Wednesday, February 10, 2016

SuperKids by Anya Damiron Teaches Children About Disabilities in an Entertaining, Educational and Appealing Way

Every now and then I come across a book that would make an excellent jumping off point to discuss a sensitive subject with children. It's not always easy getting kids interested enough to sit still and listen to an actual lesson.

SuperKids by Anya Damiron is an educational, yet entertaining book about an important subject that will be sure to capture and hold the attention of just about any child. 

Ivan is a very active child with a very active imagination. He enjoys creating super hero capes from just about anything he can get his hands on and racing through the house to save the day.

Ivan’s parents provide him with an actual cape of his own and he then becomes Super Ivan. When he happens upon a little boy whose super power is unique way of painting Ivan tries it himself, but is unsuccessful. Super Ivan’s parents understand his curiosity and introduce him to many other children who are similar to the little painter.

Although this is a serious subject – children with disabilities - the illustrations of Ivan attempting to grab household items to use as capes are truly funny. I giggled out loud several times. I’m sure kids will think they‘re hilarious. The author then makes a seamless transition from lighthearted to more serious as the book progresses.

While the vocabulary is a little advanced for young children, it works, since it gives adults the opportunity to explain new concepts to children and children can learn as they progress through the book. The illustrations are detailed, colorful and charming.

I honestly think there are too few children’s books that address disabilities. This is something that deserves a lot more discussion, so kudos for Anya Damiron for sharing this story. She does it in an enlightening and appealing manner.

“SuperKids” would make a wonderfully educational circle time book to share in class, or an engaging and informative book for parents to read to kids at home. I highly recommend this book!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Bath & Body Works Candles - Are They Worth the Price?

There's a Bath & Body Works store at the mall that smells fantastic whenever I get anywhere near it, but believe it or not up until recently I'd never actually gone inside. My daughter-in-law is a huge fan of their products and her house smells wonderful, so, I decided to finally try some BBW candles for myself.

© Bath & Body Works
© Bath & Body Works

After wandering around in the store for a bit, sniffing candles, and cutting my finger on a shelf sign (that's another story) I settled on two candles to start with - one Praline Pecan Cobbler, the other London Tea & Lemon.  They were running a two for $24 deal, so it was a good way to try them out before going wild with my candle purchases. Here's what I think:

The Pros:

The Praline is AWESOME. The scent is amazing, yet not overpowering. I have the Praline candle sitting on the kitchen table and the front of the house smells like I've been baking for days.

The smell of the London Tea & Lemon isn't nearly as wonderful. It has an okay aroma, but I don't think it smells either lemony or tea-like. I lit it briefly and haven't lit it again since.

The Cons:

The labels state these candles will burn for 25 - 45 hours. I'm trying to figure out what might cause the variation in burn time. Anyone know? I can say that I've had the Praline lit for a fair amount of hours (but no where near 45) and the wax has burned down quite a the point that two of the wicks seem to be perpetually under melted wax and keep going out. The melted wax surface looks a little funky. Kind of a burned maple syrup look. I'm going to have to say that they don't last nearly as long as they state they do.

The ingredient label lists that the candles are made of "a patented blend of vegetable wax", which leaves me to wonder if this means they're a mix of vegetable wax and something else - possibly paraffin wax? Obviously, I don't know for sure.

Most of us know that paraffin wax is made from toxins and aren't exactly good for us or the environment. Again, I do not know if there is any amount of paraffin in these candles and I'm certainly not saying there is. I'd just like to be sure that there isn't.

However, I can't seem to find a definite answer where BBW candles are concerned. I've searched high and low in an attempt to narrow down what "a patented blend of vegetable wax" actually means, but haven't been able to find out. I've sent an email to the company and am awaiting a response.

I can only assume that if BBW candles are 100% vegetable wax, rather than some sort of blend, they'd state this on the label. At least the wicks are lead-free - although they didn't exactly do this of their own free will. The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead-based wicks back in 2003.

My Conclusion:

I know Bath & Body Works has tons of loyal scented candle fans, but I'm just not convinced.

Although the Praline candle smells delicious, I think these BBW candles are a little pricey when you consider the varying burn time. And since they say they're made from a "vegetable wax blend" and don't clearly state what else is blended along with it, I'm staying away from them for now until I can get a real answer and I'll stick with either natural soy or beeswax.

3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Monday, February 8, 2016

Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O'Malley is an Excellent Way to Address Bullying with Middle-Graders

Mandy has crowned herself the coolest kid at school and queen of the third grade. In reality, Mandy is a tyrant who rejects anyone who is different. When she finds out she needs glasses to see better, she wonders how she’ll keep her cool kid title.
© Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O’Malley

Cool Kids Wear Glasses is a wonderful book for youngsters who may be just getting into chapter books. The chapters are short, yet packed with just the right amount of engaging elements to keep kids reading.

This book is certainly based on a timely subject. How many children know at least one school bully? I appreciated the way the author had Mandy gradually decide whether or not what she’s doing is bullying, since she wasn’t looking at it from the perspective of the uncool kids until she herself was in the same position. I think most children can relate to this. It definitely made Mandy a more likable character.

© Cool Kids Wear Glasses by Teddy O’Malley

This would make a great book to use as a way to introduce bullying to grade-schoolers. It’s an excellent jumping off point to begin an open dialogue with kids. I highly recommend it!

