Sunday, September 30, 2018

Welcome in Fall with a Good Book -- Three Complete Guides from Discovery About Snakes, Space and Dinosaurs - Perfect for Kids of All Ages! (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Oxmoor House

I was excited when the folks at Time Inc. Books sent a sampling of their recent and popular releases, as they included books on topics we were or would be in covering in our homeschooling.  For the months of Sept and October we are focusing on space, so their Discovery Spaceopedia was a welcoming addition to our books and materials I had pulled together to share with the girls.  My girls are fans of Discovery, and love books likes these that are filled with full-color photos and jam packed with facts and information that will answer all your child's questions.  

These are the types of books you can pick up and just read a few pages here an there, or flip through and find something that interests you and read more about it.  We ended up taking sections from the space book, and adding to what we were learning.  The girls liked how the pages were filled with real photos and content was written in terms they understood.  On a few occasions I would finish reading a section with the girls and was ready to call it a day, but they saw the next page and wanted to keep going.  And, when we weren't reading these books, they were sharing all the fun things they learned about space, dinosaurs and snakes with family and friends.

These truly are complete books on each of the topics mentioned above, and are great reference books to have for your kids for school, or at-home learning.  And, you can find these large paperbacks at Amazon and other book stores at great prices, making you want to pick up all the books in the popular -opedia series to add to your family's library.  

Here is more about the three books I was recently sent, and enjoyed reading with my girls...

More about this book:

"From a close-up look at the planets in our solar system to a deep exploration of mysterious, far-off galaxies, Discovery Spaceopedia takes kids on an amazing journey thought the stars. Created with an expert astronomer from Discovery Channel, Spaceopedia is filled with incredible facts, more than 400 full color NASA photos, and profiles of groundbreaking astronauts and scientists including Neil Armstrong, Edwin Hubble, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

This definitive book on outer space is perfect for any kid who has ever looked up at the night sky and wondered what's really out there. Readers will learn all about black holes, orbits, planets, galaxies, and constellations with special features on the Curiosity and Rosetta Comet landings, as well as the current number of earth-like planets in the universe that may have intelligent life!"


More about this book:

"Get ready to become a dinosaur expert! DinopediaThe Complete Guide to Everything Dinosaur is the ultimate visual guide to the incredible Age of Dinosaurs, a period of time millions of years ago when these amazing creatures lived on Earth. Packed with over 400 photographs and fascinating facts, Dinopedia features more than 750 known types of dinosaurs-from fierce meat eaters such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor to the gentle plant-eating giants including Supersaurus and Brachiosaurus. Learn everything there is to know about dinosaur habitats, why they became extinct, recent fossil discoveries and more from Discovery, the leading brand in nature programming."


More about this book:

"They slither and crawl, hiss and flick their tongues, and never ever blink. Now kids can learn everything there is to know about the world's creepiest creatures. This title is a complete visual guide to the exciting world of snakes, with more than 400 stunning photographs."


In addition to these three above mentioned -opedia books, you can also find ones on sharks and 

I ended up picking up the sharkopedia book from Amazon to put away for Shark Week next week, and will probably pick up the bugopedia one to use with our spring lesson on bugs.  I really love the colorful photos included in these books, as well as all the fascinating facts about each topic, that gets kids excited about learning about things like snakes, space and dinosaurs.  If you have a curious child, and who doesn't?, why not consider picking up one or more of the popular Discovery -opedia books today, and sharing with your family.  They make for great coffee table reads, or to incorporate in homeschooling, or as reference for school projects. Or, if your kids are just curious and have lots of questions about a topic, these books will answer those questions, while also providing full color photos that will make learning everything about that topic that much more fun.

Disclosure: I was sent review copies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Welcome in Fall with a Good Book - Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First (Beyond Words Publishing/Aladdinn) (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

When I first heard about this book, I was excited to get my hands on a review copy to share with my girls.  It seems like nowadays kids are always pushing themselves to be the best and not fail at things.  Even things like being on a winning sports team, or scoring a perfect score on a test will stress a child out and put a lot of unnecessary stress on the, which in turn can make them sick or make them feel worthless.  I can't go on social media without seeing a daily post of a child who has taken their own life because of bullying or feeling inadequate. And, more and more kids are running away, and it makes you wonder why?

