Monday, December 31, 2012

Honey the Hero by Emlyn Chand - Book Review

Welcome to my stop on the Honey the Hero! blog tour powered by Innovative Online Book Tours. Below you will find a synopsis, bio author of Emlyn Chand, useful links, my review and Rafflecopter giveaway.

Honey, an inquisitive young parakeet living in the Australian Outback, decides to become a superhero after she spies a human family watching Superman. Since she already has the power of flight, all she needs to do is create a costume to conceal her true identity and then fly off in search of animals that need rescuing.

Unfortunately, every time she tries to help, Honey only ends up making matters worse. She spoils Kangaroo’s game of hide-and-go-seek by revealing his hiding place to Wallaby; Mr. Anteater must go hungry when she alerts the ants to his presence, and Mrs. Koala is made a laughingstock among bears when Honey pretends to be her Joey. Finally realizing that she’s not as heroic as she’d like, Honey gives up her day-saving efforts.

But what happens when someone actually needs Honey’s help? Will she rise to the challenge?

BIO:  Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media site in existence. Visit for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!

·         Website & Blog:
·         Facebook:
·         Twitter:
·         Goodreads:


·       Amazon Paper Back
                       Amazon Kindle copy
My Review:
4 Stars

This is actually my second review of a book written by Emlyn Chand, and another book in her Bird Brain Series.

Yang and I read Honey the Hero! together and she loved it. She has actually asked me to read it to her each night!!

Honey reminds me of  toddler, always wanting to help but sometimes being to much help. Sometimes we don't realize it but our "help" is actually the opposite. It doesn't mean that our intentions are not from the heart, or that there isn't a "job" out there for us. We just have to find the right one, at the right time.

As Honey flies over the Outback looking for trouble she comes across a kangaroo that appears to be stuck in the mud. Only the kangaroo was playing hide-n-go seek and Honey just gave his hiding place away. It doesn't end there. Honey continues to travel across the Outback looking out for danger below, and only causing more headache. Upon arriving home Honey cries she is too small. Mama Bird gives Honey a big hug, explains that she is not to small to offer help and sends her out to play. It's not long before Honey stumbles across a baby dingo, lost in the woods without her family. Will Honey finally feel useful and help the baby find his family? Or has Honey just created a bigger problem?

I love the way that Emlyn brings real life situations and incorporates them into her Bird Brain series. She does an excellent job portraying life lessons in a way that appeal and make sense to young children.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

January 2013 Writing Prompts

I hope the New Year if full of great writing, and to help you out here are my January 2013 Writing Prompt Suggestions!

January 1st - What are your 5 New Years Resolutions, and why?

January 2nd - What was your favorite Christmas present, and why?   

January 3rd - Every snowflake in unique in it's own way. How are you unique?

January 4th - You woke up this morning and there was a talking snowman outside. What happened next?

January 7th - Pretend you are a viking, what would like have been like? What would you do?

January 8th - What would you pack if you took a trip to the North Pole?

January 9th - What is the best thing about winter, and why?

January 10th - Write a S.N.O.W acrostic poem.

January 11th - Today while playing in the woods I ran into the Abominable Snowman, and.......

January 14th - My favorite kind of soup is......, and why?

January 15th - MLK, "I had a dream..." What is your dream?

January 16th - Pretend you are a penguin and write a letter to friend about what life is like in Antarctica.

January 17th - What is the worst thing about winter, and why?

January 18th - If I was Winnie the Pooh, I would.....                 

January 21st - What would you do if you received a box of penguins?

January 22nd - You are sick in bed today. What will you do?

January 23rd- My Mom and I where making a cherry pie when.....

January 24th - My favorite memory in 2012 was when.....

January 25th - In 2013 I promise to work harder on........

January 28th - I went ice skating on a big lake when all of a sudden.......

January 29th - My Dad and I had a snowball fight today.......

January 30th - Today we went sledding down the biggest hill ever and.....

January 31st - If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Hangover

The day after Christmas often feels like a bad hangover. Your head feels fuzzy because you are still sleep deprived from staying up late Christmas Eve and getting up a few minutes hours later. You are stuffed from all the ham, turkey, masked potatoes, sweet potato pie, stuffing, green bean casserole, pies, cakes cookies and candies you consumed yesterday (those were free calories, correct?). Your house usually resembles a tornado of toys, books and gifts. Where do you start to clear a path at?

Here are some highlights from the BIG moments on Christmas.

