Monday, August 22, 2016

Saving Abby....Review and Giveaway!

This summer has been a wonderful one full of books.  My kids are getting a little older and when they are busy playing I can often be found on the porch with a book.  It is lovely!  One great read I just finished up is "Saving Abby" by Steena Holmes.  Here is the scoop...

A children’s book illustrator, all Claire Turner ever wanted was to be a mother. Finally, after years of heartbreak following her unexpected teenage pregnancy and giving her baby up for adoption, Claire is ready to have another child with her loving and doting husband Josh. But after six years of trying to conceive, Claire and Josh have finally accepted that she will never be pregnant with a child of their own. Yet once they give up hope, the couple gets the miracle they’ve been waiting for. For the first few months of her pregnancy, Claire and Josh are living on cloud nine. But when she begins to experience debilitating headaches, blurred vision, and even fainting spells, the soon-to-be mother goes to the doctor and receives a terrifying diagnosis. Since any treatment could put their unborn baby’s life at risk, the Turners must carefully weigh their limited options. And as her symptoms worsen, Claire will have to make an impossible decision: Save her own life, or save her child’s?

My Thoughts:  Oh boy. This one was an emotional rollercoaster of a a good way.  Holmes is one of those wonderful authors who can weave a tale that pulls you right into the book, somehow making you feel like you actually "know" the characters.  I found myself pulling for Claire and Josh and feeling their agony over the infertility and their joy of finally becoming pregnant.  When Claire gets her diagnosis I am NOT ashamed to say I was a blubbering mess.  Holmes made me feel that attached to her!  This book will tug at your heart strings and keep you furtively flipping pages until the very end.  If you are looking for a great book to get lost in, I would highly recommend Saving Abby!  You can pick up your copy today on Amazon...

You can also learn more about the author on here website here.
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I am so excited to tell you that the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, is giving one lucky Reviewed by Mom reader a copy of Saving Abby. Thanks so much to the sponsor and good luck! Pin It

Weekend Adventure....Mt. Kineo!

Last night we got back from an extra long weekend visiting Moosehead Lake.  We go every year and we absolutely love it there.  It is the perfect place to get away from it all and unplug and spend some real quality time as a family.

This year we canoed, fished, swam and played lots of board games together.  It was wonderful.  In years past we have boated to Mt. Kineo but we have never hiked but this year we decided to hike to the top and I am so glad we did.  The hike took about 3 hours round trip and it was wonderful.  We saw rabbits, grouse and the most beautiful scenery.  There were a few spots that made me a bit nervous but the kids did amazing and I was so  proud of them!!  Hiking as a family is one of my new favorite pass times with them.  There is something about tackling a mountain together that brings you close together with a sense of   pride and accomplishment.  I can't wait for our next adventure!

If you are interested in learning more about Mount Kineo you can visit the State of Maine website here.  I have lots of great photos from our long weekend and will try and post some more later but if you are considering a trip to the Mooshead area, I would highly recommend Wilson's. This family run cabin rental compound is amazing and you won't be disappointed.  Visit Wilson's here.

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McDonald's Summer Fare....Review!

We have taken a few road trips this summer and that has been lots of fun.  We have seen some beautiful places and spent some great quality time together  We have also, like many "road tripping" families, eaten lots of quick and easy food.  Whenever we suggest grabbing food on the go, the kids almost always want McDonald's.  Like with most kids, it is a big favorite and it is always a quick and easy option.

I was recently contacted by McDonald's to check out their summer offerings....lobster rolls and blueberry and creme pies so the next time we were on the run with the kids we decided to make a stop at McDonald's to try out these new summertime eats.  The kids stuck with their "usual" orders of nuggets but my husband and I ordered the lobster roll and pie.  Because I don't eat lobster (shh....don't tell!  I am pretty sure liking "lobstah" is a real Mainer must!) I let my husband be the judge of the lobster roll and I had the blueberry pie for lunch.  Pie for lunch?!  Life is good!

