Archives for August 28, 2015

Spokester – Make Your Kid’s Bike Sound Like a Motorcycle! Kids will love this!

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Spokester is a fun toy to entice kids to play outside and a  turned safety device for Boeing!

Do you remember as a kid, riding your bike and pretending it was a motorcycle? Okay..maybe not. But, I did have brothers and I do remember them doing this and I have to admit, I had to try it and it was kind of cool.

Spokester is the perfect toy. It’s simple, inexpensive, and durable. It promotes exercise and cultivates imagination by continuing the timeless tradition that many kids have shared: pretending bikes are motorcycles. Boeing however is using it as a warning system to prevent accidents from happening when employees drive between hangars!

Spokester Bicycle Noisemakers is excited by this quirky usage of their toy, and have taken the opportunity to make a push for their Spokester online on Kickstarter.

I received a sample and had my younger nephew try it out and he loves it! It is basically an easy to snap on exhaust for your child’s bike.

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I like that it is super easy to install and my nephew loves that is actually sounds like a real motorcycle!

Check their kickstarter program out here.   But, hurry! It is wrapping up on Wednesday! So, pre-order on kickstarter today!

After Wednesday, you can still find them at http://spokester.com/

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. Photo Credit: Spokester.

 

PAWZ are a must-have for keeping your pup cooler during this heat wave!

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It’s really hot outside as we wrap up the last month of Summer! It’s not always easy to take the dog out in this heat. Sure! We take drinking water with us but what about his paws? The ground can get very hot! Pawz dog boots are also a must have on rainy days! I received a pair of these for our pup and I love that they are waterproof and are also great for when the ground is hot! They are made of natural rubber and are 100% biodegradable. They are designed to go on easily and fit securely without zippers or straps.

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What is also really cool is that they come in a package of 12 and they are also reusable!

You can find them at some retailers but to find out more information, go to the website.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post.  Photo Credit: Pawz.

Gimbal’s Fine Candies Announces 2015 Back to School Sweepstakes Entrants are eligible to win a Gimbal’s Party Trunk for their classroom

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Gimbal’s Fine Candies today announces the official kick off of its annual Back to School Sweepstakes. The lucky winner of this year’s sweepstakes will win a Gimbal’s Party Trunk filled to the brim with Gimbal’s candies and party supplies to use in a classroom celebration. The sweepstakes will take place August 17ththrough September 30th, and anyone who enters will automatically receive 10 percent off their next online purchase.

 

“The team at Gimbal’s believes that life is full of reasons to celebrate, and we are excited to help students kick off a successful school year,” said Karin Vollrath, sales and marketing director at Gimbal’s Fine Candies. “The Gimbal’s Party Trunk is packed full of our delicious allergen-free candies, decorations and other great items perfect for hosting a ‘sweet’ classroom celebration.”

 

Gimbal’s Gourmet Jelly Beans are free of major allergens including gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, soy and egg, making them a safe treat for everyone in the classroom to enjoy. The candies are also made with real fruit juice and each package features a variety of 41 delicious, unique flavors.

 

To enter, visit https://www.facebook.com/gimbalscandy and share in 50 words or less why your classroom should win the Party Trunk.

I received a few samples of Gimbal’s and my son and I love them! My favorite is the Gourmet Jelly Beans! So, don’t miss this giveaway!

About Gimbal’s Fine Candies

 

Gimbal’s Fine Candies was founded in 1898 in downtown San Francisco. The company survived the 1906 earthquake and resulting fires. Four generations later, all of the staff at Gimbal’s remains just as passionate about confections as it was over 100 years ago. From old-time favorites to innovative new candies, everything Gimbal’s creates is made with pride in the USA.

 

For additional information on Gimbal’s Fine Candies, visit www.gimbalscandy.com

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received and this giveaway is not affiliated with SoCal City Kids.

Celebrate National Coffee Month with Egoiste Cafe!

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It’s National Coffee Month!

