Reviews, giveaways and memes - Jumpin Beans


Want the perfect box picked based on age and development? Look at @HootforKids {AD}

I am so loving the different subscription boxes that are out there.  Well, I say that, but I have not seen many first hand to know if they are as good as they look.  I was able to get a box to review from Hoot for Kids and to say that this is a fun box is an understatement.  It was a perfect box to help us kick off our summer break and I am so excited to tell you all about it.
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation

So, you might be wondering exactly what Hoot for Kids is.
Well, it is an awesome box with goodies perfect for the kid in your life!
Hoot stands for - Hands On Occupational Therapy

From their website:WHY HOOT?
Toys foster growth and can be used in many creative ways, including as a tool to enhance key developmental areas: fine motor, gross motor and sensory processing skills. In addition, the right toys and activities can also help parents be instrumental in facilitating developmental milestones. Toys can be utilized to address a child’s physical limitations, sensory integration issues, speech and language concerns and other developmental delays including Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
When we opened the box, Savannah was so excited to see all the items in there, picked JUST for her!!!  It was as if it was her birthday! (Hint! Hint!  Great idea for a birthday gift!)  She was excited to see each thing and had to take them out and play with each one individually and then together!  

I kept Broxton's cars (in case we had a boy, not thinking that a little girl would love them just as much.)  Savannah loves the cars, so when there was a pink one just for her (Broxton isn't a fan of pink these days, so no need to worry about him wanting to play with it!) This is a car from Green Toys.  We have had a few of their toys over the years and have always been impressed with their brand, so I was excited about this one!

Hoot for Kids included a tube of colorful plastic animals of different sorts for her to play with.  I loved that they were so cute and the perfect size to fit in her hands!  She loved playing with them and before we knew it, they were riding in the car!  

If you know me, you know I love books. I was excited to see a different take on the classic "Wheels on the Bus" song that I know.  This has a bunch of animals on there and they are doing fun things! The fact that they have a handle on it for her to carry makes it great for her to carry around with her!

The box!  I just love it, isn't it just too cute??

My overall thoughts:

When looking online, it looked like the boxes had several items inside it.  I thought for $34.99, getting 5 or 6 items would be great.  When our box arrived, it only had 3 items inside.  I googled to see what the value was to buy these individually.
The car- $9
The book -$9 
The tube of animals - I could not find

I thought it might be a bit over priced, just looking at breaking it down like that.
Then, I thought more about it.
1 - The prices I saw did not include shipping.

2 - The prices didn't include the time it would take for me to research age appropriate toys, they did that work for me! 
3 - I have yet to mention the really cool BONUS that comes in each box that is not a toy you can buy.
3.5 -   You get a sheet with activities on it for each toy.  Yes!  I loved that!

Overall, I think this is a fun box and in the end, I think it is worth the money. I would like it to be more along the lines of $29.99 with free shipping, versus $34.99.  I do think had I received a box with more items, like I saw in the pictures, I could justify the additional cost.
I think this would be great to give as a gift to a child you might not really know what to buy for, since they pick it based upon your child's age and it isn't just a random box.  I think this would be great to have sent to a caregivers house, as it gives activities on playing so that you can have a little help when you get stumped.

The only other thing I wish I could change?  I wish the first box was more of a sturdy one.  Like a "
treasure box" of sorts, so you could use it to store the toys.  The box is not that strong, but I am sure it would make the price increase if they needed to make a stronger box.  I do love it and although it is a bit flimsy, Savannah still wants it to hold her toys,so she has them in there.   I think the box is ADORABLE, so I wanted to keep it as well.  

Now, how about this...If you want to check out Hoot for Kids, make sure you use this code for $5 off a box:


Great new Titles from Disney Publishing

Fathers Day is right around the corner and I wanted to share a few titles that were sent to me that would be great books to give to the Father figure in your life this year.  A couple of these would be great for new parents!
I have not read any of these, but did want to share with you in case someone was looking for a perfect gift!  Keep in mind you don't have to give these just as Fathers Day gifts either...  They would be perfect whenever!
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals
Written and Illustrated by Mo Willems
On Sale: May 30, 2017
Mo Willems’ introductory guide for new arrivals welcomes readers to the world using bold, eye-catching graphics and clever text that is perfect for reading aloud. With a fun and heartwarming message, WELCOME playfully interacts with the reader with its meta-humor, while addressing such topics as injustice, cats, friendship, and family. This one-of-a-kind guide to the world is a must-have for infants and new parents alike.

Night Night, Groot
By Brendan Deneen and Illustrated by Cale Atkinson
On Sale: April 4, 2017
It's been a long day for baby Groot and he's ready to be tucked in for bed. Just as his eyes start to close, Rocket Raccoon bursts onto the scene! Groot can't go to sleep yet, there's a whole galaxy that needs to be defended and they must work together to save the day! Then maybe, just maybe, Groot will finally get the rest he deserves!

