Monday, February 29, 2016

Movie Review: "The Martian" Starring Matt Damon (PG-13)


About the movie:
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring "the Martian" home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney's safe return. Rated PG-13.

My thoughts:
This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. In many ways, it is a cross between two Tom Hanks movies: Apollo 13 and Castaway. It was such a pleasure to watch a movie that is excellent because of its intelligence with no trace of sex or senseless violence. The Mars landscape is beautifully visualized, but the movie really owes its success to Matt Damon and the rest of the superior cast. Science has never been more cool as Damon's character, Mark Watney, has to rely entirely on his brains and scientific knowledge to survive on a planet with no oxygen or food. Fortunately, he also has an incredible will to survive and a sense of humor that keeps him from going crazy from loneliness. He has his low moments, but he never really gives up hope that he will find his way out of a seemingly impossible predicament. The Martian deserves a 5-star rating and a big thumbs-up!




Disclosure: I borrowed this movie from the public library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lugz: Fun and Functional Boots for the Whole Family ~ Plus a 30% Off Promo Code!

I may live in south Florida, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love to wear boots, especially when they’re as cute and well-made as those from Lugz. I recently received the Lugz Shifter in Charcoal/Gray to review, and I love, love, love these boots!



Aren’t they great? They come in a wide array of colors, from basic Black to fun Red. They have a cushioned insole, along with a padded tongue and collar, which makes them super comfortable. It doesn’t surprise me that these boots are one of Lugz’s bestsellers!

Lugz has a huge selection of various styles for men, women and children. Wouldn’t your toddler look adorable in these boots?



It doesn’t matter whether you need boots for work, hiking, snow, or just for a fashionable look, you’re sure to find a style you’ll love from Lugz. Use the code below (SWC30) to get 30% off your purchase at www.lugz.com!


You can also find Lugz at:
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram




Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (February 27, 2016)

It's leap year! Let's celebrate getting a bonus day in February (and those birthdays that come around only every 4 years!) and enter some giveaways! Check out the awesome prizes up for grabs in the linky below, as well as my right sidebar. Visit throughout the week to see what has been added each day. And feel free to share your own giveaways in the linky. Finally, don't forget to share this page with your social media friends and fans. Easy sharing buttons are at the bottom of the post.







No More Dirty Clothes on the Floor with the Dirty Dunk! (GIVEAWAY)

Are you tired of telling your child to pick up his or her clothes from the floor? Does your kid kick his clothes under the bed instead of putting them in the laundry? Now there’s hope thanks to The Dunk Collection! Their flagship product, the Dirty Dunk, makes it fun for kids to put their clothes in the laundry. This over-the-door basketball hoop will have your child making jump shots and three-pointers just to see how accurately she can shoot her clothes in the basket.

The Dirty Dunk hangs on the back of your child’s bedroom door with sturdy padded metal hooks. A drawstring at the bottom of the net makes it easy to remove the clothes for washing. The Dirty Dunk also makes a decorative addition to a child’s room, especially if it has a sports theme!

I think this is such a clever idea for getting kids to pick up their dirty clothes. Children will have so much fun that it won’t feel like a chore, and you’ll be relieved that you won’t have to remind your kids to pick up their clothes or have to look at the mess on the floor.

Purchase a Dirty Dunk online at http://thedunkcollection.com/products/the-dirty-dunk or on Amazon!


You can also visit The Dunk Collection through the links below.
Website: http://thedunkcollection.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dunk_Collection
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedunkcollection
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/thedunkco

GIVEAWAY

One lucky winner will receive a Dirty Dunk over-the-door basketball hoop laundry hamper ~ a $35 value! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Friday, March 11, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I declined a product sample for review, but the sponsor is generously donating one for this giveaway. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

An Ultra-Soft and Gentle Toothbrush: The Curaprox CS 5460

Are you confused by all of the toothbrushes on the market? Some are ergonomically designed; some have angled handles; some have bristles of different lengths. It’s almost impossible to decide what’s best! But CURAPROX has taken the guesswork out of the toothbrush because theirs are simply designed. No fancy look to them. The handle is almost straight, and the bristles are even in length. However, what they do focus on is the softness of the bristles because they know that if they aren’t gentle, you’re not going to want to brush or won’t brush as long as you should.

