Friday, December 02, 2016

Children's Book Review and Giveaway: "Charlie the Tramp," by Russell Hoban

I love classic children’s books. It’s so heart-warming to know that they’ve delighted children and their parents for generations. Books written long ago have a certain sweetness and innocence to them that never go out of style. So, I was thrilled to hear that the publisher is releasing a special 50th anniversary hardcover edition of Charlie the Tramp, by Russell Hoban! This book won the Boys Club of America Junior Book Award in 1968, and has the sweetest illustrations by Lillian Hoban. (You may recognize her art if you’re familiar with the Frances series of children’s books.)

About the book:

Charlie the Beaver wants to be a tramp when he grows up. “Tramps don’t have to learn how to chop down trees and how to roll logs and how to build dams. Tramps just tramp around and have a good time. Tramps carry sticks with little bundles tied to them. They sleep in a field when the weather is nice, and when it rains they sleep in a barn.” Charlie sets off with his bundle. But when he hears water trickling, he can’t get to sleep. Will he be able to resist the urge to make it stop? As Grandfather Beaver says, “You never know when a tramp will turn out to be a beaver.”

Like many children, Charlie thinks that “the grass is always greener on the other side.” If he leaves home, he won’t have to do chores or help his family. He’ll be free to do whatever he wants. Wisely, his family decides to let Charlie learn a lesson for himself. So, Charlie becomes a “tramp.” At first, he likes doing whatever he wants. He’s content to do “little jobs” rather than “hard work.” But he soon finds that being a tramp isn’t as fun as he’d hoped. He can’t resist doing what a beaver does such as building a dam. Before long, Charlie realizes that “hard work” is not so bad after all, and he’d rather be a beaver than a tramp!

This story will help kids to see that trying to be something you’re not doesn’t usually work. And that hard work isn’t something to put aside. Being with family and having a purpose in life is much more rewarding!


Russell Hoban (1925-2011) first became famous for his children’s picture books about a badger named Frances and other animal characters that have a lot in common with children we know – Bedtime for Frances, A Baby Sister for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Emmit Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas.

Lillian Hoban (1925-1998), one of America’s favorite children’s book illustrators, is best known for a young chimpanzee named Arthur and his little sister, Violet. She also illustrated six of Russell Hoban’s books about Frances the badger, which have taken their place among the great classics of children’s literature. Lillian Hoban was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Art. She studied dance for ten years and became a professional dancer. She began to write and illustrate her own stories only after having children, basing her tales on their experiences.


One lucky winner will receive a hardcover copy of Charlie the Tramp, by Russell Hoban. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 16, 2016.

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through my link.

Master Lock Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Safety for the Holidays

Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of being on the Master Lock Live Secure Safety Squad. I’ve been able to try a variety of terrific products from Master Lock and share them with you! Master Lock products all share a common purpose: to enhance our families’ safety and security. Nothing could be more important than making sure that our loved ones, homes, valuables and documents are secure. The holidays are all about family, so it’s the ideal time to choose gifts from Master Lock! Following are some gift ideas for those you love:

For the college student:

A laptop is a must-have for today’s college student, but that big investment needs to be protected from theft. Be sure to include a computer lock so he’ll have that computer for the duration of his college years!

For the teenager:

Every teenager guards her privacy, and the Safe Space provides a great place for her to keep her cell phone, jewelry and love notes away from prying siblings!

For the child:

If Santa is bringing your child a bike this year, be sure to provide a bike lock to keep it safe from theft! You can set the combination using arrows, letters or numbers, making it easy to use for any age.

For the traveler:

These locks are ideal because they protect your belongings while you travel, but still allow TSA personnel to inspect your luggage without harming it.

For the senior citizen:

If Grandma or Grandpa lives alone, they’ll feel much more secure with a security bar on their sliding glass doors.

For the handy guy:

Lock up the shed with this unique padlock that can be opened with a smartphone! Never worry about losing a key or forgetting the combination.

For the jogger:

Do you worry about your sister, daughter or other loved one jogging alone? Provide her with protection thanks to Master Lock’s pepper spray! It offers immediate impact, blinding attackers temporarily, causing coughing, gagging, and tearing.

The items above are just a small glimpse at all of the wonderful gifts available at Head on over to their website to place an order or click on Where to Buy to find a retailer near you!

Disclosure: As a member of the Live Secure Safety Squad, I receive product samples and compensation to facilitate my honest opinions and share valuable information with my readers.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Review and Giveaway: Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas CD

I love Christmas music, and every year I try to add at least a couple of new CDs to my collection. I look forward to bringing them out after Thanksgiving and listening to Christmas songs until the holiday arrives! This year, I’m thrilled to be adding Amy Grant’s CD, Tennessee Christmas, to my collection! This mix of traditional and less traditional songs will get you in the Christmas spirit and put a smile on your face. Listen to “To Be Together,” one of my favorite songs on the CD, in the video below:

The full song list includes:
  • Tennessee Christmas
  • To Be Together
  • Christmas for You and Me
  • Melancholy Christmas
  • December
  • White Christmas
  • Joy to the World
  • I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
  • Baby, It’s Cold Outside (with husband Vince Gill)
  • Christmas Don’t Be Late
  • Still Can’t Sleep
  • Another Merry Christmas
  • O Come, All Ye Faithful
The words are included inside the CD booklet so you can sing along. This beautiful CD is a highly welcome addition to any Christmas music collection!

