Saturday, June 30, 2012

Come Explore Creative Steps Summer 2012 With Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream and Magic Drawings


I've said it before, Creative Steps is one of the best children's activity and learning magazines that I've ever seen... and I've got a special peek into the Summer 2012 issue that I get to share with you! Check out these two great activities you can do at home:  Homemade Raspberry Ice Cream (no ice cream maker required) and Magic Drawings, read on to see how to make them, then check out Creative Steps for more great projects.

Raspberry Ice Cream: (Creative Steps, Summer 2012, page 13) (note - US equivalent measurements are in (parenthesis)
What you need:
225g (8 oz)  Fresh Raspberries
50g (just under 1/2 cup powder sugar) icing sugar
150ml (2/3 cup) Greek yoghurt
300ml (1 1/4 cups heavy cream or whipping cream) double cream
Freezer-proof containers

1. Wash the raspberries and dry them on some paper towel.  Mash them in a bowl.

2. Sieve the icing sugar into the bowl of raspberries and mix it in.

3. Add the Greek yoghurt to the mixture and stir everything together well.

4. In another bowl whisk the cream until it is thick with stiff peaks.  Stir in the raspberry mixture.

5. Spoon the mixture into one or two containers, level it off, put on the lids and put them in the freezer.  Get the ice cream out about 10-15 minutes before you want to serve it.  Using a scoop dipped into hot water will help!

Magic Drawing: (Creative Steps, Summer 2012, page 16)
Store Cupboard:
Sheets of dark or brightly colored tissue paper
Selection of paint brushes
Cotton buds
Bleach & bowl

1. As this activity uses bleach, there MUST be adult supervision at all times and we suggest the children taking part should be at least aged 5+.

2. Put one tablespoon of bleach in a bowl and put the bleach bottle away.  Let each child choose a sheet of tissue paper.

3. The children should choose what they would like to 'paint' with and then dip it into the bleach.  They should gently paint as they would normally and after a few seconds, the area painted turns the paper a paler colour.  This will get more enhanced after being left to dry for a few minutes.  Mount on white paper for a greater effect.

In this issue of Creative Steps, there are 100 different activities for kids (broken down into age ranges from 0-5 Years, 5-7 Years and 7-11 Years)  and 50 Top Tips for Summer Fun.


Creative Steps Magazine: Helping Kids Learn Through Creative Play  
 www.creativesteps.co.uk  

Quarterly Publication  ~ Digital and Print Editions Available
Find Creative Steps online: FacebookTwitterWebpage


 Special Reader Discount: Get 25% off both the Digital and Online magazine editions:
For Annual Subscription to the Online Version:
After the discount, the cost would be £9.00 (GBP) or $13.50 (USD)
Use the discount code KARDIG25 and use this email - info@creativesteps.co.uk

For Annual Subscription of the Printed Version:
After the discount, the cost would be £22.35 (GBP, UK Only) or $63.75 (USD, Worldwide) (including postage)
Use the discount code KARMA25 and this link https://creativesteps.subscribeonline.co.uk/all-titles/creative-steps?offer=KARMA25

Disclosure: I had a chance to take a peek at the digital online version of the Summer 2012 edition of Creative Steps Magazine, and was given permission to share the above recipe and project with you!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Movie Review: People Like Us Starring Chris Pine #PeopleLikeUs

People Like Us (in theaters June 29th) explores the amazing journey (based on true events) of hot shot salesman Sam, who, in the span of one day finds his job in jeopardy and finds out that his Dad, whom he has only seen a handful of times over the past years, has died.

He travels to his childhood home with his girlfriend and receives a cool welcome from his Mother, played by Michelle Pfeiffer.  The next day he is contacted by his father's lawyer, whom he meets with.  After this meeting, he finds out that his father wants him to give $150,000 to someone he has never heard of (meet Frankie, who turns out to be his half-sister he had no idea existed), which is really what starts his journey of discovery and growth.

As Sam's personal life seems to be unraveling, he is also developing into a better person.  I loved this aspect of the movie.  While he is at it, Frankie (played by Elizabeth Banks, who was amazing as well) is surviving with her own problems, including her 11 year old son, Josh, who is both smart and getting into trouble in school.  (I dare you NOT to find Josh endearing)

One of my favorite scenes of the movie is when Sam shares the Six Rules that his father taught him with Josh (sorry I can't recall all of them, but here is what I do remember in no particular order):

 - Always Lean In (Speaking of committing to something all the way)
 - Some doors will be open, but a lot will be closed, so make sure you have a good knock
 - Don't shi* where you eat (metaphorically speaking)
 - Everything you think is important isn't, and everything you think isn't important, is

The rules certainly give us something to think about.  :)

The acting was wonderful, as was the heartwarming and very touching story.  The last scene of the movie was very sweet and I know there was more than one teary eye in the theater.  I saw the movie with a few friends, and we all agreed that the movie was wonderful, but that is was a lot heavier (dramatic) than expected.  Still love it and recommend it, but go knowing that not all is light and comedic in this story.

