Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exergen TemporalScanner - Review and Giveaway

One evening a month ago we awoke in the middle of the night to our daughter screaming and crying. Typically that signals a bad dream. Not that time though. She was hot to the touch and holding the side of her head. Through the sobs, we heard her say, "My ear hurts really, really bad." We tried to take her temperature with the ear thermometer, but there was no way we were getting near the ear. We calmed her down, gave her some pain medicine, and eventually got her back to sleep. The next morning we sought medical help. It was the weekend so instead of visiting our doctor we unfortunately had to make a trip to immediate care (a.k.a. emergency room in our rural area).

Prior to this emergency room visit I signed up for the Exergen TemporalScanner review campaign. Little did I know that I'd get to see the product in action before it was shipped to our home. In the emergency room triage area, the nurse took my daughter's temperature with this very thermometer. Intrigued, I asked her what she thought of the temporal scanner. She replied that at first she was skeptical about the claimed accuracy of the new device. The emergency room conducted their own week long test, comparing results of the TemporalScanner with their standard procedure of taking temperatures. Amazed, they discovered that the thermometer worked as promised and was just as accurate if not more accurate than taking temperatures orally. The temporal artery thermometer is now their method of choice for recording temperatures. If the Exergen TemporalScanner is good enough for the emergency room, it is good enough for us!

The Exergen TemporalScanner is an infrared thermometer that measures the blood temperature in the temporal artery, a main artery in the forehead. Here's the amazing part -- the sensor accurately measures body temperature to within +0.2ºF! That is a whole lot more accurate than taking the temperature using other means: oral, rectal, under the arm or ear. It is also way less invasive. And, according to the press release it is the only thermometer manufactured in the U.S.

The thermometer is super easy to use, only taking 2-3 seconds. All you need to do is:
1). Put the thermometer probe on the forehead.
2). Push the scan button & gently scan across the forehead,
3). Release the button and read the temp.

(Just make sure to take off the protective cap before taking the temperature, otherwise the thermometer will not read correctly.)
This is a dream thermometer for parents with small children. No discomfort is felt at all during the scan and it just takes seconds. Even my squirmy one-year-old sits still to get his temperature taken! We've used our several times and love it.

You can find the thermometer at most major retailers. It sells for around $40-$50, but believe me, it is worth every penny. Currently, a $5 off promotion is underway. Click here to download a TAT-2000C Educational Pamphlet and rebate coupon [pdf].

Win one! Exergen Corporation has kindly offered to give one Brimful Curiosities reader an Exergen TemporalScanner.

To enter, visit Exergen.com and leave a comment letting me know why you think you need this thermometer.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 13th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Thanks to Family Review Network and Exergen Corporation for this review opportunity!

Fortune's Magic Farm - Book Review


"A girl who begins her life on a doorstep, without a note or clue of any kind, has a choice. She can believe that she was abandoned because no one wanted her, and she can feel like the most unimportant person in the world. Or she can believe, as Isabelle did, that because her origins were shrouded in mystery, that she must be an extra important person. A special person. A person like no other person. For a secret birth is like a secret errand -- sure to yield something interesting." - Fortune's Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors

What I wouldn't give for a green thumb! Or at least a green pinkie. In the book Fortune's Magic Farm, ten-year-old Isabelle possesses a knack for growing things. She grows lichen in her hair and has mushrooms growing between her toes. Unfortunately, this odd little orphan girl happens to live in a very strange town -- a gloomy, dreary town named Runny Cove where the rain never ceases and the sun never shines. The place perfect for slugs but not for people. All the inhabitants of Runny Cove stay perpetually sick, have translucent skin and grow gray hair, "the color of sadness."

Just like all the other inhabitants of Runny Cove, Isabelle works tirelessly at the evil Mr. Supreme's umbrella factory. She lives in a battered boardinghouse with her beloved but sickly Grandma Maxine who found her as a baby abandoned on the doorstep. Without many options, Isabelle goes about her daily work complaining very little and doing her best to eek out a meager living. Then, one special day, out of nowhere a huge sea creature appears, sneezes and shoots a slime-covered apple out of its nose onto Isabelle's lap. Everything changes and she sets off on an adventure with a boy named Sage to find the "nowhere" she came from, a beautiful and magical place called Fortune's Farm. Feeling the sun for the first time and delighting in her newly green hair, she yearns to help her friends back at Runny Cove and turn the dismal place back into the Sunny Cove it once was.

Writing with humor and a large dose of creativity, Suzanne Selfors combines all the popular children's book components (an orphan in an unfortunate situation, magic, animals, adventure) and weaves them into a compelling, quirky fantasy. After reading the book you'll never look at a rainy day without thinking of Runny Cove or gaze at a garden without wondering where the Curative Cherry tree is located. Never was there a more likeable character than Isabelle. Her tendency to make up silly little songs and use them as a coping mechanism to deal with difficult situations amuses the heart. On her journey of self-discovery, she demonstrates that she is trustworthy and responsible and, in her own whimsical way, serves as a fun role model for all children. So enjoyable was the book that I'll go out on a limb and say adults (think Allen's Garden Spells combined with Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) will enjoy the leisurely read nearly as much as the 8-12 age group the book is geared toward. Catia Chien's organic illustrations full of dense garden growth, appear at the beginning of each chapter. Like other reviewers, I wish the cover art looked less girlish and more adequately presented the book as appropriate for both girls and boys. Another thing I'd like to add - this marvelous garden read is the perfect happy green fictional escape with Earth Day approaching. Makes you want to get out and tend your own garden.