Looking for a new and fresh coffee to try? I received a sample of Egoiste Cafe Instant Coffee and loved the smooth taste! I usually am not a big fan of instant coffee but I was pleasantly surprised by this instant coffee. It’s a blend of highland and lowland Kenyan Arabica and it has a  rich flavor.You can purchase here. It also comes in ground and whole bean.

 

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About Egoiste:

Based in Florida, Coffee Globe is the U.S. headquarters for the brand Egoiste. Egoiste is produced in Europe at the most modern plants of Switzerland and Germany. This product guarantees high quality and all the production steps, from the beans roasting up to the packaging, take place at the same factory.

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post.

Rubba Ducks are no ordinary Ducks!

 

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I love Disney! I guess that really isn’t a big secret!  I was quite interested in finding out about something happening at the Boathouse Restaurant in Disney Springs! There are new ducks swimming around there and it’s not Donald! In a move that would make Disney’s famous duck proud, Rubba Ducks®, the premiere rubber duck toys with personality, has aligned with The Boathouse in Disney Springs in an exclusive deal that makes Rubba Ducks® the ONLY non-Disney item in the Boathouse gift shop

The ducks are super cute and lots of fun to collect and give as gifts. They were founded in 1997, and was the first company to bring character rubber ducks to life. What’s special about these ducks is that they are uniquely designed to communicate their individual personality and characters. While there are the traditional-themed ducks dressed as police, firemen, sports and animals, these ducks go a step further in incorporating specialized hobbies and interests like a train con’duck’tor, a marathon runner duck,  a ‘groovee’ duck, and even a duck who loves a good cappuccino, among many, many others.

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I have to admit when I heard about the possibility of reviewing a Rubba Duck..I was just thinking I would be receiving a common, every day rubber duck. You know! The yellow ones that most of our younger kids play with in the bath. Well..I was more than pleasantly surprised! Rubba Ducks are no ordinary rubber ducks! The Rubba Ducks are the only Non-Disney Toy item from the Boathouse and they are quite special! 

I received two adorable Rubba Ducks, each with their own unique style! Meet Crystal and Digger!

Crystal    Digger

I love both of these Rubba Ducks! My favorite is Crystal! She is one fancy duck! She hatched on November 3rd. I love how this one is prismatic and sunlight can turn it into a rainbow! Both ducks are very detailed and each of the Rubba Ducks® is adorned with a tattoo on its tail feathers reflecting its unique personality, and their own hatch date and engaging bio found on their trading cards. Another great thing about Rubba Ducks is that they really are for all ages from children to adults! There is one for everyone! I gave Digger to a child friend of mine and he takes it with him everywhere he goes. 

Two really cool facts about the Rubba Ducks are that they float upright and all the time! No more rubber ducks falling over! Now, how cool is that!? Rubba Ducks are designed with weights at the bottom so they will always float upright! Try it in your own sink/bathtub/pool!

Another cool fact is about The ‘Hole’ Story. Most rubber ducks have a hole in the bottom which, when used in the bathtub can retain mold. Not Rubba Ducks! There is no hole in the bottom so NO MOLD! This fact is one I really like. I can’t even count how many rubber ducks I have had to throw away in the past because of mold.

Check out Rubba Ducks! You will be quite pleased!

Web: http://www.rubbaducks.net/
Facebook: RubbaDucks
Instagram: @rubbaducksworld
Twitter: @rubbaducks
pinterest: @rubbaducks
YouTube: @rubbaducks

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! One winner will win their own surprise Rubba Duck! To enter check out their website (link is above!) and leave a comment below telling us which duck is your favorite! Can’t choose! Tell us a cool fact you found out on the website! Deadline to enter is September 6th, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected via Random.org. 

Self Disclosure: I received two free Rubba Ducks to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. Rubba Ducks will be sending out the prize to our winner. Photo Credit: Rubba Duck.

