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

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Do The Duckel Dance *Giveaway*

Do you want to boogie down and get your kids dancing to the Duckle Dance beat and enter them in the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park? To do so, simply video your preschool kiddos doing the Duckle Dance and then enter those videos via downloads to your Facebook or YouTube accounts for a chance to win one of twenty Capezio and Wisharoo Prize packages or one of five $500 Dance Scholarships!

To kick-off the promotion, Wisharoo Park and Capezio premiered its inaugural Duckle Dance promotional video, featuring favorite Wisharoo Park characters Ranger Rosey and DanDan and Della Duckle dancing along with real life kids, at the newly launched multimedia

Sit down together with your kiddos and watch the Duckle Dance video here on my blog or at in order to familiarize yourselves with the Duckle Dance. Once familiar with the dance, we invite kids to follow the steps or create and perform their very own version of all or any part of, the Duckle Dance - either to the ballet or tap music provided at the entry site and you can capture their performance on video.

So what is the Duckle Dance anyways? It’s a little bit of ballet, a little bit of tap, and a whole lot of whatever you want it to be but, most importantly, its moving and grooving family fun for all! Check it out yourself by viewing the Duckle Dance promotional video at! Don’t let the smooth moves and solid steps by the video’s dancers intimidate though as they are trained pros!

Be sure to keep in mind that although our promotional Duckle Dance video teaches specific dance steps, the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park is all about fun and dance submissions are completely open to individual interpretation. In the Duckle Dance no step is wrong, no leap falls short, no tap is off, no plié is blasé and no arabesque is grotesque. The sky is the limit as Capezio and Wisharoo Park applaud and salute the creativity and individuality expressed by each and every entrant with prize winners to be chosen through a random drawing

Once captured on video you can enter your child’s performance in the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park for a chance to win the special prizes and/or dance scholarships provided by Capezio and Wisharoo Park. To enter, parents simply upload the video to your Facebook or YouTube account, and then visit where they submit the Facebook or YouTube video link as part of the easy entry process.

The Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park is open now through September 1st, 2011 for video submissions. It presents countless opportunities for preschool dancers’ Duckle Dance videos to spiral out over the Internet as the next viral video stars. In keeping with Wisharoo Park’s mission, the promotion is intended to encourage children to 'get moving' and help them build confidence and self-esteem, encourage innovation, and above all have fun!

The Duckle Dance Sweepstakes is a wonderful parent and child shared activity that is guaranteed to enthrall, enrich and entertain for hours on end. Let’s get this Duckle Dance party started!!! Sweepstakes entries are absolutely free, so keep the flame blazing by telling your friends to tell their friends to tell their friends and so on and so on!

Wisharoo Park and Capezio are offering one reader a fantastic Duckle Dance gift package with a retail value of more than $100 that consists of:
• One Pair Capezio Daisy ballet Shoes. Retail Value: $18.00
• One Pair Capezio Jr. Tyette Tap Shoes. Retail Value: $25.00
• One Capezio Logo Drawstring Backpack. Retail Value: $8.50
• One Limited Edition Do the Duckle Commemorative T-Shirt. Retail Value: $12.99
• One Wisharoo Park 2-Disc 13 Episode DVD Set. Retail Value: $19.99
• Six Wisharoo Park Wish Star finger puppets. Retail Vaile: 19.98

Here's how to enter:
Mandatory: Follow this blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs.
- Send a tweet out to all your twitter followers encouraging them to enter the sweepstakes, include the link
- Post information about the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park on your personal and/or blog Facebok page, tell your friends to enter
- Send out an email to your entire email and/or RSS lists asking all your friends to enter the sweepstakes and include the
- Send a message to all of your followers on Google Connect encouraging all your friends to enter the sweepstakes and include the
- Visit and like Wisharoo Park's Facebook page and post your video of your child doing the Duckle Dance.
- Post an announcement about the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park on your blog and point people to to enter, and ask your readers to do the same
- Send an announcement about the the Duckle Dance Sweepstakes presented by Capezio and Wisharoo Park to all bloggers as part of your Networked Blogs group
BASICALLY, promote this sweepstakes as much as you can!

My giveaway of the prize pack ends August 25th. US only, sorry. Good luck!

I received products from Wisharoo Park and Capezio in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


"ProBar is thee meal replacement bar that is 100% vegan, organic, unprocessed...just how nature intended. Made from whole, organic, raw foods, and 100 percent vegan, ProBar is a natural alternative with easy to pronounce ingredients and a variety of flavors."