My one and only real complaint with the movie is that Sam's legal problems pertaining to his job were not resolved, so that aspect felt a little unfinished to me.

Synopsis from DreamWorks:
From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

 The film also stars Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer.

 A DreamWorks Pictures presentation, “People Like Us” is directed by Alex Kurtzman, produced by Roberto Orci, Bobby Cohen and Clayton Townsend, and written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert. The film releases in U.S. theaters on June 29, 2012.


Starring: 
Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer

Clip From The Movie:





*Disclosure: I was invited to see a sneak peek of the movie People Like Us.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Flood®: Wood Care Specialists for All Your Wood Care Needs

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flood Wood Care for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

flood.comOur family is starting to spend more and more time outside, and I've recently come to the conclusion that there are some wooden things in and around our yard that need a little TLC... We have one of those wonderful wooden play structures with a climbing wall, slide and swingset that was new a few years ago, and I can't wait to make it look new again.  We also have a beautiful new garden pergola and wooden-rimmed garden that also need to be protected from the outdoor elements.

I'll need to clean and re-stain the wooden playset, and stain the garden items.  This is where Flood® Wood Care will come in handy.  They have some wonderful products designed to protect and maintain your wooden decks, fences, siding, outdoor furniture and playsets including wood finish removers, wood cleaners, and stains.

A huge bonus of using their website is the ability to use their project planning tool, which will guide you through the steps needed to determine what you need for the project you are undertaking.  I tested the project planner for our playset and was amazed at the tips and options available from Flood®.  Part of the online planning tool also shows you the nearest stores that cary Flood® products, here in our area, the two largest stores are Home Depot and Walmart.

Flood® is a brand that was created by a family of painters in 1841, and they have worked hard whithin the wood specialty to provide us with quality products and personalized care so that we don't have to be the experts and can accomplish the things we want, just like pros, which is why they have become known as "The Wood Care Specialit."

Now is the perfect time to check out their Take it Easy Sweepstakes.  

If you win the sweepstakes, Flood® will provide the labor and supplies to prep and stain your deck and give you $2,000 so you can host a deck party on your newly re-stained deck!

What are you waiting for - hurry over and enter the Take it Easy Sweepstakes.  *You must be 18 to enter, and entry is easy, only taking a minute or two.

Flood® is a brand that was created by a family of painters in 1841, and they have worked hard whithin the wood specialty to provide us with quality products and personalized care so that we don't have to be the experts and can accomplish the things we want, just like pros, which is why they have become known as "The Wood Care Specialit."

Now is the perfect time to check out their Take it Easy Sweepstakes.  

If you win the sweepstakes, Flood® will provide the labor and supplies to prep and stain your deck and give you $2,000 so you can host a deck party on your newly re-stained deck!

What are you waiting for - hurry over and enter the Take it Easy Sweepstakes.  *You must be 18 to enter, and entry is easy, only taking a minute or two.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, June 22, 2012

Movie Review: Disney/Pixar's BRAVE in 3D

Last night, our family got to go see a sneak peek of the Disney/Pixar movie BRAVE in 3D in Seattle.

This was the first movie that our youngest (almost 2 1/2) has seen from start to finish IN the theater, and he did GREAT, even through the darker, more scary scenes.  In fact both boys really enjoyed it, and my husband and I shared many smirks and laughs together throughout the film.

The details and quality of the film were amazing!  There were many scenes where I found myself wanting to reach out and touch something on the screen because it looked so real and textured.

The story was fun, even if a little predicable.  I will caution parents that there are a few really scary scenes with the bears that may scare younger children... and if you've ever wondered what those highlanders have under their kilts... well, you'll find out with a lot of laughter!

Loved the characters, the humor, and the family aspect of the movie.

Synopsis:
Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney•Pixar’s “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) andcantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), unleashing chaos in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources—including her mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor. Opens on June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

BRAVE Film Clip:  Whisps






BRAVE Film Clip: Potion Making





Movie Review: Disney/Pixar's BRAVE (3D)

Last night, our family got to go see a sneak peek of the Disney/Pixar movie BRAVE in 3D in Seattle.

This was the first movie that our youngest (almost 2 1/2) has seen from start to finish IN the theater, and he did GREAT, even through the darker, more scary scenes.  In fact both boys really enjoyed it, and my husband and I shared many smirks and laughs together throughout the film.

The details and quality of the film were amazing!  There were many scenes where I found myself wanting to reach out and touch something on the screen because it looked so real and textured.

