Friday, September 12, 2014

Disney's "Planes Fire & Rescue" is Coming to Blu-ray November 4th!

We are so excited for this to hit the shelves! Both my kids love Planes... 
and since their Papa is a fireman they want to share this movie with him! Perfect for family movie night!


Disney's "Planes Fire & Rescue" is landing on Disney Blu-ray™  Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms November 4th! The follow-up to last year's "Planes" comes the world famous racer Dusty Crophopper who joins an elite fire and rescue unit and learns what it takes to be a true hero. The high-flying comedy adventure also comes jet packed with an all-new exclusive animated short, deleted scenes, music video and more!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#FitMadeFun with LeapFrog and CLIF

This weekend we got to celebrate #FitMadeFun with Leapfrog and CLIF. This amazing day was designed to help encourage kids to get out move! This day also coincided with the launch of the LeapBand, a new wearable activity tracker from LeapFrog. To help us get ready for this fun day... we received an awesome party pack!


We even started the festivities a day early by sending our brand new kindergartner off to school with the perfect snack to keep her going all day! Thanks CLIF!


On the day of the party we planned all kinds of outdoor fun! We played "Frogs on Lily Pads," rode bikes, climbed on the jungle gym, and just ran around and laughed and played. All of the kids had a great time and loved taking a break to snack on CLIF Kid bars. The chocolate mint was the most popular!




Even the littlest frogs had a blast running around!

At the end of the day we gave out awards and one lucky kid got to take home an awesome new LeapBand! I have heard from her mom that she loves it and has been challenging herself to move more and take care of her pet! My daughter got to keep the other one and it has been a hit. Every day she is asking to get out and about more... and sit around less. Love it!

* I received free products in order to host the LeapFrog and CLIF Kid sponsored MommyParty. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Jim Henson's Enchanted Sisters

Autumn's Secret Gift
by Elise Allen and Halle Stanford
illustrated by Paige Pooler


Sisters Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer are nature’s royalty. In Mother Nature’s realm, they’re responsible for each magical turn of the seasons. When they’re not keeping all of nature in balance, the girls play, imagine, and explore their way around their enchanted world. And though they love harmony, the sisters often cross paths with the Weeds — wild boys who bring trouble with them wherever they go.

This charming new series comes from The Jim Henson Company and is perfectly suited for newly independent readers who love the Rainbow Fairies and Candy Fairies series. The series launches with Autumn when she loses a special gift from Mother Nature. Can the sisters find the gift before Mother Nature’s party?

My Thoughts:
My daughter just started kindergarten, so we are really trying to encourage reading in a fun way! One of our ideas was to start reading "big girl" books with her. Since she is just starting out on her learning-to-read adventure I am reading the books to her before bed time. So when this book arrived I was really excited to share it with her during our special reading time.

Each night we would read for about 20 minutes. It took us a few nights to finish the book, which was really fun and different for here! Before we would start each night she would recall what we had read and where we had left off. She was so engaged and excited while reading this book, a book that is longer than any book she has read... so that was pretty exciting!

The story is really well written for young readers to understand. It's not too long that it loses their interest, and it's filled with adventure and humor. The Sparkles are so lovable and have such a sweet relationship. What I loved the most about the story was how it was filled with so many positive messages for my daughter. Messages about friendship, love, being brave, helping each other, honesty and more. The girls are strong and learn a lot about themselves and each other along their adventures. It offered so many opportunities for my daughter and I to talk about things throughout the book.

I am so excited to check out the next books in this series and get to spend more time with my daughter and these fun sisters!

* I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Little Pony - Friendship is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales

Available TODAY!


Los Angeles, CA – Now 20% spookier! Halloween is just around the corner (boo!), and so is My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales! Coming to DVD on September 9, 2014 in the U.S. and Canada from Shout! Factory Kids in collaboration with Hasbro Studios, Spooktacular Pony Tales features 6 episodes and a sing-along. The DVD also comes packed with spooky fun including My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic pumpkin carving stencils and a color Halloween poster perfect for seasonal decorating.