Just a curious question - why do authors always write of powerful apples? Garden of Eden influences? Maybe try a pumpkin...hmm, wait, that's taken. A peach? Whoops, also taken. What fruit would you use?
Fortune's Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Catia Chien. Little, Brown Young Readers (March 2009); 272 pages; ISBN 9780316018180
Related links:
Suzanne Selfors - Author Website
Catia Chien - Illustrator Website
LB-Kids

Monday, March 30, 2009

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (3/30/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Monsters vs Aliens Graphic Novel Book Set Giveaway Ends 4/6/09
Bee & Me Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09
Silver Dolphin Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09


Other book giveaways:
Homeschool Creations - Curriculum Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Full year of Itty-Bitty Bookworm's preschool curriculum (a $300 value!!)
The Matthews Family - Book Giveaway Ends 4/4/09
Choice of personalized item from Frecklebox
Bloggymom Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 4/3/09
Personalized item from Frecklebox
On A High Hill - Book Giveaway Ends 4/3/09
The New England Primer, The Original Blue Back Speller and A Cluster of Camphire: Words of Cheer & Comfort To Sick & Sorrowful Souls
Play Library (Blisstree.com) - Book Giveaway Ends 4/3/09
Good Egg by Barney Saltzberg
The Book Fairy Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
A book of your genre choice, a surprise book, bookmarks, and a mug
Dirt and Noise - Giveaway Ends 4/10/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 4/12/09
Daddy’s Home! by Rosanne Parry
Boutique Cafe - Tag Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
One Tag reader plus 5 books for personal use AND one expanded-memory LeapFrog School Tag reader plus 10 books to donate to their local library
Totallyher - Book Giveaway Ends 4/7/09
Meet the Feeling Friends by Karen Cuthrell
Mrs. Magoo Reads - Book Giveaway Ends 4/5/09
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (YA)
Family Life Blog (Syracuse.com) - Book Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Fancy Nancy Let's Get Fancy Together

Other interesting giveaways:
imaginechildhood.com - CD Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
Putumayo Kids World Playground CD
My Family Loves It - Game Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
Curious George Board Game by I Can Do That! Games™
Superdumb Supervillian - DVD Giveaway Ends 4/8/09
Elmo and Friends: Tales of Adventure and Being Green DVDS

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

A winner for My Little Red Book

Been meaning to get around to this for some time, but we had a busy week and then weekend. I've finally picked a winner...

My Little Red Book Giveaway

The winner is Jammie (comment #51)

Thanks to everyone who entered. Plenty more giveaways coming up! Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nana Star Book Series and Product Review

"Don't cry, baby star. You don't have to be scared. I'll take care of you like your Nana until we find a way to get you back home." - Nana Star by Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice

I very much enjoy reading to my children, but I think it is also important to craft my own little stories to tell them from time to time. Storytelling is an art well worth teaching. My daughter has started to make up her own stories now as a result. It is this type of story, created out of love with a personal touch, that I most love and cherish.

For Elizabeth Owens' extended family, Nana Star is one such cherished story, brimming full of innocence, compassion and kindness. The Nana Star Series started out in a small way, as a shared story between a Nana (Elizabeth Owens) and her grandson, Vance. Over time, four generations became involved in bringing the story of Nana Star and the Moonman to life in the picture books, CDs and corresponding plush figures. The books are illustrated by Elizabeth's daughter, Linda Saker and written by her granddaughters, Elizabeth and Elena.

Nana Star by Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice, illustrated by Linda Saker. ee publishing & productions, LLC (December 2007); 32 pages; ISBN 9780975384350

While walking in the woods, a little girl (Nana Star) discovers a lost little star under a pile of leaves. Full of compassion, she takes the star "under her wings" and tries to help it find the way back to the sky above. The story leaves you hanging slightly, wondering what is next in the Nana Star adventure. The simple illustrations by Linda Saker have retro-elegance written all over them. With a vintage appeal they are reminiscent of the "good-old-times," portraying Nana Star with white gloves and a fashionable dress, walking in fields of flowers and trees. The included CD features an audio version of the story as well as a special Nana Star song.


Nana Star and the Moonman by Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice, illustrated by Linda Saker. ee publishing & productions, LLC (May 2008); 32 pages; ISBN 9780975384367

This second book in the Nana Star series shows Nana Star trying to help a baby star find its way back home to the sky above. After falling asleep in the forest, they awake to the darkness of night. Feeling scared and alone, they find comfort and guidance from the Moonman. Like in the original story, the ending of this book alludes to further adventures. The accompanying CD features an audiobook recording of the story as well as a special Moonman song.

