It’s Spring! Time for the Spring Baby Round up!

Edushape’s Ladybug Sorter is equally comfortable in or out of the bath or pool and can also be used on the floor, table or desk.  The Edu-Foam lily pad bottom makes the Ladybug float, and the six opening and shapes are perfect for sorting and fun learning.  Encourages small and gross motor skills; logic & reasoning; hand eye coordination and visual sensory development.
Edushape is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year while continuing to create toys that will educate, inspire and entertain generations of children to come.  Edushape remains true to its mission of viewing the world through a child’s eye.  I love that this one can also be used in the bath! You can find it here!
Also, find Edushape on Facebook! 
These next books are a must for your in-home library for your young children!

One year ago, a revolutionary series of #STEM books for kids was launched. The first Baby University books – Quantum Physics for BabiesRocket Science for BabiesABCs of MathematicsABCs of ScienceGoodnight Lab, and others – have gone on to sell 430,000 copies!

Chris Ferrie, the author of the series, is an award-wining physicist with a PhD in Applied Mathematics. He is also the father of four budding young scientists. Chris originally wrote and self-published Quantum Physics for Babies and Rocket Science for Babies as a way to each his children science and technology concepts early. Ferrie believes introducing babies & toddlers to math and science promotes literacy in these subjects when they encounter them in school.

Now, they have expanded the series! They have collaborated with other experts in science and technology, and covering even more complex subjects, such as Quantum Computing for Babies, with co-author William Hurley! More commonly known as whurley, he is an American entrepreneur and quantum computing rock star (he gave a keynote last week at SXSW on ‘The Endless Impossibilities of Quantum Computing’).

I love these books and highly recommend!

Find them here! 

This next product is something I haven’t seen before!

Inspired by Dr. May Loo’s experience as both a respected clinician, Chinese medicine expert and a mother, Dr. Loo’s Harmony Patchesbring innovation to the infant and child health category. Containing effective USDA certified organic ingredients (ginger, fennel and chamomile) that are safe even for the youngest members of the family, Harmony Patches deliver fast relief for specific symptoms when placed on strategic areas of the skin. And because the water-based adhesive used has no silicone, latex, acrylic, or rubber, Harmony Patches are very gentle and won’t irritate delicate baby skin.

The Harmony Patches contain effective USDA certified organic ingredients (ginger, fennel and chamomile) that are safe and effective, Harmony Patches deliver fast relief for specific symptoms when placed on strategic areas of the skin. And because the water-based adhesive used has no silicone, latex, acrylic, or rubber, Harmony Patches are very gentle and won’t irritate skin.

Compared to other topical remedies like oils and creams, Harmony Patches are

  • Not messy; do not leave residue or stains on skin or clothing
  • Easily applied and painlessly removed without leaving residue on the skin (even after hours of wear)
 They can be found on Amazon! 
This next one is another great one for the Bath!
 The Submarine Spray Station from Yookidoo! 
This one is a battery operated submarine with a water circulation pumping system that draws water from the tub and recycles a safe stream of water without wasting water from the tap. The water streams through the diver shower and is designed for easy grip and activation by small hands. I love how this one encourages independent play and exploration.
You can find on Amazon.com. 
Looking for new curtains for your little one’s room? Check out the Eclipse’s kids curtains! These aren’t your average curtains! 
    
The panels, made exclusively for kids, incorporate tons of different prints/styles/lengths and colors, and with their blackout and noise reducing capabilities, they might even keep the kiddos sleeping through the night (and not awake at the crack of dawn). Now, how cool is that?! The styles are sooo cute too!

Field Day Thermaback Blackout Curtains ($5.79-$8.09)
Jungle Party Thermaback Blackout Curtains ($12.19)
Pretty Princess Thermaback Blackout Curtains ($14.24)

Available at Target.com

MyScene Set Sail Thermaback Blackout Curtain ($20.99-23.99)
MyScene Tiny Bella Thermaback Blackout Curtain ($20.99-23.99))
Available at Kohl’s.com

Have a new baby in the house?

This one is a must-buy!

Adaptive Sound Technologies Inc., makers of the popular LectroFan, recently launched their latest product, the LectroFan Kinder. LectroFan Kinder is a plug-in night light that provides non-looping, soothing sounds to mask noise disturbances to create a comforting sleep environment for newborns and young children. With its iOS and Android companion sleep app, users can choose from 75 noise and lullaby options.

You can find on Amazon!

Going on a road trip this Spring? These products from diono are a must!

  • diono stow ‘n go keeps everything organized and easy to find when you need it. Our seatback organizer does it all with seven full sized pockets and two drink holders in a washable, waterproof fabric. The top fastens around any headrest while the bottom fastens around the seat for a secure fit. Folds for easy storage in seat back pocket when not in use.
  • diono travel pal is designed to keep books and toys neat and organized. It has a deep cargo bin for toys and lots of pockets for smaller things, too. It also has insulated drink holders and the entire cargo area is waterproof – just in case. Travel Pal fits between two child car seats and it’s big enough to hold everything for both children.
  • diono stuff ‘n scruff – Features washable, waterproof fabric to keep mud and dirt off the back of your vehicle’s seat. The pop open design maintains its shape providing full seat protection. The large cargo pocket holds everything. Fastens easily around any headrest and the adjustable lower tab secures it in place. Folds for easy storage in seat back pocket.
  • diono pop up trash bin – This collapsible storage bin pops open when needed for those extra toys or for trash. The drawstring top keeps items secure. Water resistant fabric. Collapses flat for storage and travel. 7″ W x 8″ H. Takes Bag It disposable trash bags (not included).

