Saturday, June 30, 2012

FUN printables for 4th of July Events!


Python Printable Games

This summer I've been babysitting two great kids - Lizy age 6 and Jake age 9 1/2 and was looking for fun activities that we could do. We discovered 2 other kids in the neighborhood who are the same age and I decided that the 4th of July Party Ideas pack from Python Printable Games was perfect! This pack includes 20 games & activities - some of the games are definitely for adults - but many can be "tweaked" for younger members of the family.

I had a lot of ideas looking over this package. Several of the games can be made into board games or even card trivia games if you have older kids & adults playing together. As an example - you can use the Baseball Trivia to make up trivia cards to use in the car, at restaurants, etc to fill in time (hint - put a hole punch in the top corner and thread them all on a hinge type ring to keep them all together and you just pull them out when you want them). You could also do the same with the History trivia, puzzles and games - only use those in the classroom, form teams and keep track of points.

Since my kids were younger (2 1st graders and 2 4th graders) I paired off an older kid to a younger kid and gave them boundaries of our block and the block behind me. They had to be in sight at all times. Then I turned them loose with the Red, White & Blue Scavenger Hunt. They loved it - once I explained to them what a scavenger hunt was. I'll post some pictures next week when I have my computer back. =D

This package includes:
Independence Day Trivia game                      Independence Day Mad Libs
Patriotic Trivia Match Game                           Presidential Trivia Game
State Nicknames Match game                        Beers of the World Placemat
Military Trivia                                              Nasty British Food Trivia
Baseball Trivia                                             Survival of the Fittest Party Game
Happy 4th of July Left-Right Game                 Red, White & Blue Scavenger Hunt
American History Trivia                                Independence Day Synonyms Game
Fast Food Trivia                                          US Beers Match Game
Tangled Tongue Twisters Tango                    Pick the Party Stars
Meet Your Match Acting Game                       The Color of Music

This fun pack of printables for your summer events is perfect for more than just the 4th of July - you can also use them for family events such as reunions, business events - team building and ice breakers. Teachers can also use them for classroom activities.

How to use:
The games are downloaded via email. Unlike our competitors, we don't limit the amount of time you get to use the games. They're yours to keep forever, and reuse at future parties!

You can purchase each of the games individually ($6.95) or as a "set" of 20 games ($19.95). Click here  There are other games and themes that you can use to like Baby Shower games, scavengers, slumber party games, etc.

WIN a set of Games:

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Book Club - heads up...


The Middle Grade Summer Book Club has been steadily rolling along and we are going to take a 2 week break and will start up again the Monday AFTER Independence Day. =D

There are still giveaways open - be sure to enter now. Two of them will end 6/25 and one ends 6/30 - all US based unless otherwise noted.

 Cover of the Black Shard

Summer Book Club: Week 2 The Black Shard, 6/25, US & WW
River's Call

Summer Book Club: Week 3 Trapped, 6/25, US

Mad Dog (Starlight Animal Rescue, #2) Dark Horse (Starlight Animal Rescue, #4) Wild Cat (Starlight Animal Rescue, #3)
Summer Book Club: Week 4 Starlight Animal Rescue Books for kids, 6/30, US
I am also participating in the Sizzling Summer Giveaway Event -  ending 6/30

NEW Titles from Usborne Books & Kane Miller are coming out and should be on my Website on Monday (6/25) -  check 'em out here 

I am offering a $25 Gift Certificate to Usborne Books & More or Kane Miller Books from ME! Have fun & be sure to leave each comment below the post as noted in the entry details. 

Online Sweepstakes and Contests

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer Sizzle Giveaway Fun!

Welcome to the Summer Sizzle Giveaway Hop hosted by Mom With a Dot Com! Over 65 bloggers have got together to give you a chance to win some amazing prizes to keep you entertained throughout your summer!

Summer Sizzle will begin on June 24 and end on June 30. As you are hopping around, I hope you will find some prizes that you love - maybe you will even win one! Each giveaway will have a prize valued at $25 or more!

I am offering a $25 Gift Certificate to Usborne Books & More or Kane Miller Books from ME! Have fun & be sure to leave each comment below as noted in the entry details. No comment - No prize & that's NOT a good thing.
Be sure to HOP around to the other blogs participating in the Summer Sizzle Giveaway Hop.

Online Sweepstakes and Contestsf

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Fall 2012 Titles.....

