Thursday, February 28, 2013

$10 Starbucks e-Gift Card Winner Announced

We have the winner for our $10 Starbucks e-Gift Card!

DRUM ROLL........

Elena I. you are our winner! Congrats!

Disclaimer: Winner has been notified and has 48 hours to respond before another winner will be selected.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Two for Tuesday Home-Cooking - Homemade Pop Tarts

I try to do as much of my cooking from scratch as I can. I've had people ask me why when there as fast, easier ways. Well, for one it is MUCH cheaper. Two, I know what my family is eating. There are so many fillers, additives, sugars, dyes and goodness knows what else added to prepackaged foods. Now, this doesn't mean that mean that we are health guru's. I still make sweets for my family. With this, I've decided to have Two for Tuesday Home-Cooking. Make some for now, and store some for later.

I help admin a homeschooling sensory support group on facebook. A few weeks ago we had several members asking about different types of food diets for our sensory kiddos. A dear friend shared some of her son's favorite things and posted a recipe for homemade pop tarts. Thinking of all the additives and dyes that are in the store bough pop tarts, I asked the girls what they thought, as it is not something we buy. They were all very eager to try them, and so tonight we gave them a try. While pop tarts are not a healthy snack, by making them homemade instead of store bought - we at least know what is in them.

Yang making the crust
We didn't have any canned preserves on hand so we did have to do with store bought. However, we went with a sugar free preserve (not jelly).

Adding the strawberry preserves.

Crimping the edges with a fork.
Yes, I know that is a lot of flour! I bake a lot of things from scratch - biscuits (well, I send the ingredients to my mom for her to make them), pancakes, chicken potpie, pretzels, breads, pizza dough and more.

Homemade Pop Tarts from my dear from C

Pie Crust
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons cold water

Use any preserve or jam of your choice.

1 cup powered sugar
Milk to thin

Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Add shortening and butter, blending with a pastry cutter, fork or your fingers until you have a fairly coarse mixture. Add one tablespoon of water at a time, gently mixing after each addition until dough forms a ball. Be careful not to overwork the dough. Place dough on a floured surface and roll out into a square or rectangle. Cut out stripes about 2 inches wide and 3 inches long, repeating until you have used all your dough.

Fill one square with approximately 1 teaspoon of preserve/jam (add more or less depending on preference), careful not to overfill. Cover with another pie crust square and firmly press all side together. Take a fork and crimp around the edges. Score the top to help prevent leakage. Place on cookie sheet and cover with parchment paper/wax paper. Place in oven and bake for approximately 7-8 minutes, or until slightly brown. If you would like to eat immediately cook until desired shade of brown has been achieved. Otherwise, set aside to cool. Once cooled, add the glaze (and sprinkles if you'd like).

We poured our glaze on after removing from the oven and the girls immediately enjoyed their pop tarts.

Store in individual freeze bags and freeze until ready to eat. If you plan to store, I would add the glaze after reheating.

Share your pictures our experience making these pop tarts in the comments below or on our facebook page. Is there something in particular you've been looking to make from scratch, but have been hesitant - or don't have a recipe? Let me know and I'll see about giving it a whirl.

Don't forget to share and have your friends comment on our facebook page that you sent them. Whomever sends the most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbucks e-Gift Card.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Time4Learning - Is it really all that it is cracked up to be?

Last month I sent an email to Yang's K12 teacher advising that I would be withdrawing her and submitted my notice of intent to our county Board of Education. I received her acknowledgment letter from the BOE 4 days before her withdraw was complete from K12!

Just as I had made my decision, I received an email for a 2 week free trial for Time4Learning. I took a look at their site again and found I could do a 1 month trial in exchange for a candid review. I submitted all the required information and waited. Since I had already looked at their site a few times and had contemplated using it when I withdrew her. the email came at the right time. I have heard many good things about Time4Learning. Some saying they use it as their sole homeschooling curriculum while other supplement with it. I've always been worried that it wouldn't be enough, so this free trial was a great chance to check it out.