The story was fun, even if a little predicable.  I will caution parents that there are a few really scary scenes with the bears that may scare younger children... and if you've ever wondered what those highlanders have under their kilts... well, you'll find out with a lot of laughter!

Loved the characters, the humor, and the family aspect of the movie.

Synopsis:
Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Disney•Pixar’s “Brave” follows the heroic journey of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the unruly and uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) andcantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane), unleashing chaos in the kingdom. When she turns to an eccentric Witch (voice of Julie Walters), she is granted an ill-fated wish and the ensuing peril forces Merida to harness all of her resources—including her mischievous triplet brothers—to undo a beastly curse and discover the meaning of true bravery. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, “Brave” is a grand adventure full of heart, memorable characters and signature Pixar humor. Opens on June 22, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

BRAVE Film Clip:  Whisps





BRAVE Film Clip: Potion Making




Seattle Movie Sneak Peek: FREE Tickets To People Like Us June 26th

If you are in the Seattle area (or will be visiting) on June 26th, and would like to attend a sneak peak for the upcoming movie People Like Us starring Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Jon Favreau and Michelle Pfeiffer click below and print off a ticket that will allow you and a guest to see the movie for free!!

Synopsis:
From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.
Where: Seattle
Date: June 26th
Time:  7:00 PM

To Get Your FREE Ticket:  Log into SeeItFirst.net and use code 884944

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Take Control of Your Time With The Dot.Mine Family Day Planner / Schedule Resource

Sometimes I feel like I am functioning and making deadlines by the skin-of-my-teeth.  I have a really hard time saying "no" to anyone, and thus tend to find myself being the over-committed wife, mother of two young boys, daughter, friend, play-date organizer, volunteer, housewife, blogger... I think you get the picture.  LOL  With all these wonderful roles to fill, I've had a few moments of panic over the past months, when I'm sure that I'm forgetting something really important, or I feel that life has spun out-of-control and I can't manage to keep up with the mundane parts of daily life.  (Here I must disclose that I love my busy life and wouldn't trade it for anything)

Then I got the opportunity to check out the Dot.Mine Family Time.Mine Planner, which is going to be a huge life-saver for me.  This little gem is going to whip me into shape when it comes to time management and will help me ensure that both myself and my family won't miss anything important.



One of the first things in the planner is a fold-out Fall 2012 Schedule.  It has a place to pencil in recurring weekly tasks (believe it or not, my son's kindergarten starts and ends at different times depending on the day of the week...), as well as a chart with times going down the left side and the days of the week going across the top - this allows me to plan out routine tasks in a way that makes them more do-able and helps me make sure I'm not going to miss anything.  Believe it or not, this is a HUGE help.  There is a Winter, Spring and Summer Schedule as well.  (I'm going to use pencil so I can easily update the master schedule)

There is also a wonderfully large double-page calender for each month.

Keep in mind that these pages are about the size of a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, so it is a really nice size to write individual tasks for each family member.

Each month is then followed by a page for each week where you can be even more detailed.  There is also a section to put sticky notes and where you can add notes or make lists.

Following the calender pages is a section for family information:
   - phone numbers and names of important contacts
   - name/phone/cell/email for contacts
   - work contacts
   - kids friends information
   - babysitter information



Last but not least is a page showing a small calender for 2012, 2013, and 2014 and a full page of fun stickers to add to your calender pages.


Family_Time.Mine: August 2012 - December 2013  
 by Dot.Mine
$19.99
Find Dot.Mine on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest 
Edition Reviewed: The NWGWP Family_Time.Mine - Review copy received in exchange for my honest review in coordination with this Karma Media campaign.



Check out what these other Karma Media bloggers have to say about Dot.Mine:


Stay tuned and you might win one yourself!

*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island DVD Giveaway (US/Can, Rafflecopter) #Journey2




Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is out now and I can't wait to see it!!  Starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Sean Anderson (Recognize him from The Hunger Games??), Vanessa Hudgens and the ever-wonderful Michael Caine, Journey 2 is sure to be full of adventure and fun.  Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy of the DVD for yourself.

From Warner Bros:
Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games) finds a hidden signal that he believes will lead him to his long lost grandfather (Michael Caine, Miss Congeniality). With the help of his new step father (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Scorpion King), Sean finds a map and starts his adventure which leads him to Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) and the island of Atlantis! Sean and his friends battle giant bees, killer lizards, a volcano of gold, and electric eels to escape the lost city and make their way home!
Check out this great Journey 2 App that the wonderful people at Warner Bros. created just for our entertainment! It is fun and quick...

Activities: Choose Your Own Adventure! Spin the wheel to get your own personalized adventure! Will you brave the wilds of Family Movie Night or map your house and have your own treasure hunt!

