Thursday, July 29, 2021

Mad Mattr: A Unique Take on Modeling Clay Offers Hours of Screen-Free Summer Fun!

 *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Mad Mattr for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

We are always looking for fun alternatives to screen time and this summer one of our fun finds is Mad Mattr!


Mad Mattr is known as the Unbelievable Dough You Build With!  It is an addictive, super-soft modeling compound that shapes easily and playing with it is incredibly calming and zen-like. 


Press it, mold it, knead it, stretch it, squeeze it, paint it, sculpt it, float it, sink it, or just pull it slow and watch it flow! And clean up is a breeze, since it sticks to itself and not to you.


Mad Mattr is gluten, casein and wheat-free, and available in 10 colors that can be mixed together, too!  We also received an ultimate brick maker with our Mad Mattr that made it super easy to build bricks that actually interlock and give building a whole new dimension of play.


We are loving our Mad Mattr and recommend it to anyone with kids who love sensory play.  It's the perfect activity to entertain and engage kiddos of all ages without a screen this summer!




Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

YA Pick for Fall: Violets Are Blue by Barbara Dee

 *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Aladdin for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Check out one of our favorite YA reads that is being released this Fall:

Dee returns this September with a heartfelt take on another tough topic – this time, addiction – making it accessible to middle grade readers and letting those who have faced similar challenges know they’re not alone.

Twelve-year-old Wren loves to reinvent herself, whether through her passion for special effects makeup or trying out a different name. These experiments in identity allow her to escape into a different life, where her best friend doesn’t act like she hates her and she isn’t caught in the middle of her parents’ divorce. Moving to a new town seems like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start, and everything falls into place as Wren starts making friends and lands the job of makeup artist for the school’s production of Wicked. But Wren is so caught up in finding herself that she doesn’t focus on her mom’s erratic behavior. When an opening night disaster throws her mom’s opioid addiction into the spotlight, Wren realizes that some problems can’t be covered up with a little makeup, but require support, forgiveness, and rebuilt trust.

Violets Are Blue (Aladdin; 9/28/21; ISBN: 978-1534469181; Hardcover $17.99; Ages 9-13; 304 pages) tackles the universal middle grade concerns of friendship, family, and identity with the same care and insight Dee brings to the challenging topic of addiction. Through Wren’s authentic voice, Dee captures a common issue that is often treated as taboo, providing kids with the tools to reach out when a problem is too much to take on alone. Wren’s interest in special effects makeup brings a unique flair and levity to a story with extra appeal to drama kids of all stripes – whether they’re assisting backstage, starring in the school play, or avidly watching YouTube tutorials.

Violets Are Blue is both heart wrenching and heartwarming and a wonderful YA pick for fall!



Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

#SummerFun - Document Your Summer Memories with the Kodak Dock Plus Portable Instant Photo Printer!

  

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Kodak for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

I love taking lots of pictures to document our summer adventures, but like many other busy moms, I very rarely print them out.  Kodak has made it easy for me to get these memories off my phone and beautifully printed thanks to their Dock Plus Portable Instant Photo Printer!



With the Kodak Dock Plus, you can print your favorite pics instantly from your mobile devices. Using a reliable and stable Bluetooth connection, this instant photo printer can help you save timeless memories.


Kodak Dock Plus uses 4Pass Technology to print flawless photos instantly. Each photo is printed in layers of ribbon with a laminating process so it’s fingerprint-proof and water-resistant for long-lasting quality.


Kodak has developed a free app that allows you to print anywhere and anytime. You can enjoy decorating real photos with stickers, frames, and filters with a simple and intuitive app that is compatible with iOS and Android devices.


This instant printer allows you to share unique and timeless memories with your family and friends. Print your favorite moments and keep them intact forever!

The Kodak Dock Plus is the perfect summer gadget to help you document all of your family's favorite memories, easy breezy!




Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

#SummerFun - Keep Kids Reading All Summer Long with Great Books from Nat Geo Kids!

 *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Nat Geo Kids for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Nat Geo Kids has all the books you need to keep your kiddos entertained and reading all summer long! 


After an incredibly challenging school year,  keeping kids reading over the summer has never been more important.  The gold standard in "edutainment," National Geographic Kids Books is serving up 3 amazing fiction series and 3 eye-popping nonfiction books that check all the boxes as summer reading "slam dunks" -- browsable, bright formats, high-interest topics and fun content.   On a plane, in a car, under the covers or inside on a rainy day -- these summer reads are perfect for reluctant readers and book lovers alike. 