The Curaprox CS 5460 is an ultra-soft toothbrush. I was amazed at how dense the bristles are, much denser than many brands. That makes the brush more efficient at cleaning your teeth and attacking plaque. And the softness of the bristles ensures that your mouth and gums aren’t sore after brushing, encouraging better brushing, especially for those with sensitive teeth.


The Curaprox CS 5460 also comes in 36 colors, so everyone in the family can have fun choosing a color they like. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Curaprox CS 5460 toothbrush, check out all the colors and place an order!




Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The New Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast: A Daily Dose of Inspiration

As many of you know, I've worked with Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing for many years, and I've always been impressed by how they continue to develop new ways to share their stories and inspire people to live better lives. Recently, the publisher and editor-in-chief of Chicken Soup for the Soul, Amy Newmark, began a wonderful podcast series. Just like a story from a Chicken Soup for the Soul book, you'll find advice for being happier and more fulfilled in just a few minutes when you listen to these podcasts. Amy not only tells listeners about a Chicken Soup for the Soul story that really impacted her, but she shares her best tips for living that she's gleaned from her years of reading real stories by and about real people. I encourage you to click on the link below to subscribe to the Chicken Soup for the Soul podcast (it's free!) so you don't miss a day of inspiration.


Monday, February 22, 2016

Eddie the Eagle ~ See It in Theaters Friday! Giveaway for a $25 Visa Gift Card and T-Shirt

EDDIE THE EAGLE
20th Century Fox
In theaters Friday!

Let's celebrate the movie's release by watching a great video, finding inspiration in lines from the movie, and entering to win a $25 Visa gift card and a movie tee! Read on...

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself -- even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. From producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie, the loveable underdog with a never-say-die attitude.

Directed By: Dexter Fletcher
Screenplay By: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Produced By: Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Rupert Maconick, Valerie Van Galder
Story By: Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Christopher Walken, Hugh Jackman

Enjoy this featurette called “The Underdog”!



Be inspired by these motivational quotes from the movie!




Official Websites
Visit the Official Site
Like Eddie the Eagle on Facebook
Follow on Twitter, Instagram and Google+
#EddieTheEagle #FlyLikeEddie

GIVEAWAY
One (1) lucky winner receives:
- $25 Visa gift card to see the film in theaters
- T-Shirt (shown above)

Open to US mailing addresses only. Prizing courtesy of 20th Century Fox. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, March 6, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure: I received a complimentary prize pack as a thank-you for sharing this information. All opinions are my own. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Feedspot's Top 100 Parenting Blogs List Includes Susan Heim on Parenting!


If you enjoy parenting blogs like this one, you'll want to check out the comprehensive list of the Top 100 Parenting Blogs from Feedspot. I was very pleased to see that Susan Heim on Parenting made it into the Top 50!

According to Feedspot, "These blogs will give you insight into other parents' lives and show you how they struggle with everyday problems. These parents are sharing warm, funny and instructive experiences on how they are raising their children."

Thanks to Feedspot for this honor and the opportunity to check out some great parenting blogs!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (February 20, 2016)

Time for a new Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! If you're interested in winning prizes, check back each day to see what giveaways have been added to the linky below and to my right sidebar. If you're hosting giveaways on your blog or website, please share them with us in the linky. Don't forget to spread the news about this page on your social media sites. Have a great week!







Welcome Spring with Dawn Publication's Newest Nature-Themed Children's Books!

Spring will be here soon! And along with the warmer weather and beautiful flowers, we get to enjoy new nature-themed children’s books from Dawn Publications! If you’re not yet familiar with this company, they publish beautifully written and illustrated children’s books that all have a nature theme. This spring, they’re issuing three new books to delight families:

Wild Ones: Observing City Critters
By Carol L. Malnor
Illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Wild ones are moving into the city! Follow the adorable, curious dog Scooter as he travels through an urban landscape, seeing many wild animals and not seeing even more. Cathy's charming illustrations draw upon real-life city scenes from across the United States. Supplementary material contains information about the wild species now often living in cities and how they have adapted. Plus Carol offers a section "Is it Really True?" that is both informational and fun. This book is a wonderful aid for children to become aware of the presence of wild animals and understand why they have taken to living in cities.


