Archives for February 23, 2015

Cuties wants kids everywhere to “Do the Cutie Curl”


Getting kids to eat healthy – and love it – is no easy feat. So Cuties® is putting a fun, new ‘curl’ on healthy snacking.

I received a free voucher for Cuties and they are simply delicious! I can easily see why kids will love them!  Cuties knows that every kid out there has a hidden talent they’ve been waiting to show the world: their ability to peel a Cutie in one, continuous curl.

That’s why sweet, small, easy-to-peel Cuties is launching the search for the best Cutie Curl.You have until March 1, 2015 to enter this fun contest!

Check out the website here and upload your photos! But hurry! March 1st will be here soon!    Good luck!




Self Disclosure: I received a free voucher to try Cuties and to feature this post. No other compensation was received. Photo Credit: Cuties.


Keep Calm and Ace the Test The Test by Anya Kamenetz is a Must-Read for parents!



Anya Kamenetz author of THE TEST: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing—But You Don’t Have To Be believes a child is more than a number. But in the last twenty years, schools have dramatically increased standardized testing, to an estimated 113 tests by the time students graduate. This spring, tens of millions of students in 44 states will be getting ready to take Common Core-aligned tests for the first time. In an environment where students are already spending up to 28% of their instructional time on test preparation, these tests are going to be even harder; the scores are predicted to drop off the “Common Core cliff,” by at least 25 percentage points.


How do we stop the madness? NPR’s lead digital education reporter and renowned commentary on our country’s education system, Anya Kamenetz provides some guidance in the form of NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FOR PARENTS OF OVER-TESTED KIDS. Yes, it is not too late for New Years Resolutions!


THE TEST is the essential book helping parents make sense of the changing education landscape, answering the big question: what do I do about all these tests? THE TEST provides the understanding and tools to move our children toward the future we want for them, from elementary school, high school, and beyond.

 I received a copy of this book to review and although I homeschool, I found this book to be interesting and very well-researched. It really is  Must-Read for all parents today. One reason I am a homeschooler is because I have concerns about all the testing in public schools. It is not the only reason we homeschool. I do believe this book is a great resource for parents.

You can find our more and purchase the book here.

*Photo above is a checklist for parents, offering strategies to combat testing fatigue and help your children, and yourselves, be successful with as little stress and arguing as possible! *

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book to facilitate this feature.

Francois et Mimi Stacking Mug Set with Rack is a Must-Buy!


I just love this pastel color Francois et Mimi Stacking Mug Set with Rack! They look so stylish and fit so nicely by my coffee brewer. My favorite thing is the colors. I love the pink & blue! I love that they save space in my kitchen. I don’t have the most cupboard space so this is just perfect! They don’t take up much space at all. They are also Dishwasher and Microwave safe and are made of Stoneware Ceramic. I love that they seem very durable and they would also make a great gift! I can think of so many family members or friends that would love this set. If you love pastels, these really are a Must-Buy! I really can’t think of any cons in regards to this product. I simply love this set! Each much is 12 0z. They really are a Must-Buy!

You can purchase on



Self Disclosure: I received a free sample for review purposes.

The Rootlets Planting the Seeds of Vegetable Power! March is National Nutrition Month!

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Veggies are cool! Veggies are powerful! Veggies are awesome! Enter The Rootlets™, a new brand of characters so adorable and uniquely memorable – you’ll want to eat them right up! Launching now for March’s National Nutrition Month with The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book (40p. soft cover, SRP $12.99) children and their families will be introduced to The Rootlets, a new generation of superheroes who, with their veggie hair and healthy habits begin the adventure of their lives!


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities, created and written by Vicki Marquez and illustrated by Jeremy Russnak, introduces readers to the Rootlets – Brocc, Carrotina, Cornelius and Kaley – who live on Planet Planted in the town of VeggieVille with their dog, Basil, and their guardian and caretaker Yammy Grammy, who plucked them from the ground when they were just sprouts..Hilariously fun with bright, bold, colorful illustrations; The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities is a thrilling journey that showcases the super powers of plant-based foods and explores the magic of friendship and imagination.Super Rootabilities is recommended for ages 4-9.


