Archives for May 23, 2015

Chex™ Party Mix for a Baby Shower! These recipes are sure to be a hit!

It's a Girl Muddy Buddies     It's a Boy Muddy Buddies

Are you planning a baby shower?  Chex Party Mix has some great recipes! I received a really fun Baby Shower party package from my friends at Chex. I received a “shower kit” that included a few essentials for throwing a party, including a Crate & Barrel dessert stand and beverage dispenser, decorations, assorted cupcake baking cups, and pink and blue chocolate candies to create the recipes. The Crate & Barrel dessert stand is a must have for a baby shower but the biggest hit will be the Chex recipes!

It’s a Girl! Chex Muddy Buddies and the It’s a Boy! Chex Muddy Buddies!



These recipes will surely be a hit!

But, I also love the Original Chex Party Mix Snack Bar because this one is a hit for any party you are planning!


Although, I didn’t have a Baby Shower party to plan, I did try these recipes and hope to be hosting a Baby Shower in the future for a friend. When I do I will surely use these recipes. Until then, I am sure the Chex Party Mix Snack Bar will be a hit this holiday weekend!


I also made cupcakes with the assorted cupcake baking cups.

Self  Disclosure: I received a Baby Shower package including products and a gift card to facilitate this post. 



Animal Eyes By Mary Holland


The sense of sight helps an animal stay safe from predators, find food and shelter, defend its territory and care for its young. We can tell a lot about an animal from its eyes: whether it is predator or prey, whether it is more active during the day or night, and sometimes even its gender or age. Award-winning nature photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland shares fascinating animal eyes with readers of all ages.

I received a copy of this book and loves the photography but also found it very educational. I recommend for grades K-4th. I even learned a couple of things I didn’t know in regards to animal vision. The For Creative Minds include Animal Vision Fun Facts, Match the Eye to the Animal and a Glossary.

Find this book and many other educational and fun books at Arbordale Publishing.

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


Sophie’s Animal Parade Written by Amy Dixon and illustrated by Katia Wish; Sky Pony Press; May 5, 2015; ISBN: 978-1-63220-403-5; $16.99; Ages 3-5


“Sophie’s drawings, whether they’re of cupcakes or polar bear cubs, tend to spring to life. Is it magic or Sophie’s imagination at work? Dixon (Marathon Mouse) isn’t telling, but it’s clear that this sort of power isn’t easy to manage. Lonely, Sophie summons one animal after another, but her room is too warm for the polar bear and too short for a giraffe, and a duck would rather splash in a kiddie pool than play hide-and-seek. Sophie solves these and other problems with additional drawings (soon, a turtle, elephant, and penguins are in the mix), but it isn’t until she meets a boy who loves animals as much as she does that her desire for friendship is sated. Newcomer Wish’s watercolors have an appealing retro cuteness, though they remain too tidy and pretty to truly capture the chaos and “colossal mess” that eventually drive Sophie and her animals outdoors. And for all that Dixon’s story revels in imaginary (or magical) fun, the takeaway is that real relationships are what matter.”—Publishers Weekly.

I enjoyed this delightful story and I love how the lesson is that children can use their creativity, persistence and a little imagination to combat loneliness. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and bring the story to life. A fun story for young children ages 3-6.

You can find on and also Barnes & Noble.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy form Sky Pony Press to facilitate this post.

Trees by Katharine Hall A Compare and Contrast Book


Trees grow in many habitats, all around the world. Some trees are short and some are tall.. Some grow in hot deserts and others grow is cold mountains. Some have leaves that are broad and wide and others are short and narrow. Some trees stay green all year round while others have leaves that change color. Compare and contrast the different characteristics of trees through vibrant photographs.

