M.C. Plays Hide & Seek Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

I love finding children's books that teach and inspire families facing challenging situations. This week, we had the opportunity to read and review M.C. Plays Hide & Seek from author Eva Grayzel.  What did I think of this children's book?


Book Title:  MC Plays Hide and Seek: An Empowering Story for Healthy Children Who Care About a Person Living with Cancer by Eva Grayzel
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  64 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
PublisherMascot Books
Release date:   Jan 5, 2021
Content Rating:  G for everyone.

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Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner.

About the Book

M.C. is a cancer cell who shares just enough information about the nature of the disease to promote dialogue and minimize fear. The scary part of cancer is the unknown. Learn about doctors who look for cancer. Understand feelings children experience and learn ways to cope. Empower children with knowledge and how to make a difference. M.C. Plays Hide & Seek strengthens communication and builds emotional health.

My Review

Author Gives Cancer an Identity For Children to "See".  The author shows realistic photos of  children, doctors, and families as she illustrates the pages of her children's book and uses a childlike cartoon character to depict "cancer" as it plays a game of "hide and seek" with doctors and patients through the pages.    Giving cancer a name and a "face" makes the illness something a little less unknown and difficult for young children to understand.


M.C. Plays Hide & Seek Offers a Perfect Conversation Starter for Families & Caregivers with Young Children.  The author does a wonderful job giving a broad overview of facing a possible (or confirmed) cancer diagnosis.  Realizing that "finding" cancer is not always as easy as many other medical diagnoses we face is often a very difficult conversation to begin.  From not "seeming sick" to missing the signs and symptoms--there are so many grown up conversations that kids likely overhear as adults come to terms with a cancer diagnosis.  This book will help families and caregivers begin more in-depth and difficult conversations.

Would I Recommend M.C. Plays Hide & Seek? So often we try to shelter children from painful subjects.  Whether unsure that they will understand or unsure of how they will react--we often try to "protect them" from scary and upsetting truths.  This book reminds us that children should be included as a family faces cancer--and gives a great launching point to allow families to do just that.   The book is written in a family friendly manner that explains a lot of terms and activities involved in a cancer diagnosis.  I think it is a valuable book for families facing a personal cancer diagnosis or one of a close family member or family friend.

Buy the Book 

Eva Grayzel ~ B&N

Meet the Author

Eva Grayzel is a motivational speaker, storyteller, and cancer survivor. When her children were five and seven years old, she was diagnosed with cancer. Their fear of losing her was deep, real, and suppressed. When she got a second chance at life, she created the Talk4Hope book series to help children understand cancer and make it less scary.
Connect with the Author  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ pinterest ~ instagram

Enter the Giveaway

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Why Should you Sell on AWS Marketplace?

If you are a software or data services developer seeking to sell your products and services online--it may be worth your time to check out the AWS Marketplace. Suppose you are unfamiliar with the AWS Marketplace. In that case, AWS--or Amazon Website Services--is a division of Amazon that offers on-demand cloud platforms and API's to many businesses and organizations ranging from individuals to large companies and government organizations. What should you consider selling your products and services on AWS? Here are some benefits of being a seller on the AWS marketplace.

AWS Marketplace Offers Easy Seller Registration and Account Set-Up. To begin to sell on AWS Marketplace, simply register as a seller by using your existing AWS account, if you have one, or creating a new one. Be sure to read the seller requirements before you sign up as a seller to ensure that you can meet the seller contract's demands and provide your product or service per the AWS terms. Sellers register, set up bank account information, and configure tax calculations. Setting up taxable products is simplified with the site's AWS Marketplace Tax Calculation Service depending on the U.S. state the seller resides within. Provide required forms for taxes and be sure that a registered US bank account is registered for payment disbursements.

Detailed Product Settings Allow for User-Friendly Product Preparation and Set-Up.
From choosing your product's category to creating the product listing for your specific type of deliverable, the AWS Marketplace has tools, advice, and guides in place to help you prepare your product for clients on AWS. Guidelines and instructions allow you to submit your product for publication, set up pricing and licensing--even if you plan to offer complex pricing options, varied product templates, or a choice of payment schedules. Many of the options you encounter for setting up your product or service may seem quite complicated for new users. However, once you master the ins and outs of the details--you will be able to present your product to buyers quite effectively with many more options than you may have even considered!

The AWS Marketplace Services a Variety of Clients.
Finding customers for your product or service is made a bit easier as you offer it up on this vast marketplace of established clients and organizations. While your product will not sell itself--the marketplace certainly helps you put it in front of many buyers and users in one place.

