The Raffi “Love Bug” album is the perfect collection of songs to listen to on laid back days or road trips. The songs are mellow, catchy, and entertaining. They actually remind me of the relaxed mood everyone has here in Hawaii! My mom lives about 35 minutes north and “Love Bug” goes along with the gorgeous drive we have along the ocean. It is just the right length too! Some of the children’s albums we have are great for dancing, some are great for cleaning, “Love Bug” is great for singing along and relaxing. My favorite song is the rendition of “This Land is Your Land.” I love the twist on the melody. It is so pretty and reminds me of how blessed we are to live in such a beautiful land! Kids and parents alike will appreciate Raffi’s “Love Bug” album.
Here are 16 songs from the “Love Bug” album:
1 – Love Bug
Each year when my kids start school one of the first things I do is try to find out different places I can shop to help support their school! We don’t have a ton of extra money to donate each year, so any time I find a program that allows me to buy a product that I purchase anyway in addition to helping out their school I am all in! I am a huge fan of pediped shoes and was thrilled to hear about their school program. Last year alone they gave $13,000 to schools around the country! My husband is a principal of a K-8 charter school in Honolulu and they could definitely use a program like this! One of the easiest ways to let your children’s school know about this great program is to ask that the pediped school program be added to their list of companies/stores that support their school. You can spread the word through a back-to-school newsletter, an email, a note on a bulletin board, or through individual classrooms. Every little bit helps!
Here is a list of 10 things you need to know about the pediped school program:
1 - Last year over 200 schools were enrolled in this program and pediped donated $13,000!
Nickelodeon: Heroes In Action features 5 episodes with your favorite Nickelodeon superstars! Baxter and “Patrick-Man” are my 2 favorite characters from this DVD. “Patrick-Man” is actually one of my all-time favorite SpongeBob Squarepants episodes. It is so goofy and downright hilarious. Patrick’s antics while attacking The Dirty Bubble and accidentally destroying everything else in sight are so funny. The other 4 episodes on this DVD are great too, but “Patrick-Man” has to take the cake! Take a break after a long summer day with this stellar collection of Nickelodeon episodes!
Here is a list of 5 episodes included on the Nickelodeon: Heroes In Action DVD:
1 - Patrick-Man!
The Nickelodeon: Robot Invasion DVD was a great collection of episodes! I loved the variety of shows. I already knew my kids would like the SpongeBob and TMNT episodes, but they hadn’t seen Sanjay and Craig before. They ended up enjoying those episodes just as much as there other Nickelodeon favorites! With 4 new Nickelodeon DVDs, I had to space out when they watch them! If I let them, they would’ve watched all 4 the day they arrived! Each day I have been letting them pick out a couple episodes to watch before they go to bed. They look forward to it each evening!
Here is a list of 10 characters included on the Nickelodeon: Robot Invasion DVD:
1 - SpongeBob Squarepants
I think I would buy this DVD for my husband just because of the name. He loves the word “shenanigans” and nothing describes the Rugrats, and their mischief, better than that word! This DVD has 5 hilarious episodes with an outdoorsy theme. My kids love the “Sand Ho!” episode (probably because we live in Hawaii), but they are all great! The Rugrats: Outdoor Shenanigans would make a great DVD to watch when the kids say, “It’s too hot to be outside!”
Here is a list of 5 episodes included in The Rugrats: Outdoor Shenanigans DVD:
1 - Discovering America
2 – Barbeque
3 – Moose Country
4 – Sand Ho!
5 – Gold Rush
“Reunite with the Rugrats in exciting outdoor adventures that include a trip across America, a search for a moose, a hunt for buried treasure and more!”
Rugrats: Outdoor Shenanigans is brought to you by Nickelodeon and retails for $9.99 SRP. It is 71 minutes long and available in all major retail stores and on Amazon.
Win Nickelodeon’s Rugrats: Outdoor Shenanigans on DVD!
I used to love Rugrats when I was a kid! I even remember the episodes featuring the great “Reptar!” My kids have only seen a couple random Rugrats episodes so when Rugrats: Reptar Returns came in the mail, they couldn’t wait to watch it! Nickelodeon just released 4 new DVDs perfect for summer break. Check out the other 3 posts coming soon! I am finally settled into my new house and ready to get back to work
Here is a list of 9 Rugrats characters:
1 - Thomas “Tommy” Malcolm Pickles
Gemina: The Crooked-Neck Giraffe is an adorable new children’s book that will inspire all ages. The famous Gemina grew up in the Santa Barbara Zoo. Her “sweet demeanor” and outgoing personality (despite her crooked neck) made her a positive influence on all those that had the pleasure of meeting her. My kids loved this book and it gorgeous illustrations. I have tried my best to teach them to treat everyone with love and kindness regardless of their outward appearance and this book reiterates how important that is. Everyone wants to feel like they fit in and belong to something…even Gemina! It’s amazing how she not only thrived on her own, but the other giraffes didn’t turn away from her or exclude her. I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from this inspirational story.
