Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wordful Wednesday - My Own Little Corner

"In my own little corner in my own little chair / I can be whatever I want to be
On the wing of my fancy I can fly anywhere / and the world will open it's arms to me"
- Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella

This weekend my daughter and I had the pleasure of watching a stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Fireside Dinner Theatre in Fort Atkinson. We met one my childhood friends and her children there and enjoyed the performance together. Their company made the evening extra special. Plenty of little princesses attended the show and my daughter very much enjoyed seeing her first musical on stage. After the performance, Cinderella and Prince Charming graciously posed for pictures and gave hugs and handshakes to all those wanting to meet them in person. It was a wonderful mother/daughter activity and we hope to return again next year for the showing of the musical Annie.

This summer my family has a very busy schedule and, as I indicated before, I just haven't had as much time to post on my blog. July shouldn't be quite as crazy, but I still may not post every day like I had in the past. I plan to enjoy this summer and spend as much time with my family as possible. I hope you understand my reasons for fewer posts. Please do continue to stop on by because I have some really wonderful and fun posts planned.

As always, books will remain my primary focus on this blog. Last night I attended a meeting in our community regarding a proposed public library expansion project. The proposition was turned down, but that in itself was not what I found particularly surprising. Sadly, there are several members in our community that do not value the library enough to consider for future needs of the community. Some of the comments made at the meeting were shocking and even disrespectful. Even though library use often increases enormously during times of economic hardship, libraries face tough budget cuts instead of receiving funding they need to support the demand. Libraries need the support of community members and they very much depend on the support of local municipal governments and city officials. When those in charge have a closed mind set, growth and forward progress is unfortunately hindered.

One of the primary purposes of this blog is to get the word out about interesting books. I hope that this little corner of the world is helpful to some and that many have searched for and discovered new books after reading my recommendations. If so, then I will have fulfilled my goal in promoting books and literacy and advocating for libraries. Books do open whole new worlds and readers can indeed fly anywhere they might fancy with a book in their arms!

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Air Bud: World Pup [Special Edition] - DVD Review

I drive a mini van but I've never been a soccer mom in the literal sense of the term. Soccer remains one of the few sports I haven't tried. In fact, I've never watched a game, and I don't even understand the basics of the sport. And even though I saw the World Cup opening ceremony concert on TV, I haven't watched any of the games this year.

I'm sure many people will be watching today as the U.S. faces Ghana in the Round 16 World Cup match. Perhaps today is a good day for me to start paying more attention. My daughter decided to join our local preschool team this summer, so it looks like my non soccer mom status may be a thing of the past. It's time for me to learn more about the sport! My kids probably won't want to watch today's World Cup game, but thanks to Disney, this week they had the chance to watch a soccer movie starring that amazing, athletic Golden Retriever in the newly released Air Bud: World Pup Special Edition DVD.

Originally released in 2000, Air Bud: World Pup is the third Air Bud movie in the Disney series. This new special edition released on June 15, 2010. Buddy the dog and his owner Josh try out the game of soccer in this Air Bud flick and romance is in the air for all the main characters. Josh's mom gets married, Josh becomes interested in his female soccer teammate named Emma, and Buddy falls for Emma's dog Molly. The movie is a lot like 101 Dalmatians in the respect that Buddy and Molly have puppies and two dog catchers try to steal the puppies. In the end of the movie, Buddy gets the chance to play in a Women's World Cup Soccer game. (I'm still trying to figure out why a male dog gets to play on the women's team.) The movie features the same silly humor and slapstick comedy as the first two Air Bud movies, so kids that enjoy Air Bud will probably also like watching this one as well. My daughter spend a lot of time oohing and ahhing over the puppies in this film. They are pretty cute. This new edition released at the perfect time -- all World Cup soccer fans just might want check out Buddy's moves. The soccer-playing dog is pretty impressive!

The bonus features include a soccer edition of the Buddies Sport Channel. Rosebud, Budderball, Mudbud, B-Dawg and Bud-dha provide a recap by of Buddy's soccer career. There's also a "Making Of Air Bud World Pup Production" featurette. The special edition version comes with a very small, child-sized Sport Cinch Bag.


(DVD Source: review copy provided for free for review purposes by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. All opinions expressed are my own. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (6/25/10)

My apologies to the regular readers of Brimful Curiosities. I haven't been posting as regularly for the past couple of weeks because we have been on vacation. I also have an extremely packed summer schedule. This week I volunteered at our church's Vacation Bible School and my daughter started both swimming lessons and soccer practices. All the extra activities mean we are away from home more often and that means fewer blog posts. Hope to get back on track soon.

