Category Archives: Monkey Stuff

#MercyMe Christmas CD: It’s Christmas!

mercymeMercy Me It’s Christmas​ CD will be available in Pizza Ranch locations beginning November 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015.  It has 4 exclusive songs that can only be found on the CD version being sold by Pizza Ranch.  Each CD will be sold for $5 plus tax.  Pizza Ranch will give away the CD with a $25 gift card purchase as well as sell the full album at each of its 200 locations throughout the Midwest and Great Plains states.  “We are so excited to debut our new Christmas album, MercyMe, It’s Christmas, with Pizza Ranch” said Bart Millard with MercyMe. “Pizza Ranch is a fantastic restaurant with a great mission to glorify God. It’s the perfect gift to give this Christmas season and the perfect CD to get you in the Christmas spirit.”

My Thoughts

Everyone loves Christmas music, right?  The only problem is that over playing thing they do around the Holidays.  So, before you get played out check out Mercy Me in their CD done for Pizza Ranch.  With great voices singing all these wonderful songs, you’ll definitely want to add this CD to your Christmas music collection!!!

PizzaRanchAbout Pizza Ranch:
Cultivating its mission “To give every guest a legendary experience” since its inception in 1981, Pizza Ranch connects with its communities in a way that provides bridges for friends, family and colleagues to come together. Today, Pizza Ranch is based in Orange City, Iowa and owns, operates and franchises over 190 locations in 13 states. Consistent growth has been a Pizza Ranch staple, as the brand has become a beacon of community involvement and exceptional food. The Pizza Ranch buffet features legendary pizzas, salads and desserts, and is delivered with an unmatched service quality.  “We are extremely blessed to have a very close connection with our guests,” said Adrie Groeneweg, co-founder and president of Pizza Ranch. “This project extends the brand’s essence to a new dimension beyond our four walls and into their lives. It’s a new kind of way for us to relate to our loyal fans.”

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Be Sure & Check Out These too:

Christmas Tracts & Ten Must Do Christmas Crafts

Christmas Love Letters from God 

Originally posted 2015-11-17 23:04:24.

Classic Kids Songs #LaurieBerkner

FavoriteKidsSongsAt the risk of sounding old fashioned, I miss the simple songs of my youth.  The ones sang with joy and happiness and no known sinister message or lesson.  It seems like these days the songs teach our children the wrong lessons, or at least the songs we sing with them from the radio and such.  I have greatly enjoyed hearing these kids songs, most from a much simpler time.  I think they’ll make you feel the same as you sing along with them.  Take the time to listen to this adorable collection and you’ll be singing and dancing along with your little ones without ever having to worry about any negative side effects (aside of course from constantly hearing the same song over and over, as children tend to do).  Check out the Laurie Berkner Band and you’ll find a new love for these old classic songs of our youth.

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Laurie explains, “I made my first recording, Whaddaya Think Of That? because I wanted families to have a way to listen at home to the songs I was singing with their kids in the classroom, especially the ones I had written, which they wouldn’t have know otherwise.  I included traditional songs, too, because I wanted some of the music to be very familiar.  With each consecutive album, my own originals became more and more of what the kids wanted to sing, so I got away from recording the traditional songs I grew up with.  Now, with Laurie Berkner’s Favorite Classic Kids’ Songs, I’m doing the opposite and exploring many of the songs that were so formative for me and helpful in my early days as a music teacher.”

A former preschool teacher by day and indie rocker by night, Laurie Berkner started marketing her music more than fifteen years ago from her living room on her own label, Two Tomatoes Records.  She is now widely recognized as a pioneer in the “kindie” music genre and was crowned “the undisputed queen of kindie rock” by USA TodayThe Wall Street Journal noted, “Her music is distinctive because it speaks to kids without talking down to them, charming youngsters without boring grown-ups.”

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Originally posted 2015-11-16 00:01:49.

Children’s Book of Adventure

What a fun andChickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy Willow Trees and Two-and-A-Half: A Children's Book of Adventure exciting book!  I enjoyed going through the book and enjoying the adventure!  It was wonderful to share with the little one!  So many opportunities to teach her about traveling, friendship and adventure of course!  While the time hasn’t come where I can take her physically on adventures, I love that I can take her with words and pictures.  Through these pages we got to go to see many things, both real and pretend.  While this fun little book is targeted toward ages 4-9, I feel like it is never too early to expose my little Cub to any appropriate book.  I want her to have the best chance I can give and a huge part of that includes books.