AWS Marketplace Offers Seller Options to Help you Manage your Sales. Sellers can access the marketplace via mobile from anywhere--with full access to seller reports and data feeds to keep them in-the-know on product performance and customer data.

Selling on AWS Marketplace allows digital product and service providers a very strong audience of qualified and interested buyers in a well-established network of users buying and selling various digital services. Whether you are an established developer or just starting out--this marketplace may offer you just the eyes you need on your product to lift your sales and open doors for future opportunities and growth.

5 Shopping Hacks and Tips at Home Depot

Is your home decor stuck in the '80s--or is it just our little house in our little corner of the world? I have been looking at a 1987 golden oak, brass, and off-white wall for almost 20 years--and have decided that 2021 will be the year I change it all up--with a lot of DIY projects and adventures! Since I have a pretty limited DIY budget--yet, have been a frequent shopper at the local hardware stores over the past few months, I have learned a thing or two about bargain shopping for my DIY projects. Today, I thought I would share some shopping hacks and money-saving tips for shopping at Home Depot.




Plan your Home Improvement Projects Room by Room--For Every Room Before you Begin. Okay--this seems a little time-consuming. However, if you are going to be patching drywall holes, painting walls and sanding down and filling blemishes in wood trim, or repainting a ton of old brass fixtures throughout the house--you can save money by buying some of your product needs in bulk. I am a massive fan of the project calculators for paint, countertops, and tiles on the Home Depot website. The calculators help me combine projects (like putting the same tile in two different bathrooms or using the same paint color in separate rooms). I save money and have less product waste when I am not guesstimating my product needs!


Learn From Pre-Made Project Ideas and Plans.  While I may not always love the colors and style of some of the ready to make project guides on sites like Home Depot--I LOVE that their guides break down all of the products, tools, and equipment that I need for a given project. I repainted our downstairs bathroom vanity with the help of a Home Depot Project How-To Guide. While I didn't buy every suggested item and tool--I learned a little about the appropriate paint and sandpaper grit to use for the project. After all--if I am putting in the work and effort, I want quality results that last.


Take Inventory at Home Before You Buy. Since I am literally re-doing the entire house, I have many materials on hand to work with! Before I buy more painter's tape or a box of finishing nails or more paintable caulk--I use the project plans and guides to help me take inventory of what I have only to buy what we actually need. I am not a fan of tossing anything that is re-usable--so cabinet doors and light fixtures that are in good condition will be repainted/refinished/re-done in some form or other for this year's updates!  


Look for Coupons and Sales--Every Week. I am a planner. I refuse to spend more money than I need to spend on my projects! I begin with the home improvement store sale circulars--but, I will undoubtedly take advantage of special store credit card promotions or special Home Depot coupons and deals available on sites like Slickdeals. If I see flooring that I want is on sale this week--I will purchase it now with coupons or sales for a project that may be a month away on my to-do list! 


Use the Right Tools for the Home Improvement of DIY Task. I am the first to make due with items on hand--but, it is wise to make your life a little easier by using the appropriate tools for a job. Just like needing a correctly sized wrench or screwdriver is necessary--sometimes, you something more professional equipment than the devices in your little toolbox! If you are an avid DIY'er--it may be wise to purchase an expensive tool or piece of equipment--but, if you are limited in space or money--I love renting large tools or contractor-grade equipment from Home Depot for bigger home improvement jobs. 

Hopefully these shopping hacks and tips help you accomplish your next set of home improvement projects!



Dream It & Do It Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway

Our children have faced so many unexpected challenges over the past year! The ups and downs faced in 2020 seemed to dull the dreams and plans of so many of us--adults and children alike! This morning, I am sharing a wonderful book that may just help families refocus some of that dream-inspired drive! Check out children's' nonfiction book Dream It & Do It by Holly Sharp, read my thoughts on the book & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post!


Book Title:  Dream it & Do It by Holly Sharp
CategoryChildren's Non-Fiction (Ages 3-7),  216 pages
Genre:  Children's Non-Fiction
PublisherDream It & Do It LLC
Release date:   Nov 2020
Content Rating:  G for everyone.
Many of our posts contain affiliate links.
Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
affiliate partner. 
About the Book

Dream It & Do It introduces children to a wide range of career possibilities at a young age. Readers will explore 100 stories featuring 100 role models, each one showcasing a different career choice. Dream It & Do It was recently awarded a coveted Readers’ Favorite 5-Star Review from the largest fully-accredited book review platform, 1st place for short stories (Royal Dragonfly Book Award) and a Gold Mom’s Choice Award.