I'm starting to hear about Kane Miller Publishing's GREAT new lineup of titles releasing the end of the month! Check these out.... If you'd like to order - just go to and order - I have a new website so if you have any trouble just let me know and I'll put the order through behind the scenes!

Have you signed up for my Usborne Books & More newsletter - find out when new titles are coming up, get a few freebies, giveaways and more! Click here to sign up:

Stories from around the world for little childrenUsborne Stories from Around the World for Little Children
This treasury of stories from around the world, specifically written for small children is, are beautiful illustrated and are perfect for reading aloud or for more confident readers to tackle on their own. It includes the traditional tales of 'Alladin and his Magical Lamp (Persia), Brer Rabbit Down the Well (US), ‘How Zebras Got their Stripes’ (Africa), ‘Why the Sea is Salty’ (Korea) and ‘The Dragon Painter’ (China). 

The Phoenix Files by Chris Morphew
$6.99 or $19.99 for the series

Luke is having a rough year. When his parents split up,his mum drags him to Phoenix, a brand-new town in the middle of nowhere. But Phoenix is no ordinary town. There are no cars, no phones and no internet. Luke thinks this is as weird as it gets.  Then he discovers that someone is plotting to wipe out the human race. Phoenix is suddenly the safest and most dangerous place on earth. And the clock is already ticking. There are one hundred days until the end of the world. Other books in this exciting new series: #2 Contact, #3 Mutation

ART/Activity FUN:
Drawing, doodling and colouring for boys Drawing, doodling and colouring for girls

Kids will love getting creative with these fun and stylish books full of pictures to color, drawings to finish and designs to doodle. The boys book has a huge variety of activities from monsters and machinery to disguises and dinosaurs. The Girls Book has a huge variety of styles and subjects to inspire every mood from birds to butterflies, fairies to fashion and rainbows to shooting stars. These books have thick, craft-quality paper just waiting to be filled. The gorgeous, original artwork will be irresistible to kids who love to doodle and color.

Girls' activity book Boys' activity book

The Girls Activity Book is filled with codes to crack, things to spot, pictures to complete, and instructions for everything from making an ice cream sundae to being a spy girl or a ballerina dancer.

The Boys Activity Book contains activities like codes to crack, thing sto spot, pictures and stories to complete, easy-to-follow instructions for making balloon rockets, green slime and a bubbling potion, faking cuts, dusting for fingerprints and lots, lots more. (Personal note - I think this would be fun for girls too!) 

Both books are brightly and stylishly illustrated with a diverse variety of lively activities and over 200 stickers! 

Where do baby animals come from? Back to school 
Travel Spooky colouring book 

*** Word is - 22 NEW Kane Miller Books ***
(Great books for Tweens/Teens!)

Lastly (for now) I'd like to share:

These and many many other great titles will be on my website on MONDAY, at - I'm working at getting my website up and working - I changed the direction of my domain and am having issues.

You can go to: for now - just click on the link.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week 4: Starlight Books by Dandi Mackall

Note: This giveaway has ended and the winners have been notified. Thank you!


Reminders: Be sure to read Week 2 and Week 3 and then enter the giveaways. Here are the details:

Wk 2: Middle Grade Summer Book Club - The Black Shard:
Be sure to enter the giveaway for Week 2 - The Black Shard. 1 person from the US will win both Books 1 & 2 in this interesting series AND 3 people will win a copy of The Black Shard as an ebook. 

Wk 3: Middle Grade Summer Book Club - Trapped:
Trapped is the story of a very smart teen girl who gets caught in the web of cheating - and what happened. Awesome book for kids 12+, book clubs and youth groups....

~ Review & Giveaway

Week 4: Starlight Animal Rescue by Dandi Mackall
We have an author who is very generously sponsoring 2 separate weeks for the summer Book Club this year! Her name is Dandi Mackall and she writes wonderful books about horses. This week we will be featuring the Starlight Series Animal Rescue books which will be a favorite for our younger readers around 3rd or 4th grade and up . If your boys & girls love horses - they will love these books!

What is the Starlight Animal Rescue? It's....
where problem horses are trained and loved,
where abandoned dogs become heroes,
where stray cats become loyal companions.

And where people with nowhere to fit in find a place to belong. 

