Scholastic Storybook Treasures: The Classic Collection – 20 Back to School Tales


Scholastic Storybook Treasures: The Classic Collection - 20 Back to School Tales

This time of the year most kids are either already done with school for the summer, or close to it. My kids are done with school until September. In fact my oldest gradates from high school this coming week. Sigh… time flies way too quickly.

The last thing on people’s minds is back to school time. Trust me, it’s the last thing on my mind too. I still have one in school and now one heading off to college soon.

Back to school time will be here before you know it. In just a few short weeks you’ll no doubt start seeing school supplies popping up on store shelves. In fact I’ve already seen summer items on clearance at some stores. Clearance? Really? Summer hasn’t even officially begun and already things are on clearance. Way to rush things.

If you have a child or grandchild who is heading off to school for the first time, or even returning to school to start Kindergarten or first grade, you might be interested in a new DVD collection from Scholastic Storybook Treasures: The Classic Collection called 20 Back to School Tales.

Get ready to learn your 123’s and ABC’s with this new colorful DVD collection featuring animated shorts of popular children’s books.

  • How Do Dinosaurs Go to School?
  • Splat the Cat
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
  • Sky Color
  • Crazy Hair Day
  • The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash
  • Monty, Emily’s First 100 Days of School
  • The Gym Teacher from the Black Lagoon
  • The Librarian from the Black Lagoon
  • Miss Nelson Has a Field Day
  • Miss Nelson Is Back
  • Will I Have a Friend
  • Open Wide: Tooth School Inside
  • Otto Runs for President
  • Owen
  • The Scrambled States of America Talent Show
  • Shrinking Violet
  • The Teacher from the Black Lagoon

There are 20 short animated episodes based on popular, classic books. Many of the books featured on this DVD are award winners including ALA Notable Award, Cine Golden Eagle, NAPPA Gold, and Parents’ Choice.

Splat the Cat

Splat the Cat

The DVD has a run time of approximately 3 hours and a suggested retail price of only $5.97 which is super inexpensive for such a fun and educational DVD your child or grandchild will love.

I was sent the DVD to review. It was fun for me to see some of my kid’s favorite books come to life. For example, the Black Lagoon books. My daughter loved them so much that we owned every book in that series. I even kept all the books so that she can some day read them to her children. It was great to see these stories I read to my kids over and over again come alive on the television screen.

I love Splat the Cat. He wasn’t around when my kids were little. None the less I have seen several Splat the Cat books and I love them. He was another character I was happy to see come alive on my television.

This is a great DVD that can be enjoyed year round and not just for back to school time. It’s fun and entertaining with educational materials too.

Look for Scholastic Storybook Treasures: The Classic Collection – 20 Back to School Tales  where ever DVDs are sold.

Scholastic logo


*I received a free screener copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs


Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs

I love bath and body products. I have a really nice collection of products. Some were sent to me to review, some were given to me as gifts and others I purchased myself.

I am a big fan of things like scrubs and soaking salts. I use scrubs pretty much every day as well as lotions to keep my skin moist and hydrated. Other products like soaking salts and bath bombs I use on occasion. Sometimes I enjoy them “just because” and other times I “need” them after a rough day at work or a stressful week.

People will spend a crazy amount of money on bath and body products. Did you know that you can make these products in your own home for just a fraction of the cost? Many bath and body products can be made with just a few simple ingredients too – many of which you might already have on hand.


I sometimes make my own hand scrub with a dash of olive oil and about a 1/2 a teaspoon of sugar. I put the ingredients in my hand, gentle rub my hands together then rinse them off. The sugar acts as an exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and the olive oil helps to moisturize your skin.

You can also use the same ingredients to make a sugar scrub for your lips to remove dead, dry skin. Just be sure to rub carefully because the skin on your lips is thin.

You can find recipes to make your own bath and body products online, but honestly, unless you know specifically what you are looking for you’ll no doubt miss out on a lot of great ideas. I prefer flipping through the pages of a book. That way I an find things I might not have ever thought of before. That is why I am an enjoying the book Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs by Kate Bello that I was sent to review.

Introducing “Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs,” a new collection of 300 easy, fun, DIY recipes to take bath time to the next ahhhh-inducing level.

These personalized creations utilize fragrant petals, powerful essential oils and exotic ingredients, including sage, lavender, peppermint, rose, jasmine, himalayan sea salt and much more.

Made of all-natural ingredients, these bath additions elevate your soak and help to relieve common ailments such as allergies, stress, acne, dry skin, sunburn and more.

If you follow me on Pinterest you’ll see that I have a whole board dedicated to Beauty. There you will find some great DIY beauty recipes.

What I love about this book is that it contains recipes for products I would never think to make. Not only that it gives you information about the ingredients and how they can benefit you.