The lobster roll is 100% real North Atlantic Lobster and this mattered in a big way to my husband.  My husband grew up in a fishing family and starting to work on a fishing boat when he was a kid.   When he heard "McDonald's Lobster Roll" he was suspicious because he KNOWS good lobster rolls.  To be honest, I felt nervous for McDonald's with this tough critic onboard.  Something I didn't feel nervous about was the price.  The lobster roll is only $8.99 which is a steal and you can make it a value meal with fries and a soda for under $12!

The lobster roll arrived on a toasty roll in a bed of lettuce with a very generous serving of lobster.  It looked great but what would my husband think?  His first word?  "Wow"!  He was prepared to be disappointed after years of lobster right off the boat but he was very pleased with the quality and the taste and would order one again.  That is the highest praise from someone who has stood in lines that snaked around lobster shacks for a famed lobster roll!

Now, I am sorry to say I did not take a picture of my pie.  It was long gone before I realized I hadn't snapped a photo!  I use the term "my pie" loosely because as soon as the kids saw what I was eating they had to "help" me by trying it out too (thanks kids!).  This flaky crust pie, bursting with blueberries just screamed summertime and was gone in about a minute!

If you are looking for a summertime treat be sure to head over to McDonald's and try their lobster roll and blueberry pie before this limited time offering is gone.  You won't be disappointed!  Also, be sure to follow McDonald's on Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure:  I was provided with product coupons in order to facilitate this review but the thoughts and opinions provided are 100% my own.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't gotten to it to make more posts but I guess here's my very first one! I hope you enjoy it and let me know what else you would like to hear! YouTube has been a huge part in my life not only because it's entertaining and fun to watch but also has something to do with the generation I live in. YouTube is a giant place with many different types of YouTubers. I really enjoy watching the comedy side of YouTube and the more serious sides of it. I wanted to suggest a really amazing YouTuber, Savannah brown. Savannah brown talks a lot about the sensitive controversial things around the world and has a very positive attitude. She sometimes talks about subjects to the camera, she also does some singing on the side, as well as phenomenal poetry which I highly recommend checking out. I really think she's trying to reach out to the teen audience and is a little mature for younger audiences, but I would highly recommend this YouTuber who talks more seriously about issues. Thanks for reading! Pin It

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Marial Arts Kid....Review & Giveaway!

Our family loves movie nights.  We are very active and a regular movie night helps us all to settle down, snuggle up and connect over a shared flick.  I was recently sent The Martial Arts Kid to watch with the family and my boys couldn't wait to pop this one in.  Here is the scoop...

A troubled teen (Jansen Panettiere, younger brother of Hayden) resists the tough love approach of his family and the martial arts community, but ultimately finds his way in the action-packed, family friendly film, The Martial Arts Kid, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and digital download July 19 from Traditionz Entertainment.

The Martial Arts Kid was awarded five Doves by the Dove Foundation – its highest possible score – and is Family Approved for ages 12+; won four awards in film festival competition, including a Platinum Remi Award at the 2015 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival; and was released theatrically in 20 cities in fall 2015.

SYNOPSIS: When Robbie runs into trouble once again in his Ohio hometown, his beleaguered grandmother sends him to spend the summer with his aunt and uncle, who owns a martial arts school in a sleepy, Florida beach community. When things spiral out of control and desperately wanting to prove himself, Robbie reluctantly turns to his uncle for help.

ALSO STARRING:  Teen actress Kathryn Newton, who starred in Paranormal Activity 4 and has been seen in such hit films as Bad Teacher and in roles on such popular television series as Supernatural; Don “The Dragon” Wilson, an 11-time world champion kickboxer who has scored 47 knockouts, is a European Martial Arts Hall of Famer and a veteran star of more than 30 action films, including such box office hits as Batman Forever and Say Anything; and Cynthia Rothrock, who holds six black belts and is one of the first female martial arts action stars, with over 50 movies to her credit.

