Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day ~ A Day to Remember

Please take the time today to pay homage to the brave men and women who have lost their lives in service to our country.

Paperback Giveaway: "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less" ~ 3 Winners!

Have you ever noticed that the more "stuff" we accumulate, the more stress we seem to have? Possessions pile up and cause clutter. Obligations we can't say "no" to keep us from enjoying quality time with our friends and family. It's time we learned that "no" is not a negative word. When we live with less, we appreciate what we have more, as the following new book from Chicken Soup for the Soul shows us.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less
101 Stories About Having More by Simplifying Our Lives

In the Age of Disposables -- fashion, phones, glasses, and even friends! -- some people are finding joy by rediscovering the simple life. They’re cleaning house, both literally and figuratively, and finding themselves better for it. By getting rid of excess “stuff” and trimming down their over-filled schedules, they feel happier and more fulfilled than ever before. It’s really true that little can go a long way.

With Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less, spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning. You’ll read stories about people who found happiness in an unlikely way: by saying no. No to buying more stuff, no to taking on additional time-filling commitments, and no to trying to please everyone all of the time.

In this book, you’ll also meet people who have found contentment in simplicity by spending time with their family during “staycations.” You’ll read about people who cut out some of the everyday stressors in life by simply “unplugging” by turning off their smartphones and staying away from the Internet for a day. It’s amazing what a little break can do.

You’ll even meet people who lost almost everything, but found happiness rediscovering who they really are and turning catastrophe into opportunity. When forced to simplify because the going gets tough, the tough get creative and find ways to flourish.

Whether it’s cleaning out your closets and holding a yard sale or taking a stand for your wellbeing by keeping time to yourself, there are a hundred different ways to find joy in less.


Three lucky winners will receive a paperback edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Joy of Less! Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on Sunday, June 12, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Chicken Soup for the Soul is generously donating the books for this giveaway. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission when you make a purchase through my link.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 28, 2016)

Welcome to the Memorial Day edition of the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky. I hope you'll take some time this weekend to remember those who have bravely served our country. The many freedoms we enjoy are a result of their commitment. For many of us, Memorial Day also means an extra day added to our weekend, so we can celebrate by entering some giveaways! Check out those listed in the linky below, as well as on my right sidebar, and be sure to come back each day to see what has been added. Feel free to add to the linky if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, and don't forget to give this page a shout-out to your social media friends and fans.

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop: Enter to Win a Limited-Edition Clifford the Big Red Dog Book and a $5 Amazon Gift Card!

Welcome to the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by Mary of Bookhounds! Every blogger participating in this event is giving away a children’s, middle-grade or teen/YA book (or a gift card to purchase one). After entering my giveaway below, be sure to hop around to the other blogs participating in this hop for the chance to win more great books for your family!

May is National Pet Month and Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and in conjunction with Bayer Animal Health’s annual International Companion Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) Symposium, Bayer Animal Health has partnered with the iconic storybook character, Clifford the Big Red Dog, to create custom Clifford Goes to the Doctor books. These books not only provide a fun story to read together, but they also share important tips for helping your pets avoid flea, tick and mosquito bites.

If you’re familiar with Clifford the Big Red Dog, you may know that he started out as a tiny puppy, but then he grew and grew until he became a giant dog! Clifford Goes to the Doctor shows Clifford visiting the veterinarian when he is just a little pup who hides in the doctor’s pocket, and then the challenges of examining him when he becomes a giant dog. Fortunately, the doctor has a great sense of humor and goes with Clifford to be weighed at a trucking weigh station! Kids will love this book, and parents can share the tips included about how to care for their pet and prevent bites from mosquitoes, ticks and fleas.

This book was first introduced at Coral Park Elementary School in Miami where Bayer Animal Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Carey, read the story to more than 140 first-graders and sent a copy of the book home with them. You can learn more about companion vector-borne diseases (CVBD) such as Lyme disease at For more information about Bayer Animal Health and ways to protect pets from parasites, visit

One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of the special-edition children’s book, Clifford Goes to the Doctor, plus a $5 Amazon gift card so you can purchase another great Clifford book! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on June 8, 2016. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now hop around to the other blogs participating in the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop for the chance to win more great books and gift cards!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my honest review. I am providing the gift card myself.

