Friday, October 31, 2008

Have a Haunted Halloween - Ten Timid Ghosts / Disney's Haunted Mansion Craft

Happy Halloween! In the mood for some Haunted Houses today?

The favorite Halloween book this year at our house is definitely Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'Connell. Seriously, I've read the book so many times, I can recite it by memory. Everything Halloween is included in this read: A haunted house, ghosts, a witch, skeleton, bat, ghoul, cat, owl, vampire, monster, spider, rat, mummy and trick-or-treating. Really, you can't ask for more! But wait, there is more. It's also a countdown so kids learn their numbers from ten to one as well. The book is a great read-aloud, and kids will love counting down and watching the witch try to scare the timid ghosts out of their house. BOO!

Ten Timid Ghosts, by Jennifer O'Connell. Scholastic, Cartwheel Books (Sept. 2000), 32 pages, ISBN 9780439158046

Older kids can assemble their own haunted house by downloading the 3D Escape from Haunted Mansion Board Game. Today is the last day you can download all the pieces and rules to this amazing freebie. is offering a limited edition printable version of Escape From Haunted Mansion as a game on their web site. You can download all the parts, pieces and instructions this week only (October 25 - 31) and fold, glue, and assemble the set to play on your own. (Via

This looks like it ought to keep the kiddos occupied for quite awhile! Remember, today is the last day you can download this special offer. Happy Haunting!

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaways (10/31/08)

One Book Two Book - Jason Edwards Books Giveaway Ends 10/31/08??
Will Allen and The Ring of Terror or Will Allen and the Monster Detective by Jason Edwards
Callapidder Days - Barefoot Books Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Set of 3 books from Barefoot Books: We're Sailing to Galapagos, Whole World, and I Took the Moon for a Walk
Having Fun at Home - Classic Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
The Seven Little Postmen by Margaret Wise Brown and Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Inside Out - Book Giveaway Ends 11/3/08
I Sit and Stay: A Survival Guide for Kids (And Parents Too!) by Leah L. Waarvik
Mommy's Idea - Books Giveaway Ends 11/10/08
"Let's Get Ready" Books
Breeni Books - Book Giveaway Ends 11/9/08
The Cape Cod Witch and the Pirate's Treasure by J Bean Palmer
Barefoot in High Heels - Barefoot Books Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
The Giant Turnip and The Parrot Tiko Tango
Potts Family Adventure - Nursery Rhyme Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
The Random House Children's Treasury: Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes & Nonsense Verse
Mending Her Broken Heart - Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
Set of children's books
Cats Books Life is Good - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/08
4 brand new Paddington Bear books
Chief Family Officer - Book Giveaway Ends 11/5/08
If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Numeroff
Honour and Love Your Husband - Book Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
Oh, the Places You'll Go!! by Dr. Seuss
Irish Tigers - Book Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
The Great Race Maze, Magnificent Mazes, and 1-2-3 Draw Knights, Castles and Dragons

Parent Reviewers often review books.
Check out for four chances to win Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River by author Kunle Oguneye.

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cuddle Up With A Cabbage Patch Candidate

Sorry, I'm going to digress from my normal book/media post, but this is just too funny to exclude from my blog. Cabbage Patch Kids are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year by re-releasing the original dolls. Growing up in the 1980's, I owned two of them myself, so this release has triggered a lot of great childhood memories. If my daughter were at all interested in the dolls, I might just line up to buy her one for Christmas just because.

Now here's the hilarious scoop -- There is a strange auction going on at ebay right now involving the Cabbage Patch Kid dolls. You, yes you, can bid on and win your very own one-of-a-kind 2008 Cabbage Patch Kids Candidate doll of your choice: Barack Obama, John McCain, Joe Biden, or Sarah Palin. The auctions are for charity and the proceeds will go to Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The Sarah Palin doll is currently going for US $1,025.00 with 4d 17h 04m left.

Not sure I view any of them as that particularly cute or cuddly! How about you?

Here's a video announcing the 25th anniversary release-
Cabbage Patch Kids Anniversary - You Tube

Laurie Berkner Music Fan? Webcast Tonight!

Pssst....Laurie Berkner Band Fans! Laurie is airing her second webcast tonight (Thursday, October 30th) at 8PM EST. Visit the official Two Tomatoes Website to watch. Just like in her first webcast which occurred about a month ago, she will be reading fan mail and singing one of her songs. Her first webcast has been archived and is available for viewing on her website as well.

Haven't heard of Laurie before? Then it is about time you checked her out. My preschooler daughter has loved listening to her cheery, energetic songs since she was one years old. The band's newly released CD is called Rocketship Run. Later in November I'll post a review. In the meantime, Walmart's Soundcheck is airing a SUPERB exclusive video performance of the band singing some of the songs from their new CD.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Kid's Books about Difficult Economic Times

"Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?"

- from the song, "Brother Can You Spare A Dime?"
Today is the anniversary of Black Tuesday, the day of the infamous stock market crash in 1929. The crash also marked the beginning of the Great Depression. Here are a couple of award-winning non-fiction books dealing with these historical periods:

Six Days in October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929: A Wall Street Journal Book for Children by Karen Blumenthal

Children of the Great Depression (Golden Kite Awards (Awards))by Russell Freedman

Erica S. Perl has posted a really interesting slide show highlighting a few fictional children's books published over a span of many decades that mention difficult economic times. View her post and slide show at

Some of the titles included in her slide presentation are:
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary
Spuds by Karen Hesse

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spreading a little Fairy Dust: Tinker Bell DVD Released Today!

