Month: August 2017

Get Ready for Back to School with Raincoast Books

Raincoast Books

Back to school is always a nervous time for children. Children heading off to school for the first time are scared of the unknown, children returning are nervous about their new teacher, if their friends will be in their class and what will the new year be like. These fears are completely normal and okay – even as adults we have these feelings too when we start a new job or meet new people. One of the best ways we can prepare our children (besides sitting down with them and discussing their fears) is reading a book that helps bring humour and reassurance that we all go through the same fears, expectations and hopes.

Raincoast Books has several books that help children learn about others thoughts, fears and hopes for school all while giving you an excellent opportunity to get your child talking to you about the upcoming school year. Two of my favourite picks are: Kisses for Kindergarten and Zombelina School Days.

Get Ready for Back to School with Raincoast Books

Kisses for Kindergarten

School is about to begin, and Stella Isabella Harden decides that kindergarten just isn’t for her. Instead, she decides to spend the day learning from her puppy named Buster. Together these two adventurers plan a day full of playtime, tea time, nap time, and story time. After every lesson,” Stella gets the best reward: a kiss from her best friend and favorite puppy. But will she change her mind about kindergarten before the first day of school? Join Stella and Buster in this lyrical read-aloud and heartwarming story about growing up.

“Stella Isabella Harden
contemplating kindergarten
declared she didn’t have to go…
because her puppy told her so.” – Kisses for Kindergarten

Kisses for Kindergarten is a 2017 Mom’s Choice Awards, Gold Award Recipient.

This was an adorable book to read to young children. Stella doesn’t want to go to school, she wants to stay at home with her puppy because her puppy really needs her to be there for him. And her puppy can teach her everything she needs to know right?

In a series of adorable and humorous moments, Buster tries to teach Stella but Stella comes to the realization all by herself that going to school may just be the best decision for her and Buster. The best part? It only makes their bond that much stronger!

We fell in love with the easy to read story with gorgeous illustrations. It is a great book for children entering Kindergarten so that they know they are not the only ones scared of the change and why it is important to go to school. Not to mention all of the fun things they will do, see and learn! I loved how the end of the book showcased that although Stella decided to go to school, everything else in her life remained the same. Buster was always there waiting for her to return and still loved her just as much as before she went to school.

You can purchase a copy of Kisses for Kindergarten on Raincoast Books.

Get Ready for Back to School with Raincoast Books

Zombelina School Days

The only thing Zombelina loves as much as dancing is going to school! When it’s time for show and tell, her new friend, Morty, experiences a terrible case of stage fright . . . something Zombelina knows all about. Zombelina has an idea to help Morty work through his jitters-a big dance party!

After all, friends who dance together, stay together!

Starring in her third picture book, this adorable zombie ballerina tackles themes of family, friendship, and school day anxiety. The rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud, and the delightfully spooky illustrations are full of charm and heart.

I really enjoyed this  book myself. Zombelina stands out from her classmates with her unique features and of course by being a Zombie in a class full of humans. She shows us that even though we may look different on the outside, we still love the same things, want to be accepted and have the same fears as each other. She shows us that it is important to step outside of our comfort zone, to try  new things and to show compassion for others. It helps children to realize we are all the same on the inside and that is what  matters the most. I loved that the book did this with adorable illustrations and humour. You can’t help but fall in love with Zombelina. She is a definite big hit in our home!

You can purchase a copy of Zombelina School Days on Raincoast Books.

Have an amazing few last days of summer before your child heads back to school. Happy Reading!

Disclosure: I received the above books in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Make Moving Simpler with these 5 Easy Tips

Make Moving Simpler with these 5 Easy Tips

Moving into your first (or second or third) home is an exciting adventure full of anticipation, hopes and dreams. It can also be the busiest and most overwhelming time of your life, especially for first time home owners. There are endless changes that need to be made, items to be purchased, paperwork to be signed and the list can go on and on.

Make Moving Simpler with these 5 Easy Tips

How do we make this time just a little bit easier so we can truly enjoy this special moment?

Here are my five easy tips to help make this time in your life easier:

Create a Spreadsheet

Everyone that I know laughs at me and my Google spreadsheets but honestly they are the biggest lifesaver. You can download the Google drive app onto your smart phone so you can have instant access to your spreadsheets. Use the spreadsheet to track your to do items, mark off items as you complete them (especially when it comes to transferring addresses and booking utility appointments) and use it to jot down reminders as they come to you. I think we have all had those moments when we were at a store and we remember an item that we must complete when we get home, only to forget it by the time we get there. This eliminates the forgotten to do items. It will help you keep your sanity and give you a stronger sense of control during this busy time.

