Activities designed to engage and inspire young minds


If you are a frequent reader of She Scribes, you’ll probably recall that I work with children. I used to work with Kindergartners during the day, then K-3rd graders in the afternoon. This school year I was transferred to a different school. Now I work with 4th – 6th graders. They are much different than the little ones. It hasn’t always been easy, but I enjoy working with this age group too.

The little ones are easily entertained by toys and games, and they are eager to learn. The upper elementary kids tend to get bored more easily (they rather be on their smartphones, sigh…) and they often see learning as a “chore” rather than something that is fun.

For a while now I have been entertaining the idea of doing STEM activities with the kids. If you are unfamiliar with the term STEM is stands for;

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math

There is an after school club for STEM activities at the school I work at.

Some of the kids I work with participated in the STEM club. Others I think secretly wanted to join, but felt like it was “uncool” to join an after school club.

I think there is a lot that can be learned by STEM activities. I’m not in any way a teacher, but I do think that anyone can learn from these types of activities. I’m college educated and I find STEM activities very interesting. As someone who works with children, I find that these types of activities lead to great teachable moments.

I am always searching the Internet for easy to do activities I can do with my “work kids.” I am also always on Pinterest looking for ideas.

The Catapult Challenge teachers kids how catapults were used by ancient and medieval militaries. Kids also love to shoot things through the air. LOL!

I was recently sent to review a book filled with easy to do STEM activities. The book is called 15 Minute STEM. It’s written by Emily Hunt.

This book features STEM activities geared towards 5-11 year olds, which is great for me since I have worked with the little ones, and now I work with the older elementary kids (the oldest is 12).

Here is a brief synopsis of the book from the publisher;

This innovative resource has been designed to reassure parents and teachers that they don’t need to be experts to deliver high-quality STEM education. Each of the 40 activities includes step-by-step instructions, takes just 15 minutes to complete and can be resourced from everyday materials found at home or in the classroom. This means that, with minimal preparation, parents and teachers can slot these cross-curricular activities into an otherwise busy day.

The activities make connections to real-world scenarios, helping children to understand how their learning is relevant to their future, and have been linked to conceptually similar STEM-related careers – all of which are individually profiled in a glossary at the back of the book. The practical, problem-solving element of each activity offers a great way for children to develop important soft skills such as creativity, critical thinking and spatial awareness.

I was impressed that this book has forty activities in it. At first glance the book is rather unassuming. It’s thin and only has 60 pages. Once I opened the book, I knew immediately that this was going to be my “go to” book for many great activities to do with my “work kids.”

This is just one of the activities found in this book.

Many of the STEM activities that I have pinned on Pinterest or bookmarked on my computer require a lot of materials to accomplish. Our organization does have a budget it needs to stick to, and I honestly don’t have the time to drive all over town looking for the materials to complete an activity. I was super pleased to see that the activities in this book don’t require a lot of fancy materials, and many of the items needed we already have, I have at home, or I can easily get locally.

Take for example the Tinfoil Cargo Boats activity. It requires tinfoil, coins, water, a bowl or sink and a scale (optional). Who doesn’t already have these things around their home?

In the Water Color Carnival activity you need large clear bowls, beakers, a spoon, food coloring, water and a mirror (optional). The beakers might not be as readily available, but I’m sure you can substitute them with measuring cups or something similar.

If you don’t have the items needed for each activity, I”m sure you can find almost all of what you need at your local dollar store.

Each activity includes the necessary equipment (as explained above), easy to follow step-by-step instructions, what exactly the activity is going to accomplish (this information is found in the “Investigate” box) and an brief explanation for WHY things happen in the activity.

I am a firm believer that children learn better when learning is fun. With these activities, children are definitely learning, even if it doesn’t look that way. Not only that, these activities are fun and would work just as well as a “rainy day” activity for children, without any emphasis on the “why” and “how” of the activity. They don’t have to be done to learn something. They can be done just for the fun of it.

Here is a photo of the table of contents so you can see for yourself the types of activities/lessons found in the pages of this book.

As far as the 15 minutes aspect is concerned, yes, these activities don’t take that long to set up and implement. I guess it all depends on the children you are working with. Younger children might take a wee bit longer than older children.