ProBar has a variety of flavors, and we've tried a few. Of course, the new Halo bars are awesome! But the fruit ones are good too. The kids just gobbled them all up. One bar fills you up and you are good to go! We are not a vegan family, but we have been expanding our horizons and eating lots of vegan and organic foods lately, and the ProBar is one of our new on the go foods that we enjoy!

You can purchase ProBars at your local Whole Foods store, or an REI, or similar sports stores. Check out the ProBar website to see all the great products, and find a store near you. Also, check out ProBar on Facebook for great deals, and fun chatter!

I received products from ProBar in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Tutor Your Own Child

How To Tutor Your Own Child by Marina Koestler Ruben

About The Book:
Tutoring today is a $4 billion industry (yes - billion) with companies like Sylvan Learning Center and Kaplan Tutoring cashing in. What are parents of today’s overextended students to do? If only there were a resource closer to home that was easy, free, and able to provide the same quality of service. But there is: you. Top professional tutor Marina Koestler Ruben empowers you to take a do-it-yourself approach to your child’s after-school enrichment. As a parent-tutor, you will learn how provide holistic academic support for your children and create an intellectual environment in the home - strengthening your relationship and improving parent-child communication in the process. Ruben’s accessible guide shows you how to balance big-picture curiosity with the academic nitty-gritties of homework assignments, organization, and electronic resources. Building on her proven “Six-Step Session” format, Ruben shares the secrets to tutoring children in any subject from kindergarten through high school - all with a warm, entertaining tone that will inspire you to inspire them.

My Thoughts:
I think this book is beneficial to any parent with school-aged kids. I love how the book is laid out and easy to read. I really liked the conversations in the book as examples of what your child might say, and how you can react positively. This book should be in every parents home. Read a little here and there. Read it all. Read only a part your child is having trouble in. Either way, you will get good, practical advice!

About The Author:
Marina Koestler Ruben is a professional tutor, writer, and editor who works as the official in-house writing tutor at Sidwell Friends School, in Washington, DC. She has also privately tutored K-12 students in math, science, history, English, ESL, French, and Spanish, as well as in organization and study skills. She has taught creative writing workshops for children and freelance writing workshops for adults. Her writing has been published by Smithsonian Magazine,, Education Week, McSweeney's, the Washington City Paper, and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and she has appeared on NPR's Talk of the Nation. Marina received her B.A. and M.A. in writing from the Johns Hopkins University.

Buy this book on Amazon.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten

Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten…
with labels such as ADD, ADHD, slow, dyslexic, learning disabled, just average, and even gifted!

Did you know that midlife crisis begins in kindergarten? Yes, it's true! It is in kindergarten (and sometimes in preschool!) that our society begins the process of teaching children that they are not smart enough, not quick enough, not working to potential, not high enough on the bell curve, not as good as the next guy...just plain not measuring up!

Midlife Crisis is the term we use to indicate a trauma experienced in the middle years —usually having to do with the question, “What am I doing with my life?” There are stories of extreme reactions that all of us have heard: like the guy who is a doctor, quits one day, and goes to live in the woods; as well as less dramatic cases like the financial consultant who enters the ministry.

There is nothing wrong with changing careers. But we don’t say midlife celebration, we say midlife crisis! Crisis, because this time is often associated with feelings of unhappiness and confusion. Some people choose to “run away.” Others are afraid to change anything, then believe for the rest of their lives that they have been short changed. These are the people who say in later years, If only . . . or I missed my chance to . . .

And, so, we have books such as Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar, How To Find Your Mission In Life by Richard Bolles, Life Launch by Hudson and McLean . . . the theme being that if you knew what you were meant to do in the world, you would have a purpose, which leads to fulfillment, happiness, and good relationships.

How do we figure out our purpose? Look at your natural talents and interests, the books say. Many include self-assessments to help you figure out what you love, just in case you don’t know anymore.

When children start school they bring their natural talents and gifts with them. Instead of encouraging these, the first thing we do is teach them to put their interests on hold. We begin early the process of hiding the clues, the keys to our adult lives. We begin attaching labels: slow, average, ADD, LD . . . Years later the potential scientists or artists or teachers have the seeds buried so deeply they can no longer remember what set them on fire. And they need a book or a therapist to help them rediscover who they are.

I have a sign in my office that reads, “It is better to build children than repair adults.”