Video Opportunity

If you’re a fan of Amy Grant, you are invited to upload to social media any videos you may have of surprising loved ones for the holidays! Use the hashtag #TNChristmasSurprise and your video just may be in a compilation video that will be posted on Amy’s large social media outlets!


One lucky winner will receive a CD copy of Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 9, 2016. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Colors of the Sun and Moon Book Blast: Giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Code or PayPal Cash

Colors of the Sun & Moon by Talia Aikens-Nunez

Colors of the Sun and Moon is an English/Spanish STEM book featuring an inquisitive young girl and her grandmother. The bright illustrations engage children and illuminate the science of the horizon with vibrant colors.

An inquisitive young girl questions her grandmother about the science behind the colors of the sun and moon. With a forward by Spencer Christian. Colors of the Sun and Moon is the second book from the new multicultural, multilingual children's press, SundanceKid Press. The mission of SundanceKid Press is to promote cultural, ethnic/racial and linguistic diversity in children's literature. Each page includes the English text along with the Spanish translation. A free audio recording is available on the SundanceKid Press website.

Forward by Spencer Christian, Weather Anchor for ABC 7/KGO-TV, San Francisco

As a young child, I was much like the little girl in this book -- intensely curious about the wonders of the natural world -- asking questions such as those put forth by young Gabriela, “Why is the sky blue; why are leaves green?” My search for answers took me on a fascinating path of discovery, which eventually led me to become a national TV weather forecaster.

If the child in you -- or a child you know -- finds the world to be a wondrous place, your path to discovery can be found in the pages of Colors of the Sun and Moon. Colors of the Sun and Moon is the story of 8-year-old Gabriela and her wise and loving grandmother -- a grandmother who has the answers to all of her precious granddaughter's questions about the world of wonders they see around them. While Abuela's answers are simple enough for a young child to understand, they are factual and scientifically sound.

I applaud author Talia Aikens-Nuñez for giving her readers a story that is appealing on so many levels: it is educational, entertaining, and family-focused. What a rare combination of elements! As I read Colors of the Sun and Moon, images from my own childhood flashed in my mind, and I found myself smiling in amusement and amazement. I feel certain that the young reader and the not-so-young reader in your home will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Add to Goodreads

Author Talia Aikens-Nuñez
Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politician and a lawyer. She never thought she would be a writer. It was the birth of her daughter that caused her to start writing. Raising a bilingual child inspired Talia to write lyrical children's books. Talia's family loves nature so much that she and her husband vowed that they will always try to live close to water. They live on a river in Connecticut with their kids.

Blog Tour Giveaway
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Code or PayPal Cash
Ends 1/1/17

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Parenting is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Top 10 Gift Ideas for the Stressed-Out Mom

This post sponsored by Handy, which specializes in apartment cleaning NYC

Lately, I’ve been feeling especially stressed out. I’ve been super-busy at work, so I’ve been working more hours. I have tons of products lined up to review on my blogs. I have freelance editing work to get done. And my kids have needed a lot of help with homework (thumbs down to Algebra!). So, I’ve been daydreaming about some really great gifts that Santa could bring that would help alleviate my stress. I hope you’ll consider these ideas for a stressed-out mom in your life!

1) Hire a cleaning service to clean her house for the holidays.
2) Arrange for some meals to be delivered from a home delivery service.
3) Give a gift certificate to her favorite hair salon to get her hair done or get a manicure.
4) Have her car washed and detailed.
5) Take her kids for the weekend so she can get things done.
6) Arrange for her to have a weekend vacation.
7) Organize her closets.
8) Wrap her Christmas gifts and/or address her Christmas cards.
9) Weed through all of the junk email she receives.
10) Give her a hug!

If you’re a stressed-out mom or live with one, what gift ideas do you have?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (November 26, 2016)

Welcome to the post-Thanksgiving and Black Friday giveaway linky! While you're wading through leftovers and hoping you didn't overspend on early holiday gifts, take some time to relax and enter some giveaways! Visit the blogs below for the chance to win some great prizes, and be sure to check out the giveaways listed on my right sidebar, too. Come back daily to see what is new! And if you're hosting some giveaways this week, I hope you'll share them with us in the linky and post this page on your social media sites. Happy holidays!

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone Book Blast: Giveaway for a $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash

The Charming Life of Izzy Malone
by Jenny Lundquist

Izzy Malone isn’t your typical sixth grader. She wears camouflage combat boots and tie dye skirts; the Big Dipper and Orion are her two best friends; and she’d rather climb trees or shoot hoops than talk about boys and makeup. And after only a month of middle school, she’s already set the record for the most trips to the principal’s office.

