My Life In Photos - Aug 1 - Aug 7

August 1 - Goddess and I were dog sitting for a friend. We have been watching him for years but he has changed so much in the past year. He seems so much older.

August 2 - This is Rocky. Look how tiny he is! We have been watching him for about 10 years.

August 3 - This was the day my boys went for a slow walk around the block. My husband getting over pneumonia and my son walking after not being able to walk straight due to Vestibular Neuritis. I was so proud watching them walk together.

August 4 - My cats love to sit on this half wall. I hated it when the kids were small and really hate it now with the cats. At least the kids never sat on it.

August 5 - Nothing taken

August 6 - Oddly enough the only photo I have for the 6th is a screenshot I took online of a photo of the kitchen from my family home when I was a kid. It looks exactly the same.  Found on real estate sites. Have you ever put in your old address?
August 7 - This was a shoot I did with Goddess for a pair of Haram Pants I reviewed. She looks so cute.

2 Preschool Books Your Kids Will Love

Goodnight, Starry Night (Peek-a-Boo Art) by 

Introduce little ones to famous works of art in this peek-through bedtime lullaby, and spark curiosity, joy, and learning!
Goodnight glowing moon up high.
Goodnight stars, goodnight sky.
Goodnight baby, snug in bed.
Time to rest your sleepy head.

Discover the perfect art introduction for every child, and every home. Combining a soothing bedtime lullaby with vibrant colors and peek-through pages, this board book provides a gentle look at some of the most beloved, accessible, and well-known artwork in history. A die-cut on every spread gives an exciting clue to the art on the next page, keeping little ones (and caregivers!) curious as each page becomes a magical, peek-through reveal. Light back matter provides additional historical information about the featured artwork and artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Berthe Morisot, Diego Rivera, and more!

The first title in a new Cartwheel series, Peek-a-Boo Art, Goodnight, Starry Night offers an exciting introduction to diverse pieces of artwork, builds creative vocabulary, and celebrates the importance of imagination and art in young readers!

The 411:

This is such a cute book. My daughter and I love Starry. My class is going to love  it. The little peek a boo gives you a little peek into the next "artwork". 

This a a wonderful way to show children amazing art work like Vincent Van Gogh and Berthe Morisot. 

It is the perfect size for little hands. I cannot wait for my class to see this book next month.

Future Engineer (Future Baby) by

Flip a switch. Turn a gear. Could Baby be an engineer? Find out in this STEM-themed addition to the Future Baby series!
Engineers want to know how things work. And so does Baby!

Does Baby have what it takes to become an engineer? That's a positive! Discover all the incredible ways that prove Baby already has what it takes to become an engineer in whatever field they choose, be it electrical, mechanical, civil, or more! Includes lots of fun engineer facts to help foster curiosity and empower little ones to keep trying . . . and learning!

Future Baby is an adorable board book series that takes a playful peek into an assortment of powerful careers and shows little ones how their current skills match up with the job at hand. With Future Baby, babies can be anything!

The 411:

OMG what a cute book. This is adorable and one I would love to give as a gift at all upcoming baby showers. Who doesn't dream about their kids being engineers one day? I know I do.

To Purchase:

Inspiration for the School Year - Get Them Off The Phones and Computers And Back To Reading

Oh man...this summer hasn't been good to our family. The kids didn't enjoy their summer but the fact is that school will be starting soon so I have been making a conscious effort to read with my daughter and get her face out of her phone and off her computer. She will need to be ready for her new role as a high school student so I was happy to have these books to read with her.

Goddess is not a reader but if I read with her she will deal with it.

USD: $22.99 | ISBN 9781760634636
Jul. 2019

A Girl’s Guide to Kicking Goals delves into everything from body changes and social media to managing stress and beating the bullies.

This was our favorite of all the books. Laura and Steph did a wonderful job of creating a handbook that all tween, teen, and young adult females should read. Honestly, get your girl this book. We loved reading both girls account of things. The book is broken up into Laura's page and Steph's page and great friendship photos of the girls. As a mom I loved how real they were. They cover all the things I currently worry about for my daughter in this world especially about separating the online life from the real life. This is soooo important. When my daughter started asking about "likes" on social media comparing her art to her peers seductive photos and how the girls get so many likes on a blurry mirror photo with a girl making a duck face compared to her artwork that she puts hours into getting so few. I can only tell her that these things don't matter but Laura and Steph say it in a way that kids will understand. It really doesn't matter in life!