Aftermath Lounge: A Novel in Stories (Calypso Editions)

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This is a collection of ten interwoven stories that follow the people of Gulf Coast Mississippi in the five years following Katrina. The Author received a National Endowment for the Arts to complete it and bases the novel loosely on her family’s historic home in Pass Christian, MS. “It manages to make you laugh and weep, and see what happened to people and places when the reporters and camera crews went away. ” –Rheta Johnson, King Features.

I received a copy of this book to participate in a blog tour and I truly enjoyed reading the stories. They are really quite heartwarming.They did make me tear up but they also made me happy. It truly is a must-read.

Here are Q & A with the Author:

Aftermath Lounge

 

1.Aftermath Lounge honors the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Can you tell us about your experience during those days when the storm hit?

 

Shortly after the storm hit, my husband and I drove down from Evansville, Indiana to Pass Christian, Mississippi. We saw aerial footage of the town and we could see that the roof on my parents’ house was mostly intact – that’s all we could see. We brought water and a lot of supplies to donate. There was a gas shortage then, and limited cell phone coverage. The closer we came to the town, the more it became like a war zone. The National Guard was there to keep people away, but we got through, thanks to a relative.

 

The night before we left, my mother told us to forget about everything else — all she really wanted was the painting of her mother, which had been smuggled out of Vienna during WWII. We had house keys but there were no doors. When we got there, the house was gutted – the storm surge had essentially ripped through the house.

 

We put on rubber gloves and spent the day sifting through the debris, dragging out any salvageable pieces of furniture. The water had shoved through the closed shutters, plowed up under the foundation and tore open the back walls, bashing around the furniture, sinks, toilets, stoves, washers, driers.

We never did find the painting.

 

Elizabeth Bishop wrote a wonderful villanelle called “One Art.” She wrote about losing small items like keys and an hour badly spent, then she progresses to the greater losses — her mother’s watch, a house, cities, rivers, a continent, and finally, a loved one. “The art of losing isn’t hard to master,” she starts. “So many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” I thought of that poem a lot.

 

2.Your family played a key role, helping Pass Christian rebuild. What were a few moments that influenced you during that time?                                                                                            

 

We saw so many people from all walks of life and they were suddenly homeless. My father organized financial donations. There were no fire trucks left after the storm, so he made sure Pass Christian got a fire truck. We were always big supporters of the library too. The Pass Christian Policemen had stayed during the storm to make sure everyone was safe. They had tried to stay safe in the library, but then when the water rose, they had to shoot out the windows to swim away to safety. I used that information in the title story of Aftermath Lounge. These men were real heroes.

 

3.Did you know from the moment the storm hit that someday you would write a novel about it? Or did a later experience give you the idea? If so, what was it?

At first I just witnessed. I think that’s what writers do mostly. We witness. Then the material lets us know what it wants to become. I just took notes. Later stories started taking shape and they were all in different voices. It was the only way I could work at this material.

 

4.Part of your inspiration for the novel came from your family’s beautiful mansion. How did your own experiences in that house shape each of the stories you wrote?

Well, it’s hardly a mansion, but I was surprised to discover just how much a house could mean. Everyone always says it’s just stuff, but there were so many collective memories there. When we stood and looked at everything so undone, it felt like our times spent there were gone too.

 

Katrina had such a huge impact on the coast, on my family, and on me. I am always telling my students to write what they most care about, to write what keeps them up at night. I had to write about Katrina. I had written about the Civil War, Reconstruction and WWII, so I saw Katrina as an historical event. I treated the hurricane more as setting. It’s in the background. The human drama is in the forefront. I’m always interested in what people do or don’t do in the face of real catastrophe. I didn’t want to write from one point of view either. I wanted to give voice to a variety of people because Katrina affected everyone.

 

 

5.What was your writing process like for this novel? Did you know from the start it would be a novel in stories? Or did that become apparent only after you began writing?

 

There were so many news stories coming out at the time. I write nonfiction, but I couldn’t get my thoughts together. I couldn’t make sense of anything. Out of habit, I took a lot of notes. I could only deal with writing about all that was happening a little bit at a time. And my own personal story just wasn’t that interesting.

