Zombelina by Kristyn Crow #ChildrensBook

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
Zombelina, an adorable book about a young zombie girl who loves to dance, but then faces stage fright when it came to perform in front of an audience.  Seemingly only appropriate for Halloween season, it isn't a bit scary and a great addition to a children's book collection to have all year round.  At first my son said that the book must be for girls but showed interest because of the emphasis on the "zombie," but in the end loved the book.  A great stocking stuffer or great gift for that little book worm in your family this holiday season.

"Zombelina loves to dance. She moonwalks with mummies and boogies with bats. She spins like a specter and glides like a ghost and loves to dance for her family the most. When Zombelina enrolls in a ballet class for real girls, her dancing gives everyone the chills! But when her first recital brings on a case of stage fright, her zombie moans and ghoulish groans scare her audience away. Only her devoted family's cheers, in their special spooky way, help Zombelina dance the ballet debut of her dreams."

My 5 year old loved it, and so did my 9 year old niece.  Beautifully written, catches a beginner readers attention with rhyme and great story telling while being an adorable unique family story that makes it fun for anyone to read.  In the end of the book my son laughed and said "sometimes only your family understands you," he's absolutely right, and I loved that this book made my son say that.  Get yours today on Amazon.




Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels! #top8free #foodallergies #glutenfree

*I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  My opinions are a 100% my own. 
I have been a fan of Enjoy Life Foods since the day I discovered them in search of safe foods for my son a few years back.  They are the reason my son is able to have a chocolate chip cookie, or chocolate dipped..anything!  I first tried their chocolate chips and fell in love..soon after I tried their chocolate chunks - and of course loved them too.  Both so versatile, and I though that was it..until I was recently introduced to the chocolate morsels!  It is Dark Chocolate Morsels that take away any sadness you may be feeling about having a restricted diet.  Because for the moments that the chocolate is melting in your mouth, and your senses pause just for a moment to only taste that rich chocolate taste..well that's it, that's all you remember.  Never mind anything else you can't have, all you'll care about is that you can have these!  These are bigger than the chocolate chips in size, and smaller than the chocolate chunks. 

Unsweetened chocolate and cane sugar, that's it for the ingredients list!  And for those that may not know it is top allergen free, if you have food allergies check out the rest of their products as well.

Melt them and make into a chocolate bar, have it by the handfuls, bake with them..enjoy it how you want, but just enjoy.  That's what Enjoy Life Foods would want you to do.  I haven't been a complete fan of the changes Enjoy Life Foods have gone through in the past year because due to a change of ingredients my son said goodbye to snack bars he loved, but this kind of change, I approve.  I love the chocolate chips, the chunks, the morsels - and hope the ingredients don't ever change.  Thank you to Enjoy Life Foods for another delicious addition that means oh so much to us.












Zing Toys Air Huntress Z-Curve Bow #Review #Giveaway

I received the item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided. All opinions are a 100% my own.  This giveaway is sponsored by Zing Toys.
*giveaway has been added to this post*
Girl power anyone?  The first time I saw the Air Huntress Z-Curve Bow, I noticed all the sparkles!  I've seen the green and blue bow before, but this was so "girly" with pink, purple and sparkle.  Who said you can't have the sparkle and be sporty too?!  With the Air Huntress Z-Curve Bow kids could start their way into the sport of archery by being able to practice indoors and outdoors, safely. 
It can launch soft-foam ammo over 125 feet, it comes with Z-Arrows and stick-anywhere suction cup Zartz.  What I love about it, besides being so fun for adults and kids is that it's safe and easy to use.  My son has the older version of the Z-curve bow and have been using it since he was four (note:suggested age 8+)..which also brings me to quality.  It has been used throughout the year and still in good condition which I'm sure like the rest of the Zing Toys, it is the quality the Air Huntress shares as well.
Absolutely at the top of my list of top toys to give to a girl this holiday season; lots of fun, great price point, and great quality.  Learn more including where to purchase here, and enter below to win one!

*GIVEAWAY*
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/17ff6123/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway



There's Still a Chance to See Disney On Ice Let's Celebrate! #DisneyOnIce #LetsCelebrate

I received complimentary tickets for the show.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own. 
We went to see Disney On Ice Let's Celebrate, and loved every moment!  Although I attended the sneak preview event at Grand Central Vanderbilt Hall earlier this month and had an idea of what to expect, to see the whole show it blew me away.

"sneak peak" of what to expect at a Disney On Ice Let's Celebrate show
The little girl in me couldn't help but keep a smile the whole time, and my children including my one year old loved it!  The classics and then some.  Truly a magical show, one full of celebrations.  Who isn't a Disney fan, but even if there's a chance, they'd enjoy the ice skating performed by the artists. 
 
