Archives for August 2023

5 Common Eating Disorders We Should Discuss More Often

An eating disorder goes beyond the love of food and crosses over into mental health conditions. This complex disorder has taken control of millions. You can help experts in their fight against this disorder by recognizing the common signs.

1. Anorexia

Anorexia is one of the most common eating disorders among women. It is the main reason that health professionals are serious about comprehensive support for eating disorders. Although the condition is the most well-known on the list, its actual symptoms are still overlooked. In some circles, anorexic behavior is glorified. A lot of the mental struggles associated with self-image can be traced back to the fear that’s tied to anorexia. With a relentless pursuit to meet unrealistic beauty standards, sufferers often neglect their health in the worst way possible.

2. Bulimia

Bulimia has some similarities to anorexia. The difference is that the victim will binge eat an unhealthy amount of food. Once the discomfort gets too high, they will forcefully purge the food from their system. Bulimia has a lot of newsworthy headlines associated with modeling. The symptoms hide better than anorexia since the sufferer maintains a normal weight. But after every purge, serious harm is done to the body. In severe cases, seemingly healthy individuals have suffered from strokes or sudden heart attacks.

3. Binge Eating

Binge eating is something that everyone deals with. It is often described as ‘eating away your feelings’, but there is a slight difference. Eating ice cream and skittles after a breakup lasts for a few days. Binge eaters go through multiple episodes where even the slightest bit of stress sends them into an eating frenzy. This all happens while making the wrong food choices, and will eventually lead to an unsustainable lifestyle. Obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure are only some of the things that comes with binge eating.

4. Rumination Disorder

Rumination disorder is probably the most unique eating disorder on the list. The best way to describe it is the regurgitation of food that has already been chewed and swallowed. It goes a step further than bulimia as the victim repeats the process again and either swallows or spits out the food. This is a serious condition that even infants suffer from. Therapy and a lot of support is the best way to return to normal eating habits.


Pica has become a problem due to the overexposure on television and social media. It is an eating disorder that makes the user eat non-food substances. This includes hair, dirt, soil, sap detergent and more. Besides the physical problems that comes from pica, there is also the mental toll. Most sufferers of pica have trouble dealing with daily routines. By the time they figure out the worst of it, most of their life has shut down. Recovery from pica is hard, and requires a lot of professional help.

More Than Food

A preoccupation with food will prevent the prioritization of other activities. Before taking the next step to recovery, the disorder has many layers that the sufferer has to identify. Once you know the root of the cause, getting better is a matter of time.

Back-to-School Book Choices!

Internationally beloved podcast turned fun fact book for kids — STUFF KIDS SHOULD KNOW.

Love all the facts in this one!

Did you know that Mr. Potato Head was originally an actual potato? Or that dogs have 25 to 60 times more scent detectors than we do, making their sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours?

Learn about all that and more in Stuff Kids Should Know (on sale August 1)!Written by the masterminds responsible for the beloved, award-winning podcast, Stuff You Should Know this is a gut-busting and brain-bursting nonfiction book for middle grade readers that offers an incomplete compendium of only the most interesting topics. 

Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant are co-hosts of the Stuff You Should Know podcast, which has over a thousand episodes and millions of listeners (including a lot of kids). With this new book inspired by the hit podcast, Josh and Chuck want to make the everyday world extraordinary for kids, digging deeper into the “whys” and the “hows”. With plenty of clever insights, silly illustrations, and an array of topics, this book delves into stuff we all wish we knew more about. 

Better than apples! This entrepreneur-teacher’s sticker book makes the perfect back-to-school teacher gift!

I absolutely love this one!

As some of you know, I am going back to work this year as a Preschool Teacher. I am really looking forward to this new adventure! So, I was really excited to receive this book to feature. It really is delightful! From tantrums and sticky hands to missed assignments and skipping class, teachers handle it all. And it’s not always easy. Just in time for back-to-school season comes the perfect gift to say thank you to every educator for what they do. Teaching Is A Work of Heart (Workman Publishing; $12.99 US) is a sticker book to brighten up any teacher’s planner, lesson plans, or classroom.

If you’re looking for a teacher gift that’s better than an apple, look no further. Christine’s first-ever sticker book, Teaching is a Work of Heart is a practical yet adorable sticker book, including:

·       35 pages of stickers

·       650+ full-color glossy stickers

·       Stickers that show appreciation (“Teachers change the world”), stickers with humor (“Three reasons to become a teacher: June, July, August”) and stickers that just get it (“Tired as a teacher”), in addition to planner stickers.