By Natasha Kaufman
USD: $13.99 | ISBN 9781782407676

Mindfulness is a way of being, and this book will help you lay the foundations for a mindful future. 

The 411:

This one was a little hard for us to get into. It wasn't until we got to the exercises that we started to really enjoyed it. I totally agree with Natasha that we as a people need to be more mindfulness. I constantly tell my kids that life isn't behind a glass screen. They need to live it!

There are many helpful instructions included in this book along with the guided meditations.  I think I love them most of all.

Being mindful is good for your health and mental well being.

I highly recommend this book.

USD: $25.00 | ISBN 9781781318270

Discover the inspiring voices that have changed our world, and started a new conversation.  

I honestly love quotes. This is a wonderful collection of speeches from inspirational woman throughout history.

Each woman has her own spread which includes why she is included, her speech and an illustration. 

There were many woman we knew and some we had never head of.

By Quotabelle
USD: $17.99 | ISBN 9781631065309 | Oct. 2018

Grit & Grace is a collection of quotes, thoughts, and advice from female pioneers to inspire young girls and women who want to lead.

OMG...this book is just so pretty with it's pink cover and the gold lettering. Beautiful and gift worthy!

There are so many quotes. I took photos of a bunch of them for my social media. The pages were pretty, the quotes great and the women included inspirational.

All these books are great!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

Carob Dog Cookie Recipe In Celebration of A Dog's Purpose

In celebration of the "pawsitively" uplifting film now available on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD, BelAirMommie has created a Carob Dog Cookie recipe.

The beloved sequel to A Dog's Purpose continues the tale of lovable farm dog, Bailey, as he finds a new destiny and learns that some friendships transcend lifetimes.

To Purchase

Action packed FEMALE spy novel by M.C Fox

Countdown America
By M.C. Fox
Powerful women, crazy politicians, Russian scandals and more…

Truth can often seem stranger than fiction. The United States has certainly seen that played out in full over the past few years – from politicians gone haywire, Russian hacking scandals, the women’s empowerment movement and more – each news day seems crazier than the last. Author M.C. Fox looked at all that was happening around her – the unstable political climate, crazy international scandals and powerful women stepping up – and realized she had the perfect ingredients for a novel. From there, Countdown America was born, a whirlwind of a spy story set in the world of political cyber-espionage, all led by a fierce female protagonist. 

Countdown America follows CIA agent and single mother Isabella Bendel. After the loss of her husband, she accepts a promotion to chief supervisor – a much less dangerous position than what she's accustomed to—so she can raise her two children without fear of leaving them without any parents. But any illusions of safety are shattered when, while on her Sunday morning jog in a Washington, D.C. park, she survives a brutal assassination attempt. She hauls her assailant into CIA headquarters, confident she can get to the bottom of why he was after her. Her blood runs cold when she learns the he was trying to take her out, armed terrorists abducted her children and mother right out of her home. 

Pushed to the brink of what any mother can endure, Isabella calls on all of her training and deadly skills to get her family back. During this mission, she fights her way through assassins, cyber-terrorists, and duplicitous fellow agents, leading her to uncover a Russian threat that is hell-bent on destroying the United States.

“All mothers feel like they juggle a million things at once,” says Fox. “Isabella takes that to a whole new level by not only trying to save her family, but the entire United States. Countdown Americatakes readers not only on an entertaining, whirlwind adventure but motivating them to take on whatever crazy parenting and work throws at them – whether it involves Russian spies or not.”

M.C. Fox has long been fascinated by the world of espionage. Living right in the heart of New York City, she constantly is inspired by the sights and sounds of a large city, and how that forms the perfect environment for a fast-paced thriller. Given our currently unstable political climate, as well as the Russian hacking of the election, she knew that now was the perfect time to bring her readers a spy story set in the world of political cyber-espionage, led by a fierce female protagonist.