I have “dog earred” several pages in this book of activities I want to do with my “work kids.” I am finishing up taking inventory of what we have at school and what I need to pick up from the dollar store (or take in from home). I’ve been a bit busy lately, and we’re currently on winter break, so I haven’t had the chance to try any of activities – yet. Even if I did, it’s not easy to take photos at school. I don’t want to get any of the children in the photos for safety reasons (plus they are not my children, so I am not allowed to distribute their images).

Whether you are a parent, educator, scout leader or even a babysitter, there are plenty of fun activities in this book that make it worth checking it out for yourself.

If you are interested in the book, or would like to learn more about it, I found the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other book retailers.

Check out this brief video (below) of the author, Emily Hunt, talking about the book. She is from the United Kingdom, which explains her accent.



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

Improving Your Emotional Health


Whenever a new year rolls around, people tend to focus on their physical health, like eating better, losing weight and/or exercising. It’s not often that you hear of people talking about wanting to improve their emotional health.

What exactly is your “emotional health.” When you are emotionally happy, you are in control of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. You are better able to deal with the challenges that life tends to toss our way. An emotionally health person does feel negatives feelings, such as anger, sadness and stress, but they are better able to manage those feelings and emotions so as not to let them get the better of you.

I think I would consider myself an emotionally healthy person. I do let stress get the better of me sometimes, but it’s not like it “cripples” me and interferes with my day to day life. Usually when I am stressed I have a hard time sleeping, but aside from that, I function normally. Most people don’t even realize I’m stressed out because it doesn’t show. The only way my husband knows if I am stressing about something is when he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds me up and wide awake.

I’m not one to hit up the “self help” section of the book store. When I was younger I did, but it was more so out of curiosity than having an actual need. I’ve always been fascinated by how the mind works and I would often borrow books from the library on mental health and psychological issues. In fact, I was going to college to become a Forensic Psychologist. The human mind fascinates me. I would love to be able to figure out why people say and do the things that they do. What takes a seemingly “normal” person and turns them into a cold-blooded killer? What makes the most organized person at the office, live like a hoarder at home with bugs everywhere and rat feces piling up on the counters (I tend to watch a lot of Hoarders and Hoarding: Buried Alive).

I will admit that I do struggle with confidence and self esteem issues. Partially from being obese all my life (people can be VERY cruel to overweight individuals), and also because my biological “mother” (she was no mother – she was more of an “egg donor”) abandoned me when I was a toddler, so in the back of my mind I always think that I am never good enough (“If my own parent didn’t want me, then there must be something “wrong” with me…“).

I was sent to review two different products that can help people who are struggling with emotional wellness (in general, not from a clinical standpoint), self esteem issues and stress.

Self-Help Book

Embrace Your Greatness: 50 Ways to Build Unshakeable Self-Esteem (New Harbinger Publishers) offers practical tips to improve self-esteem. Readers are shown why what we have long believed to be the keys to self-esteem don’t really work, and help readers replace those old notions by introducing new ones that do. Consider this a new twist on old problems.

I don’t really see this as a “self help” book, per say, because I think anyone – even people who don’t have any self esteem issues – can benefit from some of the tips and techniques found in this book.

Let’s face it, no one’s life is “perfect.” We all deal with set backs and disappointments throughout our lives. It can be a break-up, being passed over by a promotion, or a back-stabbing friend or co-worker. No matter what it is, there is valuable information, tips and techniques in this book that can help you deal with those situations head on and walk away with a sense of self worth, and not let the negative situations in life take control over you.

The book is divided up into 10 different sections. Each section has a different set of sub-sections. Each sub-section is brief (only a few pages). I appreciate how the book is written in “small chunks” to that you can read and implement the suggestions quickly and easily. It shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to reach each little section (if that). We all have 5-10 minutes we can dedicate to ourselves.

The activities and suggestions are easy to do. There is nothing elaborate or too involved. They are all simple things that anyone can do.

Self-Help Card Deck

The Stress and Anxiety Solution Deck: 55 CBT and Mindfulness Tips and Tools (PESI Publishing) offers fun, easy, yet meaningful solutions to make stress and anxiety motivate rather than debilitate. In essence, 55 quick ways to stress for success.

These cards are divided up into four areas, known as the “4 C’s”;

  • Challenge Your Thoughts
  • Challenge Your Behaviors
  • Clarify You Feelings
  • Create Calmness

To use these cards, select one or more cards a day to focus on, or you can pick them randomly to help you mange stress and anxiety.