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

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

Little Nippers - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10
Tikki Tikki Tembo and The Empty Pot
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 7/8/10
Tumtum & Nutmeg: Adventures Beyond Nutmouse Hall by Emily Bearn
Reading to Know - Book Giveaway Ends 7/1/10
Tundra Books Modern Art Books for Babies set
Reading to Know - Book Giveaway Ends 7/1/10 US
choice of Nomad Press book
My Four Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 7/5/10
autographed copy of Champ and Me by the Maple Tree by Ed Shankman, illustrated by Dave O'Neill
Bragging Mommy - Book Giveaway Ends 7/6/10
The Adventures of Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy series Prize Pack (middle grade)
Cakeblast - Book Giveaway Ends 7/3/10
Max Spaniel: Funny Lunch AND Firehouse by Mark Teague
I like it frantic - Book Giveaway Ends 6/27/10
Firehouse by Mark Teague + playset
Jolly Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 7/9/10
The Adventures of Daniel Boom aka Loud Boy series Prize Pack (middle grade)
Jolly Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 7/2/10
LeapFrog Tag Reader
Night Owl Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 7/7/10
Klutz Glossy Bands
Art Projects for Kids - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10
You Can Paint Like the Masters by Amy Runyen
Crazy for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 7/7/10
Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (YA)
DustinNikki Mommy of Three - Book Giveaway Ends 6/30/10
Simon and Schuster Little Green Books set
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 6/30/10
Willoughby and the Moon by Greg Foley
Leslie Loves Veggies - Book Giveaway Ends 7/6/10
Let's Get Ready For First Grade! and Winner's Choice of either Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten! or iA Prepararse Para Kindergarten!
From the Mixed-Up Files - Book Giveaway Ends 7/6/10
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas by Jacqueline Houtman (ARC); Mallory Goes Green by Laurie Friedman (hardcover); A Dog's Way Home by Bobbie Pyron (ARC)
Tolivers to Texas - Book Giveaway Ends 6/27/10
My First Book of Mandarin Chinese Words
The Fiction Enthusiast - Book Giveaway Ends 6/30/10
The Brain Full of Holes by Martin Chatterton(YA)
Feed Your Reading Habit - Book Giveaway Ends 7/2/10 Australia, New Zealand, Canada, US and the UK
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (YA)

Enter for your chance to win a Little Scholastic library plus Gerber products in the Discover Dairy Sweepstakes at http://www.scholastic.com/gerber/


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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Backyard Safari Outfitters - Field Gear Review


My husband hasn't had the chance to mow our lawn for over a week. We were gone for several days and it has been rainy and sticky out this week so the lawn looks like a jungle. That's OK though, because it gave the kids a chance to really try out their new Backyard Safari Outfitters gear and pretend they were wading through the bush on a hot and humid day. Kids need the time and freedom to check out their surroundings and there's a whole lot to look at right in the backyard.

The Backyard Safari Outfitters provides nature gear for young children and helps them engage in pretend play, explore the outdoors and connect with the natural world. Kids are naturally curious about the world so it doesn't take much coaxing to get them outside. However, it makes it a little more fun to have some fun exploration gear to check out all those rocks, ponds, weeds and bugs.

Thanks to Team Mom, we had the chance to try out three different products from the Backyard Safari Outfitters line: Essential Field Gear Cargo Vest, Bug Vacuum, and Land & Water Mega View Periscope.

My daughter loves playing dress-up so the first thing she wanted to try out was the Cargo Vest. We have a lot of princess outfits but our dress up box is lacking explorer gear, so we were happy to add this one to the mix. The vest is a little too big for my toddler son (not surprising considering it is marked 5 ages and up). It fits my daughter fairly well and includes numerous pockets, zippers, snaps and D-rings. She feels like a real explorer wearing it and can even manage the zipper herself. We don't own any safari hats, so my daughter thought that her pink tea hat would add a little pizzazz and brighten up the khaki gear.

The idea of a Bug Vacuum appeals to my daughter but the thought of actually getting near enough to a bug is another story. I'm hoping my little guy will start liking bugs soon and take over the bug vacuum duties, but right now I'm the only family member that has actually captured a bug. That said, I hope that my kids grow up appreciating nature and learning how to carefully inspect without disturbing and destroying. The bug vacuum seems gentle enough. We had a small moth inside our home the other day, and I carefully placed the nose cone over the moth and pushed the trigger. The suction wasn't strong enough to suck the moth into the core chamber (maybe because the batteries were running low), but it was plenty to keep the bug from flying out of the vacuum so I was able to release the moth back outside. I'm hoping my kids develop more of an interest in the vacuum this summer so they can help capture and eliminate those metallic invasive and destructive Japanese beetles off my treasured trees and plants. The Bug Vacuum comes with two different sized nose cones and two capture cores. A rotating magnifying glass inside traps the bug inside the core for inspection, but it doesn't fully rotate so you have to make sure you have the bug in the right position if you want to trap it inside and avoid sweeping it back out the chamber. The vacuum requires 4 AA batteries and assembles easily. The vacuum will even pick up small fuzzes and particles off the floor, and both my children love using it for this purpose when not outside.

Probably the most interesting item we received is the Telescoping Periscope. This is a large piece of gear that extends over 48 inches high for viewing over fences, walls, bushes and around corners. My kids especially like using it in their play center fort, peering at and spying on passers-by. The periscope has two large handles near the bottom to help steady the position. The periscope view isn't overly large and the image gets smaller as you extend the periscope up, but the experience is still pretty cool. It does have a little heft to it and my daughter needs to prop it against something when she uses it fully extended. The periscope apparently works upside down for viewing under water since the end 16 inches of the piece is submersible. We haven't had a chance to try it out in the pond next door or nearby creek but plan to try that sometime this summer.