We need to pay attention to the child who needs to drum on the desk, the one who memorizes better when shooting baskets, the one who is interested in rocks. We need to stop labeling children as dysfunctional and start labeling the positives: keeps excellent rhythm, very coordinated, a whiz at the computer, great rapport with animals, natural comedian! Children who grow up learning about their own talents and styles become confident adults who achieve dreams and are enthusiastic about lifelong learning.

Remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? We can give children the right start by respecting each one’s unique learning needs. For those of us who are already grown up, see you at the bookstore!

Get your free copy of the eBook version of Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten when you sign up for our newsletter:

For a personalized education option go to

To find out your children’s learning styles go to
To find out your personal success styles go to

©2011 by Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis, M.S., Learning Style Specialist for School & Life Success, co-author Discover Your Child’s Learning Style & Midlife Crisis Begins in Kindergarten,, 805-648-1739

Monday, August 8, 2011

My Coke Rewards Summer Program

To celebrate Coca-Cola’s 125th anniversary, they’ve created a summer-long program, available through My Coke Rewards. It’s designed to create summer fun for families by offering a variety of rewards through an interactive summer treasure map. By entering codes, found on 15 different Coca-Cola brands, on My Coke Rewards, you gain points that can later be spent on prizes including: sweepstakes, instant win prizes, supporting a good cause, donating to your child’s school and much more!

If you are not a yet a My Coke Rewards member, simply log on to and follow the prompts for new member registration.

We love My Coke Rewards as a family, and have been a member for a long time, and have earned some awesome rewards! For the summer-long program from Coke, you can get some really cool Summer Rewards! Exploring the map gives you tips, recipes, prizes, and more! If you explore the map daily, you can find some great stuff! There are also summer games you can play online: Spot The Difference, and Find The Hidden Icon. Plus play the instant win game! There is so much fun to be had at My Coke Rewards, check it out, and sign-up to be a member free so you can join in on the fun!

Coca-Cola is offering one reader a Park Kit for giveaway, which has all the necessities to spend a fun-filled day outdoors! Each Park Kit is valued at $50 and will include:
Coca-Cola tote
Sports Bottle
Sunblock Kit
LED lamp (for nights when you’re just not ready to go inside)
Reversible ball

Very cool! Here is how to enter to win:
1. Follow this blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs.
4. What is your favorite Coca-Cola product?

Giveaway ends August 15th. Open to US & Canada only, sorry. Good luck!

The prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company but The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this giveaway. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of The Coca-Cola Company.

Laser Pegs Monster Bug

"Laser Pegs are the national award winning first construction toy set in the world in which each piece feeds the next piece low voltage current. You can design and build anything you want with Laser Pegs and use them lit up or turned off."

This is so cool! You start out with a kit which makes one thing, and then you can buy another kit that makes one thing, or combine to two to make something else totally! Very neat. We recieved the Mini Monster Bug Kit. The Monster Bug: Among the many famous construction toy kits is this one called the Mini Monster Bug. The Mini Monster Bug is an absolutely creative and constructive toy set that allows any kid above the age of seven to play around and create a masterpiece. The Mini Monster Bug has about 32 laser pegs that can be creatively arranged and also boasts of fabulous illumination as well. The 3 AA batteries and the power unit that is inbuilt in this Mini Monster Bug, gives that effect. Besides the Mini Monster Bug, there are as many incredible construction toys for children and adults, both. This kit allows you to build 9 models that are really fun and challenging. 

We had so much fun playing around with this kit. It is easy to put together, and then really fun to play with! And the illumination in the dark - wow! Callan used it as a night light the first night we had it, hee hee.

Find out about all the great kits at Laser Pegs. Also, check out Laser Pegs on Facebook for exclusive deals and special offers.