Runaway (Starlight Animal Rescue, #1)Book 1: Runaway
ISBN: 978-1414312682
224 pages, age 4th grade +
Amazon: $5.99 (paperback) $4.49 (Kindle)

"I've run away seven times - never once to anything, just away from. Maybe that's why they call me a "runaway" and not a "run-to."

Meet 16 year old Dakota Brown. She used to love all things horse until she lost everything, including hope. The minute she sets foot on her foster parents farm - Starlight Animal Rescue - she plans her escape. But can an impossible horse named Blackfire and this quirky collection of animal lovers be the family she's always dreamed of?

My Thoughts:
The book opens with Dakota working on one of her never ending lists - lists bring chaos into order. They help her form an action plan and let her list places she NEVER wants to see again. So far she has a list of 7.....

Runaway shows a girl hurting, sad, lonely and afraid of trusting anyone. She ends up on a farm for kids no one wants (except Mr and Dr Ann Coolidge. Everyone calls Mr Coolidge "Popeye" - you can too.)

This is a very interesting book for a rainy day or bedtime. It's fast paced, the writing is very well done and the situations in the book are presented in a funny way for a very serious subject. As Dakota starts to plan her "escape" she meets a new resident on the farm "Blackfire" (an abused horse that is scared of everything). She decides to wait until after she has calmed him down and in the process she opens her heart and allows herself to start thinking about staying.

I highly recommend this series for kids in 4th grade and up. There is no language, the situations are clean, there is a strong faith message and what impressed me most was the way Dakota's story was handled and the ending.

You can purchase this book and any of the other books in this wonderful series on Amazon for $5.99. It would make a great birthday gift, stocking stuffer - or just because. There is also a great section in the back on "how to pick out the perfect pet".

Dark Horse (Starlight Animal Rescue, #4) Mad Dog (Starlight Animal Rescue, #2) Wild Cat (Starlight Animal Rescue, #3)

About the author:
Dandi Mackall has been involved with writing and creating characters since she was little girl beginning with my personal favorite game. The story round. Dad would start a story up and then Dandi would chime in the next part and the story would go on and on. (This is a lot of fun in the car and helps time pass very fast.)

She is the author of books for everyone. There are picture books, middle grade books, chapter books and books for teens. She has also written books for adults along with devotionals for animal lovers. She is a "Jane of All Writers". Go ahead, check out her website.

2 lucky families are going to WIN the first 3 books in the Starlight Animal Rescue series - are you ready?

Note: This giveaway ends 6/30, US residents only please.
You must provide a street address if you win & must be 18+.

I received a copy of the Starlight Series books to read and review on Classic Children's Books and Dandi and Tyndale House Publishing very generously offered a giveaway. No money exchanged hands and i wasn't required to post a positive review. Thanks Dandi & Tyndale!

Online Sweepstakes and Contests

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Week 3: Summer Book Club ~ Trapped

Reminders: Summer Book Club is rolling along! Be sure to take time to enter the giveaway for Week 2 - The Black Shard. 1 person from the US will win both Books 1 & 2 in this interesting series AND 3 people will win a copy of The Black Shard as an ebook. 

~ Review & Giveaway

River's Call

by Melody Carlson
ISBN: 978-1600069512
Purchase on Amazon:
$9.88 (paperback) $9.39 (Kindle)

About the book:
As straight-A student GraceAnn enters her senior year, the stakes feel higher, the stress is mounting, and after bad breakup with her boyfriend, her grades begin to slip. And grades that are less than perfect just aren’t acceptable. 

She knows that other kids cheat. After all, their cheating has made her life harder. But wasn’t it her turn to get a break? If she could get away with it—and no one got hurt—could she break the rules, just this one time?

As GraceAnn's world slips sideways, she finds herself caught in a twisted trap. Will her one bad choice cost her everything?

My Thoughts:
Parents ~ do you remember the distinct classes of "smart kids",    "jocks", "nerds", etc in high school? Do you remember the feeling and pressure in school to succeed and excel ~ or if you weren't in the AP classes the feeling of riding along with the flow and just trying to get through your days hoping nothing was going to happen?

Trapped is the story of a very smart teen girl who learns that other kids are cheating (which plants the seed) and who doesn't want to disappoint her parents who are expecting her to succeed in becoming a doctor. Every time her parents talk about her applying to schools like Harvard and Yale and about her being a better doctor than they are and getting to go to schools they only dreamed off tightens the pressure screw a little more. After catching another girl cheating and finding the "cheat sheet" this girl used she caves in and decides to give it a go just one time on a make up test. The problem is the guilt she feels and the feeling that she might be ruining her plans for medical school and her whole future too.

