Category Archives: Monkey Stuff

Top Ten Books for Teens by Nicole Grotepas, Author of Blue Hearts of Mars

It seems like there’s a never-ending stream of young adult books coming out on the
market. As a parent, how can you possibly read each one to make sure that you want your
kid reading them? Sometimes you just can’t. So here’s my answer: read the old ones! I
went ahead and made this incredibly helpful list of awesome books that I read when I was
a teenager. A lot of these books I still read, because they’re that good. Unless I have the
memory of a goldfish, all of these books have a PG rating unless otherwise noted.

1. Singularity, by William Sleator. If you want to feed a budding mind, many of
Sleator’s books are perfect for helping the average person understand intriguing and
difficult concepts. I read Singularity when I was in junior high and it turned me on to
nonfiction books by Michio Kaku, a physicist who writes about theoretical physics for
the layperson.

2. Dragonflight, by Anne McCaffrey. I read this series in junior high and loved it. I’m
pretty sure if you have ever fantasized about having your own dragon, the Pern books
will do you good. Dragonflight is great because you get Lessa, the first woman to be a
dragon-rider. So if pioneering women is your thing, and I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t
be, then this is a read for you. This one is more of a high school read.

3. Alanna, by Tamora Pierce. The start of a great series about a girl who becomes a
knight disguised as her twin brother. Need I even mention that I wanted to be a knight, as
well? I did. I wanted to be Alanna.

4. Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I read it as a teen and loved it. It was the first
sci-fi book for me and it’s been a major influence on me regarding leadership, honor,
and character. High school, perhaps, but if you’re concerned, read it first then let your
fourteen-year-old try it.

5. The Girl with the Silver Eyes, by Willo Davis Roberts. I read this when I was pretty
young, but it stuck with me for a long time. The main character is an introvert with the
ability to move things with her mind. I really identified with her because I, too, can move
things with my mind. No, but seriously, she’s a bookworm and I was too.

6. The Boy Who Reversed Himself, by William Sleator. OK, so this seems like cheating,
but Sleator’s books actually deserve to have multiple spots on this list. This book was so
good at helping me visualize what a higher dimension would look like for human eyes,
and not only that, it’s got a thrilling plot that makes you want to keep reading!

7. Seventh Son, by Orson Scott Card. An excellent story. It was such an influence on me
that I really believed I might be able to learn to communicate with cockroaches. Never

happened. But I still love the book.

8. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis. I remember thinking it was
such a stupid title. When I finally read it, I really just wanted every book to be this
awesome. But they’re not. Because there can only be one book that is this fantastic,
beautiful, magical, and moving.

9. The BFG, by Roald Dahl. There are so many great books by Roald Dahl, it was hard
to pick just one. I chose this one because it’s the first book of his that I read and it led me
to read all of the others. I’m pretty sure I hoped that I’d get kidnapped by a big, friendly,
giant after I read this book.

10. Strange Attractors, by William Sleator. Yes, yes, I know this list just looks like a
promo piece for Sleator, but I just found out he died in 2011 and I had no idea. I met him
in 2010 at the Southern Festival of Books, and I’m just glad I got to run into him before
he died. He really, really influenced my appreciation for story and science. Strange
Attractors helped me grasp Chaos theory and the book is written as a compelling thriller.

Originally posted 2013-03-30 05:00:00.

Veggie Tales: The Little House That Stood DVD Review

 VeggieTalesVeggie Tales has done yet another awesome movie with The Little House That Stood.  Spinning off of the classic Grimm’s Tale ‘The Three Little Pigs’, The Little House That Stood is an adorable film.  It’s enough of a story change to leave even the grown ups entertained!  Well, at least it kept me entertained!  The songs are, as always, super adorable and leaves you singing along in a good mood!  I am still overwhelmingly loving the lessons that Veggie Tales instills in our children!  There are, of course, new lessons to be learned in this video too!
About The Little House That Stood
When the Three Little Pigs roll into Cabbageville looking to build some new houses, they meet one builder with a plan and two without a clue! Larry builds with hay, Mr. Lunt with bricks, but only Bob builds his houses on a firm foundation – following the wise plans from the Master Builder’s Handbook! Will the Little Piggies make the right choices when it comes to building their houses – and their lives – on solid ground? Find out in this parable that shows kids when they follow God’s blueprints, then can stand strong when the storms come!

Originally posted 2013-03-19 05:11:00.