There are plenty of great recipes to create products to help you create your own at home spa, but this book goes beyond that. It also provides you with recipes to create products to help you with different ailments you might be suffering from such as stress, eczema, arthritis and even the flu.

Salt and shampoo with nettle on board

The directions are super easy to follow. Each recipe provides you with a list of supplies and ingredients you’ll need.

Many ingredients you might already have in your home. Other ingredients you’ll have to shop around for, such as the specific essential oils you might need. I have an assortment of essential oils but I found recipes that require different oils. I have those pages bookmarked so I an refer back to them when I pick up all the ingredients that I need.

I’m impressed by all the wonderful things you can make simply and easily in your own home. Best of all you can make these products to give as gifts to family and friends. You’ll just need some creative packaging like bottles, jars and boxes. I’m sure you can find great ideas at your local dollar store so that you don’t have to spend a fortune.

If you have every been curious about making your own bath and body products, or you want to find a way to make your own so that you can save money, look no further than the book Homemade Bath Bombs, Salts and Scrubs by Kate Bello.

Look for it where ever books are sold (I saw it on Amazon and Barnes & Noble too).

Have you ever made your own bath and body products? Do you have a favorite recipe you would like to share? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. I always love to hear from readers.

lavender salt


*I received a free sample copy in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Give your kids the fun of a “family adventure” with Imaginary Friends interactive series


Imaginary Friends_Reading

I have always loved to read. I can’t imagine a world without books. For me, books opened up a whole world of possibilities. Books took me on grand adventures. Books inspired me to want to do things and see places around the world.

I love books so much that I saved my favorite books from my childhood. When I became a mom I read my favorite books to my kids. They are teenagers now but I still have their favorite books from when they were younger in hopes that they will read them to their kids one day.

I don’t think kids read as much as they used to. Sadly, I think most kids prefer to play on their parents tablets and smartphones instead of picking up a book, or even going outside to play.

Imagine if there was a way to combine reading, fun activities (some of which can be done outside), as well as an online component to satisfy today’s technology driven youth. There is! It’s called Imaginary Friend Books.

Imaginary Friends Books takes reading to a whole new level. Not only will children read about fun and exciting adventures they will also be a part of the story.

This brief video explains more about this exciting new way to enjoy not only reading but also quality family time with your children or grandchildren.


As a mom I love this idea. I really wish that there was something like this when my kids were younger.

My son was often referred to as a “reluctant reader.” He loved it when I read him stories, but he was not too keen on reading books on his own. I had to seek out books on specific topics that he would enjoy (weather, snow, cars…).

I found that my son did enjoy books that were engaging such as pop-up books or books with flaps he could lift up to find a surprise hidden underneath. I would have loved to have him physically get involved with the book and make it more fun than just lifting a flap.

Stories filled with action, excitement and adventure that help to stimulate young minds and aids literacy development.

Imaginary Friends_Adventure_Kit_photo

With Imaginary Friends, parents can put reading in the center of the things their kids love to do every day. Imaginary Friends is a “Family Adventure” that arrives at your house with printed chapters and a fun-filled activity kit with online and real-life games, scavenger hunts and moments to connect with your child.

That is another reason why I really like Imaginary Friends. It’s something that children can do with their siblings and their parents. It’s a family adventure!

These days families can become disconnected. We all lead such busy lives. When you factor in smartphones, tablets and video games it makes it even harder for families to come together to do something fun – something memories are made from. Imaginary Friends brings the family together for a quality bonding experience.

Currently this awesome interactive series is a Kickstarter Campaign. If you are not familiar with Kickstarter it’s a platform to help raise funds for innovative ideas and more. Contributors (known as “backer”), donate funds to projects they are interested in. When the project receives all it’s funding to go into production backers get great rewards.

Imaginary Friends-Children Reading-Capes in the Family_photo

Please note – If the total amount needed is not raised, contributors/backers will NOT be charged and Kickstarter will refund the money back to you. You will not be out any money if the project doesn’t pan out.

Imaginary Friends needs about $32,000 in order to go into production. With the exchange rate that would be $40,000 in Canada. The last time I checked they were less than $10,000 from reaching their goal. That is because many people see the value in such a program and want to see Imaginary Friends come to life.

Their Kickstarter campaign explains what you get when you contribute to this program. Some perks include free books and a year of free Imaginary Friends adventures.

Here’s a short video to see how it works and how you can join the community and be part of the adventure by contributing to the Kickstarter campaign.

If you would like to learn more you can also visit the Imaginary Friend website, ImaginaryFriendBooks.com.

In addition you can check them out on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Imaginary Friends_Devices_Gameplay

You can check out a FREE sample Imaginary Friends Activity Kit available on their website. All you need to do is provide your email address. The sample kit will be available to all backers in addition to their existing reward regardless of the reward level.

