Friday, May 29, 2015

Movie Review: McFarland USA, Starring Kevin Costner


About the film:
In the tradition of Disney sports movies comes McFarland USA based on a true story of underdogs triumphing over tremendous obstacles. This heart-warming drama follows novice runners who strive to build a cross-country team under Coach Jim White (Kevin Costner) in their predominantly Latino high school. Everyone has a lot to learn about each other, but when Coach realizes the boys' exceptional running ability, things change. Beyond their talent, it's the power of family, commitment to each other and work ethic that transform them into champions -- helping them achieve their own American Dream.

Rated: PG, 129 Minutes

My thoughts:
McFarland USA is the kind of movie I could watch over and over again. I loved its emphasis on hard work, cultivating hope, and family values. This story is about a group of kids whose future seemed predestined: They would end up in one of two places -- picking crops in the fields or in jail. After all, that was what generations of Latino families in McFarland, CA, had experienced. But teacher Jim White saw how they could use their strengths to build a better future. After being fired as a football coach from a school in a prosperous community, Jim took the only job he could find. Needless to say, it was a huge culture shock for him, his wife and two daughters. But when they looked beyond the poverty and bleakness of their surroundings, they discovered a warm culture filled with people who were doing their best to hold their families together and build a sense of community. Although he had never coached track in his life and knew very little about it, Jim saw the speed with which his students traveled between school, home and work and realized this was an opportunity for them to use these skills to get ahead.


At the end of the movie, we learn more about the real Jim White and his students. Nearly all of the boys on his first team graduated from college, and several came back to McFarland to teach, giving back to the community that nurtured them. In fact, the real Coach White still lives in McFarland even though he is retired. McFarland USA changes some of the actual events, which is why it is "based" on a true story, but it doesn't change the impact that Coach White had on his students and the community. Yes, this movie is predictable in following the same storyline as most sports movies, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable or inspirational, especially for young people.


McFarland USA arrives June 2nd on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, Disney Movies Anywhere and Digital HD!

Follow McFarland USA on:
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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Recipes from Finlandia Imported Butter ~ Just in Time for Summer Grilling!

Finlandia®, the internationally renowned cheese maker noted for being one of the most highly regarded cheese brands in America, introduces Finlandia® Imported Butter. Crafted from pure, fresh milk and produced on family-owned farms in Finland, Finlandia® Imported Butter is made from cows that graze as much as they can during the warm seasons, with no rBST hormones. This eclectic natural butter is perfect for breakfast, to butter a favorite muffin or croissant with its sweet, rich taste. Finlandia® Imported Butter is also a go-to choice for recipes and at dinnertime or to create delicious baked goods and decadent chocolate delights. Just in time for summer, Finlandia® Imported Butter offers that perfect final touch for your BBQ, for seafood or vegetables.

Finlandia® Imported Butter is the all-natural choice for chefs and home cooks alike. The AARP reports that butter helps with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, and advises consumers to choose a butter made from grass-fed cows, as Finlandia® Imported Butter is made, with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. For many years, butter was considered a bad word. However, butter is hot again, with chefs and families rejoicing in the news, based on newly published scientific reports. Here are some exciting new recipes for your next BBQ!

Grilled Corn on the Cob
with Finlandia® Imported Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

1 stick of Finlandia® Imported Butter, softened
3 cloves of garlic, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon of paprika
Lime
Fresh corn on the cob (in husks)

Optional: If you like a bit of spice, add in a teaspoon of cumin.

Directions:

Mix all ingredients (except the corn) together and melt in a small pot.

Grill your corn (in the husk) for about 15–20 minutes, being sure to turn often. Once it is done, let it cool a bit before you remove the husks, wearing grill gloves to protect your hands. Then, using a brush, apply the butter sauce. Serve the rest in a bowl.

Grilled Lobster with Finlandia® Imported Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of Finlandia® Imported Butter, melted
Lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon of Paprika
Lobster tails (thawed)

Directions:

Before you light grill, use olive oil spray on grill.

Heat grill to high temperature.

Mix all ingredients for marinade and split lobster tails lengthwise.

Brush butter sauce on flesh side of lobster tails.

Put on grill and turn after 6 minutes, being sure to add butter sauce carefully after they are turned. Cooking time will vary, but should take about 15 minutes. Lobster when cooked is always an opaque color.