In the beginning things were crazy with Owlet taking semester finals, my best friends little boy getting into a bad 4-wheeler accident and Yang getting sick, that we weren't able to use it each and everyday as I had planned. Luckily, we got past all of that and things feel into place!!

I really like the fact the T4L covers multiple subjects (math, language arts, science and social studies) instead of just a single subject, or even just math and reading like most do. However, I do not like that there is no history included. I would have liked to see more with the science. Yang really likes science a lot, and as a kinesthetic learner the hands on of experiments are right up her alley. 

In Language Arts Extensions the reading comprehension has cute and silly interactive lessons which Yang really enjoyed. I would have liked to seen on the "Read by Myself" sections that there was a recording option of the student reading. This way, parents can go back to see words per minute read and/or missed words to practice with the student.

I really like that I have the ability to set minimum time limits for working in T4L each day. If there was the ability, I was unaware of it, but I would have liked to been able to set time limits per subject. As Yang is getting more comfortable with things she is wanting to work more independently, something that we never encountered while we used K12. With this I have found on a few occasions that if she does not like what I have assigned her to do she will page through or just exit the lesson. To prevent this it would be nice to have 2-3 questions about the lesson at the end that must be answered, or the ability to set password to be entered in order to exit a lesson that was not completed. This would prevent children from manipulating the system by spending just enough time in the lesson to not drawn suspicion without actually doing it. I found several times we would have to restart a lesson because there is no pause option during audio parts. This became very frustrating and while we did our best to time breaks and such, sometimes it is unavoidable. 

All in all, we really like T4L but I do not feel that it is a stand along curriculum. From a homeschool standpoint you definitely have to supplement. If you are looking to use it as supplement or even for reinforcement/additional help for a child attending a brick and mortar school,  it would work great.

Share this giveaway, tell your friends to like our facebook page and comment that you sent them. Whomever bring the most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbuck Gift Card.

As a member of Time4Learning, I have been given the opportunity to review their program and share my experiences. While I was compensated, this review was not written or edited by Time4Learning and my opinion is entirely my own. For more information, check out their standards-based curriculum or learn how to write your own curriculum review. My review is based on the use of the 2nd grade level.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A+ TutorSoft - Charitable Homeschool Math Giveaway & Review

During the months of November and December A+ TutorSoft held a Charitable Holiday Giveaway, donating $6,250 worth of A+ Interactive MATH to families. You could nominate yourself or another deserving family. After filling out all the basic info you had to give a story/reason why you or this family deserved to win. Approximately 400 - 500 families entered, and our family was 1 of 50 lucky winners! Once I received the email that we had won, and put two and two together I became worried. See, I had downloaded a free trial of the same program from and we had only used it once. I had actually forgotten I had downloaded it.

Once we received our disk in the mail it actually sat on my caddy for a few weeks before I installed in on my laptop. To be honest, the only reason I installed it was because Yang wanted to learn multiplication. It wasn't available for her grade level in the current program we are using (or at least that I had seen), so I wanted to see if it was covered with A+ TutorSoft. I went through the setup, after having to go back and retrieve what I thought was just a packing slip from the top of the trash! Setup wasn't difficult but the instructions are necessary!! Once I had everything set up, I went exploring, and with every click I was becoming more and more impressed. I liked that while each topic is outlined under different chapters, you do not have to work the lessons starting with chapter 1. I was able to skip right to chapter 6 for multiplication.

I really like is that A+ Interactive MATH Curriculm goes beyond and isn't just another computer/internet program. There are actually worksheets that go along with each lesson, and not 1-2 question worksheets either. You can either print them off individually as you go or everything in one sitting. Another option is purchasing the workbook, which includes all the worksheets and exams - close to 400 pages! This may even be a more economical option if you plan to print everything. I do believe this may be the route we take next year, as it will be easier to have everything in one workbook vs lose papers.

I LOVE that there is a pause button. That is a big thing for us. Nothing is more frustrating than having to having to restart from the beginning, and for us that would be several billion times! Between two other kids calling whenever they need help, dogs running around barking, needing out, phone ringing, restroom breaks, etc. it is just something that is essential for us.

