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    eeboo, family fun, giveaways

    3 eeBoo Products Your Children Will Love + A Giveaway!

    I initially found out about eeBoo products a couple of years ago while doing an online search for educational toys for kids.  eeBoo is an award-winning toy manufacturer located in New York City.  They make beautifully designed crafts, games, and toys.  All of their products feature cheerful, contemporary, and vintage-inspired designs. In addition to their design focus, all of eeBoo’s products are made of high quality and durable materials.

    Being a literacy advocate, I am also pleased to know eeBoo hires well-known children’s book illustrators to design their products.  How great is that?  So if you like books and beautiful art as much as I do then I think you’ll love eeBoo products too.

    With the winter season in full effect here in the Northeast, I like to keep the kids busy with lots of indoor activities, games and puzzles.  Our friends over at eeBoo were generous enough to send us a few of their products to try.  We received a 100-piece Children of the World Puzzle, I Never Forget a Face Matching Game, and a set of Good Citizenship Flash Cards.

    First Product: I Never Forget a Face Matching Game
    My kids are obsessed with playing the I Never Forget a Face matching game!  There are a total of 24 pairs to match up, but I like to break it up and let the kids do 12 pairs at a time so it’s not as overwhelming.  As they get older (around age 5) I think they’ll be able to handle matching up all 24 pairs at once.  The kids love seeing all of the colorful smiling faces of children from countries all over the world.  I love that the game is designed to teach spatial awareness, to help develop memory skills and sharpen recognition.  I also appreciate the fact that the pieces are made with soy-based inks and 90% recycled greyboard.

    Second Product: 100-Piece Children of the World Puzzle
    We also enjoy putting together the 100-Piece Children of the World puzzle as a group.  It allows us to learn about geography and diversity at the same time.  It’s also a nice conversation starter to talk about where people live around the world.  We also like to discuss different ways to celebrate differences and find similarities among the different cultures.

    Third Product: Good Citizenship Flash Cards
    The Good Citizenship Flash Cards are fun too.  I find the cards to be useful as they help reinforce some of the values we’ve already been trying to instill in the children over the past few years.  The cards are two-sided and focus on teaching appropriate behavior, unselfish values, and social responsibility. The front of each card starts a sentence which is finished on the back of the card.

    Here are some examples:

    When someone seems left out…
    Ask, “Do you want to play?”

    When you see a chore that can be done…
    Pitch in and help with chores when you see them.

    When playing ANY game…
    Never Cheat. Always do your best.

    As you can see eeBoo offers a unique collection of toys and gifts that inspire literacy, drawing, imaginative play, and more.  Simply put, they create toys and gifts that children will affectionately remember.  For more information about eeBoo or their products, please visit:

    Your turn: Do you and your kids have a favorite eeBoo product?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    The Giveaway!!!
    To enter the giveaway to receive the same bundle of eeBoo products featured in this post, follow us over on Instagram for all of the details.  All you need to do is tag two (or more) friends in the comments section of each of the daily posts on Instagram.  You can also answer the bonus question for an additional entry.  The giveaway for this particular prize bundle starts today, February 1, 2017 and ends February 2, 2017 at 12:00am midnight.  Open to all US residents age 18 and over.  Good Luck!

    P.S. This giveaway is part of our #28daysofgiveaways for Black History Month which starts on February 1, 2017 and ends on February 28, 2017.  All month long on Instagram we’re hosting a daily giveaway.  The prizes have generously been donated by 30+ sponsors.  You can enter to win diverse books, children’s book subscription boxes, games, multicultural dolls and more!


    children's books, family fun, giveaways

    Celebrate Computer Science Education Week With Your Kids + A Brightly Giveaway!


    There’s always a reason to celebrate, right?  Well, this week the kids and I will be celebrating Computer Science Education Week which will be observed December 5 – 11th this year.  One of the ways I’ll be celebrating is by participating in the Hour of Code.  Want to join in on the fun?

    In December 2013 the folks at started the first ever Hour of Code event, described as “a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 40 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104.” Sounds amazing, right?