I recieved a product from Laser Pegs and Asylum PR in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

English Idioms And Expressions

English Idioms And Expressions For Foreigners Like Me by Reza Mashayekhi

About The Book:
English Idioms And Expressions For Foreigners, Like Me! contains easy-to-understand meanings of more than two thousand commonly used English idioms, expressions, and phrases. It shows how they are used, and makes reference to the likely origins of some of them. Another feature in the book is the inclusion of some interesting expressions and proverbs from other languages or cultures that show how people of the world have more things in common culturally than we tend to realize. A number of humorous illustrations are also included to make the book more interesting. Author Reza Mashayekhi, himself a former new-comer to the English language, prepared this book with non-English speakers in mind, especially foreign students. However, it has proven to be a great tool for helping people to communicate with each other in English, whether or not English is their language. This is a great addition to any library, and a gift that will be appreciated over and over again. It will be a fun thing to have in any company lobby, or a valuable reference book on any coffee table. Here are just some of the comments by the readers; the complete comments may be found in the book: "A practical, entertaining, and sometimes funny look at phrases we take for granted everyday." "This is a great book to keep in your home, office, or brief case. I wish my Japanese mother had had a copy of this book when she was raising me!" "It doesn't matter if you are 'one taco short of a combination plate' or a 'one-trick pony,' you will enjoy this book!" "I expect that your readers will benefit greatly by learning the true meaning behind so many common expressions we take for granted. In addition, I hope many readers with English as their primary language will take seriously the importance of clarity in thought and speech. Congratulations upon completing a most daunting task, and thank you for allowing me to add my comments." 

My Thoughts:
This is a very interesting book that I think would of course be beneficial to students and international companies, etc. But I also think this could be a fun book just to have around. It is laid out sort of like a dictionary, from A to Z. Some of the things in this book I have never heard of, and I learned something. This might be a good book for a high school or college-bound student, whether English is their first language or not. I like the ones especially with military origins, but of course I would. One I found that Jason and his fellows soldiers used quite a bit was "Going Off Half-Cocked". The description from the book: "Act without thinking, or too quickly. I understand you're angry and you want to do something, but please don't go off half-cocked. Note: When used alone, half-cocked means very drunk." Love that. And you'd think there wasn't a saying in the book that could be a Z from the alphabetical list? Well, then - Zip It!

About The Author:
Reza Mashayekhi was born and reared in Tehran, Iran. He later attended the University of Michigan, where he received a degree in aerospace engineering. Reza has always been interested in learning the intricacies of the English language. This is why, alongside of his engineering work, he has taught English to non-English speakers. He has done this because he has wanted to expand his knowledge of English, and he has a good explanation for his reasoning. "When you want to learn a subject, you approach it from your own perspective," he says. "Once you feel that you know enough about it, you typically move on to something else. When you "teach" a subject, however, you have to learn everything about it before you can satisfactorily answer all of the questions that are raised by the students." Reza also consults with non-English speakers to prepare them for their public speaking events, or to help with their day-to-day conversational skills, both in the form of workshops and on a one-on-one basis. Being a non-native speaker of English, living and working in the U.S., Reza's experience through the years and his interactions with his students and clients has led to the compilation of his book, English Idioms And Expressions For Foreigners, Like Me!
Buy this book on Amazon.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

This Business Of Children

Introdcution from the book "This Business Of Children" by Chloe JonPaul

As a teacher for 35 years, I taught every grade except kindergarten. My teaching experience extended to Adult Ed in Maine and Maryland, high school English in a Maryland psychiatric facility and to inmates in the Maryland state prison as well. Teaching and writing have always been my passions. I retired early from teaching and turned to writing full time when the death knell sounded on my creativity in the classroom. We were being forced to “teach to the test” and that was something I refused to do. I longed for the days when I heard students saying “Gee whiz! Three o’clock already?” I knew I had to be doing something right! The projects we planned and carried out were amazing! How about these?

I placed my fourth graders in “medical school” to learn Greek and Latin roots: Upon “graduation from medical school”, the “doctors” were then invited to perform a “rootectomy”. My classroom was turned into an X-Ray lab and operating room with supplies donated by the local hospital.

Another fourth grade class buried a 50 year time capsule, enlisting the help of various businesses to make it truly professional. A granite marker rests at the base of the school flag at Montello Elementary School in Lewiston, Maine. It reads:
Ms. Giampaolo’s Fourth Grade Class
We are the past ~ You are the future

Another one of my classes wrote a “term paper” based on their three major fears: death, divorce, and nuclear disaster. I wanted them to learn the key elements of writing such a paper and as a result of our playground conversations; I discovered what concerned them the most. They weren’t satisfied with just writing about their fears. They wanted to know what other fourth graders in the school district were afraid of, so they took a survey and compiled the results in bar graph displays. Their artwork embellished the text. Geiger Brothers, publishers of the Farmer’s Almanac, agreed to publish the students’ work in a soft cover booklet and subsequently adopted the school with special help.