"Have you ever wondered how nature gets its glow — who gives it light and color as the seasons come and go? " from Tinker Bell, the Movie

If you hadn't heard about the new Disney Tinker Bell DVD before this, you must have been visiting Neverland. Hopefully all this press hasn't gone to Tink's head. I'd hate for her to forget her Peter Pan roots. Luckily, Disney draws some of Tinker Bell's life from her character in the book by J.M. Barrie. The movie starts out with the birth of a new fairy, Tinker Bell.
"when a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. They live in nests on the tops of trees." - Peter Pan (100th Anniversary Edition) by J.M. Barrie
After her birth, Tinker Bell must discover her talent. She learns she is a tinker fairy. However, like in Peter Pan, a tinker fairy does not perform very glamorous tasks. They fix and make instruments for the other fairies to use.
"She is quite a common fairy," Peter explained apologetically, "she is called Tinker Bell because she mends the pots and kettles." - Peter Pan (100th Anniversary Edition) by J.M. Barrie
Tinker Bell is not happy working as common tinker fairy mainly because tinker fairies don't get to visit the mainland. She tries to learn a new talent but fails miserably and ends up making a huge mess of Pixie Hollow, endangering the arrival of spring (the fairies are responsible for changing the seasons.) Fortunately she is able to redeem herself by inventing gadgets to help make the other fairies' work easier and faster. In the end, she is allowed to visit the mainland to take back a music box she repaired to a little girl named Wendy who lost the precious toy.

Disney has created a marvelous interpretation of Pixie Hollow for the movie. It sparkles and shimmers like pixie dust. Little girls will love it and will take the message to heart: be true to yourself. Hopefully, some of those same little girls will grow up and pursue mechanical occupations themselves! One happy surprise for me -- Loreena McKennitt is the narrator of the movie and sings the theme song, "To the Fairies They Draw Near." I'm a long-time fan of hers, and her Celtic, fairy-like music fits Tinker Bell perfectly.

Read Peter Pan
Now is as good a time as ever to read the book, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. At Project Gutenberg, the free online e-books site, you can read the text and listen to the audio for free!

Get a Rebate
Minute Maid has a good UPC promotion going on involving Disney movies. Get a $5 rebate when you buy Minute Maid juice plus one of the following DVDs: Sleeping Beauty, Tinker Bell, WALL•E or The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian.

Tinker Bell DVD Giveaways:
Momsational - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 11/3/08
Classy Mommy - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 10/30/08
Amanda - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 11/5/08
Mama Divas - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
An Ordinary Life - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Mommy Goggles - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
LI Kids - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
Seven Dogs and a Baby - Tinker Bell Giveaway Ends 11/30/08

Monday, October 27, 2008

It Snowed! - "Snow" by Cynthia Rylant

A few light snowflakes fell outside our home yesterday afternoon, much to the delight of my daughter. She quickly ran from window to window, announcing, "Snow! It's winter now! The leaves fall off the tree!" To her, snow means that she will get to build snowmen and sled. And, she quickly reminded us that Christmas will soon be on it's way. It doesn't take much to please a preschooler. I myself am not exactly a big fan of winter, but I have to admit that I find the first snowfall of every year quite exciting, too.

Snow, by Cynthia Rylant, is a new picture book we are looking forward to reading often this fall and winter. The book touches on snow of all types, from big fat flakes to the lightest delicate snow that dances down to the ground. But, most importantly, the lyrical verses celebrate the feelings that a snowfall brings about, especially in children. The blue tinted illustrations of Lauren Stringer help evoke the very best memories of snowfalls in our past and elicits anticipation for those yet to occur. Her paintings magically bring a little girl and her grandmother to life, surrounded by a world brimful of snow. According to Rylant, "The best snow is the snow that comes softly in the night, like a shy friend afraid to knock..." That may be so for her, but in our family we agree, the best snow is the first few flakes of the year!

Snow, by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Lauren Stringer. Harcourt Children's Books (Nov. 2008), 40 pages, ISBN 978-0-15-205303-1

Activity and Curriculum Guide available from

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaways (10/27/08)

The Opinionated Parent - Nature Discovery Giveaway Ends 10/27/08
Nature Discovery In My Back Yard by The Little Environmentalists
Short Stop - The Jesus Storybook Bible Ends 10/30/08
The Jesus Storybook Bible
A Parent in Silver Springs - Book Giveaway Ends 10/27/08
A Little Bit of Faith The Precious Girls Club
A Parent in Silver Springs - Book Giveaway Ends 10/27/08
Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic by Whoopi Goldberg and Deborah Underwood
Skimbaco The Lifestyle - Bath Time Giveaway Ends 11/5/08
Tubby Bundle Bed Time Box (includes a bed time book)
The Potts Family Adventure - Dedication to Mr. Jingles Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
Adventures in Mommyland - Christmas Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan & Hazel Cole Kendle
Breeni Books - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Ghost and Pete By Dayle Ann Dodds Illustrated by Matt Novak
Did You See That? - Little Jet Set Giveaway Ends 10/27/08
My First Amazing Game Board Book
Momma Findings - Personalized Book Giveaway Ends 10/29/08
A Personalized Book from The Kids Book Store
Nurse Mommy - Personalized Book Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
Personalized Book from Kustom Memories
Real Life - Secret Keeper Girl Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
A Secret Keeper Girl Book by Dannah Gresh
Reader Rabbit - Teen Chicken Soup Giveaway Ends 11/2/08
Chicken Soup -Four books: Teens Talk: Tough Times, Teens Talk: Relationships, Teens Talk: Growing Up and Preteens Talk
Sweet Serendipity - Bloggy Carnival Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
That's Not My Reindeer by Fiona Watt or 100 Science Experiments by Georgina Andrews (both include a $10 Starbucks card)
Family Traditions - Story Starter Gift Pack Giveaway Ends 11/7/08
A compact art set, a deck of Child Chat Cards and a "My Adventures" Story Starter
Thoughts from the Mrs. - MOMworks Book Giveaway Ends 11/3/08
Attachable Photo Books
Whimsy - Picture Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
The Gift of Nothing by Patrick McDonnell and Willowbuds:When Toady Met Ratty by Mary Jane Begin