I received a copy of this book and love that it is educational and has such pretty photographs. It is a great book for grades K-3 and really fits well when learning about Science. I like that the For Creative Minds section teaches about Tree parts and more! There is also an activities guide available on

About the Author:

Katharine Hall is a life-long nature lover and avid reader. She hopes the Compare and Contrast series will help children use critical thinking skills to explore and learn about the natural world around them. In addition to Trees, Katharine has written Polar Bears and Penguins and Clouds.  Katharine and her husband live in California with their dog, Tonks, and two mischievous cats.

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

“United We Play. United We Win” Special Olympics Southern California 2015 Summer Games Returns to California State University, Long Beach

SOSC - Red and Black (1)

Hundreds of gold, silver and bronze medals are polished and ready to be awarded as Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) Summer Games return to the California State Long Beach (6000 E Atherton St, Long Beach, CA 90815) campus and Recreation Park Golf Course (5000 E 7th St, Long Beach, CA 90814), June 13-14, 2015. More than 5,000 local dignitaries, corporate sponsors, spectators and family members are expected to attend. Admission to all events is free.

The annual event begins early Saturday morning with the torch lighting opening ceremony at 9:30am, followed by competitions, award ceremonies and special athlete educational events scheduled throughout the weekend.
An estimated 1,100 athletes from Southern California will compete in Aquatics, Athletics (Track & Field), Basketball, Bocce, Golf, and Gymnastics. Along with the games, weekend competitions will also include games, live entertainment, community and law enforcement exhibits at Expo Park and the Grand Prize drawing for the Special Olympics Southern California Dream House Raffle campaign, where more than 1,600 prizes including the grand prize will be awarded. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $150 until May 29. Visit for more information.

Jimy Cayer (5)
The Summer Games are the first of two Southern California championships held each year, and this year’s games serve as prelude to the much anticipated Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games, held July 25-August 2.
Called one of the largest humanitarian events in Los Angeles since the 1984 Summer Olympics, World Games ( ) will bring an estimated half-million people to the greater Los Angeles area, with more than 7,000 Special Olympic athletes participating from 170 nations. There will be 15 athletes competing in Summer Games who will then compete in the World Games.
Day one of Summer Games will include the annual “Breakfast with Champions” where leaders of the business and sports communities come together to honor the accomplishments of Special Olympics athletes. This year, keynote speaker will be Doc Rivers, President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach for the Los Angeles Clippers. Tickets start at $75 and can be purchased at

Justin and Byron Lundy
Special Olympics Southern California 2015 Summer Games
During Summer Games, SOSC will showcase two of its signature programs, Healthy Athletes and Young Athletes. Free health screenings will be provided, and participants in the Young Athletes Program (ages 2 ½ to 7) will learn the importance of sporting activities, which are vital to mental development and physical growth to the youngest members of the Special Olympics community.
Leaders from SOSC and Cal State Long Beach will formally announce that the partnership between Special Olympics Southern California and Cal State Long Beach will continue, as the University has extended its agreement to host Summer Games through 2017.
“We are tremendously grateful to the University and its generosity,” says Bill Shumard CEO and President, Special Olympics Southern California. “From use of campus facilities for matches, their residence halls which house our athletes, to the welcoming staff, we are thrilled that Summer Games will continue at Cal State Long Beach.”
For nearly 50 years, Special Olympics has provided individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to succeed through the power of sport, providing sports training, competitions, and health education opportunities at no cost to them or their families.
“Seeing the determination on their faces is inspiring,” says Shumard. “Our athletes are excited to share the benefits of the many hours they have spent practicing and improving their skills, while building lasting relationships with coaches and teammates. It’s truly remarkable to watch the athletes live the oath of Special Olympics, ‘If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ That’s what Special Olympics is all about.”
For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit
About Special Olympics Southern California Special Olympics Southern California enriches the lives of more than 17,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and their communities through sports, education, and athlete health. Founded in 1969 by Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, Special Olympics Southern California provides free year-round sports training and competitions to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Participation develops improved physical fitness and motor skills and greater self-confidence. Special Olympics has become the world’s largest movement dedicated to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. As a result, people with intellectual disabilities become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Learn how you can get involved at .