Yang is wanting to become more independent (which I am having mixed feelings about) so it is nice that she is able to work alone on the A+ Interactive Math Curriculum since there is audio for everything. She is even able to work on the worksheets alone after I give her the directions.

One thing I would like to see is some kind of way to mark a lesson as complete at the end once the student has mastered that lesson, and for it to be reflective on the left sidebar of the chapters. For example, a password must be entered to mark the lesson as complete. Once it has been marked as completed, the lesson turns a different color (from the whitish/blue sheet to a green sheet) or has a check mark on it. Once the entire chapter is completed change the file folder from yellow to green or a check mark. 

I also find it somewhat time consuming to have to enter the progress in myself vs the system automatically doing it for me. Of course this is optional. However, I already keep a lesson planner, so I would be marking it has completed with results and notes in two locations. 

At the end of the interactive Q & A you can print a certificate. You can also print weekly certificates for work completed the previous week and progress reports. However, both of the are contingent on you entering the progress in manually.

A+ TutorSoft offers general and technical support through their website or by phone. There is even a facebook group that was created and moderated by the A+ TutorSoft, Homeschool MATH. The group was created for families to share success stories, tips, or anything MATH! I have not had to utilize A+ TurtorSoft support, but I did contact A+ TutorSoft for some info and screen shots for my review, and everyone was super nice and super helpful!

A+ TutorSoft is graciously offering 50% off with code SPOFFER50 valid on any A+ Interactive Math Curriculum through 3/31/13. Still wondering if this is a good fit for your family? Check out a free one month trial here. But hurry, this offer won't be going on for long.

Don't forget to enter a chance to win 1 or 2 Starbucks e-Gift Cards. 
Share this giveaway, tell you friends to like our facebook page and comment that you sent them. Whomever brings the most most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbucks e_gift Card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

DISCLAIMER: I won a free copy of the aforementioned with no mention of doing a review. I decided to do a review so that others can make an informed decision. I received no monetary compensation, and all opinions - good, bad or indifferent are solely my own.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz - Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Nate Rocks the World blog tour sponsored by Innovative Online Book Tours. Last week I did a review of Nate Rocks the Boat. Today I will review book one in the Nate Rocks series. Below you will find a blurb about the book, excerpt, author bio, great links, YouTube trailer clip, buy now links, TWO giveaways and my review.

Ten-year-old Nathan Rockledge cannot catch a break. After all, life as a fourth-grader  can be hazardous what with science projects to deal with and recces football games to avoid. Everyone, including his best friend Tommy, seems to have bad luck when hanging around Nathan. Throw in an older sister who is a royal pain, a dad who is stuck in the past, and a mom who keeps trying to poison him with her awful cooking, and poor Nate's life as a fourth-grader appears to be completely doomed.

Armed only with his sketchpad, his imagination, and his wits, Nathan Rockledge navigates the perils of fourth grade in style, to emerge heroic, as Nate Rocks, proving that even a ten-year-old can accomplish great things.



Karen is a writer, wife and mother. Karen grew up in Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children's novel for 7-12 year-olds called Nate Rocks the World, which won First Place for Children's Chapter Books and the Grand Prize Overall in the 2012 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, as well as placing first for a Global E-Book for Pre-Teen Literature. In 2012, Karen published the second of the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat, followed by middle grade novel, Millicent Marie Is Not My Name. Karen is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).


"The score is three to two in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. The Philadelphia Phillies have a man on first base, but honestly folks, I think the game is over. The Phillies have just not been able to pull it together this World Series, and now with all these injuries, who could the Phillies possibly put in to bat? It looks like this hometown team is running out of options. I hate to say this, but I think the dream of winning this year's World Series is now over for this team. Wait a minute - is that Nate Rocks approaching the plate? He hasn't been off the bench all season. Surely, the Phillies have someone more experienced they can use. Even Nate looks confused, as he steps up to the plate. Here comes the first pitch ... swing ... and a miss. Second pitch ... ooh, a 95 mph fastball ... and that's strike two. The Philadelphia crown of 45,000 is silent, as we wait for the third pitch ... the pitch that determines this year's world champions. The pitcher looks around, winds up, and ... CRACK - that ball is OUT OF HERE! I don't believe it, folks! Nate Rocks has hit a home run and the Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series!!!"