Imaginary Friends is also giving away FREE downloadable Father’s Day cards on their blog.

Speaking of Father’s Day, Imaginary Friends would make a great Father’s Day gift. Forget the ties and mugs – why not give dad the gift of adventure and fun with his children. The memories he will make spending quality time with this children is a gift he will remember for a lifetime.

What do you think about Imaginary Friends? Does it sound like something you could enjoy with your child or grandchild? Do you like the idea of combining reading with physical activities and online gaming? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from my readers.

Even if you don’t have children or grandchildren, but enjoy the concept, consider joining their community to share your thoughts and ideas with the creators.

Imaginary Friends_logo


*I have partnered with Imaginary Friends to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (giveaway ends 5/30/15)


A Year on the Farm-cover

Most young children are fascinated by vehicles. It’s not just a “boy thing.” Growing up I was really into trucks and cards. I LOVED my Tonka trucks back in the day when they were made out of metal.

I still remember when my kids were little. They were fascinated by things like firetrucks, Police cars, tractor trailers and farm equipment.

There is a new book available that many little boys (and girls!) might find interesting and fun. It’s called Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. It’s new from Octane Press. In fact, there are several Casey & Friends books worth noting. They offer readers a glimpse into farm life as well as machines used in modern agriculture.

Octane Press produces high-quality narrative and illustrated books for discerning enthusiast audiences. Some of the company’s best-known titles include Red Tractors 1958–2013: The Authoritative Guide to IH and Case IH Tractors and Beast: The Top Secret Ilmor-Penske Engine that Shocked the Racing World at the Indy 500. Octane Press has won several book awards, including IBPA Benjamin Franklin awards (Red Tractors 1958–2013, Forward, Adventurous Motorcyclist’s Guide to Alaska) and Independent Publisher Awards (In the Red, Red Tractors 1958–2013).

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (ages 4-8) teaches readers about the various pieces of farm equipment and how they work, including interesting farming facts and so much more. Readers will also learn about the iconic red CASE IH tractor.

I’m an adult and I found the book interesting. I even learned a few things and I grew up around farms.

Casey & Friends is written by a “seasoned” educator and national curriculum writer Holly Dufek. Together with Cars artist Paul Nunn they are teaching children (and their parents) about the various types of farm equipment that is used to bring food to the table.

Most people don’t know just how much work is involved to harvest the foods that we eat on a daily basis. There is a lot of labor involved including heavy machinery.

casey fall

Here is some more information about the books series.

Meet “Casey & Friends.”
Written by Holly Dufek, Illustrated by Paul E. Nunn | Published by Octane Press
Ages 4-8 | 32 pages | 9×9-inch hardcover | $14.99 each

Follow Casey the farmer, Tillus the worm, Big Red the tractor, and a whole cast of cartoon equipment characters who teach important life lessons gleaned from the farm, like thinking ahead and working as a team. Each title is licensed by CASE IH and highlights a different aspect of farm equipment and technology with educational sidebars, picture glossaries and fun farming facts for added learning possibilities.

A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends (Jan. 2015) introduces children to the world of modern farming by teaching them about the different jobs a farmer does each season. Casey and her team show how tractors, combines and other equipment: plant and harvest crops, work in the farmyard, and care for animals. Learn how farming involves planning for the year, reacting to the weather, and working as a team.

Big Tractors with Casey & Friends (Apr. 2015) shows how the biggest, most powerful tractors handle the demanding jobs of pulling and powering on the farm. Find out how Big Red and Sammy – the biggest tractors on the farm – use their powerful muscles to work in the field with the rest of the team. Learn about the science of farming and discover how advanced technology makes Big Red and Sammy special.

big red left facing

Combineswith Casey & Friends (June 2015) explains the step-by-step processes used to harvest crops by the most complex machines on the farm. Follow Cody and Kellie—the combines of Happy Skies Farm—as they do the work of three machines: gathering, separating, and unloading grain and corn.

Planters & Cultivators with Casey & Friends (Sept. 2015) features the specialized farm equipment used to cultivate, plant and spray crops. Learn how Tammi the Tiller, Evan the Early Riser Planter and Peter the Patriot Sprayer work together to make this year’s crop bigger than ever. Explore the science of soil and discover how Casey’s team keeps it healthy.

“Know a kid or two who thinks corn comes from the grocery’s freezer section? Put ‘em on track with A Year on the Farm with Casey & Friends….Plenty of detail combined with lots of color photos and illustrations makes this an engaging read for kids ages 4-8. A fun (and educational) read for kids and their grandparents!”

—Leslie McManus, Farm Collector Magazine

We have the book Big Tractors with Casey & Friends. I have since donated it to our classroom for other children to enjoy.