Product Review: Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste #DesignerSmile

When selecting a toothpaste, it’s important to think about the benefits you want to receive. Most of us want a toothpaste that will fight cavities and help protect our enamel, but we also want our teeth to look good. Lots of coffee, soda, wine and sweets can leave our teeth looking dull or yellow, so we should seek out a product that will also help to keep our teeth whiter and brighter.

That’s why I was excited to learn about the new Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste. I’ve always liked Colgate toothpastes. My mouth feels great after using them, and they’ve managed to chase away plenty of cavities over the years. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my teeth don’t have that same sparkle they once had, and I want to whiten them without the expense of a procedure at the dentist’s office or the hassle of dealing with strips.

With Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste, I get all the benefits together: cavity-fighting power plus hydrogen peroxide to whiten my teeth. With twice-daily use, my teeth look and feel great. If you’re hoping for a brighter smile in addition to cavity-fighting power, pick up a tube of Colgate Optic White Platinum High Impact White Toothpaste at your local store and give it a try. You may just find yourself smiling more!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample from Colgate-Palmolive to facilitate my honest review.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Enjoy This Easy and Adorable Insect Craft for Kids!

This post contains my affiliate link and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through my link.

Did you know that we share the Earth with more than one million different species of insects? However, they all have three distinct body parts -- a head (at the front), a thorax (in the middle) and an abdomen (at the end).

A fun way to teach your kids about these three body parts is to have them craft a few insects using a variety of found objects. Click on the banner above to learn how to make the fun craft shown courtesy of Little Passports!

Life's a Beach Giveaway Hop: Enter to Win a Vera Bradley Tote and Prizes for Your Cat from Cat's Pride ($75 Value)!

Welcome to the Life's a Beach Giveaway Hop hosted by The Kids Did It and The Mommy Island. Every blogger participating in this hop is giving away something that you can take to the beach! For my giveaway, I have a fantastic prize pack from Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care! First, let me tell you why Cat's Pride is offering this wonderful prize...

Oil-Dri Corporation of America, a leading manufacturer of quality cat litter and the inventor of lightweight litter, announces the launch of the new Cat’s Pride® Fresh & Light Ultimate Care®, a revolutionary litter that delivers the ultimate performance, including 10-day odor control, the strongest clumps and low tracking. Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care is the best lightweight litter and is 50 percent lighter than traditional scoopable litters. The product is offered in a 10-pound jug, in both scented and unscented hypoallergenic varieties.

As part of the launch, Cat’s Pride® is partnering with award-winning actress Katherine Heigl, best known for her roles in “Grey’s Anatomy,” “27 Dresses,” and “Knocked Up,” as the face and voice of their campaign, "Cats Are Complicated. Great Litter Is Simple." In addition, Cat’s Pride is proud to support the Jason Debus Heigl Foundation™, by donating a portion of every Fresh & Light Ultimate Care purchase to support the Foundation’s animal advocacy work. The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation (JDHF) was founded in 2008 by Nancy and Katherine Heigl to increase awareness of inhumane animal treatment and support animal welfare efforts in this country. Established as a lasting legacy to a beloved son and brother killed as a teen in a tragic car accident, the JDHF is dedicated to helping companion animals by eliminating the needless suffering inflicted on animals by human cruelty, indifference and ignorance. Programs include the relocation of pets from high-kill to no-kill shelters for adoption, funding of sterilization for cats and dogs, medical and training assistance for special needs dogs, grants to hardworking “boots on the ground” rescues, and working with animal welfare groups nationwide to increase awareness of spay/neuter, humane education and adoption.

Visit Cat's Pride at:
Twitter: @catspride


To celebrate the launch of Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care and the partnership with Katherine Heigl and The Jason Debus Heigl Foundation, I have been given the opportunity to offer a wonderful prize to one lucky winner. To go along with our beach theme, the winner will receive the beautiful Vera Bradley tote pictured below, which you can use to take what you need to have a great day at the beach!

The bag above is just part of a prize package valued at $75! Here's what's included:
  • Vera Bradley Camocat tote in black and white
  • Cat Dancer toy
  • Cat Collar
  • Coupon redeemable for one 10 lb. jug of new Cat's Pride Fresh & Light Ultimate Care Litter
This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends at 11:59 PM EST on June 7, 2016. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now hop around to the other blogs participating in this hop for the chance to win more great prizes!

