Hey, Rabbit! book review

I don’t know about you but I am thinking that this year the last thing I need is a house FULL of candy after Easter. I’ve given up sweets for Lent and would like to make it a permanent commitment so filling the cabinets with temptation doesn’t sound like a wise move. Not to say there won’t BE candy. There’s still grandparents and we’ll do SOME candy but just not the bags upon bags that have happened in the past. So what to get for Easter…

There will be some bubbles and some small cars etc but I also love to include books for the kids. And this past week we received a copy of a book, Hey, Rabbit!, that would be perfect for Easter, but can be read all year round. It’s a quick read but one that can be made to be very interactive and playful. After each of rabbit’s friends ask if he might have something in his suitcase for them, there is a wordless illustration page that is a great way to get kids talking about what they see.
And in the end Rabbit finds a little something for himself. Now exactly what he finds is a point of discussion in our house. To be completely honest, I do not know for sure what it is. Is it a raddish, a turnip or a beet? I haven’t a clue. However my 7 year old insists he DOES know and it is in fact a BEET! Of this, he is 100% sure! So if you grab this book, be sure to jump back here and weigh in on what veggie old Rabbit has, would ya??

From the publisher:

Move over Easter Bunny, there’s a spunky new rabbit in town, and he has a suitcase full of special surprises for each of his friends: Dog, Toucan, Bear, Cat, Mouse, and Crab! Sergio Ruzzier, author of the Amandina, has once again worked his considerable magic to create Hey, Rabbit! – a playful tale that is sure to have kids shouting out the words and immersing themselves in the detailed and witty illustrations.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book to facilitate my review, however all feedback is my honest personal opinion.

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StoryTots Review

To me there is no better gift for a child than a book. My kids have always loved books and we’ve always had TONS (literally I think) books in our house. But the favorite books (aside from our VERY loved Bible) have been personalized books.

Recently I got a copy of “Catch those Monkeys” from StoryTots.com that we personalized for Bryan. I would have to say Bryan is the least patience of all my guys with being ale to actually sit through a whole book. But Bryan LOVES this book. I can’t honestly say if he understands yet that he’s IN this book But he loves the monkeys and all the balloons in it. In this book, one of the personalized things in their favorite color and while it seems like a small detail I think its one of the best parts for Bryan. He is drawn to anything red, so he’s in LOVE with the red balloons in this book. You also personalize the character in the book to lok like the child, which is something probably more appreciated by older kids and parents, but I think its cool. We have other personalized books but all the illustrations are done from thier point of view so none of those are actually personalized.

A StoryTots.com book would be great for anyone but especially perfect for shower gifts or for a birthday present for the child who already has ‘everything.’ To make it extra special you can create a personal message at the begining of the book.

StoryTots.com also has some titles that can personalized to include 2 children.

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Bringing Up Geeks, book review

I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I saw the title of this book.  But I figured, I have one budding “bright” child so maybe this book had something for me.  
From the website

ABOUT THE BOOK
Today’s “culture of cool” has changed the way kids grow up. Rather than enjoying innocent childhoods while developing strong, authentic characters, today’s kids can become cynical—even jaded—as they absorb the dangerous messages and harmful influences of a dominant popular culture that encourages materialism, high-risk behaviors, and a state of pseudo-adulthood. Author and mother of four Marybeth Hicks suggests an alternative to the culture of cool: bringing up geeks. In this groundbreaking book, she redefines geeks as Genuine, Enthusiastic, Empowered Kids and inspires parents to free themselves and their kids from cultural conditioning while instilling in their children truly important values. (Berkley Books 2008, a division of Penguin Group USA, ISBN: 9780425221563)


If you like me have read many an article that always seem to be written with one extreme view or another, let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was not like that.  Yes, Hick’s view goes against some of what has become the cultural norm for us today but it’s really about logical, responsible parenting.  And it’s not about raising a super scholar.  It’s about raising children with a love of learning that will last them a lifetime.  It’s about letting kids stay kids in way many don’t anymore.  And its about encouraging parents to not just go with the flow of what other parents are letting their kids do, but instead taking the time to be educated before they make decisions about what’s appropriate for their kids. 