Quiz: Would You Survive The Mysterious Island!? Are you a Wilderness Warrior or a Timid Trekker? Take the Mysterious Island quiz and find out how you would fare in the outback of Atlantis!  (I can't wait to hear how you do... I'm a Trail Blazer!)




Journey 2: The Mysterious Island  
 by Warner Bros.   

DVD/Blu-Ray

Giveaway Details:  One lucky person is going to win a copy of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on DVD.  Entry is easy, use the Rafflecopter form below.  If you have any problems, press F5 to reload the page and if it still doesn't work, feel free to leave a comment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure: This giveaway is being sponsored by Warner Bros.

*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day From Disney's Brave


Father's Day is the day we pay tribute to all the great Dad's out there, those with us, and those who are with us in our memories.

 


 Happy Father's Day!

 PS - Disney - Pixar's movie BRAVE is out June 22nd!

*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looney Tunes Click N Learn Phonics Program: A Great Foundation For Parents and Children (Review and Giveaway: 14 winners)


One of the things I thanked my own Mother for recently was getting me into a school that taught Phonics. I started learning Phonics in Kindergarten, and feel very strongly that it gave me an edge with both spelling and reading (I STILL use the skills I learned with Phonics today!).  My husband jokes with me that whenever he is stumped on a word and doesn't want to look it up, he just asks me, and just between us, I use those very Phonics skills I learned so long ago to spell those words for him. ;)

That is one of the reasons why I was so excited to introduce my boys to the Looney Tunes Click N Learn Phonics program.  It is available online, so anywhere we go, I'll be able to work on the Phonics Lessons with our son as long as we have access to a computer and the internet.  And the best part???  They LOVE the program and consider it a cartoon game.  So I am providing my boys with the very same spelling and reading tools that helped me so  much.

It took only a minute or so to set up my son's account, and he got to choose Bugs Bunny as his Avatar (which is one of his favorite Looney Tunes characters).  He immediately wanted to check out what the characters were up to, and he loves that they are helping him learn.

PARENTS - I HIGHLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO CHECK THIS OUT!  PHONICS CAN HELP YOUR CHILD THROUGHOUT THEIR ENTIRE LIFE!

There are 100 lessons, each made up of 4 parts with Looney Tunes short cartoons mixed in.
     1. The Letter Zone: Kids learn letter sounds and shapes, and learn to find them on the keyboard.  They will learn 61 different Phonics sounds
     2. Listening Zone: Kids learn about Phonics Word Blending.  They learn to listen to the beginning, middle and end of the word.  The robot guide will cover 188 different words, sounding out the different parts, and children will work with 357 individual words.
     3. Reading Zone: Kids will learn to read and spell sight words (those that are highly used in daily communication), word families, word endings, Silent-E rule, making sentences, and more.
     4. Speed Zone: Kids use this section to recap and test what they have learned in the lesson (identify letters, sounds, words)




I wanted my 5 year old son to enjoy using this program and he DOES, which is great, but the unexpected benefit of this program and his enjoyment is that our 2 year old is also trying to engage in it along with his older brother, and I'm amazed at how quickly he is catching on to what is happening in the program.

This phonics program is highly customizable, and you get progress reports where you can see exactly how your child is doing.



As a parent, I can't emphasize enough how much I approve of Phonics being given as a tool to our children.  It enables them and increases their chances of success in school and beyond - I can personally attest to that.


Looney Tunes Click N Learn Phonics  
 by Click N Kids, Inc
Facebook / Twitter 
Program has varying rates starting at $9.95
 Education

Edition Reviewed: Online Phonics program - I received access to the Looney Tunes Phonics program as part of the Karma Media campaign so I could share the information with you in the form of my honest review!


See what other Karma Media bloggers are saying about the Looney Tunes Phonics program:


Giveaway Details:  
14 winners will each receive a LIFETIME License to the Looney Tunes Click N Learn Phonics website.  Enter below:   a Rafflecopter giveaway

*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Fit Learning Program: Makes it Fun and Easy to Prep Kids For The Coming School Year


Summer Fit Learning has created a great line of workbooks that you can use throughout summer with your child or children in order to prepare them for the coming school year and keep them physically and mentally active even when they aren't in school.  Each book emphasizes physical activity, reading, writing and math skills that are appropriate for each age (Pre-K through 5th Grade).

 I was really excited to join in the MediaGuests blog tour for the Summer Fit program, and Logan and I chose to try out the K-1 workbook even though he is going into Kindergarten.  He has a great grasp of his ABC's, basic writing, and his numbers, so I wanted the chance to give him a few challenges.



