Toys”R”Us is celebrating birthdays in a BIG way!


Our daughter's birthday picture.

Our daughter’s birthday picture. She was two years old in this photo.

We all know how excited a child is gearing up towards his/her birthday. Not only are they excited for the birthday party and sweet treats, they are also anxious to see what they get for a birthday present.

I remember when my kids were younger. Our daughter would have a wish list a mile long. Our son’s list was much shorter – he just wanted cars and trucks.

We used to take our kids to Toys “R” Us before their big day to get an idea of what toys and games to get them as a gift. Even though my daughter had a list she would always find something else she wanted from Toys “R” Us. Once we had an idea of what to get her we’d let family and friends know what she wanted, so they could swing by their local Toys “R” Us to pick them up.

My husband and I are ‘Toys “R” Us Kids” for life! We even go to Toys “R” Us on our own to check out the toys (we like to press buttons and see what the toys do – LOL). We’ve been known to buy goodies for ourselves too – most recently a Star Wars game for the television (a “plug and play” toy) for my hubby and I picked up another FUNKO Pop! to add to my collection.

We love that Toys “R” Us has it all – toys, games, crafts, books, outdoor toys, riding toys, baby items and so much more. They even sell cards and wrapping paper, making it a great “one stop shop” for all your birthday needs.

Birthday 2

Our son anxiously waiting to open his birthday presents.

Toys “R” Us knows how very special a child’s birthday is, that is why they created the ultimate Birthday Club – to help celebrate your child’s (or grandchild’s) birthday in a big way.

Toys “R” Us has had a Birthday Club for as long as I an remember. Even my children were members at one time.

Geoffrey’s Birthday Club is a program where parents can register their children’s birthdays to receive special birthday-month offers.

Each year on the Birthday Club member’s birthday they will receive a birthday card and special gift from Geoffrey (up until the age of 10).

To make it even more special, Toys “R” Us now has to option to sign up to have your child receive a special birthday phone call from Geoffrey himself. How fun is that!

As if this isn’t fun enough, Toys “R” Us has taken it one step further with a special in-store birthday celebration. These events take place nationwide at Toys “R” Us locations across the country.

The next event is taking place on Saturday, June 18 from 3:00 – 4:00 PM (the next date is July 16, 2016). During this event and all those following, Geoffrey’s Birthday Club members who are celebrating a birthday on/around the day will have the opportunity to participate in story time with Geoffrey and receive a complimentary “The Legend of Geoffrey” book, crown, balloon and Geoffrey plush, PLUS dance to Geoffrey’s brand-new birthday song in a conga line around the store. Geoffrey’s Birthday Club members will also continue to receive a personalized birthday card, a phone call from Geoffrey and a special gift.

What fun! I wish my kids were younger again. They would have loved something like this. I’m an adult and even I would love to participate. LOL!

The new book, “The Legend of Geoffrey,” would make a great gift in it’s self.

The Legend of Geoffrey - Book Cover Art

For decades Geoffrey the Giraffe has helped kids have awesome birthdays, matching them with their perfect toys. But a long time ago, in a faraway land, Geoffrey was an ordinary giraffe. How did his coat become covered in stars? What sent him across the seas? How did he come to live at Toys“R”Us? And how does he bring toys to life? Discover all this and more in The Legend of Geoffrey!

The book is very sweet, filled with cute and colorful illustrations.

I have a copy of the book. It’s not an easy reader (it’s more for children 6+ as far as reading level). This is a wonderful story that makes for a great bedtime story. Now that I read it I can appreciate the character of Geoffrey more.

I also have the plus Geoffrey that is given to the birthday children during the event. He’s absolutely adorable!

Toys R Us

I think it’s wonderful that Toys “R” Us would offer so many wonderful things to help a child celebrate their birthday. I also appreciate that Toys “R” Us is promoting reading and literacy with story time with Geoffrey and by gifting birthday children a special book.

Now that I know more about Geoffrey’s Birthday Club, I like Toys “R” Us even MORE (I didn’t think that was possible – I already loved the store). I love that they want to make children feel special.