My favorite is the diono stow ‘n go! I think this one is a must for any one with young children!

This is a wonderful one for new Moms!

Founder Jamie Yetter, herself a mother of four, faced a common fear that many women have while nursing in public; the fear of being exposed!  This fear often kept her and other nursing mothers searching for a hidden place somewhere. Sometimes, it was impossible to nurse at all.  In researching available nursing cover options on the market, Yetter found none of these options offered the security of optimal privacy.  She designed a nursing cover that would not only offer all over coverage but would also allow for the cover to conveniently convert for use as a scarf, car seat cover and shopping cart cover.  Moms can truly nurse anytime, anywhere!  There is no more fear of being exposed with Covered Goods.

Covered Goods nursing covers allow for mom and baby to nurse comfortably.  The high quality covers are made from an ultra-comfy breathable lightweight and stretchy fabric.  There are no straps, rings, or cords to mess with.  The covers take seconds to put on and take off, and alleviate any worry that baby will kick or pull mom’s cover off.  The flexible neck is also designed to be able to be worn down under one arm to give mom even more freedom when nursing.  An added benefit of the flexible neck allows mom to peek in on baby or to make sure her little one has latched properly.  Covered Goods nursing covers can be folded compactly for storage and they are ideal for traveling with baby.

Covered Goods covers are available online at www.coveredgoods.com and at specialty boutiques and stores across North America.  Recommended retail: $34.99.

About Covered Goods™

San Clemente, CA-based Covered Goods was founded in 2012 by mom Jamie Yetter.  The original multi-use nursing cover, Covered Goods covers provide true all over coverage and can also be used as a scarf, car seat cover and shopping cart cover.  Covered Goods covers are manufactured in the USA.  For more information visit www.coveredgoods.com.

Follow Covered Goods:

MAM Perfect Night (glow in the dark) pacifiers are a must this Spring!

MAM, a leading designer brand of award-winning, medically sound and innovative baby products introduces the MAM Perfect Pacifier, which has been clinically proven to support healthy jaw and tooth development. The MAM Perfect Night, a glow in the dark pacifier is also offered.

The MAM Perfect comes in a convenient storage case that allows the pacifier to be quickly sterilized in a microwave, reassuring parents of the health protection for their children. An easy hold button is also featured on the pacifier making it simple for baby to grab and easy for parents to attach to a pacifier clip. It’s curved shield, big air holes and innovative inside surface comforts baby and helps to prevent skin irritation.

Offered in a range of designs featuring cute and whimsical animals and cheerful stars and moons for babies of all ages (0-6 months and 6+ months), the MAM Perfect and MAM Perfect Night are available at Babies “R” Us and Amazon. The pacifiers are sold in a single pack at a recommended retail pricing of $5.49 and in a two-pack with a recommended retail of $8.99.

About MAM – standard setting baby products 

MAM combines technological innovation, medical function and contemporary design to develop superior baby care products that support a baby’s development from day one. Since MAM developed its first pacifier in Vienna in 1976, it has evolved to become a global authority on baby care product design and quality. Today MAM products are used by families in over 60 countries and on six continents. To find out more and view MAM’s baby care range of award-winning pacifiers, bottles, cups, teethers, oral care items, coordinating accessories and gift sets visit www.mambaby.com.

 

Follow MAM

Facebook: facebook.com/MAMbabyUSA

Twitter: @MAMBABY

Pinterest: Pinterest.com/MAMUSA

Instagram: mam_usa

Warmer weather this season means that Babo Botanicals clear zinc sunscreen spf 30 is a must! 

Help prevent sunburn with Babo Botanicals SPF 30 clear zinc sunscreen. Our formula is non-nano, contains high UVB/UVA protection and, as always, is all natural and kid-safe.Contains 19.0% Zinc, the most effective and safest sunscreen ingredient, and skin-soothing certified organic oils. This hypo-allergenic clear zinc sunscreen is non-greasy and doesn’t run in eyes. I love this one! It really works great! Babo Botanicals sunscreen products are reef safe and free of oxybenzone and octinoxate.

https://www.facebook.com/babobotanicals

https://www.instagram.com/babobotanicals

https://twitter.com/babobotanicals

The b.box Snack Pack is just perfect for Spring Picnics and travel this Spring! 

Australia based b.box was founded in 2007 by Dannielle Michaels and Monique Filer.  b.box products are fun and functional to make parent’s lives that little bit easier with a touch of cool thrown in.  The award-winning b.box collection of innovative designed everyday baby essentials includes the Travel Drying Rack, Sippy Cups, Diaper Wallet, Baby Bottle + Dispenser, Diaper Caddy, bibs, Snack Pack, Mesh Feeder, Baby Spoon, Bowl + Straw, Toddler Cutlery Set and Divided Plates.  For more information visit www.bboxbaby.com. The Snack Pack is just perfect for toddlers!

Look for them online!

Facebook/bboxforkids

Twitter/bboxforkids

Pinterest/bboxforkids

Instagram.com/bboxforkids

Happy Spring! Stay tuned for upcoming Summer Baby round up in June!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. Images were also provided.

 

 

 

 

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Applejack – Wonderfully animated, delightful stories, great lessons!