Credit: Special Olympics Southern California.

LucidBrake First Smart Wireless Bike Brake Light to Donate 20% of Pre-Order Sales to Help Fight HIV/AIDS


Safer Biking with Patent Pending Wireless Brake Light
Brilliant LED Light Visible from ½ Mile.

Smart Light Detects Stopping Motion with 4 Beacon/Brake Modes.

Press-on, No Installation Needed with Tough “Dual Lock” Fasteners.

LucidBrake, creator of the first smart wireless bike brake light, announced today that it will give 20% of all pre-order sales ofLucidBrake at to HIV/AIDS awareness and research. Until July 2015, LucidBrake is donating 20% of every pre-order to AIDS/Lifecycle: Ride to End AIDS, the annual 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness of HIV/AIDS, held May 31-June 6, 2015

The LucidBrake wireless press-on safer biking brake light is now available for pre-order after recently completing its successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, with pricing of $50 until July 2015 (normally $74.99). Early-birds can order the patent-pending smart brake light that cansave lives through safer biking and also help fight HIV/AIDS at the same time through LucidBrake’s support for AIDS safety awareness and research.

“I realized one day that I could make bikers safer on the road. Prevention is 100% better than healing broken bones. I have family members who ride bikes and I have family members who are gay.  I care about them and want to make all families safer. What better way than giving to AIDS/Lifecycle?” said LucidBrake Inventor and Founder, John Craig, longtime author of Microsoft books.

Safer Biking with LucidBrake with 8 Ultra-Bright LEDs

Visible up to a ½ mile away, the LucidBrake smart ultra-bright LED brake light provides safer biking so cars, other bikers, and pedestrians can see you braking, slowing down, or stopping — even at a distance. LucidBrake detects and shows motion with 8 LEDs that  blink as you move and alert solid when you stop (just like a car’s brake lights), showing the difference between slowing down and abruptly stopping with 4 beacon modes (flashing, fast flashing, solid, off) and 2 braking indicators (sudden and normal).  The smart brake light detects slow and stopping motion using all 3 axes of acceleration signals (right/ left, up/down, backwards/forwards),filtering out road bumps, grades, angles, and normal cycling movements.

LucidBrake can be used on bikes, boats, jet skis, skateboards, wheelchairs, scooters, helmets, and even  backpacks. LucidBrake requires no installation and no wiring.  It quickly attaches with press-on 3M fastener material — tough enough to hold up metal siding on buildings in extreme outdoor weather conditions.

Lucid Brake Features:

  • Ultra bright brake light visible from ½ mile away at night and ¼ mile in the day to prevent cyclists’ injuries.
  • Easy to install, no wiring needed. Presses on securely with tough dual-lock fasteners.
  • Patent-pending innovative design.
  • Flat back allows it to mount onto multiple surfaces, backpacks, helmets, etc.
  • 4 different beacon modes (flashing, fast flashing, solid, off) with modes aligning to the E.U. laws (off or dimmed tail-light).
  • Angled cover design increases degree of visibility.
  • Brake light has two speeds:  normal and emergency.
  • Brake Light Indicator:
    • No pressing a pedal or button necessary.
    • Knows when going over bumpy roads, down a hill, or really slowing down.
    • Adjusts to the mounting angle.
    • Flashes more intensely when stopping suddenly, alerting others.
  • No on/off switch: automatically goes into sleep mode when not in use or by changing the position of the unit or storing in flat or horizontal position.
  • Long battery life of over 1 year with 2 AAA batteries.
  • Waterproof :  operates under water for biking in rain or snow, for boating, or other aquatic uses.
  • Lightweight:  under 2 oz. total weight (including batteries).
  • Many other creative non-bicycle uses possible – such as at the end of long truck or car loads.