For Parents:
I'm No Supermom - Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Show Me How by Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom

Related to Books Giveaway:
Katydid and Kid - Story Time Felts Giveaway Ends 11/1/08
$25 Gift Certificate to Story Time Felts

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Bright & Early Board Books - Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards

The Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards Program added a few more rewards to their catalog since I last visited. A new one that caught my eye is the Set of 3 Bright & Early Board Books you can get for redeeming 60 points. The Bright & Early Board Book Series is best for infants though preschool age children. We already own a few from the series and enjoy reading them. What a wonderful way to start or build on your small child's library. Just the perfect size for your diaper bag, too! Shipping and handling is not included; however, each book lists at $5, so it is not a bad deal. Here are the books included in the set:

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
The Alphabet Book by P.D. Eastman
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

The other books available currently through the Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards Program are:
40 Points - Spanish Book: My 1st Spanish Numbers Board Book
20 Points - Sesame Happy Healthy Monsters™: Get Moving With Grover
20 Points - Sesame Happy Healthy Monsters™: Elmo's Breakfast Bingo

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Book Giveaway Carnival - November 3rd-8th, 2008 is hosting a Book Giveaway Carnival, and guess who is posting a giveaway for it? Me! I will be holding my FIRST book giveaway as a participant of the carnival the week of November 3rd - 8th, 2008. Click on the Book Carnival button on my sidebar for more details. If you have a book to giveaway, consider joining the fun. Otherwise, just enter all the contests. Looks like over 70 bloggers have signed up already...that's a lot of books to be won. Watch for my post in a week and while you are at it, view my Full to the Brim blog posts for children's book giveaways that are currently being held in blogosphere!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/24/08)

5 Minutes for Books - Take Me Back Giveaway Ends 11/12/08
Grand Prize: DK Books Prize Pack of 8 titles; 4 First Prize Winners receive Take Me Back by DK Publishing
Seven Dogs and A Baby - eebee Book Giveaway Ends 11/30/08
Complete set of eebee Adventure books
A Parent in Silver Springs - Book Week Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis
Cynsations - Books Giveaway Ends 10/27/08
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by David Small - Children's Book Pack Giveaway Ends 11/21/08
South by Patrick McDonnell, Willow Buds: When Toady Met Ratty by Mary Jane Begin, and America: The Making of a Nation by Charlie Samuels
The Moms Buzz - Take Me Back Giveaway Ends 11/24/08
Grand Prize: DK Books Prize Pack of 8 titles; 4 First Prize Winners receive Take Me Back by DK Publishing
MomDot - Take Me Back Giveaway Ends 11/14/08
Grand Prize: DK Books Prize Pack of 8 titles; 4 First Prize Winners receive Take Me Back by DK Publishing
Loving Heart Mommy - Children's Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Sikulu & Harambe by the Zambezi River, An African version of the Good Samaritan Story by Kunle Oguneye
Mother 2 Mother - Children's Books Giveaway Ends 10/22/08
Set of Books by Kumon Publishing Company
She is too Fond of Books - Creepers YA Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Creepers by Joanne Dahme
Silly Gilly - Little Golden Books Giveaway Ends 10/26/08
Vintage Golden Books
From Dates to Diapers - Wow Wow Wubbzy Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
2 Wubbzy books, a copy of Wubbzy's new DVD, a Wubbzy beanie, and some kooky kollectables
Go Natural Baby Blog - Earthwise Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
A set of 3 Earthwise Kids’ books packaged in a jute bag
Finicky Me - Twilight Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Through the Looking Glass - Book Giveaway
Fanny by Holly Hobbie or America: The Making of a Nation

For the Parents:
From Dates to Diapers - Party Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Dear Peppers and Pollywogs...: What Parents Want to Know About Planning Their Kids' Parties by Lisa Kothari (Editor), Jen Shetterly (Illustrator)
Disney Traveler - Fodor's Book Giveaway Ends 10/26/08
Foder's Walt Disney World with Kids 2009 by Kim Wright Wiley
Traveling Mamas - Fodor's Book Giveaway Ends 10/28/08
Foder's Walt Disney World with Kids 2009 by Kim Wright Wiley

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Melodious Pages: Children's Books by Bob Dylan and Tim McGraw

Following a recent trend, two more famous musicians have written and released children's books. Check out their books below:

My Little Girl by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas
Thomas Nelson (Oct. 2008), 32 pages, ISBN 9781400313211

McGraw’s new book describes a normal day in the life of a dad and his daughter and shows that it doesn’t matter what you do, what matters most is just spending time together. Dads, take note of the message and read this book with your daughter!

Visit -- You can win a copy of Tim McGraw's book, My Little Girl,
and his Greatest Hits Vol. 3 album.