Written and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
On Sale: May 2, 2017
With beautiful pastel-colored illustrations throughout, Matthew Cordell pulls at the reader’s heartstrings with DREAM. Two gorillas take such pride when they look into their newborn’s eyes, and wonder what path their future will take. Cordell’s book is a celebration of the hopes dreams that parents have for children as they grow up, and find that no matter where life may take them, they always have a home with their family.

Bob, Not Bob: To Be Read as Though You Have the Worst Cold Ever
By Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick and Illustrated by Matthew Cordell
On Sale: February 14, 2017
Stuffed with the sniffles, BOB, NOT BOB! by Audrey Vernick and Liz Garton Scanlon with illustrations by Matthew Cordell, is immediately relatable to any child (or adult!) who's had a bad cold, when the only thing you want is someone to take care of you. You see, every time sick Little Louie calls out for "Mom," his stuffed-up nose brings Bob the dog running instead. Filled with wordplay and situational comedy, BOB, NOT BOB! begs to be read aloud, and it pairs especially well with snuggling.
Books that inspire parents to empower their kids:

Feminist Baby
Written and Illustrated by Loryn Brantz
On Sale: April 11, 2017
Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she'll throw up on you!
Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don't like it she doesn't care!
Meet the irrepressible FEMINIST BABY in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who's not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!

Cars 3: Lead the Way
By Ace Landers and Illustrated by Garrett Taylor
On Sale: April 4, 2017
Ride along with Lightning McQueen as he revisits many of his cherished moments with the late and great Doc Hudson. Lightning has learned so many inspiring things from Doc that he would like to pass on to Cruz Ramirez, including a lesson about what it really means to win.

Choose to Matter
By Julie Foudy
On Sale: May 2, 2017
Julie Foudy, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and former captain of the US National team, takes you on a journey to discover your authentic self. This book is a roadmap to unleash that courageous YOU. Along with sharing stories from her playing days and personal experiences, Julie taps into the wisdom of other incredible female leaders including "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts, soccer stars Mia Hamm and Alex Morgan, and Facebook superwoman and Lean In founder Sheryl Sandberg.

Are you familiar with any of these titles? 
Which ones would you like to read, or give as a gift?  


My hand-print jewelry from @silversculptor is beautiful!

The last few months have been a bit hectic, so I hate that I was not able to share my new found love of Silver Sculptor's jewelry for Mothers Day. Let me tell you this though, just because Mothers Day has passed, it doesn't mean that you can not give a WONDERFUL gift of love. You could give it as a gift "just because" or for a late Mothers Day, this is a gift that needs to be given!   Don't just stop at moms either... They have great gifts for dads and the grandmother of my children (my mom) has been asking me for mine, so like I said... NOT JUST FOR MOMS!  

FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Okay, so let me tell you more.
Well, let me start by saying she has so much more, but the thing I am sharing because I am SO IN LOVE is the hand-print jewelry.  Head on over to the actual Silver Sculptor site to take a look at all the other beautiful jewelry she has to offer, but please oh please make sure to check out the hand-print jewelry. Joanne is so talented!

Like I said, it was my Mothers Day gift, so Broxton helped decide what I really "needed" since you know, I did NEED it! Joanne offers everything from necklaces to cuff links, bracelets to rings.  We decided to go with a necklace, as that would be the piece of jewelry I would wear most often.
After deciding on the necklace being the piece we wanted, we had to decide on the style.
Again, Joanne has gone the extra distance.  You can choose between a dog tag, a guitar pick, a heart or a basic oval.  Broxton wanted to go with the heart since he and Savannah have my heart!
At that point, we waited to see what would be sent.
Now, I bet you want to know how their hand-prints ended up on my jewelry, but we didn't have to go anywhere to have their hand-print made...

Get this.
She sends you a hand-print kit. It has a special paper and an ink-less wipe.
I will admit, I was SO NERVOUS that I was going to do it wrong. I put it off, out of fear.  I mean, I had a 1 year old and an 8 year old and I had 1 wipe and 1 piece of that special paper.
So yeah, 1 piece of paper and 2 wild children with the ultimate goal to make a masterpiece.
I was eager to see the finished product, but I knew it would never happen if I didn't send in the stuff.  I finally saw the window of opportunity and I went for it.
I sat down and did Broxton's hand-print.  Then, we did Savannah's.  I got it ready to be mailed back to her (you can mail it back or you can scan it and email it, the choice is yours.)  and prayed it was done correctly.