Pricing & Availability – Shipping in Time for Summer 2015 Cycling Season

After successful completion of Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, LucidBrake is now available for pre-order for the summer cycling season with discounted pricing of $50 until July (normally $74.99), shipping July 2015. For more information, see the website:, Twitter @LucidBrake, Facebook: , YouTube:

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Credit to the following:
About LucidLights, LLC

Founded in 2007, LucidLights, LLC designs innovative smart LED lighting technology for safer living. LucidLights ™ are hand-held, oscillating light devices that use persistence of vision to paint bright images (text or graphic) in thin air, stopping people in their tracks with their novel brilliance.  In 2013, LucidLights created prototypes for LucidBrake and with the help of a successful crowd-funding campaign, produced their first production run. The new LucidBrake is set to ship in July 2015 with a more advanced algorithm for how and when it turns off and more advanced beacon modes, as well as modes that comply with German E.U. rules of the road.  For more information, see

About AIDS/Lifecycle

AIDS/LifeCycle: Ride to End AIDS is a fully supported, 7-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness in the fight against HIV/AIDS. AIDS/LifeCycle 2015 will take place May 31st through June 6th, 2015. Every year, this landmark ride through beautiful California delivers a life-changing experience for thousands of participants from all backgrounds and fitness levels united by a common desire to do something heroic. For more information on AIDS Lifecycle, see:

Epik Delivers Rugged Protection for Apple Watch LUNATIK’s Epik Watch System Launches on Kickstarter Today

_MG_2675-crop for KS

With 2015’s most highly anticipated new tech product landing on the wrists of consumers around the world, it will be important for consumers that push the limits of their gear to protect their devices with a case that is rugged, functional, fashionable and most important, keeps their precious Apple Watch safe.


The Apple Watch accessory market has the potential to be enormous and beginning today, LUNATIK,the premium mobile accessories brand responsible for kickstarting the smartwatch frenzy with TikTok + LunaTik Watch Kits for the iPod nano, is conducting a Kickstarter campaign to validate its Epik Protection System for the Apple Watch and fund the final development.


Designed for the Apple Watch 42mm, the Epik system includes a case and band and is available in silver or black anodized aluminum with choice of a silicone sport band or aluminum link bracelet. The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is $100,000 and can be seen at Early versions of Epik are scheduled to ship to Kickstarter contributors later this summer and reward levels include:


–          $125 Epik Silver or Black Anodized Aluminum Case + Silicone Sport Band

–          $150 Epik Silver or Black Anodized Aluminum Case + Matching Aluminum Link Bracelet plus free Silicone Sport Band. (Limited quantities of 2,500 ea.)

–          Early backers of each level will get limited Early Bird pricing at $25 off


Crafted for those who rely on their gear, Epik transforms the Apple Watch into an uncompromising, rugged companion, ready for anything.  From hiking, jogging, skiing and cross-training to climbing, going to the beach, hitting the jobsite and normal everyday use, Epik gives Apple Watch owners the comfort of knowing their investment is safe and well protected while making a bold statement about the user’s lifestyle. Epik’s rugged and distinctive aesthetic also offers an opportunity to stand out from millions of Apple Watch users.


With its reinforced materials and shock-absorbing internal core suspension system, Epik offers an additional layer of impact and ingress protection. Epik’s iconic Active Control Crown features a highly tactile and precisely textured actuator dial that provides enhanced control of Apple Watch’s Digital Crown, its signature interface point, when you are immersed in your favorite sport or adventure. Obsessively designed and well-crafted, Epik ensures the Apple Watch works as intended, with full access to all watch features including its inductive MagSafe charging, heart-rate monitor, audio ports, and interface.


“While the Apple Watch is a beautifully refined piece of hardware, many who participate in their favorite activities will require more rugged protection for their watch,” said Scott Wilson, founder and chief creative officer of LUNATIK and MINIMAL. “Epik is crafted for those whose hobbies, passions, jobs and even lives rely on their gear, while also offering a more bold, functionally informed aestheticfor those who prefer it.”