Our Thoughts:  We chose to watch this movie with our ten year old boys after our 6 year old daughter went to bed.  The boys loved it.  The martial arts scenes were exciting without being violent and the message behind the movie is using martial arts as form of discipline and not for violence.  It definitely was reminiscent of what the Karate Kid was to us 1980's kids but I really appreciated the positive messages about bullying, family connections and friendship. This movie is a great way to start the bullying conversation with your children and that is just what we did in our home.  The boys are also now very curious about martial arts and we just might be trying that out now as well!

The Martial Arts Kid is a great family friendly movie that gives positive messages while still remaining action packed. I recommend this one for sure.  Pick up your copy today on Amazon.

I am so pleased to tell you that one lucky Reviewed by Mom reader will win a copy of The Martial Arts Kid!  Thanks so much to the sponsor and good luck!
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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Spots On! Review and Giveaway!

Are you looking for a fun new DVD for your child's collection?  Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir:  Spots On!  will be available on August 30th and it is adorable!  Here is the scoop...

Get ready for a high-flying collection of heroic adventures that’ll have you bugging out! The action-packed CGI animated TV series Miraculous™: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Spots On! is coming to DVD on August 30, 2016, from Shout! Kids, in collaboration with ZAG. The release includes six incredible episodes as seen on Nickelodeon, and comes complete with episode animatics and a French language track – très bon! A top ranking show in every TV market and now airing worldwide, fans can trust that this Miraculous™ release is Spots On superhero fun.

When the treacherous Hawk Moth uses his evil energy to transform the citizens of Paris into super villains, only two amazing heroes stand in his way: Ladybug and Cat Noir! With the help of their magical Kwamis, this incredible duo team up to outwit Hawk Moth and keep their city safe… but their biggest challenge might be getting through school. You see, Ladybug and Cat Noir are actually Marinette and Adrien, a pair of young students who live what seems to be a normal life. But even for these two, it’s hard to juggle schoolwork, friends, family and growing up when every day is a super-powered adventure!

Miraculous™: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir: Spots On! episodes include:
“The Evillustrator,” “Rogercop,” “Dark Cupid,” “Horrificator,” “Darkblade,” and “The Mime”!

Bonus Feature:
Episode Animatics

Our Thoughts:  This show is cute and fun and my 6 year old daughter loved it.  The animation is very well done and the characters were charming and engaging.  It was also nice for a show to feature female superheroes!  The show really touches on all the things little girls love...adventure, fun, animals, dress up and jewelry.  You really can't go wrong with this series!  Pick up your copy today on Amazon....
I am so pleased to tell you that Shout Factory is giving one lucky Reviewed by Mom winner  a coy of this adorable DVD.  Thanks so much to the sponsor and good luck!  a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Elena of Avalor & Girl Scouts Team Up!

One of the top shows these days in my house is Elena of Avalor.  My daughter whos is almost 7 loves it.   I was really excited to learn that her beloved show has teamed up with The Girls Scouts of the USA.  I was a Girl Scout growing up and my daughter is a Daisy and I think it is a wonderful program.  Here is the scoop...

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Disney Channel are teaming up to inspire girls and their families to practice leadership. The collaboration brings GSUSA’s focus on leading like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)TM, the Girl Scout way, and Disney Channel’s recently launched animated television series Elena of Avalor into action with the debut of The Elena of Avalor Leadership Guide by Girl Scouts and Disney Channel. Available in English and Spanish beginning today, the Guide showcases leadership activities and conversations parents and caregivers can engage their preschool through fifth-grade girls in to boost their everyday leadership skills and prepare them to create the future they imagine.

“Since 1912, Girl Scouts has proudly fostered a tradition of excellence that prepares girls, with the support of their families, to boldly take the lead in their lives in the ‘Girl’ Scout way,” said Sylvia Acevedo, interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “Recognizing that leadership development for youth begins early-on, we are particularly excited to work with Disney Channel on this collaboration tied to Elena of Avalor, a wonderfully innovative program that emphasizes the importance of embracing the mantle of leadership to a new generation. Because, as we say at Girl Scouts, 'If the world needs more leaders, then we need more Girl Scouts!'”

