Product Reviews, Book Reviews, Fun Giveaways, And Life As A Mama! Supporting Our Troops And Veterans!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Going Through A Loved Ones Things

As a lot of you may know, my father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly about a month ago. Thank you all for your condolences. I know my Dad is in Heaven with my son Mason and it was a joyous reunion.

My Dad was 61. Fairly young still, but heart disease does that to you, I guess. Especially when you don't take care of yourself. And my Dad was a very private man. He was single and lived alone. My brother and I discovered so much about him when we went through his apartment, and gathered up all his belongings. One of the main things we discovered was the history of heart disease in his medical files, that no one knew about, not even my Grandmother. And he had this issue for about 20 years! We always kind of expected it, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. But he never mentioned it once. Though he did touch on the subject of Type 2 Diabetes. But a "Cardiac Event" is what he passed away from. It's odd the things you learn about a loved one once they have passed.

While going through my father's things, we discovered his love and pride in his country and his service to the United States in the Air Force. Twenty-one years in the service, a proud patriot. We discovered his love for knives and hunting and fishing. Also, we discovered he collected 1980's vintage percolated coffee machines! We discovered, much to our delight, that he saved every card, every picture, every thank you from his grandkids! That touched our hearts immensely.

I personally found that you can learn a lot from a person by reviewing their bank statements. Nothing out of the ordinary for my Dad. Gas, groceries, bills, ATM withdrawals, the occasional take-out and bar tabs. Nothing extravagant and nothing shocking. Though of course, I did not expect there to be. But it got me thinking, what would my bank statement say about me if I passed away? What would it reveal?

Turns out, not much different than my Dad, or the ordinary every day person. Bills. Bills. Bills. Walmart. Gas. Groceries. Fast food, occasionally. Very rarely a ATM withdrawal. Bills. Did I mention bills? Yep. Isn't that boring? I don't know. It's normal. It's life. What else should my bank statement say? Cruise line tickets for 3 to Fiji? Bahahaha! 

All I know is that my Dad lived a good, clean life, and I am living a good, clean life. Good or bad, it is what it is.

Animal Trackers Club


Bode Bear takes your child to the African Savanna where he tracks a variety of amazing animals with the Animal Trackers Club. Begin the adventure with your Animal Trackers Club Safari Lunchbox. This lunchbox becomes a play station for the monthly animal magnets as well as storage for the animal play figures, animal information card collection, and the Safari Animal Tracks ringed set.
Each monthly packet will include an Animal Trackers Club Information card with easy to follow and understand information about the animal being tracked that month (We got the Zebra!). The packet will also include a play magnet to add to the lunchbox, a foam animal dress-up mask, and a realistic, hand-painted animal play figure. In addition, the packet will have a Safari Animal Tracks card for your ringed set, containing a real photo of the monthly animal as well as the track it leaves in the wild. Each monthly packet will also contain a learning activity and an art project created to develop the skills needed to become a proficient student and reader.

This is great for younger kids, and any kids who love animals!
 
 
 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.

Happy Halloween 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Send Me Gluten Free October Box #Giveaway

The mission at Send Me Gluten Free is to help the gluten free community by providing great resources and fun ways to try new products that are safe for you and your family. They know first-hand how difficult it can be to find the best products and they're here to make all of that easier with the monthly subscription box.
The October Box included:

*Mediterranean Snacks Lentil Chips (Sea Salt)
*YogaVive Apple Chips (Chocolate)
*I Heart Keenwah Quinoa Cluster (Chocolate Sea Salt)
*NoGii Paleo Bar (Nuts About Berries)
*Coupon for a free Conte's Pasta GF Product
*Nature's Path Organic Granola Bar (Dark Chocolate Chip)
*Kemnitz Family Kitchen Sample Pack
*Primal Pit Paste
*Bonne Maman Preserves (Strawberry)
*Country Life CoEnzyme B-Complex Caps
*Redd Remedies Supplement

And just for my readers get 20% off any subscription length with the code: BLOG20
 

The Magic School Bus Season's Greetings - 2014 #HolidayGiftGuide

Wahoo! Welcome aboard The Magic School Bus! Are you ready for a wild ride? Grab a seat and hang on for these episodes of the Emmy Award-winning animated science-adventure series based on the best-selling books. Watch as Ms. Frizzle transforms her magic bus and encourages exploration and discovery from the smallest cell to the largest galaxy.