Children love to explore; it’s intuitive. And they tend to struggle when asked to confine their activities and behaviors to our adult-imposed rules and paths. Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half is a vibrantly and exceptionally well-illustrated adventure book meant to inspire children to follow their urges to explore and to appreciate diversity. The book starts off when “One day a little brown monkey with dazzling olive green eyes, a friendly smile, and a long curly tail asked his father if there was more to the life than just hanging around with other monkeys and eating bananas.” Before long he meets a lovely grey cat and a majestic blue pelican each on their own quests. Together, they explore a foreign island and when their journey takes them into a private swath of land, they befriend a local dog who takes them further than they ever imagined.

Chickadees, Bumbelbeez, Pussy-Willow Trees and Two-And-A-Half emphasizes several significant values, which help us subsist and ultimately thrive: learning through independent exploration, the need for friendship, the importance of respect and tolerance for other cultures, languages, and lifestyle diversity, along with a healthy understanding of the powers of mother nature.
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Originally posted 2015-11-15 00:01:09.

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 3 #GalaxyBuck Review #FlyBy

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector Three!My Thoughts:

What an adorable film for the little ones!  From the creator of VeggieTales Phil Vischer comes Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9!  It is an adorable little film with an all puppet cast who embark on quite an adventure and learn some very valuable lessons!  Vischer teaches some very special things about God’s love and purpose for our lives and my favorite thing he teaches with this film is that we can all do something for God, even if we aren’t super heroes because God loves us.  He even tells us how to know if we are doing that.  Myself and many other adults I know could certainly benefit from this little reminder!

Kids will enjoy Buck Denver’s latest adventure with his friends from What’s In the Bible? and parents will appreciate the humorous nods to Star Wars and Star Trek.  Galaxy Buck communicates important Biblical truths that will add to everyone’s faith foundation, whether a life-long Christian or a new creation in Christ.

About the movie:
Buck Denver has a simple dream – to save the galaxy.  Working for the Galactic Mission Board, Buck dreams of carrying God’s love to every corner of the Milky Way!  Except he doesn’t have a starship.  Or a crew.  Or even a captain’s license.  He just needs a chance.  But when that chance comes and Buck finds himself leading a real mission into deep space, things don’t go at ALL like he imagined!  If he’s doing what God wants him to do, why is everything going wrong?  From VeggieTales® and What’s in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer, Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9 is a wild, galactic adventure that teaches kids a powerful lesson about trusting God with everything – even our dreams!
Run time: Approximately 40 minutes

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Originally posted 2015-10-15 00:00:48.

Dev & Ollie

Devon
Dev has just unwrapped his favourite birthday present…a cool new kite! But there’s a
problem. He doesn’t know how to fly it! Grandpa claims to be an expert and promises
to teach Dev tomorrow but Dev is too impatient.
Ollie, Dev’s magical bedtime owl, comes to the rescue. Together they set off on an
action packed journey to one of the largest kite festivals in the world in Gujarat,
India.
The pleasure of kite flying doesn’t come easy though. Along the way, he encounters a
couple of mishaps and a few bumps on the head. To his surprise, Dev has to work hard
to get his hands on a kite and learn the skill of kite flying.

Finally, fighting through all the hurdles, Dev emerges victorious. When he returns
back home in the morning, he beats Grandpa at his own game!

Dev and Ollie books can be enjoyed by children aged 4+ from any background. They are a truly unique combination of festival experiences, hilarious adventures, and ‘virtual’ sightseeing in India. What’s more, all this is beautifully wrapped around the magical relationship of a child and his bedtime cuddly toy.

My Thoughts

Full of color, wonder and adventure even my 8 month old enjoyed the pictures as I read the story to her!  I greatly enjoyed the imagination in the story as well as the little tidbits of kite knowledge dropped throughout the book.

The book is full of brightly colored, well drawn pictures giving the eyes plenty to keep them busy!  Even my 6

month old was fascinated with the pictures!

I will be giving away 1 copies to 2 lucky winners!!!

