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: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/azjpvjoyx9vz67n/AAAgng3X4S2-OznOjZWjVjlza?dl=0.

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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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The BFG...Out Now!




One of my favorite books as a child was Roald Dahl's The BFG.  All three of the kids have read it as well and it is well loved book in our home.  When I heard the book was being made into a movie I was equal parts ecstatic and judgmental.  I was dying to see how The BFG would be brought to live but I was doubtful that anyone could create a movie that would do the wonderful book justice.

Over the weekend our entire family went to see The BFG and I am delighted to tell you that I LOVED the movie and it was as good as the book (FYI...I think this the first time I have ever said the movie was as good as the book!).  The kids and my husband adored it too.  If you have not had a chance to see it, please do and if you haven't read the book you absolutely must!  Check out a clip....

Like THE BFG on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebfgmovie  

Follow Walt Disney Studios on Instagram: https://instagram.com/disneystudios

Follow Walt Disney Studios on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disneystudios

Have you seen the movie yet?  If so, what did you think??  Let me know by commenting below!


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Reviewed by Mom....Back in Business!

Hi Readers!

I hope you are all enjoying summer and finding lots of time for fun and relaxation.  I am back after an extended hiatus and am looking forward to once again bringing you all the latest in products for you and the kids.  I have a bunch of great reviews and giveaways lined up so be sure to check back regularly for those.  Additionally, I have a great new contributor who you will be hearing from soon.  Chloe is a local teen who know all the buzz about what is currently happening with the younger set.  I am so excited about the content she will be bringing to you.

I have missed you all and am so glad to be back blogging and connecting with my followers.  Have a wonderful day and thanks for continuing to check in with me. 

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne....Review & Giveaway (5 winners!!)

Last week I got nothing done.  I wasn't sick or lazy or away on vacation.  I was lost in a book.  One of those books that keeps you from tackling your to-do list.  I love those kind of books don't you?  Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne is a must read this winter...one simply NOT to be missed. Here is the scoop...

Some things aren't meant to be remembered . . .

They're calling it the worst pileup in London history. Margaret Holloway is driving home, but her mind is elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter's acting class, the next day's meeting—when she's rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car seconds before it's engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.

Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something's wrong. She's having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that had been wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn't merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it has something to do with the man who saved her life.

As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth—from yourself?

My Thoughts:  As I said...I couldn't put this book down.  It was a mystery but not your average mystery....it was threaded with family drama and tension.  The author did a smashing job of weaving two different time frames into the story.  You flow from 1985 to the present day seamlessly which I thoroughly applaud.  I often find novels that switch timeframes can lose something in the telling but Ballantyne is a pro and the two different points of view only enhance the mystery and the story.

I found myself on the edge of my seat often during the book with a pit in my stomach both wanting to know what was going to happen next and not wanting to know at the same time.  Does that even make sense?!  I loved watching this mystery unfold from both points of view and I can  say that this book ranks right up there with The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl which I adored. 

If you are looking for a book to lose yourself in this winter this is the one.  I would also recommend this as a great gift for the book lovers in your life.  You can pick your copy up today on the Harper Collins website HERE.

Giveaway: I am thrilled to tell you that the publisher is giving FIVE Reviewed by Mom readers a copy of Everything She Forgot.  Thank you so much to the sponsor and good luck.  To enter, please use the Rafflecopter link.  a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

A Charlie Brown Christmas Snoopy Doghouse Edidtion....Review & Giveaway!

Now that Thanksgiving is past I am officially starting to think about Christmas.  Over the weekend we put up some Christmas lights and we started to pull out some indoor decorations too. The kids are super excited and can't wait to get everything all festive!  Something that helped get us in the holiday spirit was A Charlie Brown Christmas CD (The Snoopy Doghouse Edition).  Here is the scoop...


Ever since its debut in 1965, the Vince Guaraldi Trio s album A Charlie Brown Christmas has reigned as a Yuletide classic. The beloved Peanuts animated special from which it sprang was a sensation the first time it aired on CBS-TV, and so was its cool soundtrack by the veteran Bay Area pianist, which introduced countless children to the joys of jazz. Buoyed by annual airings of the program, the album has remained extremely popular ever since. A 1987 reissue went platinum as it sailed to No. 9 on Billboards pop album charts, an amazing achievement for any holiday collection.