Roma Downey’s Little Angels Prayers for Every Day Review and #Giveaway #RealRomaDowney

Praying is such a personal thing, our own personal talk with God where we know He is listening to us, the Bible says he hears our cries.  I know that praying is something I’ve always done, but I don’t remember being taught how to do it.  I am fairly certain that I probably learned at the table with my parents and grandparents, as well as by watching my Pa-Pa, who is a preacher, pray every Sunday.   Regardless of how I learned, I am so very thankful that I learned how to do so.  I’ve spent many times crying out to God in prayer!
Roma Downey has written an adorable children’s book of prayers, “Roma Downey’s Little Angels Prayers for Every Day.”  It is amazingly adorable and full of short little prayers that can be the beginning of teaching little ones to pray, not just for mealtime and bedtime, but also for other times.  The book includes prayers for praise, guidance, help and more.  They are short and sweet and a great beginning to helping your little one learn to talk to God.  I really think it is adorable!
The book has over  50 rhyming prayers covering a variety of worries for children.  There are also Bible verses throughout the book.

Originally posted 2013-03-07 02:42:00.

Children’s Book: Fuzzwipper’s Play Fair

Hello all!  Now that we’ve met the Fuzzwippers, we are ready for another great adventure!  Today we’ve had the privilege of going on an adventure about playing fair with them!  On their adventure on the playground they explore taking turns and playing nicely with others.  Fuzzy the Fuzzwipper helps his special friend George to share with the others how to play fairly so that they can all share the playground equipment without problems!

As is typical of the Fuzzwipper books, there are some great lessons tucked in the pages of these imaginative stories!  In the back of the book, there is a section to help us to begin a dialogue with our Monkeys about playing fair and sharing.  In addition, there is that area that has quickly become my favorite of any book: an area where your child can draw their Fuzzwipper and tell of their own adventures with them!  I think it would be so great to look back one day on what their amazing little minds came up with!

Originally posted 2013-03-05 06:00:00.

Shazzbots Lightspeed! Take Off Today! #VDAY19 #NewYearNewYou19

The Shazzbots ride again with their new album Lightspeed! If you are looking to move & grove with a country twang, you’ll love this one!

Not gonna lie, I love the Space Winnebago.  Just had to get that out.  How cool is that!?!  I mean, really!  It makes me smile.  A great first impression is essential and this album cover nailed it!

But enough of that, on to the music!  If you’ve been around for a minute, or are new here, you should know that I love music! Especially silly kids music.  I have a little girl completely hooked going on 4 years now to a song called Grapes by  Andrew & Polly!  She gets it stuck in everyone’s head as often as she can!  haha


The Shazzbots are an intergalactic rock n’ roll band! They love rocking out, art, science, creativity and their Space Winnebago!  Their titles are also super fun: Captain the Captain, Scopes the Navigator, Luna the Data Analyst, Watts the Engineer, Professor the Science Officer, and Space Chicken the Lab Assistant!

Be sure and check out their website to learn more, plus you’ll get a good giggle and a a bit of excitement on their About the Crew Page!  The Shazzbots have music, tv shows, tshirts, posters and even their own accessories!

There is a ton of fun to found on their site indeed, I could write this whole review on their site alone!  Seriously, check it out!  Channel your inner child and go have a little fun!


LightSpeed is their newest album and is a bit of a hoot.  Will definitely make you laugh and the music definitely gets your feet moving.  The lyrics encourage kids to learn, eat their food, and all good things.  They are more about lessons than total silliness.

The Shazzbots definitely have a country twang to their ‘rock n’ roll’.  I’d say they are more like modern country or country rock for kids than an actual rock n’ roll sound.  They definitely do not have a rock n’ roll sound.  This girl grew up on country music and 70’s era rock n’ roll.  There’s a different.

If you can dig country, your kiddo will certainly enjoy this album and it won’t drive you crazy.  I’ve certainly heard kids albums that I enjoyed more than this one.  However, I’ve got a niece and nephew that would probably seriously love this!

Find Em Here

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This Hop is part of our 2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide! Check it out for fantastic gifts, products and giveaways!