The Phillies rush outof the dugout, running toward me, as I cross home plate. They pile on top of me. Thunderous cheers of enthusiastic fans echo through the stadium. I can barely breath. I feel a hand reach out to me.

"You did it, Nate! You did it!" The Phillies' first baseman yells. He pulls me to my feet. 

Two other players help hoist me up over their shoulders. I wave to the crowd in victory. The players parade me around the base and the crowd begins chanting:




"Nathan! For the fourth time - dinner is ready!"

"Huh?" I ask.

Mom is standing in my bedroom doorway, hands on her hips, staring at me, as I sit on my floor among a sea of colored pencils.

"I said dinner is ready. And for goodness sake Nathan Michael Rockledge, clean up this mess!"

"Okay, Mom," I say.

Mom turns around and heads down the steps.

I know your hooked, so buy now!


To learn more about Nate Rocks:



Poppy and I have both been reading the Nate Rocks series. She has never really been a reader, but every once in a while she does find a book she really likes, and then she doesn't put it down. At first I had to actually make her read Nate Rocks the World. She had not picked out the book herself, she knew nothing about it, and therefore had no desire to read it. However, once she started reading she was hooked and read the first 3 chapters that evening. 

Recently I had Poppy write a book review for composition, and what better to do a book review on than Nate Rocks the World. Poppy had to give an intro, tell about the author, write a summary about the book, give her opinion and who she would recommend She had to do a re-write once, but over-all she did well. 

Poppy with her autographed bookmark
from Karen!
In her book report Poppy said, "I like how when Nate is daydreaming it is kinda hard to tell at first. When I first read it I was confused what was going on. However, it is not the type of confusing that makes you want to stop reading. I would recommend Nate Rocks the World to anyone that enjoys reading fiction books. You will certainly get a few good laughs!"

I must agree with Poppy, I love the way Karen transitions the book from Nate daydreaming to reality so seemingly.  Half the time I wouldn't realize he was daydreaming until I would read the famous line, "Why because you're Nate Rocks, of course!"

Nate seems like your average, everyday 10 year-old with an annoying older sister. Only, Nate has a very active imagination that takes him away from his annoying sister, his overbearing Mom and her awful cooking, and even the annoying Lisa Crane - his Mom's best friend's daughter and his classmate. When Nate is forced to work with Lisa on a class project it all goes down hill.
He has to waste a Saturday working on the project with her, instead of hanging out with his friends. She writes the entire report, throws his poster away and replaces it with one of her own, does all the talking during the presentation and makes it look like she did it all.

On Halloween Nate is able to go Trick-or-Treating with his two best friends, Sam and Tommy, and without any parents! Nate's older sister Abby and her best friend Emma decide to scare the boys. The boys take off running but Sam is so scared they end up lost. The next day Nate and Tommy plan to seek revenge on Abby, and what better way then her upcoming sleepover for her birthday. Only, sometimes plans don't always go as we'd hope!

Can poor Nate ever catch a break?
Nate Rocks the World is a great book for both boys and girls, old and young. If your child is not reading chapter books yet, it's at a manageable length to read to them. I can even see them turning around and reading it again when they are older. I know we will be re-reading them again, and soon!

Share this giveaway, tell your friends to like our facebook page and comment that you sent them. Whomever bring the most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbuck Gift Card.