Forever Young by Bob Dylan and Paul Rogers (Illustrator)
Ginee Seo Books (Sept. 2008), 40 pages, ISBN 9781416958086

If you love the song "Forever Young," you'll probably love the beautifully illustrated book, too. The orginal song lyrics were apparently written for Dylan's own son way back when. See the video below for a sneak peak!

You Tube Bob Dylan Animated Video for Forever Young


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Little Philanthropist in the Family? Scholastic contest to meet J.K. Rowling!

Scholastic is sponsoring another great Harry Potter themed contest! On Monday, October 20th they announced The Tales of Beedle the Bard essay contest for kids. Five lucky kids will get to fly to Edinburgh, Scotland, and attend a J.K. Rowling event at the National Library of Scotland. To enter, United States fans between the ages of 8-17 need to write a 200 word or less essay on how they have helped others. Yes, it is that simple! Just this once, I wish my kids were slightly older just so that they could enter this incredible contest! You must have your entry in by 5 p.m. EST on October 30, 2008 and a parental consent form must be filled out. See the Scholastic website for more details on how to enter.

The book The Tales of Beedle the Bard is set to release on December 4, 2008. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to charity.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Some Clean Up Songs for Tackle It Tuesday

Just a little Tackle It Tuesday bonus for the kids. While cleaning is not really the most enjoyable chore, singing a good clean up song can make it a little more fun. Here are a few songs to listen to and sing while doing the dreaded chores:

Laurie Berkner - Clean it Up - Buzz Buzz Album
Ralph's World - Clean Up - Ralph's World Happy Lemons Album
Barney - Clean Up - Start Singing With Barney Album
Louis Armstrong - Whistle While You Work - Disney Songs The Satchmo Way Album
Mr. Al - Clean-Up Time - Mr. Al a carte Album
Cathy Bollinger - It's Time to Clean Up - Cathy Bollinger's Toddlin' Tunes Album

CLR Tackle It Tuesday and Product Review

This is our tale of CLR Tackle It Tuesday, presented in conjunction with 5 Minutes for Mom - Tackle It Tuesday #126.

The main character appears at left: The bottle of CLR Bath & Kitchen Multi-Surface Cleaner we received directly from the manufacturer, Jelmar, a week ago. The other character would be my husband, also known around here as, "The Best Hubbie in the World." He is the resident tough job tackler with an arsenal of cleaners and chemicals. (I'm a nursing mama, so therefore off the hook when it comes to dealing with chemicals for now.) The tackle takes place in our lovely red kitchen, or to be more precise by the dirty, grimy kitchen sink covered in calcium, lime and hard water deposits. You can see the picture below for documented evidence.

The Kitchen Sink BEFORE the Tackle

Together hubbie and CLR fought an easy battle (due to the power of CLR) and defeated the months old build up. He aimed the CLR about 6-8 inches from the sink directly at the problem areas, let the CLR cleaner sit for a few minutes, and wiped the surface off with a rag. Easy as pie. After rinsing with water, result was a nice, shiny, like-new kitchen sink and a very happy wife.

The Kitchen Sink AFTER the Tackle

What did hubbie have to say about his experience with his new friend, CLR?

The Pros: The bottle delivered on its promise. It effectively and easily removed the crud from our kitchen sink without needing much extra elbow grease, as long as you applied the CLR directly to the area that needs cleaning and let it sit a few minutes. The nozzle is easy to aim at difficult to reach areas. CLR also easily removed the soap scum in our shower and bathtub, something that some other cleaners don't easily eliminate. The product has EPA approval and is recognized for safer chemistry.

The Cons: Need to use rubber gloves. Definitely follow the warnings about using in a ventilated area. The odor is a little strong and headaches could occur, lungs could get irritated or eyes could sting. Probably not the best choice for pregnant or nursing (that's me) moms. There are safer options out there in that case (like vinegar, water and baking soda).

Final say: CLR works great for occasional use when the crud gets out of hand.

That's our story. Sink is clean. Tub is clean. The end.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaways (10/20/08)

Kid Buy Products - Nana Star Giveaway Ends 11/9/08
Nana Star book and plush Nana Star Doll by Elizabeth Sills (Author), Elena Patrice (Author), Linda Saker (Illustrator)
Mommy Brain - 100000th Visitor Book Giveaway Ends 10/31/08
Your choice of books: Children's choices are The Complete Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and Elsie Dinsmore by Martha Finley
Does Mommy Love It - Sounds Tough Giveaway Ends 11/7/08
Sounds Tough! Big Noisy Machines by Kevin Somers
Book Room Reviews - Children Books Giveaway Ends 10/25/08
Two Books: Mail Harry to the Moon and The Day Leo said I Hate You
Knowledge Quest News - Colonial Book Giveaway Ends 10/23/08
What Really Happened in Colonial Times compiled by Terri Johnson
Ziggity Zoom Parents - Bunbun Book Giveaway Ends ???
Five entrants will WIN: Bunbun at Bedtime and Bunbun the Middle One
Amanda - Books for Kids Giveaway Ends 10/30/08
Two Books: Mail Harry to the Moon and The Day Leo said I Hate You
A Patchwork of Books - Kids Books Giveaway Ends 10/20/08
Two Books: Mail Harry to the Moon and The Day Leo said I Hate You
Journey to Family - Book Giveaway Ends 10/20/08
Two Used Books by Stephenie Meyer, Twilight and New Moon plus two songs from the movie
Project Nursery - Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Opus and the Red Chair by Alice Koesterich
Did You See That? - Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Over in the Graveyard by Isabel Valentini
Table for Five - Election Themed Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Otto Runs for President by Rosemary Wells; LaRue for Mayor by Mark Teague; Wackiest White House Pets by Gibbs Davis
A Parent in Silver Spring - Christmas Book Giveaway Ends 10/23/08
Cole Family Christmas by Jennifer Liu Bryan

Parents and Kids
3 P's Mama Says - Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Eco Friendly Families by Helen Coronato

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sweet Pinkalicious Cupcakes for Everyone!