    If you didn’t already know, I work full-time as a Computer Programmer and have over 15 years of technology experience.  In other words, I’m a true geek at heart.  As a parent, I understand not only the importance of reading, but also the importance of teaching your children about technology.  Today, we live in a world surrounded by technology: mobile phones, tablets, laptops, iPads, desktop computers, Smart TVs, etc.  Computer science and the technologies it encompasses lie at the heart of our economy, communication and daily lives.

    As the digital age has transformed our world and workforce, many U.S. K–12 schools have fallen behind in preparing students with the fundamental computer science knowledge and skills they need for future success. To be a well-educated citizen as we move toward an ever-more computing-intensive world and to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century, people must have a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of computer science.  Understanding computers has become increasingly important not only for those who want to pursue careers as programmers, but also for those who want to jump into other fields, which are becoming more and more entangled with and influenced by technology.

    So as parents and caregivers, what can we do to help our kids become little computer whizzes?  Don’t solely rely on your child’s school to help them learn.  Remember, your are your children’s first teacher.  I believe in giving kids meaningful, high-quality, and creative experiences with technology and fostering skills that enable them to be more successful throughout their lives.

    One thing you can do is read STEM and STEAM focused books with your children.  I love this list of 17 STEM focused books from Brightly and this one which is specifically for girls.  Another fun thing you can do is have family coding nights.  This consists of watching a fun one-hour tutorial with your kids or letting them do it on their own.  The tutorials on provides a variety of hour-long tutorials for students of all ages..  They require minimal preparation time and they are self-guided allowing students to work independently at their own pace and skill-level.

    And just in case you need even more reasons to get your kids excited about computers here’s a few:

    • Learning to code is fun (and cool)!
    • Computers and coding gives kids an outlet for their creativity and imagination.
    • Learning to code provides a setting for kids to practice problem-solving skills, the engineering process, teamwork, & collaborative skills.
    • Coding is a very rewarding talent that can enhance the value of any individual in any profession, as it is a key 21st century skill.
    • Your kids can be active creators of technology, rather than just passive users of it.

    Your turn: Does your child have an interest in computer science?  Feel free to share in the comments.

    The giveaway!
    For Computer Science Education Week, I’ve teamed up with our friends over at Brightly to bring you and your little computer whizzes this amazing giveaway!  One lucky winner will win two STEM focused books: Coding Games in Scratch and Minecraft Exploded Builds: Medieval Fortress along with a Brightly tote bag.  Use the entry form listed below or go here to enter.  Giveaway ends on December 31, 2016.  Good luck!

    family fun, giveaways, holiday gift guide series, product reviews

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: Hideaboo Hideouts + An Instagram Giveaway!


    5-4-3-2-1 blast off!  The kids absolutely LOVE playing in their new Hideaboo rocket ship hideout!  Created by an award winning teacher, Hideaboo hideouts help spark creativity and allow your kids to play independently or with each other. My kids love pretending they are astronauts in a rocket ship flying to outer space.


    One of the best things about the hideouts is they are totally portable and can be placed in any part of your house or used on the go (as long as your bring your card table along with you).  We currently have our hideout in our living room, but the kids have played with it upstairs in their room too.  It’s perfect for keeping them occupied while I do things like cook dinner or fold the laundry.

    Hideaboo also provides you with FREE access to their printable library.  They’ve created activities, diy costume ideas, an adventure journal and printable puppets for each of their Hideouts! Your purchase comes with a code for free downloads of your printable activities and instructions.  How fun is that?

    Each hideout is made to slide over a card table and it’s super simple to set up and fold away for easy storage.

    Here’s what’s you get:

    • Includes ONE Hideout and ONE storage bag
    • Card table not included
    • Slips over standard card tables, 34″ w x 28″ h
    • Easy to setup and tear down
    • Durable, high quality fabric & machine washable

    These are the current hideouts available:

    • Happy Camper Hideout
    • Enchanted Castle Hideout
    • Underwater Submarine Hideout
    • Outer Space Rocket Hideout
    • Down on the Farm Hideout
    • Lemonade Stand

    The best part?  Our friends over at Hideaboo were gracious enough to sponsor a giveaway!  That’s right, you can choose ANY one of their hideouts if you are the lucky winner!  Pop on over to my Instagram page if you want to enter to win.  Good luck!