DISCLAIMER: I received the aforementioned book for the sole purpose of providing an accurate and honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and all words and opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Years' Worth of Sensory Play (12 Different Sensory Bins) - Guest Post from Ice Cream and Cookies from Breakfast...That's Life

Today we have Alecia from Ice Cream and Cookies for Breakfast.....That's Life with a special guest post about sensory bins. After you've checked out her blog, hop on over to her facebook page and show her some "like"ing love.
Sensory Bins are a big hit at our house. They provide an excellent opportunity to give the kids in the house a chance to experience different textures and are an excellent source of busy play. We started with a bin filled with rainbow rice Rainbow Sprinkles (rice) and a handful of various objects. The kids loved it (even Dad and I were hard pressed to walk by it without running our fingers through it) but after about a month they wanted something new. I set off to the Internet doing a bit of research and I was amazed at just how many different ideas for sensory bins were out there. I decided we would change it up once a month. All of the bins are relatively cheap to put together in fact you probably have a lot of the items needed already in your home. Each sensory bin contains similar main ingredients; a container to store it in (we prefer the clear, low sided, storage totes with lids, a filler (salt, rice, paper, flour, cornmeal, sand, slime (it’s more a onetime hit then a month long), etc.), and play items (cars, scoops, sticks, army men) the possibilities are endless.
Most of the ingredients used are harmless but some should not be ingested, some bins have items included that are choking hazards. BE SAFE you know whether or not your child puts things in their mouth, so make a good decision based on how supervised he/she should be during these activities.
To help you get started I am going to give you a list of 12 ideas for sensory bins. Using the one a month method you now have a year’s worth of sensory play right at your fingertips. Enjoy!!
NOTE- This post contains a year’s worth of activities so it is a little long in length…..
January/Snow Theme- I used Epsom salt for our filler, Epsom salt should not be ingested and will burn your eyes if it comes in contact with them so use caution. My 5 year old and 4 year old did great with this bin but I did not let the 2 year old play. We loved the texture of the Epsom salt for the snow but you could also use regular salt or even sugar (its winter so ants shouldn’t invade you) as filler if you prefer. I filled our bin up a little more then 1/4 of the way full. Then we added little sandbox shovels, miniature snow clearing equipment, and some cars.
February/Valentine's Day theme- Strawberry scented pink/red rice is our filler for this one. This was the first time using this particular method to color the rice but it worked out great (Strawberry scented rice recipe). After putting the rice in the bin as the filler I added some colored glass stones. You can buy these cheap at the dollar store; I love the smooth, cool feel they always have. I found some foam Valentine’s Day shapes; fake rose petals, a small Valentine’s tray and some red and pink plastic spoons to complete the bin. They kids love it and it is probably their favorite. I think the glass stones helped with that and will add them to several more.
March/St. Patrick’s Day theme- Our filler is FEATHERS!!! This was so fun. I picked up a bunch of gold/yellow feathers as the main filler then added just a few green ones. All of our play items came from the dollar store and holiday isle at our local discount store. Cheap plastic shamrock jewelry, gold coins, I also threw in a magnifying glass so the kids could inspect the feathers. This addition was a big hit. The idea for our St. Patrick’s Day bin came from Growing a Jeweled Rose (link), this is a blog dedicated to messy/sensory play and it is my favorite!! An alternate filler should you have a feather or down allergic family member is green split peas.
April/Water...April showers theme- Water beads are tiny little beads that you can buy at all craft stores or online, I even found some at Wal-Mart next to the fake flower materials. These are not safe for ingestion so use caution. This bin requires a little planning the beads need to be soaked in water for 4-6 hours then drain off the extra water before using. They will expand in size and become slippery, slimy little “water marbles”. Some of the colors will leave a bit of mess on the skin but it washes right off. Not sure about clothing, I’m sure we got some on ours and I haven’t noticed any lasting stains but I don’t really pay attention to that ;-) I chose blue beads for this bin and only added a couple of small cups and spoons as play items. To me the feel of the beads is plenty of sensory. These probably won’t last as long as the other fillers because of all the handling so keep some spare packs on hand if desired. Also towards the end of play treat yourself to a relaxing foot soak, it’s a MUST!!! Beware they are slippery little things and a few might get dropped.