Disclosure: Cat's Pride is generously donating the prize for this giveaway. Hosts & participating hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors or self-sponsoring bloggers that do not fulfill prize obligations.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Graham Blanchard's Mom Mentors: Children's Surprising Spiritual Development

Graham Blanchard recently asked its panel of Mom Mentors: As your children grow, what surprises or strikes you most about the way their spiritual life is developing?

As always, I loved reading the very insightful answers shared by my fellow moms. I think you'll be able to relate to them, too!

Click HERE to read the article and feel free to leave a comment below about how your children are developing spiritually.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 21, 2016)

May's flying by, and I'm finally feeling like I have a little more free time thanks to the kids' school and sports activities winding down for the summer. Fortunately, that gives me more time to enter giveaways! I hope you'll join me in checking out the giveaways posted in the linky below, as well as on my right sidebar. Come back daily to see what's new. And if you're hosting a giveaway on your blog, please share it with us in the linky. Don't forget to give this page a shout-out on your social media sites. Have a great week!

Beat the Summer Heat with a Honeywell Turbo® on the Go Portable Fan

It’s almost summer, which means the temperatures will be warming up very soon if they haven’t already! For many of us, that also means we’ll be traveling, camping or just spending more time outdoors. My boys are going to camp where they’ll be sleeping in tents outside. Since we’re in south Florida, you can bet it gets quite warm inside those tents! Fortunately, we’ve found the perfect little fan for them to take with them for a blissful sleep.

The Honeywell Turbo® on the Go! portable fan is just the right size for travel. It weighs just ½ a pound, so it’s extremely lightweight. I love the unique design because the handle becomes a stand or a hanger. And you can power it either with AA batteries or with the USB option. Just plug the USB cord into your computer and charge up the fan.

And this little fan kicks out plenty of power. You can feel the air movement up to three feet away! Best of all, this fan is very inexpensive, so you can afford to get one for every member of the family or to keep in various places like your home, beach bag and in the camper.

My boys are really excited about taking the Honeywell Turbo® on the Go! portable fan with them on their camping trip this summer. Last year, sleeping was difficult due to the heat, but I know they’ll be much more comfortable this year with this fan in their tent.

You can find the Honeywell Turbo® on the Go portable fan at Best Buy or many other retailers where fans are sold. Be ready for the heat by picking up several for your family’s summer adventures!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary sample to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Artifacts Book Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway (5 Winners)

Artifacts by Pete Catalano
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Publisher: Tantrum Books

It's funny how one little letter can change a person's life. Jax and his friends have been planning the summer of a lifetime at Camp Runamuck. However, when one of them is facing summer at a school desk for failing English, they watch those plans crash and burn!

At the last moment, they're given a way out: an extra-credit assignment to find several fake artifacts for a fairy-tale display their teacher is presenting at the local library.

Thinking they've hit the easiest-extra-credit-ever jackpot, they begin rummaging through any piles of junk they can find. As they start putting the clues together, they realize that what they're really searching for is one authentic artifact that can rewrite fairy tales!

Enlisting the aid of the Lost Boys, Jax and his friends battle fairy-tale villains to see who can get their hand -- or their hook -- on it first.

Goodreads Book Page

Purchase Links:
BAM | Google Play | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

Guest Post by the Author: What appeals to you about writing middle-grade books?

In one word, it’s Audience.

My readers have these wonderful, endless imaginations that take these stories I write and breathe life into them. They laugh at the jokes, fall in love with some characters while disliking others, and more than anything with ARTIFACTS they know what they would do if they had an artifact that could re-write fairy tales.

The readers I write for have a need to be inspired, astonished, and surprised to the point where they are scrambling as fast as they can to turn the page and see what’s coming next. I enjoy writing contemporary with a touch of magic. I remember going to see the movie FIELD OF DREAMS, and there are several points where I had that “Whoa” moment. I put that “Whoa” moment in every story I write, and it’s the part that will be read over and over.

While reviewing ARTIFACTS, a reader said, “Mr. Catalano was able to create the hysterical sarcasm that is the trademark middle-school wit.”