All that worrying was for nothing!  She said it was a great job and she would start working on it!
Next thing you know, this beautiful package arrives and I was so excited.  I couldn't even wait for Mothers Day!  I opened it then and fell in love.  Broxton loved it and we had to take a picture to send to show my mom.  That was when she decided that it was the perfect gift for her to have of her grand-babies.  (Maybe one day, but not right now!)

Tell me it isn't beautiful!  The best part is it is MY babies hand-prints.  Then, on the back she has their names stamped in there so I will always know which is which.  Perfect for twins or kids closer in age that might have hand-prints that are closer to the same size!

I love my necklace and wear it with pride. Having my babies hand-prints on a beautiful piece of jewelry is something I will treasure forever!

If you head over to the Silver Sculptor site, you can sign up for the newsletter and get a code for 20% off your purchase!  Fathers Day is right around the corner, wouldn't cuff links or golf ball markers with their little ones hand-prints be a perfect gift that is one they will love forever???

Make sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram!


Five Beach Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know

Five Beach Safety Tips Every Parent Needs to Know:
Guest Post by Steve Kardian

According to the Center for Disease Control, each year about 4,000 people drown in the United States.  Drowning kills more children 1-4 years of age than anything else, except birth defects.  Among children ages one through fourteen, drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury or death (after motor vehicle crashes).  Being aware of the risks and learning some life saving techniques will keep you safe at the beach.

1) Your Span of Control is Limited
In the perfect world, every child would have a designated adult supervising them at the beach or pool, but two children is a comfortable number for one adult to supervise.  Any more can become overwhelming and increase the risk of something going wrong.

2) Drowning Doesn’t Look like Drowning (or:  Drowning Doesn’t Look like You Imagine)
In the movies, when someone is acting out a drowning scene they wave their arms and scream for help. In real life, drowning is, for the most part, a silent act. Once a person goes into distress mode, they are fighting for two things: air and keeping their mouth above water.
My first experience witnessing the onset of a drowning occurred at my family pool when I was about ten years old.  My much younger cousin was in two feet of water, bent over at the waist.  It looked he was looking at his feet or the bottom of the pool but something didn’t seem right. When I lifted his head out of the water, he began vomiting and crying, he had been stuck. In a case I investigated, witnesses reported seeing a young girl bobbing her head up and down in the water.  She had drifted from the shallow end of the pool into water above her head (or:  the deep end) and was pushing off the floor of the pool to get air because she could not swim. She was saved, but nearly drowned. If something in and around the water doesn’t look right, it likely isn’t.

3) Set Up by a Lifeguard - No lifeguard No lifeline.
Set up your stuff near a lifeguard station so that if you venture into the water with your children there is an extra set of eyes to watch over you and your child. Don’t allow this to replace your diligence but rather supplement it. Your child is your first responsibility.

4) Don’t Get Lost in Conversation
Going to the beach or pool is a social event. If you’re caught up in a conversation, keep your face and your eyes on your child. Mishaps and accidents can occur very quickly and with a mix of children and water, seconds matter. Keep your hands glued to your babies or toddlers at all times.  If at the beach, keep an eye out for rouge waves.  Chat with the lifeguard in advance about any dangers you should know about. Ankle deep water can quickly become a hazard if you are not paying attention. Outfit your child with bright colored beach wear.  Know your limitations and educate yourself on riptides.  While you are on child watch duty turn the cell phone off, and keep the Ipad or book out of your reach.

5) Learn CPR and Rescue Breathing
Your local fire, police, recreation department or gym and health club often sponsor certified CPR courses. You will not realize its value until you need it!

Steve Kardian is an American career law enforcement officer, detective, sergeant and chief criminal investigator, who specializes in crime prevention and risk reduction for women's safety. Kardian is the author of The New Superpower for Women (on pre-sale until August 8, 2017) and founder of Defend University, where he trains thousands of people each year on safety and self-defense, as well as strategies and tactics uniquely tailored to women's safety.


Krystal #CountryFried is back! #Giveaway

What can be more Southern to a girl from South Georgia than BBQ Picnics and Comfort food? Krystal is going back to my roots with a great giveaway for one lucky follower!  In celebration of their "Country Fried" menu, that you all need to go and check out!
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

From Krystal:Fan favorite, the Country-Steak Krystal, is a tender all-beef steak coated in a secret blend of spices, fried to a delightful golden brown, topped with gravy and served on a soft steamy Krystal bun. The Krystal Chik patty is topped with country gravy to create the Country-Fried Chik. During breakfast hours, guests can indulge in a variation to one of the classic Southern staples, biscuits and gravy, by swapping the buns out for a fluffy golden biscuit.

