Summer Fun with Crayola!



SUMMER!!!! It’s almost officially here (one more day – June 20th).

This is the last week of school where I work. My son, who is in high school, was done with his finals last week. His summer vacation from school has officially started already. As of Friday, June 24th, I officially start summer vacation too since I follow the school schedule. That is unless I can find a summer job or a full time job.

Summer is not the same when you are an adult. It was so much more fun when I was a child.

I grew up with my cousins, so we spent every summer together – building forts, fishing, going on adventures, bike riding, camping, swimming… we did it all.

A favorite activity of mine to do in the summer months was to draw with chalk on the road and the sidewalk around our house (we didn’t have a paved driveway). We lived on a rural dead end street so seeing a car on the road was rare. I don’t recommend drawing in the road with chalk these days.

Chalk is fun to use and play with because you can stop and start all over again. It’s not permanent.


When you draw with chalk you can also draw things that are larger than life.

My morning co-worker wants to draw buildings with chalk and then have our student like above the building (one at a time) in a position that makes it look like they are flying over the buildings. We’d then have someone stand on something high up to take their photo so that it looks like they are flying over the building like a super hero.

The idea is great. We have yet to figure out what we can stand on that is high enough – and safe – to take the pictures. With one week left of school I don’t know if we’ll have a chance to do that or not.

Crayola, makers of the worlds best crayons (I only use Crayola crayons in my home), also makes fun chalk products that children can enjoy all summer long.

Crayola also released several new outdoor products, including chalks and paints, that will inspire children to be creative and explore with color all summer long.

The new product include:

  1. Neon 3D Chalk Set: Crayola’s new spin on ordinary chalk provides kids a whole new way to experience chalk with 3D glasses featuring special lenses that  make chalk colors “float” above the ground at different level
  2. Neon Glitter Sidewalk Chalk: Bright, neon chalk with fluorescent pigments are even brighter in sunshine and glitter catches every ray of sunlight; makes the perfect outdoor art tool for any kid looking to add some pizazz to their original creations
  3. Squeeze N’ Paint Tool Set: Kids can amp up their paint game by quickly turning compatible Crayola sidewalk paint bottles into tools, making it simple to squirt, brush, and roll creative designs onto the pavement
  4. Licensed Sidewalk Chalk: Available in Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Frozen, and Finding Dory, each pack has a specific palette of sidewalk chalk that matches the character so kids can color outside using just the right color to recreate their heroes.

Crayola was kind enough to send me some product samples to try out with the kids I work with. They sent me a fun assortment of their Licensed Sidewalk Chalk. The color of the chalks that come in each set are inspired by the characters or movies.

Avengers 2




These chalk sticks are big and chunky – ideal for little hands (and not so little hands). They also last a long time and won’t break as easily as traditional chalk.

I love the wonderful assortment of colors. They even have flesh colored chalk so children can draw their favorite characters.

My morning kids loved them. BUT… like a dork I didn’t remember to take photos of their drawings. I am not allowed to take their pictures (they are not my kids). I had intended to take photos of their drawings before I left work, but I forgot. It rained later on that day too so most of the drawings were washed away.

Chalk 1

Chalk 2

Chalk 3

I don’t agree with drawing on the wall but the school allows it (as per the custodian).

I think someone was trying to draw a person on the wall (as you can see in the photos). I wonder if it was one of the characters featured on the chalk?

In the bottom photo you can notice the flesh colored chalk (at least it appears to be).

When the kids get to use the chalk again this week I’ll up date this post with better photos.

Crayola also sent me the Neon 3D Chalk Set and Squeeze N’ Pain Tool Set. I am saving these for the older kids that I work with in the afternoon.



We didn’t get a chance to go outside much in the afternoon due to the weather. This coming week we have half days which means we are with the afternoon kids from noon to 6:30 PM. I know we’ll be going outside a lot this week. When the kids use the cool Neon 3D Chalk Set I’ll be sure to take photos of their designs.

This set comes with special glasses you can wear to see the neon designs “pop,” as if they were three dimensional. That is pretty awesome. I would never think you could do something like hat with chalk when I was a child.

The colors are AWESOME! They look like the colors you would see pop from black light posters.

The only reason why I opted to give the afternoon kids the 3D chalk is because they are older and they would use it to make fun designs. The little kids I have in the morning just like to scribble and rub the chalk on the ground without making shapes or designs. I figured the older kids would appreciate it more.

I am also saving the “paint” set for the older kids because I feel like they won’t waste it like the little ones will.

Look for these and other Crayola products were ever Crayola products are sold (many retail locations).

If you would to learn more about Crayola, visit them online at Crayola.com. On the website you can learn about products, receive special offers, download coloring pages, find fun craft projects and so much more. They even have some adult coloring pages.

Crayola can also be found on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website.

What do you think about these new products? Do you think your child/grandchild would love them?

Crayola Logo


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

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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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What Parents Want for their Kids


Book Cover

When I would ask new parents what they wanted for their kids I would get a few awkward seconds of blank faces. I judged that these parents were so busy producing and nurturing their children they hadn’t given much thought to the subject. But the same parents usually recovered to tell me, “I guess we want our child to be happy.”

Wow, think of that! Not riches or status or achievement, but happiness. Perhaps these parents were telling me that happiness is independent of riches, status or achievement. And doesn’t that reflect a general feeling in our society? We all know some rich and famous people who are miserable. But happiness, that nebulous mental state, appears to be where we would like our kids to be. We all know when we’re happy and conversely when we’re not. And we all know children who appear to be happy and others who we describe as “troubled.”

The secret wish of parents during pregnancy is that they have healthy children without birth defects to disrupt a normal life.  There’s always a breath of relief when a physically healthy baby is born. Step One: a success. Such parents usually mark their blessing, then forget about their past worry and move on.  Now for Step Two: to see if the child is not impaired mentally. And that usually takes more time. If steps one and two provide disappointing results, generally the parents are so consumed with health issues that the more distant goal of life happiness is removed from their equation.

Only after attending to diapers, pediatricians and what seems to be an endless litany of parental duties is there time to think about the future. And when parents eventually turn their attentions to the future this issue of happiness comes to their minds. The big question then is — is happiness just a foggy concept or a real state of mind that can be achieved, and if so, how? And equally important can parents play a role making happiness a reality for their kids?

People who haven’t given this idea much thought will probably be naysayers. But those who have, I would suggest, will be more proactive. What makes parenting of human babies so much fun is that it isn’t like salmon eggs hatching a river and letting  the salmon fry just go their own way. Quite the contrary, nurturing human parents play an essential role in bringing up their kids. And they can teach many life skills.

They probably can’t teach them to be happy, but they can set the conditions in which they will grow into happy individuals.


About Roger E. Herst

Roger E. Herst, author of “A Simple Formula for Raising Happy Children” (rogerherst.com), is an ordained Reform rabbi with MBA and doctorate degrees. A father and grandfather, Herst regularly engages with parents in the form of Platonic dialogue – a cooperative Q-&-A approach meant to stimulate critical thinking – to yield logic-based solutions for raising happy children.

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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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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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