The workbook has a whole section just for parents, providing tips on using the workbook, the importance of fitness and safety, healthy eating and good nutrition, core values and the actual Summer Fit Exercise Program (which includes aerobic, strength and sport exercises). I loved the detailed description of each exercise and activity.

The workbook also provides an area for each section where you can write what the incentive for completing the weekly program (there are 10 weekly programs).  Kids get to check off the activities as they do them, and write their values for the day/week.  Then there are the actual work-pages, which include tracing and coloring, working with numbers (tracing, counting), working with upper-case and lower-case letters, working with patterns, drawing, shapes, feelings, and other fun activities.

The end of the book includes a section for parents with the answers, and a certificate of completion.

We have only done the first few days of workbook pages, and the incentive for completing week 1 is a fun outing.  So far, his favorite parts of the workbook are the coloring and matching activities.  There is a great variety of activities which keeps the learning fun and entertaining.

Check out this fun You Tube video on the Summer Fit Learning program:




 Summer Fit: K-1 Kindergarten to First Grade 
 by Summer Fit Learning
Available for Pre-K through Grade 5  ~ $12.95

Edition Reviewed: K-1 Workbook - Review copy received through the MediaGuests blog tour for my honest review


Check out Summer Fit Learning on Facebook - they post great information all the time!

They also have a great sample book online with samples from each workbook


*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Rock N Learn's Multiplication RAP DVD

If you interact with kids in any capacity, you will want to take note of Rock N Learn's fun music learning videos and cds. Our family was sent the Rock N Learn Multiplication Rap DVD to check out and it is great.  The characters are fun, they emphasize the importance of learning and having fun in school, and the songs and raps are catchy - things that a lot of kids love.  They will dance and sing along with the characters on the screen.

The kids love this DVD, which is great as a parent, because I know they are having fun AND learning.  I can feel great about letting them watch this DVD, and they don't even know that it is "good-for-them."  I can't wait to check out other Rock N Learn DVDs.

Not only is Rock N Learn Multiplication RAP available on DVD, it can also be purchased as an Audio CD and Book, and now an iBook.  The Multiplication RAP iBook is the first iBook release by Rock N Learn, and it is available on iTunes for $9.99 (you can purchase individual songs as well).



Another great thing about these is that they get kids interacting and learning on so many levels by encouraging reading (words are shown on the screen), hearing, and speaking (talk along with the characters).

Check out this sample clip from the Rock N Learn Multiplication RAP dvd (found on the Rock N Learn You Tube channel):



Rock N Learn has a great line of educational materials including DVDs, Audio CDs, workbooks and now the addition of iBooks.  They have over 50 products covering early childhood learning (preschool, kindergarden, grade school), languages, language arts, math, science and social studies.  They even have one for dealing with money and change (which my kids need!).

Use coupon code JQ7711 and get 25% off your entire purchase of DVDs and CDs at www.RockNLearn.com (US only).






Multiplication RAP  DVD
 by Rock N Learn

DVD ~ $19.99
Audio CD and Workbook ~ $12.99
Replacement Book ` $3.00
iBook ~

Edition Reviewed: DVD - Review copy received through Karma Media in order to share my honest review with you.


Stay in touch with Rock N Learn: Sign up for their E-Newsletter, Follow them on Twitter, and Like them on Facebook.  They have also created a website www.worksheets-for-math.com to provide parents and teachers free downloadable study materials.

Check out what other Karma Media bloggers had to say about the Rock N Learn Multiplication RAP DVD:



*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Friday, June 1, 2012

Product Review: Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Renew Eye Roller (SheSpeaks)

Product Tested: Garnier Nutritioniste Eye Roller
Received From: SheSpeaks.com

From the site:

It's no longer rude to roll your eyes... Meet the newest member of the Garnier NutritionisteTM family - Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller!
This easy-to-apply eye treatment helps diminish dark circles and deflate puffiness, thanks to its exclusive "Skin-Nutrient*" and cooling roll-on applicator.

With key ingredients like caffeine and a gentle massaging roller, Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller stimulates micro-circulation and helps decongest the fluid retained around the eye area to diminish dark circles and puffiness. Eyes appear brighter, refreshed and more awake.
Skin Renew Anti-Puff Eye Roller is clinically proven to reduce puffiness and boost radiance around the eye after only one week of use! With continued use, the severity of puffiness is further reduced and dark circles stay minimized.

How do I use it?
Gently roll Skin Renew anti-puff eye roller gel under the eye from the inner corner to the outer corner, one to two times. Use finger to smooth in any excess until absorbed. Apply morning and night, and as needed throughout the day. This cool, refreshing light serum is immediately absorbed without leaving a greasy or sticky feel. It is oil-free and an excellent base for makeup.



