is one that is a fantastic addition to your library and one that is non-traditional enough to hold a child's attention while teaching the alphabet.

This book is in the first set of the Botanical Tales Series: The Maligned Creeper.  Set in 9th century Japan, the book tells a story of a family who moves to a new home and how the father decides to grow a beautiful garden full of rare and exotic plants so that he may paint their beauty. 

One day, his daughter brings him a flower and he is perplexed at how it has come to be as he didn't plant it. It is the Morning Glory, and the story continues to tell of how they try to rid it from the garden but nature prevails and the beautiful flower lives on, even when the story takes a sad turn. 

This book is the 2013 winner of the Silver Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Picture Book, in the "All Ages" category. The beauty of the illustrations really help propel the reader to turn each page and discover the next delightful image.

In the back of the book there is a page that talks about the morning glory plant's cordate leaves. There are pictures of other heart-shaped leaved plants with both the common and latin names. On the page next to this there are some facts about the botanical Tales Series. This book is worth owning for the illustrations alone. Hsiao- Yen Chi is an amazing artist. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Get ready for Summer, #LearnToSwim #SwimWays #Sponsored #IC

I participated in a Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for SwimWays. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

  What better way to spend the Summer than to spend it in the water?

It's a great way to keep cool naturally, and it can be fantastic exercise as well. I don't know about your kids, but my kids took a little extra coaching to get them used to water. Most of them disliked water, even baths, once they were over a couple months old. Orrin isn't a huge fan, but we are getting him used to the water and preparing for National Learn to Swim Day on May 16th!

This was Orrin's first time in the pool. We had been swimming in Michigan's fantastic lakes last summer, but it's been nearly a year and I don't think he remembered enjoying it last year.

He was pretty unsure of the water at first. Once we got him in the SwimWays Baby Spring Float (which is the best on the market, by the way), he really seemed to calm down and start enjoying the experience. It was a great way to reintroduce him to the water!

I'm excited to use the Baby Spring Float this summer on our swimming adventures. It has a great canopy included (which we didn't need to use this time since we were in an indoor pool) that will be fantastic for those sunny, hot days of Summer. The large spring area creates a great safe space to play and splash in the water, and the full mesh seat makes me feel that Orrin is safe and secure in the seat. The Baby Spring Float has two inflatable tubes, one around the seat (the red part near Orrin) and the blue ring around the edge. These were easy to fill, although I had a little difficulty pushing the valve back in while holding Orrin- so I would recommend doing this before you get to the water.

SwimWays great line of products is available at ToysRUs. These products help children become confident swimmers. This year's fourth annual National Learn to Swim day gives us all a way to kick off Summer and keep in mind how important it is to know how to swim. Knowing how to swim can be a lifesaving skill, as well as one that can be really enjoyable throughout life! I know I am a HUGE fan of swimming, it's a great activity to enjoy.

What about you? Do you like to swim? Is it something you want to encourage for your children?

Thursday, April 23, 2015


This giveaway is a partnership with Real Mom Reviews.

Many woman find that before having children they can run up and down the stairs, do yoga, bounce on a trampoline and more with out any problem. However there a few that experience bladder leakage and it's no fun at all.


Believe it or not bladder leakage is a common occurrence in approximately one third of the female population. However, just because it's common doesn't necessarily mean that it's natural occurrence. In fact bladder leakage is a huge warning sign that the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent an accidental leak. If you leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze or exercise that is your body telling you that you need to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Kegels are the answer to this. However according to the National Institute of Health only 50% of women who actually do Kegels to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles do them correctly. Because of this Kegel exercises are largely ineffective. Building pelvic floor muscle requires resistance. Trying to squeeze muscles that are hard to isolate and identify is very frustrating and without resistance largely fails.

Thankfully there is Apex!

apex logo

Apex was designed by a medical company (InControl Medical) that specializes in incontinence to strengthen pelvic floor muscles naturally and quickly. It addresses pelvic floor muscles at the source, the pelvis. This transvaginal device gets to the muscles in the most direct manner. It inflates inside the vagina to place muscle stimulation contacts directly on your pelvic floor walls. The inflation feature provides active resistance to build real muscle and build it quickly!

All you have to do is use it for 10 minutes per day, 6 days per week in the privacy of your own home until your bladder leakage is gone. Just like any exercise, to keep the muscle toned after that, you must use it about once per week to stay strong and fit in your pelvic floor! Buy It: Thousands of women have already used Apex through their physicians office. However it is now cleared for sale over-the-counter directly to consumers. To learn more about the Apex device, please visit dontpadtheproblem.com. For the next 30 days we will be offering $35 discount plus free shipping (enter code SM0415 at checkout). Win It: One super lucky reader will win their own Apex device. Enter using the form below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Smartphone Pocket #Giveaway #Win #GiftCard

Have you ever wished you had a place to stash your smartphone while grocery shopping, helping out at your kids school, walking the dog, working out or even just doing normal day to day activities? A simple way to keep your phone close to you and secure without keeping it in your hand all the time or having it buried at the bottom of your bag? Well there is a way - a new, easy to use smartphone accessory called the Smartphone Pocket!