ALL proceeds from the sale of this book will go directly to supporting the animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo!
Mister G just released his 5th album and your kids are going to love it! “The Bossy E” tunes are jazzy, catchy and not the slightest bit annoying! (A huge plus when it comes to kid’s music.) “The Bossy E” teaches all about what happens when the “e” comes at the end of the word. “I Love to Read” and “More Books for Me” sing about the importance of reading. “Daddy’s Snoring” was written for me, not my kids since I am the one that gets to enjoy that every night! My kids did think that song was hilarious though. “The Bossy E” is a great album for kids that will also teach them a thing or two!
Here are 11 songs from the “The Bossy E” album:
1 – Love to Read
In the midst of one of the most stressful events of my life (moving our family of 7 to Hawaii), I was sent the book “Little Mercies” by Heather Gudenkauf (released June 24, 2014). It couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t remember the last time I read a book just for fun! A 6-hour plane ride was the perfect opportunity…no wifi, sleeping kids, and a mom who never falls asleep anywhere but a bed! After reading almost the entire book in one sitting, it really got me thinking about the reason we decided to move to Hawaii in the first place. To get back to the basics and focus on our family. We were in Arizona for 11 years and day to day life seemed to be taking everything out of us. Between my husband’s stressful job, the kids’ school activities, sporting events, my 3 jobs, church activities, 5 pets, and a house that was way bigger than we needed, our family was hanging on by a thread. We weren’t in a good place and knew that if something drastic didn’t happen, we were going to lose it all.
When our kids were younger, I remember sitting around the dinner table as a family every night, playing games together, going on walks, and just talking. We weren’t checking our phones constantly, eating in front of the tv, or racing to get somewhere on time. We purposely would set aside time, without other distractions, to hang out and check in on one another. That didn’t mean that we weren’t involved in other activities, it just meant that we had prioritized our time to put family first. As the years went by, we became more involved in everything else we had going on and spent less time together. The unhappiness this brought us led us to start looking for something new.
When my husband and I sat down to talk about what we should do, we thought getting a fresh start somewhere new would be the best thing for the 7 of us. We wanted to be by family and didn’t want to live somewhere cold, so we decided to start looking for jobs in Hawaii where my mom, step-dad, and little sister live. (My dad is in Utah and we have lived by my husband’s parents in AZ for the past 11 years.) Within weeks of our search, everything started falling into place. My husband was hired as a principal after an interview over Skype, I found a job teaching piano, and we found a place to live when we came Hawaii for my mom’s wedding. (That was pretty much the end of our luck, but it was enough to get us here!)We have been in Hawaii for over 3 weeks now and couldn’t be happier. Even though the move itself was stressful, and difficult, we know this is what our family needed. Our house is one third the size of our last house. We have ants, 3-inch cockroaches, and other mysterious bugs. We don’t have a microwave, cable, a landline, a garage, a trampoline, a pantry, air conditioning, or several other “necessities.” But we DO have our family and have become closer in 3 weeks than in the past 7-8 years combined. Does that make all the difficulties and stress worth it? Definitely. We have been eating meals together, hanging out in the same room as one another, going places together, and we still love each other! Imagine that… I was worried that the close quarters might backfire and make the kids fight more, but so far it has only made them closer. I keep telling them that their friends will come and go but you have your family forever. I think that is finally starting to sink in.
Here are 10 activities to bring your family closer together this summer:
(We’ve actually done most of these in the past few weeks since we’ve been without internet and couldn’t unpack our boxes because they arrived 10 days late!)
1 – Read Together – Instead of sitting around playing on phones or tablets, why not each find a book to read this summer? “Little Mercies” was a great book to start out with and I hope I can read a few more before school starts. For my 10-year-old who hates reading, I got him a few sports magazines and am having him read the articles. My younger kids are completing a summer reading program through our local library to earn prizes and other cool stuff!
2 – Watch a TV Series as a Family – This may seem totally random, but my son got our family hooked on “The Biggest Loser.” We watch an episode each night as a family. I had never seen the show before, but it’s been really fun sitting down together especially when my 10-year-old gets SO into it! He is screaming at the TV when it goes to commercial break during the weigh-ins. It’s almost more fun to watch him, than the show itself!