Think work on the farm is easy? Then you don’t know jack – Applejack, that is! Honesty, patience and friendships are tested in a new collection of adventures featuring every pony’s favorite four-hooved apple lover! Join Applejack and her very best pals – Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy and Spike – as they experience the power and magic of true friendship. Bonus Feature: sing-along. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “Even though these episodes are clearly for younger kids, I can’t deny that I actually really like these episodes. I don’t think I’ll actually start watching the show, but this show can be enjoyed by the whole family because it is very entertaining.” Adult juror Kimberly M. adds, “I love the humor in these stories, the visual appeal, interesting storylines and great morals that children can easily pick up. The animation is big and colorful.” See their full reviews below.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Applejack

By Calista Bess, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Even though these episodes are clearly for younger kids, I can’t deny that I actually really like these episodes. I don’t think I’ll actually start watching the show, but this show can be enjoyed by the whole family because it is very entertaining.

This DVD is a collection of five shorts from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, with most of the episodes centered around the character, Applejack. She is an important character in every episode, even the ones that are not centered around her. I am aware that My Little Pony actually has some pretty interesting stories and can get pretty dark, but these episodes are filler. They do also reference major events in past episodes and one episode has two characters who appear to be recurring characters, so I really wouldn’t recommend this DVD as a way to fully understand what takes place on the show.

That being said, Applejack has a sweet southern accent, works on a farm and appears to epitomize honesty. I like that My Little Pony shows have a moral compass that teach positive lessons. This show should make lots of parents happy.  My Little Pony has a ton of effort and care put into each episode. I’m very impressed with this show. Often times in shows, filler episodes are boring and they make you wish you were watching a story driven episode. This isn’t the case with these stories!

Now, My Little Pony has some really interesting characters. I love character driven stories and that best describes this series. The main cast consists of six characters, or “The Mane 6” as they’re often referred to outside the show. By the way, it’s an amazing pun. I really like when shows have a large cast of recurring characters that really make their world feel real. It helps world-building, character dynamics and of course, I love talking about characters in media. As I mentioned, these episodes focus mainly on one character, Applejack, but sometimes the other members of The Mane 6 share the spotlight.  If you like Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Rarity, then you will love this series because they are highly featured. My main issue is that, ironically, my favorite member of The Mane 6, Fluttershy isn’t in any of these episodes. I know the episodes are about Applejack, but from what I’ve seen of recent My Little Pony, Fluttershy is the most under-developed of the group. So please, My Little Pony creators, show some love and character development to Fluttershy. I give this DVD 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 12. The DVD is available now, so look for it.

My Little Pony: Friendship and Magic: Applejack

By Kimberly Mullins, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror.

I found this DVD quite charming and filled with great lessons. Each episode in this collection is approximately 25 minutes in length. The storylines are very straightforward and the moral messages are charming and clear. They are very engaging for the target age. The characters draw you in with their multi-dimensional human personality traits. The language is quite suitable for the audience as well, although younger kids may not pick up every single word. The overall messages are what are important. Applejack, the main character, maintains an integrity even if others do something different. If she does something wrong, then she accepts the mistake as well as its consequences and, more importantly, apologizes. The other characters hold the same level of integrity as well. Questioning and probing are developed when certain problematic situations take place. An example is when a pair of scam artists dupe a crowd at a circus presentation into believing that a miracle product cures ills, Applejack instantly feels there is something fishy going on and is concerned when grandma pony purchases the elixir. In another episode, Applejack’s younger sisters and friends want to help build carts for a race, but the older sisters take over designing the carts. The race ends in a big crash, destroying the carts. The younger siblings assert that the holder ones took over their project and the resolution is for the younger ponies to rebuild their carts without interference from the older siblings. I love the humor in these stories, the visual appeal, interesting storylines and great morals that children can easily pick up. The animation is big and colorful. There are five episodes and bonus singalong. The messages address how to be a person of high character, getting along with others, owning up to mistakes and apologizing. I give this 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 through 9. Reviewed by Kimberly M., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Books of the Week of May 24th!

A new picture book about mindful breathing from Nick Ortner is a must-read for young children!

A wonderful read for the chaotic preschool classroom or after a busy day before bed, MY MAGIC BREATH helps children process their emotions and consciously breathe through the moment to help find calm. With a read-along-breathe-along element, this new release provides prompts to inspire conversation between parent and child about how they feel:

  • Are there too many thoughts running through your mind?
  • What happened today that made you smile?
  • Did something happen that made you feel sad or mad?

I really like how this teaches pre-schoolers to be calmer and it’s great for ages 4-8!

Nick Ortner is CEO of the Tapping Solution, LLC, a company with a mission to promote the natural healing method known as Emotional Freedom Techniques or “tapping” (a combination of Chinese healing practices). This is his second children’s book; his first was The Big Book of Hugs. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of The Tapping Solution, The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief, and the upcoming book The Tapping Solution for Manifesting Your Best Self. Nick lives in Newtown, CT, with his wife and daughter, June. You can find Nick at facebook.com/nortner.

Alison Taylor is an elementary school teacher and coauthor of The Big Book of Hugs. She writes to inspire young people, especially her beloved June and Harris, to find what makes them happy. She lives in Connecticut with her husband.

Michelle Polizzi is an illustrator and designer living and working in California. This is her second book working alongside Nick Ortner and Alison Taylor. She lives in the East Bay with her sons, Rowan and River, her husband, Nick, and their beloved Frenchie, Oscar, where they spend their days creating and inspiring one another. You can see more of her work at designbylovelyday.com.