The only time Izzy feels at peace is when she’s on the open water, and more than anything else, she wants to become a member of the Dandelion Paddlers, her school’s competitive rowing club. But thanks to those multiple trips to the principal’s office, Izzy’s parents force her to enroll in Mrs. Whippie’s Charm School, a home-study course in manners and etiquette, or they won’t let her race in Dandelion Hollow's annual pumpkin regatta—where Izzy hopes to prove to the Dandelion Paddlers she is more than qualified to be on their team.

When Mrs. Whippie’s first letter arrives, it’s way different from what Izzy was expecting. Tucked inside the letter is a shiny gold bracelet and an envelope charm. Izzy must earn her first charm by writing someone a nice note, and once she does more tasks will be assigned.

Izzy manages to complete some of the tasks—and to her surprise, she actually finds herself enjoying the course. But when one of her attempts at doing something good is misinterpreted, she fears her chances at passing the course—and becoming a Paddler—are slipping away. With some unexpected friends there to support her, can Izzy manage to earn her charms and stay true to herself?

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Praise for the Book:

“Izzy’s frank, vulnerable, sassy, first-person narration reveals her surprising journey from a solitary girl talking to the stars to a girl with friends to light her way… This story of an atypical girl, her family, and friends, laced with middle school drama, is indeed a charming one.” –Kirkus Reviews

“A heartwarming, coming-of-age journey… Lundquist deftly portrays the pain of being odd girl out, both at school and at home.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Add to Goodreads


The bracelet and the first charm appeared the day I punched Austin Jackson in the nose. I didn’t mean to slug him. His face just got in my way. It was a bruising end to a disastrous first month in middle school.

You know that kid in class that everyone secretly (and not so secretly) thinks is weird? The one people laugh and point at behind their back, the one who gets picked last in gym class, the one you wish you hadn’t gotten stuck with for a science partner?

At Dandelion Hollow Middle School, that kid is me, Izzy Don’t-Call-Me-Isabella Malone.

Truthfully, my slide into loserdom started in elementary school and was pretty much an established fact by the time sixth grade started last month. It’s partly because my mouth often has a mind of its own. But I think it’s also because there are a bazillion other things I’d rather do than talk about boys, clothes, and makeup, and I refuse to wear strappy sandals and short skirts.

(If you ever catch me wearing strappy sandals or a short skirt, you have my permission to kick my butt.)

I do like skirts, though. Really long colorful ones I get from Dandelion Thrift. I like to wear them with my camouflage combat boots.

I call the look Camohemian.

Author Jenny Lundquist
Jenny Lundquist was born and raised in Huntington Beach, CA, where she spent her time unsuccessfully learning how to surf. When she was younger, she wanted to be either a rock star or a published author. After she taped herself singing and listened to it on playback, she decided she'd better opt for the writing route. Jenny is the author of Seeing Cinderella and Plastic Polly, as well as the young adult titles, The Princess in the Opal Mask and The Opal Crown.

Prize: $100 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal Cash
Ends 12/12/16

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or PayPal cash. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. Susan Heim on Parenting is not responsible for Rafflecopter content or prize fulfillment. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link..

Friday, November 18, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (November 19, 2016)

Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! I hope you enjoy this special holiday with family or friends. When you're stuffed with turkey or mashed potatoes and feel like you'll never move again, fire up the computer and enter some giveaways! Come back daily to see what's listed in the linky below, as well as in the right sidebar. If you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, please share it with us in the linky. Feel free to share this page with your social media friends and fans, too!

How to Eat Healthier This Holiday Season

We look forward to holiday food all year, but we definitely don't look forward to the weight gain that comes along with it! This infographic, courtesy of Miami Acura, has some fantastic tips for healthier alternatives to your typical holiday fare. Enjoy!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, and I received compensation for sharing this infographic.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Never Run Low on Batteries Again Thanks to #Groupon Goods! #ad

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

In our house, we have drawers for clothing, kitchen utensils, bathroom products and more, but you might be surprised that we actually have a drawer devoted to batteries! Yes, batteries. It seems like everything we use these days requires a battery thanks to our children’s fondness for electronic gadgets, my husband’s infatuation with flashlights and tools, and our preparedness for the loss of power thanks to a hurricane. (We live in South Florida, so stockpiling batteries is a necessity.) The need for so many batteries can get expensive, so I was thrilled to find that Groupon Goods actually has great deals on all kinds of batteries.

I found many different brands of batteries on Groupon Goods, as well as many different types, such as alkaline, rechargeable, lithium, silver oxide and even hearing aid batteries. And they were all available at a significant discount. They even offer free shipping with a $34.99 purchase, which is very easy to spend when you’re stocking up on batteries like our family.

Groupon Goods even carries accessories for your batteries, such as an organizer caddy with tester and chargers for those rechargeable batteries. My husband is a big fan of rechargeables because they help ensure we never run out of battery power. However, it’s good to know that when the time comes to restock that Groupon Goods has such a great selection of the many kinds of batteries our household requires.

If your family is like ours and goes through batteries like water, be sure to head over to Groupon Goods and check out their great selection and prices. And don’t forget to follow Groupon Goods on Facebook and Twitter, too.