All three items we received came with a bonus two page Pop-Up Field Guide. The guide includes a listing of many of the Backyard Safari products as well as some tips and pointers for backyard exploration. I wish the guide was a little more useful and comprehensive and came with more detailed activity suggestions, but the thought is nice.

These educational and fun toys do liven up outdoor play and help spark some imaginative safari journeys in the backyard. I'm sure both my kids with have fun with them for several summers to come.

Thanks to Backyard Safari Outfitters and Team Mom for this review opportunity and for providing the field gear for my family to review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Backyard Safari products are available for purchase at most major retailers including Wal-Mart, Toys R Us, Amazon.com, Target and also online at www.summittoy.com. Follow them on twitter: @BYSOutfitters or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BackyardSafari

Wordless Wednesday - Kites at EAA





The EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, held a kite show last weekend called "Wings on Strings." Here are a few of the giant kites that we saw flying in the sky.


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder - Book Review

I haven't needed to water my plants for over a week because we've received plenty of rain around our area. In fact our lawn is starting to look like an untamed jungle, much to my husband's chagrin. It has been raining so much that I wouldn't be surprised if it started raining food!

My favorite activity on a rainy day is sitting down with a good book. I just finished a cute middle grade novel titled It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder, a perfect girly diversion for a rainy summer day. From the scrumptious pink cupcake laden cover to a well-written plot with chapter titles named after different cupcakes, the book is a treat to read.

"My family needed the cupcake shop. Because we needed to be brought together."
It's Raining Cupcakes by Lisa Schroeder. Simon & Schuster (March 2010); ISBN 9781416990840; 208 pages (middle grade) Book Source: Review copy provided by publisher

One summer, a twelve-year old girl named Isabel finds her life as mixed up as a batch of cupcakes. Her mom, on a whim, decides to renovate a Laundromat into a cupcake shop in the mid-size Oregon town where they live. Her parents move her across town away from her best friend to an apartment above the shop they eventually name "It's Raining Cupcakes" and hope she'll be excited about the new change. Isabel would rather spend her summer traveling to exotic locations than helping prepare for the grand opening of a cupcake shop, especially since her mother has a less than stellar record for following things through to completion. When Isabel learns about a baking contest for kids where finalists get to visit New York, she sees it as her chance to finally get out of Oregon and fulfill her dreams. She gets to work testing recipes and tries to decide which she should send in for the competition -- a cupcake recipe to make her mother happy or another recipe that reflects her own exotic, adventurous tastes.

It's Raining Cupcakes isn't all sweet as the cover would lead you to believe. Schroeder uses a complicated mother-daughter relationship to propel her novel. Isabel's mom isn't exactly the model of stability. She's rather indecisive, directionless, and seems to suffer from depression. Isabel often mothers her own mother and because of this she must unfortunately act more grown up than her years. Isabel usually relies on her father and grandmother when she needs advice and guidance. For Isabel's family the cupcake shop remodeling project is more than just a remodeling project on a building, it is also a relationship rebuilding project. Throughout the novel, Isabel deals with the typical struggles that most tweens face, and I think that middle grade readers will be able to relate to Isabel's character. Isabel is jealous of her best friend, worries about her appearance and wants to spread her wings and test the waters of independence. Isabel deals with stress and comes to terms with her feelings by writing verses in a "passport-holder-turned-notebook." These verses and a few knock-knock jokes thrown into the mix, help break up the pages and add to the interesting and fun text. Filled with substance and sweetness, this book has it all, and it is a wonderfully satisfying summer read for kids and even adults.

I especially love how the titles are named after tantalizing cupcakes - Cherries Jubilee Cupcakes, Old-Fashioned Vanilla Cupcakes, the Dr. Seuss Cupcake. The book certainly leaves you craving a special cupcake treat, and Schroeder even includes two recipes in the back of the book for those that might feel inspired to bake after reading. (I secretly wish she would have included more!) Since I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, I tried out her S'mores Cupcakes recipe. These cupcakes are completely from scratch and look pretty yummy finished, as you can see in my photo to the right. I did find them a little too sweet for my taste though, so I think I'll search for an alternative or maybe try out Schroeder's Grandma's Applesauce Cupcake recipe next time I'm craving cupcakes. I'm open for recommendations, so if you have a favorite cupcake recipe please send it my way. I received a new covered cupcake tin for my birthday that I want to use!


Though this is completely unconnected to the above story or publisher, if you are in the mood to enter your own cupcake recipe contest, I just learned that Duncan Hines is holding a "Red® Carpet Cupcake Challenge" now through July 21, 2010. Visit www.duncanhines.com for complete rules and information. Looks like it is only open to ages 18+ though, so if kids wanted to participate, it would need to be a family project.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (6/18/10)

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

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

My giveaways:
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan (picture book) - Ends 6/21/10