The remastered and expanded CD edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas is the perfect gift for any dedicated Peanuts fan. Along with Guaraldi s classic original album (rendered in crystal-clear 24-bit stereo from the original analog tapes), this reissue contains three bonus tracks ( Greensleeves, Great Pumpkin Waltz, and Thanksgiving Theme ) and a 20-page booklet filled with iconic images from the program and in-depth liner notes by Guaraldi historian Derrick Bang, author of Vince Guaraldi at the Piano.

But what really sets this edition of A Charlie Brown Christmas apart from its predecessors is its deluxe packaging. It s called the Snoopy Doghouse Edition as the disc is housed in a customized sleeve that folds out to form a replica of Snoopy s colorfully decorated domicile and comes with cut-out replicas of the Peanuts gang Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, and Charlie Brown himself with stands for each figure so the entire package can sit beneath the tree while A Charlie Brown Christmas spins on the CD player. What better way to merrily celebrate the holidays?


Our Thoughts:  First of all, who doesn't love A Charlie Brown Christmas.  That program and the music that goes along with it is a classic and a must have at the holidays.  On top of being festive and nostalgic, this compilation is really outstanding.  It is jazzy and so well done that I dare you not to be swept up into the music.  The kids and I love this CD and it will be out all holiday season long! 

On top of the great music is the absolutely adorable packaging.  Check it out....
How cute is that?!  It is like  mini play set for the kids and my daughter especially loves playing with Snoopy and the gang.  This CD sells for less than $10 on Amazon and would make a great addition to your holiday music collection.....
 
 

Giveaway: I am so excited to tell you that one lucky Reviewed by Mom reader will win a copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas Snoopy Doghouse Edition! Thanks so much to the sponsor and good luck. Please use the Rafflecopter link to enter... a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

Thursday, November 26, 2015

What Makes You Thankful? #Suffragette Out Now (Giveaway!)....





Happy Thanksgiving, Readers.  First off, let me start by saying how very thankful I have to you all here visiting the site after such a long time.  I am coming up on 6 years here at Reviewed by Mom.....wow!  I wouldn't still be at it if you didn't keep coming back for more so thank you for that!!

As most people are today, I am thinking about the many things I have in my life to be thankful for.  My amazing family and friends and the basics that sadly many go without like a home, enough food and clothes that keep me warm.  I have much to be thankful for and to reflect on today. 

I am also reminded that I am lucky indeed to be a woman in the United States.  This year marks the 95th Anniversary of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement’s great victory, the e ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted women the right to vote.  Imagine a time when women were not allowed to vote?!  To have a voice??  It is truly despicable and I am in awe of the bravery of the strong woman who came together to change history for women. 

I am saddened when I think about other parts of the globe where women are still treated as second class citizens.  Check this out....


Imagine a world where you couldn't leave your home without a man's permission. For some women, that is their reality. The Suffragettes ignited the fight for women's equality and it's up to us to finish it. See the film, and take action at FightsNotOver.com
Posted by Suffragette on Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Clearly the #fightsnotover !  As you are counting your blessings today, take some time to think about the powerful women who made it possible for you (or the women in your life) to live freely.  I know I will also be reflecting one what I can do to keep the fight for women's rights going in parts of the world where there is still much inequality.

If you have not had the opportunity to check out Suffragette (in theaters now).  This film is a testament to the Women's Right Movement and the unstoppable women who paved the way for the rest of us.   

Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three–time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, lead the cast of a powerful drama about the women who were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality in early–20th–century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing Suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. When increasingly aggressive police action forces Maud and her dedicated fellow Suffragettes underground, they engage in a dangerous game of cat–and–mouse with the authorities, who are shocked as the women’s civil disobedience escalates and sparks debate across the nation. Inspired by true events, Suffragette is a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives.

Giveaway Alert:  To celebrate all we have to be thankful for and Suffragette, one lucky reader will win a Suffragette prize pack (includes a bag, charm bracelet, notebook and poster).  Thanks to the sponsor and good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Hee Haw Collection...Review & Giveaway!

I have such a fun DVD collection to tell you about today.... The Hee Haw Collection is out now and would make a great holiday gift.  Here is the scoop...