One winner will win a Country Fried Gift pack thanks to Krystal!
The pack includes: 

Krystal Country Fried Coupon
- Apron to keep away the Southern cooking mess
- Spatula for a good ole BBQ of a time
- Table Cloth for a true Southern table setting
- Picnic Basket to help embrace the picnic spirit
- Mason Jar Cup to sip on the Southern tea
Country Music CD to tie it all together

Want to win?
Just leave me a comment on here letting me know what you like to do during the summer, what you have planned this year or a great picnic spread you like to enjoy!
Comment must be at least 8 words long to not be considered spam.
Contest ends Thursday at noon and winner will be notified immediately.  

*** Update, Janet W. is the winner!***


Battle for Metropolis is now open at #SixFlagsOverGeorgia ! #JusticeLeague

Hope you are familiar with Six Flags Over Georgia, if not, you need to be!  As a child, I remember vacations to Six Flags.  When I moved up to Atlanta, I got a season pass with my roommate.  With an 8 year old, we are loving Six Flags these days.  We were invited to come check out their newest ride, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.  I am NOT a ride person, so Broxton was thrilled to have his big brother there for the day!  I thought we would be there for just a couple hours, due to the Georgia temperatures (I love the air conditioner!)
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Like I said, I am not a ride person and we were invited to check out the newest ride. I was excited for Broxton, since he is all about the Justice League and super heroes. I asked his older brother to join us, knowing he would ride the ride with Broxotn.  They rode it and came out to Savannah and I.  Broxton asked me to go with him, because I would like it. (Pregnancy with Broxton changed my love of roller coasters to not liking them.)  He said I would not get sick, so I said I would take him to ride it a second time.  He then told me that would be his fourth time!!!!    
As you approach, you come to the Hall of Justice arch greeting you.  Talk about massive and gets your curiosity going!!!!

Battle for Metropolis, the newest 4d ride!!!  It was really cool! You enter the area and a cyborg is waiting telling you whats going on. Then, you hop on the car to get going.  (Each car holds up to 6 people, so grab your friends to go!)  You head into fighting the joker and other guys to help save Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.  You shoot the targets as you ride through and it was fine.  Then you hit a Loop and a crazy turn.  At that point, I will tell you I had my eyes closed. I have said before I am not a fan of rides, because of the movement.  Yes, I know we weren't really going and turning like that, but it got me a bit motion sick.  Closing my eyes, I was fine, so I think everyone that is of the right height should give it a go!!!! If I can do it, you can too!!!

Someone was excited to have mama on the ride!  

Once the ride was over...  I had to get a picture to remember the day!  

After riding several times on Battle for Metropolis, we headed to explore the park!  Normally Broxton just wants to go to the Kid Section, but this time Big Brother talked him into checking out Superman. That was the first ride of coasters for the day.  

They ended up riding pretty much every ride there that day!
 Savannah was there too and had a great time riding the rides in Bugs Bunny Boomtown!

More about Battle for Metropolis:
Engaging in a full-sensory journey on JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis, guests will battle alongside BATMAN™, SUPERMAN™, WONDER WOMAN, THE FLASH and GREEN LANTERN against Lex Luthor, The Joker and his henchmen. The interactive attraction features:

·         A 22,000 square foot HALL OF JUSTICE to house this full-sensory thrill ride;
·         A 4D ride experience with wind, fire, mist and fog effects, plus life-like animatronic characters;
·         Non-stop action, as the JUSTICE LEAGUE Reserve Team travels through laughing gas and flames in 11 high-intensity scenes;
·         One of the first-ever virtual loops, giving riders the feeling of going head-over-heels;
·         High definition 3D animation that fully immerses riders inside the city of Metropolis;
·         All-new, Unreal 4 Gaming engine; and
·         6-passenger vehicles with multi-degrees-of-freedom to transport riders through all the exciting twists and turns.

Help Your Child Avoid Summer Tantrums with These 5 Tips from Brain Balance

Help Your Child Avoid Summer Tantrums with These 5 Tips from Brain Balance:

