Archives for May 20, 2014

New, free app for super parents from PBS KIDS


PBS KIDS has launched a new revolutionary app designed specifically for parents that will give them the “super power” to engage with their kids in the digital medium as never before: PBS KIDS Super Vision. The new, free app is a first-of-its-kind tool that parents can access conveniently from their mobile phones anytime, anywhere, to see what their kids are watching, playing and learning on, and help them make the most of their children’s PBS KIDS screen time.
With the PBS KIDS Super Vision App, now available on iPhone and iPod Touch, parents enter a simple code on their mobile device to start receiving:

  • Real-time information on what their child is playing, watching and learning;
  • The ability to remotely set a Play Timer from their mobile device that will put pbskids.orgto sleep on their child’s screen, easing the transition from playing online to another activity, such as dinner time or bed time;
  • Related activities that they can do with their child off-screen to extend the fun and learning goals of the games or videos their child plays on;
  • An Activity Summary to view the top educational skills, shows, videos and games their child used on

The PBS KIDS Super Vision App will mean peace of mind for parents, while their kids build key skills in the safe and educational environment that provides. The app works anytime, anywhere – the connection doesn’t require physical proximity – making it easy for busy parents to check in on their kids’ online activities while they are on the go.

Self Disclosure: No compensation has been received to post.

Graduation Inspiration from


It’s graduation time! can help honor your special graduate! for products. We have new options this year, starting at just $10 for a party pack for 8 people that includes 51 pieces (


Personalized options are available as well, including my favorite, the trendy chalkboard theme:


See additional party decorating, tablescape and menu tips here:

 Self Disclosure: No compensation received to post. Credit:


Panera Bread® Debuts Flavorful Flatbread Sandwiches, Reveals Test Bakery Now Serving Four New Sandwich Options and Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat


Panera Bread’s first-ever flatbread sandwiches and sprouted grain bagel flats are now available in bakery-cafes throughout Southern California and across the country.


Inspired by the global travels of Panera’s culinary team, the new flatbread sandwiches come in a variety of bold flavor profiles and are served on Panera’s version of naan, the traditional Indian flat bread.


The new flatbread sandwiches, each 360 calories or less, include:


  • Mediterranean Chicken Flatbread Sandwich: Features chicken raised without antibiotics, curried lentil hummus, feta, cucumber and a napa cabbage blend, drizzled with tzatziki sauce and packed on a freshly baked flatbread.
  • Thai Chicken Flatbread Sandwich: Includes chicken raised without antibiotics, cilantro-jalapeno hummus, a napa cabbage blend and cilantro on a freshly baked flatbread, with peanut sauce and Thai vinaigrette.
  • Southwestern Chicken Flatbread Sandwich: Features chicken raised without antibiotics, black bean hummus, feta, a southwest corn blend, a napa cabbage blend and cilantro with BBQ ranch dressing on a freshly baked flatbread.
  • BBQ Chicken Flatbread Sandwich (available beginning July 9): Includes smoked, pulled chicken raised without antibiotics, frizzled onions, mozzarella, smoked gouda, fresh baby spinach and cilantro with BBQ sauce, served on a freshly baked flatbread.


All Flatbread sandwiches come with a choice of a side (baguette, chips or apple) and will be offered as part of a You Pick 2®, One Flatbread or Two Flatbreads.


Panera is also one of the first restaurant chains in the industry to offer a sprouted grain bread product to their customers. This whole grain offering will be included in the summer menu as a Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat – a freshly baked bagel flat made with select ingredients that include sprouted wheat, rye, spelt, oats and mixed with whole wheat flour and a touch of honey. Customers can enjoy the Sprouted Grain Bagel Flat on its own or as part of the Egg White, Avocado & Spinach Breakfast Power Sandwich.


The sprouted grain bread product was tested at Panera Bread’s newly revealed test bakery in New Haven, CT. An investment in baking innovation, the company is testing new bakery products at the New Haven location while reimagining Panera favorites, in full view of customers during the day.


“Our commitment to baking is on display in every one of our 1,800 bakery-cafes,” said Scott Davis, Panera Bread Chief Concept Officer. “Our test bakery is an extension of that commitment and bakery leadership.”