The Nana Star books shine bright, imparting positive messages and wholesome values while evoking nostalgic feelings along the way. One thing I really love about the Nana Star series is the inclusion of interactive products based on the books. The corresponding plush dolls help engage children by bringing the story to life and encourage imaginative play. The Moonman Lovey plays a special tune and lights up. My daughter really loves playing with her poseable Nana Star doll that includes a beautiful blue dress, matching pantaloons, white gloves, handkerchief, branch and baby star. She has proudly shown all her friends her doll and likes to wear her hair in the "Nana Star style", complete with braid and bow. Wonder when she'll ask for some white gloves? Maybe someday the Nana Star website will offer the gloves, along with a girl sized Nana Star dress.

Each of the Nana Star books contains an intentional mistake in the text. I had fun searching for the error and so will older children who can read. By sending a note to Nana Star citing the error, children become members of the Little Twinkles Club. Such a fun idea and a great message teaching that, with the exception of God, nobody is perfect, mistakes do happen.

I must note that in some Christian households the Moonman character has caused controversy. For a more detailed discussion of this issue and the author's response, visit Loving Learning at Home. I do agree that the Moonman character could cause some confusion among young children who are just starting to learn about God. (I am most concerned with the song lyrics: "Moonman knows, Moonman sees, he will always be there. Up above, full of love ... Moonman will be there, to answer all your prayers.") I myself wish the Moonman possessed only night-light like qualities, as something that shines bright and helps reassure in the dark night without answering prayers.

This spring 2009, the company will continue the Nana Star series with the book, Nana Star and the Blue Wolf!

One last heartwarming fact: ee publishing and productions, llc is "the laugh-friendly company" and donates a portion of their proceeds to the Nana Star foundation, benefiting sick children and under-funded schools. The company is run by Elizabeth Sills and Elena Patrice, two mompreneurs with big hearts. Sounds like just the kind of company I like to support.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth hour - We participated, did you?





All the lights were out in our house tonight and quiet reigned. The spring snow fell briskly outside and we watched by the light of the street lights. From 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. this evening our family participated in Earth Hour 2009. We switched off our lights. Put the kids to bed. Sat in the darkness and talked. What a wonderful idea.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sleep Number Bed - Contest Link

Must Have Sleep Contest


Typically I don't use a whole post to write about a random contest. But this one involves sleep, so I'll make an exception. We own a Sleep Number bed and really like it. I could go on and on about the wonders of our Select Comfort bed, but to be honest I'd rather get some sleep tonight myself instead of blogging. So, if you are interested in learning more getting a good night's sleep and the Sleep Number bed check out this sleep study or view a YouTube segment on sleep from the TV show, THE DOCTORS. Don't forget to register for a chance to win a free Sleep Number bed. Contest ends April 2, 2009.

(By the way, my sleep number is 45!)

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (3/27/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaways:
Monsters vs Aliens Graphic Novel Book Set Giveaway Ends 4/6/09
Bee & Me Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09
Silver Dolphin Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09


Other book giveaways:
TwinHappy - Book Giveaway Ends 3/27/09 11:59 ET
Two Snowflakes by Jennifer Miller
Mindful Momma - Book Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
The Funky Monkey - Book Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Book of your choice from The Lollipop Book Club and a lollipop
Mom Goes Green - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
Singapore Kids Places - Book Giveaway Ends 4/8/09 (Intl)
Monkey Magic by Grant S. Clark
Just Jenn - Giveaway Ends 4/10/09
National D.E.A.R day Giveaway: 3 children's books to 3 readers
Good Golly Miss Blondie - Book Giveaway Ends 4/10/09
Choice of personalized item from Frecklebox
Mom Maven - Book Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk High School
My Trendy Tykes - Snoopy Prize Pack Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Easter Beagle Plush (Snoopy dressed as the Easter Bunny), It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown DVD, and The Easter Beagle Egg Hunt book
Recycle your Day - Book Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 3/29/09
Hooper Humperdink...? NOT HIM! by Theo. LeSieg
Heart of the Matter Online - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
One set of Resurrection Eggs and the book, The Tale of Three Trees
Playsational - Book Giveaway Ends 4/7/09
Silver Dolphin book set: Kaleidopops: Oceans and Uncover a Dolphin
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 4/9/09
Sikulu and Harambe: By the Zambezi River by Kunle Oguneye
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 4/7/09
Hannah Montana: Secrets Unlocked Online, Stanley's Beauty Contest, The New Jumbo Book of Easy Crafts, and A Practical Guide to Faeries
The Mommy-Files - Book Giveaway Ends 4/7/09
Choice of personalized item from Frecklebox
Are Muffins Just Ugly... - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
The Moose with Loose Poops by Charlotte Cowan, M.D.
Nicole's Nickels - Snoopy Prize Pack Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Easter Beagle Plush (Snoopy dressed as the Easter Bunny), It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown DVD, and The Easter Beagle Egg Hunt book
Untangling Tales - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
Grandfather Tales American-English Folktales, selected by Richard Chase, and An Encyclopedia of Myth and Legend: British and Irish Mythology, by John and Caitlin Matthews
BLAB - Book Giveaway Ends 4/10/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 4/5/09
Tony and the Pizza Champions by Tony Gemignani (Chronicle Books)
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Set of Silver Dolphin books: History in Action: Medieval Castle and Explore Within a Medieval Castle

