Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Walk Down Memory Lane - Berry Face (2008) #memories

I know I just used a berry picture this week but I can’t help it. Choosing a favorite of one of my kids pictures is next to impossible for me.  If you are my personal friend you know that I can never send just one. Well, actually, I can’t even send just 10. My kids make my heart swell and I am still amazed that I produced such cuties.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Learn About Marine Animals Through The Words Of The Animals Themselves

by David FitzSimmons

List $16.95
Hardcover, Color illustrations throughout, 11 in. x 9.5 in., 32 pp.
ISBN 978-1-936607-72-3
Published by Wild Iris Publishing
Official Publication date April 22, 2015 (Earth Day)
Children’s Nonfiction (Ages 2-8).

www.curious-critters.com  displays more Curious Critters photos and provides information about how FitzSimmons photographed the animals, as well as insight about how he write his books.

Curious Critters Volume One has sold over 100,000 copies and won six national book awards, including the coveted Independent Book Publishers Association’s Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book.

Follow Curious Critters on Facebook

We are so impressed with this book about marine animals. From the amazingly brilliant photos to the tidbits about each one written in their own voice. This made reading to my kids so much easier. They felt as if the animal was telling them about themselves not me reading some boring fact. They seemed to retain much more this way when I asked them questions afterward.

Great resource for any classroom, library or home!

Check out the website when you have a chance for information on animals along with some fun activity sheets as well.

About the Author

David FitzSimmons is an award-winning free-lance photographer and writer. David photographs and writes for various magazines, including Outdoor Photographer, Popular Photography, Professional Photographer, and Shutterbug. His 100+ calendar credits include numerous titles by BrownTrout and Barnes & Noble. David’s most recent publications include Animals of Ohio’s Ponds and Vernal Pools, Curious Critters, which has won five national book awards and sold over 100,000 copies to-date, and Curious Critter Volume Two, as well as audiobooks for both Curious Critters titles. Forthcoming is Salamander Dance (Spring 2016), a children’s picture book exploring the annual life cycle of vernal pools, and the first two board books, Curious Critters Ohio and Curious Critters Michigan.

One of seven Sigma Pro photographers in North America, David presents seminars and workshops to a wide variety of audiences, from public school, college, and university classes to photography groups and civic organizations. His works have been exhibited at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, the National Center for Nature Photography, and the Telluride Photo Festival.
Before becoming a freelance photographer and author, David taught for over twenty years, first as high school English teacher and then as a university professor, having instructed at Ashland University, Ohio State University, and Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State, with a specialty in narrative theory—investigating the components of storytelling—something that influences his photography and writing.
Learn more about David at www.fitzsimmonsphotography.com.

Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Day is Tomorrow March 31 - #chuggington

Fire prevention is something my family takes very seriously. We go to the firehouse every year and learn all about it including climbing out the window of a smoke house with the help of the fire fighters.

Tomorrow is a very special day for Chuggy fans. In honor of Chuggington Fire Patrol Rescue Day,” and to help keep your family and young trainees safe all year-round, here are some important tips from Firechugger Asher and the National Fire Protection Association:

·         Asher says, “Plan ahead!
Create a home escape plan so every member of your family knows what to do and where to go if there’s a fire. Designate a meeting spot, such as a tree or mailbox, that’s a safe distance from the home. And practice your home fire drill both at night and during the day.

·         Asher says, “Stop a fire before it starts!”
Keep matches and lighters out of sight and out of reach from children. Store them up high, preferably in a locked cabinet or drawer. It’s also important to teach kids that lighters and matches are tools for adults only and that they should tell a grown-up if they see these items lying around.

·         Asher says, “Cool it in the kitchen!”
Always keep an eye on the stove while you’re cooking, and use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Create a “kid-free zone” around the stove as well as areas where hot food and drinks are prepared. And make sure to keep anything that can catch fire, including oven mitts and towels, away from hot appliances!

·         Asher says, “Sound the alarm! “
Smoke detectors are a key part of a home fire escape plan. Make sure to install smoke detectors on every floor of the home, especially inside and outside bedrooms. Don’t forget to test all smoke alarms at least once a month!