I seem to have found my “MG voice.” Finding your Middle Grade voice is not easy, but when you find it and it works, MG becomes the only thing you want to write. The dialogue is built from words I imagine any Middle School reader saying at any time. The reader is walked into a world where the language they read is the same language they use to talk with their friends -- and they love it.

Humor is a big part of ARTIFACTS. I can imagine that many one-liners from the story will be repeated over and over by the reader and their friends. A good friend of mine said that her son, who’s eight and will be nine in September, picked up the book on Friday, read it twice so far, and had carried it around with him all weekend. That’s a great compliment.

There are many writers who search for a lesson that can be conveyed by their writing. ARTIFACTS includes a lesson, but it’s slipped in instead of being a sledgehammer. Those sledgehammer lessons make the reader want to save their place after a couple of pages and never come back to it. The center of the ARTIFACTS story is the idea of “no man left behind.” Friends who have planned all school year to go to camp together have their plans changed as one of them may be forced to go to summer school. But instead of going on without him, they gather together and take the extra-credit challenge thrown at them by one teacher, who will soon be discovered as a fairy-tale villain. As my wife Darla and I watched our girls grow up, their was, and still is, this “hurray for me” attitude in kids and some adults. The “As long as I’m invited or as long as I’m going, who cares if anyone else is left out” attitude that I’ve heard far too many times over the years. Most people are going to read ARTIFACTS and know that the kids did the right thing by trying to help out their friend and possibly miss the summer of their lives. Some people are going to read it and not understand it at all. But if even one reader thinks about it for a moment and decides that, “Yeah, maybe I would stop and help my friend instead of leaving on the trip without them,” then the story has done exactly what I had hoped it would do.

Month9Books did a beautiful job on the cover, and it will be one that readers reach for the moment they go into a bookstore. The greatest compliment I’ve had so far is when a sixth grader picked up ARTIFACTS, looked at it and then up at me and said, “The cover draws me in!”

About the Author

Pete Catalano’s books are written for kids of all ages -- and adults who secretly never grew up. He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his adorably funny wife and two neurotic dogs. Pete was a theatre major in college and tries to keep the "suspension of disbelief" in his life as much as he can.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Giveaway Information: Contest ends June 3, 2016

* Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Artifacts by Pete Catalano (INT). Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, May 13, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 14, 2016)

Welcome to the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! This linky will be up all week, so be sure to check back daily to see the new giveaways that have been added. Don't forget to visit my right sidebar, too! If you're hosting a giveaway on your blog or website, please share it with us in the linky and give this page a shout-out on your social media sites.

Sit More Comfortably with a Cush Comfort Cushion! (Promo Code Included)

All three of my jobs -- at the library, as a freelance editor and as a blogger -- require me to spend long hours at a computer with my butt in a chair. Needless to say, I do a lot of squirming after a while to stay comfortable. A product that has really increased my comfort level is a Cush Comfort cushion! It actually responds to body heat so that it becomes more shaped to one’s tush as time goes on. And, very importantly, it doesn’t go flat in a short period of time like many cushions do. It also suspends the tailbone so it relieves the pressure you feel there when you sit for long periods.

Once you place the Cush Comfort cushion on your chair, it stays in place thanks to the non-slip bottom. And you can actually unzip and remove the cover to wash it by hand or in your machine with cold water. This cushion is designed to last a good long time! Check out all of the great features in the graphic below.

I’ve always had poor posture, so it’s especially important for me to sit up straight in my chair, which the Cush Comfort cushion helps me to do. And because this position actually feels comfortable to me, I don’t wiggle around like I used to.

The Cush Comfort cushion is not only ideal for a desk chair. You can also use it in the car, on your kitchen/dining room chair, or just about anywhere you’ll be sitting. It’s easy to move around, or use the discount code provided below to make it easier to purchase several cushions!

Save 10% off the Cush Comfort Cushion with promo code:

If you spend long hours in a chair, have poor posture or back pain, give the Cush Comfort cushion a try! It was actually designed by a person who experienced a herniated disk and was desperate to find a cushion that would enable him to sit without pain. Visit to learn more about the Cush Comfort cushion and purchase one with the promo code provided above! You can also purchase a Cush comfort cushion on Amazon.

Lifetime 100% money back guarantee!