Darn! Yesterday was National Chocolate Cupcake Day and somehow we missed it. Apparently, yesterday was also "Sweetest Day" here in the Midwest. We did not celebrate that, either. So, today we are going to play some catch-up. We are going to make some sweet chocolate cupcakes and frost them with pink icing.

Why pink icing you may ask? Well, it just so happens my daughter found this silly book at the library last week called Pinkalicious, written by Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann. The cupcakes in the book are completely pink, not just the icing. Pinkalicious, the little girl, eats WAY too many pink cupcakes and turns a lovely shade of pink! She ends up needing to consume green veggies in order to turn back to normal. Just a little warning...the girl in the book is quite naughty (she climbs furniture and sticks her tongue out) and the book portrays vegetables as unsavory. So, while the book is a lot of fun, you may want to point out all the bad behavior, and change the wording on the veggie page while reading. And, lucky for us, our cupcakes today will be mostly chocolate, so we won't be in danger of turning shades of pink (my daughter is a little concerned this may happen to her!)

Visit for Pinkalicious fun, including printables and more.

More Cupcakes this Week!
Cupcakes for a Cause is October 20th-26th, 2008
You still have time to enter the Dunkan Hines “National Bake Sale” Contest. Ends November 1, 2008.

Some cupcake giveaways:
Cupcakes Take the Cake Book Giveaway Ends 10/24/08
Hey There, Cupcake! by Claire Crespo
Common Sense With Money - Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker Giveaway Ends 10/23/08
Does Mommy Love It - Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker Giveaway Ends 11/6/08

Friday, October 17, 2008

To Homeschool or not to Homeschool?

As you may already know, I have a pre-school age daughter as well as an infant son. Here in our city, the school system offers 4K for the littlest ones. My daughter will be of age to attend next year, and it looks like all her friends are going. To me, it seems four years old is pretty young to be hopping on the bus and attending school all day. I was five when I started school, and we only attended 1/2 day kindergarten. So you see, I am torn about sending her off. Sometimes I think it would be better to just keep her home with me and work on the early learning lessons together. But then, she may also enjoy the socialization aspect of school and like learning in that environment. What are your thoughts?

For those leaning toward the homeschooling side or those who wish to supplement their children's education, Heart of the Matter is holding a great giveaway, a Zoo-Phonics Kindergarten Kit (over $299 value). This looks like a super way for your child to learn the alphabet and develop the skills that will someday help him/her become a great reader. Like most kids, my daughter loves animals, so this way of learning the letters would definately be right up her alley. Plus, the kit comes with a parent guide to help you teach your child to learn (a bonus for me because I definately did not get a teaching degree in college!) Check out the Zoo-Phonics site for more information about the kit. Heart of the Matter Zoo-phonics Giveaway ends today, Friday, October 17th at 10pm EST.

If you don't win the giveaway, you can always request a Zoo-Phonics Free Sample and Free Report to give you more of an idea what the program is all about.

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/17/08) - Once Upon a Potty Book & CD Giveaway Ends 11/9/08
Once Upon a Potty BOY book and CD by Alona Frankel
Chefdruck Reviews - Once Upon a Potty Book & CD Giveaway Ends 10/20/08
Once Upon a Potty BOY book and CD by Alona Frankel
Stop Drop and Blog - Once Upon a Potty Book & CD Giveaway Ends 10/21/08
Once Upon a Potty GIRL book and CD by Alona Frankel
Eco-Libris - Little Green Books Giveaway Ends 10/19/08
Set of 4 Little Green Books: Little Panda, Little Monkey, I Can Save the Earth!: One Little Monster Learns to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle and The Polar Bears' Home: A Story About Global Warming.
5 Minutes for Books - Set of Halloween Books Giveaway Ends 10/22/08
Seaside Tales - Pilgrim's Progress Curriculum Giveaway Ends 10/28/08
All-In-One Curriculum Pilgrim's Progress by Answers in Genesis
Chief Family Officer - I Spy Book Giveaway Ends 10/21/08
I Spy a Pumpkin
Adventures of an Orthodox Mom - Set of Orthodox Books Giveaway Ends 10/28/08
Sister Sister - Scary Books Giveaway Ends 10/22/08

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Actually Her Party - SanDisk Contest Entry

This weekend we are attending a surprise birthday party. My preschooler daughter can hardly contain herself. (She hasn't given it away, though.) She's also wondering why it isn't her birthday more often. But, really, can you blame her? The cake, frosting, balloons and presents really do live up to the hype.

To get in the mood early, we've been reading about birthdays. This Is Actually My Party by Lauren Child is part of the Charlie and Lola series of books. In the book, Lola takes over during Charlie's birthday, opens up his some of his cards and presents and serves cupcakes with pink icing. (Hopefully my daughter isn't taking notes.)