Hire a Mover

While it is nice to try to save money and count on friends and family, this can sometimes back fire on you. Not everyone may come out or the ones that do come out to help may not be physically able to do the required moving. You don’t want to ruin friendships and family relationships over an unsuccessful move. It is worth it to splurge on a mover to help ship the big items and boxes, while having friends and family help sort and unpack at your new home. Your friends and family will thank you! If you do have friends and family to help you, make sure you thank them with a meal and drinks after the work is done.

Ensure You Pack and Have Easy Access to an Essentials Box

Your new home will be full of unopened boxes and clutter for the first week or two, so it is so important you pack not only a box but also a bag with key essentials for the first week. You should include items for the kitchen and bathroom as well as personal toiletries.

Label, Label, Label!

While I can say that I am the Queen of Labels at home, this is so important. Boxes can easily be misplaced and put in the wrong location in your new home. What might have made sense on the outside of the box when you first packed it, may not always be clear two months later when you go to find something. Use a location label first (kitchen, basement, laundry room, etc..) and then a couple of lines indicating what is actually in the box.

Out with the Old and In With the New!

Moving is a great time to go through all of the items that you may have accumulated over time and donate unused items or even have a garage sale.

Inspect your furniture – is it in good shape and will it fit in the new home?

Inspect your mattress – most people forget about their mattress. Yes you might have the best memory foam mattress in the world, but ask yourself…is it worn and definitely time for a new one? Make this a time to upgrade these important household items and treat yourself with a new mattress  your body will thank you especially after all of the lifting and moving!

Moving into your new home is a special time in your life and you should enjoy as much of it as possible. When it starts to become too much, remember to step back, take a deep breath and give yourself a moment to re-group. If it still feels like too much, head out for a walk with your partner or even to your favourite restaurant or store for some much-needed down time.

What is your number one tip to help making the moving process simpler?

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Road Less Traveled DVD and Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

Shout! Factory walks down the Road Less Traveled with country star Lauren Alaina, when her first feature film hits DVD on September 19, 2017, in collaboration with MarVista Entertainment. Alaina shines in the leading role as a country singer dealing with family and career issues as she prepares to get married.

Road Less Traveled DVD and Giveaway

About Road Less Traveled

In Road Less Traveled, country music artist Charlotte comes back home to Tennessee a week before she’s set to get married, hoping to borrow her late mother’s wedding dress from her grandmother. But when she runs into her high school sweetheart, Ray, sparks begin to fly. As emotions with Ray get complicated and her record label continues to pressure her to write a new hit song, Charlotte questions if she ever should have left Tennessee in the first place and if she’s even marrying the right man.

The film is directed by Blair Hayes (Bubble Boy; Great Plains), and produced by Stacia Crawford (Sheltered; Forsaken), the film also stars Charlene Tilton (Dallas; The Love Boat), Jason Burkey (Coffee Shop; October Baby; Chloe), and Donny Boaz (Dallas; My All-American; Forsaken).

About Lauren Alaina

Alaina is fresh off of hitting the #1 spot on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart with her single “Road Less Traveled,” the film’s title track, which she co-wrote with hit makers Meghan Trainor and Jesse Frasure. The track was released on her hit album of the same name in early 2017. An empowering and autobiographical song, “Road Less Traveled” celebrates authenticity and marching to the beat of a different drum. Alaina, an iHeartRadio “On the Verge” artist, who finished as the runner-up to Scotty McCreery on the 2011 season of American Idol, has a second original song in Road Less Traveled, an inspirational love song titled “Holding the Other.”

Our Thoughts

The Road Less Traveled is an amazing movie about the amazing gifts and experiences we find when we force ourselves out of our comfort zones and shoot for the stars. It was a beautiful story of hope, love, faith and perseverance. Not to mention full of humour and some bad (but very funny) choices – including a horse ride with a lit up carriage!