Summer time is about fun and relaxing from school, at least it is in our house.  This summer we are changing things up a bit (in more ways than one, but that is neither here nor there.) My mom thought a great thing to do would be to make a "coupon book" for Broxton for different things to do over the summer. What all is included?  Well, there is movie night, bike rides, grilling, going to the library and more.  It has been fun for all of us and it keeps the "boring" days fun and even educational!  
So I partnered with Brain Balance —a drug-free, holistic approach to addressing the challenges of behavioral, social, or learning disabilities—to try some of their summer activities, and to share a little bit about their philosophy. And let me tell you, their activities actually work. I'm so excited to keep this momentum going into the summer! 
First, here's the context I learned from Brain Balance about why my children sometimes act up. We all know about the left and right halves of our brain—but did you know that the root cause of most learning, behavioral, and social difficulties is an imbalance between them? Left hemisphere dominant children are very detail oriented and logical, while right hemisphere dominant kids tend to be more emotional. It's because of this imbalance that programs that combine sensory motor stimulation, academic stimulation, and nutrition can correct brain imbalance and ultimately improve achievement. The activities are great for children without difficulties, too! 
Here are some of those Brain Balance summer tips I told you about:  
Activities that involve active physical motion help children to read with greater comprehension and retain more information. Enjoy the spring sun by taking your child on an outdoor gallery walk, or take the fun indoors to an exploration-style, hands-on museum. Additionally, children should maintain a daily practice of prescribed left/right brain stimulating activities, including primitive reflex, core, and eye exercises. 
Routines keep children grounded—and they are especially necessary during breaks, when the regular school schedule goes out the window. Let your child have input into their schedule—it will give them agency and make them feel empowered. 
Sugar-free, processed-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free foods bring tremendous benefit to your child's overall health and development. Spending time as a family cooking together also allows everyone to enjoy discovering healthy eating through a fun and engaging activity. It's also a great idea to let your child do simple activities like measuring ingredients, dividing up portions, and reading recipes. This reinforces their reading and math skills without making them feel intimidated. Plus, it helps you with dinner!
Let me tell you about what these tips did for my children...
Turns out, my children love activities! I tried taking them to museums, on walks... activities I never thought they'd try. And while they were a little iffy about my ideas the first couple of times, they ended up really enjoying the new experiences! The more they tried, the more they were willing to do in the future. 
They loved getting out of the house, but I was also surprised to learn that they really enjoyed helping me with in-house activities, like dinner. These activities don't "feel" like learning, but I noticed my children were practicing skills they'd normally hate (like reading and math) with pleasure. I tricked them into learning, and it felt great! While I loved that they were learning, I know that they loved getting to eat all their creations—so it's a win-win.
It feels so good to turn summer into another opportunity to keep my children engaged, and I'm excited to try more of Brain Balance's summer tips. 
Not sure whether your child has a right- or left-brain weakness? Check out this simple online assessment to gain some preliminary insight into your child's functional strengths and weaknesses.
Brain Balance Achievement Centers are located all over the USA, just click the link to find one near you.
Would you like to get more summer activities straight from the source? Check out Brain Balance.
How do you plan to make your child's summer productive? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Plan a movie night with Monster Trucks this summer!

As we shift gears to summer break, it is time to think about what all fun things the kids can do while school is out.  I think I want to try and find a way to show movies outside and make it a bit different at times for our "movie nights."  I see where some people put sheets up and project it that way, so I might try and see if I can find an affordable projector to do that for us!  Having said that, I want to share a few new movies that are in our rotation to watch and enjoy these days.
First up to share with you is Monster Trucks!
We loved the movie.  I will tell you this, we had been seeing previews on the TV and every single time we saw it, we all mentioned that it looked like a great movie.  We planned to rent it as soon as it was out to see if we liked it before purchasing and I am glad that we were sent a review copy.  We watched, we laughed, we got excited to see what happened next... and come on, while I am being real... who doesn't like watching the never aging Rob Lowe?  This was a fun movie and one I am sure the kids will love to watch as a movie night this summer.

FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Tripp is a high school senior with a knack for building trucks who makes an incredible discovery - a gas-guzzling creature named Creech. To protect his mischievous new friend, Tripp hides Creech under the hood of his latest creation, turning it into a real-life super-powered Monster Truck. Together, this unlikely duo with a shared taste for speed team up on a wild and unforgettable journey to reunite Creech with his family. A fun-filled adventure that never slows down, MONSTER TRUCKS features a terrific ensemble cast including Lucas Till (X-Men: Apocalypse), Jane Levy (Don’t Breathe), Thomas Lennon (“The Odd Couple”), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon), Amy Ryan (Central Intelligence) and Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”).
The MONSTER TRUCKS Blu-ray Combo Pack features over 40 minutes of action-packed behind-the-scenes bonus content.  Take a look under the hood and discover the magic behind MONSTER TRUCKS with interviews from cast and crew, deleted scenes, a hilarious gag reel and much, much more!


Are you familiar with The Loud House?

I don't know about your house, but around here, we tend to keep the TV on for background noise. The TV on tends to leading to finding new shows we like and one that Broxton has recently found that he enjoys is The Loud House on Nickelodeon.  I am not sure how long he has been watching it, but I know he didn't start from the beginning.  I was so excited to see that The Loud House was being released on DVD... Season One!  Perfect for him!   When it arrived, his face lit up as soon as he opened the package!  Seeing that kid smile is such a great feeling and knowing that he can go unwind and watch an episode or two is perfect!
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Meet the Loud family - a family full of love, chaos, and craziness, and with all of that under one roof, one thing is always for sure: there is never a dull moment in the Loud house! The brand new DVD, Welcome to The Loud House: Season 1, Volume 1, introduces Lincoln Loud, an 11-year old boy who is the middle child of 10 sisters. The Loud House follows Lincoln and his sisters for an inside look at what it takes to survive growing up in a huge family. Lincoln remains the man with the plan to stay one step ahead of the chaos, but whether or not it works is where the adventures begin.