Look for these books where ever books are sold.

For more information about Octane Press visit OctanePress.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.


CASEIH Tractor Toy

I have a copy of this book, as well as CASE IH Magnum 370 CVT Tractor Toy (1:64 scale – MSRP $8.50 – ages 3+) to give to a lucky reader. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be notified via email. The winner has three days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you would like to win this prize package?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you MUST complete the initial entry requirement or the extra entries won’t qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received a free sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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New products from Kohl’s Cares



Are you familiar with Kohl’s Cares? Kohl’s Cares is a special charity from the retail giant that helps to support children’s health and educational programs across the country. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Kohl’s Cares products goes towards these programs. Since the year 2000, Kohl’s Cares has raised a whopping $257 million dollars. That is amazing.

Kohl’s Cares offers wonderful products for both children and adults. Every Kohl’s Cares products sells for $5.00. And let me tell you from personal experience, the products are worth much more than that. Some people might assume the products are cheaply made for such a low selling point. That is not the case at all. Take their plush animals for example. They are just as well made as the $25+ plush you find in specialty stores. Unlike those plush 100% of the sale of the Kohl’s Cares plush goes towards children’s charities.

I personally enjoy the products offered through Kohl’s Cares. They do offer “grown up” things like cookbooks (which I love), but mostly it’s books and plush animals. Often the plush and the books match up. For example, last time around Kohl’s Cares offered a plush “Dough/Dug” (don’t remember how it’s spelled) from the film Up. In addition they also offered an Up book.


I’m a bit kid at heart so I often purchase the books and matching plush – I can’t have one without the other. LOL! Some I keep for myself. I display them on my bookcases and I rotate them a few times per year. Others I hold on to as a set to give as a gift. It’s always a great idea to have gifts on hand and I like offering the little kids in my life the plush/book combo. It makes a wonderful and appreciated gift plus it only costs you $10 ($5 each). How often can you find a quality gift at that price point?

I also donate some of the plush and books to my place of employment. The kids love them and it makes me smile when I see them enjoying them.

Kohl’s Cares offers new products for a limited time (until supply lasts) every few months. I make sure to bookmark their site and check in every few weeks to see if they have new products available. I don’t want to miss out on anything.

Kohl’s Cares is currently offering some of these delightful products. REMEMBER each product is $5 – they do not come as a set.

Bear Elephant Turtle Whale

Kohl’s Cares was kind enough to send me the Bear and book set, as well as the Turtle and book set. I love the plush and books so much that I went out and purchased the Elephant and Whale plush, as well as their matching books.

These are not mini-plush animals. They are full size (regular plush size) – ideal for hugging and snuggling up with at night.

I love the books! Not only are the stories delightful (perfect for bed time), the illustrations are beautiful too. They are quick reads with only a few words or a single sentence on most pages. These books would be great for early readers too.

If any of these interest you I would recommend you visit your local Kohl’s soon, or shop online. Once they are sold out there will be no more.

Kohls Cares Spring 2015

Make sure to check Kohl’s often, or visit their online site, to see what new Kohl’s Cares products are available. They change throughout the year.

Look for the Kohl’s Cares products near the check out lanes. They are usually on prominent display. Remember, 100% of the proceeds goes towards children’s health and educational charities.

To find a location near you (or order online) visit Kohls.com. To find the Kohl’s Cares products do a product search for Kohl’s Cares. You can also find Kohl’s on all the social media channels (links are found at the bottom of their website).

Have you ever purchased, or received, any Kohl’s Cares products? Would you consider buying them as a gift for someone special? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received some free product samples. I also purchased some one my own. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

Gabby Duran

I have always encouraged my children to read. I am all for literacy. Even where I work we promote literacy and give out books to all the kids we see when ever we can. We also like to read to the children whenever possible.

I love books that are truly creative and encourage a child to use their imagination.

There is a book that will soon be released (May 12, 2015) that your child might be interested in. It’s called Gabby “Duran and the Unsittables.” The book is geared toward 8-12 year olds (or grade level 3-7).

The book was written by Elise Allen and Daryle Conners.

We have a copy of the book but I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. It sounds like a lot of fun

Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task…until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It’s a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby’s audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

The book has been touted as “The Babysitters Club” meets Men in Black. I loved that book series and the Men in Black movies so I bet this is a really fun book.

If you would like to learn more about Gabby Duran you can visit the Official Site. You can also follow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter as well as follow Elise Allen & Daryle Conners on Twitter too.

To see what others are saying about the book check out the hashtag #GabbyDuran.

What do you think about this book? Does it sound like something your child or grandchild might like?



*I received a free sample copy and other goodies in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own (unless otherwise noted) and not influenced in any way. 

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