Other book giveaways:
Coupon Geek - Book Giveaway Ends 6/19/10 11:59PM CST
children’s book choice (up to $20)
Wandermom - Book Giveaway Ends 6/23/10
four books in the Mythlopedia series
Crafty Crow - Book Giveaway Ends 6/19/10
Homemade Fun: 101 Crafts and Activities to Do with Kids by Rae Grant
MomStart - Book Giveaway Ends 7/1/10
$100 dollar gift card to Borders
Mozi Esme - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan
Gobs of Giveaways - Book Giveaway Ends 6/21/10
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan
Solutions Sleuth - Book Giveaway Ends 6/26/10 US
Just Dad and Me by American Girl illustrated by Stacy Peterson and edited by Erin Falligant
Mommies With Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 6/22/10
Misha’s Nutcracker
Book Aunt - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10 International
The Secret-Keeper (picture book), The Runaway Princess and a sequel called The Runaway Dragon (middle grade) by Kate Coombs
A Novel Idea - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10 US
The Jacob Ladder, Ghosthunters and the Totally Moldy Baroness, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge
The Papa Post - Book Giveaway Ends 6/26/10
Heroes For My Son by Brad Meltzer
Living Sola Gratia - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10
Simon & Schuster Little Green Books set of 7
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 6/23/10
The Story of America's Birthday, The Story of the Star Spangled Banner and The Story of the Statue of Liberty from Ideals Books
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 6/23/10
Summer Bridge Activities workbooks
Tolivers to Texas - Book Giveaway Ends 6/20/10
Missionary Stories with the Millers AND a copy of Jungle Doctor's Crooked Dealings

Be sure to check out KidsBuzz, click on the author links for more about the books and email for your chance to win free books. This week's books: Sarah Sullivan (ONCE UPON A BABY BROTHER), Deborah Hopkinson (THE HUMBLEBEE HUNTER), Jennifer Cervantes (TORTILLA SUN), Sue Wyshynski, (POSER), and Charlie Higson, (THE ENEMY)

First Book Cheerios® 100,000 Book Giveaway - Help your state win free books for low-income families by playing the trivia challenge: http://booksforkids.firstbook.org/jonscieszka/

Other Giveaways:


did you see that? - DVD Giveaway Ends 6/21/10
Madeline's Great Adventures DVD
Adventures of a Domesticated Mama - Puzzle Giveaway Ends 6/27/10
Eric Carle Block Puzzle giveaway from Mudpuppy



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

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scribble by Deborah Freedman - Book Review & Spray Bottle Painting Craft

One of the reasons I like to use twitter is because I can connect with such a wide variety of people, follow their random thoughts and discover new ideas and inspiration. Many children's authors and illustrators are active on twitter. To name a few, you can find Mo Willems @The_Pigeon, Carin Berger @CarinBerger, Shannon Hale @haleshannon, and Neil Gaiman @neilhimself.

A while back, I was browsing my twitter feed and noticed a tweet by author/illustrator Deborah Freedman (@DeborahFreedman). This was the tweet:
DeborahFreedman: April showers bring... May showers. And flowers. PB reading suggestions about gardens: http://bit.ly/anY5eX
I do love books about gardens so I clicked on over and discovered an amazing image of rain and flowers on her "writes with pictures" blog . I showed it to my daughter and she thought it was beautiful that the cloud was raining stars. I knew she'd enjoy trying to recreate the picture, so in between the rain showers this week we made some spray artwork outside for our stART (story + art) project.

❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Spray Bottle Art ❖❖❖❖❖❖

To make the spray paint, I mixed a little water and food coloring together and put it in a spray bottle. We hung a piece of paper on a low clothesline. My daughter squirted her picture with the paint, first using blue for the rain and clouds. Then she turned her paper upside down and added green spray for the grass and flower stems. She hasn't decided yet if she wants to add stars to the painting or flowers, so it's just stems and rain right now. We tried spray painting on a variety of different paper types and found the watercolor paper worked the best and allowed for more vibrant colors. This was a fun activity on a hot summer-like day and later on we even used the clothesline for another purpose -- a tent!




Scribble by Deborah Freedman. Alfred A. Knopf (May 2007); ISBN 9780375839665; 40 pages
(Book Source: Copy from our local library)
While our painting is all blues and greens, Freedman's book Scribble is all pinks and yellows. If not for her twitter post, we might never have checked out this imaginative book from the library and that would have been a complete shame. Scribble is the perfect summertime book because it encompasses all that summer should -- big imaginations, adventures and a mass of creativity. Plus, in a sly way it addresses the sibling rivalry that tends to pick up once school ends and siblings spend more time together.

In the book, two sisters, Emma and Lucie, draw separate pictures while seated across the table from one another and their little white pet kitty watches. Emma boasts about her own pink perfect princess picture and criticizes Lucie's yellow kitty picture, calling it a scribble. Lucie loses her temper and scribbles all over the princess picture. As Emma runs off to tattle, Lucie's picture takes on a life of its own. Scribble the cat takes off and jumps from the yellow page to the pink princess picture. Lucie and the white kitty follow Scribble into the Giant Thicket she scribbled all over her sister's paper. The valiant Scribble the cat decides to try to rescue the beautiful princess and pulls at the tangle of scribbles. Lucie watches on, refusing to give him a hand, but later on changes her mind. Even though Lucie originally tangles with her sister, she eventually does try to make things right, along with the help of her yellow Scribble kitty and white pet kitty.