Christine Lee, Med, OG-T, knows the challenges of teaching all too well. A teacher herself, Christine has always had a passion for illustrations, design, and creativity. During the pandemic, she decided to design stickers as a creative outlet, and soon discovered a vibrant community of sticker lovers. Now with a thriving sticker business Created by Christine and a 129k Instagram community at @createdbychristine, Christine lives out an inspiring example of balance: being a teacher by day, and entrepreneur-artist with a massive social following by night.

Find this one here.

New Family Activity Book “Play Together” by Laura Haver is a must-buy!

Highy reccomend this one!

I believe that play is so very important and I love how this book is about families playing together! There are so many fun ideas!

Play Together features over 60 of the best games and activities for children 12 and under aimed at promoting happiness, communication skills, healthy movement, increased emotional intelligence and more.

Play is one of the best parts of being a kid, stimulating healthy development and providing wonderful benefits that you and your children will enjoy for years to come. Plus it’s simple! Most games are screen-free and can be played in under 10 minutes using materials you already have on hand… or just your imagination!

Some of the games featured include:

  • Marble Mania Madness  
  • 3-2-1… Freeze!
  • The What If? Imagination Game
  • Cardboard Creations
  • Snap-A-Letter Scavenger Hunt  
  • Make Your Own Puzzle
  • DJ Art
  • Play Heart Art Journal
  • Rainbow Breathing
  • Floor Pong and more!

Play Together also includes helpful game hints, prompts to stimulate family conversations, and fun anecdotes from play expert Laura Haver on her own experiences creating and play-testing each of the games. Perfect for anyone looking to add more fun into their lives, Play Together will provide you and your children with endless hours of enjoyment and bring you closer together as a family.

About the Author

Laura Haver 
is a play, happiness and communication expert, author, speaker and life design coach. She has helped hundreds of individuals and families to experience more play, growth and inspiration in their lives. Laura is the founder of Author Moms (a community that connects, supports and inspires fellow writing moms) and Alchemy of Fun (a community for busy women who want to bring more fun, fulfillment and magic into their lives). She has been featured on the Today Show, CBS, Fox and more. She has over 25 years coaching experience in leadership, life design and tennis (for both children and adults). Laura lives in San Diego with her husband and two sons. Visit for more information.

Published by Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Penguin Random House.
Available wherever books are sold. Also available at

The perfect book for young children starting school!

Head Back to School with Amazon Bestseller, Benny the Brave! 

Going back to school can be exciting for many kids, but some may feel anxious or nervous going into the new school year. Whether kids are starting school for the first time or they’re returning to a classroom full of new faces – those back to school jitters are absolutely real. 

How can kids make sure their year is off to a solid start? Let Benny the Brave and Team Supercrew save the day! 

This Amazon bestselling children’s picture book tells the story of Sarah as she fears the first day of school. In Benny the Brave in the First Day Jitters, Benny reminds Sarah that it’s okay to feel scared, but that she has the power to change those thoughts. By teaching Sarah the power of being brave, she is able to overcome her anxiety and tackle the school day. 

Benny the Brave teaches kids the valuable lesson that their ‘worst case first day fears’ can go away when they tap into their inner superpowers – their emotions – and channel Benny’s top-notch tips. Rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy, each Team Supercrew story educates kids on how to change their thoughts and feelings.

Benny the Brave is just one of four books in the Team Supercrew ‘Emotions and Powers’ box set – now available on Amazon. Each superhero has a different power kids can unlock in themselves and prepare for a successful school year – no matter if they’re headed to a new school, grade or classroom. Through these fun, sometimes silly, and heartwarming stories, kids will start thinking about the first day of school as a new adventure. Some New York City teachers have even infused these books in their curriculum! 

 Banned Books Primer Sets to Fortify New Generation of Young Rebels Before Kindergarten.

BABY’S FIRST BOOK OF BANNED BOOKS | $9.99 paper over board], which was created to introduce children in the 0-5 years reading age group to some of our best-loved—and now most banned—children’s books.