This book has something for every parent no matter the age or ability of your child.  There are tons of ideas of how to get your kids to find a passion and let them find themselves in it.  
One part that struck me in particular is where she talks about how a parents experience as a child can effect how they raise their children.  For example, as a child you were either popular or not and depending on whether you were happy or not, will effect whether you let your desire for your child to be popular sway the decisions you make.  This made me consider the fact that because I was NOT popular, I have tried to “teach” my kids to BE popular, when instead I should be teaching them to be themselves and to be happy with that!!
I particularly enjoyed Hick’s honesty that showed that she was not simply a mom who had “lucked out” with well behaved book loving kids and therefor crowned herself an expert but that she had real kids who would at some points have rather played videos games or watched TV.  Personally,  I’d take advice from the mom who’s been there and done that.  You know the one who gives you that understanding look while your child has a full blown tantrum at the park because you won’t let them take off their shirt when its 50 degrees.  And instead of acting like her children would NEVER have done such a thing, she actually attempts to make you feel better.  That’s was the feeling I got from this book.  It was about helpful advice, not judgment/condemnation. 
Unless you’re a super brainiac who has it all perfectly figured out (in which case, I’m wondering, why are you reading MY blog?) then I guarantee there’s something in this book for you!!

A trailer for the book:

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Obama book review

If you have school age children, it’s pretty likely that they were at least aware of this past Presidential election.  If yours, like mine, were actually very interested in it, I have a great book for you.  My 6 year old was very excited when Obama won the election and I’d say he was almost as excited when this book arrived.  He wanted to read the whole thing.  But there’s awful lot packed in there for one sitting for a 6 year old.  While he hasn’t made it all the way through, mostly because he took it to school to share with his class and it hasn’t come back yet, I did sit and read the whole thing.  It’s a very cool look into the personal side of President Obama’s life and family.  I had read bits and pieces during the election online, some true some not, so it was cool to actually get the whole story.
How the story will end is yet to be determined but its a very cool read to get you up to speed.  It walks that thin line of not being over kids heads but also not talking down to them.  Covers a little of everything and I think it’s a great way to start getting your kids into current events if they aren’t already.
Obama: The Historic Journey: Young Reader’s Edition is available at Amazon.com here.  And from our house of book lovers, gets two big thumbs up!

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By The Book, review and GIVEAWAY

By The Book

Do you get out regularly for dates with your spouse? Ok, yay me neither! I wish I did but its just not in the cards for us right now. We seem to get out about…once a year. But on that one day we end up spending a ton of time explaining routines, rituals and rules to a completely competent but likely overwhelmed sitter. More than once we’ve fielded calls, not because an child is hurt or inconsolable, but typically because the sitter can not navigate the sea of remotes we have to start a dvd for the kids. Whether you have one or one dozen kids there just so much to remember to tell a sitter while also tryig to fend of meltdowns because you’re leaving and attempting to keep your clothes free from snot or spit-up.

But Karen Berg and Melissa Bishop of Karmel Publishing have developed an amazing solution. Whether you get out regularly or annually, leave your kids with dad, grandparents or a neighbor and whether your kids are infants or older, this book is the perfect thing for every family.
They have created an amazing fill in the blank book that covers all the info that anyone should need to care for your kids (and even your furry kids). Everything from kids likes and dislikes to the hopefully never needed emergency information can be filled in, organized, updated and kept easily accessible. While you’ll need to spend some time with it upfront to get all the info into the book, it will save a ton of time as you try to rush (or sneak) out the door. And although my husband is now home full time with the kids I remember a time when this wasn’t the case. And I know many other father like this who don’t know all the favorites or the bedtime routines. This book could be a perfect thing for them as well. No promises from me that you’ll actually get them to look at it. I think it may fall in the “directions” category and we all know how they are about directions. But given a major meltdown even the toughest dad might give in and take a peek!
And last but certainly not least. A section you’ll likely want to store in a separate, but equally important binder is the section for you, the parents, to keep/manage information on different sitters. You can record their contact info and other stats like whether they have their own car etc. And if you’re looking for a new sitter or nanny they’ve even provided interview questions for you!