Birthday 3

If you would like to learn more about Geoffrey’s Birthday Club, or to sign up, visit Toysrus.com/Birthday. There you can also browse some wonderful gift ideas, separated by age range, making it easier to find the perfect gift. You can also browse gift ideas based on the birthday child’s interests (Super Heroes, dolls, arts & crafts, animals, games, sports and so forth). I rely on things like this often when buying gifts for friend’ children’s and young relatives. It makes it a lot easier to narrow it down to the ideal gift.

To find a Toys “R” Us location near you, visit ToysRUs.com. You can also check them out on social media – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Don’t forget – the next birthday celebration is happening on June 18th, and the next one is July 16th. Make sure to mark your calendar.

Is your child/grandchild a Geoffrey’s Birthday Club member? If not, will you be signing them up?

Do you plan on attending the Geoffrey’s Birthday Club celebration this month (or next month)?



*I have partnered with Toys “R” Us to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Book Review: The Great Carp Escape


Great Carp Escape

As a blogger I receive a lot of books to review. Thankfully I love to read, so that is not a problem. Only time is an issue. I don’t always have the time to read (even if I truly want to). Most times I’m lucky if I can read a few pages every day.

I tend to read children’s books I am sent to review first and foremost. They usually are a quick and easy read. Plus the adorable, colorful illustrations always make me smile.

Recently I received a children’s book to review called “The Great Carp Escape.” It was written by Irish Beth Maddock and illustrated by Lucent Ouano.

This beautifully illustrated book is not only entertaining, it also teaches children life lessons. This is also a Christian book and refers to God and how he created all living creatures here on Earth.

“The Great Carp Escape” is the story of siblings Beth and Paul. They live along the shore. They enjoy spending their time froliking and playing on the beach, as well as doing things in the water like diving.

There is one part of the shore line they won’t go near – the swampy area where the Weeping Willow tree’s leaves and branches dip into the murky, muddy water. They avoid that area because they don’t like what lives there – carp.

If you have ever seen a carp before you know that they are not the prettiest fish. They have spines and mustaches.


One day while walking along the beach with their father, the trio come across a dead fish that had washed up on the shore. The children were put off by the “ugly” dead fish that lay before them. They questioned why God would make something so ugly. Their father replied, “God’s creatures—none are ugly if we look at them through the Creator’s eyes.”

One day a nasty storm bring a flood that present it’s self with a life or death situation. Will the children be able to look past something that they perceive as hideous and ugly to safe a life? To find out you need to pick up a copy of “The Great Carp Escape,” available where most books are sold.

This is a quick read, making it ideal to read at bed time.

The illustrations are wonderful and really bring the story to life.

As for the story, I love the moral of it. I’m not one to go for books with a religious undertone, but this book is worth the read. It’s a beautiful story that conveys a great message – that we are all beautiful and wonderful, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing is truly “ugly” because we were all created by God.

“The Great Carp Escape,” is also available as a fundraiser for school, churches, charities and ministries. The book has already helped to raise $1,000 for various causes.

If you would like to learn more about the book, or the author, visit Irish’s website at IrishBethMaddock.com.



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

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Audiobooks Giveaway, compliments of Honda Road Readers (ends 6/19/16)



Summer time is finally here! While the official start to summer hasn’t happened yet, people are already in the summer frame of mind.

I work with children through the local school district. We still have 16 days left until the end of school, and many kids are counting the days because they are anxious to start their summer adventures.

Many families like to hit the road and travel during the summer months. It’s sometimes more fun than flying (and less expensive).

If you have ever taken a long road trip with children you know how incredibly board they can get. “Are we there yet?” as got to me the most annoying words to hear when you are traveling. I annoyed my dad so much on a trip to Florida when I was younger that he put me and my sister on a plane back home instead of driving back home with me from Florida to New York (the frequent “potty stops” didn’t help either). LOL!

When my kids were younger I would try and come up with fun things for them to do in the car. We never really traveled too far (an hour to the country fair, and hour to the beach…), but they would get board about 10 minutes into our trip.

Car Travel

I used to keep a large zippered bag in the car filled with on the go games, coloring book, crayons, water and snacks to keep the kids amused when we were in the car. I would have packed books too but it’s not easy for some people to read in the car. Myself and my daughter for example get “car sick” (motion sickness) when we try and read in the car when it’s moving.

One thing we never tried were audiobooks. Audiobooks are real books that are read to you. They used to come on tapes, then CDs. Now you can download them online and listen to them on your devices.