“The Rootlets are so much more than adorable little superheroes, they’re positive role models with the power to help kids embrace and love veggies,” says Marquez. “It’s my dream that families use The Rootlets as an entertaining resource to get their little ones excited about healthy living and yummy plant-based foods in a refreshingly fun way.”


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book is the first product launched by The Rootlets brand, whose mission is to familiarize kids with fruits, veggies, and healthy eating. Future Rootlets products include apps, more books, games & toys, and an animated TV show. The Rootlets will also be launching their website, which will be an interactive experience filled with games, activities, learning resources and exclusive content about the characters and their magical world.


“Veggies rock and The Rootlets take veggie coolness to a whole new level – especially for the kiddos. My daughter is a huge fan. Great book, great brand, great message. I can’t wait to see what’s next for these rad little characters,”  says Chad Sarno, Plant-Based Chef Educator.

We received a copy of this book and it’s a good one for children ages 4-9. It is a fun book with great illustrations!  What a fun way to motivate young children to eat healthier!


The Rootlets: Super Rootabilities book is available now for a SRP of $12.99. To order please visit For more information or to join The Rootlets fan club visit


About the Author

As a certified health coach, wellness expert, plant-based chef and author, Vicki Marquez’s dream is to break the stigma that healthy living is boring and to show both kids and adults that plants, especially veggies, are ridiculously cool! Vicki lives in Chicago with her husband, stepdaughter and two quinoa-loving Yorkies.


About the Illustrator

Jeremy Russnak is an illustrator from Chicago.  He has created illustrations for Time Out, Chicago Reader and other publications.  He currently resides in Los Angeles pursuing his passion in the field of animation.


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




Tote bag giveaway for DK FindOut, the kids encyclopedia website Giveaway Opportunity!

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DK FindOut (, the no-cost online encyclopedia for kids is a great new resource for kids!

Aimed at ages 7-11 (but appealing to ages 5-14), the new educational website covers science, math, English, history, geography, the human body, and more with age-appropriate content. Enlist if for homework help, pull it up for rainy day fun, or use it to bridge the gap in the summer months. It’s safe, secure and extensive—more than 300 animations, 300 sounds, 9000 photos, 100 videos, and 3000 articles bring key concepts to life.

And best of all… there’s no charge to use it! Now, how cool is that?! Socal City Kids actually thinks it is pretty cool!! We actually checked it out and my son and I give it 5 stars! I like that it is a really safe way to learn on the internet.

We have teamed up for a giveaway to celebrate the launch of this new website! One winner will win one DK FindOut-branded tote bag! To enter, check out the website and let us know your favorite thing! if you would like to give them a shout out on social media, the hashtag is #dkfindout. Deadline to enter is March 10th, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected via


Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post except for receiving the free tote bags. Photo Credit: DK FindOut.


Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in women across America, and according to the American Heart Association®, a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons in the fight against it. This February for American Heart Month Campbell Soup Company (NYSE: CPB) and Ellie Krieger, registered dietitian and host of the Food Network’s hit show “Healthy Appetite,” have joined forces to empower women to embrace a heart-healthy lifestyle. Campbell offers a variety of delicious and easy-to-make heart-healthy products and recipes and with the help of Ellie Krieger, will equip women with essential tips and tools to kick start or maintain their journey to a healthy heart.


Campbell, in partnership with the American Heart Association® and the Go Red for Women movement, is committed to women’s health with a portfolio of products and recipes featuring the American Heart Association® Heart-Check mark. This year Campbell is adding a new product to its portfolio of nearly 230 heart-healthy products, new Healthy Request Mexican-Style Chicken Tortilla soup. Additionally, Campbell has a collection of heart healthy recipes certified by the American Heart Association®found on


“We are proud of the strides we have made in the last nine years to support women in the fight against heart disease,” said Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell Soup Company. “As part of our Purpose: Real Food that Matters for Life’s Moments, we are dedicated to the health and well-being of the women and families that rely on our foods because we believe that we have a fundamental responsibility to help them thrive.”


“My philosophy on a heart-healthy lifestyle is simple: educate yourself on nutrition, choose flavorful healthy foods, and get more physically active,” said Ellie Krieger. “Partnering with Campbell is a great opportunity to share tips and recipes with women because I believe simple lifestyle changes can help them combat heart disease.”


