Month: March 2017

Break Down Gender Stereotypes with Inspirational Content #StreamTeam


My parents raised me to know that I could do anything and be anything that I wanted to be. They encouraged me to play sports, get dirty and have fun. I was the kid who always came home from daycare and later school with cuts and bruises (and I still have some of the scars on my legs to prove it) and the one who wanted to be first to try everything. I had no fears and I felt safe to be myself, even through some of my crazier phases! My parents never stopped supporting me to be the best me.

Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes with Inspirational Content

It wasn’t until I was older that I started to realize that some people have different expectations for girls and young women. I loved the sciences and wanted to be a surgeon when I was in high school, which my parents fully encouraged me to follow. They reminded me that I could do anything that I wanted and that I should never let common gender stereotypes guide my decisions. While that wasn’t the field I found myself in, my parents supported me and encouraged me throughout my years at McMaster and when I became a parent myself.

Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes with Inspirational Content

When I had my boys, I wanted them to know the exact same security and confidence my parents gave me as a child and young adult. I wanted them to feel free to cry, to show emotion, run, play and dress however they wanted without fear. It was important to me that they see that Dads cook, clean and do laundry and Moms can cut the grass, go to work and can play just as hard on the soccer field as Dad can. That is what I grew up with and it is so important for children to see that there are no rules for boys and rules for girls. We are all strong individuals who need to be pushed to be the best version of us.

An important part of supporting our children is to monitor what they see on TV. While sometimes the content can be okay, other times the content can actually push the typical gender stereotypes we are trying to push away from. It has even been show that girls as young as six can be effected by the gender stereotypes they see on television and it can have lasting affects.

Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes with Inspirational Content

We want both boys and girls to see girls in strong leadership roles – this is not a role reserved solely for boys and girls should be encouraged to be a strong leader. More often than not, films and series aren’t showing enough of this. But if you look hard enough you can definitely find some pretty great content that will help your child understand they can be and do anything they want. If you are looking for great content for your children, check out these top three picks currently featured on Netflix:

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events
  • One Day at a Time
  • Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh

Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes with Inspirational Content

Spending quality time with your children teaching them that they can be and do whatever they put their mind to is one of the most important things you can for your child, whether you have a daughter or a son. They need to understand that there are no restrictions on what they can achieve if they put their mind to it. You can do it every day by sharing roles as parents, supporting your child in their decisions and ensuring they are watching content with you that inspires and encourages them to be their best.

How do you help break down gender stereotypes for your children?

Disclosure: I am a Netflix #StreamTeam member and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Season of Hope Spotlight Tour

iRead Book Tours

In Season of Hope, our three main characters become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

Season of Hope Book Spotlight

About Season of Hope

When Amanda Jarvis prays that a special friend will move into the vacant house near her isolated mountain home, she isn’t upset when God sends a boy instead of a girl. But Amanda’s not the only one receiving unexpected answers to her prayers. After fleeing with his mother from an abusive father, Tyler Armstrong finds much-needed love and acceptance with Amanda’s family over the next ten years.

As high school graduation nears, Tyler is shocked when one carefree afternoon with Amanda churns up an inner turmoil he would have never imagined; he’s crushing on his best friend. And for the first time in his life he’s hiding a secret from Amanda. Convinced the timing is all wrong, Tyler pushes his feelings aside as he and Amanda prepare for the future. He will soon begin training to pursue his dream of becoming a Navy Seal, while Amanda makes plans to spend the summer in Manhattan with her aunt and then return home to the community college.

When Amanda’s summer job catapults her into a modeling career, she readily accepts the much-needed distraction. Tyler’s impending deployment is turning her world upside down. Along with the fact that she’s falling for her best friend. And, for the first time in her relationship with Tyler, she’s hiding a secret, too.

​Phoebe Garrison, Amanda’s controlling aunt, is thrilled when she is given the power to act on behalf of her underage niece. Bored with her Fortune 500 advertising agency, becoming Amanda’s manager is just what she’s been looking for to rekindle her aspirations. But as Tyler becomes aware of Phoebe’s obsession to push Amanda into supermodel status, tensions rise. As the three of them become entangled in a mass of concealed ambition and desire, each will make decisions that will send ripples of turbulence across their futures.