Please note: You cannot use the extra marinade/butter sauce on the lobster once it is cooked. If you would like to have extra sauce, keep some on the side to serve in a separate bowl.



Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post.

Heidi Bond’s "Who’s the New Kid?" Fitbit Giveaway and Facebook Party

In a world of fast-food convenience and non-stop busyness, how do we keep our kids healthy? Heidi Bond's debut book, Who's the New Kid?, is here to help. Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

Celebrate the release of Who's the New Kid? by entering to win a Fitbit and RSVPing to Heidi's June 9th author chat party!

whosthenewkid-400

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Fitbit
  • A copy of Who's the New Kid?
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 9th. Winner will be announced June 9th at Heidi's Facebook partyRSVP here! Plus, participate in the #WhosTheNewKid conversation by pinning a family-friendly, healthy recipe (or two) to a Pinterest board!

whosthenewkid-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word -- tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on June 9th!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New CD from Michael W. Smith: Sovereign ~ Watch the Video and Enter to Win the CD! #SkySpillsOver #FlyBy

Michael W. Smith released his newest album, SOVEREIGN, earlier this month, and today he is releasing a brand-new video of a single from the album, “Sky Spills Over”! Says Michael W. Smith, "I’m really passionate about the song SKY SPILLS OVER. It was fun creating it in the studio and I’ve been overwhelmed at the response it gets when we perform it live every night. My son Ryan is a really talented filmmaker so I always enjoy working with him on a project. But what made this project even more special was that 3 of my own grandkids were in the video. This video was a lot of fun to make. I hope people enjoy it!"

Enjoy the video!



Now, enter to win a CD of Michael W. Smith’s CD, "Sovereign"!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a copy of the CD, “Sovereign,” by Michael W. Smith. Giveaway is valid in US & Canada only. 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. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

REMINDER: Please Re-Subscribe by Email

Dear Email Subscribers,
I am in the process of switching my email newsletter over to Feedburner, so it is very important that you re-subscribe if you haven't done so already. Just look to the left sidebar where it says “Follow by email” and enter your email address, then click “Submit.” Check your in-box (or spam box) for the confirmation email and be sure to click on the link to confirm your subscription.

While I’m making the transfer, you may receive two copies of the newsletter for a short time, but I'll be cancelling the other service by the end of this month. Don't miss out on all of the great giveaways and features I have coming up. Please take a few seconds to re-subscribe!

Thank you,

Friday, May 22, 2015

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 23, 2015)

Welcome to the Memorial Day edition of the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky. I hope you'll take the time with your family to honor those who have given their lives in service for our country. We certainly owe them and their families a huge debt. After you've done that, feel free to peruse the linky below, as well as my right sidebar, throughout the week for the opportunity to enter to win terrific prizes! If you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, be sure to share it in the linky and post this page on your Twitter and Facebook pages. Have a wonderful week!







Softsoap Fresh & Glow Body Washes Feature 100% Real Extracts for Healthy-Looking Skin!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge fan of using body washes rather than traditional soaps because they always smell so wonderful, and I feel like I’m pampering myself. One of my favorite brands is Softsoap because they’re always coming out with different fragrances for me to try. I recently had the opportunity to use their new Fresh & Glow body washes. They’re made with 100% real extracts and, as always, they smell incredible!

Softsoap Fresh & Glow Hydrating Shower Cream
Made with 100% real extracts sourced from milk, coconuts and almonds, this unique formula is proven to lock in long-lasting moisture to hydrate skin, leaving it soft and radiant. Coconut is one of my favorite scents, so this product smells amazing! I feel like I’m on a tropical vacation when I use it, and I love to get whiffs of this scent on my skin long after I’ve showered.

Softsoap Fresh & Glow Exfoliating Fruit Polish
Made with a 100% real extract sourced from kiwi and orange, this unique formula is packed with apricot seeds that exfoliate, giving you smooth, healthy-looking skin. I really like exfoliating skin products because they scrub away the layers of dead skin, leaving the skin very soft and smooth. And, not surprisingly, this product smells fantastic, too.

Stay away from drying soaps and pick up some amazing body washes from Softsoap for softer, better-looking skin. And look for the new Fresh & Glow scents because you deserve to be spoiled! Softsoap body washes are available at mass retail, drug and grocery stores nationwide.



Disclosure: These products were provided to me by Colgate-Palmolive for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.