Other interesting giveaways:
A Psych Mommy - Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Wee Gallery Art Cards from the Jungle Collection

FREE Book:
Know someone with Asthma? Order your free copy of Breathless Bethany Buttercup at www.asthmastorybook.com

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

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Monsters vs Aliens - Graphic Novel Review and Book Giveaway

"This wasn't the way Susan Murphy thought she'd be spending her honeymoon: being attacked by a killer robot from beyond the stars. ... She's Ginormica -- and she's in trouble!" - Monsters Vs. Aliens: The Official Movie Adaptation by Andy Lanning
I don't know about you, but during the Superbowl halftime a couple months ago we donned on our 3-D glasses and watched the trailer for the upcoming movie, Monsters vs. Aliens. Since then we've been waiting for the release of the DreamWorks animated film. Tomorrow March 27, 2009, the movie opens in theaters everywhere.

As a tie-in to the movie, Titan Books just issued a couple of fantastic Monsters vs. Aliens graphic novels and gave us a sneak peak. For those not familiar with graphic novels, they are comic books taken to a new level. Kids LOVE graphic novels and so do adults. Graphic novels draw the reader into the story with sequential illustrations and corresponding text making them an especially good choice for reluctant readers.

Monsters Vs. Aliens: The Official Movie Adaptation by Andy Lanning, illustrated by Alex Dalton and S.L. Gallant. Titan Books (February 2009); 48 pages; ISBN 9781848562776
This sturdy paperback book features the movie plot in graphic novel form. The story begins as Susan Murphy prepares for her wedding day and accidently gets hit by a meteor that turns her into the five stories tall, 23,632 pound monstrosity, Ginormica. Imprisoned in a secret government facility, she befriends other "monsters" named Dr. Cockroach, B.O.B., Link and Insectosaurus. When an evil alien named Gallaxhar attacks earth, she and her new friends are released to save the world. The graphic novel slant works well for telling this action-packed adventure story full of terms like KA-ZZZAPP and THRAABOOOOM! I enjoyed the humor involved, too, from the President attempting to make first contact with the aliens by jiving on an electric keyboard to the ridiculous kitty decor in the prison cell. With a female super-hero the book should appeal to both girls and boys.

Monsters Vs. Aliens: The M Files by Tom DeFalco and Robin Etherington with art by Fabio Laguna and Alex Dalton. Titan Books (February 2009); 48 pages; ISBN 9781848562813
This prequel to the movie adaptation features two new and original Monsters vs. Aliens tales: "The 'M' Files" and "Brain Pain." "The 'M' Files" delves into the background and origins of the monsters featured in the movie. Readers learn of Link, an ancient Fish Man set free from his ice encasement; B.O.B., the result of a tomato experiment gone bad; Insectosaurus, tiny grub turned enormous from radiation exposure; and Dr. Cockroach, a brilliant scientist who accidently transformed himself into a cockroach-man. In the wordy "Brain Pain," B.O.B. the monster lacks a brain so through experimentation Dr. Cockroach makes him one. The smart B.O.B. renames himself "Bartholomew Organo Benedict" and pontificates using large words and phrases. Unfortunately, due to some miscalculations, the B.O.B. brain experiment doesn't go as expected. Contrary to the product description, Susan Murphy (a.k.a Ginormica) does NOT make an appearance anywhere in this book.

Win this graphic novel book set! Titan Books has kindly offered to give one Brimful Curiosities reader a set of the two Monsters Vs. Aliens graphic novels.

To enter, visit Titan Books and leave a comment with the title of another Titan book that interests you.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US and Canada only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

DaBib - Review and Giveaway


Not all bibs are created equally. That's a problem when you've got a particularly messy baby. You know, the kind that smears and drops food everywhere. The kind that dumps their milk out all over. The kind that gets more food in their lap then in their mouth. That describes my kid. Thank goodness, we had the privilege to try out an especially well designed bib called DaBib. Yes, that is right. It is quite DaBib!

What makes DaBib so special? The collar for starters. The collar on DaBib is a specially patented "scrunch, uni-collar." The velcro collar attaches easily to the front of the bib and scrunches up against the neck to prevent leaks around the neck area. My son's shirts always get soiled around the neck area as a result of food getting behind his bibs. DaBib virtually stops the leaks from occurring. Yes, that means less laundry stains for me to fight.

Another one of my favorite features is the hide-away food pouch that folds to the front of the bib to catch the food before it ends up on the baby's lap. (As illustrated in the photo to the left.) The bib is a nice size, just right to adequately cover the entire front of my little guy. And, the bib is machine washable and made out of environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and lead-free material.

DaBib is offered in two different styles: DaHugs (micro fiber terry front, waterproof backing) and DaGiggles (waterproof, wipe-off striped front, waterproof backing).