In addition to the highly anticipated new menu items, popular returning menu items include the Strawberry Poppyseed & Chicken Salad, Low-Fat Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup, Frozen Lemonade and Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon Crunch Topping, Summer Blueberries and Maple Butter Pecan Granola.



About Panera Bread

As of April 30, 2014, there are 1,800 bakery-cafes in 45 states and in Ontario, Canada operating under the Panera Bread®, Saint Louis Bread Co.® or Paradise Bakery & Cafe® names. This includes 881 Company-owned bakery-cafes and 919 Franchise-operated bakery-cafes.

We feature high quality, reasonably priced food in a warm, inviting and comfortable environment. With our identity rooted in handcrafted, fresh-baked, artisan bread, we are committed to providing great tasting, quality food that people can trust. Nearly all of our bakery-cafes have a menu highlighted by chicken raised without antibiotics, whole grain bread, and select organic and all-natural ingredients, with zero grams of artificial trans-fat per serving, which provide flavorful, wholesome offerings. Our menu includes a wide variety of year-round favorites complemented by new items introduced seasonally with the goal of creating new standards in everyday food choices. In neighborhoods across the United States and in Ontario, Canada, our customers enjoy our warm and welcoming environment featuring comfortable gathering areas, relaxing decor and free Internet access. Our bakery-cafes routinely donate bread and baked goods to community organizations in need. Additional information is available on our website,

Self Disclosure: No compensation received to post. Photo Credit: Panera Bread.


It’s WordGirl Appreciation Week June 2-6 on PBS KIDS!

Two, four, six, eight, who do kids and families nationwide appreciate? WordGirl! So it’s only fitting that the extra-specialWordGirl Word of the Month for May is…“Appreciate”! Better yet, this month marks the lead up to a whole week of new action- and vocabulary-packed episodes set to premiere in early June!

From June 2-6, it’s “WordGirl Appreciation Week” on PBS KIDS (check local listings), featuring five all-new episodes of the three-time Emmy Award-winning show for the school-age set from Scholastic Media! Young viewers will join WordGirl, Captain Huggy Face and friends on exciting adventures around town as they fight crime and protect the innocent – correcting poor grammar wherever they spot it and introducing key vocabulary words all along the way.

Inspired by May’s Word of the Month and the upcoming week of new WordGirl episodes in June, below are some tips to help you teach your kids how to show their appreciation.


Manners matter! – Even a small gesture of gratefulness can really make a person’s day, whether it’s saying “thanks” or giving a heartfelt compliment. Have your child send a “thank you” note to show their appreciation for someone special. “Thank you” cards don’t just have to be for receiving gifts!


Adopt an attitude of gratitude! – Encourage your child to take the time to recognize what they appreciate by making a list of all the things and people they’re thankful for. Have them try adding something new to the list each week. Then, kick the gratitude up a notch by encouraging them to do a good deed every day such as walking a neighbor’s dog, offering up their seat on the bus or train or simply holding the door open for someone.


Commit to giving back! – Make giving back to your community a frequent habit for your family. Volunteering is a great way to show you care, as is giving to a local charity. Engage your child in gathering up their old clothes, books and toys to donate. It will go a long way toward assisting others, while also helping your child learn to appreciate all that they have!

Hand over responsibility!
 – Show your child what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes for a while. Try roleplaying and let your child be the “mom” or “dad” for the day, assisting with some of your responsibilities. It’s a great way to help them develop a deeper appreciation for all that moms and dads do for the family each day!

And don’t forget to tune-in to “WordGirl Appreciation Week” together, June 2-6 on PBS KIDS!

For more on WordGirl:





Self Disclosure: No compensation received. PBS Kids: photo/post credit.

