Sunday, August 21, 2016

Book Review: The Echoing

The-Echoing-Blog-Tour-BannerAbout the book:
Rylee has an unusual gift. It brings good luck to those who are kind to her and misfortune to those who are not–at least, that’s what the crazy woman in the woods tells her. But Rylee doesn’t believe it until strange coincidences start happening to her classmates and friends. Her gift may not be a matter of luck but of life and death.


About the author:
Jessica Blackburn studied at Brigham Young University—Idaho and graduated from her local community college with an Associates of Arts Degree. She currently lives in the beautiful Columbia Gorge as a stay-at-home mom. When she’s not writing stories, she spends her spare time teaching Sunday School and blogging her lessons and personal thoughts at cozybugz.blogspot.com.

From Reidhead Randomness:
From the first few pages, this book hooked me!  It is written to the YA audience, as it is set in High School, but I think YA and adults alike will enjoy it!  It was fun to remember the "joys" of H.S.....the Principle's daily announcements, boys, crushes, teachers, etc...but this teen is about to have quite the adventure!  I really enjoyed reading The Echoing!  It is a quick read...and a real page turner, at 210 pages. It is well written, and enjoyable!  Two thumbs up!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Osmo...great learning tool!





There are some cool new tech toys available at Best Buy geared for children.  These tech toys provide a fun and educational experience, and can influence how children will learn, build, and grow.  With these new Kids Tech products/gadgets and learning apps, keeping your kids engaged couldn’t be easier.  I had the fun opportunity to try out the Ozmo set!  My kids (ages 7-13) loved playing with this!

I love that my 11 year old was excited to try the drawing feature!  She just loved showing off her completed art work!  My 13 year old had fun with the tangrams and the art work one.  My 7 year old thought all the apps were fun!

Since we homeschool, I can see this working its way into our schooling!  The letters will help with spelling and the tangrams with puzzle and problem solving.


It's never too early to start getting Christmas ideas!!



OSMO Genius Kit Overview 

● Osmo game system changes the way children interact with their iPad by opening it up to hands ­on play.
● Allows children a fun, exciting, and creative way to explore science, words, art, numbers and more ● Designed for anyone aged 6 and up, this educational toy can be enjoyed by nearly everyone in the family
● Games are specifically designed to foster creativity, problem solving, and social intelligence skills ● Set comes with 5 games­ Words, Masterpiece, Tangram, Newton and Numbers Games
● Compatible with Apple iPad 2, 3, 4, all versions of iPad Mini and iPad Air, iPad Pro(9.7)
● Set includes mirror +​sturdy base +​game pieces +​5 game apps in the Apple App Store (free download)
● Suggested for ages six and older, Simple set­up (But I thought it could be used by a younger child with some help)


OSMO Genius Kit Apps and Games:
Tangram ­ ​Arrange wooden puzzle pieces into matching on­screen shapes. Play with your child or challenge yourself to more advanced levels with Osmo acting as your mentor by lighting up with each victory. Youtube video
Newton ­ ​Use your creativity with inventive objects such as a hand­drawn basket, grandma's glasses, dad's keys or anything around you to guide falling on­screen balls into targeted zones. Youtube.

Words ­ ​Be the first to guess and spell out the on­screen hidden word by tossing down real­life letters faster than your friends. A related picture gives the clue. Youtube. 

Masterpiece ­ ​Supercharge your drawing skills with Masterpiece. Pick any image from the camera, curated gallery or integrated web search and Masterpiece will transform it into easy­to­follow lines and help you draw it to perfection. You can then share a magical time­lapse video of your creation with your friends and family. Youtube

Numb​ers ­​With a counting, addition, concatenation and multiplication mode, there is a challenge for everybody. As kids get more confident in one mode, they can move on the the next one, allowing them to learn at their own pace. Youtube

You can buy it at best buy.  HERE


Links to Videos
 ● Osmo Commercial ­ 
Osmo YouTube Channels


I received the product for free in order to write my review, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Make-Ahead Kitchen

The Make Ahead Kitchen
 
About the book:
Skip the hassle of last-minute meals and leftovers and replace them with simple, healthy, delicious, and easy-to-prepare make-ahead dishes! Your family will love these comfortable meals, new favorites, cozy drinks, and tantalizing desserts—all of them prepared ahead of time so you don’t have to worry! Enjoy simple, soul-filling foods without the chaos of preparing them at the last minute.