Honda has an app that gives Honda drivers access to five free audiobooks per year, with more than a hundred titles to choose from, simply by entering their vehicle’s VIN number. It’s called Honda Road Readers.

Honda Road Readers provides audiobooks for children and teens that are both educational and entertaining. They are a great alternative to the usual car ride.

With expertly curated reading lists, meaningful questions and creative activities to complement some stories, you can shift your family’s summer car rides into high gear.


I don’t drive a Honda, but I was given access to the FREE app to check it out. I was very impressed by the number of books available. There are many titles I am familiar with (great classics) and some I have never heard of before but look interesting.





You can access the app on your device (smartphone, tablet) and listen to the books you download on the go.

I downloaded Winnie the Pooh on the app.

What I love about the story that I downloaded is that it includes music and sound effects. If you close your eyes you can imagine Winnie the Pooh and friends doing the things the reader is talking about.


A cool feature about this app is that you can set a sleep timer which will allow your child to listen to a book being read to them for the amount of time you wish to set it for (5 minutes, 20 minutes…). I like that idea. Of course, nothing replaces a book being read to a child by their parent/grandparent, but when that option is not available, this would be a great substitute.

You can also bookmark where you left off so you can pick up on the same spot when you are ready to continue listening to the story.

The stories also come with questions you can use to engage with your child/children with.



You can browse the books, read synopsis of them, listen to a sample from the book and find out how long the book takes to listen to (for example, The BFG by Roald Dahl has a run time of 4 hours and 25 minutes).

The books are broken up into chapters so you can listen chapter by chapter, or simply let it continue to play. It’s totally up to you.

I LOVE this app and I have been enjoying the books I have downloaded thus far (Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and Racing in the Rain).


If you would to learn more, or to register for an account, visit HondaRoadReaders.com online. You’ll have to set up a free account online before downloading the app (Honda Road Readers).

I have some FREE download codes to give to lucky readers, compliments of Honda Road Readers. Fifteen (15) lucky readers will each win a code that will allow for TWO (2) audio book downloads. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 19, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winners will be contacted via email and will need to reply promptly (no later than June 1st) or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me why you’d like to win this prize – or – tell me about a road trip you plan on taking this summer.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received free download codes in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa – A delightful story for children and grandparents


The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa

It’s nearing the end of the school year. In fact, some children are out of school for the summer already.

This time of year many children are looking forward to spending time at summer camp. Some children go to camp locally (where they are home every afternoon), while others go to “sleep away” camps.

I went to town camp growing up. Its wasn’t because I had to. I had a stay at home mom, so I didn’t need anyone to care for me while I was home for the summer. Other children went because their mom and dad had to work.

My own kids went to town camp as well. I was also a stay at home mom. I sent them to camp for something to do and because it was fun.

I don’t know how I feel about sending my kids away for camp. I liked the idea of them being home every day so I could hear about their camp adventures.

Some children will need to go to a sitter’s house during summer vacation from school while mom and dad work. If they are lucky, their sitter might be their grandparents.

I wish my children got to spend more time with their grandparents and great-grandparents. I grew up living next door to my great-grandparents, and I was raise by my grandparents, so I have A LOT of wonderful memories about them. I wish my children were afforded the same opportunity.

Sometimes hanging out with the grandparents can be just as much fun as going to a real camp for the summer. That is what happens in the book The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa.


In the book The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa, siblings Nick and Sarah got to spend time with their grandparents. In fact, they looked forward to their time with them, especially when they got to spend the whole weekend with them.

Nick and Sarah always went on amazing adventures with their grandparents including boating, camping and fishing – much of the same things they would do it they went away to camp.

This is a wonderful book with beautiful, colorful illustrations that add to the charming story of Nick, Sarah and their amazing grandparents.

The Adventures of Camp Nana Papa was written by Donnie Cranfill and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbler. This is actually the first book in the series.

In the book the children make friends with an adorable firefly named Flash. On the books website there is an option to purchase a plush version of Flash, which makes a great addition to the book. Children can snuggle with it while the book is read to them, or they can take Flash on their own adventures with the grandparents.

As a bonus feature Flash actually lights up like a real firefly! His bottom half lights up. He sort of reminds me of the Glow Worm my kids had when they were little.


The plush toy is a good size and can easily be toted around by any child. He can also double as a way to help children be less afraid of the dark. A simple squeeze lights up the Flash plush, which a child could do if he/she is feeling scared in the dark.