You can buy this book on Amazon.

Season of Hope Book Spotlight

About the Author

I began writing as a hobby while raising my two children. In 2015, I dusted off my stories and my dreams to see if I could turn my hobby into a career. My first story, Season of Hope, was inspired by summer vacations which always included a trip to Franklin, North Carolina, to visit family and explore The Smoky Mountains. When I’m not writing, I enjoy spending time with family and most anything that involves being outdoors, especially camping and hiking. I currently live along the Emerald Coast of Florida and never complain about the hot, humid summers, because that’s exactly how I like them!

Connect with the author on their website, Facebook and Twitter.  ​

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Her Secret Book Review

Litfuse Book Tour

Her Secret is a suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

Her Secret Book Review

About Her Secret

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone-even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.

My Thoughts

An amazing tale spun by one of my favourite authors, Shelley Shepard Gray. In this book we have Hannah who was hurt emotionally and mentally by a stalker in her hometown. This forced her family to move to a smaller, more remote community. Hannah becomes scared of everything around her, of being with others, of enjoying life and being carefree. She bears the brunt of her siblings anger for the move.

When she meets Isaac, who accidentally hurt her feelings by referring to her as the Recluse, she realizes she needs to start living again. Very slowly she begins to open up to others again but at times she would withdraw. The story is full of so much emotion and pain, your heart can’t help but to go out to Hannah. She was the victim in this whole story but she is the one who carries the pain, hurt and anger from others. Just like her emergence from her self induced seclusion, her relationship with Isaac begins to grow. She begins to learn what trust and love is.

Our story takes a turn when both tragedy and the past catches up with the family. My heart broke for her. It is her relationship that she built with Isaac and her confidence in herself that helps get her through the worst of these moments.

A truly beautiful story about overcoming hardships, learning to love and trust others and yourself again. Hannah is a beautiful soul who needed to learn to trust herself and others again, you can’t help but fall in love with her character. I loved every moment of this well written emotionally packed novel and I know you definitely will too!

You can find more reviews on the Litfuse blog tour page. You can purchase a copy here.

Rating: 4.5/5

About the Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Disclosure: I received a digital copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Rare Is Everywhere and That Makes Us Unique

Rare Is Everywhere and That Makes Us Unique

What makes us as humans (and animals) unique? Our genes! Rare Is Everywhere shows us that there are rare species everywhere around us, celebrating their uniqueness and helping children who suffer from rare diseases know that they are not alone.

Rare Is Everywhere and That Makes Us Unique

About Rare Is Everywhere

Rare Is Everywhere takes readers on a tour of the animal kingdom, revealing that animals can be very different from the norm. Grasshoppers can be pink, tigers can be white and lobsters can be blue, who knew?! The book showcases eleven animals in vibrant illustrations and poetry to help children recognize and accept diversity in themselves and in others.

Each page features a rare animal alongside its everyday counterpart. The text reveals both their shared traits and their differences. The glossary provides more information about each animal and the genetic changes that shape their appearance.

Changes in genes are responsible for most of the 7,000 rare diseases known today that affect millions of people, the majority of whom are children. Most of these conditions are overlooked and underfunded. Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Rare Disease Foundation, an international organization that helps people, especially children, with rare diseases.

My Thoughts

While we always teach our children being different is beautiful, sometimes it can be hard for children to understand that their uniqueness is what makes them special. Especially when all they want to do is fit in. It makes it even more difficult when a child is affected by a rare disease. They are trying to navigate their way in school, extra curricular activities and social skills, all while living and treating a rare disease.

I loved how this book shows how special each unique trait and difference is. Being different is special for so many reasons and this book brings this to the forefront. Take for example the albino deer, while it may be hard for the deer in the summer, in the winter this deer has an advantage over its peers because of its colouring. This is what the book explores – that yes they may be different but this difference gives them an advantage and makes them special. I learned quite a bit from this book – I never knew about blue lobsters or pink grasshoppers before! It definitely had us talking as a family about how these changes make us special and deserve to be celebrated.