About the author:
Annalise Thomas is a big city girl married to a small town boy. Every day is a joy and a challenge as she learns to live and love this small town life. Annalise is a foodie with a deep passion for everything edible and for sharing what she loves with others. Annalise is a wife and mom, a baker, a cook, and a blogger. She and her family live a very real life and eat as much real food as possible.

From Reidhead Randomness:
The first run of the cookbook sold out already, and the second printing is on its way.  I received a digital copy to write my review.  Although this is most definitely not my favorite way to read...especially cookbooks, this one is worth the trouble!  There are so many yummy looking recipes! In the introduction, the author talks about how we are all so busy, and stressed.  Cooking shouldn't be one of the stressful things in life!  When we feel rushed, we grab the first thing we can find, or five in to expensice ready-made foods when our family is hungry.  Then we loose the joy of savoring our food.  She introduces the make-ahead cooking lifestyle, where your prep and prepare a few minutes here and there, when you have the time.

For those on a gluten sensitive diet, she even marks the recipes with a GF symbol, so you don't have to  hunt and read to find those recipes!   The categories are:  Breakfast, Soups & Salads, Appetizers Snacks & Sides, Main Dishes, Cookies & Bars, Desserts, and Drinks.

I really liked MANY of the recipes in this book, and I can hardly wait to get a hard copy!




Just a note from the Author: the Coconut Zucchini Bread recipe is missing a VITAL first step.  Preheat the oven to 350ยบ and use two 9" loaf pans! (Still can't figure out how that big of a mistake happened!  UGH!)

Smores maker for GREAT summer fun!

We had the SUPER fun opportunity through Tryazon and Sterno to test the Smores Maker! 




We had a great time with the smores maker!  It is safe to use inside or outside....and there is a mesh cover that keeps your marshmallow protected from the drips....and keeps the little ones from getting hurt!  There is a great tray that goes around it for putting your smores supplies!  It even comes with roasting sticks!


I highly recommend this for all your summer fun!!


 This was early on at the party...we were just getting set up!  Everyone was checking it out!


You can find it on Amazon, and right now there is a $2 off coupon that you can clip on amazon!






Monday, May 16, 2016

Sun and Sizzle: Grills to Greens and Everything In Between; book review

Sun-and-Sizzle-Blog-Tour-bannerAbout the book:
Gather fresh ingredients and fire up the grill! Prepare in-season, summer-perfect recipes like sweet Aloha Burgers, tangy Garlic Shrimp Skewers, and zesty Barbecue Chicken Sliders, Zucchini Lasagna Rolls, and Chicken and Veggie Pasta. Plus, go beyond with light and savory appetizers, refreshing drinks, and fruity desserts. Excellent for parties or just a day out in the sun, these recipes will have you grilling year round!


About the author:
Allison is the blogger and food photographer at Cupcake Diaries, a site all about easy, family-friendly recipes that don’t take a lot of time. She received a degree in Communication from BYU-Idaho, and lives with her husband and sons.
 
From Reidhead Randomness:
 
I have to confess that I am a cookbook COLLECTOR!  I. LOVE. COOKBOOKS!   From the moment I got this one in the mail, I opened it up and had about half of the book 'dogeared' to try the recipes!  

When I do meal planning for the week, I go to my "WALL OF COOKBOOKS" and choose one.  For that week, all my meals come from the same book.  When I am smart, at the end of the week, I tuck my shopping list and menu back in the book, and then it's ready for the next time I choose that book.  
 
Two weeks ago was this FABULOUS book's turn for the week.  I made so many of these great dishes!  Let me just tell you that the Aloha Burger, the Pudding Fruit Salad (that I made for Mothers Day), the Lemon Lush (that I brought to a neighborhood women's get-together...and came home with an empty dish...and tons of requests for the recipe), and the no-bake eclaire cake (that tasted good even with gluten free grahm crackers)....were definitely our favorites...but there were SO MANY good ones!  The recipes are easy to follow with good instructions....and they all have a beautiful (tempting) picture to convince you to try it!