Think this sounds like something you could use?

Well you’re in luck! The wonderful ladies of Karmel, have offered one free eBook version of By The Book for one of my readers.

To enter this giveaway, you’ll need to visit Karmel Publishing and then come back and leave me a comment sharing which section sounds like the most useful in your house.

For additional entries, only after you’ve done the first required entry, you may do any of the following.  Be sure to leave a separate comment for each one.

  • follow my blog
  • subscribe VIA EMAIL
  • add my button to your own blog (leave a link to your blog)
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  • blog about this giveaway  for TWO entries,leave 2 comments (be sure to leave the link to your post) 
  • tweet about this giveaway. can tweet once a day for an extra entry (be sure to leave link)
Again you MUST have a contact email visible on your blogger profile or leave your email in your comment.  If this is not done another winner is selected and I have unfortunately been running into this a lot.  Please please be sure that I can contact you via email!!!!
Winner will be selected on April 29th.

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How to Ruin Your Kids Life, book giveaway


By Olivia and Kurt Brenner

There are several people in life you don’t want to hear say, “Oops!” Your barber, your mechanic, and your surgeon are three that come to mind. So do your parents and spouse. And yet, few of us put much thought into how we can create happier homes. Now, Christian parenting experts Kurt and Olivia Bruner have created a tongue-in-cheek but invaluable guide that helps parents move past “oops” to intentional, fun, and faith-filled parenting. In a way that keeps parents engaged amid the nonstop grind of jobs and household chores, the Bruners walk parents through the steps in creating a plan for infusing faith dynamics into the home.

Are you you curious?  I know I was.  And if you’re a regular reader, you know I can, on occassion, be a little sarcastic.  So this tongue-in-cheek style has be laughing.  While I’ll admit that some sections are NOT recommended for late night, blurry eyed reading.  There were times when I was just a bit too tired to follow the reverse psychology writing.  Much like a Not Me Monday, sometimes I get my doube negatives confused and end up unsure if things are really happening or not.  But overall, this is a GREAT read.
My favorite part in each of the sections are practical ideas.  I’m a big fan of when the “experts” come down from their high level theory talk and actually tell me HOW to do things they’re talking about.  And this book does just that.
One of my favorite examples is in the section about pride.  They suggest an a family outing to go “Low Score Bowling.”  The idea is for everyone to try to get the lowest score and to avoid the obvious the going to the gutter, make a gutter worth 10.  I think that this could really be a ton of fun and will be trying it as soon as we get the chance to do a big kid day (sans my nontoddling toddler).
To learn more great ways to instill the values you believe in you’ll have to read the book.
But lucky for you, I’ve been granted FIVE, yes FIVE, copies of this great book to giveaway to you my wonderful readers.
To grab your first entry, go to here and tell me what the authors have in common with me???
For additional enteries, only after,the above is done, leave a separate comment if you:
  1. follow my blog
  2. subscribe to my blog
  3. blog about this giveaway (include link in the comment)
  4. twitter about this giveaway (include link in the comment)
Open to US Residents only
You MUST have a visible email or include it in each comment AND you MUST get back to my email within 48 hours or a new winner will be picked.

Winner will be drawn via random number generator on Wednesday April 15th!

THANKS TO THOSE WHO ENTERED. CONTEST HAS ENDED. WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED TOMORROW!

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‘Mommy Grace’ Book Review & Giveaway

Ok, I have to admit, it doesn’t matter how many times I hear “that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I still do it. It’s not intentional, but it happens. And when I opened the package and found this book, I was immediately convinced I’d love it. First of all I love the photo, then I spotted it, “Mommy Grace; Erasing Your Mommy Guilt.” Yup, that sealed the deal.