We unwillingly put a lot of pressure on kids and have expectations for them, as can be seen in schools nowadays.  Children in early elementary grades are required to be reading by the end of kindergarten and doing multiplication and division by second grade.  It is crazy...we aren't letting kids be kids, and we aren't letting them fail in order to learn that it is alright to make mistakes.  And, when kids fail, they don't have the necessary tools to move on in a positive way.  We should be teaching children that when you fail, as they will at times, that is is what you do next that counts.  They shouldn't give up, but instead brush themselves off and try again.  This book is perfect in showing kids that even famous people they learn about in school or have read about in books, have failed at things in their lives.  But, instead of giving up, they used those failures to help shape their successes and become a better person because of these failed attempts.  

I sat down and read the new Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First  with my girls the other day, and opened up dialogue afterwards, to let my girls know that everyone is not perfect, even though some may pretend to be; and, that failing at something doesn't define you as a person - instead, it is how you move on from that failure that is what is important.  We talked about things that the girls failed at and that made them feel bad, and the ways they worked to succeed.  While math comes easy to my youngest daughter, my oldest has recently struggled with multiplication and division.  She would get herself so stressed out that even simple math was a struggle for her, as she was feeling like she couldn't do any of it.  We took a step back and tried different ways to simplify multiplication and division, and used manipulatives as she is a hands on learning.  After a short time it was like a light bulb went on in her head and she got it.  And, I loved seeing her eyes light up and a big grin come across her face after finishing a practice test and getting a perfect score.  I reminded her that she wanted to give up and didn't think she would be able to grasp the new material we were learning.  But, by taking a step back and trying new learning techniques, and a lot of practice, she was able to grasp it...and, now she finds it fun!

What is so great about this book, is that the stories are about famous people most kids will know about -- think Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh, Rosa Parks and J.K. Rowling, just to name a few. And their stories are only a few pages each, which makes this great to assign for reading for public school children, or to read during class time, or as part of your homeschooling reading time.  There are even 100 questions in the back of the book that you can pose to children to get them talking about failure and success.

My girls really enjoyed this book, and it was nice to be able to share stories of failure of famous people we have learned about in our schooling, and how they turned those failures in success.  When kids can see others failing and it not being detrimental to their life, and how they picked themselves up and moved to find success, it reaffirms what I keep telling them -- "We are all not perfect, and failure is not the end of the world."  I highly recommend this book for teachers and parents of children, to read together and discuss the importance of failure and success.

More about this book:

"In a culture increasingly preoccupied with perfection, more than ever kids are under extreme pressure to succeed—in school, at home, among their friends—and it’s just too much! Luke Reynolds' latest book, Fantastic Failures: True Stories of People Who Changed the World by Falling Down First (978-1-58270-664-1 [HC] | 978-1-58270-665-8 [PB]) shows young readers that to fail is to be human—it’s about how you respond to your mistakes and pick yourself back up that’s the most important thing. Featuring 35 notable figures, including Katherine Johnson, Temple Grandin, John Lewis, and Christopher Reeve among many others, Fantastic Failures is a great source of inspiration for any student or young reader facing a struggle. 

In line with Common Core standards for upper elementary and lower middle school, students ages 8-12, Fantastic Failures also includes questions designed to help young readers continue to expand their understanding of failure even after they’ve finished the book—a perfect conversation starter for children and their parents when faced with daily disappointments. 

Luke Reynolds is a former middle school English teacher and currently a professor of education at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. While working with seventh graders, Reynolds noticed how often his students felt they needed to succeed right out of the gate—something he quickly realized was a huge crisis among his students as many had come to believe failure was final, which became the inspiration for Fantastic Failures. Reynolds is the author of The Looney Experiment, Surviving Middle School, Bedtime Blastoff, and more. He currently lives in York, Maine with his wife and three sons. "

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Welcome in Fall with a Good Book -- DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis Graphic Novel from DC Entertainment Arrives on Bookshelves Oct. 2nd (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

My girls watched the new DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis Original Movie this past weekend, and were all about DCSHG afterwards. They pulled out all their toys, and even sat down to read the new DC Super Hero Girls: Search for Atlantis Graphic Novel we were sent a few days earlier.  Even though the book was different from the movie -- this is about the search for Atlantis, while the movie was about retrieving the missing Legends of Atlantis, book, it was a good book to compare the new characters introduced in both -- Mera and Aquaman.