Baby’s First Book of Banned Books is a clever and innovative way to introduce young readers to the themes and ideas found in banned books. Inside, young readers will find the core lessons introduced in the titles that have disappeared from classrooms and library shelves, including The Diary of Anne FrankThe Giving Tree, and The Kite Runner, among others. At a time when censorship and the suppression of diverse voices are becoming more prevalent in schools, the book provides a valuable tool for parents to engage their children in important conversations about freedom of expression and intellect while nurturing a new generation of young rebels yet untouched by the suffocating weight of hypocrisy and censorship in the classroom.

Find out more at

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Cover images and information were also provided.

It’s time for Back to School!


It’s that time of year to start packing school lunches, drop off the kids for school and I still can’t believe how fast summer break has gone by! Here are some of my favorites for back-to-school lunches and for easy dinners!

Introducing Mightylicious Cookies—artisanal, allergen-friendly treats that never sacrifice taste or texture.

Think gluten-free means flavor-free? Think again. There’s a new cookie in town, and it’s taking the snack world by storm.

Say hello to Mightylicious, the hand-crafted cookie that truly has it all: amazing flavor, perfect texture, clean ingredients—everything you want in a cookie except the gluten.

What sets these decadent cookies apart from the rest is their surprising deliciousness. Everyone is singing the praises of Mightylicious, not just people with celiac disease and health-conscious snackers, but anyone who simply can’t resist a good cookie.

Behind every Mightylicious cookie is the belief that allergen-friendly treats shouldn’t sacrifice taste or texture. These soft-baked delights are 100% free of gluten, wheat, rye, barley, and RBST. The entire line is made from all-natural, non-GMO ingredients. I love how they taste! I was actually quite impressed with the flavor and my favorite is the Brown Butter Chocolate Chip.

The Mightylicious line features 7 varieties, including 2 vegan options: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip, Brown Butter Shortbread, Oatmeal Raisin, Double Dutch Chocolate Chip, Grandma Arline’s Oatmeal Coconut, Salted Peanut Butter, and Vegan Chocolate Chip. Kof-K Kosher. (7.4 oz bag, MSRP: $7.99)

Find Mightylicious online and in retail outlets including Walmart (231 outlets nationwide), Whole Foods, Costco, King’s, Price Chopper, and more.

The Only Organic Potato Chip Brand

Looking for an organic potato chip for lunches? This mom-owned brand is now available at Whole Foods nationwide! The flavors are delicious! Organic Goodness – Humble Chips stand out in kids’ lunch boxes because they’re made from organic ingredients. Organic foods are cultivated without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, ensuring that what your kids are enjoying is free from harmful chemicals.


The Original
A subtle dusting of sea salt, gentle enough to let the natural organic potato flavor nudge through.

Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar
Sweet apple cider vinegar tones gently complemented with a dusting of sea salt.

Smokey BBQ
A rich smokey BBQ experience created using the perfect blend of spices and natural smoke flavors. This one is my absolute favorite!

Creamy Dill
A lemony dill silkiness married with our light, crispy crunch.

I love that these are made with only real ingredients! I also love the Planet-Friendly Packaging for a Better Tomorrow: What sets Humble Chips apart goes beyond the chips themselves. Each bag of Humble Chips is not just a snack; it’s a small step towards a greener future. The certified compostable bags they come in contribute to reducing plastic waste and environmental impact. As your kids enjoy their crunchy snacks, you can feel good knowing that the packaging is designed to return to the Earth, leaving no toxic trace. It’s a fun lesson in sustainability that they’ll carry with them as they grow!

A great snack item!

Moon Fruit Snacks

Naturally sweet and deliciously crunchy, Moon Fruit Snacks are out of this world! With 1/3 cup of whole fruit per serving, the snacks are bursting with flavor and offer an easy, healthy snack choice for families on-the-go. Three delightful flavors include Straw-Bana, Blended Berry Blast, and Apple Cinnamon. Moon Fruit contains no added sugar, no artificial preservatives, no artificial colors, and no artificial flavors. Moon Fruit Snacks are available on their website and Learn more at

This next one is actually something I have never tried before! Aloe Water – The ongoing trend in the beverage industry is “functional beverages”…beverages that just don’t give you something to drink, but actually provide health benefits from drinking it. So, why should you drink Aloe Water? Hydration is one reason but there are also other benefits! Aloe vera has been traditionally used to help with digestive issues, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Drinking aloe water may help to soothe the digestive tract and promote regularity. It is also beneficial for your skin health and immune system support. Aloe vera has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce inflammation in the body and potentially alleviate conditions such as arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. Drinking aloe water may help to promote overall health and well-being. And with active kids, this will help them recover from the big game even faster! And when you are looking for the perfect aloe water, look no further than Aloe Vio. With a variety of refreshing flavors like watermelon, pineapple, and passion fruit you will love it! My favorite is the Watermelon! Aloe Vio is made from real aloe vera with and without pulp. Aloe Vio is never made from powder or concentrate. Available in natural and a range of flavors and sizes, standard aloe, sugar free and sparkling aloe for that refreshing taste.

