Archives for May 19, 2015

Summer Reading Picks for Kids!


The Loudness By Nick Courage: A great summer read for ages 9-12.

Following a series of natural disasters, dubbed the Tragedies, the citizens of an unnamed coastal city have been confined to the Green Zone, the final habitable neighborhood. Since the Tragedies, Henry Long’s existence has been reduced to an annoying low-watt buzz from his makeshift heart transplant and a dusty library attic from which he charts the slow progress of reconstruction in the Green Zone. While his parents work on making the Green Zone independent from a federal government that appears to have abandoned them, Henry finds himself increasingly left on his own—that is, until he discovers a refugee artists’ colony called the Other Side. But when the federales don’t take kindly to the Green Zone’s attempts at secession and kidnap Henry’s parents, Henry and his new renegade friends are forced from the colorful streets and underground rock clubs of the Other Side to an overcrowded capital city on the verge of collapse. As Henry uncovers more about the conflicting forces that run his corner of the world, he realizes that not everyone is who they seem to be—himself included—and recognizes that his artificial heart may turn out to be more of a blessing than a curse.


I read this book and enjoyed it. My son is looking forward to reading it this summer. It’s unique and a good read. I do think this one is for the older end of 9-12.

 The Loudness: Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

Nick Courage is a New Orleans-born artist, musician, writer, and aspiring skateboarder. His work has appeared in Full Stop, the Paris Review Daily, and Exquisite Corpse, where Andrei Codrescu described his poetry as “a fresh sort of daring in the overstrained broth of contemporary American poetry.” After a decade in the publishing industry, Nick now works with an organization that provides sanctuary for exiled writers. He currently lives with his wife and two cats in Brooklyn, New York.

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Trouble in Zombie-town: The Mystery of Herobrine

Book One: A Gameknight999 Adventure, An Unofficial Minecrafter’s Adventure

By Mark Cheverton.

When one of his father’s inventions went haywire, Gameknight999 found himself sucked into and trapped in the world of Minecraft. After eventually learning the error of his ways, the former griefer transformed into a heroic worrier who was tasked with defeating powerful endermen, ghasts, dragons, and other foes in order to save the world and his NPC (non-player character) friends that call Minecraft home. After returning to the real world, Gameknight vowed to never return to Minecraft. But when his little sister, Monet113, accidently enters the game herself, he finds himself once again entering a digital world where real danger lies around every corner. With the help of friends from his previous foray into the virtual world, as well as a few new ones, Gameknight must journey deep into a zombie village to save his sister. On the way, he encounters Xa-Tul, a powerful zombie king with a hatred for Gameknight999. In order to get himself and his sister out safely, Gameknight must rely on his skills and intuition, as well as learning a few new tricks, if he has any chance of defeating this monstrous creature.

My 11-year-old son and I enjoyed reading this one together. He knows much more about Minecraft than I do. We liked it and I thought the story was quite imaginative. It does have some violence, as would be expected by the title. But is suggested as a Summer pick for ages 9+.

Trouble in Zombie-Town is available at the following:  Amazon, B&N, and IndieBound.

Mark Cheverton is a former high school physics and math teacher, and the father of a Minecraft fanatic. He created the Gameknight999 series as a teaching tool for his son who was cyber bullied on his Minecraft server. Through his writing, Cheverton was able to teach his son about bullying and how best to deal with it. He is now a New York Times bestselling author of four Minecraft books.

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


NewerTech’s “Dads& Grads” Gadget Gift Ideas!

Father’s Day: June 21st, and graduations: May – June are quickly approaching! Are you looking for gift ideas? I know that I am looking for ideas. NewerTech has some great suggestions and we even tried out a couple of them.

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For busy Grads & “butter-fingers” that constantly drop expensive smartphones –

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For Dads to Charge 4 Devices in 1 AC outlet –
  • Power2U AC/USB in-wall charger:  patented UL certified safe Power2U AC/USB in-wall charging plate charges up to 4 devices with 2 USB ports and 2 AC plugs for simultaneous powering.  With everyone needing to charge so many devices every day, including tablets, smartphones, smartwatches, etc., and outlets that normally can charge only 2 devices at once, this is a must-have.  $29.99 Info:,

I received a sample of this one and this is really great! We have so many devices (in our family of 3) that this item is a real Must-Have! Makes life a lot easier! I like that so many devices can be plugged in at the same time.