5 of 5 Stars, Susan Barton

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Great Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker for Kids to Use at Bathtime

I love listening to music just about everywhere I go. I also enjoy camping and spending time at the lake. Put these two pastimes together and it’s an awesome way to spend a weekend. Taking an expensive speaker system camping might not always be practical or even safe. That’s where this Bluetooth Triangle speaker comes in handy!

This speaker comes packaged in a sturdy hard plastic case, which is suitable for storage when needed. The speaker is compact and durable, which tells me it should last a long time. I had it out of the box, paired with my Android phone and playing music in less than a minute.

The actual speaker is on the bottom of the unit, yet the sound is still good all the same. I stuck the generous-sized suction cup to the shower wall, played some music while showering and the music came across loud and clear.

As a mom and grandmother, I’m always looking for kid-friendly products. I can see the HDE Bluetooth Triangle doing an excellent job of keeping the kids happy during bath time. My husband loves it too!

At just 10.95, this speaker is a great value. Recommended!

I received a complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

My Mother's Wings by Sally Huss Helps Children Cope With Military Deployment and Separation

With so many children going through the difficult experience of being separated from a parent who is serving in the military, this book certainly is timely. Author Sally Huss has provided a wonderful way to discuss these challenges with children of any age.

© "My Mother's Wings" by Sally Huss
“My Mother’s Wings” addresses the feelings that I’m sure many military families must contend with during deployment. The boy in this book feels sad when his mother must leave, of course, but his mother gives him a beautiful way to cope. She presents him with his very own wings in the form of a pin. He then goes on to help other children who are in the very same position as himself. What a wonderfully positive way to empower a child!

© "My Mother's Wings" by Sally Huss

The illustrations in this book are simple, yet colorful, cute and eye-catching. They’re sure to capture the attention of even the youngest child.

I’d recommend this book to anyone dealing with a military family situation – or any type of parent/child separation for that matter. Highly recommended!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

All the Ways to Express My Love by Christina Johnson Shares a Lovely and Positive Message for Children

I adore children’s books, especially books that have a positive and encouraging message to share with the children in my life. That’s why, when I spotted a free promo for one of Christina Johnson’s books, I knew I had to grab it. I wasn’t sorry that I did!

All the Ways to Express My Love is a sweet book about expressing love to the most important people we know – our children. A colorful and eye-catching illustration is included on each page, along with an uplifting sentiment. The author portrays just about every mood children (and adults) can go through, yet our love remains constant. What a lovely and reassuring thing for children to know!

Christina Johnson has written many children’s books. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that, prior to taking advantage of this free promo, I hadn’t heard of her. Well, now that I have I’m certainly going to seek out all of her books. I’ve even signed up for her awesome newsletter.

Parents should know that Ms. Johnson includes some great additional info to find on her website at the conclusion of All the Ways to Express My Love – including a free book download and free printables. I just found another children’s book author to follow! Highly recommended!

*Grab this book while you can, since it's still FREE!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Friday, February 5, 2016

Kid-Friendly Awesome Priced Bluetooth Headphones from HDE

I don't know a child nowadays who isn't tech-savvy enough to run circles around the rest of us when it comes to smart phones, tablets and computers. Just like adults, kids love watching their shows on their phones and tablets, particularly on those long road trips. It's a great way to keep the kiddos happy and busy.

Having a set of headphones is an added bonus. Let's face it, not everyone in the car wants to listen to endless episodes of cartoons. That's where a set of headphones comes in handy. If you're looking for a set of kid-friendly headphones with the added benefit of being Bluetooth compatible and don't want to spend a lot of money then look no further. I've found the perfect pair!


Here's a review of HDE's awesome foldable studio quality Bluetooth headphones...

I’ve wanted a set of Bluetooth headphones for a while now. I already have a good set of headphones, so I wondered if it was really worth the investment just for the hands-free convenience. Bluetooth headphones are expensive, right? When I was given the opportunity to review these headphones, I admit I was skeptical. $13.95 for a pair of Bluetooth headphones? I wasn’t expecting a lot. Boy was I wrong.

The first thing I noticed was how wonderfully compact these headphones are. They fold up nicely and fit perfectly in a backpack or even my purse. That makes them great for long road trips and on plane rides. Yet they don't feel the least bit small on my head.

From the time I opened the package, it literally took less than a minute to pair the headphones with my Android phone, put them on my head and begin listening to my favorite Sirius radio station. They quickly adjust easily and securely, and the generous padding provides a nice cushion of comfort.

These headphones also come with some wonderful extra features. I tried the call-answering feature and was impressed with the sound quality and seamlessness with which I was able to go from listening to music, making a phone and then back to the music again. The built-in microphone made calls crisp and clear.

The sound quality is awesome, and although these don’t specifically state that they’re noise cancelling, I found that it did a great job of blocking out outside noise. They also have a built-in FM antenna so I can listen to the radio as well. The music-sharing feature will definitely come in handy during air travel with my traveling companions.

I would highly recommend getting these headphones. They make an excellent spare set or even primary set of headphones. They'd also be great set for children. The price is phenomenal for what you’re getting! And, shipping is FREE!

5 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton

I received a complimentary product in exchange for my honest review.