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About the Author

author

I created Dev and Ollie following a ‘light bulb’ moment at
a festival in Watford, England.
Indian by origin and having grown up in Japan, I now live
in England with my family. My upbringing has been that
of a global citizen. And after having children, I am keen
for my children to be global citizens while also to be
proud of their own culture and heritage.
As a mother of two young children and a British Indian,
I’m forever exploring ways to impart cultural knowledge
to them. Also, my children are avid readers and adding
variety to their bookshelf is something I actively work on.
My mission is for children not just to be reading well, but
to be well read. Realising that this can be easily
achieved if children can relate to the characters in a
book, Dev and Ollie were created – Dev, a cheeky,
curious and sometimes clumsy boy and Ollie his magical
bedtime cuddly owl.
What sparked their conception was an Indian cultural festival experience in England. Festivals
evoke the best of any culture! Colour, noise, excitement, family, laughter – all are perfect
ingredients for children’s stories with a universal appeal.
During my time in India from 1995 to 1999 for my undergraduate degree in computer science, I
traveled extensively within India. That’s when I experienced an array of amazing festivals.
Kite Crazy is about one such experience. One of my most cherished memories is the annual
kite festival in Gujarat, India…flying kites on the rooftop with cousins from dawn till dusk. Food,
drinks, piles of kites, everything would be planned for. We’d fight to have a go (because we had
fewer kites remaining than the number of cousins!). Then seconds later, we’d be ganging up
and competing against others on neighbouring roof terraces.
I’m working on many more Dev and Ollie books to be released soon, not just about festivals in
India, but unique festivals around the world that haven’t been discovered on an international
level…festivals that children will love to read about! In fact, I’ve had tremendous fun researching
such festivals, so much so that my bucket list now includes some of them (Tomatina Festival in
Spain and Snow & Ice Festival in China)!

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Originally posted 2015-09-16 00:01:27.

#BiggestStory

TheBiggestStory

About the book:TheBiggestStory2
Hardcover: 132 pages
Publisher: Crossway (August 31, 2015)
In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung – a best-selling author and father of six – leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heave and new earth.  With powerful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark, this imaginative retelling of the Bible’s core message-how the Snake Crusher brings us back to the garden-will draw children into the biblical story, teaching them that God’s promises are even bigger and better than we think.

KevinDeYoung

About Kevin DeYoung:
Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor at University Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan.  He blogs at the Gospel Coalition and has authored or coauthored numerous well-known books, including Just Do SomethingThe Hole in Our HolinessCrazy Busy, and Taking God At His Word.  He lives with his wife and their 6 children in Central Michigan.

DonClark

About Don Clark:
Don Clark is an artist and the cofounder of Invisible Creature, a widely respected and award-winning design studio in Seattle that has worked with clients such as Target, Nike, LEGO, and WIRED magazine.  He lives with his wife and their 3 children, 4 goats, 12 chickens, and 1 crazy dog on a farm just outside the city limits.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Originally posted 2015-09-15 00:00:05.

The Bazillions: On the Bright Side Giveaway US/CAN Ends 10/5

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THE BAZILLIONS

“The Bazillions make some of the catchiest kindie, with an emphasis on the indie, rock on this or that side of the Mississippi.”
— Jeff Bogle, Out With The Kids

“Exactly what a children’s music album should be.  If you’d rather share with your kids well-written, beautifully recorded songs about prepositions, careers, and imagination than the traditional fare of animals, ABCs, and ‘The Wheels on the Bus,’ then The Bazillions are just the band for you.”
— Ken Denmead, a.k.a. “GEEKDAD,” Wired.com

MINNEAPOLIS — With tremendous excitement, the award-winning, Minneapolis-based kindie band The Bazillions looks ahead to the July 17th release of their third album of upbeat, jangly pop tunes infused with brainy lyrics, clear learning goals, and catchy energy, On The Bright Side.

Very much inspired by Schoolhouse Rock, The Bazillions have fun musically while helping kids pick up bits of interesting information along the way.  The band successfully walks the fine line that combines first-rate educational aims with outstanding entertainment and musicianship.  Enthused Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids, “The kindie music world has a fair amount of power alt/rock bands, but the one on the scene that carries forth the sonic crunchiness, killer pop hooks, and vocal clarity of Matthew Sweet is The Bazillions.”

On The Bright Side defines the word “bright” on multiple levels, ranging from wacky and hopeful songs describing the life of an elementary school age child to songs that explore the intricacies of grammar.  Moving adroitly from topics like what superheroes do in their spare time to the “best friend” letters Q and U, The Bazillions show influences from The Beatles, The Hollies, Big Star, Fleetwood Mac, and other masters of the world of pop music.  Their songs are essentially story-based.  Even the “educational” songs succeed in presenting narratives and painting pictures for listeners to visualize as they hum along.

My Thoughts

I had a good time listening to the Bazillions.  They give off a rock kind of feel which was a nice change from some of the others that I hear.  Family Tree was one of my favorites and was full of love and excitement.  So much fun to be had dancing and singing along.  Alien was another exceptionally fun song and made me want to send it to all of my friends who teach, seriously they need to hear this and you do too!