Everypony loves Halloween… the candy, the pumpkins, the costumes, the friends! Join your favorite residents of Ponyville — Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and, of course, Spike — as they take on some of the spookiest adventures Equestria’s ever seen! Time to gather around and hold on tight, because these six exciting tales are a chillingly good romp.


The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series is currently airing on The HUB TV Network in the U.S. and on Treehouse in Canada.

My Little Pony – Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales Episodes Include:
Boast Busters
Stare Master
Luna Eclipsed
Sleepless In Ponyville
Castle Mane-ia
Bats!

Bonus Feature:
Sing-Along

My Thoughts:
My daughter is the biggest My Little Pony fan! We try to catch it on HUB as often as we can, so I knew this DVD would have her excited. With Halloween around the corner she is already talking non-stop about the costumes, treats, and parties. When I whipped out this DVD she shrieked with excitement and settled in with her favorite stuffed pony (Rainbow Dash).

Her favorite episode was Boast Busters... but her favorite part of the DVD was the Sing-Along! She loves to sing and dance with her favorite pony pals. Each episode on this DVD is filled with everything we love at My Little Pony - friendship, adventure, and working together. I am happy to let me daughter enjoy this show because it is sending positive messages about how to be a good friend and how to be kind to others. And none of the episodes are too spooky :)

This would make the perfect Halloween treat for the pony lover in your family!

* I received a copy of this DVD for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Twelve Dancing Unicorns Blog Tour!


Twelve Dancing Unicorns
by Alissa Heyman illustrated by Justin Gerard

With fairy tale adaptions becoming more and more popular, I am excited to share with you Twelve Dancing Unicorns (Sterling Children’s Books, September 2014), a beautiful picture book based on the Grimm’s fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Enchanting illustrations from Justin Gerard combine with Alissa Heyman’s whimsical narrative to tell the tale of a young girl’s determination to help her unicorn friends. Every morning, the king wakes to find his twelve unicorns—his most prized possessions—lying with the chains that are meant to restrain them in pieces. Unable to figure out where his unicorns escape to each night, he offers a reward to whoever can discover their secret. In an attempt to help the unicorns, who always seem so sad cooped up in the gardens each day, a little girl sets out to find the answer, but she’ll have to be very brave to accomplish what even the king’s guards could not. Twelve Dancing Unicorns is full of magic and mystery, with dazzling full-page illustrations that will captivate children from the start.

My daughter and I sat down to read this beautiful book together. The sweet little girl in the book very much reminded me of my daughter. She was drawn to the beautiful unicorns, especially the smallest one, but she could see the true sadness in their eyes. I could just picture my daughter visiting the magical creatures and falling in love with them. She has a love fro animals and would hate to see their sadness. 

My daughter fell in love with this story. The pictures are gorgeous and help to bring the magic and mystery to life. The little girl's adventures to discover where the unicorns go at night had my daughter enthralled. She couldn't wait to find out what would happen to the unicorns and to see if the little girl would give the king her secret. 

The story has a beautiful ending. I am so glad to have this story to add to our collection. We have already read it several times and I am sure we will be reading it again very soon! It has wonder, magic, mystery, and a beautiful message about doing the right thing. 

Follow the Twelve Dancing Unicorns blog tour tomorrow on Enchanted Conversation: http://www.fairytalemagazine.com/.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Bibi Always Remembers Book Tour

I am so excited to share with you a beautiful book that my family adores. 

My Bibi Always Remembers
by Toni Buzzeo illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
On Sale September 2nd

We are fortunate enough to be part of a close, loving family. I am so very lucky to still have all four of my grandparents living and a part of my life. Having them love, nurture, and support me for so many years has been a tremendous gift. And now I am lucky enough to watch that love trickle down the generational line to the beautiful relationships between my parents and my children.

Bibi and Tembo represent something bigger than just words. Their love is felt through this story and it's beautiful illustrations. This is a wonderful book for children and grandparents to share and treasure!

I was lucky enough to be able to ask the author and illustrator some questions about this new book. See what they have to say and feel how much of their heart and souls have gone into making a book for families to share.