My girls loved how book was set up like a comic book, and was full of bright colorful scenes, that made the story pop off the page and come to life.  This is the second installment from DC Entertainment, from the bestselling DC Super Hero Girls series, perfect for middle grade readers.

Here is more about this upcoming graphic novel release:

"Search for Atlantis is an action-packed underwater adventure perfect for readers ages 6-12. The story explores themes of friendship, teamwork and self-empowerment, and features several new DC characters including Mera and Aquaman. The book is a great introduction to these characters before they hit the big screen in the upcoming Aquaman film later this year and is also a relatable story for kids starting the new school year. Like all of the DC Super Hero Girls books, this installment is a standalone story and does not require previous knowledge of DC history, DC characters or plot points from previous DCSHG graphic novels."

Mera is the new girl at Super Hero High and when Wonder Woman takes Mera under her wing, Wonder Woman's best friend Bumblebee is overcome with jealousy. Despite her feelings, Bumblebee accompanies Mera and the Super Hero Girls on a field trip to Atlantis. But when they arrive, Atlantis is missing and Mera is horrified when they discover that Brainiac has shrunken and stolen Atlantis with the Atlanteans trapped inside. The Super Hero Girls must work together to defeat Brainiac and, along the way, Bumblebee must learn the true meaning of friendship.

Exploring themes of friendship, teamwork and self empowerment, this action-packed underwater adventure is perfect for readers ages 6-12 and hits stores everywhere books are sold on October 2, 2018."


What I love about books like these is that you don't have to read them in order or have read a previous installment to enjoy the series.  My girls hadn't read the previous DCSHG graphic novels and were worried they wouldn't know the backstory of some to the characters. But, I assured them that they didn't have to worry, and this made them excited to read this soon to be favorite graphic novel for fans of the DC Super Hero Girls.

While this graphic movie doesn't go hand and hand with the Search for Atlantis movie from Warner Bros. Entertainment, it does introduce fans to Mera and Aquaman, and is a perfect way to get fans excited about the upcoming Aquaman film coming out later this year -- my girls can't wait!

I am not going to spoil this book for readers.  All I will say is that my girls thoroughly enjoyed this graphic novel, and were able to read it in one sitting.  They spent time afterwards talking to each other about their favorite parts and the new characters, before coming to ask me to pick up more of these books for them to read, as they were so much fun, and a book the girls would pick up and read time and again.  If you have a DCSHG fan in your life who reads middle grade books, then you will definitely want to pick up this new release arriving in stores on October 2nd. And, while you are at the store, why not consider picking up the new DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis, which also hits store shelves that same day on DVD.

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: LEGENDS OF ATLANTIS -- Own It Now on Digital, and on DVD 10/2! (Review)

Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.

My girls were so excited when they saw the DC Super Hero Girls: Legends of Atlantis DVD arrive at our door the other day, as they have been asking to watching it, after seeing the trailer (see below to watch), and thought it looked cool.  I was happy when they started turning out DC Super Hero Girls movies so that young girls like my daughters could watch their favorite superhero girls in an animated movie.  Yes, they love all the other superhero animated movies and shows, but it is always nice to have a show for girls that shows girls power and working together as a team. 

More about this new release:


"It seems like an uneventful day at school until the powerful Book of Legends is suddenly stolen from Super Hero High. In order to uncover the mystery, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Supergirl, Bumblebee and the rest of the Super Crew must journey through the depths of the ocean to Atlantis. 

There, the girls encounter Mera and Siren, the ocean-dwelling thieves, who prove to be a formidable match. In order to recover the stolen tome and return it to its rightful place, DC Super Hero Girls must band together and use their collective powers to successfully get back to land…and back to class!"


As far as this new movie, it didn't disappoint.  It follows Wonder Woman, Batgirl Bumblebee, Supergirl and the rest of the Super Crew as they travel to Atlantis in hopes of finding the stolen Book of Legends.  Nothing is ever easy, and the girls find themselves having to work together to beat Mera and Siren, the two ocean-dwelling thieves, as well as Aquaman, who is King of Atlantis.  Will the Super Crew find the powerful Book of Legends and bring it back to Super Hero High where it belongs?  You will just have to pick up this DVD when it arrives in stores on Tuesday.  If you can't wait, it is already available for purchase as a digital download.