FINALLY a MAC! MINE, I tell you, MINE!
After 900 boxes (not really, but close)
Poppy FINALLY got her iPod!

"Ever since the first time I laid eyes on
her, she is all I wanted!" - Yang
about the newest American Girl Doll
Caroline (1812 era.)

We spent sometime with my bestie on Christmas Eve. Here J-Bug is giving Yang her Christmas present. Tamara and I had a great chuckle. J-Bug and Yang say they are married and have been asking for their own house, so............

....ask and you shall receive!

So with today been a rainy cold mess we've stayed in and worked on their house!


Oshwott our flat traveler from the United Kingdom even helped out!

Yang, Caroline & I played a game of SORRY!

We played Phase 10 for Kids

When I stayed with Tamara a few weeks ago she got me hooked on this game. I have since bought myself the original card game, the dice version and now the kids version for Yang. Very addicting!

And then it was naptime!

Tomorrow it's Lego Friends which should be interesting as Yang has never played with "girl" Lego's before!! We shall see how she likes them! A tea party for Caroline and Yang, with Yang's new tea set. Sea Monkeys and Campbell's Soup Alphabet Dice Game. I love sneaking in some educational game play!

So, what was your Christmas like? How about your post-Christmas? Did you get anything you really wanted?  Hubby bought me a new camera that is smaller for everyday use that I can carry in my purse. He also bought me a new storage caddy for our school and art supplies. Now, to get him to put it together! ; )

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

This holiday season I have seen some major strides in growing up within Yang. While we where out running errands a few weeks back I handed her the coins from my change at each stop. When we would get back in the van she would put it in the cup holder so she wouldn't lose it. While pulling up to Kroger she asked me why the people stand outside in the cold ringing that loud bell. I explained to her that The Salvation Army helps those that are less fortunate during the holidays. In fact, it is one thing I make sure I donate to each & every year because of the gracious help we received when I was a child after the sudden lose of my baby brother. While I was 5 at the time and had no idea until I was much older, The Salvation Army will always hold a special place in my heart. As we got out of the van I noticed Yang gathering some change. I figured she wanted to buy something in Kroger, but instead as we walked hand in hand, she looked up at me and said, "It is nice to give" and in her coins went into that little - yet wonderful red kettle

She surprised me again as we worked on her Christmas letter, asking for gifts for her sisters, a book to teach her to wrap very nice like her Mommy, and for this to be the very best Christmas. I asked her what it meant to have the best Christmas. She said it means to be happy, having your family there, being with friends, and giving presents to those we love. My baby girl is growing up (tear).

I want to start something new here in the upcoming New Year. Each Saturday I would like to highlight one blog. Give some info, share a post from their blog, list any giveaways they have going on and most importantly - link you up to their blog. Fill out this short questionnaire for your chance at Saturday Blog Hollar.

And last, but most certainly not least - I want to wish each and everyone of my followers a very Merry Christmas! May your hearts be full of the love and joy of Christmas as you spend time with your loved ones. 

DISCLAIMER: Clip art graphics are copyright protected works by Marcy Zitz of Internet Family Fun.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grab em' while they are hot.....I mean FREE! Amazon Freebies

What's better than free e-books.....? As an avid book reader, not a lot! So here goes, grab em' while they are HOT!

Nate Rocks the Boat by Karen Pokraz Toz

Super Zombie Juice Mega Bomb: The Graphic Novel for Middle Grade Reluctant Readers (Super Zombie Juice Graphic Novels)by MJ Ware


Not free but it's only 5¢

Will Allen and the Great Monster Detective (The Chronicles of the Monster Detective Agency)by Jason Edwards


The Sneezing Christmas Tree by Aaron Kerr

The Librarian (Book One: Little Boy Lost)by Eric Hobbs


Johnny B. Fast: The Super Spy 1 by Tom Donanoglu




Meltdown Mania: What Causes a Meltdown & What You Can Do

What causes them and how to handle them?

A meltdown is your body's way of saying I've had enough. The situation you are currently is to much to deal with mentally, yet there is no escape. It may be that they know they are not allowed to leave the dinner table until everyone has finished eating. They have to remain seated until the teacher gives them permission to get up. The grocery shopping trip is not over until Mom/Dad says so, or they can't find the right word to express their wants &/or needs. Whatever the case, their mind is telling them they need out, and NOW but the person in charge says no. Their mind very quickly begins to fall apart leading them right in the middle of a huge meltdown.