The plush Flash is available in 8″ and 14″ sizes.

Combined (the book and the plush) the set would make a great gift, most especially for a child who spends time with their grandparents or who is going to spend the summer with their grandparents. It not only shows children that being with their Nana and Papa can be a lot of fun, it’s also a way to open up a dialog between children and their parents and grandparents on what fun adventures they would like to go on the next time they visit.

I also think this would be nice to give to a young child who might have an older sibling going away to camp. That way they know they can have fun and adventures too, even if they are too young to go away to camp.

If you would like to learn more about the book and/or the plush toy visit the books website at www.CampNanaPapa.com. There you can also find more fun goodies that grandparents and children can enjoy together including toys and crafts.

You can also check them out on social media. All of their links are found at the top of their website.

I am looking forward to more books in this series.

Do you have any special memories of your grandparents? Did you go on special adventures with them?

Feel free to share your stories. I always love to hear from my readers.



*I received free samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Return to the Isle of the Lost (giveaway end 6/11/16)



Are you familiar with the smash hit Disney movie, Descendants? I read the book before I saw the movie. I had a feeling the movie was going to be super popular.

I work with children and some of them are super fans of the film. Even though the film came out last year, the kids at work still talk about it and bring in Descendants merchandise to play with when they are done with their homework.

A sequel to the hit movie is now available. It’s called Return to the Isle of the Lost.

Here is a brief synopsis of the story;

Mal’s an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she’s broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding they return home, Mal can’t believe it. Sure, she’s King Ben’s girlfriend now, and she’s usually nice to her classmates, but she still didn’t think anyone would be silly enough to try to push her around.

The thing is, it kind of worked. Especially since she and her friends have a sneaking suspicion that their villainous parents are behind the messages. And when Evie looks into her Magic Mirror, what she sees only confirms their fears. Maleficent’s just a tiny lizard after her run-in with Mal at Ben’s Coronation, but she’s the worst villain in the land for a reason. Could she have found a way to escape? Whatever’s going on, Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay know they have to sneak back to the Isle and get to the bottom of it.

Without its infamous leader, the island’s even worse than when they left it, but the comforts of home—even a home as gloomy as the Isle of the Lost—can be hard to resist for recently reformed villains. Will the kids be able to beat the evil bubbling at the Isle’s wicked core, or will the plot to destroy Auradon succeed?

The story sounds really interesting. I like that it continue where the other book (and movie) left off. I also like that all of the beloved characters have returned in this sequel.


Return to the Isle of the Lost was written by Melissa de la Cruz.

Melissa de la Cruz (www.melissa-delacruz.com) is the author of the #1 New York Times best seller The Isle of the Lost, as well as many other best-selling novels, including all the books in the Blue Bloods series: Blue Bloods, Masquerade, Revelations, The Van Alen Legacy, Keys to the Repository, Misguided Angel, Bloody Valentine, Lost in Time, and Gates of Paradise. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter.

If you would like to learn more about Return to the Isle of the Lost, visit Disney.com. You can also follow Disney Books on Twitter and Instagram. The official hashtag is #DisneyDescendants.

The book is now available. If you would like to learn more about Return to the Isle of the Lost, or to read an excerpt, visit the book’s official page on the Disney Books website.


In honor of the book’s release, I have a wonderful giveaway for a lucky winner. The prize package includes:

  • a copy of Return to the Isle of the Lost
  • The Descendants DVD
  • Descendants stationary set

Prizing and samples provided by Disney Publishing.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 11, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be contacted via email and will need to reply promptly (no later than June 1st) or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me who is your favorite Descendant’s character – OR – why you want 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 additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Disney-Hyperion sent me this title, and is also providing a prize pack for one winner from my site. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Bayer Animal Health Teams Up with Clifford the Big Red Dog (giveaway ends 6/11/16)


Clifford Book Cover

For most people, their pets are a huge part of their family. I know mine are. I cannot imagine a life without our pets. They are important to our family – that is why their health, happiness and well being are extremely important to us.

I recently posted about how this is the season for fleas and ticks (they can be found year round in warmer climates). You can read that post here – ‘Tis the season… for fleas and ticks.