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This one is my favorite! I also received a sample.  I like the size of this one and it works really well.

For Students, Scrapbookers, & DIYers for Close Work without a Hot Lamp:
  • NuGreen LED Cool Desk Lamp for natural light:  anyone that does close work will love the cool-to-the touch, energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly, safe NuGreen LED Desk Lamp with a flexible neck, which features light similar to natural daylight with 50 LEDs for 45,000 hours of use. $69.99, Info:

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For Teachers, Students, & Office Work – Luxurious Leather iPad Portfolio:
  • iFolio iPad leather carrying case:  dads, moms, and grads will appreciate the professional styling and luxury of the leather iPad carrying case portfolio for the protection and transportation of their iPad.  Perfect for students and teachers, iFolio zips up and includes straps to easily carry an iPad, as well as paperwork and pens in style. Comes in variety of colors:  Black, Gray, Cognac, Tan, Pink, Blue, Green, and Red. $69-$129, Info:

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For Grads to Easily Transfer Photos, Music, & Videos between Androids & Laptops:
  • OWC Dual USB Flash Drives:  makes it easy to transfer and save photos, music, videos, and documents between Android smartphones and tablets and Mac/PC laptops and computers.  The OWC Dual USB Flash Drive features USB and Micro USB connections with capacities of 16GB-64GB. $9.99 – $39.99.  Info:

For more info, see or

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


Save $1 on Family Finest Make-N-Bake Pizza Pak

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Save a dollar on your next family fun night, with an easy dinner from Family Finest. Make delicious Family Finest Pizza Paks in minutes, fresh from your oven without the hassel of delivery. Family Finest Make-N-Bake Pizza Paks are a great way to spend time with your family in the kitchen, making memories and fantastic pizza. Each Pak comes with 4 crusts, sauce packets, and pepperoni to build your own pizza tonight!  Download your coupon now by going to

Credit: Family Finest. No compensation was received to post.


Simplify your life with Green Clean Products that Save Money, Time and the Planet

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In our house, Laundry is the Never-ending “L” Word.  It never does seem to end and it is always piling up! It’s mind blowing how many toxic chemicals we are exposed to every day and the amount of plastic trash we generate. With the kind of toxic world we live in, you’d think green products would be easy to find but it often requires a trip to specialty/health food market that, as a busy person, you don’t have time for. Now, Selestial is changing the way you go green for good! With the introduction of MYGREENFILLS.COM you can get safe, healthy, eco-friendly home laundry products delivered right to your door saving you time and money while you save the planet!  I am all for helping the planet! My son and I participate in beach clean-up monthly. So, I was quite excited to try these products out for myself.

My favorite thing about the products is that Selestial products are great for families with skin sensitivities or allergies. Non-toxic, hypoallergenic and 100% natural with power to boot, your family will have clean and fresh clothes, without any unwanted reactions! My son does seem to have skin sensitivities sometimes and did not find we had any problems with the Selestial products. The only downfall is that you won’t see a lot of suds. I am quite fine with that but my husband was slightly skeptical at first. We happily found that even without a lot of bubbly suds, all our clothes seemed clean. I still haven’t figured out how to make the Never-ending “L” word disappear, but these laundry products are a hit in our house! I especially like the Enzyme Stain Remover. It works really well!

Here’s more about the ordering process:

The process is simple:

  • Choose your fill: from Unscented Laundry Soap, Color Safe Brightener, Fabric Softener or Enzyme Stain Remover
  • Choose your frequency: Free shipping at intervals that work for you and your family means you never have to run out of your favorite laundry products or waste time running out to the store when supplies are low
  • Mix and Match: You can choose how many refills you want and what products you need. Discounts are available when you buy 3 or more refills at a time. And after your opening order, you will only receive greenfills for the jugs!
  • Delivered right to your door: once you set your delivery schedule you never need to worry again!

