Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Promo Blitz: "Precious Bones," a Young-Adult Book by Mika Ashley-Hollinger


Young Adult
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Meet ten-year-old Bones, whose playground is the Florida swamps, brimming with mystical witches, black bears, alligators and bobcats. Bones’ father, Nolay, a Miccosukee Indian, is smart and mischievous. Her Mama, practical as corn bread, can see straight into Bones’ soul.

It’s summer, and Bones is busy hunting and fishing with her best friend, Little Man. But then two Yankee real estate agents trespass on her family’s land, and Nolay scares them off with his gun. When a storm blows in and Bones and Little Man uncover something horrible at the edge of the Loo-chee swamp, the evidence of foul play points to Nolay. The only person who can help Nolay is Sheriff LeRoy, who’s as slow as pond water. Bones is determined to take matters into her own hands. If it takes a miracle, then a miracle is what she will deliver.

Praise for Precious Bones:

“…a tale that will already hold high interest for nature-loving readers longing for their own wild playgrounds.”—The Center for Children’s Books  

“The names of the characters alone make this a novel worth reading. How can you resist Bones, Little Man, Nolay, Soap Sally and Mr. Speed?!? Each character is as distinctive as the name they carry and the adventures they have.”—Random Acts of Reading  

Precious Bones is a novel filled with adventure and mystery, as well as fascinating glimpses of its distinctive setting.”—Kevin Delecki, BookPage  

“I won’t be the last person to compare Mika Ashley-Hollinger’s amazing debut novel, Precious Bones, to Harper Lee’s iconic To Kill a Mockingbird.”—Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink  

“An intriguing debut, written lovingly to a way of life now lost.”—Booklist  

“It’s a rich stew, including hearty dollops of mystery and suspense.”—The Horn Book  

“Her voice is strong and lyrical, mixing regional syntax and dialect with lovely descriptions of the beauty she sees as she hunts, fishes, observes and explores in this mystical place.”—Kirkus Reviews  

“Like an age-appropriate To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s Bones’s interactions with well-developed, often-eccentric characters that shape this story.”—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

“Mika Ashley-Hollinger’s debut book is full of suspense and surprise… I love Bones’ easy-going nature and adventurous spirit. She’s ready to rush off into battle to defend herself and those she loves, no matter the dangers. And I want her pet raccoon, too!"—Jack and Jill Magazine

About the Author

Mika Ashley-Hollinger was born and raised in the small community of Florida.  PRECIOUS BONES is written in tribute of a time and a way of life that no longer exist.

Contact Links

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (August 27, 2016)

Thanks for joining us for the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky, which is open all week! We're due for a rainy weekend here in south Florida, so it's a great time to stay indoors and enter some giveaways! I hope you'll join me. Check back daily to see what's been added to the linky below, as well as to my right sidebar. If you're hosting a giveaway, please share it with us in the linky, and don't forget to tell your social media friends/fans about this page.







Is Your Water Safe for Your Family? Find Out with an At-Home Testing Kit from TestAssured

Keeping our families safe and healthy is of the highest priority, and recent headlines have shown us the importance of being assured that our water is safe to drink. Fortunately, that is easy to do with a TestAssured home water test. I was sent a complete water analysis test kit for review, and I was amazed to find that it has 10 different tests! They include:
  • Lead
  • Bacteria
  • Pesticides
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Nitrates & Nitrites
  • Chlorine
  • pH Levels
  • Alkalinity
  • Hardness

It was actually kind of fun performing the tests, like doing a science experiment! Most of the tests were as simple as dunking the test strip into a small amount of tap water and reading the results after a short period of time. Only one test (bacteria) required a 48-hour wait to read the results.

The results were super-easy to read with the helpful instructions provided. For example, our bacteria test, shown below, turned the water purple, which was great news considering the results below:

Purple Color = Negative Result
No Bacteria was detected in your water sample.

Yellow Color = Positive Result
This means it is very likely that potentially harmful bacteria was detected. Further testing is highly recommended.

For the other tests, it was just a matter of matching the color of the test strip to the charts provided.