Disclosure: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Check out These Fun New Halloween Candy Options Available From Mars Wrigley Confectionery (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

If you are a chocolate lover like me, then you probably love this time of year, as this is when all the popular candy brands release their seasonal chocolates and candies for the holidays.  First up is Halloween, and the folks at Mars Wrigley Confectionery are not disappointing with their selection of chocolates available.


New for 2018...

And, returning favorites...


The kind folks at Mars Wrigley Confectionery sent along a few of their Halloween candies for me to sample and enjoy with my family.

 I will not lie, I wish my girls didn't see the box and the contents, as I would have had more time to stash a few more candies for myself to enjoy late in the evening when the house is quiet, and I am winding down the for the day.  There is nothing better than cozying up under a nice fleece blanket on the couch to catch up on your favorite show, get in a few chapters in a book, or just flip through a new magazine, as you indulge on some delicious mouth-watering chocolate. Mmm, I am getting hungry just thinking about it.    

Like I said, I was sent samples, which included Dove Pumpkins (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, caramel and milk chocolate), Milky Way Caramel Apple minis, and Fun Size M&M's milk chocolate in a fun glow-in-the-dark trick or treat packs.  

My girls were quick to call the M&M's as those are their favorites.  And, when they saw that the wrappers glowed in the dark, they couldn't wait to tear in the package, hold up to the light and then run off to basement stairs where it was dark to see for themselves.

When it came to taste testing the M&M's, I didn't have to worry as these are a must have in our house, no matter the season.  

We even use them in our schooling to help with math, or to cover BINGO cards. And, the best part of using them is you get to eat them in the end. :-)  The two other Mars Wrigley Confectionery products I was sent were new to us, and I was eager to try the caramel apple milky way minis.  I used to love caramel apples as a kid, but my teeth can no longer handle them, and I am afraid my girls will get cavities or pull out an adult tooth the way they eat a caramel apple, so I usually skip when we are fall apple and pumpkin picking and see them for sale.  OMG, these caramel apple minis are so delicious.  I am not usually a milky way fan, as I like chocolate bars with nuts, but oh my I couldn't get over just how good these little minis were.  You could taste the milky way flavor, paired with a rich ooey gooey caramel apple, to make it amazing.  My girls kept giggling every time they would take a bite and see the caramel stretch out.  But, I didn't have to worry about it getting everyone, as they were quick to take another bite and then it was gone, and they were left licking their fingers and hoping for a few last drops of melted chocolate mixed with caramel to lick up.  No such luck! :-)

If you are a fan of silky smooth chocolate, then you will love the Dove Pumpkins, which come in festive fall colored foil wrappers (green, yellow and orange) with a pumpkin imprint on it.  The wrappers are labeled so you don't have to guess which one is the dark chocolate, milk chocolate or caramel and milk chocolate mix.  These were the ones I wished I had snatched up and hid on the girls, as I knew that once they tried them, they would be going back to the candy dish for another, and another, and so on.  And, before long, the only thing left in the candy dish would be a couple crumbled up foil wrappers for me to stumble upon and be disappointed when I went to reach for a Dove pumpkins candy.  Thankfully, though, and shh, don't tell anyone, but I picked up a couple bags of these and hid, so that they can enjoy them, and also have a bag on hand to put out at Thanksgiving, as I know family and friends will enjoy grabbing a couple to enjoy while visiting. 

With Halloween fast approaching, now is the time to pick up your family's favorite Halloween candy to hand out to to trick-or-treaters, as well as candy you want to keep and enjoy yourself.  Come on, you know you probably a selection of candy you know the kids in the neighborhood will not eat, just so it is leftover and you have to eat it so it doesn't go to waste..we all do that.  Don't be disappointed by thinking it is too early to stock up on Halloween and fall candy, and have a poor selection to choose from, and then be that house that handed out lousy candy on Halloween night. :-)  If you are looking for some new Halloween candy options, you should really check out the ones available from Mars Wrigley Confectionery.  I had so much fun sampling three of their new additions with my family, and have already stocked up on our Halloween candy to hand out, and candy for our candy bowls for the fall, as well as my "me time" drawer stash. 