2019 Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Lovable Labels Review

Loveable Labels are absolutely adorable!  They have many adorable designs so you are sure to find one that your Monkey will love!  These are perfect for all those situations in which you need to label something so that it is identified as your Monkey’s belonging.  Loveable Labels will withstand so much:
  • Dishwasher
  • Microwave
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Your Monkey!
These labels will take the worry out of labels or marks coming off.  There is no need to iron, so all you have to do is make sure the area is flat clean and dry then stick the label where you’d like it to stay!  One of my favorite things is that with each design choice you get a variety of images so that you have a little variation!  They make a great gift, regardless of age and can be used for anything! 
For a limited time, Loveable Labels is offering a friendshipdeal.  This deal ends Feb 28th so hurry and get yours!  By ordering the friendship label pack, you’ll get a friendship sampler for your friend absolutely free!  The following is a list of the products they can hook ya up with:
  • Sticker labels
  • Slimline labels
  • Iron-on labels
  • Press n’ Stick Clothing Dots
  • Shoe Labels
  • Allergy Labels
  • Fun Stickies
  • Household Labels
  • Bag Tags
  • Safety Products
  • Personalized Stationary
If none of these are in need in your house, I can’t imagine why!!  Well, maybe you already have your pack!  LOL.  We were able to try out the Starter  set, which includes sticker labels, slimline labels, shoe inserts, press n’ stick clothing dots, square labels and a bag tag.  All in the diva pack, which features a Princess crown & Wands, hearts, flowers, music notes, and stars.  Needless to say, they fit the various moods of my Monkey very well! 
I know you are dying to get a set for your Monkey and this may very well be your lucky giveaway!  The generous people over at Loveable Labels has agreed to give away a set to TWO lucky winners!  Isn’t that awesome!  Use the rafflecopter below to get yourself entered!  Good luck to all!

Originally posted 2013-01-15 19:52:00.

Magic Canvas: No More Colored Walls!

Magic Canvas will keep the kids from coloring on the walls, but if they’ve already made their masterpieces, we’ve got tricks to get them clean!

Magic Canvas & Tricks to Clean Those Walls! @plasmart @SMGurusNetwork #VDAY19

Have you ever faced the writing on the wall?

It may be your child’s masterpiece, but it is also your wall! As parents, we are constantly looking for ways to make life a little easier on us. Because, let’s face it, we do not enjoy cleaning up the messes created by the tiny humans we so happily brought into this world.

Drawing on the walls is a highly common issue that we as parents face. Almost as common as accidents while potty training. True there are ways to avoid this common problem. Taking away all writing materials, giving the kid a chalk board and hoping for the best, or just locking the little angel in a play pin and calling it good. (Joking on that last part)

However, if these above options are not options at all, there is another card you can hide up your sleeve.Magic Canvas: No More Writing on the Wall! @plasmart @SMGurusNetwork #VDAY19

Magic Canvas

The wonderful invention that I like to call, perfection! Actually its called the “MAGIC CANVAS” by PlaSmart Toys.

Parents of the world! Unite with me and love the creative freedom you can give your sweet child, without worry of writing on the walls, their bodies, their toys…basically never having to face that problem again!

Ahhh blissful peace of mind!

The toy is so much fun, and so simple to use. Just fill the stylus pen with water and let them loose on the Magic Canvas! The canvas has colors that are hidden until wetted with the stylus, which looks just like a marker. See!? Simple!

My three-year-old, the wall decorator of our family, loves this so much!

Her little eyes light up, her sweet voice sings out the names of the colors she just created, and the best thing about it…even if she does grow board with the canvas (which has yet to happen) I do not have to worry about marks on anything else!

Self Expression

It is important to us, as parents, that our babies love to express themselves with art. Being able to take utensil to a blank surface and create an image of the world through their eyes is such a beautiful thing to behold.

There is more to coloring than meets the eye. For starters, there are so many connections being made as the utensil connects and the image is forming. Fine motor skills are hard at work! Developing the ability to transform thought into reality is a skill which is monumentally important.

So we say “color on little one!” And now, thanks to Magic Canvas, I no longer fear of what is going to be colored on 😊!

Need some solutions to get the writing off the wall?

Tip one: Buy your child The Magic Canvas from PlaSmart

Tip two: While child is happily creating a masterpiece that will not make a mess. Get out your cleaning gear, and get to taking down some old works of art.

Here are some wonderfully smart ways to clean your walls and other things after “baby Picasso” went to town.

  1. Use a hair dryer to melt the wax of crayons off the wall, once it looks wet, wipe the colors off with a wet cloth.
  2. Using a wet cloth dipped in baking soda, follow the line of pencil on the wall in small circular motions. Once clean, use a fresh wet cloth to wipe off any baking soda residue.
  3. To clean marker off the wall, cover the marks with a white toothpaste, let sit for a minute, then wipe clean with a wet cloth.

You may have seen some of our other PlaSmart Toy Reviews:

Plasmart Toys Little Workers Digger Toy!Squashed! Family Game Night!Get Rollin' with Kimber Verve 3 Wheel Scooter!

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This Epic Toy is Part of Our 2019 Valentine’s Day Gift Guide!

2019 Valentine's Day Gift Guide

#HamstersinaHouse: Ham’s Burger Diner

Ham’s Burger Diner is the perfect toy to keep children entertained, excited and creating!  I love that combination of fun and creativity in this little toy!Hamster in a House Ham's Burger Diner

Zuru Hamsters in a House Ham’s Diner is absolutely adorable!  Cute, fuzzy little Hamsters have a world of their own and are wonderful for growing imaginations!  There are 11 different Hamsters to make up the complete little set and all kinds of different sets that can be put together to build your own little Hamster World!  Little Hamster House, Burger Diner and even a Food Cart can all be played with individually or combined to create a whole little Hamster World!  I love the imagination, adventure, and potential for creative play in this collection!  Not to mention that they are incredibly adorable!