This 2-disc release of Welcome to The Loud House: Season 1, Volume 1 contains the first 13 episodes of the first season and is full of family fun and laughter. Produced by Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and distributed by Paramount Home Media Distribution, Welcome to The Loud House: Season 1, Volume 1 will be available on DVD May 23, for the suggested retail price of $16.99.

Inspired by creator and executive producer Chris Savino's (Rocko's Modern Life, The Powerpuff Girls) life growing up in a family of 10 kids, The Loud House is the first series to be greenlit out of Nickelodeon's annual Animated Shorts Program. Season two is currently premiering on Nickelodeon, home to TV's top two animated kids' shows with Kids 2-11 and Kids 6-11, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Loud House.

Welcome to The Loud House: Season 1, Volume 1 contains the following episodes:
Left in the Dark                    
Get the Message                    
Heavy Meddle          
Making the Case                    
Driving Miss Hazy                
No Guts, No Glori                  
The Sweet Spot                      
A Tale of Two Tables            
Project Loud House              
In Tents Debate                      
Sound of Silence                    
Space Invader            
Picture Perfect            
Undie Pressure  
Linc or Swim            
Changing the Baby                
Overnight Success                  
Ties the Bind              
Sleuth or Consequences                    
Butterfly Effect                      
The Green House                  
Along Came a Sister              
Chore and Peace                    
For Bros About to Rock                    
It's a Loud, Loud, Loud, Loud, House


What would you wish if you thought you were just "normal"

A friend of mine has a little girl named Nina.  As soon as I read the book "Normal Nina and the Magic Box" that I was sent for review, I knew that I would be giving it to her.  I mean, it was a book with Nina's name all in it!!!!!
I really enjoyed the book.  In it, we meet Normal Nina who finds a magic box.  She gets three wishes and wishes to no longer be normal.  She wants to be tall, but then she is too tall and doesn't fit in her clothes... NOR HER HOUSE!   Lucky for her, she got to make another wish...  You have to read the book, but lets put it this way.. Happily, she finds out that being "normal" really isn't that bad.  I mean, what exactly is "normal" these days?
FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Normal Nina and the Magic Box:
Have you ever wanted to be someone else? Or wished for something that you didn’t have? Normal Nina knows all about it. So, when Nina discovers a strange magic box outside her house and meets the blue-masked genie who lives there, she knows exactly what her three wishes will be. And there’s nothing normal about them at all! This captivating story and illustrations reveals that exciting adventures can be fun but being normal can be quite fine too.

Normal Nina and the Magic Box is the newest book in the highly regarded Laugh and Learn children’s book series. Written entirely in verse with delicate, detailed illustrations, books in The Laugh and Learn Series also include activity pages following the story to extend the learning for the home or classroom. Strong endorsements from educators, elementary school teachers and school librarians demonstrate this wide-ranging appeal.


Great deals at Zulily #zulilyThankATeacher

If you remember, I recently posted about the contest at Zulily for their "thank a teacher" contest.  Well, they picked the winners and for Teacher Appreciation week, they have some great deals going on. I am sharing part of the email below, read it and learn about a few great teachers out there. Then, head to zulily to grab a few deals before they end!  

FTC Compliant Review Policy:
The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.

Just part of the email I received:

The growing costs associated with children's education is not limited to parents alone. The average teacher spends $500 investing in their classroom, with one in ten having spent $1,000 or more. In honor of their commitment, zulily kicked off the Thank a Teacher Contest in April, receiving more than 8,000 heartfelt nominations by zulily fans sharing how a teacher in their life made an impact. Today, zulily spotlights the appreciation of teachers everywhere by elevating 50 stories that exemplify the personal sacrifices, fortitude and dedication to the growth of their students, and is providing these winners with $500 to outfit their classroom with finds from

Of the 50 winners, six teachers were invited to curate sales events catered to teachers, that feature classroom ready merchandise in specialized categories, such as STEM, Art & Creative Play, Foreign Language, Homeschool & Montessori, Special Needs, and Teacher Supplies & Furniture. zulily salutes educators everywhere and this week only is offering an additional 15% off items purchased from these six curated sales events, on top of the up to 70% off customers already receive, for teachers to shop for their classrooms and support their peers.