Aloe Vio is available at Dollar General and more retailers coming this Fall!

For more information, visit BevPax online and on Instagram.

If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may recognize this next one! It’s a favorite of mine!

Keeping healthy snacks handy for fuel and nutrition during the school year is essential and Festive Chickpeas are the PERFECT go-to snack! It’s a fantastic no-nut, allergy-free crunchy snack that kids…and parents!…will love!

Chickpeas are a great on the go snack, for lunch, after school, at practice or even when mom or dad needs a pick me up before dinner! , because they are low in calories and high in fiber, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of plant-based protein.

Festive Chickpeas have reinvented the chickpea, unhusking it, using the chickpea hearts (halves) to give it big crunch and even bigger flavor! All while being packed with protein and unbelievably good for you!

Festive Chickpeas have ZERO preservatives, are non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free and are 100% vegan (except BBQ) to accommodate every snacker’s lifestyle. Aside from being plentiful with protein and nutritious, they’re exploding with flavor. Each pocket-sized bag is abundant in fiber, iron and potassium, has 10 grams of protein and no trans fats. The crispy chickpeas are dusted with ocean-fresh sea salt – making them an easy and equally satiating alternative to potato chips.

Festive Chickpeas are celebrating snack time one step further with new fun flavors, including Sour Cream and Onion, Sweet & Smoky BBQ and Ranch – because who wants to live without such tangy, savory flavor in their life? I love the Sweet & Smoky BBQ!

Find Festive Chickpeas at and coming soon to Amazon.

Festive Chickpeas are available in variety packs of 1-ounce and 2-ounce snack bags.

Save 10% when getting them on auto ship!

Great for making dinner!

Dave’s Gourmet’s award-winning pasta sauces are rich in delicious flavors like: Organic Hearty Marinara, Organic Red Heirloom, Butternut Squash, Wild Mushroom, Aged White Cheddar Alfredo and more! These organic, gluten-free, vegan, low sodium, non-GMO sauces are sure to make any pasta, pizza, ravioli, meatballs, or vegetable dish the highlight meal of the week. Each sauce bursts with flavor and takes dishes to the next level with little to no effort. If you are looking to make a simple dinner, this sauce is for you! It is so fresh tasting! I loved it!

For more information, please visit . 

A good lunch option for adults!

From the coastlines of Portugal and Spain, Freshé Meals are ready-to-eat, small meals made up of simple ingredients, vibrant superfoods, and sustainably sourced protein (wild-caught tuna or Atlantic salmon) infused with savory herbs and spices. Part of the Mediterranean diet, Freshé Meals are the perfect go-to option for healthy, delicious eating at home, at the office, or in the great outdoors. Simply pop open the tin and enjoy it right out of the can, or Freshé Meals can be used as a salad topper and in recipes. Tasty meal selections include Sicilian Caponata, Provence Nicoise, Aztec Ensalada, Thai Sriracha, Moroccan Tagine, and Barcelona Escalivada. All meals are non-GMO, gluten-free, and packaged in BPA-free tins. Sold at  Amazon and retailers nationwide, including Kroger, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Meijer, and more.

Another must try for adults!

Black Sheep CBD Meringue Cookies are premium, all-natural ingredients that are also “chill-inducing.”  These delicious, light-as-air cookies are made with CBD (THC Free) that taste as good as they’ll make you feel– with none of the high! Crafted from chef-inspired recipes, Black Sheep CBD Meringue Cookies have only natural ingredients like Cane Sugar and Natural flavors. They are Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy Free, Cholesterol Free, Non-GMO, and THC-Free and contain zero total fat, saturated fats, or trans fats. Every bag contains 100 MG or 200MG of 100% hemp-derived CBD and is made from full-spectrum CBD. Available in 9 irresistible flavors, including Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Cappuccino, Caramel, Birthday Cake, Cookies & Cream, Cotton Candy, and Mint Chocolate. Made in the USA. Available at

A must-try!