101 Life Hacks: Genius Ways to Simplify Your World (ages 8-12, paperback) - 

Try these cool hacks! Turn ordinary into awesome with this fun book, jam-packed with science-inspired ideas kids can use to simplify, prettify, and eco-fy their lives at home, school, and on the go. Get tips and tricks for upcycling and reusing old stuff, as well as hands-on activities, fun facts, and insights from professional-grade life hackers who use their problem-solving skills to change the world.  Make cool lantern lights for your room, discover a tried-and-true brain freeze cure, learn how to boost your memory power, and more. By the end, you'll be able to hack your way through all kinds of problems, from a messy backpack to stage fright, a drippy ice pop to smelly shoes!


National Geographic Kids Almanac 2022 (ages 8-12, paperback) - The number one selling kids almanac on the planet!
 

'"...this gathering of upbeat, vividly illustrated, browser-friendly dips into topics ranging from black holes to blue-footed boobies to Bolivian street food is hard to put down, and the pop quizzes and research guides at each chapter’s end will give studious sorts a leg up, too." - Kirkus

The latest installment of the New York Times best-selling almanac features amazing animal stories, explorer profiles, and outrageous attractions that kids know and love, plus more of the incredible inventions, awesome games, and fresh challenges for curious kids who want to learn all about the world and everything that's in it.  Tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation help kids keep up with our quickly changing world and is why this is the number one selling kids almanac on the planet.  There's a whole chapter full of fun and games, including activities, jokes, and comics and the colorful compilation also includes an Almanac Challenge 2022 — which inspires kids to reduce their plastic waste.  

Explorer Academy Series by Trudi Trueit (ages 8-12, available in Hardcover and PB) - OVER 1800 FIVE STAR REVIEWS ON AMAZON!! 

"This exciting, fast-paced, far-flung story is full of science facts and James Bond-like gadgets, accompanied by colored illustrations.  The ending is guaranteed to keep readers eager for the next series installment." - Booklist
Explorer Academy is exciting and smart.  —Karen Bokram, Editor-in-Chief, Girls’ Life
National Geographic's blockbuster fiction series, Explorer Academy, has it all: a diverse cast of characters, cool technology, code breaking, adventure, exotic locations and a thrilling global mission -- all inspired by the real adventures and explorations of the National Geographic Society.   Join Cruz as he leaves his tranquil home in Hawaii to join 23 talented kids from around the globe to train at the Explorer Academy with the world's leading scientists to become the next generation of great explorers. But for Cruz, there's more at stake. No sooner has he arrived at the Academy than he discovers that his family has a mysterious past with the organization that could jeopardize his future. In the midst of codebreaking and cool classes, new friends and exotic locales, eco-challenges and augmented reality expeditions, Cruz must tackle the biggest question of all: Who is out to get him, and why? Books 1-5 are out now, and book 6, The Dragon's Blood will be released in October! 

Check out the Explorer Academy website featuring videos, comic shorts, games, profiles of real-life National Geographic Explorers, chapter excerpts and more. 

5,000 Awesome Facts About Everything (ages 8-12, Hardcover) 

This BIG book is literally busting its covers with fascinating, fun-tastic facts on super, sensational topics that kids love. Who knew that there were so many sweet things to learn about chocolate or that a dozen delicious details about peanut butter would show up on a page with a few splotches of jelly to whet our appetites? Keep turning and a terrifyingly toothy shark tells you all about himself, while other spreads lay out tons of tips on toys and games, mysteries of history, robots and reptiles, sports and spies and wacky words.   A visual feast of colorful photographs surrounded by swirling, tipping, expanding, and climbing bits of information in a high-energy design, this book will satisfy both the casual browser and the truly fact obsessed.

Keep your kids reading this summer with these entertaining and educational titles from National Geographic Kids!


Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

What We Are Reading This Summer From Scholastic

   *DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Scholastic for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 


We are so excited to share our summer reading line up with y'all today!  Check out the great Scholastic YA books that we are enjoying this summer and read to the bottom to find a fun picture book for your younger readers!


Simone Breaks All the Rules

It's senior year, and Simone Thibodeaux is ready to shake things up.
Until now, her life has been sealed in a boy-proof container, thanks to her strict Haitian immigrant parents, who enforce no-dating rules and send Simone to an all-girls high school. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: Her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice Haitian immigrant family, obviously).