The Smartphone Pocket is a cloth pocket designed to be ironed into active wear (yoga pants, track shorts, etc. that often have no pocket) that's large enough to hold a smartphone, credit card, money and more. Most people choose to iron it into the waistband of their pants or shorts but it could go anywhere--in a jacket, for example, or even a bag that's lacking interior pockets.


Installing and using the Smartphone Pocket is simple. The easy iron-on instructions are included in the package and available with step by step pictures on the website which makes installation a breeze. One of the most unique features of the Smartphone Pocket is a Velcro tab inside that allows you to set the height level of your phone. Want to listen to music or a podcast while you work out? Stick the tab together–the pocket will instantly become shallow enough to let your smartphone extend above your waistline. Want to tuck your smartphone completely inside the pocket? Just push your phone down through the Velcro–the tab will disengage and allow your phone to rest securely inside the Smartphone Pocket.


Buy It: Smartphone Pockets are available on Amazon in packs of 1, 2, and 3 for $7.95-$21.95! Win It: One super lucky reader will win a $50.00 Visa gift card and a two pack of SmartPhone Pockets. Fourteen runner ups will each win a two pack of SmartPhone Pockets a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received no compensation or product for this post. Rafflecopter is being run by RealMomReviews.net. Prize is being fulfilled by SmartphonePockets.com. Please email RealMomReviews with any questions! Giveaway ends on 4/28 at 11:59PM EST.

HOME The books behind the movie #Smekday #Giveaway #Giftcard

I received the same giftpack in exchange for this post.

Did you know the adorable new film out in movie theaters, HOME, was inspired by books?

Photo Credit: DreamWorks Home (c) 2015 DreamWorks Animation L.L.C.

Well, it was. It all started with.... The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex.
The True Meaning of Smekday

It all starts with a school essay.

When twelve-year-old Gratuity (“Tip”) Tucci is assigned to write five pages on “The True Meaning of Smekday” for the National Time Capsule contest, she’s not sure where to begin. When her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Maybe on Christmas Eve, when huge, bizarre spaceships descended on the Earth and the aliens—called Boov—abducted her mother? Or when the Boov declared Earth a colony, renamed it “Smekland” (in honor of glorious Captain Smek), and forced all Americans to relocate to Florida via rocketpod?

In any case, Gratuity’s story is much, much bigger than the assignment. It involves her unlikely friendship with a renegade Boov mechanic named J.Lo.; a futile journey south to find Gratuity’s mother at the Happy Mouse Kingdom; a cross-country road trip in a hovercar called Slushious; and an outrageous plan to save the Earth from yet another alien invasion.

Fully illustrated with “photos,” drawings, newspaper clippings, and comics sequences, this is a hilarious, perceptive, genre-bending novel from best-selling author Adam Rex.

Smek For President
In this much anticipated sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, Tip and J.Lo are back for another hilarious intergalactic adventure. And this time (and last time, and maybe next time), they want to make things right with the Boov.

After Tip and J.Lo banished the Gorg from Earth in a scheme involving the cloning of many, many cats, the pair is notorious—but not for their heroics. Instead, human Dan Landry has taken credit for conquering the Gorg, and the Boov blame J.Lo for ruining their colonization of the planet. Determined to clear his name, J.Lo and Tip pack into Slushious, a Chevy that J.Lo has engineered into a fairly operational spaceship, and head to New Boovworld, the aliens’ new home on one of Saturn’s moons.

But their welcome isn’t quite as warm as Tip and J.Lo would have liked. J.Lo is dubbed Public Enemy Number One, and Captain Smek knows that capturing the alien is the only way he’ll stand a chance in the Boovs’ first-ever presidential election.

With the help of a friendly flying billboard named Bill, a journey through various garbage chutes, a bit of time travel, and a slew of hilarious Boovish accents, Tip and J.Lo must fight to set the record straight—and return home in once piece. 

Adam Rex
Adam Rex is the New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of Frankenstein Makes A Sandwich.  His other books include Pssst!MoondayThe True Meaning of SmekdayFat Vampire, and Cold Cereal. He also illustrated the Brixton Brothers series, Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem, and Chloe and the Lion, all by Mac Barnett and Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman. He lives in Tucson, Arizona. Visit him at  adamrex.com or follow him on Twitter @MrAdamRex.


Learn more about True Meaning of Smekday
Learn more about Smek for President
Follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter
Follow Adam Rex on Twitter
One (1) winner receives:
·         copies of True Meaning of Smekday and Smek for President
·         $25 Visa gift card to see HOME in theaters!
Prizing & samples courtesy of Disney Hyperion
Giveaway open to US addresses only

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