What I noticed:
Made my eyes look less puffy
Diminished fine lines around my eye area
Makes my eyes look refreshed and rested
Contains ingredients I feel good about
Is easy to apply

Overall opinion: A

While I would LOVE the dark circles under my eyes to go away, I can't argue that my eyes looked better when less puffy (I didn't even know they were puffy prior to trying this product) and with fewer fine lines.

Book Review: Saying Yes to the Millionaire by Fiona Harper

Title: Saying Yes to the Millionaire
Author: Fiona Harper
Pages: 187
Genre: Romance, Modern day
Edition: Standard, Thank you to eHarlequin who sent me this book as part of their We Hear You program.



Perfect for : Personal reading

In a nutshell: I really enjoyed this light read. This was a well-written, fun, flirty book with a feel-good ending. Yes, it was a little predictable, but isn't that why we read these books? It was refreshing to read a romance that wasn't chock-full of sex scenes that would make me blush - instead, there was sexual tension and a few savory kisses. I enjoyed the two main characters Fern and Josh a lot. Both characters faced personal growth through the story-line. I learned a lot about London (setting for this book), and the plot kept me reading on to see what would happen next. Fern is challenged by her best friend to say "yes" to everything for one week. The normally very conservative young woman gives it a try, and ends up with a new outlook on life. During her week, she reconnects with her dead brother's best friend, who vowed to watch out for his best-friend's little sister. He takes her on a secret London treasure hunt, where they both face challenges, and in one way or another face the past lost of a loved one (Fern's older brother Ryan). As I said, it was an easy read, and I enjoyed every minute.

From Amazon:
First date: Oxford Circus, London…

When cautious Fern Chambers is challenged by a friend to say yes to every question, she never expects to spend four days with dreamy Josh Adams doing a charity treasure hunt.


First dance: Covent Garden…

Daredevil millionaire Josh never stays in one place—or with one woman—for long. But Fern is challenging that rule….

First kiss: Trafalgar Square…

Josh realizes the treasure he's been looking for may in fact be the beautiful Fern. Can he persuade her to say yes to his final question, the most important one of all?



First Paragraph (Read excerpt on Amazon):
"No, I CAN'T. I don't think I can do this!"
Solid ground was a distant memory. Fern glanced down past her feet and a tidal wave of nausea crashed in her stomach. The Thames glittered in the June sun and London politely carried on about its business one hundred and fifty feet below her. Someone behind her muttered, 'Is she going to jump or not?'



My Review:

Characters: There were really three main characters in this story:
  • Ryan - Fern's older brother who died when she was young. He is a theme throughout the book, as both main characters lives' have been impacted by his death. One is sheltered and holds back from life, the other is hiding from loss and holds back from commitment and involvement.
  • Fern - Sheltered youngest child (due to loss of older brother) who lives a quiet, sheltered life to please her parents. She focuses on her work and never tries anything new . . . until her best friend challenges her.
  • Josh - Vowed to watch-out for his best-friend's younger sister, he leads a life of adventure and has become a self-made millionaire. He can't face the loss of his best childhood friend, and it has affected his relationships until now.
Overall, the characters were well-created, with depth of character and charm. It was nice to experience the characters' growth as the story progressed. Fiona Harper created two very nice characters for this story.
Story-Line: The story line was fun. Girl has known boy forever, always had a crush on him. . . he helps her accomplish something huge, and she returns the favor by participating in a secret treasure hunt through London for four days with him. As a reader, we get to learn about a lot of neat places in London, and some interesting historical facts. A lot of romance authors will take the opportunity to throw in the average three sex scenes throughout a romance book (I'm guessing at that number!), so it was refreshing to only get steamy kisses instead of the normal pelvic grinding and groaning! Every now and then we need to leave something up to the imagination! ;)


Readability: The story was easy to read, although I was thrown by a few English terms such as "trolley" instead of the American "stretcher" inside an ambulance. I think those types of terms made for an authentic story, and added charm to the narration.


Overall: Overall, it was a fun, flirty, easy read that I would be happy to pick up again. The characters were enjoyable, the story adventurous, and after a few hours of reading I was left with a general sense of peace and enjoyment.


About the Author:





Take a moment to visit Fiona Harper's blog here. From her blog:
I write fresh, heart-warming romances for Harlequin Mills & Boon. My first book was published in December 2006. It all happened rather fast and I'm in at the deep end of a new writing career. Watch this space to see if I sink or swim!

She also has a website, where I borrowed her picture.
Fiona currently resides in London, and from her About Me page, it appears that she began writing in earnest in 2004 - thank you for that!! I've really enjoyed reading this book!


*** Special Note: This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

 Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I am an Amazon Associate.