As soon as we received it we put the solid blue "DaHugs" style to the test. DaBaby versus DaBib. DaBib won. My little guy loves to try and take off his bibs. He had a hard time with this one and the bib stayed on through the entire meal. The bib caught all of the errant food. Because the backing is waterproof, he stayed dry despite the fact that he sprayed the contents of his sippy cup all over his front. Even after chili and spaghetti, the bib came out of the wash looking good as new.

DaBib bibs retail for $12.99 each and make excellent baby shower gifts. Watch DaBib in action in the following YouTube DaBib Videos: Vito Gottabone and DaBaby, DaDoll and DaBib.

Win a bib! DaBib has kindly offered to give one Brimful Curiosities reader a bib of their choice.

To enter, visit DaBib and leave a comment letting me know which style and color you would choose if you won.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Thanks to Family Review Network and DaBib for this review opportunity!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Another Birthday, Another Cake




Doll birthday cake. Thank goodness for Grandma and her cake-making skills.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom and MomDot.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Wisconsin Dells: Tourist Town Guides - Book Review

"It all began with these unusual Dells, and from humble beginnings this quaint little nature-loving community became the number one family vacation destination in the entire Midwest." - Tourist Town Guides: Wisconsin Dells by Dick Vanderwick

With the recent stint of warm weather we've been itching to get outside and also do some traveling, ride a Duck! Wisconsin Dells, a top tourist destination in the Midwest, offers plenty of indoor and outdoor family attractions. Recently I had the opportunity to review the 2nd edition Tourist Town Guides series book, Wisconsin Dells: A Comprehensive Guide to Waterparks, Resorts, Tours and More by Dick Vanderwilt.

As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, I've been to the Dells quite a few times. My family went there on a few vacations, I visited some of the attractions on school trips, in my tween and teen years I enjoyed the waterparks, and as an adult have spent some relaxing time at Sundara Spa. Located in south-central Wisconsin, the Dells with its kind of crazy-quilt mixture of attractions, resorts and recreational spots, has something to offer everyone. Vanderkirk's guidebook highlights all the best places to visit in the Dells area while offering various historical and informative facts along the way.

First of all, in order to fully appreciate Wisconsin Dells, one must learn what the term "dell" means. Vanderkirk helpfully explains the word "dell" (a small valley) and the beautiful rock formations along the Wisconsin River that make Wisconsin Dells stand out from the rest of the region. He also wonderfully summaries the history of the driftless, unglaciated region and highlights a couple of individuals (Henry Hamilton Bennett and Tommy Bartlett) responsible for helping the Dells become the tourist attraction it is today.

As should be, Vanderkirk speaks of the geological attractions first. The Dells Boat Tours and Duck rides are by far my favorite part of the Dells experience. I remember as a child being fascinated by all the interesting rock formations with descriptive names such as "Stand Rock", "Witches Gulch", "Cow in a Milk Bottle" and my favorite, "Pulpit Rock and the Baby Grand Piano." During a ride on the Original Wisconsin Ducks my brother even got a chance to drive the amphibious army vehicle, a huge deal for him!

Given the fact that Wisconsin Dells is "The Waterpark Capital of the World," the book includes quite a bit of information on various waterparks and waterpark resorts to visit. Chula Vista Resort, Kalahari Resort and Noah's Ark Waterpark are listed as must sees. The indoor waterparks make ideal winter vacation destinations and if you look hard enough you can get some pretty good deals on rates. Our neighbors just went on a spring break trip to an indoor waterpark there and had alot of fun.

The book also mentions various downtown attractions, shopping destinations like Tanger Outlet Mall, as well as some state parks and nearby attractions like Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, places to see in Wisconsin's capital, Madison, and the strange, kitschy destination that is The House on the Rock.

The book is missing a couple of details. Published in March 2008, it does not include any information on last year's terrible flooding on June 9th that destroyed Lake Delton, causing the entire lake to completely empty into the Wisconsin River and sweeping some large houses down the river at the same time. The lake is home to Tommy Bartlett's Ski and Stage Show. Reconstruction and restoration are currently underway and is scheduled to be ready by Memorial Day 2009. Also left out is Sundara Spa, one of the places I love to visit with my girlfriends or husband. Cave of the Mounds, a nearby tourist spot, doesn't make the cut either.

All in all, the book does a good job covering the basics of Wisconsin Dells. An excellent reference resource, libraries especially may want to consider adding this one to their travel section. Parents and tourists - make sure to look into this reference if you are planning a trip to the Dells.
Wisconsin Dells: A Comprehensive Guide to Waterparks, Resorts, Tours and More by Dick Vanderwilt. Channel Lake, Inc.; 2nd edition (March 2008); 161 pages; ISBN 9780979204395
Related links:
Tourist Town Guides
The Official Site of the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau

Wisconsin Dells photos courtesy of Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau. Used with permission.

Thanks to Lisa Roe at OnlinePublicist and Tourist Town Guides for this review opportunity.