Studies show early experiences in life impact leadership potential, and the family setting is the first place a child learns about how to be a strong leader.1 As uncovered by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), the disconnect between the command-and-control definition of leadership and the more aspirational types of leadership points to potential pitfalls in communicating with girls about the benefits of leadership development programs2. Additionally, girls are not confident about having the essential skills and competencies they think of as most important for a leader2. GSUSA, with its established legacy in preparing girls to be leaders, believes in a holistic approach to leadership, which is a key component of the new leadership guide.

"As we launch Elena of Avalor on Disney Channel, nothing is more important to us than using the impact that we know television has on our audience to showcase strong, ambitious role models for young girls. Our work with GSUSA will give us the chance to amplify that message and be a part of the largest community of young female leaders, by providing materials and inspiration that demonstrate every girl has the power to lead," said Nancy Kanter, executive vice president, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. 

Also debuting is the inaugural “Elena of Avalor—Scepter of Light Award," which will be presented to two Girl Scout Gold Award recipients. The Gold Award is the highest recognition a Girl Scout can earn, with recipients demonstrating extraordinary leadership through “Take Action projects” and exemplifying compassion, critical thinking, collaboration, and courage—the very leadership qualities that Elena of Avalor models. Award recipients will participate in events including Elena’s Royal Welcome at Walt Disney World in Orlando this August and a GSUSA event in Chicago in the fall.

Later this year, as part of Disney ABC Television Group's Be Inspired pro-social efforts, Disney Channel and Disney Junior will air leadership-themed pro-social interstitials featuring Girl Scouts alongside Princess Elena, as well as kick off a user-generated contest encouraging girls to share how they exemplify being a G.I.R.L. on International Day of the Girl (October 11) and give them the opportunity to be featured on air.

Disney's Elena of Avalor follows the story of Elena, a brave and adventurous teenager who saves her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen. Set in Avalor, an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, Elena's journey will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience, and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders. The series airs Fridays at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Disney Channel. 
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Friday, July 29, 2016

National Geographic Kids Review & Prize Pack Giveaway!

As you all know by know I love books and I have tried to mold my children into book lovers as well.  I have figured out that the best way to keep kids interested in reading is to provide them with fun and interesting reading material.  One of my favorite "go to" books come from Nation Geograpic.  All three of my kids have long been fans for the fun facts that National Geographic Kids always provide.  When I was offered the opportunity to review several new titles we all jumped at the chance.  Here is what is new from one of our favorites.....

Real or Fake? by Emily Krieger (ages 8-12) - NEW SERIES ALERT! -  Can you mail an unpackaged coconut via the United States Postal Service? Are tiger cubs born furless and without stripes?  Did China build a secret city for 1,000 people on the sea floor? Is there really a type of bird with tiny, useless wings, hairlike feathers and nostrils at the END of its beak or is it just a hoax? Real or Fake tests your detective skills to determine which stories are real and which, in fact, are fake (oh, and yes, you CAN mail a coconut, China did NOT build an underwater city and that bird is not a myth!  It is a kiwi!).  Also included are history's greatest hoaxes, secrets behind a good fake, internet urban legends, and crazy headlines.  

Our Thoughts:  This is a FUN book!  We took this along on a car ride and the kids amused themselves by reading these aloud and laughing.  They all loved trying to decide if the stories or "facts" were real or fake.  This is a book the whole family will enjoy.