I can't wait to see what Mars Wrigley Confectionery has in store for Christmas candy! :-)

Disclosure:  I was sent samples from the vendor in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Celebrating The New Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures Movie and Series with a Fun In-Home Screening

Disclosure:  I was sent promotional product in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.
Hopefully your family hasn't been hit with the nasty head cold going around.  My girls were sick the past couple weeks, and now my husband and I are trying to kick it.  It seems cold season has started early this year, so try and stay healthy, so you don't find yourself down for the count.  As you know, parents never get a sick day...and, it always seems that when the kids start feeling better, is when parents start feeling sick, and have to muster through to keep kids entertained, while fighting illness.

We were supposed to host a “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie” in-home screening with a few of the girls' friends, but due to illness and not wanting to get others sick, we ended up having to postpone until a later date.  The girls were really looking forward it, as they love Thomas & Friends, especially the movies.  To help brighten their day, I ended up setting a fun little “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie” party for them to enjoy, with Thomas & Friends games liked memory, BINGO and a few others. 

Last week we were sent a fun oversized cardboard suitcase filled with Thomas toys and party supplies, to help celebrate the new “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series”, which debuted on Sept. 17th. 

The girls couldn't believe their eyes when they opened the box and pulled out the three layers of toys and tracks. They spent hours after putting together track setups to play with...

If you have a Thomas & Friends fan in your house, did you catch the new movie on Sept. 7th, or the new series, which debuted on the 17th?  If not here is more about both -- which are must sees for fans of Thomas & Friends...

"On September 7, Thomas the Tank Engine will leave the Island of Sodor to explore the world in his all- new movie “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures!”--and he wants YOU to come along!  Thomas will travel further than ever before, making new international friends, learning new ideas, and discovering new cultures.  

About the new “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Movie”:

"When a mischievous little rally car called Ace passes through Sodor on a race around the world, Thomas is inspired to embark on his own ambitious trip. Travelling full steam ahead across five continents, Thomas discovers magnificent new sights and experiences exciting places and cultures. Along the way, he makes friends with an inspiring and fun Kenyan engine called Nia. With so much for Thomas to learn about the world, will Nia be successful in teaching him a lesson about the true meaning of friendship? Featuring a world of wonder, curiosity and amazing animal friends, join Thomas on an epic adventure, fulfilling his dream of seeing the world!"

In addition to the new movie, “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series” will make its debut on September 17th.  This all-new redeveloped series comes with exciting new features, from new locations and a gender-inclusive Steam Team, to new formatting seeing Thomas breaking the fourth wall, speaking directly to the audience and inviting kids along for the adventures! The series is also about to get serious about female empowerment as they welcome a new engine all the way from Kenya named Nia, who is the absolute equal of Thomas the Tank Engine and the other male engines populating the Island of Sodor.  She’s independent, a great problem solver and fast learner, who is also a real optimist with a great sense of fun.  Additionally, along with the revamped series comes new music and an all new theme song that little engineers are sure to love. The new music is now streaming on Spotify.

Mattel had the unique opportunity to collaborate with the United Nations and their 17 Sustainable Development Goals to incorporate several of these goals into the new Thomas & Friends movie and series. These goals along with the life lessons, hopes to inspire the next generation of global citizens and produce meaningful conversation and learnings between children and parents. The Goals encompass everything from health, gender equality, to education.  And to get everything right, the team at Thomas & Friends enlisted the help of The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women who not only advised on the character of Nia, but also went line by line through the script of each episode where Nia is featured to make sure it was sending a positive message of gender equality to preschoolers."


My girls were excited to see more girl engines added to the popular Thomas & Friends season, and really enjoyed this new series, which does an amazing job at teaching young children how to become global citizens and help protect the environment and planet so that future generations can live and thrive.  We have been fans of Thomas & Friends ever since the girls were little.  Savannah went on her first Day Out With Thomas train ride at two years old, and we haven't missed a year since.  And, she just turned 8 in July, and shows no sign of not wanting to stop going.  Both of my girls enjoy the fun train ride each summer, and when they aren't counting down to this fun summer adventure, they love tuning into to watch new Thomas & Friends episodes, or watching one of their many DVDs we have acquired over the years.

Since the girls have been sick for the past couple weeks, there has been a lot of resting on the couch, and watching some of their favorite shows and movies. And, Thomas & Friends has been top on their viewing list.   