We were thrilled to see that all of our tests showed that our city water is safe to drink! That really gives us peace of mind as parents.

If you'd like to test your water at home, please visit www.watertestingkits.com. The kit I used, with 10 different tests, is made in the U.S. and is only $29.99! I think that's a fantastic value. Shipping in the United States is free, and they even have a 100% Money Back Guarantee!



Disclosure: A complimentary product sample was provided to facilitate my honest review.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back to School with New Products from Post-it Brand!

I don't know how our family ever survived without Post-it Notes! It seems like we use them constantly at work, at home and for school. And we have so much fun seeing what new products are coming out from Post-it Brand each year. Check out some of the fantastic new additions to their product line this year -- just in time for going back to school!

Post-it Pop-up Note Camera Dispenser
Great gift for those who are into photography!

Post-it Pop-up Note Polka Dot Purse Dispenser
Little girls or fashionistas will love this purse!

Post-it Brand World of Color Collections featuring Miami
I love the bright colors!

Post-it Metallic Notes Cube
These are so cool. They'd look great on my desk at work!

Post-it Shaped Notes
My kids are crazy about these shaped notes! I also use them to sneak notes into their lunch bags!

Post-it Notes-to-Go
Do Post-it Notes get destroyed in your child's backpack or your purse? That won't happen anymore with these adorable containers to keep your Post-it Notes looking great.

Post-it Weekly Calendar
I love a weekly calendar. And when the week is done, tear it off and start a new one!

Post-it Dry Erase Surface (rolls and sheets)
These are so clever! Cut them to just the right size for lockers and other surfaces!

Post-it Magnet Pad
This is a must-have for the front of the refrigerator to keep a running grocery list!

Post-it Flags and Tabs
These are perfect for students to help keep their notebooks organized.

These products are so much fun -- and useful, too! The kids are heading back to school, so it's time to stock up on Post-it items to help them stay organized. Be sure to get some for your home, too! Visit www.post-it.com to see the full line of Post-it Brand products and find out where you can purchase your favorite items.




Disclosure: I received complimentary product samples to facilitate my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

What’s the Secret to Taming Sibling Rivalry? Guest Post by Patty Wipfler, Hand in Hand Parenting + GIVEAWAY (5 Winners)

By Patty Wipfler, Hand in Hand Parenting
Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges. Copyright © Hand in Hand Parenting, 2016
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It’s the one thing we hope won’t happen when another child arrives in our families, but for most of us, sibling rivalry is an issue. Here’s what you can do to calm those sibling stresses.

Watch for Triggers
Notice what likely “fight times” are. Sometimes it’s car rides, sometimes it’s during before-dinner play, and sometimes it’s when you’ve left them in a room together for more than five minutes. You know very well the patterns of upset they’ve developed.

It’s better to accept that these fights might be brewing, rather than wish they wouldn’t happen. Being prepared helps us keep a level head when a struggle erupts.

Get on Their Level
When their “gas gauge” is nearing empty, it’s time to put in more adult attention. You can fill up their capacity for tolerance and flexibility with one another. If their sense of connection with you is strong, they are better able to deal with whatever usually sets them off around their sibling.

It pays to plan. If your children traditionally get into trouble right after you bring them home in the evening, try getting down on the floor to play with them right when you walk in the door and re-establish your relaxed and warm connection with each of them. You may need to have snacks like carrot sticks and peanut butter in the car on the way home to handle any immediate hunger problems, and then dinner can be cooked after playful connections have been made.

Games like, “I have ten kisses for each of you” where you try—clumsily, playfully, and often in vain—to deposit your kisses on elbows or ears can turn into contests that put your children on one side “against” you. This gets them collaborating and brings lots of laughter and reassurance after a day of being separated. Sometimes, children will work together to “keep you away,” strengthening their bond as powerful and clever children able to evade the kisses of their bumbling but lovingly determined parent.

Hear Them Out
If a dispute occurs, let them have their say. Whether you agree or not, whether what they are saying is “true” or not, it can be very helpful letting them share their feelings. If one runs off upset, you can follow them and sympathize with their issues. Just letting them offload like this can go far in releasing the tension that makes things difficult between them. When the verbal blowup is over, it’s done. Let it go. Think of it as trash that needed to be cleared out so your children now have a cleaner, more pleasant place to play.