From Cush Comfort: We are a mission-based company. The cushion you will receive is the very same cushion being used on all of our seats at our office, in our cars, and on our seats at home. We stand behind our product. We have high standards and we want our customers to have high standards too. If for any reason you are unhappy with your Cush, just shoot us a message and a real person will respond within a day to make it right.

Disclosure: I received a product sample and compensation to facilitate this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

PROMO CODE: Enjoy Up to 50% Off Graduation Announcements or Invitations Plus Free Shipping at Tiny Prints!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Tiny Prints and will receive a small commission when you make a purchase through the links on this post.
Tiny Prints - Free Expedited Shipping Upgrade
Do you have a graduate in the family this year? It doesn't matter if they're graduating from kindergarten, high school, college ... it's time to let everyone know how proud you are!

Fortunately, from May 11-17, 2016, you can enjoy up to 50% off Graduation Announcements and Invitations plus free shipping at Tiny Prints. Plus, all Graduation orders will receive a free upgrade to expedited shipping!

Click on the banner above to select a beautiful graduation announcement or invitation and personalize it with your own photos. Then use the following code at checkout: AFF50FSGRAD.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers, grandmothers, aunts and special women in our world! Please give them a "thank you" and a hug today!

Friday, May 06, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (May 7, 2016)

Welcome to the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky! I'm stuck inside with a spring cold, so I hope you'll join me in entering some giveaways! Come back daily to see what's been added to the linky below, as well as my right sidebar. If you're hosting a giveaway, please share it with us in the linky, and be sure to let your social media followers know about this page, too.

Happy Mother’s Day from "Kubo and the Two Strings" ~ Coming to Theaters in August!

From LAIKA and Focus Features, Kubo and the Two Strings wishes you and all of the heroic moms in your life a very Happy Mother’s Day!

I've always had a fondness for Japanese culture, ever since I stayed with a Japanese family in Osaka for six weeks when I was 16 years old. So, I'm really looking forward to the debut of this movie in August. It looks like something the whole family will enjoy. Plus, the star-studded cast is amazing!

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo (voiced by Art Parkinson of “Game of Thrones”) ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato (George Takei), Akihiro (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa), and Kameyo (Academy Award nominee Brenda Vaccaro). But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past, which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey (Academy Award winner Charlize Theron) and Beetle (Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey), and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen -- a magical musical instrument -- Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King (Academy Award nominee Ralph Fiennes) and the evil twin Sisters (Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara), to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family, and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Kubo and the Two Strings will be released in theaters nationwide on August 19, 2016.

Twitter: @KuboTheMovie #KuboMovie

Diclosure: I received an origami flower arrangement as a Mother's Day gift but was not obligated to post.

Shoplet Has Pentel Products for the Whole Family

Our family does a lot of writing, whether it’s at work, school or home. Therefore, we’re kind of picky about the pens and pencils we use. Everyone has their favorite items. For my son, who’s in middle school, he loves mechanical pencils. He likes that he never has to sharpen them, and they look way cooler than a regular pencil.

A new favorite is the Pentel Sharp Mechanical Drafting Pencil from Shoplet. The 0.7 mm Medium point makes it the same size as a #2 pencil, so it’s perfect for school use. There’s also an eraser under a cap so he can fix his mistakes. It’s pre-loaded with 6 sticks of Pentel Super Hi-Polymer HB Lead, so it will last a long time before needing a refill. And the 3-pack we received for review contained cool metallic colors that caught his attention immediately. He’s been using these pencils for school ever since!

As for me, I love gel pens, so I am thrilled with the Pentel EnerGel Alloy Retractable Gel Pen from Shoplet. The medium-sized point (0.7) is exactly what I like. It’s small enough to edit documents but large enough for good visibility. It just glides across the paper, and it dries quickly so it never smudges (perfect for left-handers). Ridges on the lower half keep my fingers from slipping. And the attractive royal blue color makes it a good fit for men or women. This is my new favorite pen!

Shoplet has a terrific assortment of Pentel products, like those featured above. They also have a huge selection of office supplies, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies. They even carry office furniture! In fact, they are the #1 e-tailer of business and office supplies. I hope you’ll stop by Shoplet today for all of your home, office and school supplies. You can also visit them through the following sites below:

Twitter: @Shoplet

Disclosure: I received complimentary product samples to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.