In addition to being sent a suitcase filled with Thomas toys and party supplies to host our in-house Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures screening, I was also given access to watch nine new episodes in the new “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series”.  If you follow my blog, then you know I homeschool my girls, and am always looking for fun ways to incorporate shows and movies in our learning.  This year the girls are doing US and World Geography, and when I heard about the new “Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures! The Series," which would have Thomas traveling the world, I knew this was perfect for incorporating into our school.  The first episode we watched was NUMBER ONE ENGINE (CHINA) (episode 513), which has Thomas travelling to China, where me meets another blue engine, Hong-Mei.  They end up racing, and Thomas loses. But, he wants a rematch.  Thomas takes a different rail which leaves him stranded on the mountain due to a rock on the rail. He feels lost and alone, until Hong-Mei shows up to help.  This episode had many lessons to talk about and share with children including, making new friends, teamwork, never giving up and even gender equality.

We continued watching other episodes in this new series, which touched on the following topics:

  • Gender Equality
  • Life on Land
  • Quality Education
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities

I was very impressed with these topics and how they were incorporated into this popular series, that both boys and girls enjoy watching. My girls were able to pick up on many of these important lessons, which made for great conversation after viewing.

Even though we weren't able to have a party with the girls' friends, it was still nice to have an impromptu Thomas & Friends party for our family, and having the whole family together watching the fun new movie, as well as episodes from the new series.  I loved seeing my husband and daughters down on the floor setting up their train tracks and playing with the toys we were sent, as well as dumping out bins of their old Thomas & Friends toys.  And, while they were playing, they were talking about their favorite parts in the movie and new series, and the talk of saving the planet, as well as the new engines - Rebecca, Nia and Hong-Mei,  made for great conversation.

Hopefully in the coming weeks when everyone is better, we will be able to reschedule our Thomas & Friends: Big World! Big Adventures, and have a fun afternoon watching the movie and a few episodes from this new series.  My girls can't wait to watch more from this series, and are hoping for new toys to be added so that they can add to their growing Thomas & Friends toy collection. :-)  They keep saying, Christmas is around the corner, and I am expecting Thomas & Friends to be top on their wish lists. :-)

Disclosure:  I was sent promotional product in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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Surprising Things That Can Help Your Child's Development

Your child’s development comes down a lot to their first years with you and the things you encourage them to do. School is important, of course, but when they are young you have a real window of opportunity to encourage their development and influence the beliefs that will help them later on in life. This is your chance to get them into a positive growth mindset early on, and ensure they grow into happy, fulfilled adults!

Here are a few surprising things that can help your child’s development while they are young:

Reading With Your Child, Rather Than To Them:

You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of reading to your child, but this is actually incorrect. Of course you should introduce your child to great books and literature, but rather than reading to them, read with them.

Make sure they are engaged, and point out words to them. When they can read a little, encourage them to have a go themselves, and listen to them read regularly. This is far more beneficial than doing all of the work yourself!

Playing Video Games:

Video games can get a bad reputation, but only if people are playing too much of them. Your children can actually benefit from video games in numerous ways. If they play 30 minutes per day, you can help them to reduce things like anxiety and depression (yes, your child’s mental health is important too), and you can help them to improve their coordination and focus.

Try finding a game suitable for their age range, like or Mario Kart. Play with them if you like and you can both have fun and enjoy the benefits!

Encouraging Effort Over Success:

In other words, don’t call your kids smart willy nilly. Praising them for their intelligence alone can make them believe that things should come easy for them, and make them not want to try anything new because they are scared of failing and disappointing you. They need to know that it’s effort that really matters.

Don't Solve All Of Their Problems For Them:

You need to allow your kids time to think for themselves and they will foster better problem solving skills and confidence. Whether it’s untying their shoe or thinking of something for them to do when they are bored, let them mull it over for a bit. Solving all of their problems for them will make them get complacent.

Feed Them A Nutritious Breakfast:

A nutritious breakfast is key to their development, so avoid toast, cereals, and other foods with little nutritional value!

Encourage Them To Learn A Second Language:

Your kids are at their learning peak before puberty, and are able to learn a second language with perfect fluency and pronunciation. Take advantage of this!

Eating One Meal Together Every Day:

Breakfast, dinner, or supper, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is eating one meal together per day where you can communicate, catch up, and bond. Children who eat meals with their families were shown in studies to do better at school and avoid peer pressure to do things like smoking.

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