Hamster in a House Ham's Burger DinerAny little one who would like a little more interaction can go to the Hamster’s website and play even more!  Via the website, little ones can customize their hamster, build their own hamster house and even build, color and customize their Hamster World!  They have super fun Hamster videos to watch and you can see how the Hamsters set up one of their worlds to help get ideas on setting up your own!  These babies are definitely a hot toy this year and probably will be for a while as there are so many different ways one can play with them!

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Originally posted 2017-12-18 13:01:27.

Silent Night: Old Favorite. New Book!

Silent Night is a classic Christmas song, the book tells the story just for the little ones with beautiful drawings, simplicity and joy!

Silent Night: An Old Favorite In a New Book!

You know the song, it’s sung every year at Christmas time and learned so very early in Sunday school! Silent Night has been put into a simple hardback book for children to enjoy year after year!

The simplicity of the book is perfect for little one’s who still haven’t quite developed a long attention span and even great for the older little one’s! The word’s of the song combined with the images really bring the story to life in a whole new light!

Silent Night

Silent Night: An Old Favorite in a New Book!

One of my favorite things about the illustrations of this book is that Jesus, Mary, Joseph and many of the others depicted are not Caucasian. We know from His heritage, location and such that Jesus would not have been blonde headed with blue eyes, as so often He is depicted. Can you imagine the sunburns He would have had!?!

The people are depicted in various shades of brown and the angels in various racial colors. It’s awesome that the artist didn’t stick to one ethnicity for all pictured! We are a mixed family here. From the moment we found out we were pregnant, the search was on for books that would have characters with skin tones from both sides of her family. This one would have been perfect!

About the Book: From the Publisher

Silent Night: An Old Favorite in a New Book!Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory – from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels – as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. 

About the Author:

Lara Hawthorne

Lara Hawthorne is an illustrator based in Bristol, UK. After graduating from Falmouth University in 2013 where she studied illustration, she has had work shortlisted for the Lowry Children’s Book Award and has written and illustrated Herberto, a picture book published in Portugal, Brazil, Slovenia, France and South Korea. Her other books include The King of Christmas, Carol Ann Duffy’s 2016 Christmas poem, published by Picador, and The Night Flower, published by Big Picture Press.  Through Betty & Dupree, her prints are distributed to shops throughout the UK and internationally.

Quorto Knows Books

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This Book Is Part of Our:2018 Holiday Gift Guide!

Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @EllieClaireGifts

A journal can have a serious impact on life. Where the mind goes, the soul follows. These will help you to feed your soul with  the right ‘nutrients’ for a better life.Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @ellieclairegifts

Ellie Claire does it again! If you didn’t see my post about Finding Your Peace with Ellie Claire Journals, I highly recommend it! Those journals bring so much peace! Even if you missed it, or they just weren’t for you, we’ve got more that may be up your alley!

365 Day Devotional Journal

Each journal starts us out on January 1st and takes us through the entire year a verse, a short story, and a prayer. However, they do not serve the same purpose and they do not have the same content. Each one is meant to help us in different areas. All are worth focusing on.

The Earth is the Lord’s & Everything In It

Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @ellieclairegiftsOut of total favoritism, this one goes first. There is something about the beauty of peacocks always captures my attention. One thing I love about this one is that there is simply enough room to journal what speaks to you in the moment just spent with God. This gorgeous journal guides us to “embrace His nature by taking the time to stop, notice, and connect, our hearts are encouraged and souls refreshed.” Perhaps it is my love for nature and God’s creation, but this one is definitely the one I love most.

Peace Begins With Me

Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @ellieclairegiftsDone in the same style as the previously mentioned journal, this one is slightly different. It gives you a little more space to journal than the first. It, too, begins with a scripture, then a story and prayer. This journal contains different scriptures and such as it focuses on inspiring you to find peace through praise.

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @ellieclairegiftsLife is busy. Who would have thought? I’m sure yours is totally calm and not at all chaotic… For those of us who feel like we are running around in circles, it’s perfect. With meditations to help us stop, each short devotion reminds us to focus on what is truly important. This journal gives you a positive moment to spend with God, to focus on Him, and strengthen your trustthrough your relationship with Him.

Journal: Feed Your Soul 365 Days @ellieclairegifts

These Journals are Featured In the 2018 Holiday Gift Guide

2018 Holiday Gift Guide!