Each card features a quick tip followed by a tool (a short activity) that puts that tip into practice.

These cards can be used by therapists, groups, and of course, individuals.

I found all of the tips to be very helpful, and the activities are super easy to do. None of them require any special equipment except a pen and paper to jot things down.

Here are some of the card examples.

The cards come in a box for easy storage.

Overall I think both the book and the cards are very helpful. I have learned some great tips that I plan on implementing in my life to help me de-stress and to boost my self esteem.

Even if you don’t suffer with stress, anxiety, low self esteem or other “issues,” there are still some great tips and advice that can be applied to other situations.

Both the book and the cards are linked above, in case you were interested in making a purchase or needed more information. Both products are found on Amazon, and so far, both have five star reviews.

Author of Embrace Your Greatness and The Anxiety and Stress Solution Deck – Judith Belmont.


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

Oliver the Ornament


My family’s Christmas tree 2018

If you read my blog on a regular basis, you might recall a family tradition that I have written about before pertaining to our Christmas tree ornaments.

When I was a young girl we had an artificial Christmas tree that was set up in the formal living room (a room that the kids were not meant to be in EXCEPT Christmas morning). My sister, who is 8 years old than me, was in charge of setting up the tree and decorating it. I was never able to help out. It was “her” tree and she got to take care of it.

One year my mom decided that I could have my own tree to decorate, and that we could put it in the playroom/family room so that the kids can enjoy it. From that year onward, until I got married and moved away, my mom would take me to the tree lot to pick up a new, real, tree for the playroom/family room. In addition, she’d let me pick out a new ornament each year to hang on that tree.

The tradition of me receiving a new ornament for the tree carried on through adulthood, up until my mother passed away almost 16 years ago.

One year my mom was in the hospital for Christmas. So as not to take a break from tradition, my uncle let me pick out an ornament for the tree that year.

This is the reindeer ornament I picked out the year my uncle bought the ornament for me. It’s missing some of it’s flocking (“fur), and the sticker eyes are coming loose, but I still cherish it and will always hang it from our tree.

My mom even gifted both of my kids new ornaments each year up until she passed away. I even carried this tradition on with my kids. Each year we let the kids pick out a new ornament for the tree.

The “new ornament each year” tradition serves two different purposes. For one, it lets us reflect upon the ornaments as a family and share any special memories we have about it. It’s also a great way for your child/grandchild to build up their own ornament collection so when they grow up and move out on their own they have a nice set of ornaments to decorate their own tree.

We have ornaments on our tree that have seen better days, but we still hang them up because they are special to us. It doesn’t matter if the reindeer our son made out of Popsicle sticks is missing an eye, or that the flocking is rubbing off on the reindeer ornament my uncle let me buy that one year, or even if the ornament my 4th grade teacher gave me has been glued together more times than I can count – they are all special to us no matter how perfect, or imperfect, they are.

That is the premise behind a sweet story called Oliver the Ornament. The tag line for the story is that “Every ornament tells a story.” That is exactly what I was talking about earlier in this post. That is why each and every ornament that hangs from our family’s Christmas tree is special to us.

The book is written by  Todd Zimmermann and illustrated by Teddy Lu. 

Oliver the Ornament is a tale of one family’s cherished Christmas ornaments. The story centers on Oliver, who has been with this family since Mom and Dad’s very first date.Years later, Oliver, now injured and bullied, still has the magic of Christmas in his heart. The story follows Oliver’s excitement for Christmas, his heartbreak, and his determination to overcome all odds to save the day. Oliver, along with his friends, will warm hearts with his kindness, humility, and love for his family and friends.

This is a beautifully written story that can be enjoyed together as a family or as a bedtime story. It’s an easy reader so older children can read it on their own as well.

I love the whole story and how important special ornaments are to a family. It’s the kind of story that truly makes your heart smile.

The illustrations are beautiful and really bring the story to life. They way it’s illustrated make the story a bit “dreamy” (in a good way).

Oliver himself is SO CUTE. He’s such a darling little ornament. I can see why the mom and dad in the story wanted to make him a part of their Christmas tree.

Oliver the Ornament on our Christmas tree.