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (3/23/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaway:
My Little Red Book Giveaway Ends 3/23/09
Bee & Me Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09
Silver Dolphin Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09


Other book giveaways:
The Daily Blond - Book Giveaway Ends 3/24/09
Children's Book plus Fishful Thinking tote bag full of great stuff
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 4/5/09
Hot Hand - A Comeback Kids Novel by Mike Lupica
Presenting Lenore - Book Giveaway Ends 4/5/09
Penguin Prize Pack 11+ Young Adult Books (YA)
A Fuse #8 Production - Book Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Freebies 4 Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy by David Soman and Jacky Davis
Sarah Ockler - Giveaway Ends 4/5/09
Survey about YA Books - Enter for chance to win $25 book store gift card
AuthorsNow! - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
Jane in Bloom by Deborah Lytton (Teen)
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 3/29/09
Stinky by Eleanor Davis
The Devine Miss Mommy - Tag Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Tag reader + 5 books for personal use, as well as an expanded-memory LeapFrog School Tag reader + 10 books to donate to your local library.
Potamus Prefers - Book Giveaway Ends 3/30/09
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School
Parenting by Trial and Error - Tag Giveaway Ends 3/24/09
LeapFrog Tag Reading System bundle, which includes Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Green Eggs and Ham

Twilight - Here are a couple Twilight giveaways with Walmart and Elevenmoms-
Mommy Daddy Blog - Twilight Giveaway Ends 3/28/09
Twilight prize pack ($150 value)
Mommy Brain Reports - Twilight Giveaway Ends 3/28/09
Twilight prize pack


Other interesting giveaways
Mommies with Cents - DVD Giveaway Ends 3/28/09
The Tale of Despereaux DVD
Traveling Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 3/23/09
National Geographic’s new Ultimate Guide for Traveler’s, The 10 Best of Everything: Families

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Silver Dolphin Books - Review and Book Giveaway


Glance at the Silver Dolphin Book catalog and you will find a vast array of interactive, educational and entertaining books for children of all ages. Silver Dolphin books are anything but ordinary. From pop-ups to books with kits and components, the hands-on books are all about exploration, ready to please and delight those curious kiddos. Take note, these fine books would make excellent gifts! Thanks to Silver Dolphin we had the chance to try out a couple great books.

Flight Test Lab: Airplanes Silver Dolphin Books (March 2004); 32 pages; ISBN 9781592230242
Ok, I admit I requested this one specifically with my husband in mind. His father is a retired aircraft mechanic so he spent his childhood surrounded by planes. Flight Test Lab: Airplanes is actually a really neat airplane kit which includes a paperback book explaining everything there is to know about airplanes and flight. Part toy, part book -- lots and lots of fun and very educational!

You can build your own airplane with 15 different mix-and-match parts included in the kit allowing for the creation of these 4 rubber-band powered airplanes: a Super Hornet, a private jet, a 747, a WWII Fighter (or create your own design). The fuselage and framing parts are all hard plastic with the wings made of styrofoam. You can use the included battery powered winder to wind the propeller. On the first try our airplane flew the entire distance of our large living room.

The paperback Pilot Handbook by Jackie Kramer and Stuart Arden is jam-packed with all things flight related. The first couple pages include a highly detailed diagram of a plane listing all the major parts, and a cockpit page spread shows the main instruments and monitors pilots need to fly. The book also covers the history and science of flight, explaining thrust, lift, drag and gravity along with the three axes of rotation and airfoils. Plenty to ponder in this book. Children interested in aviation will love this excellently illustrated overview of airplanes and flight. We're prepared for our visit to the EAA.

Happy Snappy: Easter Egg Hunt (Happy Snappy Books) by Derek Matthews. Silver Dolphin Books (January 2006); 10 pages; ISBN 9781592235650
Spring is here. Easter is coming up soon. Want something other than candy for those Easter baskets? The tiny but sophisticated, Easter Egg Hunt with its fancy pop-up pages would be the perfect addition. Both my kids think the book is pretty darn special. We don't own many pop-ups, but after reading this one with the kiddos I'm wondering why. They haven't destroyed it yet. Children will enjoy searching for missing Easter eggs with the all pop up animals - a flapping rooster, fluttering butterfly on a flower, drinking duck, and leaping lamb. Who could have hidden the eggs? My little guy loves to open and shut the colorful pages causing the animals to move. Definitely a daily read right now for him. My daughter likes the cute little Easter bunnies and makes a point to count all the hidden eggs each time she reads the book (she found 17 total). The mini book measures approximately 6 inches tall by 4-1/2 inches wide.


Several Silver Dolphin books have won awards from Parents' Choice, Teacher's Choice, NAPPA, and iParenting Media. The Amazing Baby series is one of the larger Silver Dolphin series and currently includes 27 titles, mostly board books. The Snappy Sounds series is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers. I'd personally love to get my hands on one of The World of Inventors books, new this spring. So many options to choose from. This calls for a giveaway!

Win a book, any book! Silver Dolphin has kindly offered to give one Brimful Curiosities reader a book of their choice from the Silver Dolphin catalog.