Guidecraft IO Blocks review





I had the super fun opportunity to try out the new Guidecraft IO Blocks.
I'm not going to kid you...they were kinda tricky!  There are Gazillions of possibilities!  There are many different shaped blocks and many colors.  It has a set of cards, and you try to recreate the different shapes (like an airplane, for example).  There is also an app with MORE ideas!  We had a get together, and I got these out for the kids to play with....but the adults jumped in and were playing and building with the kids!  They are being sold at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Toys R' Us, Target, and Walmart.


I received a box of these in order to write my review, however all opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Book review: On the Edge with Stewart Edge

Stuart-Edge-On-the-Edge-blog-tour-bannerAbout the book:
Everyone has had that one awful job, but Stuart Edge really had an awful job–cleaning porta-potties. As he cleaned, he dreamed of creating videos that not only made people laugh but also changed their lives. Now a YouTube sensation, Stuart shares his secrets to his YouTube success and reveals his conversion from self-conscious to confident and how being true to his beliefs made all the difference.


About the author:
Stuart Edge was earning money for college tuition by cleaning portable toilets when inspiration hit: “Make YouTube Videos That Make People Happy.” Only months later, he called his mother in a panic. “Please pray for me. I think one of my videos just went viral.” The Mistletoe Kissing Prank did indeed go viral, netting more than 27 million views to date. Several viral videos later, Stuart Edge has found fame, and possibly fortune, making people laugh. Not bad for a boy with social anxiety.

From Reidhead Randomness:

FUNNY, FUNNY, FUNNY!!

Ok.  If you haven't heard of Stewart Edge, you are REALLY missing out!  

One of my favorite videos he has done recently also includes the cast of Studio C (My family's favorite show.)



Now he has just come out with a book!  It is a fun and insightful look into his life...and all the moments that shaped who he is.  It is well written and a great read for anyone who loves a good autobiography from a funny person.  He shares lots of personal stories of how he was shaped by anxiety, moving to Mexico when he didn't speak the language, and some of the acting and different jobs he did when he was younger.  It is wonderful how he has always held true to his beliefs, standards, and morals.  

You can catch him on his youtube page....and get his new book too!!!

I received a copy of this book in order to write the review, however all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Brainstream SOI purse light, and Whoosh! Duo device cleaner reviews!

I have a couple great products to tell you about!!  I LOVE tryazon!  I was given a party pack to introduce my friends to some of these great products!  They would make great gift ideas too!!





In 2012 two (male!) college students went to a music festival. All of the sudden, the lights went out and all the women started digging their purses. An idea was born. SOI (pronounced like zoe, not soy) became the first automatic handbag light on the market, meaning it needs no switches, buttons, or anything alike. It illuminates as soon as you start digging the purse and then shuts off automatically. SOI can also be used in suitcases, in hotels, and as a night bathroom light. Engineered and manufactured in Germany, its quality and precision make it a useful gadget and gift!

This purse light is amazing! If you have a "bottomless" purse like I do, you need some light at the bottom of the dark pit. This one is motion activated, so you can give your purse a shake, and it will light it up down there in the depths of your purse! I LOVE IT! I don't know how long the batteries last, but I LOVE IT A LOT!

 You can pick one up HERE or HERE!



Let’s be honest, we know you take your phone to the bathroom. We also know that you sloshed egg on your laptop this morning and we saw you shake hands with flu guy at the mall… we don’t even want to talk about what your kids did before you let them play angry birds on your iPad… Introducing a superior innovation in cleaning that’s powerful and safe to use… because hey, it’s a dirty world out there. Prepare yourself for a rush of clean happiness. WHOOSH! Screen Shine is the solution for Tech Hygiene. But what the heck is Tech Hygiene?!? Well when we learned that our phones are 10x dirtier that a public toilet seat, we knew that we could make things better. Tech Hygiene for us is all about a clean new habit: you brush your teeth; you wash your hands – and now you’ll WHOOSH! your screens. Because, frankly, it’d be gross not to. So what should you use WHOOSH! Screen Shine on? Everything and anything! It removes the germs and bacteria you can’t see on all of your tech devices (smart phones, tablets, laptop screens, key boards, etc.) plus the dirt and smudges you can see.