Are you looking forward to the Royal Wedding? 

I love these book choices!

My favorite is the Harry and Meghan Paperdolls!

Commemorate the wedding of the year with paper dolls of the royal couple! The world will be watching when Prince Harry of Wales and Meghan Markle wed in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle — and you can relive the events leading up to the big day with this fabulous paper doll collectible. Dress the royal couple in the outfits they wore to their engagement announcement or choose from Harry’s Invictus Games T-shirt, Meghan’s ensemble for her first official duty, and more. Includes two dolls and 14 costumes.

Price: $9.99

Who Am I? by Steve Simpson is a great one for Teenagers!

Nationally recognized and award-winning, Simpson is a child advocate, child abuse survivor and media commentator who  released The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook — a small guide that is modestly tucked inside in all four of his YA adventure novels which covers most of the topics plaguing young people today—suicide, bullying, sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, self-worth, being the child of an addict, living in a dysfunctional home, surviving school and more. This is a way for children and teens to seek help in a private way.

I think this is a must-read for all teens! It may be helpful for adults to read too!

I’m always stressed about what grade I’m going to get on my next test. There always seems to be a hassle with at least one teacher. There is constantly drama with some other student and half of the time I don’t even know why. I’m tired when I wake up in the morning and I dread going. I can’t stand half the kids and don’t even like the building. The only thing worse than going to school and dealing with all of this is not going to school and dealing with the abuse and drama in my house! I never look forward to holidays and the summer is like one big holiday. More time home, more time with my abusive parent, more chances of at least getting verbally abused if not worse. And for some reason my non-abusive co-dependent parent thinks its okay to tell me about all the problems and worries, not to mention the horrible things that might happen to us. I wish I could just go into suspended animation for the summer until the new school year starts or just plain get off of this world!

These are some of the thoughts that many young people who live in abusive or dysfunctional homes think this time of year. I was one of those abused children and these were my thoughts exactly with the love/hate relation of school. The end result almost equivocally ends with thoughts of suicide or running away, to which I tried both. This is why I have spent my adult life speaking and writing books on these topics. Even students who seem fine in school can return after the summer a different person, ready to give up after a long summer in an abusive or dysfunctional home.

Author Steve Simpson covers these and similar topics such as suicide, child abuse, being a child of an alcoholic, self-esteem, bullying and surviving the holidays in a dysfunctional home in The Teenage and Young Adult Survival Handbook which is found in all of Steve’s novels Who Am I?The World is WrongRunaway and Child’s Island.

Do you have a Baseball fan in the house?

Sports Illustrated Kids Books. THE BASEBALL FANBOOK  is such a fun little book that middle readers (& older) are going to be obsessed with, especially the MLB quizzes at the end of the book. I actually found the quizzes at the end quite fun! This book will be a hit for summer reading!
This is the next installment in the popular Fanbook series (The Football Fanbook, August 2017), and is chock-full of all the nerdy-cool insider knowledge that fans ready for next-level, in-depth stats need to know. Tailor-made for baseball fanatics who know the basics of the sport they love and are looking to become super fans, this new fanbook is filled with fun trivia, unique lingo, and illustrated behind-the-skills how-to’s. Chapters include Team Tidbits (facts about every MLB team), Think Like a Manager (essential strategies), He Reminds Me Of (comparing current plays to legendary greats), and much more!
I love this next fun series for young children! 
       

STICKY FACTS is an innovative, kid-friendly approach to beloved topics for ages 6 and up, featuring a cutting-edge sticker sheet design that allows for text and color images to appear underneath the sticker. This is such a fun way to learn new facts! I recommend for all younger children!

ABOUT THE BOOKS
The STICKY FACTS: WHAT WILL YOU FIND? series includes…

STICKY FACTS: ANIMALS— A veritable sticker field guide to the animal kingdom and the habitats they call home, readers will learn how to tell two zebras apart, what happens when a squirrel falls out of a tree, why meerkats stand up, and more

STICKY FACTS: CONSTRUCTION— Teaches readers about the powerful machines and massive monster-size trucks that encompass the world of construction. Learn where to find a construction elevator, where the “steam” in “steamroller” comes from, the body parts that most resemble stabilizers, and more

STICKY FACTS: NEW YORK—At once at once an interactive activity book and the ultimate interactive guide to the Big Apple, readers will learn whether Lady Liberty can dance, how many miles comprise the subway tracks, the number of art pieces housed within the famed MoMA, and more about the city so nice, they named it twice!

 Unlike average sticker books, each sticker page features questions with facts hidden underneath the relevant sticker. Once the sticker is peeled o­ff, the fascinating fact is revealed. Activity pages with corresponding prompts are featured next to the sticker pages for readers to use as fuel for sticker landscapes, adding hours of fun to the whole experience!

I love the Pout-Pout Fish series and love that this one addresses bullying!

THE POUT-POUT FISH AND THE BULLY-BULLY SHARK

Mr. Fish has always been a sensitive soul, and in this time he tackles his most challenging anxiety yet— a bully. Swim along with Mr. Fish as he teaches the bully shark about kindness and being a friend. I recommend this one for all pre-schoolers and young children because it teaches such an important lesson in a delightful way! I love the characters and the illustrations are amazing!

Rosemary Wells Launches New Preschool Picture Book Series!