Selestial began in 2008 when the Founder, Ruth, was living the green life before it was the cool thing to do. With children suffering from severe skin allergies, she had a hard time finding products that were both effective and affordable. Meanwhile, Stephen, CEO, was sick of all the toxic chemicals used to clean his home. Mother Nature waved her magic wand and in 2012 Ruth and Stephen met met and joined forces at Selestial with a simple mission: bring affordable, simple and effective eco-friendly laundry cleaning products to families everywhere!


For more information, please visit

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received.

HARTZ Launches Year-Round Flea & Tick Consumer Education Campaign

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Hartz, experts in flea and tick solutions for over 55 years, today announced the release of a national consumer ‘No F&T’ campaign to educate pet owners on the importance of year-round flea and tick protection.  This dedicated messaging will be promoted through digital advertising and social media.

The primary flea and tick season in the United States is April – September; however fleas survive throughout the year.  Hartz is committed to educating consumers that a consistently protected pet mounts a stronger defense against flea infestation; an infestation that cannot only pose a threat to the animals, but also to the home.  Hartz has a complete line of flea and tick products, including collars, shampoos, home and garden sprays, and its best prevention product; Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® Flea & Tick Drops for cats and dogs.


“Only 5% of the problem is addressed when consumers treat the adult fleas they can actually see,” states Lance Hemsarth, Senior Director, Research & Development at Hartz. “That means the remaining 95% of larvae and eggs left untreated can cause re-infestation. It is our duty as a trusted pet care brand to educate families regarding the health benefits of consistent flea prevention treatment for their pets.”  Like personal health exams and smoke alarm battery checks, establishing preventative behavior aids in overall health.  Implementing interactive and engaging tactics to augment this behavior is the goal of this campaign.


Renowned veterinarian, Dr. Bernadine Cruz, will contribute to the ‘No F&T’ messaging through her practice based in Laguna Woods, California, as well as through her internet based radio show ‘The Pet Doctor’ heard on  States Dr. Cruz, “I have a special interest in flea and tick care for dogs and cats.  When applied consistently, pet owners can safeguard their animals and their homes year-round; eliminating costly veterinary office visits for infestation and help protect the health of their pets and family. I am thrilled to be a part of this educational campaign.”
The ‘No F&T’ approach will target consumers with the hashtag #NOFT to create community among pet owners and establish a prevention lifestyle.  Digital ads and social media messaging, including monthly care reminders, will be communicated via Facebook starting this month.  For more information, please visit, and @HartzPets on Facebook.

As a new Puppy Parent, I am really glad to learn about these products. Fleas are not fun, especially for pets. I received samples to try on both my puppy and my cat and I found that the  Hartz® UltraGuard Pro® Flea & Tick Drops for cats and dogs works really well and keep those pesky fleas away! Both my dog and cat are happy too!


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 About The Hartz Mountain Corporation

For more than 85 years, Hartz has been dedicated to strengthening the bond between humans and their pets through innovative, trustworthy and affordable products. The company is also intent on providing pet owners with the information and support they need to care for their pets. Today, Hartz offers more than 1,500 products that cater to dogs, cats, parakeets, canaries, parrots, cockatiels, finches, goldfish, tropical fish, reptiles, ferrets, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits.

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




Summer Camp Snack Ideas from Spork Foods Kid’s Summer Camp Snack Ideas- by Heather and Jenny- Sisters and Owners of Spork Foods

School is almost out for summer and kids will be heading off to camp soon! Typically you might worry that your they won’t make healthy choices while they’re away from home, but this year, you can send them off with healthy snack options to keep their nutrition in check. Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods have put together their top 5 list of kid-friendly summer camp snacks. See their superstar snack recommendations below. 

Kid’s Summer Camp Snack Ideas- by Heather and Jenny- Sisters and Owners of Spork Foods.



1)    Pistachio Chewy Bites – This completely nutritious snack is made of protein packed pistachios, delicious dried cranberries, and agave nectar. This unique flavor combination is the perfect snack for kids any time of day. The convenient, individually wrapped bites are easy to toss into your child’s snack stash and send them off! Steal one for yourself and eat it on the way to work while you’re at it!