Well, even though my daughter can't have a birthday everyday she can watch her birthday every day. We have entered a short video of her 3rd birthday in the SanDisk Point and Shoot Film Festival Contest. Her uncle took the video earlier in the year before we even knew about the contest with a Kodak DX7630 Zoom Digital Camera. He was supposed to be taking pictures, but instead captured the activity on film. Like SanDisk says, "Life Moves." Photographs really don't do this little episode of our life justice, but the video is priceless. Who needs fancy birthday party supplies and entertainers? We've got a blankie monster grandpa peekaboo and some free paper water cups (a.k.a. party hats). See them for yourself...

Best 3rd Birthday Party EVER - SanDisk Film Festival YouTube Entry

Thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom for making us aware of this contest! And if you get a chance, feel free to rate our video while you are at YouTube!

Fall Leaves Fall! - Picture Books about Leaves

'Fall, leaves, fall'

By Emily Jane Bronte

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

Looks as if peak fall color has arrived in our area! Last weekend we enjoyed a morning drive through the country and witnessed the splendor of fall -- the reds, yellows, and oranges of all the trees combined together in a remarkable masterpiece. Pretty soon we'll be working to get all those leaves raked, a seemingly endless job for the adults but, oh, so much fun for the kids. Do you have a favorite fall read? Here are some good ones!

Fall Leaves Fall! by Zoe Hall showcases all the fun of falling leaves - stomping, raking and watching them change colors. Great for preschool age kids. Unfortunately, it seems to be out-of-print now so you'll have to search for it at your local library or buy it used!

Published last year, Leaves by David Ezra Keats is a delightfully simple book about falling leaves, a bear, the change of the seasons from fall to spring and hibernation. The book is a winner of the 2008 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award.

A couple of other books of the leaf variety: In The Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert, the leaf man gently flutters and flies over multiple locations; various tree species are featured. Another great Ehlert book is Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf. It is about the life of a sugar maple tree and the illustrations are full of autumn colors.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - Children's Books about Poverty

Today is Blog Action Day and the focus is poverty. Poverty is a harsh reality for many millions of people today. Many steps need to be taken to reduce this pressing need, but the first thing that must be done is that we as individuals must stop turning a blind eye towards those that need help the most. Use this as an opportunity to talk to your kids about those less fortunate than themselves. And, remember to support literacy causes such as First Book and RIF. Literacy can go a long way!!

One book you may want to discuss this holiday season is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The major theme of this book is poverty; Dickens was especially concerned about the welfare of poor children.

Some picture books dealing with poverty issues:
Stone Soup (various versions)
Little Match Girl by H. C. Andersen
Great Joy by Kate Dicamillo
Running Shoes by Frederick Lipp and Jason Gaillard
The Magic Beads by Susin Nielsen-Fernlund and Genevieve Cote
Uncle Wille and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan

Monday, October 13, 2008

Please Look After this Bear - Paddington is 50!

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Happy 50th Birthday, Paddington Bear! What kid doesn't love the little duffle coat, floppy hat wearing bear? We are going to celebrate his special day today by visiting the library, checking out A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, and enjoying some marmalade. Did you know he is named after the train station in London where the Brown's first found him or that he was orginally from Peru? Make sure to visit his very own website today to learn about his journey and all his favorite things!

Full to the Brim - Children's Book Giveaways (10/13/08)

Did You See That - Nature Discovery Book Giveaway Ends 10/14/08
Nature Discovery In My Backyard by The Little Environmentalists, LLC
Vals Views - Christmas Book Giveaway Ends 10/19/08
Cole Family Christmas
Centsible Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 10/16/08
How Cleaning My Room Changed My Life
Parenting - November 2008 Little Dino Giveaway Ends 11/17/08
Little Dino
BreeniBooks - Wanda Witch Giveaway Ends 10/19/08
Wanda Witch and the Bullies By Rose Impey
A Wrestling Addicted Mommy's Book Giveaway 10/20/2008
The First Adventures of Incredible You by Custom Made for Kids
Jen Robinson's Book Page - Piper Reed Giveaway Ends 10/17/08
Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy by Kimberly Willis Holt and illustrated by Christine Davenier
The Novel World - Book Giveaway Ends 10/19/08
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Itty Bitty Bookworms - Barefoot Books Giveaway Ends 10/16/08
Barefoot Books choice of book sponsored by Chaunci Pirhalla

Friday, October 10, 2008

Financial Literacy for Children - Books and More

Given the state of the economy, right now seems like a good time to talk with your children about money. No matter their age, they can benefit from a little finacial literacy. There are so many great children's books that can help you discuss money, finance and savings.

Here are a few book lists with suggestions: Half-Pint Economics Book List
Children’s Financial Literacy Book List by Pennsylvania Commonwealth Libraries
Financial Lessons involving Children's Books by Money Management International

If you're looking for the best money books for kids, has compiled the following list:
Kidsreads - MONEY: It's All About the Benjamins!

Some great websites that cover financial literacy for kids:
Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy - this is a massive website. Each state has its own coalition. Meant for educators, parents will also find alot of useful information.
H.I.P. Pocket Change Financial Literacy - United States Mint Children's Website
Economic Awareness Council: Resources for Kids

Full To the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/10/08)