“Dream It & Do It by Holly Sharp is a perfect book for young kids who want to find their place in this world and what they’d like to be when they are older.” (Readers’ Favorite).

Readers will continued to be inspired through the coordinating Activity Book wherein 100+ activities teach your child about today’s career paths. Book can be purchased as a full collection or in 3 individual volumes.


My Review

Dream It & Do It Motivates, Inspires, and Educates. So many times as I have worked with children (both my own or those met in volunteer settings)--I have sought ways to introduce them to the careers and opportunities available to them in the world outside their limited views and experiences. This book is perfect for doing just that! The author offers short biographies spotlighting a random host of leaders in various fields and career realms. From artists and scientists to entrepreneurs and social activists--the author creates an inspiring roundup sure to inspire any child's interests! 


Dream It & Do It Is Easy To Read--& Relatable.  The author breaks her spotlights into categories so that young readers will find a handful of biographies related to topics like writers and medicine. This book is the perfect way to introduce children to other careers and passions they may not have yet considered. I love that children interested in writing, for example, can see a range of paths that others have taken that used writing talent to create their careers! 


Would I Recommend Dream It & Do It by Holly Sharp?  I love this book! It is so easy to be discouraged or labeled or limited as we move through elementary school and beyond. This book is the perfect way to encourage children to follow dreams--and gives them insights into the varied paths taken by others pursuing talents and goals. I would recommend it for every classroom, library, community group & family bookshelf! Dream It & Do It helps show that there is a great, big world out there--with so many ways to use talents and gifts. It is easy to read and loaded with extra tips and encouragement throughout the pages. Great for those seeking to help a child develop his talents and skills and explore interests.

Buy the Book  

Amazon ~ Dream It and Do It


Meet the Author

Sharp spent the bulk of her career in new product development—dreaming up intuitive ideas from how to kill bugs to new ice cream forms to hit grocery shelves. A self-proclaimed problem-solver, she loves to think about the things that the world needs and figuring out how to make those things come to life. “Knowing in high school what I wanted to do with my life set me up for the right path. I wanted the same for my child and searched for books to guide her, but came up short,” Sharp said. “That’s when I thought, ‘why not write the book for my child that she needs and that will also help others?”

Connect with the Author website ~ facebook ~ instagram

Follow the Book Tour

Enter the Giveaway

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Weekly Menu Plan January 11-17, 2021

Working on another week of my Weekly Action Plan for 2021! If you missed last week's post, in an effort to plan and prepare healthier, more balanced meals, I decided to create a monthly meal plan for January during the first week of the month. It's a process of creating this habit--and I am falling a little short in my goals! I planned to complete a menu for the month--but, reality has me creating a weekly plan...on the morning of the first day of the week--but, it is progress! I just completed the week three and wanted to share this week's menu with you all.   While this menu is still not loaded with only healthy meals--it's still helping us move away from too much takeout and too many convenience foods that fed us during 2020!  

The meal plan has 3 meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and 3 snacks for each of the days.  Most of the meals have links for recipes already on our site--and may be downloaded with the full menu via the link at the end of this post.  A few of the meals will have recipe posts added this week--so be sure to check back for updates to our recipes in the sidebar of the blog or within this post.

Download this Week's Menu!

As you will see, I plan a week's menu that uses many of the same ingredients in various recipes throughout the week--or I plan for leftovers to serve for the following day's lunch or a later day's breakfast.  Using chopped peppers and onions repeatedly allows me to prep the week's vegetables in one chopping session--and grilling extra steak or chicken seasoned with a bbq rub or with a Mediterranean seasoning blend allow for as "repurposed leftovers" a day or so later in the week!  As I get into the habit of working through a month-long menu, I will also begin to add shopping lists and more helpful tips for planning and prepping these meals.

You will notice that there are very few processed foods (aside from some of the meat and cheese).  This menu is heavier in fat and calories than future menus will likely be--as we begin to modify our diet and shift away from the busy fall/winter's convenience foods and snacks.  

Our blog sidebar's What's Cooking Today section will be updated daily with the day's recipes--and I hope to post recipes for my homemade crockpot curry chicken, tuna salad, and Buffalo Chicken Dip over the next couple of days!

You may download this week's menu here--and check back in this post for additional recipes a little later in the week.

Hopefully, I will get the entire month's menu up by Friday!

Happy eating!