DVD Review and Giveaway: "Spare Parts," Starring George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis and Marisa Tomei


About the movie:
When four wildly different high schoolers team up to enter a robotics competition against the nation’s top tech colleges, no one believes they have a chance -- no one but Fredi, their new substitute teacher. As Fredi challenges his students to be the best they can be, they show him the power of never giving up in an unforgettable tale that shines with heart, humor, and hope.

George Lopez leads an incredible cast in this inspiring film, which arrived this month on DVD (plus Digital), Digital HD and On Demand. Based on a remarkable true story of four Phoenix high school students who come together against all odds to compete against MIT in a national underwater robotics competition, the “crowd-pleasing” (LA Times) story features an all-star ensemble cast, including George Lopez, Jamie Lee Curtis, Carlos PenaVega and Marisa Tomei. Rated PG-13.

Watch the movie trailer:


My thoughts:
I watched this film with my 11-year-old twin boys, and they were definitely inspired by the teens in this movie who came from very disadvantaged backgrounds but were determined to show that they were more than their circumstances. There are some political overtones in this movie because some of the boys or their family members are in this country illegally, so this opens the way to a discussion on this hot-button topic. At the end of the movie, they show the actual people who inspired the film and tell what they have done since high school. Overall, there are many lessons to be learned and issues to be discussed in this film, which makes it a great choice for Family Movie Night.





GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a DVD+Digital copy of Spare Parts! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, June 5, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this film to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Joshua and the Lightning Road Book Tour: Guest Post, "Playing on Our Fears," and Giveaway (5 Winners)


Joshua and The Lightning Road
Stay away from the window, don’t go outside when it’s storming and, whatever you do, do not touch the orb. 

Twelve-year-old Joshua Cooper’s grandpa has always warned him about the dangers of lightning, but Joshua never put much stock in his grandpa’s rumblings as anything more than the ravings of an old man with a vast imagination. Then one night, when Joshua and his best friend are home alone during a frightful storm, Joshua learns his grandpa was right. A bolt of lightning strikes his house and whisks away his best friend—possibly forever. 

To get him back, Joshua must travel the Lightning Road to a dark place that steals children for energy. But getting back home and saving his friend won’t be easy, as Joshua must face the terrifying Child Collector and fend off ferocious and unnatural beasts intent on destroying him. 

In this world, Joshua possesses powers he never knew he had, and soon, Joshua’s mission becomes more than a search for his friend. He means to send all the stolen children home—and doing so becomes the battle of his life.

Playing on Our Fears
by Donna Galanti

Do you love to be scared? I do, ever since I was a kid—as long as I know it’s safe. Haunted houses. Hayrides. Adventure rides. Cemeteries at night.

And when I write, I return to the magical—and fearful—worlds of my youth, where monsters and faeries roam the land. Through my stories I can become these characters, good and evil, and wield their powers. My favorite stories as a kid were thrillers that made my heart race and my fingers keep turning the page to see if the good guys would win over the bad guys.

I grew up an only child on a mountain with only nature as a playground, so my time was spent roaming the woods with my notebook and pen. I wrote in secret fields and beside hidden ponds. The woods were my home. My favorite room with a view is still one strewn with fields, rock walls, and looming mountains.

So, you can see that I was never scared to be alone and I think we as readers like to see our beloved characters alone to face scary challenges. It makes us wonder—what would I do in that situation if I were all alone without any help? Would I be too terrified to act or would I face danger head on and conquer it? And these are the kinds of situations I thrust Joshua into in Joshua and the Lightning Road while trying to blend just the right amount of scariness and tension for a children’s book. I love it when an author takes my beloved characters to the edge of no return and gives me that spine-tingling rush of “oh, nooo!” This is what I aim for in my own stories.

I am drawn to stories that play on our fears because I am fascinated by how people act when put in dire circumstances. And I love the challenge of writing a tortured hero. It forces me (and the reader) to step out of our safe world for just a bit and be uncomfortable—while in the safe place of a book.

I love to see how much torment we can pile on a character, how lost they become, how near the brink of desperation they reach—and then redeem them or not. We can relate to their pain because they are flawed, like we are all wonderfully flawed—and this reveals our humanity.

So, in reading scary stories, for a short while we can live amongst monsters without the fear of facing them in real life. Our heart pumps. Our fingers grip the pages. Then we close the book and go out again in the sunshine.