·         Asher says, “Stay low and stay out! “
If, during a fire, you have to escape through smoke, get low, go under the smoke and close the doors behind you as you leave each room. It’s crucial to remind children that, once outside, they should never go back inside for anything, including pets or toys. It’s best to wait to call the fire department until you get outside and are a safe distance away from the fire.

Asher says, “Follow these blazin’ safety tips and you’ll be in control and ready to roll if there’s ever a fire.”

Safety is always first and Asher wants you to know some more safety tips which you can find here:  http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/safety-tip-sheets

If your little ones love Chuggington or just love coloring, print out this Coloring Sheet!

The 411:

While my kids are out of the Chuggington age we appreciate this show. We love the colorful graphics and how educational it is.

This DVD has 6 movies on it.

  • Blazin Wilson
  • Round Up Wilson
  • High Rise Rescue
  • Park Patrol Wilson
  • Stop The Press Emery
  • Scrub A Chug

It even comes with a bonus episode Who Do You Appreciate? Coloring and Activity Pages and a New Character montage.

In  Blazin Wilson the trains are going to be demolishing a building during fire fighter practice and how dangerous it can be. During a fire training session the trains run out of water and Wilson saves the day by coming up with an alternative method.

During Round Up Wilson, Wilson tries hard to get some tiny Chugger trains in order but needs the assistance of his drill Sargent.  Thankfully Wilson learns quick and while moving some monkeys quickly and safely gets everyone back where they need to be. 

Wilson learns about the dangers of working at a high rise in High Rise Rescue. We love the little fake fires Wilson has to put out during his training.  Thankfully these little trains get the job done.

With Park Patroller Wilson, wilson is on Nightime Park Patrol but when Pete goes sleep riding Wilson must catch him, and make sure he stays put.

In Stop The Press Emery the trains are dealing with the press and magic. Poor Emery or Emerson (we love him with his blue and green eyes) tries to get himself in the paper when Wilson gets stuck on the tracks. Unfortunately by the time he gets back with the press someone else has come to the rescue.  Eventually thanks to a magician Emery shares the front page with a baby elephant.

Scrub A Chug shows just how dirty those little trains get on their rides. Eddy helps the guys get spic and span clean.  While Eddy is busy on the tracks handling a down tree Wilson tries to help out but leaves a poor train full of old dirty sludge. He also leaves a big old mess in the tunnel. The lesson; sometimes helping is only help if you know what you are doing otherwise you are making more work!

The Most Perfect Mattress Ever! #sleepingonacloud #goodnightsleep

Usually I keep my Amazon Vine Reviews separate from Maria's Space but I really have to share this with you.

As an Amazon Vine Reviewer I receive products for my honest opinion and sometimes they are pretty damn amazing!

We received the Classic Brands Mercer 12 Inch Hybrid Cool Gel Memory Foam and Innerspring Mattress, Full Size.

My Amazon Review:

This bed is beyond great. We put the bed up this past Saturday and are still talking about it even know. The bed feels like a big pillow. It is made from memory foam which is wrapped around each steel coil innersprings...yada, yada, yada...

OK...I don't know much about mattress but here is what I do know.

When you lie on the bed you feel as if you are lying on a pillow that completely fits every part of your body.

The moment you first sit you can feel the difference. You body just relaxes and you sink into a cloud of amazingness. Is that even a word? The mattress literally conforms to your body.

My son is thrilled with his new mattress and we can't stay off his bed.

With memory foam when you move off a certain area in your sleep the memory foam fills in any gaps and re-configures to your body shape.

Falling asleep is not a problem. My husband and I are looking into a king size for our room and my daughter wants one for her twin bed.

The bed is truly heaven and we have spent the last three days being kicked out by my son who wants HIS bed.