Address Your Heart with Campbell’s Pinterest Sweepstakes

Additionally, this month the company is hosting the Address Your Heart with Campbell’s Pinterest Sweepstakes, which provides Americans with the opportunity to win daily prizes and one grand prize that are designed to help build heart-healthy habits.


To enter the Address Your Heart with Campbell’s Pinterest Sweepstakes, U.S. residents ages 18 and older can through Feb. 28, 2015, and simply enter their email address and Pinterest username. No purchase or pinning necessary for entry. Campbell is giving away prizes that range from bakeware, kitchen tools and Healthy Request® soups, to a grand prize trip for two to the luxurious Miraval Resort and Spa in Tucson, AZ.


Products for a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

Campbell is dedicated to helping women care for their hearts by providing a diverse portfolio of heart-healthy products that balance great taste with nutritional value, including new Campbell’s® Healthy Request®  Mexican-Style Chicken Tortilla soup. Campbell offers nearly 80 options that meet the criteria for and feature the American Heart Association® Heart-Check mark, such as:

  • Healthy Request® soups
  • V8® Low Sodium Regular and V8 V-Fusion® beverages (select varieties)
  • Prego® Heart Smart™ pasta sauces
  • Pepperidge Farm® whole-grain breads (select varieties)
  • Swanson® premium chunk chicken


To find out more about the Address Your Heart with Campbell’s Pinterest Sweepstakes, which is conducted by Campbell Soup Company and is in no way associated with the American Heart Association®, visit


About Campbell Soup Company

Campbell (NYSE:CPB) is driven and inspired by our Purpose, “Real food that matters for life’s moments.” The Company makes a range of products from high-quality soups and simple meals to snacks and healthy beverages. For generations, people have trusted Campbell to provide authentic, flavorful and readily available foods and beverages that connect them to each other, to warm memories, and to what’s important today. Led by its iconic Campbell’s brand, the company’s portfolio includes Pepperidge Farm, Goldfish, Bolthouse Farms, V8, Swanson, Prego, Pace, Plum Organics, Arnott’s,Tim Tam, Royal Dansk and Kjeldsens. Founded in 1869, Campbell has a heritage of giving back and acting as a good steward of the planet’s natural resources. The company is a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. For more information, visit or follow company news on Twitter via @CampbellSoupCo.


About Go Red For Women

Go Red For Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement to end heart disease and stroke in women because it’s not just a man’s disease. In fact, more women than men die every year from heart disease and stroke. The good news is that 80 percent of cardiac events can be prevented with education and lifestyle changes. Go Red For Women advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women movement is nationally sponsored by Macy’s, with additional support from our cause supporters. For more information, please visit or call 1-888-MY-HEART (1-888-694-3278).

Credit: Campbell Soup Company/Go Red For Women.

Bully Bean by Thomas Weck & Peter Weck Illustrated by Len DiSalvo Creative Children’s Book Teaches How to Turn a Bully into a Friend!


Bully Bean is the fifth book in the Lima Bean Bear story series. Authors Thomas Weck and Peter Weck havecreated a very effective and valuable way to open a dialog on issues of bullying in a way young kids can understand – how to turn a bully into a friend.

Bully Bean, by Thomas Weck and Peter Weck, is a delightfully written and colorfully illustrated children’s book designed to facilitate a constructive family dialog on the difficult and sensitive topic of bullying. Extend the Learning and Activity sections reinforce this theme and enhance the dialog in the family and the classroom.


This carefully scripted tale tells the story of a giant bean, named Bully Bean, who picks on little beans, plays mean tricks on them, and puts them in danger.

Father and son, Thomas and Peter Weck, teamed up to create this sturdy, hardbound book as the fifth book in the Lima Bear Series which presents life lessons for children and their families. The story in each book of the series highlights an important message to children: overcoming fear, having courage, compatibility, teamwork, tolerating differences, and forgiveness.


Bully Bean has 32 full color pages targeting children ages four to eight years old with their families and a message of turning a bully into a friend.


Illustrator Len DiSalvo created large, colorful colored pencil and pastel drawings that bring the story to life.