Watch the Joshua and the Lightning Road book trailer!



Praise for Joshua and the Lightning Road:

"Vividly imagined characters in a gripping action fantasy that never lets you go until the very last page." —Jenny Nimmo, New York Times bestselling author of the Charlie Bone series
Title: Joshua and the Lightning Road
Publication date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Donna Galanti
Order Links:

about-the-author
Donna Galanti
Donna is the author of the Joshua and the Lightning Road series and the Element Trilogy. She is a contributing editor to International Thriller Writers' The Big Thrill magazine and blogs at www.project-middle-grade-mayhem.blogspot.com, a cooperative of published middle-grade authors. Visit her at www.donnagalanti.com and www.ElementTrilogy.com. Donna wanted to be a writer ever since she wrote a murder mystery screenplay at seven and acted it out with the neighborhood kids. She attended an English school housed in a magical castle, where her wild imagination was held back only by her itchy uniform (bowler hat and tie included!). There she fell in love with the worlds of C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl, and wrote her first fantasy about Dodo birds, wizards, and a flying ship (and has been writing fantasy ever since). She’s lived in other exotic locations, including her family-owned campground in New Hampshire and in Hawaii where she served as a U.S. Navy photographer. She now lives with her family and two crazy cats in an old farmhouse and dreams of returning one day to a castle.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: Winner will be drawn June 19, 2015
• Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Joshua and the Lightning Road by Donna Galanti (INT)
Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My New Favorite Hair-Care Products: SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner!

I have a friend who sings the praises of sulfate-free shampoo, so I was excited when SoapBox contacted me to review their sulfate-free Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. Sulfate-free hair products are touted as less drying to the hair and even help hair color to stay in longer. And after using SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner, I totally agree!

Previously, I’d been using dandruff shampoo because my scalp was very dry, but it wasn’t working very well. Now after using the SoapBox products, my scalp is healthy again! No more scratching or dry patches. I’ve also noticed that my hair color seems to be lasting much longer since I started using SoapBox hair products. But I’m not the only one in the family to benefit from SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. My 11-year-old son is on a swim team, and his hair often feels dry and brittle thanks to the chlorine in the pool. But he loves the effects of using SoapBox shampoo and conditioner. He told me, “It smells good and it makes my hair really silky!”

Besides being sulfate-, parabens- and phthalates-free, SoapBox shampoo and conditioner are made with bataua fruit oil, which is native to the Amazon region. According to SoapBox, “The oil from bataua fruit looks similar to olive oil, but it also contains remarkably high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and oleic acid that makes it super effective at treating dry, flaky scalp. Traditionally used by natives of the Amazon as a hair loss and anti-dandruff tonic, this oil starts at the root (literally), moisturizing and calming the scalp, and works all the way to the ends of hair to promote intense hydration. Whether it is your scalp or your body, bataua fruit’s high level of oleic acid, vitamins A & E, and saturated fats can do wonders to restore and protect your skin.” And did I mention that these products smell amazing?

I will definitely be buying more SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. And here’s another great reason to purchase: SoapBox’s mission is to empower customers to change the world through their purchases. For every product they sell, they donate a bar of soap, a month’s supply of clean water or a year’s supply of vitamins to a child in need. I love a company that gives back. And I also love a company with a sense of humor. Here are the directions on the conditioner bottle: “After rinsing shampoo, apply conditioner generously to hair, focusing on damaged areas. Hum into the bottle/microphone. Wait 3-5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly.” Love it!

If your current hair care products aren’t making you happy, I hope you’ll try SoapBox Bataua Fruit Shampoo and Conditioner. You’ll have healthier hair, and you’ll be helping someone in need. Want more good news? These products are only $4.99/bottle at Target. Head to a Target store near you or purchase online through the links below.

Purchase at Target.com:
Shampoo
Conditioner

You can find SoapBox at:
Website: www.soapboxsoaps.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/SoapBoxSoaps
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SoapBoxSoaps
Instagram: https://instagram.com/SoapboxSoaps/
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/SoapBoxSoaps
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/soapboxsoaps/



Friday, May 15, 2015

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 16, 2015)

Welcome to the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! My twins returned this week from a fun-packed three days in Washington, DC, with their school safety patrol group, so I think this is going to be a weekend for rest and recovery! While we're sitting at home, I'll be entering some great giveaways, and I hope you'll join me! Read through those listed in the linky below, as well as on my right sidebar. And check back throughout the week as more are added. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, please share it with us in the linky and tell your Facebook and Twitter friends about this page. Good luck!