The Bazillions also paint pictures via their ongoing collaboration with the animation firm EG Design, whose amazing body of work (11 animated Bazillions videos so far, scoring more than 2.2 million YouTube hits) has brought a whole new level of engagement to The Bazillions experience.

The Bazillions began in 2010 when parents/educators/singer-songwriters Adam and Kristin Marshall were teaching at Kenny Elementary School in Minneapolis.  From their first days in the classroom, the couple found themselves writing songs for and with their students.  Before long, the kids knew every word to every song, and parents had started asking for a CD.  So, along with the other members of their indie pop band The Humbugs, the Marshalls recorded and released Rock-n-Roll Recess under a new alter-ego band name, The Bazillions.

The Bazillions thought they were making a one-time, “just for fun” CD.  “I doubt we will even do any shows,” Adam Marshall told his band mates.  To his surprise, five years down the road finds The Bazillions an award-winning, 2.2+ million hit viral media machine, with hundreds of live performances under their belts.

Previous albums by The Bazillions include Heads or Tales (2012, Parents’ Choice Silver Award) and Rock-n-Roll Recess (2010).  Their 2014 DVD The Bazillions’ Rockin’ Video Collection was recently honored with an Academics’ Choice Award.

On The Bright Side will be available at iTunes, Amazon, CDBaby, thebazillions.com, and at all The Bazillions’ shows.

CD Details:  On The Bright Side
Release date:  July 17, 2015
For ages 3 – 10
Label:  Oddvious Records
SRP:   $11.99 CD; $9.99 download
Running time:  37 minutes

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Originally posted 2015-08-31 00:23:59.

Odds & Ends

oddsnendsSWEET & QUIRKY, IMAGINATIVE & FUN MUSIC FOR CHILDREN

“It’s SO GOOD! … and so weird!”
— Mindy Thomas, SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live

“Almost too adorable for its own good … evokes the airy sweetness of Frances England and will turn any frown upside down.”
— Jeff Bogle, Cooper & Kid

LOS ANGELES — Kids and families nationwide know and love the music of L.A.-based composer/performers Andrew & Polly from hearing the duo’s songs on Nickelodeon’s Wallykazam!, as well as the score to the Nick digital series Welcome To The Wayne.  Soon they will get to hear more with the September 25th release of Andrew & Polly’s second album of playful pop tunes for kids, appropriately titled Odds & Ends.

Andrew Barkan and Polly Hall are in demand for their sparkling music for films, TV, and commercials, but their true love is creating and performing music for children.  The married couple makes no bones about where their priorities lie.  According to Andrew, “The commercial accolades are nice, but much more meaningful to us was winning the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Joe Raposo Children’s Music Award for the song ‘When You’re A Dog’ from our debut children’s album, Up and At ‘Em!

My Thoughts

Children’s music as a whole is meant to be fun and somewhat silly, with little lessons here and there.  It is difficult for one to shine over another, more likely they simply annoy parents a little less than their counterparts.  While I can’t speak for every parent, as some of us can tolerate anything, I’m not that Mom.  I have a limited tolerance.  It’s a short trip from hearing something a few times to wanting desperately to throw it out the window as I fly down the highway laughing maniacally!  That picture painted, I’ll move on and let you know what I think.

First, let me make note of the song Forever Young.  I don’t remember the name of the show, but the first time I heard this song was when it was featured as the entry song to a television show.  I loved it and searched forever for it, not knowing the name of the song or who sang it.  Now that I know, I’m a happy camper.  This song just screams happiness and I love it.

As for the rest of the songs, they are cutesy and fun and make you want to do a little jig that will keep a smile on your face.  I’ve actually been keeping the disc in my car for rough days, it’s that good.  LOL.  Andrew and Polly leave you no choice but to sing, smile and move.  Check them out and enjoy, you’ll be glad you did!

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Polly Hall agrees, “We make genuine connections with children and families through our songs, shows, and podcast.  Rather than aspiring to be rock stars, we prefer sitting on the carpet in the corner of our favorite independent bookstore and singing on Saturday mornings.  In that way, we can see kids light up when a song really works.  We sing directly to them and with them, on their developmental level, stretching their imaginations and their experience of music.”

Adds Andrew Barkan, “It’s been five years since our first album, and it’s about time for a second one!  We’ve been writing songs and playing shows for kids all the while but haven’t been able to take time away from our TV and film scoring work to put a whole record together until now.  Odds & Ends is a little bit like our lives after having our first kid — haphazard, hair-brained, and absolutely full of love.”

