1/21/21

Mia and Nattie: One Great Team Children's Book Review & Book Tour Giveaway


Books are always welcomed in our little corner of the world. I am sure that my daughters read every single children's book in our local library over the years! Today, I have a new children's book from author Marlene M. Bell to share! Check out Mia and Nattie: One Great Team, read my thoughts on the book, learn about the author & enter for a chance to win a prize in the book tour giveaway at the end of this post.

 

Book Title:  Mia and Nattie - One Great Team by Marlene M. Bell
CategoryChildren's Fiction (Ages 3-7),  32 pages
Genre:  Children's Picture Book
PublisherEwephoric Publishing
Release date:   October 3, 2020
Content Rating:  G for everyone. Family based book for all ages.

 

 

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Should you purchase an item via our links--we may receive slight compensation from an
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About the Book


Nattie’s mouth was a little crooked. Her legs were a bit shorter than usual, and one horn was too straight, like a unicorn’s horn. But Mia thought Nattie was perfect. In a read-aloud picture book for children who love animals, award-winning writer and sheep breeder Marlene M. Bell presents Nattie the lamb’s true story. MIA AND NATTIE is a heartwarming book that teaches readers about problem-solving, teamwork, and love. On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age. When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around—one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.

 

My Review


True Story with a Relatable Message for Families. It is not easy being little--and feeling that everyone has roles to play and something to offer the family except maybe the littlest one. This book takes children into the life of a little girl and an orphaned, runt lamb--and follows them as they follow their hearts and find their places and roles on the farm. The true story about Natalie the lamb offers children a cute, relatable tale with some real-world messages about empathy and differences and offering unique talents and skills.

 

Mia and Nattie: One Great Team is a Heartwarming Story for Families. The book is intended for little ones--but will bring smiles and tug at older children and parents' heartstrings. Mia and Nattie: One Great Team is a great story, with simple illustrations and easy-to-read pages that remind us the value of appreciating everyone for who they are and what they have to offer the world--even if they don't fit the expected mold. 

 

 Would I Recommend Mia and Nattie: One Great Team by Marlene M. Bell? Mia and Nattie: One Great Team is an adorable children's book that reminds us all that, no matter how small, we can stand up for others and help others find their gifts. I would recommend this for families with pre-school and early elementary-aged children and family storytime with older children. 

 


Buy the Book

Amazon.com
add to Goodreads

Meet the Author

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer, artist, and crazy sheep lady who resides in beautiful East Texas. Her renown sheep photographs grace the covers of many livestock magazines where she also writes newsy articles about raising sheep from her hands-on experience. Marlene offers the first of her children's picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team which is based on true events from the Bell’s ranch. It's a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.

connect with the author:  website ~ twitter ~ facebook ~ goodreads
 
Follow the Book Tour
 
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Enter the Giveaway

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1/19/21

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.

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


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 

Amazon.com
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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1/13/21

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!

 


1/12/21

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
LuLu

 

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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1/11/21

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!