UPDATE: We just ordered a King size for ourselves. All weekend afternoon naps were taken in his bed. The moment we saw he was awake we both ran for it. Best bed ever and I can't wait to get ours. We deserve it! Now to save enough for Goddess to get a new mattress because she is demanding and reminding us how unfair it is that everyone but her is getting one. Hers was the newest until now.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Walk Down Memory Lane - Little Cheeks in A Blue Bandana (2003)

My son was 7 months old in this picture. I love it because of the blue headband but more importantly, look at those cheeks.  They look like they are going to fall right off his face. He was playing his little piano and wearing his binky clip because he was such a binky boy. Funny, I never called it a binky, always a pacifier, even to him. I just couldn’t do baby talk.

I also love these pj’s because they reminded me of the Cookie Monster. He was big, blue, fluffy and so damn adorable.

Does She Or Doesn't She? #memories (2008)

“One must ask children and birds how strawberries taste” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Does she or doesn’t she love them?

My daughter is 15 months old in this picture. She still loves strawberries and still makes the same face.

Walk Down Memory Lane - I Can't Stop Kissing Him #memories (July 26, 2008)

God saw an Angel standing there! And He gave you all his love to share amongst the rest of us. His greatness from above.
My son was 3 months shy of 1 year old in this picture. It was the end of March in 2004 and it was still quite cold out. I was amazed that I was a stay at home mom and loving that he was becoming more fun. This was his first park. It is only about 10 minutes from my house and only had a swing and a small slide but I loved letting him experience it.

It thought he was the cutest baby I ever saw with his big, round cheeks and big brown eyes. I am sure that under the microscope you would be able to see a permanant kiss mark on his forehead and cheeks because I STILL (5 years later) can’t stop kissin him.

Walking Down Memory Lane - Our Trip To The Turtle Back Zoo - Way Back #memories (Aug 2008)

Someone told me It’s all happening at the zoo
I do believe it, I do believe it’s true
Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm
Oh ho ho ho Mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm

They wanted to leave and we were already heading back to the car when I realized that I hadn’t taken a picture to say where we were. I spotted this sign and had them walk back to take this picture. It was a short walk but as you can see they certainly were hot, tired and in no mood to pose.

Letter Written in 2010 Entitled "Letter's I'll Never Send"

Dear School Personnel,

This letter is to the aides who are greeting our children in the morning. We, as parents are dropping off our most prize possession into your care every morning. YOU, are the next face they see after the people who love them most say "good-bye" for the day.  So, why may I ask do you have such nasty, negative, bitchy, annoyed attitudes in the morning?  The day has yet to begin and already your face shows us that you do not want to be there. Do you think that makes us comfortable to hand off our children to that? I can only imagine that you are extremely unhappy in your job. If this is the case, do you think that this is the place for you? School is hard enough for the youth of today. They leave the safety of their home, the loving arms of their parents to enter a competive, overly structured, cold, environment. Is it any wonder that there are so many unhappy, combative, full of attitude children in school?

In the morning when you are "interrupted" by the loving, caring parents who are there to drop of their children and make sure they are on time, is there a reason for your cold, hard, nasty faces to not have a pleasant word. Can you not utter a "good morning" before you rudely say "No, it is not time." Or some other "excuse?" This morning it was "No, we cannot open the door, the school is not open yet we are having bus drills."  Do you think that the parents who drop off everyday on the other side of the school know about your bus drills?  Do you think that they do not have children to bring to another school (who will now be late yet again), or a JOB to get to?  Why is the door to the school not opened on time?  The children are going to the gym! They are not roaming around the school! Why DO you continually make children wait outside in rain and freezing weather? Does it make you feel good? I am not suggesting that the school doors be open ahead of time. I am not suggesting that you go above and beyond. I am simply stating that YOU do not have the right to be rude! You MUST do your job with a smile and on time! The world does not revolve around you!

The next time I drop my child off, I EXPECT a smile on your face even if it is a fake one. You nasty old bitch!

Ahhhhh that felt so good!!!!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Karepax Unboxing and Taste Testing Makes For A Really Fun Sleep Over #karepax

We reviewed Karepax last month and LOVED them! They are a monthly subscription treat package you get sent to you with treats from around the world.

You can get subscriptions in 1, 3, 6, and even 12 month plans. You can even do just a comic subscription which runs for 3 months. Also, Karepax is willing to work with you on your order and if you want to get just a box with snacks, they will forgo the comics and add extra snacks. LOVE this option. Currently both my kids want a subscription to Karepax for their birthday's this year.