 

I personally witnessed and experienced the best in human nature. People and communities came together and helped one another in the most meaningful way. They endured with a great deal of kindness and grace. So I chipped away at the material. I wanted to tell a community’s story.

 

About the Author:

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MARGARET MCMULLAN is the author of six award-winning novels including In My Mother’s House (St. Martin’s Press), Sources of Light(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Cashay (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), When I Crossed No-Bob (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), and How I Found the Strong (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Ploughshares, Southern Accents, TriQuarterly, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Sun, and many other publications. She received an NEA Fellowship in literature for Aftermath Lounge and a Fulbright award to teach at the University of Pécs in Pécs, Hungary, for her upcoming non-fiction work, Where the Angels Live. Her anthology of essays by 25 well-known female authors writing about their fathers, Every Father’s Daughter (McPherson & Company), is also available in Spring 2015. She currently holds the Melvin Peterson Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at the University of Evansville in Indiana.

Self Disclosure:I received a copy of this book to participate in this blog tour. Q&A and photos and press info were provided.

 

Send Your Freshman Off Right this school year! Introducing GlobeIn's August Laundry Box

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Do you have a college student going away to college this year? This is a great gift suggestion!

GlobeIn-“globe in a box” is a monthly subscription of artisan made products from around the world, which additionally offers direct shopping to some of the finest hand-made Fair Trade products in all categories.

GlobeIn: August Subscription Box – Laundry. This month’s unique and one of a kind package is the perfect assortment of goodies to start your graduates first year of college off right. The process of doing laundry for the first time away from home can often be a daunting one for college freshmen. However, with GlobeIn’s Laundry box your collegiate can saunter gleefully, and functionally, to the laundromat, basement, riverbank, or wherever it is their laundry journey takes them. Not to mention – each purchase supports Fair Trade and helps these artisans create a sustainable business and income.

The box includes a curated selection of Laundry essentials, including​  Wool Dryer Balls, ($15, for a set of 3), created by the Altyn Kol Women’s Cooperative in Kyrgyzstan, where wool is a way of life. Many of the women began crafting with wool to make shyrdaks, a traditional felt carpet. GlobeIn decided to ​approach the cooperative with a new wool challenge—dryer balls, loved by many Westerners as an alternative to chemical-laden dryer sheets.  The women, most having never used a dryer before, marveled at the balls, and took great pride in the new crafting challenge.

I received a sample subscription box and I love how well these wool dryer balls work! Much easier than using fabric cling sheets!

To order you own, go to the website. You an subscribe to receive different boxes each month with  artisan-made products from around the world.

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post.

40 Summer Cocktails To Match Your Mood Perfect for the upcoming Labor Day weekend and to beat the heat!

Everyone deals differently with summer heat, but we all love a good cocktail to cool down. Whether you are a beach lover or couch potato (there’s something to be said for air conditioning), Pure Canada Maple has the perfect maple-infused cocktail for you. Find out your best boozy beverage match by playing this fun and interactive maple cocktail game from our friends up North, and you’ll be paired with one of 40 refreshing cocktails.

Something for everyone, some tasty examples include:

  • For the Lazy Day Lover: Maple Ice Tea
  • For the BBQ Connoisseur: Maple Margarita
  • For the Pool Queen: Maple Blue Devil
  • For the Music Festival Fanatic: Maple Sweet Basil
  • For the Outdoor Enthusiast: Maple Energy Drink with Maple Water

I received samples of the Pure Canada Maple syrup and I did try the Maple Margarita..it was delicious! I really never thought about trying Maple syrup in a drink before and was pleasantly surprised. My son also loved trying Pure Canada Maple out with pancakes. This was also a big hit! Below is the Maple Margarita recipe and another one to try!

 

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Enjoy the rest of Summer! It’s almost gone!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of Pure Canada Maple to facilitate this post.