zulily recognizes and gives special thanks to the teachers who inspired the curated collections: Randall Dunkin, a science teacher from North Adams High School, in Seaman, OH; Kellie Gaffney, a Spanish teacher at Lisha Kill Middle School, in Albany, NY; Sheryn Hodgson, a home school teacher for Redding School of the Arts, in Redding, CA; Tatum Allhiser, a teacher of all subjects, Stronghold Court School, Canby, CA; Blaire Goodson, High School English, Darlington High School, Darlington, SC Jessica Lara , 2nd Grade, WCSD Bud Beasley Elementary, Sparks, NV for going above and beyond to bring light and learning to their classrooms and students of unique and diverse needs.

zulily shares a few stories that illustrate how teachers impact everyone they touch:

Marina Collier, 2nd Grade, Gilmore Elementary, League City, TX. Marina has gone above and beyond for what she considers her children in her home away from home. I have seen Mrs. Collier literally give a little girl one of the shirts off her own back when she was cold. She goes above and beyond to make each student realize they have potential for all things and while they may alone sometimes in this world they will always have her and her love for years to come. She's not just a teacher, she is someone people should strive to be more like. – Meagan Molina

Crystal Schroeder, Special Education Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Hiawatha Valley Education District, Winona, MN. Crystal serves students within all disability areas, including Emotional Behavioral Disorders, Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other such disabilities. In rural Minnesota, she travels to about 13 schools in the district to teach emotionally challenged and autistic students job skills, find them jobs, and works with employers to monitor their job skills and performance. – Cynthia Miller

Dawna Gatrost, AVID/ELA/History, Canyon Lake Middle School, CA. Mrs. Gatrost is a school mom to everyone, but especially the foster youth. As a former foster parent, her trauma-based training is invaluable to promptly recognizing the struggle typical students don't have to deal with. Her tough love in AVID teaches the organization skills children desperately need for success in life. She's a great communicator with the parents and an important part of foster children's "village" who raised them. She's the reason we don't shy away from fostering middle school aged kiddos! She's hands down the best teacher we've met, and I volunteer with foster children all across southern California.  – Valentina Rocnik

Jeffrey Gross, Special Education, Edison High School, Philadelphia, PA. Jeff's music therapy program is the impossible in a Philadelphia class for multiple handicapped students.  With no budget, he has brought in music therapy students to work in his class twice weekly and not surprisingly there have been amazing results from the once silent students.  He has also found a way to bring in alpacas from the surrounding area, definitely a first for his students!  He just keeps talking to people he meets and keeps looking for resources to bring into school for his "kids."  His calm attitude is not the usual in the school but cannot be replaced. – Jessica Levin

Iyana Tennon, Elementary, all subjects, Virtuous Academy, Duquesne, PA. Iyana runs a beautiful and thoughtful school for kids who attend a really tough district.  Many kids drop out and the others that remain are often bullied and underperforming.  Iyana created Virtuous Academy to provide a safe option for these kids, with a strong academic curriculum.  STEM is a large part of it, as she believes jobs in the sciences are a way for these young people to break the cycle of poverty in their families. – Gisele Fetterman

Jennifer Sever, Special Education, Marysville High School, Marysville, OH. Mrs. Sever has dedicated her time to helping special needs children. She does everything in her power to educate herself on how to help these kids live as fun and as normal of a life so they can feel just as much appreciated as all other children their age. She always speaks so highly of them and consistently tries to find creative ways to make sure they obtain a solid foundation for surviving in today's society. She is truly a gem. She is authentic and she has a heart of gold. – Meriele Moore

Karen Daley, 6th grade teacher, Monarch School, CA. Karen is a fierce and unrelenting advocate for the homeless students she serves. She is the most loving, kind, dedicated educator I have seen in action.  She is tireless in her efforts to provide the students with a great education and strives to meet their emotional needs as well. She is committed to ensuring her students and all who meet her to become good people by her amazing, consistent example. She not only teaches character, grace, and gratitude; she lives and breathes it. She constantly spends her money to provide anything her students may need, without complaint. – Trisha Norris

Kathy Marx, Senior Communications, Appleton East High School, Appleton, WI. Mrs. Marx is so invested in her students, she knows each and every student, their family situation and what is going on in their life.  She pays for students' Senior pictures, Prom manicures and dresses.  She has students lined up every day to talk with her and help them with their situations.  She never tells them no and she is always there for everyone.  I don't know how she does it, but there seems to be no end to her goodness. – Katie Davis

Laurel Robinson, Teacher of Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Aurora Public Schools, Aurora, CO. She teaches deaf and hard of hearing teenagers. She inspires, guides, counsels, informs, comforts and celebrates each and every child like they were her own. Laurel is the most selfless teacher, always helping her students in any way possible to help them be the best person and to grow to their full potential. When my daughter was in her class she came with no experience in sign language and failing in all classes. She HATED school. After Miss Robinson took the time to teach her sign and help her understand not only social skills but life skills, she blossomed and became a straight A student. She learned to LOVE school. – Molly Drumps