Check out Karepax and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to keep up with their updates and specials.

Honestly I am amazed with the amount of treats in each box we have received. There is definitely no shortage of treats and the variety makes it even more fun.

We think this is a great idea for anyone who loves snacks, loves variety, enjoys trying new things, and likes to have fun.

Here are our unboxing videos where Goddess almost choked from laughing so much. Our sleepover guest asked if she could stay for three weeks. Not sure if it was our company or because she was on a sugar high from being part of our unboxing video but we would love to host her again.

It was a great time! The girls were willing to try everything and laughed so much. I can't wait to get another box. Goddess' birthday is next month so I believe we are going to sign her up for a 6 month subscription. We will have more uboxing videos as we get them. Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Feeding Time Is A Mess No More @CryptonFabrics #LifeOnCrypton

Meals at home don't have to be a mess
No more accidents that cause you stress

Ketchup, coffee, chocolate or wine
Spill them all and let Crypton shine

Grab some water and a bit of Tide
There is no need to panic when
Crypton is on your side

We are so impressed with Crypton Fabrics! We have never heard of the company before but recently received 4 awesome place mats.

Check this out! We were pretty amazed and my kids can't stop playing with them. Thank goodness they are amazing and hold all the liquid they have been putting on them. BTW...it works with all kinds of liquids.

Crypton Fabrics make fabrics in many colors and designs based on your needs. Imagine an entire couch made of the kind of fabrics that lets spills just roll off! They don't just do place mats they have furniture, chairs, rockers, kid products, pet products and more.

Truly an amazing company. How do they do it? 

Here is one of their videos

I love the idea of mattress covers, and bedding especially if you have little ones running around. 

About Crypton Fabric:
Crypton began as a problem-solving idea: creating fabric that was stain, moisture and bacteria resistant, yet soft and breathable.  The only options before Crypton were sticky vinyls and hot, rough, unpleasant-to-touch treated fabrics. Armed with decades of experience in the textile industry as well as advice and assistance from researchers, chemists and textile engineers, the Rubins set to work on that clearly defined problem in the basement of their Michigan home. The eureka moment came in 1993 with the development of Crypton Super Fabrics, which the Rubins protected with multiple global patents. Fast forward over twenty years later, 16 patents later, Crypton has become a household name. This American Made fabric has been used by top brands all over the country. From La-z-Boy to ABC Home and Carpet, to Raymour and Flannigan to the Hilton Hotel chain, Crypton’s innovative fabric has changed the way consumers and families live.

Crypton manufactures textiles through a process that transforms every woven fiber for permanent moisture, stain, bacteria and odor resistance. It also creates an integrated breathable barrier beneath those fibers, resulting in a perfect, impenetrable shield. As a result, Crypton Super Fabrics always perform as promised. They feel wonderful to the touch, and are available in an array of patterns, colors
and textures for a wide variety of interior and exterior uses.

Crypton offers a range of consumer fabrics in textures such as woven, print, suede, leather and velvet, and products ranging from upholstery to furniture, pillows, Throvers, pet beds, aprons and more. The range of applications continues to grow, including Crypton Outdoor, an interior/exterior fabric; and INCASE Crypton Technology, which is a fabric treatment that offers the same stain and odor
protection, but is used in applications where a barrier is not required.

Crypton’s introduction and the Rubins’ marketing savvy have generated an entirely new category of upholstery options, achieving unprecedented growth. Designers who use Crypton tend to be loyal customers, often giving Crypton the highest marks for fabric performance. According to a 2009 study conducted by Interior Design magazine, Crypton increased the brand’s familiarity 28 percent in the contract fabric market and 31 percent in the residential fabric market from 2008 – 2009.
Crypton Fabrics wants to give you a chance to see how amazing they are with a 10% code. Just use code “Placemat” which expires May 2015 when ordering. 

Check them on:

They even have a way for you to start a set of place mats for yourself. Just go to CryptonFabrics/Promotions  to find out how.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary products to review and see for myself how amazing they are. No monetary compensation was offered or received.