What follows is the story of a girl who gets caught in a web of her own making, blackmail from the guy who sells the cheat sheets, and her finally confessing what she did and telling her parents, the school and a great ending that really impressed me. 

I found the book kept getting better and better as I read and I really liked how she made the ending about GraceAnn learning a very valuable lesson about cheating and honesty. I also liked how Melody (the author) turned it from a negative consequence to a very positive one for the whole student body. She did a great job! Fantastic book for kids from 12+!

Melody Carlson has several new releases (and a bunch of old ones too) that I'm sure would be a great fit for your family and church/school library:

 - "Catwalk" and "Premiere"  On the Runway Books 1 and 2
- "Becoming Me Journal" 
- "Love Finds You in Pendleton Oregon" 
- 'As Young as We Feel" Book 1 in the Four Lindas series
- "Anything but Normal"


Buy It:
You can purchase a copy of Trapped on Amazon for $9.88 (paperback) $9.39 (Kindle). This would make a great book to put on the coffee table - your kids will definitely pick it up with a great title like "Trapped" and the front cover is intriguing enough to grab their attention. There are also questions at the end of the book for parent, youth group or book club discussion.

Melody Carlson and Glass Road Media have provided a copy of Trapped for one of our readers! Please be sure to share the giveaway & review by Tweeting and Sharing it on Facebook & Google+. Thanks!

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Much thanks to Melody Carlson and Leann from Glass Road Media for donating a book for review and also a wonderful BIG box of Melody Carlson books to the YES - Youth Emergency Services program in Cherokee Iowa. I was not paid for my review services and was not required to provide a positive review.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Wk 2 Summer Book Club: The Black Shard

Summer Book Club Wk 1We are already into Week 2 of the 2012 Summer Book Club. If you missed Week 1 be sure to go and read it and enter the giveaway for My Royal Pain Quest by Laura Lond. It's a great Fantasy Book for a rainy day! Click Here: Hurry it ends on the 5th!

I also want to encourage you to upload a picture of you & your kids - or even just a great pic of your kid(s) reading a book this week. Be sure to upload it and then tell all your friends & family to vote for your picture & you just might WIN $100 in FREE Usborne Books! WOW!

Please PIN this picture and SHARE it by Tweeting too!

~ Book Review & Giveaways

SummerBookClub Week 2

Cover of the Black ShardThis week our Book Club Read is another sequel. I particularly asked to include it in our Summer Book Club because I so enjoyed Book 1 The Magic Warble by Victoria Simcox. Be sure to Click Here to read my review of that great book - there just may be a question for Victoria's giveaway of The Black Shard!

The Black Shard is a continuation of the adventures of Kristina now a little older and Prince Werrien and the fight to save the country of Bernovem. There is a little pre-love interest (I think) between Kristina & the Prince although really it's just a very close friendship in this stage. The kingdom is in danger of an unknown illness of which both Kristina and the Prince are exposed and ultimately the book concludes with a decision Kristina must make for the good of the kingdom and Prince Werrien makes a not-so-good decision that will test him and hopefully strengthen him and save the kingdom.

I loved that Kristina's nemesis' are brought into this story also. Davina and Hester both accompany Kristina to Bernovem when a prank returns her to this land. Kristina has been missing her friends Prince Werrien and her pet rat (and a few other friends too) and when they land in Bernovem again it's great to see her friendship with Prince Werrien resumes and seeing Davina & Hester get their comeuppance was wonderful! I'm really hoping that Davina & Hester grow up at least a little & maybe learn a valuable lesson in Book Three - yes, there will definitely be a Book Three according to the author!

 Cover of the Black Shard
You can purchase The Magic Warble & The Black Shard on Amazon in both paperback & on Kindle.

The Magic Warble: Paperback ($16.95) and Kindle ($2.99)
The Black Shard:   Paperback ($13.22 ) and Kindle ($2.99)  

The author is hosting a wonderful giveaway this week! One of our lucky readers will a copy of BOTH The Magic Warble & The Black Shard! This giveaway will start on June 4th and end on June 10th @ Midnight. US Only Please

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