Backyard Party Planning Guide

Your summer is incomplete without backyard BBQ parties and cookouts filled with chilled drinks, where easy to cook food definitely tastes better with big laughs. For a true trouble-free backyard party, you wish to keep the guests and pests from creating a buzz in your ear.


Your dream backyard party must include fun activities for the participants along with plenty of delicious food to serve and stunning outdoor décor to create a magnificent ambiance. Let’s get to know how you may create an oasis for your backyard party to gratify the partygoers without getting someone eaten alive.

Here, you will get a checklist of essentials to plan your backyard party while having some fun, too. 

Get off the ground

Around three to four weeks before your backyard party is supposed to be hosted, you need to get the ball rolling.

Start sending invitations

Make a list of all your guests that you intend to invite for your backyard party. This is the right time to send invites so that everyone should be mentally prepared and must be able to easily make appropriate adjustments in their schedule to be a part of this fun-filled event.

Prepare an inventory list

It’s best to take the inventory of your utensils, napkins, bowls, plates, tables, chairs, and other essential items that you need to arrange the backyard party.

Your plan of action

Planning summer backyard parties can be fun and challenging at the same time. There is always a way to cheer up the night with budget-friendly essential items that you can add to your checklist and you may conveniently find at any Dollar Store in your area.

Create your menu

Estimating how much food you need to prepare is crucial. Typically, you should expect each person to have around six appetisers. However, if you intend to arrange a cocktail-style event, then this number may increase.

Regardless of how hearty the meal you intend to offer, there is always room for dessert. When it comes to drinks, twenty-five bottles of wine, one hundred and fifty bottles of beer, and twenty-five bottles of champagne are sufficient for fifty guests.

In addition to that, you have to prepare the following:

  • The list of grocery items that you need for the backyard party
  • Prepare the food labels
  • Rent or buy the extra cups, glasses, napkins, plates, and other utensils

Finalise your planning to throw a great backyard party

If you are left with just one week, this is the time to finalise your preparations. A pro tip for a successful backyard party is to involve your guests in the preparation process. Asking them for help will definitely increase their level of interest since they are now an active part of the event. Hence, you should:

  • Borrow the utensils, tables, and chairs if you need some extra ones
  • Ask someone near and dear to help you find the best manufacturer who is offering large marquees for sale that can accommodate all your guests easily
  • Get your house thoroughly cleaned
  • Contact the guests who have not responded to your invitation yet to be aware of their intention to attend the backyard party
  • Plan how you will clean and remove the party trash
  • Have a plan dealing with the left-overs
  • Arrange some uninterrupted power supply

Go grocery shopping!

A day or two before the event, once you have finished cleaning the yard as well as washing the dishes you will be using to serve, this is the time to go grocery shopping. Carefully check the grocery list you have prepared and ask some of your family members to double-check in case you have missed anything important.

While you go to the supermarket, don’t forget to purchase all the ingredients for your backyard party menu.

Nothing else but prep

On the last day of your preparation for the backyard party, review everything you have prepared so far. This is the time for spot-cleaning. Pile away the mail, bills, and other items sitting on your counter. Put all your unopened mail and envelopes in a clean stack to make your house cleaner.

Flip the cushions and put things orderly in the living and drawing room as some of the guests may have to sit there for a while. Wipe down the tables, counters, and chairs to make it smell like a clean home.

Set up the marquee with the help of your loved ones around while arranging the tables, chairs, etc., so you are left with nothing much to do on the day of the event.

Don’t forget to buy extra bags of ice. Prepare as many main courses, desserts, and side dishes as you can the night before the event. Get help from family and friends to cut the vegetables and fruits. Make sure that the beverages are placed in the fridge to chill.

Final touches before the arrival of guests

You’re left with a couple of hours, so make sure you have already prepared the raw food to be grilled. This is the time to re-heat the hot foods you have prepared. Put the ice-boxes and coolers in the right place.

Get the buffet tables ready–with corresponding labels for the foods that you are serving. Pre-heat the grill when you are left with around half an hour.

Stay calm

Staying calm will help you handle some unforeseen incidents during the backyard party. So, relax and take a deep breath. Instruct your family and friends who are working as your teammates to make it happen and serve the guests with a smile on their faces. This is the best way for you and all your teammates to enjoy this wonderful backyard party to its fullest.

Live in the moment

You have planned well so it should definitely end well. Use these incredible ideas to throw a backyard party and enjoy the unforgettable moments you’ll have with your friends and family.

Whether you follow the given checklist to plan your party or you add something to this list, just make sure that the list you have fit the needs of your backyard party.