For more information, please visit and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

To Purchase:

Arm & Hammer Making Life Easier

I have always used Arm & Hammer. I have one in my fridge which I change every 2 months. I also sprinkle some on my downstairs carpet and let it sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming because that room is always so moist. It is partially under ground and it is where the cat litter box. Everyone knows that dampness and cats don't mix.

These days I use Arm and Hammer Fruit and Vegetable Wash whenever I eat or serve fruits and veggies in our house.

I even use it when we feed our guinea pig Stormy.  You simply spray it on your fruit or veggie, rub it in a little and give it a good rinse.
  • Safely eliminates over 90% of pesticide residue*
  • Cleans 4x better than water alone*
  • Removes wax and soil
  • Free from harsh chemicals
  • Leaves no taste or odor
  • Gluten-free and vegan

This week I tried Arm & Hammer Garbage Disposal Cleaner. WOW...just wow. Love it.  You know how the drain can smell sometimes. All that junk that gets rinsed into the garbage disposal can get down right nasty.

Run the water, turn on the garbage disposal, turn it off, drop a citrus scented ball down the drain, run some water and enjoy. Every time you run the warm water you will smell it. It is AWESOME!

Both of these products are available in stores.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary products for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

Back To School Essential for Mom

CA startup, Albertsons Plastic Free Partnership

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — California startup, Lotus Trolley Bag, is partnering with Albertsons to deliver reusable solutions nationwide for Plastic Free July. The grocery giant is expanding its eco-friendly reusable options by showcasing a new concept called the Lotus Trolley Bag. You Can see My review HERE. Sorry the giveaway ended.

The  innovative bag set spreads across the cart, and is redefining the way people shop for groceries. The four-bag set includes an insulated bag plus removable rods that allow consumers to easily sort and pack groceries in half the time. Since launching less than 2 years ago, 110 million single-use plastic bags have been eliminated.  

Albertsons launched the reusable Lotus Produce Bag to replace the reliance of plastic in the produce section. Jennifer Duvall, co-founder of Lotus Trolley Bag, “Teaming with Albertsons is another positive step in the right direction in the fight against plastic pollution.” 

The average American family uses 1,500 plastic bags per year for an average of 12 minutes. And by 2050, researchers found there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish, one reason why Lotus Trolley Bag and Albertsons are encouraging change. 

Farzan Dehmoubed, co-founder of Lotus Trolley Bag, “Produce bags are usually ignored, but more retailers are seeing the value to the environment and their bottom line by investing in reusable, washable, and eco-friendly produce bags.”

Currently, Lotus Trolley and Produce Bags are in more than 2,500 different stores in the U.S. including Albertsons, Vons, Acme, Jewel and Safeway. Lotus Trolley Bag also donates 1% of all sales to 1% For The Planet, Plastic Pollution Coalition and Surfrider Foundation.


Get Your Kids Movin’, Groovin’ and Learnin’ with Color Quest AR

I get a lot of emails from PR but share very few. This is one I thought was worth sharing. Enjoy!

School is officially back in session, which means parents are scrambling to find creative ways to keep their kids engaged and excited about their lessons. This is especially challenging for the parents who are looking to “trick” their children into realizing that learning is fun - colorful flashcards will only work for so long. For those moms, dads and loved ones out there wanting to spark curiosity in their kids, I’d like to share a fun and educational app that will get them excited to learn about their anatomy, health and delicious foods!

Color Quest AR is designed to make health and nutrition entertaining for kids to explore and understand. In the fun, free app, animated characters like Happy Heart and Bob the Apple, entertain while educating as a child works through all the engaging activities and coloring experiences. Once colored, Color Quest characters are activated through augmented reality technology (AR) and show users how to bust a move! Just color your favorite character, press the magic button, read a fun health fact, and see your new creation come to life and dance in front of you in AR! Keep on coloring to unlock all the characters to win badges and become the ultimate Magic Health Master in this coloring adventure!

There are new adventures and badges to win every month, so be on the lookout! 

The app can be downloaded for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store.

