Archives for March 28, 2016

Making Manna by Eric Lotke


Libby Thompson is just fourteen years old when she flees her abusive home with her newborn son, Angel. Now they must build a life for themselves on hard work and low wages, dealing with police who are sometimes helpful-but not always-and a drug dealer who is full of surprises. As Angel gets older, he begins asking questions about his family, and Libby’s tenuous peace threatens to crumble. Can a son without a father and a young woman without a past make something beautiful out of a lifetime of secrets? Making Manna explores the depths of betrayal, and the human capacity to love, flourish, and forgive in the face of heartbreaking odds.

I found this book engaging and recommend as a great read for adults! I especially like how realistic and in depth the characters are and found the book tough to put down! I found the characters to be the best part of the book and I really do hope for a sequel! 


Eric Lotke has spent his career driving change in the prison system. He’s spent time providing legal counsel to people incarcerated under DC law, working to reduce violence in neighborhoods, and researching how to create progressive economic change. His work with the census bureau’s treatment of prisoners has lead to integral changes in state law in New York, California, Delaware and Maryland and hopefully many more.  His lawsuit over the exploitative price of phone calls from prison also led to new rules by the FCC.
The National Criminal Justice System commissioned him to write The Real War on Crime.He is the author of two novels, 2044 and Making Manna. He lives in Washington, DC.

You can purchase: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book to participate in the Blog Tour for this book. No other compensation was received. 

The Adventures of Gumby: The Complete 60s Series – A Step Back in Time


This 1960s Gumby claymation series is perfect fun for young children. Through its cute lessons and humor, this collectible box set brings enjoyment through short adventures of fun characters. Gumby, Pokey and new friends such as Professor Kapp go on fun adventures through different stages of history, often invoking trouble and learning lessons along the way. This series will appeal to the oldest, die-hard fans as well as new kids who will find joy in these classic stories. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Benjamin P. comments, “I am a big fan of Claymation and this is a collection of the classic clay animation series from the 1960s. The DVD has a ton of episodes and you get to watch the technical aspects of the animation and the characters evolve over time.” Samantha A., adds, “Something I immediately noticed about this series is that the animation isn’t like any film series you’ll see made today. It is a clay animated show. This type of animation is particularly interesting because it is made by taking pictures of each movement the characters take.” See their full reviews below.

The Adventures of Gumby: The Complete 60s
Samantha A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Gumby is a very enjoyable and fun claymation series that is about a green humanoid character named Gumby and his side-kick and best friend Pokey. They go on wacky adventures that we see a lot while watching this series of episodes. Some of my favorite episodes were “ the zoops” “the glob” “Santa witch” and “hidden valley”. They are lots of other great episodes in this series as well, but these really stand out.

Something I immediately noticed about this series is that the animation isn’t like any film series you’ll see made today. It is a clay animated show. This type of animation is particularly interesting because it is made by taking pictures of each movement the characters take. The way the makers behind the animation create the claymation is included in the of the bonus features.

This show is also very creative. I watched the episodes and was amazed and often wondered about how they came up with these ideas. From the punch lines to the plot lines of each and every episode.

The bonus features on this DVD disc are something special. Included are behind the scene footage, a photo gallery of photos from making this film, the first aired pilot episode with sound and a very rare episode called “space ball”. I love that they include photos because it gives you an inside look on what was happening when they created the animation and it makes you feel connected to the show even more. Also, getting an exclusive look at never before seen special episodes is very cool because, while watching them I kept thinking about how rare they are.

I recommend this series for ages 5 to 18 as well as adults. They are classic films that anyone can enjoy and they first aired over 60 years ago so, this disc is perfect for anyone who grew up with Gumby and would like to see him in action again. This series also gets 5 out of 5 stars from me because these were such fun episodes that anyone can enjoy and the animation is interesting. Also, seeing the bonus features on the disc makes it much more enjoyable because I now have an appreciation for what went into making such this animated series.

The Adventures of Gumby: The 60s Series, Volume One
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

The Adventures of Gumby: The 60s Series is a very good DVD collection with some very creative animation for its time. I am a big fan of Claymation and this is a collection of the classic clay animation series from the 1960s. The DVD has a ton of episodes and you get to watch the technical aspects of the animation and the characters evolve over time.

The Adventures of Gumby: The 60s Series follows the title character – an enthusiastic green clay-boy – and his friend Pokey, a horse, as they go on fantastic adventures from battling in a joust to keeping a king in power to saving a princess from a knight and even a high-speed chase from a sculpture come to life.

As the series goes on you meet several new characters, like the mopey yellow dragon Prickle and a blue flying mermaid named Goo. My favorite characters are Rodgy the bird and Henry the bear. Rodgy and Henry make an excellent duo. There is a great episode on Rodgy’s origin story called Who’s What. Henry is molding clay and he makes a bird that comes to life. While Rodgy may not always agree with Henry, they always stick together.

My favorite episode in this collection is Even Steven, which follows Gumby and Pokey on a road trip but the trip goes haywire because of some con artists trying to take their money. This cat and mouse chase is funny and unpredictable.

Another episode I enjoy is Treasure For Henry. It follows Rodgy and Henry as they find some treasure that turns out to belong to pirates. This is one of several episodes in this series that is very creative with the use of real life objects in the animation.