Upon being awarded a $2,000 grant from the Maine State Dept. of Education for my proposal, “Unlearning Indian Stereotypes”, another one of my fourth grade classes hosted 15 children from one of the Indian reservations. These children were paired up with some of my students for an overnight stay. We began with a cookout for our visitors – adults and children. Afterwards, the adults were treated to a Bed & Breakfast place and the children went off with their hosts. The next day we had an all-day celebration with all fourth graders participating in learning about Indian culture, dance, medicine; helping to erect a teepee, and ending with a performance my fourth graders put on for our guests.

This is just a sampling of what creative teaching can and should be. People have asked me if I’m the character Vera in the book. No, I’m not Vera or Dee, although I must admit that there may be a little of me in both of them. The characters, setting, and events are purely fictional and are basically a composite of people, places, and events that I have known.

While this novel is set in the mid-80’s, events currently in the news make it timely. Consider the following:
* On January 7, 2010 Lehigh Valley‘s The Express Times reported the death of Gregory Ritter, a Bethlehem area teacher who committed suicide after being accused of molesting a student.
* Gay men are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts.
* HIV infection in the U.S. is thought to be around 1.1 million.
* We have recently commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Challenger Shuttle tragedy.
* The film, “Waiting for Superman” has done a great job detailing what’s wrong with our educational system. Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, appears in this film and explains why huge textbooks and bad teachers have to go.
* Teachers’ unions across America continue to protest in great numbers.

Taylor Mali, an American slam poet, humorist, teacher, and voiceover artist, writes this about a conversation over dinner about what a teacher makes:

He says the problem with teachers is what’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?
He reminds the other dinner guests that it’s true what they say about teachers:
Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.
I decide to bite my tongue instead of his and resist the temptation to remind the dinner guests that it’s also true what they say about lawyers.
Because we’re eating, after all, and this is polite conversation. I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor. Be honest. What do you make?
And I wish he hadn’t done that - asked me to be honest - because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and bullies: if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor and an A– feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time with anything less than your very best.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups. No, you may not ask a question. Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom? Because you’re bored. And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?
I make parents tremble in fear when I call home: Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time, I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said, “Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you? It’s no big deal.”
And that was noblest act of courage I have ever seen.
I make parents see their children for who they are and what they can be.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful over and over and over again until they will never misspell either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this, then you follow this, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you give them this. (Show them the finger.)
Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true: Teachers? Teachers make a difference! Now what about you?

*Permission given by Taylor Mali to reprint. *JonPaul is the Anglicized version of Giampaolo

As someone once said: Teaching is...the profession that makes all other professions possible. I wish to honor and celebrate all good teachers everywhere who make a difference.

Chloe JonPaul M.Ed.
*Retired educator (35 years exp.)
*Recipient of the Fulbright Fellowship Seminars Abroad award to South Africa, 1996
*Lead facilitator: Alternatives to Violence Project
*Recipient of a Grant from the Maine State Dept. of Education
*Former union activist

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grandma's Attic Series

I've reviewed some of the Grandma's Attics books before, and we absolutely loved them! The author Arleta Richardson grew up in a Chicago hotel under her grandmother’s care. As they sat overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan, her grandmother shared memories of her childhood on a Michigan farm. These treasured family stories became the basis for the Grandma’s Attic series. Arleta (March 9, 1923 - July 25, 2004) was an author, librarian, and a teacher. The Grandma's Attic series was her most well known series. She was born in Flint, MI and served in World War II. These books are certainly treasures to cherish, and even I as an adult loved these stories, and reminded me of my grandmother's and what their lives were like.

Still More Stories From Grandma's Attic
Arleta Richardson’s beloved Grandma’s Attic Series returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic, the third book in the refreshed classic collection for girls 8 to 12. These tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood.
Treasures From Grandma's Attic
Journey back to Grandma’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the 1800s for heartwarming stories that inspire faith and godly character. Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Treasures from Grandma's Attic, the fourth in the refreshed classic collection for girls 8 to 12. This compilation of tales recounts humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, this book transports readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world. Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote. Children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. Ideal for home, school, or church libraries, or to give as a gift certain to be treasured.

You can find these books on!