    Connect with Hideaboo!

    Website | Instagram | Facebook

    giveaways, holiday gift guide series

    Holiday Gift Guide Series: My Reading Adventures Journal + A Giveaway!

    Photo Credit:

    Are you guys following Lu and Bean Read yet?  They have a wonderful podcast where they introduce you to new authors and children’s stories.  They also have a lovely website and Instagram account that I’ve been following for a few months now.  Today, we’re featuring their brand new reading journal for kids in our holiday gift guide series.

    Do you keep track of the books you read on your own or the ones you read with your kids?  I keep track using an Excel spreadsheet that I’ve been using for a few years now.  I know, it’s old school, but it gets the job done.  One day I’ll finally purchase a reading journal for myself.  For now, I’ll live vicariously through my kids and help them log their books in their My Reading Adventures kids journal from  I think it’s a great way to spark or enhance a child’s interest in reading.

    The My Reading Adventures kids reading journal offers kids space and prompts to write, draw and reflect on a year’s worth of reading. The journal allows kids to record 52 books—one for every week of the year—as well as completing several fun writing and drawing exercises. It’s designed for kids of every age. Younger kids may choose to complete the book with an adult. For the youngest kiddos, each section provides space to draw responses. Older readers may wish to use the journal on their own or with an adult. They are given the option of drawing and writing to spark their creativity.


    • 124 pages
    • Spiral bound
    • 6 x 9 inches
    • Space to record 52 books
    • Options to write, draw or both
    • Younger readers can record pictures books with the help of an adult
    • Older readers can complete the entries alone or with an adult
    • Fun extras!

    Since we read well over 52 children’s books in a year, this journal will serve as a record of our favorite 52 books we’ll read next year along with any specific reactions the kids had.  I can’t wait to start filling up our journal!

    Perhaps you’d like to give this journal as a gift during the upcoming holiday season. Wouldn’t it be fun to pair the journal with a nice pen/pencil or markers and a favorite book?  Thankfully our new friends at are graciously offering to giveaway one FREE journal to a lucky reader.  So. One of you lovely readers will walk away with a brand new reading journal! Keep it. Or give it. Or buy a few and stick them under the tree.  Makes a great holiday gift for little readers.  Good luck!

    Connect with Lu and Bean Read!

    Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

    My Reading Adventures Journal

    Your turn:  Let me whether you already keep a reading journal for your kids, or why you think it would be good to start. I look forward to hearing your responses!

    adult books, giveaways, parenting

    The Art of Blissful Parenting + A Giveaway!

    BeachBoundBooks is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for The Art of Blissful Parenting by Sharon Ballantine. The blast will run October 24 – October 26, 2016. collages14

    About the Book

    artofblissfulparenting Title: The Art of Blissful Parenting | Author: Sharon Ballantine | Genre: Parenting Number of Pages: 190 | Publisher: Balboa Press | Publication Date: November 24, 2015 Book Description: What if you had the ideal relationship with your children? This book is for every parent that wants to have a powerful bond with their kids. Parents have the opportunity for newfound freedom and joy when they teach their children about their Internal Guidance System. Tools and guidance are offered in this book for exacting the art of blissful parenting by practicing alignment. It’s fun and easy to work with the Universe and a short lesson in the Law of Attraction is part of this script. Parents-live and also teach your children how to manifest what they want by thinking in a more positive way and deliberately creating their lives.