Oliver the Ornament is sold on Amazon, as well as on the official Oliver the Ornament website. The story is sold as a gift set which includes a hardcover book and a super adorable Oliver the Ornament that you and your family can hand from your Christmas tree.

There are also other Oliver the Ornament products available including a book to record the memories behind the ornaments on your tree (to preserve those memories for generations to come), snow globe, puzzle and more. There is even another book available in the series. The series of books will focus on different ornaments on the tree and the stories behind them.

To learn more about Oliver the Ornament, visit OlivertheOrnament.com. The website also tells you about the other ornaments in the story (mini-biographies), which is a cute idea.

Oliver the Ornament can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Those links are available on the official website (look at the bottom of the website).

What do you think of Oliver the Ornament? Do you have special ornaments on your family’s tree? Feel free to comment and share those ornament stories with me.


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

Give the gift of “doodling” this holiday season


I’ve always loved to color and draw. I have been doing it for as long as I can remember. I find it very relaxing. It’s also fun to do when you are bored.

I am a doodler. I can draw, but all of my drawings look like doodles. I’m far from an artist. My co-worker is a true artist. Her work is amazing. I can only dream of being able to draw like her.

I tend to draw the same things over and over again. All of my doodles look the same.

I work with kids so it’s OK that I’m not a talented artist. To them I draw great. That is all I need to hear.

Here are some examples of my doodles.

Super Broccoli!

Shrek and Donkey

Cat in the Hat / Dr. Seuss

Charlotte’s Web

I told you I’m not an artist. Not even close.

I’m proud of my Shrek and Donkey doodle. I cut Donkey out because I didn’t like how he looked, but I like how just the ears turned out. I’m also proud of my pencil drawing of a tree. I did that while “babysitting” about 20 kids in a computer lab, so my eyes were up and down the entire time (I had to watch them as much as possible).

When I was younger I would love to receive a brand new box of crayons (it always had to be Crayola’s 64-pack with the sharpener in the back), new markers, a doodle pad or two, new pencils and if possible, a book that showed you how to draw things.

I still have plenty of “how to draw” books, but sadly, all of my drawings come out as doodles, even when I follow the instructions. For that reason I’m going to just doodle and not worry about making something look like a fine piece of art.

If you are a doodler, or know someone who is, you might want to check out these two books that cater to the doodler. I was sent both books to review.

The Art of Doodle Words: Turn Your Everyday Doodles into Cute Hand Lettering

This book takes a fun and easy approach to lettering by combining it with doodling. The result? Adorable word-art that only requires a pen, paper, some basic techniques, and your imagination.

I work with middle schoolers. Believe it or not, they enjoy coloring. They are not really into coloring images of Winnie the Pooh or a jolly Santa Claus. They do, however, enjoy coloring in word art and inspirational art. I know several of them hang them up in their lockers.

This is an example of what type of art/coloring pages I am referring to.

PHOTO CREDIT: Doodle-Art-Alley.com

I love how some people (artists) can take a simple work, like “Believe,” and turn it into a piece of art that can be colored and displayed.

I sometimes make posters for various things (volunteer, work…). Sure, I can just write or type of what I need to say, but it would be more fun, and grab more attention, if I can turn the words into fun artwork.

The book The Art of Doodle Words, shows you how to amp up your writing with many pages of inspiration that will make the ordinary extraordinary.

The book discusses the various tools you can use (pencil, fine tip marker…), as well as templates and basic techniques. It then goes on to show you many different examples of the type of lettering you can utilize to make the letters stand out. Here is an example,

This is referred to as “Ball-Jointed.” I actually used to do this back when I was in school – back when kids wrote actual paper notes and not text messages. I totally forgot about this until I saw it in the book. I wonder why I stopped doing this? I wouldn’t use it for all occasions (like filling out forms), but it would be fun to use when writing out holiday cards or notes to my family.

This book also touches upon “block lettering.” I still do that today when I am making posters and I want the letters/text to stand out.

In addition to offering you a variety of letter techniques, the book also provides you with many fun, artistic examples that you can use to transform the letters into something else. Here is an example.

The word is “Flamingo” and it’s decorated with Flamingo images to let a viewer know that it’s Flamingo (if that line makes any sense?). It’s obvious that the Flamingos form the “a” and “i” in the word. It really “jazzes” the word up.

Here is another example;

If you make a lot of posters or signs, or you enjoy being creative, this would be a fun book for you.