My artistic little daughter dearly loves this book and wishes she could jump into one of her pictures and follow one of her drawings on an adventure, especially if the adventure involves princesses and happily ever afters! The style of the book is unusual. It starts out almost like a comic book and then the illustrations change to bold yellow and pink backgrounds as Lucie follows Scribble into the drawings. Freedman has a fairly impressive website that includes some fun downloadable pdfs for kids...they can create their own additions to the Scribble and Princess Aurora story. http://www.deborahfreedman.net/funstuff/drawing-pages (Plus, there are some great booklists: Books about Art and Imagination and Books about Siblings!)



A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Sarah McLachlan - Laws of Illusion: CD Review


Sarah McLachlan's CDs were some of my favorites in college including Fumbling Towards Ecstasy and Surfacing. I can't tell you how many times I must have listened to those albums, and I still pull them out every so often. Her songs just flow with thoughtful lyrics and hauntingly beautiful melodies. This week McLachlan released a new album, titled Laws Of Illusion. It's been seven years since she released all new material, and I am delighted to have the chance to review it thanks to One2One Network.

The image on the cover of Laws of Illusion shows the singer happily over the moon, but once you start to listen to the lyrics closely it becomes quickly apparent that the image is an illusion and the songs are anything but happy. I haven't payed much attention to McLachlan's personal life, and had no idea that she had split up with her husband a couple years ago. Many of the emotion filled songs on this album deal with the pain, the frustration and the loneliness as she comes to term with this heartbreaking change in her life and the hope for tomorrow. I'll admit that at first I was actually kind of disappointed in the overall theme of the album, mostly because I felt that I couldn't connect with the songs. I'm still happily living the fairy tale. But, McLachlan is truly an artist, a true artist paints what she feels, and there is no denying the paintings in this album are works of art and that her voice and familiar style reside within each and every one of these songs.

The album starts off with a realization of love gone wrong in "Awakenings." "Illusions of Bliss" is one of my favorites and just flows with pure sounds, a classic McLachlan melody. "Forgiveness" sounds somewhat along the lines of "Adia" with lyrics "Through the year we'd had it all / The midnight whispers, the midday calls / This house of cards it had to fall / You ask for forgivness, you're asking too much. " The bouncy and upbeat "Loving You is Easy" is the album’s first single and is another one of my favorites. The harmonies blend beautifully in the hopeful, final song "Bring on the Wonder."



The end of June, McLachlan begins her tour in the returning Lilith Fair festival, a festival she co-founded and toured in between 1997 through 1999. For a list of all the participating artists and tour dates, see the Lilith Fair website.

More about Sarah McLachlan and her new album visit her on the following online sites: (currently her entire album is available for free listening on Facebook):
Website: http://www.sarahmclachlan.com/us/home
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarahmclachlan
Twitter: http://twitter.com/sarahmclachlan

Thanks to One2One Network for the review opportunity and for providing a CD for my family to review. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links.(View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Falls Park




We took a little journey over the last few days and visited South Dakota so I've not had a chance to post on my blog lately. My great-aunt passed away last week, and we wanted to to offer our condolences to her family. My grandmother grew up in South Dakota and it has been several years since I've had the chance to travel to the area and visit with relatives that live there. The kids enjoyed the trip even though it meant some long hours in the car. My daughter told me tonight that she wants to go on more adventures. She especially liked viewing the waterfall in Sioux Falls and listening to the water roar over the rocks.


Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Yoplait Greek Yogurt - Review and Giveaway


Yogurt is a staple in our household. Everyone in my family likes yogurt (even my kids) so we eat this dairy product almost daily. Within the last year I've noticed that stores have started stocking different brands of Greek yogurt. Curious, I looked for more details online about this new-to-me product and discovered that Greek yogurt in general tends to have a thicker, creamier consistency to it and usually contains a lot more protein than normal yogurt.

Thanks to MyBlogSpark, my family recently had the chance to try out the Yoplait brand of Greek Yogurt. We tried out both the Strawberry and Blueberry flavors. The consistency is thick and creamy and does not contain large fruit chunks. The taste is a little more tangy than normal yogurt and slightly chalky. I liked the Strawberry flavor more than the Blueberry. Neither my daughter or husband particularly liked the Greek blend, but my toddler son ate his entire cup of Greek yogurt right up! While I'm not sure that I'll switch to eating Greek yogurt over my normal yogurt, I especially like that, according to the label, it contains 2x the amount of protein of the leading yogurt. I'll probably pick a few more containers up from the store again if I need a filling snack or protein-filled mealtime side dish.

Yoplait Greek Yogurt comes in four different flavors: Strawberry, Blueberry, Plain and Honey Vanilla. Each Yoplait Greek serving contains 100-130 calories depending on the flavor and 0% fat.



Yoplait wants you to "Nourish Your Inner Goddess" and has offered to giveaway a gift pack to a Brimful Curiosities reader. The "Nourish Your Inner Goddess" gift pack includes items to help you relax including a wrap robe and slippers and two coupons* for Yoplait Greek yogurt.
*According to MyBlogSpark, the coupon for a free cup of Yoplait Greek yogurt is not valid in the following states: California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Tennessee.


To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post.
• 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 Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random
Four ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 5 - leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Visit Yoplait Greek and leave a comment with the name of the Yoplait Greek flavor that interests you the most.
2nd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader
3rd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
4th extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.