Island Life Secret Keeper Book Giveaway Ends 10/11/08
Secret Keeper Girls Series Book: Danika’s Totally Terrible Toss
Forgetfulone Junie B JonesGiveaway Ends 10/24/08
Set of three Junie B Jones Books:(at last), One Man Band, and Toothless Wonder
Usborne Activities Doctor Kit Giveaway Ends 10/20/08
Usborne's Going to the Doctor Kid Kit
Mamanista Halloween Book Giveaway Ends 10/14/08
Vunce Upon a Time
Kristen Mclane Children's Book Giveaway Ends 10/13/08
Welcome to Your World, Baby by Brooke Shields
BreeniBooks Review and Giveaway 10/19/2008
The Witch Goes to School by Norman Bridwell
All Because Two People Fell in Love Giveaway Ends 10/13/08
Itty Bitty Bookworms Set
Itty Bitty Bookworms Fall Book Giveaway Ends 10/12/08??
"Fire! Fire!" said Mrs. McGuire by Bill Martin Jr. and The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
Does Mommy Love It Princess Bubble Giveaway Ends 10/21/08
Princess Bubble by Susan Johnston and Kimberly Webb
Does Mommy Love It Eat This Giveaway Ends 10/15/08
Eat This, Not That! For Kids by David Zinczenko
Having Fun at Home Construction Zone Giveaway Ends 10/13/08?
Tonka Construction Zone
Kids Buy Products Soulville Giveaway Ends 10/13/08
Soulville CD and Book Set

And For Parents/Grandparents and Kids:
Kids Buy Products Journal Giveaway Ends 10/13/08
Between Me and You Journals from Sand Dune Publishing

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

New tunes - Parents' Choice Selects Fall 2008 Audio Winners

The Kerplunks, Monkey Shoes, I'm Growing, Jelly Bean Soup and more??? This can only mean one thing: Parents' Choice Fall 2008 Music Audio Winners. Just announced on October 2, 2008, this list includes some familiar along with some not so familiar. Among my favorites are ---

Family Tree by Francis England -
We already own her 2007 "Fascinating Creatures" release, an excellent, excellent folksy children's CD with a light, breezy-dreamy feel to it. Can't wait to hear her newest album, Family Tree, in its entirety.

African Dreamland Produced by Putumayo World Music -
Seems Putumayo can't do wrong. They continue to produce great compilations of world music for both kids and adults. Artists on this album include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Toumani Diabaté and Samite. Putumayo Kids newly released Sesame Street Playground also earned a Fall 2008 special mention.

¡Nueva York! by Dan Zanes and Friends -
Zany Zanes worked together with Latino friends and compiled some great songs for his ¡Nueva York! album. A great bilingual choice for your collection.

Here Come the 123s by They Might Be Giants -
A follow-up to Here Come the ABCs, the album is a 2-disc, CD/DVD combo. Great fun, musical way to celebrate and learn your numbers.

And this is only the beginning...don't stop with just these! Make sure to check out all 41 albums on the Fall 2008 winners on the Parents' Choice Website along with their picks for best Audiobooks and Storytelling winners.

Better yet, win a copy of one of the picks!! Enter Muse Reviews contest to win Sesame Street Playground. You have one day! Ends 10/9/08.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mem Fox - Awesome Australian Author

Mem Fox is an awesome children's book author who happens to live in Australia. Her well written books often feature Australian wild life -- the cute, cuddly variety. If you haven't read any of her books to your children, you must do so immediately! Some of her animal picture book titles include Koala Lou, Possum Magic and Hunwick's Egg.

Mem Fox's latest book released 10/1/08 is sure to become a classic as well. In Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Fox teamed up with beloved illustrator Helen Oxenbury to create a wonderful book celebrating babies of the world.

Just now I stopped by Seven Dogs and A Baby blog and read her latest entry, "I want to go to the zoo!" We visited our local zoo last week as we do every year in October. The air felt crisp and you could tell fall is here to stay, with highs only in the 50's. But we still had a good time and my daughter was able to see one of her favorite animals, the kangaroo. They weren't feeling particularly energetic at the time and looked as though they were napping (no hopping), but who could blame them given the chill in the air. Maybe some day we'll get to visit Australia and see the kangaroos in their actual habitat?

If we can't have the real thing, a stuffed one might do. Seven Dogs and A Baby is giving away a National Geographic Kid kangaroo. Contest ends 10/30/08.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Green" for Kids and Moms Who Care

DK Made with Care Series features DK's eco-friendly books. See the DK site for all that they are doing to become environmentally friendly as a company.

Little Green Books by Little Simon are the newest rage on the S&S (Simon & Schuster) site. The books focus on eco-friendly living. Each title is made out of recycled materials.

Eco Childs Play blog reviews green children's books. Great for learning what literature options are available for kids.

Yes, you can buy and listen to "green" music, too. Visit Music for A Green Planet - Winner of a Fall 2008 Parents Choice Audio Award

Giveaways and Sweepstakes--------
For Kids: “I Can Save the Earth!” Sweepstakes. Kids (over 5 years of age and under 10) can download the entry form and write a 300 word or less essay on what they are doing to help save the environment. Entries must be postmarked by December 1, 2008.

For Parents: Want to be a Green Mom? Win a copy of Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet By Sloan Barnett on the Green and Clean Mom Site. Giveaway will end October 8, 2008

And a Coupon: Simple Green environmentally friendly cleaning products Coupon (click Special offers tab)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (10/5/08)

Mamamanifesto Book Giveaway
God's Dream by Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Author), Douglas Carlton Abrams (Author), Leuyen Pham (Illustrator) (Ends 10/9/08) Family Blog Book Giveaway
Dream Machines by Mark Rogalski Book Giveaway (Ends 10/9/08)
Life is Like Champagne Book Giveaway
Classic Rhymes & Poems.....Puppy Style! by Connie Conley (Ends 10/8/08) Book Giveaway
Read All About It! by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush (Ends 10/6/08)
Stir Crazy! Book Giveaway
Dr. Seuss Set of Books Giveaway (Ends 10/13/08????)