May/Flowers theme- Did you catch onto my cheesiness?? April showers bring May flowers ;-) The filler is brightly colored smooth glass stones (you could also use marbles) I prefer the stones because they don’t roll as much when dropped. Add in some multi-colored pom-poms, felt flours, foam shapes and you are ready to go.
June/Ice Cream theme- What’s the best thing about June for our family? The warm weather is finally here and that means its ice cream weather!!! For this bin I used Ice Cream Dough and Rainbow Rice Sprinkles. Throw in an ice cream scoop, a bowl, and fake ice cream cones and enjoy. I started the bin with the “sprinkles” stored in a separate container and with the “ice cream” flavors separated but of course by the end of June we had swirled ice cream and it ALL had sprinkles!! This dough loses some of its wowness the more it is played with but it still got us through a month.
July/It’s HOT HOT HOT theme!!!- July is hot, what else is hot? The desert so our filler for this bin is cornmeal (you could also use sand here). You can use plain corn meal or add in some vegetable oil to make it a little more mold-able. I would suggest adding the oil about half way through July that way you get the benefit of two textures. The boys helped me a lot with this theme so our play items were army men and vehicles. I also threw in a couple of small, plastic snakes and some stretchy, sticky lizards. The cornmeal will stick to the lizards but they were only $1 a pack so it didn’t bother me to trash them after this activity.
August/Aquarium theme- The boys loved the water beads so much that they begged to use them again so we purchased some more blue and some clear water beads for our aquarium themed sensory bin. I added in some small plastic fish (foam didn’t hold up to well in the water beads), a couple of those plastic water filled squishy things from the dollar stores. I don’t have a technical term for them but I know everybody remembers them from childhood. They are long cylinder plastic tubes that usually have glitter and small shapes floating around inside.
September/ NO theme- You read that correctly I have no theme for September but I do have a great filler for you. Shredded paper. I sent tons of scrap paper off to work with“Gan” (my Mom) so she could shred it up for the boys for this activity. Then throw in a little of whatever!! We used pony beads, foam shapes, glitter (big flakes from craft store), and a variety of small toys.
October/Halloween theme- Our filler is whole dried corn kernels and some dried black beans. Now if you are lucky enough like me to work at a seasonal corn maze or have a grandfather with a barn then the corn shouldn’t be a big deal if not then you may have to make a trip to the local feed store;-) I just threw in about a cup of the dried black beans to break up the color. Then we added rubber snakes, fake spiders, little felt pumpkins and a sand pail complete with shovel. Towards the end of October when everyone is doing pumpkin activities like (erupting pumpkins link)I think throwing in some dried pumpkin seeds would be great!!
November/Apples and Pumpkins theme- This bin is a little different in that is doesn’t have loose filler. Instead I added to separate sealed bags of homemade play-doh, Pumpkin Pie and apple-cinnamon scented. Then I added cookie cutters, plastic knives and spoons, pipe cleaners and some more of those glass stones in matching colors. If you put the play-doh back in the bags and keep them sealed it will last all month without a problem.
December/Snow Theme- We made it!!! It’s close to the end of the year and this insanely long blog post ;-) Even though we started out with a snow themed bin in January I am going to end with one also. Cloud dough is a family favorite. (Link to recipe) the original recipe calls for baby oil and that is what I used but some don’t like using that feel free to use vegetable oil as a substitution. Cloud dough is moldable so throw in some Christmas cookie cutters, red/green plastic spoons and any other Christmas themed goodies you would like.
(This picture is from our 1st Cloud Dough experience)
To prepare for this post the boys and I did a year’s worth of sensory bins in about two weeks. As a result I didn’t get pictures for all of them but as we work our way through 2013 I will add them in.
Remember with sensory bins the possibilities are endless so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and utilize this post. I know it was long but I hope you enjoy the whole years’ worth of sensory play!!
Thanks for stopping by today Alecia! We will definetley be giving a few of these a try, if not all. Yang is not usually game for messy play, but it's a work in progress. 