Lisa Gifford, Language arts, Keller Primary School, Peoria, IL. Lisa has been teaching for Peoria School District 150 in Peoria, IL. for the past seven years.  She mixes art, drama and reading to engage the students because she truly believes all children can learn when given opportunities to experience learning through their strongest ability, talent, and interest.  She gives 110% daily in all she does and especially while teaching.  Teachers everywhere give their all daily with little recognition or appreciation and Lisa is no different; but I feel she does an awesome job due to her ambitious desire to teach every child to their highest ability level. – Eva Balek

The Explorers: The Door in the Alley

At 8 years old, we are into the Chapter Book stage of reading.  Broxton has a love hate relationshop right now and I think it might be more hate than love, since he is totally burned out with school this year.  I have already told him that he will still be reading and writing this summer and we have a new book in our stack to read.  (No, I am not going to make him do school work daily, but I do want to keep his brain going and not just on video game mode.)   One book we have to read?  The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress.  One thing I like about it?  It is book one, so hopefully he will enjoy it and we have just found a new series to read!  

FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

THE EXPLORERS: THE DOOR IN THE ALLEY is filled with adventure and danger. There are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, famous explorers, a risk-averse boy, and a girl on a mission. Not to mention secrets not meant for the faint of heart. But if you are feeling bold, or maybe even a little italic, and if you enjoy derring-dos (and doing dares), this just might be the story for you.
The Explorers: The Door in the Alley is for 8-12 year olds.

I read the first chapter, just to get a feel for it and I already want to know what happens next. I think that this will be one that we will enjoy reading together over the summer.  I mean, don't most kids love to go "exploring" no matter how big or small the adventure actually is?


THE gift that will have everyone talking...

Stop what you are doing right now.  I have what I think is the coolest thing to share with you.  A company contacted me about hosting a review for Mothers Day and when I learned that I would be making a "signature scent" of perfume, I was all over it.  How fun does that sound?!?!?!   Of course, I said yes and quickly went to see what I had to do to create my scent. 

FTC Compliant Review Policy:  The product(s) featured in this review were provided free of cost to me by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. Opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation.

Okay, so let me hurry up and tell you about Waft personalized perfume so you can head on over to order one for you or a loved one.  I am telling you, I am totally loving this!!!! 

So, you go to their site and you answer a set of questions.  (It doesn't take that long, so don't worry about that!)   It was really easy things, so you can totally make this for a loved one and not worry about feeling pressured to get it right or wrong.

Example - 
Is this a gift or for yourself?  (I clicked YOURSELF with the quickness, I was eager to try and not a chance I was sharing this, sorry mom!)   Then, male or female.  Female ;) Then, I liked this...  Masculine / Feminine or Unisex .  I know lots of females that aren't all girly girl just like I know men that aren't all burly guys either.  They ask a few more questions, but then it gets to a more personal feel.  What is your style, what strength you would like, things like that. Finally, you get to NAME your bottle.  You can write a message.  You can choose the font.
I am telling you, SO - VERY - COOL!!!!

After you create your personalized perfume, you sit back and wait for the creation to be made and delivered to you.  It didn't take that long, so that is a plus!  Once it arrived, I was excited to open it up and check it out.  I will be honest, as a stay at home mom, I don't go putting perfume on daily, but since I have had my Waft creation, I have noticed that I do put it on more often than only when I have somewhere to be!   

Like I said, they make your creation based upon your answers, but get this... They make "layering scents" to go with it!!! Yeah, so now you can technically say you have like 7 different perfumes. (Don't go and get all mathematical on me, I am guessing and yes, I am probably wrong with the different ways you can make it work. The point is, it's really more than just one scent!)

As you can see, I named my perfume "Journey."  I am really enjoying it. I put it on the day it arrived and had everyone smelling me wherever I went. No one said it was bad, so either it really does smell good and work with my body, or everyone lied.  I am going with it smelling great! 

Okay, so this would be great for a Mothers Day gift.  They make scents for men, so if you are looking for a Fathers Day gift, here you go!  I really, REALLY think this would be a great gift for a bride to be.  She can make a signature scent to wear on her wedding day!  
This would also make for a great graduation gift. You could write an inspiring message on the bottle and name it "Good Luck" or "Harvard Bound" or whatever you feel.
I can not say it enough, I absolutely LOVE this and think it is a one of a kind gift!  

Now - are you ready for this???
Head on over to WAFT and create your own bottle.
Then , enter this code :
You will get 10% off your order!!!
Look at that, you gift THE GIFT that will be talked about for ages... and you save money too!  
Sounds good to me! 
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