I love this author and remember reading Max & Ruby books with my son when he was younger.

Picture book legend Rosemary Wells (creator of beloved characters Max and Ruby, Noisy Nora, Yoko, etc.), whose titles have sold in excess of five million copies worldwide, is launching a new preschool picture book series, KIT AND KABOODLE (Henry Holt and Co. BYR,  Ages 4-8) — sure to be an enduring classic!

With gentle messages of kindness and sharing, this story — starring a brother-and-sister twin cat duo, Kit and Kaboodle, and the mischievous mouse, Spinka — is a great entry point to talking about feelings and emotional intelligence in a preschool setting.

The characters are delightful and I absolutely love the colorful illustrations!

Do you have young children who love board books? Sesame Street 5 Little Rubber Duckies and 10, 9, 8…Owls Up Late Teach Little Ones to Count should be added to their home library!

These books are too cute and really fun to read! Sesame Street: 5 Little Rubber Duckies (Studio Fun; ISBN: 9780794441197; $11.99; 12 pgs) is perfect for pre-schoolers! What a fun way to learn to count from 1-5! Join Ernie and his friends on Sesame Street as they try to find five little rubber duckies in this fun, hands-on board book! With touch and trace elements perfect for little hands and plastic duckies to push and count along, this book is the perfect story time activity for early learners. Also available in Spanish (5 Patitos de Hule)!

In 10, 9, 8…Owls Up Late! (Silver Dolphin; ISBN: 9781684121847; $9.99; 26 pgs; Ages 3-5) ten little owls are playing in a tree, hopping and hooting happily. But Mama Owl calls from down in the nest, “It’s bedtime now; it’s time to rest.” Peek through the pages and spot the mischievous owls in this fun counting book, perfect for bedtime! Featuring fun rhyming text, funny illustrations and peek-through die-cut pages. I love the illustrations in this charming book!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to feature and only feature books that I highly recommend! Cover images were also provided. 

 

 

The Habit Burger Celebrates National Burger Month with Fundraiser for Military Programs For every Guacamole Crunch Charburger sold in May, The Habit will Donate 25-cents to Bob Hope USO and Wounded Warrior Project

America’s favorite food, the always fashionable, ever craveable burger, takes center stage in the month of May as The Habit Burger Grill celebrates National Burger Month and supports veterans. During the month of May, for every Guacamole Crunch Charburger sold, The Habit will donate 25-cents to be split between two important veterans charities, Bob Hope USO and the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

The new Guacamole Crunch Charburger ($4.99) heightens the flavor of the already juicy, award-winning Charburger by topping it with a perfectly crisp tostada shell, fresh, house made guacamole pico de gallo, melted cheese, and a smokey ancho chile lime sauce made in house. The new, south-of-the-border inspired Charburger is served on a toasted sesame seed bun with crisp, shredded lettuce, tomato and pickles. Like all Charburgers at The Habit, the Guacamole Crunch Charburger is always made-to-order and chargrilled over an open flame.

Bob Hope USO works to connect America’s military service members to family, home and country throughout their service with welcome centers at Southern California Airports and dozens of military installations. Each year, Bob Hope USO provides direct service to more than 250,000 members of the military and their families.

Since 2003, WWP has been a tireless advocate for our nation’s finest, improving the lives of over half a million warriors and their families with free programs and services. WWP serves warriors by connecting them with one another and their communities. Programs also focus on mental and physical health and wellness, financial wellness, independence, government relations, and community relations and partnerships.

Better burgers are just the beginning at The Habit where the menu also includes hand-cut salads, grilled sandwiches including line-caught, sushi grade chargrilled tuna, fresh chicken, and hand-filleted marinated grilled tri-tip, and sides including onion rings, sweet potato and French fries, and tempura green beans. Guests can choose from a variety of peppers, lemons, limes, and sauces at a complimentary condiment bar to customize the flavor of their meal.

The Habit is known for its award-winning Charburger which features 100% fresh, never frozen ground beef grilled over an open flame and topped with melted cheese, caramelized onions, pickles, fresh tomato, crisp lettuce, and mayo served on a toasted bun. Their restaurants have been serving the Best Tasting Burger in America exactly this way since the first Habit opened in 1969.

Connect with The Habit on social media at facebook.com/habitburgerinstagram.com/habitburgergrilltwitter.com/habitburger  and youtube.com/habittube.

 Credit:

About The Habit Restaurants, Inc. 

The Habit Burger Grill is a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches featuring USDA choice tri-tip steak, grilled chicken and sushi-grade ahi tuna cooked over an open flame. In addition, it features fresh made-to-order salads and an appealing selection of sides, shakes and malts. The Habit was named the “best tasting burger in America” in July 2014 in a comprehensive survey conducted by one of America’s leading consumer magazines. The first Habit opened in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. The Habit has since grown to over 220 restaurants in 11 states throughout California, Arizona, Utah, New Jersey, Florida, Idaho, Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maryland as well as three international locations. More information is available at www.habitburger.com.

Self Disclosure: Some form of compensation was received to post. Information and images were provided. 