Odds & Ends is, indeed, quirky and eclectic, just like Andrew & Polly!  The album kicks off with “Little Bitta You,” a soft, sweet tune that gets big and happy, and, like childhood, is a bit nonsensical at times.  The song also provides a great showcase for trombonist Gabe Feenberg (Terraplane Sun).  “Ghostbusters,” the song that deftly set the silly/scary ambience of the eponymous 1984 film, completely lives up to its reputation in Andrew & Polly’s version, which features theramin, marimba, accordion, kazoos, whistles, synthesizers, and the voices of a collection of their youthful fans bellowing, “Who you gonna call?” into the iPhones of their amazed parents.

What’s next for this dynamic duo?  Andrew & Polly are busy developing EAR SNACKS, a new kind of podcast — for kids, featuring kids — and they can’t wait for fans to hear it!

 

Odds & Ends will be available at CDbaby, iTunes, and at Andrew & Polly's shows.

 CD Details:  Odds & Ends  Release date:  September 25, 2015 For ages 2 - 7 Label:  Records Palindrome Records SRP:   $9.99 Running time:  28 minutes

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Originally posted 2015-08-28 00:03:26.

Josh & The Jamtones Review

joshandthejamtones

Josh & the Jamtones have been making music and lots of laughs for kids and families since early 2012, when singer/songwriter Josh Shriber started buying fancy lattes from producer/drummer Pat Hanlin at a café near his house.  Since then, the titanic twosome and their intrepid band have crisscrossed the country, playing hundreds of shows and sharing the stage with massive bands like The Wiggles, Yo Gabba Gabba, and The Fresh Beat Band.  The Jamtones have performed at loads of major festivals with mega-acts like the Dave Matthews Band, Hall & Oates, and The Roots.

More than 60,000 Jamtones records have been sold through Josh and Pat’s home-grown label, Jamhouse Records, scoring multiple hit singles on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live channel and other kids’/family radio programs throughout the country.  Jamhouse also functions as a full-fledged video production house and audio recording studio.

My Thoughts

I can’t even begin to say how much fun I had listening to the CD!  It was a blast and I can’t wait to enjoy it with the little ones!  I assure you that you’ll be laughing, singing and dancing along with these fun and creative songs!  There are even a few things I’m certain were thrown in for Mom and Dad.  While it’s hard to pick a favorite, I admit that after I finished initial playing of the CD for the review, I continued cruising to it or the remaining two hours of my road trip.  LOL.  So, at least you can know that it is something that when it becomes their favorite, you’ll at least enjoy the repeat plays!

Visit the Josh & the Jamtones website HERE.

Josh & the Jamtones on Facebook.

Josh & the Jamtones on Twitter.

Josh & the Jamtones on YouTube.

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Originally posted 2015-08-10 00:01:45.

Daphne & Velma Blu-Ray! Watch these Groovy Chicks Save the Day!

Daphne & Velma premieres in their very own film! Looking forward to spending time with my niece checking it out!

**“Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.”**

Daphne and Velma Blu RayAre you a Scooby Doo fan?  I remember watching it so much as a kid!  I always felt like the ladies got shafted, since they were the ones who solved the crimes or at least came to conclusions by deduction rather than accidentally!

Daphne & Velma have the full fun of this film!  I’m looking forward to their logic and deduction!  Who were your favorite characters of Scooby Doo?

Daphne & Velma

Jinkies! Your favorite mystery solving teenagers are back in an all-new, live-action feature length movie!

State of the art robots and high-tech gadgets are common sights at Ridge Valley High, an innovative center of learning for some of the brightest minds in the country, including new transfer student, the bright & optimistic Daphne Blake (Sarah Jeffery) who is excited to finally go to school with her online bestie, the whip-smart & analytical Velma Dinkley (Sarah Gilman). But not everything is as innocent as it seems as mysterious disappearances begin to plague the top-performing students on campus. Once cheery and full of life, kids now appear in a “zombiefied” state – lifeless and shells of themselves. Can Daphne and Velma learn to work together and save the students or will they become the next victims? Get ready for thrills and laughs as we follow the first adventures of Mystery Inc.’s fierce female duo.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Daphne & Velma on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD on May 22, 2018.

The film stars Sarah Jeffery (Disney’s “Descendants: Wicked World”) and Sarah Gilman (ABC’s “Last Man Standing”), and is produced by Ashley Tisdale and Jennifer Tisdale’s Blondie Girl Productions. Daphne & Velma will carry a suggested retail price of $19.98 for the DVD and $24.98 for the Blu-ray.

Order Your Copy Here