Episodes include:
Holiday Special
In the Artic
In the Rainforest
Getting Energized
Gets Charged
A Bright Idea
Gets Ready Set Dough
In The Haunted House

We love The Magic School Bus in our house, and some of these are episodes we have never seen, so that is extra fun!
 
 

My Yellow Balloon - 2014 #HolidayGiftGuide

My Yellow Balloon by Tiffany Papageorge

About The Book:
It all started at the carnival. That’s where Joey makes a new friend: a bright yellow balloon. Joey and his beloved balloon do everything together, until the balloon accidentally slips off Joey’s wrist and flies far, far away. What will Joey do without his special friend? Tiffany Papageorge has crafted a poignant tale of love, loss, and letting go that will serve as a comforting guide to children who are navigating the complicated emotions of grief. Rich, luminous illustrations by Erwin Madrid perfectly capture these timeless themes, making them accessible to even the youngest reader. Honest, unflinching, and ultimately reassuring, My Yellow Balloon will resonate with anyone who has endured the darkness of grief, while offering hope for brighter days ahead.

My Thoughts:
This is a great book, on a tough subject. I wish I had this book for Callan when Mason passed away. But recently, Callan's grandpa passed away, so this book was helpful with that as well! A great resource for parents and care givers of children who are dealing with loss, in many forms.

About The Author:
Tiffany Papageorge has always had a profound love for stories. She earned her MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. Through her extensive theater background, which spans a 25-year period and includes work with CBS and Disney, she learned firsthand how stories deeply touch and affect the human spirit. As an author and public speaker she works with parents, teachers, and mental health professionals who want to find new ways to reach, capture, and engage children, including those who are dealing with the issue of loss. She also works with children directly through story to help them grow, heal, and flourish. She and her husband, Paul, live in Los Gatos, California, with their three children. My Yellow Balloon is Tiffany’s first children’s book.

You can buy this book at My Yellow Balloon on Amazon.
 
 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Skinny Jane Weightloss


Skinny Jane helps women lose weight and be healthier and happier. Skinny Burn was formulated to help curb your appetite, burn body fat more efficiently and give you energy. Skinny Burn contains a special combination of 9 ingredients that work together to make your body a fat burning and energy producing machine. Skinny Burn does contain 50mg of caffeine per capsule, and you will be getting 100-200mg of caffeine daily (about the same amount as in a strong cup of coffee). Skinny Burn won’t give you the jitters like so many other weight loss products. However, it will give you the energy you need to stay focused and motivated to lose weight and stay on track. Whether you are just starting your weight loss plan or you are trying to lose that last 10 lbs, Skinny Burn will help you!

Highlights:
*Speeds metabolism
*Burns body fat
*Reduces cravings
*Gives you energy without jitters

I don't notice much of weight loss yet, but I do notice the energy level has gone up and I am not snacking as much! So yay!
 
 
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.

10 Movie Collections - Fairytale & Princess

10 Movie Fairytale Collection
Entertain and delight children of all ages with this 10 Movie Fairytale Collection. All of the classics are here - The Three Little Pigs, The Emperor's New Clothes, Puss in Boots, and more - for hours of fairytale fun. Visit King Arthur's court in Camelot. Climb the bell tower in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. And march to the beat of the music with the Pied Piper. These and other adventures await for the whole family as vibrant animation brings these ten favorite childhood tales to life.
10 Movie Princess Collection #2
Bring a little happily-ever-after into your heart and home with the beloved tales in this 10 Movie Princess Collection. All of your favorite princesses are here in this two-disc set: Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Anastasia, and more. Plus The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Goldilocks, and others will explore outside the castle walls for some royally grand adventures. These ten tales of beauty, love, and triumph will entertain your own little princesses for hours on end as you pass these childhood favorites on to the next generation.
 