Share this giveaway, tell your friends to like our facebook page and comment that you sent them. Whomever brings the most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbuck Gift Card.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Baby's On the Way & $10 Starbucks e-Gift Card Giveaway


HA, HA! NO, I am NOT pregnant!! You can all release the breath you've been holding! I have three girls that keep me plenty busy as it is. However, one of my very near and dear friends is, and she was induced yesterday! I've been so excited I could hardly sleep last night (not like I can any other time either). This is her first baby, she is the only girl with 3 older brother and she is the baby of the family. So needless to say, he is going to be SPOILED!! I just can't wait to get my hands on the little peanut.

Since her days of sleep are now a thing of the past, I only find it fitting to have a Starbucks e-Gift Card Giveaway going on right now.

Make sure you check out my review of Vicky Finds a Valentine by Emlyn Chand.

Share this giveaway, tell your frienda to like our facebook page & comment that you sent them. Whomever bring the most people to our facebook page will also receive a $10 Starbuck Gift Card.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vicky Finds a Valentine by Emlyn Chand - Review

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you all have a day filled with love. Today I have an tasty treat for you, keep reading to find out more.

Welcome to my stop on the Vicky Finds a Valentine blog tour hosted by Innovative Online Book Tours. Make sure you stop by and check out the other stops on the tour. Below you will find a blurb about Emlyn's newest book, Vicky Finds a Valentine, author bio, great links, my review and buy now link. 

BLURB: Vicky is a happy lovebird with a great life as the Johnson's family pet. When her human Marie starts making Valentine's Day cards for her first grade class, Vicky is definitely intrigued. "Valentine's day is very special," Marie explains. "It only comes once a year, and when it comes, you have to tell everyone how much you love them. But most of all, you have to find a special friend to be your Valentine." A day about love? That's fantastic! Now who can be Vicky's special Valentine? A search begins as Vicky asks anyone who will listen to be her Valentine. Unfortunately, the pretty doll ignores her, and so do the people in the glass box-and she's not she can trust the family cats intentions. Will the day come to a close before Vicky can find a Valentine? There's only one way to find out. Join Vicky on her hunt for love in this special holiday edition of the color-illustrated Bird Brain series for children. 


Emlyn Chan 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!

From Emlyn's facebook page yesterday - It was a sad night last night. Honey (the basis for my kids' book, Honey the Hero) died rather unexpectedly........ Please be sure to stop by Emlyn's facebook page, or comment below and show her some love.

Website & blog:

My Review - 4 stars

I read Vicky Finds a Valentine with my homeschool group during our Valentine's Day Party Tuesday. A very dear friend of mine, 4 year old little boy was trapped from the moment I started reading! He sat there the entire and didn't move a muscle! Here is what some of the kids had to say about Vicky Finds a Valentine.

"When the birdy made it's feathers pretty. That was funny", Little Man - age 4 

"I just loved everything! I was so scared Sparky was going to eat Vicky!!" Yang - age 6

"We all need a special friend to love." Poppy - age 13

"Very heartfelt" - Owlet - age 14

Emlyn has once again brought her wonderful birds, holidays and meaningfully messages together in her last Bird Brain book, Vicky Finds a Valentine. Vicky is a beautiful lovebird, that adores her 1st grade owner, Marie. When Marie comes home from school with all sorts of colored paper, glitter, glue sticks and scissors - Vicky is very interested in finding a special friend to be her Valentine. Once Marie leaves for school the next morning Vicky hops out to begin her search. She climbs up Marie's bed and hops over to Marie's doll - Miss. Inga. Surely she will be her one special friend. After all, she could hear Marie & Miss. Inga having conversations at night - well Marie's side at least. Only, Miss. Inga won't respond. Vicky leaps down from the bed, and down the stairs. The people in the glass box are ignoring her so she decides to ask Marie's mom. Sparky, the cat, comes out before making it to Mom. Whatever will Vicky do? Should she trust the sly cat? Or has she really found her one special friend to be her Valentine?

As I'm sure you have all come to know, with Emlyn's tails tales there is always a meaningful message. In this great holiday edition of the Bird Brain series, Vicky learns not to be so trusting of everyone we encounter. After all, you never know when the cat may be out to get you! 

Wanna find out more about Vicky? Click below to buy now.

Amazon Kindle ebook




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DISCLAIMER: I received the aforementioned book for the sole purpose of providing an accurate and honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and all words and opinions are my own.