Mastermind by Stephanie Warren Drimmer (ages 8-12) - NEW SERIES ALERT! - In this interactive book kids learn about what type of thinker they are and are given the chance to exercise different parts of their brains with games, tests and puzzles.  The cheeky narrator and self-proclaimed "Mastermind" Ima Genius and her talking dog, Atom, guide the reader through short and snappy explanations of the science behind why the brain does what it does and how it affects the senses, spatial reasoning, language, memory and problem solving. As kids work their way through the book completing experiments, brain teasers, mazes, quizzes and games, their efforts (and smarts!) are rewarded with a Certificate of Mental Achievement declaring them as a Certified Mastermind.  Rich in content, humor, graphics and fascinating science, Mastermind is this summer's ultimate boredom buster -- here is a link to a few spreads from this stand-out title:

Our Thoughts:  As a mom I really appreciated a workbook that both got the mind working AND was fun.  Let's face it...a standard school workbook is not really what kids want to be doing over the summer but Mastermind is far from standard.  The books is fun, engaging and kept my son busy for long stretches of time while exercising his brain.  My son (a "Marie Curie" according to the book!) enjoyed all the puzzles and games.  This is a really great way to keep kids thinking over summer break.

National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017  (ages 8-12) -- The world's best-selling almanac for kids is back with new content, new features and an interactive Almanac Newsmaker Challenge activity that encourages kids to make their own time capsule.  This latest edition of the New York Times best selling book is THE gold standard in nonfiction "edutainment" and features not only the latest discoveries in the worlds of technology, conservation and nature, but also grabs kids with cool weird-but-true facts, activities to keep 'em busy all summer long and amazing animals from around the world. 

Our Thoughts:  We have had previous editions of this book and it is always a hit.  Filled with fun facts and vivid  photos this is a great teaching tool for kids and a great book for the whole family to enjoy.  There are quizzes throughout the book which makes it interactive as well (always big in our house). 

Everything Sports (ages 8-12) - Perfect for reluctant readers and just in time for the Rio Olympics, this book has it all --  from archery to zip lining this book covers EVERYTHING about the world's favorite team and individual sports. Readers won't stop until they've learned everything there is to know about the history, rules and regs, training, and practice of dozens of athletic pursuits. A Hall of Fame profiles the giants in downhill skiing, hockey, gymnastics, football and more and there is even a quiz kids can take to see if they'd make a good ref.  Packed with big, bold pictures and graphics and featuring a diverse array of athletes (men and women of all races, young and old,) Everything Sports not only includes the most popular sports such as baseball, basketball, football, soccer, tennis, but also features the more extreme and quirkier sports like parkour, wakeboarding, fencing, curling, and table tennis. The book also dedicates several pages to the Olympics.

Our Thoughts: My nearly 10 year old twin boys are obsessed with sports so this one was a slam dunk.  The pictures are great, the book includes quizzes and I really, really loved how the book highlighted a huge variety of sports.  From football to fencing and everything in between, you child can read about how there really IS a sport for everyone.

By now I am sure you can tell these books were a big hit in our home.  I really can't recommend this collection enough. It can be tough to get  kids to commit to learning and reading over summer break but National Geographic Kids manages to make it easy.  Visit the attached links to order from Amazon today or visit   your local bookstore.

I am so pleased to tell you that National Geographic Kids is giving one lucky RBM reader a prize pack containing all 4 of the above books (ARV $49). To enter please use the Rafflecopter link below (US only please).  Good luck!

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Contributing Author

Hello everyone! My name is Chloe Dennis and I’m very excited to be a part of this blog and bring a new perspective on social media and other products! As a teen who grew up with social media, I’ve seen many different personalities, views, and seen both positive and negative effects on society. Despite the fact that some parents hear about the negative sides of social media, I have spent a long time building up a group of YouTubers, Instagram users, bloggers, and various internet personalities that have a positive attitudes and messages.
My tastes are very diverse and always changing. Some of my favorite topics that I will share are; photography, DIY, music, tea, candles, comedy, equality, and teen stress/anxiety. In addition to covering these topics I will start reviewing different social media personalities, blogs, and social media accounts. I can wait to get started on “reviewed by mom” and I hope to hear more about what topics you might want me to cover, thank you Kristin for this opportunity!
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