I've never been to any Disney On Ice shows before but I have been to other live shows, and this beat many by far.  I absolutely recommend it, and could tell you all the children sitting around us seemed to really love it as well (and as much as the adults).  Many little girls had their princess costumes, it was adorable.  If you are or will be in the tri-state area, there is still time to catch a show:
 

Prudential Center in Newark, NJ (November 20-24)  
IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ (November 26 -December 1)
 
"Background:Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!
It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.  Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!"


 

Super Easy Pumpkin Shaved Ice Treat

I received item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  
I have never made anything with pumpkin before, and would almost say never tasted anything either..except I have had pumpkin pie.  So I'll go back to I've never made anything with it before, we actually carved our first pumpkin this year.  So I challenged myself to make something with pumpkin since I recently got a really awesome pumpkin scoop from Good Cook.  It comes with a little knife inside, and scoops so well.
It's the only tool you'll need when working with a pumpkin.
I'm so glad I have this scoop not only is it good for pumpkins, it is great for melons and other squash like fruits and veggies.  Also I'll be better equipped for next years Halloween pumpkin carving with the Good Cook pumpkin scoop, which is also available at Walmart as well as at the goodcook.com

I took 1/4 cup of dairy free coconut cream, 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar and blended it until light and fluffy.
I mixed in some (about 1 cup) of canned pumpkin I bought (since I couldn't find a fresh enough pumpkin to use fresh) slowly, until well blended.
Pour in a bit of orange juice, or mango juice if you want, it also goes very well.  Add any sweet fruit juice you may like to add sweetness.  Honey is another delicious option.  Mix well.
*I tried Apple Cider and it was very good.

Took them and froze in plastic bowls.  

Once frozen, take them out and I used my ice shaver to make delicious shaved ice.  If you don't have one of these, you can freeze thin layers at a time, adding thin layers at a time, then brake it up with a fork and serve.  

Also don't forget to join us on November 25th on twitter for a fun twitter party, follow hashtag #ThanksgivingTips. Click here for more info and how to RSVP.





Johari's Joy by Boots Hensel #BookReview #ChildrensBook

I received item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.  
Falling in love with a book is possible, even when it is a children's picture book.  Maybe it is the little detail about the author Boots Hensel that captured my attention.  

"Hensel’s first book, The Zoopendous Surprise is based on real life experiences with her daughter Courtney, who worked as a zookeeper with two Asian elephants at the Little Rock Zoo in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"My daughter, Courtney, was the zookeeper for Mary and Ellen, two elephants at the Little Rock Zoo from 2002 to 2004. I visited her often at the zoo and was fortunate to observe these great animals play and interact together. I watched their antics and saw their keen sensitivity first-hand. After Courtney's death from cancer four years ago, I knew I had to write a story about ‘her girls’."

Learning of how she was originally inspired captured my attention, that and the cute story of an unlikely friendship in "Johari's Joy."  Since we started homeschooling this year I looked for different ways to teach my son, and one of our weekly "learning sessions" took place at the zoo, which is probably why he is such a huge animal lover now.  I knew he would love the book, and so he did.

Johari the rhinoceros is alone at the zoo, and so is Joy the pig.  The zookeeper places them together where an unlikely friendship is born.  My son (5) said he believes "it teaches you to not judge by how someone looks from the outside, that even though you could be completely different - you could be the same if you stop and look."

This is a great addition to our library, wonderful artwork by Mark Wayne Adams, and along with an easy to read cute story, it's complete with fun facts and Rhinoceros Jokes in the end.  

Both books are available at Amazon.com and online by visiting www.bootshensel.com




The Ultimate Thanksgiving Twitter Party on November 25, 2013! #ThanksgivingTips

Come join me, Good Cook, The Frugal Mom, and other Good Cook Kitchen Experts!
What: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Twitter Party
When: Monday, November 25, 2013 at 6:00 pm to 7:00pm EST
Where: On Twitter with hashtag #Thanksgivingtips

Join in as we talk about everything Thanksgiving from turkey prep to decorating the table. Plus get a chance to WIN a special gift and one of three $200 Thanksgiving Baskets that will arrive in time for your dinner.  It'll be lots of fun..you don't want to miss it! 

Also, be among the first 500 to RSVP by November 23, 2013 and receive a free set of Turkey Lifters
Click here RSVP.

Tweet you then!! :)



Sunbutter & Jelly Sandwiched Between a Shortbread Cookie and Crispy Rice Milk Chocolate!

