Archives for April 5, 2018

PBS KIDS Launches First Gaming App from Series: Cat in the Hat Builds That!

THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!, Now available in the App StoreGoogle Play andAmazon, the Cat in the Hat Builds That! app features a collection of science adventures for preschoolers to engage with the characters, curriculum, tools and fantastical worlds, even their own customized backyard.

The Cat in the Hat Builds That! app offers the second adaptive learning game from PBS KIDS, with personalization that empowers kids to make choices about their play-based experiences that enhance their learning. Like The Ruff Ruffman Show’s Fish Force, released in the fall of 2017, the adaptive game within the app offers experiences that provide real-time contextual feedback based on what just happened in the game, and shifts challenge sequences to adjust difficulty and match player ability.

I had the chance to try this one out and I highly recommend for pre-schoolers! I love that the app is free and that it is a fun and educational game. It’s really cool that there is a fully customized backyard that grows the more you play. But, I really like that there are 4 Cat in the Hat inspired tools to help with science discoveries such as the magnifying Micromaboodle (say that fast 5 times!) and the Doodlemaboddle sketch pad. 

In addition to the app release, kids and families can now watch new episodes of THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!. The episodes air on PBS stations (check local listings) and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream, and will also be available for free on and the PBS KIDS Video App.

Self Disclosure: Information and images were provided. I rarely review apps but highly recommend this one!

Celebrate Earth Month with PBS KIDS

In celebration of Earth MonthPBS KIDS’ annual “Explore the Outdoors” initiative encourages families to discover and connect with the natural wonders that surround them. Fans of PBS KIDS’ SPLASH AND BUBBLESWILD KRATTS and NATURE CAT will get a chance to see new episodes beginning Monday, April 23, exploring themes such as marine biology and the animal kingdom. New episodes will premiere on PBS stations (check local listings) and be available on, the free PBS KIDS Video App and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and live stream.

Kids will be inspired to learn more about the animals and natural world featured on their favorite PBS KIDS shows with new games from NATURE CAT and WILD KRATTS on the free PBS KIDS Games App and on A new update to Nature Cat’s Great Outdoors App is also available, now offering more than 100 daily nature adventures families can experience together.

Engaging hands-on crafts and outdoor activities are available on PBS Parents. PBS LearningMedia offers preK-12 educators a wide range of lesson plans, project-based activities, interactive games and contextualized videos supporting environmental science and STEM curriculum. These curated resources, designed to reinforce key concepts and help students make connections between timely current events and lessons discussed in the class, can be found here.

Across the country, local PBS member stations will be hosting Earth Month-related events to connect children to the environment through hands-on learning activities. Events will feature everything from local ecology to gardening, camping and exploring the local zoo. Families will also have the opportunity to dive into nature themes and environmental concepts with PBS KIDS “Explore the Outdoors” activities and materials.

“PBS KIDS aims to spark children’s curiosity and inspire off-screen learning. With new episodes of SPLASH AND BUBBLESWILD KRATTS and NATURE CAT and a variety of games, we hope that kids will want to further explore the natural world,” said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “Our local stations bring this initiative to life in communities across the country, encouraging kids and families to step outside and discover new things in their own backyards and neighborhoods.”

PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors Program Details & Air Dates (check local listings)

Credit: PBS KIDS.

Petal to Plate by Visit Carlsbad’s 10-day celebration of fine flowers, food, and drink

The city of Carlsbad will focus on all things floral from April 5 to April 15, 2018 and will host five events and seven specials in venues throughout the city. Guests are invited to tour the flower fields and enjoy the delights of spring back in town with participating bars, restaurants, and spas.

Chefs, mixologists and wellness specialists across Carlsbad are planting the seeds of their creative sides for Petal to Plate 2018, and are taking inspiration from violets, lavender, hibiscus, tangerine flower, Passion flower, pansies, chamomile, rose, elderflower, and even pollen to delight the senses in this year’s edition. Offerings already announced include a lunch special at Argyle Steakhouse at Park Hyatt Aviara, garden tours and aromatherapy treatments and craft floral cocktails at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa, variations on the reputable repertoire of seafood, pastas and succulent steak at Vigalucci’s Steak & Seafood, sea-side Fleur de Fizz cocktails at Chandler’s Restaurant at Cape Rey, Passion Flower Sugar Scrubs at Ocean Crest Spa, floral-inspired libation from mixologist Leigh Lacap at Campfire Restaurant & Bar, as well as Hibiscus Coconut Shrimp Ceviche and other delightfully spring-fresh creations from the team at Twenty/20 Grill at Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa.