Book Review: The Secret Soldier by Jennifer Morey

Title: The Secret Soldier
Author: Jennifer Morey
Pages: 211 pages
Edition: Standard Book (Silhouette Romantic Suspense), I received this book from eHarlequin as part of their We Hear You program. It was the perfect book to bring along on a family vacation!



Update 10/9/08: Click here to read my interview with Jennifer Morey!

Perfect for : Personal reading

In a nutshell: A fun, quick romantic read. I loved the names in the book, which was deceptively simple, creating a story that was really enjoyable but easy to read. Meet Sabine, who is kidnapped by suspected terrorists while testing water quality in Afghanistan. Her partner on the project is also kidnapped, and is tortured in front of her. A mysterious soldier rescues her just-in-time. Meet Cullen "Rudy" McQueen - Behind-the-scenes American Hero/Special Ops leader, who is hired by Sabine's estranged father Noah to bring his daughter home safely. On the way home, things go horribly wrong, they (Sabine and "Rudy") survive being shot out of the sky, a crash landing in Greece, and a short recovery in a Greek island paradise. "Rudy" delivers Sabine home to her father, and shortly after, more attempts are made on her life. Cullen/Rudy and Sabine's father must work together to determine who is trying to kill Sabine. Meanwhile, things are heating up between Sabine and Cullen - could it be love? I was hooked after reading the first few pages, and the story continued to keep my attention until the end, which I really enjoyed and almost chuckled aloud while sitting quietly in my mother-in-law's living room.

Product description from Amazon.com:
The powerful stranger broke down the door and saved Sabine O'Clery from the terrorists holding her hostage. But her secretive hero was forbidden from revealing his identity. Until enemy fire forced them to crash-land.…

Of all the covert military missions, being stranded on a Greek island with a beautiful woman is one that Cullen McQueen never imagined. But their stay in paradise was all too fleeting. He had to take Sabine back to America, or risk blowing his cover and losing everything he'd fought for. Yet memories of one passion-filled night haunted him… and when danger followed Sabine home, the stealth soldier knew he would break all the rules to keep her safe forever.



The story takes place in current day Afghanistan, Greece and Denver. The story centers around Sabine O'Clery, who is kidnapped with her partner Samuel while they are in Afghanistan testing the water quality in local villages.

There is an air of mystery surrounding the reasons why Sabine and Samuel are taken, and Sabine wonders if Samuel knows why they were taken, but is trying to shelter her from the knowledge. Samuel is brutally tortured in front of Sabine.

Just in the nick-of-time, a mysterious soldier appears in the dark to rescue Sabine (and Samuel, but they are too late to save him). The rescue is sabotaged along the way, and after surviving a helicopter crash and a plane crash on a Greek island, Sabine gets to know her rescuer a little better as she recovers enough to continue the trip back to the United States.

Cullen "Rudy" McQueen lives to do good through his secret company SCS, while working for the government as a reservist for his cover. His cover is blown when a picture is taken of him kissing Sabine goodbye - a very steamy kiss by all accounts!

Cullen does get Sabine back to her estranged father Noah, and later discovers that additional attempts are made to kill Sabine. He jumps back into action to make sure she remains safe, and the story just keeps getting better.

I won't tell you how it ends, but there is a twist, and I really enjoyed the story! (Couldn't put it down until I reached the end - a fun read from start to finish)

About the author:

This is Jennifer Morey's first novel. Visit her website here.

From her site:
Known for her big smile and infectious laugh, Jennifer Morey writes her happy endings in a little northern town of sunny Colorado. A twin with five amazing brothers and sisters and an invincible dad, it’s no wonder she’s so effervescent. Don’t let the quiet moments fool you!
Jennifer’s first stories were inspired by her childhood love of Man O' War, Secretariat, and The Black Stallion, by Walter Farley. Bubbles of dialogue above cartoon drawings of horses led to hand-written tales of adolescent love. Years later, and two months after graduating from Colorado State University with a BS in geology, her mother died suddenly and changed the course of her life. The writer in her resurfaced, and she pursued a serious career.
Associate Project Manager for the Spacecraft Systems Segment of a satellite imagery and information company, Jennifer works with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and cat-herds her rocket scientist co-workers. When not writing or trying not to daydream at work, she can be found playing volleyball, hiking, flower gardening, socializing, or cuddling with her rescued golden retriever and feisty yellow lab.
Finalist in more than twenty contests, Jennifer has received several awards for her writing, one of which led to the publication of her debut novel, The Secret Soldier. She welcomes messages from readers. 


*** Special Note: This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

 Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I am an Amazon Associate.

Book Review: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Title: Into Thin Air
Author: Jon Krakauer
Edition: Regular book



Best read for: Personal enjoyment, book club read

In a nutshell: An indepth look at the author's experience climbing Mount Everst during the tragic climb of 1996. This book gives you a pretty good perspective of what climbers go through on high-altitude climbs. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down.