CLICK HERE to download free activities based on Wild Ones.

Over on the Farm
By Marianne Berkes
Illustrated by Cathy Morrison

Welcome to the farm, where pigs roll, goats nibble, horses gallop, hens peck, and turkeys strut! Count, clap, and sing along to the classic tune of "Over in the Meadow" while learning about life on a classic farm. This book is one of Marianne's own favorites, and is a delight for children and adults alike. Cathy's illustrations are charming. And as usual, Marianne offers up a potpourri of valuable information about farm animals and suggestions for child-friendly activities.


CLICK HERE to download free activities based on Over on the Farm.

Green Bean! Green Bean!
By Patricia Thomas
Illustrated by Trina L. Hunner

A freckled-faced young gardener opens a packet of seeds. And the magic begins! Crisp verses take the reader through the growing season—from a sprout peeking out, to a curlicue catching dew, to a vine twining on a line, until finally ... GREEN BEANS! It's time to harvest a full season of garden knowledge and experience. Along the way the young gardener discovers a nook to read a book in the shade of growing beans. Trina's watercolors match the mood of a garden, and in the back matter Patricia provides life cycle science and related vocabulary, instructions on growing your own green beans, and a variety of fun things for children to do. This book is sure to encourage young gardeners to put their toes in the soil and perhaps even read a book in a garden nook.


CLICK HERE to download free activities based on Green Bean! Green Bean!

All three of these books are wonderful additions to Dawn’s growing catalog of nature-themed children’s books that educate and delight. I hope you’ll head over to www.dawnpub.com and pick up some copies for the special kids in your life.



Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books to facilitate this post.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Children’s Book Review: "Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig," by Deborah Hopkinson


I grew up reading the enchanting stories by Beatrix Potter, so I was excited to read this book, which is fictional but based on real events in Beatrix Potter’s life. In both the book and real life, she had a brother named Bertram and many pets, which she loved to draw and write about. In this sweet and amusing tale, Beatrix borrows her neighbor’s guinea pig, Queen Elizabeth, so she might paint it. But while she’s gone to a dinner party, Queen Elizabeth eats Beatrix’s art supplies and perishes. How will she explain the unfortunate mishap to her neighbor, who adores her guinea pig? Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig is a charming story with whimsical illustrations by award-winning illustrator Charlotte Voake that will delight children and parents alike. At the end of the book, the author provides more details about Beatrix Potter’s life, along with photos and drawings. Sources for more information are also provided, which fans of Beatrix Potter will want to utilize since this year marks the 150th anniversary of her birth!





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

Monday, February 15, 2016

Eddie the Eagle ~ Arriving in Theaters February 26! Watch the Trailer and Enjoy Scenes from the Movie


EDDIE THE EAGLE
20th Century Fox
In theaters February 26
Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Taron Egerton), an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself -- even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach (played by Hugh Jackman), Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. From producers of Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eddie the Eagle stars Taron Egerton as Eddie, the loveable underdog with a never-say-die attitude.

Directed By: Dexter Fletcher
Screenplay By: Sean Macaulay and Simon Kelton
Produced By: Matthew Vaughn, Adam Bohling, David Reid, Rupert Maconick, Valerie Van Galder
Story By: Simon Kelton
Starring: Taron Egerton, Christopher Walken, Hugh Jackman

Watch the trailer!


Note from Susan:
As a parent, this movie makes me think about my role in encouraging my children to pursue their dreams. My two greatest dreams in life were to become a mother and an author, and I've accomplished both by ignoring those who said my dreams were silly, especially when it came to writing. Therefore, I have always encouraged my boys to go after what they love. If they have a passion for what they do, they will be successful! I hope that all parents will hear that message and pass it on to their children after watching this movie.

Enjoy these scenes from the film!



Official Websites
Visit the Official Site
Like Eddie the Eagle on Facebook
Follow on Twitter, Instagram and Google+
#EddieTheEagle #FlyLikeEddie

Stay tuned to this blog for an upcoming Eddie the Eagle themed giveaway!



Disclosure: I will receive a prize pack as a thank-you for sharing information about this movie with my readers.