Simone is desperate to avoid the humiliation of the setup -- especially since she's crushing on a boy she knows her parents wouldn't approve of. It's time to take action. So Simone and her fellow late-bloomer friends make a Senior Year Bucket List of all the things they haven't had a chance to do. Like: sneaking out of the house, skipping class (gasp!), and oh yeah -- choosing their own prom dates.

But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get much more complicated than Simone expected. She'll have to discover which rules are worth breaking, and which might save her from heartbreak.

On the Hook

Hector has always minded his own business, working hard to make his way to a better life someday. He's the chess team champion, helps the family with his job at the grocery, and teaches his little sister to shoot hoops overhand.

Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the DiscĂ­pulos gang, tells Hector that he's going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector's death is hanging over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows - to drop off Joey's radar - to become no one.

But when a fight between Chavo and Hector's brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand.

The violent confrontation will take Hector places he never expected, including a reform school where he has to live side-by-side with his enemy, Joey. It's up to Hector to choose whether he's going to lose himself to revenge or get back to the hard work of living.

In the Same Boat

It's the eve of the Texas River Odyssey, and Sadie Scofield is finally ready for the 265-mile canoe race. It's three days of grueling, nonstop paddling, where every turn of the river reveals new challenges -- downed trees, poisonous snakes, alligators -- but the dangers are all worth it. Reaching the finish line is the only way for Sadie to redeem herself for last year, when one small mistake spiraled into disaster.

Sadie has spent a year training, and she's ready for anything . . . except for her brother ditching her at the last minute for a better team.

She has no choice but to team up with Cully, her former best friend turned worst enemy. Everything about him irritates her, from his stupid handsome face to the way he holds his paddle. But as the miles pass, the pain builds, and family secrets come to light, Sadie realizes she'll have to work with Cully instead of against him. Last year's race was a catastrophe, but this year's race just might change her life in ways she never imagined.

With an unforgettable heroine and an immersive setting, Holly Green's captivating debut promises heart-stopping action and a swoony romance that will leave you cheering.

You & Me at the End of the World

Hannah Ashton wakes up to silence. The entire city around her is empty, except for one other person: Leo Sterling. Leo might be the hottest boy ever (and not just because he's the only one left), but he's also too charming, too selfish, and too devastating for his own good, let alone Hannah's.

Stuck with only each other, they explore a world with no parents, no friends, and no school and realize that they can be themselves instead of playing the parts everyone expects of them. Hannah doesn't have to be just an overachieving, music-box-perfect ballerina, and Leo can be more than a slacker, 80s-glam-metal-obsessed guitarist. Leo is a burst of honesty and fun that draws Hannah out, and Hannah's got Leo thinking about someone other than himself for the first time.

Together, they search for answers amid crushing isolation. But while their empty world may appear harmless . . . it's not. Because nothing is quite as it seems, and if Hannah and Leo don't figure out what's going on, they might just be torn apart forever.

Speak for Yourself

Skylar's got ambitious #goals. And if she wants them to come true, she has to get to work now. (At least she thinks so...) Step one in her epic plan is showing everyone that her latest app is brilliant. To do that, she's going to use it to win State at the Scholastic Exposition, the nerdiest academic competition around.

First, she'll need a team, and Skylar's not always so good with people. But she'll do whatever it takes to put one together ... even if it means playing Cupid for her teammates Joey and Zane, at Joey's request. When things get off to an awkward start for them, Skylar finds herself stepping in to help Joey. Anything to keep her on the team. Only, Skylar seems to be making everything more complicated. Especially when she realizes she might be falling for Zane, which was not a #goal. Can Skylar figure out her feelings, prove her app's potential to the world, and win State without losing her friends--or is her path to greatness over before it begins?

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World

Meet Henley, an all-around good kid, who hates to read. When he's supposed to be reading, he would rather do anything else. But one day, he gets the scariest homework assignment in the world: find your favorite book to share with the class tomorrow.

What's a kid to do? How can Henley find a story that speaks to everything inside of him?

Malcolm Mitchell, best-selling author of The Magician's Hat, pulls from his own literary triumph to deliver another hilarous and empowering picture book for readers of all abilities.Through his advocacy and his books, Malcolm imparts the important message that every story has the potential to become a favorite.

Check out Scholastic for some really great books for readers of all ages this summer!


Disclosure: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.