Spice Islands® Teams up with Taste Buds Kitchen To Bring The World of Spices To Home Chefs

Spice Islands teams up with Taste Buds Kitchen as their Official Spice Partner in a year-long program that includes thousands of cooking classes, workshops and special events nationwide from May 2018 through May 2019.  Spice Islands selected Taste Buds Kitchen for this alliance to support the cooking school’s mission to provide home chefs cooking classes that are fun, educational, enjoyable and easy. During the classes instructors guide participants in amazing ways to cook with spices to enhance meals for the whole family. Cooking classes using Spice Islands will inspire people to turn to spices when creating recipes to make them more interesting and flavorful. The classes will bring to life such dishes as Homemade Garam Masala using several Spice Islands Spices, Poached Pears featuring Spice Islands Saigon Cinnamon, Butternut Squash Empanadas featuring Spice IslandsGarlic Powder and Smoked Paprika as well as hundreds of other recipes and ideas. For more information including the upcoming schedule and to register for Taste Buds Kitchen cooking classes featuring Spice Islands premium spices, visit www.tastebudskitchen.com.

“We are delighted to partner with Taste Buds Kitchen to create a program for a year-long series of classes that allows Spice Islands to be part of thousands of classes, workshops and events for people to really enjoy and learn more about spices,” says Julie Gould, Spice Islands Brand Manager. “We know that home cooks will love the Taste Buds Kitchen classes and learn how to bring the world of flavor home.”

“Our program truly is one of laughter, fun and food and we are thrilled to showcase and use the high quality Spice Islands in our classes, workshops and parties,’’ says Taste Buds Kitchen Founder, Jessi Brelsford.

The union between Spice Islands and Taste Buds Kitchen is a perfect match as it allows the home cook to learn about the value of cooking with spices and ways to incorporate spices into meals, through the series of classes and workshops that will take place over the year.

Taste Buds Kitchen’s mission is to be the top culinary entertainment experience for kids, families and adults by engaging and delighting our budding chefs in the kitchen. They support kids, families and food and strive to create a lifestyle around connecting, learning and growing in the culinary playground of the kitchen. What began as a few holiday baking classes and cupcake birthday parties, quickly evolved into much more. Taste Buds Kitchen events now include an ever-growing variety of culinary classes, parties, camps and special events that combine a mix of hands-on engaging recipes, both savory and sweet, for kids and adults.

Taste Buds Kitchen and Spice Islands know that not all spices are created equal. To achieve such rich flavors and premium quality, Spice Islands buys many spices whole, such as black peppercorns from Vietnam, India and Malaysia, and then mills them in its facility to release their rich flavors and capture them in each bottle.  Spice Islands premium spices and seasonings adhere to strict specifications to ensure high volatile oil levels, meaning a higher quality and more flavorful product.  From cultivating long term relationships with farmers throughout the world, to handpicking many of the spices, to maintaining traditions of drying many of the herbs and spices in the sun – tender care is put into each harvest to ensure the highest quality product.

Try these delicious recipes from Taste Buds Kitchens using Spice Islands Spices.

Spice Islands® Butternut Squash Empanadas

A Taste Buds Kitchen recipe

Makes 12, approximate 4” empanadas

Ingredients

2 cups                 all-purpose flour

¼ cup                  cornmeal

1 tbsp.                Spice Islands® Dried Oregano

2 tsp.                   sugar

2 tsp.                   Spice Islands® Paprika

2 tsp.                   Spice Islands® Salt

6 tbsp.                unsalted butter, cold

2                           eggs

½ cup                  water (more or less as needed)

Filling

7 oz.                    butternut squash, roasted and mashed

2 tbsp.                frozen corn

¼                          red bell pepper, diced

¼                          onion, diced

2                           garlic cloves, minced

2 oz.                    cheddar cheese, grated

¼ cup                  vegetable stock

2 tbsp.                olive oil

¼ tsp.                  Spice Islands® Garlic Powder

1 tsp.                   Spice Islands® Cumin

Pinch                   Spice Islands® Salt and Pepper

Egg Wash

1                                                           Egg

                             2 tbsp.                water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients for the dough; flour, cornmeal, Spice Islands Oregano, sugar, Spice Islands Paprika and Spice Islands Salt. Cut butter in and mix until if forms pea-size pieces. Then add eggs, mixing one at a time. If the mixture is dry, add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix until it just comes together as a dough that forms a ball and is not sticky to the touch. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.

While the dough chills, make the filling. Sautѐ onion and red pepper until soft, then add minced garlic until fragrant. Add to a medium mixing bowl with mashed butternut squash, corn, grated cheddar cheese, vegetable stock, olive oil, Spice Islands garlic powder, Spice Islands Cumin and Spice Islands Garlic Powder, Spice Islands Salt and Pepper. Mix thoroughly until combined.

Once dough is chilled, cut into individual portions, about 1.7 oz. each. Roll out the dough portions between 2 pieces of parchment paper about ¼” thick, into 4: circles. Then place a heaping spoonful of butternut squash filling into the middle of each round (be very generous with the filling). Fold dough circle in half, over the filling and seal with a fork.

Place on prepared baking sheet and brush each empanada with egg wash (egg and water whisked together). Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.

Spice Islands® Red Wine Poached Pears

A Taste Buds Kitchen Recipe

Serves 4 adults, approximately ½ pear per person

Ingredients

1 ½ cups             red wine

1 ½ cups             water

¼ cup                  sugar

½                          orange, sliced

4                           cloves

1                           Spice Islands® Cinnamon Stick

1                           Spice Islands® Star Anise

2                           Bosc pears

Whipped cream

½ cup                  heavy cream

1 tbps                  confectioners sugar

1 tsp                    Spice Islands® Vanilla Extract

Pinch                   freshly grated Spice Islands Cinnamon

Instructions

In a shallow pot, large enough to hold several pears laying flat on the bottom, bring red wine, water, sugar, orange slices and Spice Islands spices to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

While liquid boils, peel pears, but in half and core. Leave stem attached if possible. Place pears into simmering poaching liquid and poach for 30 – 60 minutes (depending on size and ripeness of pear) until tender when pierced with a fork.