It’s important to protect your pet against fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other nasty pests. That is why you need to take precaution like use products to protect them as well as regular vet visits to ensure that your pet is healthy.

I have seen first hand how much Lyme Disease can affect someone. My stepmother suffers from Lyme Disease. It’s awful. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

There is a new, limited edition, book that has been created to teach children and families about the importance of proper pet care, as well as tips on how to prevent the pests that can cause serious diseases (ticks, fleas, mosquitoes…). It’s called Clifford Goes to the Doctor.

I don’t normally post press releases, but I feel the information in this one is important.

Bayer Animal Health collaborated with Scholastic and the iconic Clifford the Big Red Dog® to create a limited-edition distribution of Clifford Goes to the Doctor, a story that teaches children how to properly care for their pets. The custom book features tips for families on how to prevent fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which can carry diseases, such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis – also known as companion vector-borne diseases (CVBD).

“At Bayer, we understand how important our pets are to our families and to our wellbeing,” said Dr. Joe Hostetler, Manager of Companion Animal Veterinary Service at Bayer Animal Health North America. “The topic of vector-borne disease can be complex, but is an important one to discuss given its prevalence and potential impact in our communities.  Clifford the Big Red Dog is the ideal character to teach children and families how to care for their pets, and as part of that care, we encourage pet owners to speak with their veterinarian about ways to protect their pets from parasites.”

The release of the limited-edition book from Bayer, Clifford Goes to the Doctor, corresponds with the International Companion Vector-Borne Disease (CVBD) Symposium, held in Miami from May 9-12, 2016. Each year, the symposium invites a group of scientific thought leaders to discuss current findings, as well as future trends concerning the distribution, pathogenesis, clinical implications, diagnosis and prevention of CVBD.

To unveil the limited-edition book, Bayer and Clifford the Big Red Dog, the beloved canine created by bestselling author/illustrator Norman Bridwell, visited the Coral Park Elementary School in Miami where Bayer Animal Health Veterinarian, Dr. Dan Carey, read the story to more than 140 first graders and addressed their pet care questions. Following the reading, first grade students throughout the Miami-Dade School District received copies of Clifford Goes to the Doctor to take home.

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“Pets can teach children valuable lessons when it comes to responsibility,” said Dr. Carey. “No matter how young, it’s important for children to learn good habits early when it comes to providing the best possible care for a pet.”

Vector-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease, heartworm disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, can be transmitted when parasites bite your pet and take a blood meal. Among them, Lyme disease, babesiosis and leishmaniasis are known to veterinarians throughout the world as a growing threat.  An important prevention measure is to use an effective treatment indicated for fleas, ticks and mosquitoes, which can transmit deadly diseases to your dog.  Pet owners should consider a product that not only kills, but also repels.

Dr. Susan Little, a veterinarian specializing in parasitology and key thought leader also echoes the importance of prevention.  “I want to feed my dog; I don’t want my dog to feed fleas and ticks,” she said.

The 2016 International CVBD Symposium focused on key topics affecting the world today, including the transmission time of vector-borne diseases, as well as the latest findings on feline vector-borne diseases, ehrlichiosis in the US and leishmaniasis.

For more information about CVBD, visit www.cvbd.org.For more information about Bayer Animal Health and ways to protect pets from parasites, visit www.animalhealth.bayer.com.


I received a copy of the book to review. Even though it’s a serious topic, the book is completely written for children. It’s easy for them to read and understand. It also features the beloved Clifford character throughout the book.

This book will appeal to most children, especially Clifford fans and children who enjoy animals.

The book is a reading level of One (easy to read).

The story is about how Clifford has gone to the vet ever since he was a teeny, tiny puppy up until now that he’s a giant dog.

On the inside front cover are tips for taking proper care of your pet (great for grown ups too). On the back cover are tips and information about the Vector-Borne diseases and what you can do to prevent them.

I don’t know where you can obtain a copy of this book. I know the actual book was published  years ago (it can be found where ever book are sold). The limited edition copy feature the extra material on the side of the cover and back cover (as mentioned above). You can find the tips in the book at the websites mentioned above, so you don’t necessarily need the book.

Clifford Book Cover

Bayer would like to give a copy of the limited edition book to a lucky reader.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 11, 2016 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator. The winner will be contacted via email and will need to reply promptly (no later than June 1st) 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 a copy of this book?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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

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