While everyone else is peddling the expected, we seek out unseen connections between people, technology and lifestyles. We are obsessed about everything we create, and exceeding user expectations is what drives us. Founded in 2010, LUNATIK, the crowdfunded game-changer, was created by award-winning design entrepreneur Scott Wilson and his Chicago-based product and brand incubation firm MINIMAL.  More information is available at

Credit: LUNATIK.  No compensation was received or products received to post.

LA Zoo Opens New Jaguars Habitat w Up-Close Opptys to see “Near-Threatened” Animals

Jaguar Female Exhibit-Jamie Pham_4952


Opening Marks Momentous Completion of Master Plan Phase 1,
Transforming the Zoo and Placing It
at the Vanguard of Animal Care and Conservation

Celebration Includes Larger-Than-Life, Three-Dimensional
Jaguars Street Painting By Celebrated Chalk Artist Ever Galvez
Giving Zoo Visitors One-Of-A-Kind, Interactive Photo Op,
And “Family Fun Fridays” Admission Discount

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens officials announce the opening of a new habitat for the Zoo’s three jaguars, offering guests the opportunity to see jaguars as never before and marking the momentous completion of the $180 million Master Plan Phase 1 that has transformed the Zoo, placing it at the vanguard of animal care and conservation.  The jaguars’ brand new home, like every other L.A. Zoo Master Plan habitat, is designed for specific needs and natural behavior of the species, incorporating state-of-the-art design and technology to provide superior living spaces for the animals, maximize safety and keeper management and accommodate changes in zoo populations, including births.  To celebrate the opening, the Zoo presents a larger-than-life, three-dimensional street painting by celebrated chalk artist Ever Galvez depicting jaguars that provides visitors a one-of-a-kind, interactive photo op available.  As an added summer bonus, a special FAMILY FUN FRIDAYS four-pack (two adults and two children) is available now, online only, valid Fridays from June 5 through September 25 (except July 3) for one low price of $54 (a $12 savings), and includes a 10% discount on retail merchandise at any Zoo gift shop on the day of the visit.

The 7,100 square-foot jaguar habitat, built on a hillside on Rainforest of the Americas’ northwest end, features a waterfall and pool in which the animals can swim, deadwood trees on which they can climb, and abundant landscaping through which they can wander, such as tall grasses, shrubs, ficus trees and banana plants.  A sophisticated 1,800 square-foot animal holding facility includes six “bedrooms” and “day room” to provide off-exhibit options for the male jaguar, Kaloa, while the male/female pair, Stewie and Johar, mark their home ranges in the main exhibit space and vice versa.  This facilitates the jaguars’ natural behavior, as they are solitary creatures except for courting pairs or mothers and babies.  The exhibit also offers upgraded Zoo visitor experiences by optimizing viewing, with two glass areas allowing opportunities to see these magnificent animals up-close, and engaging interpretive graphics, all designed to inspire appreciation for preservation of one of the iconic animals of the rainforest environment.  Since 1900, jaguars, which are “near threatened,” have disappeared from much of their range due to persecution by livestock ranchers, degradation of habitat, and human hunting of jaguar prey.

According to Los Angeles Zoo Director John Lewis, “This new habitat allows the Zoo to work more intensely with jaguars while sharing with the public this important keystone predator that helps to maintain balance in New World tropical ecosystems.”

Jaguars, the third largest of the cat species and largest in the Americas with the male averaging between 125 and 250 pounds, hold great religious and cultural importance in many cultures of Mexico, Central America, and South America.  They once roamed from the southern tip of the latter continent north to the region surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border.  Today the largest population of jaguars inhabits Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.  Jaguars are also found in Mexico, Guatemala, and Argentina, while rare in the rest of Central and South America.  Historically, jaguars were found in the southwestern United States, but are now thought to be extinct in that area.  Jaguars live in rainforests, swamps, grasslands, scrublands, deserts and lowland semi-deciduous forests.