Kawaii Doodle Cuties: Sketching Super-Cute Stuff from around the World

In this book you go on a journey across the globe. Step-by-step instructions help you to turn sketches of the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, and more into sweet and friendly characters in the Kawaii style.

Are you familiar with the creative style known as Kawaii? It’s a Japanese “technique” (for lack of a better description) that turns ordinary things into something cute. I’m sure you’ve come across many examples of that in your travels. Normally the objects have large, round, black eyes and simple smiley faces.

PHOTO SOURCE: Merriam-Webster.com

Above are some examples.

In this book you will learn the background behind this fun style of doodling (it’s been around since the 1970’s!), as well as tools to help you with your doodling, tips, and more. In addition, the book will give you step-by-step directions on how to draw a variety of images, including a pretzel, volcano, panda, vintage car, and a house, just to name a few.

Most of the images in the book (the ones that you can create) are simple enough. There are a few that might be a bit more challenging, but I think that even the most novice artist should be able to re-create the images.

I keep this book at work so that I can practice doodling during “down time.” I even let the kids that I work with use the book (they often fight over it). I think it’s fun to see how different the same image turns out when drawn by different people. What I mean is, you and I can do the same doodle and they will come out looking slightly different, which I think it great. Those differences give them their “personalities.”

I don’t have any physical examples. The book is at work. The kids use it more than I do (I do have “down time,” but I still need to watch the kids). Most took to it easy enough. A few have had some problems here and there, but nothing major.

The book also has some “search and find” pages (along with the answers). I have printed them out for my kids to do at work. They love them! Not only do they enjoy finding the cute images, but they also LOVE to color them. I wish the author made a coloring book because my kids at work would go crazy for it. An example of what I mean is found at the bottom of this post.

If you, or someone you know, loves to doodle, or they enjoy making posters, these books would make a great gift.

I have linked to the books (above), so you know where you can purchase them. They are also available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

What do you think about these books? Do you think they would make a great gift for you or someone you know?


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

National Geographic Kids Weird But True! Mega Prize Pack Review and Giveaway (ends 12-14-18)


I love books. I’ve always loved books. I think I’ll always love books.

When I was a young girl I couldn’t get enough of books. I loved to read. I especially loved to read books that were educational. I loved to read about animals, mummies, outer space and about far away places/countries. I guess that is why I do so well with Jeopardy. I know a little about a lot of things.

I don’t get as much time to read as I was when I was a kid. Between my family, home, work and other commitments, reading tends to take the “backseat” to everything else. When I do find the time to read I tend to read things that are quick and easy, but are still fun and engaging.

My kids used to love to read, well, more so my daughter than my son. He loved to read, but it was usually just one subject or one book series at a time. My daughter on the other hand would go through books like crazy. Even as a young adult, she still loves books.

One of my personal favorite book series is not geared towards adults, but adults can appreciate them just the same. It’s the books from National Geographic Kids Weird But True! series.

I’ve reviewed Weird But True! books in the past. These books are chuck full of fascinating information about a variety of people, places, animals and things.

The Weird But True! book series now has 10 books in the franchise, in addition to other interesting Weird But True! books.

Here are the latest additions.

Weird But True! 10 (ages 8-12, $8.99)

This is the latest release in the main Weird But True! series and books 1-9 has been refreshed and expanded to include 50 MORE facts than the original releases (that’s 350 facts per book if you are counting!)!  Did you know that ears are self-cleaning, or that itching is contagious? It’s all totally weird … but true!  Each of the ten books of this main seriescontains 350 surprising and amazing facts about topics like science, space, weather, geography, food, pop culture, and just about everything else under the sun, presented with fascinating photos and illustrations.

As it is with the other books in this series, this book is chuck full of fascinating facts and things to really make you think and question the word around you.

Did you know that scientists can tell what type of shampoo you used by analyzing your cell phone? Or that mosquitos pee on your while they suck your blood? Ewwwww! I didn’t need to know that fact. LOL!

Weird But True! Know-It-All Greek Mythology (ages 8-12, $12.99)

The newest in the WBT book family, WBT Know-It-All focuses on a specific topics structured into profiles. Weird But True!  Know-It-All Greek Mythology includes everything kids need to know about all their favorite Greek gods, heroes, monsters, quests, muses, and famous philosophers. From who gave mankind fire to famous fatal flaws to who stood guard at the Underworld, this book includes all the iconic Greek myths and key characters — and then goes one wonderfully weird step beyond.