I fell in love with the plot – we have Charlotte, a lovely young woman who wanted nothing more than to be a star. After a bad break up, she moved to the city aiming to be a song writer and singer. Through hard work and sacrifice she broke through and made a huge name for herself. When we meet her, she is about to be married to her new love. She would do anything to be married in her late Mother’s dress but fate (and family) are against her. Charlotte goes on a trip with her girlfriends in an effort to re-claim the dress. This is when it starts getting both serious and funny! We meet Charlotte’s family who range from serious to eccentric, how can you not fall in love with the Aunt who brews her own alcohol at home, that many refer to as poison! The girls start off creating a disaster but end up learning so many important lessons about life and love. I loved that while the movie centres around Charlotte, we also have the backdrop of her friends who are also struggling with relationships and confidence in themselves.

I loved Road Less Traveled. It is just a feel good, happy movie that you can watch with your girlfriends over a glass of wine or cuddled up with your spouse on a Friday night. It is a story of inspiration, hope, love and finding yourself.

The acting and music was fantastic  – Alaina has an amazing voice and I loved her music through out the movie, especially the title track, Road Less Traveled.

You can pre-order a copy of this movie on Amazon and ShoutFactory.

Movie Trailer

The Giveaway!

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win their own DVD copy of Road Less Traveled via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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P. King Duckling: Seize the Day DVD Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

The adorable P. King Duckling is coming to DVD in a new title called Seize the Day! Get ready to explore, learn and challenge yourself when the DVD hit stores on September 12th, 2017 in the US and Canada.

P. King Duckling: Seize the Day!

About P. King Duckling: Seize the Day

P. King is a duck with a dream. Actually, he’s got a lot of dreams and his dreams change every day. One day he might see himself as an astronaut, a magician or a super hero! P. King encourages children to keep dreaming, imagining, and doing. From home-made race cars, to building robots, to re-designing the Eiffel Tower: P. King Duckling is all about arts, crafts, creativity and construction (something all young children love and can relate to!).

P. King is a slightly hapless young duck, and stars in the DVD with his two best friends, Chumpkins (a sarcastic pig) and Wombat (who helps P. King with his schemes even though she knows better)! Together, they work to “seize the day” – which always leads them to wild adventures and hilarious consequences!

Created by the award-winning Josh Selig (Sesame Street, Wonder Pets!) in collaboration with James Chen Gu, General Manager of UYoung Animation, P. King Duckling is a family experience that engages children in problem-solving and creative thinking.

The new preschool comedy series has a learning-focused curriculum created by media specialist, Dr. Christine Ricci (Dora the Explorer), that centers on overcoming challenges.

P. King Duckling: Seize the Day features seven episodes from Season One as well as an activity book. You can pre-order the DVD on Amazon and Shout Factory.

P. King Duckling is more than just an adorable animated show. This special duck teaches children to follow their dream, to never give up and to use their imagination. Creativity, self-expression and overcoming challenges are important yet sometimes difficult skills for children to learn. By using animal characters, humour and adventures, your child will be learning while having fun.

Ready to win a copy of P. King Duckling: Seize the Day!

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win their own copy via the Rafflecopter form below – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of this DVD, all opinions expressed are my own.

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My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Fluttershy DVD Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

“Sometimes, you have to do things, even though you might fail.” Fluttershy

Friendships are so important for young children and in this special movie, we learn all about the magic and power of friendships.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Fluttershy DVD Giveaway

About My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Fluttershy

Not every Pegasus pony in Equestria is the same.

Just ask Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy. While Rainbow Dash is bold and daring, Fluttershy is quite reserved and caring. But that’s what makes her such a wonderful friend to everyone around her, whether they’re her pony friends, like Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack and, yes, even Rainbow Dash , or her non-equestrian friends, like Angel the bunny.

My Little Pony Friendships is Magic Fluttershy

Join in for five adventures that feature everypony’s lovably quiet Pegasus!

Episodes Include:

  • Green Isn’t Your Colour
  • Flutter Brutter
  • Buckball Season
  • Viva Las Pegasus
  • Fluttershy Leans In

Bonus Feature: Sing along!

This DVD is set to release on September 12th and is available for pre-order on Amazon, Amazon Canada and Shout Kids.

Video Clip of Viva Las Pegasus

Do you have a Fluttershy in your house? A quiet, calm but loving and always willing to go the extra mile child? They will fall in love with the relatable pony who is always there for her friends whether they be a pony or not. She is the ultimate friend who stays to true to herself which is a great lesson for all children.

My Canadian and American readers can now enter to win their own DVD copy! Enter now via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

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