If your interested, WHOOSH!  can be purchased at http://whoosh.com




I received a party package for free in order to try these and share them.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Book Review: Treasure at Lure Lake

Treasure-at-Lure-Lake-blog-tour-bannerAbout the book:
An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the clues to unearth both, even if it means hiking in the wilderness in the middle of nowhere. Bryce must work with his bickering brother, Jack, or they may never see the light of day again!

About the author:
Shari Schwarz is a literary intern and lives in Colorado with her husband and their four boys. “Treasure at Lure Lake” is her debut middle grade adventure which reflects her love for a good adventure story and spending time hiking and camping in the northern Colorado Rockies.

From Reidhead Randomness:
This was quite a unique book.  I am still not sure where to classify it.  I liked it...but it isn't what I expected.  The first half of the book goes as expected with an epic adventure, but then it takes a turn right in the middle.  It wasn't expected, and I am still not sure if I liked it.  The book resolves everything at the end, but I am still trying to figure out the audience it was written for.  Usually I can quickly decide who to recommend a book to as soon as I'm done....but this one has given me a run for my money.  I think tweens and early teens would like the first half.  This book was an easy and quick read for me (just a couple hours).  It has adventure, but also has some family drama and relationships.  ONE more thing....as you read, watch the chapter numbers, because the point of view of the story changes from chapter to chapter, so you actually need to pay attention to who you are listening to.  I was a little confused when I started chapter 2 because it changed point of view, and I didn't notice the names at the top of the chapter.  It's a good book, but I was caught off guard by the last half of the book.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Everyday MOMents book review

Everyday-MOMents-Blog-Tour-bannerAbout the book:
Discover the divine purpose in your motherhood! Each inspiring chapter moves through another hour in a mother’s day, highlighting spiritually symbolic insights and describing how Christ is by your side even during the daily routine. From sun-up to bedtime, this entertaining and uplifting book will help you find the inherent divinity hidden in the every day details of motherhood.
About the author:
Jessica Poe has spent the last decade writing professionally for healthcare systems across the nation. Prior to freelancing, she worked as a communications specialist for Intermountain Healthcare and earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Brigham Young University. She and her husband homeschool their three children under the lively green trees of Oregon; basking in the small, natural moments. Jessica maintains a collection of divine details from their daily doings at www.jessica-poe.com/blog and she’s a regular contributor at www.multiplygoodness.com.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book review: The Land of Look Behind

The-Land-of-Look-behind-Blog-TourAbout the book:
When Gideon, a former missionary, discovers a mysterious drawing tucked in an ancient journal he returns to Jamaica with dreams of finding a centuries old treasure.  He quickly discovers there are those who would kill to keep the treasure secret. This thrilling adventure takes you deep into Jamaica’s treacherous cockpit country and back in time for a spine-tingling mystery you won’t be able to put down.


About the author:
Born and raised in Arizona, Aaron is proud to call the desert home.  He came of age in the suburbs of Sacramento, California and as a missionary in Jamaica, where he fell in love with the people and their culture, but he has always been drawn back to the valley of the sun.  He married his childhood crush, and the girl of his dreams, in 2001.  Together they are raising four beautiful and rambunctious children.  He worked as a freelance sports reporter for The Arizona Republic for nearly ten years, combining his love of writing and sports.  In his storytelling he draws heavily on his love of history, adventure, his faith and his own life experiences.

From Reidhead Randomness:

A soldier named Jarvis journeyed deep into Jamaica and discovered a land of myth, treasure, and danger.  This could have been adventure enough, but 300 years later, his journal finds it's way into the hands of Gideon, who is serving his mission in Jamaica. When he comes home, he has "accidentally" taken the journal.  He and his friend plan a trip back to Jamaica...to "return the journal."  BUT....He is set on finding the lost treasure.   As they begin their adventure, they come against LOTS of opposition in the quest to find the treasure.  It is a fun adventure book!  It really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The writing is fun to read, as it is written with a Jamaican accent through parts.  It makes it feel very authentic, but a little tricky to read (I had to reread a couple passages to figure them out). 