2)    Fruit Leathers – Fruit leathers have come a long way since we were kids. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals, yet disguised in a fun-to-eat snack! Stretch Island Fruit is our favorite! The grab-and-go aspect is always great too, just in case your little one gets hungry on the bus. We guarantee this snack won’t be traded come the lunch hour!


3)    Popcorn- Corn has more nutrition in it than one might think! It’s actually incredibly high in antioxidants and is fun to eat, a win-win for parents and kids. Earth Balance makes a new, non-dairy aged white cheddar popcorn that’s non-GMO and very tasty. There is a reason corn has been a food staple for thousands of years…it’s healthy and delicious!


4)    A Good Old Fashion Banana- Let’s face it, this fruit is the original to-go snack. A banana’s thick skin acts as natural tupperware, it’s loaded with low glycemic carbs, and will give your kids the energy they need to run around all day. If endurance athletes can lean on bananas for nutrition, surely we can too.


5)    Kale Chips- Kids like kale these days (lucky for us). What an incredible alternative to potato chips and other fried foods! Kale Chips are absolutely jam-packed with vitamin K which builds bone mass in the body. This treat will provide the crunch they love and the nutrients you love for our developing kids to eat!  One of our favorite companies is Just Pure Foods, because all of the products are organic, made with love and taste amazing. –Tips from Jenny Engel and Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods.


I received samples of the  Pistachio Chewy Bites and they are really tasty! I like that they are a healthy snack option but they also taste good!


About Spork Foods

L.A.-based sisters and celebrity chefs, Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods are vegan chefs that own a Los Angeles-based gourmet cooking school. The culinary duo are also cookbook authors and work with some of Hollywood’s elite including Emily and Zooey Deschanel, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepard, Kristin Bauer van Straten, and Alicia Silverstone.

Available in major grocery store chains across the country such as: Fairway, Shoprite, A&P, Roundy’s, HEB, Safeway, Ingles, Gelson’s, King Kullen, Earth Fare, Price Chopper, Wegmans, Save Mart, Lucky, Hy-Vee, Shop n’ Save, etc.  They are also available online at and


Pricing: 6-Pack $5.99 and 16-Pack $12.50


Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the Pistachio Chewy Bites to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received.

Join hello’s Rush to Brush Contest!


Want to win a year’s supply of hello Kid’s Toothpaste AND a $100 gift card to Target just for brushing your teeth? Now you can in two fun and simple steps with hello Products “Rush To Brush” contest!

Step 1: Show off your pearly whites to hello Products. Post a picture of your family during toothbrush time to Facebook orInstagram with the tag @helloproducts #rushtobrush and you’re automatically in the running.

Step 2: Show off your pearly whites to your family and friends. Post a link to their Facebook page  on your social media channels so that all of your family and friends can vote.

Grand Prize and Runner Up Winners will be announced on June 12th – be sure to get your submissions in early to ensure your friends and family have time to vote on your family’s adorable #RushToBrush picture!

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post and giveaway is not affiliated with SoCal City Kids. Credit: hello Kid’s Toothpaste.

Snipe Game is fun for kids of all ages!


Looking for a fun way to keep the kids entertained this Summer? Yes, there are beach days, swimming and more! But, there are also fun toys that keep kids from being bored. Every parent has those days now and then when their kids are simply driving them insane. They’re bored, they’re hungry, there is nothing on TV, their toys are no fun ­ the complaints are never ending and trying to get anything done is impossible. Instead of losing patience, parents can now send their kids on a hunt to find a mythical creature hiding in their home. The Snipe Hunt game turns a classic camping story into a real life game. Simply turn on the Snipe, find a good hiding spot for it and send your kids out on the search! As time passes, the Snipe will begin to make noise and its eyes will light up to help clue kids in to where it is hiding.

I received a sample of this game and it really is a lot of fun for all ages! I like that it is unique and more fun than the traditional hide and seek game. A Must-Have for this upcoming Summer break!

You can find on

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