The illustrations of this book are child friendly with bold lines and bright colours. The writing is perfect for children, easy to read out loud and for children to read along with. The book also includes a page of jokes that we fell in love with, they were really well done and fit in perfectly with the book.

This is a lovely book for all children to read to help celebrate and appreciate differences and all that makes us unique. Even more special, is that proceeds from this book will go to the Rare Disease Foundation. You can learn more about the book here.

Rating: 5/5

Rare Is Everywhere Deborah Katz

About the Author

Deborah Katz is a Vancouver, BC, nursing professor with nearly twenty years of experience in health care. She is also a writer and an artist whose work has appeared in local galleries and various publications. Before becoming a nurse, Deborah studied wildlife biology and loved learning about the diversity of the animal species and how genetic changes can make them stand out in ways that are beautiful and breathtaking.

About The Rare Disease Foundation

The Rare Disease Foundation (RDF) supports people who have been diagnosed with a rare disease. Their mission is to create communities of patients, caregivers, health care providers, researchers and supports that work together to transform the lives of those living with these diseases.

A rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than one in 2,000 people. There are more than 7,000 known rare diseases in the world and many more that have not been classified. About one in twelve people, nearly 3 million Canadians have a rare disease. Most rare disorders are severe and chronic, with many being life threatening.

The RDF was started in 2007 by a group of parents and doctors in Vancouver BC as a means of finding answers for patients with rare and undiagnosed diseases. In 2008, the RDF became a non profit organization and developed a cross-disease support network for the rare disease community. The RDF has been able to complement their innovative research approach with inclusive social support.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Gwen Stefani’s KUU KUU HARAJUKU: MUSIC, BABY is Coming to DVD!

Shout! Kids Factory

Gwen Stefani’s animated series KUU KUU HARAJUKU will be coming to DVD in North America from Shout! Factory in collaboration with DHX Media and will be available on DVD on June 13th 2017.



The animated series KUU KUU HARAJUKU follows the fun-filled adventures of the band HJ5 – Love, Angel, Music, Baby and G – through their super kawaii (cute) world of music, fashion and style. The inspiration for this popular animated series came from Grammy® Award-winning musician Gwen Stefani who wanted to create an animated series for girls that encourages and celebrates creative self-expression, imagination and individuality.  The show’s setting is inspired by the exuberant street fashion and creative youth culture of the Harajuku district but takes place in a magical fantasy world like nothing you have ever seen before.

G is the lead singer of HJ5. She is a natural leader and an amazing friend. She’s positive and enthusiastic, and fond of saying “Tick tock, time to rock!” Love is a fashionista, a great dancer, and cute as a button. She’s also a genius who often saves the day with her inventions. Angel is super chic, fun and enthusiastic. This fashionista has 325 pairs of shoes, and even her accessories have accessories! Music has a tough girl attitude, and is brutally honest. She brings a hint of edge and attitude to the group, and is fiercely protective of her friends. Baby sees the kawaii in all things: babies, puppies, rattlesnakes. She sees the good in everything, and also knows how to take care of herself. As G says, “Baby can charm the fire out of a dragon.”

Then, there is Rudie Rhodes, HJ5’s well-meaning but semi-incompetent manager. He books the band on all sorts of gigs, and they are happy to play anywhere, but dealing with villains, aliens and general Harajuku weirdness makes it impossible for them to ever finish a concert!


Episodes Include:

  • Totally Teen Genie
  • Angel’s Flight
  • Music, Baby
  • Wanted Audience
  • Game Over
  • Phony Ponies
  • Hello Puppy
  • G, This Is Awfully Deep
  • Baby’s Birthday
  • Labor Of Love
  • Bad Boy and Little Girl
  • Yummy Bear Nado
  • Drums of Doom
  • Adventures In Housesitting

KUU KUU HARAJUKU: MUSIC, BABY! is available now for pre-order at and The 2D-animated series currently airs on Nickelodeon in the U.S. and on Family Channel in Canada.

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