Children’s Book Review and Giveaway: JANINE, by Maryann Cocca-Leffler (2 Winners)

About the book:
Meet Janine. She is one of a kind! Janine dresses a little different, remembers random facts, reads the dictionary for fun, and has her own style of cheering. Nobody does things the way Janine does things! One girl in Janine's class is throwing a party and all the COOL kids are invited. But Janine is not cool. Some kids think she is strange and want her to change. Will Janine try to be different or just be her spectacular self?

Book trailer (in which you will meet the real Janine!):


My thoughts:
JANINE is a crucial resource for teaching empathy to children. When reading along, ask your children or students, “How would you feel if kids didn’t want you to come to their party?” Encourage them to recognize that every person is different and therefore perfect just the way they were made. Janine may not act like everyone else, but she’s so entertaining and smart! With the help of JANINE, adults can guide children in finding an opportunity to help someone like Janine feel special and accepted. This book offers life-changing lessons for kids -- plus it's a really fun book to read!



About the author:
Author Maryann Cocca-Leffler drew her inspiration for this delightfully spunky character from her own (now grown) daughter who has a developmental disability. April was Autism Awareness Month, but anytime is the perfect opportunity to share JANINE with your child, encouraging him or her to focus on one's abilities and promoting respect, tolerance and kindness.

Maryann Leffler is a beloved author/illustrator who has written over 50 children's books. With JANINE, Maryann gets personal and states, “Through my book, JANINE, I hope to encourage kids to celebrate their differences and stand up for themselves, as well as inspire all children to stand up for those who are left out or bullied.” Her latest release has been met with the highest praise, including:

"Gently dealing with a bully while remaining true to herself, Janine is an admirable character who doesn't need to put someone else down in order to feel good about herself. VERDICT: A refreshing tale of being true to oneself." - School Library Journal

"Inspired by the author's daughter, this gentle portrayal of difference is powerful, particularly since nothing can dampen spectacular Janine's upbeat attitude. Little ones needing some extra encouragement to feel comfortable just the way they are should take a lesson from Janine." - Booklist

"Cocca-Leffler's portrayals of her heroine illuminate her thoughtfulness, resilience, and self-assuredness, and while the story's message is far from subtle, it may encourage children who don't fit in (and wouldn't have it any other way)." - Publishers Weekly

"It's nice to examine how a group can choose kindness and thus take away a bully's power. Charming illustrations highlight Janine's independent style and unfailing optimism." - Kirkus Reviews

Connect:
Visit www.JaninesParty.com, where everyone is invited! The website features links where you can find out more about the book, read some great poetry, learn more about the real Janine, and find other suggested books and movies that feature a positive main character who happens to have a disability.

* Follow Maryann Cocca-Leffler on Facebook
* Follow Janine's Party on Facebook
* Maryann Cocca-Lefler's website
* Maryann's blog
* Free JANINE coloring sheet

GIVEAWAY

JANINE's publisher, Albert Whitman & Co, is generously offering this giveaway for two copies of JANINE (US only please)! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 29, 2015.

TriDerma: Soothing and Invigorating Products to Help Take Care of Your Skin (GIVEAWAY)

Taking care of your skin is so important, and TriDerma has some terrific products to help you do just that. They use only the finest quality, hand-selected ingredients, such as certified genuine virgin organic aloe, moisturizers, and other carefully selected botanicals to target a variety of skin problems. Just a few of their products include:

One complaint we often hear about sunscreens is that they feel heavy, but this extra-light, non-greasy formula has been designed to keep even the most delicate or sensitive skin happy. It offers protection from UVA/UVB rays and contains AP4® Genuine Virgin Organic Aloe complex, vitamins, Jojoba Oil and Allantoin. It is ideal for all skin types, even oily skin!

If you’re starting to see the effects of aging on your skin, consider this medical-strength, anti-aging complex, designed to quickly help erase the look of brown spots, age spots, and acne scars while diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without skin irritation. With its rich botanicals, antioxidants, anti-irritants and specialized brightening ingredients, it encourages cell turnover without harsh chemicals, peels or procedures so your skin looks smoother and brighter.