Thanks to Yoplait and My Blog Spark for this review opportunity and for providing me with a free Yoplait Greek coupon and gift pack for review. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (6/11/10)

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

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

My giveaways:
Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman (picture book) - Ends 6/14/10
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan (picture book) - Ends 6/21/10

Other book giveaways:
Coupon Geek - Book Giveaway Ends 6/11/10 11:59PM CST
children’s book choice (up to $20)
Familylicious Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 6/27/10 US
Creativity For Kids color and ARTivity book
Mommy Mandy - Book Giveaway Ends 6/24/10
$100 dollar gift card to Borders
From Dates to Diapers- Book Giveaway Ends 7/1/10
$100 dollar gift card to Borders
The Dirty Shirt- Book Giveaway Ends 6/30/10
$100 dollar gift card to Borders
Steady Mom - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10 US/Canada
Homemade Fun: 101 Crafts and Activities to Do with Kids by Rae Grant
Imagination Soup - Book Giveaway Ends 7/2/10
Grandma’s Pear Tree by Suzanne Santillan
She Scribes - Book Giveaway Ends 6/15/10 US
Angelina Ballerina book and t-shirt giveaway
Simple Kids - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10
Homemade Fun: 101 Crafts and Activities to Do with Kids by Rae Grant
Mommies with Cents - Book Giveaway Ends 6/14/10
Candlewick Press Books
Networking Witches - Book Giveaway Ends 6/25/10
Only One Year by Andrea Cheng
From the Mixed-Up Files - Book Giveaway Ends 6/12/10
The Summer of Moonlight Secrets by Danette Haworth (middle grade)
Faithful Provisions - Book Giveaway Ends 6/14/10
Zondervan 5-book Book Pack
Tolivers to Texas - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10
Tucker Took It! by Bruce Van Patter
Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10
Millions and Millions and Millions by Louis Slobodkin
Reading to Know - Book Giveaway Ends 6/17/10
Smells Like Dog by Susanne Selfors (middle grade)
Frugal Plus - Book Giveaway Ends 6/21/10
Disney Fairies Graphic Novel #1: Prilla's Talent


Tundra Books Contest: Win an Alison Dare prize pack Ends 6/30
http://tundrabooks.wordpress.com/contest/

First Book Cheerios® 100,000 Book Giveaway - Help your state win free books for low-income families by playing the trivia challenge: http://booksforkids.firstbook.org/jonscieszka/


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

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier - Book Review and Princess Craft

Yesterday my daughter decided to wear her red, jeweled Snow White crown not just for dress up but ALL day long. She even wore it to the hospital when we visited her brand new baby cousin. She's hoping that her cousin (her very first girl cousin) will enjoy princesses and want to play with dolls, so she's is taking on the task of introducing her cousin to all things princesses. Princess lessons have commenced. Below is a book that should be included in each and every princess book collection.

"They have been hidden so well, some no longer even know themselves. But now all will be revealed -- the behind-the-scenes stories and secret lives of the world's unknown, anonymous, and vanished princesses."
The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier, illustrated by Rébecca Dautremer. Sterling (June 2010); ISBN 9781402766770; 88 pages
(Book Source: Advance Reader Copy from publisher)

A definitive guide for unusual princesses, The Secret Lives of Princesses highlights a few familiar and several not-so-familiar royal characters. Originally published in France with the title of Princesses oubliées ou inconnues, this princess album is one to pour and ponder over. The extravagantly illustrated pages contain well over 25 princesses (and even a few princes) plus detailed information of all things princess including palaces, gardens, meals, coats of arms and confidantes. This Who's Who of princesses book includes Princess Babbling Brooke, Princess Quartermoon and Princess Ices. There are also some downright scary princesses like Princess Hot-Head, Princess Sticky-Fingers, The Faceless Princess and Princess Primandproper. And there's even a bearded Prince S.

A mesmerizing compilation, girls, especially ones that may be a little too old for the cartoon Disney princesses, will find a lot to like in The Secret Lives of Princesses. The illustrations by Rébecca Dautremer are beautifully done, with loads of detail. One such example: The page spread showing one of my favorites, the bookish Princess Paige, includes hundreds of tiny cut out letters tumbling down her lap. My daughter loved browsing through the book with me and decided upon a few favorites, too, picking out all the tiny princesses - the dragonfly like Princess For-A-Day, thumbed-sized Princess Thimbelina and the minute Princess Claire Voyant. She also picked out her favorite castle (the basic model with options) and we practiced our fan gestures using The International Alphabet of Fans. I would especially recommend this book to fans of all those 'Ology books (Dragonology, Wizardology, etc.), even though it lacks interactive pull-outs.

How does my daughter stand up to the tips and techniques in the back of the book to tell a true princess?
Never wears socks, not even in winter - ✔ (must force her into wearing them)
Rarely takes off her crown - ✔
Sings in bath - ✔
Sometimes grumpy - ✔
Never bites nails - ✔
Yes, she pretty much passes the test. Not overly surprising though, considering her mother is of royal blood. From now on, please address me as Her Highfalutin’ Vivacity, Princess Janelle, Adroit Spelunker of Brimful Curiosities. Discover more about the princesses and learn your own princess name at http://secretlivesofprincesses.com/.


❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - A Flower Petal Princess ❖❖❖❖❖❖


If my daughter had a choice, she said she would be like to be Princess Flower Petal (a princess of her own creation not included in the book) and oversee large flower gardens. For the craft this week, she drew a purple Flower Petal Princess and, inspired by this book dress girl by Juliette Crane, she covered the princess dress with glued-on velvety violas. After she finished her mixed-media art, we covered it with contact paper to help preserve the violas.







A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well.



I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - A Wisconsin Dairy Breakfast

During June Dairy Month, several farmers in Wisconsin give residents the chance to visit a farm by hosting dairy breakfasts. Attending a dairy breakfast is a great family activity so this past Saturday morning we took a trip and enjoyed a yummy breakfast of dairy products including eggs, sausage, pancakes, cheese, yogurt and more. After we finished eating the kids visited the petting zoo area and my daughter and I rode in a wagon pulled by a team of horses. We also made sure to check out the facilities - this particular dairy farm sells calves and had over 800 calves for the kids to visit and see up close. That many calves means a lot of bottles!

If you'd like to attend a breakfast, there is a list of locations at Wake Up With Dairy http://www.wakeupwithdairy.com/








Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom or Seven Clown Circus.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan - Book Review and Giveaway

My children will have a new cousin very soon! We are anxiously awaiting news today of the newest addition to our extended family. Little babies bring so much joy to families. However, sometimes siblings get a little jealous and may find the bundle of joy more annoying than cute. I'm interested to see how my nephew handles the upcoming changes. Hopefully, he won't have difficulty adjusting. My daughter embraced her new baby brother and never really seemed to show much resentment towards him. But now that he's a little older and more mischievous she gets a tad annoyed when he messes with her toys and she does get slightly jealous when he gets more attention.

Everything was fine UNTIL her little brother, Marvin, came along. When Lizzie tried to tell a story before breakfast, her mother said, "Not now, dear. Marvin has a dirty diaper." When she tried to tell her father a story after dinner, he said, "Maybe later, Lizzie. It's time for Marvin's bath."
Once Upon a Baby Brother by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Farrar Straus Giroux (June 2010); ISBN 9780374346355; 32 pages; Ages 5-8
(Book Source: F&G Review copy from publisher, images used with permission)

Author Sarah Sullivan gives the classic sibling rivalry theme a comical and story-filled slant in her newest children's book about a big sister/little brother relationship. Lizzie, a young storyteller, loves to entertain everyone with her imaginative stories. When Marvin (her little brother) is born she continues telling stories but her parents are often too busy to listen. Lucky for her, she begins second-grade and her teacher, Miss Pennyroyal, encourages all the kids in her class to write stories. Lizzie ends up coping with her pesky brother by writing stories that star Marvin as an unpleasant character -- he's an ugly prince, a Marvinosaurus and even a nasty pirate. Lizzie uses her special Princess Merriweather pencil and her creative stories starring Marvin flow forth onto the pages. Then one fateful week Lizzie can't think of a single idea for her new school assignment. A hero eventually emerges and Lizzie realizes that having a sometimes annoying baby brother isn't necessarily a bad thing.

This amusing tale not only helps children appreciate their siblings but it also may inspire a new generation of writers. I was expecting a book about siblings but I wasn't expecting the amazingly creative ways Sullivan manages to make writing sound exciting for children. Seriously, where can we get our very own Princess Merriweather pencil topper like Lizzie's? Teachers and parents will find this book useful in helping children overcome writer's block by encouraging kids to write like Lizzie and describe their own personal experiences. Tricia Tusa happens to be one of my favorite illustrators and has a talent for bringing creative children characters to life (see my reviews of In a Blue Room or The Magic Hat). Her familiar, whimsical illustrations work perfectly in this story, and I especially love how she realistically includes multi-racial characters, even a minority teacher, in Lizzie's class. All of Lizzie's facial expressions are fantastic, especially those showing her exasperation and frustration with her brother. And once again I must mention Tusa's awesome illustrations of the Princess Merriweather pencil topper -- quirky perfection!


Like Lizzie, my daughter also loves to write and illustrate her own stories. Sometimes her stories include her brother, but I don't think she's ever turned him into a nasty character. I could see the wheels spinning in her head though as I read Sullivan's story aloud. I know she gets impatient with her little brother every once and awhile. She connected more deeply with this picture book than many others and it has already inspired her! Immediately after we read the story together, she grabbed a marker and some paper and set to work on her own book. While it didn't include her brother, she did say if she writes a story about her brother he'll be a great character. Awww, it just pulls at my heart strings! Lizzie, the main character in Once Upon a Baby Brother, is obviously is a good role model. However, I do think that a better title for this story would be "Once Upon a Little Brother" because the little brother in the story is more young toddler-aged than baby. Little brothers do indeed know exactly what buttons to push to aggravate their big sisters!