TBJ Gourmet Bacon Jams are all-natural, gluten free spreads are crafted with a delectable blend of real chopped uncured bacon cooked crispy and simmered with caramelized onions, brown sugar, maple syrup, garlic, vinegar, and more. Delicious as a spread or marinade and a perfect fit for both savory and sweet dishes. TBJ Gourmet Bacon Jam comes in a variety of mouth-watering flavors, including Original, Maple, Peppercorn, Sweet Chili, Honey Habanero, Fig and Balsamic, and more. Single and Variety packs are available. Made in the USA. Ethically sourced with no nitrates. Ships nationwide. Available at and Amazon. 

A Must for Family Movie Nights!

Johnson’s Popcorn helps you share delicious popcorn from the beautiful Ocean City, New Jersey Boardwalk, delivered to your home! Since 1940, Johnson’s Popcorn has been famously popping corn fresh daily, and hand mixing it the old-fashioned way! Johnson’s Popcorn is a delicious and thoughtful gift. Select your favorite flavors from gift ideas like tubs and tins of sweet and savory popcorn. All products are gluten-free, and you can choose from Caramel Corn, Salty-n-Sandy, Cheddar, Peanut Crunch, Chocolate Drizzle, Platinum, Butter, and Tri-Flavor. This brand is an absolute must for movie nights with the family! Always gluten-free. Available at

Stay tuned! More Back-to-School featured items to be reviewed soon!

Happy Back-to-School!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the above items to facilitate this seasonal post. Images and information were also provided.

The Hill * A Hard-Hitting Cast And Beautifully Written, Evocative Script

Growing up impoverished in small-town Texas, young Rickey Hill shows an extraordinary ability for hitting a baseball, despite being burdened by leg braces from a degenerative spinal disease. His stern, pastor father discourages Rickey from playing baseball to protect him from injury, and to have him follow in his footsteps and become a preacher.  As a young man, Ricky becomes a baseball phenomenon.  His desire to participate in a try-out for a legendary major league scout divides the family and threatens Rickey’s dream of playing professional baseball.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “With a hard-hitting cast and beautifully written, evocative script, The Hill surely captured my attention and should appeal to sports, drama and biographical film fans as well.” See his full review below. 

The Hill

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic age 17

With a hard-hitting cast and beautifully written, evocative script, The Hill surely captured my attention and should appeal to sports, drama and biographical film fans as well.

The Hill is based on the true story of Rickey Hill (Colin Ford, Jesse Berry), a kid from a poor Baptist family in rural Texas. Rickey has big dreams of becoming a baseball superstar and he’s immensely talented at batting, but he must face one problem — his dad (Dennis Quaid) won’t let him. Even when Rickey seems to have overcome congenital degenerative spinal disease, his father refuses to let him play, and he’s intent on molding him into a pastor just like him.

The direction by Jeff Celentano and screenplay by Angelo Pizzo and Scott Marshall Smith come together to bind the story — a riveting narrative of talent torn between passion and family. The set pieces and props, ever the wooden leg braces Rickey wears as a child, are all realistic. The dialogue in The Hill is real and raw, and I especially like how each cast member has convincing Texan accents. Dennis Quaid is an absolute superstar in the film; you’ll want to scream your head off at him sometimes and at other times, you’ll consider where he’s coming from — though that’s an angle the film doesn’t explore much. I was most taken by Jesse Berry’s portrayal of the young, fiery Rickey; he helms the film’s many tear-jerker moments. It’s certainly a stellar performance by a child actor, especially given the complexity of the role.

The Hill promotes pursuing your dreams with resilience; never saying never; and gaining a better understanding of perspectives different from you. The film contains religious content given Rickey’s upbringing in a strict, conservative Baptist family.

I give The Hill 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. It releases in theaters on August 25, 2023.


Gabby on the Go! at Universal CityWalk 9/2


Fans of DreamWorks Animation’s hit preschool series, Gabby’s Dollhouse are invited to GABBY ON THE GO!, an a-meow-zing fan experience full of fun FREE activities.


GABBY ON THE GO! is a nationwide touring activation that invites kids to explore and play inside Gabby’s fantastical world. Guests are given their own Paws-port to adventure and take part in an array of creative and fun interactive activities as they travel through the experience, collecting stamps, playing with new Gabby’s toys from Spin Master, spinning a prize wheel for a chance to receive a special gift, and even meeting Gabby herself!