And I have to say I was not disappointed. If you read my blog very regularly, you know how I have so much free time to watch Oprah, eat BonBon’s and…read. (That’s sarcasm in case you missed it.) A book really has to have something to keep me reading. I think the key to this book is the relate-ability. If you’re a mom, you have mommy guilt. Or at least all the mom’s I know do. If you don’t either, you’re perfect and should write your own book or you’re probably doing things WAY wrong. Mommy guilt seems to simply be part of the deal. Whether you deal with daily guilt from having to be a working mom or whether you are only struck by occasional mommy guilt because you let your guard down for a quick second and now you’re on your way to get your child stitches, it touches us all. But the key to this book is to help us mommies feel a little better. Sound good? Yeah I thought so. If you’re anything like me, one thing that makes you feel better about your imperfections, is hearing about other mom’s imperfections. And this book is chucked full of that. But more importantly are the parts about how are imperfections are OK. We might not be perfect parents, but luckily if we raise our children in faith, they WILL have one perfect parent!!

Publisher’s Description:
Universally, mothers tend to feel they are not good enough at parenting and fear they are harming their children by not being perfect. In Mommy Grace: Erasing Mommy Guilt, Sheila Schuller Coleman offers overwhelmed moms short but emotive stories of authentic motherhood from her own and others’ experiences-foibles and all-and offers comfort by showing how God makes up for human weakness with His own strength.
Because Sheila shares lessons learned the hard way by real moms rather than giving difficult instructions for better mothering, readers will leave the book feeling encouraged rather than lectured.
For every mom who feels she’s not quite up to the colossal job of parenting, MOMMY GRACE is full of hope and compassion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheila Schuller Coleman has a doctorate in educational leadership and administration. For over a decade she has worked in both the public and private school arenas, mentoring schoolteachers, principals, and preschool directors. Sheila is currently the director of family ministries at the Crystal Cathedral and superintendent of Crystal Cathedrals Schools. She lives in Southern California with her husband, Jim. You can contact Sheila and read her column at www.crystalcathedral.org/Sheila.
Sounds like something you’d make time to read? Lucky for you, I have FIVE copies of this great book to give away to five of my great readers!!!
If you don’t want to wait, you can pick up a copy at Amazon.com, Borders, Barnes & Noble or check for other retailers here.
How to earn entries:

  1. Leave a comment about one of your own Mommy Guilt moments
  2. Leave an separate comment if you follow my blog
  3. Leave a separate comment if you subscribe via email to my blog
  4. Leave a separate comment if you have my button on your blog.
Note additional entries will not be count until #1 is done.
By sure you have a visible email contact in your profile or your comment as winners are contacted via email.

##Winnner wil be picked Saturday 3/28/09!!

US residents only.

ETA I have another giveaway this week HERE!!
Comments closed!  Winner will be announced shortly!

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Oscar the Pig Mommy Goes to Work, Book Review

I recently had the pleasure of getting a sneak peak the the children’s book Oscar the Pig, Mommy goes to Work by Megan Calhoun. As a working mom, I was hooked right off the bat by the title. Then I saw the illustrations and they are just adorable. The story is very sweet and made this working mom tear up as I recalled the days of leaving my kids at the sitter (they’re now home full time with Dad). This book addresses the fears children have about having to go to a babysitter in a light way for children. I love it’s sweet tone. If you’re a mom who is preparing to go back to work to “bring home the bacon” I would highly recommend this book as a way to start talking with your child about it. But even if you’re not a working parent there will be times when you will leave your child with someone else and this book will fit those situations too and help them remember you’ll always be back. While I don’t believe anything can truly easy the gut wrenching feeling a mother has the first time (or first 100 times) she leaves her baby with someone else, this book can at least help ease the transition for your little one.
Kids will love the brightly colors illustrations and you’ll love that they’re learning. So go check out Oscar the Pig, Mommy goes to Work now!