I recieved complimentary review copies of these books from The B&B Media Group in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Most Unlikely To Succeed

The Most Unlikely To Succeed by Nelson Lauver

About The Book:
Most Unlikely to Succeed blends humor, storytelling, irony, and raw emotion as it offers inspiration and shares such powerful life lessons as: *Finding the strength to get back up after being knocked down *Moving past your fears and discovering your voice *Learning to champion your own cause *Believing in yourself when no one else does *Overcoming insurmountable obstacles Life in idyllic 1960s McAlisterville, Pennsylvania seems so promising to young Nelson Lauver. But undiagnosed dyslexia soon turns hope and optimism into struggle and shame as he falls far behind in school and is branded lazy. Confused, angry, and determined not to be the dumb kid, he chooses instead to become the bad kid-ending up a loner at odds with the world and with himself. Nelson resigns himself to being hopelessly different and joins the ranks of millions of Americans who try to hide their inability to read and write. At age 29, a chance encounter leads to a diagnosis of dyslexia and a profound rebirth. Ironically, the boy who was afraid to have anyone hear him try to read launches a new career as a writer, broadcaster and speaker. An estimated 10 to 20 percent of Americans suffer from a learning disability. 14 percent of American adults are considered functionally illiterate. More than personalizing these sobering statistics, this uplifting memoir goes beyond one man's account of rising above a learning disability. Most Unlikely to Succeed is an inspirational story that will speak eloquently and profoundly to anyone who has ever struggled to be heard, to be understood, or to make his or her way in the world. 

My Thoughts:
This is a great triumphant coming of age story of a young boy with a learning disability. I was so engrossed in this book that before I knew it, I had finished it. It is a somber thing to know even these days teachers and parents can't recognize a learning disability, and just think a child is a bad kid. This story is a true memoir, so the people are real, and you really feel like you know them and they are a part of your life. Excellent story.

About The Author:
For the past 15 years, Nelson Lauver has been a syndicated broadcaster, writer, speaker, humorist, award-winning narrator, and advocate. He is known to radio listeners across the country for The American Storyteller Radio Journal - a daily four-minute slice of the American experience, broadcast on radio stations across the United States and via the Internet. He is a highly-regarded speaker amongst corporate audiences, educators, associations, government agencies, civic organizations and disability groups, acclaimed for sharing his own story as a way to help others reach their potential. 

BUY this book on Amazon HERE.
Visit the website - The American Storyteller

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and his publicist. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tricks To Survive Mean Girls At School

The mean girls you see on TV exist in real life. Sure, you get a good laugh with the mean tricks they play on their victims. Try being the victim of their pranks and I am sure that you will lose that happy face in less than a minute. I was lucky enough not to experience this in high school but my friend was not.
Those mean girls did every imaginable prank on her. They made her do their homework, stuck chewed gums on her skirt, and asked her to do errands that only humiliated her more. I knew that that bullying was not tolerable for my friend so I asked my mom for her advice in dealing with this. With the help of my mom, she was able to recover. Mom:
• Talked..a lot. Mom told her that she can share her experiences. She made her feel that she can freely talk about anything without judgment.
• Pointed out her great qualities. This, of course, made my friend feel special and good about herself. The mean girls are immature so they don’t realize all this just yet. That’s what my mom said. Jenny was a straight “A” student so mom pointed this out to her. With her brains, she was able to do many experiments or write about so many things that I did not even understand.
• Shared her experiences. Apparently, mom was a popular mean girl when she was way younger. How ironic. After a terrible incident with her “victim”, she just stopped being a mean girl because she learned her lesson the hard way. Mom said that the bullying will eventually stop.
• Showed her support. We saw to it that we (mom and me) were always with her every step of the way so she can easily cope with the stress and the bullying. We also held weekly sessions so she can vent out her frustrations about the things that were bothering her.
• Did not fight her battles for her. It hurt to see my friend crying because of all the things they put her through but mom and I stood by her. We did not fight her battles for her because this would have only worsened her situation. Aside from that, it would have also hindered her from learning skills to manage difficult situations and relationships.
• Tried role playing. Mom acted as if she was the mean girl assaulting Jenny. Jenny practiced her “speech” to mom. She showed us how she will confront the bully. Mom advised her to do this in person and privately to make the confrontation more effective.
• Encouraged her. We told her that other people don’t have the right to do this. Instead of concentrating on the bullying, we recommended her to concentrate on the more important things in her life. She had friends she could trust and lean on. In addition to that, we asked her to pursue her hobbies and other interests to keep her occupied.
The great thing about this experience was that it taught Jenny to be a stronger person. It made her become assertive but the situation calls for it. The best part is that she learned how to handle herself and others well. The things mom did for her did her great.
You can do the same thing for your child if he or she is going through the same thing. Try out the tips above. Maybe these will help you.