To enter, visit Silver Dolphin and leave a comment with the title of the book you would choose if you won.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bee & Me - Review and Book Giveaway


“We’re good for much more than just honey, you see, We bees help the flowers, the bushes and trees.”Bee & Me by Elle J. McGuinness

Spring has finally arrived! The first signs of spring include the budding trees and flowers, birds, butterflies and the bees. It is easy to forget those busy little bees, the pollinators so important to crops, plants and trees. Some even regard the bee as a pest, scared of its sting. BUZZ, BUZZ. Here's an amazing bee book you must read!

The charming Bee & Me children’s book by Elle J. McGuinness strives to set the facts straight and helps kids appreciate the humble bee through rhyming verse and moving pictures. This fascinating bee book features an AniMotion™ Illustration Technique. Many of the illustrations magically move when you turn the pages. It is truly amazing to watch the bee fly.

In the story, a bee busily pollinates flowers until a dog chases it into a little boy’s home. Afraid of the bee, the boy hides. The misunderstood little bee cries and tells the boy that he shouldn’t be scared; bees only want to help humans. The final pages of the book list facts about bees and simple ways kids can help bees.

Just how important is the bee? The honeybee is the official state insect in seventeen states, including Wisconsin. Bees help us grow one-third of all the food we consume. However, in recent years an alarming problem called colony collapse threatens the bee's survival. Bee & Me teachs kids the ecological and environmental importance of the honeybee and instructs children to respect the remarkable insect. Younger children will learn from and enjoy the short rhyming verses. Young and old like will have a hard time setting this unique moving picture book down with it's colorful, eye-catching illustrations by Heather Brown. Even my one-year-old watches with fascination and wonder as the pictures move. This New York Times children's bestseller book is definitely worth a trip to the bookstore!


Bee & Me by by Elle J. McGuinness, illustrated by Heather Brown. Andrews McMeel Publishing (October 2008); 28 pages; ISBN 9780740777349

Bee links, activities, printables, lesson plans for children:
National Honey Board Educational Resources
Weekly Reader Plight of th Honeybee
thebestkidsbooksite.com Bee Storytime Materials
First-School.ws Preschool Activities & Crafts: Bees - Bumblebees
PBS Nature Silence of the Bees episode
BeeSource.com - Online Sourcebook for Beekeeping
Bee Culture: The Magazine of American Beekeeping
Selecting Plants for Pollinators – Free eco-regional planting guides
National Honey Board Honey Locator

Win a copy! Andrews McMeel Publishing has kindly offered to give away one (1) copy of Bee & Me to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, visit Andrews McMeel Publishing - Kids Products and leave a comment naming the title of another book for kids available on the website.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US and Canada only
• Contest ends on Monday, April 6th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
1st extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (3/20/09)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I publish "Full to the Brim" every Monday and Friday. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

My book giveaway:
My Little Red Book Giveaway Ends 3/23/09
Bee & Me Book Giveaway Ends 4/6/09

Other book giveaways:
An Island Review - Book Giveaway Ends 3/27/09
My Grandma Could do Anything in Hawaii! by Ric Dilz
Elle Blog of Elle Bee - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
An Awesome Book by Dallas Clayton
Vintage Kids' Books - Book Giveaway Ends 3/22/09
Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum
Victoria Everman - Book Giveaway Ends 3/24/09
Set of 3 Earthwise Kids eco-friendly books, presented in a reusable and biodegradable jute gift bag
Into the Wardrobe - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Green and Clean Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales
Kids Meal Crowd - Book Giveaway Ends 3/22/09
Collection of books and toys including: Angelina Ballerina's Tiny Treasury, Angelina Ballerina's Storybook Treasury and Magic Tree House audiobook CD
Two of a kind, working on a Full House - Book Giveaway Ends 4/2/09
Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman
Susan Heim on Parenting - Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
The Miracle of Me and Genevieve’s Gift
Lisa Reviews- Book Giveaway Ends 4/1/09
ParentSmart Kid Happy series: Ready For Bed!, Ready For The Day! and Ready To Play!
Momstart - Book Giveaway Ends 4/4/09
Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk series book
Chief Family Officer - Book Giveaway Ends 3/24/09
Ready-To-Read Level 1 book,Happy Graduation! by Margaret McNamara
The Funky Monkey - Book Giveaway Ends 3/26/09
Opus and the Red Chair by Alice Howard Koesterich


Other interesting giveaways
Bookroom Reviews - DVD Giveaway Ends 4/7/09
The Tale of Despereaux DVD
My Charmed Life - DVD Giveaway Ends 3/31/09
Get Healthy Get Fit! DVD and Fruit! CD.
Hip Mamas Place - DVD Giveaway Ends 3/25/09
Clifford the Big Red Dog Doggie Detectives DVD
Mom Reviews - DVD Giveaway Ends 3/24/09
VeggieTales Abe and the Amazing Promise DVD
dkMommy Spot - DVD Giveaway Ends 3/23/09
My Very First Treasury of 50 Storybook Classics: Preschool Stories

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

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 40th Birthday!