Questions for the Author:
What inspired you to write My Bibi Always Remembers?
Nearly two decades ago, my family was lucky enough to take a once-in-a-lifetime safari to Kenya. It was something my husband Ken and I had long dreamed of doing and our then 12-year-old son Topher was game to accompany us, so off we went for three and a half weeks with two very experienced tour guides and ten other fellow travelers to
A safari!



Imagine seeing giraffes, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, zebra, baboons, hippos, rhinos, wildebeest, cape buffalo, antelope, warthogs, and elephants—so many elephants—living in their natural habitat. I was so taken with the elephant families, especially the grandmother elephants leading their families and the tiny baby elephants surrounded and protected by their families. Two years ago, I had to go back to visit those same elephants again in Amboseli National Park in Kenya.



My Bibi Always Remembers is the third in a collection of East African animal family stories. I wrote the first, Stay Close to Mama, about a baby giraffe—Twiga--and his mama and the second, Just Like My Papa,  about a lion cub—Kito--and his papa. And as I was writing those books, I knew I was moving toward the most personal story of the three, My Bibi Always Remembers, the story of a grandmother elephant and her grandbaby elephant--Tembo.




What is your connection with Bibi and Tembo?
My Bibi Always Remembers is, in many ways, the story of my grandmother Mae Mackey and me. I had the wonderful luxury of living, along with my parents, with my grandparents for the first two years of my life. After that, we lived less than five miles from my grandparents for the next four years. During those early years of my life I formed an intense and lasting bond with my Grandma Mae. More than anyone else in my life, she was the one I looked to for guidance, for comfort, for unconditional love—and for fun!



We did so many things together, Grandma Mae and I. She had a blue willow china tea set, so we had tea parties. She had black cap raspberries along the back fence, so we went on berry picking expeditions. She had a dog, Ginger, who had a whole family of puppies, so we played with them. And, of course, we read piles and piles and piles of books! In short, we did everything together. As you can guess, then, Grandma Mae is Bibi in My Bibi Always Remembers and I am Tembo, the lucky recipient of a grandmother’s love and protection.

I’m thrilled to tell you that as My Bibi Always Remembers is making its way in the world, I am myself learning to be a Nonna--the very same sort of wonderful grandmother that Grandma Mae was to me and that Bibi is to Tembo—to my own very first grandbaby, Camden James.



What message are you hoping to send to your young readers?
All three of my East African stories carry the same message, and that is: It’s okay to be precisely who you are; it’s okay to be a curious, playful child; no matter what, you will be loved, cherished, and nurtured by the adults in your family.




The world is a complicated and sometimes dangerous place, but it shouldn’t feel so for our little ones. Their world should, instead, be filled with loving adults who nurture in them their curiosity, their playful natures, their wide-eyed wonder at a glorious place full of new and delightful sights and sounds and experiences.

Questions for the Illustrator:
What was your favorite part about illustrating this beautiful book?
My favorite thing about illustrating this wonderful story was the color palette. Since it takes place during a drought, the grass and land had to be subdued colors, like brown and yellow ochre, and of course the elephants are gray. All these muted colors made for a limited palette. At first this was very daunting, but I ended up loving the controlled palette of subtle colors.



Bibi and Tembo's facial expressions are very telling, what messages did you want to send through their faces?
The emotion of my characters is very important to me.  With each scene in a book I’m really thinking about what the emotion would be. I try to convey this emotion through color, body language, and, most importantly, facial expressions. I’m happy to hear you feel the facial expressions are very telling in BIBI, because with this more realistic style it can be challenging to show exactly what the character is feeling.



How long did it take you to illustrate the book and what mediums did you use?
It took approximately six weeks to do all the pencil sketches and color studies.  The final paintings took four months.  I used acrylic paints.


Friday, August 22, 2014

SOFIA THE FIRST: HOLIDAY IN ENCHANCIA

SOFIA THE FIRST: HOLIDAY IN ENCHANCIA
Arrives on Disney DVD Just In Time For The Holidays - November 4, 2014

DVD Contains the adventure + 4 additional episodes and a
FREE Light Up Holiday Ornament packed inside! 