As parents, caregivers, friends & family members we want to know what is causing this meltdown so we can help, but are we really helping? A tirade of 20 questions is only going to spin the child further out of control. First, look for context clues first. What was happening before the meltdown? Did some sticky get on their hands? Is someone/thing making noises (loud or even hard to hear for most) that disrupted your child? Did you suddenly change your routine without warning? 

Sometimes there are no context clues that we are aware of. To some the tick, tock of a clock is hardly noticeable. To others they can only hear it if they concentrate hard enough. While some sensory children it is LOUD! We've all seen the cartoons of the cooko-clock going in and out, cookoing over and over - louder and louder. The cartoon character ears and eyes start to budge. They is exactly how some sensory kiddo hear it

Here is something I would like ALL to try to give you one more example of how sound effects a sensory child. Put on a pair of headphones or ear buds and then eat some crunchy - a chip, pretzel, carrot. See how loud that was? Now take the headphone or ear buds off and try it again. Was their a difference? The loudness you heared with them headphones on it how a sensory child that is sensitive to sounds hears almost everything that you & I hear normally like when the headphones where off. 

There are MANY more factors that can cause a meltdown than what a listed, and what may cause a meltdown for one child may not cause a meltdown for another child. So, outside of context clues to look for what can we do to help our children calm down from a meltdown? Provide a safe environment for them, a sensory retreat (sensory retreat how-to). Have your child help with the making of the sensory retreat, as it is for them and not you. Let them pick the colors, the textures, what to put inside like fidgets, books, MP3 players, squish box, weighted blanket, ear cans, etc. 

Deep Pressure How-To Video

This is one of the MANY helpful How-To video's listed on Angie's site, A Sensory Life. This particular video was made by Laurie with The Lotus Tree Sensory Integration Center.

Deep pressure is another great calmly tool. It provides the body with much needed proprioception. Not only do we do deep pressure before a meltdown can occur (if we an can catch it that is by noticing sensory signals) or during one if possible, but also before bed or anything else that may send Yang into Fight or Flight later (like 10 minutes before a doctors appointment, company coming over, etc.)

What are the biggest issues your child faces that causes a meltdown? What works best for your sensory child during a meltdown? 

Yang can not handle large or noisy crowds. She will cover her ears, pull on me & cry to leave. We try at all cost to avoid such situations, but in cases when we can't she listens to her MP3 player. She'll be getting ear cans for Christmas so I will defiantly let everyone know how those work for us. She can not stand anything sticky on her like suckers, syrup or gooey things like slime. In these cases that she wants to play with something like slime or help knead the bread she will wear gloves, but it is usually short lived as they "heat her hands up." We spend a lot of time in Dad's t-shirts and very loose undies. She can not wear anything that is "to closed in" or "squeezing her up." Everything has to be tag less

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a licensed professional, just a Mom of a sensory kiddo trying to help spread the word & educate others about SPD. I have provided many links through out this post to a licensed OT, as well as links for some very awesome and necessary sensory tools. Always consult with a licensed professional. All photos/videos not belonging to me on this post have been linked back to the owner.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Living Sensory

I belong to approximately 40 different group on facebook. A mix of homeschooling and SPD/LD groups. Recently in a non-SPD group someone asked about SPD, and now I feel it is my duty as a Sensory Momma to bring some light to SPD to my followers.

Just 6 short months ago Yang under went speech and occupational therapy evaluations. While I always thought it was odd she would not wear jeans I never realized there could be a real reason why, nor had I ever heard of SPD. As I filled out questionnaire after questionnaire I began to think there has to be something to this. When we received her results I was shocked, curious and happy (What a combo right?) Shocked because I had never heard of SPD. Curious cause I wanted to know more, well everything about it actually, and happy because we FINALLY had answers. But what did that mean?

What is SPD???

SPD stands for Sensory Processing Disorder. SPD is a neurological disorder causing difficulties with taking in, processing, and responding to sensory information about the environment and from within one's own body (visual, auditory, tactile, olfaction, gustatory, vestibular, and proprioception).

Sensory Processing Disorder can effect the way someone -
  • interactions with others
  • functions daily
  • social and family relationships
  • behavioral challenges
  • regulating emotions
  • self-esteem
  • learning
OTR/L Angie Voss, and her books have been an absolute blessing! She has been the beacon of light in all that we have endured. Her time, dedication, compassion, understanding, and willingness to help have truly amazed me. She really does go above and beyond!