*I received item/s for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.
I loved the Sweet Creations by Good Cook tools, and wanted to use them to make something different from what they are originally intended.  I love to bake but since I am unable to use so many "main" ingredients I was used to baking with because of food allergies..I did my best without wheat, rye, eggs, dairy, nuts..etc. etc.!  The beauty of baking with food allergies is that the reward in eating safe foods, and the achievement in creating something great tasting. 
These quality cupcake papers made a great purpose for serving the little cookie-chocolate sandwiches I made.  Since I was baking allergy friendly, I used baking mixes for them.  I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free Shortbread Cookie Mix to make a thin cookie in the whoopie pie pan, and used Enjoy Life Foods Rice Milk Crunch chocolate bar which I melted and let set inside the whoopie pie pan as well.
Bob's Red Mill gluten/wheat free shortbread cookie mix
I mixed it as directed (w egg & dairy substitute) but pressed it against the whoopie pie pan to make a thin "bowl" shape.  Used a fork to make a slight pattern.  
Poured in a tablespoon of hemp milk and microwave melted the Enjoy Life Foods dairy free Rice Milk Crunch chocolate bars.
Poured them into the whoopie pie pan, and placed in fridge for about 15 minutes until solid.
Although I didn't create this recipe from scratch like I usually do, I hope that it still inspires you to think outside the box, and show you that is possible to have good tasting creations..even with many dietary restrictions.  Also..fun to use baking tools for different purposes, so fun to see how well it works out.
Thin shortbread cookie crisps, use it to scoop up a favorite dip or have as is.







 

Build-A-Bear Workshop Now Found Inside of FAO Schwartz! #NYC

We were invited to the grand opening of Build-A-Bear Workshop in FAO Schwartz, and received a gift card to use in store.  No other compensation was provided.  All opinions are a 100% my own.
On Friday, November 8th we visited the grand opening ribbon cutting ceremony of Build-A-Bear Workshop within the awesome FAO Schwartz store!  We had such a great time, my sons first ever Build-A-Bear experience was a total hit.  He picked out "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" from their Holiday Friends collection and named him "Sparky." 
We visit FAO Schwartz often as it is my childhood favorite store, but to now with the addition of Build A Bear Workshop on the 2nd floor, words can't describe how visiting FAO Schwartz becomes any child's dream come true. 
Rudulph the Red Nosed Reindeer from Holiday Friends Collection
For those of you that have surely heard of Build-A-Bear Workshop by now and have yet to visit/take your child, GO.  That is all, just go.  You will not regret it, it is not just purchasing a toy for your child but really is a furry little friend.  My son who is not one to cling on to "binkies," blankets or toys his whole life has not let go of his little friend "Sparky."  If you have been to Build-A-Bear Workshop before then you already know what I'm talking about, and you must share my excitement as now there is one more location for you to get extra smiles, hugs, and memories created with your children.  If you don't have a location near you, you can go shopping online as well.

Build-A-Bear Workshop on 2nd level of FAO Schwartz
basket full of bears to "stuff w hugs" to donate
Everyone in the shop is super friendly, and helpful.  My son had such a great time, and I loved that as a part of the "celeBEARstion we were able to stuff a bear with hugs to donate as well.  Grateful for how easy they made it for us to give.  We are so excited for the new location, and will surely be visiting again soon.







 



   

Our Thank You Tree! #KidsCrafts

My sons favorite part of our days is when we do arts and crafts.  So for the month of November we have been doing everything we can think of that is all fall and Thanksgiving related.
This month has been particularly fun because of how many different way we are able to use our hands as a part of a craft project.  This is one of our favorites this month; our "Thank You" tree.  I saw a similar idea online and had to give it a try. The idea is everyday you add a "thank you leaf" to your tree. We cut out the kids hands after tracing it in fall colors. I have my son write what he is grateful for that every day of the month; he practices his writing letters, words and numbers. I also have him write the day of the month.
Pin me? :)
To make your own "thank you" tree:
You'll need:
A large paper bag
Scissors
Colored construction paper
Paint & Paint brush
Tape or Stapler
Children will practice artistic skills, creativity, writing, spelling, numbers, and more.
#d2dmomty #daytodaymoments
Draw a tree shape onto a large paper bag once open, and have your child cut the shape out
#daytodaymoments #d2dmomty
Have your child pick fall leaf colors and paint them on
#d2dmomty #daytodaymoments
Paint the tree trunk brown (optional)
#d2dmomty #daytodaymoments
Trace and cut out kids hands
We used a paper bag, cut it open, painted on a tree with all the fall colors. Then everyday we add a hand leaf to he tree, we will continue to do so for the rest of the month. We actually picked up some leaves from the park today, so we might add it on just for fun.

What are you doing with your kids this month?












Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate at Vanderbilt Hall Tomorrow! #NYC #GrandCentral

I was provided information for this post.  Will be attending an opening night performance for the purpose of review.  No other compensation was provided.
Always something happening in New York City!  Tomorrow, Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall will make history as it will have it's first ever skating performance take place.  Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate performance will take place at 10:30AM, and I will be there!  Full cast including our beloved Mickey and Minnie Mouse will take to the "ice."  It's specially constructed EZ Glide skating rink that's making it all possible.
 