If you have a Sofia fan in the house, like I do, then you will want to keep your eyes peeled for this!
My daughter loves all of the adventures that Sofia, Clover, Amber, and James find themselves on. So 
I can only imagine how much fun they will have this holiday season!

When a snowstorm prevents King Roland from returning home in time for the holidays, Sofia leads her family on a brave expedition to find him. Princess Aurora from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" makes a special appearance to help Sofia and her animal friends reunite the royal family.

Dinosaur Farm

Dinosaur Farm
By Frann Preston-Gannon


It's hard work being a farmer—and even harder running a DINOSAUR FARM (Sterling Children’s Books, September 2014)!

Children will love spending a day on this vibrant farm, filled with charming prehistoric creatures of every shape and size! They'll follow the farmer from dawn till dusk, through feedings, cleanings, baby hatchings, and finally to a sweet bedtime. Who knew dinosaurs could be so cuddly?

With clever dino-touches throughout and vibrant artwork, Frann Preston-Gannon's picture book will become a perennial favorite!

Frann Preston-Gannon is an illustrator and designer based in south London.  She is the author and illustrator of The Journey Home (Pavilion Press) and How to Lose a Lemur (Sterling).  In 2011, Frann became the first UK recipient of the Sendak Fellowship.  She spent a month living with and learning from the great master of illustration, Maurice Sendak (author and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are).

My Thoughts:
My little guy adores dinosaurs! So I knew when I saw this book that he would love it.  This book takes you on a fun adventure around the farm...but this farm is a little different. The animals are a bit.. umm.. larger. They eat a little different. And they require some special care. This farm is like no other!

The pictures and story are so fun! My son loved visiting this farmer on his dinosaur farm. I would definitely recommend this book for any dinosaur loving kids. It makes for the perfect story time.

* I received a copy of this book in order to write an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to Make Your Baby an Internet Celebrity

How to Make Your Baby an Internet Celebrity

By Rick Chillot
Photography by Dustin Fernstermacher



Everyone tells you becoming a parent will be tough. But the toughest—and most important—obligation of a loving and responsible parent is: making your baby an Internet celebrity

Times are tough in our twenty-first-century economy. But with How to Make Your Baby an Internet Celebrity: Guiding Your Child to Success and Fulfillment, moms and dads can buckle their kids in and send them speeding down the fast track to success.

Featuring darling photography by Dustin Fenstermacher, photographer of Quirk’s April 2014 hit How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity, Rick Chillot’s tongue-in-cheek handbook will help babies crawl down the path to fame!

The book will hold parents’ hands through the process of identifying their infant’s key star qualities, finding her character type—whether she’s an Action Hero, an Intellectual, a Gourmand, or a Badass—and making and distributing a video to introduce her to the world before it’s too late (aka before she reaches kindergarten).

The pressure to stand out from the crowd is intense, but everyone remembers an Internet star!

My Thoughts:
I'm going to give you a very interesting perspective on this book because of my unique situation. My son is FEATURED IN THIS BOOK! Yes, you read that correctly. The amazingly talented, and very nice, Dustin Fenstermacher, came to my house to photograph my son for this book. And I will tell you that judging by my son;s mood during the shoot I wasn't so sure he was going to make it! But Dustin assured me that he got some good shots. And low and behold.. he made it in... twice!

I had read Dustin's previous book, where he teamed with Patricia Carlin, How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity. I found it to be hysterical and adorable. And that was cats. So imagine the cuteness factor when it comes to babies!

Just to assure you that I am not totally biased with this book... all of the babies are adorable. The little tidbits and tips are just the perfect accompaniment for the photos. So many of the faces caught in this book remind me of moments with my own children. It's just a super fun and super adorable book to help you capture and appreciate all the photogenic moments you will encounter. The comments are all too true!

Oh, and be sure to check out my little superstar on pages 30 and 125.

This book will be available from Quirk Books on September 30th... so go ahead and preorder it today!