I would suggest anyone that has been blessed with a sensory kiddo in your life to start with read Your Essential Guide to Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder. I read less than 20 pages of this book before breaking down. I felt like someone had interviewed, observed and written a book about Yang, and not just another book about a disorder. If you have a sensory kiddo, or care for a sensory kiddo (baby-sit, teacher, etc) I STRONGLY suggest buying Understanding Your Child's Sensory Signals. Yang actually calls it her Sensory Bible and we do not leave the house without it!

You can purchase all of Angie's books below. For Understanding Your Child's Sensory Signals and The Survival Guide for Traveling with a Sensory Kiddo the second book photo listed below is the Kindle version.

 What is it like for someone with SPD?

Yang deals with many of the issues in the picture above, although she does not suffer from all. It is important to know that each sensory kiddo is different. What may bother one child may not bother another, or to the same severity. Yang does not like her hair washed or brushed, although we have come a long way with this one. She does not like bright lights, and we often keeps the windows closed and lights off/to a minimum. I think EVERY child has selective hearing! LOL! She sticks to certain foods/textures and will rarely try something new. There are no such things as tags in anything Yang wears! She gets very rough, very quick and does not realize it at all. She will actually tell you that tickling is bad for her sensory brain!! Yang will be 8 in April and is still unable to ride a bike, walk a fine line, balance beam, etc. Doing our school work takes extra long due to concentration issues most days. Yang is getting these in pink for Christmas to help with her noise issues. We actually spent an entire theater performance in the bathroom because she could not deal with the noise.
She chews on her hair and almost an object she is holding. She rarely wears socks so we buy shoes that do not require them most times.

So what are some sensory essentials?

The next time you see a child in the store, at the park or wherever and they seem to be "throwing a fit" or "misbehaving" please remember before you judge, that this child could have a hidden neurological disorder called sensory processing disorder. Their parents do NOT need your parental advice, comments or stares. A silent prayer is enough. Our lives are not always easy. We have sleepless days, meltdowns over what may seem small or trivial to most and need LOTS of patience. We welcome your questions, not judgement, comment or stares!

In the words of Angie Voss,

Keep it Real.
          Keep it Simple.
                    Keep it Sensory. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Poppy the Proud by Emlyn Chand - Review & Giveaway

 Poppy the Proud by Emlyn Chand

 Welcome to my stop on the Poppy the Proud Tour, brought to you by Innovative Online Book Tours. Below you will find a synopsis of Poppy the Proud, bio of author Emlyn Chand, some great links, a generous e-book giveaway and my review. Don't forget to check out the other blogs on this tour for more info about Emlyn Chand & Poppy the Proud

Synopsis of Poppy the Proud:

 Poppy is the prettiest peacock in the entire garden, but one day his privileged existence is upset when an all-white peacock is born and promptly named the most beautiful by a smitten flock. Intensely jealous, Poppy no longer knows where he fits in and decides to reclaim his title as fairest bird in the land, no matter what is takes.

In a desperate attempt to regain the admiration of his peers, Poppy steals items from the humans that visit his park. he wraps himself in a beautiful scarf, wears a series of ornate bangles around his neck, and even tries to dye his feathers with colored dust from a festive Holi celebration. Unfortunately, each of these attempts not only fails to improve his appearance, they actually make it worse. What is a poor bird to do?

In this compelling tale of self-esteem, pride, and learning what makes each of us special, Poppy the peacock discovers that true beauty lies beneath the feathers.

Buy Poppy the Proud now!

Paperback                      Kindle e-Book

Author Bio:

Emlyn Chand emerged from the womb with a fountain pen clutched in her left hand (true story). When she's not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm Novel Publicity. Best known for her Young Adult novels, she is also developing a small, but devoted, following to her children's book series and is beginning to dapple in other genres as well. Emlyn enjoys connecting with readers and is available via almost every social media in existence. Visit for more info. Don't forget to say "hi" to her sun conure Ducky!   