Since 1998, the Zoo has completed 11 major capital projects, including new habitats for great apes, elephants, seals, reptiles and many others, development of major health and education facilities, and the opening last year of Rainforest of the Americas, home to an extraordinary collection of endangered and exotic mammals, reptiles, fish and amphibians living in spaces that replicate their natural environments.  These Master Plan projects were funded by capital bonds supported by Los Angeles County voters, money supplied by the City of Los Angeles, and donations raised by the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association from individuals, corporations and foundations.

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ Master Plan Phase 1 completions began with the 1998 opening of Chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains, followed by the Red Ape Rain Forest for orangutans, which debuted in 2000, then the 2001 opening of Winnick Family Children’s Zoo including the Animal Care Center and Muriel’s Ranch, the first contact yard at the Zoo since the 1980s.  A new front entry plaza, with its iconic “LOS ANGELES ZOO” sign visible well beyond Zoo grounds, opened in 2005, as did Sea Life Cliffs, home to harbor seals and gray seals in a 165,000 gallon salt-water exhibit which provides underwater viewing as well as views from above.  The dedicated members of the Zoo’s veterinary staff at the Gottlieb Animal Health and Conservation Center, which opened in 2002, care not only for the more than 1,100 animals at the Zoo, but they are also active participants in conservation programs beyond Zoo gates, including a Peninsular Pronghorn Recovery Project and the ongoing California Condor Recovery Plan to save the California condor from extinction.  The year 2009 marked the opening of the Children’s Discovery Center, a learning environment for youngsters of all ages, which also houses the Volunteer Resource Center where hundreds of dedicated people gather to donate their time, expertise, and energy to the Zoo.  The California Condor Rescue Zone in the CDC allows children to learn about the role the Zoo has played in the triumphant return of this iconic species from the brink of extinction.  The Campo Gorilla Reserve, an expansive, multilevel exhibit, opened in 2007 to provide a stimulating environment for gorillas, followed in 2010 by Elephants of Asia, the largest habitat in the history of the Los Angeles Zoo boasting deep bathing pools, sandy hills, varied topography, enrichment opportunities, and a high tech barn capable of caring for elephants of all ages; its size, flexibility and innovation have enabled the L.A. Zoo to inspire new trends in the care and conservation of the species.  The Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel, the only one of its kind in Southern California, opened in 2011 featuring sixty-six exceptional hand-crafted figures, many representing endangered animals.  The Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles (LAIR), an award-winning, state-of-the art facility housing some 75 species in 50 exhibits, opened in 2012, followed by Rainforest of the Americas in 2014.  Most recently, the all-new Angela Collier World of Birds Theater replaced the original building, resulting in amenities that improve training opportunities and bird care.

Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), whose members meet rigorous professional standards for animal welfare, the Los Angeles Zoo has achieved renown as an international leader in the preservation of endangered species and a conservation center for the care and study of wildlife.  The private, non-profit Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), which has supported the Zoo in partnership with the City of Los Angeles for more than five decades and provides funding for and operates seven essential Zoo departments, has 60,000 member households representing more than 240,000 adults and children.  As evidence of the Zoo’s popularity, GLAZA attracts one of the largest membership bases of any cultural organization in Los Angeles.

Regular admission to the Los Angeles Zoo is $19 for ages 13 to 61; $16 for seniors (ages 62+), and $14 for children ages 2 to 12).  No ticket is required for children under 2.  Admission for Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association members is free.  As a summer bonus, a special FAMILY FUN FRIDAYS four-pack (two adults and two children) is available now, online only, valid Fridays from June 5 through September 25 (except July 3) for one low price of $54 (a $12 savings), and includes a 10% discount on retail merchandise at any Zoo gift shop on the day of the visit.

The Zoo’s location in Griffith Park at the junction of the Ventura (134) and Golden State (5) freeways ideally positions it as a convenient destination enjoyed by locals and vacationers of all ages who can visit every day of the year except Christmas Day.  .  5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA  90027.  Free parking is available.  For additional information, contact (323) 644-4200 or visit

Credit: Los Angeles Zoo. Photo Credit: Jamie Pham.