Month: September 2019

Little Adventures for a Big, Happy Life!

Introducing two new initial books in the new series, EQ Explorers designed to inspire and empower: Wally Whale’s Mighty Tale and Compare Bear’s Double Dare. Not only do these books impact children with their message – 100% of the profits of these books goes to help children and families in need around the globe through non-profit Kapalua Cove Foundation – a win win for all!

About Wally Whale’s Mighty Tale

Koa has heard that the secret to being mighty is written on Wally’s tail, and he wants to know what that word is. But when whale and boy meet, Koa discovers the word is smudged! Determined to find out Wally’s secret to happiness, Koa follows the whale through waves and reefs, trying to guess. And the answer is surprising… Wally helps Koa learn that the secret to being happy lies within; it’s an important key to being mighty and to living a big, happy life.

We find ourselves bombarded on screen and in books on the key to happiness but so many people find themselves unhappy. In this beautifully illustrated book, Koa learns that happiness is a choice. And it is a choice – everyday that we wake up, we have a choice on how to behave, how to think and how to tackle the day to day stressors. This can be difficult for adults to learn how to do – not to mention young children.

My favourite part: “No one and no thing has the power to make you happy or unhappy. You always have the power to CHOOSE whether you will be happy.”

It is important for children to learn at a young age, that happiness is found when we choose to be happy in those moments. We don’t need material items or chasing other’s dreams to make us happy – we have to find happiness in ourselves and the world around us. We have to learn to control our emotions so that we can be happy – how we react to others and events says a lot about us and in the long run this helps improve our own mental and physical well being. Children need to learn the tools that will help them identify and express their feelings in a positive manner and also learn from these moments.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

About Compare Bear’s Double Dare

Compare Bear is unique – he does not do anything bears usually do, like climb trees, run, roar, or go fishing, all because he thinks he can’t do these things as well as other animals! Each time he compares himself to another creature, something strange happens… Danny helps Compare overcome these unexpected surprises and discover that daring to be yourself is an important key to living a big, happy life!

It is hard not to compare ourselves to others and sometimes feel not as good. It may make us want to give up or not try as hard. This book tackles those feelings of not being as good at something as someone else and wanting to give up. In this story, we find Bear who is timid and a bit scared and embarrassed around not being as good as others. He meets Danny, a young boy who helps him come out of hiding (literally!) and helps him realize how special he is.

My favourite parts: “..When I was learning to draw and my friend drew much than I did. I wanted to quit too. But then my teacher said, ‘Danny, the only person you need to be better than is who you were yesterday!'” and “who would you rather be: bit and pieces of all these other animals..or your original self?”

This is a very important message to young children (and teens) that we all have something about us that makes us special and shine. We don’t have to be like others (and shouldn’t want to be) because we are all unique in our own way and this should be celebrated. We should dare to be different and challenge ourselves everyday to celebrate this and try new things regardless of the outcome. This is a beautifully written and illustrated book, perfect for young children to learn how important it is to be themselves.

You can purchase this book on Amazon.

About EQ Explorers Books

Studies have shown that EQ is a key component to living a happy, successful life. And, unlike IQ, EQ can be learned.

The EQ Explorers books weave magical stories of friendship and learning, geared toward children ages 5-10. Each story stars a child and an animal who adventure together to discover and understand EQ principles, such as “happiness is a choice” and “be yourself—don’t compare.” 

The principles taught in each book (i.e. the morals of each story) have been proven to help boost happiness and healthy human connections. They are intended to benefit child readers and their parents and caretakers alike.

“I spent more than two decades learning and practicing the principles in each EQ Explorers book,” says author Kim Linette. “And something very special happened: my happiness increased with each lesson I learned. Perhaps even more importantly, my children’s happiness increased with each principle they incorporated into their lives. I was inspired to create EQ Explorers in order to help other parents fast track the lessons that took me over 20 years to uncover and internalize, and to share this emotional understanding with their kids in a fun, connected way—cuddling up together with a book.”

About Kapalua Cove Publishing

The beautifully illustrated, creative-yet-relatable tales are the first offerings from Kapalua Cove Publishing, an independent imprint launched by Kim Linette in April, 2019. One hundred percent of profits from the sales of Kapalua Cove books go to help children and families in need around the globe through non-profit Kapalua Cove Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to provide resources and inspiration for children to dream big and develop emotional health. Direct donations are made to charitable initiatives and books are donated to orphanages, remote libraries, care centers, and more.

Visit their website here.

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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Bringing Communities Together: Pokémon GO #SafariZone

How many of you grew up as a fan of Pokémon?

In my childhood home, my siblings and I were huge fans of Pokémon. We loved watching the shows, purchasing our favourite keepsakes (still have our giant Pikachu pillow from twenty years ago!). Pokemon was a huge part of our childhood but as we grew older, the craze died down a bit and it became more of a fond childhood memory.