SETTLE BACK FOR PICKIN' AND GRINNIN', TALL TALES AND

 A STAR-SPANGLED LINE-UP FROM THE ORIGINAL DOWN-HOME COUNTRY VARIETY SHOW

 

Time Life invites home audiences back to rural Kornfield Kounty for some timeless, down-home entertainment with THE HEE HAW COLLECTION. The 3-disc collection features 5 episodes never-before-available at retail from the longest-running weekly syndicated series in television history. 

 

These vintage episodes from the late 60s and early 70s, rarely seen since their original broadcasts and feature all the Kornfield Kounty regulars (including co-hosts Roy Clark and Buck Owens) and their hilarious comedy plus country legends like Conway Twitty performing "Hello Darlin'," Merle Haggard singing his classic "Okie from Muskogie," Tammy Wynette performing her #1 hit "Ways to Love a Man," an unforgettable duet with Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn performing "Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries," plus other country legends like Charlie Rich, Hank Williams Jr. and many other chart-toppers.  Rife with pickin' and grinnin', singin' and spinnin' tall tales and corny jokes, the set also includes bonus interviews with show regulars including Roy Clark, Lulu Roman, George Lindsey, Charlie McCoy and Jim and John Hager,a s well as bonuses including all-time favorite comedy from the early years in "Hee Haw Laffs," featuring "Board Fence," "Cornfield," "Moonshiners," "Doctor Spot," "Old Philosopher," "General Store,"  "Haystack," "Schoolhouse" and other knee-slappers.

My Thoughts:  I vaguely remember Hee Haw reruns watched at my Nana's house when I was small.  I don't remember much about the show itself but what I do remember is the laughing from Nana and my aunts.  Those are happy memories for sure and watching these episodes now I know what they were giggling about.  Hee Haw is fun and silly and packed with great music.  Even though country music isn't my favorite style of music I still appreciate great musicians and Hee Haw managed to get them all onscreen at one time or another. 

Hee-Haw is a fun and timeless show that is meant to be watched again and again. If you have a music fan in your life this would be a perfect gift.  You can pick up your copy on Amazon HERE.

I am so excited to tell you that Time Life is giving one lucky Reviewed by Mom reader a copy of The Hee Haw Collection!  Good luck and please use the attached Rafflecopter form to enter.... a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It

The Wonder Years: The Complete Series! Available Now!

I have been writing here at Reviewed by Mom for more than 5 years.  I can't believe how fast that went!  I have worked with lots of great companies (big and small) and I still get excited when I see the mailman because it often means something great is coming my way that I then in turn get to share with you.  Sometimes my excitement about what is in the package makes me cartwheel more than others.  Take this recent delivery...

Do you know what this is readers!?  It is ALL 115 episodes of The Wonder Years together for the first time (EVER) and it is contained in a locker.  Adorable!  If I could have done a backflip I would have over this.  I LOVED The Wonder Years when I was growing up and I couldn't wait to dive back into the life of Kevin Arnold!  Here are the specifics....


For six seasons, The Wonder Years captured the angst of growing up in suburban middle-class America in the late '60s, as seen through the life and times of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage).  Audiences eagerly followed his evolution as a typical awkward teenager who remembered every moment of his transition from childhood with excruciating detail and remarkable hindsight.  From  his first kiss with Winnie Cooper (Danica McKellar) to his friendship with Paul Pfeiffer (Josh Saviano) and the ups and downs of the Arnold family, fans shared in laughter, love, and loss, but above all, wonder.  Now, the complete landmark series is available for the first time at retail in two deluxe collector's editions that contain all 115 episodes across 26 DVDs, along with over 23 hours of bonus features, which includes exclusive new interviews with the entire cast, the first cast reunion in more than 16 years, 11 newly-produced featurettes and much more!
 
THE COMPLETE SERIES INCLUDES:
All 115 Episodes on 26 DVDs in a slipcase box.
Two notebooks with detailed episode information.
Plus over 23 hours of bonus features including:
The first Cast Reunion in 16 years
Exclusive interviews with the creators, cast and crew
Newly-produced featurettes
And never-before-seen outtakes of Kevin and Winnie s first kiss

 
My Thoughts:  I knew I was going to love this before I even opened it and I was certainly not disappointed.  The Wonder Years is one of those classic shows that just gets better with time and still manages to stay relevant.  The Wonder Years was really a groundbreaking show with topics covering Kevin's coming of age, family life and relationships and the ways people grow and change through the years.  It is simply a must watch show and, if you watched it in the 80's and 90's like I did, it is without a doubt a must "re-watch" show.  It never gets old.
 