Island Packers Cruises Invites Nature-Lovers To Venture Offshore On Special Trips Departing May Through October

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Popular Ventura transporter announces upcoming special excursions

including Cueva Valdez Cove, Pelagic Birding and Whale Watching 

Since 1968, Island Packer Cruises has provided Southern California locals and visitors with steadfast, enjoyable transportation between the Ventura/Oxnard Harbors and the Channel Islands National Park & Marine Sanctuary. Over the years, Island Packers has grown and so have its vessels – now larger, faster and more comfortable than ever before.  On every voyage, the Island Packer’s crew imparts exploration, education, recreation and research for those who are interested in discovering the exciting variety of the Channel Islands National Park and its surrounding waters.  Special trips for 2014 include:


Blue & Humpback Whale Watching Cruise

Boats depart, May through mid-September on various dates, from Ventura Harbor for all day whale watching trips in the waters of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.  Sightings of Humpback whales and the endangered Blue whale can be seen as they feed on swarms of krill.   Concentrated feeding grounds tend to be located near the western end of the northern Channel Islands making the journey over 2-3 hours, however, the trip over often passes the west end of Santa Cruz Island, where one of the world’s largest sea caves, Painted Cave, is located.  With weather and sea conditions permitting, guests may have an opportunity to see one of the geological wonders of the Channel Islands National Park up-close.


Time: 9:30 a.m. departure and 4:30 p.m. return

Cost: $79 per adult; $72 per seniors (55+); $59 per child (12 & under)

Dates:  Selected weekdays and weekend departures – May through September.  Please visit the Island Packers Website for exact dates.


Cueva Valdez

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to visit Cueva Valdez, the beautiful cove on Nature Conservancy property on the west end of Santa Cruz Island.  The trip will begin with a narrated cruise, approximately one and half hours, exploring the many coves, caves and arches along the rugged coast.  If weather permits, attendees will get a close look at one of the worlds largest sea caves, the Painted Cave.   Frequent wildlife in the area to be on the lookout for include Bald Eagles, seals, sea lions and Risso dolphins.


After arriving at the Nature Conservancy property, attendees will transfer onto a small shore boat for a trip through a sea cave that opens to the beach of Cueva Valdez.  The Island Packer naturalist will lead an exploration of the shoreline, explaining the geology, natural and human history of the area and will identify the large variety of plants.  Guests will have a couple of hours ashore before the trip back across the channel.  The course back to Ventura will cruise through some of the best marine wildlife viewing areas, so sightseers are encouraged to bring their cameras.


Time:  9:00 a.m. departure and 5:30 p.m. return

Cost:  $65 per adult; $60 per senior (55+); $45 per child (12 & under)

Dates:  Saturday, June 21 and Sunday, October 26

Pelagic Birding Excursions


Date:  Sunday July 13

Time:  7 a.m. departure and 7 p.m. return

Cost:   $ 195 per person


The 12 hour deep water pelagic trip will be a chance to get far offshore to see which seabirds and marine mammals are moving through the area.  Island Packers will cruise south from Ventura into the outer waters near San Nicolas Island, the banks, knolls, canyons and other proactive areas for bird sightings.



Date:  Thursday, August 21 

Time: 8:00 a.m. departure and 5:00 p.m. return

Cost:  $125 per person


Cruise far offshore, approximately 55-60 miles, in search of rare and special birds of Southern California.  Island Packers will take a small group of campers ashore on Santa Barbara Island then circumnavigate the entire island looking for specialty birds.  The cruise will also tour the back shore of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island.  The stretch of ocean between Santa Barbara Island and Anacapa Island is typically an excellent place to search for Ashy, Black, and possibly Least Storm Petrels.  Other common sightings that guests could encounter while aboard are terns, shearwaters, murrelets, jaegers and many more.


Outstanding seabird leaders will be on board the two trips.  It is suggested that passengers pack food for the day or they can purchase food aboard the vessel in the snack bar.  Cameras, a warm coat and dressing in layers is recommended.   Advance reservations are encouraged and can be arranged online or by phone.


For schedules, directions, tickets and more information, visit, or call (805) 642-1393.Excursions prices range from $36 per adult for an island wildlife cruise (no landing); $59 up to $105 landing on one of the five of the Channel Islands for a day trip; Whale Watching trips are $36 per adult for the Gray whale watching, and $79 per adult for the Blue and Humpback whale watching.   Island Packers also offers various camping trips.


Sweeten Your Summer With ‘Lemonade Stand Activity Kit’ From Toymaker, Bizainy™


Have A Blast While Building Financial Habits for Life!


Available Now for Peak Lemonade Season!