Starting from 7AM to 7PM commuters will be able to join in on the fun as there will be an exhibition of classic one of a kind costumes from Disney On Ice.  Games, contests and giveaways from Radio Disney.  You can make your own virtual holiday card as you "star" in your own "Let's Celebrate" and share it with family and friends via social media.  You will also see special guest appearances from the cast of Disney On Ice presents Let's Celebrate!  Join in on the fun during your day, and if you are lucky and already passing by the area, make sure to stop by!
 
Time: November 7th 7AM - 7PM
Place: Vanderbilt Hall at New York's Grand Central Terminal (89 East 42nd Street)
 
I've never been any Disney On Ice shows before so I'm excited at the upcoming events in the tri-state area, here are the show dates:
 
Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island (November 5-10)  
Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY (November 12-17)
Prudential Center in Newark, NJ (November 20-24)  
IZOD Center in East Rutherford, NJ (November 26 -December 1)
 
"Background:Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!
It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry Unbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter; Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; a Hawaiian luau with Lilo & Stitch; a winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear; a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.  Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!"

Sounds like so much fun!! My family and I are looking forward to attending, and will be sharing our thoughts with you from our experience!




 

Fishy Has Gone to Fish Heaven

Our fish, Fishy died yesterday, I found my son making her bowl and a "framed" Fishy with his modeling clay.  He was 4 months shy of making 2 years with us.  We originally bought a different fish that unfortunately didn't make it passed a week with us.  He just wouldn't eat his food, we tried all of them.  I told my husband to get a new one from the pet store without telling my son, my husband went and bought a red one.  As you can see if you clicked on the link, the first fish was a boy and had blue, green, many hues of color. 
My son knew it was another one, obviously.  We told him his daddy replaced the fish.  Just felt too cruel to tell him that the fish died at that time, he was just so excited about the fish at that time.  Today much older, he was happy talking about when we first got him.  And actual memories with the fish, he used to follow our finger around the bowl.  For an easy to take care of, and cheap in price fish, he was full of character.  I actually miss walking into the kitchen and seeing him swim up to get fed.  We spoke about how he lived a happy life, my son remembered how Fishy "jumped" out of it's bowl to eat a fruit fly once. 
I was so sad to see him not doing so well in the end.  I've learned they could live up to 5 years in average, and also learned that they are already around a year or more old when we first get them from the pet store - so hoping he lived his full life.
My son wants another one, can't blame him, it's the most city friendly pet we can manage right now.  I don't think I could cope with losing a dog or bigger pet in general, losing a fish..a fish makes me sad!  
Do you own fish?  Have you?    

Life Really Can't Be Planned

drawing by my 5 year old - leave it to your imagination - what do you see?
My husband and I might not have it all, or be where we may want to be today but we make the most out of everything possible.  After all there's always something missing, and one more thing that would make something "perfect."  But most of those are just human wants, not necessarily needs.     

Ever watch vlogs, and read blogs and think "why is my life not as fun as that?"  I do.  I'm not afraid to admit it either.  Subconsciously so, but I often find myself comparing my life to others, then again don't we all?  Despite the bumps on the way that continue to present itself, I'm fully content in my life today, I'm highly grateful for every day in my life, and every day I get to spend with my loved ones.  I lost my mom when I was in high school, and know first hand what losing a loved one feels like - even though I still find myself in disbelief that she's really gone.  The few times that I have dreamed of her in my sleep, she was on vacation and I kept asking her when she was going to come back, and in my dreams I always feel how anxious I am to tell her all about the things she has missed.

Losing my mom, finding out and then learning to live with my sons food allergies have been my two most challenging hurdles in life.  It is also what makes me stronger and wiser today.  One day I was the baby of my family, carefree, naive, way too innocent for my own good or age - then everything happened so fast.  My life started before I could stop to "plan" it, before I could realize I was an adult.  Many have their perfect stories, mine is far from it, but I also think there's many who can relate to my story as well.  You can't really "plan" life anyway, you can have an idea of what you want and go after it, but you don't know what life has in store for you.  When I was pregnant with my son, I had planned to continue working, continue my studies - but who knew he would need me 24/7 to keep him safe from food allergies. 

Life can't be planned.  Never in my wildest most horrific dreams did I think my mom wouldn't live to be a grandmother, never did I imagine in my nightmares that food could kill.  I live my days knowing an innocent "everyday food" can kill my son, that is just so wrong.  I don't stress little things in life, I try not to, as there are troubles much greater than that.  I like to be grateful for things many take for granted, as they can be taken away from you in an instant. 

So I may not have it all or be where I want to be in life today.. sometimes - I'm so grateful for my life today!  Way too many good to be ruined by the bad.