Stayhealthy’s Color Quest AR Overview: 
Color Quest AR, is a first-of-its-kind mobile app developed for children ages four and up that leverages augmented reality (AR) to teach kids about health, nutrition and their organs. The engaging, coloring activity app Color Quest AR allows children to express their creative side and bring their favorite characters to life while encouraging them to think critically about their health. 
Key Features:
  • Bring Characters to Life - Kids select a character and choose from a wide variety of colors to create a one-of-a-kind drawing. Leveraging innovative new AR technology, the unique character - with the child’s own color design - comes to “life” in magical 3D.
  • Fun For All - Designed for children ages 4 and up, but entertaining for the entire family!
  • Free-to-Play - 15 unique characters to color including Happy Heart, the lung twins Huff and Puff and Pierre Pear. With a cast of new characters, interactive bonus games and additional premium content coming soon.
  • Share With Friends and Family - One-touch tools make it easy to capture, save and share every uniquely designed character.

# # #

5 Tricks To Keep Back-to-School Morning Chaos-Free

My boo boo on her first day last year. 

I have never been excited about school starting. Spending time with my kids is my favorite thing to do but life happens and we need to go back to school and work so why not face the music! It is going to happen. I love these tips from Priya Rajendran! Check it out.

Back to school chaos is here: that means alarm clocks, the breakfast rush, lunch packing and backpack check, while parents rush to get ready for their own busy work day.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Enter Priya Rajendran, a software engineer and technology veteran who built Paypal’s Wallet for Mobile apps, and is now Director of Product Innovation and User Experience at Ford Connected Vehicles.

She’s the parent of a middle high schooler, and founder of S’moresUp (, a free app and one of Apple's Top of the “Recommended Apps for Parents,” that helps families manage every aspect of parenting straight from their mobile phones.

Based on her 20 years of work as a technologist and helping 100,000 families manage their day to day lives online, she’s developed a “Back to School Mornings Checklist” to free parents of the joy-sucking, stressful morning September sprint.

Here's what she wants parents to do:

Plan out yours and your kid's outfits for the entire week and lay them out in a designated area of the house. Like Steve Jobs' reported old work outfit trick, knowing exactly what you'll wear every day will simplify your week since you won’t really have to think about it.

The Echo Dot Kid's Edition helps wakes your kids up, schedules teeth brushing and eating, Alexa's skills will also help your kids do their homework after school.

Charge family laptops and cell phones and make sure your older kids have portable, emergency chargers too. Because there's nothing worse than not being able to reach your kids in an emergency. An Anker PowerCore+ Mini Portable Charger is a great, compact option.

Download and lay out your week using your Google Calendar or S'moresUp:  Among other things, the app lets your entire family organize and lay out the week on its calendar, or import your Google calendar. This way, everyone's up to date on after school activities, homework assignments, and soccer practice.

Designate an organized corner of the house where all Back to School materials will live: backpacks, teacher notes, assignments, etc. No more running around the house looking for lost items.

Tra la la la la la Who Remembers The Banana Splits? I Just Watched The Banana Splits Movie - Oh The HORROR!

One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana GORE! I know I mentioned that THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE was coming out on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD  but if you were a fan or never heard from them coming to Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Warner but I finally watched it and it was a bloody blast. 

As a kid my sisters and I watched The Banana Splits, I can hear the song in my head as I type this but this is not The Banana Splits you grew up with.  Bingo, Fleegle, Drooper and Snorky are upset that their TV Show is being cancelled so what do they do? Well, a killing spree of course.  What? Yes...They are  just pissed because they seem to just take people out for no real reason. It is not like they are just going after mean people. They will mess a brother up for being there. 

Our main character is probably Harley a little boy who is surprised for his birthday with a trip to see his favorite show The Banana Splits of course.  After the show some select few with stars on their tickets get to meet the cast. Harley's brother makes a friend with a crew member and gets his brother, family and a friend to attend the meet and greet and things get a little crazy with bodies pilling up everywhere. 

The film is rated R for blood and gore and there are some pretty bloody deaths but nothing is too scary if you have a horror loving kid. It was actually pretty funny and really campy. It kind of reminded me of the FNAF books with robotic animatronics under their suits instead of people. Damn I wish someone would put that FNAF movie out already. It would have made a killing. Pun intended. 

If you are into campy, cheesy, horror movies like me you will enjoy this one. 

To Purchase

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered. 

Get widget
Dear Readers: At this time all giveaways on Maria's Space are for the United States unless otherwise noted.