Jenni Rivera La Gran Senora Reposado Tequila - 2014 #HolidayGiftGuide

Can you think of that friend, co-worker or relative that just loves all things Tequila? Whether they love it straight, mixed into a margarita, or part of a dessert gift - Jenni Rivera La Gran Señora Tequila is great for the Tequila lover in your life.

Here are a few facts about Jenni Rivera La Gran Señora Tequila Origin:
  • From Jalisco, Mexico Developed by late Mexican-American Singer-Songwriter Jenni Rivera.
  • Variations: Blanco ($39), Reposado ($45.99), Añejo ($49.99).
  • Jenni Rivera La Gran Señora Tequila was an idea of Jenni Rivera to compete with the Don’s of the Tequila world, just as she did in her music.
The Reposado, which I received, has a delicious scent of citrus, peach, and apple. Clean, fresh palate followed by a spicy, fruity finish. It is okay for shots, but this is more of the sort of Tequila you would want to mix in a drink!

You can buy this Tequila at your local liquor store, or at the Liquor Barn online.
 
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Loved + Blessed - October 2014

Loved+Blessed is a monthly subscription box which delivers a monthly box offering different messages for encouragement to help women with their walk of faith! This is a great box, and it came at a perfect time for me!
The October Box was themed Beauty. It included:

*A mini poster for your home or office.
*A removable and re-positional reminder sticker for your window, mirror, laptop, or tablet.
*A scripture card sized to fit your pocket for encouragement on the go.
*A silicone bracelet to remind you that you are loved and blessed.
*An encouraging compact mirror.
*A prayer journal to record your answered prayers.

Check it all out at Loved+Blessed on Facebook, as well as Loved+Blessed on Twitter.
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#AdoptEcho With The #EchoInsiders

We've adopted Echo from Earth To Echo! You've seen the movie right? Hope so! It was gooood! If not, here is a recap:

A group of young friends come to the aid of a mysterious visitor from a distant planet in this kid-friendly sci-fi adventure in the tradition of E.T. and The Goonies. Shortly after a massive construction project begins driving out the residents of their serene Nevada neighborhood, best friends Tuck, Munch, and Alex notice that their mobile phones are being flooded with a series of enigmatic, encoded messages. Determined to discover the source of the code as their families, too, pack up and prepare to go their separate ways, the trio venture out into the desert and find a diminutive alien they nickname Echo, who needs their help to get back to his ship. Although their quest is complicated by a group of sinister construction workers on a mission to reach the ailing extraterrestrial first, Tuck, Munch, and Alex soon receive some unexpected help from their classmate Emma. Together with Emma, these three friends might just have a shot at getting Echo back to the stars before he's captured and imprisoned by the shadowy figures who are closing in fast. 
We love Echo, and are so glad we got to adopt him! Callan got a backpack that came with Echo and some other goodies! He is bringing Echo for show and tell! Echo will have so much fun with the First Graders! He can't wait! Here are some pics of our Echo:

 

Chinese History Children's Books - 2014 #HolidayGiftGuide

A new series invites children to explore Ancient China. Peering into the world’s largest palace, they’ll discover 800 buildings and nearly 9,000 rooms and learn that Beijing’s Forbidden City was home to 24 emperors, but off-limits for 500 years. It’s a wild history lesson that is enough to make any child’s imagination take off. That’s one of the reasons why China Institute in America, the oldest American organization devoted exclusively to China, created a cross-cultural learning experience and new book series based on the Forbidden City. Part of their upcoming We All Live in the Forbidden City program, four hardcover books and coordinating e-book apps introduce the Forbidden City and the study of architecture, imperial life, and Chinese cultural history to kids, parents, and teachers.

About The 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.