The book also includes parental or teacher guidance with instructions and suggested questions for children about before, during and after reading and activities that share ways to reinforce the message of each book in the series.

We received a copy of this book and I recommend it for younger children ages 4+. It has a very important lesson and message. 


Find out more at

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to facilitate this feature post.  Photo Credit: Lima Bear Press.


Animal Exploitation Worse Than Ever Despite Heightened Animal Rights Awareness, Two Experts Claim in Provocative New Paper Humans Psychologically Driven to Exploit Animals Even at Risk of Endangering Welfare of the Planet

Taking a startlingly counterintuitive view of the state of global animal protection  at a time when most people would assume the cause has made tremendous strides, a new paper to be published next April in the journal Anthrozoos (but fast-tracked online at ) claims that the international situation for nonhuman animals has gotten much worse, to the point where it jeopardizes our own future as humans.

Entitled “Denial of Death and the Relationship between Humans and Other Animals,” the provocative new paper is all the more noteworthy because it was written by two of the world’s most accomplished animal rights advocates: Dr. Lori Marino and MichaelMountain.

Dr. Marino, a bio-psychologist formerly on the faculty of Emory University, is the Executive Director of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy. She is internationally known for her work on brain evolution and intelligence in dolphins and whales, and was featured in the acclaimed film “Blackfish.”

Michael Mountain was the president and co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, which helped launch the no-kill movement in the 1990’s. Today, he is the editor of and serves as an advisor to several animal protection and environmental groups.

Marino and Mountain begin their paper by dismantling the popular 21st Century notion that we’ve turned the tide on animal welfare. And then they explore the underlying psychological cause of the situation.

Despite recent decades having seen the growth of thousands of animal protection organizations, they write, “… with the single exception of homeless pets, the situation for nonhuman animals in every sphere has actually deteriorated dramatically.”

According to Marino and Mountain, “The small achievements in animal protection are largely incremental, like, for example, the efforts to get factory farms to provide a few extra inches of space in cages where, nonetheless, the animals will still spend their entire lives.” Meanwhile, the factory farming and vivisection industries are larger and more entrenched than ever.

In the case of wildlife, the two authors note that of 63,837 species assessed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 19,817 are threatened with extinction, and that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has concluded that more than 85 percent of the world’s fisheries have been pushed to or beyond their biological limits.

As Marino and Mountain see it, “While people are certainly more aware of issues to do with animal abuse and exploitation, our relationship with the whole natural world remains fraught with contradictions and abuses to the point where it threatens our own health and safety, and even human civilization.”


“I Am Not An Animal!”

What, then, are the psychological issues that underlie our inability to make progress? Marino and Mountain say that French novelist Albert Camus summed it up best when he wrote: “Humans are the only creatures who don’t want to be what they are.”

And what we absolutely don’t want to be is an animal.

Rooted deeply in the human condition is our awareness that while we reach for the stars and create profoundly beautiful works of art, we cannot escape the knowledge that, just like all the other animals, we are destined to die.


And so, to alleviate the anxiety we feel over our animal nature, we try to separate ourselves from our fellow animals and to exert control over the natural world. We tell ourselves that we’re superior to the other animals and that they exist for our benefit. We treat them as commodities and resources, use them as biomedical “models” or “systems” in research, and force them to perform for our entertainment (companion animals fare better, but Marino and Mountain point out that we treat them as part of our human “in-group” and relate to them a bit like children).


We also hold belief systems that offer us humans hope in some form of immortality that’s not accorded the other animals. These and other ways of distancing ourselves from the rest of nature are so embedded in our cultures that they’re typically not even questioned, much less stopped.


But, like all forms of denial, we cannot escape what we are. And the more we try to bend nature to our will, the more we end up harming the planet and all its living creatures, quite possibly beyond repair.


While Marino and Mountain don’t pretend to have a simple solution to the abuse so many animals endure at our hands, they argue that awareness is always the first step in bringing about change.

As they conclude in their Anthrozoos paper, “Our relationship to the other animals and to the planet overall is arguably the single most important issue facing humankind … The only viable future for humankind lies in achieving some level of acceptance of our own nature as animals and developing a more humble, and ultimately more satisfying, relationship to our fellow animals and the natural world.

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