Also available for the first-time at Universal CityWalk, fans will be able to preview and shop a wide assortment of Gabby’s Dollhouse toys and consumer products including Spin Master’s Gabby Cat Friend Ship, the first-ever LEGO® Gabby’s Dollhouse sets and much more!

Universal CityWalk Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

Saturday, September 2, 2023
10am – 3pm

Free family tickets can be reserved at Each ticket allows for a family group of 4 people (including adults and children). If there are no available slots online, additional tickets will be available to book at the event on a first-come, first serve basis.


GABBY ON THE GO! is on a nationwide tour that began in June and will continue across the US through November.  Tour stops include: Philadelphia, PA; New York City, NY; East Rutherford, NJ; Cleveland, OH; Cicero, IL; Minneapolis, MN; Pico Rivera, CA; Union City, CA; Mountain View, CA; Sacramento, CA; Tigard, OR; Happy Valley, OR; Puyallup, WA; Irving, TX; Dallas, TX; Smyrna, TN; Franklin, TN; Maplewood, MO; Bentonville, AR; Marietta, GA and Orlando, FL.


Since the debut of DreamWorks Animation’s hit series Gabby’s Dollhouse, kids around the world have been having one big sprinkle party with their new friend Gabby and all her kitty friends. Created and executive produced by celebrated storytellers Traci Paige Johnson and Jennifer Twomey, Gabby’s Dollhouse is a mixed media preschool series that unboxes a surprise before jumping into a fantastical animated world full of adorable cat characters that live inside Gabby’s dollhouse. Rooted in growth mindset, Gabby’s activity-based episodes encourage flexible thinking and learning from your mistakes. The show has charted as a top 10 kids’ series in 89 countries and has become one of the fastest growing brands in the preschool space, inspiring an award-winning toy line, publishing, home, apparel, and more, as well as original music, a top-rated app and a growing YouTube channel visited by millions of fans weekly. Additionally, Gabby’s Dollhouse continues to lend itself to global fan experiences including Universal theme park activations, live events and much more. Any adventure can unfold when we play in Gabby’s Dollhouse, now streaming on Netflix.

Rocket, Aug. 25th Pet of the Week

awww…so cute!

Say hello to Rocket, a kitten who was brought to our shelter on May 7 as a stray at 5 weeks old and weighing only 2 pounds. At that time, he was terribly scared, distrustful and not ready to launch into the human world. Now, at almost 5 months old, Rocket has developed such a stellar personality! He orbits your hand for pets and attention, and he’s taken such good care of his black fur that it shines like the sun. Rocket is so ready to blast off to a forever home! Won’t you please jump in your spacecraft and comet on over to meet him? Ask for ID#A698431. To adopt Rocket or any other cat in the shelter, visit him at Long Beach Animal Care Services or call (562) 570-4925. Shelter hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 7700 E. Spring St. at the entrance to El Dorado Park (no parking fee for shelter visitors). You can email to speed the process for adopting or fostering any pet!

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Books of the Month

STANLEY’S SECRET by John Sullivan

This book, which is inspired by the author’s own personal experience of practicing tap dancing while working as a night watchman, explores redefining gender norms, similar to Julian is a Mermaid and Glad, Glad Bear. It reinforces that nothing is wrong with boys wanting to practice dance, a hot-button topic that is still being talked about today. Not too long ago, a GMA host received a lot of backlash when she ridiculed Prince George on-air for practicing Ballet. Her comment went viral and sparks much-needed conversations about changing those preconceived notions about boys in dance.

The book follows shy Stanley, a boy who loves to dance, but never for an audience. Once the school principal discovers his secret talent, he urges Stanley to enter the school talent show and perform for his classmates. This book will have children and their parents cheering for Stanley to conquer his stage-fright and shine on stage.

I really enjoyed this book! I recommend it for all young children. I think this shares such an important message!

