Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jumpstart Fun!!

Ever since my boys were little - we have been big Jumpstart fans!! Their computer learning games are were "hits" with our boys - and I loved it that they were learning while they were playing. Now, we have Chloe, and she is enjoying them as well. We were introduced to their line of "virtual games" that you can interact and play online. Chloe just LOVES this!! It is great fun and yes, learning at the same time! But there is so much more available than just games for kids - they have wonderful resources for parents and teachers as well - I enjoy the Jumpstart Blog and the “Fun for Parents” section of the website as well.We have been so impressed by the quality of their programs. AND your kids are safe while playing online. Kids LOVE their software - all four of ours have - they are fun and educational - gotta love that!! I would encourage you to check it out.
Now - the BONUS - one lucky winner will enjoy a FREE three-month membership to Jumpstart Online compliments of Jumpstart. All you have to do is leave a comment with your email so that I can get back to you. For extra chances you can Twitter about this and/or do a blog post on it - directing people here to enter. I am thrilled to offer this! I think you will LOVE it!! All comments will end on June 13 so enter fast!!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Help

I just finished Kathryn Stockett's The Help and wish I weren't done. This is one of those books that just drew me in and kept me to the very end. The Help refers to black slave women being "the help" around large southern plantation homes. I love the honesty in this book - what the black women may have felt being treated as they were by wealthy white women. It was very touching, the black ladies weren't considered even CLEAN by some of their white "owners" but the white children never questioned it - they loved these black women sometimes more than their own mothers. The storyline was powerful - what happens when "the help" each write their own story and it becomes published for all to read?? So honest, so powerful - not to miss!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Martha Doesn't Say Sorry

Martha Doesn't Say Sorry is PERFECT!! Samantha Berger, the author, and Bruce Whatley, the illustrator, have combined to form the perfect children's book! EVERY child will relate to this one - not wanting to say Sorry - but knowing it's what has to be done to patch everything up. It is just perfect - I am still smiling over it!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Global Wonders

I absolutely LOVE Global Wonders - their DVD's have been checking out like crazy at our library and my own daugther begs me often to bring another one home!! SO when they sent me their CD: Around the World Music - I was thrilled. It DOES NOT disappoint - the music is fun and gives a nice feel for music from other cultures. Don't miss this one! It is planned to be a series, and I am excited about that!

Here is what Global Wonders says:

Global Wonders™ Unveils ‘Around the World Music,’ Bringing Children and Families an Authentic Global Musical Experience Just in time for World Music Day

* * *

Available Exclusively Beginning May 19th on iTunes and May 26th on

Features Emmy Award Winning Composer and Culturally Authentic Musical Performances Creating a Fun and Educational Experience

Global Wonders: Around the World Music. Featuring authentic cultural styles, original compositions and fun sing-a-long songs, the album helps parents nurture cultural awareness in their children by exploring new rhythms and musical genres from around the world.

Global Wonders is an award-winning brand of children’s cross-cultural entertainment and education. The new album follows the successful launch of the Global Wonders DVD series and iTunes children’s video podcast, which shot to the top 10 in iTunes’ Kids & Family category.

Global Wonders: Around the World Music is produced and composed by Emmy Award winner Jim Latham, whose work includes original songs, themes and scores for a variety of children's programming (JoJo's Circus, Dragon Tales, and Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment). For Global Wonders, Latham leveraged his broad musical experiences to meet the challenge of creating an album that was kid-friendly, culturally authentic and educational.

The first album in what will be an ongoing series , Around the World Music includes the Global Wonders Theme Song (A Great Big World) featuring a catchy sing-along chorus with layers of instruments from eight different countries, including an Indian Sitar, Australian Didgeridoo, Japanese Koto, a Ghana log drum and a Scottish Bagpipe. In Global Wonders Hello, children are introduced to words and phrases to say “Hello” in 10 different languages.