Hey Kids! Let’s hold a Lemonade Stand!  Nothing says summer like a fresh, ice-cold cup of lemonade bought at the neighborhood child-run lemonade stand.  Giving your children such a cherished memory is easier than ever thanks to the new Lemonade Stand Activity Kit from Bizainy, maker of hands-on fun educational toys to help kids and teens gain business and money management skills to thrive.

Retailing for $29.99 SRP, the easy-to-follow Lemonade Stand Activity Kit includes essentials for your child’s hands-on fun, like “Fresh and Delicious Lemonade” banners, decorate-your-own money box, sales pad, decorate-your-own-price sign and a 20-page book with marketing plan, budget, sales strategies, recipes and more! (Ages 5-105, adult supervision required).  There’s whimsical play and practical experiences to begin a dialogue about business life skills and healthy financial habits.

We received the Lemonade Stand Activity Kit and just love it! We can’t wait until this summer to try it out! I love that it includes everything you need even Lemonade Recipes!  I have to admit we have thought about doing a Lemonade Stand in the past but well, it seemed slightly overwhelming! This Kit makes it simple and fun!


Bizainy Activity Kits, which also include the Babysitting Start-Up and the Charity Bake Sale, are perfect for gift-giving and family bonding.  Bizainy Activity Kits encourage practical business experience, creativity and fun with critical thinking, quality family time, and opportunities for community interaction – all while building a foundation for entrepreneurship.


Marketing Executive Carolyn Stone Enenstein, founder and CEO of Bizainy™, and mom of two, created the company to empower kids to learn about business and money management using hands-on fun experiences. “My goal with Bizainy is to encourage kids to enjoy ridiculously fun experiences that can help build core life skills all children need to become thriving young adults.”

With Bizainy, kids get ready to make memories, develop savvy business sense and become equipped today with responsible financial habits for life!


Bizainy plans additional Activity Kits for fall 2014.  To purchase Bizainy Activity Kits or for more information, please visit



Self Disclosure: I received a free product to facilitate this feature.

Scholastic Media’s The Baby-Sitters Club Launches on iTunes!


Scholastic Media’s fan-favorite The Baby-Sitters Club has just arrived on iTunes for the very first time: All 13 episodes are now available for fans to enjoy any time they want! 

To celebrate the release, Scholastic Media, the award-winning producer of the series, is also offering fans a free episode download of “Claudia and The Mystery of the Secret Passage.”  The free download will be available from 5/19/14 – 6/16/14.


Inspired by the popular book series by Ann M. Martin, The Baby-Sitters Club follows seven best friends as they run a highly-organized baby-sitting service while experiencing universal tween and teen challenges in the small, fictional town of Stoneybrook, Connecticut.

The Baby-Sitters Club is the latest Scholastic Media TV classic to launch on iTunes.  Its popular series Clifford the Big Red Dog and Goosebumps also are newly available for download.

Self Disclosure: No compensation has been received to feature.

NogginStik Developmental Rattle Jumpstarts Infant Learning


SmartNoggin is pleased to introduce our first product, the NogginStik Developmental light-up rattle.  The purpose of the NogginStik and the reason it was created was to help parents begin to develop visual tracking skills (following a brightly colored object with their eyes) in their infants, beginning at birth.  Most parents are not  aware that this is a crucial milestone for children birth to age 12 months.  The NogginStik lights up to help encourage this tracking milestone, which starts to build the eye muscle control that is essential later on for following print on the page. The parent guide walks parents through this activity.  Visual tracking is a baby’s VERY FIRST READING LESSON.  The NogginStik also helps encourage grasping and reaching, tummy time, auditory skills and attention.


The NogginStik it safe to shake and mouth and grasp like any other rattle, but encouraging parents to interact and develop their child’s milestones from birth is the mission of SmartNoggin Toys. We received one to try out and I have to say I am impressed! I don’t have a little one in the house but I do know this is a Must-Have for new parents and baby!  I had a friend try it out and it is now one of their favorite toys. It really has many developmental benefits for babies. It is not often that one simple toy can help cognitive, emotional, social and physical development. What I also like is that it comes with an Activity Guide to expand play. It is also durable, lightweight, and easy to clean.

SmartNoggin red

To find out more, check out the website.

Self Disclosure: I received this product for free to facilitate this feature but opinions expressed are honest and truthful.