On top of the charming, moving and often funny moments in the episodes they feature some of the best music on a TV Show. The music is almost as good as the show! 
 
Even though The Wonder Years has been off the air for many years, I STILL remembered the last line of the show because is resonated with me even then and even more so now....
 
"Growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you're in diapers, the next day you're gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back... with wonder."
 
I think the writers nailed it with this line and with the entire series.  They took an "average " family and showed what made them extraordinary and it was magic.  Buy this DVD series for yourself or give it as a gift.  I promise you won't be disappointed!  You can buy it here from Amazon.  Happy Watching!
 

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Sugar N Sass Designs....Review and Giveaway!

I love to treat myself.  Too often I am busy, busy running around and burning the candle at both ends so when I get the chance to do something for myself I try and do it.  When I was contacted by Sugar N Sass Designs to check out their line of candles and soaps I jumped at the chance.  I just love the way a great scent can create an escape.

Sugar N Sass Designs were a new company to me so I did a little research before the products arrived.  The owner, a lovely woman named Kara, created the her business after learning her son had autism.  With his diagnosis, Kara found that she became a "label reader" (I am too!!) to learn what kinds of things her family was putting in their body or ingesting.  This label reading led her to discover that often times there are some pretty scary things being eaten, breathed in or put upon our bodies.  Hence Sugar N Sass Designs.  At Sugar N Sass Designs you will find that you can pronounce and recognize all the ingredients and that they are wholesome, all natural and good for our bodies and the environment.  Right off the bat I loved the company.  I love a mom business owner and I really love one that has the same goals of health and wellness that I do!

I was sent two products....a candle and a bar of soap.  Let's talk about the candle first.  Like I mentioned earlier, I love how a great scent can really transport you.  I like to have one burning most of the time and I find that a scent can help boost my mind or spirit when I need it.  Spruceberry was the scent I was sent.  Here is the scoop...

Bring home the fragrance of the holidays with our Spruceberry soy candle! Made from 100% soy wax, this clean burning candle offers a delightful blend of spruce, raspberries, cranberries… the perfect mix of woodsy and sweet. The 4 oz tin makes the candle a perfect addition to any decor and with proper candle care you will get 15-20 hours of burn time.

I love this candle.  Obviously I like that it is burning 100% natural ingredients so I know we are not breathing in any nasty chemicals.  What I love just as much though is the crisp, unique scent that fills my home every time I light it.  The combination of scents is really lovely and not one bit overpowering.   When this one is gone I will be ordering another for sure.  I will order this scent but I also want to try some of the other offerings like Lemon Pound Cake and Holiday Sparkle.

In addition to the candle I was also sent Orange Olive Oil Soap.  Here is the scoop...

A cleansing, lathering soap that will invigorate you with the refreshing, sweet scent of orange.  This soap contains coconut oil, which helps provide lather, and olive oil and shea butter, which help provide moisture.

This soap became a quick favorite for me.  I find the orange scent to be really great and energizing (a perfect way to start the day) and while it cleanses it also leaves my skin soft and not a bit dried out which tends to be a big problem for me this time of year.  The icing on the cake?  The bar is only $7 making it super affordable.  As with the candle, I will be ordering another for sure when this runs out but might also try some of the other scents like apricot or coffee.

As you can easily see, Sugar N Sass Designs has a fan in me.  I love the idea behind the products and I adore the  products themselves.  You can connect with Sugar N Sass Designs in the following ways...

Website:  http://www.sugarnsassdesigns.com/
Etsy Shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/SugarNSassDesigns#
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=bl_dp_s_web_0?ie=UTF8&search-alias=aps&field-keywords=Sugar+N+Sass+Designs

Kara has also started a Kickstarter campaign that I would invite you to check out as well.  This is to help bring to life the "Pure and Simple" line....https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/457310609/pure-and-simple-candles-pure-and-simple.

Giveaway Alert: I am so thrilled to tell you that Sugar N Sass Designs is giving one lucky Reviewed by Mom reader the products a I have enjoyed so much....the Spruceberry Candle and the Orange and Olive Oil Soap.  To enter please use the attached Rafflecopter link.  Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway Pin It