The album includes 19 songs covering cultures and musical styles from India, Italy, Greece, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, Ireland, Cuba and the United States (New Orleans Jazz, and Hawaiian Tiki). Highlights include a unique version of Vande Mataram, (India’s national song and the second most popular song in the world, per the BBC), incorporating a children’s choir into the chorus; Go Go Greece, a get-up-and-dance traditional Greek song; Banda Dance from Mexico; the Bollywood style India Celebrations; and America The Beautiful in a gospel vibe.

Global Wonders: Around the World Music will be available exclusively for download on iTunes beginning May 19, and for order at as of May 26; suggested retail price is $9.99. A music video, Global Wonders: Hello, also is available on iTunes .

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ten Days and Nine Nights

Ok, so I'm bawling over here - maybe because this momma's heart is raw right now - but after 3 years of waiting and knowing our daughter is now OURS - I am ready for her to come home. So, when I read this book tonight at the library - I was just a bawling. Chloe's going to LOVE it!! As we are all waiting for our little one to come home! And that is exactly what the little girl in this story is doing too - counting down the DAYS and NIGHTS until her little sister, also adopted, comes home to be with them. You are going to love it - SUCH a beautiful book!! Ten Days and Nine Nights: An Adoption Story by Yumi Heo. (It's one of those books that we can't just leave at the library - we are GOING to have to buy this one for home!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Squawking Matilda

Get ready to sing! (I know, a bit odd, but this title just makes me want to break into song!!) Squawking Matilda by Lisa Horstman is just a riot!! Matilda is not your ordinary chicken - she has TONS of attitude, and not only that, she is also proud, dignified and a scrapper!! Matilda is sent to Aunt Susan's niece, Mae. It is Mae's job to take care of Matilda because she has not been happy on the farm. And thus the hilarious adventure of Matilda and Mae begins. I just love this story - it made Chloe and I laugh but it was also very tender. The illustrations are amazing! Horstman - this is A GEM!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Carrie Ryan's first novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is TAKE-YOU-OFF-GUARD GREAT!! I was so surprised that I would even like this book - the whole storyline was not really a typical "Becky" read, but I truly enjoyed it. The Sisterhood, the Guardians, and the Unconsecrated come together to challenge everything Mary has even known. She starts to question truths she has been taught and believed ever since she was a child. And it all begins with "the ocean" - so good. Throw in some "vampire-like" creatures, some romance, teen angst and there you have it - our teens are going to LOVE this one!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Making Work at Home Work

As a young mom, there was never a doubt - will I stay home with my kids or will I continue to work? We always knew I would stay home as long and as much as I could. And that is exactly what I have done - now, have I always been able to just be a Mom?? Nope, I've had to divide my time between being a mom and working from home. SO, I sure wish I would have had this book YEARS ago!!

Mary M. Byers’ new book, Making Work at Home Work, would have been my "bible" during those early years of staying at home AND trying to make an at-home job work together! I needed this kind of advice back then, but am even benefiting from it now!

In Making Work at Home Work, Byers offers work-at-home moms practical advice about combining the role of being a mom and a successful business woman. She covers things like:

Deciding why you are working at home - how much of your time do you really NEED to give to your job?

Making time to relax.

Setting boundaries in order to protect your family and yourself.

How do develop a plan for childcare.

Organizing your business.

How do deal with all the stuff life throws at you and still have an organized business and life.

Here is one of my favorite things that Byers' has done with this book. All throughout the book are interviews with real work-at-home moms who share their stories - what has worked for them and what hasn't. You can read their stories and be challenged and encouraged. Byers offers great insight for work-at-home moms who want to juggle it all and juggle it well!

Don't leave yet - you need to know that the author, Mary M. Byers, is currently hosting a contest on her blog. The winner will receive a copy of the book AND a $25 gift certificate to! Visit the book’s blog tour headquarters for more information.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Fireflies In December

Jennifer Erin Valent's Fireflies in December is a winner of Jerry B. Jenkins' Christian Writer's Guild Operation First Novel Contest - and I can see why! I adored this book. It is the story of Jessilyn Lassiter, a young girl growing up in the south in 1932. She deals with racial tensions and the Ku Klux Klan, young love, her best friend being a young black girl, and so much more in this tender story that only leaves me wanting more. Valent is wonderful and I am watching for more from her!

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