3 – Get a Zoo Pass – Most states have somewhat affordable yearly passes for the zoo. The Honolulu Zoo was just $55 for our whole family! The best part? You don’t feel obligated to finish the entire zoo in one day! You can just go for a couple hours to see your favorite animals and come back another day. My kids think it’s pretty cool to watch the babies grow throughout the year. It’s also great exercise and kids of all ages will love it. Most zoos are open 364 days a year!
4 – Go to the Beach! – This may be easier said than done for most people, but recently learned that the majority of the U.S. population lives within 60 miles of the coast. We usually take a cooler full of snacks, our Costco beach towels ($12 and they last forever!), sunscreen (The new Neutrogena Beach Protection is my favorite!) and some cups to play in the water or sand.
5 – Go Geocaching – My dad taught me all about caching when I was younger and it is pretty awesome! The best part is that it doesn’t matter where you live, you probably have a cache within walking distance. You don’t need an actual GPS with their app, and you can see which places are easy to find and which ones may take a while. Don’t know what geocaching is? Check out their website.
6 – Start a Summer Book Club – If you already have one, “Little Mercies” would be a great addition! It even comes with a “Book Club Kit.” Don’t have a book club yet? Get on Facebook and start your own! You can mention it on a community group page and see if anyone is interested. This would be a great way to meet new people. You can make this a family event if your kids are a little older. Or you can involve younger kids and let them pick their own books and have their own little group. Don’t forget the dessert and snacks!
7 – Go on a Hike – Depending on where you live you might have to change this to “go on a walk.” There are several sites that list hikes by difficulty so you can bring little kids too. Yelp is also a great resource to see user reviews about different hikes in your area.
8 – Have an Outdoor Family Movie Night – Whether you do this with your own family, or invite the whole neighborhood everyone will have a blast! This was one of the things I miss most about AZ. Our neighbors had a blow-up movie screen and a projector. We would bring snacks, camp chairs, blankets and watch movies on the driveway. To make it a little more affordable you can rent a blow-up screen or just use a white sheet. You can also rent a projector or ask around to see if someone has one you can borrow for the night. (Don’t forget to invite their family too!)
9 – Have a Family Game Night – Let each person in the family pick a game to play. You can use board games, card games, or even play charades. Be sure to lay down some ground rules before! (No whining, no 3-hour games, no games you don’t know how to play and spend the entire time reading the instructions!)
10 – Go Camping…in the Backyard! – If you aren’t into spending 10 hours packing for a 2-night camping excursion, why not just set up a tent in the backyard? This is my kind of camping. Not because I don’t like sleeping on the ground, or bugs but because I hate packing and unpacking! If you can’t have a campfire in your area, try making S’mores in the microwave and grilling hotdogs or hamburgers for dinner. If you want to really get into it, break out the dutch oven and cook dinner over some coals.
Synopsis: “In her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences…
Veteran social worker Ellen Moore has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children’s advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one blistering summer day, a simple moment of distraction will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Jenny Briard has been living with her well-meaning but irresponsible father since her mother left them, sleeping on friends’ couches and moving in and out of cheap motels. When Jenny suddenly finds herself on her own, she is forced to survive with nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen’s and Jenny’s lives collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.
A powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, Little Mercies is a searing portrait of the tenuous grasp we have on the things we love the most, and of the ties that unexpectedly bring us together.”
“Little Mercies” was written by Heather Gudenkauf, an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Heather lives in Iowa with her husband and children. In her free time Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and running. You can follow Heather on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
“Little Mercies” can be purchased at your local bookstore or on Amazon for around $13.
Enter to win a set of THREE books by Heather Gudenkauf!
Little Mercies, The Weight of Silence, and These Things Hidden!
Disclosure – Per FTC Regulations, I am disclosing that I was compensated by Harlequin for this post. The views expressed above are my own, honest opinions and any claims should be verified on the sponsor’s site.
This is America, Charlie Brown! is a great collection of classic Charlie Brown episodes! This is the first DVD we were able to review after moving. We didn’t have a DVD player when it arrived so we ended up bringing it to my mom’s house on the 4th of July to watch. Not only were the episodes entertaining and funny, they were also educational! My favorite episode was “The Music and Heroes of America.” I love so many of the composers featured in that episode, especially Scott Joplin! My kids and I really enjoyed the episodes included on this 2-disc set. We will definitely be watching it year-round, not just for the 4th of July!
Here are 8 episodes included in the “This is America, Charlie Brown!” DVD:
Disc 1 -
1 - The Mayflower Voyagers - The Peanuts become pilgrims sailing to the New World aboard the Mayflower and endure the first hard winter on Plymouth Plantation.
2 - The Birth of the Constitution - Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang is present when the country’s founding fathers discuss putting together the constitution.