                          Online Links:

12/17   Review  Andi's Kids Books  
12/17   Review   It's About Time Mamaw  
12/17   Review  Yours and Mine ARE Ours  
12/18   Review  Marietta Homeschooling Zoo
12/18   Review  Thrice the mischief,3 times the love 
12/20   Review   GoingCrazy!! WannaGo??!!
12/20   Review  Hooks and Book
12/21   Review  Identity Discovery  
12/27   Review   Queen of All She Reads
12/28  Review  Jenn's Review Blog 

My Review ~ 5 stars

I love the message this story holds in teaching young children to be true to themselves. You do not need to lather yourself with material possessions or make-up to be beautiful. We are all beautiful, you only have to look within yourself. As a Mother of 3 daughters this is something I have strive to instill in my daughters. Of course you are only as beautiful as you see yourself and positive reinforcement is important from those closest to you. 
When Poppy returns wearing a scarf, everyone laughs. Poppy runs away with hurt feelings and determined to find something to make him the most beautiful of all again. Snow notices everyone laughing at Poppy when he returns with bangles around his neck, and he helps him remove the bangles from his neck. Poppy runs away again without thanking Snow and even more determined than ever to become the most beautiful peacock again. When Poppy's Mom sees all the colorful dust on Poppy she ask him what has happened to his beautiful feathers.

We must remember that someones opinion of us it just that, THEIR opinion and should have no bearing how we view ourselves.


  **Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy for my honest opinion. All opinions, good, bad or indifferent are just that, MY opinion.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Under the Weather

I haven't had much to post since Yang and I have been "under the weather" ever since we came home from my besties house.  I honestly don't think it is anything more than allergies from the change in weather but I am keeping a watchful eye since J-Bug tested positive for strep 2 days after we came home. We've just been watching TV & laying around and taking it easy. Luckily, I stocked up on some DVD's and 2 Play Away's for Yang from the library. One about the human body and the other about healthy habits. Play Away is a handheld system that comes pre-loaded with a short educational video. The company does offer them with TV shows such as My Little Pony, Caillou, Super Why, Sid the Science Kid and MANY others. I absolutely love them because they are small enough to toss in a bag or purse to watch in the car, doctors, store, etc. I've tried to keep TV watching to educational shows only during the day and whatever she would like in the evening so Owlet, Poppy & I can play Phase 10 (I'm addicted ever since Tamara and I played while we visited last week).

So what do you do when you or your little ones are not feeling well? Do you watch educational shows and talk about them. Say what the heck and don't worry about it? I'm not concerned with getting behind. Christmas break is coming soon and we can always work on things here and there to catch up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Santa Hat Pizza & Gingerbread Baby Lapbook

This weekend Poppy, Yang, and I went "out of town" (a 45 minutes drive) to spend a few days at my best friend, Tamara's house. Poppy and her oldest daughter LouLou are "sisters". Yang and her youngest son, J-Bug are "boyfriend/girlfriend" (Yang is 7 years old & J-Bug is 4 years old).

J-Bug & Yang
Saturday we had J-Bug & Nut's (her middle son) birthday party at McDonald's Play Place. I am fairly certain people left the Play Place traumatized! I never knew kids could be so loud!! There where 5 kids between the 2 of us, plus our other best friend had her 2 nieces, her nephew, her son and her 3 foster girls. The kids had a blast & where wore out by the time we got home.

Sunday night we made one of the kids favorites, homemade pizza. Thanks to an idea I found from Make the Best of Everything, we put a spin on it. We cut the pepperoni's into triangles, add a circle of string cheese to the top of the triangle and a strip of the string cheese to the bottom. Unfortunately, once we cooked the pizza you couldn't see the Santa hats.

LouLou & Poppy
Since my best friend and I are both homeschool our children we decided to make bouncing polymer balls with the kids on Monday. First of all, it helps to read ALL of the directions before starting! Next time we will use smaller bowls, add more food coloring (we used 2 drops) and possibly add food coloring once we combine the two bowls as there was very little coloring to the balls. I'm not sure what we did or didn't do but our balls where not translucent like they are in the original post and they didn't really bounce either. I wouldn't say this project was a failure, nor was it a success. However, the kids enjoyed it so I suppose that is all the really matters sometimes!! :) 
Definitely having some sensory issues with this project.

Tuesday we read Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett and then worked on our lapbook to go along with the book, from Homeschool Share. This was LouLou's first lapbook and she said it was AWESOME! J-Bug had a blast coloring the gingerbread cut-outs and even practiced some cutting. Poppy & Yang are no stranger to lapbooks and did great helping out where they could.

Poppy &LouLou
Tamara & Yang

I will have to say, I thought I had my hands full, but WHEW! I don't know how families do it with toddlers/pre-schoolers in tow. What is your best advice for homeschooling families that have Pre-K children? What has worked for you? What have you tried that hasn't worked for you, and why do you think it didn't work?