Author Bio:
John Sullivan received the Ezra Jack Keats Award and Margaret Wise Brown Prize for his debut picture book Kitten and the Night Watchman, also named a best book of the year by The Boston GlobeKirkus ReviewsPublishers Weekly, and BookPage. He is also the author of Ethan and the Strays and Stanley’s Secret. John is a cat lover and tap dancer who formerly worked as a night watchman. He lives in Chicago. Illustrator Bio:
Zach Manbeck is an author and illustrator living in Pennsylvania. As an artist, his work is described as modern vintage—nostalgic, yet fresh. As a creator, Zach aims to tell stories from new perspectives: stories that advocate for characters that haven’t yet had a chance to live in books. Learn more at

A Must-Read with the Acclaim of Goldie Hawn and Tom Hanks

Gregg and Ryan’s book When You Wonder, You’re Learning: Mister Rogers’ Enduring Lessons for Raising Creative, Curious, Caring Kids — has been called “a gift for all in the neighborhood” by Tom Hanks. Academy-award winning actress Goldie Hawn who has founded MindUP said “Fred Rogers taught that we each have something unique – a kind of inner music that only we can make. In this book, Behr and Rydzewski do for readers what Fred Rogers did in the Neighborhood: use brain science to help all of use become the best of whoever we are.”

In their acclaimed book, When You Wonder, You’re Learning, Gregg and Ryan reveal a never-before-seen side of Fred Rogers: the ingenious scientist and legendary teacher who was decades ahead of his time. They explain how Fred engineered every aspect of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to help kids develop the “tools for learning” — the skills and mindsets now deemed essential for school, work, and life.

These tools have been shown to boost academic performance, social-emotional wellbeing, and even physical health. They cost almost nothing to develop, and they’re up to ten times more predictive of children’s success than test scores. I love how this book is engaging and how it truly can help parents help their children!

middle grade graphic novelA WORK IN PROGRESS by Jarrett Lerner

This groundbreaking new book, told through verse and illustration has already hit the #1 spot for New Releases in Children’s Books on Bullying on Amazon, and tells the story of a young boy who is struggling with his body image and disordered eating while learning how to accept himself.

Disordered eating is rarely looked out from a male perspective, but Jarrett hopes to change that with his raw and real portrayal in this book. Just this month, NBC Nightly News aired a news segment alerting parents to the fact that one in three people diagnosed with an eating disorder is male, and that 99% of the research for eating disorders has focused solely on females. Jarrett can discuss why he hopes A WORK IN PROGRESS will help expand the conversation and raise awareness about boys and eating disorders. I think that this is an important book. There are many books about girls and eating disorders and it isn’t only a disorder that effects girls.

 Star Trek: Prodigy series called, ESCAPE ROUTE by Cassandra Rose Clarke

This original middle-grade book is based on the animated series of the same name, which premiered in October 2022 and is airing on Nickelodeon and streaming on Paramount+. Star Trek: Prodigy tells the story of a bunch of teen misfits who discover a hidden Starfleet ship called the Protostar, and it follows them on their adventures as they travel through space in the year 2383.

In ESCAPE ROUTE, the crew is on their way to Starfleet, when Murf spots a moon that isn’t on their charts. Murf really wants to explore, so the group makes a pitstop. However, this small detour turns into a big dilemma when the inhabitants of the moon ask Murf to stay with them. The rest of the crew begins to wonder if this is a sign, and contemplate if it might be time for them all to go their separate ways.

With strong themes of teamwork, inclusiveness, embracing diversity and one another’s differences, this series will appeal to all types of audiences. This is the third middle-grade book in this new S&S series, following the release of A DANGEROUS TRADE and SUPERNOVA earlier this year.

I found this book quite entertaining and recommend it to middle age readers! I loved the characters!

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of the above books to facilitate this post. Cover images and information were also provided.

The Shops at Mission Viejo Announces the Opening of Dizzy Bird

The Shops at Mission Viejo announced the opening of Dizzy Bird, the newest addition to their retail mix.

Inspired by the flavorful spatchcock chicken served historically in Lebanon, Greece and surrounding Mediterranean cities, Dizzy Bird’s menu focuses on spatchcocked rotisserie chicken infused with herbs, citrus and garlic for some good clucking flavor. It is served alongside signature sauces such Lebanese Garlic Sauce “Toum” and other popular Mediterranean sides, such as Greek Potatoes or Roasted Sweet Potatoes.

Dizzy Bird’s hot fresh rotisserie chicken will be featured in pressed wraps, on top of colorful bowls and salads with hearty ingredients, or a la carte with your favorite sides.

Where:                         The Shops at Mission Viejo – located on Level 2, in the Dining Pavilion.

                                    555 The Shops at Mission Viejo

                                    Mission Viejo, CA 92691

More Info:                    For more information including hours, please visit – The

Shops at Mission Viejo’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Credit: Simon/The Shops at Mission Viejo.