While pears poach, make fresh whipped cream. Put heavy cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and whisk briskly until fluffy (do not over whip). Keep whipped cream chilled until pears are ready.

Once pears are poached, move to a cutting board and cut 5 – 6 slices out of each half, keeping the top intact. Fan pear slices out onto a plate. Top with whipped cream and freshly grated Spice Islands Cinnamon.

Credit: Spice Islands®.

About Spice Islands

Since 1941, Spice Islands has sourced only the highest-quality spices from around the world. Discover a world of flavor in your own kitchen with our premium Saigon Cinnamon, Cumin, Bay Leaves and many more fine spices, seasonings, dried herbs, extracts and flavorings sure to make your next meal an adventure.

About B&G Foods, Inc.

Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, B&G Foods, Inc. (NYSE: BGS) and our subsidiaries manufacture, sell and distribute high-quality, branded shelf-stable and frozen foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.  With our diverse portfolio of more than 50 brands you know and love, including Back to NatureB&GB&MCream of WheatGreen GiantLas Palmas,Le SueurMama Mary’sMaple Grove FarmsMrs. DashNew York StyleOrtegaPirate’s BootyPolanerSnackWell’sSpice Islands and Victoria, there’s a little something for everyone.  For more information about B&G Foods and our brands, please visit www.bgfoods.com.

RBG – An Intimate Portrait of an Unlikely Rock Star – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

An intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Gerry O. comments, “This documentary, RBG, tells you about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and not only inspires you, but motivates you to change the world just as she did.” Ranny L., KIDS FIRST! Juror adds, “She is an inspiration in so many ways. Shy and somewhat introverted, she never let that keep her from pursuing a career path that was unique for woman at the time.” See their full reviews below.

RBG

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 16

In one of the most divided political times in the recent history, it is good to look back to the previous decades and see the changes and inspiration that occurred in America. This documentary, RBG, tells you about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court and not only inspires you, but motivates you to change the world just as she did.

At its core, this documentary will inspire people. It doesn’t hide the many aspects of life’s challenges. Throughout Ruth’s life, there are moments of romance as well as drama. On the opposite side of the coin, there are many comedic moments, ranging from fun antidotes about Ruth’s workaholism to Saturday Night Live skits.

Starting from her childhood to the present day, RGB reveals the essence of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is the female attorney who, not only fought for women’s rights in the United States, but also spent years on as a Supreme Court Justice fighting for women’s rights. This film truly gives real insight into the fight for women’s education, equal payment in the workplace and equal treatment in every situation. Despite gender discrimination (which still occurs worldwide), few know the efforts women have gone through, in order to receive the same rights and treatment that men have. The film also shows many aspects of her personal family life as well as struggles she has survived, such as surviving cancer.

One of my favorite parts of the film is when it shows how political differences don’t mean that two people cannot get along. Antonin Scalia, also a Supreme Court Justice, and Ruth were best friends for many years. Scalia was a staunch conservative and Ruth was always quite liberal. Often, in court, they differed in opinion. Yet, as the film shows, they were friends in real life, with no hard feelings despite their political differences. Their friendship delivers an important message for our nation today – that politics should not be something that breaks and blocks relationships.

RBG doesn’t rely on a single narrator to explain the life of Justice Ginsburg, there are many people who talk about her. Throughout the documentary, the person we hear from the most is Justice Ginsburg herself telling her stories. Skilled research and editing incorporate real-life speeches at the Supreme Court, as well as many hearings when Ruth was a lawyer. This gives a unique realistic feel to the film. Instead of being lectured about the subject, you feel as if you are part of her story. This also has its downsides. The documentary flows chronologically, but it also focuses on many aspects of Ruth’s life. In some ways, the film deals with so much information that it can become overwhelming.

While Ruth’s story is something we all should hear, it is complex with many mature details and important subjects. I recommend this film for ages 13 to 18 as well as adults. It truly is a film that teenagers should see, as it demonstrates how anyone is capable of change. I give the film 4.5 out of 5 stars.

RBG

By Ranny Levy, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

I have been a fan of Justice Ginsburg since she first came into focus in the 70s, as an advocate of women’s rights. This documentary about her life offers insight into her personal history and the people around her who supported her for so many years. She is an inspiration in so many ways. Shy and somewhat introverted, she never let that keep her from pursuing a career path that was unique for woman at the time. She entered Harvard Law School in 1956, one of 9 women in a class of 500 men. I resonated with her story about the Dean reportedly asking the female law students, “How do you justify taking a spot from a qualified man?”

Justice Ginsburg proudly speaks about being born and bred in Brooklyn. In the 70s she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU. We listen to Gloria Steinem and Nina Totenberg reveal tales of her past that make you realize how pivotal her involvement in the women’s movement was. Filmmakers Julie Cohen and Betsy West dig into the substance of this woman with a judicious zeal usually reserved for our deceased heroes. As a staunch feminist, her nomination to the Supreme Court could have been way-laid had not President Clinton been wowed by her in the first 15 minutes of her interview with him. Then, he knew that he had to put her on the Court.