Author’s Bio: Marcy Gray likes sharing her tips and tricks, and opinion through writing. In addition, she likes to write about various topics such as the first years wave stroller and britax b ready stroller.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Phineas & Ferb Movie Party!

We were lucky enough to be able to host a Child's Play Party for the all-new Phineas And Ferb movie - Across The 2nd Dimension! It was so much fun! We had coloring pages for kids to color, we played a trivia game, we had yummy snacks and drinks, we watched the movie, and got goodie bags! The kids were just totally entranced in the movie. They totally loved it!

About the movie: In this animated adventure - based on Disney Channel's Emmy Award-winning comedy series "Phineas and Ferb" - stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb go on their biggest journey yet, into another dimension! When the boys finally discover that their beloved pet platypus Perry is in fact a secret agent who battles the forces of evil daily, they join him on a grand adventure that blasts them to another dimension where a truly evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz has taken over an alternate Tri-state Area. When they uncover his ploy to travel back to their dimension to take over their Tri-state Area, the gang, as well as their alter-egos, must band together to stop him. 

Even the younger kids loved this movie. And even the older kids - as in 32 year old Daddy - enjoyed it! Check out Phineas And Ferb on Facebook for all the information and fun on the movie, and the show!

This party was sponsored by Child's Play Party and Disney.

Mohawk Home Rug Review & *Giveaway*

Mohawk Rug is the world's largest manufacturer of area and accent rugs. The company was founded in 1878! That is over 100 years of good quality. The pic above is the rug I recieved. It fits perfectly in our living room. We chose the colors because it sort of reminded us of camouflage, and well, you know us - Army Family! But besides the coloring, it is soft and laid down easily without the curling of the ends from being rolled up. I love how it makes a pretty plain living room seem more....just more!

Mohawk Home employs a team of design professionals specifically recruited for their expertise in textiles and floor covering innovation. With a commitment to relevance in style we are continuously creating trend setting designs and constructions as well as updating timeless classics.

Want to win the rug I chose? Here's how:

1. Follow this blog via GFC, the newsletter, or Networked Blogs.
4. Visit Mohawk Home and tell me what other rugs you think are great.

Giveaway ends August 17th. Good luck!

I received a product from Mohawk Home in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Achieve College Success

Achieve College Success by Raymond Gerson

About The Book:
Learn how to: - Determine and accomplish your goals - Discover and learn your best learning styles and types of intelligence - Make the best use of your time - Study, learn, understand, and succeed in school - Develop memory and test taking strategies for greater success - Identify your college major, their skills and matching careers - Create the life you want and make a positive difference. Changes to this edition include: - Education Goals was added as a separate goal category in Chapter 1, How to Turn your Dreams into Goals to Succeed. - Essentials regarding health and having a healthy, well-functioning, brain are now incorporated throughout the text. - Reading and Study Skills Section expanded on How to Read, Study, and Understand Textbooks. - Note-Taking and Writing Skills were expanded and incorporated--see Chapter 5, How to Take Notes and Write to Maximize Performance. - Memory Strategies now appear before Chapter 6, Test Taking Strategies. - Section on How to Determine a College Major was added to Chapter 7, Preparing for Career Success. - In the Appendix, Information about Online Education and using the Library were added. 

My Thoughts:
This book is like an activity book that teaches you how to maximize your learning potential. I love all the lessons in the book, and the way the book is laid out, with the graphics and pictures. I also enjoyed the quotes and personal stories from others. Jason is currently in college, so we looked over this book together, and he did the activities in the book. He said the most beneficial part of the book for him was Chapter Five which teaches better note-taking and how to write well. Jason wrote all over the book and made notes in it, and later I found it in his school backpack. So he really finds this book a good resource to help him in his education!
About The Author:
Raymond Gerson has a Masters Degree in Psychology and is an adjunct professor of career development and college success strategy courses for Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. He teaches students how to succeed in school, career, and life. Professor Gerson is also a speaker and trainer. He has over 40 years experience helping others with career and personal development. He has worked as a career counselor, job placement specialist, vocational rehabilitation counselor, trainer, and former owner of an executive search and recruiting business. Professor Gerson is the author of Achieve College Success…Learn How in 20 Hours or Less and Achieve Career Success…Discover and Get the Job You Want.

For additional free teaching and learning resources, go to or or

I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and his publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.