Today is the "The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day!" This year Eric Carle celebrates his 80th birthday and the 40th anniversary of the publication of his classic story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Millions of copies have been sold since 1969. What will you do to celebrate?

Sites to visit:
The Official Eric Carle Website
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Eric Carle Blog

PDF Files:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Day activity kit from Penguin Group
Reading Rockets The Very Hungry Caterpillar Literacy Bag

Crafts & Activites listed on Mommy Blogs:
No Time for Flash Cards: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities
1+1+1=1 The Very Hungry Caterpillar Tot Pack

And, check out the new The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-Up Book
published for the 40th anniversary.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I'm In! - Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

One of my favorite blogs to swing by now and then is 5 Minutes for Mom. This week (March 20-27) the Ultimate Blog Party is on and you are invited to join in the fun. If you are ready to do a little partying hopping please check out their website some time during the week!

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Hi, I'm Janelle, your hostess at Brimful Curiosities. I have two young kiddos, an amazing hubby and two lazy cats. I'll provide you with a lint roller on your way out if necessary. Told you not to wear the black pants.

Here at Brimful Curiosities, we like to party, too. So this week I've got some AWESOME children's book giveaways lined up just for you. Here's a partial list of what is to come. Check back here often and enter the Brimful Curiosities giveaways as they go live:

Bee & Me Review and Book Giveaway (This book was listed on the New York Times Bestseller children's list and is an amazing ANIMOTION picture book. A must have this spring) Contest Ends 4/6/09

Silver Dolphin Books - Review and Book Giveaway (Choice of any Silver Dolphin brand book - books for children of all ages) Contest Ends 4/6/09

Start Talking Book Review and Giveaway (Scheduled to post Fri 3/27)

Also, if this is your first time here, please take a look at my "Full to the Brim" posts for children's book giveaways occurring in bloggyland! You are sure to find a contest to enter there!

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I'm not the only one divvying up the prizes. The fabulous gals at 5 Minutes for Mom have lined up some super prizes for participants. My top three favorites:
#1 — $100 gift certificate to either Pedal Cars and Retro or A Rocking Horse To Love Provided by: 5 Minutes for Mom
#58 – Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer Provided by: Moms Who Think
#22 — $50 gift certificate to Target Stores Provided by: Beginner Baby Blog

Here are some more prizes I'd love, but really any on the full prize list at 5 Minutes for Mom would be great to win:
#19, #21, #26, #91, USC 56, #44, #68, INTL 30, INTL 45, USC 34

So what about you? Have a fav prize? Are you participating or holding your own contest? Let me know and I'll make sure to visit your blog. Party on!

Baby Human Play & Learn Baby Spoon Review


My one-year-old son insists on feeding himself. He has wanted to feed himself ever since he started eating solids. One slight problem with this show of independence - he for whatever reason likes to stick the pointy, non-spoon end in his mouth and chew on it. That is not a good move on his part. Gagging can result, and Mommy gets scared.

The Play & Learn Baby Spoon designed by Baby Human prevents gagging, promotes self-feeding and is BPA, phthalate and lead free. It's a teaching tool, toy, teether and spoon all wrapped up in one package. Featuring dual spoon ends for right or left hand use and mouth guards on each end, the spoon is intended for babies just starting to learn eating skills.

So far we've enjoyed testing the Play and Learn Baby spoons. My son grasps onto the chucky center grip easily. He attempts to pick up various foods off his tray and has succeeded in scooping up some mashed potatoes and yogurt. He likes chewing on the soft spoon ends. The spoon also works as a great distraction while I feed him with a different spoon. Because of the size of the mouth guard, the spoon does not fit down into small yogurt or baby food containers. Also, the bowl of the spoon is slightly flat, so it works best for self-feeding soft foods such as yogurt and applesauce rather than peas and other foods that could easily fall off.

My final take on it: The spoon is a supplemental baby utensil that eliminates the worry of gagging, and is especially useful for babies just starting to eat solids and those learning to self-feed. According to the designer Kimberly Kirkup, the spoon is also appropriate for children with special needs.

Each Play & Learn Baby Spoon package contains two stylish spoons (one orange and one green) and retails for $8.99.


Thanks to Family Review Network and Baby Human for this review opportunity!

Spoon Themed Reads

Spoon



by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
illustrated by Scott Magoon
Hyperion Book CH (April 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-1423106852



And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon



by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Harcourt Children's Books (May 2001)
ISBN-13: 978-0152022983


A Spoon for Every Bite



by Joe Hayes
illustrated by Rebecca Leer
Orchard Books (March 1996)
ISBN-13: 978-0531094990




The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon

by Mini Grey
Red Fox (October 2007)
ISBN-13: 978-0099475767

The Spoon in the Stone: A Lesson in Serving Others (Big Idea Books® / VeggieTown Values) (Bk. 1)

Zonderkidz (February 2005)
ISBN-13: 978-0310706267

The Spoon in the Bathroom Wall

by Tony Johnston
Harcourt Children's Books (May 2005)
ISBN-13: 978-0152052928