That was until the Pokémon GO app was released and we were able to rediscover the world of Pokémon all over again. But this time it was an enhanced experience where we could connect with others in real life.

Not familiar with the game? In the app (can be downloaded on either the Apple Store or Google Play), users create an avatar and explore the world of Pokémon by moving through their everyday routines. The app shows your world on the screen and intertwines the Pokémon world within it (gyms, PokeStops, Pokémon, etc). You can capture new Pokémon, make friends, battle in raids and complete challenges for rewards.

What makes this game even more special for us?

That we can participate as a family – my kids LOVE the world of Pokémon! It has brought us closer as a family, as we spend several hours a week going for walks, going to parks, hiking and playing the game together. We have discovered new locations in our community and even at my work on campus (I found new sculptures on campus that I never knew even existed). It not only gets us active but learning about our community and each other. As a parent, there is no greater feeling then seeing the smile on your child’s face as they speak about something they love.

The second best part? The amazing trainer community. The trainers in our area are a special group of people that support, laugh and encourage us. At the last community day, we headed out to the Bay Front and my kids were giving high fives and receiving congratulations on their captures. The feeling was so special and so difficult to put into words. There is such a strong sense of community and inclusiveness in this global community. The game brings together people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

Pokémon GO Safari Zone at Montreal

This past weekend my family and I had the privilege of attending Pokémon GO Safari Zone in Montreal. To say my son was excited was an understatement – he had a countdown and could barely sleep! We packed up our car at 1:30 in the morning and made the long trek to Montreal.

The event was held in the beautiful Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The location was stunning with beautiful views of the water, gorgeous beach and stunning pathways through greenery. There were so many spots to relax – we ended up walking close to 25 km on the Saturday!

Our youngest was in Pokémon glory. He was bouncing around, dancing to the theme music playing and talking to other trainers. He loved catching his shiny characters and showing off his finds to those around him. We caught so many new characters and my husband (new to the game) leveled up quite quickly.

The group was huge (we later found out over 39,000 people attended the three day event) and spanned all ages and genders. I loved watching the young toddlers dressed up as their favourite Pokémon characters and helping their parents capture those shinys (talk about complete heart melting moments).

My favourite photo of the day is this one:

It is everything that this game means to us – that no matter how many years separate us and how busy are days are, this brings us together. We laugh, joke, support and play together. When we play, it is our time to come together as a family.

This event was an incredible experience from start to finish – hats off to all of those individuals who came together to make it a magical experience for all. Fingers and toes crossed for another event in Canada soon!

Make sure to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find some great groups on Facebook that will connect you locally with other trainers to complete challenges and raids together.

Disclosure: I received Early Passes to the Pokemon GO Safari Zone. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting

Shout! Kids Factory

Spanning the beloved show’s 50-year history, the DVD collection offers five-and-a-half hours of songs, celebrity appearances, new and classic segments with the Sesame Street Muppets, and never-before-seen outtakes.

About Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting

From the five boroughs of New York City to the beaches of LA and every town in between, Sesame Street has been teaching children for 50 years! Now on October 1, 2019 Shout Kids and Sesame Workshop present a birthday bash for this most beloved and famous brand in 50 Years and Counting.

The first disc in this very special 2-disc set features some of the greatest Sesame Street moments from yesterday and today: fan-favorite animations like “Ladybug Picnic” and “Pinball Number Count”; new and classic songs from Kermit the Frog’s soulful “It’s Not Easy Being Green” to’s empowering anthem, “What I Am”; and timeless interactions between children and the Sesame Street Muppets. 50 Years and Counting will also let fans revisit Sesame Street’s many unforgettable celebrity appearances: Patti LaBelle putting a glamorous spin on the alphabet song; Amy Poehler teaching the gang new vocabulary words; R.E.M.’s joyful rendition of “Furry Happy Monsters”; Ricky Gervais trying — and failing — to sing Elmo to sleep; and other guest appearances made pop culture headlines while embodying Sesame Street’s inclusive lessons and values.

The second disc is an exclusive collection of the most iconic “Street Story” segments from Sesame Street. With help from the kids’ favorite characters, the early childhood experts behind Sesame Street helped generations of families tackle big conversations through little moments like these: the neighborhood’s poignant farewell to Mr.Hooper; the dramatic reveal of Big Bird’s not-so-imaginary friend, Mr. Snuffleupagus; and the debut of Julia, the first Sesame Street Muppet with autism. 

50 Years and Counting also lets fans revisit the lighter side of the show: Super Grover’s many crash-landings, Bert and Ernie’s classic comedy-duo antics, moments with human friends like Bob, Maria, Luis, Susan, and Gordon, and much more. There are even a few never-before-seen outtakes with Jim Henson and other original performers! With over five-and-a-half hours of content from all five decades of the beloved show, 50 Years and Counting offers something for everyone – from the very young to the young at heart. 