I recommend that you watch all the episodes in this collection as well as the special features, especially for Gumby fanatics. The DVD includes the original TV pilot and some behind-the-scenes footage on how they do the Claymation. I’m amazed by how they use clay and I like watching the animation grow more sophisticated and complex over time.

I recommend The Adventures of Gumby for ages 5 to 12. It’s colorful and a fun show to watch and the jokes are meant for all ages. I give this DVD 3 stars out of 5 stars.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Interview with Joe Clokey, son of Art Clokey, the creator of Gumby. Joe is the producer of the new compilations and new Gumby shows which are soon to be released. Listen to his interview on our radio show, KIDS FIRST! Coming Attractions here:


The 27th Annual America’s Family Pet Expo Returns to OC Fair & Event Center Giveaway Opportunity!


Showcasing thousands of pets, products and the people who love them!
Animal presentations, family pet entertainment, four-legged competitions and adoptions all weekend long
***Please Do Not Bring Your Pets***


The 27th annual America’s Family Pet Expo returns Friday, April 22 – Sunday, April 24, 2016 to the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa (88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa 92626). Cats, dogs, miniature farm animals, birds, and exotic reptiles, will come together in this unique event giving show guests the opportunity to experience furry, feathered and scaled friends in a variety of different ways.
“The Pet Expo is excited and proud to once again bring responsible pet care, entertainment, and pet adoptions to Orange County for the 27th year” said Doug Poindexter, President of the World Pet Association, producers of the America’s Family Pet Expo. “As the years progress, so does the show, with a variety of educational presentations, product launches, amazing pet acts and our popular animal adoptions. The Pet Expo truly is the place for anything pet-related.”

Last year 45,000 guests visited the America’s Family Pet Expo showing a 5% increase from 2014. There were more than 600 animal adoptions including dogs, cats – and even a few guinea pigs –that were adopted into “forever homes” from the Pet Expo’s Southern California animal rescue partner organizations

New to the Pet Expo, is an adorable collection of mini farm animals including mini donkeys, mini cattle, mini sheep, mini dairy goats, chickens, rabbits, and pot belly pigs. For equine lovers, horses from Camp Rusk Foundation for Retired Horses will make their debut.
Returning fan favorites include Splash Dogs, offering a wet-and-wild canine competition, and the Police Dog & Protection Demonstrations, crime fighting dogs in action showing how they serve and protect our community. The Free Flight Bird Show, where magnificent birds spread their wings and take flight, will perform throughout the weekend.
Kids can get in on the action by designing and creating a 10-gallon aquarium in the Kids Aquarium Contest. There will also be pony rides, face paintings, and The Great American Petting Zoo for the whole family to enjoy.

Pet Adoptions will be handled on site for those looking for that “purrfect” animal addition to the family. There will be hundreds of animals hoping to find their forever home from local community partner organizations at the Pet Expo.

General Admission, $13.00; seniors 60 and over, $11.00. Children 6-12, $8.00. 5 yrs and under, free. Active and retired military free with ID. Show hours: Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm.
OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa 92626. Facility charges $7.00 parking. Kindly leave all pets at home.

Dog at OC PET Expo

For more information and to purchase tickets online visit . The America’s Family Pet Expo is created, produced and managed by World Pet Association, Inc., a 65-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting responsible pet care.

We have teamed up for a Giveaway! We have a Family 4 Pack of tickets for one winner! To enter, leave a comment below telling us why you would love to go! Deadline to enter is April 18th, 2016 at noon PST. One winner will be randomly selected via

Self Disclosure: This is a featured event. I have or will be receiving free admission to feature this event. No other compensation was received.

Burke Williams Unveils A New Custom Body Polish Experience a Signature Full Body Exfoliating Treatment Like No Other


Burke Williams Day Spa is pleased to introduce the ultimate Custom Body Polish. This new signature 80-minute body treatment will be available at all Burke Williams day spa locations beginning April 1, 2016.


The Custom Body Polish treatment defines pampering. This exfoliating and moisturizing experience begins with a customized sugar scrub to deeply exfoliate the skin and encourage dead skin cell turn over from head to toe. Sugar contains natural glycolic acid, which when warmed, melts moisture across the skin’s surface. The sugar and essential oils are applied and polished over the skin with a unique body buffer. The buffer stimulates oxygenation and revitalization, which is enhanced by wrapping the body in a warm thermal blanket. The treatment is completed with a soothing H2V Express Facial designed to heal and rejuvenate the skin.


This exfoliating body treatment thoroughly and effectively removes dead surface skin cells leaving the skin glowing, invigorated and polished. Experience this new treatment for $169 ($190 in San Francisco) beginning April 1.


To book an appointment and learn more about Burke Williams Day Spa locations, services and products please visit

Credit: Burke Williams Day Spa.

Chuck E. Cheese’s Little Big Night Out March 31


Join Chuck E. Cheese’s on March 31 as they ramp up for National Volunteer Month (April) with a nationwide fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters!

They will be announcing their continued partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters with the first Little-Big Night Out and 15 percent of sales nationally will be donated to the organization. Additionally, throughout April customers can donate $1, $5 or any amount of their choice at the register to the nonprofit organization to help match “Littles” with “Big” mentors.

You can find your local Chuck E. Cheese’s store by selecting “locations” in the top right corner and typing in your zip code here: The Little Big Night Out event will be nationwide.

See you there!

Self Disclosure: I have received passes and free tickets to attend this event.


The event lasts from 3-9 p.m. at your local Chuck E. Cheese’s store.