    Amazon | Balboa Press | Barnes & Noble

    What others are saying… “This book is filled with amazing tools for any adult who wants to sharpen the innate gifts of the children in their lives and support them in developing and following their internal guidance. Beautifully and thoughtfully written with clear practical exercises to allow you to put into practice what you have read.” – Debbie (Amazon Reviewer)
    “The Art of Blissful Parenting offers readers a refreshing, out-of-the-box approach to raising happy children. Sharon offers practical tools and tips for teaching kids how to thrive by using the law of attraction and following their internal guidance system.” – (Amazon Reviewer) “This is a fascinating book for anyone who wants to raise confident, independent children. The author presents her unique ideas in a thoughtful and insightful way” – Cheryl (Amazon Reviewer)

    About the Author: Sharon Ballantine

    1475380012 Sharon Ballantine is a Parenting Coach and certified Law of Attraction Life Coach. She has successfully raised three children and is the author a new book “The Art of Blissful Parenting.” Sharon is the founder of “The Ballantine Parenting Institute,” her online parenting program. Ballantine is a sought after speaker, and was host to her own Internet TV Show with Conscious Evolution Media Network from 2013-2014. The platform of The Sharon Ballantine TV Show featured a conversation with passionate spiritually minded guests. Sharon also had her own column with “Parenting on Purpose.” Sharon was interviewed on TV, February 15, 2016 for her new book release, “The Art of Blissful Parenting” on KING 5 New Day Northwest, a live daytime talk show in Seattle. Ballantine has been interviewed on several radio shows including Blog Talk Radio in Los Angeles, Chat with Women radio show in Seattle and Conscious Evolution Media Internet TV in Denver. Her interview with Hay House Radio will air by summer ’16. Sharon’s website is which features weekly teaching blogs, podcasts and slideshows. You can see her educational videos on her YouTube channel, Sharon Ballantine. Sharon lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband Jay.

    Website | Twitter | Facebook | Google+

    Book Blast Giveaway

    Prize: One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card or $25 PayPal cash prize, winner’s choice.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    children's books, giveaways

    Freshtake Books: Hip Hop Inspired Board Books for Babies + A Giveaway!

    Have you seen these adorable hip hop inspired baby board books by Freshtake Books yet? There are currently three books: Nighty Nite Problems (featuring Jay Bee), Sippin’ On Apple Juice (featuring Snoop Frog), and Piggie, Piggie, Piggie (featuring Odorous P.I.G.) based on the hit songs by Jay Z, Snoop Dogg, and the Notorious B.I.G. Written by Lily Bomar Owens, these adorable high-quality board books take three famous rap songs and spin the well-known choruses in a fun, kid-friendly way.


    Snoop Frog is a hip-hoppin’ frog who likes to drink apple juice.  Jay Bee is tired from too much buzzing around.  He just wants to sleep, but he’s having fur problems.  Fitting the typical stereotype of a pig, Odorous P.I.G.’s room is a mess, a real pigsty.  And his momma’s not too happy about it. A fun and very cute gift idea for your hip hop or music lovin’ babies!

    Our friends at Freshtake Books were gracious enough to sponsor this fun giveaway: 1 lucky US-based winner will win a copy of the book Piggie, Piggie, Piggie.  Use the entry form below to enter for your chance to win.  Good luck!

    Freshtake Books Giveaway

    Connect with Freshtake Books!
    Website | Instagram

    children's books, giveaways

    Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO: Author Interview + A Giveaway!

    Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO by Dr. Tamara Nicole Pizzoli, illustrated by Federico Fabiani


    Publisher: The English Schoolhouse
    Pages: 40
    Format: Paperback
    Available for Sale: September 19, 2016

    Tallulah the Tooth Fairy is not only the founder and CEO of the largest teeth collecting organization on the planet, Teeth Titans, Incorporated, she’s a clever and wildly successful business woman with an affinity for all things dental. A natural innovator and problem solver, Tallulah finds herself unexpectedly stumped when six year-old Ballard Burchell leaves a note instead of his tooth under his pillow. What’s a Tooth Fairy to do when there’s no tooth to take?

    tallulahthetoothfairy1Sneak peek inside the book Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO. photo credit @tamarapizzoli

    Author Interview
    I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Tamara Nicole Pizzoli to talk about her latest book.  Check it out!

    Tell us about your latest book.  How did you come up with the concept?

    Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO came about after an exchange with my eldest son, Noah. He’s seven now but at the time I wrote the book he was six, and he’d just lost a tooth. I was pregnant with my third son, and Noah came home from school with his tooth in hand. I was so excited and told him he just needed to hold onto it until bedtime and that we’d put it under his pillow. Only God knows what happened to that tooth between the afternoon and when it was time for bed. I was really emotional (blame the pregnancy hormones) and once I realized he’d lost his lost tooth I asked him what in the world he was going to do with no tooth to leave for the tooth fairy. Noah has always been a very rational and easy-going child. His immediate response was, “It’s really no big deal. I’m just going to write her a note and explain what happened. I’m sure she’ll understand.” The thought really blew me away because somehow, his six year-old brain believed not only in the tooth fairy, but in the tooth fairy as a rational and merciful being. I put him and his brother Milo to bed by 8:30 or 9 that night, and by midnight the story was written. In my imagination, the tooth fairy is a mashup between two of my favorite Irises–Iris Peyando, a dear friend who is a Dominican-Italian actress here in Rome, and my life muse, Iris Apfel.

    What message are you hoping little readers will grasp from this book?
    I like taking classic stories and characters and flipping them on their heads. I like offering readers the possibility to consider other possibilities. Why wouldn’t The Tooth Fairy be a Black woman named Tallulah who rocks an afro and has a thing for fashion and teeth? I suppose I want young readers to change their minds and let their imaginations run wild.

    Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
    I owe my eldest son Noah a lot. He’s just so quirky and funny and the way he reasons really is enchanting to me as a mother, teacher and a life-long learner. Milo, my second son, inspires me a great deal as well. Aside from the two of them, I try to act on anything that I deem to be a good and worthwhile idea. Last year I was on an alphabet kick, for example. How many ways have the ABC’s been done? Tons, for sure. But I’m sure I have published the only alphabet book for kids based on hairstyles (M is for Mohawk). As a general rule, if it’s something I would have wanted to read as a child, I try to write it and publish it.

    When did you write your first book and how old were you?
    I started writing The Ghanaian Goldilocks, my first book, when I was 30, but as a former Kindergarten teacher I can definitely say I’ve had a thing for quality children’s literature for a long, long time.

    What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
    I love hanging out at Elena Tommasi Ferroni’s art studio here in Rome. She’s illustrated an upcoming book of mine, Fatou and the Kora, and we have collaborated on an art exhibition together entitled #InNero: Fairytales and Histories Reimagined and Retold that depicts historical characters and fictional fairy tale protagonists as people of color. I delight in my family and friends and I live for happy hour and re-runs of The Jeffersons. When I’m not writing I’m constantly thinking of the next creative thing I want to bring into reality.

    How many books have you written? Which is your favorite if you had to choose one?
    Tallulah The Tooth Fairy CEO is book number 7. If I had to choose one, I’d say The Ghanaian Goldilocks is my favorite, because it’s the first one and I really do think it’s a clever concept that readers of all ages and backgrounds would enjoy. Tallulah is a close second.

    What are some future projects readers can expect from you?
    Oh, I’ve got so much on the way. Some of my upcoming projects include a web series loosely based on my life as a Black woman living abroad entitled In Nero: Black Girls in Rome, part II of a documentary that bears the same name that highlights women of color living in the eternal city, the documentary In Nero: Black Men in Rome, an anthology of fairy tales with Black protagonists, at least three new books this year, audiobooks, West African fairy tales…all the good things.

    If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
    Ooooh, that’s a good question.  If I weren’t an author I’d more than likely be a college professor. I enjoy spending time with people who want to learn stuff.

    Do you have anything specific that you want to say to fans of your work?
    Yes, I’m eternally grateful for your love and support. I’m grateful for every share, every kind word, and every supportive thought.  I’d like to add that they can follow me at @tamarapizzoli on Instagram or Tamara Pizzoli on Facebook and on Twitter.  You can order a signed copy of the book at The English Schoolhouse or check it out on Amazon.  Also, you can download a FREE copy of the book on Amazon Kindle until Friday, September 23, 2016.

    The Giveaway!
    Tamara was generous enough to sponsor an international giveaway!  One (1) person will win an autographed copy of Tamara’s latest book Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO!  Enter for your chance to win by Wednesday, September 28th at 11:59pm.  Good luck!  Open to everyone internationally!

    Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO Book Giveaway