As you age, pores become more noticeable, but TriDerma’s Pore Reducing Serum uses RefinaPore™ to help change the look of your pores and hide imperfections. It also helps absorb and control oil throughout the day. I received a sample of this product, and I really like it. I use it under my foundation, and my skin looks very smooth, but I don’t feel like I have too many products on my face.

As we head into summer and expose our skin to the sun’s harsh rays, make a vow to start taking better care of it. Visit TriDerma.com to see all of the terrific products available to help you get the skin you’ve always wanted!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive TriDerma’s Pore Reducing Anti-Age Serum ~ a $24.99 value! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on May 29, 2015.

New DVDs from Shout! Factory: "Transformers Rescue Bots: Return of the Heroes" and "The Adventures of Chuck & Friends: Day at the Races" (GIVEAWAY)

Shout! Factory is pleased to announce the release of two great new DVDs for kids! Read on to learn more about them and enter to win both DVDs!

TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS:
RETURN OF THE HEROES

Everyone’s favorite emergency first responders -- Chase, Heatwave, Blades and Boulder -- return for five new adventures with their Griffin Rock Friends, the Burns family! And this time, they’re joined by iconic Autobots like Bumblebee and, of course, the greatest leader of all time: Optimus Prime!

Episodes Include:
Bumblebee to the Rescue
Bot to the Future
A Virtual Disaster
Changes
Rise of the Heroes

THE ADVENTURES OF CHUCK & FRIENDS:
DAY AT THE RACES

Everybody, on your mark … get set … and race your way to fun with Chuck and his very best friends -- Digger, Handy, Rowdy, Biggs, Boomer and Flip! Join the gang as they race each other to win a radio contest, form an astronomy club, create the perfect Mother’s Day gift and more. Strap yourself in, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Episodes Include:
Contest Countdown
Tough Break
The Short Cut
Race to the Race
Join the Club
Rowdy’s New Rigg
The Regifters
Mother of All Gifts
Wallbashers
Kid Stuff
Bonus Feature: A Brand-New Sing-Along!

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive both DVDs featured above! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, May 29, 2015.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles (GIVEAWAY)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles
101 Inspirational Stories of Faith, Answered Prayers & Divine Intervention
By Amy Newmark and Natasha Stoynoff
Foreword by John Edward

About the book:
Good things do happen to good people! You will be encouraged and uplifted as you read these stories about powerful hope, miraculous healing, divine intervention, messages from heaven, answered prayers and beating the odds, including:

  • The mother of a Sandy Hook shooting victim who prayed for a sign that her son Jesse was okay and minutes later saw “Jesse & Jesus” written in the sky
  • The businessman turned pastor who didn’t believe in miracles until he laid hands on a paralyzed man who then walked into his office a few weeks later
  • The brother and sister who were reunited in Australia 75 years after they were separated at a British orphanage during World War II
  • The grieving daughter who fondly recalled her mom’s appearance on Let’s Make a Deal, went to the show, got picked from the audience, and won a new car
  • The woman whose mother’s voice forced her off a bench seconds before a tree fell on it, on the one-year anniversary of her mom’s death
  • And 96 more stories that will make you say, “Wow!”

Note from Susan: These stories are so inspiring! They really do give us hope when life seems to be stagnant or heading in the wrong direction. Read one every day or when you’re especially in need of a pick-up. You can start at the beginning or close your eyes and just open up to a story. No matter how you read this book, it won’t fail to warm your insides and help you to realize that miracles still happen every day.



GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will receive a paperback copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, May 24, 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher to facilitate my honest review. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Summer Reading Spotlight: "Gabby Duran and the Unsittables," by Elise Allen & Daryle Conners #GabbyDuran

I work at a library, and we’re planning our summer activities, so I’ve got summer reading on my mind! Did you know that students can lose two months’ worth of learning over the summer? Fortunately, we can easily combat this by making sure that our kids keep reading during summer break. But, as most of us have found, it’s not easy to get kids to read unless we find material that will interest them. I recently learned about a new book that sounds like a great choice for kids between the ages of 9 and 12.

GABBY DURAN AND THE UNSITTABLES

BABY-SITTERS CLUB meets MEN IN BLACK in this sweet, funny new middle-grade series about a world-renowned tween babysitter who is recruited to take care of extra-terrestrial children.

ABOUT THE BOOK
Case File: The First Unsittable

The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task ... until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It's a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby's audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

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