Amazing Ice Castles review!!!

As I mentioned here, there is a FABULOUS family friendly fun adventure for winter!  It is the Amazing Ice Castles in Midway, UT....as well as some other locations around the United States, and Canada.  (See my review after the location information).


UTAH:
WHAT: Acre-sized, all-ice castle in Midway, UT. One of four Ice Castles in America.
WHERE: 2002 Soldier Hollow Rd Midway, UT 84049 USA
WHEN: Jan 8th-March
M - Th: 3pm to 9pm
Friday: 3pm to 11pm
Sat: Noon to 11pm
Sunday: Closed
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne.
-- Kids and families squeezing, squishing, sliding, stomping and crawling through parts of the stunning Narnia Like display.
-- Natural frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night. Built by hand and made from more than 20,000,000 pounds of ice, the Ice Castles in Midway, UT are READY to be explored!

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE:
WHAT: Acre-sized, all-ice castle in Lincoln, NH. One of four Ice Castles in America.
WHERE: 64 Railroad St
Lincoln, NH 03521
WHEN: Early Feb. TBA.
M - Th: 3pm to 9pm
Friday: 3pm to 10pm
Sat: Noon to 10pm
Sunday: 3pm to 9pm
Tuesday: Closed
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne. 
-- Kids and families squeezing, squishing, sliding, stomping and crawling through parts of the stunning Narnia Like Display.
-- Natural frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night. Over an acre of frozen ice walls, tunnels, towers, archways and more! Come see us starting in late December!


 

MINNESOTA:
WHAT: Acre-sized, all-ice castle in Eden Prairie, MN. One of four Ice Castles in America.
WHERE: 17970 East Miller Parkway
Eden Prairie, MN 55347 USA
WHEN: Jan 29th-March.
M - Th: 3pm to 9pm
Tuesday: Closed
Friday: 3pm to 10pm
Sat: Noon to 10pm
Sunday: noon - 8pm
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne. 
-- Kids and families squeezing, squishing, sliding, stomping and crawling through parts of the stunning, Narnia-like display. 
-- Natural frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night.


 

EDMONTON, AB:
WHAT: Acre-sized, all-ice castle in Edmonton, AB. 
WHERE: Hawrelak Park, 9930 Groat Road, Edmonton, AB T5J 2R7
Eden Prairie, MN 55347 USA
WHEN: Dec 30th-March.
M - Th: 3pm to 9pm
Tuesday: Closed
Friday: 3pm to 10pm
Sat: Noon to 10pm
Sunday: noon - 8pm
VISUALS: -- Amazing ice features including archways, tunnels, slot canyons, ice slide, caverns, glacial waterfalls and a frozen throne. 
-- Kids and families squeezing, squishing, sliding, stomping and crawling through parts of the stunning, Narnia-like display. 
-- Natural frozen ice tones during the day; colorful LED-lit ice set to music at night.




   We arrived early in the evening....about 5:45, after a quick stop at the Heber Valley Cheese Factory Store.  (Try the wasatch back jack cheese!!)  

As the evening begins, the beautiful lights start to come on.....Bright colorful...and changing colors of light bring the ice to life!

There are so many fun areas to explore!  There are slot canyons, narrow passes, tunnels, tunnels, tunnels, and even a SLIDE!



 The best of the adventure begins once it starts to get dark...but that is where most of the crowds start pouring in as well.

 
This year, it was much, MUCH bigger than previous years, so there was MUCH more to see and do....and it felt a little less crowded.....maybe?!

 
This is the super fun SLIDE!  If you sit/lay on your coat...you go SUPER fast!  It was so fun!!  To get there, you climb around in the icecastle...there is a nice path you go up to the top where you have a great view of the whole place!
 

There is so much to see.....but don't forget to look UP!
 

 I love it during the day...but I think at night, with it lit up aglow, it is AMAZING!