The love story between Ruth and Martin Ginsburg is nothing less than awe-inspiring. I love how she tells about her undergraduate years at Cornell where there was a four to one ratio of boys to girls. “Every mother wanted to send their daughter there because, if you couldn’t find a husband there, you were hopeless.” She reveals that during her freshman year, she never dated the same boy twice. That is, until she met Marty, who was the first guy that recognized she had a brain. When President Carter brought her to the federal bench, Marty gave up his success career as a tax attorney in New York to move to DC to support her. He recognized Ruth for the super star that she is and later, when she was nominated to the Supreme Court, rallied on her behalf with endless enthusiasm. Also noted is that he was the cook in the family. Her children tell how they had to keep her out of the kitchen.

One thing I really like about this film is that it focuses on Justice Ginsburg’s life long fight against gender discrimination. She experienced it first hand as a fresh law school graduate that could not get a job in any law office in New York City because “they didn’t hire women.” She has never given up the fight, and there have been many – for women in the military who were discriminated against for pay and benefits, for widowed men who couldn’t get survivor benefits. She chose her plaintiffs carefully, picking a male to show that gender discrimination worked against both men and women.

Although this film may lack verve in terms of groundbreaking filmmaking, it is stunningly beautiful in telling the story of a contemporary hero. 84-year-old Justice Ginsburg is an icon of our times. A woman who has weathered extremely difficult conditions and sits on the highest court in the country as someone dedicated to equality – for women, for people of different races and cultures – for all of us. She is a modern heroine and, as shy and quiet as she is – carries a big stick! I have been touting this film to all the young women and men in my universe and sending them to it. Most walk away stunned. My 20-year-old friends never even knew who she was before going to see the film. Many weep as they watch it. Now, that’s something. That’s important. If this film manages to get one young person’s attention and give them the courage to stand up for what they believe, then these filmmakers have something to be outrageously proud of. I believe they have.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

Photos, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

 

5 Tips To Helping Your Kids Improve Their English

English is one of the most powerful and dominant languages of the world. Current statistics show that about 50 countries have English as their primary national language. It is therefore very important to help your children learn to speak fluent English from an early age. As a parent, listening to your kids speaking and writing flawless English sentences is very satisfying.

Developing strong writing skills takes time. However, with great tips and sheer determination, it is achievable. Here are 5 tips to helping your kids’ improve their English.

  1. Converse Regularly

Engaging in regular conversations with your children is very important. As a parent, you can help your children improve their English by prioritizing time spent conversing with them. As the children get older, you can slowly introduce vocabularies to the conversations.

Teach your kids the correct pronunciations and definitions. With time, your children’s English conversation skills will greatly improve. Remember to correct mistakes prudently. Avoid yelling at your kids when they mispronounce words or use them incorrectly. Instead, be patient with them and applaud their efforts to learn.

  1. Read, Read, Read

Reading regularly is a great way to help your kids improve their English. Reading improves your child’s fluency and increases their ability to decode words and letters, which promotes greater understanding. Take time to read a story for your child every day before they go to sleep. Occasionally, you can flip things over and ask your child to read you the story. This will improve their confidence and give them a chance to use new English words.  

  1. Lose The Baby Talk

Baby talk is crucial to your child’s development. The coos and babbles are essential for your baby’s brain development. However, if you want your children to communicate in fluent English, you must speak to them clearly and directly; Use grown-up words in your normal day to day conversations with your growing children. Your kids will gradually pick up new words and use them in the conversations.

  1. Make It Fun

Fun games and activities are an excellent way to help your children improve their English. Games also make learning enjoyable and interactive. Look for age-appropriate games that will enrich your children’s writing and oral communication skills. You can easily download games for free on your smartphone or iPad that will entertain and teach your children at the same time.

 

  1. Encourage A Writing Culture In Your Home

Writing is an essential part of education. As a parent, it is important to build your child’s writing skills from an early age. Encourage your children to write things they are passionate about. Reward your children when they write great stories to motivate them.

It is very important to have a routine and a special place in your house specially devoted to writing. This will make it easier for your children to sharpen their writing skills in a quiet area free from distractions. Be a role model to your children by embracing the writing culture as well. Share your writing experience with your children and teach them the various forms of writing. This will greatly improve their writing skills.

Conclusion

These 5 tips will surely help your kids improve their English. Are you looking for the best model compositions that will help your child impress his/her teacher? Writing Samurai has useful resources that will help your child write great compositions in no time. Check out the Writing Samurai website for english compositions samples that will benefit your child a great deal.

Sunniie, May 10th Pet of the Week

Front and center is Sunniie, a 9-year-old spayed female pit bull who has a disposition as lovely as the sound, if not the spelling, of her name suggests. Sunny is calm and friendly to other dogs, particularly her mate, a 9-year-old tan Chihuahua named Gorda, whom you may have met in last week’s FOLBA Pet of the Week. Sunniie would love to go home to a loving family, but what would be even nicer would be to have Gorda come along as well! You could have your own canine C-3PO and R2-D2! Meet them at Long Beach Animal Care Services on the shelter side of the P.D. Pitchford Animal Village, 7700 E. Spring St., Long Beach, (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A355329 for Gorda and ID#A495418 for Sunniie.

(The usual suspects contributed to this rescue)

Credit: Courtesy of the P.D. Pitchford Animal Village.