Here’s How it Can Work:
Here’s the story of one father who prepared himself mentally, and the good results he got from the listening he was able to do because he was ready for “trouble.”

My son, who is older, and daughter were sitting at the table. It was dinnertime, and my son almost always finds a way to get upset with his sister at dinner! I prepared myself mentally beforehand, telling myself that their fight was going to happen, and that I could intervene without getting angry.

I sat my son right next to my daughter, instead of sitting between them—which I often do to try to keep a fight from happening. We hold hands before a meal, and take a moment to give thanks. So I said, “OK, let’s hold hands.” My son immediately protested. I said, as gently as I could. “Come on, hold her hand now.” That’s all it took to get them going.

My son said, “Don’t force me!” And I said, “I’m not forcing you, but it would be good to hold your sister’s hand.” I didn’t make him do it, but I didn’t give up on the idea that he could do it. He began to cry and ran from the table. I followed after him into the next room, and he cried, saying that how his sister always hurts him and teases him and kicks him. I kept quiet about the things I know he does to her and didn’t argue at all, just listened to the wrongs he felt.

He cried for a long time. He didn’t come back to the table a completely loving brother, but later that night, I heard him talking to her very sweetly, saying, “Do you want me to pick you up? Want me to carry you?” Normally he doesn’t want to get physically close to her at all. And as I do more of this listening, I see that they’re starting to play together more, and he’s hugging her sometimes. It’s unbelievable, actually! I’m really excited that things are loosening up between them.

It’s a real challenge for us because we are so tired of their fights and their attitudes toward each other. It’s hard to be kind and gentle when the fights begin. But we’re getting the payoff, bit by bit.

Patty Wipfler and Tosha Schore are the authors of Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges.

To learn more about this unique approach to relationships in the family and get your own copy of Listen, click here.

Click here to sign up for Patty's course, Taming Sibling Rivalry, which will help you build the skills and understanding you need to truly mend your children’s relationships with one another, and with you.


ABOUT THE BOOK:
LISTEN: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges (Aug 23, 2016) is designed to share Patty Wipfler’s more than 40 years of unique experience working with families, parents, children and therapists to build strong emotional connections in a family that leads to unbreakable bonds that truly last a lifetime. In LISTEN, Patty provides a parenting toolbox with tips for everything from helping your child through the fear of doctors or accidents to teaching them to accept the differences between people. She offers successful strategies to tackle homework conflicts, child care challenges and sibling rivalries. With skill and wisdom, Patty helps you build confidence in your child and learn how to truly listen to your teenager when they are going through the older version of a temper tantrum.  

ABOUT PATTY WIPFLER: Patty Wipfler is the founder and program director of Hand-in-Hand Parenting, a non-profit established to support parents with the insights, skills and tools to build meaningful connections that parents and children need to thrive. 

Social Media information:
Twitter:  @ListenToKids

GIVEAWAY

Enter for the chance to win 1 of 5 complimentary copies of the book, LISTEN: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges. This giveaway is open to residents in the United States & Canada and ends at 11:59 PM ET on September 6, 2016. Enter through the Rafflecopter form below. 

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Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. This post contains an affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission if a purchase is made through the link. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Super Saturday Giveaway Linky (August 20, 2016)

Thanks for joining us for the Super Saturday Giveaway Linky, which is open all week! If you're here to find some great giveaways, you've come to the right place! Check back daily to see what's been added to the linky below, as well as to my right sidebar. If you're hosting a giveaway, please share it with us in the linky, and don't forget to tell your social media friends/fans about this page. Have a great week!






A Must-Have for Your Child’s Lunch Bag: Fruit Shoot!

I’m always looking for great products to include in my kids’ school lunches, so I was pleased to hear that Fruit Shoot, one of the top kids’ brands for parents in Europe, is now available in the U.S. -- just in time for back-to-school season! A refreshing fruit juice drink, Fruit Shoot is made with real juice from concentrate and contains no artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. It comes in six delicious flavors: Strawberry & Raspberry; Berry Burst; Orange & Mango; Pink Lemonade; Apple; and, Wild Berry Grape.