And For Mom:
Breastfeeding 123 Book Giveaway
If These Boobs Could Talk by Adrienne Hedger and Shannon Payette Seip (Ends 10/8/08)
Christian Stay At Home Mom Book Giveaway
The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Happy Organized Home by Kathy Peel (Ends 11/1/08)

Have a children's book you are giving away on your blog? Let me know! I'll spread the word here!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Nominate a Children's Book for a 2008 Cybils Award

Did you read a great children's book published between Jan. 1 - Oct. 15 2008? Nominate it for a Cybils Award in one of the nine categories listed on the site. Nominations close on October 15th, 2008 and everyone can participate. The goal of the Cybils team (some 100 bloggers) is to highlight books that are high in both literary quality and kid appeal. The Cybils were founded by Anne Boles Levy and Kelly Herold. This is the third year for the awards. One last quick fact - Cybils is an acronym for Children's and YA Bloggers' Literary Awards.
Thanks to Jen Robinson's Book Page for a head's up about the Cybils.

HarperCollins Children's Website - Contests & Sweepstakes

I absolutely love the HarperCollins Children's website. It is just all around wonderful with printables, games, screensavers and more. And, just recently they have added a new feature called "Browse Inside" where you can preview parts of their books before you buy them. Check it out here, it is SWEET!: HarperCollins Children's Browse Inside

Additionally, if you sign up for their newsletters you can enter a variety of contests------

Books for Babies Sweepstakes ends October 23, 2008
5 Grand Prize winners will receive a set of 4 Fisher-Price Books for Babies
Prize Pack Sweepstakes ends November 6, 2008
Fifteen (15) winners will each receive a Halloween Prize Pack with one copy of each of the following titles: Queen of Halloween; Araminta Spookie 5: Ghostsitters; Ghost Files; Halloween Night, and Nightmare Academy #2: Monster Madness
The Lump of Coal Sweepstakes ends December 18, 2008
Twenty-five (25) winners will each receive a hardcover copy of The Lump of Coal by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Brett Helquist.
The Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Sweepstakes ends November 21, 2008
Ten (10) winners will each receive the entire Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa book publishing program. Podcast Sweepstakes last entry will be accepted on December 31, 2008
One winner each month, will each receive an iPod Shuffle.
Baseball Fever Sweepstakes ends November 6, 2008
Twenty (20) winners will receive a copy of The Greatest Story Never Told by Ray Negron, illustrated by Laura Seeley, Baseball Treasures by Stephen Wong, illustrated by Susan Einstein, and Jim & Me by Dan Gutman.
Prince Caspian DVD Sweepstakes ends November 20, 2008
Twenty-five (25) grand prize winners will each receive a copy of the new The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian DVD. Estimated prize value: $39.99.
Five(5) first prize winners will each receive a paperback edition of all seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia, featuring spectacular jacket art by three-time Caldecott Medal winner David Wiesner and the classic interior black-and-white artwork by Pauline Baynes.
Fall Fifteen Sweepstakes ends October 23, 2008
Fifteen (15) winners will receive the following books: The Last Apprentice: Wrath of the Bloodeye, Warriors: Power of Three #4: Eclipse, RuneWarriors, Geek Chic: The Zoey Zone, Nightmare Academy #2: Monster Madness, Araminta Spookie 5: Ghostsitters, The Porcupine Year, Hate That Cat, The Floods #3: Witch Friend, The Leanin' Dog, Forbidden Tales: Sword, Warriors: Tigerstar and Sasha #1: Into the Woods, The Hunt for the Seventh, Mascot to the Rescue!, and Mo's Mischief: Best Friends.
The Graveyard Book Sweepstakes ends November 20, 2008
Twenty-five (25) winners will each receive The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
The Warriors: Power of Three: Eclipse Sweepstakes ends October 10, 2008
Ten (10) winners will each receive the entire Warriors (author Erin Hunter) book publishing program.
The Last Apprentice Sweepstakes ends November 6, 2008
Three (3) winners will receive a signed set of The Last Apprentice books.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder

Kids haven't decided yet on a halloween costume? You are in luck... 5 Minutes For Mom is hosting a costume giveaway. All the costumes they are giving away are real-life "hero" designs from the Pedal Cars and Retro Collectables store. It wasn't hard to pick my favorite! Grandpa is an Air Force Vet so he'd love to see his grandchild in the Jr Air Force Pilot Suit & Helmet Costume (Size 12-14).

If your kid is plane-crazy, this book is a must have. DK Big Book of Airplanes by Anne Millard. Part of the DK (Dorling Kindersley) series, this is a giant book filled to the brim with airplanes of all types. Younger kids will enjoy the great pictures and the older ones can spend loads of time learning all about aviation.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Faith-Based Berenstain Bears Books Just Released

Zonderkidz, a division of Zondervan Publishing has just released a new series of Berenstain Bears books by Michael Berenstain focused on faith. The first four titles in the 12-book series are The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule, The Berenstain Bears Go to Sunday School, The Berenstain Bears Say Their Prayers, and The Berenstain Bears - God Loves You!.

The Zondervan website describes the new series saying, "The Berenstain Bear series helps children learn how God wants them to live every day. When the Bear family practices going to church, praying, and being kind, plus remembering how much God loves them, their lives are much more joyful."

I plan on giving a set of these books to my Godchild for his baptism birthday. The books are available for $3.99 each from most booksellers and is selling the 4-Book Set for $10.99.

Visit the Berenstain Bears website for more detailed information about the Bears and their creators.