Description from Amazon.com:
Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.
The book covers the tragedy that took place on Mount Everest around May 10th, 1996 involving two primary climbing teams, those of Scott Fischer and Rob Hall. The author was a member of the latter team. The mountain claimed the lives of 12 people within a short amount of time. Jon Krakauer did a wonderful job of telling readers about the groups and individuals on the mountain during their ascent. He also details the conditions the climbers face and how they prepare to reach the top.

At times, I feel the author may have been too hard on himself, but at least he shares his thoughts on what may have contributed to the disaster, and includes some reactions from relatives of those members who were lost as well as conversations with survivors.

On occasion I found the book a little hard to follow, as some descriptions and accounts of people or places didn't flow along with the story as well as I would have liked. That said, once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down.

I don't think I will ever truly understand what drives people to climb this mountain, especially after I read about what the climbers go through for a chance to try to reach the summit of the mountain. Learning what these climbers go through to make it to the top was amazing. There didn't seem to be any fun to be had on the journey, and the climbers sure seemed to suffer through a lot of medical problems and environmental challenges.

Reading about Jon's firsthand account of the expedition gives the reader great insight into what goes on, and the different reasons people choose to aim for the highest place on earth. He also provides a lot of factors that probably had a negative impact on the climb, and ultimately culminated in the disaster that so shocked everyone.

I read this book after my husband gently reminded me for two months or more that he was interested in discussing the events detailed in the book. I am glad I finally took the time to read it. I ended up recommending the book to one of the book clubs I participate in, and it turned out to be a very well-liked and very much discussed book.

*** Special Note: This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my honest review. I am an Amazon Associate.

Music Review: Idina Menzel's I Stand

Title: I Stand
Artist: Idina Menzel



Soulful, Inspirational and Wonderfully Clear

I am a relatively new fan of Idina Menzel, but as a result of listening to her new cd I Stand, I am searching for everything she has done so far! I have really enjoyed listening to her newest cd . . . in the car, working at my computer and especially when I need some "me" time.

Idina's voice is wonderfully clear, and she has a great vocal range. I Stand is a nicely flowing song that is quite enjoyable to listen to. My favorite song of the cd is Better to Have Loved, which to me has a haunting melody that simply catches your attention and doesn't let go. It seems like she has really poured feeling into this song. A very second close favorite is Brave - the melody is very inspiring. I find myself humming this song throughout the day. My Own Worst Enemy is another favorite (I find it hard not to list the entire album as a favorite) - again, it has a haunting melody and the song is full of feeling.

If you take the time to really listen to this cd, it is very inspiring and heartfelt. I highly recommend that fans of Idina's work (both acting/broadway and singing) go ahead and pick up this cd, and if you aren't a fan yet, pick it up and you soon will be!

*** Special Note:  This post was originally written in 2008 and was posted on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***

Disclosure:  I received this book in exchange for my honest review.  I am an Amazon Associate.

Camping With Kids: What Are Your Must-Have Camping Items?

Our family has started camping in the backyard as a way to get ready for "REAL" camping.  After having NOT done any camping for about well, ... 20 years or so... I find that I'm forgetting a LOT.

The first weekend of backyard camping with my husband and two young boys (ages 2 and 5) found that we needed a bigger tent.  I love my 3 person, 4 season backpacking tent, but we were sardines... so we went to Sears and got the Coleman Oasis 6 person tent.  It is a VERY basic tent, but we love it.  It provides extra space and  is a cheap way to get into camping ($90 instead of the $204 tent we originally chose).  We need to work on weather-proofing it as the rainy night we had found some of the water on the inside of the tent, but we did stay dry, so I think some weather-proofing spray will do the trick just fine.

So, we have our tent, air mattresses (and pumps), coolers, storage tent, and a few other hiking type supplies.  What items do you consider to be must-haves when you go camping?

Camping With Kids: What Are Your Must-Have's?

Our family has started camping in the backyard as a way to get ready for "REAL" camping.  After having NOT done any camping for about well, ... 20 years or so... I find that I'm forgetting a LOT.

The first weekend of backyard camping with my husband and two young boys (ages 2 and 5) found that we needed a bigger tent.  I love my 3 person, 4 season backpacking tent, but we were sardines... so we went to Sears and got the Coleman Oasis 6 person tent.  It is a VERY basic tent, but we love it.  It provides extra space and  is a cheap way to get into camping ($90 instead of the $204 tent we originally chose).

So, we have our tent, air mattresses (and pumps), coolers, storage tent, and a few other hiking type supplies.  What items do you consider to be must-haves when you go camping?

*** Note: This post was originally published on my other blog Wendi's Book Corner ***
 

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