This was my boys’ first week of school, and they were delighted to take a Fruit Shoot in their lunch each day. The brightly colored bottles were very appealing, and they told me that all of the flavors were yummy! I love that Fruit Shoot is made with plenty of water to help my kids refuel. It even has a re-sealable sports cap, so they can finish them later if they don’t have time at lunch without worrying about spills in their backpack. Fruit Shoots are ideal for taking to sporting events or even just outdoor play.

Fruit Shoot believes that kids who are given the freedom to play adventurously are happier, healthier and more confident. That’s why Fruit Shoot is asking parents to give their kids a Fun-Filled Hour of Play each day after school as a vital, healthier alternative to screen time. Get outside and soak up the rest of the season’s warm weather with outdoor activities like kickball or Frisbee. And don’t forget to have them take along a Fruit Shoot so they stay well-hydrated!

Fruit Shoot can be found at major grocery stores nationwide (click here for their store locator), and on the menu at select Pizza Huts.

Visit Fruit Shoot through the links below:
Website: http://fruitshoot.com/united-states
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FruitShootUSA



Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate my honest review.

Preserve Your Special Memories in a Photo Book from Adoramapix (DISCOUNT CODE)

We live in South Florida, and we took a few days off this summer to head down to the Florida Keys! I hadn’t been to Key West in thirty years, so it was quite different from my previous memories. And I’m sure that if I go back in another thirty years, it will have changed even more. That’s why it’s so important to preserve our memories, and a great way to do that is with a photo book from Adoramapix! Their custom books are high quality and display your images in rich detail. Choose from gorgeous linen, hardcover and leather covers as well as 6 stunning paper finishes.

I selected a 10-page 8x8 photo book from Adoramapix for this review, and it was so much fun to design. There were plenty of choices, including themes for travel, weddings, holidays and more! The design I selected is called Travel (Adventure). It was so easy to upload my pictures and drop them into each page. I could even customize each page with text descriptions. Here are pictures of a couple of my pages:


Aren’t they wonderful? So colorful! And I love that you can even add pictures to the front and back cover:

There are so many occasions to commemorate in a photo book, whether it’s a vacation, back-to-school, birthdays, holidays or the arrival of a baby! Don’t let your photos sit on your phone or computer. Upload them to Adoramapix and create a custom photo book for a lifetime of memories. They make great gifts, too!


DISCOUNT CODE:
Shop now at http://www.adoramapix.com/app/customize-book/ and enjoy 15% off photo books! Use code: PhotoBook15. Sale ends November 5, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST.



Disclosure: I received a complimentary product sample to facilitate this Adoramapix Photo Book Review

Back to School with Teddy Bears Personalized (GIVEAWAY)

It's back to school time! Some kids, like mine, have already started the new school year, while others have another week or two of summer to enjoy. Whenever the school year begins, it's a great idea to give your child some encouragement for a successful year. A wonderful way to do this is with a personalized teddy bear or other adorable plush animal from Teddy Bears Personalized.  All of their animals come with a hoodie or sweater that is embroidered with the message of your choice. It can be as simple as your child's name or a few special words like "I Love You!" or "We're Proud of You!" You can even include a free personalized card, like those shown below.


Because you're the designer, every animal is unique! The teddy bears and hoodies/sweaters come in many different colors, so you can create all different combinations. They're so much fun to design! If you have a child or grandchild who's starting a new school year, show him or her some encouragement with a special teddy (or giraffe or monkey...) from Teddy Bears Personalized! Visit www.teddybearspersonalized.com and join Teddy Bears Personalized on Facebook, too.

P.S. Did I mention that shipping is always FREE in the United States?!

GIVEAWAY

Thanks to Teddy Bears Personalized, one lucky winner will receive his or her choice of a personalized Hoodie Bear or Sweater Bear! To enter, simply fill out the easy Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends at 11:59 PM ET on Friday, September 2, 2016.

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