❖❖❖❖❖❖ Story Stretcher Project - Princess Merriweather Pencil Topper Craft ❖❖❖❖❖❖


We couldn't resist making our own Princess Merriweather pencil topper! It's always more fun to write when you have a fun writing instrument. My daughter went simple with this craft and drew her own princess (a ballerina version) on some card stock, then we taped the princess to a Number 2 pencil. Super cute, super easy and ready for some novel writing adventures!




Related Links:

Sarah Sullivan - Author Website
Mountain View - Sarah Sullivan's blog
Sarah Sullivan's printable bookmarks
Scholastic article - "Help your child overcome writer's block"




JKSCommunications has kindly offered to giveaway one copy of Once Upon a Baby Brother to a Brimful Curiosities reader.

To enter, leave a comment relevant to this post or share a sibling rivalry memory.
• 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/Canada
• Contest ends on Monday, June 21st, 2010 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (6/4/2010)

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

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

My giveaways:
Otto Grows Down by Michael Sussman (picture book) - Ends 6/14/10

Other book giveaways:
Are You Listening? - Book Giveaway Ends 6/14/10
Alternative ABCs by Eric Ruffing and Dave Parmley (Ammo Books) board book
Bonggamom Finds - Book Giveaway Ends 6/20/10
Angelina at the Palace by Katharine Holabird
Bonggamom Finds - Book Giveaway Ends 6/20/10
The Secret Lives of Princesses by Philippe Lechermeier, illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer
This Mom Loves - Book Giveaway Ends 6/17/10 Canada Only
Scholastic books giveaway
Tara's View on Books - Book Giveaway Ends 6/26/10 US/Canada
A Most Vivid Day by Justin Young
To Read, Or Not to Read - Book Giveaway Ends 6/5/10
Prize package of 5 books and 3 audio books for a variety of ages
Cynsations - Book Giveaway Ends 6/30/10 US
Swim the Fly by Don Calame (YA/teen)
An Island Life - Book Giveaway Ends 6/8/10 US
The Art of Shrek Forever After
The Children's Nook - Book Giveaway Ends 6/24/10 US
Bedtime for Mommy by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Kid's Buzz - Book Giveaway Ends ??
Middle Grade and Teen Books
Daddy Digest - Book Giveaway Ends 6/12/10 US
Kohl’s Cares for Kids Prize Pack
Hobo Mama Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 6/17/10 US/Canada/England
SteamPotVille by Steve Ouch
Dad of Diva's - Book Giveaway Ends 6/4/10
Max Spaniel set of books by David Catrow
Write for a Reader - Book Giveaway Ends 6/11/10 US
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott (YA/teen)
Go YAY! - Book Giveaway Ends 6/17/10 US
Silver Dolphin book of choice
AuthorsNow - Book Giveaway Ends 6/4/10
Faithful by Janet Fox (YA)
Grammy Reads - Book Giveaway Ends ??
The Fathers Are Coming Home, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Stephen Savage
ThatsIT Mommy- Book Giveaway Ends 6/9/10 US/Canada
Dear Dad & Handy Dad Books
5 Vinez Monkeys- Book Giveaway Ends 6/18/10 US
Eat! Move! Play! by Weight Watchers
Cool Baby Kid- Book Giveaway Ends 6/16/10 US
Begin Smart books (5 winners)
Muse Reviews- Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10 US
Marley and the Kittens by John Grogan
Jinxy Knows Best- Book Giveaway Ends 6/12/10 US
Compost Stew, written by Mary McKenna Siddals and illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Blogging Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 6/10/10 US/Canada
The Candy Fairies: Chocolate Dreams and Rainbow Swirl by Helen Perelman (easy readers)
Kaydence's Book Blog - Book Giveaway Ends 7/3/10 International
Various YA books
Minding Spot - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10 US
The Necromancer by Michael Scott and a Necromancer water bottle (tween/teen)
Mommy Reads Too Much - Book Giveaway Ends 6/13/10 US
The Necromancer by Michael Scott and a Necromancer water bottle (tween/teen)

LeapFrog's New Mobile Learning Device Giveaways:
One Moms World - Ends ??
3 Kids and Us - Ends 6/7
Mom in the City - Ends 6/15
Thrify Jinxy - Ends 6/28
The Shopping Mama - Ends 6/6
Bookroom Reviews - Ends 6/8
Next Kid Thing - Ends 6/6



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

May Winners!

It's time to announce the winners from the contests held in May. I'm about a week later than I wanted with this, but better late than never. I've started announcing the blog contest winners once a month, and it seems to be working well. Giveaways actually take quite a bit time of time to organize and conduct. Choosing the winners is one of my least favorite things to do, mostly because I wish everyone could win. Thanks to all that have entered and continue to comment on my Brimful Curiosities posts. I use Random.org to pick the winners. As always, all winners have or will be contacted by email. After the initial email they have 72 hours to get back to me before another winner is chosen. (Click on the image to enlarge the Random.org numbers.)

Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy

The winner is Shawna (comment #39).

The school winners of the Lands' End Way to Grow Sweepstakes have been posted. See them at http://www.landsend.com/thehub/way-to-grow/.


Reach for the Stars: and Other Advice for Life's Journey by Serge Bloch.

The winner is Hotsnotty2 (comment #18).


Random five inch animal from the YooHoo & Friends line.

The winner is icefairy (comment #62).