Below is a highlight of events happening through the month:

  • Wednesday, April 4: Preview Petal to Plate Tasting Event (Downtown Carlsbad Village). Shop with local chefs and mixologists at Carlsbad’s Farmer’s Market for fresh flowers and other ingredients that will be featured in Petal to Plate culinary creations, and enjoy a preview tasting with the Visit Carlsbad team. Details to follow here.
  • Thursday, April 5 – Sunday, April 15Petal to Plate by Visit Carlsbad (various venues throughout Carlsbad). After visiting The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, guests are invited to enjoy offerings from seven participating restaurants, bars, and wellness establishments.
  • Friday, April 6 and Friday, April 13: Sunset Wine Tasting & Food (The Flower Fields). An intimate culinary experience unfolds with wine and bites paired with the songs of live musical artists. Enjoy the sun as it sets on the fields with this after-hours event. Tickets can be purchased here.
  • Thursday, April 12: Fashion, Flowers and Fido (The Flower Fields). Join the Flower Fields Foundation, Simon Youth Foundation, and Rancho Coastal Humane Society for an evening fashion show with designs from Carlsbad Premium Outlet retailers accompanied by Rancho Coastal Humane Society adoptable dogs modeling dog fashion. Food and drink provided by local breweries, restaurants, bakeries and more. Tickets $25 in advance and $30 at the door. More info here.
  • Sunday, April 15Canon Photography Workshop (The Flower Fields). On the final day of Petal to Plate 2018, guests are invited to celebrate and savor the beauty of The Flower Fields with expert Stacey Lynne Foster at photography workshops running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., including Intro to Macro Photography, Fun With Flash, Print Like A Pro, Photo Walks and Family Portraits. Fun activities will be offered along with loaner cameras all day and guests can enjoy free printing from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info here.

Credit: City of Carlsbad. Images and information were provided. 


On Saturday, April 7, 2018, outdoor enthusiasts and trail lovers nationwide will kick off the spring trail season as part of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy’s (RTC) sixth annual Opening Day for Trails (Opening Day).

Opening Day, RTC’s annual celebration of trails nationwide, serves as the unofficial launch of the spring trail season. Event organizers and volunteers from across the country have arranged hiking, biking, running and other outdoor activities to celebrate trails and the benefits they bring to their communities, including more than 100 bike rides organized by Performance Bicycle.

WHAT:                Opening Day, a national event organized by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to celebrate the launch of the spring trail season.

Find events and pledge to take part at

WHEN:                April 7, 2018 (see event details for specific times)

WHERE:              More than 125 events will take place nationwide. Find events at

For more information about Opening Day, to find events and to enter the Opening Day sweepstakes, visit and follow #RTCOpeningDay on social media. Opening Day is sponsored by Fuji Bikes, Performance Bicycle, KEEN, Topo Design and Patagonia.

Opening Day is an annual celebration organized by RTC to kick off the spring trail season. RTC is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines. Connect with RTC at and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Share Opening Day stories by using #RTCOpeningDay.

Credit: Rails to trails.

AUTONOMOUS by Andy Marino is a Must-read for ages 14 and up! Special Guest post by Andy Marino!

AUTONOMOUS by Andy Marino (Freeform | On Sale: April 3, 2018) Combines social media stakes with jaw-dropping, high-tech action for a road trip saga like no other. The Fast and the Furious meets Stephen King’s Christine in this story about a group of friends and a cutting-edge driverless car (OTTO) that taps into their online profiles, unlocking deep secrets that put the entire group in danger. Readers are encouraged to buckle up—once inside Autonomous, there’s no escaping until the finish!

William Mackler is about to go on the road trip of a lifetime. After winning a contest-and nearly dying in the process-he becomes the proud owner of Autonomous, a driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. #Worthit! To sweeten the deal he gets to pick three friends to go with him on a cross-country trip. For William, a reckless adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after graduation.

But Autonomous is more than just a car without a steering wheel. It’s capable of downloading all of the passengers’ digital history-from the good, to the bad, to the humiliating. The information is customized into an itinerary that will expose a few well-kept secrets, but it will also force William to face some inner demons of his own. Think you know Autonomous? The real question is, how much does Autonomous know about you?

More about the Author:

ANDY MARINO was born and raised in upstate New York, and currently lives in New York City with his wife and two cats. He’s also the author of Unison Spark, Uncrashable Dakota, and The Door. You can visit him at or on Twitter @Andy_Marino.

We have a special Guest post by the Author!

Question: Where do you think Otto would take you on a road trip if the car tapped into your computer?

Andy Marino’s answer: Otto would figure out pretty quickly from Instagram that I like playing music and going to shows, so he would probably start by planning a trip around those things. I think he would take me across the country to all the famous venues I’ve always wanted to see, like Red Rocks in Colorado and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

But that’s too easy for a sophisticated AI like Otto to be satisfied with for very long. He would dig a little deeper to find out that my musical hero is John Frusciante, the former guitar player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Our road trip would end at John Frusciante’s house in California—and in true Otto fashion, he will have failed to understand that you can’t just show up at somebody’s house unannounced, so Mr. Frusciante will probably be alarmed to find a total stranger in a prototype driverless car in his driveway.

Look for AUTONOMOUS at a store near you or online! 


Self Disclosure: I participated in a Blog Tour and received a copy of the book to participate. No other compensation was received and I only feature books that I recommend. This one is great for ages 14+.