I used to be interested in Greek Mythology when I was younger. I found many of the books on the subject to be either boring or overwhelming. Not this book. This book was a joy to read. It piqued my interest in Greek Mythology again.

Did you know, the ancient Greeks wouldn’t eat beans because they thought they contained the souls of the dead? Or that there are towns in the United States named after Greek Gods, such as Medusa, New York and Pandora, Ohio.

If you ask my husband what he thinks about Greek Mythology, he’ll tell you it’s “boring.” He didn’t think that way after I quoted some facts to him from the pages of this book. I found it to be very intriguing. If you can make an adult change his mind, then I think the book has done it’s job. Imagine what it can do for a child.

Weird But True! Cool and Crazy Sticker Doodle Book (ages 8-12, $12.99)

Get ready for even more DO-IT-YOURSELF weirdness in the latest Weird But True! Sticker Doodle title. With each turn of the page kids learn new information and get to try new wacky activities, from doodling prompts to crosswords, mazes to picture puzzles. This book unleashes kids’ creativity in a uniquely Nat Geo Kids way.Discover amazing weird facts and then doodle, draw, or color away right on the page. Did you know that some American soldiers once rode camels instead of horses? Draw some other unexpected animal mounts! Did you know that some ice-cream trucks serve scoops just for dogs? Create some other gourmet masterpieces for your canine companion. Enhance your wacky masterpieces with 150 fun stickers included in the book. Let your kids’ creativity run wild for hours on end in this perfect boredom-buster for rainy days, car rides, or any time.

I love that this is more than just a book about interesting facts. It’s also very interactive. There is a lot to do on the pages (draw, color…) all while providing you with amazing facts about people, places and things.

There are many puzzles and activities that you can do right in the book. The answers are also provided in the back of the book should anything stump you.

My favorite activity in this book are the mazes. I love doing mazes. I find these to be challenging enough to do, yet easy enough for an 8-12 year old to do as well.

There are 150 stickers included with this book (kids love stickers).

In this book I learned that in Pennsylvania its illegal for a fortune teller to tell you where to bury treasure, and that diamonds can fall to Earth from outer space. Imagine that? I would love for a 10K diamond to fall in my yard. LOL!

Weird But True! Christmas ages (8-12, $8.99)

A bit different than the main Weird But True! series, this title is focused on one theme — spreading holiday cheer with festive far-out facts about Christmas!  Makes a terrific stocking stuffer.

I think it’s great that National Geographic Kids came out with a book just about Christmas. I enjoyed reading it and “wowing” my family and friends with all the great tid bits of information I learned. For example, did you know the holiday song known as The Christmas Song (“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…”) was written during the summer? Or that every snowflake has six sides (I wonder how they discovered that). Another fun fact – Female reindeer are the only ones to keep their antlers through December, so technically that means all of Santa’s reindeer are female.

All of these books feature vivid, colorful photographs and illustrations that go along with the facts it’s talking about. They make these books just as much of a pleasure to look at as they are to read.

I have to laugh at the age “limits” for these books (8-12 years old). I’m an adult. I’m a mature adult (meaning I’m “old”). I’m well over the target age range for these books, and then some. Yet I find these books to be very interesting and fun to read. “I” learn a lot reading these books.

I love how these books are set up. Instead of offering you pages or paragraphs of information on a single topic, they provide you with easy to read and comprehend “snippets” of fun facts and weird information. Personally, I find it a lot easier to retain information when it’s precise and to the point. If it’s too drawn out I tend to lose focus and interest. My husband is the same way. I’m sure we’re not the only ones (child or adult).

Once a fan, always a fan. I simply love these Weird But True! books from National Geographic Kids. In fact, I love all National Geographic and National Geographic Kids books.

These books would make a great gift and/or stocking stuffer for the holidays, as well as year-round gifts.

To learn more about this book series, visit the National Geographic Kids Weird But True! page. You can also find them on social media – Facebook (@NationalGeographicKids) and Twitter (@NGKids). In addition, you can also celebrate Weird But True Wednesday every week with Nat Geo Kids social media – #WBTWednesday.

You may also be interested in these additional Weird But True! resources.