Customers who buy the set at select retailers will also receive an exclusive Sesame Street frame, while supplies last. The frame features fan-favorite characters and is the perfect place to house a 2”x 3” photo of a special Sesame Street fan.  

You can learn more and purchase a copy of this DVD here.

Looking to do Sesame Street activities with your child? Print out this Draw Elmo printable. Or this 50 Years and Counting activity.

DVD Trailer

The Giveaway

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

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Highland Jewel Book Review

Highland Jewel is the second book in the new lush Scottish historical series from USA Today bestselling author, May McGoldrick.

About Highland Jewel

Maisie Murray’s sweet, docile exterior masks the courageous spirit of a firebrand determined to champion women’s suffrage with like-minded friends. But fighting for her principles has swept her directly into harm’s way—and into the arms of a man she cannot resist.

A trained officer with the Royal Highland Regiment, Niall Campbell has spent his life serving the Crown. Battle-weary and searching for peace, he nothing to do with trouble—until he meets Maisie. But unless Niall and Maisie can find a way to stand up to the destructive forces that threaten to divide them, long-buried secrets and political schemes are destined to stand in the way of the glorious love they’ve found.

My Thoughts

This is a powerful novel from start to finish with strong characters and an excellent plot that leaves you on the edge of your seat right to the very end.

Maisie is an amazing woman that almost leads a double life. With her family, they have always viewed her as a sweet, quiet girl and as a future wife with no thoughts or opinions. This is in the backdrop of a family that hides some political secrets that could destroy them. When she is away from her family, she is actually a champion of women’s rights and the average Scottish person. She hands out pamphlets, organizes rallies – in fact we even see her almost captured at one! She is one incredible female in a time when women were not allowed to behave and think like this. She is fearless in her fight to champion for those would could not fight.

Enter Niall, an officer with the Royal Highland Regiment with quite the fierce history. He has seen and done things that he would like to forget. He has returned home for peace but finds more then he bargains for. His sister is close friends with Maisie and her partner in championing for women’s rights. Niall would do anything to protect both his sister and Maisie, whom he finds himself attracted to instantly (and the feeling is mutual). They have excellent chemistry throughout the novel and are very well suited.

Throw in a kidnapping, blackmailing and we have so many twists that you will not want to put this book down. It had me guessing right to the very end.

The novel is well written, with a great pace to the story. You never feel overwhelmed or lost but it also never feels too slow. I love how she ties in secondary characters from this series, and while you can read this novel on its own, I do recommend reading book one.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

USA Today bestselling authors Nikoo and Jim wrote their first MAY MCGOLDRICK romance using historical figures that Jim researched while earning a PhD in sixteenth-century Scottish and English literature. Nikoo, a mechanical engineer, is a born storyteller. She is all about characters and feeling. Jim is about action and sense of place. Together, they have crafted over forty fast-paced, conflict-filled historical and contemporary novels and two works of nonfiction under the pseudonyms May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey.

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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Princess Emmy DVD and Giveaway

Shout! Kids Factory

Princess Emmy will reign supreme on October 15th!

About Princess Emmy

It’s a gift fit for a queen when Princess Emmy arrives on DVD on October 15th. The new animated feature is voiced by Ruby Barnhill (The BFG, Mary and the Witch’s Flower), Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones, Netflix’s Hilda), Franka Potente (Run Lola Run, Bourne Identity), and John Hannah (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., The Mummy), and directed by Piet de Rycker (Laura’s Star, Little Polar Bear).

Princess Emmy is a young girl with a secret and special gift – she is the only one in the Kingdom of Kandis who can speak to horses! Amazing, right?

Up until now, life for Emmy has been wonderful. She spends her time exploring and hanging out with her best friends – a stable full of horses; as well as spending time with her family at the castle and not having a care in the world. 

That is, until her jealous, scheming cousin Gizana appears, challenging her at every turn and threatens Emmy’s chances of becoming an officially inaugurated princess and generally making her life miserable. 

On top of all that, Emmy must undergo the ultimate test to earn the right to keep her gift. If she fails, she loses the gift and her best friends forever. 

There is a huge amount at stake for such a little girl in this new film from Shout Factory.

Our Thoughts

This wonderful movie is based on the books Princess Emmy and Her Horses, were a young girl who can speak to horses. Not only can she speak to horses (who are her dear friends), she is also a real princess! Talk about every young child’s dream come true?

This is a story of of courage, friendship and perseverance that young children will love. Emmy is not perfect but she is 100% lovable and someone that many children can relate to (especially with her cousin Gizana always there to make her life just downright miserable).

The total run time of this film is 75 minutes – perfect for younger children who have a harder time sitting still for longer time periods.

It is wonderfully animated and will touch the hearts of both young princesses and princes alike (although to be fair – I feel it is geared more towards a female population). And if you are already doing your Christmas planning like me, this would make a great gift under the tree or in a stocking.

You can pre-order a copy of this DVD here.

DVD Trailer

The Giveaway!

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

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