I have an awesome giveaway, just in time for Christmas. The winner will receive the following.

  • Weird But True! Books 1-10 (the entire collection!)
  • Weird But True! Know-It-All Greek Mythology
  • Weird But True!  Cool and Crazy Sticker Doodle Book
  • Weird But True! Christmas

Thirteen books in total. They have a combined retail value of $130! Thank you National Geographic Kids.

To enter, please comment on this post and tell me which one of these books you think your child/grandchild (or yourself) would most like to have?

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.

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*I received free sample copies to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. National Geographic will be providing the prize package. 

A new spin on a holiday classic


I love the holiday season. What’s not to love… aside from insanely long lines at the stores.

I love being with family and friends, holiday music, holiday movies on television, seeing the look on a child’s face the first time they see Santa, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and of course – FOOD! The holiday season is that one time of year where you want to enjoy everything, and that calories are not a thought. We can all worry about that when the new year rolls around, and we make our yearly resolutions.

I’m a decent cook, but I can’t bake to save my life.

I have a plethora of wonderful cookbooks, and tons of pages of recipes that I’ve saved from magazine or printed out off my computer. I love trying new things, but my family tends to be picky, so I have to watch what I make.

Book publishing company, Puffin Books, has curated recipes from some of the biggest names in the food world (Martha Stewart, Giada De Laurentis, Trisha Yearwood…). Using stunning food photography and whimsical food art, they created a new series of books called Puffin Plated. This ingenious new books series combines recipes and stories.

Their inaugural books in the series are already available from the publisher.

One of the new books, that is perfect for this time of year, is the holiday classic Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

I love this story. I love watching movies based on this classic tale by Charles Dickens. I also love the movie Scrooged, which is based on a Christmas Carol.

Inside this book from Puffin Books, you’ll find the entire, unabridged, story A Christmas Carol. Even if you have no interest in the recipes, you can still enjoy this beautiful book. I especially love the images and photos sprinkled throughout the book.

Just look at the ADORABLE stockings made out what appears to be graham crackers, jelly fruit candies, licorice and what I can only assume is marshmallows. They would so cute set out on a platter for your guests to enjoy.

Food is used in place of illustrations. The photography is wonderful. I’ve enjoyed how they incorporated yummy images to go along with the story.

Below is an example. You do not need to make your pie resemble the holiday ghost. The publisher only did this to go along with the story.

Instead this book, scattered among the pages of the story, you’ll find mouth watering recipes. These recipes are not just for the holidays. They would be wonderful to make year round. If you are planning a holiday get together this year, these recipes would certainly be fabulous to make for your guests.

I have not tried any of these recipes as of yet, but I do have a few of them “dog earred” in the book that I honestly want to try. Some of the recipes I want to try are Stuffed Mushrooms, Spinach Salad with Dried Cherries (I wanted to try it with dried cranberries instead), Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce and the Cran-Apple Crisp. Mmmmm!!!

Each recipe is listed in the table of contents, so it’s easy to find in the book. Included are recipes for appetizers, a main meal, side dishes and of course, dessert.

This is a great book to read with your family. You can also make the recipes found in this book and enjoy them while someone reads this holiday classic to family, friends and guests.

This is such a fun way to enjoy a great story along with great food. It’s a win-win situation.

The other book that is currently available is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I’m not really a fan of the story. I read it when I was in school and I just couldn’t get into it. None the less, I was happy to flip through the pages of this book to check out the recipes featured inside.

Inside this book you’ll find recipes that go along with the old-fashioned feel of this story, such as Lizer Hearts, Sugar and Spice Cake, French Almond Macaroons, and Lemon Madeleines.

This book is set up the same way as the Christmas Carol book. It’s the actual Pride and Prejudice story that was written by Jane Austen, with mouth-watering recipes throughout the book.

Food is also used to decorate the inside of the book.

The images are NOT computer generated, it is all real food. Specialty food artists and a food photographer were hired for specifically to craft these original, delectable scenes. They did an amazing job.

Book lovers, classic lit lovers, food lovers, and home cooks alike will adore these innovative new classics, especially befitting the upcoming holidays. These would make wonderful gifts.

I know these books are available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. They are probably available at other retail locations too.

For more information about these and upcoming Puffin Plated books, visit their page on the Penguin Random House website.


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